March Ipsy GlamBag 2017

march 2017 ipsy glambag glam bag reveal spoiler unboxing

Ipsy is a $10 per month beauty bag which contains a mix of beauty, haircare, and skincare products that are mostly deluxe samples or full-size. Though it is consistently my favorite of its affordable subscription box competitors (such as Birchbox, Sephora Play!, or Allure), I have mixed feelings about my Ipsy bag this month.

My March 2017 Ipsy GlamBag contained:

Total Paid: $10
Retail Value: $41.58

mPrincess eyeshadow & tarte lip paint

This month’s GlamBag is pretty blah for me. The eyeshadow is a fine shade, but that brand name reminds me of a creepy fedora-wearing “nice guy” calling someone m’Princess & I truly cannot get over it. 
I love all things First Aid Beauty, so I’m pleased as punch to have a sample of their new facial moisturizer. I don’t find it all that different from their Ultra Repair Cream, but this one is sold in a pump bottle, so I’m a fan. 
The tarte lip paint fit my profile so I understand why it was sent to me, but I had to pass the shade on to my mom. In spite of how pale it looks in the packaging, it dried much darker and warmer. 
The blending brush is nice; I’ve already used it a couple of times and washed it with minimal loss of hairs. 
I used to love getting Marc Anthony deep conditioners from ipsy (and using them as daily conditioners for my damaged hair) but now that I have my Function of Beauty bespoke shampoo/conditioner, these have become a less-exciting, overall neutral item to receive. I’ll still pack this for travel! 

My First Boxycharm

march 2017 boxycharm unboxing spoiler reveal

This month I tried a new-to-me beauty box, BoxyCharm, which is $21 per month for primarily full-size items. There is a waitlist, but I was only on it for about 3 weeks before getting a notification that I’d be receiving a box. For a long time (i.e. since last May), BoxyCharm didn’t appeal to me. They send out a lot of indie brands, and I wasn’t sure that I cared to have that many full-sized products. However, now that I’m on a bit of sample overload & have unsubscribed to everything but Julep & Ipsy AND have come to find that I like the quality of quite a few of the regular beauty box indie brands, Boxy started to make more sense for me to try.

The March 2017 BoxyCharm box contained:

Total Paid: $21
Retail Value: $97.50

boxycharm march 2017 swatches naked cosmetics urban rustic trio realher
Swatches of the lip liner, matte liquid lip, and eyeshadows

The lip products are described as a “rose mauve”, which falls perfectly into my preference for pinky-nudes. They’re more dark & neutral than the pink RealHer set I received in the Spring FabFitFun
I was … well, nervous is a bit of a strong word, so maybe unsure … about the Naked Cosmetics palette when I saw spoilers. I have a rose gold pigment from Naked Cosmetics that I think is fantastic, but these shades were so deep and autumnal! However, I’ve been looking for a nice olive green shadow, and while burnt orange & burgundy don’t look wonderful on me, they’re on-trend & I’m willing to try them. I doubt I’ll ever wear the shades together, but I think each shade could be a fun pop of color with some neutral browns or taupes. Also, yes, that’s one single swipe of each shadow, so the pigment on the orangey shade is super impressive. 
Finally, the Smashbox primer is a classic, but I have multiple primers to use up so it won’t be opened anytime soon (and may be gifted). The brush is fat and fluffy and beautiful, and my first fan brush, so I’m looking forward to learning how to  using it! 
I don’t think BoxyCharm is for everyone. I completely understand wanting to subscribe to beauty boxes in order to sample new products (a la Sephora Play! and Ipsy) rather than build up a collection. For $21 a month, though, this is a great sub for affordably filling out a makeup stash. 

Saturday Reading List

How I feel when I’m added to my fifth freaking Lula Roe group this month: If Another Mom Tries to Sell Me Something on Facebook, I’m Going to Lose It.

Mom was in town this weekend & we spent some time discussing how important it is to start traveling ASAP and to stop waiting for more money or more stability or more time, so this article on how it’s never the right time to travel is apropos.

I Don’t Need Democracy because I Have Hygge: “And yes, the fact that Planned Parenthood might be defunded is atrocious. I would donate if I could, but I just bought a $1500 zinc-top bar cart from Pottery Barn, so I’m pretty strapped for cash.”

My new biggest inspiration, Julie, a “not so young” woman traveling abroad. Talk about life goals!

This post from Phoebe at Little Grey Box really spoke to me this week: This Is Why I’ve Decided Not to Have Children.

FabFitFun Spring 2017

I audibly squealed when I pulled into my driveway on Friday and saw my Spring FabFitFun box on my front porch. FabFitFun is a seasonal lifestyle & beauty box that arrives 4 times a year. The Fall 2016 box was my first of their seasonal boxes, and it was amazing, introducing me to the only scarf I would wear for the entire winter & to the sinfully frivolous but wonderful Spongelle body wash infused sponges. The Winter 2016 box didn’t have the same *wow factor* for me that the Fall box did, but I still received items that became favorites of mine (such as, somewhat unfortunately, pricey candles from DL & Co. and, less unfortunately, the incredible mineral peel from ORG). FabFitFun  is $50 per box, or $180 if you purchase the entire year of boxes at once.

The Spring 2017 FabFitFun box included: 
Total Paid: $45 (due to yearly subscription)
Retail Value: $376 
I struggled to take a good photo of the cuff on my arm, and almost went with a selfie that looked more like a serial killer was forcing me to tell my family that all’s well, So, I went with this one! The Joshua Tree Cuff Bracelet is gold-plated brass and I really like the minimalist design. There was a choice between this bracelet from Emerald Duv or a rose gold earring set from Luv AJ – I don’t have pierced ears, but I love this bracelet enough to have chosen it either way.

The Fit part of this month’s box is access to the brand new “FabFitFun TV“, which has a collection of work out videos from barre & pilates to bootcamp & cardio. I’ve been wretched at going to classes through ClassPass so I’m looking forward to these videos.

The Karuna Hydrating Face Mask set is a 4-pack of deep conditioning cloth sheet masks. I am thrilled to have a month’s supply of a nicer brand than I typically use (I waste money on plenty of things, but it’s hard for me to justify $8-$10 for a sheet mask). I’m SUPER excited about the silly Nature’s Valley gummy vitamins, which are only a sponsored item in the box and aren’t even meant to be factored into the total value. But I think they’re a perfectly good fitness-ish (y’know, FabFITFun) item. The Milly Zip Pouch is cute, though not necessarily something I would have picked out for myself. I’m worried that the white fabric will get destroyed quickly, especially since it’s advertised as a waterproof bikini bag (the beach & pool don’t seem like great places for white fabrics, but what do I know). “Slay All Day” is my favorite of the phrase variations that were sent out; others were “Life’s a Beach” and “Resting Beach Face”, etc. 
This was another item that yearly subscribers were able to choose between – the options were Neutral Pink, Deep Red, or Deep Nude. This is a pretty pink and, considering my absurd amount of lip colors, I don’t think I have anything like it! The Deep Red is also beautiful, and if this lip kit ends up working for me, I’d consider purchasing that shade on my own. 
Swatched above are the lip liner closest to my wrist, then the lip gloss, then the matte liquid lipstick. Please ignore my scraggly-as-heck fingernails. 
Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-In has extremely mixed reviews on Sephora, and I’ve had mixed experiences with the brand in general; I think Briogeo Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Spray is the best blow dry cream I have ever used, while the Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask didn’t do anything at all for my hair, & at best was like a lightweight daily conditioner. I’m open-minded about this leave-in, and it’s good timing because I’m getting low on my It’s A 10 Miracle Repair Leave-In. In contrast, I am super pleased to receive a full-size Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliant because 1) It’s $80 and 2) I have sampled this product multiple times over the past year and I know that I love it. 
I sound like a broken record, but again I’m so excited about this Deborah Lippmann mini nail set. I’ve never tried Deborah Lippmann polish before (because they’re $20 a pop!) and these mini bottles are a little over half the size of the full-size bottle. There was an alternative set sent out that has “Like a Virgin” (the white shade) and a pale pink called “Shape of My Heart” – considering the pink Julep polish, “Reese”, I ordered with my March Julep Maven Box, I’m glad to have received the blue variation.
I feel a little conflicted about this item, the Roundie – a circular picnic blanket – from Gypsy 05. I was able to pick my variation, and I love this sunshiney retro print. However, I seriously can’t believe the company has named themselves “Gypsy 05” and uses taglines like “Become a Gypsy”. I feel like it is 2017 and there is no excuse for people to still use the slur “gypsy” to mean free-spirited or bohemian. For some thoughts on why or whether “gypsy” is a slur, check out this article or this one. I love the look of this roundie (above, it’s spread out on my queen-sized bed to show off the design) but it says “Gypsy” in large bold font & while I’d like to use it as a picnic or beach blanket, I think it’ll have to stay inside because of that.
Finally, with FabFitFun you are able to add on extra items to your order for extremely low prices. I added on the Luv AJ earrings for $10 (they retail for $85, a close up pic is below). I also added on three Spongelle sponges for about $7 each, which is way too much for a sponge, but they do retail for $20 or so and I really adore them. I added a foot peel because it was cheaper than the one I typically order on Amazon, and I added two Living Proof Dry Shampoos for $9 each vs. the usual $22 each & the Dry Volume Spray for $11 (typically $25). FabFitFun threw in the new Burt’s Bees Protein Shake sample, which I’ve already given to my roommate!
I know this is a longer post than usual, but I feel like a lifestyle box like FabFitFun deserves it. I highly recommend it, especially if you sign up for a year at once and gain access to Select options, to choose which color variations or whatever else you want. This is the one box I’d keep if I cancelled everything else. 

Lip Hoarder Part 2

I am slowly but surely progressing through my personal challenge to wear every lipstick I own (which is over seventy-five, by the way) without repeating them. I want to force myself to try colors outside of my comfort zone and remember why I hardly wear some shades, as well as re-discover old favorites. 

1. Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip in “Marshmallow” – Love, love, super love. I hate Colourpop’s Ultra Matte formula, but the Ultra Satins are wonderful. This cool lavender gray color is a new favorite. 
2. Clinique Chubby Stick in “Richer Raisin” – Sheer and a little warm for me, but I like the chubby stick formula. I’ve almost used it up completely, but that’s mostly because it’s easy to throw in my bag and apply without a mirror. Minimal effort products get used up more quickly! 
3. Lime Crime Velvetine in “Mercury” – Great formula in a shade I expected to love, but the metallic finish made me feel like a robot. I will absolutely try it again with a different lip liner/overall makeup look.
4. Julep It’s Balm Lip Crayon in “Dusty Orchid Shimmer” – I really like the formula of this – it’s moisturizing and relatively long-lasting, considering the chubby-stick-style applicator. I like the color of the balm crayon, but I’m not crazy about the shimmer. I just don’t think shimmer on my lips is a look I can get into for awhile after wearing glittery glosses all through middle school. 
5. Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in “Amulet” – I thought I’d hate this – the color was all wrong for me in the tube: a slight shimmery terracotta red. However, once I applied it, I really liked the way the color dried. It had a semi-matte finish with no semblance of shimmer, and it wasn’t nearly as warm as I expected it to be. The formula itself was really nice for a liquid lipstick, non-drying, long-lasting, and it didn’t make my lips look like creepy prunes. The Vice Liquid Lipstick line may be my favorite liquid lipstick formula.

6. Nyx High Voltage Lipstick in “Flutter Kisses” – Like “Twisted” from my first Lip Hoarder post, “Flutter Kisses” has been re-branded as Nyx Turnt Up! Lipstick, which is so tacky, but nevertheless, this is one of my top 3 favorite lip products in my collection. It’s a great neutral nude for me with a satiny finish & I could wear it daily. 
7. Julep Lip Butter in “Dahlia” – This sheer, bright fuchsia was a little controversial when it was released. Julep Lip Butter was released last summer as a “yay, SPF, sun protection!” product, but the SPF 30 expired only a month after they were released. Frankly, I don’t care so much about that, but I get why it pissed people off. Personally, I love the formula for a light wash of color – it’s exceptionally moisturizing.  
8. Lipstick Queen “Frog Prince” – Frog Prince is Lipstick Queen’s most popular lipstick, primarily because it’s green in the tube and turns to a sheer pink on your lips. It’s fine, the packaging is beautiful, the formula is moisturizing, but I just don’t think it’s a $25 lipstick.
9. LAQA & Co. Avocado Lip Butter in “Ninza” – This is moisturizing and such a pretty, rich berry shade. However, it faded quickly. It’s worth keeping but I’d be more likely to wear it to a play than to an entire day at work or something. 
10. Tat2u Lipstick in “New Generation” – A really beautiful light plum-brown matte that I love for Fall. Tat2u makeup is always cruelty-free & vegan. I pair “New Generation” with their “Hyper” Lip Pencil for a slight color contrast that looks grrrrreat. 
FYI, the numbered photos & the second, brighter set of swatches were both taken in natural light – the second set was right in front of an open window, while the primary set wasn’t in direct light. As you can see, I’m still easing into my less conventional colors. And holy cow… could I have more variations of a neutral nude my-lips-but-better shade? One thing this project has made me realize is that I will never be one of those people who has 3 lipsticks they rotate through and that’s it. I love too many different colors and too many different finishes. However, nearly 100 lipsticks is ridiculous, sample-size or not, so I’m hoping this process will help me at least eliminate some of the formulas I dislike. 

March Julep Maven

As you probably already know, I am a big fan of Julep. Initially, their “Julep Maven” subscription didn’t appeal to me – I wasn’t a huge nail polish wearer and $25 per month seemed a little steep. However, the 3 month sign-up makes each month $20 per month, and the ability to customize every single item has been so worthwhile for me. Plus, you can skip as many boxes as you want without having to officially unsubscribe. 

Of course, I always end up adding on items. If you add on 3 items, you have a freebie added to your box, and I’m a sucker for that. So each box ends up being about $35 or so for me. Would it be worth it for everyone? No, definitely not, but if you are interested in choosing each item for yourself from skin care, nail polish, and makeup categories, then I really recommend it. 

The primary products in my March Julep Maven box were:
I chose the following as add-ons: 
And Julep included the “Jenna” Nail Polish ($14) and a couple of Clean Slate Nail Polish Remover Wipes (value of $2.80) for free!

The eyeshadow stick is a lovely pale champagne shade that I’ll use on the inner corner of my eye, and maybe on my waterline. The blush looks so dark and autumnal in its tube, but as you can see in the swatch below, it blends out to a bright, pretty berry. 

Above are the eyeshadow & blush sticks swatched on the inner swatches, and blendded out on the outer swatches.

The three nail polish colors are a tangerine orange, bubblegum pink, and pale gray with gold microshimmer. I’ve added the photo below so you can see how Ainsley’s color shifts to a more neutral gray, depending on how the light hits it. 

So, Julep is an expensive box for me, but I have only had the best experience with them. Though this box cost me about $40 (the eyeshadow was a $9.99 add-on, while the two polishes were $4.99 each), the retail value was a whopping $122.80

And finally, my favorite pic of the day — a happy blooper of Sansa-Bear’s nose. She needs some rosehip seed oil moisture, too! 

March BeautyFIX by Dermstore

If you can spare the $25 per month and are primarily interested in skincare, hair products, and beauty tools rather than makeup, I seriously cannot recommend DermStore’s Beauty Fix box highly enough. Two items in this box are worth more than $25 on their own, and if you don’t like them? That’s fine, because all of the samples still add up to more than $25 as well!

The March box had zero spoilers for the end of the month, but I decided to stick around just in case and I’m so glad I did. There’s only one item that I’m indifferent about (the SunBum Sunless Tanning Sheet) and everything else is so exciting to a beauty dork like me.

The BeautyFix March box contained:

Total Paid: $25
Total Value: About $116.12