Monday, September 28, 2015

Cornucopia Brand Cobalt Blue Glass Spray Bottles

*I received these free for testing and reviewing purposes. All opinions are 100% my own*

If you've been reading this blog for a while you know that I'm really into making beauty and skincare items at home. Not only is it more economic, but I can fine tune my products for my specific skin concerns. One of the things I like to make is cotton pads presoaked in my homemade toner, so all I'd need to do is pull one out of the jar and rub it on my face. Well this summer I was introduced to spray on toners, which I really liked. And for that, you need a spray bottle.

Cornucopia is a brand I've reviewed and liked before, so I excited to try another product by them. These blue glass bottles each hold 2 ounces, making them the perfect size to hold homemade toner, essential oil sprays, perfume, or air freshener. The glasses are thick and well made, not one out of the four in the set arrived damaged. Each bottle come with it's own spray attachment and cap, so you could travel with these if you wanted too.

The cobalt blue color is stunning, and I actually have a little collection of glass bottles in this color so they already match my bathroom decor. They don't come with labels but I prefer to make and design my own anyways. These filled with something wonderful and handmade would be a perfect holiday gift for the skincare lover on your list too.

I really like these and they are perfect for the project I have in mind. The price was good too, only $7.99 plus shipping. They are currently out of stock but when they come back in I'll update this with a link to the product page. If you are looking for well made glass spray bottles these are what I would recommend.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Alpha-Keeper Money Belt and RFID Blocking Card Sleeves

*I received this free for testing purposes. All opinions are 100% my own*

Travelling can be one of the most rewarding experiences out there, but can also be incredibly stressful and can open you up to vulnerabilities you may not have thought about. Depending on where you are going, things like personal safety or financial safety should be a top priority. I was actually pick pocketed once and ended up losing my passport, which was not only upsetting but made me feel pretty unsafe in my surroundings. While a money belt may sound like that lame thing your great aunt wore to Vegas, the modern and sleek one by Alpha-Keeper is quite different.

The dark grey color and streamlined design gives it some visual appeal, while the soft material, padded back, and elastic strap make it a comfortable piece of travel must have. Designed to go around your waist under you pants, this allows you to always have money, passports, and personal identification or credit cards right with you. And the button release on the strap means no one can just yank it off of you in the event it is noticed.

There are two pockets, a large one and a smaller one. The large one has two mesh pockets on the inside, perfect for holding cards, cash, or your passport. The other pocket can also hold cash or cards. Obviously the more you put in the pockets the heavier and bulkier it will get, but there is quite a bit of room if you do want to carry a lot of stuff. I may use this while jogging to hold my ID, some cash, and my house key.

As far as comfort goes, you will notice you are wearing something but it honestly isn't any worst than wearing pants. Part of it will depend on what you place in it obviously, when it's empty it bends and conforms nicely to my body. The back mess pad, which is also a pocket, helps a lot with the comfort issue. The mesh helped keep it from getting super hot against my skin, but I imagine if it was 100 degree out you'd get pretty sweaty there.

As an added bonus this comes with 5 (I know there are only 4 pictured, one was hiding under my keyboard and I forgot about it) credit card sized RFID blocking sleeves and a passport sized one as well. Thieves are getting smarter and smarter and with the ability to just tap your card or have your passport scanned instead of manually stamped means other people can use the same technology to steal your info. I'll be using these all the time to protect my card info, even when I'm not travelling. I think they were a great add on and really fit the theme of travel safety.

Overall I really like the Alpha-Keeper money belt. It's comfortable, very adjustable, practical, and isn't super ugly (which I know is shallow but it does matter). They really thought of what the average traveler would need and strove to create a product to help with that. And for $17.89 with free Prime shipping, I think it's a great deal. We're hoping to travel more next summer so I know I'll be using the snot out of this, or even next time we go to the zoo or a museum and I don't want to carry my whole bag.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Hello Thursday, we meet again. I'm just going to dive right in since I have a ton to talk about. So as per my usual I'm linking up wit Jen of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts.

I'm continuing to make changes to the blog, some small enough you guys won't notice them, and some pretty in your face. What do you just think of them so far? Anything you super love or hate? I'm always open to feedback so please let me know. Or if I accidentally broke a link or 4.

I love to do face painting, especially Halloween themed stuff. This was just a quick stitched up look inspired by an artist on Instagram using just some makeup I had sitting around. But with Halloween coming up, would you guys like some face painting tutorials? Or at least how to do this and the cracked face I did a few months ago. Maybe I'll recruit a friend to be the model for it.

So of all the items that were in my hair/skin care Project Pan, the only thing left is the lip scrub. That's some seriously good progress for not even a full month. And the scrub has maybe 4 uses left. I'm super happy with my progress this time, last year I did ok but I think this year I will smoke it. I'll be adding new skincare items for October, might as well try to get through my mountain of lotions and creams.

Remember those imPRESS Manicure Nails I reviewed the other week? They're still on for the most part. One fell off the next day (I probably did a crappy job putting it on), but other than that the only ones that are off are ones I removed. These have gone the mile and then some, so I'm even more impressed (hahahaha the pun!) than I was before. I do need to try and take them off the correct way at some point, but I'm super happy with them.

Friday was my third injection, so I'm feeling pretty crappy right now. Hoping this is the injection that finally tips the scales and I start to get better. I had 4 different Doctor appointments last week, so I'm obviously not doing well. At this point I'm medicating for the side effects of my medicine. Add in the cold I picked up and I feel awful. I would like nothing more than to crawl into bed and stay there for the next few weeks. But I'm halfway done with the chemo now, so that's a positive thing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Maybelline Baby Skin Face Primer

We all want our skin to be as smooth as glass and our makeup to last all day, but for most of us this is far from the reality we face every single day. While there are tons of primers out there that will smooth your skin, fill in your pores, and keep your makeup looking great all day, most of them are in the $20-30 price range. I'm much more comfortable with something in the under $10 price range that is easily available. Maybelline is one of those drugstore brands everybody (at least here in the States) has heard of, so let's take a look at their Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser and see how it holds up.

This is a silicone based product, which means a few different things. First, it won't get absorbed into your skin throughout the day, which means the makeup you put on top of it won't be absorbed into your skin. That helps with the lasting power of your makeup, and is probably a huge reason most of us use primer to begin with. With this being silicone based though, it means water based foundations won't really work with it and can break apart throughout the day. It just takes some experimenting to see which primer and foundation combo is the best for you. I haven't had a major issue with my foundation breaking apart, so I can't say how badly this particular primer reacts with a water based foundation.

If you have what I would call "regular" sized pores then this will do an excellent job filling them in and making your skin look smooth as possible. The pores on my forehead and nose are about average sized and I'm really happy with how well this performs. The pores on my cheeks however are larger and I feel like this doesn't really "erase" them like it does on my nose. For a drugstore brand this does just fine, but if you have large pores everywhere or are really concerned about how they look you probably won't be happy with this primer.

I really like the price point (about $7 on average), how it smooths out the majority of my skin, and how nicely my foundation smooths on over it. My biggest critique of it is it does make my skin oily. I would assume that's because it is silicone based and therefore doesn't absorb in, but I always look and feel extra oily after I use it. During winter when my skin is drier than usual this won't be a problem, but during the summer months I typically skipped using this so I wasn't an oil slick by the end of the day. I haven't decided if I would repurchase this, I both like it and don't like it. I'd like to try a few more brands before I commit to using this all the time. If you use a face primer, which one do you use?

Friday, September 18, 2015

September 2015 Birchbox: The Anniversary Edition

Can you believe Birchbox has been around for 5 years now? Congratulations to them, that's incredible! And this box marks my one year anniversary with Birchbox as well, so that's pretty awesome too. For those who don't know, Birchbox is a beauty subscription service, for $10 a month you will get 4-5 deluxe sized (though sometimes full sized) skincare, hair care, and makeup items tailored to your beauty needs. And right now, if you use my link you can get your box for $5!

The box this month was actually designed three Birchbox subscribers, Debbie Savage, Sara Qadeer, and Angela Coppola. If I remember correctly there was a competition to design this box design, and I think it looks great. They even made tote bags with this design on it you can purchase from the shop.

That's a nice, full box this month. Technically none are a full sized since the eyeshadows are from a larger palette, but they are full sized pans so I kind of want to count it as a full sized item. There are two makeup items, a skincare, a hair care, and one perfume, so a pretty good mix. I like boxes that lean more towards skin and beauty stuff, so this looks like the perfect box for me.

The Pop Beauty eyeshadow trio was my sample choice for the month, I'm a sucker for purple eyshadows. I've actually tried a trio from them before that was black, grey, and silver that I didn't like so this was a chance for Pop Beauty to redeem itself for me.

As you can see there's a silver, a plum, and a gunmetal shade, all metallic. These apply so well and feel really creamy. These are part of a larger palette that has almost 40 colors in it and retails for $26, which isn't a bad deal at all.

While not crazy pigmented if you use primer they really stand out. This swatch was just over bare skin. I've worn it out and about already and I really love how they look. These are the perfect fall shades for people with brown eyes.

Another Benefit item, a company I really want to like but so far have been really unhappy with. This time I received their Gimme Brow, which is a brow volumizing fiber gel, so basically a brow mascara.

I swear, Benefit sends the teeniest samples ever. The tube is the size of my pinky finger, so I'm guessing there's maybe a few week's worth of product in there if I'm lucky.

I received the Light/Medium shade, which might be just a bit to light for me. I did like the size of the brush and the formula, I just felt like it didn't fill in my brows as much as I wanted it to. If you just need to tame and unify you brows this would be perfect for you for sure. I'll probably use this to top my brows after I use my wax and powder on them.

I got another sample of the Harvey Price Hello perfume, which also came in the Customer's Favorite box I purchases this month too. Which is great because I LOVE this perfume, it smells so nice. Like a citrusy vanilla dream, so good. I would actually purchase a full sized bottle for sure, even if they are expensive.

I generally like Amika products and usually love getting hair care products in my Birchbox but I'll be shaving off whats left of my hair probably this weekend so I really won't need any hair stuff till the spring probably. This is Amika's Bombshell Blowout Spray, which is actually one I've been wanting to try for a while now. I may save it to use once I am done with the chemo and have hair again, or I may swap it for something I can use now. But I will be changing my survey to reflect my hair change.

Eye cream is one of those things I love but have a ton of, so this is another item I haven't tried yet. The 100% Pure brand is new to me, so I'm looking forward to trying it, and a coffee bean caffeine eye cream sounds intriguing too. It smells really good through the plastic, but the tip is sealed up so I don't want to snip it till I'm ready to use it up. I'll be saving this for when my usual morning eye cream runs out.

I really liked this box and thought it was perfectly curated for me. I wouldn't say it's my favorite box ever but definitely in my top 5 for sure. I'm so glad Birchbox is around and I'm looking forward to the next 5 years with them. Are you a subscriber too? What did you think of your box?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

It's Thursday and that means it is time for my weekly link up with Jen of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts!

Rose City Comic Con is this weekend so I am psyched! I didn't make a costume this year, but it'll still be tons of fun. I'm currently picking out which panels I want to see and making my list of must visit comic book people. Anybody else attending this year? I'll post pictures on Instagram so prepare for a bombardment of geeky things.

September means cooler weather (thank god), snuggly sweaters, and Halloween stuff is in stores! I feel like there is already a ton of great items in the store, and even cupcake decorations are stepping up their game. Target has some super cute things up already, including the most ridiculous hats ever. But I'm pretty disappointed in this years ELF Halloween kits. $8 for a lipstick, a mini eyeliner, false lashes, eyeshadow primer, a brush, and an eyeshadow. Last year had way better kits for like $6, so I'm hoping this is just the first wave. If it was on sale/clearance I'd pick a few up but not for $8.

Tomorrow is my next injection, and this one marks the halfway point. As of right now I don't think the Lupron is working at all so I'm pretty frustrated right now. Not really sure what the plan is if it doesn't work, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there. But this is the weekend I'll be shaving my head I believe. Getting some huge bald spots and it's really upsetting me so away it goes. I'll have some pretty sweet wigs to rock later though so at least I'll still look fabulous.

Have you entered for your chance to win a Measurable Difference eyeshadow palette yet? The contest goes on for another 13 days, so get your entries in and good luck!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Customer's Favorites 2015 Birchbox

Every year Birchbox likes to take a few of it's most popular items and offer them in a specially curated box on their anniversary. Last September I had just joined Birchbox so I wanted to experience the whole random catered to you bits and I skipped getting the curated box (this was also before you were able to buy both of them). This year I snatched it up so fast someone lost a finger. Let's see what was voted most popular and whether they live up to the hype.

The box itself is pretty but didn't really wow me like some of the past ones did. I do keep all my boxes, I find them super useful for sorting stuff out on my desk. And I apparently did not take a first impressions photo in my haste to try things out so we'll just jump right into the review.

I've actually received the Beauty Protector Shampoo and Conditioner set in that big Beauty Protector kit I bought a few months ago. While these are decent products they don't really wow me. They were however the perfect size to take on my trip with me so I was happy about getting them. If they were under $10 per bottle I'd but them, but for $21.95 each they had better turn my hair into pure silky gold.

I had received this brand of eyeliner before but in a different color (blue, who gives a brown eyed person a BLUE eyeliner?), so this was one of the reasons I bought the box. The Marcelle waterproof eyeliners are seriously the best, they stay on forever and ever without smudging or getting all gross.

And the Mulberry shade is perfect for not only my lovely brown eyes but the Fall season. I may eventually pick up the other two colors (a green and a black I believe), but for right now I'm super happy I finally got the purple one I wanted originally.

I've been hearing nothing but good things about the Harvey Prince Hello perfume, so this was another reason I snatched this box up. It's a really bright, citrusy, vanilla scent that is totally up my alley. I can totally see why everybody loves this person, I will be buying a full sized next time I've got some spare budget laying around. And this is the first perfume Birchbox has sent me that I didn't hate, so that's progress!

And another thing off my "need to try" list is the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser kit. This is suppose to be the world most amazing cleanser....and I have yet to try it. Between the stress of my medical situation and all my medications my skin is a cranky toddler and I really don't want to test any new products on it right now. I just know my face will pitch a total fit and I just need to baby it right now. I'll do a full post on this later once I actually try it.

All in all this was a great box and I'm so happy I picked it up. Everything so far is a hit, and three out of the five items were ones I really wanted to try so that makes the value of the box super high for me. I hope Birchbox continues to let us buy both the regular and the curated boxes, getting two a month has been wonderful.

Monday, September 14, 2015

imPRESS Press On Manicure Review

*I received this free for testing and reviewing purposes. All opinions are 100% my own*

Sometimes I like the look of a fancy manicure without all the work that goes into it. I've tried various nail wraps before but I hadn't tried actual press on nails since I was a wee child 100 years ago. The nice people from imPRESS manicure sent me two different sets to try out and tell people know what I thought of them. Let's slap these babies on shall we?

I received a shiny red with little heart charm set and a matte nude with a silver glitter accent nail set. They both have enough to get 2 full manicures out of them, which is pretty nice. These retail for about $6.99, so you're looking at around $3.50 a manicure. Obviously doing a manicure at home with your own polish is cheaper but if you don't have the time or skills these are a really affordable option. For today's demonstration I chose the matte set, I just love how neutral but fancy they look. And I've never seen matte false nails before, so bonus point for these. And everything you need to put them on is included in the package, like a little file, a prep pad, and glue dots for any charms you may have.

Step one is obviously to set out the nails that fit you in order. You don't want to be digging through the package every single time your ready for the next nail. See those clear tabs sticking out of the end? That's the cover for the glue dots, you'll peel them off in a bit. But the tabbed end is the end that goes against your cuticle, in case that isn't obvious from the picture.

The instructions suggest washing your hands first and then using this prep pad to clean the tops of your nails. I'm pretty sure this is just an alcohol swab, but by removing oils from your nails the glue will bond better. I also recommend cutting your nails short during the prep step, you don't want any real nail peeking out from behind your fake nails.

And now you remove that clear tab, place the falsie onto your real nail, and press firmly. That's it. No heat required (looking at you Jamberry). Repeat with all your other nails and your done. The instructions recommend not getting them wet, cutting, or filing them for at least an hour to allow the glue to bond, but your free to whatever you normally do. I typed this post up after putting them on and did not feel any wiggle from them.

That's a classy manicure right there, these particular ones would be great for a wedding or something you wanted to look nice but not showy for. The red ones I'll be saving for another time (Valentine's day maybe? And they really did apply quickly, I think I was done in just a few minutes,

I actually really like these, the only real issues with them were my own fault. Like not trimming my nails short enough on a few on my finger or not being careful when I peeled the tab off. The packaging claims these are waterproof, I haven't tested that out yet, not do I know how long they'll stay one. I'll update you guys during Thursday Thoughts, but if I get a full week out of them I'll be super impressed for sure. Aesthetics wise I love the look and color but not the shape. The square tipped manicure trend just isn't my thing so I may file them a bit to a more rounded shape. I do really like that these are on the shorter side, made them a lot nicer to wear while typing. And they're pretty comfortable for the most part. I can feel them but they don't hurt or hinder me at all so far.

The imPRESS nails are available at a wide variety of stores like Walgreens, RiteAid, and Wal-Mart, as well as online. And at $6.99 these are super affordable. I'll have to check and see if my local Walgreens has any in stock, I saw a few patterns I really want to pick up for my own personal use.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Measurable Difference Desert Nights Eyeshadow GIVEAWAY!

*This is a sponsored post*

If there's one thing I love more than telling you guys about great products it's giving you the opportunity to get free products for yourself. The wonderful people at Measurable Difference are gracious enough to allow me to run a giveaway for ten of their new Desert Nights Eyeshadow palettes. Ten lucky winners will receive a palette containing 5 different colors to mix and match for some seriously awesome smokey eye looks.

About the brand:
Measurable Difference was developed to help the everyday person keep and maintain their youthful glow. The LASHEM line of natural beauty products consists of mascaras, anti-aging creams, and an eyelash booster. They seek to combine the best natural ingredients out there for the highest quality possible.

I'm really drawn to the neutral sandy palette out of the three featured, though they are all really interesting color choices. These would make a great holiday present for that makeup lover in your life, and at $6.99 each are an affordable option. In fact there are lots of great products available on their website as well. Good luck to all who enter the giveaway, I wish I could give a palette to every single one of you!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

I'm a couple hours late on this week's Thursday Thoughts thanks to a rough night turning into a rough morning. But better late than never I guess. So as per my usual I'm linking up with Jen of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her weekly Thursday Thoughts Link Up.

So someone broke into my car last night, smashed the driver's side window to steal my $10 phone charger. Seriously, that's the only thing missing from the car. My theory is my husband (who leaves for work at 3 AM) scared them off before they could steal the whole car. But $165 later we have a non-broken window and no Birthday vacation for my husband. Not a great start to the day for sure.

My big Project Pan has been going really well so far. All but 3 things from the skin and hair care basket is done and I've finished a few items out of the makeup box. I may actually get everything done, which is pretty exciting! I'll do a post at the end of each month detailing my progress and how I'm feeling about stuff, but I know some of you were curious as to how it was going so far. Who else is doing a Project Pan right now? Feel free to put a link in my comments about it so we can check it out and cheer you on.

As you can see I've experienced some significant hair loss so far from the Lupron, to the point where I can't really hide it anymore. I take my next dose next week, so I'll probably shave my head sometime that weekend. No point in keeping half a head of hair. I have pretty mixed feeling about the great shave, on one hand I'll be glad to be done with the hair loss for a bit, but on the other hand my hair means a lot to me and I've been growing it out for 4 years now. The tips go down to my butt, so there's a lot of length going on right now.

On a blog related note, I'm doing some changes to how the actual site looks and functions in an attempt to make everything run smoother and boost my readership. One change you may have noticed already was a pop up box asking for your email. I'd like to start doing a monthly newsletter and I haven't been happy with the post subscription service I was using before. So I'm trying new things and hopefully it will all work out the way I have planned. If you stumble across something that doesn't work or you REALLY hate it, please let me know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sunsella Bento Box Review

*I received this free for testing/reviewing purposes. All opinions are 100% my own*

Between work, family obligations, raising my own family, and trying to maintain a social life I spend a lot of time outside of my house. Eating out can be unhealthy and downright expensive, and with a 4 year old who is particular about the shape of his food (shredded cheese not cubes this month), preparing my own meals to take with us to work and events is just way less of a headache. I own a ridiculous amount of tupperware but between side dishes, my food and the kiddo's food, sauces, and snacks, I end up hauling a tote bag full of plastic or glass containers. It gets overwhelming at times and I end up making poor food choices. A bento box is the perfect solution for people like me who are on the go, want to pack their own food, and have several different compartments at once. Sunsella, which is a brand I've reviewed and liked before, sent me their set of 4 bento style buddy boxes to try out, so let's unpack this baby and see how it works.

A bento style box is basically a flat, rectangular box with compartments in it. The usual configuration is one large "main course" compartment and two "side dish" compartments, which is what the Sunsella set has. One side spot is smaller than the other (as you'll see in a picture down in a bit), so you could do a side and a small dessert or even a snack style food in the smaller of the two. Each box had a different color lid, mine came with green, blue, orange, and red. This makes it easy to pack a lunch specific to one person. Between food allergies, spice preferences, and not eating specific shapes having a quick color coded system works best in my household. And getting to pick his own color meant my son was more excited to eat what was inside of it, which is a bonus.

These are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe, but lot leak proof. So far I haven't had any spills but I don't put saucy foods in tupperware anyways (mason jars for life). They hold a decent amount of food as well, making them perfect to put my dinner in for work nights. You can get these on Amazon for $15.99 with free Prime shipping, which is a touch more than I typically like to pay for tupperware but not so expensive that I absolutely won't buy another set. I'm really happy with these and they've solved a lot of the travel food problems I've been facing. If you cart your lunch or dinner to work everyday what do you use to hold it?