Monday, February 25, 2013

Only Average Advice

Welcome back, all of my average friends!  It's Monday, and you know what that means- time for me to recap my weekend with a few words of wisdom, so without further ado, here goes nothing!

Sometimes meetings are over before they begin.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Acknowledge the elephant in the room. Someone will thank you.

All in all is all we are.  I'm not entirely sure what this means, but if Kirk Kobain said it, it's probably true.

Sing a new song. It will make your heart happy to change your tune, once in a while.

There are some awesome people in the world, who will donate $20 to a troop at a cookie booth.

There are some not so awesome people in this world, who will ignore your girls completely when they cutely ask, "would you like to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies?"  

If someone no shows for a cookie booth, chances are they will again. It happens: never make plans during cookie season!

If you do make plans for your kids when it's possible you will be needed somewhere else, be sure they are awesome plans!!

Some things never change. But then again, some things do.  This applies to people also.

If you give a mouse a cookie, he won't want some milk to go with it.  He will invite all his little mousey friends to come and stay at your house, and it will take 6 years to get rid of them all. (ok, maybe I didn't learn this THIS weekend, but am proud to say that we are a mouse free home for the first winter in a long time- homes in the country are prone to field mice in the winter.  It happens, people, even to clean homes)

Laundry is NEVER done. 

If you go to your friends house for a few hours for the kids to play together, SOMEONE always gets hurt.  Just remember, be nice to your friends, because your kids will get hurt at your house just as easily; plus it pays to have friends that are nurses.

If your best friend goes on a cruise to the Bahamas WITHOUT you, she will still want you to feel bad for her and send you a text when no one wants to party.  Feel sorry for her, even if you wish you were there, because she is without you, just as you are without her.

It's better to forgive, but not always to forget. Forgiveness shouldn't need to be earned, but freely given when asked for. This doesn't mean forgetting.  Trust is earned, forgiveness is free.

Sometimes you need to forgive without being asked, but that's more for you, than them.  This works too.

Being the better person is hard.  It's also worth it.

I think this just about wraps up my week in words, so I'll end with a picture of my sweet daughter, doing what we had planned, when we had a cookie booth cancellation, that I did NOT make her go to, but went without her.  Enjoy!
Mommy- it was so much fun, but the foam pit EATS SOCKS. (love it!)
Happy week, y'all, stay average and beautiful!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mai Couture Blush Papier REVIEW

I've seen and heard lots of things about Mai Couture's papier products, and received a deluxe sample of their highlighting papiers in my December Ipsy bag.  The color did NOT suit me at all, so I promptly gave them to my mother, but I loved the concept of beauty products on a paper that absorbs the oils from your face and won't make a mess in your purse.  

I e-mailed Mai Couture and asked for some samples of their blush papiers, and was pleased to get a speedy reply, asking more about my skin tone and eye color, and for my address to send them to.  Pretty fantastic customer service, if I do say so!  Definitely Above Average!

The envelope came within a few days, and here is what I received: 

Mai Couture blush papiers in Prettyful and Sunset Blvd
Each of the little sample packs came with two 1/2 size sheets (I've seen the full size products).  

To apply the blush papiers, you simply fold the sheet in half, and rub the paper onto your cheeks.  And presto!  You are wearing blush!  This is a great idea for anyone on the go, and don't want to carry a large blush brush or use fingers.  The packets are very slim, so they fit in a pocket or purse very easily.  

Sunset Blvd. is a pretty, shimmery salmon color, and perfectly suitable for my skin tone for day wear. 

Prettyful is a lovely shimmery pink shade, and great for a night out, especially for my very fair skin tone.

The price on these is very reasonable, in my opinion, for a high end product: a booklet of 50 sheets (50 applications) is $17.50. The booklets include hits and tips for wear on the inside back cover, which I think is a great idea.

Mai Couture also carries highlighters, bronzers, blotters and foundations; all in papier form, as well as lip gloss.  Their products are available online, and at select retailers, although none are near me.  Boo.

I love how great their customer service department was, they replied to me very fast, and the samples arrived before I began to look for them, which is a really good sign, in my opinion.  If you think papiers will make your makeup routine easier or better, go on over HERE and check them out!

I might order more in the future, but I just bought Physician's Formula Happy blush in Rose, and I really like it, so until I get bored with that, I'm good with blushes.  

Have you tried Mai Couture's products? Love them? Hate them?  Let me know!

Disclaimer: These samples were provided to me at my personal request, at no charge.  I am not obligated to review the products, nor have I been asked to do so by the company.  The above review and opinions are my true and honest impressions of the products, and I am not being compensated in any way.  Have a product you would like to see reviewed?  Let me know, and I would be happy to oblige!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

January eBay Haul, Part 3 (final!): Mary Kay, Nailtiques, Vichy Labs, Cetaphil, Clean Well, Dr Dennis Gross, Jergens

I know, I waited forever to write the final part of my review, and I'm very sorry!  Life has been kind of crazy this past week or so, and I just haven't had the time to sit down and thoroughly write my final post on the huge eBay haul I bought waaayy back in January.  Forgive me?!  Please??!! 

My huge and crazy awesome eBay lot I purchased last month!
I've finally finished testing everything else in this lot, and I can't wait to share my thoughts with you!

Mary Kay botanical effects Freshen foil packet
This lot had a whole bunch of Mary Kay samples, and this is the LAST one!  I opened this foil pack one afternoon, and gave it a shot.  With a product called "Freshen", that is exactly what I was hoping for!  This is tricky to review, because freshen doesn't come in the form of wipes like this sample, but in a bottle.  When I opened the foil pack up, all I could think of was, glorified baby wipe, but I do think this was more due to the texture of the wipe in the sample, rather than the product itself.  The product has a pleasant scent, and I felt nice and dewy after I used the wipe.  I'm not sure I would actually purchase this in the future, as I already have face wash that I like, but it was nice for quick pick me up in the afternoon of a long day of being Only Average.  If you would like to try the Freshen, it is available for purchase HERE; $14 for 5 fl oz. ; I can't assign a sample value, as there isn't any weight listed on the packet; sorry!
Grade: 3/5 (and my least favorite of all the MK samples I received)

Nailtiques Oil Therapy
I used to be very obsessed with painting my nails, and keeping them all girly and pretty; my weekly manicure at the salon was a must have!  Well, "mommy-dom" changed that for me, and now I still go to the nail salon, but only for special occasions, or for a special treat.  The oil therapy by Nailtiques is reminiscent of the oil treatment that the manicurist puts on your nails, right before you go and wash your hands (only to return to "please pay now".  LOVE that!).  This therapy is an oil treatment for nails and cuticles, and it is easy to paint on.  I honestly don't notice any difference to my nails and cuticles after trying this three times, but perhaps this is a long term-type product, and my wimpy nails will be stronger in the future.  Time will tell!  If you like to have that real salon-feel at home, I'd say that this is a product for you.  I will let you all know if my nails get any thicker and break less frequently in the coming months, but for now, I'm giving this a neutral score.  My sample here is a full size (smaller size), and is available HERE; retails for $6.99 (this .25 fl oz size) or $11.99 for the larger .5 fl oz size.
GRADE: 3/5

Vichy Laboratories Liftactiv CxP UV
I tried an abundance of wrinkle cream in the past month, and let me tell you, out of all of them, this stuff works!  The Vichy labs cream is labeled on the tube as a bio-lifting daily care anti-wrinkle & firming broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 20 lotion.  Whew, that's a major mouthful!  I used this as my lotion for a week, and the sample provided had exactly enough to last a full week.  I noticed significant changes in my skin from the second application.  My little crows feet and laugh lines were way smaller, and my skin felt firm.  I LOVE this stuff!  I went to price it out, and of COURSE, out of all the products I tried, this is by FAR the most expensive: $40 for a .5 fl oz tube, making this .1 fl oz sample have a retail value of $8.  I abosulutely believe that you get what you pay for, and I will definitely wait for this to go on SALE so that I can convince my hubby that I should have it.  If you want to try this most awesome lotion yourself, go HERE.  
GRADE: 5/5; higher if I could!

Cetaphil UVA/UVB defense SPF 50 facial moisturizer
I have super sensitive, weird skin, and I love to try new lotions to see how my crazy skin will react.  This lotion has a high SPF (and I'm saving some for summer!), which I love, and was ok as a moisturizer.  This just smelled like sunblock; which I suppose is basically what it is.  I loved the Vichy labs lotion so much, that I can't get excited about the Cetaphil one; but if you are of the fair persuasion, this is something I would highly recommend; especially if you spend a significant time outside.  If you would like to check this one out for yourself, go HERE; $11.19 for a full size (1.7 oz) tube; very reasonably priced.  My little sample is .20 fl oz, and has a retail value of $1.34.
GRADE: 4/5 (3/5 as a lotion, 5/5 as a sun protection product)

Clean Well All Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipe
It's currently cold and flu season in the part of the country I live, so I definitely had a chance to test this one out!  We all use hand sanitizer frequently in my home, so something that isn't in a tube to open and squirt all over my purse is seriously a welcome thing!

Awesome HUGE 5x7" wipe!

I opened up the foil pack to test it out, and was seriously wowed at how HUGE the wipe was!  I can't quite put my finger on the scent, but it's kind of a cross between lemon and vanilla.  Not a bad scent, but not a familiar one either.  These wipes are available HERE; in both canisters and foil packs.  A package of 250 foil packs is $137.99; my single sample is valued at $.55.
GRADE: 5/5

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pad
I don't really "do" the whole tanning thing, unless I can sit out on the beach and soak up the sun for real.  Guess it's a good thing I LIVE at the beach!  My beautiful 10 year old daughter is always excited to try new things, so she helped me test this one out.
The wipe was yellow, but it didn't stain my fingers.
I opened up the foil pack, and pulled out the little wipe.  It wasn't brown in color, but definitely a yellow.  I let my little bug try it out, and followed the package directions, rubbing it on in a circular motion.  

"Before" shot (and I have NO idea what exactly is on the TV in the background- some kids show!)
Immediately after
I personally didn't notice any difference right after we applied the product, but I sent her to the bathroom, to add some more, and then we waited an hour and took another photo.
One hour later
NOW I see a difference!  It is important to note that the packet reads that the product does NOT contain any sunscreen (not really an issue for me because my BB creme is SPF 30), and to wash your hands immediately after use.  I am assuming the whole hand washing thing is to not stain your hands, and so that you don't get it in your mouth or eyes, but I'm really not sure.  Please note that I read this AFTER applying the product to my kid.  See why I'm Only Average?!  Well, you can judge the results for yourself; if you are a sunless tanner, and like what you see (all pictures are with a flash, in the same spot in my home, within only a 1hour total time lapse) go ahead and give these wipes a try!  They are available HERE; $18 for a 10 pack of wipes; making my sample of 1 wipe valued at $1.80.  I will add that having the wipes individually wrapped is definitely a convenient bonus in my thinking- easy to pack or add to your purse for an instant glow!  
Grade: 4/5

Jergens Daily Moisture Lotion
The very last sample is a lotion sample; I love lotion and have a fairly decent assortment in the house to choose from.  I gave the Jergens a try, and it worked fairly well.  It was a bit greasy, but on par for most drugstore lotions (not body butters).  The lotion had a pleasant scent, and the sample was enough to do my hands and arms to my elbows.  I have another brand that is my current lotion fave, so I probably won't be picking this up, but it is a solid hand lotion.  If you want to give Jergens a try, go HERE; $3.99 for 10 fl oz (small size); $6.49 for 21 fl oz (large size).  My sample is .049 oz, and valued at $0.01.
GRADE: 4/5

Well, that concludes my review of all of the products in the eBay lot that I purchased.  The lot included 3 makeup bags and a mirror (which I LOVE!), but I didn't think that anyone would be interested in a review of those things.  I will say that I popped in eBay to see if I received feedback from the seller on this lot (haven't yet), and I noticed that her description of items included a few things that I did NOT receive; some jewelry items, a coupon, and more MK samples.  I am SO not worried about these missing items; I am very happy with the lot, and definitely got my money's worth. I only mention this, as a reminder to be careful when buying from eBay (or any auction/reseller site!), because all we ever have is the seller's word that the items being sent are as described.  I would totally buy another beauty sample lot again, and would buy from this seller (if you are reading this, seller, I LOVE this lot- thank you!  please leave us feedback!) again, if there was something I was looking for!

I hope you enjoyed my Only Average perspective on these great products, and maybe my thoughts and trials will help you find something new that you love!  Is there a product you would like to see me review?  A service you think I would like? Agree with me, disagree with me?  Leave me a comment, let me know!

Disclaimer:  The items listed above were paid for by my own money.  I am not being compensated or required to review any of these items, and the opinions listed are my own true feelings.  I have not been compensated, and the links shown are NOT referral links. 

Weekend in Words

I'm sorry this "Monday" post is so late- with President's Day on Monday, and Tuesday is my Girl Scout day, this is honestly the first time I've had to sit down and do a weekly reflection post- but really, what do you expect from someone as Only Average as me?

This was another weekend of cookie booths, Valentine's dinner with my husband, and the first weekend of Lent.  Tell you what, we all forgot about fish on Friday until lunchtime, and major props to IRSD for offering meat free options in their school lunches during Lent this year- a first, since K started attending there!

So, without further ado, here is my weekly reflection on the craziness of my so called life:

It doesn't matter how many times you check with someone about confirming plans; if there is a snowflake in the air- expect at least one person to cancel.  It's guaranteed.

Sometimes, it just doesn't matter.

If you own a truck, expect to be asked to help someone move.  Especially if it's cookie season, and you have to help pack up booths in your vehicle.

Just because there is a cash register at the front of the table, doesn't meant you are supposed to pay at the door.  Ok, seriously, people.  I hate the confusion this causes.  Am I supposed to pay my server or at the register?  If I do the wrong one, I just know that people will think we are trying to dine and dash, and that is SO not true.  So restaurants, please don't put a cash register right across from the door, if you don't want people to pay there.  Or print "please pay your server" on your receipts.  Really, it would make a difference.

Being socially awkward isn't fun.

If you babysitter is cancelled for the third time in a row, for your Valentine's day dinner, your husband will be awesome and come up with a plan to make sure you still get your dinner date.  How very sweet.

Yellow roses make everyone smile.

A $10 Dora balloon will keep the peace in your house for about 3 hours.  Totally worth it.

President's day sales are AWESOME.  

A $4 Angry Birds watch will be required if you want to leave Walmart without a HUGE scene.  There will STILL be a scene, but the watch will make it smaller.

Nail polish and Strawberry Shortcake dolls don't mix well.
Quick dry blue nail polish may be awesome on your nails, but is not good for coffee tables.

That's about it for my averageness this weekend, hope you all are enjoying yourselves and having a great week!  Stay average!

Friday, February 15, 2013

January eBay Haul Review Part 2: CeraVe, Claudalie, Mary Kay, Raw Natural Minerals, Stila, S.A.L.T.Y., Be A Bombshell, & Circus by Andrea's Choice

Hello, my lovelies!
As I explained in my first post in this series, my eBay lot was just too big to review everything in detail all at once, plus, I can only try out so many new skin care products at one time, so I need to spread it out a bit.  Behold, part 2 of my detailed review of my awesome January eBay haul.

Crazy Awesome eBay Lot

Since I've had this lot for about a week now, I've been able to run some of these products through the ringer.

CeraVe AM facial moisturizing lotion  Cute little tube!
I have very sensitive skin that can't decide if it wants to be oily or dry. The term "normal" does not even come close to applying!  This lotion does a nice job of keeping my skin moisturized, and it's nice that it has sunscreen in it (SPF 30). The texture is pleasing, and my face was well moisturized. I will say, however, that this doesn't smell like lotion as much as it smells like sunscreen. Because I use BB cream instead of foundation (unless I'm going out), I'm not entirely sure what the point is in having an AM and PM lotion, but that's ok.  I AM Only Average, after all.  I don't actually need SPF in my lotion, so I don't think this is the right lotion for me, but it is a nice quality lotion, and the price isn't too bad either.  I will say that this lotion did not break me out so it's good for skin like mine.  Perhaps in the summer I will need more SPF than my current products have, and will try it again then.  If you are interested in giving this a go, it's available HERE, $12.99 for a 3 fl oz tube.  The retail value of my little 5g tube is $0.73, and it has lasted about a week, as I use lotion sparingly.  Great value!  GRADE: 4/5

Claudalie Vinexpert Serum
I have been enjoying one of the wrinkle cream samples that I received, the Vinexpert by Claudalie.  I've never really used wrinkle or anti-aging products before, as I've always felt that I am too young to use them, but since my last birthday, I've tried to take better care of my skin.  This sample bottle felt really light when I first opened it, so I am not sure that it was filled properly.  That being said, this stuff makes my skin feel softer and younger in the areas I have applied it.  I've used it for a bout a week, and my little sample is pretty much gone.  It has a yellowish tint to it, which isn't appealing to me, but the scent of the product is very appealing.  Now that this is gone, I will move on to testing another anti-aging cream I received.  If there is an interest, I will try to do a comparison between them all. If you want to give this a try yourself, Claudalie Vinexpert is available HERE, $88 for a 30 mL full size tube.  This little sample is 7mL, and has a retail value of $20.53.  I will be honest; cost will be a factor when I choose my "go to" anti aging formula, and this one is very pricey, so I likely won't choose it.  Gotta watch my budget! GRADE: 4.5/5

Mary Kay botanical effects mask foil packet
Ahh, the dreaded foil packets.  It's hard not to have a hate/love relationship with these.   I hate to pay for these, I hate they they are one time use, but I love finding new products and trying them out! I tried out this facial mask one evening, and according to the packet, it can be used up to 2-3 times a week.  The mask went on smoothly on damp skin, and dried up over the 10 minutes I was to leave it on.  I am always curious how something that looks like chaulky toothpaste can make my skin soft and smooth, but I guess some things are not for this average mom to know!  This mask did a nice job, and my skin was baby soft after I washed the mask off.  This is available HERE, $14 for the full size (4 oz).  The foil packet sample contains .1 oz, and has a retail value of $0.35. GRADE: 5/5

Raw Natural Minerals Active Veil with Sunscreen (SPF 18)
I've never really used a lot of mineral products before, but it is something that I would definitely like to try more of!  The Raw Natural Minerals Active Veil that I received is a full size product, and is available in only one color.  This product looks flesh toned, but I think it is more of a translucent powder.  I have used this to set my BB cream and concealer for the past week or so, and I really like it.  Loose powders, to me, are much preferable to pressed powders.  That being said, I typically use a pressed powder as my "go to" powder.  The Active Veil also contains a sunscreen, SPF 18, but it doesn't smell like sunscreen. 

Swatch of Active Veil from Raw Natural Minerals
 When I swatched this, it had a kind of shimmer to it, and the sparkles I saw kind of put me off.  I tried it on my face, regardless (how can you tell if you will like something just by a little hand swatch?), and I was pleasantly surprised: there was NO SPARKLES!  All of my fears of looking like i had "Vampire Fever" were squashed right away.  This powder does a decent job of setting my face; but the container has an expiration date of 3/13, and has been discontinued.  I doubt that I will run out of this powder before the end of March, but as I just took the peelie sticker off, I will probably be ok to keep using it a bit past that date.  Because Active Veil has been discontinued, it is on sale (yay!).  If you would like to try it, it's available HERE, $20 (.07 oz; it's a decent size), instead of the regular price of $25. GRADE: 4/5

Circus by Andrea's Choice, in the color Tightrope
When I was a tween and then in high school, I was obsessed with nails.  After college, I fell back into that same habit.  Since then, I go through phases where I NEED to get manicures, and then not caring at all.  Since my wedding, I've not had the extra money to maintain my salon habit, so I've been growing out my natural nails.  Because I am a former nail junkie, I have a box of polish that is pretty impressive.  That being said, I don't have a purple in quite this shade.  I LOVE the color, and had very high hopes for this polish.  The first thing I noticed is that this polish doesn't have a high gloss finish; it's more of a satin finish (In the pic above, my pinky is still wet, but the other fingers are pretty much dry).  I didn't bother with a primer or top coat, and this led to my destruction.  In less than 24 hours, my nails had chipped horribly, and looked like a bad week old manicure given by a 3 year old.  Trust me, I know exactly what that looks like.  I tried again, with a topcoat (and caviar on one nail!), and the polish lasted longer, but not really all that much.  Maybe I need a better topcoat, I don't know.  The Circus polish is available only as a set of 5 colors together; if you want to give this a try yourself, go HERE, it is $29.95 for the set.  My one bottle that is ALMOST full size (.45 fl oz; as apposed to .5 fl oz) has a retail value of $5.99.  If you want only this pretty purple (like me!), these are ALL over eBay. GRADE: 2/5

Mary Kay nourishine plus lip gloss in Fancy Nancy
I love love LOVE lip gloss!  I am not really a lipstick person, but I definitely LOVE me some gloss!  That being said, a good gloss is hard to find!  Either they don't have any staying power, or are super sticky, or had a horrible taste or texture.  This gloss absolutely hit the sweet spot for me.  Non sticky, pleasant texture, decent staying power, and a nice scent.  The color Fancy Nancy, although it has a super cute name, isn't exactly the best color for me, but I would definitely like to try this in another shade (besides the clear I also received).  I LOVE that the sample came with a teeny tiny lip wand- SO cute!  If you want to try this gloss for yourself, it's available HERE, $14 (.15 fl oz tube with attached wand). GRADE: 5/5

Be A Bombshell eyeliner in Onyx
I love eyeliners.  I love to experiment with colors and textures to give my eyes that "pop".  The Be a Bombshell eyeliner is one of the things I was MOST looking forward to receive in this lot.  I won't say I was disappointed with it, but I will say that I am not sure I LOVE it, like I did their lip gloss.  The tip of this eyeliner looks like a Crayola marker.  Don't have kids?  Go ahead and google it.  I'll wait..... Ok, see that?  That is what you are aiming at your eye, and trying to get a fine line.  See my problem?  It took some getting used to, and through trial and error, I think I have it down where I can use it.  One problem I experienced that you may too: I have crepey eyelids, and I could NOT draw a straight line to save my life with this eyeliner.  I used dots instead, and connected them, and this had a much nicer effect.  As you can see on my hand swatch, you can get a very thin line, as well as a thicker one, and you can blend it.  Once you put this on, and it dries, this sucker stays put!  One thing that I did NOT like with this product, is the cap.  It just sort of clicks on gently.  I am afraid that if the lid falls off, the marker pen will dry up easily.  I hope Bombshell works on a redesign for this product, because the formula is great.  If you are interested in this one, it is available HERE, $14 (.1 fl oz, full size, same as pictured). GRADE: 3.5/5

Stila lip glaze in lights
As a lip gloss junkie, of course I have heard of Stila.  Stila lip glazes come in a tube with a brush applicator, that you turn the bottom to force the product up into the brush.  Some people like this style of applicator, and others hate it.  I am kind of on the fence about it; I don't think it's a precise as a wand, but it's not a bad concept either.  This tube is one of a 3 pack offered (as far as I can tell) from Birchbox, where each tube is .05 oz, as opposed to the .08 fl oz that the "regular" size is.  I had to click this tube way more than I thought was normal for a click gloss; perhaps it was because it's a full size looking tube with less product in it, I don't know.  Most of the reviews I have read about this gloss is that it is not sticky, and felt nice on your lips.  Ok, I will attest to the "good feeling" part- the minty tingle is great, but I thought this is possibly the stickiest gloss I have ever worn.  I could press my lips together and literally watch (in the mirror) the gloss string as it wanted to stay connected as I opened my lips.  STICKY!!!!!  Maybe I got a bad batch, I don't know, but this definitely isn't for me!  The color was a nice nude/neutral color, and I really did like that.  I googled the crap out of this particular color, called LIGHTS, and I could only find it in a special set for Birchbox (which I don't subscribe to).  If you want to give Stila a try, their website is HERE; they have the 3 sets and full size tubes, just not in this color.  $12/3 pack (.05 oz each) or $22 full size (.08 fl oz).  My sample (1 of a 3 pack) has a retail value of $4. GRADE: 2/5

S.A.L.T.Y Cosmetics loose luxury mineral eye shadow in glamma-ZOID!
I LOVE eye shadows, and love to try out new brands!  I was super excited to receive this, and couldn't wait to try it out!  This is a full size product, the small 1 g container.  I love that they put a sifter in even this small of a container!  I love even more that the sifter pops out easily so you can pour any product that spilled in the lid, back into the vial.

Very shimmery and duo tone
 Ok, so when I was taking pictures, my camera strap popped up, and I forgot to retake this one, so enjoy a photo of my camera strap and swatch!  The swatch is very light, as it is more of a highlight color, and it is a pearlescent purpley pinky duo tone.  I LOVE this as a corner highlight and under browbone highlighter.  This shadow stays put and is very pretty.  LOVE it!!  If you want to give it a try, it is available HERE, $4.50 for this size (1g), $14.97 for the large size (2.5 g).  GRADE: 5/5

Well, that concluded my part 2 review of my huge eBay lot.  I hope you all enjoyed it, and if there is something that you would like me to give an honest and well thought out review of, please let me know!  I love trying new things!  Love something here?  Hate it?  Have a different experience?  Leave a comment, and let me know!

Disclaimer:  The items listed above were paid for by my own money.  I am not being compensated or required to review any of these items, and the opinions listed are my own true feelings.  I have not been compensated, and the links shown are NOT referral links. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

This isn't a real post, it's just a super quick note to tell you all Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you all find a little bit of love today, from your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend, children, parents, or friends.  

Wishing you all hugs, kisses, chocolate and flowers, and for a day that is decidedly above average,

The Only Average Mom

PS- anything special happen for you today, or does this day have special meaning to you? Let us all know, in the comments below!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beauty Army Review January 2013

It may seem like my review for the January box from Beauty Army is late, but honestly, it's not!  I recently subscribed to BA, this is my first box!  What I like about BA is that once you subscribe, you are good to go, and don't have to wait for the next box to come out, your subscription goes into effect right then, so my subscription will always send out at the end of the month.

What I think sets Beauty Army apart from other monthly boxes, is that YOU choose the samples you want to get, six out of nine products.  If you don't like the products shown, either refresh your page, or retake the beauty quiz until you find six that you want to try.  You also have the option to skip a month, if there is nothing that you want to try at that time.  The full size of everything BA offers is for sale on their website, so if you like something, go on over and check it out!

Beauty Army also offers referral and other rewards, which is nice (I wish IPSY would do that!).  If you would like to try out Beauty Army, you can click HERE (this link has my referral code, and can earn me free boxes if you use it, full disclaimer).  Ok, enough shameless self promotion.  On to the goodies!

Such a pretty pink box!  Now I have to figure out what to put in it :)
Here is what the box looked like when it came in the mail.  

Love the camo on the inside! And who doesn't love to be called gorgeous?!

The insert card.

7 awesome samples!

Here is a first look at all of the samples that came in my box.  This month, as it it Beauty Army's one year anniversary, every member was given a 7th sample, a Mark mascara.  I love extras!

Bath & Body Works Shower Gel in Sweet Pea, 3 oz. $3.30 retail value, available HERE

The first item I chose is Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea Shower Gel.  This is not a full size product, but a deluxe sample size/travel size.  I have serious fragrance issues, and anything floral sends me into a breathless haze that lasts forever. The Sweet Pea scent is just at the edge of my allergy range, so I thought I would try it out and see what I thought.  The scent, I would have to describe, as ALMOST floral.  It's definitely a feminine scent, and although it isn't a scent I would gravitate naturally, it is very pleasant.  The wash did a nice job and didn't leave my skin overly dry.  I know everyone is familiar with BBW, so this isn't exactly a NEW product, but it IS a scent that I have never used before, so I am very happy about that! Grade: 4.5/5

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, packet of 2 $3.75 retail value, available HERE

The second item in my box is Skyn Iceland Hydro Cooling Firming Eye Gels (pack of 2).  I hate foil packs of products, but I thought that this was a neat idea, that and the fact there there wasn't anything else on my list that I really wanted, so I thought I would try these out.  

Here are the gels outside of the foil packet.  These really are a decent size.
I put them on, and was a bit skeptical, but was pleasantly surprised at the instant cooling feeling I had.  I know, I shouldn't have been surprised, as cooling is actually in the product name, but even still, the gels felt room temperature to me in the packet, so it was surprising.  I left the gels on for the maximum time of 10 minutes, and my under eye area definitely felt more firm and not puffy.  This would be awesome for an at home spa day!  The package was a cultural experience as well, even for a foil pack.  The first language on the package is Spanish, second English, and third French; Skyn Iceland is the company; the distributors are in New York and The Netherlands, and the product is made in Korea.  Glad to see that they diversify!  Grade:5/5

Nelson J Argan Oil 7 Non-foaming shampoo, 1 oz $2.25 retail value, available HERE

Next up, is Nelson J Argan Oil 7 non-foaming shampoo, deluxe sample.  After I received my January Ipsy bag, with the Argan oil in it, I have been noticing all kinds of stuff with Argan oil in it!  I thought that this would be a great choice to try out to try to take my very BELOW average hair to at least Only Average.  I wanted to love this, mostly because it has Argan oil in it; but I'm not sure how I feel about non-foaming shampoo.  When I poured some in my hand from the bottle, I freaked out a bit and thought that there was mold in it because there were some dark spots in the shampoo; but when I went to look at it closer, I saw that it was just granules that were (I assume) supposed to be there.  I put this on my hair, and used my fingers to comb it through (my kid got my last comb stuck in her hair this week; I had to cut it out, and I have yet to replace it).  I rinsed it out, and my hair did feel pretty good..  I followed up with my usual extra conditioner rinse, as I have insanely dry hair.  When I went to brush my hair, I will say that it was way easier than usual to brush it, and much less tangles.  I wish the shampoo foamed, but all in all, this worked very nicely, and my hair feels clean and soft, and has a very pleasant scent.  Grade:4/5 (I wish it foamed!)

Jonathan Dirt Texturizing Paste, .7 oz $5.43 retail value, available HERE

I chose another hair product, Jonathan Dirt Texturizing paste.  The sample size is a good size, and I love the little jar.  This product is oil free, and is supposed to define and separate the hair, hopefully giving me more volume.  First, I love the name.  Who could resist a product called "Dirt"?? When I first opened the package, I gave the white (white dirt?) product a sniff, and it has a nice, clean smell.  Nothing like dirt.  The creme looked pretty firm, so I gave it a touch.  I had to work to put a finger print into it!  When I went to use it, I had to really gouge out some, and warm it between my palms to get it viable to use.  I applied it to my hair, and it has a light, airy feel.  My hair has a bit more volume than usual, but this product isn't nearly as good (or as easy to use) as my now beloved Rough paste from Redken.  Grade: 3/5

Mark Hook Up Lip Gloss, Blow Kisses, full size (.12 oz) $6.50 retail, available HERE

My fifth item brings us back into my comfort zone: makeup.  Mark hookup lipgloss in the shade Blow Kisses.  This is a full size product!  Once upon a time, I was an Avon rep, and I used to love the Mark line.  I love how the products click together, so save room when packing a makeup bag in my tiny purse.  I've since upgraded to loving higher end makeup, but Avon and Mark are still solid brands. I also absolutely love glosses, and much prefer them to lipstick.  
Mark Hook Ups lip gloss in Blow Kisses
This is a pretty red lip gloss (awesome for Valentine's day!) and is not sticky.  Love it! Grade: 5/5

Whip Hand Cosmetics loose pigment eye shadow, Special Forces, .02 oz. $2.80 retail value, available HERE
Item number six is what I was most looking forward to in my box this month, Whip Hand Cosmetics loose pigment eye shadow in the shade, Special Forces.  I love love love loose pigments, and couldn't wait to try this pretty, peachy color.  This is also a deluxe sample size.  

I was rushed when taking pictures, on a rainy day, and this swatch really doesn't do it justice.  It's a pretty peach.
This goes on smoothly, and is nicely pigmented. It isn't overly shimmery, but not exactly matte either.  Very pretty, and my swatch really doesn't do it justice.  I love the cute, tiny glass jar the sample came in, but I don't like how the lid fits onto the jar.  I am sure that the full size product has a better fitting lid, so I can't exactly hold it against them; I just didn't like seeing some shadow bits in the bottom of my box, I want it all to use! Grade: 4/5

Mark Scanda-lash mascara, full size (.12 oz)  $6.50 retail, available HERE

The last item in my box was a free gift, in honor of BA's one year anniversary, Mark Scanda-Lash mascara in black.  I love that I got 2 ends of a Mark hook-up in my bag, they are so fun to play with and mix and match.  The scanda-lash mascara has been around for quite some time.  It's not my absolute favorite mascara, but it is very nice.  Plus, who doesn't love a cute pink bow tied around the box?  Super cute! Grade: 4/5

One thing I really like about BA is that they make all of their products available at their own store (and all the product links in this blog go there).  Who doesn't love one stop shopping??!!

Here's my haul :) (The little black thing in the middle is the connector for the lip gloss and the mascara)

Overall, I think I definitely got my money's worth in this box.  $12 doesn't seem like a lot to pay for all this stuff!  I still absolutely LOVE Ipsy, and am cautious about Beauty Army, but I hope that next month I will see more of the full size items I have seen others receive and review.  

Recap: $12 out of pocket ($2 more than Ipsy), including shipping
Retail value: $30.53  
Not as great as Ipsy, and not as great as some of the other reviews I have seen for Beauty Army, but still pretty good, as I more than doubled my money's worth.  If I hated everything in my box, it would SO not be a deal.  I think I will try again next month and see what I can get! 

Leave a comment letting me know how you like my review, and if you would like to see more beauty reviews!
If you do subscribe to Beauty Army, leave me a comment and let me know how you feel about this service.  Do you think it's worth it?  Anything you disagree with me on?  Let me know!
Are there any products you would like to see a review for, or service you would like reviewed?  Let me know, and I would be happy to do it for you!

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion, on a product I paid for out of my own pockets.  I have not been compensated for this opinion in any way, and it is my honest thoughts on the products listed above.  The referral link in this post is one where I would receive credit for a referral, and be compensated with free product for referring 3 people. Here is a link that just goes to Beauty Army, without my referral code.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ipsy (MyGlam) February 2013 Review

Hello all you beautiful, average people!  I just received my Ipsy February My Glam bag, and I just can't wait to share it with you!  IPSY is a beauty subscription service, and for just $10 a month, you receive 4-5 deluxe samples or full size products delivered to your door.  If you are in Canada, there is a $5 shipping charge, but shipping within the US is free!  Feel free to go and sign up for their waiting list, so you can open your March bag with me! (not an affiliate link)

The pink packet!  I LOVE to see my mail carrier with this! (but it's not as full looking as last month's!)
After the delay in shipping I experienced last month, I was very worried that I wouldn't get my bag before Valentine's Day, and I was pleasantly surprised that my bag was in my mailbox before I even got my shipping confirmation email!  Awesome job, Ipsy!!!

I spy  And maybe shiny?

Red Carpet Ready!
The back of the card, with all the brands and discounts from this month's bag :)

I love how nice and shiny the bag is!  I know JUST who to give it to :)
Love the red liner- It's like a little secret surprise!

The theme of this month's bag is Red Carpet Ready, and it does not disappoint!  I was kind of hoping for a pretty pattern on the bag this month, but the patent black leather look with the very red inside liner is also a nice change.  The bag is actually a pretty good size, and I will be happy to pass it on to a friend (who is a fan of Christian Gray, as the black leather bag is reminiscent of a different way to spend Valentine's day).
February Ipsy MyGlam Bag 2013- left to right: Red Carpet Ready insert, POP Beauty Smoky Lash Kapow!!! mascara, MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner, Coastal Scents eyeshadow quad, Pixi Beauty Poreless & Flawless, Lash Cards, and the February bag in the back
Here is a first look at the February bag.  I love how it's all about the eyes this month!  Eye makeup is my absolute favorite, and I am super excited to have some new things to play with!

Lash Cards, 4 pack (exclusive deluxe sample for Ipsy), $2.80 retail value (available at Lash Card, coupon code IPSY22 will get you a buy 2 get 1 free deal until 3/6/13)  Full size product is a 10 pack for $6.99

Thie first item I pulled out of my bag is Lash Cards.  I've heard about these before, but I've never tried them.  Basically, you use these to lift out your lashes to make it easier to apply mascara, and protect your eyelids so that you don't get mascara on your already made up eyes (I do this all. the. time.).  There are two curve shapes on the card, so that you can best match up your eye shape.  To use, place the card against the top of your eyelid, as close to the lash line as possible, and lift up; making you lashes easier to access.  I tried this out, and while it was difficult for this only averagely coordinated person to do it (using two hands felt awkward), after some practice, I can see me liking these.  I will likely trace the shape onto some of my old business cards (I have a lot of them put away somewhere), and probably just use those, but this is a great idea for those who are clumsy like me!  I also LOVE how the printing on these is backwards, so that you can read it in the mirror- cute touch! 

GRADE: 4/5 (plastic reusable ones would be SO much better, for my pocket and the environment, but happy to have a template to trace!

Pixi Flawless & Poreless face primer, 15 mL/0.5 fl oz, $14.50 retail value (available at Pixi Beauty, coupon code IPSYPIXI will get you 20% off your purchase until 3/7/13)  Full size product is 30 mL for $14.50
 I also received a half size tube of Pixi Beauty's Flawless & Poreless face primer.  I'm not overly familiar with face primers (my only experience is with Mirabella's that I received in December, so I was excited to try this out.

Fresh from the tube
The product looked really light when I squeezed a bit out, and I was very nervous.  Until I blended it in.

Completely translucent.  Absolute win!
It blended away perfectly, and was absolutely translucent.  I love it when a product is good for any skin tone- I am very pale, and it's hard to color match my skin.  I tried this on my face, and wasn't overly impressed.  My skin was neither flawless nor poreless.  I have rather large pores on my nose and forehead, and I did notice a SMALL difference in the size of my pores, but not a whole lot more than what my usual BB cream does for me.  I will continue to try it, using different brushes, to see if it makes any difference, but overall, I'm sadly not impressed. The product had a slight odor to it (everything has a smell, honestly), and my youngest said; "It smells like Minnie Mouse" - so, basically, plastic.  I don't HATE this, but I'm not in love with it, yet.  This is what Ipsy is all about- finding out about new products, and trying things you wouldn't normally have considered, or always wanted to!
GRADE: 2/5 (slight odor, blends well, but didn't really do as advertised for me)

Coastal Scents eye shadow quad, in "In The Spotlight", total weight for the quad is 2g, $3.06 retail value, based on the price of individual shadow pans (available at Coastal Scents, coupon code Ipsy25 will earn you 25% off your purchase until 3/7/13)  Full size eye shadow singles are $1.99 for 1.3g pans
I also received an eye shadow quad from Coastal Scents.  I have heard of CS (who hasn't?!) but I have never tried their shadows before.  So I cracked open this quad, in the color theme In The Spotlight and decided to give them a try.

In The Spotlight: Top left: Dark Goldenrod; Top right: Sunbeam; Bottom left: Golden Glove; Bottom right: Dark Golden Olive
As you can see, the quad nicely has shimmer, matte and satin shadows.  Dark Goldenrod and Golden Globe are very shimmery, Sunbeam is matte, and Dark Golden Olive has a satin finish. The shadows are super pigmented, and very silky to the touch.  I experienced minimal fallout, which is awesome for shimmer shadows!  I'm really not much of a yellow person, but as I have blue eyes and love color, I love to try different looks, as I find it very hard to stay away from blues.  I am not sure this is an everyday look for me, but I think it definitely is something I will try again.  I love that these are loose pans (one actually fell out when I was taking pictures!); because now I have an excuse to get a palette and depan some shadows!  I also love how CS sells their shadows in palettes, and as individuals; plus gives the colors names-unnamed shadows drive me crazy- I can never find the same shade twice!
GRADE:5/5 (loved it!)

Pop Beauty Smoky Lash Kapow!!! mascara in smoky black, .17 oz deluxe sample/travel size, retail value $12.58 (available at Pop Beauty, coupon code IPSYPOP will get you 20% off your purchase until 3/7/13- click on the American flag at the top of the page to view the prices in US Dollars)  the full size product is .25 oz and retails for $18.50
Another awesome item in this month's bag is the Pop Beauty Smoky Lash Kapow!!! mascara.  I love the travel size/deluxe samples of mascara, because I will NEVER use a full tube in six months; let alone the three that you are supposed to switch tubes out in.  The packaging of this mascara is super cute, and I really like how it came wrapped in plastic- I really like knowing that something hasn't been tampered with.  I gave this a try today, and unfortunately, I had raccoon eye syndrome (you know what I'm talking about- your mascara winds up under your eyes instead of on your lashes), but I did use more mascara than usual because I was also testing out the Lash Cards, so perhaps that is the culprit, or the eyeliner contributed to it.  I WILL say that i experienced NO clumping or flaking with this product, which for me is saying something- I am always combing my eyelashes to separate them before the mascara dries, and I think this makes them shorter than they would be without the combing.  I will definitely throw this mascara into my rotation and keep using it, and hope that the raccoon eyes are just a one off problem.
GRADE: 3.5/5 (to be changed if the raccoon eyes go away, or don't!)

MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner in black, no weight indicated on pot, retail value estimated at $6 (available at , coupon code IPSY will get you 30% off your purchase until 2/28/13)  Full size products come with brushes (the one shown above is mine and did not come with this Glam Bag!), and are 5g in size, priced at $30 on sale, regularly $35
The final item in this month's bag is the one I was the most excited to get: MicaBeauty gel eyeliner!  I received the black color, and I'm so happy!  I would have liked a different color, too, but black is a basic eyeliner color, and although electric blue is my go-to color, black is my second favorite.  I have NEVER used gel liner before (I know, right?  how very average of me), and I could not wait to dip by brush into this pot and give it a try!  
Playing with my brush to get different shades of black, and different size lines.
 Although it doesn't look like there is much in this pot, this is one of those products where a tiny little bit goes a LONG way.  I will need to practice with my eyeliner brush (I actually have two, but my youngest lost my super skinny one), and learn how best to apply this.  I really love how this product will not budge at all.  I had to scrub and scrub my hand to get the swatch off!  I love a product that stays where you put it, until you tell it not to!  The full size of this product comes with a brush, and while I admit fully to being a brush whore, and therefore would have loved to get another brush, I am simply thrilled just to have the gel liner here to try out for the first time, with one of my own brushes.  There is no weight on the little glass pot, but judging it against a 2g lip gloss I have, it looks to be about half the size of that, or less, so I'm calling this at about 1g in size.  I have emailed MicaBeauty's customer service to see if I can get a full weight, and if I do, I will update this with the accurate weight and retail values. 
GRADE: 4.5 (still learning how to use it!)

My February Ipsy look :) (See?  Still lots of pores!)

Awkward posing
close up of the eyes...fitting for this month's bag!  nice and golden and sparkly!

a bit easier to see my eye makeup here, darn you, hooded eyes!

Overall, I really loved this bag.  I was more excited to get my December bag than any since, but that COULD be that was my very first one, and before I found out where to look for spoilers!  This bag is a solid bag, and if you are waiting to get yours, you will not be disappointed when it gets here.  For all of you who were complaining that last month's bag was all about the skin with no makeup, this bag is the exact opposite.  I LOVED getting the bag early this month, and everything in the bag is abosulutely of high quality, and exactly what I have learned to expect from Ipsy.  Now, if we could just get Ipsy to send out false lashes again...I can't believe I missed them!  Oh, right, I AM only average.  Figures :)

Money spent: $10, including shipping
Retail value: $38.94, not including the bag, and assuming the gel eyeliner is 1/5 size 

Definitely Above Average!

So tell me, have you gotten your Glam Bag yet?  Love it?  Hate it?  Agree with me? Disagree?  Leave me a comment and let me know!  Know a product you think I would love?  Leave a comment and I'll do my best to review it!

Disclaimer:  The products listed above were purchased by me, with my own money.  I was not asked nor required to write this review, and the thoughts above are my own.  The links are NOT affiliate links, and go directly to the company's websites.  I was not compensated in any way for writing this review.