ipsy June 2014 – Unbagging and Review

I’m so sorry it took me so long to write this post!  I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I was able to find some time to review my first ipsy bag!  If you don’t know what ipsy is, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service where you pay $10 a month and receive a bag with 4-5 deluxe samples or often full-size products.  It is an awesome deal and a great way to try out new products!  A fun aspect of ipsy is that they release sneak peeks of the products in the bag at the beginning of the month, and they have a lot of “challenges” and opportunities to win more products!

This month’s theme is Pretty in Paradise.

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First of all, I LOVE the bag.  Rebecca Minkoff partnered with ipsy this month to design the bag, and it is a pretty navy blue color with bright pineapples.  The zipper and interior are red.  This would make a very cute summer clutch!  Now on to the products!

1) Nyx Butter Gloss in Eclair – this item was the first sneak peek for the month, and everyone got one of these in one of three colors.  I received Eclair, which is a pink lilac shade, and I have a picture of the swatch below.  The gloss is very shiny and “buttery,” and it is quite pigmented.  It also smells AMAZING, like a vanilla cupcake.  Best of all, this is a FULL SIZE item, which normally retails for $5.00.

2) OFRA Universal Eyebrow Pencil – I’m still relatively new to eyebrow makeup, and I have yet to master using an eyebrow pencil to achieve natural-looking brows…they always end up looking like they were painted on!  Nevertheless, I was excited to give this a try.  OFRA claims that this eyebrow pencil is universal, in that it can be used on any hair color or skin color.  I’m skeptical of that, but I just read the instructions on their website, and I will give it another shot.  Even though it is a deep chocolate brown and I have dark brown hair, the pencil color was so different from my hair color that it was blatantly obvious, even from afar, that I was wearing an eyebrow pencil that didn’t match.  I didn’t blend it out as the website instructs, but I will try that next time and see how I like it.  I do like that it has wax in it, so that it holds the brows in place, and my brows can be rather unruly!  This is also a FULL SIZE product, normally retailing for $13.00.

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3) Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner in Blue – I was VERY skeptical of this when I found out I would be receiving it, as I normally do not like to use makeup with glitter.  It’s also electric blue, which is completely out of my comfort zone.  I was even prepared to trade this with someone else, but when that fell through, I actually felt relieved.  This is definitely not going to be an everyday kind of thing, but I think it might look nice with black liner for going out.  I haven’t used it yet apart from swatching it, and it is a very pigmented electric blue liquid liner with some shimmer.  I’m glad it doesn’t have glitter chunks!  It’s also waterproof and smudge-proof.  This is a full size product that normally retails for $4.99.

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4) REALTREE for Her perfume – So far in 3 subscription boxes, I’ve received 3 perfume samples!  In contrast to the Birchbox samples, however, this is a deluxe sample and it is twice as large.  I love the pink packaging and the fact that there’s a cap over the spritzer.  The website describes the scent as containing pomegranate, persimmon, orchid, lotus blossom, amber, violet, and mahogany wood.  To me, it has a very woodsy scent, which makes sense coming from RealTree, which seems to be a hunting/outdoors company.  It’s a nice scent, although rather strong, so a couple spritzes go a long way.  This deluxe sample size retails for $6.99.

5) Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage and Anti-Frizz Styling Cream – This product is meant to be used prior to blow drying or straight ironing your hair.  I don’t use heat products on my hair, I don’t even own a hair dryer or straightening iron, so I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it.  I plan to try it once and let my hair air dry normally, but I may have to give it to a friend who uses heating tools on her hair.  The full size (90 ml) retails for $12.00 at Target, so I calculated the sample size (15 ml) to be worth about $2.

Total value of bag contents: $31.98.  The bag itself, having been designed by Rebecca Minkoff, is worth well over $10 in my opinion.  So I paid $10 for $32 worth of products and a designer makeup bag.  Not bad!  To top it off, I’m already very happy with 3 of the products (gloss, eyebrow pencil, and perfume), and I look forward to giving the eyeliner a try.  Like I said, I probably won’t use the Carol’s Daughter cream, but I’m sure I can find a good home for it!

I hope you liked the review of my first ipsy bag!  Let me know what you think in the comments.  If you’re interested in joining ipsy, there’s a link to join in the side bar as well as the top navigation bar of this blog!

I have a couple reviews planned for this week, so check back soon!


Birchbox June 2014 – Unboxing and First Impressions


That’s right, in the span of two days I have received and opened two Birchboxes!  I also received another special package today, but I’m saving that for another post…

This month’s theme is Away we go, and it is all about travel.  I am very happy with the sample sizes in this box, especially the shampoo!  Without further ado, let’s get into the goodies!

1) The first item that jumped out at me was the Davines – Love Smoothing Shampoo.  It is a HUGE sample, enough for 3 or 4 uses (and for someone with a lot of hair like me, that’s saying something!).  They also included a packet of the conditioner, which I can probably stretch to two uses, and the OI All in One Milk, which is a leave-in treatment to help tame frizz and soften hair.  The shampoo has quite a strong floral smell, but it’s a very pleasant scent and I am looking forward to trying out all 3 products.  The best part is that all three items count as one sample, so we still have four to go!  [Full size: $24-$28]

2) The next item is yet another perfume sample, which I was disappointed about…until I smelled it.  It is the Joie – Folle de Joie Eu de Parfum.  When I was a teenager (a decade ago!) I wore a perfume from PacSun called lilu.  The scent was very beachy and sweet.  This perfume smells EXACTLY like lilu, so it is like a nostalgic blast from the past.  The product description says it is “a fresh blend of mandarin, rose, and sandalwood that evokes a carefree, summertime vibe.”  I’ll definitely use up this entire sample, but if you like this scent, consider checking out lilu!  [Full size: $98]

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3) I am not too happy with the third item on my list, which is the LAQA & Co. – Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour.  It is a bright purple color, which I think goes horribly with my skin tone.  The product looks ridiculously purple in the tube, but once I swatched it out, it’s more of a neon fuschia color, which is still not appealing.  It is also quite matte, even though the product description describes it as “high gloss.”  The only thing I do like about it is that it has a minty scent.  I doubt I’ll be using this one, but perhaps the other colors in the line would work better for me.  [Full size: $18]

4) Yup, it’s Supergoop! again.  The same exact sample I got in the May box.  I really can’t complain, since I received a pretty great box overall, but I can’t help but be slightly disappointed about not getting a different item.  I contacted Birchbox Ops, and they told me that I should have received the “anti-aging” Supergoop sample in my May box.  They are sending me that sample now!  Mistakes happen, and I’m glad they have great customer service.  [Full size: $19]

5) The final item in my box is the Vasenti Cosmetics – BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator.  I’ve been really into skin care lately and trying different face masks and treatments, so I’m looking forward to giving this a try.  This is similar to a microdermabrasion with extremely fine granules.  It has a lot of natural ingredients, including coconut, papaya, and aloe, so I hope my skin likes it!  [Full size: $34]

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this box.  I am very excited to try and use 3 out of the 5 items (or 5 out of 7 if you count the foil packets).  I am indifferent to the sunscreen, and I do not like the lip gloss.  The sunscreen is useful, but to me, sunscreen is sunscreen.  It does its job.  I admit I haven’t tried it yet (haven’t spent much time outside apart from running errands), so maybe my indifference will change to excitement if I find that it does something special for me.  I’m fairly confident, however, that the lip gloss will never win me over.

That’s it for Birchbox this month!  Let me know in the comments what you got in yours or what you think about my box!



Just received an email from Birchbox apologizing for the mixup with the Supergoop sample.  They have credited my Birchbox account 100 points, which equals $10.00 to use in the Birchbox shop!!!  I’ve only been with Birchbox for about a month, and so far their customer service is absolutely amazing.  So with this $10, plus the $10 I have already earned from reviewing the products from my first two boxes, I redeemed $20 in points and purchased the Benefit Erase Paste for only $6!  Plus there is a promotion going on for a free sample of the Benefit They’re Real! Mascara with any Benefit purchase over $25, so I will be receiving that as well.  Plus free shipping!  I am loving Birchbox so much right now.  I can’t wait to receive these products and try them out!

Birchbox May 2014 – Unboxing and First Impressions

Last week I received my first Birchbox.  Unfortunately I was out of town until Monday, so I didn’t get to open it until then.  I was actually pretty surprised that I was getting the May box, since I signed up in mid-May at the same time I signed up for ipsy.  I had already watched several unboxing videos of the May box, so I knew about the theme, but I got a bunch of products that I’m really excited to try!

May 2014


First of all, I absolutely love the print inside the box.  This month, Birchbox partnered with Kate Spade Saturday, and the print is part of her line.  The box also came with a coupon for $25 off a purchase of $75 or more from the Saturday line, so maybe I’ll be checking that out this summer!  Let’s get into the goods…

The May 2014 theme is Freewheeling, and it’s all about taking a playful approach to life!

1) The first item is the Beauty Protector – Protect & Detangle.  I had never heard of this brand before, and it seems to only be sold on the Birchbox website.  I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but it has a great scent and promises to do a lot of things to my hair, such as control frizz, add silkiness, and protect from heat damage.  I had a lot of trouble getting the pump to work, and apparently most people who received it did as well, because Birchbox Ops made a video describing how to get the pump unclogged and working.  Sure enough, the pump was working just fine after following those directions.  Even if the pump had been completely broken, the bottle is made of a nice flexible rubber material, so it wouldn’t have been difficult to just squeeze the product out.  I’m really looking forward to trying this, and at the price of the full-size, I’d definitely consider purchasing it!  [Full size: $21.95]

2) I was very excited to receive this next item, the Cynthia Rowley Beauty Black Eyeliner.  I had seen many beauty bloggers posting about the silver eyeliner, which I am not adventurous enough to try, so I am very happy that I received the black one!  The eyeliner is an amazingly creamy pencil and is extremely smudge-proof and long-lasting.  I haven’t used it on my eyes yet, but I swatched it on the back of my hand, and that swatch stayed put for over 24 hours!  It obviously faded some as I washed my hands several times throughout the day, but even 24 hours later, there was still a faint black line on my hand.  I have no doubt this would last through an entire work day or from evening into nighttime.  Personally, I wear brown or grey eyeliner during the day and reserve black eyeliner for going out at night or when I’m going for a bolder look, so I think I’ll make this sample last.  Adorable packaging as well!  [Full size: $16]

3) The third item I received is the Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion.  I had never heard of this brand before, but apparently this is the brand used by luxury hotels for their lotions and bath product samples.  It is a great sample size, and I really like the sturdy packaging.  Once this lotion is used up, I’ll probably refill the container with another lotion and keep it in my bag.  The actual lotion itself is wonderful!  It is extremely light, almost watery, and soaks into the skin effortlessly without being greasy.  A little bit goes a long way, so this sample will last a while.  It is very hydrating, and I can’t stop touching the back of my hand–it’s never been softer!!  I’m very bad at describing scents, but it has a light floral scent that is not overpowering.  My first instinct is lavender, but I may be completely wrong on that.  I usually gravitate more towards sweet scents and citrus, but I do like the smell of this lotion.  I’m very happy with this sample and I’ll probably look into the rest of their line!  [Full size: $16]

4) Ah yes, the infamous perfume sample.  I’ve seen a lot of these samples in unboxing videos, and I know there’s a section on the Birchbox beauty profile where you can opt to limit the number of perfume samples you receive in a year.  I work in a hospital, where strong scents are a no-no, so for me, perfumes and fragrances are limited to special occasions or going out, not an every day thing.  That being said, the second I smelled this perfume, I was in love!  It is the Harvey Prince Hello perfume, and the description says that it “mingles cheerful citrus with floral notes.”  This is definitely my kind of scent!  I also love the packaging and how the sample has a spritzer.  Maybe that’s how all perfume samples are, I’m totally new to perfume!  I’ll definitely be getting some use out of this sample, but will probably say no to the full size.  [Full size: $55]

5) The last item I received is the Supergoop! Everyday SPF 30 with Cellular Response Technology sunscreen.  This claims to be water-resistant and lightweight, so I’m sure it will be great to use underneath makeup.  I like that it doesn’t have that obnoxious “typical sunscreen” smell.  My only complaint is the size of the sample.  At 0.34 fl oz, I’ll be lucky if I get one use out of it.  I know Birchbox doesn’t have control over the size of the samples, but it’s really hard to get an idea of a product with just one use!!  Alas, sunscreen is sunscreen, and I already use a BB cream with SPF, so I don’t think I will be purchasing the full size. [Full size: $19]

That’s a wrap for my first bag!  Overall I am very happy with my first Birchbox.  Out of 5 items, I am very excited to use 4 of them, but I am indifferent towards the sunscreen.  The print on the inside of the box is also super adorable, and I am using it as part of my makeup storage.  Let me know if you’d like to see a post about how I store my makeup!

I’ve actually already received my June Birchbox as well, and I am expecting my ipsy bag any day now, so I’ll be posting about those very soon!