Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pooch Perks Review - December 2016

What: Pooch Perks is a subscription box for dogs containing 2-6 treat, toy, or hygiene items. There are three subscription tiers; boxes within each tier are curated according to your dog's size.  You can also make special requests (heavy chewer option, allergy-conscious, box frequency changes) when you sign up. For reference, this review is on the Popular Pooch box (4-5 items) for a medium/large dog (35lbs+).
When: Ships monthly on your subscription renewal date
Cost: $20-$50 per month (shipping is free); ships anywhere in the US and US territories
Fun Fact: Want only treats or just toys? You can sign up for that for just $20/month! Also, $1 from each box goes to rescue groups. You can learn more about how Pooch Perks gives back here.

Okay I'll admit it. I'm a bad dog mom when it comes to buying gifts for my dogs. Birthdays, Gotcha Days, National Dog Day - I always forget to pick up presents for them until the day of. So I guess it's no surprise that two weeks before Christmas I realized I still hadn't gotten Macho and Pebbles anything. They're a couple of rascal monsters, but they're my monsters and I love them no matter what. That's when Pooch Perks decided to save the day by offering 50% off a 6-month subscription. Yyyyeah! A few days before Christmas I found this waiting in my mailbox:

Of course the dogs weren't allowed to dig in until Christmas morning, but who said mom can't take a tiny little sneak peek?

Foufou Dog Winter Corduroy Plush Reindeer (Value $10) - This is such an adorable reindeer! It's almost a shame that it's made for dogs who might rip it apart. My dogs will anyway, which is why they're not getting this. I love my playful rascals, but I hate cleaning up stuffing. The seams on this plush don't seem very strong - in fact it was coming apart in a couple of places before I even took it out of the box. This poor guy won't last a minute in Pebbles' chompers.

Exclusively Dog Vanilla Flavor Wafer Cookies (8oz, full size, value: $5.75) - If you grew up loving Nilla wafers, your dog is in for a treat. These are the canine equivalent to the yummy vanilla cookie. I know it is because I couldn't help but sample a piece. Macho didn't seem to mind (he's very good at sharing) and besides, it's made entirely with ingredients you can find in human food. The dogs love it, and it's dogmom-approved.

Multipet TPR Santa Toy (Value: ~$13) - If your dog loves to chew on anything and everything, then you probably know that thermoplastic rubber toys are probably the best at withstanding Sparky's relentless jaws. The only problem is that since my troublemakers can't rip it apart like the can stuffed animals, they lose interest in these toys after a few seconds. There's no place to hide treats in here to keep their attention, but there is a squeaker which might help a little. It measures about 3x4" - probably a tad too big to play fetch with my corgis. Shucks.

Cloud Star Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Treats (5oz, full size, value $6) - Ah! Tiny gingerbread men! One thing good about dogs that eat anything and everything is that they're not picky about flavors. I don't think I've ever given them gingerbread-flavored anything before, but I have no doubts about them liking these. Pebbles has never encountered a food (or bug, or rock) she didn't find tasty. She's my personal garbage disposal.

One Fur All Pet House Candle in Evergreen Forest (2oz? value ~$5) - Mmm...very wintery. This scent reminds me of B&BW Winter White Woods scent. I once bought a candle in that scent and it turned out to be too strong for me. Too much winter. Not sure if this one will be as strong but if it is, this brand also has other scents to choose from including apple cider, candy cane, and gingerbread. Yummm.

Verdict: Pooch Perks saved Christmas with its timely arrival so this box was already off to a good start - my dogs got their treats and I didn't even have to go shopping! I'm a bit disappointed that my dogs may not get much use out of either toy, though it's worth a shot to try the TPR santa. My dogs usually have a hard time getting thick rubber toys to squeak but once they do they. do. not. stop. Oh well we didn't buy fireworks this year so maybe that can be their noisemaker when the clock strikes 12.

You can sign up for Pooch Perks by clicking here. Every month you'll get a boxful of fun goodies for your dog. And that box is full. I had a subscription earlier this year (before I had to start squirreling away cash for Christmas :-/) and most of the boxes didn't even close all the way. This month's was no different. Also, don't forget to use the code FRIEND10 to get 10% off your first order! The code should work with any subscription plan.

Note: This review reflects my (and my pups'!) honest opinions. No referral links were used in this post.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - December 2016

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 within the US)
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for bonus items.

I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas! December is the most wonderful time of the year, and even if it never snows where I live and going skiing/sledding/building a snowman is out of the question, it still warms my heart to see families get together and share a laugh or two at Christmastime. Plus who doesn't like giving and receiving gifts? Ipsy is kind of like a mini Christmas each month because you get a small bag full of fun new things to last you the next several weeks. (You can even gift a subscription and give someone else a little monthly Christmas as well!) December's glam bag had great timing as it came just a couple of days before the big holiday so it really felt like opening up a present :)

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer (0.1oz, value $4) - I first tried The Porefessional a couple of years ago as part of a primer trio and instantly fell in love with how smooth it made my skin appear. Plus I liked how velvety it felt. Very glad to get more! This is a small tube but a tiny dab goes a long way. 

'Tini Beauty Eyetini Eyeshadow in Firestarter (0.06oz, full size, value $13) - Is it just me or does it seem like almost every eyeshadow in a subscription is gravitating toward copper? I swear this must be my 5th copper/bronze eyeshadow in as many months. And I don't subscribe to a ton of boxes so that's saying something. This is a shimmery buildable shadow that can also be used to top off lipstick for a matte shimmer finish (though I'm still hesitant about licking my eye makeup...). 

Royal & Langnickel MODA Angle Shader Brush (value $6) - Fun fact: Did you know that this company runs the brush gamut, from art paintbrushes to makeup brushes to nail polish brushes? This angle brush is great for fine contouring especially with liquid or cream makeup. My favorite part is the handle - it's acrylic with a rubberized coating for extra grip. 

Tarte Cosmetics Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in WCW (1ml, value $3) - Apologies for my subpar photography skills - this lip gloss is actually less purple and more boysenberry than it looks in the photo. It's highly pigmented and should make it through a meal without rubbing off. 

Cake Beauty Heavy Cream Intensive Hand Repair Balm (1oz, value $6.50) - I'm a sucker for anything dessert-scented so I'm pretty sure I'll love this hand cream. It smells like vanilla cake batter and is contains 14 nutrient-rich ingredients (shea butter, coconut oil, pomegranate extract, green tea extract, and the list goes on and on...) to keep your skin smooth and moisturized all day.

December Glam Bag Verdict: This was a very merry glam bag indeed. I can't stop smelling the hand cream and I'm so glad to get an extra tube of Benefit's Porefessional. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to use the lip gloss on Christmas like I had planned, but the new year is right around the corner so hopefully I'll be able to use it then :)

Treat yourself for the new year and sign up for Ipsy! (You deserve it :D) Get started by clicking here to find your beauty profile. At just $10 per month Ipsy is one of the most affordable beauty subscriptions you can find, and in my opinion the value you get is totally worth it. 

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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stickii Club Cute Sticker Pack Review - December 2016

What: Stickii Club is a sticker subscription that sends an envelope full of Cute, Retro or Pop themed stickers every month (you get to choose the category). This review is for the Cute pack.
When: Ships on the 11th or 21st of each month depending on your signup date
Cost: $10 per month (free shipping)

If there's one thing that Stickii does very well it's themes. They are great at sticking to them while also fulfilling the cutesy vibe. Some previous themes included Edible, Pandas, and last month's Holiday pack. A couple of weeks ago Cute pack subscribers learned that this month's theme would be Arctic. It's fitting, seeing as how things are pretty chilly in December, no?

Look at all that cuteness! It's so adorable that I'm willing to pretend that polar bears and harp seals live together in harmony with penguins for the purposes of this sticker pack. Keep scrolling down to see the contents in all its glory :D

I'm a colorful sticker kind of gal, but these black and whites are still uber cute. Personify a penguin and it's instantly adorable. Every month each sticker pack includes a washi tape sample - this festive penguin washi is already decorating my planner. :) Also, each December pack included a fun paper clip. I got a whale, but there were also shapes like stars, people, and even faucets that went out - pretty much any random shape you can think of could be in a pack.

Here is where the North and South start to mingle. Polar bears are coexisting with penguins in the sheet at right as if it's a no-brainer. I do wish the bears on the sticky notes were smiling, though. Or at least not frowning. But my favorite of the bunch is definitely the bears with flowers because that's where some colors begin to show up. :)

And then the color explosion. I saved my two favorites for last because isn't it best to end with a smile? These sticker sheets make me so happy. How can you not smile when you see a penguin in a grass skirt or a polar bear in a t-shirt? Plus those puffy penguin stickers remind me of Mumble from Happy Feet!

Verdict: I loved this month's Stickii Club cute sticker pack. In fact I don't think I've ever been disappointed by one. The themes are always spot on and everything is always 110% cute. I do have a problem with using all of the stickers, though. Sometimes they're too cute and I just want to keep them for myself forever and ever. Actually, that's how I feel about most of them so I catch myself findng every excuse to use other stickers first. Is that a bad thing?

Click here to subscribe to Stickii Club so you can hoard your own stickers! You can choose from Cute, Retro, or Pop packs for just $10 per month.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

3B Box Review - December 2016

 What: The 3B Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty items from Korea, Japan, or Taiwan
When: Ships during the first week of each month
Cost: $15/month with free shipping to US (or as low as $12/month with longer commitments)

Winter's here and for many that means cold air and (eek!) dry skin. Now's the time to really treat your skin to some major TLC, and lucky for us 3B Box subscribers Asian beauty is huge on moisturizing. Lots of Asian skin care products serve dual purposes, one of them being hydration. I don't doubt that there will be quite a bit of that going on in this month's box.

Manyo Factory Herb Green Cleansing Oil - Cleansing oils are my favorite beauty find ever. This one contains tea tree oil, green tea oil, jojoba oil, sage oil, rosemary leaf oil, and lavender oil to soothe and calm skin. I'm not a huge fan of the scent (it's a bit too herbal for me) but the list of ingredients sounds so impressive that I'm willing to overlook my nose's protests.

Wei Beauty Five Sacred Grains Rapid Glow Liquid Milk - Rice, millet, sorghum, Job's tears, and black soybean come together to energize, brighten and balance uneven skin. After cleansing, pat a few drops into your face. The consistency is thicker than I expected but it absorbs quickly and left my skin feeling really soft. The scent is a cross between baby powder and coconut water - interesting combo, but not bad at all.

V 10 Plus Serums  - If you've ever poked around in Asian skin care you probably noticed that there's a serum for just about everything. Serums usually address a specific need, whether it's to moisturize, brighten, or to fight blemishes or wrinkles. The serums pictured above are from Japanese brand V 10 and comprise only about half of the serums they have to offer. Shown above are hydrating serums (hyaluronic acid-blue, collagen-green, amino-orange), whitening serums (vitamin A-pink, quasi-black), and an anti-aging serum (biocell-mauve). For more info on their serums check out V 10's serum page.

When The Last Choice Sheet Mask - This bio-cellulose mask is made from coconuts and is infused with hyaluronic acid and ginseng extract to keep your skin plump and moisturized. I was once on a terrible mask binge which resulted in several overflowing boxes and not enough days to use them. In order to downsize my stash I had to figure out which ones worked for me and which didn't. Turns out the intensely hydrating masks like the ones When makes are way too much for my skin to handle so unfortunately this will be finding a new home with someone who can appreciate it more.

CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patch - Ah, pimple patches. If your skin enjoys to break out then you no doubt know the struggle of finding the perfect zit-fighting solution. Pimple patches work by coaxing the yucky stuff out of your skin while also forming a physical barrier against the occasional fingernail that will inevitably pick at it. A couple of months ago I used up my last A'pieu Tea Tree Spot Patch and my overall impression of it was not great. In my opinion, it did not contain any of the yuckies and my pimple did not shrink even after three straight days of using it. BUT. I am willing to give these CosRx patches a chance because I like the brand. I hope the results are better this time around!

Verdict: Aside from the mask, I think I'll be using everything in here (yay!!). I rarely turn down a cleansing oil and I'm pleasantly surprised that the milk isn't overly hydrating. The serums have garnered my interest and I'm already looking on the V 10 website at what else they've got. I'll probably end up decanting them into tiny vials because a little goes a long way when it comes to serums and one of those tiny packets can probably last me about five uses. Plus, you wouldn't want to waste any of it after finding out that just 10ml of this stuff costs about $70!

If these things sound like something you'd like to try, click here to subscribe to 3B Box. For $15/month (free shipping) you can have it sent anywhere in the US. 

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sticker Swaps Review - November 2016

What: Sticker Swaps is an England-based sticker subscription that sends an envelope packed with stickers from around the world
When: Ships monthly
Cost: $9.99 per month with free shipping worldwide (or as low as $9/month with longer plans)
Fun Extra: They're not called Sticker Swaps for nothing. If you send them an envelope of mixed stickers they'll send one right back to you!

Kids like to collect things. Right now it's Shopkins. Back when I was in grade school Magic cards were all the rage. But not for me. I always collected stickers. I've been a sticker hoarder collector for as long as I can remember. I even collected those sticker seals that you get in the mail during the holidays to use with your Christmas cards. There's something about those adhesive pieces of paper that bring a smile to my face (that might be why I'm also slightly obsessed with post-its). I'm always happy to hear about sticker subscriptions because what's better than getting (non-bill) snail mail? Getting snail mail FULL OF STICKERS. So when Sticker Swaps asked if I'd like to review their sticker pack I said JYEAH!!

Sticker Swaps is a bit different from most sticker subscriptions in that they don't necessarily get their stickers from huge sticker companies; they try to source them from individual designers. I think this is a great way for up and coming artists to gain exposure and popularity. As a result, the stickers won't fit into a common theme or genre. Instead, you can expect to find a hodgepodge of unique pieces of art and take pride in the fact that not too many people in the world possess that same sticker!

Here is what came in November's Sticker Swaps. Just as I expected I haven't come across any of these stickers before. I haven't done enough research to find out the artists or brands behind all of them but I appreciate the time and effort that went into designing each and every one of these stickers.

I'm a huge fan of anything with sprinkles so of course the Stabby Gabby sticker caught my eye first. A quick search reveals that she is a custom tattoo artist based in Minnesota. See? Exposure through stickers. It's a wonderful thing. And of course Sticker Swaps included their own branded sticker as well. Stick it on your mailbox and help get their name out which in turn will help out all of these featured artists!

I'm a simple person and like simple things. This Lemonaid+ sticker gets it. It's a German juice company that makes its products from Fairtrade and natural sources. Of course the sticker is talking about drinking their juices, but it'll still be fun to slap it on my wine rack. ;) The hamster is super cute but I have no idea who its designer is. But perhaps my favorite in the entire pack is the Game Boy sticker. I miss my Game Boy. Unfortunately, I think it's something only the 30-somethings or gamer enthusiasts will fully appreciate. The Game Boy graphics suck by today's standards but growing up it's all I played since my brother always hogged the NES. :(

Verdict: The November pack contained 11 stickers and sells for US $9.99 on a month-to-month subscription plan. I think it's a bit steep but you have to take into account that this includes international shipping which can be pricey. You also have to consider that some stickers in here are unique and not very common. That said, this subscription will probably appeal most to sticker aficionados and those who are after the hard-to-find ones.

If you'd like to try out Sticker Swaps, use code BLOG50 at checkout to get 50% off your first month (good with any subscription plan)! Or if you're a designer and would like your stickers to be featured in a future Sticker Swaps pack, drop them a line.

Note: I received this sticker pack for free in exchange for my honest review. No referral links were used in this post.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Puppy? Some Tips On Puppy Proofing Your Home

If you've been following my blog you may recall that I have two corgis. Every month our fellow corgi pawrents hold a meet up at the dog park. This is when my dogs can see their old friends and litter mates and pretend that frapping is the most important thing in the whole wide world (because isn't it?).
Photo credit: Corgi Club of Oahu
Our group photo was a failure as usual. (but a fun one!) Getting a pack of corgis to look in the same direction at the same time is doggone near impossible. The two corgis facing forward in the center of the photo are my little gremlins. They look like they're behaving but two seconds later one of them jumped off the table and the other decided that sniffing the dog behind her was more interesting. We thought yelling "SQUIRREL!" would get them to face us but apparently corgis rather sniff each others' butts than look for rodents. At least this time no one is busy pooping in the picture. (Yes, it's happened before) *sigh*

These dogs may be full grown now, but most of the corgis you see here were adopted as puppies. That means every one of these pawrents has their own puppy stories to tell. I'd like to share a few of my experiences with you and what I wish I had known beforehand about puppy proofing to keep both my puppy and my home or belongings safe. Hopefully it can save you some time, money, and your sanity.

1. Pee pads don't always protect your floor.
The story:
A new puppy usually means potty training. House breaking can be a tricky son of a gun. You read up on potty pads and regular pee schedules and finally feel like you're ready to leave Fido at home by himself for a day with his pee pad. After a long day at work you come home to find the pee pad in ten trillion pieces scattered all around, including--is that a piece in his mouth?! And of course, there's a puddle of pee on your hardwood floor. And a turd. They next day (or entire week) you get smart and tape that sucker down to the floor only to come home to the same results. Ohmygosh the turd is STUCK to the ground now because of the tape residue. It was time to accept the fact that my dog is a living, breathing paper shredder and my hardwood floor is doomed.

What I wish I had known:
If pee pads work for your dog that's fantastic, and I wish your dog was there to teach my dog how to use one. But not all dogs are created equal (I know a pom and a pittie who had the same shredding issue as my corgi). I don't know why some dogs think pee pads are chew toys and prefer it over their actual chew toys, but I can tell you that the day I stopped putting one in his area is the day everything changed. Ironic, huh? Nix the pad in order to house break my dog. My goal was to get him to pee outside on a regular schedule and I had been leaving a pad in his kennel in case his tiny puppy bladder couldn't hold it until I got home. In hindsight I think maybe it was somehow confusing him; it made him think it was okay to pee in the house (which may be fine under certain circumstances, but for my purposes it wasn't). But once I removed it from his kennel there was no more pee. (Still have no idea why he insisted on ripping it to shreds, though. I suspect it may have something to do with Story #2) Simply sticking to a potty schedule was the best solution for us - go outside every 30 minutes in the beginning then less often as he learns. The trick was to be outside every time he got the urge to pee. Then when he let it go, I gave him lots of praise so he knew he did a good thing. It worked like a charm for my second dog. :)

2. Dogs looove carpet
The story:
It's not just a cat thing. But dogs don't scratch carpet so much as CHEW ON IT. In fact, dogs like to chew on lots of things. Mine go for anything soft, including but not limited to sofas, pillows, mattresses, PEE PADS, and my childhood stuffed bunny that is currently resting in pieces.
Stuffed animals are their specialty
I keep my dogs in an exercise pen when I'm away during the day because I'd like my couch to live to see next Christmas. The pen is in my kitchen which is connected to my living room, but due to space constraints the pen sits at the edge of my kitchen. Right. Next. To. The. Carpet. Guess what I came home to one day?
My poor carpet. In my less-than-one-year-old house! Since then that four-inch disaster has expanded to the entire length of carpet (ie, about ten feet), but to keep from going insane I tell myself that I have a five-year plan to replace the carpet with laminate, anyway. Hmph.

What I wish I had known:
When dogs get bored they make their own fun a.k.a. mischief. So if your dog is going to be by himself all day be sure he has plenty to keep him occupied. If you have an energetic dog who likes a challenge, plain old treats and chew toys will be history in under five minutes. You'll need mentally stimulating toys to keep his mind busy. I find that treat dispensers set at the hardest level work well. That should keep him from shredding your upholstery for a couple of hours. Then when he's done with it he'll be so mentally exhausted that he'll sleep the rest of the day. Just keep in mind that if he's going to be by himself try to avoid using treat dispensers with hard plastic on it because speaking from experience, when Rover gets frustrated he'll resort to dropping and breaking it to get those treats out. The last thing you need is for him to eat those tiny plastic shards too.

3. Keep expensive items out of reach.
The story:
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised what puppies can sneak into. I thought my purses would be safe inside a closed drawer at ankle level. Silly me. If you're lucky, you'll find him before any damage is done. Otherwise, be prepared to shell out $300 for a new bag. In my case, my puppy didn't chew up my bag. Nope. Instead, he thought it'd be fun to hide in my bag drawer when he had the runs (I left out the 'after' photo so you don't lose your lunch). 
Why, there you are! It was cute at first, but not so much two minutes later
What I wish I had known:
Shoes, wallets, purses, that brooch that's been in your family for generations - if it's worth more than a dinner for two at the Ritz-Carlton, make sure your puppy can't get to it. This means keeping it high up on a shelf away from things he can jump on to get to it. Table tops don't count - dogs are experts at figuring out how to get at food left out there.
That also goes for bills and credit card statements.
4. Similarly, keep toxic stuff out of reach
The story:
Everyone knows not to keep poisons out around animals. This includes weed killer, fertiilizer, and pesticides. I take care not to leave anything out on the lawn where my dogs run around, but I did leave a Ziploc bag of snail pellets on my raised planter once while I ran in the house to grab a drink. What I came out to made me want to cry. The baggie was ripped apart and the pellets were spilling out all over the grass next to my smiling 7 month old puppy who thought she had discovered a bag of hidden kibble. I was certain she was going to get sick and maybe die of poisoning. Fortunately, I think I caught her before she ate any and no sickness ever occurred, but it really got me thinking: if a 10 pound puppy - a short stumpy corgi - can reach something at least six inches higher than her while standing on two legs, then how high do I have to keep the hazardous stuff?

What I wish I had known:
When a dog wants something up high, she'll streeeetch as far as she can to get it. That's when their inner genius kicks in. Never underestimate a dog's brain; it's outsmarted my human one on numerous occasions, and I'd like to think I'm not a total dunce. So keep those hazardous chemicals stored at least a foot higher than your dog at her tallest (that includes outstretched front paws!), again with nothing nearby that she could jump on to get to it - especially if it's something granular that could be mistaken for treats. And if you're blessed with a dog with mad hops, you'd better store that fertilizer even higher. Better yet, lock it away in a container. Also remember that just because it says 'pet safe' doesn't mean it's not dangerous for them.

5. 'Sit-stay' is probably the best command you can teach your dog.
The story:
My dogs love going outside. Everyday when I come home from work they play in the backyard for about an hour. Sometimes they get so excited that they make it to the back door before I do. Normally this isn't a big deal because they'll just sit there until I open it. I guess one day Macho couldn't contain his excitement because he charged right through that screen door like a football team on game day.
Did I do that?
What I wish I had known:
If your dog gets as excited as mine to go outside, try to drill the 'sit stay' command into his head from early on. My younger dog is great at it, I have no idea why her older brother can't be a good role model. You'll definitely save yourself a ripped screen door and maybe even prevent him from bolting out the front door and getting lost in the neighborhood. In fact 'sit-stay' is actually a great command in general. Use it for crossing streets, keeping your pup from eating mystery nuggets on the sidewalk, or when other dogs pass by.

I've learned so much about dogs since becoming a dog owner, and I'm sure there's still more to come. Doing your research ahead of time and talking to people helps a great deal in knowing what to expect, but every dog is different and will come with her own tendencies that you'll have to adapt to and deal with in terms of puppy proofing your home. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a dog is a family member and should be treated as such. They need love and affection just like humans do, as well as a healthy dose of playtime. At the same time they also need to be trained and disciplined as necessary to keep them safe from danger. Keep this in mind and coming up with puppy proofing ideas will be a piece of cake.

With the holidays quickly approaching, PuppySpot (a service that helps place puppies with their furever homes) and I wanted to share a few tips for keeping your pet safe during the festivities. Keep them away from the hazards listed below so both of you can enjoy a wonderful and safe holiday season.

*~ Watching a happy dog at play relieves the stress of a long day ~*

Note: This post was inspired by a request from PuppySpot for ways to puppy proof a home.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ipsy Review - November 2016

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 within the US)
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for bonus items.

Yay! It's officially the holiday season and this year I'm determined to be festive. Thanksgiving has come and gone but I'm still incredibly thankful for my loving family and friends. Who else would answer a text at 11 PM asking if I can swing by right now to pick up a bunch of plastic containers because I had a last minute idea to make a shit ton of shrinky tomorrow? (The answer was yes, by the way *screams in delight*) I thank my lucky stars that my mom saves her plastic containers and that she was still up at eleven. Speaking of stars...
Check out this month's makeup bag - makeup constellations! I suppose if you look hard enough at the night sky you can make a constellation for anything. Like your pet hamster, perhaps. Or the ice cream sundae you're craving at the moment. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (0.17oz, value $14.50) - I'm not much of a mascara person, but apparently 8 out of 10 people (so 4 out of 5...I like to simplify things) say this is the best one they've used. Supposedly the hourglass-shaped wand grabs every single lash and coats it with wonderul black magic.

Luxie Rose Gold Small Duo Fiber Brush (value $12) - If you like the airbrushed makeup look, stipple brushes are the way to go. These brushes have two lengths of fibers (only the longer ones actually touch anything). Just dip the tip of the brush in some makeup, tap it on, and swirl to blend.

BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes To Go 6 Color Eyeshadow Palette (value $4) - At first I was kind of bummed to see all these metallic colors because I'm horrible at avoiding glitter fallout. And I'm pretty plain Jane so things like azure that orange??...freak me out. But I swatched it anyway and it's not half as bad as I expected. Fallout is still a problem, but the colors aren't incredibly pigmented and actually look pretty once it's on my skin. And the orange? It's really more of a peach and to my surprise it was the closest to my natural skin tone. 
BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes To Go Palette swatches

Formula X Nail Polish in Huntress (4ml, value $4) - Although it looks black in the photo, this nail polish is supposed to be a deep iridescent emerald color with flecks of gold. I can see the gold and iridescence, but I honestly don't see anything emerald or green about it. Perhaps it's one of those that looks dark in the bottle but lighter once it dries...

Verb Ghost Oil (0.57oz, value $4) - With a name like ghost oil, I think this would have been perfect for last month's bag. This is a moringa oil blend that virtually disappears when you apply it to hair. Or that's what the company claims, anyway. If you promise me a disappearing act, you can bet I'm all ears. Or hair or whatever. But I was actually intrigued enough to try it right away. And just as the claims stated, I couldn't tell it was there. But hair oils rarely make my hair greasy so you  may not want to take my word to grave. Ha. Ghost oil, grave. *sigh* I'm still celebrating Halloween, I guess. 

November Glam Bag Verdict: I'm quite happy. I don't say that very often with Ipsy, but I'm saying it now. I'll probably get some use out of everything except the mascara, and even though that's the big ticket thing in here I still got my money's worth. The biggest surprise in here is the palette. Who knew I'd ever voluntarily whip out a palette with non-neutrals??! You really can't judge a book by its cover. Well played, Ipsy.

If you want lots of fun makeup that you wouldn't normally pick out yourself (like bold-looking palettes!) click here to sign up for Ipsy. At just $10 it's one of the most affordable beauty subscriptions you can find and the value you get is mind blowing!

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stickii Sticker Club Cute Pack Review - November 2016

What: Stickii Club is a sticker subscription that sends an envelope full of Cute, Retro or Pop themed stickers every month (you get to choose the category). This review is for the Cute pack.
When: Ships on the 11th or 21st of each month depending on your signup date
Cost: $10 per month (free shipping)

Lately it seems like no matter how many stickers I use, I can't keep up with the rate that I'm getting them (not that it's a bad thing). Stickii has some of the cutest stickers I've seen and I'm tempted to just stick 'em everywhere, including random places in my office building. That place would definitely benefit from a dose of fun.

Thanksgiving is still a couple of days away but it seems like everywhere is gearing up for the holidays already, including a couple of houses in my neighborhood. What happened to putting up holiday decor the day after Thanksgiving? I suppose it's because everybody will be too busy shopping? Anyway, Stickii followed suit and sent a Christmas-themed pack to their subscribers this month. Read on to see what holiday cuteness awaits.

First of all, I cannot ignore how awesome that Wonder Woman stamp on the mailer is. I was never one to collect stamps but if there are superhero ones out there I may consider getting into the hobby...

On to the stickers!

Santa, Santa, SANTAS EVERYWHERE. My favorite is the drunk/delirious Santa on the sticker sheet to the right because it makes me think of eggnog which makes me feel all warm and Christmas-y inside. The circle stickers are perfect for sealing Christmas cards. I was planning to be all crafty and make all my cards this year and so far I have made a total Well, I guess that will be next year's project. *sigh* life of a procrastinator. 

I should take a lesson from this sheet of Christmas tree stickers. I'm always looking for different ways to trim my tree because every year it looks exactly the same. Noted. Next year I will make a patchwork tree like the one on the left hand side. And Stickii always includes something for the planner lovers; this month it's sticker flags and Christmas washi tape. Time to make my planner look a little festive!

I guess since it's only November they didn't want to make a sticker pack ENTIRELY devoted to the holidays. These are the non-holiday stickers. I think my favorite here are the hearts with the cute animals. I'm partial to the shiba heart because it looks almost like my beloved Macho but they're all 100% adorable. 

This month's pack is really getting me into the Christmas spirit but I can't help but feel a little bad since it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Maybe I'll set this aside until Friday so I can gush over it guilt-free. :)

The holidays are the best time for cute things and warm fuzzy feelings. You can be sure to find that in a Stickii pack. Click here to subscribe to Stickii Club. You can choose from Cute, Retro, or Pop, though I think all are pretty cute. 

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

3B Box Review - November 2016

 What: The 3B Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty items from Korea, Japan, or Taiwan
When: Ships during the first week of each month
Cost: $15/month with free shipping to US (or as low as $12/month with longer commitments)

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was talking about October's 3B Box, and November's one is here already! *sigh* I love getting things in the mail. :D This month is all about skin care. The info card outlined the main steps in a typical Asian skin care routine:

It might seem overwhelming compared to the typical cleanser-toner-moisturizer deal that a lot of us are used to, but like anything else once you incorporate it into your nighttime routine it gets easier.

Manyo Factory Deep Pore Cleansing Soda Foam - Cleansing foams are good for removing dirt after using an oil cleanser to remove excess oil from your skin. This foam cleanser is enriched with green tea extract and papaya fruit extract for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It's especially good for oily skin, enlarged pores, acne and hyperpigmentation - in other words, my skin!

Etude House Honey Cera Toner - Over the past few months 3B has sent out a number of Honey Cera products, two of them being in this box alone. Add that to the serum and cream from a couple of months ago and I've got my own little Honey Cera skin care regimen. The Honey Cera collection is packed with honey extract, royal jelly extract and ceramide to nourish dry skin. This toner is milky and even though it does contain alcohol way down on the ingredient list, my skin can't even tell it's there.

Hada Labo Tokyo Anti-Aging Hydrator - This hydrator is an essence used after toning. Essences add another layer of hydration before applying a serum. My experience with Hada Labo is that their products are very hydrating, and although I haven't tried this particular one yet, with an ingredient like Super Hyaluronic Acid I'd bet it's pretty moisturizing. Bonus: it's fragrance free!

Etude House Honey Cera Emulsion - The next step (if not using a serum) is to apply an emulsion, which is basically a lightweight moisturizer. To be honest, I usually skip the cream and just end my skin routine with an emulsion. But if you have drier skin and crave the added hydration, especially in the winter months, then use an emulsion along with a cream. This emulsion is quite stringy and almost impossible to get out of the bottle, but it is very hydrating and looks like honey and now I'm craving some honey toast. :-/

Ladykin Affinitic Snail Cream - I don't use creams very often, but when I do I like to use watery gel creams like this one because they feel so much lighter while being moisturizing at the same time, minus the oily feeling. Korean brands love to put snail extract in their products due to its hydrating properties and tendency to even out complexion. This particular cream contains 80% snail mucin filtrate! And who can resist that adorable packaging?!

I think this month's 3B Box did a great job with Skin Care 101. The info card is helpful to have on hand in case you have trouble remembering one of the many skin care steps. I'm most excited to try the foam cleanser because it sounds like my match made in heaven. :) If you're interested in immersing yourself in all things skin care, click here to subscribe to 3B Box. At only $15/month (with free shipping!) it's definitely one of the more affordable Asian beauty boxes out there.

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