Ipsy Glam Bag April 2014 Review

Ipsy Glam Bag April 2014 Review

It’s Ipsy time!

I thought this month’s bag (valued at approx. $2.00) was pretty cute!  It’s a dark blue light weight square bag with a record/record player on it.  I think it’s kinda groovy, so I’ll be putting it to use!

** Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription that sends you a combination of delux-sized samples and full-size products that are personalized for you based on the results of your beauty quiz. Along with the beauty products, you also receive a monthly (super cute) make-up bag! The cost of an Ipsy subscription is $10/month. **

Goodies received:


Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse

Full size = $17.95, Sample value = $2.87

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this product.  Sexy Hair products have not been my favorite products of all time, but I’m always willing to try new things.  I don’t use a root lifter in my normal hair routine, although, when I get a haircut, my stylist always insists on using one on me.

I’ve been trying to wear my hair down a little more lately.  I feel like I’ve been extra rough on my hair lately, and pulling it back into a wet bun every day is not good for my hair.  So I’m trying to give it some freedom.

Anyway, I sprayed the mousse onto my roots and massaged it in.  It’s not like a regular mousse that expands like a huge cloud in your hand, it’s much thinner, but does foam up just a little.  Then I flipped my head upside down and diffused my hair.

I think a used just a tiny bit too much product, as my hair felt heavy and slightly crunchy at the roots, and that’s not what you want.  But I think my hair was a little more lifted at the roots than normal, so I guess it ultimately did it’s job.

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Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Champagne

Full size = $12.99 (received full size)

I’m not sure how I feel about this eye shadow.  As a general rule, I don’t think shimmery eye shadow looks good on me.  However, once applied, this shade didn’t really look too shimmery.  It looked more brightening than anything else, which is nice.

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the texture of the shadow.  It seemed a little dry.  On the other hand, had it been more buttery and velvety, it might have looked more shimmery, which probably would have made me like it less.  Apparently, I just can’t be pleased!  ;)

I didn’t really have any problems with the shadow creasing, but fading was definitely an issue.  I would use a primer in the future.

All this too say, I don’t hate it.  And I’ll probably continue to wear it, particularly on days when I’m feeling and looking tired and need my eye area brightened up.

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Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in Black Velvet

Full size = $20.00, Sample value = $13.33

I love black eye liner.  I love it almost as much as I love mascara (which is A LOT).  I’ve heard a lot of hype about various Urban Decay eye liners, so I was curious to see how this one performed.

First, I loved the texture of the pencil.  Not too soft (so many eye liners are getting ridiculously soft) and not too dry.  Just how I like it.  And really, really dark black.  Check, check!

However, while it claims to be waterproof, I had no problems washing it off with just soap and water.  If a product is water proof, I would expect to have to use makeup remover to get it off.

Also, I had a problem with it flaking.  I noticed lots of black flecks along my under eye area.  And I don’t believe it was my mascara as I was using the same Almay mascara I’ve been using for years.

Flaking aside, I liked this eye liner a lot.

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Mary Kay at Play Jelly Lip Gloss in Teddy Bare

Full size = $10.00 (received full size)

You know, I thought with all the advances we’ve had in makeup technology, I thought we were past the days of super sticky lip gloss.  Even drug store brands like Rimmel, Maybelline, and Revlon have super smooth and balmy textures.

But I have to say that this is probably the STICKIEST lip gloss I have ever used.  I know some people say stickiness in lip gloss is what allows it to last longer, but this is unreasonably bad.

I can’t tell you how long this lip gloss lasted, as I wiped it off shortly after taking my photos.  I expect so much more from a $10.00 lip gloss.

The color that I was sent is another corpse-y nude color.  I thought Ipsy was finally starting to regularly send out lovely rosy lip colors, but I am disappointed once more.

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Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion

Full size = $78.00, Sample value = $9.75

Whew – this stuff was intense!  But very awesome.  And it should be.  Did you see the full price?  And that’s just for two ounces, by the way.

When I hear the term “microdermabrasion”, I expect serious results.  And I think I got it with this product.

It was slightly painful to use, by my skin was mighty, might smooth after using it.  Much more so than just using your average facial scrub.  I actually told my boyfriend he needs to use this as well.

I can’t afford to repurchase this product, but if you have the available funds, you might want to check it out!

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This is me wearing the Elizabeth Mott eye shadow, Urban Decay eye liner, and Mary Kay lip gloss.  I also applied some cream blush to my cheeks because without it, I was completely washed out.  And I am actually wearing the Sexy Hair spray mousse as well, but I, obviously, have my hair pulled back so it’s hard to tell.

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Overall, this was a good bag, but not a great bag.  And it certainly had a great value.  I paid $10, and the total box value was $50.94!

I think the microdermabrasion was my favorite item in the bag, followed by the Urban Decay eye liner.

Did you receive an Ipsy bag this month?  How was it?

If you’re interested in signing up with Ipsy, please consider using my referral link here.


Manicure Monday: Bobbi Brown Nectar

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Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had a great Easter weekend!

You may have seen my Bobbi Brown haul from over the weekend.  And as promised, the Nectar nail polish will be the first featured item from that haul!

This particular nail polish shade is part of the Bobbi Brown Nectar & Nude collection, which I think is absolutely stunning, but the downside is that the color is Limited Edition.

I would describe Nectar as juicy coral that is bright and spring-y, but slightly muted and neutral at the same time.

Basically, it’s gorgeous.  It’s the perfect spring/summer shade for just about everyone.  I don’t have a lot of coral colors in my nail polish collection, so this is a welcomed addition.

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This nail polish went on very smoothly.  Not a streak to be seen.  One coat gave okay coverage, but it definitely requires a second coat.  If you really want a super strong opaque look to your nails, you might even want to add a third coat, but I stopped at just two coats.

I also thought the brush size was pretty good – not too small/thin, and not too wide.

While the nail polish formula dried with a fair amount of shine, I did add a top coat to really add some extra shine and make the color look super juicy.

Normally, I like to report how long the nail polish lasts on me without chipping, but I only acquired and applied this nail polish yesterday, so I can’t say yet.  But so far, after 24 hours of wear, it looks fantastic!

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This Bobbi Brown nail polish retails for $15.00

I believe Nectar is already sold out on the Bobbi Brown website, but try shopping at the Bobbi Brown counters at your department stores – that’s how I got mine.  If the counter says they’re sold out, ask them to check online.  For instance, Belk, which is one of my department stores in North Carolina still has some Nectar nail polish in stock on their website.

Have you tried any Bobbi Brown nail polishes, or any items from the Nectar & Nude collection?



Bobbi Brown Haul

Bobbi Brown Haul

I might have lost my mind a little bit at the Bobbi Brown counter. That’s totally normal, right?

In my defense, I had a 20% off coupon at one of my local department stores that was actually good on cosmetics.  That, like, NEVER happens.  So I had to make the most of it!

Here’s what I walked away with:


Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Cheeks & Lips in Calypso Coral

Bobbi Brown Beach eau de parfum

Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Color in Coral Pink

Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Nectar (part of the Nectar & Nude collection)

Bobbi Brown Nail Polish in Nectar (part of the Nectar & Nude collection)

Bobbi Brown Blush in Nectar (NOT part of the Nectar & Nude collection – confusing, I know…)


And if I’m being completely honest, I also purchased the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Apricot (part of the Nectar & Nude collection), however, I decided that while it was very beautiful, it’s just too expensive ($42.00) and will be returning it, which is why it’s not in my photo.


So keep your eyes peeled as reviews will be popping up on all these products – starting with tomorrow’s Manicure Monday post!  :)


Clinique Chubby Stick & Chubby Stick Intense Review

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Happy Friday!  I hope you’re all gearing up for a lovely weekend!

Any Easter egg hunts planned?

Or a lovely Easter brunch?  That’s what we’re doing!  There’s a beautiful little cafe about 20 minutes from our apartment that we don’t get to go to very often, but we’ll be splurging a little for brunch this Sunday.  So excited!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m really into lip crayons.  And the first thing I think of when someone says lip crayons is the Clinique Chubby Stick.

I’ve had the shade Mega Melon for a couple of years, and then I recently received a [nearly full-sized] sample of Roomiest Rose, which is part of the newer Chubby Stick Intense line.

What I think is absolutely adorable about all the Chubby Sticks are the names.  They all include a descriptive word that is a synonym for “chubby”.  For instance – Chunky Cherry, Pudgy Peony, Jumbo Jasmine, Hefty Hibiscus, and Two Ton Tomato.  I don’t know what to tell ya – I just think it’s super cute!


Swatches: Left – Mega Melon, R – Roomiest Rose

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Chubby Stick in Mega Melon – a sheer peachy orange/pink

As I mentioned, I’ve had this Chubby Stick for a couple of years and I’ve always enjoyed it.

The formula is really hydrating and goes on very smoothly.  It gives your lips a healthy sheen, but doesn’t make them shiny.  Because it’s as moisturizing as it is, I felt comfortable skipping the lip balm before putting this on.

The color leans a little sheer, but is can be easily built up.  I got an easy 4 hours of wear with this Chubby stick, but it didn’t survive a meal.

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Chubby Stick Intense in Roomiest Rose - a vivid berry-rose

This formula is more intensely pigmented and more long lasting than the original Chubby Stick formula.  It’s not completely opaque, but definitely somewhere in between moderate to full coverage.  It also seems slightly more matte than the original formula, but still has a tiny hint of sheen.

It is adequately moisturizing when it’s first applied, but not quite as moisturizing as the original formula.  I found that this formula dries out a good bit as the hours go by, so it feels more comfortable to add a little lip balm underneath.

I did get 6 hours of wear with this formula and it easily survived my Starbucks to-go cup.  And it sort of made it through a meal.  I found the color closest to the inside of the lips faded, but the area closer to my lip line stayed in place.

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I really like that the Chubby Sticks are twist up, so I don’t have to worry about wasting product with a sharpener.  However, without sharpening it, you do eventually loose the pencil-like tip, which is what assists with precision application.

Overall, I’m a big fan of the Clinique Chubby Sticks.  I will definitely be purchasing some more colors.  These beautiful lip crayons come in a wide variety of colors and retail for $17.00.  They can be found at the Clinique counter in various department stores and they’re also sold at Sephora!

Have you tried any Chubby Sticks?  What did you think?  Which color(s) did you try?



Almay Triple Effect Mascara Review

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I’ve mentioned a couple times on this blog that I’ve been using a few Almay eye products for several years, and it just occurred to me that I’ve never actually reviewed the ones I use! So I’m starting with my favorite Almay mascara – Triple Effect!

The reason I’ve been wearing Almay eye products nearly exclusively is because several years ago, I noticed other drugstore brand mascaras, and sometimes eye lines, made my eyes itch like crazy.  Almay is hypo-allergenic, so I’ve been able to wear their products without issue.  And thankfully, I happen to like the products as well!


Almay’s Triple Effect mascara promises fuller, longer, and curvier lashes.  My photo doesn’t totally show off the unique applicator brush, but essentially, all the bristles are jammed packed on one side of the brush, making the impact of the brush really concentrated and dramatic.

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These are my lashes without any mascara.  All I’ve done is curl them.  *womp womp*

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These are my lashes with two coats of the Almay Triple Effect Mascara.  I think what’s most apparent is the volume and fullness that’s added.  There is some added length, which is great.  And for the most part, my lashes maintained their curl.

I really think, for a drugstore brand, this gives great drama to my lashes.  If you compare it to higher end mascaras that I’ve reviewed, like Benefit, Tarte, or Smashbox, it may not be quite as impressive, but it’s a fraction of the cost!  How can you go wrong?

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The formula washes off fairly easily.  Soap and water will take most of it off, but the formula is so dark, I often find I have black stains left around my eyes, so I use the Almay oil-free makeup remover pads to really get every last bit off.

The only real complaint that I have regarding this mascara, as well as all the other Almay mascara formulas, is that after a few weeks of use, it starts to thicken up a bit and you have to wipe excess product off the applicator brush.  But despite that, the mascara still delivers the same great results on your lashes!  It’s just a nuisance to have to wipe off the excess.

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Overall, I’m a big fan of this mascara and I have repurchased it many times over the last several years and I will continue to repurchase it in the future!

Have you tried any of the Almay mascaras?  Are you a fan?


Manicure Monday: China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint

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I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’m totally loving the color mint this Spring.  I can’t seem to get enough of it!  So I thought it was high time that I did a mint manicure!

A few weeks ago, Sally Beauty Supply was running a sale on China Glaze polishes, so I picked up two China Glaze polishes for just $7.00!  I love a good steal!  And one of the colors I grabbed was Re-Fresh Mint.

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I don’t often have good luck with pastels, so I was expecting a challenge in application (too thick, a little chalky, gloopy….), but I really didn’t have any problems!  It was pretty streaky with the first coat, but the second coat created a smooth and opaque finish.  Easy peazy.

Ahem.  Please excuse my cuticles and their horrid condition.  I don’t know why I’ve been ignoring my nails and cuticles lately.

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I thought the brush size for China Glaze was pretty good.  Not too thin, but I would have preferred a brush just a little bit fatter.  But overall, theirs was pretty decent.

I’ve had this nail polish on for three days, and no chips so far!  My photos don’t show a top coat, but I did decide later in the day to add one (Essie 3-Way Glaze) and I’m glad I did.  While the nail polish was a little shiny, I prefer a higher shine factor.

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I really, really love this mint shade.  I have a feeling I’ll be wearing it a lot over the next few months.  It’s a very different color to add into my collection, which is a refreshing change.

Refreshing…… Refreshment….. Re-Fresh Mint….. :)   I know, I’m lame.

Do you have any China Glaze polishes in your collection?  What colors are you favorites?




Vasanti Lip and Cheek Color Pod Review

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I’m so excited that I was one of the few lucky Birchbloggers selected to receive this cute lip and cheek color pod from Visanti!  I’m a big fan of cream blushes so I’m happy to have another to add to my collection!

And as you can see, the packaging and design of this particular product is definitely more unique than your average cream blush…  The packaging is often referred to as “futuristic-looking” because it looks like an item that would be found on Judy Jetson’s vanity.

But in reality, the packaging makes a comfortable applicator that fits perfectly in your hand to apply directly to your cheeks and lips.

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I received the color Candle Light, a cool peachy coral.

When applied to my cheeks, it has a slight iridescence that gives my skin a gentle glow that lasts through my 9 hour work day.

I did apply it directly onto my skin with the applicator and blended it with my fingers.  However, if I were wearing foundation or BB cream or something on my skin, I might use a clean finger or a brush to take color off the pod and apply it to my cheeks as I wouldn’t want to get foundation all over the pod.

It does blend fairly easily with fingers.  The trick to cream blush is to blend the edges well enough that you can’t see where your skin and blush meet – make it look like a completely natural flush (I’m not saying I’m perfect at this application, but that’s the general idea.  :) )

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On the lips, it felt really hydrating, even without a lip balm underneath.  The color ultimately lasted about 4 hours on me, however, it started to become patchy after only two hours.

When you use the applicator to apply the color directly to your lips, it gives a pretty strong color pay off.  However, the big round pod does not assist with precise application.

So if you want more precise application of color, I would recommend using a lip brush.  Also using a lip brush or a clean finger may be a little more hygienic than applying the pod directly onto your lips.

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There’s really only one thing that I didn’t care for regarding this color pod – when applied to your cheeks, it continues to feel slightly wet and tacky all day long.  So if you touch your cheek throughout the day, you can feel the product on your skin.

Now, let me clarify – it’s definitely a light weight formula.  It truly does not feel heavy at all.  But it just never really absorbs into your skin to make it feel set or like it’s just part of your skin.

And when I think of my favorite cream blushes, they usually set and absorb pretty quickly leaving me with a soft-to-the-touch cheek.  So I wish the Vasanti formula was a little more like that.

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Overall, I really do like this little color pod.  I think the Candle Light shade is gorgeous and perfect for Spring and Summer.  When used on my cheeks and lips, I’m left with a radiant peach-y glow.

The Vasanti color pods retail for $24 and are available in the Birchbox Shop or VasantiCosmetics.com.

Have your tried this color pod?  What are your favorite cream cheek/lip duos?