Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Naked 3 Palette: Review and Swatches

 When I first heard about the Naked 3 coming out, I was over-the-moon excited. Like, stalking-endless-websites-for-swatches-and-sneak-peeks-for-hours excited. Because even though the Naked palettes are all neutrals, I would be lying if I said that wasn't the majority of the shades I use daily. I love colorful shadows, but I have found this deep, unending love for a gorgeously crafted neutral smokey eye. I was even more excited to find out that the Naked 3 would be all rose-tone shadows.
I remember up until recently I would avoid any shadows that were in the pink family because they made my eyes look sick and washed-out. However, over the past year or so I have discovered the beauty of rose gold and how amazing it can look on the eyes, which has finally branched me out into trying more shades of pink/rose.

My Christmas list had already been handed out (yea I still totally make a list!) so I asked N (my bestie) and J (my honey) to get me one for my birthday in march. So like the sneaky little devils they are, they went ahead and got it for me for Christmas!

When I opened it I was in complete awe of how absolutely stunning the collection of shades are! As in the previous Naked palettes, there are 12 shades of varying textures and finishes, and similar to the Naked 2, they are contained a metal palette. The palette comes with a double-ended shadow brush (which I really dislike, but I think I might be the only one!) And a pack of sample sized primer potion pods. I prefer the freebies that came with the previous palettes (Naked had a double-ended pencil and Naked 2 had a lipgloss) but the primers are better than nothing!

On to the swatches! As always, forgive my potato-quality photos! (One day I'll get my hands on a good camera! haha)

(First 6 shadows)
(swatches of the first 6 shadows)

Before you say it... I KNOW these looks like totally different shadows! For some strange reason no matter how many times I photographed it, the left side of this palette all come off looking brown. I assure you, the swatch photo is the accurate depiction of what these shades look like and swatch like. 

Strange- (pale neutral pink matte-satin) This is the perfect brow bone/inner corner, blending shade. Closeup it looks like a baby-pink cream shade, but it applies like a off-white color. Very useable.

Dust- (pale metallic pink shimmer w/iridescent micro-glitter) This shade reminds me of many Urban Decay shades. It's like a mix between "Sin" and "Midnight Cowboy" and applies exactly as it is described. Has a bit of fallout so be careful with this one.

Burnout- (light pinky-peach satin) This is a gorgeous base shade. A True satin in that it has a very pretty sheen to it, but it's not overly shiny and has no micro-glitter in it.

Limit- (light dusty rose matte) There are two completely matte shades in this palette, and they are both very similar in color. This is the lighter of the two, and looks gorgeous as an "all over the lid" shade. 

Buzz- (metallic rose shimmer w/silver micro-glitter) This is a beautiful shade, and even though UD can tend to go overboard with the glitter, this is a true "micro-glitter." Very shimmery and not a lot of fallout.

Trick- (light metallic pinky-copper shimmer w/tonal micro-sparkle) This shade is different from the rest of the palette because it definitely looks more orange-toned than pink. It applies much more bronzey-rose than it looks in the pan and is absolutely lovely to work with as it doesn't have a lot of fallout.

(last 6 shadows)

 (swatches of last 6 shadows)

These yet again, photographed very brown-toned in the pan, but that is not the way they look in person. The swatch photo is exactly how they look in the pan as well as on the eye. This side of the palette is my favorite because I love how pigmented and stunningly unique these shades are. The photos just don't do them justice!

Nooner- (medium pinky-brown matte) This is the second matte shade in the palette, and pairs very well as a crease shade with "Limit". It is a gorgeous color and quite unique with it's pink/brown tone.

Liar- (medium metallic mauve shimmer) This shade is absolutely stunning on the eye. It gives this really beautiful rosey tone, but also keeps it neutral and smokey. One of my favorite shades in the palette.

Factory- (pinky-brown satin) This is another favorite of mine in the palette. It has that pink/rosy tone flecked throughout and is so beautiful paired with a lighter shade in this palette.

Mugshot- (metallic taupe shimmer w/slight pink shift) This is definitely a taupe shade, but as you can see from the swatch, the pink shift makes it look mauve on the lid. It's gorgeous and would make a perfect smokey eye-color.

Darkside- (deep taupe-mauve satin) This is a darker taupe leaning on the side of grey. The mauve tone in it is only noticeable when you swatch it or look carefully in the pan. It looks more of a matte grey on the lid, but because of the mauve undertones, blends seamlessly and looks lovely with the other shades.

Blackheart- (smoky black matte w/rosy red micro-sparkle) This shade is the least unique of all, and not my favorite in the bunch but it has it's uses. I have seen this exact formulation (matte black with a burgundy/red micro glitter) in my December Starlooks palette, as well as the Comfort Zone palette by Wet N' Wild, and at it's earliest, I owned this shade a decade ago when I purchased the shade "Beauty Marked" by MAC. However, it does have it's purpose here in the palette. I've been patting it on my liner and then smudging it out to create a really intense finish to my smokey eye.

I've been using this palette daily for almost a week now, and I can say it's much more versatile than I first expected it to be. Even though all the tones are pink/rose related, There's an endless amount of wearability here, as well as a great potential for really lovely, dramatic looks. I'm not sure if I like it better than the Original Naked palette yet, but I can definitely say it's much more versatile than Naked 2. It's very possible that the Naked 3 could become my favorite Naked palette. Only time will tell! :)   

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lipstick Queen: Hello Sailor Review

It feels great to be back blogging after a little break for Christmas!  I of course, got bunches of beauty loot to share and review with you all, including Naked 3! (Wooooo!) However today's review is going to be on a lipstick that I've been eyeing for quite awhile now, and J got for me for Christmas!

Lipstick Queen is a brand that I've been drooling over since it launched in Ulta stores, although the $25+ price tags have kept me at a distance. I've seen this lipstick here and there on youtube/forums etc. and I was definitely intrigued. "Hello Sailor" is wrapped in adorable packaging, but you get quite the shock when you twist up a BLUE lipstick!

Don't let the blue scare you: This isn't an opaque shade by any means. The formula of "Hello Sailor" is extremely sheer, and feels like a super moisturizing balm on the lips. The sheer blue shade meshes with the natural rosy tones of your lips and gives off a sheer berry tone all while the blue tone to the lipstick makes your teeth look whiter!

It has a blue/purple tone on it's own as you can see when I swatch it on my hand:

This lipstick will look different on each person depending on the natural color of your lips. You can also adjust the intensity by applying it lightly or with a heavier hand. Here is what "Hello Sailor" looks like on me!

My lips are not very pigmented at all, so "Hello Sailor" gives my lips a very sheer wash of pink, which could be described as, "my lips, but better." If you have more natural pigment to your lips, you can absolutely get a more intense purple/pink tone.

I re-applied it a few hours later and it gave off a very different, deeper tone as you can see here:

I suggest heading into your local Ulta store if you have one, and try it out for yourself! It lasts a long time, and is a fun item to have in your collection. I actually love the appearance this lipstick gives, as it's quite natural and sheer. I think this would be a great gift for anyone who is into makeup, because it'll look great on everyone and is super fun to look at! :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Loot Crate December 2013

J got his Loot Crate in a few days ago, but we've been so busy with Christmas that I haven't had time to write a review! I've had all day to play with all my new palettes (reviews coming soon!) and knitting stuff, so now I can finally take some time to get this posted! Let's get down to what was in December's Loot Crate!

If you don't know what Loot Crate is, is a geek and gamer box that is sent to your door monthly, and is filled with different gamer, geek, fandom-related gear. It costs $13.37 a month plus shipping, which equals out to just under $20 a month. They are available in more countries than just the US as well, so I would check out their site or their Facebook page to see if they're available in your country!

This month, the theme was "Console Wars" in regards to the new gaming systems being released this year. Not every item in the box will pertain to that month's theme, but it's basically something to loosely base the box on overall.

Each box also comes with a booklet that delves deeper in the the items in each box, and also includes a few articles, to make it more like a mini magazine that you can read while you're checking out all your gear!

Enough of my yammering. Let's get on with the good stuff!

1. Grip-it Control Protectors
The first item is a package of 2 sets of control protectors. These are rubber grips that slip over the joysticks on your controllers and fit on both new and previous Xbox and PS3/4 systems.

2. Split Personality Wristband
Pretty simple rubber bracelet. One side says gamer, the other side says geek. Kind of sums up the Loot Crate crowd quite nicely! :)

3. Energems "Peanut Butter Blast"
This is a little pack of PB and Chocolate flavored candy that has caffeine and B-vitamins that give you a boost of energy during gaming. They have a pretty strange flavor but nothing too heinous. If you really need an energy charge, they're definitely edible!

4. Bravest Wars Sticker
 This is a Star Wars/ Cat Bug crossover sticker. Super adorable even if you're not familiar with Cat Bug!

5. Legends Never Die Magnet 
This magnet is awesome for us 20/30 somethings that remember the consoles that these controllers have come from. Super cute. J put it right up on our fridge!

6. Tin-Tastic Creative Activity Set/ Iron Man

This set comes with collectible stickers, pencils and erasers all nestled inside a collectible Iron Man tin. The Loot Crate booklet shows that these come in lots of different characters including other superheros like Batman, Villains like The Joker, and other cartoon characters like My Little Pony. These are awesome for fans of any age. I think the tins would look especially cool on a shelf!

7. Console Wars II T-Shirt from Shirt Woot!

This was the big item in the box and it's pretty awesome! It's a play on Star Wars (obviously) and the battle between Xbox and PlayStation. J loved it and wore it to work the day after we got the box. Very fun shirt to add into the box. Shirt Woot! also included a $5 off coupon for a shirt on their website!

Finally, everything all together:

This is J's 3rd month getting Loot Crate and we both couldn't be happier. I think they do a great job fitting in things of interest through all veins of "geekery" and always manage to make the boxes worth the price that they charge. Really excited to see what next month's theme is!

If you're interested in signing up for Loot Crate, please consider using my referral link here: Sign up for a Loot Crate!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 2013 PopSugar Must Have Box Review!

I am SO excited to be bringing you guys a new review for a completely new (to me) subscription box!
The PopSugar Must Have box is a lifestyle box that is filled with goodies that the Editors over at PopSugar.com think you need in your life!

I have definitely seen this box around, as lots of my youtuber/blogger friends subscribe and swear by this box! It's $39.95 a month (price goes down depending on how many months you subscribe for ahead of time) and while that may seem like a lot more than some other subscription boxes, these are NOT sample-size products you'll be receiving. Birchbox and other beauty subscriptions send out deluxe samples for $10 a month. The difference with PopSugar is that you not only get beauty products, but lifestyle products as well, and they're all full size! PopSugar has sent out newly released books, candles, scarves, kitchen gadgets, makeup palettes, you name it! You're only paying $39.95, there's no shipping charge and each box will be more than double what you paid in value. Get this: The full value of this month's box is :  $187.95! Which is 4x the value!

 Curious to see what was in the December box?

I was SO excited to receive the December box (can we say, Early Christmas?) that I tore into it and ruined the pretty tissue paper and sticker. You have to take my word for it that the items were packaged so nicely! :) Let's get right into the good stuff!

1. Ghirardelli Chocolate Candies (Extra!)
Retail Value: $12 for both bags

These guys were actually listed in the booklet as "extras" so I thought I'd mention them first. Ghirardelli chocolates are always so festive, and these are no exception! I'm not huge into "holiday" flavors, so I'm going to hoard the Milk and Caramel all to myself and give J (my fiance) the funky flavors which include: Eggnog, Pepperment Bark and Pumpkin Spice Caramel. For those who are a bit more adventurous, I think those are a great little gift! I may even stick one in all the Christmas cards I have to write up tonight! :)

2. MIXT Studio Holiday Gifting Set
Retail Value: $9

How cute is this gifting set?? I regret getting all my wrapping done early because I am obsessed with this paper! This set comes with 3 large sheets of wrapping paper: 1 Blue Snowflake, 1 Red squiggly lines, 1 Green Holiday Words. It also comes with 3 printed gift tags and 3 yards of cotton gift twine. This was such a great idea to put into the December Box! I am going to dig into some of the gifts that I put into gift bags and wrap them now! haha :)

3.NCLA Nail Wraps in "Peppermint Lane"
Retail Value: $16

I feel like I keep saying this over and over but, how cute are these?! I'm sure most of you are familiar with nail wraps or stickers by now, but for anyone that isn't, you simply place these stickers on your nails, press down, and file off the excess. These particular wraps require a clear top coat, and then that's it! You've got a super festive mani with hardly any work! There are two different applications in this package (the stripes and the dots) however you could also mix and match them if you wanted! I am definitely using these for Christmas Eve!

4. CC Made Caramel Corn in "Pistachio Nut"
Retail Value: $4

This is a bag of yummy organic popcorn drizzled with caramel and tossed with roasted pistachios. There was also the option of "classic" or "almond" flavors, but I know my mom loves pistachios, so I was super happy to get this flavor and give her a little treat when she came over today. It was hard to resist opening it up! I think this would make a great addition to a gift and/or a cute little hostess gift!

5. Govino Go Anywhere Flutes
Retail Value: $12.95

Just want to start off by apologizing for the laundry basket in the background as well as the pile of randomness you can see peeking out in the background. My room is chock-full with presents and laundry and you name it! The holidays are a stressful time for me! haha :)  These Govino Wine flutes are cute, travel friendly, and perfect for ringing in the new year wherever you are! They look like crystal, but they're made from a shatterproof plastic-like material that is reusable and recyclable if desired! They even come with a cute thumb groove that makes them not only chic, but also easy to hold!

 Of course I felt like I had to demonstrate the thumb groove, but I also though it would give you a good idea of the size of these flutes. Super cute and I think they would make a great gift!

6. Lulu Frost Bracelet
Retail Value: $110

I have never heard of Lulu Frost jewelry before, but apparently it's quite high-end! A few of the ladies on the MakeupTalk forum had heard of, and were fans of the brand, so I was quite excited to have a piece from the line! This is a great holiday accessory, and features a brass chain, silver plated zinc pendant with glass stones. It's an absolutely beautiful piece and really made the box for me!

7. ModelCo Fibre LashXtend Black Mascara
Retail Value: $24

I have heard a lot of great things about not only ModelCo cosmetics, but this particular mascara. It promises a completely clump-free application, creating instant voluminous lashes because of it's glossy texture and added lash fibers that grab right onto your lashes and make them even longer, without the use of falsies, which I'm all for! I love falsies but they can be a pain to put on when you're in a rush! There's also a mirror on the back of the tube so you can apply anywhere! I'm super excited to try this out!

Also included in the box was a for $10 off your next order on the ModelCo website as well as a free lip gloss in the shade "Strip Tease" with purchase. The code is: SHINE10 in case you're interested! There is no limit on the code (you can use it on a $10 purchase!) so you can potentially get an item AND the lipgloss for just the cost of shipping! (Be aware that they are an Australian company, and it costs $15 to ship to the US, but you'll be getting $10 off and a free gloss valued at $16, so it's a great deal!)

Here's Everything all together!

The total value of this box without the coupon code is $187.95!
The value WITH the coupon is: : $213.95!

I think that is an AMAZING deal for just the $40 investment, and I also think that these would be great to gift to friends and family!

If you're interested in trying out a PopSugar Must Have Box for yourself, please consider using my referral link here: PopSugar Must Have Box!

BONUS: For a limited time, get $5 off your first box with with the coupon code REFER5!

I hope you join me and let me know what you think of PopSugar Must Have! <3

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Starlooks Starbox December 2013 Review!

I had SUCH a great mail day yesterday! I did my first "swap" on the forum makeuptalk.com, and my packaged arrived filled with goodies. I also got a fantastic package of glittery ornaments from Crate and Barrel because I couldn't resist, and lastly, my Starlooks Starbox! December of last year they sent out a 15 shade eyeshadow palette and announced in October that they would be doing the same again this holiday season, so of course I've been stalking my mailman all December long hoping to catch a glimpse of my new palette!

As always, the quick rundown of Starlooks for anyone who doesn't know: Starlooks is a professional quality makeup line, and they have a subscription service called, "Starbox." They include 3-4 full sized products from their makeup line in each box, and in many cases, the boxes can get up to $100 in value. The subscription costs $15 a month, and if you're looking to fill in some gaps in your makeup collection, to be more adventurous with your makeup, to try out a new brand of cosmetics, or just want a little makeup treat in your mailbox every month, Starlooks is a great subscription!  They have LOTS of membership perks too! Every time you refer a friend to Starlooks, you get a "referral box" which I've reviewed in the past. You also get an EXTRA box of goodies on your birthday month! And now, they've added a NEW perk to being a subscriber!

Starting this month, every 3 months of being a subscriber, you will receive a free gift valued at $35! So if you signed up to get the December box, your first free gift will be sent to you in February. Starlooks has more perks than any other subscription service I've seen. It think a subscription to Starlooks would make an amazing gift to someone in your life who loves cosmetics, especially if you don't know what to get them!

OK, let's get onto my December box!

As I mentioned earlier, this month's box came with a large, 15 shade shadow palette, which is in that large white box. Starlooks also included flyers about their new loyalty program (mentioned above) as well as a December card showing a look that can be done with this month's palette, and a bit more information on it as well. This palette retails on the Starlooks website for $99.

What a stunner! This palette is called "New Years Eve 2014" is absolutely gorgeous and seems like it's a perfect palette to bring my makeup from fall into winter. It's got a great selection of neutrals with a few pops of green and burgundy, as well as a beautiful, shimmery silver. There are 5 completely matte shades and one that is very close to matte but is more of a pearl finish. The other 10 shades are a gorgeous, satiny, shimmery finish. None of them have large chunks of glitter, although the last shades in rows 2 and 3 are best described as "matte shades with micro glitter."

I went ahead and did two separate types of swatches.

First set: Swatched with my finger without shadow primer:

Second Set: Swatched with shadow brush on top of shadow primer:

I think they have decent pigmentation without a primer, but these shadows really blow some of my other favorite shadows out of the water once you use a primer.

Now let's go row by row and get a closer look and better description of the shades.

Row 1: This Row is made up of 3 matte shades, and two shimmers. The silver stands out to be one of the most pigmented shades in the entire palette! It's super soft and applies beautifully. The green shimmer is also an absolutely stunning color. It applies softly and beautifully and is one of my personal favorites in this palette. The 3 matte shades (berry, grey and black) are nicely pigmented, however, you can see from the swatches that they did not look very nice in the "without primer" photo. I contact Starlooks about the lack of pigment in the matte shadows and they explained that their matte shades quality can be compromised if one attempt to swatch them with a finger, as the oils in your skin create a barrier on the tops of the shades making them not work properly. If this happens, it's ok to gently scrape a layer of shadow off, or to use a piece of tape to remove the top layer by gently pressing it and lifting it off the shadow a few times. Once I did that, I got a much better swatch with and without primer!

Row 2: Row 2 has 3 shimmery shades, 1 matte and 1 shimmer/micro glittery shade. The first two shades aren't given any justice when it comes to the "without primer" swatches, as they are two very natural, light shades, but they are very soft and pigmented. They just tend to blend into my arm a bit too much. The first shade in this row, is the most unique in my opinion. It's hard to describe. It has an duo-tone iridescence to it, where it looks like a very light beige, but has a purple-pink pearlescent sheen to it when it catches the light. It's my favorite shade in the palette and it's impossible to show how lovely it is in person! The white and the matte brown are basic, but of good quality and pigmentation. The bronzy shade is a lovely and also nicely pigmented. The final shade in this row is a bit strange, but in a good way! In the pan, it looks like a deep burgundy with a bit of micro glitter/shimmer, however when it's applied it's more of a  matte black shade with burgundy glitter. It applies almost identically to the shade "Beauty Marked" by MAC.

Row 3: This row is also nicely pigmented and contains 1 matte shade, 1 pearl shade, and 3 shimmers. The first shade is matte and wonderfully pigmented but almost perfectly matches my skin tone, so it seems to disappear here in the swatch. It's a great shade for applying as an all-over the lid shade, at least for me! The pearl shade is a creamy light pearl shade. Super pigmented and would make an amazing highlight. The last 3 shades are all shimmery, and are all very neutral tones with great pigmentation. The bronze is a typical shade, but is very buttery and easy to apply. The green is a great play on the green in the first row, as it's more of an army or hunter green, which isn't a common shade in a lot of palettes, so I'll be interested to play with that one a bit more. The last shade in the palette is similar to the burgundy shade in row 2, where it looks more like a glittery bronze in the pan, but comes off as more of a matte brown shade with gold glitter flecked into it.

I think that I got more than my money's worth as I only paid $15 for this box, and the palette retails for $99 on the Starlooks website. I don't think that the value is there for $99, but I definitely feel that for $15 ($17 or so with shipping) it's definitely worth it. Overall, I gained a beautiful shadow palette that will make quite a few gorgeous looks. I'm really looking forward to playing with this one a bit more and seeing what I can come up with!

If you're interested in joining Starlooks please consider using my referral link here: JOIN STARLOOKS!
I think the Starlooks Starbox always provides you with much more than your money's worth, and they're a great quality makeup line. If you're looking for a beauty subscription that focuses solely on cosmetics, this is a great option. I hope you'll join me in being a fan of Starlooks products!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ipsy December 2013 Review!

Even though I usually get my Ipsy bag around this time each month, it feels like I'm one of the last people to get my pretty pink bubble mailer. I've been seeing everyone on the makeup forums and on the Ipsy Facebook page posting all their goodies and I was starting to feel left out! Luckily I got my bag today just as the snow storm in New England was about to begin!

If you're interested in more information about Ipsy, it's a service that for $10 a month, will ship you a cute bag full of makeup. While sometimes they are deluxe samples, many times Ipsy will include full size products in their bags. This month I received 5 products and all of them are full size. If you want more information on Ipsy, or want to sign up, please visit their website here: Join Ipsy!

Definitely got a nice variety of items, although I thought that a lip product and an "all over" stick was a little bit redundant. This wasn't the only group of items that could have been received, but it's the one I ended up with! I would have preferred a few different items, but I am happy overall with the bag. Let's take a closer look at the items!

1. Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Shadow Trio in "Smokin' Hot"

This is an item that everyone received, although it could have been in these shades, or a netural brown trio. I was hoping for the browns, but now that I have this in hand, I feel like I will probably use this more, as I already have more than enough neutral/brown shadows! As you can see from the swatch, all of the shades have a shimmer to them, although the dark charcoal shade is very subtle with the shimmer/glitter. The swatches are without primer, so I'm actually impressed with the quality and pigmentation of these shadows. I have enough eyeshadow to paint the entire world, so it's not like I needed this trio, but its always nice to have to pop in your clutch when you go out for the evening!

2. Nicka K New York Nail Polish in " Classic Taupe"

Excuse the weird swatch, I just recently painted my nails and didn't want to mess with it. This is actually a gorgeous color and the swatch doesn't do it justice. In the bottle,  it looks like a typical taupe, pale grey/brown as the name suggests, but once it's put on the nails it has a smokey grey/purple quality to it that makes it really unique and lovely. I've never heard of/tried this brand before and even though I'm not huge into nail polish, I was glad to try a new brand. I really like the packaging of this polish, too!

3. Ardell Natural Lashes "Demi Black #120"

There were a LOT of people who were angry about getting lashes, but I think that comes from the fact that false lashes are avoided and feared by many makeup lovers. It's a shame, because I think there are lashes for everyone! People just find it hard to apply falsies and give up. The key is practicing until you find an application process that works the best for you! There are natural-looking lashes and super glam lashes, and I think this particular pair falls right in the middle. I'm a huge fan of demi-lashes, which basically means they are shorter on the inner corner and get longer toward the edges. It makes for a very wide-eyed look when paired with a bit of winged liner. I have a huge collection of lashes as it is so I wasn't thrilled with getting these, but I know they will get used, so I can't complain!

4. NYX Round Lipstick in "Iced Honey #556"

I am already a fan of NYX, and I really enjoy their lipsticks, but I was very unsure of how I felt about this shade when I first pulled it out of the bag. It comes off as a shimmery bronze shade, but after I swatched and removed it, on the makeup remover wipe, the shade looks much more rose than bronze. I applied it to my lips, and while it's a pretty shade, it doesn't look good on me at all. It's very shimmery/frosty which really isn't my style, but I think someone that likes a bit of shimmer on their lips will love this. It would look great on someone who likes bronzey lip shades.

5. Be a Bombshell The One Stick in "Girl Crush"

This is a 3-in-1 stick that can be applied to the eyes, cheeks and lips. The shade is a really beautiful pale pink with a very subtle gold shimmer. I was hoping for a slightly deeper shade at first, but this really looks beautiful and I'm happy I received it. It looks a lot more frosty and pale in the photos I've seen online so far, but when I swatched it for myself it appears to be a pale peachy pink. There's a bit too much gold shimmer in it to really work for my lips, and it's a bit too pale to give an intense payoff on the cheeks, but if you're looking for a natural flush this works nicely. I am actually surprised at how HUGE this is! I expected it to be close the size of a lipstick, but it is twice the size! Here's a comparison shot with the Nyx lippie:

See what I mean? I was pleasantly surprised that it's definitely more of a cream blush stick, but it applies nicely to the lips as well. I don't think I'll be using it on my eyes as the shade wouldn't be very flattering as a shadow, but it's great to throw in my purse for a quick lip and cheek tint!

Overall, This isn't the best bag I've ever received from Ipsy, but it was still well worth the $10! I was pleased with the items they included and I think they all work well together. I would have been thrilled if the NYX lipstick was a different shade, but I'm sure I know someone who will enjoy the color! 

If you are interested in joining ipsy please consider using my referral link, HERE.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birchbox December 2013 Review!

All I can say is, FINALLY! I'm subscribed to a few different subscription boxes (and a new one this month, so stay tuned!) and none of them have arrived until today. I was beginning to lose hope when I saw this beautifully festive Birchbox arrive at my door!

How cute! In case you haven't been up-to-speed with beauty subscriptions, Birchbox is a company that sends you 4-5 deluxe size samples of beauty and lifestyle products for $10 a month. You can review the products on their website to earn points that you can use as cash at their online store. It's super fun, and if you want to sign up, please consider using my referral link here: Join Birchbox!

This month is a holiday box and the theme was, "Sparkle and Shine" as you can see from the adorable box:

Each item in the boxes this month is based on it being a good item for the holiday season. I peeked at what was going to be in my box beforehand, so I knew what was going to be inside ahead of time (they post the contents of your box on their website a few days before it arrives) but I was still excited to get my little present!

Here's the "first look" inside!

So right off the bat I caught a glimpse of a few mystery bottles. My other items were hidden inside of the little blue box. Let's take a look at everything I received and I will let you know my first reactions. I just cracked this baby open minutes ago so I haven't had any time to test them out, yet!

1. (Lifestyle Extra) Chuao Popcorn Pop Chocopod
So I don't normally start off with the "extra" in the box, but this was the first thing I grabbed at and immediately ate. I was able to contain myself enough to save a piece for my fiance, but yea...I love chocolate! This was so so delicious, and only 60 calories! This was a rich milk chocolate with what seemed like mini pop-rocks (the ones that pop in your mouth!) along with little pieces of popcorn. It was ridiculously delicious and I wish I had more!

2. Color Club Nail Polish in "Baldwin Blues"
Womp Womp. The last Birchbox I got before I canceled a year or so ago had a Color Club polish in it, and I wasn't impressed. Come to think of it, I'm not really much of a polish fanatic anyway, so getting yet another bottle in my Birchbox was just a "meh" moment. This shade is just a basic smokey navy blue creme. Color Club in my opinion is a terrible formula and I'm just not a fan of their polishes. This one is going right into the trade pile.

3. Grand Central Beauty S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting Polisher
This is the teeny tiny bottle you see on the bottom right of the photo. It's kind of a strange product because it's apparently a toning peel, yet the directions say to massage a dime-size amount into clean, dry skin for 30 seconds. You don't rinse it off, so I find that a bit odd. Either way, I received a face mask from this company through Beauty Army over a year ago, and I thought it smelled like old fruit and moth balls and did nothing for my skin. I am happy to report that this polisher doesn't have the same smell, but I'm wondering if this tiny sample is going to give me enough to determine whether or not it's doing anything for my skin. I suppose only time will tell!

4. Beauty Protector Shampoo
I'm sure most people would be excited to receive this, but as an avid couponer, I have about 40 bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my stockpile, so getting hair products in my subscription boxes is probably the biggest letdown. This isn't Birchbox's fault, and I'm more than willing to give this stuff a shot, although it's got to be the best thing I've ever tried for me to actually want to buy a full size. It doesn't seem like it's anything special, just says it's sulfate-free (which is nice) and adds shine and volume. We'll see.

5. Beauty Protector Conditioner
Same thing I said about the shampoo applies here. The conditioner contains Shea Butter and "pearl powder" whatever the heck that is! The good thing about these samples is that they aren't foil packets, so I will at least be able to see how well they're working for me. Also they have a really light, almost vanilla-like scent which is very pleasant. The bottles both say they are Sulfate Free, paraben free, vegan, safe on all hair (color safe as well), moisture reviving, volume/shine enhancing, seals cuticle, UV protection, and smoothes hair. I think that someone who is looking for a work horse hair product that is also vegan and paraben/sulfate-free would really enjoy these products. Maybe I will too!

Birchbox also threw in a little diamond-shaped cell-phone screen cleaner that has their logo on it. It sticks to the back of your phone (like a window cling) and can be removed and used and then put back again. Cute little thing to throw in, I suppose! :)

Overall, this is leaps and bounds better than the kind-of lame box I got last month, but still not where I would like it to be. I definitely got my money's worth and I'm definitely interested to try the products I received (except the polish) so I suppose that's a win overall for Birchbox. I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the new year!

If you're interested in signing up for Birchbox, Please use my referral link HERE