Friday, December 20, 2013

December 2013 Ipsy (My Glam) Unboxing and Review

Hello my lovelies!

My favorite mail day has arrived- Ipsy Day!

Pink Envelope of Goodness

I seriously LOVE receiving this pretty pink envelope each month in the mail.  It really makes my day.

First Peek
The first peek inside the bag is always the best- especially if nothing is broken or crushed :)

December's Theme is "Celebration!" I love this- not only is it Ipsy's second anniversary, it's also the time of year that is filled with parties, family and gatherings.  Ipsy is also having a contest this month, if you post a picture of your Glam Bag on Instagram with the proper tags, you could win a year's subscription to this fabulous service.

The brands
I always love the little insert cards in each package; it is a fast introduction to the brands that are featured each month, and have cute little pictures on them.  December's bag is no exception.

December 2013's bag
I absolutely, positively LOVE this month's bag!  It's the same style as June's bag, and the shiny black diamond-pattered outside is perfectly paired with a deep red liner.  This bag has instantly become my purse cosmetic bag, and will remain so for quite a while, I think.

Each month, Ipsy sends out 4-5 items, either deluxe samples or full sized items.  This month, Ipsy send 2 items to all subscribers, and the remaining 3 items varied from bag to bag.  I'll start with the items everyone received.

Be A…Bombshell The One Stick in Girl Crush, full size (7.3g/0.26 oz), $16 retail, available HEREDiscount code IPSY40 will get you a 40% discount, and a free full-sized raspberry tart blush, until 1/15/14, US only, can’t be combined with other offers, free item is automatically added when order ships.
I've enjoyed trying out the Be A...Bombshell line.  The One Stick is a product that is for use on the eyes, cheeks and lips (hence the name), and this pretty pink is a beautiful blush shade on me.  I tried it on my lips, and it applied kind of thickly, and it was too frosty to look good with my skin tone.  I have yet to try it on my eyes (I have lots of pink shadow), but I think this would work well as a cream shadow (maybe as a base).  When I heard that we were getting this product, I looked for a picture of it, and was surprised when it arrived at just how big it is.  I guess I was expecting a product the size of a lipstick tube, and this is MUCH bigger than that, and will last a long time.  I am pretty happy with this- it's the first cream blush product that I actually like.
GRADE: 4/5

POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trio in Smokin’ Hot, deluxe sample size (4.35g/0.15 oz, 3 pans of shadow), $7.20 retail value, available HERE. Full size retails for $24 and includes 10 pans of shadow.  Discount code EyeLuvPOP gets you 25% off of any purchase, until 1/15/14, one time use only, can’t be combined with other offers, US only, excluding territories, free shipping on orders $75 or more.
I've had good and bad luck with POP Beauty before- I really disliked the mascara I received earlier this year, but the lip crayon was a flattering shade for me, and a decent formula.  My first impression of the eyeshadow trio was that the palette was hard to open.  Like really REALLY hard.  As in I wound up breaking two nails, and using a butter knife hard. I swatched the shadows and they seemed to be lightly pigmented, but when I went to use them on my eyes, I was very impressed with the consistency. I gave this shadow trio a try, and while I would have preferred the neutral palette, these went on nicely, blended well, and created a long lasting smoky eye look that I rocked for a full day.  I did put these on over primer, and I think that it made all the difference.  I don't currently have a palette specifically for smoky eye looks, so this is a welcome addition to my collection.  I will try to branch out more into this look for evenings out, but I don't think I will ever give up on my love for color!
GRADE: 4/5

 Ipsy also sent each subscriber a lip product: each bag had either a J.Cat lip pencil or a NYX lipstick.  I received...

 Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Celene, full size (4g/0.14oz), $4.00 retail, available HERE. Discount code IPSYSLIM gets you 35% off of the slim lip pencil until 1/15/14, one time use, can’t be combined with other offers.
Once I found out that I was going to receive the NYX Lipstick, I was really excited. I've wanted to try out their formula, but don't currently have any in my collection (how did THAT happen?).  When I opened up my bag, and saw the color that I received, I actually sad the words, "You've got to be kidding me!"
Ipsy, please- I don't wear pale shades.  I don't wear much gold.  Please send me pretty pinks, corals, and blue-based reds.  Please don't send me any more zombie-inspired lipstick shades.  Please??  I did give this a try, and it was worse on my lips than on my hand.  I'll try layering this over a darker lip shade; hopefully I can find some use of this tube.  It's really a shame, because I really like the formula.
GRADE 3/5 (Great formula, horrific shade)

The remaining two items in each bag were from an assortment of items.  Here is what I received:

Nicka K New York polish in NY112, full size (0.5 fl oz/15ml), $4.99 retail, available HERE.  Discount code IPSY gets you 30% off until 1/10/14, cannot be combined with other offers, US only, free shipping on orders $50 or more.
I love me some nailpolish, and I have never heard of the brand Nicka K.  I received a pretty taupe shade, with purple undertones in some lighting.  I gave this a try and I really love the formula.  This polish is long lasting, and applied smooth and creamy.  I had total opacity in two coats.  

Swatch of Nicka K Polish in NY112 (gold sparkle top coat on all of them except the ring finger)
This color isn't my favorite shade, but after I added a gold sparkle topcoat, I think it is fantstic!  I don't have any like this at all in my collection, so this will most definitely get used.  I think this is my favorite product in my bag this month.  Love it!
GRADE: 5/5

Ardell Natural Lashes in 120 DEMI, full size (1 pair), $3.99 retail, available HERE.  No discount coded this month, sorry!
I have a love/hate relationship with lashes.  I love them, but I hate applying them.  I finally have a method that works fairly well, and these applied nicely.  I don't think that the lashes looked particularly natural on my face, but they were light and easy to wear.  The glue included did a nice job of holding them in place, which for me, is unusual for the little samples in the lash packs, so this was a big plus.
GRADE: 4/5

In my bag this month, I also received a referral bonus- so a HUGE thank you to anyone and everyone who used my link to sign up for Ipsy!!

Beauty blender and blender cleanser, deluxe sample (blender alone is $19.95), available HERE.  Full size retails for $23.95 (1 blender and 3 oz of cleanser).  No discount code currently available.
I have never tried the original Beauty Blender before, and I have to say, that I was pleasantly surprised.  I expected the foam to be more dense (like the one I purchased from the Ulta brand), and was happy with how it applied the foundation.  The cleanser was great, and did a fabulous job of cleaning my sponge.  I was amazed at how much the blender "grew" once it was dampened!  This is seriously my new go-to for applying foundation.  Love it!  This is a fabulous extra, and I am super happy with it!
GRADE: 5/5

I took one swatch photo this month, of everything on my hand.  Here 'tis:
Top: Nyx lipstick in Celene
Middle: Be A Bombshell The One Stick in Girl Crush, Nicka K polish in NY112 (Classic Taupe)
Bottom: POP Beauty Smokin' Hot Trio

Items YOU might have received in your Ipsy bag, but I did not:

J.Cat Beauty Big Lip Pencil, full size (0.3 oz), retails for $3.99, available HERE.  Discount code jcatlips will get you 30% off of any purchase, until 1/15/14, can't be combined, US only.

Mirabella Eye Blender brush, full size, retails for $27, available HERE.  Discount code IPSTER will get you 30% off of any purchase, until 1/7/14, can't be combined with other offers, valid in the US only.

English Laundry Signature Fragrances set (Signature Pour Femme and Signature), 2 vials, each 5mL, retail value $8.70, available HERE.  Full size is 3.4 oz/100mL and retails for $84 (men's) and $90 (women's).  If you purchase this fragrance, you will receive a free bag with any purchase of $75 or more, and free shipping, until 2/23/14, free shipping is US only and excludes Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Andrea Strip Lashes in style #33, full size, retails for $3.99, available HERE.  No discount code this time, sorry! 

Salon Perfect Perfectly Natural lashes in #53, full size, retails for $2.98, available HERE.  No discount code this time, sorry! 

Demeter Snow Perfume Oil Roll on, full size (0.29 fl oz/8.8mL), retails for $10, available HERE.  Discount code ipsy20dfl will get you 20% off of any purchase, until 1/13/14, one time use only, valid only in US and Canada.

Jesse's Girl Julie G Holiday Frosted Gum Drops Nail lacquer in Sugar Plum Fairy, full size (0.35 fl oz), available HERE, retails for $3.99.  Discount code IPSYDEC2013 will get you 20% off your purchase until 1/15/14, free US shipping, international shipping available.

Starilly Nail Polish in Bzzz Buzz, mini size (0.17oz), retails for $5, available HERE.  Discount code IPSY will get you 20% off of your purchase, can't be combined with other offers, US and Canada only, shipping based on weight, no end date listed.

December 2013 December Glam Bag
Here's my beautiful December 2013 Ipsy Glam bag, in all it's glory!  I am really happy with what I received this month, and while I might have wanted to try some different items, aside from the god-awful lipstick color, everything I did get will most definitely be used.  To me, that spells SUCCESS! 

Here's a rundown of everything that was sent out by Ipsy this month, just to help you calculate your bag's monetary value.  As always, an item could be worth a fortune, and you hate it, so it has no true value, but the almighty dollar seems to be the way most people judge their bags, so, here we go! 

Be A...Bombshell The One Stick (full size): $16.00
POP Beauty eyeshadow trio (deluxe sample): $7.20
Nyx Extra Creamy Round lipstick (full size): $4.00
J.Cat Beauty Big Lip Pencil (full size): $3.99
Ardell Natural Lashes (full size): $3.99
Andrea Strip Lashes (full size): $3.99
Salon Perfect Perfectly Natural lashes (full size): $2.98
Nicka K New York polish (full size): $4.99
Jesse's Girl Julie G Nail lacquer in Sugar Plum Fairy (full size): $3.99
Starilly Nail Polish in Bzzz Buzz (mini size): $5.00
English Laundry Signature Fragrances set (Signature Pour Femme and Signature), (2 vials, each 5mL):$8.70
Demeter Snow Perfume Oil Roll on (full size): $10.00
Mirabella Eye Blender brush (full size): $27.00
Referral Gift:
Beauty blender and blender cleanser (deluxe sample):blender alone is $19.95

Total retail value of MY bag (approx.): $56.13 (without referral gift, $36.14)

My December 2013 Ipsy Look

Sorry about the shadow on my shadow, but here's a closeup of the eyelook, with Starlook's Topaz gem pencil as liner.
Closeup of the lashes
 Here's my unboxing video, for those who like to watch these things, and want to see my Christmas tree :)  If you want to see more of my family and me, a new vlog is uploaded every day on this channel, so subscribe away :)

What's this- you don't subscribe to Ipsy yet?  Well, crawl out from underneath the rock you are living under and head on over there and check them out!  Ipsy is $10 a month (plus $5 if you are in Canada), and gets you 4-5 full size or deluxe sample beauty products in the mail each month, all in a cosmetic bag.   If you would like to sign up, would you consider using my referral link?  I get points towards goodies, and you get good karma, plus a referral code of your very own to share.  Everyone wins!

Until next time, my lovelies- stay Average!

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Disclaimer: This video contains products that I purchased with my own money.  I was not asked nor requested by any company to review/unbox these items, and all opinions are true and my own.  No links are referral or paid links, except the Ipsy link.  I totally want the Ipsy points. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Black Friday: Benefit Lip Lotto and Bare Minerals

I know, I know, I know- Black Friday was SO long ago.

December is a crazy month here.  I'm either creating a gift, shopping for a gift, wrapping a gift, or running my kids to a thousand and one events.  I feel bad for not posting as much this time of year, but if you really want to know what I've been up to, feel free to check out my YouTube channel- I upload a daily vlog :)

When I saw the previews of the Black Friday sale at Ulta, I knew that these sets had to be mine.  The colors looked gorgeous, and three Benefit lipsticks for the price of one, and three Bare Minerals products for $10?  I also had a bunch of points, that I cashed in, and got these sets for a song!

Benefit Lip Lotto, Black Friday special at Ulta, $18 and currently sold out.

I'm definitely a BeneBabe.  I love Benefit's cute packaging, and the quality of the products that I have tried.  This said, I've never tried their lipsticks before, so this set seemed like a great way to give them a try!  The packaging is adorable, and I was excited to crack open the tubes and see all the pretty colors!

Benefit Cosmetics Lip Lotto set, in Lady's Choice, Fame Game, and La La Land
Lip Lottos are aptly named, because each set is a bit different.  These sets include 3 full size Full-finish lipsticks, and was priced at $18.  I received Lady's Choice, Fame Game, and La La Land.  These tubes of loveliness twist up nicely, and are all, in my opinion, pretty neutral and wearable.  Because I ordered online (and didn't brave the store!), I didn't get to choose my own shades.  I was surprised by the shades in the box- from the packaging I thought that they would be a little darker, but all in all, these are wearable shades, and, in my opinion, all rather neutral shades.  Fame Game is 3.0g/0.10 oz, and Lady's Choice and La La Land are 3.6g/0.12 oz in size.  Benefit advertises that these are 3.0g, so two tubes I received are actually a bit larger than full size!  These lipsticks are available HERE, if you are looking to make them your very own.

Swatches of Benefit Lip Lotto lipsticks in Lady's Choice, Fame Game, and La La Land

Lady's Choice (left), is a lovely shade, a brown-toned pink (at least in my opinion) that is my absolutely favorite.  This shade is SO flattering on me, I've been wearing this frequently.  The wear time was pretty great, and it applies like a dream.

Fame Game (Middle) is a frosty nude pink.  Now, I love me some pink lipstick (please dear Lord, no more reds for me for a while!), I'm not a fan of this shade because of the frost.  This lipstick is not as creamy as the other two, and while it applies evenly, I don't like the grainy feeling in the tube, and frosty lips just aren't a good look for me.  It's not BAD, per se, it's just not for me.  If you love frosty lips and don't mind the gritty texture of the bullet (it doens't make your lips gritty, it just feels strange going on), go for this one, but for me, it's a miss.

La La Land (right) is the darkest shade in my set, and it a gorgeous mauvey brown.  This looks amazing on me, and is another favorite.  This shade has great wear time, and is super buttery and smooth when applying.  Love, love, love!

The second set I picked up on Black Friday is the Bare Minerals Go for the Glow kit.  This kit includes a full size Marvelous Moxie lip gloss, as well as deluxe size blush, and all over shimmer powder.  I love me some Bare Minerals, and I was excited to try these items- I don't have any of them in my collection (how is that even possible?!)!

Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss in Smooth Talker, blush in exhilarate, and all over face color in clear radiance.
Swatches of Marvelous Moxie lip gloss in Smooth talker, blush in Exhilarate, and all over face powder in Clear Radiance.

I love me some lip gloss, and this shade is such a pretty pink!  The Marvelous Moxie gloss in Smooth Talker applies sheer, and smells great- kind of like vanilla mint. This gloss is a tiny bit sticky, but it's not bad enough for me to dislike it. I don't like sticky glosses at all, and this one is just within what I consider "acceptable" on my stickyness scale.  So very pretty! This gloss is a full size product, 4.5ml/0.15 fl oz in size, and on it's own, retails for $18, available HERE.

Blushes are probably the cosmetic that I own the least of.  I'm not sure why- I guess I just tend to wear a smaller variety of shades of blush than I do lipstick, eyeliner and eyeshadow!  I was excited to try this blush, as it's a bit darker than others in my collection. I apply this with a light hand (and tap the excess off of my brush), and this gives me a beautiful, deep natural looking blush on my cheeks.  Love it!  This is a deluxe sample size product, at 0.57g/0.02 oz.; Bare Minerals full size loose blushes are $19 for 0.85g/0.02 oz. I couldn't find this shade for sale at either Ulta or Bare Minerals directly, but other shades are available HERE.

The final product in this set is one that I see myself saving for special occasions, where I want to look all sparkly like a vampire.  All Over Face Color in Clear Radiance is a pretty pale pink shimmer, and whereas I don't think I'll be applying this all over my face, it does make for a pretty highlight color.  This is a deluxe sample size product as well, at 0.57g/0.02 oz; full size I would assume is the same size as the blush, but I couldn't find it listed on either Ulta's or Bare Minerals' websites.  If you want to make this pretty pink highlighter your very own, it's available HERE.

Ulta is always awesome in that they send out 3 samples with each order.  I received good samples this time: I received a foil pack of Benefit's It's Potent! Eye cream, Ahava body butter foil pack, and a deluxe sample of John Frieda's Frizz Ease Finishing Creme. All will be used.
My Ulta Black Friday shopping Haul

So that pretty much sums up my Black Friday Ulta haul.  Did you pick up anything interesting, gorgeous?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Holidays!

Until next time, my lovelies- stay Average!

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Disclaimer: I purchased the above items with my own money/credits from Ulta points.  All opinions are my own; I was neither asked nor required to review these products as a condition for me to keep them.  I strive for honestly, and no amount of freebies will ever change that!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Product Review- Dr. Scholl's® For Her Cozy Cushions

Hello, my lovelies! I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season!

As the weather turns cooler (and freezing for some of you!), I thought it was an appropriate time to tell you my secret of having warm feet even on the coldest of days...

Dr. Scholl's For Her Cozy Cushions Inserts!

I receive a pair of these from Influenster for testing purposes, and although the weather here is still in the "up and down" stages, I have worn my boots with the inserts enough to give the inserts a full review.

Dr. Scholl's For Her Cozy Cushions Inserts, $9 retail, available HERE, among other retailers.
These fuzzy inserts can be cut to fit your boots, using the size guidelines on the reverse side, and are designed to be fitted to shoe sizes 6-10.  I have huge feet (size 11!), so I didn't have to trim mine, and they fit in my boots very nicely.

I tried these in some boots that are generally a bit tight for me (I have big, wide feet), and they made the boots unwearable- they were so tight on the tops of my feet, that I had to immediately remove them.  I tried them in boots that were looser on my feet (UGG style boots), and they were absolutely magical.

My boots kept my feet warm and toasty on a very cold night.  I'm not kidding you- the rest of me was icy cold, but my feet were amazingly warm! 

Not only are these inserts wonderfully warm, they are very comfortable too.  I can stand for hours with these in my boots and my feet felt just fine. Keep in mind, that this is coming from someone with slight heel spurs- my feet ALWAYS hurt the day after a stand/walk-a-thon, and with these inserts, I didn't hurt.  At All.

Are the Cozy Cushions inserts for you?  Well, if your boots aren't generally tight on your feet, and you are prone to cold feet, then YES.  If you tend to wear tighter fitting boots, then skip this product, as it will make your boots much less wearable.

At any rate- I totally plan to use these during Cookie Booth Season in March- it's SO SO cold being outside at a booth, stationery for hours and hours- these will make me MUCH more comfortable!

If you want to pick up a pair of these for your very own, they are available at Target, currently for $9.  I think that they are definitely worth the investment to make your favorite boots more comfortable!

I hope you all enjoyed this review- have you tried the Cozy Cushions?  Leave a comment, and let me know what you thought of them!

Until next time, my lovelies- stay Average!

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Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  All thoughts and opinions in this post are true and my own- no amount of money or freebies will EVER change that!  I'm very open with my opinions- just ask my husband!  No links in this post are referral links.  I strive for honesty.