Saturday, May 18, 2013

REVIEW: Ipsy May 2013

May Ipsy bag came earlier this week & I'm pretty please with what I ended up with. As I mentioned in the preview post, there was a bit of variation this month, so I wasn't really sure what to expect...but I'm impressed!  

May 2013 Ipsy Bag Contents:
Yaby Concealer in Buff
Zoya Polish in Neely
NuMe Finishing Serum
Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume Roll-On
Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss

NuMe Finishing Serum: I was so bummed to receive yet another hair serum...I feel like I'm up to my ears in oils and serums that are so popular all of a sudden. However, I make it a point to try everything in my bag and WOW I am in love with this. The sample comes with a dropper, and you're instructed to pour three drops into your hands, rub together, and apply all over to wet or dry hair.  It's a little intimidating because the product is a lot thicker than usual oils, and I was so afraid it would weigh my hair down! I applied mine to dry hair, after blowdrying. I started at my ends, which are super damaged from years of hair dye, and worked up to my roots. Seriously impressive results! My hair actually looked glossy and sleek, a look I have never been able to achieve. I can't say it's actual repaired my split ends from the few times I've used it, but it definitely disguises them. I can't wait to use this in the summer when the humidity kicks in! :) 

Yaby Concealer in Buff: I know a lot of girls got the wrong color concealer in their bags this month, but Buff is perfect for me. I do have sort of yellow undertones in my skin and so does this concealer! I just applied with my finger and found it very easy to blend! I only really use concealer in problem areas and under my eyes, but this definitely did provide great coverage. I did include a swatch above on my cheek, although it is hard to see (that's how great the match is!). 

Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Fig: Ok, the color looks kind of scary in the tube. It's like a dark pinkish brown. BUT, first of all, when you open the tube you will smell the most delightful citrus scent! Second, when you apply the gloss, you will be amazed at how NOT sticky it is. I generally hate glosses for that reason, but this one is great. It makes my lips feel soft and smooth. And lastly..the color? GORGEOUS. See swatch above. Definitely give this a try if you got it in your bag! 

Zoya Polish in Neely: Green is my absolute favorite color, so I was pleased to see this in my bag. It's almost a mint green, but not quite. This is my first ever Zoya product and I was pretty pleased with the application. The first coat did go on pretty streaky, but smooth. Once I put on a second coat, it looked gorgeous. Please excuse the mess of a photo posted above..I was so excited I didn't really do any clean-up! Honestly, it's not my favorite color ever, but it will be great for designs with other colors or as an accent nail! 

Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume Roll-On: Ok, I love the smell of this. It's definitely a 'true' vanilla, almost like vanilla extract. It reminds me of baking, which I love! I've been putting a bit behind my ears, on my neck, and on my wrists, & I'm actually very impressed with the  staying power. It lasts all the way through my eight hour work day. 

What did you all think of the products your received in your Ipsy bag this month? :) 

REVIEW: Birchbox May 2013

Whoooooo Birchbox came! I think Birchbox might actually be my favorite subscription, just because it always varies so much from month to month and I love trying out new things. 

May Birchbox Contents:
Beauty Protector: Protect & Detangle
Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Saletti
amika Nourishing Mask
amika Oil Treatment
Isaac Mizrahi Fabulous Eau de Parfum
COOLA SPF30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face

Beauty Protector: I have read such amazing reviews about this product and I've actually had it in my cart on for quite a while, waiting to accumulate some points. Lucky for me, I got to sample it this month! As directed, I shampooed, conditioned, & towel dried my hair & then sprayed this miracle in. As a bonus, it smells incredible. They describe is as floral on the website, but it's definitely more of a vanilla. I let it sit for a few seconds and then combed it through. Now, I have a lot of hair and it gets tangled super easily, to the point where I have actual knots in my hair. NOPE, not with this. I went to comb it and the comb slid right through my hair. Incredible. This product is also supposed to tame frizz and protect hair from heat, neither of which I can vouch for yet. But I will continue to use it as a detangler (and for the scent!). 

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Saletti: I'll admit it; I'm an eyeliner junkie. I feel completely naked without it. I received this Sumita liner in 'Saletti,' which is a lovely dark gray color. I have to say I'm impressed with how smoothly it glides on. Absolutely zero tugging. Also, the staying power is comparable to Urban Decay's 24/7 liners, which are my all time favorite. I have been wearing this one to work and it definitely lasts well past my shift. I may have to purchase this in a few more colors! I have my eyes on ZIBA, the lime green. ;)

amika Nourishing Mask & Oil Treatment: As I mentioned in my preview post, I've been dying to try the amika brand forever, mostly because of their packaging design. So imagine my delight when I got TWO products from them to sample this month! I found that the mask & oil treatment can be used separately or you can add the oil to the mask and use them together. So far I have only used them together, but intend to try them on their own soon. I added a few drops of the oil treatment to about half the packet of mask (I have a lot of hair!) and worked it through my hair after I shampooed and towel dried my hair. I let it sit for about five minutes, although the instructions say about three is sufficient. I rinsed and towel dried again and could already tell my hair was going to look and feel amazing. I normally blow dry my hair, but decided to let it air dry this time. The results? Super soft and shiny hair. The kind you almost can't stop touching! It also smells great and I can still feel the affects of these treatments three days after using them. 

Isaac Mizrahi Fabulous Eau de Parfum: Somehow, this scent is the perfect balance of citrus & floral. Neither one is very overpowering and they work together in this amazing way. Perfect for spring! I'm not sure I love it enough to buy a full size, but I will definitely use up the sample. 

COOLA SPF30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face: Ah, sunscreen. It's that time of the year! I will say this has a nice fresh scent to it, but I think it's a tiny bit too strong for my face. If it was unscented, or for my body, it would be perfect. I will say that this does make my skin feel nice and moisturized and it's not oil at all. Sometimes I'm a little leery of putting on moisturizer because my skin acts up, but I haven't noticed any breakouts from this at all. Hanging on to it for my trip down South next week! Bring on the sun. :) 

How about you guys? What were your Birchbox samples this month, and what was your favorite? 

PREVIEW: Julep June 2013

The selection window for our June Julep boxes is in a couple of days & as usual, I'm pretty excited about what we're getting! :) This is the cover photo for Julep's Twitter page:
Some people are saying it looks like kind of random colors, but I can kind of see the beach theme they're going for. And they appear to be mostly creams, which I LOVE. Also making their debut this month are the DD creme & concealer. According to Julep's Facebook page, you'll be able to select your shade during the selection window (if you don't log in to choose your shade, you'll be sent medium by default!). I'm normally an 'It Girl' so I just get polish, but I might have to pick another box this month to try the DD stuff, or maybe add it on. We'll see in a couple of days when the boxes are revealed!
Via Julep's Facebook page

What do you think, fellow Mavens? Excited about the polishes and the products? Is it an upgrade month, or maybe a skip month?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beauty Subscription Services

I just want to talk a little about some of the subscriptions I currently have for the sake of not confusing anyone with my posts. I do plan on blogging about the three subscriptions I currently have (Birchbox, Ipsy, & Julep) monthly. I also posted the 'about' pages from each website & my referral links if you want to sign up!


Birchbox was my first ever beauty subscription that I signed up for last October & I honestly can't say enough good things about them. It's $10/month or $110/year for a monthly box that contains 4-5 beauty samples. It comes in an adorable brown box with the Birchbox logo & it's all packaged up in a bright pink cardboard mailer! You're billed on the 1st of each month & packages are generally sent out by the 10th at the latest. 
There's a pretty wide variety of products sent out each month, so not all subscribers end up with the same stuff. This causes a lot of 'box envy' among subscribers, but I can honestly say that I think most products are divided up pretty fairly among the boxes. Every box I've gotten so far has at least one product I've been really excited about & I always try out everything in the box, even if I'm skeptical. For me, the whole point of Birchbox isn't to get things that I necessarily WANT every month. It's more about trying new things that I wouldn't sample/purchase otherwise. They send out makeup, skincare products, hair products, perfumes, nail polish, etc.  Birchbox does also occasionally include 'lifestyle' items, like snacks, pens, & nail files. Some samples are deluxe, while others are foil packets, & they do sometimes send full-sized items, but rarely. 
Even if you don't like the products you get in your box, the Birchbox points system can't be beat. Every month when you get your box, you can go in & review each item for 10 points a piece. You can also earn points for purchases made on the site & occasionally they have coupon codes to earn additional points. Each 100 points you earn equals $10 in the Birchbox shop. You'll be amazed how quickly they accumulate! Since October, I've made purchases totaling $126.89 & I've only had to use $16.89 out of my own pocket..the 
rest has all been points!

Here's my referral link, if you're interested in checking out a box!


Ipsy is also a monthly subscription that you can purchase for $10/month. They send 4-5 deluxe samples & full-sized products each month & you usually get a discount code for each of the brands they're featuring for the month. You're billed on the 1st of the month & they start shipping in the middle of the month. Each month's products come in a make up bag, so if you like to hoard those this sub is for you! They're different each month in pattern and shape.AND the whole thing is mailed in a shiny pink bubble mailer, which is really exciting to see in your mailbox!
In the past, Ipsy has sent out mostly the same products to each subscriber. Sometimes they include color variation or an 'OR' item (ex. lipstick OR lipgloss). This month, however, they do appear to have a wider variety of what is going into each bag. There are two items everyone is getting & the rest is supposed to be based on your profile you fill out when you sign up. I know some people are upset about the variety, but I'm pretty excited that they're sending out more personalized bags!
As I sort of mentioned before, Ipsy does also include a card in each bag that lists the featured brands for the month & a discount code you can use to purchase their products. Generally it's a perfect off, but it's sometimes a free item or a buy one get one. These discounts can also be found under your account on in the 'Glam Room.' Ipsy's website is very interactive & allows users to upload videos/photos of looks. You can also 'like' looks & products on their page to save them to your profile. Occasionally Ipsy sends out extra items in bags to users who are active on their site and/or Facebook page! You also may get extra things in your bag by mentioning Ipsy on your blog/YouTube channel or entering their Facebook contests.    

Here's my referral link, if you're interested in checking out a bag!


For $19.99/month you can also subscribe to Julep! They are mainly a nail polish subscription service, but they have also started to expand their line of beauty products which are included in boxes each month. Julep sends out an e-mail on the 20th of each month letting you know that you have from then until the 24th to make your selections for each month. When you sign up, you'll take a quiz & it will tell you which style profile you fall into. This will be your 'default' box each month, but you are able to switch your style profile each month to a different type during the selection window. You can also skip the month or 'upgrade' which means you'll receive the products in all five boxes that month. You're billed on the 27th each month.
Like I said, there are five different style profiles you can choose from each month: It Girl, Boho Glam, Bombshell, Classic with a Twist, & Modern Beauty. The It Girl box always contains three nail polishes, which are usually pretty trendy & bold. The Boho Glam box gets two nail polishes ('Boho' colors are usually things like teal, orange, metallics, etc) and a beauty product. Bombshell also contains two nail polishes & a beauty product, but the nail polishes are usually nice and bright (sometimes glittery!). Classic with a Twist contains two more neutral/standard nail polish colors (think red & pink) with a product. The Boho Glam box, Bombshell box, & Classic with a Twist box generally all receive the same product. The Modern Beauty box will contain that same product and one additional product, but no polish. 
I find that I switch my profile pretty much every month, depending on which colors I like best and what the product is. I haven't upgraded yet, but if you want to it's an extra $35 & you get all the nail polishes & all the products for the month. When you select your box you'll also get the choice to choose 'add-on' products (shipped separately), which are usually polishes/products in other boxes & sets of other polishes available on 
You get 20% off of all products once you sign up & you get free shipping on all orders. If you do not skip the month, you'll also have access the Secret Store on the 1st of each month for 72 hours. The Secret Store has really, really good deals on individual polishes, sets of polish, & product sets. Julep also has a rewards program where you can earn 'Jules' for things like ordering a box, referring friends, your anniversary, etc. These Jules can be used to purchase monthly boxes once you accumulate them.

Here's my referral link, if you're interested in checking out a box!

Friday, May 10, 2013

PREVIEW: Ipsy May 2013

Ipsy, Ipsy, Ipsy... the last few months have been a little hit-or-miss for me, but this month they really hit it out of the park! The ladies over at (MUT, for short), are super sleuths, and almost always figure out what we're getting that month before Ipsy even announces the spoilers on their Facebook page. I would highly recommend setting up an account with MUT if you have any beauty subscriptions or just love make up. It's such a great forum & they have the greatest members. :) But, I digress...

Normally, all members are sent the same products every month for Ipsy, with the exception of an occasional 'OR' item. This month, however, there's quite a variety! Some people aren't very happy about it, but I personally like my bag a little more personalized. :) I have two bags coming this month & I set up two very different profiles, so I'm hoping to get a nice variety. 

Here's what we're getting this month in our 'Spring Fling' bags:

1. Every bag with contain a Zoya polish from the Lovely Spring 2013 Collection. 

Julie (purple)

GeiGei (pink)
Piaf (gold)
Blu (blue)
Jacqueline (cream)
Neely (green)

2. Every bag will contain a Yaby concealer (color based on your profile). 

3. The rest of the items appear to be sort of random, but the remaining three products in each bag will come from this list: 
Pacifica Roll-On Perfume in Island Vanilla or Tahitian Gardenia
Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Bronzing Body Butter
Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Luminizing Body Butter
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment
St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow
Arganics by NuMe Argan Oil
Mirabella Lip Lusters
Mirabella Perfecting Powder
Mirabella Colour Sheer Lipstick
Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss

**In regards to the Lipstick & Lip Gloss....originally this was an 'OR' item, but Ipsy has said that if you had selected 'lip products' as a favorite product on your profile, you may get both!**

Last, but not least, the bag itself is perfect for summer!

There seems to be a lot of variety this month based on the photos of bags already received on MUT & Instagram. Here's my wishlist for my bags: 

Bag One: 
1. Zoya Polish in Neely
2. Light Concealer
3. Mirabella Lipstick
4. St Tropez
5. Mirabella Powder

Bag Two: 
1. Zoya Polish in Julie
2. Light Concealer
3. Juice Beauty Gloss
4. Pacifica Roll-On
5. Pacifica Luminizing Body Butter

PREVIEW: Birchbox May 2013

Anyone who's been subscribed to Birchbox for a while knows the importance of the tenth of the month. On the tenth, your account on their website updates to show what's going to be in your box for that month! I am entirely too impatient to wait for the mail to actually show up, so I check mine like clockwork at 6:00 AM EST.

This month's theme is The Beauty Diaries. From the Birchbox website: From your morning routine (sunrise yoga or snooze button and espresso) to your ice cream preferences (classic vanilla or rocky road with all the toppings), you’ve got a style and personality all your own. This month’s Birchbox is about you: the order in which you try your products, your daily routine, the techniques you’ve mastered. We want you to spill big-time—consider it your beauty-tell-all.   Naturally, we’re spilling some of our own secrets too. This month’s magazine features a roundup of beauty secrets from the experts themselves, our moms,an easy guide to styling curly hair, and an interview with actress-turned-beauty-mogul Salma Hayek. As for our personal beauty diaries, we’ve got those too: read a lip gloss-by-lip gloss account of a day in the life of co-founders Katia, Hayley, and Mollie.

Here's what I should be getting this month (hopefully tomorrow, according to my tracking email!):

I guess I don't really see how it fits the theme this month, but I'm still beyond psyched to try some of these things!

  • amika Obliphica Hair Treatment-I've been dying to try amika for a while, mostly because they have the most adorable packaging I have ever seen. Also, I've been obsessing over hair products lately. I haven't dyed my hair since December because I'm trying to fix some of the damage, while simultaneously growing it out. I've found that oils really help bring the dull ends back to life. :) 
  • amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask - 500 ml-Again, super excited about this brand. I love masks in general, whether it be for your face or your hair. I just love that feeling of having some extra special treatment. 
  • Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner-Eyeliner is my ultimate beauty staple. I just feel sort of naked without it. It's one of my desert island must haves. So, yeah, I'm excited about this! Not very familiar with the brand, but per the reviews it seems well-liked. Hoping for a color other than black, like navy or that lime green!
  • Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle-This is the item I'm most stoked about. I've had the full-sized version of this in my cart for probably two months now, waiting to accumulate some points and hopefully a coupon code. I was so bummed the first time they sent this out  & I didn't get it because it got SUCH good reviews. I mean, people are calling this a Holy Grail hair product. So of course I have to try it! 
  • COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face-I am one of those people who never ever remembers to wear sunscreen in the summer, even though I am Queen of the Pale & I burn like crazy. I do, however, wear moisturizer daily. So this is perfect for me with June right around the corner. 

  • Isaac Mizrahi FABULOUS Eau de Parfum & Rollerball-Can honestly say that I've never heard of this brand, but I do like perfumes. I'm too cheap to buy perfume unless it's something I'm seriously in love with, so I always welcome samples. They last forever anyway &I can mix up what I wear every day! It's described as having 'bright citrus and soft floral notes' & is, of course, supposed to make you feel fabulous. I can deal with that!

REVIEW: Julep May 2013

Received my May Julep box a few weeks ago & I'm just now getting around to reviewing it! 

May's theme was 'The Jazz Collection,' inspired by the Roaring Twenties. I love the twenties & have been eagerly awaiting the release of the new Great Gatsby movie, so I was pretty thrilled to begin with when they announced the theme for the month...but I knew I had to have this month's box when I saw the packaging:

I mean, seriously. LOOK AT IT. I'm not even really a gold person, but those are stunning. Unfortunately, I also fell in love with most of the polishes & couldn't make up my mind which box to choose for the month. I ended up sticking with my usual 'It Girl' box, which included Clara, Coco, & Paris. I chose the 'Modern Perspective' set as an add-on, which included Etta, Zelda, & Millie. And then, since I had to have those lipsticks & lip scrub, I signed up for a second account for the month & got the 'Modern Beauty' box. Almost the whole collection this month!

 All six polishes: Clara, Coco, Paris, Zelda, Etta, Millie. 

Modern Perspective Set: Etta (art deco peridot metallic), Millie (vintage indigo crème), & Zelda (Pink champagne metallic)

It Girl Set: Coco (Oxblood crème), Clara (opaque peach crème), & Paris (multidimensional holographic glitter top coat)

Modern Beauty Set: American Beauty Volumizing Mascara, Sugar Smooch Lip Scrub, & New York Jazz Lipstick Trio

American Beauty Volumizing Mascara in Jet Black

Sugar Smooch Lip Scrub

New York Jazz Lipstick TrioLady in Red (Matte crimson lip color), Tea for Two (Nude shimmer lip sheer), & Satin Doll (Poppy lip sheer)

I'm still working my way through testing everything & will post swatches/reviews shortly! :)