Makeup Monday: Winter Butterfly (Vice 3 Palette)

Hello lovelies 🙂 It’s the first Monday after the New Year, which for many of us, means it’s the first full-week back to work since mid-December. Never fear though, Makeup Monday is here to get us kicked off with an … Continue reading

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 🙂

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 Amazon.com

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!

XOXO Ali

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

September Subscriptions: Ipsy, Sunset 45, & Vegan Cuts

Ipsy: Street Style

IMG_9622This is my very first Ipsy bag, and I have to admit, my first impression was not great. It took SO long for it to get here. My friends were excitedly posting about their bags the week before I even got a shipping notification for mine. When I saw the sparkly pink packaging at my doorstep on Saturday, I was elated it was finally here! But the bag inside looked rough. As you can see from the picture, it was a mess. There were dents and tears in the fabric of the studded bag, and creases all over the place. Not a great first impression of such a raved-about beauty subscription.

Anyways, let’s move on to the contents of the bag–AWESOME! I received:

  • Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Make A Mauve – this is my favorite item in the box so far; I was worried the color was going to be too dark, but one brush of the stick on my cheek and a little rubbing does wonders for adding color! My cheeks look flushed without it looking clown-like, and I found it lasts much longer than traditional powdered blushes.
  • Nourish Organic Mositurizing Cream Face Cleanser – this is a gel-type cleanser that gently foams as you rub it into your skin. The smell is alright, but it leaves skin feeling soft and clean, and the sample size should last me a longggg time.
  • Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish in Red Red Wine – this color goes on a beautiful blood-red color, that looks different to me in various light settings. Although it goes on smoothly, two coats is needed to evenly distribute the color. Did I mention it’s vegan-friendly?! Yes!
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask – this conditioning mask was nothing special. I put it on my hair after shampooing with my Redken, and left it on for about 4 minutes. I didn’t feel it conditions nearly as much as a regular conditioner, as my hair was really knotted and difficult to brush through (and pulled out a lot of hair) while styling.
  • Be A Bombshell Smooth Criminal Powder – have not sampled yet.

Sunset 45: Classic Lines

sunset45-2

I was pretty happy with my Sunset 45 box this month, though I’m still not sure it’s worth $35. I am having a hard time actually cancelling because I like most of what they send me, I just don’t think it’s always worth $35…decisions, decisions. September’s theme was “Classic Lines:”

  • Gold bar necklace – this necklace is my favorite piece in the box. It’s simple and understated, the perfect piece to add when you’re going for classic luxury.
  • Gold bangles – I’m kind of “meh” about bangles, because they are usually too uncomfortable for me to wear all day. They usually don’t stay on my wrists very well, and the constant jangling of them going up and down when I move my arm drives me crazy. I do like that these are a bit thicker than other bangles I’ve tried, so you can wear one or all 7!
  • Absolute New York Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Black – this liner is fantastic. Because it’s gel, it glides so effortlessly across the skin, but be sure to let it dry before testing its waterproof capabilities. Gels can smudge easily when first applied.
  • Absolute New York Nail Art Paint in Black and White – have not experimented with these yet, but I like the long skinny tubes. Feels more luxurious that way 😉
  • Gold crystal-chain necklace – this necklace is pretty long so you can wear it as is, or double it up!

Vegan Cuts: End of Summer Snacking

IMG_1814This is my second experience with a food box subscription, and my first time with Vegan Cuts.  This box included a bunch of warm-weather treats:

  • Somersault Snack Co. nut-free sunflower nuggets
  • Snikiddy vegetable chips
  • UB Super meal replacement powder (shake)
  • Surf Sweets organic watermelon ring candies – yum! Just like the ones in the gas station, but organic!
  • Ziggy Marley Organics sea salt and pepper hemp seeds – what does a hemp seed taste like?
  • Chic-a-Peas falafel chickpeas – sadly not as good as I hoped, and I’m a falafel junkie.
  • Smooze ice pop – I love these pops. I got on in my Love With Food box and it was so delicious! I don’t know if I liked this flavor as much, but the brand is definitely worth checking out!
  • Pur-Absorb Iron water packets – I am afraid to try these, haha. Just like multivitamins, I can’t stomach iron-laced items, because I think iron tastes like blood. I know that’s a weird thing to say, but surely there is someone out there that has had a bloody nose and knows what I mean! Blegh!
  • Neat meat-replacement mix – I was very skeptical. You just add eggs and water and cook it on a stove-top like you would ground beef (which I’ve never done in my life…even when I wasn’t a vegetarian). But. it. was. DELICIOUS. We made it with tacos. I can’t stand vegetarian products that taste too much like meat (like veggie “sausage” patties) because it freaks me out, but this had all the zesty flavoring of a taco mix with just some vegetable protein holding it together. It was so good, but the cheapest I can find it is 6/$30. Yikes!
  • Beanfield bean and rice ranch-flavored chips

I had a hard time getting everything to sit (and stay put) while I took photos, so I’m sorry about the poor quality of the photo. As far as the subscription box goes, it’s another check-mark on my list of boxes I wanted to try. At $19/month, this will be the only Vegan Cuts snack box I try, as I just can’t see the price value of food boxes. They do have a beauty box I’m itching to get my hands on though, so maybe that will be in a future review. I love me some new beauty products (but I really don’t need anymore!).

What subscription boxes do you get?!

XO Ali

August Subscription Boxes

They’re here! The best part about coming back from vacation was that little pile of boxes patiently waiting at my doorstep to be fawned over. Since I canceled Birchbox last month (a decision I’ve since regretted…more on that below), I only have 3 subscriptions currently: Sunset 45, BarkBox, and I sampled LoveWithFood this month for only $2. What did I think about what I got? Keep reading to find out 🙂

Sunset 45 Little Luxuries Box

August’s theme was Into the Woods. After a disappointing month last month, I was weighing my decision to keep it or cancel on this month’s box. I’m happy to say that I really loved it! Despite how much I love it, for $35/month, I’m not sure I can keep up with a love-hate relationship…not when there’s other boxes out there I want to sample. I’ll be “allowed” to buy my own accessories again in just a few weeks, and I know they’ll be ones I love (and probably at less cost). I’m going to wait until after September’s box to confirm this decision. There were five pieces in this collection:

  • “Leafcutter” bracelet ($26) – easily my favorite piece in the collection! The pretty emerald green set against the gold leaves makes it really pop out and elegantly define an outfit.
  • MIENN fragrance oil no. 54 rollerball ($15) – my second favorite item. “The no. 54 is a delicate musk with sweet floral top notes.” I was put off by the description at first, because I am not at all a musk-type girl. However, it’s got a sweet, subdued aroma that to me, is almost pheromone-like. MIENN is a Korean fragrance company.
  • “Autumn Feather” necklace ($24) – a super cute silver collar-necklace perfect for date night. I like that it is unique, but not a statement piece. I will be able to get more wear out of it this way.
  • “Apoidea” statement ring ($30) – I LOVE the actual statement portion of the ring, but I think I may deconstruct it and use it as a pendant on a necklace instead. It is a little too big on my hand.
  • Earrings (bonus) – I’m suprised how much I like these rhinestone earrings. The rhinestone portion has subtle pink undertones that show off when they catch the light. I don’t think I would have liked the rhinestones in the earrings if they didn’t have that pink hue.

Barkbox

I ruv Barkbox, seriously. When you love your four-legged friend as much as I do, all you want to do is shower them with new toys and treats. Okay, it’s probably a little more for me than him, but we have found some great healthy treats, and he loves the new toys every month! But the best part is that Barkbox donates 10% of the proceeds from every box to a dog in need. Paws up!

IMG_1628This month’s box had a nautical theme. It includes the following items:

  • Jax and Bones Nautical Wheel Rope Toy
  • Feel Good Treat Co. Seafood Chowder
  • Wadoba Fetch
  • Grandma Bowser’s Cheddar Biscuits

I won’t be opening the treats until he’s finished his other couple packs, but I do want to comment on the Wadoba Fetch ball. It’s pretty cool, it’s made so that when you throw it, it will skid-jump across the water and float. It’s meant to be a catch-and-retrieve toy, not a chew toy, and I’m excited to try it out with Yoshi once we break his fear of water…

Love With Food Tasting Box

I’ve been doing a little research on some food subscription boxes, and decided to try this Love With Food Tasting Box because I found a code where you could get your first box for free, just pay $2 shipping. They have 3 types of boxes: the Tasting Box ($10/mo), the Deluxe Box ($17/mo), and the Gluten-Free Box ($25/mo). What attracted me to the company was that all their snacks are either all-natural, organic, GMO-free, gluten-free or free of artificial ingredients. In addition, for every box you buy, they donate one meal to a hungry child in America.

This month’s theme was Fun at the County Fair and came with:

  • Back to Nature crispy cheddar crackers
  • Salty Road caramel apple salt water taffies (2)
  • Skeeter Snacks nut-free cinnamon graham crackers
  • Covered Bridge steak spice seasoned potato chips
  • Smooze! pineapple and coconut fruit ice
  • 180 Snacks nutty rice bites with blueberries
  • YumEarth lollipops (2)
  • Love With Food kettle sweet peanuts

I don’t really know what I was expecting for $10, but I immediately knew this was a box I wouldn’t continue with. The snacks have so far been delicious, but they’re such a small amount it leaves you kind of unsatisfied. I just can’t justify paying $10 for what was received. Don’t let me dissuade you, however, as you can get your first box for free by clicking this link:

Love With Food - Snack Smart. Do Good.

I am trying the Vegan Cuts snack box next 🙂

In addition, after just one month off, I have decided to renew my Birchbox subscription. Ironically, when you sign up, they send you the current months box as well, so technically I didn’t really take any time off. I was so disappointed when I saw some incredible August boxes…I’m really hoping I get one that’s just as good! I also ordered the two limited edition CEW Insiders boxes. Those reviews will be up after they get delivered!

What are your subscription addictions? Are there any new ones out there that you’re interested in trying? Let me know in the comments below!

XO