Boxycharm October 2014 Bewitched Box

I love fall, and I’m loving these Halloween-themed beauty boxes even more! Boxycharm $21/month The box: monthly box filled with full-size and luxury-size beauty samples Brand sample: Tarte, Coastal Scents, Tarina Tarantino, Essie, Revlon, Be a Bombshell Extras: earn “charms” … Continue reading

October Clothing Purchases

Happy Monday! I’ve narrowed down a starting clothing budget, and that is to spend no more than $750 quarterly. I like the idea of doing a quarterly budget to give me a little flex room for months where I find … Continue reading

Sunset 45 October 2014: South by Southwestern

Sunset 45 is probably the most unique of my subscription boxes, as they usually send a variety of both fashion and beauty items. This makes the box extra risky, but where would the fun be if you knew exactly what … Continue reading

Birchbox October 2014: Fanfare

My subscription box addiction continues! I experimented with several new subscription boxes this month, but as always, Birchbox was the first of many to land on my doorstep!

IMG_9937The contents of this month’s box include:

  • Ellovi Butter in Vanilla – this butter can spread on a little greasy, which is common for a lot of butter balms. In addition, I wasn’t a fan of the smell. I like vanilla, but it smelled a bit flat and stale to me. Many of the reviews on Birchbox’s website rave about the smell, so I wonder if I just got a bad batch?
  • Benefit’s The POREfessional – I’ve got a million of these mini tubes so it wasn’t super exciting to me to get another one. They make great little add on gifts though πŸ™‚
  • amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo – first of all, amika has the cutest packaging! This was my favorite product from the box, as it smells super fresh and also didn’t leave a white residue behind like several other dry shampoos I have tried!
  • dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleanser – shame on me! In writing this review, I assumed this was another primer like the POREfessional. But at looking at it more on the website, this is actually a treatment mask you let dry on your affected blackhead areas for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse off!
  • Lord and Berry Paillettes Eye Pencil – wasn’t a huge fan of this pencil. The color is a deep charcoal color with glitter embedded. First of all, the glitter made rubbing the pencil on somewhat painful, and then in reviewing my application, there was only one fleck of glitter that actually made it off the pencil. Definitely not worth the full-price ($16).

Overall, this month’s box was mostly a bust. It’s not that they didn’t give me good products, they’re just not suited for my tastes (which is bound to happen when you’re sampling so many new products). I like the dry shampoo and will try the pore vacuum cleanser, but the other products will either be given away (POREfessional) or go to the trash (eye pencil).

As always, if you would like to subscribe to Birchbox for $10/month, feel free to use my referral link by clicking HERE!

XO Ali

The Last Topcoat You’ll Ever Need to Buy

I was hoping to be a little more productive today, but this nasty bout of flu I’ve been battling since Wednesday has turned into some kind of viral mess now. My voice is so hoarse, I can’t even call my dog from across the room without sounding like one of his squeaker toys. Yoshi got neutered on Friday, so we’re sailing the healing waters together…

Onto brighter topics:

I am the owner of the legendary nail polish top coat…wait for it…

hkgirlHK Girl by Glisten & Glow (avail. for purchase HERE)

Long has my frustration been when applying nail polish, only to have it start chipping same-day. I thought people who claimed that their nail polish would go days on end without even the slightest sign of chipping were either a. lying, or b. using some kind of witchcraft to achieve these results. In talking with my biff, she explained the need for a top coat to achieve such results, and recommended this as the best she’s ever tried (and that’s saying something for a girl who owns 300+ nail polishes!). Then, Jacqueline over at A Vibrant Day also recommended it. I knew I had to try it!

Ladies and gents, it has not let me down. First of all, I ordered it on a Wednesday, and it was here by lunch on Friday. How awesome is that?! Second of all, my nail polish dried in a matter of a couple minutes, and was rock hard within 5 minutes. No smudges, tackiness, nothing. Amazing. I am not a super knowledgeable nail polish guru, but I know when something works, and this was no exception.

At only $6.99 a bottle (and you can buy massive refills when your little prized possession runs out) + shipping, it boasts quite an impressive list of claims:

  • Intense shine*
  • Fast drying*
  • Durable, long lasting nature*
  • No shrinkage
  • Even consistency throughout the bottle*
  • Intensifies holographic polishes
  • Smooths and seals glitter polishes

*What I can confirm through my first few uses.

Have a great Sunday πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Planning

Hello pretties!

First of all, 200 followers! WOOT! Thank you all so much ❀

I’ve been thinking about this year and all I’ve accomplished, and I’m already thinking about some goals I want to set for myself next year and in the next couple months as well. I do well with goals that I put in writing on my blog πŸ™‚

Early Riser (starting in November) – I love being up early, it’s just hard to get out of bed. It’s also a lot more work now since I have to snooze my alarm so as not to wake Ryan, and then quietly bait Yoshi out of his kennel to take him outside. That being said, I’m going to challenge myself to get up early every day in November. I’ll be ecstatic if I can pull it off 75% of the month, but I’m going to attempt 100%. Some people doing this challenge get up at 4:30. I’m going to shoot for 5 a.m., 100 minutes before I usually get up. I feel so much more productive when I’m up early, and hopefully that extra time lends a hand to some of my other goals…

^^Anyone else interested in attempting this crazy challenge with me? πŸ™‚

Blog at least 3x Week (ASAP) – I am disappointed at how lazy I’ve become with posting regularly. The goal is simple–make the time to blog at least 3x a week on a regular basis. I would love to do more posts on product reviews, empties, current favorites, outfit planning, etc.

3 Part Beauty PlanΒ (ASAP) – 1. Inventory the beauty products I have (so as to avoid spending $ on things I already own); 2. Spend less on beauty (budget!); 3. Attempt to make my own beauty products (because how awesome would that be?).

Start a Youtube Channel? (maybe) – I’m not sure about this one yet. I don’t really have a desire to become a full-time vlogger, but sometimes when I do beauty/fashion haul posts, it would be so much easier and more fun to just talk to a camera than to write it all out. I think this would definitely force myself out of my comfort zone, as well as requiring an initial investment in setup and learning-to-edit. It would also allow me to connect to my readers a little more personally.

IMG_9946Convince my Biff to Start Her Own (Nail) Blog (ASAP) – Cassie’s nail art is amazeballs. Check out her instagram here and give her some love! She does her nails 3-5 times a week or more and they’re always so interesting. She’s got a following on Instagram, but I would love for her to start a blog focusing on nail art to show the step by step process of how she does her nails as well as recommendations, tips, hauls, even making her own polish (you can do it!). She’s also a beauty junkie like me, and would do so well in the blogging realm.

Work Out Regularly/Train for a Marathon (ASAP and 2015, respectively) – because what list would be complete without some promise to yourself to be more active? I am currently 9/12 races complete for 2014, with my 10th needing completed in the next two weeks. Next year, I want to finally do a marathon. I’ve done 6 halfs, countless 5ks and 10ks, and a triathlon. Doing a full is kind of naturally the next step and has been a life-dream of mine. I would be so proud of myself if I finished one! I prefer races in the spring because training is during the cool months, but I have my eye on the Air Force Full Marathon next September. Stay tuned!

DIY More/Buy Less – this goal is almost too vague to be included in this list. I’m not sure what I even need to DIY/buy right now, but I want to attempt to DIY projects more than the “I’d rather just pay for the convenience” factor.

Declutter My Life/Make House more Home-y – I have a lot of “stuff.” I’d like to start going room-by-room and determining what I need, don’t need, or never use. This is about as minimalist as I get. Sometimes I just get the urge to purge. The holidays are a great time to start on this project, because of the time off and additional “things” that we will accumulate throughout the season. The beginning of the year is just too busy for me to wait.

Record More Dances – I know this is probably randomly related to fashion/beauty blogging, but I want to record and post to YouTube all the different k-pop dances I have learned. Dancing is one of my favorite things in the world to do. ❀ Right now, I’m finishing up “Red Light” by f(x), but I’ve got plenty more completed, yet unrecorded. I’ll need to brush up on those dances first. Can we just talk for a minute about how awesome this song is? Even if you’ve never listened to a Korean pop song before, you can’t deny how incredible the song/beat is, not to mention how uniquely beautiful the video has been presented. It’s been on every playlist I’ve made since it came out in July.

Are you evaluating how your 2014 goals are coming? What are some things you’re looking forward to in 2015–is it too soon to ask that question?

XO Ali

Columbus Day

Good morning everyone!

Today in the United States, it is “Columbus Day.” The day is meant to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas back on October 12, 1492 (it’s always celebrated on a Monday). The “celebration” has become very controversial in recent years, but regardless, the national holiday means banks, governments, and other public institutions are closed, not to mention there are sales galore!

Case in point: Forever 21

image1I resisted their big sale. I resisted the sale again when they offered 40% off already marked-down sales prices. But when they offered 50% off sales prices for Columbus Day plus free shipping (no minimum $50 purchase this time), I could no longer resist. I do have to disclose that all items are final sale, which narrowly breaks one of my online shopping rules (do not order final sales items if you are unsure of the fit). However, the only item I am unsure of size-wise is the swimsuit.

The swimsuit has been on my radar since summertime, but I just added it to my “wishlist” and moved on. Now, at $4 a piece, I decided to take a chance. Plus, I am going to a beach-resort in Cancun in December for a week-long holiday with my boyfriend! I can’t wait πŸ™‚ We went two years ago and haven’t been on a real vacay in over a year.

Their clothes run ridiculously small. I ordered a large in both the top and bottom, because I can assume that their sizing is off. Their “Love 21” items run a half size larger than their regular items, so the bomber jacket and cowl neck sweater should fit fine in a medium (my true size). I rid my cart of additional items, such as shorts, that I wasn’t sure how they would fit.

$41.46? Not bad.

Use code: TAKE50 at the checkout to receive 50% off sales items.

Do you look for good deals on holidays? Where are you spending your money today?!

XO Ali

Note: I am not paid to endorse Forever 21, nor is that my goal. This is just a sales code passed from one fashion addict to another πŸ™‚