November 26, 2012

November Birchbox: Oscar Blandi, Caldrea

It's time for another Birchbox review! The November box is about giving, which is very appropriate for this time of year.  In addition to samples, Birchbox also included a reusable gift envelope to fill and give to someone special. Also, there was a card with $15 off a pair of Chromatic heels from

My Box

Caldrea Hand Soap
Full size $10.50 (10.8 oz)
My sample size: 2 pouches of hand soap (exact size unknown)

Caldrea Hand Soap is made with aloe vera gel, olive oil, and essential oils.  There are nine scents in the collection. The two samples I got are Mandarin Vetiver and Crimson Pear Ginger.

My thoughts: These were cool samples to receive. I like getting hand products. These little pouches are so cute I don't even want to use them. I actually think I might save them for the next time I stay in a hotel. Hotels always have the bar soap, but I like cleaning my hands with liquid soap. I am very eager to smell them though.
Would I buy it? To Be Determined, but I think I'll like them - so probably!

Feeling Smitten Limited Edition Holiday Bath Bomb
Full size $10.50
My sample size: Mini Cupcake ($5.50 on product website)

A bath bomb in the form of a cupcake. Free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. You drop this cupcake in your bathtub (full of water, of course) and it fizzes up with bubbles. I got the Ribbon Candy Cupcake.

My thoughts: I thought this was an actual cupcake at first. It looks so real - and delicious! I've never tried a bath bomb before (but I've been eyeing them at Lush!), so this was also a cool sample to receive. Now I just need to set aside some time for a nice relaxing bath.
Would I buy it? If it was available in a store nearby, then maybe just to try one or 2.

I looked at the website,, and they have a lot of other delicious-looking bath treats too. It made me really hungry.

ModelCo FIBRE LASHXTEND Lengthening Mascara
Full size: $24 (tube)
My sample size: Full size!

This mascara has little fibers that adhere to your lashes to make them full and long. It's water-resistant and contains beeswax and carnauba wax. You apply 2 coats for more volume. The tube comes with a built-in mirror.

My thoughts: 5 million thumbs up for getting another full size product in my box. I love that this mascara has a built-in mirror. I think every mascara should have it! Now for the negative part - I don't care for the formula or fibers. I don't see much of a difference when it's on my lashes. I don't notice extra length or volume. I've tried wearing it by itself and paired up with other mascaras. It just doesn't do much for me.
Would I buy it? No
Find it here!

Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray
Full size: $25
My sample size: 1 oz

A volumizing spray that contains Zeolite (a natural volcanic mineral that removes toxins), Keratin proteins (strengthens hair), and UV absorbers. You spray it on dry hair from ends to roots.

My thoughts: I  tried this and it noticed a big difference in volume. It was easy to use and worked instantly. I can feel the added texture in my hair.
Would I buy it? Yes
Find it here!

Stella Cadente Miss Me Eau de Parfum
Full size: $35-69
My sample size: 0.04 fl oz

This Eau de Parfum from French designer Stella Cadente combines floral notes with musk.

My thoughts: It reminds me of baby powder, but I'm also sick so I might not be detecting the full scent. It smells clean and light.
Would I buy it? No, it's not my kind of scent.
Find it here!

SOYJOY Cranberry Snack Bar 
5 bars - $6
My sample size: 1 bar

This gluten-free snack bar is all natural and just 140 calories. It's made with real dried cranberries and ground whole soy nuts.

My thoughts: I'm never so thrilled to get these healthy snack samples in my boxes. I don't eat this kind of stuff and it just doesn't appeal to me. I wish there was a way to opt out of food and perfume in my boxes!
Would I buy it? No
Find it here!

I was happy to receive most of the samples in this box. I didn't need the snack bar or eau de parfum though.
It was awesome to get the full size mascara; it made the $10 box so worth it. I like the bath bomb and hand soap - those were 2 things I never expected to get.

Want to join in on the Birchbox fun?
Sign up here for only $10/month!

More Birchbox reviews here.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I bought this box with my own money and opinions are all my own. A referral link was used. Some affiliate links were used.

November 23, 2012

Cyber Monday on Coterie

Have you checked out Coterie yet? It's a new members-only site featuring collections of popular beauty products and brands.

Coterie will be launching holiday gift guides on Monday. Here are some of the featured specials:

  • Get 3 Julep Nail Colors for $23 and with your Julep purchase choose between the Glow on Age Defying Hand Brightener or Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub for FREE
  • 50% off MOR Salt & Sugar Scrubs
  • More than 40% off on Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume styling products

Also on Monday, Coterie will be randomly selecting 20 orders and gifting them to the customer!
How exciting is that? You could get your order for free!!

If you haven't signed up yet, you should!
Sign up here

Image provided by Coterie

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. A referral link was used.

November 22, 2012

Stained Glass Nails

I've been trying a variety of different nail designs lately and Mark gave me the idea to do stained glass nails. I guess men do have some good ideas - haha! I actually thought it was a great idea and fairly simple to achieve. It turned out to be easier than I thought too - even on the left hand.  I used 5 colors for this mani and only 3 easy steps. Read on to learn how I did these pretty stained glass nails!

November 17, 2012

Travel Beauty

I'm going on a little trip this weekend to celebrate my birthday, which is on Monday. Since it's a short trip I don't want to bring too much with me, only the essentials. I won't need 8 different eye shadow palettes!

I wanted to share just a few things I'm taking with me.

A case for my contact case.
Say what? A case for a case? Well, I really couldn't pass up this cute case from Charming Charlie. It  holds my contact case and has a mirror inside. On top of that, it's sparkly!

I really like having it with me. I don't have to worry about my actual contact case coming undone, leaking, or getting lost among my stuff.

Sample products and travel sizes
This is where I dig into my box o' samples and choose what I want to use for the weekend. Samples take up little space and I don't have to worry about leaving them behind.

I get to try new products and  use up some of my samples! I definitely need to dig into that sample box more often. It's kind of overflowing.

I would mind leaving the larger travel products behind.  There's a lot of product in each and some of them are reusable, like the Secret Wonderland body wash.

Small eye shadow palette
When I travel, I don't want to have to take individual pots of eyeshadow  that will just take up room. It's nice to have a palette that I can get different looks from. I still have options, but it keeps it down to one simple, slim product. 

Small cosmetic bag for bath items
I have tons of little cosmetic bags that I keep on hand for travel. I'll use one that I don't mind getting wet for my bath products and another for extra little things. For me, it works better than having a big bag with everything. Just a personal preference. You can find little cosmetic/bath bags for $1.99 at Target (and maybe even cheaper elsewhere).

What are your travel tips for beauty products?

November 15, 2012

Fall Brown Eye Makeup

I was browsing Fall makeup trends the other day and came across a few smokey brown eyes. I realized that I've never featured any such look on my blog, so I had to do one!

The key to this look is using brown eyeliner instead of black. Brown makes for a much softer, less intense look.  This is great if you're going for natural makeup or just want to try something different.

Since I have a tan skin tone, browns are very subtle on my eyes. I used soft, golden browns for the lid and a cooler brown for the crease. I applied a medium brown liner, but I would've preferred a dark brown. It was just what I had on hand.  Also a plum shade of liner would look really good.

I only buy brown mascara on accident (don't you hate when that happens?!), but if you have light lashes, brown is a great option to go along with the natural look. I applied just enough black mascara to give my lashes a boost without looking dramatic.

This eye makeup felt so different for me. I usually depend on black eyeliner to bring the whole look together as well as help magnify my lashes.   Natural, colorful, or dramatic, it's still fun to experiment.

How often do you trade your black liner for brown?

November 13, 2012

Target Beauty Bag

I recently got another Target Beauty Bag in the mail (the review for my first one is here).  Target would send out these bags filled with samples and coupons every once in awhile, free to whoever signed up. This particular bag was their last one.

These aren't deluxe-sized samples like the ones you get in subscription boxes, but it's still cool to be able to try a few products.

Straight from the mail

The samples came in a small cheetah print bag. These cosmetic bags are great to have around for travel purposes. I keep my everyday makeup products with me in my purse, but when I travel I like to take an additional bag of extra products I may want to use.

Now for the samples...

Lastly, a little coupon booklet full of Target beauty coupons.

In comparison to the last beauty bag I received, this one was a bit different. The sample sizes were smaller, yet there were more expensive brands. I don't have any complaints because it was free.  However, I am sad that Target won't be offering these anymore. 

November 9, 2012

Lace Nails - 2 Ways

Today I'm sharing two manicures I created that were inspired by lace.  One is a mint nail with a white design and the other uses a nude color with a black design. I drew out the designs step-by-step so that you can easily learn how to recreate them.

November 6, 2012

Empties: Products I've Used Up

All kinds of beauty products have been accumulating in various rooms of my apartment. It got to the point where I realized I needed to take action by using my existing products before buying others. I recently finished these 5 products:

L'Oreal Power Volume 24h Mascara
Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation
Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (trial size)
Bath & Body Works Secret Wonderland Lotion

This mascara was decent. It has a wide bristle brush and claims to deliver dramatic volume that lasts. I noticed my lashes had ample volume when I wore it. The setback of this mascara was that it dried very quickly. It didn't seem to last as long as other mascaras I've used. It became rubbery and hard to work with.
Repurchase? Probably not.

This liquid foundation is supposed to be oil-free, brightening, and provide a natural, healthy-looking finish to your skin. I liked this foundation. I didn't think it was a holy grail product though. I liked the amount of coverage and the finish. The bottle lasted a long time too. Since the price is a little steep ($36), I would consider other foundations before this one.
Repurchase? Maybe

I love this cleanser! It's very mild and also removes my makeup pretty well. It doesn't dry out my skin nor does it leave a film after it's rinsed away. It's just a great basic cleanser. I like using in the morning or at night. I always use it with my Clarisonic Mia.
Repurchase? Definitely

This moisturizer is a cult favorite. It's a part of the 3-Step Skin Care System, but can be used on it's own. It's lightweight and absorbs quickly. The lotion is for dry to combination skin and the gel version is for combination/oily skin. The full-size product is $25, which is pricey, but this product is worth the money. It lasts a long time and requires a very small amount to cover the face. I've used both the lotion and the gel and they both work for me because I have combination skin.
Repurchase? Yes

I go to Bath & Body Works for many of my bath products. There are a number of scents I find appealing. The Secret Wonderland scent has been a favorite for at least a year. It's a "thrilling blend of luscious strawberry, frosted jasmine petals, and white amber". I love this lotion for any time of the year. 
Repurchase? As long as it's offered!

How did you like this collection of mini reviews of the products I've recently used?
Would you like to see more of these? Let me know in the comments!

November 2, 2012

Influenster Beauty Bloggers VoxBox 2012

Influenster is an online community where members share reviews and opinions on products. Active members get various opportunities and rewards. I qualified for the Beauty Bloggers Voxbox. This box was sent to me for free so I could try these products and share my thoughts with you!

Inside My Box

NYC IndividualEyes Custom Compact
Union Square (938) for Brown Eyes
Price: $4.99

A compact that comes with a primer, an illuminator, an applicator, and four shadows that complement and enhance your eye color. The shadows include a highlighter, an all over lid color, and two crease colors. Available on

My thoughts: I already have a few of these compacts including this one! I did a review on them, which you can find here. I love these compacts. Not only are the shadows velvety smooth, but they also create beautiful eye looks that last throughout the day. I use them often and never have a creasing issue. I like that they're small enough to fit in your bag! They're great for travel. By the way, you don't have to stick to the ones that are intended for your eye color - try them all!

Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit
Price: $5.99

This starter kit comes with 100% human hair eyelashes,  latex-free glue, and an applicator. The glue is said to have a 24-hour hold and is waterproof.

My thoughts:  I really like these kinds of kits. The glue can be used multiple times and the applicator can be used continuously. The lashes in this kit are super thick and dramatic. I don't think they'll look very natural, but they will still be fun to use. The back of the package has instructions for applying and removing the lashes for those who are unsure.

Bath & Body Works Mini Candle
Cider Lane
Price: $3.50

These mini candles come in a tiny glass jar (2" wide & 1 1/2" tall) and are 1.3 oz./36 g. Burn time is about 10-15 hours. They also gave a $10 off coupon for a 3-wick candle.

My thoughts: The mini candles are perfect if you want to try a few scents but don't want to buy the bigger sizes. The scent I received is Cider Lane - "a delicious fall blend of mulled cider, warm caramel, and sweet cinnamon". It's a great fall scent, although I could do without the caramel. I'm not a big caramel fan (taste or smell), but I like the other notes in the candle. I'll burn it down and then use the jar for bobby pins or something small.

$28 - 20 effervescent powders
$39  - 30 effervescent powders
$39 - 12 shots

This daily health booster comes in the form of a powder that you mix with water for a boost of energy and immunity. EBOOST also comes in the form of a shot if that's what you prefer.  There are four flavors to choose from: Orange, Pink Lemonade, Acai Pomegranate, and Super Berry.

My thoughts: I received this powder before in a Birchbox. I never tried it because it wasn't something I was interested in. I set it aside for Mark to try, but he never got around to trying it either. Maybe this time I'll get him to try it since I'm still not interested.

Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin
For dark hair
Price: $7.29

These spin pins help you create 3 simple updos: bun, side bun, or double bun. You twirl your hair up and spin the pins in to secure your style. You can also get them for light hair.

My thoughts: I like the idea of simple hair styles and buying tools to help achieve them. With that said, these are cool, but not necessary. I tried them in my hair and I wasn't blown away. They didn't keep my hair in place very well and I had to use bobby pins to secure loose ends. My hair fell out of the updo pretty quick. I'm not sure if they require practice, but that would defeat the purpose of being easy. I can't see myself using these very much.

Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream
Price: $6 (4.oz)

This cream was designed to enhance natural curl while eliminating frizz. It's infused with natural grape seed and jasmine.  Bloggers who received this Voxbox were given either this curl defining cream or a frizz control cream.

My thoughts:  I have naturally wavy hair, so hopefully this product works for me. I would've liked to try the other cream too. The trial size is pretty generous.  I'll be able to test it for awhile. I can smell the grape seed really well and it isn't too bad.

Vitabath Fragrance Mist
Spa Day - Green Tea & Sage
Price: $9.99

These new mists from Vitabath come in 16 scents! They're infused with vitamins and an antioxidant superfruit blend.

My thoughts: I love the scents that are offered. The one I was given, Green Tea & Sage , is a lightweight, refreshing scent. I would've never picked it, but I actually like it a lot. It's very different than the fragrances I normally choose.There are also a few others that I wouldn't mind trying.

I love that I got to try all of these products and it didn't cost me anything. I would recommend the Influenster community to everyone, however, you can only join by invite. You can request an invite here.

Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free. This is not a sponsored or compensated post. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links were used.

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