Boxycharm Roundup

November 2014 Boxycharm: Sparkle and Shine

IMG_2301MicaBeauty Eye Primer ($44.95) – this eye primer (I’m pretty sure this is the deluxe sied item in the box?) is creamy and smooth, but I could never justify paying $45 for a full-priced eye primer when Urban Decay and Too Faced (my favorite!) offer comparable products at/around $20.
Kevin.Murphy Color.Bug ($20) – this rub-in hair color is a really pretty bronze (in the package). I have yet to see if it’ll even show up against my already light hair!
OFRA Cosmetics Pressed Blush in Paradise Pink ($24.95)
Bellapierre Eyeshadow in Hurly Burly ($14.99) – this is a gorgeous purple shimmer loose eyeshadow. I have yet to decide whether I want to keep it–it’s so pretty!–or give it away since I rarely use loose eyeshadows.
Tarina Tarantino Eyelicity Glitter Liner in Glitter Mist ($16) – When I saw this pink-pearescent liquid eyeliner, I was really excited to try something unlike anything else I owned. Unfortunately, it left very little to be desired. The formula was extremely liquidy, despite having mixed it for a while with the brush. In addition, the actual sparkle flecks were few and far between on application. The ones that did apply either flaked off on my cheeks or in my eyes as the day went on. Ouch!

December 2014 Boxycharm: Jingle Belles

IMG_0846Mistura Kabuki Brush ($19.99) – I’m a big fan of retractable brushes. They maintain their shape, while being the perfect travel companion! Pulling the tube up covers the bristles before replacing the cap, which maintains the integrity and working power of the bristles.
Coastal Scents Revealed Palette ($19.95) – I just got the Revealed 2 palette, and I am so happy to now own the original Revealed palette as well (boy would I have been bummed if they sent me something I just bought!) As the 2 is supposed to be a dupe of the Naked 3 palette by Urban Decay, I’ve heard the original Revealed is supposed to be a dupe of Naked 1 AND Naked 2. I can’t wait to play and compare 🙂
Eva NYC Clean It Up Shampoo – I just used this shampoo for the first time yesterday, and I immediately noticed how much it smelled like my Beauty Protector products. Unfortunately, at least after the first use, I’m not wowed by the formula–didn’t notice much difference from an “ordinary” shampoo.

IMG_0850Lina Lashes 100% Cruelty Free Lashes ($30) – agh why do faux lashes look so bad on me?! These are really gorgeous lashes, but they are a little over the top. The only time I have tried false lashes is the “natural” looking ones that do more lengthening than anything. These are super volumous and will clash too much with my light features. Giveaway!
Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon in Trophy Wife ($14)

One more to go…sigh. Sorry for all these back-to-back haul posts. I swear I’m not made of money or crazy or anything…a little compulsive, but that can be curbed, right? 😉

XO Ali

Makeover Monday: Girl in Charge (em Cosmetics)

Hello beauties!

Today’s first Makeover/Makeup Monday (I haven’t decided which one sounds less corny 🙂 ) is featuring em Cosmetics by Michelle Phan. I know I’ve been on the Michelle Phan bandwagon lately, but I can’t help it! She’s so talented, nice, and her tips and tutorials really are fabulous. I had a little haul a week or so ago when her entire website was 50% off! In fact, they’re running that special again until 11:59 p.m. on December 31st! No coupon code needed.

IMG_0950Dusty pink blazer: Forever 21 | Cream-colored lace & chiffon top: Forever 21

This look is called “girl in charge” and uses the upper right quad of the Career Life Palette. Keep reading for how I customized this look!

My em Cosmetics haul included:

productscollagelove me for me flawless finish powder compact in porcelain 02: $25 $12.50
love me for me flawless foundation in porcelain 02: free w/ powder compact
the great cover up ultimate concealer in fair neutral/cool: $17 $8.50
chiaroscuro contour & highlight stick in fair tones: $24 $12
the life palette in career life: $59 $29.50
lip gallery creamy color sheer lipstick in im taken all red-y: $15 $7.50 (not pictured)
lip gallery creamy color classic lipstick in misty mauve: $15 $7.50 (not pictured)

facecollageStep 1: Apply foundation using a makeup sponge (I like Real Techniques brand)
Step 2: Apply concealer under eyes and over problem areas
Step 3: Contour and highlight!
Step 4: Apply eye makeup:

girlinchargeAs stated above, I used the upper right quad of the Career palette:

I applied 1 all over the base of the eyelid and 2 as an eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line. Three was applied in the center of the eyelid and blended outward. Four and 5 were applied up and towards the brow bone. Six was brushed on the apple of the cheeks, while 7 was applied all over the lips. I applied 8 right in the middle of the lips to add more depth.

skintonefairHere is a swatch of all the colors in the “girl in charge” quad. This picture, as well as the stock photos of the products are directly the property of em Cosmetics and their website.

Step 5: To finish the look, I revved up my eyebrows using Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Brow Wiz Pencil and Benefit’s Brow Gel. I applied Lorac’s Cobra Mascara and touched up my shiny spots with em Cosmetic’s powder compact.

The finished result?

IMG_0953As you can see, my freckles are still full force after my trip to Cancun 🙂

My favorite of the products by a LONG shot was the lipsticks. From all the lipsticks I have tried, I can confidently say their formula is similar to MAC. They are THAT good. I wouldn’t pay full price for the Life Palettes, as the color payoff isn’t nearly as great as comparably-priced brands like Urban Decay and Lorac. I might have to pick up a few more lippies though…before the New Year kicks off (spoiler alert: I’m going on ANOTHER shopping hiatus…just for 3 months this time).

If you are curious to try any of Michelle’s products, please visit her website as they are 50% off right now!

I am not paid to review these products. The opinions are my own.

XO Ali

Ipsy Roundup

More subscription reviews! This edition: Ipsy! I have listed the prices next to products that were actually full-size. Ipsy is a great value–you get several full-size (when not deluxe) items for just $10/month, plus a cute little collectors bag that the products come in. In addition, it’s a company launched by the ever-so-talented Michelle Phan. I’ve already stated that I canceled all my subscriptions for the beginning of 2015, but this one I think I will miss most.

October 2014 Ipsy: Beauty Candy

IMG_2067Isn’t this bag so cute?! I love the quilting!

épicé Purifying Exfoliant
Skone Cosmetics Tattooed Eyeliner ($15) in Black (I accidentally photographed the wrong liner. The actual liner is here) – Felt-tipped liners are my FAVORITE. This has been my go-to eyeliner since receiving it! I’m not sure how liners last when they don’t have twist functions or spring loads, but it has yet to run out! The color is very controlled when applying, without bleeding all over the place. This is a great first liner to try if you’re just starting out with liquid liners.
Noyah Lipstick in Deeply in Mauve – this lipstick is all color. It goes on very dark and very thick, but at least its moisturizing! The color payoff is exactly what you see on the stick, rubbing off the deep mauve-brown color right onto your lips. I’ve been getting a lot of mauves for the fall, and I love it!
Figs and Rouge Hand Cream in Mango Mandarin – what hand cream? I loved this cream so much I used it up in just a couple weeks. It smelled almost exactly like Kool-Aid, without the overly sweet factor. Seriously, amazing. I would totally buy the full size if I didn’t already have so many hand creams to go through 😦
Cirque Colors Nail Polish in XX – a gorgeous rainbow confetti made with over 20 different types of glitter. Best layered over other colors. You can see it on my Instagram here (I should have cleaned up my nails before posting this…)

November 2014 Ipsy: Girl Meets Glitter

IMG_2278I love this bag! With a plastic overlaying the sparkles, you don’t end up with flecks of silver everywhere. It’s a Forever 21 x Ipsy bag, and it has the perfect girly touch with the pink zipper. I like to store my simple manicure supplies in it–base coat, top coat, q-tips, mini bottle of nail polish remover, and whatever color I’m feeling like at the moment. This way, I can fix my nails on the go or just carry my supplies from room to room in my apt.

J.Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion ($4.99)
Be A Bombshell Eye Base in Submissive ($14) – a creamy bronze eye color with gold shimmer. Labeled as an “eye base” I expected it to be a primer, but it is actually just a color! It’s got buildable coverage so you can apply as much as you want to get your desired look.
Starlooks Eye Pencil in Velvet Violet ($13) – as stated in a previous review, the color literally melts onto your skin. I love the colors and the ease of application, but with such a creamy formula, it doesn’t have much staying power throughout the day. Bummer.
Temptu S/B Highlighter in White Shimmer – after trying the same product received in a Birchbox, except in Champagne Shimmer (wayyy too dark for my skin tone), I was worried this product would be a bust. It’s actually just a very basic pearlescent highlighter, except I find it a little on the watery/runny side.
Marc Anthony Morocco Argan Oil Hairspray

December 2014 Ipsy: Thinking of You

IMG_0818This month’s bag was a sateen black with a cute little heart charm making the zipper more accessible.

Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser – I haven’t tried this product yet but I always look forward to trying a cruelty-free product! I love furry critters and should really be better about researching brands that don’t do animal testing.
Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush ($6.99) – While I enjoy trying new brushes, I don’t like double-ended brushes as I like to store mine upright, which will ultimately ruin one or both sides of the brush.
NYX Butter Lip Balm in Red Velvet ($4) – I already have a NYX Lip Balm in Panna Cotta and I love it. I was excited to try it in the red shade and it was not a let down! It’s super moisturizing, long-lasting, and provides the right amount of color for a balm–nothing too intense, but definitely noticeably different than your natural shade.
Pixi by Petra Fair Dust Eye Shadow in Brightening Bare ($10) – I have recently falled in love with Pixi’s products, and am excited to add another product to my collection. It’s got a foam-tipped applicator, but I will still use a brush to apply to control fallout (it’s going to happen with a loose pigment eyeshadow).
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara – I wasn’t very excited about this, because I already own it. But you should be! Hello giveaway 🙂

Birchbox Roundup

I’ve argued a considerable amount with myself–no joke–about whether or not I want to publish this slew of posts regarding my subscription boxes over the last few months (I’ve drafted Birchbox, Ipsy, Boxycharm, and Glossybox reviews). Quite honestly, I’m no longer proud of these “haul” posts, as they just seem to glamorize something I’m embarrassed about: i.e. the amount of “stuff” aka beauty products that I’ve collected over the last few year.

My goal in 2015 is to minimize the amount of “stuff” I accumulate. I’ve already taken steps towards fulfilling this by canceling all of my subscription boxes (except for Birchbox which I paid a lump sum for 1 years worth earlier in 2014), but the backlog of posts and pictures just makes me feel even more guilty, as if I collected all of this overnight. For reasons of simply just getting it off my mind, I’ve decided to publish these posts and will be more upfront and honest in my 2015 resolutions post in the coming days.

November 2014 Birchbox: Giving

IMG_2303Bain de Terre Argan Oil & Passion Flower Color Therapy Styling Oil
Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream – a nongreasy cream I have started using as a daily moisturizer. A little goes a long way, so it’ll be a while before this makes it onto an “empties” post.
Not Soap, Radio Body Wash in Joy Inducing – I picked this sample from their monthly sample choice, since lemon is one of my favorite all time scents! It’s a bit sweeter than I hoped, but doesn’t dry out my sensitive skin and leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to start my day!
theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer
Folle de Joie eau de parfum

December 2014 Birchbox: Decked Out

IMG_0813Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm
RUSK Texture Spray
SeaRX Anti-Wrinkle Facial Life Treatment Serum
Acure Organics Lip Lush
Vasanti Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil in Rose Gold – the only product I have tried so far (and another choice from their monthly sample choice options). This creamy liner glides on smoothly, and the rose gold color instantly brightens up tired eyes. When I’m not going for a more dramatic look, I like to apply this right on the corners of my inner eye to make me look more naturally alert.

2014 Vanity Affairs Holiday Box

I also splurged and got the coveted Limited Edition: Vanity Affair holiday box ($98). I used a 20% off coupon and 100 Birchbox points (worth $10) to get it down to $68.40. This box is probably my favorite receipt of the season! In addition, they accidentally sent/switched up my order with someone elses and gave me another 100 Birchbox points for their error.

Chantecaille Luminous Gloss in Lychee ($34)
SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Essence Absolue Oil-in-Cream
Rosanna Alhambra Medium Vessel ($22) – My favorite! This is the new statement piece on my bathroom vanity. The light blue porcelain container, outlined with gold gives my bathroom an instant makeover. It’s big enough to fit cotton pads in to gently remove my makeup at night. I have seriously considered buying the sister large vessel, but can’t bring myself to paying $30 for a jar. I think I’ll end up spray-painting a mason jar gold to compliment the colors and store my makeup brushes in.
Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment – I was skeptical that this treatment would prove all its claims (plumping, brightening, moisturizing), but I was instantly rebuffed. I applied this sticky serum as a primer to my BB cream, and after letting it absorb into my skin for 10 minutes, instantly noticed a brighter face staring back at me in the mirror. In addition, I’ve never applied BB cream (or any facial tinted cream) to my face so effortlessly. My skin had a bounce to it that it hasn’t had for over 10 years. I am absolutely in love with this product and can’t wait to use it again and again. However, at $105/ounce (GUHHHH), I will never ever own the full size. I’m okay with that…
BY TERRY Baume de Rose – this product reminds me oh so much of Christian Dior’s Rose Lip Balm. I used this baby religiously over the last week when the hot Mexican sun burnt my lips so bad they blistered in spots (PSA: don’t forget to protect your lips when going out in the sun!). It softened and smoothed the calluses until they completely healed. However, I have so much of CD’s product leftover that after this product is out, I won’t be repurchasing for a while.
Maison Caulieres Perfumed Bath Oil
JINsoon Nail Lacquer in Coquette and Nostalgia  ($18 ea)
TOCCA Eau de Parfum in Margaux – I am very particular about perfumes, and was somewhat surprised with how much I enjoyed the scent. It is described as “not overly sweet…with notes of blood orange and gardenia and holds it with lasting violet, light vanilla and heliotrope.”
MAKE Calypso Palette ($40) – while the darks instantly provide color payoff, I’m happy with the ability to build up color using the gray and beige tones. This palette is a mix of matte, satin, and shimmer finishes, and with 8 complimentary colors, there’s quite a variety of combinations and liners to experiment with.
Tata Harper Volumizing Lip & Cheek Tint
Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray
Stephanie Johnson Tinseltown Gold Jewelry Tray ($30–not pictured) – I use this tray to hold my weekly beauty samples I want to try, while also complimenting the Alhambra vessel also included with the holiday box. It’s the perfect size to toss in some jewelry pieces as well.

Have you bought/received any holiday sets you are excited to try? Let me know in the comments below!

XO Ali

November Sephora Hauls

I know I’m a little late with this one, but it’s time to get some of these pictures out of my camera’s queue! Sephora was running some pretty amazing promotions through the month of November, and the beauty geek in me couldn’t resist! My NY resolutions definitely involve spending less in the beauty (and clothing!) department, but more on that in a future post.

Also, I feel it goes without saying that I am a huge set junkie (if it’s a decent value, and items I have actually been wanting to try), because it allows me to try so many different products, colors, scents, and brands without having to commit to the price tag of a full-sized item I may not even like!

Order #1

First off? The legendary 20% off everything deal (VIB):

IMG_2239Sephora “Give Me More Lip” set: $47.20 (after 20% off coupon)

This set is broken out into four color quads: reds (Hourglass, Laura Mercier, Kat Von D, and Sephora); nudes (Stila, Laura Mercier Gloss, BareMinerals, TooFaced, Make Up For Ever); berried (OCC, Tarte, Fresh, Buxom); and pinks (Tarte, TooFaced, Benefit, and Bite). I have wanted this set ever since it came out, and the fact that I got it for 20% off is just icing on the cake. Lipsticks are my favorite beauty item to hoard buy.

IMG_2250Fresh “Dare to Bare Lip Ritual” set: $36.00 (after 20% off coupon)

As I have declared multiple times on my blog by this point, I am in love with Fresh. This lip polish is super hydrating (and doesn’t even taste bad if you get any in your mouth!), the serum makes my lips feel softer than ever before (truly), and I’m already a lippie junkie. I like that I have now added rose to my collection 🙂

Order #2

IMG_2228Sephora Favorites “Superstars”: $75.00

Alright, alright. This was a purchase I considered for quite some time, and ultimately couldn’t pass up. Most of the products are full-size. Yep, you read that right! The Chloe Rollerball ($25), Formula X Polish in Ignite ($10.50), Smashbox BB Cream ($39), and NARS Blush in Orgasm ($30) are among my favorites (and more than make up the value of the set!).

IMG_2232Pampered Party Prep set: Free (w/ code)

A variation of deluxe-sized samples (more Fresh, yes!)

Order #3

IMG_2258Sephora Favorites “Skin Wonderland” set: $56.00

Orders #2 & #3 were actually made back to back. I knew I wanted both sets, but since you are only entitled to one code per order (and both items qualified for free shipping), I decided to place them separately to get each of the different bag promos they had going on at the time.

I love the skin care sets that Sephora puts together, because I’m constantly searching for that perfect combo of products that will prevent wrinkles, moisturize, and cleanse! This set fit the bill and came with a bunch of unique items that I may not have picked up on my own. The deodorant (if only it were an anti-antiperspirant!), body oil wash, and rosewater balancing mist have been my favorites so far. I gave the hand-cream away. I’m rather surprised I didn’t like the scent with all its orange-influences, but I couldn’t smell fruit at all–just strange floral notes.

IMG_2262Striped sample bag: Free (w/ code)

Because you can never have too many samples (just kidding…but I am going through them pretty quickly).

Josie Maran “Argan Natural Wonders” set: Free (used 500 points)

IMG_2276Miscellaneous Samples: (3) Free w/ each order

What have your beauty hauls included lately?

XO Loves! Merry Christmas Eve Eve 😀

Michelle Phan Book Review

Are you a beauty blogger? A fashion blogger? A vlogger? Then KEEP reading! 🙂

Right before my vacation to Cancun, I was shopping at Target when I noticed the beautiful face of Michelle Phan staring back amid the vast book section. Curious, I picked it up and read a bit, (it’s not your average chapter book), put it back, and went home. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided it would make a fun read on vacation, not to mention providing some new inspiration and perspective on my blog! I ordered it from Amazon, and with my Prime membership, it arrived in 2 days!

I have to be honest, I knew next to nothing about Michelle when I first got the book, let alone that she is the FOUNDER of Ipsy! (Something almost all of you are familiar with/subscribe to). As a 27 year old, she boasts an incredible resume:

  • 7 million subscribers on YouTube
  • Her videos have been viewed over 1 billion times
  • Founder of Ipsy
  • Started her own cosmetics company “em”

The first 2 “chapters” (I use the word chapters loosely, as it’s such a guide/advice/tutorial-type book) cover her background. You wouldn’t know by looking at her that she grew up with almost nothing. It was really inspiring to hear her journey, and to read about her dedication and perseverance landing her where she is today. I’ll save the rest of her back story for you to discover 🙂

If you get a chance, go check out her YouTube channel. She’s just so darn sweet and likeable!

The videos that really brought her to initial fame were her transformation videos. Some of her looks include Angelina Jolie, Sailor Moon, Lady Gaga, Daenerys (Game of Thrones), and (zombie) Barbie!

Even thought she’s amazing at transforming into different characters, some of my favorite videos are her anybody-can-do makeovers. Her instructions are simple and practical, and she doesn’t go out of her way to suggest you buy or use a particular product, which I found very refreshing. Instead, she encourages you to work with what you have.

This is still one of my FAVORITE looks:

The other sections cover a wide variety of topics including makeup tutorials, resume building, career advice, etiquette, and creativity. There’s even a section dedicated to fashion/style! If you go to Amazon’s page, you can peak “Inside the Book.”

This is a great read. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times: she is SO inspiring! It makes me want to channel all my creativity and efforts into something beautiful I can share with others. If you are interested in getting a copy of her book, please enter my giveaway to win! It’s open until Saturday evening at 11:59 P.M.

Michelle-Phan-Book-CoverDomestic (U.S.) entries only–I will be sending the book straight to your home via

Once the winner is announced, you have 2 days to respond to my email (you must leave a valid email address for me to contact you), otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

And in the words of Mish: Good luck!


Hello again!

Wahhh it’s been so long since I’ve had time to log on! I just wanted to note a few points before getting back into a routine and getting into my giveaways!

1. School is finished for the next month! It has been extremely hectic and finals were keeping me TOO tied up to do anything outside of work. I am SO looking forward to having this time off to nurture and love on my blog some more.

2. I’m back from vacation (I was gone for a week!), which is why I haven’t posted in the last week after finals wrapped up. I will probably do a short post on Cancun soon as well 🙂

3. I have a ton of your posts to catch up on as well, so expect to see an influx of comments in the next few days 😀

4. I successfully completed my Early Riser challenge–getting up at 5:00 a.m. every day during November. I said I would be happy if I did it 25% of the time, but in reality, I was able to pull off about 80-90%! Most of that time, unfortunately, was spent on studying instead of working more on my blog, reading, and other enjoyable past-times.

5. The Fall 30×30 challenge is dead. I expect to make this up to you next year, hopefully in the springtime!

6. I read Michelle Phan’s (founder of Ipsy, em cosmetics, and YouTube Beauty Guru!) book “Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success–Online and Off” and it was SO inspiring! I seriously wish I could give every single reader a copy. My next post will be a review on her book, but you can enter my first giveaway starting NOW!


Enter to Win Michelle Phan’s new book (a Rafflecopter giveaway!)

The “short-list” of rules:

Giveaway is open until 11:59 P.M. on Saturday, December 20th EST.

Domestic (U.S.) entries only–I will be sending the book straight to your home via

Once the winner is announced, you have 2 days to respond to my email (you must leave a valid email address for me to contact you), otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!