October 16, 2012

October 2012 Birchbox

I'm so excited to show you what I got in my Birchbox this month! It's a collaboration between Birchbox and goop.com. Everything in the box I know I'll use.

Here's what's in the box: A full-sized (!!) Essie nail polish in Lady Like, Jouer lip enhancer conditioning lip treatment (0.07 fl. oz.), Kiehl's Rosa Arctica Eye Balm (0.1 fl. oz.), and Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum x2.

Yay to Essie Lady Like! A full-sized polish, even! It's a nude soft dusty mauve cream that is completely opaque in 2 easy coats. Very work appropriate and flatters all skin tones. I'm super excited about this one. I have a few nudes and dusty mauves but I don't have a dupe for it! The closest shade I have in my collection is Zoya Kennedy and Zoya Mia. It's as though you mixed those two shades to get Essie Lady Like. This one will get lots of wear for sure. (Sorry the pictures are terrible, I'm in the process of moving and I pulled the large lamp from the room so I only have the desk lamp as my light source.)

Next up is Jouer lip enhancer conditioning lip treatment. It is odorless, which I like, and applies like a lip balm. Non-sticky. Leaves my lips very soft. Love it!

Then we have the Kiehl's eye balm. Also odorless. They are right to call it a balm because it applies like an ointment - slightly thicker in texture. It says it brightens and reduces look of fine lines around the eyes. I'm not sure if it does that, but it definitely doesn't leave the skin looking oily. Just don't use too much or it will be sticky.

The box also came with 2 small samples of Supergoop! city sunscreen serum. Even though summer has come and gone it's still important to put on sunscreen when you're going on. This one is SPF 30+ PA+++, and since it's a serum, it is light and perfect for the face.

As an extra, they included a Lemon Zest Luna bar. I'm excited to snack on this at work tomorrow. The ingredients look decent - 9g protein and 3g fiber... a bit high on the sugar content (13g), 180 calories. Sounds like a good mix.

This is probably one of the most exciting Birchbox I've received to date. I'll make good use of all the products here. Can't wait till I get my next one! If you want to sign up and give me some referral love, you may follow this link. (:

October 2012 myglam (Ipsy) Glam Bag

Received my Glam Bag in the mail yesterday. It came with a lot of stuff, but I was most excited about the cute bag... and the hair treatment. The rest were meh in my opinion. Here are the contents:

The cute bag!

The stuff that came with it: Coastal Scents eyeshadow quad Set #1, be a bombshell cosmetics eye liner in onyx (0.1 fl. oz.), Pequi Oil Treatment (0.5 fl. oz.), mirenesse Lip Bomb Mirror Me glossy lacquer stain, and finally, theBalm What's Your Type? Black Mascara.

Here's the Coastal Scents eyeshadow. I got Set 1, which contains Cloud White, Paris Green, Reef Blue, and Thunderous. These are definitely not colors I like to wear. The Paris Green could look nice as an accent eyeliner under the eye. Cloud White just looks super chalky to me. Since I know I won't get much mileage out of these, I gave it to a friend who wears more bright colors. I know a lot of people like Coastal Scents eyeshadows because they come in so many colors and is super affordable, but I am a little wary of it. I try to stay away from cheap cosmetics made in China.

Next up is the be a bombshell eyeliner in onyx. It looks like another black marker / sharpie. I got a similar eyeliner in my June Glam Bag - the Marbella eyeliner. The Marbella one had a finer tip, but I didn't feel like I needed another marker type eyeliner. The ingredients are water, stuff I can't pronounce, stuff I can't pronounce, something acid, and black iron oxide. Made in China.

Then we have the theBalm mascara. Very minor clumping issues but generally a solid mascara. Doesn't lengthen but does seem to thicken. It doesn't leave my lashes super stuff like some other ones do. This product I will use for sure.

The product I dislike the most is the mirenesse Lip Bomb. It's thick and goopy and smells like plastic. No wonder they call it a lacquer stain. Don't get me wrong, I like lip stains, but not goopy ones. The texture might work for someone else, but it definitely doesn't work for me no matter how nice the color looks.

Last and probably the most exciting product in the bunch is the Pequi oil treatment for hair. I says you can use it before blow dry etc, but I would probably use it after styling to add some healthy sheen to my hair. Ingredients include jojoba esters, sunflower seed oil, and a bunch of stuff I can't pronounce. Good enough for me.

Conclusion: So I'm overall underwhelmed by this month's bag even though there appears to be a lot in the bag. I feel like the brands aren't that great. After 5 months of sampling the Glam Bag I decided to cancel it. I'm still keeping my Birchbox because they do provide higher end samples, and there is a lot more variety in their boxes. I did enjoy Glam Bag while it lasted, and a little sad to cancel, but I think I'll save the $10 every month and use it on something else I want. I do wish Ipsy the best, because they are doing a good thing here, just that the products don't fit my profile as much. Maybe I'll try a different box like Allure's Sample Society for $15. We shall see.

September 30, 2012

Low Fat Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

3 eggs
1 can Libby's pumpkin (large)
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp all spice
1 cup sugar
1 - 1 1/2 cup nuts
1 cup cranberries
cinnamon and sugar for the top

1/4 cup batter in greased muffin tin. Top with cinnamon sugar.

Bake 15 minutes @ 375 F.

No nonsense muffins with no butter. The pumpkin puree adds the needed moisture. Very yummy, tried and true. Can be used as batter for pumpkin bread - just pour into a loaf pan instead of muffin tins.

No pictures this time, sorry.

September 26, 2012

Hardcore Sports Fans

When I say "sports fan", I'm not talking about people who watch individual athletes and admire them for their athletic prowess, I'm talking about those who worship sports team franchises, like the Dodgers, the Bulls, the Steelers... whatever. Have you ever asked a diehard sports fan why they root for a certain team? I have, and some get offended. "What do you mean why??" Talking about sports sparks just as much heated debate as talking about religion or politics. Well, to some diehard fans, their team is their religion. Baseball seasons rolls around, you see tons of emotional updates on Facebook from hardcore fans. The NBA lockout last year provoked so much anger and tears. Football season tickets are past from generations to generations and people live and die for their teams.

But why? Why such strong emotional attachment? Why does one get so depressed when their team loses, so defensive when someone trash talks their team? Why and how does one pick a team to root for in the first place?

Is it your hometown team? Does that automatically make you attached to them? Is it because your dad liked them? Because your friends root for them? Maybe there is money riding on a game? How many sports fans like a certain team based on just their skills or sportsmanship? Probably not a lot. I mean, come on, teams trade players every season, a team this year can be totally different than last year's. Perhaps they like a team because... they like the team. Or maybe you have to make yourself passionate about it to gossip with your other pals about it. I don't know, but the loyalty dumbfounds me.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't get it. Seems so silly to me.

Why is your team... your team?

[Image source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/raiders-fans-fight-oco-coliseum-chargers_n_1878356.html]

Thoughts On Quarter Life Crisis

Don't know what to do with your life? Not sure if you've chosen the right career path? The weight of the future is upon your shoulders? Your friends are getting married left and right and you're unsure of your relationship? Stuck in a rut and in need of a change? They call it "quarter life crisis" because it usually happens to people in their mid-20s - people who just got out of college, or have spent a few years in the "real world". Quarter life crisis is not fun, but when you overcome it, you gain a new found happiness and perspective on life.

A lot of my close friends are in their 20-somethings, and in the past few months, a lot of them have been going through relationship struggles leading to breakups. In pretty much all cases it was the right decision. But why the sudden surge of breakups? I think people at this age start to be more honest with themselves and strive to know themselves better. They figure out what they want in life and in a relationship, and start to not want to settle for less. They realize that things shouldn't just be "okay", they should be, and can be great. At that point they look at their current relationship and decide that they need change.

It's the same thing with work as it is with relationships. When you're stuck in a rut and you dread going to work everyday, something is wrong. Sure, your income might be steady, but is it what you want to do? It's never too late to switch careers if that's what you want to do. Find another job, look into starting your own business. Something. Switch it up and make it work for you. Don't settle or you'll never improve.

I think getting through quarter life crisis is to be really honest with yourself. Figure out what you really want and what you should improve. Know yourself better. Things that you wanted to work before may not actually work, and you must not be afraid to change things. Inertia holds us back a lot, and it also keeps you from being happy. People believe in the things they want to believe in because their subconscious minds tell them so. Just take a step back and reflect upon your relationship and career. Are things really working out for you, or is it time for a change? Your mid 20s to early 30s are your prime years. Take some risks and liberate yourself.

(Totally ripped off the first world problems meme girl for this post. I don't even know who to credit.)

September 18, 2012

September 2012 myglam (Ipsy) Glam Bag

I really need to update my blog with something else other than beauty samples subscriptions. But for now, you get another overview of September's Glam Bag.

My Glam changed its name to Ipsy. I'm not surprised that they are revamping their website, www.impy.com, and adding more user experience other than just a pure Glam Bag subscription. You can now share your look (video or photos), like products, comments on things etc. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the early stages of my company, Taaz, and how we tried to define ourselves.

Anyway, enough of rambling. Shall we take a look at the contents of the Glam Bag? We have a London Soho NY smudge brush, a Jane lipgloss, a Carols Daughter Monoi Repairing Split End Sealer, a Mirabella eyeshadow in Semiformal, and (3rd time's the charm!) another Andrea's Choice Circus nail color, this time in Tightrope.

Here's a close up of Andrea's Choice Circus Tightrope. I suppose it's not a bad color for fall, especially with the matte finish.

I swatched it and it really reminds of my Zoya Charisma, but I don't own Charisma, so I can't do a comparison.

Like any true neon, it dries matte. Dry time was pretty fast, and like other polishes in the same collection, it was opaque in 1-2 coats.

Next up, we have Jane Sparkle Gloss in Sparkle Pink. I'm a little tired of getting lip glosses, especially ones in cool tone, but oh well.

Then we have Mirabella eye color in Semiformal. It came in a pan and it looks full sized. Very nice neutral shade with just a hint of shimmer. Good for everyday wear.

Up next is Carol's Daughter split end sealer. I'm excited about this product. I don't have very damaged hair because I limit my coloring and heat styling to a minimum, but I still want my hair to look nice and healthy. I get my hair trimmed every 4 months... so in between trims I'd like to take care of my hair. Hope this product works.

Last but certainly not least is the Soho smudge brush. The bristles are nice and soft and it's great for smudging color at the crease. And who doesn't like a pink brush? (:

And that's all for September's My Glam bag. Birchbox vs My Glam, who won out this month? I think My Glam Ipsy did. Looking forward to October already! I wonder if it's going to be Halloween themed!

September 2012 Birchbox

It finally arrived.

It was so-so.

Let's jump right into it, shall we? This box included a mini Color Club nail polish in Insta-This, a Jouer (yay!) Matte Moisture Tint, a Kate Spade Twirl perfume, a Skin, An Apothecary Soy Body Whip in Poppy, a... twistband..., and some Hollywood Fashion Secrets fashion tape.

The Color Club polish in Insta-This is a royal blue creme that is opaque in 2 coats. I don't know about this color with my skin tone. Last month I got Blue-Ming and it did not like my skin tone at all, it was so bad that I took it off instantly. I'll give Insta-This a try. This shade is perfect for the summer-fall transition, and I don't have a pure royal blue in my stash, so I'll take it.

Next up is Kate Spade Twirl eau de parfum. I actually like the way it smells on my. Great for a night out.

Then we have Jouer matte moisture tint SPF 15. I'm pretty excited to try this since people have been raving about Jouer products. The shade is pretty close to my skin tone, so I'll take it. It is nice and scentless, and does dry matte on the skin.

Then we have a Skin, An Pothecary soy body whip. It smells like... fresh linen / cotton. I'm not too fond of the smell... but the texture is not bad. I'll probably use it to hydrate before bed.

Then we have... the hair tie. Seriously, I didn't want to feature this, since I've gotten another hair tie from a previous box before, but here it is. In their defense, I've been using the last hair tie I got for my workouts and it does secure the hair pretty nicely... still... a hair tie...

Okay, the last thing from this box is fashion tape. I guess it will come in handy sooner or later. I don't have having these lying around. At first glance, it looks just like any other sticker... I can't say yet whether it works well or not.

And there you have it. September 2012 Birchbox. It's okay. I feel indifferent about it. If you want to sign up and give me some referral love, you may follow this link. (:

August 13, 2012

August 2012 myglam Glam Bag

Wow. I'm so excited by this month's Glam Bag. Take a look at what's in the bag this month:

We have a full-sized Circus nail polish (0.45 fl.oz.) in Spectacle, eclos Anti-Aging Regenerative Cream (0.25 fl.oz.), eclos Anti-Aging Cellular Activator Face Serum (0.5 fl. oz.), a full-sized myglam Glam Gloss in 02 (0.237 fl. oz.), s.a.l.t.y. cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in Glama-ZOID! $150 (1 gram), and Demeter Roll On Perfume Oil in Dragon Fruit (0.29 fl. oz.). That's a lot of stuff.

Here's a closer look at the myglam Glam Gloss:

It smells like watermelon, tastes like lipstick, made in China. Honestly... I don't know if I trust it. When it comes to stuff I'd be ingesting, I prefer brands I know and trust. myglam Glam Gloss? I don't trust. Pretty color though.

Next up is the Circus nail polish in Spectacle. It's a bright neon orange that is opaque in 1 coat! Like other neon polishes it dries slightly matte. Great coverage, but the brush is croaked. Full-sized product and I don't have a neon orange, so no complaints.

The Demeter dragon fruit roll-on perfume smells quite nice and refreshing. Smells kinda like lychee to me. It's a pretty decent-sized sample too. Ingredients are coconut oil, palm oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and fragrance. Judging from the ingredients you can probably use it as a cuticle oil.

I've never heard of s.a.l.t.y. cosmetics before. The mineral eye shadow is very iridescent. From different angles it shimmers blue and pink. Very pretty. Good for highlighting the brow bone.

The eclos anti-aging cream and serum smells like... medicated creams. I don't know how well they work yet, but I'm excited to try.

** Update 8/14 **

The eclos creams have way too much fragrance in them, and they don't smell pleasant. I actually had to wipe it off because the smell was preventing me from falling asleep! It reminds me a bit of Murad's durian wrinkle reducer in terms of smell, mixed with something else not pleasant like an airplane bathroom. I may end up using these as an intense mask and washing it off in 15 minutes.


Overall I'm quite impressed with August's Glam Bag. Well worth the $10. If you haven't signed up yet, do so!

August 10, 2012

August 2012 Birchbox

Happy Friday!

I'm here again with August's Birchbox. It came fast this month!

Jumping into the contents, we've got Beauty Fixation Cuticle Conditioner (24 swabs), Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur (0.05 fl. oz.), WEI Pomegranate Buffing Beads (2 x 0.02 oz), WEI Golden Root purifying mud mask, and a Schick Hydro Silk Razor.

The Juicy Couture fragrance is actually very nice. I've gotten a sample from Sephora before and liked it, so it's nice to have another sample. I can't wait to try the WEI products out. I've never heard of them, and I'm certainly due for a mud mask.

The razor blade got promptly passed to my husband, who gladly accepted it. I don't use razor blades, so I'm glad someone's gonna use it. Although, this is the description on Birchbox's website: "The Schick Hydro Silk Razor is our latest Birchbox Find. Thanks to this innovative new razor, we’ll be showing off our legs all season long." Well... I'm quite certain my husband is planning to use this on his face and not his legs...

And here are more pictures of the Beauty Fixation cuticle conditioner. I was really excited to see these! Certainly fun to use.

I snapped one open and the liquid inside quickly drained to saturate the cotton at the end.

It was easy to apply to my nails. I like how it's scentless.

10 minutes later it looks like the conditioner is mostly absorbed. Very convenient.

By the way, I'm wearing Zoya Kate from the Birchbox Blogger Collection, 2 coats. I used my Birchbox points to get them for free last week and they applied like a dream. Beautiful summer color. Great formula and perfect for layering, or jelly sandwiches if you're into that.

The WEI mud mask leaves my face feeling especially clean. When you put it on, it feels like you're smearing your face with chocolate. The smell is faint and pleasant. It says one application but I'm able to get two out of it. Very nice.

Overall, I think this Birchbox is definitely worth the $10. I'm pretty happy with it. If you want to join Birchbox, click here to use my referral link, or not, no biggie. Still think $10 a month, the cost of lunch, is a good deal for beauty samples.