Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zoya Nail Polish Earth Day Exchange

I have nothing to disclose.

Every year, Zoya does a special promo - twice a year, once for Earth Day and again sometime around December - where you can get 50% off your purchase of their polishes, with a minimum order of 6 bottles. That's $5 a piece - and you get a free bottle of their nail polish remover as well! In return, you agree to send your old unwanted polishes to them - but you don't have to do this! You can donate them or whatever - you can also send Zoya your old polishes without making a purchase.

This is my first time participating in the promo - and I've been waiting over half a year to do so! I've been busy reorganizing my polishes and sorting through to look for bad ones. I will get around to blogging about that at another time. It hasn't really been a fun process at all. I've found jelly polishes and many of the cheaper polishes dry out the fastest so I'm no longer wasting my money on those. Zoya has honestly held up the best from what I found. The glitter polishes also seem to be the worst unfortunately - but that also kind of goes hand in hand with jellies and cheap. So....

Use promo code EARTHLUV at checkout to receive 50% off your order. Valid through May 10, 2017.

Before I get to what I bought, what I'm returning let me take a moment to show you how I'm now keeping track of my Zoyas. I recently purchased Cosmos only to discover I had already purchased it (almost exactly a year apart - OOPS) SOOOOOOO I took one of their old catalogs and started crossing out all the polishes I have already and wrote in the names of any I couldn't find.

I'm pretty certain I'll just be buying Zoyas from now on - not that I buy nail polish often anymore - but I would rather buy high quality! So I imagine my little catalog is going to fill up with Xs :)

I still can't believe I got my order already. That shipped so FAST! I placed my order on April 10 and received it on April 14.

So first let me show you what I'm sending to Zoya in exchange. Just a note that I did try to restore this using thinner and even acetone in some cases but these babies were too far gone. RIP 😢

First is a generic brand called Simply Pleasures but I called this one Peace because that's what it says on the bottle :P
This was an iridescent jelly glitter and really turned glumpy. This one I won in a giveaway.

Second is LA Colors Sassy Sparkle which was pretty similar to the first one. Same issues. I bought this one.

Next is China Glaze Marry a Millionaire. I'm so sad this one dried up because it was one of my special Christmas time polishes I won. Iridescent bar glitter and little purple glitters.

I'm sending in Mentality Sexy for obvious reasons. I don't know for certain if this one was one of the bad batches (I won this one in a giveaway also). I think I only used it once before I found out about the Mentality issue. Too bad because it looks so pretty! But I'm not risking using this and I've already held on to it for way too long.

Next is Pop Culture Cosmetics in Pink Christmas. I noticed minis do not hold up well, either. Won't be buying them again. It looks like Pop Culture Cosmetics closed or at least I can no longer find them on Facebook - I'm not surprised. Pink Christmas was one polish I really wanted so I splurged for a Christmas present to myself and bought it several years ago. The formula was awful to begin with. I contacted the owner about this issue and never heard anything back.

Shany Magnetic in 05 I bought years ago. It was dried out when I received it. Both Amazon and Shany refused to give me my money back for this one. Obviously I'm not purchasing from Shany again and I try not to ever buy nail polish from Amazon because their policy for damaged nail polish is to just toss it and you're out your money. Amazon - I hate your policy. I had kept the polish because I thought maybe I could restore it with some thinner, but no luck. The brush was broken off when I received it, also. Not good.

Next is Hard Candy Fireworks. I believe my husband picked out this one several years ago when we went looking for some birthday polishes. I should have known better after getting Julep's 4th of July polish which is similar - the formula for both of these was not good but at least with the Julep it's still somewhat usable. Red and blue multiglitter.

I also have a mostly used up bottle of Sally Hansen base coat. I learned the hard way this week not to try to use basecoat when it gets to the end of the bottle and gets all weird. Now I have a couple of lumpy nails. Why did it take me so long to figure that out? I don't know, but now I know!

So now let's check out my new pretties.

I couldn't really find a good replacement for the Mentality so I just got Zoya Teigen which is a really pretty red with gold glitters. I got Lacey because I've been eyeballing it for months. Harper has been on my wishlist for awhile.

I probably already have enough polishes similar to Leia and not sure I really need Alicia but they're both gorgeous! Monet I felt was a good replacement for those glitters.

I feel like this is a good selection for spring :) Also just a tad bit Christmasy but that's ok.

I decided to do an Easter manicure with Lacey, Harper and Monet. I loved how they turned out - although I did it on a day I had barely gotten any sleep so that wasn't the brightest idea. I also used some color change decal stickers from Del Sol which I finally got around to using after having them for.... too long. They change color really well in the sun but I hate how they look on my nails. The stickers are just way too thick. I'm probably going to donate these.

Monet looks so pretty over Lacey though and I love how Harper compliments the combo.

Maybe I'll try this manicure again some day - but without these particular decals :p

Are you doing the exchange? Let me know what you think of my picks. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Winslow inspired nail art

I already posted this manicure on my social networks, but today I'm sharing my Winslow inspired nail art with you. For those who may not know who Winslow is:

My little loveable ball of fluff.

I've had this manicure in mind for awhile but I've just gotten around to doing it. For this one I used:

Dreamy Lacquer Company Bombardier's Eyes as the accent color - it seemed fitting to match the cool light blue of Winslow's eyes. I used a total of 3 coats and it's still fairly sheer.

I drew on the cat shape on these nails using one of my Shany nail art polishes. I tried! It's been months since I've drawn anything at all and even longer since I've done any freehand nail art - and this time while nursing torticollis so I did my best :)

I did two nails with Zoya Jules and two with Trust Fund Beauty $12 Latte.  I've never been much a fan of brown colors but I got $12 Latte in my Ipsy bag awhile ago so I had to try it out. As you can see, the polish in the bottle is a bit... odd. Like it separated with our cold weather. It seemed to apply fine though! I feel like this partially inspired my manicure as well, giving me the idea to do a marble effect. Anyway - Zoya Jules I highly recommend because although I'm not normally a fan of tan colors, this one is gorgeous! It has a beautiful gold shimmer which I love.

I used the dry brush method to achieve this look, using Essie Miss Fancy Pants along with $12 Latte over Jules, and Miss Fancy Pants and Jules over $12 Latte for a really interesting effect. I topped it with Ciate Gelology top coat which smoothed out the colors of the dry brush effect. I absolutely love how this turned out. Notice how it almost looks like I used Bombardier's Eyes on the brown nails? I didn't at all!

This is so much prettier in real life. I wish I could get a better capture of it. Oh well, take my word for it - it looks awesome :P

I love the little hint of gold in this every now and then from dry brushing Jules. That was an unintentional bonus.

I have two coats of the top coat on this in total since I didn't do this manicure all at once - I did the base coats then the dry brushing and nail art a different day. So far it's holding up very nicely. Fingers crossed it doesn't start to crack.

Hopefully I'll be back to doing more nail art soon. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Ipsy Sneak peek

I bought this. Referral link included.

One of the things I'm loving about being on second shift is I don't have to wait for my Ipsy sneak peek - as soon as it hits midnight, I'm there checking on it. Yes, I hate waiting as you may be able to tell.

Reading the feedback on the bag and theme this month has been kind of interesting - so many people seem to think it's so childish and just hate the bag. I've been more reflective on Carol Tuttle's Dressing Your Truth information lately, so I feel like this bag is pretty perfect for those Type 1s out there - and color wise I feel it's pretty perfect for my Type 4/1 energy. (Check out Carol's Web site if you're absolutely clueless about what I'm talking about - there's plenty of free information there to get you interested - unless you're type 4 - haha)

So I don't mind the bag. I feel like it's a fun, creative look for those of us who don't like the norm.

Let's check out what I'm getting this month:

Meg Twin Nail Polish in Lovey Dovey - I'm super pumped to be getting this. Seriously excited. I always love 2 for one products and of course new nail polish. This is a brand I have never tried so I'm excited about that. The colors aren't my first choice but that's actually a good thing - I've found I have so many reds, blues, etc. but so very few neutral colors. This will give me a couple more colors to play with. OHHH and I see it's an Ipsy limited edition combo - even better. These seem to be mini size which kind of sucks - those always dry up first for me so I will definitely try to make use of these before they turn goofy! (I've been working on restoring my old polishes for the past week, bleh.)

 Ciate London mini bronzer - I kind of thought I might get this. My current bronzer is getting pretty thin, so I won't complain. I'm curious about this as I see it's made with sunflower (LOVE) and amaranth - I can't recall ever seeing amaranth in a beauty product before so that will be different. I've been pretty happy with Ciate London products so far.

Jesse's Girl Liquid Eyeliner.... in black. This is the only product I'm disappointed to be getting. Seriously, another black eyeliner? I don't want black! I want weird different colors! I have plenty of black already and honestly I have found I don't really care how black looks on me. I almost always end up putting some other color eyeshadow over it just to tone it down a bit. But - I will have 2 black eyeliners expiring next month so I suppose this will replace those 2.

TonyMoly Liptone Lipcare - I'm anxious to see which one I get. I was kind of hoping for this actually. My current lip balm is almost all used up. These seem to have interesting scents (? scents not flavors? you're confusing me, Ipsy) like honey, mint and rose blossom. I feel like I'll be happy with this no matter which one I get. Hopefully if I do get the honey one it won't be sticky - that's my only concern.

Eau Thermale Avene Rich Compensating Cream - moisturizers are kind of like a little bonus item to me, nothing exciting but a daily use item. So I will definitely make use of this, I'm sure.

Nothing too exciting, bold or major exciting or different here - but I'm happy with the preview, aside from the eyeliner. I guess I'm boring in that sometimes I'm happier just getting products I will use every day opposed to new and different things at times.

What are you getting this month? What do you think of this month's bag? Getting something you're especially excited about? Let me know in the comments! :)

If you're not familiar with Ipsy, they are a subscription service where you get 5 beauty items a month delivered to your door. Sometimes you get full sized items, sometimes travel or sample sized. But they're fun just if you like to try new things. For me, it's been a great experience to try new products and types of products as I learn more about makeup. Additionally, they have a cool rewards program where if you review items on their Web site, share your bag, etc. you get points which can be used to exchange for free products. Score! (Referral link follows.) You can sign up for your custom monthly Ipsy bag here.  

Friday, March 31, 2017

March toss time

This post contains a referral link and previously reviewed items.

I have a migraine, so I will apologize in advance for any poorly worded phrases or whatnot.

I have a huge pile of stuff to toss this month, thanks to my poor planning.

Let me start with the stuff we've used up:

More of the CST soap.. I'm actually not sure which one we're using right now, I can't remember. But we used up one, and are using the other :P One in Argan oil, the other in patchouli. These still last a very long time, and leave my skin feeling so soft and just like the last bar we used, these came in nice little boxes which I will save and reuse for something or other.

I received a free sample of InstaNatural's Vitamin C facial cleanser. I love their products, in general. No issues with this, and it worked well. Love the natural ingredients.

Family Dollar brand non-acetone nail polish remover. I don't know why I still buy non-acetone since I use glitter so much and almost always need acetone. Since I almost never buy any kind of nail polish remover any more, I think I may switch to Zoya's remover, even though it's more expensive. It's so much better on my nails.

The Porefessional primer from benefit I received from Ipsy. This is probably my favorite primer and it's probably something I would buy if I had the money to spend it on, but unfortunately this one is way out of my price range. Which is too bad because honestly this one is great to use all by itself, no foundation required.

I finally used up my Valentia Eternal Youth Exfoliating Scrub which I reviewed here. I was sad to use up this one, as I really liked this little scrub.

biobelle #iwokeuplikethis I already posted about here.

Cortizone-10 maximum strength healing lotion for eczema I actually bought for my husband ages ago, but I've found myself using it from time to time. Seems to work pretty well and I love that it has natural ingredients like ginger and frankincense.

I recently got this sample of Loreal Paris Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight shampoo, pre-conditioner and conditioner. I obviously didn't notice it was straightener when I applied for the sample since my hair is straight. Haha. Oops. It did seem to help get rid of some of the tangles and make my hair (which is usually wavy when wet) just a tad straighter. I had never used a pre-conditioner before as far as I can remember. Seems like a really unnecessary step. I prefer as few products as possible so I'm not sure this is for me.

Now for my expired stuff. I mentioned before my peppermint oil from InstaNatural had expired. I was going to save it to use in my kitchen or whatever, just not on my skin but I figured it's just taking up space and I'm not sure I want to possibly spread around more bacteria if any were to grow in there. So into the trash it's going.

One of the things I really hate is when products don't have any kind of expiration information on them. I've been holding onto my Aussie Hair Insurance which I won from Allure in one of their giveaways, I forget how many years ago. I no longer have split ends, but this did seem to work fairly well when I did have split ends. But it's been a few years, I believe, so I think it's probably best to toss this one especially since I really no longer need it. That little bottle (150 mL) lasted a long time! A little went a long way. But please, Aussie - if you can hear me - add expiration info!!!

Next up is tarte smooth operator which is a finishing powder I got as a reward from Ipsy. Unfortunately I didn't really use this much. I found typically my skin is just too dry for powders. The few times I did use this, I noticed it clumped on my skin leaving a layer of white flakes. Not the best look.

Also from tarte and ipsy I have Lipsurgence lip cream, I think in poppy? I can't recall and it doesn't seem to say on the container. I wasn't crazy about the color at first because it's so much brighter than what I normally wear on my lips (berries or wines) but I got used to it. Absolutely love the formula. I ended up almost using all of this one.

A couple of months ago I got Hikari liquid eyeliner in Iris from Ipsy. The weather was, I believe, in the subzeros so when I got my eyeliner it was all dried out and just did not work well. I let them know and they replaced it immediately, no problems! For whatever dumb reason I'm just now getting around to tossing the bad eyeliner. (Why do I hold onto bad products? I don't know!)

Speaking of eyeliner........

Two years ago I bought this huge bundle of LA Colors jumbo eye pencils from Amazon. For some dumb reason I got excited and started using them all at once, so yeah.. now they all expired at the same time. Dumb. I do still have a few I haven't opened yet so I will be using those soon enough. I love getting makeup in sets but I've learned the hard way not to open them all at once so they don't all expire at the same time. 

That said, these really weren't the best products, but they were cheap. I definitely found it best to apply eyeshadow over top of them because otherwise they smear like nothing else. But they come in so many fun colors and I love how you can use them as eyeshadow or eyeliner. Here's the list of colors I got which are expiring now:

vacation - this was one of my favorites, a nice brownish purple with surprising silver glitter. I'm going to see if I can't find this one somewhere to maybe buy it again.
relaxation - gorgeous copper color
cherry blossom
sunglasses - why did I have two of these open???
pretty in pink
spring - nice greenish gold color
desert sun - nice gold color
bronze shimmer - lovely bronze color
summer time
iridescent light - perfect base color for a bit of sparkle. love this one
sea shells
bikini time

I did find Vacation for cheap on Amazon so I will probably get that one again. I may look at my Family Dollar again sometime, as I think they used to have these there. They don't have as much stuff at my store as they used to unfortunately.

You can still get the lot of 24 eye pencils on Amazon for just under $24. That's about a dollar a piece so I still feel like it's a good deal.

... and I swear I'm missing one of my favorite purples from these, not sure what happened to it. Hmm.

Lastly is another LA Colors jumbo eye pencil which I never even opened. This one is in Summer Love and it's really too bad because the color looks really pretty. But the pencil itself looks like it's either crystallized or has something growing on it - which ewwww. Better safe than sorry so this one is getting tossed with the rest.

So I guess that's it for the month of April. Next month doesn't look to have too much to toss, fortunately. I shall see what else I use by then, as well :)

Thanks for reading!

If you're not familiar with Ipsy, they are a subscription service where you get 5 beauty items a month delivered to your door. Sometimes you get full sized items, sometimes travel or sample sized. But they're fun just if you like to try new things. For me, it's been a great experience to try new products and types of products as I learn more about makeup. Additionally, they have a cool rewards program where if you review items on their Web site, share your bag, etc. you get points which can be used to exchange for free products. Score! (Referral link follows.) You can sign up for your custom monthly Ipsy bag here.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

February and March Ipsy bag reviews

This post contains a referral link.

Sorry for the lack of posts - I know I'm behind in posting this review of my February Ipsy bag. I just haven't felt like sitting at the computer lately, so no blog posts lately, I haven't even been doing genealogy much lately either. I also haven't felt like messing with my makeup much lately, which is ironic because I just bought a bunch for my birthday. I will get into that and some other things in future posts. Lots of fun things to share with you in the weeks to come :)

I was going to do a sneak peek of my March bag but I figured since it's almost April already I might as well just toss my review here too.

But first is my February Ipsy bag review. I felt like this one was pretty good.

Trust Fund Beauty
Nail Polish in I Give Good Tweet or $12 Latte 

I received $12 Latte which I haven't tried yet so I'll add that review in later :P

NYX Professional Makeup
Butter™ Lipstick in Ripe Berry or Lifeguard

 I received Ripe Berry, and I liked the color. However, this one seemed to smear too much for me. It also seemed to clump up on me, which is why I normally don't wear lip sticks unless the formula is really good. So this just didn't work that great for me.

BelláPierre Cosmetics Volumelash Waterproof Mascara

 I really love this mascara. The wand is the most flexible I have used, and it applies well. 

Lord & Berry LINE/SHADE Eye Pencil - #221 Black

Yet another black eyeliner. I already have too many, but I tried this one anyway. I found I had to sharpen it more often than other pencils. It does apply pretty well, except it smeared easily for me. But it definitely held up really well against tears, so for that alone I'll give it a big thumbs up. 

Biobelle #StayGorgeous and #Iwokeuplikethis Sheet Masks

These sheet masks seemed pretty standard and straight forward. Easy and fun to use, then you just toss them when you're done. I noticed my skin felt softer after use. It seemed to fit my face pretty well, unlike some other face masks. I like that it is paraben, GMO free, made with natural ingredients (even if it is made in China.) 

To say I wasn't excited about this bag was an understatement. I'm not a fan of peach, although I ended up loving the design of this bag - it holds so much more than the regular bags which is perfect. I wasn't excited to be getting yet another brown eyeshadow, another matte lip product and another hair product I wasn't sure I would ever use. I could give or take the brush. That leaves the microdermabrasian which I was happy to receive. So with all of that in mind, here's my final thoughts on this month's bag - which I received on my birthday, YAY!

Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer

I felt like I didn't need this, since I don't normally blow dry my hair or anything like that. My hair has been so dry this year though, so I hoped it would help with that. I used this on wet hair and noticed it made my hair so much softer, and it did seem to control some of the dry static craziness I've been dealing with. So I absolutely love it for that. I tried it on dry hair for the same reason, but found it worked best on wet hair.

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Mini

I only used this once so far, but I liked it. I was surprised by the texture of the product. Normally you hear abrasion anything and you think gritty texture, but this was actually very smooth. It didn't seem to irritate my sensitive skin, so that's always a good thing. I like that you only have to use this once a week.

tarte cosmetics
tarteist™ quick dry matte lip paint in rosé, delish, or vibin 

I received delish, which I'm very happy to have received this shade. I wasn't crazy about the color just looking at it in the bottle but I found at least for me it applied much darker. I absolutely love the color and I can't complain about the formula. I was concerned the matte finish wouldn't apply nicely since my lips are always so chapped, but I was surprised. It worked just fine. 

Skone Cosmetics Luxe Pro Blending Brush 

I didn't really need another blending brush, but it seems to work OK. The bristles are a lot softer than what I'm used to. 

mPrincess Pressed Eyeshadow in Chestnut 

There doesn't seem to be much pigment with this, and I definitely didn't notice the shimmery copper color Ipsy claims this has. It's another brown eyeshadow which I have plenty of already. 

So this wasn't my favorite bag, but not the worst either and I did end up being happier with some of the products than I had expected. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what I get next month and hope I get better products next time.

I will say that I really wish Ipsy would stick with our beauty preferences. If I had brown eyeshadow selected as a color preference, I would be happy with it. But I don't - I want some different crazy colors! I still like Ipsy because I get to try more expensive brands which I couldn't normally afford, and I get to try different stuff all the time.. and try products I wouldn't expect to like but end up loving. I just wish they would break away from the usual beauty standards of colors at times! Not every one likes to be on trend, but hey - that's me, the trend SETTER. Rant over :P

If you're not familiar with Ipsy, they are a subscription service where you get 5 beauty items a month delivered to your door. Sometimes you get full sized items, sometimes travel or sample sized. But they're fun just if you like to try new things. For me, it's been a great experience to try new products and types of products as I learn more about makeup. Additionally, they have a cool rewards program where if you review items on their Web site, share your bag, etc. you get points which can be used to exchange for free products. Score! (Referral link follows.) You can sign up for your custom monthly Ipsy bag here.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My manicure, and into the trash we go! February edition.

My gosh this month has gone by quickly. My birthday is in just over two weeks, and it's hard to believe how fast time has flown. I guess that's the way of the world. I decided to go ahead and sort through my empties and expirees even though it's not quite March yet. February has been a pretty good month as far as it goes for using up old products and trying out samples. March is looking to be promising as well.

Before I get to that I have a rare thing to share with you - a manicure! That's right, I actually got pictures before it was completely destroyed. I decided to do a post Valentine's day scramble. I used elf flat candy apple red, dark metallic red, light pink (the top coat picked up some of the dark metallic red and bled over onto light pink but it looked pretty), gold and ox blood. I was really happy with the quality of the elf polishes, and pretty surprised by the results. They dried pretty quickly, applied OK and lasted quite long. The only issue I had was light pink didn't apply well. I think I must have had oil on my nails or something because it just did not apply evenly. It seemed to repel the polish in some spots. I fixed that issue before the final manicure though. Dark metallic red was my favorite color among these. I don't normally wear red, but I was very happy with this particular manicure.

 After several days, I touched up a few chips. Unfortunately the next day then I noticed my polish had cracked. I had used Ciate London gelology top coat, and I'm thinking I applied the top coat to thickly or something about that top coat with regular polish made it crack. I really am not sure. I decided to top over the works with 365 Days of Color's Come Little Children, which is a red and black glitter. Yes I used red glitter over red nail polish. Perfect contrast of colors, and I loved how this looked. Especially over the gold accent.

So there's that. Before I get to my empties for the month, let me show you what is expiring this month. Only two beauties this time.

My ipsy Nyx eyeshadow is the first to expire, but I've gotten pretty good use out of it. I mostly used up the lighter shade, as it made for a good base color. The darkest color I didn't use much. I've just started to use eye shadow over my eyeliner to keep it in place, so that's how I've been using it mostly.

My treStique mini matte lip crayon in Nantucket Nude also is expiring. I really wasn't crazy about this product so no big loss. I actually did almost use it up even though I didn't like it. The color just isn't something I would have picked out for myself, and the matte formula definitely did not mix with my chronically chapped lips.

So out with the old, and in with the new... I will be adding my tarte lip creme to my bag this month. It expires.. next month, I believe, but I've actually almost used it up, too!

.... and here is my empties for the month. Pretty decent pile. I also tried out some Purina dry food with Winslow this month.. and some other cat food, but I'll stick with more beauty things here mostly.

Firstly, for Christmas I received a whole bunch of CST brand bars of soap. These bars are pretty awesome. They're huge at 12 ounces, so one bar lasted us about a month, in comparison to the one bar a week we're used to with cheaper soaps. This month we used Egyptian Cotton. It left my skin feeling very soft. I will definitely recommend this brand. The cool thing about these soaps is they come in very nice little boxes which I am definitely keeping to reuse for something or other.

Next is Arm & Hammer Ultra Max antiperspirant deodorant. This seemed to last me a good long time - I want to say about 6 months. Pretty standard deodorant, nothing special or unique about it. Not liking some of those nasty chemicals in it, now that I look at the ingredients, but I guess you will have that.

Sensetive+ BB cream from Dr. G I got from Ipsy. Pretty standard BB cream - but why is it called sensetive? That really bothers me. This is supposed to be 10 free, provide protection, etc. I like that it gives you a place to write in when you opened the container, so you know when it expires. Not that I did that - the sample was small enough I used it up before it had a chance to expire.

Carmex hydrating lotion I won.. so long ago in a giveaway. This actually may have expired already, I'm not positive since I don't see an expiration date on the container.  The vanilla scent was nice, and there are some healthier ingredients in this but still, some not so good ones I would assume since they are chemical names. I don't recall noticing any fantastic improvement with this. Again, pretty standard lotion and nothing too special.

3D Creat White strips, I got a free sample of.. I believe from Walmart perhaps? I found the bottom strip wouldn't stay on my teeth so I tossed it. The top one I noticed was actually hurting my teeth after maybe a minute so I tossed it as well. I'm guessing I didn't get any benefit from having the product on for so little time but I do recall my teeth hurt for hours after using this. Never again. I will definitely NOT recommend this. Ever.

Hey Honey Honey Silk Facial Serum was another Ipsy product I received. It's not tested on animals, and I really liked that it made use of natural products aka honey. I want to say I did notice improvement in the softness of my skin with this, and I did like it.

PinchMe.com sent me a sample of SlimFast 100 calorie snack bites, and I gotta say these were pretty awful. They just tasted like fake chocolate chemical crap (probably because that's what they are.....) I immediately regretted eating those 100 calories.

I also received a sample of Burt's Bees Protein powder. I added my sample to a fruit smoothie and it was absolutely awesome. It tasted so delicious. I made the same smoothie another time without the protein powder and it wasn't anywhere nearly as good. Unfortunately the protein powder is too expensive for me, because this is one of those few samples I would actually purchase if I could. I highly recommend this for a healthier choice for extra protein.

This month I received two facial masks from Ipsy. I've just used the one. I used #stay gogeous botanic fiber facial mask from bioBelle. I noticed my skin felt softer after use. It seemed to fit my face pretty well, unlike some other face masks. I like that it is paraben, GMO free, made with natural ingredients (even if it is made in China.) Again however, lots of chemical names on this little package.

Lastly, I used up my Living Proof restore hair mask treatment, which I had gotten for free from Ipsy using rewards points. Pretty standard hair mask, with a short time of 5 minutes to sit. This was a small sample but it was enough to use a couple of times. I definitely wouldn't pay the $11 I see this is selling for on Walmart's web site. Gosh. I expected this to be higher cost but didn't think it would be that much for something you only use 2 or 3 times. I was going to say I would purchase this product, but not for that price. I may just try a good old mayo mask again since it's so cheap to make mayo at home.

I guess that's another wrap up for this month. I'll be back around eventually to completely review my February Ipsy bag and of course to give a sneak peek at my March bag. Here's to another good month :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February Ipsy bag first look

I bought this. This page contains a referral link.

I'm so excited because my February Ipsy bag arrived today. Funny thing about it is I never noticed in any of the pictures that it has orange on it! That's so strange considering how bright it is in this picture and real life.

Unfortunately my nail polish seems a bit wonky - I think perhaps just from the cold weather... so I'm giving everything 24 hours to warm up. Hopefully that helps... because at the moment my nail polish is looking a bit like fudge and I know it's not supposed to look like that. I really hope I'm not going to have to ask them to send me a replacement because I just had a similar experience with another product a few months ago. They do seem to be good about replacements though!

So check out what I got in my bag this month.

First up is Trust Fund Beauty in $12 Latte. Let me just say that I hate brown nail polish. But this is Trust Fund and so far their polishes are pretty awesome. This one looks like it's more of a purple brown which sounds kind of weird but it looks like it's a color I don't have already, so at least it will be unique in my collection. I really hope this settles so I can try it out tomorrow. I like that this is made in the US.

Next up, I received two facial masks from bioBelle. I absolutely love that I received these since getting two products, it's basically a two for one deal. Pretty awesome! I haven't tried this brand yet, but I've tried some other mask sheets and they're pretty fun. Immediately I like that these are GMO, and paraben free. Not crazy that they're made in China, but you'll have that.

I'm also really excited to try out the bellapierre volumelash mascara - how awesome that it's full size?! I don't seem to get many full size products so I definitely lucked out this month in that department. This expires after 12 months, so I'm glad it will last a good long time. I've gotten a few mascaras recently which only lasted like 3-6 months so I really hope this is a good one since I'll be using it for awhile.

I also got Nyx butter lipstick which I could have given or taken, but I'm very happy it's full size and that I received Ripe Berry. I prefer more wine colored reds, so I'm happy they picked this shade out for me. I'm definitely looking forward to trying this. Again - this one was made in Taiwan. Just can't avoid foreign made products sometimes.

Lastly, I received Lord & Berry eyeliner in Travel Black. I really, really don't need any more eyeliner... but this ones lasts 3 years and it's I think half size so I doubt it will actually last that long. I see it's made in Italy. I don't recall trying an Italian makeup products before, so that has my interest piqued. Again, it is black, and I already have like 10 eyeliners in black.. but I'll try it and see what I think. I don't normally use regular pencil eyeliners anymore either. One of the other things I'm curious about this eyeliner is I saw on Ipsy's Web site that this can be used along the waterline. I have never ever used eyeliner on the waterline. I'm actually a bit nervous about that, but I'll try it.

You may have noticed I left out one product here. I also got Make Face Gloss as a rewards item this time. I can't say that I've ever used a face gloss, don't recall ever hearing about such a thing - so I got it to try just for that reason. Ipsy says this can be used as a highlighter which I find interesting. I assumed this was colorless - and after checking it is. I've yet to use a clear highlighter so that will be fun to experiment with. This is pretty small, just .1 fluid ounce but for something free to try out, I can't complain.

So before actually digging in, I feel like I made out pretty well this month. Something you got in your bag this month you want to tell me about? Anything here you love, hate? Let me know in the comments!

If you're not familiar with Ipsy, they are a subscription service where you get 5 beauty items a month delivered to your door. Sometimes you get full sized items, sometimes travel or sample sized. But they're fun just if you like to try new things. For me, it's been a great experience to try new products and types of products as I learn more about makeup. Additionally, they have a cool rewards program where if you review items on their Web site, share your bag, etc. you get points which can be used to exchange for free products. Score! (Referral link follows.) You can sign up for your custom monthly Ipsy bag here

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Glass Sky by Alexia Purdy review

I received an advanced reader's copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.

I've been getting caught up on some of the works by author's I enjoy, as one of my goals for this year. Recently, I had been reading some works by Alexia Purdy. I don't enjoy doing book reviews so much anymore so I don't do them very often, but I got the opportunity to review her newest story, The Glass Sky.

The Glass Sky
A Re-imagining of the tale of King Thrushbeard
By Alexia Purdy


Star’s refusal of suitors lined up for her hand has her family in knots, but when the city is bombed and overthrown, she loses everything. A stranger named Clyde comes to her rescue, but he isn't who she thought he was, and the secrets he shows her are stunning. When Star sneaks back to the city for her parents, the new president wants her for himself and will stop at nothing, even place her where no one can touch her ever again.

I don't recall ever reading the tale of King Thrushbeard, but I enjoyed this short story regardless. I was surprised by the story line, yet it drew me in immediately and I definitely enjoyed it. It is a short read, so most readers could probably pick it up and finish it in one read. I was surprised to be reminded of Terry Pratchett's Strata, to some extent. This also reminded me of something out of perhaps the old Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. Yet at the same time, I'm reminded of more traditional fairy tales. Another well done, well written story by Alexia Purdy. I definitely recommend this for most ages.

The Glass Sky was released yesterday, February 1, 2017, as part of the Once Upon a Kiss Anthology.

Once Upon a Kiss is available from Amazon for 99 cents for Kindle.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My manicure, and into the trash we go!

So today I have a manicure to share with you - I was going to do more with it until our house decided to literally fall apart on us. Long story and I'm too worn out to go into the details. Last year was difficult for us, and this year isn't looking much better so far. Something has to give soon.. just waiting for things to improve while trying our best to get there is so exhausting.. and we've been working towards things being better for so long. It's incredibly difficult to keep going sometimes.

For this manicure I used Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Get Mod, which is just a fake gel polish in white. I found the polish to dry fairly fast so I'm really happy with how it worked. However, I did end up with some bubbles - and for some reason after a few days I noticed the polish was starting to crack on me. Kind of like an iceberg. I've never seen anything like it. Really weird. I used two coats of Get Mod, and topped with the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat. I did use base coat with this just because I don't believe any of these companies when they say not to use base coat. My nails are not happy with me if I don't use it.

I used a zebra stripe mask to do stripes on every other nail. I had planned on adding stickers to the plain white nails, but then my house collapsing on itself happened, so that didn't happen.

I used one coat of Top Shelf Lacquer Arctic Kiss on each nail. Arctic Kiss is a white polish with iridescent glitter. Unfortunately it doesn't really show up much in the pictures but it did add a nice bit of sparkle to my nails.

I sponged on three LA Colors which are neon blue, neon yellow and neon pink. This combination worked really well and I was very happy with the results. The zebra stripes looked pretty awesome. I really loved it. I somehow got flecks of the pink mixed in with the blue on a few spots so that adds some interest to it.

I'm thinking it would be fun to do a candy cane manicure similar to this for Christmas some time. It sure would be easy enough. The Sally Hansen gel polish made it so much easier to paint my nails one day, then do the nail art another. I have a couple more of that polish line to try out so hopefully that means I'll have more nail art to show off this year. I certainly have enough supplies to use!

So moving on, here is my small pile of things to toss this month. Not much to toss for once.

First I have Insta Natural peppermint oil which is expiring this month. It's still very potent so I think I'm actually going to keep this on hand just to use in the kitchen to keep the mice away - which that does seem to be working now. I just won't be using it on my skin incase there is any bacteria growing in it.

My Tarteist mascara from tarte also expires. I wasn't crazy about this one, anyway - it seemed kind of clumpy like it was starting to expire, almost since I got it honestly. Maybe I just got a bad batch, I don't know.

I'm kind of surprised that's all I have which has expired this month - it seems I'm getting a better handle on my supply and of what I really need and don't. Lastly, the single item I used up this month was a sample of volumer from etude House. From an internet search, I found you were supposed to combine this with bb cream, so I guess it just helps stretch out the bb cream? I don't really know, honestly. I can't really say I noticed much of a difference.

I guess that's it for now. I have a few things which I will probably review before long, so I'll be back sometime. Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 2017 Ipsy bag review

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Last week I gave a first glance at my monthly Ipsy bag, and today I'm going to actually review it.

I gave this bag a rating of 5 out of 5. I was pretty darn happy with it.


Base Smooth & Matte Primer

Before trying this I didn't think I would like it because it's matte, but I think it's actually my favorite primer to date. I've been using it along with my Hey Honey serum and it applies so smoothly and flawlessly. Perfect.

theBalm Cosmetics

Bahama Mama

This matches my skin tone a lot better than I thought it would. It's actually much lighter than it seemed, and the matte texture surprised me by working well even with my dry skin. I think this bronzer is my best match so far.

Jelly Pong Pong

Coffee + Coconut Lip Scrub

 This lib scrub smells awesome. The jar seems so tiny, but I found you really only need to use a little bit and it goes a long way. It does a very good job of making my lips so smooth. However, that doesn't seem to last long before they're chapped again. Definitely not a miracle product but it works well at least temporarily.

Naked Cosmetics

Mica Pigment in Desert Sunset #02

This product is pretty awesome. It is so versatile and absolutely gorgeous. I love applying it to my lips to give a matte color a beautiful metallic look. So full of sparkle and glitter. I couldn't be happier with this.



Ciaté London


I like how fast this top coat dries, but I noticed it seemed to make my nail polish crack after a few days.


If you're not familiar with Ipsy, they are a subscription service where you get 5 beauty items a month delivered to your door. Sometimes you get full sized items, sometimes travel or sample sized. But they're fun just if you like to try new things. For me, it's been a great experience to try new products and types of products as I learn more about makeup. Additionally, they have a cool rewards program where if you review items on their Web site, share your bag, etc. you get points which can be used to exchange for free products. Score! (Referral link follows.) You can sign up for your custom monthly Ipsy bag here.  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Our first dagashi box

I have nothing to disclose. 

If you don't know what a dagashi box is then you definitely need to keep reading or check out YouTube. Basically its a box full of cheap dollar store type snacks. My husband and I have been watching videos of people trying these out for years. Buzzfeed does a lot of these where for example they have people from Britian trying out American snacks. Or Americans trying out Japanese snacks. You get the idea. So for Christmas this year we decided to go ahead and buy one and invited my sister in law and her husband over to try it out with us.

I ordered this on Christmas Day. The expected delivery date was end of January to middle of February. It actually only took about two weeks so I was very pleased with the fast shipping. It was $18 for a thirty piece box but I counted and actually got one bonus piece probably because a few items were on the small side. I used a gift card so I actually got this for free. Still I feel like with it's worth the price.

Let's take a closer look at what we got.

Let me just say that I really didn't care for the fish flavored products. The BigK... fish thing on the bottom in this picture I believe is the one everyone agreed tasted like fish sticks. Everyone else seemed to think it got better as you tasted it. I thought it got worse. I really didn't like it. Everything else in this picture was really good. The pink fish is like a strawberry wafer and probably my favorite item from the entire box. So good. My sister in law's husband got hooked on the mini cola candy. The hamburger looking thing is like a pancake and we think it's filled with the sweet bean paste.

These chow mein noodles were good though my sister in law's husband thought they tasted burnt. The rice cracker above it I think my husband didn't care for but I liked them. Pretty much everything else was good or just OK. We first opened one of these packages with the wacky little characters on it. I'm not sure which one unfortunately but that thing was awful. I think it was like a teriyaki cheese curl type of thing. The rest of them were either really good or just good but none of the others were bad. 

The strawberry snacks we think were yogurt covered sort of rice crispy treats. Those were very good. I really enjoyed the soda pop gummy. That was probably another favorite. I'm not really sure why the cherry squares came with a toothpick but we liked those as well. Love the packaging with the little squirrel and rabbit and those were good. 

I kind of want to hate Milky. My husband has been teasing me ever since I opened this box teasing me that it looks like me. But I cannot hate the candy because it was pretty good. Sort of tasted like taffy. The grape gum I really liked but we didn't realize it was gum so trying it half way through the box kind of messed up the plan. The yellow and green things were good. The pickled plum was kind of hilarious because we didn't know what it was at first. My sister in law tried to eat the pit by accident. My husband had a bad intolerance to tamarin several years ago so he kind of freaked out that he might get sick from this. The other two of us thought it was good but strange. I didn't try the Christmas marshmallow looking thing because I don't like marshmallows. And again Bleh to the fish thing. The fish jerky they said was good but I didn't try it since it was such a small piece and well the fish jerky stuff scared me. The jello cup thing and soda pop we haven't tried yet but I think the pop feels like it broke in shipping. 

So all in all I feel like this was definitely worth the money simply for the fun and experience. I would really like to try snack boxes from other countries. 

One final note. We did eat supper first so we filled up fast on these. They seemed to be much more filling than expected. At the same time it didn't seem like they were as chemical filled as American snacks. 

I bought this Japanese snack box on Amazon. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My January Ipsy bag - first look

You know it's funny, I received my January Ipsy bag today and this month's theme is Metropolis. I was reflecting on how ironic it is that January is associated with making better choices, trying to be healthier... and they give us a bag based on city life. Having grown up in a large city down the street from factories, I can tell you there is nothing healthy about growing up in a city full of pollution. As I grew up, I slowly watched the trees being torn down all around our neighborhood. Not to mention the crime. It became so dangerous that I rarely left my house - partly due to my own paranoia but that kind of happens after you've been assaulted as a child I suppose. So I just find the whole them rather ironic.

On the subject of healthy habits, before I show you what I got in my Ipsy bag, I'm sure you've noticed I'm suddenly blogging again. After about 7 months of working third shift, my husband switched to second shift this week. I remember when we first switched to third shift and how I suddenly started feeling so angry and depressed for no apparent reason. Now we're on second and I feel more productive. It's going to be awhile before my sleep and everything is sorted out, so I'm still really freaking tired but this schedule is obviously so much healthier for us. Probably not as healthy as first shift, but at least now we're getting some sun. It's obvious now how important the sun is for our health. Here's hoping he never has to take another third shift job.

Another thing which really benefits me is reading before bed. I've had this habit probably most of my life but for awhile there we weren't doing it and I definitely noticed a difference. I dream more when I read before going to sleep and it really wakens up my creative mind. So once again, I feel like it makes me more productive because it gets my creativity going to do more with that aspect.

On the other hand, I've been so darn tired that I haven't done much genealogy lately - which had been my main pastime for the last few months. I've mostly just been cleaning, cooking and reading. I decided to go for the Goodreads reading challenge again this year - which I'm obviously going to have to adjust my goal because I've already read nine books this year and I set a challenge of 45. (I read Ever Wrath quite awhile ago but just marked it as read so now it's coming up as read for today - annoying.)

I met my goal of finally reading all of CM Owens's work - at least those which aren't in collabs or short stories - still need to read those. And at least until her next dozen books are released :D I'm also finally getting through some of Alexia Purdy's work - really enjoying the ArcKnight books so far. They're different.

So as I am suddenly feeling like I'm going to fall asleep - because it's day time and my body still thinks I should be asleep right now - moving on to the reason I began this post in the first place.

Here's a peak at what I got in my Ipsy bag this month. I was so very happy to be getting the Ciate top coat this time.

Temptu base smooth and matte primer - what is it with everything being matte this season? It's kind of driving me crazy because I keep seeing matte everything as I am sitting here with bloody knuckles from dry, cracked skin. I may just try this a few times for review then save it for summer when I actually need matte products.

theBalm Cosmetics Bahama Mama bronzer - first look at this bronzer and I'm going to guess that this might be just a bit too dark of a bronzer for me - which I have told Ipsy numerous times I need a lighter bronzer. Whatever. I guess this can be used to color your eyebrows so I may just do that. Again, this is matte. Of course.

Jelly Pong Pong coffee and coconut lip scrub - I'm super excited to try this. It smells interesting, not quite how I expected. Not really coffee like. I can't really place the smell. I've been wanting to try a lip scrub so I'm excited to try this.

Naked Cosmetics mica pigment in Desert Sunset #2 - I feel like I've been wanting to try naked Cosmetics for years. Oh wait, I have. I didn't realize you could use this stuff for so many things until I saw the post from Ipsy about it. Not just eyeshadow but as a highlighter, nail color of course, lip color, etc. This is going to be awesome to try out. The color is absolutely gorgeous and I haven't even opened it yet.

Ciate London Gelology top coat - yeah, I just need a new top coat to try out. It's Ciate. Need I say more? Looking forward to trying this out soon... but I have so many new polishes from Christmas to try so it might be awhile? I shall see. I was surprised to see this bottle is silver. That seems odd to me, but it sure does stand out among my other polishes.

The bag itself is kind of neat. I didn't realize it was two separate layers of fabric until I received it. It's different, I'll give it that.

What did you get this month in your bag? Anything in particular you love or hate so far? Let me know in the comments!

If you're not familiar with Ipsy, they are a subscription service where you get 5 beauty items a month delivered to your door. Sometimes you get full sized items, sometimes travel or sample sized. But they're fun just if you like to try new things. For me, it's been a great experience to try new products and types of products as I learn more about makeup. Additionally, they have a cool rewards program where if you review items on their Web site, share your bag, etc. you get points which can be used to exchange for free products. Score! (Referral link follows.) You can sign up for your custom monthly Ipsy bag here