Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Diamond Candles Review, Coupon and Ring Reveal!

This review is a little change of pace from what I usually do, but I'm just so excited about this product that I needed to write about it!

When I was younger, my Aunt Caroline used to have my older sister and I sleep over her apartment. One time, she had a pyramid-shaped candle waiting for us. She told us that it had little treasures inside that appeared as you burned the candle! This was SO exciting for me that I sat next to the candle all night and watched as each new item appeared. There were little gemstones, a little gold pendant and a few other trinkets. I remember it so vividly and how much fun it was, that as I got older, I searched for similar candles so that I could relive it all over again!

I did find a few different companies that do a "surprise" candle. I did research on each of these companies and found them to be not as exciting, or just way too expensive. I eventually narrowed my search down to "jewelry candles" due to the fact that most of them offer the allure of a possible high end piece of jewelry inside your candle! Now, I'm fully aware the chances of getting a 2 thousand dollar ring in a candle is slim to none, but it's fun to imagine, and more fun than a scratch ticket!

After narrowing the jewelry candle companies down, I decided to go with Diamond Candles. Diamond Candles claims are that you receive a ring in every candle that can be worth $10, $100, $1000 or even $5000! Looking over their facebook, there are dozens of customers posting their ring reveals every day. Not only were the higher-end rings amazing, but the $10 rings were lovely too! I felt like I just couldn't go wrong with them. Not only that, but the candles are 21 oz each! That's the same size as a large Yankee Candle (which retail for MORE than a diamond candle). So the $25 price tag is a lot more doable considering you're getting such a large candle AND a ring!  
(Scroll to the bottom for a 20% off Coupon!)

Their website is very easy to use, and they have LOTS of exciting scents to choose from. During my research I found many people saying their candles were excellent quality, so I didn't hesitate. With my fiance's blessing (he's such a doll!) I chose the Cinnamon Roll candle, and waited with bated breath for the mailman to show up.

About a week later, my candle was at my door! And boy, was I excited!
The candles were packaged in a plain, brown box. I was happy about this as I don't live in the best neighborhood, and a package that had the word DIAMOND printed on it would just beg to be stolen. However, inside the brown box was a lot of packing paper and a smaller white box (pictured above) with the logo. I could already smell my candle, and WOW did it smell good!
Cinnamon Roll isn't one of those "multi-layered" scents as some of the other candles they offer. This candle smells exactly like you think it would, only better. it smells like a warm, buttery, vanilla frosted cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. It's mouth-watering the moment it is lit. It has a strong enough throw that it scented my large bedroom. I placed it in the kitchen for a bit and I could smell it in there, but not through the rest of the house. This would be a nice scent choice if you don't want anything too strong, but also want to be able to smell the candle!
The jar itself is lovely and I'm looking forward to re-using it once the candle is gone. There is a gold sticker on the inside of the jar showing you where your ring is located in the candle. So if you're super impatient, you can dig for it, OR you can drag out the anticipation and let the candle burn down on it's own, which is what I decided to do, and let me tell you, it was a LONG wait!
The candle was a little finicky at first. Since it's a soy candle, it will probably have a few problems burning in the beginning. You can see in the picture above the wax was getting weird and chunky and the candle was tunneling. I was able to correct this by wrapping the candle with some tin foil (search "tin foil candle trick" on youtube to see what I mean!) and after an hour my candle was burning perfectly evenly again. 

Finally, 10 HOURS LATER (I know, I'm patient!) I spotted the foil-wrapped ring in the wax.
I've seen people fish the rings out with spoons, forks, butter knives, you name it. However that seems to damage the candle and make a huge mess. I found it very easy to use a pair of pliers to gently grab hold of the ring and slowly wiggle it free from the wax. I also held the foiled ring over the flame for a short time to let the excess wax drip off so I would have less of a mess!

I placed the foil on a paper toil and wiped it as clean as possible and then removed it. Beneath the foil was the ring in a small plastic bag. The bag was also waxy, so I wiped it clean as well and then shook the ring out onto a towel and wiped it clean.

Ready for the big reveal??

How pretty! I have a terrible quality camera, so the ring looks a bit dull. I assure you, it's shiny and sparkly! The pale yellow stone is just lovely. There are no markings on the inside of the ring, so I am taking a guess to say it's most likely a $10 one, but it's very nice just the same. It seems to be about a size 8.5 since it fits my size 9 finger a bit snug. Very happy that it fits though! (Disclaimer: Diamond Candles rings are put in candles at random. DC has said their ring sizes range from size 4 to size 12, with the most common rings being between size 6-10) If it didn't fit I suppose I could have worn it on my pinky or on a necklace chain!

This was not an option when I originally did this review, however Diamond Candles now includes a slip of paper along with the ring that has a code printed on it. You can imput this code on the diamond candles website to find out the value of your ring!
Overall, this was an excellent experience. Love the candle, love the ring, and loved the anticipation! I think these candles would be an amazing gift for yourself or a loved one.

*20% Off Coupon*
If you're interested in trying Diamond Candles out for yourself, or maybe buying one as a gift for a friend or loved one, please consider using my referral code and save 20% off your entire purchase!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August Nature Box Review / Why I Canceled!

Edit 12/2014: For the sake of continuity and honesty, I have kept this review active. However, I would love to share with anyone reading this post, that I have since started receiving Nature Box again, (Over a year since I wrote this review) and I have been extremely happy with their service and the positive changes they have made. This review is well over a year old, and I invite you to check out a more current one here. Thank you!

In some of my previous posts, I discussed the similarities and differences between Graze Box and Nature Box. I thought that Nature Box might be a better fit for me, so I put my Graze subscription on hold (I wouldn't cancel because it's impossible to get a subscription right now!) and decided to continue with Nature Box for a period of time.

After receiving 3 boxes from Nature Box, I can say I am most definitely canceling my service. This box had more issues than I've ever had with a single order from ANYWHERE, not to mention they were very shady when it came to addressing my complaints.

Before I get into what happened, I will tell you that when I complained about my issues, they responded and did not say a word about my complaints or concerns that I had with the quality of their snacks. They simply said: "We can refund your money or replace the snacks." I asked for a refund because I had already canceled my subscription at this point. Do you know what Nature Box did as a "refund?" They charged me yet ANOTHER $20 and then refunded it back into my account. UHM...No. That's not a refund! That's you stealing my money and giving it back to me and saying you refunded me.
 EDIT: I sent them a furiously angry e-mail about charging me and then refunding the charge, but STILL not refunding the money from the previous box, and they eventually did credit my account back $22.95 (no idea where they came up with that amount) but they never responded to my angry e-mail. At least I finally got my money back.

Either way, I felt like I should review the snacks I did receive so that anyone that is a subscriber to Nature Box will be able to know the issues I had etc.

I received a box of 11 snacks this month. I had 10 snacks that I received for 50% off of due to a complaint I had from my second month. (sensing a pattern here?) They also added a "bonus snack" in my box making it 11 total bags.

Here's a quick rundown of the rest of the snacks and what was right and mostly wrong with them:

1. Cherry Ganache Granola
No issues with this granola. I had received this in my introductory box and was so pleased that I ordered it again. The chocolate granola is delicious as is the dried berries and the almonds.

2. Cinnamon Spiced Granola
This granola smells divine; Like a brisk fall day! My main issue with this granola was that it was chewy. As if it had been sitting in a humid area for too long. It wasn't crunchy and fresh tasting like the cherry ganache granola. Very big let down.

3. Cranberry Almond Bites
I received the blueberry almond bites last month and they were quite good, so I went ahead and ordered the cranberry ones. I think these would have been just as good had they not been completely stale and dried out. These also tasted old.

4. Figgy Bars
I received the blueberry figgy bars last month and thought I would try the regular ones. These were awful. The outer part of the bar was all dried up and stale tasting. The fruit inside tasted fine. Was very disappointed in these and noticed that the expiration date was only 2 weeks from the day I received them. 

5. Cocoa Waffle Wafers
These were just plain awful. They tasted like little pieces of burnt toast sprinkled with artificial sweetener. I'm not even making that up. Let's top that off with the fact that they tasted stale as hell. (it's like they left ALL my snacks out to dry for a week before shipping them!)

6. Honey Nut Medley
These were OK, but nothing to write home about. Just a variety of nuts with a honey glaze on them.

7. Pistachio Power Clusters
I was expecting these to taste delicious because I love pistachios. I didn't realize that the pistachios and the almonds mixed with the honey glaze over them would just have a strange flavor. Pistachios don't really mix well with a very sweet glaze. These weren't awful, but weren't very good, either.

8. Plantain Chips
This was my "bonus snack" and one of my favorites of the bunch. I didn't think I would like these but they're quite tasty. Upon first tasting them, they do have a slight banana flavor, but after your 3rd or 4th chip they just start tasting like a thick potato chip that is very lightly salted. Very happy with this snack.

9.Ranch Sunflower Seeds
These were very good and definitely my favorite snack in the bunch. The only one (other than the bonus snack) that I had no issues with. Very good ranch flavor. I was definitely concerned eating them though as I've had a lot of issues with the seeds that Nature Box sends.

10.Everything Bagel Sticks
These were exactly like the Honey Mustard Sticks I tried last month. They're little sesame sticks that are coated with a seasoning. However the sesame stick is SO overpowering in flavor that the seasoning is barely noticeable. It just tastes like you're eating a bag of sesame seeds. Not a fan of these at all.

11. Garlic Pumpkin Seeds
These were the absolute worst of the bunch.  I don't even have a picture of these because I threw them in the garbage within minutes of trying them. When I opened the package, I noticed that the seeds smells a bit like the fish food flakes you put in a fish bowl. I thought it could have been the garlic flavor, so I tasted a few. Not only did they not taste like Garlic at ALL, but they TASTED like FISH. I was SO freaked out by this, that I did a bit of research online and found out that if your seeds smells fishy, it's because the oils in the seed have gone rancid! I was disgusted by this, especially because the expiration date wasn't for another 2 months.


As you can see, almost my entire box of snacks was old, stale, or gross-tasting. It's one thing if some of the snacks weren't up to par flavor-wise. It happens. Not everyone has the same preferences. But the fact that a majority of my snacks tasted like they were past their expiration date was really alarming to me. The company did nothing but say, "sorry you were unhappy, do you want replacements or a refund?" They weren't at all concerned with the quality of their snacks, and I think that was what most concerned me. I understand that these things happen occasionally when dealing with food, but as a company who apparently prides themselves on healthy, fresh snacks, they did a pretty terrible job of sending me any.

I cannot in good conscience continue to subscribe to this company/review their snacks after this experience.

If you are interested in a subscription service that sends healthy snacks to your door, please consider Graze Box. They are a wonderful company and I have getting snacks from them on and off for almost a year. You can get your 1st and 5th boxes free, as well. For more information on Graze, check out one of my reviews here:  Graze Review!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Almay Liquid Lip Balm Review!

I am really excited to share this review with you, because I am a huge fan of Almay cosmetics. I think everyone has seen Almay in the drugstore, but it's not one of the larger brands, so it tends to be overlooked by many. Almay has my all time favorite drugstore mascara: Almay Get Up and Grow, as well as those really fun eyeshadow trios that are curated to eye color. I have never tried one of their lip products before, and I was excited to get a deal on these Liquid Lip Balms at CVS that made them FREE! What could be better than that? :)

(From left to right: 600: Blooming and 300: Apple a Day)

These liquid lip balms are supposed to have the consistency of a lip balm with the shiny, smooth application of a gloss. I really love the packaging and think they look very chic. They come with a doe-foot applicator and have a very opaque appearance in the tube, which made me a little nervous so I bought a very light pink (Blooming) and a deep red (Apple a Day), thinking that they would have amazing color payoff.

Here are the swatches on my arm:

As you can see, they are MUCH more translucent and light than they look in the tubes. I hate to say I was a bit disappointed at first. But then I realized, these are liquid lip balms, not liquid lipsticks, as they appear. So for a lip balm, the color payoff is quite nice. I also think they are quite wearable. I only wish I wasn't so scared to have purchased some of the more intense colors, now that I know they would have come off much lighter.

Here's "Blooming" on my lips:

This balm looks like an opaque baby pink in the tube, but applies to a very light translucent pink/nude. It gives just a tiny amount of color to my lips, which is nice when going for a natural look. The formula is FANTASTIC, and I think it's a huge selling point for me. It's not sticky at all, but it's not thin and oily either. It's a perfect thickness and is very soft-feeling on the lips. It's a joy to apply and to wear. I think one of the best parts of these balms is that they smell like a vanilla cookie! Sooo nice!

Here is "Apple a Day" on my lips:

 I mean, this is super gorgeous. Even though this is a bold red color in the tube, it gives your lips that amazing "just ate a cherry Popsicle" look to them. this is an absolutely gorgeous shade of gloss/balm. Just like the previous color, it applies evenly and gives a nice, moisturized feeling to your lips. It truly feels like a balm with a bit more shine. I would definitely say that this one in particular is slightly buildable, as you can get a bit more color pay off than you see in the photo with a few more layers of gloss, but don't buy these for the color in the tube. Buy them if you want a light tint to your lips.

While the color payoff is much different than it appears in the tubes, these are absolutely amazing lip products. They are different from everything else that's out in drugstores right now, and I really like how they have a similar laid-back feeling to them like Baby Lips and Lip Butters etc, but they also give a bit more oomph to the lips. These are excellent to throw in your purse to give your lips a tint of color and a little shine and moisture. I will definitely be buying more of these!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick Review!

I was SO excited that CVS was having some awesome deals on cosmetics this week! With my coupons I was able to get a few different lip products that I haven't tried before for practically free. (Woohoo!) And one of the things that I've been meaning to try is the Revlon Ultimate Suede lipsticks!

(Colors from left to right: 050 Couture, 045 Supermodel)

I was a bit confused as to why they were called "Ultimate Suede" because anything with a suede-feeling would probably not feel so nice on the lips, but they kind of resembled a cross between the Revlon lip butters and a Revlon lipstick, so I was more than intrigued and willing to buy them and give them a shot!

I picked up Couture because it was a pretty red color, but had an ever so slightly pink undertone, which was intriguing. I also picked up Supermodel because it's a nice neutral color, but I really liked the nude/berry/mauve tone to it and it looked a bit deeper than the things I have now, and I thought it would be perfect for fall!

These lipsticks come in a slightly different packaging than the rest of the lip products in the Revlon line. There is a clear outer layer with a colored plastic underneath that is supposed to resemble the shade of lipstick that is inside. The cover is clear and the lipsticks are flat and angled like the lip butters.

Here are the swatches on my arm. Couture is on the left and Supermodel is on the right.

I noticed they applied to my skin a bit on the sheer side. It took a few swipes to get this kind of color payoff. I also noticed they had a bit of a shine to them. They were really starting to sound like re-packaged lip butters, but I decided to put them on and see how they looked on my lips.

Here is Couture:

And here is Supermodel:

From the appearance of the product and the color of the packaging, I really expected the color payoff to be a bit more intense. They are marketed as lipsticks so I was hoping they would perform like a lipstick. However, when you first put this product on, they look and feel EXACTLY like Revlon Lip Butters. They have a light color pigment and a glossy finish. This is important to remember if you're interested in buying this product because a avoided buying some colors because I thought they'd be too dark or extreme, but the color payoff on the lips is at least 2 shades lighter than they appear in the tube.

After wearing them for about 5-10 minutes, the shine almost completely goes away and the product becomes dry and almost a bit sticky. I was definitely not a fan of this and it was a really weird consistency for a lipstick. Luckily just a bit of gloss smoothed it all out and it did not become dry or sticky again.

The lasting power of these is decent. Mine lasted about 3 hours and even after that amount of time, it still looked like I had a bit of color on my lips.

If you're looking for a lip butter type of product that leans more towards a lipstick than a gloss or a balm, this is the product for you. This truly is a marriage of a lipstick and a lip butter. If you're looking for an actual lipstick, this isn't the best product and I would stick to the classic Revlon lipsticks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ipsy Review August 2013!

It's my favorite time of the month: Ipsy Bag Time! While I was incredibly excited for this particular bag, my excitement dwindled a bit due to DHL's terrible shipping. It was an absolute mess this month. Lots of people didn't receive their bags, some people received empty packages or missing items. The GOOD news is that Ipsy is always very accommodating and whenever I've had an issue they have always resolved it! Anyway, enough with the complaining, let's get to the good stuff!

August had a "Glamour Academy" theme, and the bag was super cute! There were quite a few different combinations of bags this month, and while I didn't get EVERYTHING I was hoping for, I am more than thrilled with what I received!

1. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in "69" 
I was SO excited that I would be receiving the UD lipstick, as it wasn't something that everyone was going to get. I was very interested in the new lipstick formula, but $22 is a hefty price tag for the full size! This one is a little sample size lipstick tube and it is SO adorable. I got the color I wanted, which is a red color with a pink undertone. It is So beautiful on the lips. It glides on and has such an intense pigment. Not only that, but it stays on for hours and hours on end. It also stains your lips so even when it wears off it looks like you're still wearing it! I am obsessed with this formula and I am convinced it is worth every penny!

2. Pixi Mascara
I am always excited to try new mascara's although I have never been that fond of the Pixi makeup line. It's a drugstore line of makeup (Target) however it has a higher end price tag. I find Pixi products to be drugstore quality, and I have never purchased a full size product from them because they're too expensive and don't work that well. This mascara is no exception. It's not bad. It's not good. It's just middle of the road, basic mascara. Nothing to write home about.

3. Michael Todd Pumpkin Mask
I noticed a lot of the Ipsters were familiar with this brand of skincare, though I had never heard of it. I was glad to get such a nice size sample! I will definitely get many uses out of it. This pumpkin mask says it's not for sensitive skin, and it did have a little tingle to it when I used it, but it definitely didn't make my face red or anything like that. It worked quite nicely and gave my skin a soft feel. I'm looking forward to trying it more!

4. MICA Beauty Shimmer Powder in "Bronze"
This was one of those items I was hoping I wouldn't get because I don't really use loose shadows or single shadows (I'm a palette kind of gal) but I have a gel liner from this brand and it's very high quality. This bronze shimmer powder is just as high quality. Absolutely beautiful bronzey shade perfect for late summer/ early fall. I will actually use this even though I don't normally use loose shadows.

5. Nailtini Polish in "Mai Tai"
I REALLY didn't want this polish. This will be the THIRD nailtini polish I have received from Ipsy and I really don't think they are that great. The formula is a bit thin and it tends to chip incredibly fast on my nails. There are some people that swear by the formula, but I am not one of them. I was also a bit irritated because this polish in this exact color was offered last month. I breathed a sigh of relief last month when I received the perfume instead, and here I am with it ANYWAY. I really hope that they don't reuse products again. I understand they probably have left over samples and want to get rid of them, but it's just not a good idea in my opinion. Overall this is a nice coral shade for summer but it's just not my thing.

Overall this bag was an absolute hit. I enjoyed receiving everything and even though everything wasn't a home run, I was still thrilled to try it all!

If you are interested in trying Ipsy, please consider using my referral link here: Join Ipsy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

COVERGIRL Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadow Quad Review!

During one of my recent couponing trips to CVS, I decided that I wanted to grab a few different types of drugstore cosmetics that I haven't tried in a while. I have noticed that over the years, drugstore makeup has really stepped up it's game, and brands that once had mediocre products, have lately been trying to compete with higher-end brands.

This trip allowed me to pick up a handful of the Covergirl Shadow Quads, or as the company calls them, "Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadow." Kind of mouthful, however I fondly remember many of these shadow quads from my teenage years. They were housed in the navy blue plastic compact with the clear cover. I remember they worked decently, "for drugstore makeup" as I remember saying. However, over time they would start to dry out a bit and not have as much pigment as they once had. I also vividly remember these quads being "hit or miss" when it came to formula. Sometimes they would be pigmented and sometimes they wouldn't. I think the last time I purchased one of these was when I was 18 years old.

It's been a decade, so maybe it's time to find out how they've changed! Here are the quads I purchased:

(Top Row: Fairytale and Prima Donna // Bottom Row: Coffee Shop and Drama Eyes)

If you remember the classic CG quads as well as I do, you can see that they've received a little makeover. The cases are now flat rather than rounded, which is excellent because they are now easy to stack on top of each other. The packaging is now black instead of blue, which I think makes the line just look more chic overall. Now the big question: "How do they perform?"

Let's take a look at some quick swatches of each quad and see!

1. Fairytale

Comparatively speaking to the other 3 quads, this one has the least amount of pigmentation, but I think it's probably the most wearable. It does come off a bit darker in this picture, but the quad has a cranberry color that would be very nice in the crease, and use the dark grey as a liner. While the two colors in the middle look similar in the photo, one is more of a cream color and the other is a light shimmer that works great as a highlight. Overall not my favorite, but it's a nice alternative to Drama Eyes (which you will see below) which is a very similar quad with a more intense group of shades.

2. Prima Donna

This quad is quite interesting in the color combinations, and takes 3rd place (out of the 4) in color payoff. Again, it's not difficult to get these shades to show up nicely on the skin, however they aren't as deep and pigmented as I am used to. Prima Donna has a nice matte black which is always useful. It has really nice pigmentation. Also included are a warm shimmery gold, a shimmery bronze with that beautiful rose-gold undertone, and a shimmery cream color for the brow bone. It's another wearable combination of colors for someone who is a bit unsure with makeup, and could also be used for a more dramatic look as well.
3. Coffee Shop

This photo doesn't do it justice, but this palette has excellent pigmentation. The shadows are very soft and creamy and have such an intensity. This is a great palette if you're into non-matte shadows and want a neutral, yet warm and bright look. A bit on the predictable side in regards to shade choices, but it's an excellent option for someone who wants a intricate-looking, yet easy to apply shadow look.

4. Drama Eyes

The reputation of this quad precedes it, as I have been told it is THE Covergirl quad to buy. The deep burgandy, the matte black, the light gray and the shimmery white lend themselves to a really beautiful and unique smokey eye. Each one of these colors was intensely pigmented and absolutely stunning. Very impressed with this one and it was by far my favorite!

Overall, I'm quite happy with these quads, and if I didn't already have a TON of palettes, I might pick a few more of these up! They cost about $6.99 at my local CVS, which means they'll probably be cheaper at Walmart. That's a great price, especially for a quad. I think these are especially useful for people who are interested in doing a more dramatic or involved makeup look but are not quite sure how to do it. A basic rule of thumb is to:

1. Find the second lightest shade (example would be the light grey in the CG drama eyes quad) and apply it all over the lid.

2. Find the second darkest shade (in drama eyes, it would be the burgandy) and apply it in the crease and blend well.

3. Find the darkest shade (in drama eyes, it is the matte black) and line your lash line and blend well.

4. Find the lightest shade (in drama eyes, it's the shimmery white) and lightly apply to brow bone to highlight and buff out.

These quads follow this "basic" way to apply a multi-layered shadow look for a beginner. I would absolutely send someone in the direction of these palettes if they were looking to get a look as described above. Overall, the quality is much better than in the past.

Great for: anyone looking to do a more in-depth shadow look, newbies, pros who desire a few quick and easy quads in their collection without breaking the bank, anyone who likes having the shadows layed out in coordinating combos.

Skip if: You're very picky about pigmentation/shadow quality, you already have a few quads and/or palettes, you like to be a bit more adventurous and/or creative with your looks.