Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lip Factory January

     My second Lip Factory box impressed me almost as much as the first! I think it's safe to say that this is still my favorite subscription service.  For $22 a month, subscribers receive 5-7 (although I only got 4 this month?) full sized makeup products.  Despite the name, not all of the products are lip products, but that is their main focus.  This subscription is perfect for me, as makeup products are the main thing I want in my beauty box subscriptions.  So many of them, like Sample Society, seem to be skin care product focused.
     Here's my January box: (better late than never, right?)
First up, is a Be a Bombshell One Stick.  Be a Bombshell is a brand that is shown up in almost every subscription I get, and I'd never heard of it before becoming a beauty box subscriber.  BaB mist be on a serious mission to unload some One Sticks before they expire, or something, because they recently showed up in Ipsy bags, and Wantable is supposed to send them out this month.  Anyhow, this one is in the color Southern Belle, which is a nice, rosy pink.  Mine arrived with black, flaky crud on it, as you may be able to see from the picture.  I assumed that it was just paint from the cover that had flaked off, and wiped it off with my finger.  My lips haven't shriveled up and fallen off yet, so I assume I'm ok.  This product feels ok on the lips, and wear time is average.  Nothing special about this product at all, but it's definitely something I will use often.  I've worn it a few times on my lips, but haven't tried it as a blush, yet.

Next, is an Electric Lip Slide from Bodyography in Skintimacy.  This looks pink in the picture, but the color is more of a nude.  I don't wear nude lip glosses, so I will be hoping to trade this.  It seems like a nice product, though!

From Teez, a brand that is unfamiliar to me, I received a Mysterious Crystal Eyeliner in Oh My Amethyst.  I'm not really sure what makes this "crystal", except a tiny bit of shimmer that doesn't really show up when applied.  I do like this eyeliner, though, as it's a wearable color for me, and doesn't get smeary easily. It glides on easily, even on my oily eyelids.  The packaging is fun, which is an added bonus.

Also from Teez, I received an Island Palette Eyeshadow in Kaleidoscope, which is a purple-gray.  I haven't used this as much as the eyeliner, but it is a nice, wearable color that blends easily.  The cute packaging matches the eyeliner.

I also received a card of skin care samples from a company called 29.  I haven't tried them yet, as I am currently buried in so many skin care samples that I'll need 3 more faces to get through them all before they expire!

So, the contents of this box didn't exactly blow me away this month, but I enjoy getting to try some makeup brands that not every subscription service sends out, which may be part of the reason for my new love affair with Lip Factory.  After a couple of months of blah boxes from Ipsy, Birchbox and Wantable, this service still feels fresh and exciting! I'm not sure why I only received 4 full sized products this month, rather than the 5-7 advertised on the website, I feel as if I got my money's worth of usable products.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Birchbox January 2014

Birchbox hasn't been terribly exciting for me lately, and this month continues that trend.  In fact, I had to look back at the picture I took of my box to even remember what I received!  It wasn't a bad box, really, but I didn't receive any of the products that I was hoping to get from the spoilers I saw.  Birchbox has so many box variations every month, that it's hard to predict what you might get.  However, I'm realizing that if I don't get a product I really want one month, it most likely will turn up in a future box. I have this picture in my head of the Birchbox Box Packers reaching a hand into a giant vat of beauty products, snacks, and tea, and throwing handfuls into boxes.  It just seems so random, and doesn't really fit my "customized" Birchbox profile much.

Oh, well.  It's only ten dollars, and most of this stuff will get used or traded for better stuff, so it's all good! Here's my box:

Benefit Benetint-I would have been over the top thrilled with this sample a couple of months ago! I was so upset when Ipsy sent out Benetint, and I didn't get it.  I've wanted to try this product for the longest time, and finally I got a deluxe sized sample of it in a Benefit kit I got for Christmas.  Even though I wanted to try it so badly, I've really only used it a couple of times.  I've only used it on my lips, as I'm not brave enough to try it as a blush yet. It creates a nice berry red stain on my lips, that while buildable, isn't very dark.  I like the consistency of this product much better than theBalm's Stainiac, which I found to be oddly un-uniform-it's like there were random glops in it.  Anyhow, this Birchbox sample is really tiny, but I'm sure someone will love it.  I'll keep my deluxe sample from my kit, but I'm going to trade this new, unopened one.

Origins Smarty Pants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector with a Stupidly Long, Self-Important Sounding Name-Ahem.  Seriously, I'm surprised that big, long name even fit on this teeny, tiny little tube! Anyhow, I can't really review this product, as I haven't used it yet.  I've got it put up in a box until spring or summer, when I find myself needing a lighter coverage foundation and a higher number sunscreen.  My winter midwestern skin can't use this right now.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk-This actually came at a good time for me, as my sample can of Batsite just ran out.  I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I've heard good things about it.  I love getting products that I actually need!

Whish Three Whishes Body Butter-I have so many lotions and things right now that I haven't tried this one yet.  I put some on my hands to smell, and it has a familiar, light and fruity scent that I can't place.  Watermelon Jolly Ranchers, maybe?  I don't know.  It feels like a typical lotion on my hands, and not particularly thick and buttery, but it could be great stuff, I'll have to give it a real try before I decide if I like it or not.  Unfortunately, there's only enough in the tube for maybe 2 body applications.

Ahmad Teas-I received three tea bags in this box, which I'm not excited about at all.I knew my turn was coming for the tea though, as these have been in box variations for a couple of months now.  I'm not a big tea drinker, but I do like a cup of peppermint tea every now and then.  Thankfully, one of my bags was peppermint.  I tried it yesterday, and it's.....just tea.  No better or worse than any other.  But then again, I'm not a tea aficionado, so I probably wouldn't know the difference anyway. ;-)

For the month of February, Birchbox is teaming up with US Weekly to create a box with "red carpet essentials".  Here's a link to an article with some of the products that may be included in thsee special boxes.  It is my understanding that all subscribers will receive a US Weekly collaboration box instead of their regular box, and not all of the boxes will be the same. Hmm...sounds interesting!

If you are interested in subscribing to Birchbox, please click on this link, as you can help me earn Birchbox points.  Birchbox subscribers earn points every time we review products, buy products from Birchbox, or refer a new subscriber.  These points add up quickly to money off purchases from the Birchbox store! This is worth the subscription alone.

More box reviews and other stuff, coming soon!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wantable January 2013-Misadventures and More

     Well, after a very, very disappointing December Wantable, that almost had me wanting to cancel, my January box was a little better.  However, it was still kind of underwhelming for the $36 price tag. Back when I signed up, Wantable was sending out more products, upping the value of their boxes.  they've now decreased the product count to 4-5, and lowered the value of their boxes.
     I could be wrong, but it seems like the packaging was different this month.  If my memory serves me correctly, the outer packaging box was smaller, and the inner box was not as sturdy.  When I opened it up, I saw this little cardboard strip that says "Wantable goes retro!" What's odd to me, other than the fact that nothing here seems to fit the "retro" theme, is that it seems like everyone else's packaging said "Hello beautiful!" Not that it matters at all, but I wonder why mine was different?
  Anyhow, who cares about that, right? ;-) Here's what I got this month:

Starlooks Eyeshadow in Pearl, which seems to be a mostly matte, light champagne color.  I swatched the eyeshadow below (wow-I REALLY should have put on lotion before swatching, my skin looks terrible!).  I'm not crazy about it-it's kind of powdery and chalky.  I don't have a need for a color like this, so this is going on my trade list.

Next, is a Whip Hand Lip Hit lip gloss pen in.......ummm.....a nice raspberry pink color.  (Helpful, aren't I?) Sorry, I threw the box away, and the color name is not on the actual product.  Funny story about this gloss-when I took it out, I assumed that it worked like one of those Stila Lip Glaze pens that you pull the little stopper plug out, then click, click, click the top until the product comes out.  Soooooooo, I started with the "stopper plug thingie" (technical term).  I pulled and pulled, and it stretched and stretched, and finally popped out.  It was then that I realized that it doesn't work like a Stila Lip Glaze pen after all, and that I had just pulled out the applicator. Um......oops? Anyway, I click, click, clicked the top (that part works the same, at least!) and a nice little blob fell out on my hand-on top of my lovely eyeshadow swatch.  (Beauty blogger fail.) Anyhow, I figured out that despite my goofiness, I can still apply the product with a brush (ok, more realistically, my finger), and it works fine.  I actually love the color.  The wear time is nothing spectacular, but it's better than Stila, and doesn't feel gloppy or sticky on my lips like those Stila Glazes do.

My third product is a La Bella Donna eye liner pencil in black.  Guess who threw the box away and doesn't have the real color name? Yep. (sigh) I'll get it together eventually.  Maybe.  Anyway, after I swatched this, I thought for sure I was going to love it.  The mark stayed on my hand through several hand washings, a face washing, a shower, and several more hand washings, so I thought that meant good things for wear time.  Well, the first and only time I wore it, I absent mindedly, lightly rubbed my itchy eye once, and it smeared all over the place.  I looked like I had a face-on collision with a Sharpie.  Not a good look for me, actually.  Since I have itchy eyes often, I'm kind of afraid to wear this again.

My last full sized product was NCLA nail polish in Let's Pop Bottles, Pink Champagne.  In the bottle, it's a very shimmery, multi-dimensional purple, with a hint of silver.  This seemed like a rather adventurous color for little old me, so I painted my toenails with it.  Expecting purple, glittery nails, imagine my surprise when I ended up with pink, foil nails! (I guess the name could have clued me in, but I just looked at it for the first time.)  I actually like it, and will use it to paint my fingernails sometime, too.  It's wearing well, I painted my nails on Sunday, and it looks good as new.

Last, I received a foil sample of Sorme Treat & Tint Skin Perfecting BB Cream in Light Honey.  My current skin color could best be described as "pasty suburban winter pallor", so, I don't think "Light Honey" is going to work for me.  Trade List.

There you go.  I like the lip gloss and the nail polish, and maybe someone else will like the eye shadow and Sorme.  Or not.  Whatever.  I'm going to give Wantable another month or two, and see what happens.  If I have somehow convinced you to sign up for a monthly Wantable makeup subscription, please click on my Wantable link. to help me earn credits towards future Wantble purchases.

Birchbox, Ipsy, and (my beloved) Lip Factory reviews coming soon!
Sunday, January 19, 2014

January Wantable and Birchbox Posts Coming Soon!

Hello-I haven't forgotten about my blog, really! My first week back to work was very stressful and busy, and just....not good.  I had no time or energy for blog posting, or anything else, really.  I wish I could spend more time doing what I enjoy, including posting on here, but I'm in kind of a crazy season of life right now.  I've spent the weekend cleaning, having a birthday party for my son, working on lesson plans, grocery shopping, and trying to get my thoughts in order.  When things are getting more difficult at work, I tend to focus on the negatives in my life, rather than the positives, and get bogged down in self pity. Yuck! That's not attractive at all.

I'm going to try to take better care of myself this week by countering negative self talk with more positive truths, taking my vitamins, drinking plenty of water, and resting as much as I can. What do you do to pick yourself up when you are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and blue?

Stay tuned for posts about my January Wantable and Birchboxes-hopefully soon!
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get 3 Zoya Nail Polishes for Free!

     I know, I know-I'm late to the party on this one, but just in case you haven't heard, hurry over to and pick out 3 nail polishes for free! Ok, maybe not totally free, you do have to pay $12 shipping and handling, but this is still quite a steal! I was first introduced to Zoya through Ipsy a few months ago, and they make a nice quality, long lasting polish that comes in tons of colors. From looking at the website, it looks like most bottles typically sell for $9 a piece, so $12 for 3 isn't too shabby! Use the code COLOR2014 to get the deal today through 1/13/14.
     I picked out Kylie2, which is a creamy pinkish/red, Zuza, which is a turquoise metallic shimmer, and Odette, which is a creamy orchid. I'm trying to force myself to branch out of the more traditional colors I usually go for.
     I get nothing out of this-just thought I'd spread the word!
Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Most Used Sub Box Products 2013

     I've only been subscribing to beauty sub boxes since July 2013, when I received my first Ipsy bag.  Since then, I've added on Birchbox, then Beauty Box 5 (which I cancelled after 3 "blah" boxes) in August or September, then Wantable.  I received my first Lip Factory box and Sample Society box in December. So, while I subscribe to a ridiculous amount of boxes, I haven't been getting them for very long.  I decided to put together a post sharing the items that I've used the most out of my 2013 boxes.  Since I haven't gotten that many yet, I only have five items to share, but just imagine what next year's post could look like!
     One of the fun things about receiving subscription boxes is receiving things to try that I would never think to buy or try on my own that end up being amazing for me! Most of the things in this post are items I was not excited about when I received them, but ended up becoming products that I would (or already have) repurchase. I can be a smidge resistant to change....
     First of all, I'm sorry the picture is sideways-that's just soooooo professional of me to leave it that way, isn't it? Oh well, moving on!

 Healthy Sexy Hair Beach Spray-I received a sample of this in my first Ipsy Glam bag.  I was hesitant to try this salt spray, not knowing if it would work for my fine, wavy hair.  However, it has quickly become a Holy Grail product.  The first time I sprayed it on, my husband sniffed my hair, and told me it smelled like the beach, and that I should "never stop using it." (Yeah, he didn't know how expensive it was when he said that.) This is a man who rarely seems to notice when I use a new product, so this is pretty high praise.  It amped up my lazy waves, and created some nice curl and texture in my hair, and that's what truly sold me! This product is free of silicones, which I am trying to avoid, so that's a huge bonus, as well.  Unfortunately, this stuff is about $20 a bottle, and I go through it pretty fast.  Also, now that's it's winter, and the air is not as humid, this product is not working quite as well for me as it did in the summer and fall, but I'm still a newly devoted fan.

Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer-I received a generous sample size of this stuff in my first Birchbox.  I'd never heard of Juice Beauty at that time, so I wasn't too excited about it.  I have sensitive skin, that often breaks out from various moisturizers.  I've always had a very hard time finding a good one that keeps my skin flake free without causing acne.  This stuff does that for me.  A dime sized dot is more than enough to cover my face and neck, so even though the full size is $29, it'll last me for a while.  I wish this had some anti-aging ingredients in it-that's the only drawback.  I'm hoping to get some samples of other Juice products to try out!

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara-I'm almost embarrassed to add this to my list because of the way I griped and complained about it when I received it! I feel like subscription companies love to send me mascara, even though I always de-select it on my profiles.  I wear contact lenses, and have itchy, allergy eyes, so I only wear waterproof mascara.  I'm fortunate to have dark, long, thick lashes already, so mascara is something I rarely wore, because it made my eyelashes look like clumpy spider legs.  Not a good look.  Sometimes, though, I feel like I need something to re-darken my lashes after putting on concealer and eyeshadow.  I've found myself reaching for this more often that not since receiving it in a Birchbox.  It doesn't do anything "magical" to my lashes, but it also doesn't clump.  At all.  I only use a teeny, tiny amount, so that may have something to do with it, but I'm loving how I can use this and keep a more natural, less spider-leggy eye look.  This is something I'll probably repurchase when I run out.

Face Stockholm The Great Face Contouring Kit-I received this concealer/highlighter palette in my November Wantable box, and wrote more about it here.  I'm using it every day, mostly to cover up my dark under eye circles ( I use the lighter concealer and a bit of the pink highlighter mixed together), and acne scars.  The coverage is very good, although I'm still looking for something that will totally obliterate my horrible dark circles.  I'm still impressed with the size of this, and how much product is in the pans of this wheel.  I would totally repurchase this, but I think it'll last me a long time.

Miss Jessie's Leave-In Condish-I received a huge, foil packet of this in a Birchbox a couple of months ago.  In fact, the sample was so big, that I'm still using it! It is very, very difficult to find a good detangler/leave-in conditioner that doesn't contain silicones.  My fine, long hair, gets horrible knots and tangles in it, and I need a detangler with some serious slip.  This is the only thing I've been able to find that helps.  It doesn't work nearly as well as my beloved, but silicone-laden KMS Moisture Revival Cream, but it does provide more slip than the other things I've tried.  After my second use of the sample, I purchased the full size from Birchbox.  It has a strong, fabric-softener like scent, that some people hate, but I don't really mind, as I like clean scents. I have noticed that if I use too much, I get a film on my hair, and my ends get stringy, but until I find something better to help me unsnarl the terrible knots I get in my hair, this is a Can't Live Without It product!

Honorable Mention (not pictured)-Noya Lip Balm in Vanilla-I was so mad when I received this product in my second Ipsy bag instead of the Urban Decay lipstick sample that other subscribers received in it's place.  But honestly, I use this lip balm daily, and I'm sure I wouldn't be using the same lipstick sample daily, so I guess it worked out after all.  This balm really works to keep my lips mositurized.  It's creamy, long lasting, and tastes good.  When I use a different balm, I always wish I'd put this one on instead because it just works better.

     There you go! I'm really excited to see what new Holy Grail products I might receive this year, or if I might find some that I like even better than these.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hibernation Interrupted to Bring You-My December Sample Society Box

     I'm still on Winter Break from my teaching job. There is about 6 inches of snow on the ground, and it's only about 16 degrees out.  I'm comfy on the couch, with a blanket, and a warm laptop, trying not to doze off.  It's been a rough couple of weeks! Ok, no, it hasn't-I've enjoyed every minute of it, as I've needed this time away from work to recharge.
     I'm interrupting my lovely time of winter break hibernation, to bring you my review of my December Sample Society box.With a subscription to the's Sample Society, I receive 5 deluxe sized samples of makeup or skin care products a month for $15.  The box is curated for Beauty Bar by Allure magazine. This was my first Sample Society Box; a subscription I decided to pick up in place of Beauty Box 5, which I found to be a let down with it's boring products.

So this box wasn't exactly the most exciting subscription box I've received, but I didn't totally dislike it, either. In my box, I received the following:

Alterna Caviar Dry Shampoo-I can't really review this product, as I haven't used it yet.  This dry shampoo is not an aerosol, but a powder that you apply somehow to your hair.  I can't imagine how this works without making a mess, so I haven't been brave enough to try it yet.

dermalogica Daily Microfoliant-I was excited to receive a couple of products in this box with names that I actually recognize (I'm used to getting J. Cat, Be a Bombshell, Michael Marcus, and lots of other unknown-outside-of-subscriptions brands, remember?) I've actually heard of this brand, and seen it in stores, and was excited to try one of their products.  This is a powder that you massage onto your wet face to cleanse and exfoliate.  The powder turns to a slightly gritty cream when wet.  I've used this a few times, and I'm not sure it has actually done anything to my skin, but I'll keep using it.  The sample size is very nice-I can gt many uses out of this.

Jane Iredale Lash Conditioner-This teeny, tiny sample was slightly smaller than my pinky finger.  I have no use for a product like this, as I'm fortunate to have long, healthy lashes, I guess.  I traded this to someone else for a Chella Highlighter Pencil that I've been wanting, so I can't give a review.

Philosophy Hope in a Jar Night Moisturizer-Woohoo! A Philosophy product! Who hasn't heard of Philosophy, right? This is another one I was excited about, as I like the products I've tried from this brand, but it's so expensive, that I don't like to purchase without sampling first.  I've used this a couple of times, and I find that while it feels a bit greasy at first, it sinks in quickly.  I haven't had any positive or negative results yet, so that's about all I can say.  The sample size, while not nearly as big as the dermalogica, is ok.

IPKN New York Moist and Firm BB Cream in 02 Light-This is one product that I was happier with after sampling than when I first saw it in my box.  All the other BB creams I've tried from sample services have broken me out, and looked funny on my skin.  This one actually blended nicely with my natural skin tone, and didn't cause any acne, at least not after the 3 times I wore it.  I generally prefer a more full coverage foundation product, especially during the winter, but I may use the rest of this up in the Spring. Seems like a nice product, and I've heard good things about it.

So, overall, even though it wasn't the most exciting box, it was really nice to get some well-known, higher end brands for a change.  So far, spoilers for the January box show that some subscribers will get a Stila lipstick sample (please, please let it be me!!), and everyone (I think) will get a Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertilizer or a Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil.  I'm hoping for the Cuticle Oil, as I have no use for the Nail Fertilizer, but I'm sure I could easily find someone to trade with me.

Disclaimer-I paid for this product with my own money, and I am not being compensated for my opinions or this review.  However, if you'd like to sign up for Sample Society, and would like to use my referral link, please click on the link below, and use the code BACK2659 to help me earn points for discounts.  Thank you!