Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain

Sometimes I wish I were Superman. He never gets sick. Come to think of it, I don't know of any superhero who gets sick. I know what I want to be for Halloween -- a superhero! I wish Amazon Prime still had 2-day shipping to HI :(
Yay or Nay?
These last couple of months have been super duper hectic. With all the stress of final wedding planning arrangements, a minor sickness was inevitable. I was constantly on the go the week leading up to it and barely gave myself any time to rest. I felt like I was coming down with something before the big day but was able to fight it off for the most part. Then the day after my wedding, BOOM! it hit. (Good thing we didn't have any honeymoon plans!) I was scheduled to work the very next Monday, and calling in sick to work was out of the question since I was supposed to be covering for someone for the next two weeks and there was no one else who could cover for me. So come Monday I was THAT person at work. You know, the one who can't go 10 minutes without blowing her nose. The congestion was insane. Man, I'd never been so happy that my desk is isolated in its own little room. Finally, I decided that I needed a little extra help and turned to Advil for some relief.

Fortunately, I had some Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain (formerly Advil Congestion Relief) at home. In hindsight, getting sick may have been completely my fault because I was actually looking forward to trying this OTC drug (plus when it comes with freebies like a schnoz stress ball and exclusive Advil tissues you can't help but get a bit excited about it. Thanks Smiley360 :] ). I've always just stuck to Sudafed when shopping for congestion meds. In fact, I didn't even know Advil had a cold/allergy line. 
That nosey stress ball is totally my kind of humor
Before getting into the nitty gritty of what works or doesn't work, here's some drug facts. You know, the important stuff. I took a photo of each panel so you can get all the drug info without taking a trip to the pharmacy. Or since everybody and their dog has internet access, you can just look it up on Advil's product page under Dosing Information.

Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain drug facts (click to enlarge)
Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain drug facts, pg 2. (click to enlarge)

Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain drug facts, pg 3. (click to enlarge)
Don't want to read all that and just want to know how much to take? For adults, you take one pill every 4 hours, less frequently if symptoms aren't too severe. Each pill has two active ingredients*:
Ibuprofen, 200mg - This is equivalent to one regular strength Advil pain reliever. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which works by blocking the production of prostaglandins (the 'swelling chemical') so that your tissues don't swell as much and therefore you won't feel the pain associated with swelling.
Phenylephrine hydrochloride, 10 mg - This is a nasal decongestant. Ever since its older cousin pseudoephedrine started flying off shelves and into homemade methamphetamine, the popularity of phenylephrine in meds has skyrocketed due to imposed restrictions on PSE sales, so it's worth knowing how phenylephrine works. When an irritant (hello, cold virus) is detected in the sinuses, cells initiate an immune response and amid all the ruckus inflammation occurs. The swelling of blood vessels brings a deluge of fluids into the sinuses as well as prevents drainage from the sinuses which leads to the stuffy nose feeling. Phenylephrine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts those blood vessels and allows drainage to occur, resulting in a "runny nose".
As I mentioned earlier, I was feeling like crap so I took one dose (1 pill) after dinner and waited. And waited. My headache dissipated some but I still couldn't breathe. I thought maybe sleeping might help because rest is the greatest thing in the world, right? Well, after tossing and turning for two hours, I still felt crappy and short of breath. I felt like I wasn't getting enough air into my lungs even if I breathed through my mouth. I tried going outside for some fresh air but that didn't help. When I started getting dizzy, I decided it was time to just use my go-to congestion med (which uses a different nasal decongestant) to determine if it was a freakishly horrible congestion episode or if it was just the Advil that wasn't effective for me. Within half an hour I was breathing fine and sleeping like a baby.

I wish Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain worked for me. I really do. But based on this and past personal experiences with phenylephrine HCl, it's not as effective as its alternative. The shortness of breath and dizziness I felt could also have been side effects, though it was my first time experiencing those effects when using phenylephrine. There's actually an ongoing debate about which works better, pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. Some claim that phenylephrine isn't as effective when taken orally - that it might work better intravenously, but I'm fairly certain pharmacies won't start selling OTC phenylephrine injections anytime soon. Another reason why many prefer pseudoephedrine is that in addition to being a vasoconstrictor, it also helps to clear the airways of excess mucus. However, because a few individuals choose to manufacture illegal drugs at home, it can be a pain to purchase meds containing pseudoephedrine; some states don't even allow PSE sales without a prescription.

So the burning question: Do I recommend this product? People react differently to drugs so I can't really give a yes or no answer. I think it's a great medicine for sinus pressure if phenylephrine works for you. In my case it didn't, so it likely won't be replacing my current PSE-containing sinus meds. I am willing to give it another shot, though, in case this incident was just a fluke. What is your take on Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain and other phenylephrine-containing medicines? Does it work for you?

If you want to grab a box to see how this drug works for you, click here to get $1.00 off. You can find Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain at most pharmacies.

*As with all medicine, check the box info or with your doctor for any possible interactions with other medication you are currently taking before use.

Note: This post contains referral links. I received Advil Sinus Congestion & Pain complimentary from Smiley360 for testing purposes. This post reflects my honest opinions about this product.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Julep Night Lights Mystery Box Review

It's been a while since I picked up a Julep mystery box, but when I saw the two exclusive polishes that would be included in the Night Lights Mystery Box, I just had to. I've always preferred glitter nail polish over creme and when I found out both polishes would be microglitters in my favorite colors (blue and gray) I didn't need to hear any more. That box was in my cart and checked out faster than it took to text "oops I did it again" to C. He hates when I make impulsive purchases ;)

As is always the case with Julep, they had to slow boat it here so it took about three weeks to arrive. Believe it or not, I was actually quite happy with that transit time - my last Julep order took 7 weeks to get here. Since I've been totally MIA in the sub box universe lately, I had no idea what would be in here. Turns out it was some pretty good stuff.
Julep Fluid Eye Glider - Jet Black (Value: $20) - I'm SO happy to have this! Of all the liquid eyeliners I've gotten through sub boxes, none were in pen form. (I suppose I could have just bought one on my own, but what's the fun in that?) The extra length gives you more precise control over your lines and there's no skipping. It does take several minutes to completely dry, but once it does it really is smudge resistant. It's not water-resistant though so don't yawn and then rub your eyes!
Julep fluid eye glider goes on nicely but it's not water resistant.

Julep Luxe Up Your Lips - Sangria (Value: $24) - These tinted lip conditioners come in sheer and opaque coverage. I got sangria which is an opaque berry color. It's pretty, but berry and my lips don't get along very well. I'll probably try to hunt down one of the sheer colors. Sheer coral maybe?

Nail Polish (Value: $14 each)
Oooooo nail polish. I've been on a nail polish binge for the last year and a half and despite several attempts at telling myself I don't need 50 shades of blue or 60 pinks I keep buying more. I'm not too bad when it comes to collecting duplicates,but if there's an itty bitty difference between two grays, I'm keeping both. In fact, gray was one of the colors that pulled me into this box in the first place..

Brandy - steel grey with blue microglitter liquid holographic.
This is almost similar to Braiden except Brandy has tiny flecks of blue microglitter mixed in and it's a different finish. Okay, so maybe they are two totally different animals. That means I get to keep this one. :D I'm sorry my camera phone skills suck and you can't see the blue glitters mixed in, but trust me they're there and they add a pretty iridescence to this polish.

Brenna - blue glow-in-the-dark iridescent microglitter top coat.
If I had to pick a favorite polish from this box, this would be it. I'm so glad I snatched up a box because Brenna is so lovely and you can't get it anymore. This is a sheer topcoat so it'll give a blue tinge to whatever you're wearing under it. (The swatch above is one coat to give you an idea of its opacity) You can also wear it alone which is what I'll probably do. The best part is that it also GLOWS IN THE DARK. Hells yeah! I only have one glow in the dark polish (Casper) which is non-tinted. I'm glad to finally have another, and in my favorite color too!

Margot - old Hollywood gold shimmer.
Gold is another color that I end up collecting a lot of because each one has subtle differences. Unfortunately, I think I already have one that looks exactly like this so it'll probably go up for swap. Plus it's one of those colors I don't find myself wearing often enough to keep a dupe on hand.

Jess - tawny port creme.
Does that look like tawny to you? I thought tawny had some orange and yellow mixed in with it. This actually reminds me of kalamata olives. It's not a color that I would normally wear, but I do need to grow my collection of cremes - I'm picky when it comes to cremes and only end up keeping the same colors all the time. Time to expand my horizons!

Corinne - sandcastle stardust.
Ooh pretty. This really does look like a sandcastle. The textured stardust finish reminds me of a white sand beach. I'm totally going to use this as part of some beach-themed nail art.

I've seen reviews saying that Julep has stepped up their mystery box game over the past several months and it looks like they're right. This is easily my favorite mystery box to date because I can use both of the beauty products (just gotta swap for another lip treatment color) and will keep all except one of the nail polishes. And this box was worth $114 so they still hit their promised value (well $91 with Maven pricing but considering it costs $25 that's still a great value). I can't afford to get all their mystery boxes but I'll most likely be picking another one up in the near future :)

Have a little extra cash to spend before Halloween? Use code 15OCTOBER to get 15% off sitewide. But hurry, this code EXPIRES TOMORROW, 10/28!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ipsy Review - October 2015

What: Ipsy Glam Bag contains 5 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products (mostly makeup) in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month (free shipping)
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for monthly bonus items.

Wow, it seems like I just wrote an Ipsy review not too long ago. *checks latest reviews* Three weeks ago. Okay, not toooo recently. Where has the time gone??? So I guess it's pretty obvious that I haven't been paying as much attention to the subscription box world as I should have been and that I had no idea what Ipsy was sending out this month. Turns out October is "Alter Ego" month. As in sporting a look that's totally opposite of your everyday getup. Sounds fun!

Nourish Organic Argan Face Serum (0.5oz value: $17) - This is one pricey serum - the full size is less than an ounce and retails for $24. But it is a serum so a little bit will go a long way. I do like argan oil for my hair though I've never tried it on my face before. I get the feeling my face will feel greasy after using this. It does say it's for normal to dry skin, after all. My skin errs on oily so my spidey senses might be right.

theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Lipstick in Committed
theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick - Committed (0.04oz value: $3) - My first question: are they talking about the UFC guy? Cause the picture of the couple on the tube sure doesn't look like him. Meet Matt Hughes LLLL is a matte liquid lipstick that reminds me of Marvelous Moxie lipglosses with its mint vanilla scent. Committed is a pretty nude pink that I know I'll get some use out of. I'm putting it through my lipstick test as I type and so far it's passing with flying colors. It survived numerous attempts at licking my lips, there's no lipstick stain on my mug, and it's not sticky whatsoever. It basically behaves like a lip stain.

Emit√© Make Up Slant Tweezers (Value: £31) - It's nice to see international brands making their appearance in Ipsy from time to time. Emit√© is a Swedish makeup brand that partners up with Mariart School of Makeup & Hair to produce professional artists. Tweezers are one of those things that I'm always losing so I'm happy to have another pair. Plus the slant tip makes precise plucking soooo much easier. But almost $35 USD for tweezers?? That's a bit steep in my opinion.

Balanced Guru Scrub Me Nice and Gritty Body Scrub (1oz value: $3) - Balanced Guru produces organic, cruelty free products in recyclable packaging. This scrub is enriched with raw sugar, organic coffee, coconut oil, babassu oil, and cocoa butter for ultimate exfoliation. It's also got some spearmint and ginger for a refreshing experience. I can smell the mint through the seal. Mmmmm...

Aurora Cosmetics Gel Effects Nail Lacquer - Inky Dinky (0.42oz value: $12) - A year ago I loathed getting purple anything in beauty subs. Since then I've made baby steps and learned to accept and even adore purple nail polish. It seems the beauty gods have taken note of my change of heart because lately I've been getting purple nail polish left and right. I think my purple collection might rival my blues. Gel Effect nail polish is supposed to mimic the shine and longevity of gel polish sans UV curing and the hassle of removal. Ipsy once sent me the Sally Hansen version of gel effect polish which came in a set with its own special topcoat; unfortunately my box came with a broken bottle of topcoat and Ipsy told me they were out of stock when I asked for a replacement. This time around they decided to send the color without the topcoat so I'll have to purchase it on my own if I decide to use it. I wonder if it's as easy and pretty as it sounds. Has anybody tried it? Does it actually work?

Makeup Bag
Usually the makeup bags are the only thing that have anything to do with the theme. October's makeup bag is two-faced to go with the alter ego theme. Black vinyl on one side, gold on the other. I like when the zipper is on the top edge like this one, it makes it so much easier to take things out of the bag. The small things make me happy.

*deep breath* I think this month's glam bag made Top Three of my favorite Ipsy curations...quite possibly my All Time favorite. It had a fantastic variety of stuff - tools, skincare, body care, nail polish, and makeup - plus it's stuff I will actually use. Well, still debating whether the face serum is appropriate for my skin type, but other than that I can definitely use everything. Major hit this month, Ipsy.

Click here if you want to get your own Ipsy glam bag. I'm not sure how long the wait list is, but you can skip it by posting to Facebook (if you don't want anyone to see your post just set the audience to Only should still work). I normally go back and forth about whether to keep this subscription, but it's months like this that make it all totally worth it :)

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

GrowJourney Contents - October 2015 + Get Your First Month Free!

What: GrowJourney contains 5 packets of organic seeds to help you grow your own edible garden!
When: Ships monthly on your sign-up date
Cost: $11.99-$14.99 per month depending on your subscription plan. Price includes shipping.
Fun Fact: Each packet of seeds contains 10-20% more seeds than you'd find in retail stores!

Hey gardeners (and wannabe gardeners)! Here's a new seed subscription for you. GrowJourney is a USDA-certified organic Seeds of the Month Club run by Tyrant Farms, an actual backyard organic farm owned by a couple whose goal is to save money by growing their own food. Well, they've succeeded and are now sharing their wealth of knowledge and organic practices with you and me. 

I am by no means an expert gardener; in fact I think I end up killing more than half the plants I try to grow. But the concept of growing my own garden sounds so fun. It's like earning your own food. I stumbled across GrowJourney while reading the comments for a review of another plant sub and thought it looked interesting. The GrowJourney website is well-designed and easy to navigate with lots of helpful info. I could definitely benefit from having a comprehensive plant-growing resource at my fingertips. So here I am with my first box.
Before getting into October's seed variety I wanted to show you what I meant by GrowJourney being a helpful resource. In addition to receiving seeds in the mail, your account dashboard will also have those seeds listed. For example here's one of this month's seeds, chives:
Click on the photo and another page pops up with background info on the plant.
In addition you can also download and print a quick reference grow guide to keep on hand:
Most plants have an outdoor and indoor growing guide in case you don't have an outside garden. Now if this isn't helpful I don't know what is! I haven't actually planted any of these seeds yet because I haven't been able to get off my butt and go outside. It's been so hot and muggy the entire summer that I haven't even weeded my garden in months. The nut grass has seriously taken over everyythinnng. So rather than an actual review this will be more of an unboxing unbagging - a show and tell. First up:

CHARD (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla)
Part of the fun of this subscription is seeing the actual seeds. Aside from green onion, cilantro, chives, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and basil, I buy my veggies so I have no idea what most seeds look like. Now I can add chard to my list of I-know-thats. Chard is full of vitamins and antioxidants that improve bone density, keep blood sugar in check, and possibly help with liver and pancreatic health. Young chard is often used in salads; older plants can be stir fried with salt and oil. Since chard tends to thrive in cooler climates with partial sun, I'll probably have to plant it within the next month or so. Now I just have to find a partial sun spot where the dogs can't get to it...

PARSNIP (Pastinaca sativa)

Parsnips are like white carrots but sweeter. It's one of those plants I always read about but never ate. I want to now; I love carrots. From what I hear carrots like cooler weather and do horribly where I live. Several different friends have tried growing carrots and all have failed miserably or at best gotten a cute little 4" root. Since parsnips are similar to carrots so they too like cooler weather. In fact, parsnips are sweetest when harvested after a frost. That will never happen on this rock. It rarely gets colder than 60 degrees even in the wee morning hours :( But this is supposedly one of the most vigorous varieties available, so maybe I can get at least a tiny root out of it. Wishful thinking?

CHIVES (Allium schoenoprasum)
Finally, something that I can grow and not kill! Chives are a hardy perennial herb (I can totally vouch for the "hardy" part) that can tolerate both cold and warm climates. People say that once you put chives in the ground they spread like crazy. I've had it in the ground for the past two years and so far the plant's gotten bigger but no spreading of seeds anywhere. I usually don't let it flower because the stalk gets really hard, but yet the flowers are so pretty! This is one herb that I will always always keep in my backyard. I use chives interchangeably with green onions in my cooking (because C can't tell the difference and my chives grow so much better) and I use it regularly. Plus the effort:payoff ratio is close to zero and since it's a perennial I don't ever have to worry about replanting. It's a lazy gardener's dream come true!

PALLA ROSA RADICCHIO - a variety of chicory (Chicorium intybus)

I think I'm beginning to realize how fun plant subs are because like beauty sub boxes, you get things you'd never think of growing. Take chicory, for example. Honestly, I've never eaten or even seen chicory before. It's a cooler weather plant so you don't normally see it growing in the wild in Hawaii. So I'm gonna use that as my excuse for not knowing there were so many C. intybus varieies :-P We got the Palla Rosa variety this month which is similar to Chioggia Radicchio and looks a bit like a small head of purple cabbage. I love purple cabbage, but radicchio is bitter when raw and gets sweeter when it's cooked. It's one of those great plants that is entirely edible - leaves, flowers, and roots. Palla Rosa is one of the more hardy varieties - unlike most radicchio varieties which grow only in the cooler months, it can withstand the warmer spring season as well. I highly doubt it'll be able to tolerate spring (or even winter) here, but I guess it's worth a shot.

CLAYTONIA (Claytonia perfoliata)

Similar to spinach, Claytonia (aka miner's lettuce) grows in low, dense patches with tiny flowers poking out of the leaves. During the California Gold Rush, miners ate it for its high Vitamin C content which helped in preventing scurvy. Claytonia leaves are crunchy and great in salads. The plant requires temperatures between 50-55˚F to germinate, so unfortunately I won't be able to grow it at my house. I live in the warmest part of the island; in the past three years since I moved here it hasn't dropped below 65˚F. Perhaps I can pass these seeds along to a buddy who lives up in the mountains where it's a bit cooler.

So there we have it - October's cool weather seeds! In addition to the five seed packets, GrowJourney also includes two smaller packets of select plants each month to share with friends to help spread the word about sustainable organic gardening. How sweet is that??! The only seed that I'm certain will grow are the chives. The rest, well, I'll have to wait and see. But I do love the variety they send out. This month we got herbs and veggies. Sometimes there will be fruits and even ornamental flowers to attract pollinators so you can create a complete garden ecosystem. GrowJourney is a young company so there isn't much customization yet (for example, I'm in Zone 12 and currently get over 10 hrs of sunlight a day, but I got cool weather-appropriate seeds this month), but I hope as the company grows they will be able to add more customization options to sub plans. I'll be keeping this sub at least through next month until I go into seed overload. I really need to start planting things again. :-/

Try GrowJourney for youself! Sign up and get your first month free (just pay $3.99 shipping). If you don't like it you can cancel right from your dashboard. I'll be the first to admit that $14.99 for five packs of seeds is a bit steep, but what I like about this company is that they did all the research for you. All you have to do is log in and you can find background info on your seeds as well as helpful guides to get the most out of them. And to me saving time is worth the extra few cents per seed packet.

Note: I pay for this subscription and all opinions are my own. Post doesn't contain any referral links.

Friday, October 23, 2015

3b Box Review - October 2015

What: The 3b Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty samples that are new or popular in Asia
When: Ships during the first half of each month
Cost: $12 per month (free shipping!)

Yup, I'm ready for my next K-(J-?)beauty fix. Ever since Memebox started breaking my wallet I've cut down maaajorly on Korean skincare. Then I heard about how affordable 3b Box was and the great value you get for your money. After months and months of being waitlisted, I finally got my first taste last month (it was awesome, but would have been suuuper awesome if it weren't for the rose-scented hand cream). This is my second month with 3b and I'm excited to see what's inside!

La'dor Perfect Hair Filler (2 x 13ml value: ~$5) - I'm gonna start with the most intriguing thing in the bag. It's a hair filler. First I thought it was like Rogaine or something that will stimulate your follicles to grow hair faster. But no, it's a protein-rich ampoule that you mix with water and it's supposed to nourish badly damaged hair. It looks and smells like rubbing alcohol. Not impressed so far. But here's where it gets interesting. As soon as you add water it instantly solidifies and turns into a gelatin. And it suddenly smells lovely like how a conditioner should smell. You massage it into your hair and wait for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. I should have mixed it in a dark bowl so you can see it better, but here's a photo of what you'll be putting in your hair:
My hair does feel a bit healthier (i.e. not as brittle) but nothing dramatic. If you have hella damaged hair I'm not sure if this will nurse it all the way back to health. Maybe after a few weeks' time, but definitely not after 1-2 uses. But it does get pretty good reviews so who knows.

Holika Holika Good Cera Ultra Toner & Emulsion (sample value: ~$3) - Good news: including both a toner and eumulsion from a brand is very thoughtful. Bad news: make sure consumers can actually get the samples out of the bottles. These are tiny hard plastic vials with an even tinier opening so that when you invert the container nothing comes out unless you bash it on your hand 20 times. Thankfully, you really don't need that much product. The toner is thicker than what you'll find from most US brands - it's more moisturizing and less alcohol-y than their US counterparts (in fact there's no alcohol in here). Both the toner and emulsion contain ceramide and ricola extract to help lock in moisture and all you need is a few dabs to cover your face.

It's Skin Power 10 Formula VC Effector (1oz full size value: $10) - This bottle contains vitamin C derivatives and green tea extract which fades dark spots due to melanin suppression. I need something like this except I'm kind of concerned about the packaging itself. It contains ascorbyl palmitate which is sensitive to lots of things, light being one of them. I'm not sure how a clear bottle will prevent exposure to light...

DHC a-Arbutin White Mask (single mask value: $4.50) - DHC is a well-known Japanese skincare brand with a US subsidiary so you know what that means...shipping is cheap! This sheet mask uses a-arbutin, mulberry, peony, and the amino acid serine to fight skin damage and boost collagen production. And the cutest part is that this mask is shaped like a piggy! FUN.
I think this month's 3b box automatically wins my approval simply because they had a fun hair mask and a piggy-shaped facial mask. The only thing I'm kind of bummed about is the Vitamin C Effector and whether it's actually effective. Anybody tried it and has an opinion?

If you want to get fun animal-shaped masks and cosmetics, jump on the waitlist as soon as you can because the wait can be pretty long. It took me five months to get off, though I think the wait might be a lot shorter now. I didn't get charged until I got off the waitlist, so you'll have plenty of time to change your mind after signing up.

Note: All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Post does not contain any referral links.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Got Panda Eyes? Get Tonymoly Panda's Dream Brightening Eye Base

Are you a night owl who has to get up super early everyday for a 7am class? Or do you suffer from some form of insomnia and have to force yourself to wake up and drag your butt to work in the morning? Then you're probably no stranger to dark circles and bags under your eyes from lack of sleep. Both situations applied to me for longer than I'd like to admit. I had panda bear eyes throughout my entire college/grad school career and it continued well into my professional career. Every morning I woke up with puffy eyes and would load on the concealer. Of course it didn't help much because I later found out I was using the wrong color.

Concealers that match your skin tone are fine and I'd definitely recommend keeping one on hand. But when it comes to color-correcting, there's a whole bunch of colors available. So which color do you use? Take a look at the color wheel below. When using concealer you generally want to use a color opposite that of the area you're trying to conceal. Red zit? Go for a green concealer. Got a bruise? Try a yellow one.

Tonymoly's Panda's Dream is a white stick that doubles as a highlighter and concealer. Using light or white colors on the high points of your face will perk up your complexion and help make your face look smooth and radiant. And as I explained above, using a white color on dark circles or brown spots will help to conceal those areas.

First things first: HOW CUTE IS THIS PACKAGING?! I'm lucky enough to have a Tonymoly store within driving distance so I like to go there and drool over the cuteness overload. But buying things because they're cute does empty your wallet pretty quickly. *sad panda face* The Panda's Dream stick looks and feels much like a stick of concealer, though maybe not as soft texture-wise. It's a generous size too, about the diameter of a nickel.
What I like is that there's no yucky makeup smell. You know, the one that smells like rancid oil. In fact, it smells quite refreshing. A bit floral, but nothing I can't handle. That's saying a lot because I'm normally very sensitive to floral scents. 

As far as how well it works, I haven't tried it as a highlighter yet, but I did try it on my undereye bags using the handy sponge that Memebox thoughtfully included. Was it a success? See for yourself:
Using Panda's Dream to hide eye bags
Okay the change wasn't dramatic, but the biggest difference was on my left eye (right side on the photo above). The bags didn't disappear entirely, but the shadow isn't as obvious. Could I have achieved the same thing with a plain ol' stick of concealer? Probably. But what's awesome about this one is that it leaves a lovely not-there finish, as in you can't even tell it's there even if you run your fingers over the area. In my experience most concealer sticks leave a slightly oily or cakey finish immediately after application, but not Panda's Dream. It's as if it disappears as you blend it in.

So will I be using this again? Most definitely. I can't wait to use it as a highlighter. I don't use the shimmery luminous ones because they make me look too shiny. I've been looking for something more subtle that will get the job done. I think I may be onto something here...

Plus, for a limited time, get 20% off all Tonymoly products on the Memebox site with code TONYMOLY20. Yes, that means you can snag Panda's Dream for under $10! And if you spend $30 or more you automatically get free shipping to anywhere in the US. Score!

Note: I received Tonymoly Panda's Dream Brightening Eye Base from Memebox for review purposes. I did not pay for this item, but I can assure you these are my honest opinions :) Post does not contain any referral links.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BarkBox Review - October 2015 + Get A FREE Box!

What: BarkBox is a subscription box for dogs filled with 4-6 treat, toy, and hygiene items. Boxes are curated according to your dog's size. This review is for a medium-dog box.
When: Ships monthly on the 15th
Cost: $18-$29 per month depending on the length of your subscription (plus $5 shipping per box outside the contiguous 48 states)
Fun Fact: 10% of proceeds from each BarkBox goes to rescue groups! Check out their BarkGood program to get involved.

It was a no-brainer that October would be Howlloween month for Barkbox. In the past they've put out some stellar Halloween boxes (you can check out my reviews here and here) so I've got some pretty high expectations for this one. Let's find out what ghoulish surprises await the furballs!
October Barkbox info card

BarkMade Ninja (Value: $10) - Of course I'm going to start off with the toys. I'd say 4 out of 5 boxes have a Barkbox exclusive plush and although they're way adorable, I wish they'd include durable toys more often. Or offer a heavy chewers box. There's no way this ninja cat will survive longer than 30 minutes in my house.

P.L.A.Y. Fat Bob Monster (Value: $10) - This one will also meet a quick demise if I offer him to the dogs. I feel like my corgis are way rougher than their size should allow. Especially the little one. The 35-lb big brother will disembowel a stuffed animal in half an hour; the tiny 16-lb girl will do it in 10 minutes. Their life's mission is to destroy all things soft and cuddly and that's why little girl doesn't get a pillow to sleep on anymore :(

Grandma Bowser's Country Oven Biscuits - Pumpkin Pie with Sweet Autumn Apples (4oz value: $8 ??) - We've gotten Grandma Bowser's biscuits several times in our boxes and while the dogs do love 'em, I hardly think they're worth $8 for only 4oz (the Grandma Bowser's website sells 10oz bags for that price).  I found out last year that my dogs like pumpkin so this will definitely be devoured within the next couple of weeks. Each bag has about 6-8 cookies and I don't recommend breaking them into smaller pieces because you'll end up with a crumbly mess. They're pretty hard to break apart anyway.

Healthy Balance Chicken Strips (3oz value: $8) - The furballs will never turn down a treat (I mean never) but they do have their favorites and so far smoked jerky tops that list. I don't think this one is smoked - in fact I think it might be on the sweet side with honey and lots of fruits and veggies in it - so I'm not sure if this will be a favorite. But one thing's for sure - it'll be gone before Halloween because any type of jerky doesn't last long in my house, whether it's for dogs or humans. Hormone- and grain-free too. Yay!

Etta Says Pumpkin Chew (Value: $4) - Is it just me or are the Barkprices for Etta Says sticks getting higher? I could swear it was $3 a few months ago (which I still think is way overinflated for a single crunchy stick). I believe this is the first non-animal protein source we've gotten from Etta Says. Since I only have one of these the better-behaved dog gets it. So far I think Macho is winning because Pebbles just tried to eat his poop when I wasn't looking. Ewwww.

I'm happy with the treats in this month's box, but I think I'm gonna shoot an email over to the folks at Barkbox to ask what I can do about getting toys that can withstand my powerful chewers' jaws. I asked about it with my last account and they started sending more durable toys, but that was before Scout's Honor began. (In case you're unfamiliar with it, Scout's Honor is a program that lets you select something more suitable for your dog if you have a problem with an item in your box) I really hope they won't just tell me to bug them every month to take advantage of Scout's Honor (because who wants to be that person?)

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