Friday, November 28, 2014

Whats in my Trash?! #12

Welcome to a less cracked out version of What's in my Trash?! This month we returned to the normal 15 products and I'm pleased to have worked through more of my stash and also to have found some great products! This month I worked through some staples and mourned the end of a favorite foreign product that will be difficult to get my hands on again. Let's get into the trash!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

10 Beauty Things I'm Grateful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is the day to count your blessings and be grateful with loved ones so I thought it would be fun to put a spin on things and list a few beauty items I am grateful for! If you've been following me for awhile now you will know that I have had a recent struggle with my skin so the number one thing is I am so grateful for the fact that it finally cleared up and is stable. This will be almost like a mini all time favorites list and possibly a sneak peek for my 2014 MVPs!! Anyways let's get into the 10 things, in no particular order, I am grateful for in my beauty regime!

  1. Toners. Why did I go so long without using these things?? That's redundant, I know the answer to that, it's because I didn't realize that non-astringent formulas existed! Toners with alcohol really dry out my skin and would have a funny reaction with the rest of my skincare so it was always a step I skipped. Then I discovered some great toners from Suki and Paula's Choice and I am amazed by how much gunk it still picks up after I've washed my face! Never again will I go without toner.
  2. Kiwi Facial Scrub. Not everything on this list will get a particular item shout out but this truly is the holy grail of all face scrubs so it deserves a moment in the limelight. This scrub from theBalm is THE best scrub out there that really deep cleans but is gentle enough to use daily if you wanted to. How can I make such a claim? My nose pores get pretty gunky, so that weekly pore strip is always regarded with much disgust and fascination, however after my FIRST week of using this stuff the amount of gunk yanked out was reduced dramatically and better yet my nose felt smoother and looked cleaner even before the strip! I'm in love with you facial scrub, never leave my life.
  3. Sheet Masks. This is a very recent but very profound love of mine. Right after toner and right before the serum step in my nighttime routine, slapping on a sheet mask to deliver an extra dose of nutrients and goodness is just amazing and the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day. I need mooooore!
  4. They're Real! Mascara. This mascara. Amazeballs. I've been a long time drugstore fanatic when it comes to mascara even scoffing at people who shell out the money for expensive designer brands, but then I met this guy and it was game over. Nothing compares to this one wand does all wonder and it will hurt, but I will keep forking over the cash for this one.
  5. Cleansing Oil. Nothing breaks down makeup as gently yet effectively as a cleansing oil does! Before this I was a fan of the makeup wipes but now even extreme laziness won't get me to swap out my oil!
  6. Hand Creams. Being a nail polish addict you would think I took better care of my hands...WRONG! I think only about three months ago when my sample stash of hand cream reached an alarming tower did I start using hand creams regularly and now I'm addicted to how silky soft my hands and cuticles can be and I find myself constantly slathering it on every second.
  7. Lorac Pro Palettes. I have slowly hoarded a small empire of eyeshadow palettes but nothing beats the Lorac Pro Palettes! The colors and finishes are perfect, the shadows themselves are lusciously buttery. And the packaging is slim and very travel friendly, I just love everything about them!
  8. BB Creams. I never realized how much I appreciated BB creams until I couldn't use them! When my skin was going wild over the summer BB creams were much too low coverage to the point where it kind of accentuated my acne so I was better off without it. Now that that is done I've picked up a few BB creams from my collection and have fallen in love with how they merely blur imperfections rather than cover them up completely. Now that's natural skin to me!
  9. Brow Pencils. I look back on pictures of myself and cringe, why did I never do anything with my brows?? Now it is the number one thing I MUST do before leaving the house! I can go bare face but I need to have my brows done. I think it's the one thing that just makes you look pulled together without exerting a lot of effort.
  10. Clarifying Shampoos. Whoever invented these things are godly. I've reduced my hair washing to just two times a week and my hair is loving it, however my scalp has other ideas. A nice tea tree oil clarifying shampoo is enough to appease my scalp, I am obsessed.
What are some things you're grateful for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

4 Quick Black Friday Tips!

Before we fall into heavy food comas tomorrow, I am here today for some quick tips on how to have your best Black Friday ever! Hint, a lot of it has to do with forgoing the crowds and hitting up online shopping! Here are my favorite tips, sites and resources to really make the most out of kickstarting your holiday shopping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sephora VIB/Rouge Sale Haul!

I went back and forth for the longest time but after obsessively reviewing my bank account and calculating my next paycheck I decided to go ahead and just treat myself with some goodies from Sephora! I also really wanted the adorable tote bag and for the first time (in awhile) cashed in some points for a 500 perk! I didn't get a lot of stuff but I'm really excited about the things that I did get!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Nails of the Week #20: Spa Ritual in It's Raining Men

It's been awhile since a nail polish has captured my heart and I really wasn't expecting to find love on a clearance site. But you know what they say, love comes to those who aren't looking for it. Okay I might have made that up a little and tweaked the saying but that is what happened here! Last week I featured some dark red fall appropriate nails but the stains they left behind also put a stain on my heart for these colors. I had the full intention of doing this synthetic grape juice purple on my nails until I spotted this guy who came to me with free two day shipping and it was just meant to be! A few apologies first, I did a horrible clean up job on my nails (since this was such a light and sheer color) so you do see traces of it. I'm still having Photoshop issues (someone HELP!) so again these are uploaded directly and I can't really tell these details off my phone. Also my right hand thumb had some serious issues with my hair hence why it looks a little wonky, so just ignore that one and focus on all my other prettily shaped nails!

/rambling over. This nail polish is Spa Ritual in It's Raining Men. This is my first Spa Ritual polish and I'm really impressed with it! The formulation was a dream, even though this was a sheer polish three quick drying coats later and here it is in all its lustrous glory. It's a very pale silvery blue with a mother of pearl sheen that throws soft shades of pink, gold and lilac. This color is so soft and beautiful it's the perfect muted shade in my opinion. Best of all this color will definitely not stain my nails!

Friday, November 21, 2014

UnBoxing Match! November 2014 Ipsy vs. Birchbox vs. Beauty Box 5

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these services, Ipsy and Birchbox are two custom beauty subscription boxes that come monthly. Both of these cost $10 a month and each arrive with 4-6 different goodies ranging from sad little foil packets to full size products! Beauty Box 5 costs a little more at $12 and delivers the same amount of goodies. I would say that typically Birchbox consistently delivers high-end skincare and hair care products with a sprinkling of makeup while Ipsy goes more for the mid-range items and is normally a lot of makeup items and Beauty Box 5 is mostly drugstore with an even mix of products.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Unboxing Memebox Collaboration Box #4 CutiePieMarzia 2

Normally I like to go for the surprise boxes but this collaboration box had a certain item in it that I was dying to get my hands on so I purchased it. In hindsight I could have just bought the one item for a lot cheaper by itself since this box is kind of makeup heavy (boo!) but oh well. I plead momentary insanity and getting swayed by the cute custom box!

For those that don't know what I'm talking about Memebox is a Korean beauty non-subscription box that sells boxes of surprise products curated with different themes in mind straight from Korea! Like I mean your box is shipped to you FROM Korea! These are great deals because boxes typically run between $19 - $39 (there are more expensive ones) but the value of the boxes are usually double and often triple the price you pay! 

This one is the Memebox Collaboration Box #4 CutiePieMarzia 2 which is a special Superbox (so all full sized products) that was curated by some YouTube star that I have never heard of. This cost $23 + $6.99 shipping for a total cost of $29.99.
From the website:

CutiePieMarzia fans rejoice! Memebox is thrilled to bring you the 2nd collaboration with the fabulous CutiePieMarzia. With over 4 million subscribers on YouTube, CutiePieMarzia's beauty channel is filled with darling moments and we're sure you'll fall in love with her 2nd box right away! 
Marzia's 2nd box is packed with some of the loveliest items we've ever laid eyes on, so if you missed out your chance to grab her 1st box, don't miss out this time! CutiePieMarzia fans know she won't disappoint, and this box is packed with the best of K-beauty we know you're going to love!

Always on top of her beauty game- grab this box and you'll see what we mean!

This box shipped October 23rd and landed on my door step November 11th. For some reason I felt like this one took forever to get here but in reality it was just about two weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: theBalm Coconut Milk Cleansing Face Cream

This has got to be one of the strangest products I have ever used. It's a combination face wash and moisturizer where rinsing is optional! Originally I purchased this as a possible cleanser to use with my konjac sponge or a facial brush but this is definitely more suited for a hot cloth method. Anyways here are my thoughts and review using this item as a traditional face wash as well as simply wiping it off. So the product in question today is theBalm's Coconut Milk Cleansing Face Cream which retails for $26! As with all of my theBalm skincare, I got this off HauteLook at a heavily discounted price. There's been highs and lows for me in theBalm's skincare department but the prices can't be beat on HauteLook and I'm always suckered into picking up a few items to try out.

From the website:
"This hydrating, lightweight milk cleanser gently removes dirt and makeup trapped in pores. Lactic Acid works to polish the dull outer layers of the skin. Hydrate and refresh your skin while cleansing."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Unboxing: POPSUGAR Must Have November 2014

Popsugar I don't know how to feel about you! I mean I'm glad they got their act together this month and the box shipped on time. Mine came in last week but scheduling conflicts so this is why I didn't get it up sooner. This is the end of my three month subscription and for now I've cancelled it but I honestly don't know if I will do another three month like I was previously planning. I think I will wait until the spoiler comes out to decide.

Popsugar costs about $40 a month and is a lifestyle box so there's a mix of beauty, fashion, food, and home items! There is great value in the box normally well over $100 and it is sent monthly with a theme curated to the season. This month was a disaster with their new updates and this box just showed up at my door one day with no warning or shipping email sent.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nails of the Week #19: Essie in Bordeaux and Toggle to the Top

Wow sorry how horrible that picture came out. I'm having this issue with Photoshop and cropping so I've been having to use my phone to crop pictures upload them directly into Blogger but clearly what I thought was perfectly crisp picture was half blurry. I'll sit down and sort out my Photoshop issue soon so we don't have a repeat of this! I've definitely been getting lazy with my nails. They are hanging in this limbo where they are kind of healthy but not so I haven't been wanting to spend a lot of time doing nail art only to have my nails start peeling off. That being said I've stepped up my nail care game and hopefully I can return to fun designs soon! Side note, I've been shaping my nails lately and I'm really pleased with how they are looking! It's a slow process especially when it comes to doing my right hand since one slip of the nail clippers really messes it up, but at this point it's just a matter of refining my thumb and pointer finger so I'm pleased!

So into the nail polish I'm wearing. I wanted to do a deep red but this sparkle caught my eye. It was my favorite shade from Essie's winter collection last year so I chose that as accent nails and then picked a plain deep red that was similar in color for the other nails. Essie in Toggle to the Top is this beautiful red sparkle set in a matte oxblood background. It's definitely a really unique color because due to the base being matte, it causes the glitter to really softly shimmer on your nails. As the complimenting color I chose Essie in Bordeaux which probably wasn't the best option. The color could stand to be a shade darker to match the glitter and the formula in general isn't the best. I did three coats for both polishes but you can clearly see uneven balding that still resulted with Bordeaux. I didn't want to use more coats for an even color since extra coats make the nails more susceptible to chipping.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: clariSEA Deep Pore Detox Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Mask

Surprise! I couldn't stop myself from buying another face mask so I'm justifying it by writing a review for it. It's okay if it's for the blog right? Today I have for you the clariSEA Deep Pore Detox Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Mask that I bought from the Birchbox store! For $18 you get this 4oz jar. This product intrigued me because it seemed like a great mask with only four ingredients: Kaolin clay, charcoal, salt, and calendula! Four simple ingredients that work together to draw out impurities from deep within pores, clear blackheads, and soak up excess oil. It claims to regular use breakouts will be reduced, existing pimples will heal faster, all with the added bonus that there isn't that dry, tight-all-over feeling that can come from similar treatments.

From the website:
How it Works

Paraben-free and fragrance-free, this mask is suitable for normal to oily complexions. French kaolin clay and activated charcoal go straight to work, detoxing pores and leaving behind a matte, shine-free finish, while seaweed extract tones skin and promotes healing. Meanwhile, a blend of macadamia and sunflower seed oils hydrates and soothes inflamed skin.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Adventures in Organizing!

I'm kicking myself for getting overexcited so I forgot to take a set of before before pictures. Basically my makeup and products were originally stored in about four overflowing plastic bins and I decided enough was enough. I'm not even going to get into the disaster that is my bathroom storage because it's just a hot mess and I don't even know where to begin with that! What happened is it got to the point where all my products were so spread out and disorganized I was using the same things everyday. I wanted a new organized system where I would have access to everything easily and be able to give my beloved makeup the love and attention they deserve! Obvious answer: Alex 9 drawer! After a lot of moving around furniture and many curse words at Ikea, I finally managed to fit one of these guys into my life and we couldn't be happier! There is definitely room to grow in some drawers but I'm trying to using up products instead of hoarding them so hopefully this doesn't work against me!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Unboxing: Superbox #63 Blackheads No More

It's hard to maintain an even mix of unboxings and other content on this blog just so each day it doesn't become a boring repetition. The amount of Memeboxes I have coming for me will slowly dwindle down and we can return to other things besides unboxings soon! November is pretty much packed with unboxings and I can imagine December and possibly the beginning of January will be too (wow did this year really go by that fast??).

For those that don't know what I'm talking about Memebox is a Korean beauty non-subscription box that sells boxes of surprise products curated with different themes in mind straight from Korea! Like I mean your box is shipped to you FROM Korea! These are great deals because boxes typically run between $19 - $39 (there are more expensive ones) but the value of the boxes are usually double and often triple the price you pay! 

This one is the Superbox #63 Blackheads No More which is a box packed with all things blackhead purging! After the great success of the Free From Oil and Troubles box I was really excited to get my hands on this one and it had everything I thought was missing from the other box so they complimented each other perfectly! I bought this with the Very Berry box so I split the shipping. This box was pricey at $39 + $3.45 shipping for a total cost of $42.45.
From the website:

Blackheads. Just the word itself gets people riled up!
If you’re one of the many people that suffer from blackheads, it’s likely that you’ve been fighting a losing battle. There’s a hoard of products out there that claim to clear blackheads, but are they really effective? Right now, you may think that the best way to remove blackheads is to squeeze them with your fingers, but that’s really not a great idea.
With the help of this Blackheads No More Box, a mix of blackhead clearing, blackhead preventing, and pore minimizing essentials, you’ll pull out all pore-cloggers straight and clean and shrink oversized pores for the best skin you’ve ever had!
This box shipped October 21st and arrived on my doorstep October 22nd. Love the overnight shipping that is express service! I had high hopes for this box and it didn't disappoint! The good thing about getting these unboxings up late though is that I've actually had the chance to use a few things so I can also give a short first impression!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Old Factory Candle Gift Set

I got a little excited and ripped through the gift wrapping the second I got this so the shoddy wrap job I promise is not how it comes wrapped, but I used the same paper and bow. Next time I will exercise more restraint and take the pictures pre-violent unwrapping!

I was kindly contacted by Old Factory for a chance to review this Candle Gift Set and I immediately jumped on the opportunity. The set I chose to review was the "Coffee Shop" collection which contained three candles in the scents Coffee Bean, Hazelnut, and Chai Tea. These candle gift sets are all curated from a specific theme and contains 3 different scented candles. They can burn for up to 20 hours and they are hand-poured in the USE with a natural soy wax, that means no horrible puff of smoke once you blow them out! These sets are sold exclusively through Amazon and I've listed all of them below!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nails of the Week #18: Ciate in Pillow Fight

My nails went naked for almost a full week, it was a strange experience but to combat my acne issue that I had over the summer I was using some severely drying products and medication that resulted in fairly brittle nails and my over exuberance with glitter polish really didn't help with the peeling. My nails still aren't 100% but I couldn't resist the siren call of my nail polish any longer so here we are. This week I am bringing a simple manicure in one of my go to shades. This is the first time I've used this polish that I received in my September Blue Velveteen box and it is Ciate in Pillow Fight.

This color is a delicate shade of grey with a hint of lilac to it. The formula was super creamy and took two quick drying coats to apply! I think this is a beautiful shade for fall as it's a muted neutral that is incredibly glossy on the nails. I took pictures in all sorts of lights and it appears almost blue in natural light which is interesting. In person there is no doubt it is a more of purple grey though. This color reminds me of one of my favorite Essie colors Chinchilly. I haven't had the best of luck with Ciate polishes in the past in durability so fingers crossed this will hold up! I love the cute mini bottle too and it makes me believe I can actually finish this up!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Unboxing: Memebox Special #44 Very Berry

Meme addiction is getting bad. I'm losing storage space rapidly so my usual morning routine of just four steps (toner, moisturizer, eye roller, and spot treatment) has started taking on some additional products in order to work my way through all these amazing skincare goodies! I think I'm putting a hold on Memeboxes for now seeing as I still have about eight coming towards me!

For those that don't know what I'm talking about Memebox is a Korean beauty non-subscription box that sells boxes of surprise products curated with different themes in mind straight from Korea! Like I mean your box is shipped to you FROM Korea! These are great deals because boxes typically run between $19 - $39 (there are more expensive ones) but the value of the boxes are usually double and often triple the price you pay! 

This one is the Special #44 Very Berry which is a box packed with all things berry! I was expecting all skincare so I was surprised to find a makeup item included! I purchased this box in a value set so I got to pay one shipping for two boxes PLUS a free upgrade to express shipping! So the box was $29 + $3.45 for shipping for a total cost of $32.45.
From the website:

Berries, berries, berries! The beauty benefits that berries offer are endless! 
This Very Berry box is jam-packed with all sorts of scrumptious berry infused beauty goodies that not only offer health benefits, but also extend their benefits to the skin and body! Bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, plus collagen inducing compounds, these yummy fruits neutralize free radicals that lead to skin cell damage, and increase the collagen and elastin levels in skin and body for the look of healthier, more vibrant skin!
This sensational Very Berry Box is a dream come true for all you berry-holics! Plus, the delish scent is an added bonus! 
This box shipped October 21st and arrived on my doorstep October 22nd. Seriously I'm spoiled by express shipping! I love these value sets because there's that free upgrade to express and shipping is literally overnight FROM Korea!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Unboxing: POPSUGAR Must Have October 2014

I know it's November but my Popsugar took THAT long to get here! They went through a whole site and system redesign and had a huge amount of issues and there were mass delays. It was really ugly. Not only that something is even missing in my box! I'm not too upset over it but the day after I received the box an email was sent around with a special customer service email listed in there so I sent them an email about it and I was promptly given a "this team does not exist" message. Not pleased. More details to come, let's just go through the things I did receive in this box.

Popsugar costs about $40 a month and is a lifestyle box so there's a mix of beauty, fashion, food, and home items! There is great value in the box normally well over $100 and it is sent monthly with a theme curated to the season. This month was a disaster with their new updates and this box just showed up at my door one day with no warning or shipping email sent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Wants

It's been awhile since I did any type of wishlists. I know with my ban earlier this year I proclaimed that these types of posts would be wiped out completely, but now that I have all of my makeup organized (organizing post still to come, sit tight!) I am more inspired than ever to work through my stash. I've already started sorting it out, gifting products to lucky friends and family because even though I LOVE certain shades (peach and berry blushes galore!) there is just no way I can go through everything before it gets gross and old or expired. This has been an eye opening journey for me and I've gotten to use a wide range of products and I'm more understanding of the priorities in my life. Therefore I felt it would be okay to come up with a rare wishlist post because they are things after careful research I know that I would love very much!

It's no surprise this that the majority of items on this list are skincare. Makeup I tend to go through phases but skincare I follow religiously. My nighttime routine is already 13 steps and always growing (read all about it here!) and I'm still building my morning routine, I'm in the test phase right now and I have products lined up for days to try out. Anyways I'll stop rambling and just get into the few special products I'm currently coveting!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Project Second Chance

I'm kind of hitting the point in Project Pan where I don't really have makeup sitting around that I could finish in a reasonable time so I decided to start a new Project for a few months in order to give Project Pan a break. I'm potentially considering taking on Project Pan that Palette since that would be a very satisfying accomplishment! Anyways...I am here to introduce Project Second Chance! Over the years of makeup testing and blog writing I've definitely made some rash decisions on whether or not I like that product. Eight out of ten times my first instincts are correct but sometimes I will stumble back upon the product and find that I actually love it! Let me give three examples:

Benefit's Watt's Up: When I first started using this the cream formula was just not working with my skin at the time and I just didn't really get stick products. Fast forward a few months where I decided to Project Pan it and I discovered how truly easy it is to draw on my highlights and blend it out with a small stippling blush. Now this is my go to highlight for days where I decide to wear face makeup.
elf Makeup Remover Pen: When I first started I thought it was messy and counter-productive but then I learned to wipe off the tip with each use and to use it simply as a tool to dispense the remover in concentrated sections and then using a tissue or q-tip to clean out the area and now I'm a huge fan and it's a life saver when it comes to winged liner.
Too Faced Better Than Sex: When I first used it I thought it did nothing for my lashes and it flaked off pretty easily. When I mentioned this to a friend who loved this mascara she suggested letting it dry out a little bit (it's a really wet formula) so I put it down and came back to it two weeks later and now I love the soft full and fanned out look it gives my lashes and I haven't had a problem with smudging since!

So I scoured my blog looking up Unfavorites and unfavorable reviews and I came up with 12 products that I would like to give a second chance to! So how this works is for the next three months I will focus on four products each month to see if I can make them work for me. I acknowledge that sometimes the season or my skin chemistry just isn't right and could have been a contributing factor in why I disliked a project. I didn't pick anything that gave my skin a bad reaction or I wasn't a fan of the smell because obviously those things will never work for me. Here are my picks for the month of November!

Monday, November 3, 2014

October 2014 Favorites + Unfavorites!

October was the month of oldies but goodies as well as skincare mania as usual when it comes to me. As we are doing from now on unfavorites will be listed at the end after all the favorites which I'm surprised to have found a few this month seeing as I didn't really venture much out of comfort zone at all.