Thursday, May 31, 2012

Influenster: Spring Beauty VoxBox May 2012

I was picked a few months ago to receive a free Influenster VoxBox. It was my first opportunity for a VoxBox since I joined Infleunster so I was super excited that it was a beauty box. 

What is Influenster? Influenster is a free community of 'trendsetters' that have the opportunity to test out products that are relevant to them. Each member unlocks badges that help the people behind Infleunster get to know you and your lifestyle. Unlocking badges allows you to be part of many different markets (beauty, moms, health-nuts, etc). As a member you may have the opportunity to try out new products,  receive free VoxBoxes (packages of products to test), and bonus rewards and deals after you give feedback. Influenster is not a one sided relationship, you have to share your opinions/reviews with others on social media and their website. The more you share, the more opportunities you have to receive free products! Anyone can sign up!

Influenster: Spring Beauty VoxBox May 2012
I had no idea what Influenster was until I saw some other girls posting blog posts about it. I thought it was a paid membership subscription box or at least a paid community. Nope! In one day I unlocked all the badges that relate to me. And there were a ton! I have a technie badge, beauty badge, health-nut, green badge, a cosmo badge, and many many more. I was so pleased that I was picked to receive the Spring Beauty Box! I knew before I got it that there would be a few products that I wouldn't be able to try out, but that is what happens when you live a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle. Sadly, the majority of the products I couldn't use.

Information Card:

ChapStickLip Shield 365
This new product offers all season protection & moisturization for year-round exposure to the sun, wind, & cold. With SPF 50+ it helps to protect from the sun's damaging UVA/UVB rays.
Full Size: 0.15 oz ($1.89)
Size Received: Full-size 0.15 oz ($1.89)
Although I am all about sun protection and moisturizing my lips, this product is not cruelty-free. ChapStick is owned by Pfizer and all products are tested on animals. No thanks. There are so many cruelty-free options with lip care, I'll be choosing one of those.

Sheer CoverDuo Concealer in Light/Medium
Ideal for hiding blemishes, age spots, redness, scars, and other imperfections without heavy, cakey coverage. Duo shades can be blended to perfectly match your skin tone. 
Full Size: 0.1 oz ($29.00)
Size Received: 0.05 oz ($14.50)
I received the full-size of this product in my very first MyGlam bag. To this day it is still my favorite product I received from MyGlam. It is a very moist, creamy mineral concealer that does a great job of masking away my under eye circles and hiding imperfections. I use this product every single day. I use the light side to dab onto my under eye circles and I use the darker shade to cover up blemishes and redness around my nose. You can see this in action in the photo I reposted from the MyGlam post. My left eye is free of aby makeup whereas my right has the concealer on. It does a great job! I don't think it lasts all day but I have yet to find a concealer I like better. I would never rebuy it since you can't really buy it alone, you have to get a full-set of products within a monthly kit. Well I shouldn't say you can't buy it alone, you can, but waaay marked up.

AveenoDaily Moisturizing Body Wash
This body wash cleanses and moisturizes for visibly healthier skin every time you shower. It's light fragrances, soap free, dye-free, & hypoallergenic so it's gentle enough for sensitive skin. 
Full Size: 12.0 oz ($6.99)
Size Received: 2.0 oz ($1.17)
Aveeno may look to be a purely green and sweet company, but they are owned by animal testing powerhouse Johnson & Johnson. I'm not sure if they were ever a smaller company that at one time had ethical practices that was bought out by J&J or a creation of some marketing executives that knew 'green' would sell. Sometimes with buy outs the brands stay true to their routes and refuse to test on animals (St Ives, OPI) but either way Aveeno is not cruelty-free and they do test their products on animals. The formula itself is actually vegan by chance, too bad...

Sally HansenSalon Effects Nail Polish Strips
Real Nail Polish Strips? This product wears like nail polish because it IS nail polish (with no drying time). Apply and you're ready to go.
Full Size: 1 pack of 16 strips ($9.99)
Size Received: Full-size! 1 pack of 16 strips ($9.99)
Aside from the fact that Sally Hansen is not cruelty-free I got sent some hideous nail strips. The strips are called 'Animal Instinct,' but would be more aptly named 'Lyk Oh em Gee I'm a Gurl!' These bright pink and black zebra print strips complete with glitter may have pleased my 12-year old self but not this old gal. I was horrified and couldn't even imagine wearing this. I think my friends would make fun of me or think I was having some sort of crisis. I love the idea of nail polish strips, but I won't be trying these out.

Bath & Body WorksFine Fragrance Mist in Sweet Pea
Discover a better, more delicate fragrance experience with the NEW Fragrance Mist Collection. with over 20 Signature fragrances to choose from, it's love at first mist!
Full Size: 8 oz ($14.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 8 oz ($14.00)
My favorite product in the box!! I grew up in the 90s, meaning every birthday I would be bombarded with 20 different sets of Bath & Body Works kits. I never used the lotions, but always used up the fragrances and the body washes. I just finally finished my last bottle of Bath & Body Works body spray from my childhood a few months ago. Strangely enough it was Sweet Pea. I recognized the scent immediately, even though the bottle has been upgraded. I'm definitely happy with what I received, although I think I would have been happy with any of the scents from their new collection (Paris Amour, Malibu Heat, Wild Apple Daffodil, yum!). This feels like an adult version of what I used to have. A finer mister means a more complex scent. Sweet Pea is a fruity floral laced with raspberry, rhubarb, of course sweet pea, pear, freesia, and musk. I've been using it when I am just going around town and don't want to waste any of my expensive perfumes. It smells lovely and fresh! I'm in love all over again!

SoyjoyFruit Bar in Strawberry
Enjoy SOYJOY with all-natural real ingredients like real fruit and whole soy! Simply baked in their Souther California bakery into SOYJOY bars for REAL energy-sustaining deliciousness.
Full Size: 1 bar ($1.29)
Size Received: Full-size! 8 oz ($1.29)
I sure love my granola/fruit bars, well I should rephrase that...I eat Clif bars like candy. I was excited to try a SoyJoy bar until I flipped over and took a look at the ingredients. This bar had butter, egg, and dehydrated milk powder. Yuck. The company has so much marketing toward the fact that they are all-natural and geared to so many different diets and lifestyles. Apparently, they forgot us vegans. We may be a small community, but we are LOUD. You make us happy, we will promote and share with everybody we know. Veganism aside, I would never consider butter or cheese healthy options for an energy bar. It may be low caloric, but that means nothing. I want pure, raw energy!

Dr. Scholl's: Ball of Foot Cushions
Full Size: 1 pair ($6.99)
Size Received: Full-size! 1 pair ($6.99)
This was not listed on the product information card. I heard it was added at the last minute. These ball of foot cushions are meant to prevent high heel pain. It uses their gel technology to comfort your feet, prevent your feet from sliding forward, and massage your foot with every step. When I'm wearing high heels most of the pain I have is in the ball of my foot. I'll feel it after a few hours and be miserable! I got my VoxBox the day before graduation, so I used these in my pumps for the ceremony. I wore the same shoes for my undergraduate ceremony so I knew they were comfy, but these made them even better. I never once felt uncomfortable or any pain while wearing this. But I will say that once I finally took my shoes off and landed on flat ground I still got that massive wave of my feet screaming. These aren't the solution, but they sure make heels a bit more comfy.

Total value of my May 2012 Beauty VoxBox:$49.83
It's too bad that more than half the products were unusable to me. The ones I did get to use I knew I loved (Sheer Cover Concealer) or I fell back in love with (Bath & Body Works Fragrance Mist). The process after getting the VoxBox is very time consuming. Each product has separate badges to unlock and those badges include tweeting using specific hash tags, reviewing the products on their site, uploading photos, writing separate blog/video entries about specific products, and more. There are opportunities to win more prizes by completing them so there is some incentive. I'm only going to try and unlock the badges for the two products that I loved.

What did you think of the Influenster Spring Beauty VoxBox? Did you get a box too? What is your favorite product? Let me know in the comments below! If you aren't a member of Influenster, click here to join!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sircle Samples: Raw Color Trio Mineral Brush Set

Sircle Samples may be in beta mode and very glitchy, but every so often really amazing samples pop up! Including this three piece brush set.

Don't know what Sircle Samples is? Sircle Sample is a free beauty advertising club that lets you get free samples and full-size products. You buy whichever samples you are interested in trying with Sircle Coins. To get Sircle coins you can complete surveys, refer a friend, complete your beauty survey, or write reviews on past samples you've tried. You don't have access to every sample on the website, but randomly will find new offerings every time you log on. They are currently in beta and only accepting so many members. Plus, the website is a bit glitchy. But, for free samples? Sign me up!
Click here to sign up.

Raw Color Trio Mineral Brush Set (3pc)
I've been a member of Sircle Samples for a few months now, but never saw any samples I liked. I have over 1300 Sircle Coins, but why waste them on something I don't want to try. I saw someone saying they finally got the full-size brushes and I leaped over to the website and I too had them!! The brushes are from Raw Color which is a sub-brand of Raw Natural Beauty. Raw Natural Beauty as you can imagine makes natural, mineral makeup that are cruelty-free and free of harsh chemicals and dyes. And their brushes are all synthetic! I was so excited to try this brush set.

This set includes their:
Multi-Tasking Retractable Brush, $15
This brush, similar to a retractable kabuki brush, can be used for many different parts of the face. If you have it completely open, it can be used for blush or powder; or retract it in so the bristles are short for a more precise edge. I've thrown this into my purse to use with my fixing powder. It is the perfect size for on the go and it has a cap so I don't get powder everywhere.

Maximum Coverage Foundation Brush, $35
This is a high density, super soft brush that helps you achieve a flawless application. The head is completely flat so that it picks up and distributes pigment evenly. I highly appreciate that since I constantly feel like my makeup is uneven. I just assume that it is to be used like a stippling brush since it looks like one. It is meant for mineral foundation but I have been using it for liquid tinted moisturizer without a problem. And holy crap! Stippling on my foundation has allowed me to get the BEST coverage and most even application ever. I'm free of cakey patches and uneven application. I am so impressed! And the bristles are so soft! I'm so in love!

Concealer Brush, $20
This is the only brush I haven't used yet. The last concealer brush I used didn't work well for me. I find that I have the best coverage when I just pat concealer on with my fingers. This brush is just as soft as the other brushes and is designed to hold more pigments so you can cover up any imperfection easily. I may try it out one of these days.

The 3pc set can be bought on DermStore for $49.00 (although currently 20% off) but I got it for free!! I used to always use my fingers to apply my makeup, but I find that finding the perfect brush or sponge has allowed me to get the exact coverage and application I want, whereas with my fingers I always go a little too heavy. Hopefully I'll get to try out more great products from Sircle Samples!

Have you signed up for Sircle Samples? Did you get the brushes? What has been your favorite free sample? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Look of the Day: Graduation

Last Saturday I officially graduated with my Master's degree! All the stress, struggles, and sleepless nights finally paid off. My entire family came from Chicago to DC to be there for the celebration. My biggest concern for my big day was finding the perfect dress.

It took me three tries to find the perfect dress. I had my heart set on wearing a white, lace dress but they all were too short for my taste or out of my budget. I gave up and bought a navy blue sweetheart dress at work that I decided was too casual for wearing to my own graduation, a second navy lace dress at Shabby Apple that was too long and too big and just not what I was looking for. Finally I pressured my mom to stop into H&M for a few seconds and I found the perfect dress (at just $30!) within 5 minutes. I love the peplum detail and how it makes the dress a little more playful than just a plain shift dress. I think the length is perfect and I felt comfortable wearing it all day. The marshmallow color is a bit warmer than a stark white and makes me look tan! I love how subtle the lace detailing is. It is a sweet and pretty dress. Plus, I think I could easily re-wear it for other special occasions.

I loved the bracelet I found at H&M because of the pastel turquoise and pink. We then headed to Forever 21 to see if they had a necklace that worked with it. This was the first necklace I laid eyes on and I love that it brings out the gold in the bracelet and adds a little roughness to the very sweet dress. I didn't have money or time to buy a new pair of shoes so I wore my trusty brown pumps from H&M they worked well since it again played up the golds in my accessories.

I spent a lot of time on my makeup and tried really hard to perfect the cat eye, which I've never done before. I used eyeshadows from the Kat Von D True Romance Palette. For an all over base I used the peachy Sister and for the lime green cat eye, I used multiple layers of Snake Eyes wet. And on my lips I'm wearing Tarte Lipsurgence in Amused, which I got in my Teen Vogue Birchbox. I was very happy with how my makeup came out, it was subtle, timeless, but had a little edge to it.

 dress: H&M
shoes: H&M
bracelet: H&M
necklace: Forever 21
earrings: Lydell NYC

Now on to the next journey...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Green Grab Bag: May 2012

I had been on the fence for a few months on whether or not I wanted to try out White Apricot's Green Grab Bag. It seems that some months are awesome and others are sort of meh. I finally decided to join after I saw how awesome March's bag was. Unfortunately I signed up after the April deadline and didn't get my first bag until May.

What is Green Grab Bag? Green Grab Bag is a a monthly subscription service that delivers eco-friendly and natural beauty samples to your doorstep! Green Grab Bag was started by the ladies behind White Apricot, a popular eco fashion/beauty newsletter. Each month you will receive 6 or more samples (sometimes even full-sized products) from companies that care about the environment and you. The samples range from makeup, fragrances, organic oils, skincare, body, hair, and more! Every month is a surprise, plus you get discounts on full-size items in your bag! Green Grab Bag costs $15 a month, and your bag will always be valued above!
Click here to sign up!

May 2012
The theme of this month was April showers bring May showers and that in May we get both. Our skin and body need to be kept in balance and all the products were meant to do so. I really loved the presentation of the bag. It was cute and easily reusable, plus less is always more when it comes to packaging. I was also excited that I was able to use all the products. Natural, eco-friendly beauty doesn't always mean vegan, but all of these products were by chance vegan friendly! So let's take a look at what is inside!

Information Cards:

Aura Cacia: Aromatherapy Shower Tablet in Relaxing Lavender
Turn your shower into a spa with these aromatic, effervescent, pure essential oil tablets.
Full Size: 3 tablets ($6.99)
Size Received: 1 tablet ($2.33)
Relaxation, yes please? I've received some shower tablets in the past from friends and absolutely loved them! They kind of vapor up with the steam from your shower. Inhaling this stuff is like heaven. This shower tab is made by an essential oils company that is committed to ethical practices, disclosing all ingredients, and is cruelty-free! I haven't used the shower tab yet but plan on using it this weekend. I did take a whiff and it smells so lovely! Lavender, coriander, and patchouli. What an awesome mix!
eta: It wasn't as potent or soothing as I had hoped. I only got a small whiff of fragrance every so often. And it lasted only for a third of my shower. I found it awkward that it had to be in the water stream and you are suposed to face the tablet because I like the stand in the stream and hate having my face near the water.

Elemental HerbsSunscreen Sport SPF 30+
Practice safe sun with this all-natural, broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen that is also ocean friendly.
Full Size: 3 oz ($15.99)
Size Received: 0.1 oz? ($0.53)
A vegan, all natural sunscreen! I am planning on going on a road trip this summer to see the top beaches in Florida so I'll be needing a good sunscreen. It is a UVA/UVB Broad spectrum formula and is safe for coral reefs. It is not oil free, so I'm a bit worried it won't be good for my skin. But I'm still excited to try it out. The size wasn't listed so I just approximated the value. Too bad this isn't a bigger sample, I don't think I'll get to try it out except for on my face.

Egyptian Magic: Face and Body Cream
Beloved by Kate Hudson and Brooke Shields, this amazing hydrating cream can be used on everything from hair & skin to healing cuts and scars.
Full Size: 4 oz ($37.20)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($0.93)
This is a 'healing balm' that was created in 1991 mimicking what was said to be used by the ancient egyptians for healthy, glowing skin. It is made using olive oil, bees wax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, and bee propolis. People use this as a skin cream, on scars, on hair, lips, and more. Reading some reviews people have said it worked miracles on red, blotchy skin; unclogged pores; dry feet; and more. I'm not sure I really am interested in this, I may use beeswax in moderation, but this product is packed with bee products. It may be a cult favorite of some, but no thanks.

Golden Earth: Chakra Wellness Life Force Oil
Renew and restore balance with a unique blend of essential oils derived from specific plants that resonate with each chakra.
Full Size: sample size ($2.00)
Size Received: sample size ($2.00)
I am not familiar with chakra oils. Apparently these oils are formulated to act as 'portals' to open up the chakras and balance that specific chakra. There are 7 chakras that are each located at different parts of the body and relate to different states of wellness. If one of these chakras is imbalanced it will also effect the body. I received Chakra 1 Life Force oils. The Life Force is known as the root chakra and is at the base of the spine. When this chakra is in balance you will be passionate, connected to nature, abundante, and happy. If it isn't you will have a negative attitude, feel fearful, unable to focus, financial instability, and disconnected. I feel like I could benefit from all 7 chakra oils! I'm sometimes a mess!
So you put on the oils (like perfume, on back of neck, or on bottom of feet) and you will feel the benefits. Who knows if this works. It doesn't smell bad, kind of soothing. I may even try and put it on my feet while I sleep. It never hurts to have an open mind!
eta: I am weirdly loving this stuff. I've started putting it on the nape of my neck before work. Maybe its a placebo effect, but I am happier at work lately. I'm more relaxed and willing to deal with the crap that retail entails.

Clairvoyant Beauty: Refreshing Cucumber Facial Toner
These toners will restore your skin to its natural state, removing traces of cleanser and stimulating pores to tighten.
Full Size: 8 oz ($24.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 8 oz ($24.00)
I love me some Clairvoyant Beauty!! All vegan, organic and natural ingredients, cruelty-free, and the cutest packaging ever! I am officially obsessed with their Depuffing Cucumber and Cranberry Eye Gel. I wanted another full-size so I bought a huge collection of Clairvoyant Beauty products during a 50% off sale, which included the Lavender & Sea Mineral toner. I hadn't tried it yet, but I started using the one I got from my Green Grab bag right away. What I love about it is that it uses natural salts, enzymes, and vitamins in cucumbers to stimulate cell growth, has a high mineral and antioxidant content that has anti-inflammatory properties, and cucumber is a natural astringent that tightens pores. I've never used a non-alcohol based toner before. It doesn't have that ultra tingly, coolness that I'm used to, but I bet my skin is happy that it isn't being dried out! But I love that it is a spray bottle so I can spritz it during the day without ruining my makeup.

Beauty from Flowers: Hibiscus and Honeysuckle Cleanser
This skin care line is created from a wide variety of flowers and filled with plant antioxidants, nutrients from the sea, essential oils and more. 
Full Size: 8 oz ($15.00)
Size Received: 0.03 oz ($0.06)
I almost didn't notice this small little vial in the bag. I'm lucky I looked at the card before I recycled the bag. This is almost not enough cleanser for one use! The cleanser has an impressive ingredient list. Peaches, rose, green tea, chamomile, and more. They all work together to gently clean the skin while adding moisture to the skin. I've never used oil cleansing and am still scared by the idea of putting olive oil on the face (it has olive, coconut, and jojoba oils). But I'm always willing to try new cleansers since my skin hates me.
eta: I used it in the shower today and to me it smelled just like a bar of Dial soap. And it left that tight, soap feeling that I hate. Not a winner for me.

Total value of my May 2012 Green Grab Bag:$29.85
There were a lot of little vials of oils in this bag. Even so, I'm actually excited to try out most of the products. I just wish some of the samples were a little bigger. I'll only get one use out of the cleanser and not even be able to cover my entire body with the sunscreen. This bag has introduced me to a lot of products that I'd never think of buying. It wasn't as exciting as I had hoped, but I plan on keeping this subscription another month since they do focus on things that I'm concerned about: natural and cruelty-free products.

What do you think of my May Green Grab Bag? Should I keep this subscription? Let me know in the comments below! If you don't get Green Grab Bag, click here to join

Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Music Friday: Kimbra

This is the first Favorite Music Friday I am completely unprepared for!! I blame all of my friends who showed me an amazing night! We all went out for dinner and drinks at my favorite restaurant to celebrate my graduation! I've had such a stressful semester a few margaritas is all it takes.

So this week. No commentary. No background. Just music...

Okay I can't help myself. I hope you all recognize the name. Kimbra who is featured on the awesome Gotye song 'Somebody That I Used To Know' is brilliant on her own.  I really hope that her fame with Gotye gets her the recognition that she deserves!

Enjoy and happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sindulge: April 2012

You read that right, this is my April 2012 Sindulge bag. Sindulge offered their customer's a second month at a penny to account for all the troubles that occured during their first month in March. It may have been a penny, but all the hassle and waiting wasn't even worth it.

Don't know what Sindulge is?
Sindulge is a once a month beauty subscription service that delivers a cute box of beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive samples based on a personal consultation with one of their team beauty experts. The consultation's are 15 minutes long and can be done via video or text chat. Let the expert know what your concerns are and what new products you want to try. You can even ask the experts questions or ask for tips. The experts will do their best to fulfill your needs. Plus, there is a beauty profile on file to help the experts out. Sindulge costs $12 a month, and your box will always be valued way above!
Click here to join Sindulge.

April 2012
After I got my first Sindulge bag I was expecting to receive an email asking me set up my next consultation. Nope. I realized I never set up an appointment for the month when other girls were talking about how their consultation went. I decided to log on myself and set up an appointment, strangely I was only able to pick from one day. It was so frustrating because I worked and had class that day, I emailed hoping they'd help me out but they never got back to me, so I finally tried again and luckily the one day that was showing I could do. So it took almost 7 extra days to get my consultation. This month I had my consultation with  Dana. There was no option to do a chat so at the last minute I had to do a video chat. We talked about what I liked and didn't like in my first box. Then we talked about mineral makeup and foundations, how I'm interested in trying blushes (especially corals), that my eyes would look great with browns and purples, and finally how I am looking for a new nail polish top coat. I thought it was successful, I was happy with my experience, but then the waiting game started. My bag did not ship for another three weeks. They did give us a tracking number, but mine never moved, it was never entered into USPS. I finally contacted them and they just said they would ship out my bag that day. So after 4.5 weeks I finally got my bag. Major frustration. In that timeframe I would have been charged for the next month so I cancelled before I even got my bag.

Information Card:

Pixi: Nail Polish in No. 22 Silver Glitter
Full size: 0.25 oz ($8.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.25 oz($8.00)
I do love me a new nail polish, but silver glitter is not really my thing. If it is, this is a great nail polish. It has a perfect formula that has tons of sparkle. You are set with only one coat, but if  you want to glitter bomb the hell out of your nails, well three coats would cover your entire nail in glitter. I have to admit the full on glitter looks kind of cool. Maybe it I was going out dancing this  would be fun. But I don't think this would be appropriate for my life in most situations. We may have talked about nail polish, but does this really count as a top coat?

Skone: Super Gloss in Super Nectar
Full size: 0.4 oz ($14.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.4 oz($14.00)
Skone, which means beautiful/beauty in South African, is a small cosmetic company founded by a esthetician. The lip glosses are high shine, filled with antioxidants, and pigmented. I've been trying to get in contact with the company as this lip gloss line states on the ingredients that it may contain carmine (crushed beetles). Normally carmine is used to create bright reds so I expect that the color I received doesn't have it. Super Nectar is a soft neutral pink with lots of fine shimmer. I suspect that it won't add much color to my lips, but instead just add gloss and shimmer. I did swatch it on my hand and it seems like a non-sticky lip gloss and appears to have a light grape smell. I really hope I get the answer I'm looking for since I'm excited to try this product. I just wish people would stop using carmine! It is so gross. Why do I want that on my lips?
eta: Well I got a reply on their facebook. Instead of answering my question the rep told me I shouldn't use any colored lip products from any brand if Im concerned about carmine. And that carmine is natural. Uhh, that was not my question. Then I asked again for the specific ingredients of this color and again skirted around told me if I wanted specific information or to continue the discussion to email them. Well I did, 3 days ago, and you never replied. Bah. I'm irritated.

Aveda: Refreshing Bath Bar
Full size: 5.2 oz ($14.00)
Size Received: 1.73 oz($4.67)
I'm quite positive I did not tell the consultant that I was interested in sample soap, especially bar soap. I never use bar soap. It really makes me believe they just threw my bag together and didn't even look at my consultation notes. It may smell nice and soapy. The website says its a refreshing bar of soap because of the aromas. But I can't smell anything other than a floral-y soap smell. I of course like that uses only plant sources and is free of artificial dyes, but I have no use for it.

Pixi: Fairy Light Solo Eye Shadow in No. 2 Champagne Glow
Full size: 0.08 oz ($14.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.08 oz($14.00)
I've always been a sucker for champagne colored eye shadows. I forgot to do a swatch, but it is highly pigmented and a peachy, silver frost. We did talk about eye shadows and how browns look good with my blue eyes, but who knows if this was just a coincidence. It will be great on days that Im too lazy to do much or look awesome as a highlighter. The Pixi website says that the eyeshadows are so finely ground that they reflect a lot of light making the eyes brighter. They also are infused with shea butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E to hydrate while allowing the shadow to apply silky smooth. I'm very happy with all the Pixi products I've gotten to try through Sindulge and would definitely be open to buying more!

Total Value of my April 2012 Sindulge box$40.67
It is too bad that Sindulge's service is so inconsistent because the samples they have sent to me have been high quality. But I shouldn't have to seek out to schedule my consultation, I shouldn't have to constantly email asking when my bag will ship, I shouldn't have to email again because my bag was never actually shipped out, and the products I receive should be based on the consultation. It wasn't even like it was loosely based. Did they even look at my notes? Who knows. Unfortunately Sindulge and I are done. I don't think they could pay me to rejoin.

What did you think of my Sindulge bag? How does it compare to yours? Are you giving them another chance? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Sindulge, click here to join!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Little Black Bag: The first haul

I've been taking peaks at the Little Black Bag website ever since I heard about it a few months ago. But there was never a product that got me so excited to take the plunge. With the help of a 10% promo I found online I decided to give in and realized Little Black Bag is the most addicting and fun new way to shop online!

What is Little Black Bag? Little Black Bag is a trading/shopping experience. It is loosely based on Japanese Lucky Bag Sales where retailers give out mystery bags filled with products and customers then trade with their friends. With Little Black Bag you get to pick one of the items that you want in your bag and Little Black Bag will choose at least 2 other items (sometimes 3 other items, depending on price of the first item).  Items featured range from purses, jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, hats, watches, tech accessories, and more. All from top brands (Betsey Johnson, CaseMate, Steve Madden, BGBG, etc).
Then you get to see what the stylist chose for you and start trading with other members. Trading lasts exactly 7 days and you can trade for as long as you like. You may start with 3 items valued at $125 and end up with 5+ items with a value over $200! You are not charged until your bag ships and if for any reason you are unsatisfied you can cancel your bag at any time or return items that shipped to you for a product credit. Plus for every friend you invite that buys their bag, you get an extra product in your next bag! Little Black Bag is a monthly club, but you can skip as often as you like. Click here to get started on your first bag!

Little Black Bag, The first haul
Let me tell you this website is ADDICTING!! I hadn't had so much fun shopping then my 7 days of trading. I started out with a Nila Anthony Green Mesh Satchel that I adored from the moment I saw it on the website. Little Black Bag chose the other two items for me, and I remember hating them! But trading was fairly easy to follow. I'd go to the gallery and choose the product I was interested in receiving and make a trade offer. I could offer any item I had (or multiple) and LBB sends out my trade offer to members with the specific item. At first I would make offers only for items I was interested in, but then I realized I'd keep my trades moving if I kept leveling my items up and up (higher value). Sometimes I'd have 40-50 offers out for one product in my bag. But it turned out to be successful as I started with 3 items and ended up with 6! At one point I had 8 items, but I made two item trades to get products that were hard to get. My only advice to new traders is to be patient, be proactive, and don't assume a trade will be denied.

The only complaint I have about the site is that trading can get very tedious. I wish there was an option to swiftly make trade offers, but currently you have to click the product page, click the make an offer page, select your item you want to trade, click trade, and then confirm your trade. If you are planning on making offers on many different items it gets time consuming! I also wish there was a way to lock down a few items. I was always scared I'd accidentally accept a trade on an item I didn't want to get rid of and it was annoying to not be able to filter out all the emails for those items. And trust me while you are trading you will get 100s of emails! You can opt to not receive instant email updates, but if someone makes you a good offer you have to get in quick to accept before someone else accepts their offer. It can also get frustrating at times when nobody is bidding on your items or nobody is accepting any of your offers. Plus, it turns out that a lot of the product pictures look nothing like the actual product (color and size wise) and for someone who only wears dainty jewelry that can be problematic. 

Let's take a look at what I ended up getting!
  • Nila Anthony Green Mesh Satchel, Retail Value $72
  • RoomMates Dandelion Wall Decal, Retail Value $21
  • Case-Mate Samantha iPhone 4/4S Case, Retail Value $40
  • Case-Mate Rain iPhone 4/4S Case, Retail Value $40
  • Lydell NYC Small Drop Earrings, Retail Value $28
  • R&Em Graffiti Pouch, Retail Value $18
Total Value of my Bag $219!!

Detailed Product Reviews:
Nila Anthony: Green Mesh Satchel, $72
This is the product that I opened my bag for. I got many trade offers from other members for this bag but I was never letting go of it. When I opened my LBB package I was greeted by a nasty smell. I thought it was just the PVC (faux leather) smell, but it turned out that one of the handles was growing mold!! I know I live in a humid city, but really? I will be returning this item to LBB for a product credit. Therefore, on my next bag I will automatically get an additional item on top of my original items valued at approximately $72. I am really sad that this bag was defective! And by the time I got my haul, the purse was sold out on their website.
eta: Little Black Bag let me keep the defective bag and still receive a product credit. I cut off the bad strap and will take it to a shoe repair and hope they can put on new handles for me. Sweet!

RoomMates: Dandelion Wall Decal, $21
I've never had wall decals before. I kind of thought they were juvenile, like having glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling or what not. But this floral dandelion pattern is fresh, sweet, and a bit more grown up than most decals. The pattern is huge! But that makes it kind of cool. I love shabby chic design mixed with modern finishes and I think this will fit right in. I'm about to move in with my Aunt, so I haven't put this up yet. I hope she will let me put this up on my wall in my new room! The bed I'll have doesn't have a headboard, so I think this would look cute as a wall feature behind the bed!

Case-Mates: Samantha and Rain iPhone Cases, $40 each
For the first few weeks that I get a new tech product (iphone, laptop, kindle, etc) I am extra careful with it and treat it like a baby, but after that new product feel wears off I get sloppy. I don't know how many times I've dropped my current iPhone. I broke the one I originally bought, but luckily it was still within the first year and Apple gave me a new phone. Now that I am waiting until iPhone 5 I am trying to be extra nice to my phone. Thus, I needed to trade out my cracked cases. LBB had so many cute options! I at first only wanted the Samantha case (left florals) but a few days before my trade period ended they released the Rain case (right retro). I couldn't decide and finally decided to get both! I had to trade a total of 4 items to get the 2 cases, but it was worth it! I'm so in love with them! I currently have Rain on my phone.
It comes with a hard, plastic outer shell that has the pattern and an inner, silicon piece that wraps around all of the edges of the phone. I'm very happy with the case. It is easy to put on, doesn't seem like it will be easy to crack, and I love the silicon piece to add some padding if it does somehow fall. 
Here you can see how the silicon piece wraps around and protects it even better! And yes, that is my adorable puppy! She's got a face only a mother could love!

Lydell NYC: Small Drop Earrings, $28
Surprisingly these earrings look very similar to the photo on the LBB website. I love how delicate they are and who doesn't love turquoise this season? Plus, the antique gold finish makes them unique. These earring may only be valued at $28, but there were only 3-4 pairs available while I was trading. I relentlessly tried to get them and finally on my last day of trading a 2 item trade worth $60 was a winner! I practically was jumping up for joy that I got them! And to make them even more special, I ended up wearing them at my graduation ceremony! Here's a small preview of me wearing them.

R&Em: Graffiti Pouch, $18
Why do I love collecting teeny little pouches? I've got so many beauty travel bags but this one was so cute!! I loved that it was made out of canvas and was so bright! I traded down, maybe $10, to get it and am so glad I did! It is so well constructed and is nice and thick with heavy, gold hardware. I've already used it twice since I got it. Once to store my nail polish remover, nail polish, base, and a top coat! And another day to store all of my wallet necessities when I was using a clutch. I saw R&Em featured on HauteLook and I love what I see. Maybe my next LBB bag I'll pick out an R&Em purse!

So there you have it! A total value of over $200! It was a fun experience and really energized me while I was trying to get through a trying week of schoolwork! But, it is time consuming! I spent so much time trading and checking up on the website. At first I thought $50 was too pricey, but I ended up getting a great deal of stuff I love! I don't plan on opening a bag every month but every so often when I see something special or I have a coupon ;)

What do you think of my first Little Black Bag haul? Was it worth the hassle of trading? Find out what is in your bag and start trading by clicking here to join!

Birchbox: May 2012 (Gossip Girl) Box 2 of 2

This month we learned a new trick to 'cheat' and figure out what was inside of our boxes. Even though the website wasn't live for the May boxes, the give feedback button was. So if you looked at a product page and it had a give feedback option that was in your box. Sadly, I learned before I even got my box that Iwas going to be disappointed.

Don't know what Birchbox is?
Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers a little, heavenly box of premium beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive 4-5 samples (sometimes even full-sized products) and generally a goodie (energy booster, granola bar, etc). The samples range from make-up, polishes, skincare, body, hair, and fragrances. All from luxury, quality brands. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked for you are based on a survey you fill out letting the gals know your style and skin-type. Birchbox costs just $10 a month, and your box will always be valued way above!
Click here to join Birchbox.

May 2012, Gossip Girl Box #9
As you all know the May boxes were curated by the beauty/hair team behind the CW's hit show Gossip Girl. The boxes were even shipped out early this month so that everyone will have their boxes in time for the season finale Monday, May 14th. Unfortunately my second box was sent out a few days after the other box and I didn't get it until after I left for vacation. But it was waiting patiently for me when I got home. This box had a sub-theme of Hampton's Beach Party. The box had products to help a city girl look natural and chic at the beach. I did watch the season finale of Gossip Girl, but I forgot to enter the trivia contest and I can't find it on the Birchbox facebook tabs, so oh well.

Information Cards:

Ojundamage reverse Restorative Conditioner
Repair stressed strands with this aromatic hair treatment -- exotic ojun and monoi oils work together to smooth and hydrate.
Full Size: 8.5 oz ($25.00)
Size Received: 1.0 oz ($2.94)
Another Ojun product? I learned that Ojun was bought by Estee Lauder and therefore are no longer cruelty-free. Their products are tested on animals as required by law (aka China). So these products, even if not necessary for our market are tested on animals for the Chinese market. Not cool. Plus, this is a creamy, thick conditioner! I have very thin, oily hair wtf? I was so angry that I received a product that was not for my hair type. I decided to take a look at what my profile was set to and somehow it was set to dry!! Dry is right above fine, so I don't get how that happened.  But it does explain a lot.

Color Club: Nail Lacquer in Clambake Coral
Just in time for summer, this warm shade will set off your newly (self-) tanned skin.
Full Size: 0.5 oz ($8.00)
Size Received: 0.25 oz ($4.00)
This color is from the Summer Pastels collection. The color I received may be called coral but to me it looks very pink. Yeah it may be a bit of an orangey pink but it is not so soft. Although I will say it looks more coral when on my nails. It's a little brighter than what I would consider pastel, but I do really like this color. At first, I wasn't so sure, but once on my nails I loved how it looked with my skin color. It is my favorite thing in my box! My only complaint is that with any Color Club nail polish I end up with uneven coats. But unless you look closely you can't tell.

BVLGARIOmnia Crystalline EDT
Inspired by luminescent crystals (so glam), this fresh scent combines notes of lotus flowers, bamboo, and Nashi pear.
Full Size: 1.33 oz ($64.00)
Size Received: 0.05 oz ($2.40)
Omnia Crystalline was inspired by the luminesce of crystal. I'm not sure what a crystal would smell like, but apparently it is an exotic fruit and woodsy. It has notes of asian nashi pear, lotus flower, bamboo and balsa wood. The first fragrance I got in my first Gossip Girl Birchbox was manly and overly woodsy, this scent is the exact opposite. It is sensual, flirty, and feminine. The exotic fruits are just what I like. It smells rich and elegant and dries down to a soft, sweet woodsy smell. It isn't overpowering, but I feel like I could show up to a job interview and command the room or dress up in a slinky dress on a hot date. If it wasn't so expensive I'd be more inclined to rebuy. But this is one of the few products that I felt was Gossip Girl worthy.

Kiehl'sAbyssine Cream +
A longtime bestseller, this anti-aging moisturizer uses microscopic Abyssine molecules to soften wrinkles and protect skin from free radical damage.
Full Size: 1.69 oz ($48.00)
Size Received: 0.25 oz ($7.10)
I had to check again to make sure that my profile does not indicate that Im interested in anti-aging products and it doesnt. Instead it says my face is oily and I'm interested in natural products. How does this fit either requirements. Kiehl's is a THICK moisturizer that has all sorts of pore clogging ingredients. It may work to soften wrinkles but I don't want to put this on my face. Plus, Kiehl's is owned by L'Oreal and therefore is not cruelty-free. I will not be using this and hope I can trade it for something I want to use.

Birchbox: xoxo notecard
Text messages are no match for handwritten notes on fun, modern stationary.
Full Size: 12 notecards ($10.00)
Size Received: 1 notecard ($0.83)
I still weirdly love this extra! I'm trying to trade so that I have more of them. I know some people think they are like the paper coasters or the tiebands, but I actually think it is awesome! I'll be writing my graduation thank you letters this week and am so excited to send these lovely cards on their way.

Total value of my May 2012 box #9:$17.27
I wasn't happy with my first box and I'm not happy with this box. I did edit my profile back to fine/oily, but it sucks that I wasted a month. The lesson to be learn is to not buy into hype. And that I need to scale back on subscription services. I still love Birchbox and just gifted it to a good friend for her birthday, I just wish the months were more consistent. Hopefully next month it will be back on top. 

What do you think of my second May Birchbox? Would you have liked this box? How does my box compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join
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