Ipsy Vs. Birchbox: August 2014

GASP! I’m actually on top of this post this month, you guys! (Shocking, I know!) I really am trying to get better about posting, especially while everything has been so crazy lately. Hopefully I will get my rhythm down soon. Until then, let’s check out my August goodies! (This was a great month for subscription boxes!!)

Ipsy

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For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $10 and sends deluxe/full size beauty samples. It usually focuses on primarily cosmetic products medium-high in value that are delivered in adorable makeup bags! (Though it sometimes will throw a skincare product your way.) If you’re interested in subscribing, check it out here.

Brands featured in my bag: Urban Decay, Dr. Brandt, Costal Scents, Lord & Berry, Absolute New York

Estimated value: $29

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As you may or may not already know from my Perversion Mascara Review, I have a crush on this product. So I was STOKED to see it in my bag this month. I love this formula and am excited to have a little more before I have to buy the product myself! (Seriously, I use it like every day…so I mean, it was going quickly and I was getting ready to break out the wallet!) Thank you Ipsy for my continued gorgeous starlet lashes!

As for the eyeliner, I’m meh on it. On the one hand, I was excited to try a new brand and I can always use a sample eyeliner pencil for my lower lash line. On the other hand, it’s a pencil eyeliner–I hate ones you have to sharpen! If it accidentally breaks while I’m out doing some touch up make up, I’m sh!t out of luck. Plus the shavings get everywhere! Me = not a fan of them. THOUGH, I will say that this product went on smooth and was a beautiful black. If the full size wasn’t so pricey, I would overlook the pencil sharpening state…

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I can’t remember if I’ve received Dr. Brandt in Ipsy before, but I was already acquainted with the brand–and VERY excited to see it in this bag. Dr. Brandt has great products and this one furthered my opinion of the brand quality. The formula was light, went on smooth, reduced the appearance of my pores and matifyed my skin. Though I’m unsure if it really is any better than benefit’s Porefessional. I’d be interested in doing a comparison to see if Dr. Brandt is worth the extra $$$.

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Next up, Absolute New York’s Balm in Grape. (YAY! Another new brand! And a full sized one at that!) I really liked this balm. It was hydrating and cute. The grape smell was very much a commercially grape smell, but it kind of reminded me of my childhood and really is a fun scent for summer. The only downside is having to apply it with my fingers–I’m not a fan of that type of application for balms. Though I will get a lot of use out of it!

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Lastly, (not leastly) was the blush duo in Fresh (the peachier color) and Elegant (the pinker color). I’ve gotten a bunch of costal scents products in the past, so this was probably my least impressed with product. That said, the color payoff was pretty nice even though it was a bit chalky. As you can see in the picture, there is a 25% code on the product that you can use! I won’t be using the coupon, so if you want, go ahead!! Also I noticed that costal scent’s blushes are on sale this week for $3.98, so hop on that! (check out the sale here)

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(side note, while the bag was a little cheap in quality this month, I thought it was super cute! I love orange and polka dots!! Also, the round tubular shape was adorable!)

Birchbox

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For those of you who are unfamiliar, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $10 and sends beauty samples. (sometimes deluxe, sometimes on the smaller size, it varies. Though they have upped their game recently.) Their products vary from lifestyle, to skincare, to makeup and their brands are often on the higher end. If you’re interested in this subscription, check it out here

Brands featured in my bag: Whish, hello, Key West Aloe, ModelCo, Laura Mercier

Estimated value: 28.75

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So since resubscribing to Birchbox, I haven’t yet gotten to choose my preferred sample until this month–and let’s just say, I was really excited for my choice! Bronzer!! (AKA the perfect summer product.) I was pleased with the sample size of this–I’m definitely going to get a good amount of uses out of it. Also, the product itself is very pretty. It isn’t cakey and leaves a nice tan/shimmery sheen. Though I did notice that it builds color quickly so I only apply it lightly and sometimes double up for contouring areas. Definitely a contender to my favorite too faced bronzers!

Unfortunately with the good comes the bad and my least favorite product this month was the Whish shave cream. The sad part was that it had all the makings of a shave cream I might like: smooth shave cream that hydrates my skin and doesn’t clump up my razor. (Like EOS…ugh, that stuff is impossible to wash out of my razors!) Unfortunately the smell–oh the smell!–was AWFUL. It was supposed to be grapefruit which is a scent I enjoy…but if it really was grapefruit, it was rotten ones! I’m serious. It smelt like voimit. I could only do one of my legs, it was so bad. But that leg was super smooth after so maybe there is hope with other scents?

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I will say, I was impressed with the amount of new/unfamiliar brands I received in my birchbox this month. Even more, I was impressed with how much I enjoyed them! I loved my lifestyle-ish item (the hello breath spray) and will be utilizing it as a substitute for gum when I run off to work meetings. I’m even curious to try the other flavors available! I also was a HUGE fan of the Key West Aloe lotion. It smelt delicious, it made my skin feel super smooth, and it had aloe in it which is a huge bonus for summer activities in the sun. I will be sure to repurchase this in the future–it’s a really great find!

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Now, birchbox must be a mind reader and know my secret love for Laura Mercier products (must be the name haha) because I nearly flipped my sh!t when I saw this product in my box. Not to mention, they threw in an extra with the tinted moisturizer! (The way a foil packet SHOULD be utilized. As an extra and not in place of an actual sample for the box.) Basically setting the standard for my favorite box yet. I have used the generous sample (seriously, BB is stepping up their sample size game and I’m bada ba ba ba loving it) for the tone perfecting cream a couple of times now and am over the moon for how light it is on my skin–not oily either, which I like. I also do think it has improved the creases around my eyes, which I’m pretty floored about. While the full size is on the pricier size, I will definitely be considering purchasing the cream in the near future.

I also enjoyed trying out the moisturizer–it was light and provided good coverage on the portion of my face that I tried it on. I would have liked to be able to cover my entire face and see if it did the complete job, but I’m not too upset since it was an extra. I did get to see the formula on my face and it looked pretty natural and felt great–so I would definitely keep it in mind as a summer product for me in the future.

The Winner is…

This month was kind of tough since there were a lot of great products samples from both subscriptions. Though I think I will have to give it to…Birchbox! I will definitely be getting the most use out of all of my items in this month’s box from BB and the quality was just slightly better for me this month. What about you subscription addicts? What did you love in your boxes/bags this month? Is there anything you saw that you wish that you got? Anything you’re dying to try/buy? Let me know!

~xoxo, L

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A Fond Farewell To The Great Robin Williams

 

Robin-Williams

 You’re only given a little spark of maddness. You mustn’t lose it. – Robin Wiliams

Originally, I had a different post written for today, but after learning the tragic news of Robin Williams’ passing I wanted–neigh, needed to talk about that loss since the thoughts surrounding it are weighing heavily on my heart and mind. (Sorry in advance for the change in mood to a bit heavier than usual. Though this space is where I get to choose what I want to write about and right now, its this. The deep connection I feel from loss and bittersweet remembrance of a man who graciously shared his talents with the world. If you are unfamiliar with the event, you can read more about his death in this article by NBC.)

Now, I have often heard of people being immensely distraught over a celebrity death and never quite could grasp how someone could feel so deeply for someone they had never met or known personally. I suppose I had never before known that reach of a famous individual that truly touched me. But sometimes, to feel something for someone, you may not need a direct face to face connection. All you may need is a character with whom you could relate, a movie whose meaning comforted you, or a man whose words/actions made you feel inspired, more whole and less alone.

I am a child of the 90s and as one, Mr. Williams’ work was no stranger to me. He was the voice of the wacky Genie who made me laugh and showed me the magic of friendship. (Aladdin) He was the caring father disguised as an english nanny, who taught me that family is important enough to risk almost anything–even your pride–to be with. (Mrs. Doubtfire) He was the dreamer who lost his way until he once again learned to fly in Neverland, teaching me to never lose my childlike wonder. (Hook) And he was the boy trapped in the body of a man who showed me how life is fleeting, so you ought to live it to the fullest. (Jack) Those movies and many more cloud my childhood with happy memories of watching this master bring an abundance of life to a film.

In many ways, Mr. Williams’ being a staple of my childhood, made him feel kind of like a distant uncle who would come to family gatherings from time to time; who would make me laugh until I cried and who I was instantly glad to see again. That fondness I carried with me as I continued to see him in things as I grew up. As his deep performances became movies that my high school english classes would analyze. Or as I stayed up late to sneak watching his raunchy standup and learn his dirty jokes. I would watch and  feel his amazingly brilliant presence that overflowed in whatever he was in–what I could only imagine being the result of putting ones whole heart into something.

So when I learned of his passing, I felt like I had lost that distant uncle. Though I also felt something more, something bigger I couldn’t explain. I actually think its best expressed in comedian Norm Macdonald‘s memory of his first encounter with Williams in a series of tweets. (Read here)  The heartbreaking aftermath of a dazzling force of life, a “little spark of madness” being sucked from the room; leaving it a little dimmer and a little emptier than before. The strangest part of reading Macdonald’s story was not that I just felt sad–I did, but more so I felt connected. He perfectly described the feeling I couldn’t put my finger on. And as I continued to read people’s memories of Mr. Williams (Redditors recount stories and love for the man here) and the outreach of condolences from celebrities who have worked with Mr. Williams on twitter, I realized he had connected us all with the love of his incredible gift to entertain. He has left an indelible impression on our society.

So now I understand this feeling of loss for a celebrity. Though I may have not known him personally, he has forever left a mark in my memory.

Thank you, Robin Williams for the humor, the talent, the heart–the memories. You will be missed.

(Robin Williams in the movie JACK, 1996)

As an aside:

Robin Williams, I wish all of us that you have touched could have aided you in your struggle with depression. Or that you could have found help that would give you the strength to deal with it.

For those of you dealing with depression, please tell someone. There are numerous sources available. You are not alone.

(The following are some resources to help. Some are hotlines, some are reading materials, some are foundations…)

International List of Suicide Crisis Lines

To Write Love On Her Arms

Mind Your Mind

Hyperbole and A Half

Boggle the Owl

(Photo from Nerdist.com)

Sample Sale: Baublebar Summer 2014

One of the glorious things I learned about whilst working in NYC are a beautiful thing called SAMPLE SALES. For those of you who don’t know what Sample Sales are, they are magical rooms filled with an array of discounted merchandise from your favorite designers–usually one designer per sample sale. (Okay so maybe it’s not so much a magical room, but a stuffy factory-like one with prop up tables and racks spilling with goods that women/men scavenge like buzzards… But the cheap goods are tres manifique and make the pound you sweat off digging through things so worth it!) And if you have expensive taste without the purse to back it up, these sales are your BFFs. I stalk all the sales I want to go to through Racked, 260SAMPLESALE, and via @samplesally on twitter–Oh yes, I got that scene on lock down. So you can imagine my delight when I stalked read an article on Racked about Baublebar‘s sample sale and how to get in early. UMMM, YES PLEASE.

The following are images of the Baublebar Sample Sale event. Note: photos may appear blurry—this is because I was part distracted with overwhelming glee from looking at all the goods and part distracted by trying not to run into the hordes of young ladies looking for their perfect baubles.

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So I didn’t even get to take a good photo of the room–which had tons of tables with trays on trays of rings, bracelets, and necklaces as well as lots of mirrors to see your scores on as well as a cash station/bag check. But the whole scene basically went like this. You enter the factory like room (which was way too hot with so many bodies rushing around–the poor employees running it!), grab a tray and roam amongst the tables of goods. Each table had a specific item on it at a certain range of prices. Rings were generally $5-10. Bracelets/Bangles were $5-15. Earrings were $5-20. And Necklaces were priced at $10, $12, $15, $20 and $25.

Basically, everything was SUPER reasonably priced and so cute. The hardest part was not getting too overwhelmed by all the cute baubles and finally telling yourself to stop. (It was tough, believe me!) I ended up with a decent score of  a nice statement collar, 2 pairs of studs, and a cute arrow bangle. (I also got a couple of gifts for friends that I don’t want to show as it might ruin the surprise…sorry, but I had to share how crazy I truly went at this sale!)

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I have since worn all these items a couple of times. They’re so cute!!

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This color is a little geometric–which I love right now, but also pretty girly and sparkly. Which is what I went to the sale really hoping to find since I wanted something to spice up some of my more plain tops. I think it really does the job well!

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This arrow bangle actually pairs really well with a couple of wrap bracelets I have and also my alex and anis. I love it!

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Sometimes I find that I just want to wear a fun pair of studs instead of dangly earrings. These are actually the perfect size–not to big, but still noticeable enough to spice things up. I think they make any look really cool. The white ones I find work well in both a classic manner and an edgy one.

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All in all, I thought it was a great sample sale. Great selection, great prices, helpful staff, a decent space (even if it was a little hot) and I ended up with a great purchase! Overall, success!!

Do you love baublebar? What are some of your favorite pieces? What other stores/online brands are you shopping? Lemme know!

As always, dear readers, happy shopping!

~xoxo, L