Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Birchbox: April 2013

My laptop is officially at the repair shop! It's been broken for 4 months now, so that may explain a lot... Hopefully I'll be back in full force soon!

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.

April 2013, Box #9
Birchbox this month is all about tiny tweaks with big results. Which is why they teamed up with Women's Health magazine and their beauty and wellness experts to put out a collection of their favorite products to update and rejuvenate your life!

Information Cards:

Beauty ProtectorProtect & Detangle
Great for all hair types, this nourishing elixir performs seven hair-healing functions. Among them: locking in color, adding shine, and instantly detangling.
Full Size: 8.0 oz ($21.95)
Size Received: 1.0 oz ($2.75)
When I was little I would use a detangler every day, I remember it came in a green alligator container. Adorbs. So if my hair is the same thickness and texture as it was when I was 8, why don't I use detangler every day?In December, Birchbox gave me a very similar product from 12 Benefits that I just ran out of. I was pleasantly surprised to get a similar product this month. This has 7 great benefits: it seals your hair cuticle, smooths and moisturizers, defrizzes, locks in color, adds shine, and protects your hair against UV rays and heat. It works like a charm and is actually just slightly cheaper than 12 Benefits. I may just use my BB points to buy this!

Supergoop!Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream in Light/Medium
This next generation CC cream provides corrective coverage and trip protects against UVA, UVB, and infrared-A rays.
Full Size: 1.6 oz ($32.00)
Size Received: 0.06 oz ($2.00)
I love tinted moisturizers, which pretty much by default means I love CC creams. They do a multitude of things in one quick swipe. Supergoop's Daily Correct has light-diffusing mica that helps to soften the look of your skin so wrinkles and pores disappear. It also has antioxidants that help to correct your skintone. The color was perfect for my skin tone, especially now that I have a tan. It made my skin look flawless, matte, and still not monotoned. I felt great leaving the house. Half way through the day it pretty much wore out. I could see all my imperfections clearly, had built up of yellow makeup residue in spots, and felt greasy again. But in the products defense, my office is super humid so its like Im in a spa room for 8 hours.

LAFACE LaboratoriesBeaux Yeux Beautiful Eyes Concentrate Intensive
A hefty does of hyaluronic acid amps up moisture levels, while an advance peptide complex halts wrinkle formation. 
Full Size: 1.0 oz ($160.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($16.00)
LAFACE is a company that focused on plant stem cell technology to address skincare issues. Beaux Yeux is an intense hyaluronic acid concentrate that moisturizes the skin around the eye helping to combat puffy eyes and dark circles and reduce fine lines. It also boost collagen production and effectively help reverse the appearance of any damage. It seems like a really small, expensive sample at first. But all you need is a teensy bit. It will take me two weeks to just use the cream that is on the top of the lid. I could feel this working immediately. My skin felt moisturized and a little tingly after application. I've heard so many positive reviews that I am hopeful it will work for my tired eyes!

CaudalieDivine Oil
Made with a blend of grape, argan, hibiscus, and sesame oils, this multitasking wonder gives skin, hair, and nails a gorgeous glow.
Full Size: 3.4 oz ($49.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($1.47)
Just like pure argan oil, this dry oil blend can be used for multiple purposes. The list of ingredients is immense for a dry oil blend. It can be used on dry skin, as a moisturizer, pick me up in normal lotions or serums, on cuticles, or dry hair. Honestly though I would prefer to use 100% argan oil than a large blend. This company has also started selling to China, so although the company themselves do not directly test on animals, their products are tested in China, and will ultimately be tested on animals.
Sells to China, therefore not cruelty-free!

Hail Merry: Chocolate Macaroons
It tastes too good to be true: These decadent treats are raw, vegan, gluten-free, and made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients.
Full Size: 3.5 oz ($5.00)
Size Received: 0.88 oz ($1.26)
A Vegan food item!! Nu uh! I don't believe you! I almost quit Birchbox because I was so tired of all the dairy laden foods they put in beauty boxes. Granted food is food, at least this is food that almost everyone can enjoy! This product is raw, gluten-free, kosher, and vegan! The chocolate flavor only has  6 ingredients total: maple syrup, shredded coconut, cocoa, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla, and sea salt. These are chocolately and rich, but still sweet and coconutty. I felt satisfied after one. A lot of people didn't like these and blamed it on the fact that they are vegan, but its because its rich dark dark cocoa so its going to be a bit bitter!

Women's Health 1-Year Subscription
1 year subscription ($9.99)
This was one of the most exciting bonuses from a curated box! I used to subscribe to Women's Health magazine and really enjoyed it. There is a great balance between exercise, healthy eating, and entertaining articles. I somehow currently have 5-6 free subscriptions to different magazines, with over half being health/fitness magazines, so I haven't cashed in on this subscription yet. Either way it is a great added value to my box!

Total value of my April 2013 Birchbox:$33.47
A free magazine subscription and two products clearly marked as vegan! This was my box! I couldn't wait to gobble up the macaroons and loved the mix of products I received!

What do you think of my April Birchbox? How does it compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ipsy: April 2013

A day home sick is a perfect day to catch up on tv and blog posts.

Don't know what Ipsy is? Ipsy is a once a month beauty subscription service that delivers premium beauty samples to your door. The creator of Ipsy, Michelle Phan, is a YouTube beauty expert that wants to share her favorite items with the world. The bags are delivered in the cutest reusable beauty bags. Once you join you will take a beauty/preference quiz that will help the girls choose the best products for you. The products range from beauty, skincare, hair, body, nails, and more. Every month you should also expect to receive full-sized products. Ipsy costs $10 a month, and your bag will always be valued above!
Click here to join Ipsy.

April 2013, Pretty in Pink
This month Ipsy is all about pink! Shades of pink and red were everywhere! Good thing I like pink!

Information Card:

Be a BombshellBlush in Sweet Cheeks
A highly pigmented pressed powder blush that highlights the complexion and provides long lasting color. Can be used both as a blush or a bronzer. 
Full Size: 0.17 oz ($16.00)
Size Received: Full-size received! 0.17 oz ($16.00)
I don't have a go to blush that I use everyday. Normally I'll use one until it runs out or until I get something more exciting. Right now all my attention is on Be a Bombshell's Blush in sweet cheeks. This is described as a medium shimmery, rose. I actually think it is a bit brighter than medium. There is so much shimmer in it that it makes the color a bit brighter and lighter. At first that scared the crap out of me. The swatch I took made it seem like this would look ridiculous on me. But I decided to try it out anyways, and I am so glad I did. This is the perfect blush for summer. I feel brighter and airy when I wear it. My skin glows and this stuff lasts all day. It is highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. I have gotten compliments on my skin and makeup when I wear this stuff. This is definitely a contender for my everyday blush.

Sexy HairPowder Play
Get ‘POW’ volume in an instant with Sexy Hair's Powder Play! Powder Play adds instant volume to any type of hair style or texture. Weightless, odorless, and colorless! Instantly liquifies when applied and adds volume and texture in seconds. Just sprinkle on dry hair at the root for lift and volume. Apply throughout the hair for extreme volume and texture. 
Full Size: 0.53 oz ($15.95)
Size Received: 0.07 oz ($2.11)
This is a powder voluminizer. It is perfect for thin, fine hair that can't handle crazy gels or thick mousses! You add a little to your roots and  brush through with a round brush. I've heard mixed removes about this product. Some say their hair ends up sticky and gross and others swear by it. I still haven't gotten around to try it, but I am excited to try it. It would be a perfect product to revive second day hair!

SationNail Lacquer in Love At First Byte
Sation Nail Lacquer is a contemporary beauty company, infusing a creative direction in nail care through a blend of lifestyle aesthetics. The collection features 120 colors from its seasonal & limited collections.
Full Size: 0.5 oz ($5.00)
Size Received: Full-size received! 0.5 oz($5.00)
For some reason I pronounce this nail polish Sah-Tee-Own as if I were speaking French. Im pretty sure its just sation, like sensation. Either way this is a line from Miss Professional Nail a 3-Free and Cruelty-free nail polish brand. I received the color Love at First Byte. It is a light peachy pink. I love the color in the bottle, but it applied a bit sheer. It would have taken 3-5 coats to get fully opaque. The formula was extremely awesome to work with, it applied smoothly, almost like a gel formula. If I had the time and patience, I'd definitely reapply this polish. It is classy and good for anytime of the year.

Two CosmeticsDuo Eyeshadow in Heartache
Two Cosmetics blush pink duo eyeshadow in Heartache is suited for all skin tones & complexions in two finishes. The shimmer side is fabulous for highlighting the brow bone, tear duct or cheeks. The matte side is great for blending, or for use as a blush and is amazing for an all over the lid color. Paraben free and not tested on animals!
Full Size: 0.04 oz ($6.25)
Size Received: Full-size received! 0.04 oz ($6.25)
This product didn't initially excite me too much. But when I looked up the brand I was excited to see that this brand donates a product to a local women's shelter for every product purchased. A 1:1 donation, that's freaking awesome! The shimmer shade is really beautiful, it almost is the same shade as the blush. The company does have products that contain carmine, and I don't doubt this shade (especially the matte) are included. The company is proud that they do not sell in China and are 100% cruelty-free!
Cruelty-free! (May contain carmine)

Total Value of my April 2013 Ipsy bag$29.36
Initially this wasn't my favorite bag. The makeup items are in pretty generic Made in China black makeup compacts, but they ended up impressing me. This was a well rounded bag that had a fun theme.

What do you think of the April Ipsy bag? What was your favorite item? Let me know in the comments below! If you dont get Ipsy and are interested, click here to join!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Goodebox: February 2013

It's officially summer! I hope everyone is enjoying the longer days to their fullest!

What is Goodebox?
Goodebox is a monthly subscription service that delivers trial size healthy, eco-conscious, natural beauty and personal care products. Each month you will receive 6 or more products customized for you. The brands and products that Goodebox send out have been thoroughly evaluated upon the brand's use of non-toxic, natural ingredients that respect earth, animals, and humanity. The samples will range from make-up, skincare, body, fragrances, and some lifestyle and wellness products. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked are based on a very detailed, thorough survey that even lets you indicate color preferences, any allergies, vegan, sensitivities, etc. Goodebox costs $16 a month, but the value of your box will be way above!
Click here to join Goodebox.

February 2013, Curated by Paige Padgett
Spring is in the air (since this box technically arrived at the end of february for March), which means it is time for spring cleaning and DETOX. Goodebox put together an amazing collection of products to help you detox your skin, hair, eyes, and even your insides. This month Goodebox teamed up with Paige Padgett a celebrity makeup artist who is thought to be the green beauty expert. When the experts said she couldn't use only eco-friendly makeup and tools in her kit, she made it happen. And people started requesting to buy her kit! She is now a contributor of many popular magazines, blogs, and websites.

Information Cards:

MIM: Zen Detox & Scalp Therapy
A unique formula enhaced with special clays to support growth by detoxing the hair follicles, roots, oil glands, and scalp. Dynamically assists in reversing chemical damage caused by synthetic hair products & treatments by removing contaminants from the scalp for healthier hair. Multi-tasks as a facial mask and even helps stinky shoes and itchy feet!
Full Size: 4 oz ($23.00)
Size Received: 1 oz ($5.75)
I'm pretty sure me being stressed the past couple month is becoming a theme in my posts. My hair and scalp have not escaped the headache that has become my skin. The description seemed like the perfect solution to detox my scalp and hair follicles. I was a bit confused by the instructions, what did I mix it with? How much? How long did I let it sit? Did I wash it out without shampooing? So I watched a video from the MIM website. I about died because the lady in the video was so hippy granola-y. I know Im stereotyping but she seems like the perfect candidate for a local health food store product specialist. Anyways, I mixed it up with just plain water until it was like a yogurt and goopy. Let it sit on my scalp until it dried out (about an hour) and washed it out. They recommended not using shampoo, but my hair did not feel clean. While I had it on I had immediately relief, but a day or two later no more benefit. The sample was only enough for one try, so Im not sure if it would have done anything if I kept at it. Oh well.

Weleda: Pomegranate Firming Eye Cream
Antioxidant-rich, fragrance-free formula featuring organic pomegranate seed oil protects the delicate eye area & helps repair cell damage. Organic macadamia nut oil, organic sunflower petal & rucus root extracts provide anti-inflammatory benefits and vitamin A to reduce puffiness, firm, and smooth skin around the eyes. Tests show a 23% wrinkle reduction after 28 days of use.
Full Size: .34 oz ($33.00)
Size Received: Full-size Received! .34 oz ($33.00)
Weleda is  extremely generous! This is the third (and fourth below) full-size item I have received varying sample boxes of the brand! I always get really excited about eye creams and forget about them a week later. Probably for a reason. This is an eye cream that works to reduce wrinkles and firm with antioxidant rich pomegranate. This stuff is a bit runny for my taste. I'm not sure if the tube is just not liking the heat of my old Kentucky home, but it did not absorb well on my skin. I currently feel a slight burn in my eye and a tugging feeling while it slowly dries. Even if it were to be the best cream, it feels so awkward on my skin it won't be a part of my routine.

Weleda: Refining Toner
Toner is the unsung hero of really good skin. This refreshing natural facial toner purifies & balances skin while refining the pores after cleansing. Biodynamic iris root extract regulates moisture at the visible surface of your skin. Mildly astringent organic wild rose leaf extract clarifies while organic lemon juice, high in vitamin C and mildly astringent, refines pores.
Full Size: 3.4 oz ($17.50)
Size Received: Full-size Received! 3.4 oz ($17.50)
Two full-size products in this box! Already loving it! I knew I had tried this refining toner in the past and I couldn't figure out where. Well thanks to all my tags on my blog I quickly found out it was through a past Goodebox! Last time we just received a sample size, so I'll gladly take a full bottle! This toner has wild rose leaf extract and lemon juice to clarify and refine pores. The last toner I received in a subscription box was a Clairovoyant Beauty toner that I adored. It came in a spritz bottle that I came to adore. Spritzing on toner provides the quickest, most even application. I don't ever feel like I have too much, I stop wasting cotton squares, and don't feel like Im slapping dirt back on my face if the cotton was sitting out. The minute I ran out of that toner I pored the Weleda into that container. This makes my skin feel refreshed and clean.

Moom: Hair Removal Kit
A revolutionary sugaring product that provides the benefits of long term depilation with less pain & discomfort than waxing or other hair removal methods. Exclusive formula and precision adhesion gently removes hair from the root without damaging skin, leaving you hair-free for up to 8 weeks. Regrowth is sparser & finer. For stubborn hair & sensitive areas alike. Can be used anywhere on the face & body.
Full Size: 6 oz ($19.95)
Size Received: 1.6 oz ($5.32)
I couldn't have been more excited to see Moom in my Goodebox. This natural sugaring hair removal kit has been my favorite for over a year. Moom contains only 5 ingredients: chamomile  sugar, lemon, essential oils, and water. Sugaring removes only the hair (from the root) and is safe to use on your skin, meaning your skin would get ripped off and will be irritated less. And because it is just sugar, clean up is easy with warm water. What I have learned with Moom is to follow the instruction to the T or it will not work as effectively! You want a thick molasses like consistency before you apply in a thin layer, quickly put on the reusable fabric strip and then rub it down onto the wax and give it a few seconds to cool down and adhere to the strip and quickly take it off in the opposite direction of the hair growth. The faster the strip is taken off the more hairs will be removed completely. I may be pretty tolerant to pain, but this stuff is much more gentle than traditional waxes. No wincing or pain killers required. A full-size starter 6 oz container lasted me just about 6-8 months and the fabric strips are completely washable and reusable. After using Moom for over a year, I can attest to their claim that regrowth is sparser and finer and skin is practically hair free for 3-5 weeks! I love this stuff.

Astara: Daily Refining Scrub
Gentle enough to use every day, this organic aloe-based exfoliant combines diatomaceous earth with soothing, nutrient-rich plant extracts for profound cleansing, buffing, and removal of dead cells to improve overall skin healthy absorption of nutrients. Refines fine lines when used consistently.
Full Size: 6 oz ($38.00)
Size Received: 2 oz ($12.66)
My skin has been hating me for a few months now. My body can only handle so much stress and my skin has seen the worst of it all. I feel like my skin looks like a teenagers. It's embarrassing. I will try anything at this point, and was grateful to have this to try. The scrub smells amazing as it is made with aloe, grapefruit, mandarain orange, and lavender oils which instantly relaxes me. The major scrub component is diatomaceous earth, which is silica from the ocean floor. It feels similar in texture to using a sugar scrub. The pieces are fine, but not so fine that it hurts. I have been using the Astara Daily Refining Scrub now for 4 days straight and I can officially say my skin finally has stopped breaking out! For the first time in months my skin looks like it is finally healing! I am in love and actually think I will be buying the full-size, even with that price tag. Clear skin means it is worth it.

Yogi: Detox Tea
Help your body rid itself of every day impurities. Time-honored purifying herbs Burdock & Organic Dandelion support the liver, Juniper Berry promotes kidney function and Ginger, Black Pepper, and Long Pepper a traditional Ayurvedic blend, support blood flow for a gentle cleansing support.
Full Size: 16 ct ($4.99)
Size Received: 
1 ct ($0.31)
Tea that is said to help my internal organ function? Um yes? I mean I already fell for tea that helps fight aging. That being said this tea bag smells very uh intense. You immediately smell the ginger and peppers to the point I sneezed, but your nose senses the berry and dandelion that mellows it out a bit. I wanted to try it anyways, because duh detox. I steeped it for 10 minutes and it turned out to be a full bodied peppery chai. Just the right mixture of clove, ginger, licorice, cinnamon that lingered in your mouth until the sweet from honeysuckle, juniper berry, and winter melon overcame the spice. It was perfect. If I wasn't sold, the fact that it is caffeine free sold me. I like to drink tea before bed, so that is a must. If this stuff is at my local Kroger, Im getting it.

Yogi: Skin Detox Tea
Skin reflects our diet & lifestyle choices, acting as a mirror to internal health. It's just as essential to cleanse impurities from the inside as from the surface for clear, glowing skin. Fragrant Rose Petal & Hibiscus cool and soothe the skin; Organic Green Tea supplies antioxidants & promotes rejuvenation while Burdock, Yellow Dock and Red Clover support the liver.
Full Size: 16 ct ($4.99)
Size Received: 
1 ct ($0.31)
I love rose-y green teas, but somehow this green tea is caffeinated so I have yet to try it. The bag smells heavenly though. It is so sweet with hibiscus, rose, pomegranate, grape root, and rose. If this tea can sooth and make my skin glow, well we will be friends. The samples also included a $1 off coupon that is inside my wallet waiting to be used.

Total value of my February 2013 Goodebox:$74.85
One of my favorite Goodebox's to date! This box was filled with such a varied assortment of products. I love that I got two full-size products, a sample size of my favorite sugaring wax, and new products that fit my current needs! 

What do you think of my February Goodebox? Have you tried any of the products I received? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birchbox: March 2013

Summer is officially here! It's a bit too hot today to sit outside, so I don't feel too guilty sitting inside on my computer!

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.

March 2013, Box #12
March is time for basketball fanatics to gear up for the National Championship. I spent all March watching game after game hoping my brackets wouldn't get messed up and that my teams would make it all the way. My alma mater (Go Marquette!) gave me a few heart attacks early on, but we ended up going pretty far! And the University of Louisville, the city I now call home, made it all the way to the top! The city was so energerized and proud. It was pretty awesome to be apart of. Birchbox decided to join in the fun and filled the box with products worthy of a spot on the team, newbies to veteran all-stars.

Information Cards:

Oscar BlandiHair Lift Mousse
Inflate limp locks with this innovative volume-reviving mousse. Made with high-tech ingredients, it amplifies each strand for voluminous hair that looks and feels full of life.
Full Size: 6.3 oz ($23.00)
Size Received: 1.0 oz ($3.65)
I've heard so many good things about Oscar Blandi's dry shampoo that I was super psyched to get this mousse. Half the time hair products I receive in subscription boxes are for thick or curly hair, which I have neither. What I need is a whole lotta lift without weighing it down. This is a perfect find for a big event where I want my hair to have lots of volume. My hair looked like I just left the salon, a perfect blow out. The night I used it, I got so many compliments on my hair! The product did build up a little in my hair, so I wouldn't use it if I knew I wasn't going to shower the next day or my second day hair would look like day three, no bueno.

MAKESatin Finish Eyeshadow in Great Lakes
This new brand's pretty pigments have serious staying power, and we love that one-third of all sales are donated to charity.
Full Size: 0.1 oz ($18.00)
Size Received: 0.03 oz ($5.40)
A brand that donates a third of all sales to charity!? That is pretty sweet. The brand donates to We See Beauty Foundation that helps accelerate women-led, worker-owned cooperatives. It is a great way to empower a community and help drive the local economy.  I received the color Great Lakes which is a silver/grey blue. I didn't find this eyeshadow super pigmented, but it can be applied wet for a more intense color. It is a perfect color for every day wear.

MAKEFace Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Pump up your makeup's endurance and protect skin with this two-in-one base and SPF.
Full Size: 1.0 oz ($30.00)
Size Received: 0.18 oz ($5.40)
I love when primers have SPF. My tinted moisturizer has SPF, but because I use a stippling application I dont believe I am getting as much coverage as I should have. This not only has SPF 30 but also has light-diffusing microspheres to make your application seems airbrushed and soft. Plus it fills in fine lines and wrinkles, has vitamin E and squalene to moisturize and protect against environmental damage. It smells and applies like a sunscreen which made me nervous, but it did dry nicely and didn't leave my skin looking greasy. I'm not sure I really have an opinion on it, it worked, but I wasn't blown away by it.

WhishShave Crave Shaving Cream
The organic shea butter in this foam-free shaving cream makes for an insanely close shave and leaves skin incredibly soft. We love the exclusive blueberry scent.
Full Size: 5.0 oz ($20.00)
Size Received: 0.75 oz ($3.00)
When I opened my box all I could smell was a sickly sweet sugar smell. It turns out it is this shaving cream. Whish was created when the creator used her husband's shaving cream. She felt she had had the closest and smoothest shave of her life, but she smelled like a man. Her husband decided to make her wish come true and set out to make an all-natural, chemical-free version for her. I confirmed with the company that all products are vegan and cruelty-free! The product is a non-foaming cream that moisturizes with squalene (vegetable derived), organic shea butter, and organic raspberry butter. It smooths your skin with organic green tea and coconut oil and nourish with jojoba seed oil. The smell is a bit intense, but it does give a very smooth and long lasting shave. And my legs feel so moisturized and soft for days.

Madewell: Nail Emery Board
We teamed up with Madwell to create this adorable mini savior, patterned after a print from their new spring collection.
Full Size: 1 emory board ($5.00)
Size Received: 1 emory board ($5.00)
This is probably one of my favorite things in this box. Seems silly, but this emery board is best one I currently own. Some kind of rip my nails in layers instead of smoothing. This smooths, isn't too rough, and of course is the cuttest pattern.

Total value of my March 2013 Birchbox:$22.45
I think Birchbox is starting to step up their game. This was an all around awesome box.

What do you think of my March Birchbox? How does it compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ipsy: March 2013

I just got my May Ipsy this past week. Where has time gone!?

Don't know what Ipsy is? Ipsy is a once a month beauty subscription service that delivers premium beauty samples to your door. The creator of Ipsy, Michelle Phan, is a YouTube beauty expert that wants to share her favorite items with the world. The bags are delivered in the cutest reusable beauty bags. Once you join you will take a beauty/preference quiz that will help the girls choose the best products for you. The products range from beauty, skincare, hair, body, nails, and more. Every month you should also expect to receive full-sized products. Ipsy costs $10 a month, and your bag will always be valued above!
Click here to join Ipsy.

March 2013, The Great Escape
The theme this month is based around products that are perfect for travel. A perfect theme for spring. I didn't go on any trips this spring, but have two trips coming up in June! The bag itself is not my favorite. It feels really cheap, of course it is, but it almost feels like a diaper bag. It is weird to me.

Information Card:

Juice BeautyHydrating Mist
Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist tones, hydrates, and refreshes your face and hair while on the go, anytime of the day. Hydrate with the refreshing blends of organic juices for a fresh, radiant complexion. 
Full Size: 6.75 oz ($22.00)
Size Received: 1 oz ($3.26)
After living in DC for two years, I became best friends with my former MAC Fix + hydration mist. After MAC lost their cruelty-free status, I've been on the hunt for a new hydration mist. Trying out one from an all organic, cruelty-free company is the perfect way to start my search. Juice Beauty's hydrating mist uses white grape juice, aloe vera, and rose hip extract which all act as antioxidants that help sooth inflamed skin, rejuvenate tired skin, hydrate, and refresh. I love using these mists as makeup setters. A spritz of this after applying makeup help to set makeup, making it less suceptible to summer heat and humidity and kind of airbrush out your lines leaving you with a dewy fresh look. So far I like this mist just fine. I like that it has a finer spray than the MAC, but I dislike how powdery the smell is, but that dissipates quickly.

GlamRXMini Freestyle Palette
The GlamRX Mini Freestyle Palette was made exclusively for ipsy Glam Bag subscribers. The magnetic base is the perfect spot to store pan-only eyeshadows (2 of which are included in this Glam Bag!), blushes & bronzers, or whatever you need for perfect for quick touch ups on the go!
Full Size: 1 mini palette ($9.95)
Size Received: Full-size received! 1 mini palette ($9.95)
I have so many pans and single pot eyeshadows in my collection that I barely ever use since they are all in one large box. In the morning, I am not taking the time to look at each and every color I own before making a decision, I just keep reusing the most convenient ones. The idea of a freestyle magnetic palette is awesome! I'm quite sure GlamRX is not the first, but I do love that this brand has a massive mirror to make this palette perfect for the go. It is small, but again this palette is for on the go. A lot of my eyeshadow pans are not magnetic, but it looks like some competitors make magnetic stickers meant for metal eyeshadow pans.

YabyEyeshadow Pans in Azalea Petal and Seashell
Whether you want to make a dramatic statement or just add a veil of color to your eyes, the yaby eyeshadow refills are extremely easy to work with. Can be used wet or dry and the smooth texture allows blending with ease.
Full Size: 2 - 3 g pans ($6.30)
Size Received: 2 - 3 g pans ($6.30)
These little guys are adorable. And I love that they have magnetic bottoms so they are the perfect first additions to my GlamRX palette. Yaby was created by a makeup artist that understood that artists and makeup aficionados alike need eyeshadow pans/palettes that take up little space and are easy to organize. These guys are teeny in size (as big as a penny?), economical, and the company is fully vegan friendly! I received Azalea Petal is a shimmer plum and Seashell a shimmer cream. The company boasts that these are highly pigmented, provide smooth application, and can be used wet or dry. So far I really am happy with them. I dont think they are as pigmented as described, but I love wearing these two colors together for a sweet/soft day look. And even though the pans are teeny, I feel for the price they are so worth it!

LA FreshTravel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes
La Fresh® Travel Lite® portable towlette wipes are perfect for jetsetters, go-getters, outdoor enthusiasts and multi-taskers everywhere. Towlette packets are small in size, designed for practicality and are easy to apply discreetly.
Full Size: 8 ct ($1.99)
Size Received: Full-size received! 8 ct ($1.99)
Got to love these wipes! So far these are my favorite makeup remover wipes that I have gotten from LA Fresh. Many wipes could be halved or even quartered and still be large enough for one use. These biodegradable wipes are just the right size, you won't feel like you are wasting any product. My skin feels fresh, moisturized, and clean after I use these. And I didn't need to rub so hard to get my eye makeup off. I would definitely re-buy these if I saw them in a store.

Total Value of my March 2013 Ipsy bag$21.50
I'm seriously loving Ipsy. What a change they've made in one year. This is one company that listens to their customers!

What do you think of the March Ipsy bag? What was your favorite item? Let me know in the comments below! If you dont get Ipsy and are interested, click here to join!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Triple Crown of Running!

The Triple Crown of Running is officially over. I can't believe all three legs are complete! My friend told me about these races back in November, and I remember saying I wasn't sure I'd be able to complete them since I was scared of injury. I'm happy to say I can eat my words! 

The Triple Crown of Running is a collection of 3 road races in Louisville, KY of varying lengths. Each race can be run on their own, but if you run all three you have discounted entry fees and get an extra finisher t-shirt. We all know runners love free t-shirts! All of the runs benefits the Crusade for Children which has received over a million dollars in donation from the race series since 2002. 

The 3 races are:

The Triple Crown of Running began back in 1984, but featured different races then the current 3. Back then it was the Rodes, the Run for the Arts 15k, and the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. In 2004, the Triple Crown removed the miniMarathon and replaced it with the Anthem 5k. 

Even though the race series does not include the mini marathon anymore, many runners (including myself) run the Triple Crown which leads to the mini a few weeks later. I have to say training for these 3 races really helped prepare me for my half marathon. Last year I tried training on my own for a half and failed. I got up to 7 miles and got injured. This year, I've run gotten the chance to run 10 miles at a race pace, and it felt pretty darn good.

Anthem 5k
My friend and I were counting down the days until this race. We both knew we could easily run a 5k and have done them before, so we were excited to have a chance to run a race together and mark the beginning of our half marathon training. I heard that this was one of the largest road races in KY, but I did not really appreciate it until I got to packet picket and saw that there was Bib numbers ranging from 0 to 9000... All road races I've run outside of cross country have been around 100 to 500 individuals. The logistics of almost 10,000 people parking alone seemed impossible. 

The day of the race I met up with my friend and her training group at the local YMCA. We got to park for free and walk together to the start line. It was a good idea meeting my friend away from the start line, especially after I realized that the start line was two blocks long. There would have been no way I would have found her! The weather was beyond perfect for the race. If I remember correctly, sunshine and 40 degrees. Perfect for leggings and a zip up, my favorite running gear. 

We weaseled our way into the crowd at the start line. I think we lined up near Witherspoon, which was a full block away from the start. It took us just about 10 minutes to actually walk to the start line. We were so pumped and ready to go though that we shot out of the start but quickly realized that we just started a game of frogger. Between slower paced runners, walkers, children, and strollers! the first two miles was a constant zigging in and out battle. I have the race etiquette that if you are going to be super slow or walk the race you shuffle on over to the side so that runners can easily pass. Apparently these people did not hear of this. Some walkers were even holding hands!! A few times I almost plowed into children or people who decided to just stop mid track. My friend and I lost each other within the first 10 minutes of the race unfortunately.And by mile 2 my frustration level was extremely high. I had wasted so much time and energy running side-to-side there was no way I was going to reach my time goal. 
 Race map courtesy of:

According to my Nike + running application I ran the race in 28:34, but my official time is 28:57. Almost a half minute of side-to-side running! My mile break downs were: 
  • Mile 1: 8'49"
  • Mile 2: 9'30"
  • Mile 3: 9'24"

This is definitely not my fastest 5k, but it was for sure my most frustrated. The one really cool thing was they filmed the finish line and you can watch as you cross the finish line. Pretty nifty. 

Bottom line, would I run again? Probably yes, but I'll regret it afterwards because Ill remember how frustrated I was.
That's me in the bottom right corner in the blue jacket and pink shoes! Walking to the start line, all ready to go!

Rodes City 10k
This next race in the series came days after a very traumatic event occurred in my life. I hadn't run as much as I would have liked that week, but was ready to use this race to get some of my emotions channeled. I didn't get a chance to even look at the course map and luckily my friend's training coach picked up my packet (which had cookie butter in it!!). 

The race started downtown in front of the famous Brown Hotel and took us on a large, scenic loop around Cave Hill Cemetery (Colonel Sanders is buried there!) on Grinstead Dr and Lexington Rd and back downtown for a finish line almost in the same spot as the Anthem 5k's. Miles 2-5 were winding fast, rolling hills. It was a pretty run since the trees were beginning to bud and you could feel that spring was just around the corner. The weather was pretty similar to the first race, about 45F with a slight breeze.

This was another big race, apparently the 12th largest road race in the country! Weirdly enough I didn't feel that I did as much side-to-side running. I felt relaxed and had enough space most of the time to do my thang. After mile 2, I did end up losing my friend, but more so because I knew I needed to slow down a bit. 

My mile break downs were: 
  • Mile 1: 9'12"
  • Mile 2: 9'43"
  • Mile 3: 10'07"
  • Mile 4: 9'58"
  • Mile 5: 10'08"
  • Mile 6: 10'04"
I think it is pretty impressive of how consistent I was! I only mentally pace myself, I don't ever check my speed while I'm running. My Nike app tells me my pace each mile, but half the time I don't hear what she says since I'm so engrossed in my scenery or my music. Pretty impressive!

My official time ended up being 1:01:27 (Nike + stated 1:01:04). I wanted to finish in under an hour, but under the emotional circumstances I dealt with that week I was very happy with my time. I loved this race and cannot wait to run this course again next year. 

My friend and I after the race!

Papa Johns 10 Miler
I have run plenty of 5k and 10ks in the past, but I have never run a 10 miler. My friend and I trained with many long runs, but at this point in our training we had run at most 8 miles. Running 10 miles at a race pace? I was a little scared. 

The Papa Johns 10 Miler is famous for racing through Louisville's Iroquois Park, which contains one of the highest points in the city. Aka MASSIVE hills. I had never been to Iroquois Park so I knew I needed to train there at least once before the day of the race. I am so glad I did, because Iroquois Park turned out to be 3 miles of up and up and up and down and up, etc. I knew what I had to do and knew what kind of energy I needed to preserve for miles 2-6. 

This race is the only race in the leg that did not start downtown, so we weren't able to meet the training group at the Y and had to fend for ourselves. This meant traffic and getting to the start line a wee bit late. We ended up walking up to the start line 10 minutes after the race began. It was kind of nice since we didn't feel that initial push from the thousands of runners trying to funnel in. But it did mean we had to do some major zig zagging to get through all the runners who already started. I remember a few times I freaked out because someone would close in on me while I tried to run through a small gap. Once we got into the park I turned found my powersong (Lil Jon's Throw It Up, don't ask), downed a PowerBar GU Pack and put on my game face. I definitely slowed down a bit during the hills, but not a crazy amount. I felt good and loved racing down the hills and finding the momentum to keep powering up the next. Once we hit flat ground at Mile 8, I started to feel a lot of pain in my right knee and had a massive slow down. I still trucked through the end of the race and really enjoyed the last half mile, which lead us into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium where the finish line was at the 50 yard line on the football field. They had an announcer and the jumbo tron on making us feel like we were hot shots! It was pretty darn cool! 

My mile break downs were: 
  • Mile 1: 9'08"
  • Mile 2: 9'12"
  • Mile 3: 9'51"
  • Mile 4: 9'55"
  • Mile 5: 10'28"
  • Mile 6: 10'12"
  • Mile 7: 9'53"
  • Mile 8: 10'58"
  • Mile 9: 11'09"
  • Mile 10: 11'09"
This was my favorite of all the races. My official time was 1:43:01 (Nike + clocked me in at 1:41:55). I love racing in Iroquois Park and 10 miles was sort of fun! I felt so accomplished! I was only a 5k away from completing my goal of a half marathon!

Immediately after I finished I kept on walking, got a Gatorade and a banana, but I wasn't feeling anything. Of course there was rows and rows of Papa Johns pizza, but the smell of the food made me feel worse. A friend and I had made plans to grab lunch and go shopping after the race, I ended up bailing out after lunch because I was so sick. I spent the rest of the day, home in bed feeling like I had a hangover (nausea, chills, etc). I felt so sick and dehydrated all day! It took all week for me to get back to normal. I learned my lesson and this race helped me better physically prepare myself for the half marathon. 

The only race photo of my friend and I! This was taken seconds after the start, as why we were so chipper!

The last 100 yards. Powering through!

Well there you have it! My first experience with The Triple Crown of Running! I truly enjoyed participating in this race series and cannot wait to pick up my Series Finisher T-shirt. I have a feeling this race series will become a yearly event for me. I'm so glad my friend pressured me into doing it with her! We had a blast and it really helped us get in shape for the half marathon. I think part of the reason I was able to reach all my goals running-wise this spring is because I had these races to keep me on track. Next year I can work on crushing times and making some killer personal bests!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Birchbox: February 2013

It's interesting how some boxes seem like they will be awesome, but turn out meh...

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.

February 2013, Box #35
This month, Birchbox (like Ipsy) capitalized on all the big holiday events and put together a box that is worthy of the red carpet. Stating that even if we don't have a posse of pros, Birchbox has experts that will keep us red carpet ready.

Information Cards:

Jouer: Matte Moisture Tint in Linen
This SPF 15 oil-free tinted moisturizer blends in beautifully to even out skin and control shine.
Full Size: 1.7 oz ($38.00)
Size Received: 0.07 oz ($1.56)
Jouer has only ever popped up on my radar in birchboxes. First with their special Birchbox pink lip gloss and then with their Luminizing Moisture Tint. I absolutely love the Luminizing Moisture Tint. It is perfect coverage for the summer, adds a gorgeous pearlescent glow to your skin, and leaves my skin moisturized all day. The only problem is it is way too expensive! I currently use TheBalm's BalmShelter which sells for ~$20 for 2.15 oz, much better value. Either way I was excited to try the newest from Jouer. The matte version is oil-free version controls shine with titanium and zinc oxides and leaves skin velvety smooth. I tried this out and immediately knew it wasn't going to work well for me. My skin looked pasty, dry, pores and wrinkles amplified, and just completely flat. My combination skin did not enjoy it at all.

VasantiBrighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten skin. 
Full Size: 4.23 oz ($34.00)
Size Received: 0.7 oz ($5.63)
I adore receiving face scrubs. Years of acne and years of no solution, I'm always willing to try new products. This product is a dermatologist-grade scrub that brightens, exfoliates, and cleanses all in one treatment. It uses papaya enzymes to dissolve down dead skin cells, microderm exfoliating crystals to fade fine lines and acne scars, and aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E to nourish and soothe skin. But it is safe for use on sensitive skin. This sounded like it was the jack pot for me. I started using it once a week and was in love. My skin felt so smooth and soft and visibly brighter. BUT! My skin broke out like crazy after a few weeks of using this. I was so embarrassed by how badly my skin looked. Even a coworker asked what was wrong with my skin... Too bad since it is certified vegan and well priced.

Juicy CoutureCouture La La
Roll out the red carpet for this new scent, a stunning mix of mandarin, red currant, lilly, and orange blossom. 
Full Size: 3.4 oz ($90.00)
Size Received: 0.05 oz ($1.32)
The third Viva la Juicy fragrance I've received in my Birchbox. This version of the perfume is a little rock and a little feminine. It has notes of sparkling fruits like mandarin, green apple, red currant, and florals like hyacinth, lily of the valley, peony, violet, orange flower, and a soft musk. I will admit it is a nice, sweet fragrance. I don't see how it is suposed to have a rock edge to it. The peony and lilly are very strong and sweet. But this is a perfect daytime fragrance or something for a younger girl. And like I noted in August, I cannot find a concrete answer on Elizabeth Arden fragrances' animal testing policy. If someone knows it, let me know!
Unsure if tested on animals.

TIGICatwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo
Master stylists always have this oil-busting dry shampoo in their kit. It leaves behind a tousled, piecey finish.
Full Size: 5.2 oz ($19.95)
Size Received: 2.0 oz ($7.67)
Dry Shampoos are a gift from the gods. I used to use baby powder on those second...or third day hair days while in college. Cheap, effective, but messy and made my hair chalky. I will always try out new dry shampoos that will prove to be a better option. TIGI's animal cruelty status is a bit iffy. The website says that it is cruelty-free but some sources say they do test when necessary by law. So I'll leave it up to you to decide. Either way, I won't be buying this dry shampoo. I sprayed it into my hair and instantly felt icky. My hair just looked chalky and felt awful and teased. It felt heavier and couldn't be styled. It was awful! So far the best dry shampoo I've tried was Freeman's Instant Dry Shampoo through Beauty Army back in February 2012 (post can be found here). I really should buy that again...
Unsure if tested on animals.

Ghiradelli: Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling
You deserve a little sweetness. Try Gihradelli's Milk & Caramel Square solo or experiment - s'mores or baked into a cookie. who says you can't riff on decadence?. 
Full Size: 10 squares ($4.99)
Size Received: 1 square ($0.50)
It really frustrates me that Birchbox has included so much chocolate in their boxes in the past year. I'm not the only one who doesn't eat milk. So many people have milk allergies, you'd think they'd think about that...

Total value of my February 2013 Birchbox:$16.68
Not my favorite month. I actually decided this month that I didn't want to subscribe again, but then they automatically resubscribed me for the year and I decided what the hell. Birchbox is such a hit or miss, but many of my all-time favorites right now were things I received in my Birchbox.

What do you think of my February Birchbox? How does it compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join
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