Friday, October 13, 2017

September 2017 Ipsy Glam Bag Review

What: Ipsy Glam Bag contains 5 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month (free shipping within the US)
Fun Extras: You can review your products each month to earn points which can be redeemed for bonus items. You can also purchase the products you love straight from the Ipsy website.

Ipsy is one of those subscriptions that I'll probably never let go of. Not every bag is super unbelievably fantastic, but the value is consistently there and to be honest, it's the only way I've been getting my makeup. Seriously, I haven't bought any makeup at the store in over two years. At this point I think they pretty much have me figured out based on my profile and bag reviews so I have no need to shop elsewhere. ;-)

Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Gunmetal (0.7g sample, $4.50) - Call me dull but I've been into gray eye shadow lately, especially the kind with a bit of sparkle, which is odd considering I don't normally care for shimmer in my shadows. But then again I've always been a fan of anything gunmetal because shiny gray is such a badass color. This eye shadow is creamy and subtle but buildable and will probably be my new favorite.
Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Gunmetal
Luxie Beauty Medium Angled Shading Brush ($12) - My Ipsy profile always includes makeup tools as a preference in hopes that I'll see a foundation or eyeliner brush, but they never seem to make the cut. This is probably the 10th eye shadow brush I've gotten in a glam bag, which I guess isn't that bad since I can potentially use as many shadow brushes as I have eye shadows. Plus I like the Luxie ones, the bristles are so soft and don't scratch at my eyelids like some others I've tried.

ColourPop Cosmetics Ultra Glossy Lip in ipsy VIP (0.09oz full size, $6) - Have you ever had an obsession with a type of beauty product to the point where you know you probably have the exact same color but in another brand and you convince yourself that they are indeed two TOTALLY different things? I'm like that when it comes to lip glosses (and nail polishes, but that's another story). Ipsy collaborated with ColourPop to create this mid-tone berry pink and I'm positive I have this exact color somewhere but I'm just too lazy to dig around to find it so I'll just add this one to the top of the pile (this may or may not be how hoarding begins). It provides medium coverage without all that stickiness that ends up all over your hair when a gust of wind blows.
ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lip in Ipsy VIP

P.R.M.I.T Beauty GELlusion Gel-Effect Polish in September (Virgo) (0.5oz full size, $11) - I've gone to the nail salon once in my life and it was to get the only gel manicure I've ever had done. I don't own a UV lamp or a single bottle of gel polish so it's kind of a treat whenever a gel-like traditional nail polish comes my way. I have yet to come across one that holds true to its gellish no-chip claim, but whatever it's still fun to try it anyway. I honestly don't know what P.R.M.I.T stands for, but all of their polishes are 9-free and vegan. So in other words they make healthy, friendly polish. September is a deep sapphire, kind of a cross between royal and navy blue. And just as with lip glosses, I'm kind of a blue nail polish freak so I'm 110% sure I have this exact color in my drawer. But guess what? Now I have two (or maybe three) ;)

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off  - Yesss! I've wanted to try Skinfood's sugar masks for sooo long. A lot of their products smell yummy, and this sugar scrub smells just like the brown sugar that's in it. I love Skinfood's philosophy of rooting beauty products in good-for-you foods. Plus it's always fun to say you treated your skin with peaches and caviar :)

Verdict: Ipsy has really nailed it this month! Everything in here is something I like and will use. I guess those glam bag reviews every month really are good for something, huh? My fave is probably the Skinfood mask just because I've been wanting to get my hands on it for so long. We're talking the past two years, but since I only use scrubs once per week I didn't want to spend the money for a full size only to find out I can't finish it. I'm also really happy to get the eye shadow; it's not quite smoke but definitely does not look flashy and silver when applied.

Sign up here to subscribe to Ipsy. It's $10 a month and you get five items (I've always gotten at least one full size item each month) inside an exclusive makeup bag along with access to loads of online coupons from the featured brands as well as discounted prices via the Ipsy website. 

Note: This post contains referral links. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

September 2017 PLAY! by Sephora Review

What: PLAY! by Sephora contains 5-6 deluxe samples of beauty products in a stylish drawstring bag. Curations are based on your beauty profile so what you get may differ from other subscribers.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 20th
Cost: $10/month + tax (ships anywhere within the US)
Fun Extras: With your subscription you'll also get access to how-to videos and tutorials for everything in your bag. Bonus: Each month you'll also get a Play Pass worth 50 points when you redeem it in-store with any full-sized purchase.

Sephora Play has been out for a while now, and I tried jumping on the Play bandwagon back when it was brand spanking new but got rejected at checkout because it wouldn't ship to AK or HI (which I thought was odd considering I can place other Sephora online orders just fine). But recently - I'm not sure how recently - that changed. About a month ago I got an email notifying me that *gasp* Sephora has a new subscription service and *double gasp* I can subscribe to it! And for only $10 a month why not, right? So I checked out and a week later this arrived --
Yay! I like to be surprised so as always I refused to check out the spoiler emails or other blogger reviews ahead of time. Here's what my beauty profile landed me with:

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil in Black Lace - I'm always on the lookout for long-wearing eye liners that are creamy and don't tug on application. This one fits the bill. Black Lace is a matte black that glides on smoothly and does. not. come. off. I really think their 12 hour smudgeproof claim might be accurate. Rubbing with my fingers did absolutely nothing to remove it. The swatch below is before (left) and after (right) rubbing vigorously for a good 15 seconds under a steady stream of water. I think it's safe to say it will stay put at your BFF's tearjerker of a wedding.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Dark Brown-Black - I have a confession: I was a hairy kid. Growing up I sported a unibrow until I learned how to shape it. It seemed like a curse back then but I guess it was really a blessing in disguise because brow fillers are one thing I never have to worry about. If anything I'll use some clear gel to hold the strays in place but tinted gels are never on my list of things to buy. Especially volumizing ones, which might actually make my eyebrows the center of attention. I'd rather not have people talking to my brows.
Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in Amulet - Here's another long-lasting piece of makeup. These liquid lipsticks come in a range of matte and metallic colors and Amulet is a matte brick rose. Sephora describes this as "a waterproof liquid lipstick that lays down intensely pigmented color that lasts." Intense pigment? Check. Waterproof? Double check. It takes a little while to set, but after 5 minutes you can be sure it'll stay put. Below is before and after desperately trying to remove the swatch under water. That's about 30 seconds of rubbing like crazy. You'll need soap or something oil-based to remove this one. Or maybe time. Possibly 24 hours, to allow the color to fade and transfer to other things.

IGK Hot Girls Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner - If you've got dry or damaged hair, this shampoo/conditioner duo is for you. It deeply hydrates with shea butter and vitamin E while lychee extract helps protect from further damage and oxidative stress.

Algenist Recharging Night Pressed Serum - This solid serum fights the effects of aging with alguronic acid algaprotein. It hydrates skin to leave it soft and supple, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb - I'm a huge fan of gel creams because typical moisturizers leave my oily skin feeling greasier and 99% of the time will result in a breakout. This oil-free aqua bomb cools and refreshes skin yet still provides intense hydration. My only gripe is that the scent is a bit strong and medicinal. It does contain lady's mantle which has some antioxidant properties, maybe that's what the herbal scent is from?

Verdict: I've been wanting to see what this subscription was all about ever since its inception and this bag comes close to what I expected. It's pretty much what I've been wanting Sephora (or any beauty store for that matter) to do for years. Give me more-than-one-time-use samples so I can decide for myself if I like it or not rather than have a salesperson try to sell me the full size of something they insist I will love. And if I do happen to love an item then I can easily head to my local Sephora and pick up the full size version.

Click here to subscribe to Play by Sephora for just $10 a month. You'll get a bag full of deluxe samples of makeup and cosmetics to try before buying. And if you do end up loving it you can purchase the full size straight from your account. How convenient!

Note: No referral links were used in this post. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

August 2017 Pooch Perks Dog Box Review

What: Pooch Perks is a subscription box for dogs containing 2-5 treats and toys. There are three subscription options: Sample Pooch (2 past items), Popular Pooch (4-5 toys & treats) and Custom Pooch (includes options for just treats, just toys, heavy chewer, or no grains). Boxes are also curated according to your dog's size.  If your dog has allergies you can also note that down when you sign up. 
Note: If you signed up before February 2017, you're grandfathered into the previous subscription options. For reference, this review is for the older plan's Popular Pooch box (4 items) for a medium-large dog (35+ lbs).
When: Choose between monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly deliveries
Cost: $12-$32 per box depending on which subscription option you choose (+$5 shipping/box); ships anywhere in the US and US territories

It's been a long time coming, but my August Pooch Perks box is here at last! Apparently the company is under new management and some things got mixed up in the process, but in the end it all worked out and my dogs are happy. So without further ado, I present you August's Fun at the Zoo dog box:

PetLou 8" Long Legs Giraffe Plush - PetLou's long legs line of toys are designed with the playful tug of war lover in mind. A couple of feet on this giraffe have squeakers and there's a rattle hidden in another. These are the soft plush types of toys that Pebbles just loves to rip apart. Sorry Mr. Giraffe, you're too cute to be torn apart so I need to give you to someone who will treat you better.

Exclusively Pet Barking Bus Animal Cookies - Is it kind of scary that these cookies could actually pass for Barnum's animal cookies? They look and smell like them and the ingredient lists are surprisingly similar. Well, if the dogs turn their nose up at these (not likely) then at least they won't go to waste. ;)
Are they human cookies or dog cookies???

Exclusively Pet Fido's Food Truck Treats on Wheels Cheesy Bacon Bones - What a mouthful! These are tiny little dog bone-shaped biscuits with a cheesy bacon twist. I normally wouldn't hesitate to give these to my dogs but I recently found out Macho has a whole bunch of food allergies and can no longer eat foods containing potato, corn, turkey, or peas (which is pretty much everything since some of those foods are commonly used as fillers). These contain potato flour so I don't want to risk it -- seeing him itchy all over just breaks my heart. :( (He's going on two months wearing the cone of shame because none of the anti-itch meds from the vet seem to be working)

Kong Squiggles Elephant - Macho's first toy was a Kong plush hippo that he insisted on playing with long after its inside fluff was gone. For two years he basically played with a furry blue rug (that's how you know it's a favorite toy). Now that he has to share his toys with a younger sister I try to give them things they can play tug of war with so nobody feels left out. This stretchy elephant is perfect for that, plus it has squeakers on either end. Best of all - minimal stuffing!

Dogs Love Kale Chicken & Sweet Potato Dog Treats - Again, a month ago I would have given these to Macho with no hesitation. He loves his meaty treats, but the potato in here makes this a no-no. At least Pebbles can still enjoy them. I've been making Macho's biscuits from scratch lately and he seems to really love those so I don't think he'll be too jealous :) What a spoiled dog.

Multipet Ruff Enuff Lobberz Fish - I mentioned earlier that there was a shipping mix-up in August, so Pooch Perks kindly included this rubber lobber fish as an extra for the pups. This toy has some weight to it, so it's probably not a good idea for fetch with smaller dogs, but then again only the larger ones would be able to get their mouth around it, anyway. This durable fish floats, bounces erratically and squeaks if you squeeze it hard enough. My dogs prefer to use it as a chew toy, though, and just gnaw on it piece by piece until they can break open the rubber. *sigh* I have such weird dogs.

Verdict: This was a very cute box that did a good job of focusing on the zoo theme, but I am a bit sad that the giraffe looks so fragile and can't go to the dogs. Perhaps I can use it to decorate Baby's safari-themed nursery? At least we'll be able to make use of everything else, even though Macho can't have the bacon bones or sweet potato treats. I've notified Pooch Perks of this newfound info and they were more than happy to try and be as accommodating as possible toward his multiple food allergies, so bonus points to them for great customer service. :)

Click here to sign up for Pooch Perks. Don't forget to use the code FRIEND10 to get 10% off your subscription!

Note: This review reflects my (and perhaps more importantly my dogs') honest opinions. No referral links were used in this post.

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 2017 Stickii Club Cute Sticker Pack Review

 What: Stickii Club is a sticker subscription that sends an envelope of Cute, Retro or Pop themed stickers every month (you choose which category when you sign up). This review is for the Cute pack.
When: Ships by the 11th or 22nd of each month depending on your signup date
Cost: $10 per month (free shipping to US; $1.25 to Canada, $2.00 to anywhere else)

When I was growing up my parents made sure to teach me the importance of always being prepared. I didn't necessarily bring five just-in-case sets of clothes for a weekend at grandma's, but I definitely didn't want to be that kid showing up on the first day of school with no pencil or paper, either. And evidently, the prepared folks at Stickii Club feel the same way because they brought Halloween to September. You know, to make sure I don't have to cram my Halloween card-making and Happy-planner-ing into the last two weeks of October. Thanks, Stickii, your thoughtfulness is much appreciated :)

Over the past few years I've rekindled my love for holiday decor (yes, stickers count!). In the beginning it was just Christmas, but now I find myself hitting up the dollar spot for other holidays as well. And with October just around the corner I'm on the lookout for Halloween decorations. Not the ghoulish, grotesque kind, but I'm talking about the cute ghosts and goblins that couldn't be scary if they tried. (Like Big Boo from Mario Bros.) And thankfully, cutesy Halloween decor is becoming increasingly popular so the options are practically endless. I was just browsing through a crafting catalog the other day drooling over the huge selection of Halloween stamps and dies, debating whether to pick any up for Halloween cards. Good thing I didn't, because what good would those have been now that Stickii has sent me a bunch of stickers right here at my disposal?

When it comes to Halloween I love seeing cute fat pumpkins and ghosts, but I must say those black cats in hats are pretty sweet, too. And if you look closely you'll see the little ghost clip/bookmark that will be my page marker in my planner for the next month. :D Thanks to my awesome phone camera skills the coloring of the sheet on the left looks washed out, but it actually has a really colorful assortment of kids in costume. My favorite is the Jack Skellington kid. Why? Because he's Jack and Jack always looks happy :)

These are the rest of the October sticker pack contents. The blue sticker sheet in the middle was created by Stickii Club and it's my favorite of the bunch! These guys really know what cute is, and every single sticker on here is adorable. Even the cauldron. I didn't even know a cauldron could look cute. But draw in a few bubbles and *BAM* instant cuteness. I'm not totally sure what the stickers on the left are or what they have to do with Halloween, but it's proof that if you want something to look cute, just add eyeballs. ;) I'll probably end up using them as planner flags. 

I'm so happy with these Halloween stickers! I forgot to mention it above, but those ghost flakes in the photos above would put a hilarious finishing touch on any card or note. I mean everybody's seen a ghost holding a pumpkin before, but have you ever seen one stealing treasure? Or stuck in a bottle? Stickii has a knack for finding the best stickers to fit a theme, and this month was no exception.

Click here to sign up for October's sticker pack!

Note: No referral links were used in this post. All opinions are my own.

Friday, September 8, 2017

August 2017 Ipsy Glam Bag Review

What: Ipsy Glam Bag contains 5 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month (free shipping within the US)
Fun Extras: You can review your products each month to earn points which can be redeemed for bonus items. You can also purchase the products you love straight from the Ipsy website.

Lately, with the baby on the way (*surprise!*) I haven't been able to incorporate much of anything into my beauty regimen. Everything's either "this is bad for baby" or "that may exacerbate the problem." Add that to the fact that anything I can use has been making me break out like a pubescent schoolgirl and it makes for one pimply-faced, acne-scar-riddled lady. No pregnancy glow here! Because of that I haven't been able to try out new makeup shades or the latest cleansers so I apologize in advance if I give zero input from personal experience. :(

I am currently stuck in a love-hate relationship with August's makeup bag. Love the style and gradient, can definitely do without the words. But moving on...

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay - This gel cleanser foams up when you apply it and the combination of red clay and rosemary oil keep skin balanced. Apparently pregnancy amps up sebum production which makes my already oily skin somewhat of an oil slick. They say clay and charcoal cleansers are great for oily skin. I have mixed feelings about that claim based on past pre-preggo experiences, but right now I'm at a point where my glycolic acid cleanser is keeping my face at a (bit below) happy medium and I'm afraid to change ANYTHING at the moment.

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara - I've tried this before and while I don't have anything against this particular one, mascaras in general are not really my thing. I've never met one that actually curls and lengthens like it claims to. Next.

Naked Cosmetics Translucent HD Finishing Powder - Again, I'm not overly impressed with translucent powders. The way I see it is if you've tried one you've tried them all since they basically have the same silica/talc ingredient list. Don't get me wrong - I never leave the house without it, but I've already got enough to last me a lifetime.

theBalm Voyage Vol. 2 Eyeshadow/Luminizer in Kuwakaribisha - TheBalm has got to have some of the cutest sample packaging (I love magnetic cases) but the sample inside is always so tiny you can barely get anything on your brush, especially the blushes and bronzers. But I deal with it because I do love the pigmentation I get from their products. They're subtle yet you can still tell it's there. I'm not a huge fan of luminizers but I could definitely get some use  from this as an eyeshadow.

Sundays Nail Polish in No. 28 - Sundays is a nail spa in NYC that also has its own product line featuring cruelty- and 10-free vegan nail polishes. No. 28 is an earthy lavender gray that's perfect for the transition from summer to fall. I'm definitely using this the next time I do my nails.

Verdict: Maybe I'm just bitter that I won't be able to use the cleanser anytime soon or that I already have a ton of setting powders and shimmery peach eyeshadows, but I wasn't overly impressed with August's glam bag loot. I will say that I'm very happy with the nail polish though, because while I do already have a bunch of purples, I don't have a dusty purple quite like this one. And the nail polish alone costs $18 sooo I guess that makes up for being underwhelmed.

Sign up here to get started with Ipsy. For only $10 a month you'll get five items inside an exclusive makeup bag along with access to loads of online coupons from the featured brands as well as discounted prices via the Ipsy website. 

Note: This post contains referral links. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.