BeautyBoxFive Review

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to receive a BeautyBox5 for review. This is actually my first beauty sample box and I have to say that I like it. I had read lots of reviews of sample subscriptions on other blogs but was a little hesitant to sign up for one. I was on the fence about subscription services because sometimes people would get things like samples of snacks or wipes and I didn't want to get anything like that.

BeautyBoxFive comes simply with in a light aqua box, with the contents directly inside. No little makeup pouch or anything, which I sort of like. I have tons of little makeup bags from GWP deals at Macy's and so forth, and I already have no use for them. If you're like me, you'd rather have better sample products/more sample products than another cute, but not very useful bag.

The products are in a small organza bag resting on crimped paper. When I first picked the box out of the mail box, I was surprised because I could hear the products rattling around on the inside, I think that perhaps more paper would have made it a bit more secure (everything in this box was safe, but I could imagine that with products like eye shadow, the rattling could have actually damaged it).

 There is also a card included inside which describes the products and lists the retail prices for the full sized.

Model Co Lip Shine in Tease. A full sized .14 fl oz product, retailing for $16. This is just flat out a really nice gloss. A peach color that is so sheer it's almost clear, with pink sparkles.  It lives up to the claims of not being sticky at all yet looks very glossy. Lightly scented like fruit, doe foot applicator with a handy mirror on the side of the tube.

Bodyography Foundation Primer in Clear, .53 oz. Retails for $30 for 1 oz. Another really generous sized sample. .53 oz of primer will last me a month at least, even with daily use. I'm puzzled by the claims printed on the card as to it being "oil-free" as I can clearly read various oils in the ingredients list. Plant and seed oils, yes, but oils none the less. Also silicone heavy, this would be nice for dry skins but not oily/combo types like mine, but I found that adding a bit to my foundation made it apply very smoothly.

Coolway Boost, 1 oz. 8 oz retails for $39.95. At first I wasn't sure what exactly this product was, but after some online searching, I found out that the Coolway brand products seek to lower thermal damage done to hair by hot hair tools. The Boost is a hair mask and the sample is large enough for a few uses. It smells more like herbs than your typical conditioner and didn't really moisturize, but it did leave my hair flatter without straightening with an iron.

Demeter Roll On Perfume Oil in Cherry Blossom. Another full sized product at 0.29 fl oz (retails for $10). A light fruity cherry blossom scent. A general crowd pleaser, I quite liked it. Lasted about 4 hours for me before I had to reapply, but fit nicely into my purse for touch ups.

The Brush Guard Variety Pack. Three guards come in this sample, a full sized pack is four guards, priced at $5.50. A very great sample, I had wanted to try out the real Brush Guards!

If every month of BeautyBoxFive were as good as this one, I'd say it was worth the $12. Everything in this particular month's box I actually used. Not only that, but it is well rounded; a hair product, two makeup products , a fragrance product and something from the tool/accessory category. Not to mention two full sized products and the other ones being very generous. I'm glad there weren't any dinkly little one time use shampoo packets or tiny vials of perfumes, these were definitely deluxe samples.

Personally, I probably wouldn't order a box every month (a year's subscription is $100) but I could definitely see myself ordering a box every few months just to surprise myself with new brands and new products. If I knew for certain that I'd see samples of the big named brands (such as BECCA, Ellis Faas ) I would then commit to buying reoccurring boxes or three months at a time.

For a full list of BeautyBox5's brands, click here. To purchase monthly, quarterly and yearly subscriptions, click here.

Have you tried any beauty boxes? What did you like and dislike about it?

Products featured were sent to me for review. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Crazy for Carrots

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Easter weekend, the perfect time to bust out your pastels for a cute manicure. I've been seeing all these adorable egg and bunny manicures on Instagram, but you know that's not my cup of tea! I actually uh... don't like rabbits very much. The book Bunnicula left a lasting impression on me as a child (I know he only drained veggies but still!) and a friend's cute fuzzy rabbit chomped on me once.

I do however, love carrots. REALLY love carrots. Hard. I think we go through about ten pounds of them a month, just the two of us. I love them glazed, butter fried, stir fried, in stews, in pot roasts, in chicken pot pies, in curries...Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that the majority of my meals have carrots in them.

I used: OPI Chop Sticking to My Story, Urban Decay Magic Bus (from my friend Rae!), China Glaze Papaya Punch, China Glaze Budding Romance, Le Chat Dare to Wear Enchanted Forest, OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls

Have a great weekend!

Why Yes, I Even Have an Opinion on Cotton

I'm going to discuss something that a lot of beauty and nail lovers alike use every day without much thought. It's not exciting or new, it's just cotton. Yet somehow I've become somewhat of a snob when it comes to cotton. It might be hard to believe but I honestly have preferred brands and types. 

First up, cotton balls for removing polish. I love the Swisspers Jumbo cotton balls, I ordered them from when they had a 40% off sale combined with a BOGO, but they're found in brick & mortar stores too. Back when I was in cosmetology school, I used these giant boxes of cotton coils, because they dispensed easily. The giant box however doesn't look so cute sitting on my table, so I switched back to cotton balls.  

The Swisspers large and you can peel them apart to use them a la Deborah Lippmann polish removal technique. This method is downright awesome, if you haven't seen this video by Michelle of All Lacquered Up, please take a look. It's 30 seconds long and literally saved me so much time when removing polish. 

With the jumbo sized Swisspers, I can use a single cotton ball to remove a complete manicure on both hands. If it's a glitter or something with messy shimmer, maybe a cotton ball and a half. Considering how many swatches I do every month, that's pretty awesome that I only have to buy a new bag every month. Prior to the DL method, I was looking into buying cotton in bulk at Costco because I was seriously going through 3-4 bags of 100 normal balls a month. That's downright insane.

Now, how about cotton for my face and neck? I have an ongoing love affair with Asian cotton pads. I seriously feel like the majority of Asian brands are softer than any American ones that I find at the drugstore. My favorite thing to do with them is to create mini masks, the way Chizu Saeki does in the following video. (Side note, I think I love Chizu. Her smile is so warm and her skin is amazing.)

As you can see, these Suzuran ones peel apart to three layers when wet. I always add a pack of pads whenever I'm shopping on (link hereto help bump up my total to get free shipping. They're very cheap, only $3.50 for a pack of 240. I think the Suzuran ones are great for daily use but if you want larger stretching cotton squares, I recommend the SELENA brand five layered cotton pads. In the past, I've received samples of the much lauded Shiseido cotton pads but think that they are really rather overpriced for what they are (Jeweled Thumb voices my sentiments perfectly in this post).

The last kind of cotton I use are the ones I use for removing swatches on my arm (aka the ones the Morgan can also use. Pfft, like I'm going to let him use my nice cotton). I honestly like the cheapest cotton pads the most. In the past, I used the exfoliating Up & Up cotton rounds from Target but found that they had lots of hard lumps that could sometimes scratch me (especially when scrubbing dark colors off my arm). I absolutely love the cheapo Dollar Tree cotton rounds. $1 and they don't leave lint on clean skin or break apart. 

So yes, that just about sums up my nutty post that is all about cotton. What do you think? Do you have a preference for cotton or are you amazed at how crazy I am about it?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Urban Outfitters Pluto

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Last month, I found myself at Urban Outfitters looking at their polish, once again. It's the first place I stop when at the mall because I've found that UO really has been coming out with some neat polishes this past year. Immediately, Pluto caught my eye.

Actually, can we take a minute in remembrance of our former ninth planet?

Pluto the polish is gorgeous. A dark indigo jelly chock full of twinkling color transitioning glitters. The formula was thick and chunky, so I added about 20 drops of thinner and that pretty much did the trick. In these pictures, I used three coats.

Urban Outfitter's polish is pretty cheap too. Priced at $5 each or two for $8, my wallet is pretty happy.

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I picked up a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush this week for a friend and realized after browsing through my posts that I had never posted a review on my blog for when I bought mine (story of my life). Despite being called a face brush and "for application and blending of cream or liquid foundation", the shape and size of this brush make it a better blush brush for me, and that's how I'll be reviewing it.

This brush has a elongated aluminum ferrule, with a slightly tapered rubberized base. It's very light weight wise, I actually prefer a bit of a heft to my brushes.

I remember the thing that surprised me the most when I initially purchased this was it wasn't as silky as I expected it to be. The shape and staggered positioning of the synthetic bristles mimic natural hairs, but this sort of uneven cut leaves the brush feeling not as soft as other synthetic brushes (such as Ecotools, the synthetic HD line at Walmart, etc) and actually rougher than a few of my goat bristled brushes. However, because it is synthetic it is really easy to clean and dries very quickly. When I flick it vigorously and pat it dry with a towel, it'll be completely dry in two hours.

It works well, for certain things. The bristles are pretty resilient, offering good control to the user. I find that it sort of sheers out blushes, which is great if you're working with scary pigmented brushes or like to build up blushes with medium pigmentation but not idea for already sheer blushes (when used with NARS Deep Throat, it sheers it out to the point where I can't see it anymore). It's also pretty good for use with cream or liquid blushes.

This is a comparison between a blush brush made of natural hairs roughly the same size, the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and a duo fiber brush, all using roughly the same amount of pressure. The natural bristles grab the most product and the duo fiber grab the least, leaving the synthetic Expert Face Brush somewhere in between. The brush does blend the blush out quite well.

Bottom line: it's a good beginner brush. The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is very cheap at $8.99 (particularly if you catch it on sale or use coupons at Ulta), quite dense and is a good work horse. It does however have limitations and you might find that you might outgrow this brush as your makeup needs change. I don't reach for this brush often as I find myself preferring other tools, so more than likely my sister will inherit this brush.

Have you tried any Real Techniques brushes? What did you think?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Mundane Mondays, Vol. III: Candy Crush Saga

Monday, March 25, 2013

A few weeks ago we were watching Netflix (finishing up season three of Lie to Me, if you must know) when Morgan noticed that I was not actually watching but was intently staring at the iPad in my lap. "It's called Candy Crush," I explained. "Kinda like Bejewled but with objectives and levels. Also you can't play forever continuously, if you mess up it costs lives." I told him that I had seen screen shots of the game on Instagram of people who were stuck on levels.

He told me that it was just about the stupidest thing he had ever heard. However, when I came back from a trip to the bathroom, I noticed he was swiping at the iPad's screen. "It's fun, isn't it?" I asked him. He nodded sheepishly and proceeded to download the game on his own phone. 


Morgan: What level are you on? I'm on 23.
Me: 26.
Morgan: Rats, you're ahead of me.

At this point, I start catching him playing the game everywhere. While waiting for lunch, while lounging around before bedtime. He's trying to out level me. It's not going to happen. He's absolutely terrible at those early timed levels and you only get five lives at a time. Eat my dust, Morgan.


Ok, things are getting serious. I have the game on my phone, he has it on his phone and there's one more Candy Crush on the iPad so that we can play when we're out of lives on our phones.

Morgan: Drat, I'm out of lives.
Me: Why don't you sign in with Facebook so that I can send you some?
Morgan: Won't do it. I have dignity. I don't want other people to know that I play.


This is ridiculously addicting. At our lowest point, we found ourselves in our parked car in a parking lot trying to beat level 29 together. We were there for like an hour, didn't want to drive home until we finished.  Morgan looked over to me mournfully and asked where I had heard of this Candy Crack. "Who told you about this? WHO DID THIS TO OUR FAMILY?"

I know we're not the only people who have a serious problem with this game.

See this? This is someone I know asking me for more lives. Five requests over the last 13 hours... sleeping hours, mind you. This guy is hardcore. Engineer by day, debilitating Candy Crush addict by night. I don't know if I should be enabling him by sending him more lives. But he sends me some too, so I guess it's alright.

Luckily at level 36 the game stops being free. Morgan, on principle won't pay the damn $.99 to continue. I had iTunes store credit, so unfortunately I'm still at it. I can go a few days without playing, actually. I CAN STOP ANYTIME. 

Basically the moral of today's story is that friends don't let friends start playing Candy Crush. Unless you're willing to send them lives. 

Some OPI Spam

Saturday, March 23, 2013
Hi folks, I hope you're enjoying your weekend! I myself am off to the beach with Morgan and family. If it seems like every weekend I'm off somewhere, well... it's because I am. I'm so happy that I've really been able to spend my weekends exploring California.
I've done spam by color and finish, but not yet brand so today's nail spam is all OPI. I used to buy quite a bit of OPI when I still shopped at pro stores, but in recent years have not collected very many. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the spam!

 OPI Stay The Night. Three coats. From the Mariah Carey Collection, the first of this kind of texture to hit the market. Dry time is sort of slow, and when fully dry the finish is not as gritty as I would like. I prefer this with topcoat.

OPI My Private Jet. Three coats. I have the brown non-holo version. I know it's not as spectacular, but I think it is pretty in its own right. Brown and sort of opalescent with chunky silver holo micro glitter.

OPI Black Cherry Chutney. Three coats. Blackened wine shimmer. 99% of the time, this looks pretty much black to me. Only when you hold it up to a super bright light do the edges of the nail look slightly reddish. For the longest time I put off buying Every Month is Oktoberfest because I thought it would look like this (good thing it doesnt!)

OPI Russian Navy Suede. Two coats. Ahh, Suedes! So gorgeous. You have to apply these quickly because they dry really fast (and on some people tend to chip pretty fast) but I think they are so worth it. 

OPI Roadhouse Blues. Three coats, I think. Don't quote me on that. Gorgeous dark indigo. I bought this because it's pretty close in color to OPI Sapphire In the Snow which I don't own and can't really find. See LaquerWear's comparison.

OPI Chopstick-ing To My Story. Three coats. The Hong Kong Collection was from spring of '10. My photo makes it look bolder and more saturated than it actually is. Actually, if you google this shade it's hard to find a picture that accurately shows how murky and faded this burnt orange creme is. Trust me on this one? I still really love it, it's a 'pretty ugly' shade to me. 

 OPI Guy Meets Gal-veston. Three coats. What did they call this finish again? Sorbet? Something like that. A lovely punchy jelly.

OPI DS Mystery. Three coats. This polish used to really disappointment because of how little those golden flecks actually showed up on the nail. In time, my annoyance has subsided and I now sort of like this polish. Sort of. 

OPI Tease-y Does It. Three coats. From the 2010 Holiday Burlesque Collection. This is one of my all time favorite polishes! When it first came out, I thought I could pass on it. I don't know what I was thinking. I spent the first few months in 2011 trying to track it down, it was sold out in most the beauty supplies I checked. Finally I snagged it at CosmoProf on clearance! A purple-y brownish base with really nice wine flecks that shift a little in color. 

Hope you enjoyed the spam!

Products featured were purchased by me or swapped for by me. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Laquerlicious Mocha Sprinkles

Friday, March 22, 2013
Recently Laquerlicious had a sale for 25% off so I ordered a full sized Tart Taffy as well as a shade I had been eyeing for a while- Mocha Sprinkles. It did NOT disappoint. It was even better in person than in the pictures I had seen.

The glitter is quite dense, a mixture of metallic caramel and brown with pink, magenta and teal thrown in. The glitter comes in all shapes, including round! I did one coat on top of a base of OPI Tease-y Does It, then dabbed a bit more to fill in bald spaces. It's just incredible.

Laquerlicious polishes are $8.50. Check out the Etsy shop and be sure to follow the Facebook page for sales.

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Kleancolor Chunky Holo Clover

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Hullo there!

So I until recently I had Kleancolor Chunky Holo Clover in my untrieds. Big mistake. I know, I know- I had seen so many pictures of this beauty yet hadn't worn it yet. I used Le Chat Dare to Wear Enchanted Forest as the base, two generous coats of Clover on top. Then I topped it all off with Hard Candy Matte-ly In Love.

The result is quite stunning! All of the Chunky Holo polishes from Kleancolor are the same; beautiful shifting glitter in different slightly tinted bases with the exception of Black which has glitter in two sizes. Honestly, I wouldn't buy them all because they don't wear very well on their own and look nearly the same layered (with slightly different tints). If anything, I would get Black and one or two other Chunky Holos. Oh, also Kleancolors smell like death, so there's that.

Anyways, have a great night!

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.