Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Swimming Into Beauty with Ipsy

The theme of the June ipsy GlamBag is "Swim Into Beauty," and it is perfectly tailored for a summer look.  The Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer keeps your makeup in place in the heat, the tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon and OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner work together to create a smokey but summery eye look, the Formula X Power Source Nail Color is an electric pink coral that is perfect for the beach or pool, and the Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla has a subtle, tropical scent.  
  • Makeup bag:  The bag was nice enough. It is black neoprene with a neon coral zipper.  I forgot to take a picture of mine, but it looks like this.
    Image credit: Ipsy.com
  • Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer:  I was excited to try this because it is a product I've actually heard of.  I don't use a primer, but after trying this I think I will start.  It went on easily and made my face incredibly smooth.  My foundation was easier to apply and felt better than it ever has before.  I used my normal Almay Smart Shade Makeup**, and I skipped the blush.  My foundation stayed put all day, even though I took a walk in the 90+ degree sunshine at lunch.  
I fail at product display.  The Primer is facing
the wrong way.
I got this one facing the right way, but
it is casting a weird shadow on my face.
  • tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon in Kona Coffee:  I really like stick-based makeup.  It's easy to use and tends to wear well.  The shadow crayon went on with a smooth, bold line, and easily smudged into a lighter color that stayed put all day.
Step 1: Dark lines
Step 2: Smudgy eyes
  • OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner:  I usually use liquid liner because it go on in a smoother, more definite line, but this eyeliner pencil was nearly as smooth.  The color is perfect to accent my eyes.  I read a number of reviews from people who didn't like the color, but for blue eyes it is perfect.
The OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner
Turquoise lines
  • Formula X Power Source Nail Color:  The color is vibrant and summery, and it stayed on in spite spending last weekend doing home improvement.  Where my nails look a little chipped, they are actually covered in oat bran colored latex paint.  
Power source nails
I don't have anything  to show you here except
the packaging.
  • Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla:  I don't use much lotion, and what I do use is mostly unscented.  I probably wouldn't buy this lotion, but I liked it a lot better than I like a lot of scented products.  The vanilla scent was subtle and mature.  It didn't smell like cupcakes or cookies.  The texture was rich but not greasy.  
I finished with a coat of CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara.  I've used more expensive mascaras than this one, but I keep going back to Lashblast because it gives dramatic length and fullness without clumping.  
I'm happy with this look, but holy crap do I need
under-eye concealer.  
The products in the ipsy June Glam Bag are generously sized.  The tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon and OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner will last me through the summer, even with frequent use.  I could absolutely bathe in the Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer.  I like it so much I'm going to add a makeup primer in my daily routine.  The nail polish is a great color for summer.  The only product I'm not terribly excited by is the lotion, but overall it was a great selection.  I can't wait for next month's Glam Bag.

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ipsy: Glam is in the Bag

Last week I reviewed my first Birchbox subscription.  This week I'll tear open my Ipsy Glam Bag.

Ipsy” derived its name from the Latin word ipse, meaning “sense of self.” Sense of self is important.  Sense of self is why I'm here.  

Do you see how cute the mailing envelope is?  It is metallic 
fuchsia.  I am going to reuse it to send a gift to a friend.

Ipsy has a slightly different take on the beauty subscription game.  Each ipsy shipment comes in a cute makeup bag, which they market as a Glam Bag.  I'm crazy for little bags, so getting a new one each month is a fun treat.  This kind of bag comes in handy for everything from electronics to travel items to crafting and, of course, beauty.  

According to the ipsy site, the June bag is valued at $40.  That's not too shabby for a $10 purchase cost.  I certainly feel like I got my money's worth.

Here's what's inside:
  • Makeup bag
  • OFRA Cosmetics Turquoise Eyeliner
  • Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer
  • Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla
  • Formula X Power Source Nail Color
  • tre'StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon
I'll try and review all the products in my first ipsy Glam Bag tomorrow.  Check back soon!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

So Very Proud

I am so proud to be an American today.  I know many countries reached marriage equality before us, but we made it.  It is a good day to be an American, and it's a great day to go to the Augusta Pride Festival. 

Bull Terrier Dress*, CowCow Clothing, Amazon; shoes, Mossimo, Target; earrings, Claire's; Bull Terrier, Recycla-Bull Terrier Rescue.** 

There are two parts of this ensemble that I'd like to point out: 
  1. The dog.  Meet Toro.  He is my newest dog addition.  He is an English bull terrier.  He is a year old.  He is a sweetie pie.  He was a complete and total celebrity at the Pride Parade because of his rainbow collar and fur.  He looked like My Little Pony's dog friend.  I used non-toxic hair chalk and washed it out afterwards.  He's fine.  Don't worry about Toro.
  2. The dress.  Soon after I got Toro (originally named Abel), I saw this dress and knew it had to be mine.  It was only $16.99 on Amazon.  If you have or love bull terriers, you should get one too
I let Toro do the heavy lifting for the Pride celebration while I focused on coordinating with him.  No one appreciates coordinating like the folks at Pride, right?  

*This post contains affiliate links for an awesome Bull Terrier dress from Amazon.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

**This is a joke.  Dogs are not accessories or fashion statements.  Dogs are a part of the family.    

Friday, June 26, 2015


Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of marriage equality.  That's great enough.  Something else momentous happened today.

I can die happy.  RuPaul just retweeted me.
Want to watch the video?  It's here.

Congratulations to the United States.  It's a great day to be an American.  I am feeling so patriotic right now.

Fave Five: Things I Love About Birchbox So Far

Have you subscribed to Birchbox yet?  Try it!  It's only $10 per month, and you can cancel any time.  You can also get a year subscription for $110.  Here are five reasons I'm thrilled I subscribed.  
Image credit: Style Me Pretty
  1. Grab-Bag Appeal: I am a SUCKER for a grab bag.  I'll admit it.  I love being surprised, especially it I feel like I'm getting a good deal too.
  2. Value: The items in my June Birchbox had a value of $55.81.  The subscription costs $10.  I usually buy drug-store brand cosmetics, and I really enjoyed getting to experiment with high-end products.
  3. Trying New Things:  I don't think I ever would have sought out and purchased the items that came in my June Birchbox.  I don't know much about higher-end beauty, and, even if I wanted to splurge on a more expensive product, I wouldn't know how to spend those dollars.  I may save my pennies and treat myself to the Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator or the Marcelle BB Cream Garden Glow, or I may ask for one for my birthday or Christmas.  Those two products in particular really stood out as exceptional.  
  4. Get Points and Rewards:  Birchbox Points make it even easier to save money and indulge yourself more.  You earn 1 point for every $1 you spend in the Birchbox Shop; you earn 50 points for every friend you invite who purchases a personal Birchbox subscription; and you earn 10 points for each review you leave on samples you've received. 100 Birchbox Points can be redeemed for $10 in the Birchbox Shop.  I just joined this month, and, after purchasing my box and reviewing all the products that came in it, I already have 100 points- my first $10 reward.  How easy is that?
  5. Makes a Great Gift:  I would have been thrilled to receive a Birchbox subscription as a gift, and I've already given a subscription to one of my best friends.  You can give subscriptions of three, six, or twelve months, and your gift purchases also earns points for you.  
If you'd like to try Birchbox too, be a dear and subscribe through my link.  It won't cost you anything, and you'll gift me with a few points towards Birchbox rewards.

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Styled Pretty

The past couple days (part 1 and part 2) I've reviewed my first Birchbox subscription, which was curated by the wedding blog Style Me Pretty.  What does the recent divorcée wear while experimenting with wedding makeup?  This.

Jacket, Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted; dress, Xhiliration, swapped; sandals, Mossimo, Target; earrings, Walmart(?); necklace, handmade by me; embellished hair tie (worn as bracelet), Deepa Gurnani, Birchbox.


Things I like about this outfit:

  • Cost: The total cost for the entire outfit was around $10.  The jacket was $1 at an estate sale, the dress was swapped, the sandals were clearance... You see what I mean.
  • Lace: I love lace.  It is just so pretty and feminine.  
  • Multi-tasking: I love how the Deepa Gurnani embellished hair tie looks as a bracelet.  
*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nice Day to Start Again

My first Birchbox is curated by the wedding blog Style Me Pretty.  It is one of the two beauty box subscriptions I chose to help me feel like me again after divorce.  The humor is not lost on me.  It's not exactly a nice day for a white wedding, but it is a nice day to start again.  Cue the Billy Idol.

I tried the products in my Birchbox yesterday, and, let me tell you, Birchbox is a great idea, wonderfully executed.  I tried everything in one go, so here are my thoughts, with pictures, in the order I used them.
  • A card with information about the products: It's a little touch, but this card made a big difference to me.  I like having information about all the products in one place, in an easy to access format.  The card tells a little bit about each product and how to use it.

  • Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator:  This says it's a powerful exfoliant.  It's not kidding.  It has the maximum amount of exfoliation that I can handle before it makes me skin raw.  That's a good thing.  Many exfoliants don't seem to have enough grit to actually do much.  This one quickly and easily sloughed off the dead surface skin, leaving my face feeling very refreshed.
I quickly realized it was a mistake to try to take
pictures in the mirror, but not quickly enough.
  • Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow:  I wasn't sure whether this BB Cream would work with my skin because it looked a little too tan coming out of the tube.  It does work!  It's great!  The consistency is smooth and creamy without feeling greasy.  My skin looked dewy and felt incredible.  I seriously had to tell myself to stop touching my face because it was just so smooth.
Redness was reduced and skin tone evened withouth
a heavy feel.
  • Laura Geller Beauty Baked Color True Blush:  I probably wouldn't have picked out this blush for myself, but I really like it.  It looks bold but still natural.  It's what I wish I looked like when I blush naturally or have just finished some healthy exercise. (In reality my face is beet red in those situations.)  So it's a bold blush that is natural, but better than natural.  
I love this rosy-cheeked look!
  •  Kérastase Exilir Ultime:  The best thing about this hair elixir is the smell.  It works really well.  I think it minimized the number of flyaways I had in the Georgia humidity.  It left my hair shiny and smooth, but the smell is incredible.  It smells so good.  I wanted to get extra close to people so they could smell my hair, but that would be really weird.

You can't see that much of a difference, but the scent
is divine!
  •  An embellished hair tie from Deepa Gurnani:  I started out with the hair tie in my hair, but I quickly switched it to my wrist and wore it as a bracelet.  I really like it as a bracelet.  It worked less well as a hair tie because my hair is very slippery.  If the hair tie was loose, it slipped right out.  If it was tight, you couldn't appreciate the pretty design.  It fits nicely around my wrist and looks pretty, and I can still use it as a hair tie in a pinch.  

Pretty pony.
The look: completed with the help of a little eye
liner and mascara.
  • La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover:  I am terrible about removing my makeup at the end of the day.  I know that many of my readers just wretched at the thought of sleeping in makeup.  I know I should take it off, but I usually don't.  This makeup removing wipe did a great job getting my face fresh and clean.  It smells like lavender, and I love lavender.  
The hair and makeup after 11+ hours.
Scrubbed fresh and clean.
 These samples are generous sizes.  I'll have weeks (months?) of use from the Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, Laura Geller Beauty Baked Color True Blush, and Kérastase Exilir Ultime.  The BB cream will last for a few uses, but I may save it for times I want to look especially radiant.  The only sample that has very limited use is the La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover.  Of course with two, single-use packets, I will get two uses from that product.  Still, I'm thrilled with these products and I intend to use them all.  

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points for future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hooray for Birchbox

I know I'm late to the sample subscription party, but one of the tactics I decided to use to recapture my spark is a subscription to two of the most popular.  I couldn't decide between Birchbox and ipsy, so for now I'm subscribing to both.  Birchbox came first, so I'll review it first.

The Birchbox subscription is $10 per month with free shipping.  I found a code for 50% off the first month, so my first month was $5.  According to a breakdown on The Subscription Box Family, the total value of the items in the box is $55.81.   I usually don't spend much on beauty products, so the subscription lets me try some higher-end products without spending too much.

The box that came was cheerful.  It's great packaging.  It made me happy to look at it.  It did give me a slightly twisted laugh that the fist box they sent me was curated by wedding blog Style Me Pretty.  Nothing says "recovering from a divorce" like beauty products aimed at brides.

I can see myself slightly modifying and reusing the box itself because it is a nice size for a gift box, and I like the "hooray" message on it.

The box contains:

  • A card with information about the products
  • Kérastase Exilir Ultime
  • Laura Geller Beauty Baked Color True Blush
  • La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover
  • Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow
  • Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
  • An embellished hair tie from Deepa Gurnani

I'll try and review all of these products tomorrow.  Get ready for beauty!

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Times of the Old Girl

Typical afternoon: tired and dirty
from whipping the yard into shape.   
Hi, internet.  I haven't had a much time for you recently.  I've had a lot of change in my life these past months.  I got divorced.  My two dogs died.  I bought a fixer-upper.  I've been working morning, noon, and night at work and on the house.  Things will get better.  Things are already better, but I feel like I've lost a certain essential spark.  I want my spark back.

I have some plans for re-sparkifying.  They're coming.  I'm going to blog about them for the same reason I started blogging in the first place- accountability.

I'm ready to feel like myself again.  I'm ready to talk about it.  I'm going to do that here.