PopSugar Must Have Build-Your-Own-Box

While I was in Florida over the last week of December, PopSugar had a sale where you could curate your own PopSugar MustHave box and take 75% off of any box that was over $100. There were high dollar value items like jewelry and hats and home decor, but I’m a sucker for #stuff and just wanted as much as I could pack in (that I would actually use) to break the $100 ceiling to get it all for ~$25. This is what I put together!  
Update: Apparently the sale is still going on, though remaining stock is limited! Once you hit $100, the price should automatically adjust to 75% off in your cart. 
popsugar must have build your own box winkylux bunny rise & shine morning culture mug rockstar socks cargo blush flint lint roller
My “box” came in two separate packages, nearly two weeks apart. I initially assumed that PopSugar had forgotten my final two items (pictured below) & reached out to customer service, who informed me that they had been shipped separately. I don’t mind the items being shipped separately, but I do wish I had received separate shipping notifications so that I wouldn’t have worried! 

Total Paid: $29.77 (with tax!)
Total Value: $107.20

I cannot get over the precious packaging on this Winky Lux lipstick! Sorry for not touching up my nails before this closeup shot, but hey, who’s got the time?

Here are swatches of the blush and lipstick. The blush is actually a bolder peachy pink when I actually apply it to my cheeks. I love it, but it took me by surprise considering how sheer it looked when swatching. The lipstick is a good basic cool-berry shade. It has a satin finish and feels moisturizing on my lips, but I think I need a lip liner with it because it never really sets.

I loved getting to create my own PopSugar box for less (which is typically a $40/month women’s lifestyle box) and I hope this becomes a seasonal or semiannual way to get rid of inventory!

Allure Beauty Box – December & January

Allure Magazine has a $15 beauty box that is on par with Birchbox, Play!, and Ipsy. They typically include more full-sized product and include beauty, skincare, and makeup tools. I haven’t heard great things about their customer service, and there’s little-to-no customization, so I’d skipped this one. Over the holidays, however, they ran a “First 6 months for $10 a month” promotion, so I bit. These are my boxes from December & January.  
allure beauty box december 2016
My first Allure box was December 2016. It is a little boring compared to flashier, makeup-focused boxes, but I will use almost everything. 
  • Coastal Salt & Soul Heavenly Hand Cream in Ocean Gardenia, full size, $10 – Subscribers received one of three scents, and I love mine, but it certainly isn’t subtle. I keep this on my bedside table and love how quickly it absorbs with no greasy residue whatsoever. 
  • Tula Advanced Neck Cream, sample size, $23.50 – I haven’t tried this yet; I’m still working on finishing up my only other “neck cream” sample (which is such an unappealing product name. Neck Cream. Ugh). I typically just use my nighttime facial moisturizer on my neck as well, so it’s not a high-priority must-try for me. 
  • Kevin Murphy Anti.Gravity Volumiser, sample size, $8 – Also haven’t tried. I have many hair concerns, but the need for volume isn’t really one of them. 
  • beautyblender blender cleanser, sample size, ~$3 – Okay, I haven’t tried this either yet but I actually am excited to. I use a Sephora-bar cleanser for my sponges, brushes, and beautyblender, so it’ll be nice to compare the two. 
  • Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate, sample size, $2.70 – I’m scared to try this. It gets great reviews but contains mostly mineral oil, which breaks me out. It’s supposedly not only a moisturizer, but also a primer and makeup remover. 
  • European Wax Center Oh My Brow! Highlighter, full size, $19 – I’ve been going to the European Wax Center near my house for over two years now, but I’ve never tried their beauty products. I really can’t get enough makeup sticks – I love them for my hurried parking lot makeup application mornings. This & the hand cream are my favorite items in the box. 
Total Paid: $10
Retail Value: $66.20
allure beauty box january 2017 dr brandt biobelle burt's bees oscar blandi sigma doucce

The January 2017 Allure box was more my style, in theory. While some of the colors aren’t great for me, I like the variety of products a lot – a sheet mask, exfoliator, dry shampoo, lipstick, an eyeshadow brush & an eyeshadow quad … one box with basically everything I need to get ready in the morning!

  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliator, sample-size, $11.85 – I’ve tried Dr. Brandt’s Poredermabasion, but never this product, so I look forward to trying it. It’s suppose to be effective for every skin type. 
  • Biobelle #IWokeUpLikeThis Sheet Mask, full-size, $5 –  I love sheet masks, and this one has wild rose & vitamin C. 
  • Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Blush Basin, full-size, $9 – The formula is super creamy and feels soothing & moisturizing on my lips, but I think the color tends a little too warm for my skin and sort of washes me out. 
  • Sigma Eyeshadow Brush E70, travel size, ? – The full size eyeshadow brushes seem to range from $16-20, but all of the travel mini brushes are free gifts with purchase on Sigma’s website, so it’s hard to judge the actual value. I’m going to say it’s worth $8 since that’s half of what a the full-sized brushes are retailing for. I love getting brushes in boxes, especially because I hate cleaning my brushes. 🙂
  • Doucce Eyeshadow Quad, full-size, $35 – The darkest charcoal gray is the only matte shade, the mauve and white are shimmery, and the lighter gray has just a little sparkle. I think these colors are cool and different compared to the neutral browns I typically get in beauty boxes, but I’m also a little nervous about trying them out. Allure has also said they’ll be sending out other shades to swap in throughout the year, since this is an adjustable magnetic palette. Cool!
  • Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo, travel-size, $7 – I freaking love getting dry shampoo in beauty boxes. I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s supposed to be transparent and smell like sweet lemons, so I’m sure it’ll be used up. 
Total Paid: $10
Retail Value: $75.85

I apologize for the lack of swatches – I took a boomerang instead and just realized it won’t work on Blogger. Whoops! If you’re interested, spoilers for the February 2017 box are already out. Check them out!

Mules On My Mind (insert all the heart-eyed emojis here)

Affordable Mules

Affordable Mules by abidina

I want new mules (tbh, I’m not sure if these are mules or clogs) so freaking badly. I have two pairs of open-toe mules from J. Crew that I adore, but I miss the look all winter long while I’m hiding my toes from an icy death.
I’m still trying not to buy any new clothes until Spring, so who knows if I’ll still want closed-toed anything at that point, but I love these beauty babies. 

Waking Up in January

rifle paper co constellation wall calendar january2017 cassiopeia

There are few things more definitively “me” than kicking off the New Year midway through January. I went to Disney World with my family over the holidays and celebrated New Year’s Eve with a 103° temperature, so coming back to Nashville greeted with a heavy workload and immediately starting school was a little overwhelming.

So, on the 17th of January, I’d like to say Happy New Year! 🙂

Life Right Now:

Additionally, I was inspired Nicole @ writes like a girl to make “small goals” rather than huge resolutions this year. I do have some travel, school, and work-related resolutions, but I love the idea of breaking it down into monthly surmountable tasks. So without further ado… 

January Small Goals: 
  • Use food delivery no more than 5 times. I’m already at 2 Postmates orders for the month, and my Postmates Plus account expires in February, so here’s hoping that I can kick my food delivery habit. 
  • Exercise more & don’t cancel classes I sign up for just from chickening out — I went to a reformer Pilates class last week that kicked my butt so badly, the instructor was continuously lowering my weights 🙁
  • Start reading before bed instead of scrolling my phone
  • Finish homework ASAP/don’t procrastinate & get overwhelmed/no days off from code
  • Order plane tickets/plan trip for 2017 — whether I go with James or by myself (or both!) is up in the air right now
Some personal motivation of places to see this year. 

Ipsy (For the Past Three Months)

I love Ipsy. I’ve mentioned trying to quit it before – I cancelled Sephora Play! & Birchbox & Benevolent Beauty & so many others, but there’s something about Ipsy that keeps drawing me back. I love the new quiz, the wide variety of beauty & skincare products, and the way it seems to truly be getting smarter about my preferences (yay algorithms? Machine learning?). Here are my Ipsy bags from the past three months! 
November Ipsy GlamBag Last Smiles Vanilla Lip Balm Luxie Rose Gold Duo Fiber Brush Absolute New York Matte Lipstick in Dark Red the balm Mad Lash Bascara Laqa & Co B'Lighter Peacher's Daughter

In my November bag (such a design) I received: 
The first three items come out to about $24, so without breaking down the cost of the samples I’ve already more than doubled what I spent on the bag! I passed down the lipstick – I already have so many reds – but kept & am using everything else. The brush has the silkiest bristles & I use the lip balm every day. 
december ipsy glambag 2016 mica beauty angle eyeshadow brush benefit porefessional primer nyx prismatic shadow bedroom eyes ciate london liquid velvet lipstick in pin up
The December bag was fuzzy & fun. I received: 
  • Mica Beauty Angle Eyeshadow Brush (RV $22.95, full-size) – Silky soft. I love receiving good quality brushes in my Ipsy bags because I never like forking over the money for them! 
  • Marc Anthony Argan Oil Conditioning Treatment (RV $2.99, full-size) – I haven’t tried this yet, but god knows my poor bleach-damaged hair can use all the help it can get. 
  • Benefit POREfessional Primer (RV $4.13) – I just don’t get Benefit samples. They’re so teeny tiny I can barely get a decent use out of any of them. I’ve received a few POREfessional samples over the years, and while I don’t think it’s bad, it isn’t my favorite primer and I can’t imagine paying full price, ever. 
  • NYX Prismatic Shadow in Bedroom Eyes (RV $5.99, full-size) – I really wanted to like this eyeshadow. Nyx is my favorite drugstore brand, and it swatches beautifully (see below – that’s one swipe!) and I love the metallic bronze shade. However, on my eyes the metallic aspect blended out immediately so it just looked like any ordinary brown shadow & within a few hours it had creased even with eyeshadow primer. 
  • Ciaté London Liquid Velvet in Pin Up (RV $5.79) – LOVE. Super love. The nude-berry shade is perfect, the formula is perfect, the pigment is perfect, the applicator is perfect. I would never have considered Ciaté beyond nail polish, but this liquid lip is so much better than I would’ve imagined. Definitely worth the $19 full-size price. 
December’s bag retails for $41.85 – more than 4x the $10 a month subscription price!!
ciate london pin up swatch nyx bedroom eyes swatch
December’s liquid lip & eyeshadow swatches. 

January 2017 Ipsy GlamBag LoveRecipe Sheet Masks in Aloe and Acai Berry Manna Kadar Paradise Pearlized Blush Pretty Woman Nail Polish in I Can't Deal Trust Fund Beauty Lip Gloss in Blame Game Naked Cosmetics Pigment in Desert Sunset #02
I got my January Ipsy in the mail today & oh my gosh it is so good! I’m thinking it’s my favorite Ipsy GlamBag ever. As a side note, I redeemed rewards points for the Lime Crime Velvetine in “Mercury”, a metallic lavender. I expected a sample, but received the full-size $20 product! Also, Ipsy has great customer service – they proactively emailed people that Lime Crime shades had been swapped during shipping, apologized for their mistake, and reimbursed everyone’s points (with an extra 75 added). However, I’m feeling #blessed because I was reimbursed & still received the shade I requested. 
For the rest of my bag, I received: 
  • Loverecipe Sheet Masks in Aloe & Acai Berry (RV $1.50 each, received 2) – I love sheet masks & this is my first time to get them in an Ipsy bag. They’re low value, but Ipsy sent out two! 
  • Manna Kadar Paradise Pearlized Blush (RV $19, full-size) – I love Manna Kadar. This blush shade is a little intimidating for me considering it’s hot pink and pretty pigmented, but I don’t have anything like it in my collection. 
  • Pretty Woman Nail Polish in I Can’t Deal (RV $7.99, full-size) – I’m a sucker for neutral nails. Can’t get enough. 
  • Trust Fund Beauty Lip Gloss in Blame Game (RV $18, full-size) – I don’t love lip gloss, but I do love Trust Fund Beauty so I’ll give this a whirl. As far as lip glosses go, I prefer this darker brown-berry shade to something pale & shimmery! 
  • Naked Cosmetics Pigment in Desert Sunset #02 (RV $14.99, full-size) – I don’t like loose pigments as a general rule, but the pigment on this powder is incredible. It’s such a beautiful rose gold/champagne & I cannot wait to use it as an eyeshadow and highlighter. Ipsy also suggested mixing it with lip balm for a funky rose gold lip, & if I’m feeling extra bold I may give that a try!
Total Retail Value (excluding the Velvetine): $62.98!!!
From top to bottom: Trust Fund Beauty Lipgloss, Manna Kadar Paradise Blush, Naked Cosmetics Pigment, Lime Crime Velvetine