Sunday, May 18, 2014

IPSY BAG : January 2014

January 2014 - 19 Reasons
i've finally made it to the 2014 subscriptions... aww yeah! i want to squeeze in another post before i leave for Philadelphia on wednesday though. i'm heading down to my friend's graduation and we will be visiting New York and Pittsburgh as well. it's all very exciting to me because i haven't been to many places in the states.

alsoooooo i went to my third (i think) BSB concert on friday and it was amazing (AHHH NICK CARTER)! it was awesome to see all 5 of them back together. they thanked the fans for being there for 21 years... 21 years!! that's crazy that it has been that long. i was super happy that they played a lot of their old hits. i also know some of their new ones since i had a BSB only playlist at work for the last 3 days in preparation :)

anyway, my phone died after the concert which made me kick myself the rest of the night because a friend convinced me to head to the after party and this was the closest i have ever been to them!! i could see the sweat on their foreheads! i touched AJ and Howie's hands!! i got Howie's autograph!!!
eeeeeeeee! i was in awe for sure! it was like an estrogen-fuelled mosh pit but it was worth it. Howie was super cool cause he was taking selfies with people's phones and signing autographs. yay!! i am very glad i went even though i felt super old at the club later. super old. a boy who actually looked 16 kept trying to hold my hand and dance with me and i was like 'i am pretty sure i am like 10 years older than you'! the club scene is veryyy strange to me now. 

anyway, back to ipsy! ipsy's 19 Reasons bag is referring to the 19 brands they worked with in January.  they also want you to find a reason why 2014 will be amazing. i'm already enjoying 2014 quite a bit and my upcoming trips to Philly/New York/Pittsburgh and then Orlando in the summer will be fantastic, i'm sure. plus, i just went to the Backstreet Boys and will be going to see John Legend next month. swoon!

1) Benefit : the Porefessional
Quickly minimize the appearance of pores & fine lines for smoother-than-smooth skin! Apply this silky, lightweight balm alone, under or over makeup. Translucent, oil-free formula complements all skintones and helps makeup stay put. Contains a Vitamin E derivative, known to protect skin from free radicals.
size: 3 mL
retail value: $31 (22 mL)
promotion: free gift with online purchase // expired Feb 15, 2014 
this makes it three! three times i've found this in a beauty bag. the other 2 times were from Topbox - April 2012 and February 2013. guess i won't be running out anytime soon and i still enjoy how smooth it makes my skin feel.

2)  (MALIN+GOETZ) : Mojito Lip Balm
The (MALIN+GOETZ) Mojito Lip Balm is as soothing to the lips as it is to the senses. Flavored with (MALIN+GOETZ) Mojito, this lip balm is scientifically blended to restore and replenish. The hydrating lip gel easily integrates for daily maintenance, prevention and treatment of dry, irritated lips. Color and Paraben free.
size: 10 g [full size]
retail value: $12
mojitos hey? that's a new flavor of lip balm for me. i am trying to rely less on lip balm cause i feel like my lips have to recover on their own from the winter but i might see if my boyfriend would use this. it looks plain enough right? i just don't know how he would feel about the gel texture...

3) Balanced Guru : Balm Me Up Organic Sweet Cocoa & Tangy Body Balm
Treat your whole body with a smooth and buttery body balm. Enriched with healthy butters and an invigorating blend of essential oils that will wake up your senses and moisturize your skin without leaving it greasy or tacky. Make sure you work it well into elbows, knees and even your feet, they'll thank you later!
size: 30 mL [trial size - $12]
retail value: $45 (120 mL)
promotion: 20% off online purchase // expired Feb 28, 2014 // US only
this body balm claims to moisturize your skin without leaving it greasy but i find that this is really difficult especially if the product contains so many different butters and oils. my experience with this body balm is that it leaves a shiny look/greasy feeling after application but over time, this will fade but the moisture remains.

4) Absolute! : Make-up Cleansing Tissues with 'Cucumber Extract'
Pre-moistened, refreshingly fragranced, water-based cloths designed to instantly remove even waterproof makeup without irritation. Infused with natural extracts and botanicals, Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissues are formulated to reawaken and soften skin, while helping to reduce puffiness. Made of delicate spun lace, our convenient, effortless 1-step tissues are gentle enough for use on sensitive skin and around the eye area.
size: 10 tissues [$2.49]
retail value: $7.99 [60 tissues]
promotion: 30% off online purchase // expired Feb 10, 2014 // US only
ipsy has teamed up once again with Nicka K. the Absolute! line of cleanings tissues include a number of other extracts such as Vitamin C, green tea and pomegranate. 

5) yaby : Natural Finish Liquid Foundation in 'Buff'
The yaby Liquid Foundation leaves an unbelievably natural, super smooth texture and is extremely easy to apply. Mimics the skin's natural sheen to create the most realistic flawless skin. Oil-free.
size: 8 mL [full size!]
retail value: $13.55
promotion: 20% off online purchase // expired Jan 31, 2014
the yaby liquid foundations all come in this small size which is great for carrying around. yaby also has color correctors as well. i've tried a few yaby products now (thanks to ipsy and Topbox) including some concealers which were decent but not highly pigmented. this 'Buff' shade is meant to be neutral but i think it is just a bit light for my skin. the smell is not the greatest since it smells sort of metal-y.

and tada! that makes up the first beauty bag from ipsy for the year... sort of a boring start in my opinion.
did you like your ipsy bag? what concerts are you going to this year?

Monday, May 05, 2014

FANCY BOX: December 2013 [Coco Rocha]

here is my very first - and much much delayed - Fancy box review :)

i decided to take the dive and get a new subscription box because well... it was December and you never know what extras or specials could be included.
and i'd been eyeing Fancy box for a very long time. i decided to go with Coco Rocha because her past boxes contained items that were most appealing to me. i also considered Jennifer Love Hewitt's and Kelly Rowland's boxes. i didn't go with JLove because she occasionally picked items related to cooking and i don't can't cook. Kelly Rowland's was tempting but i couldn't see myself using all of the items. 

plus there was a 30% off promo code so it pretty much sealed the deal.

the cost breakdown was:
Fancy Box       $39.00
Discount            (11.70)
Shipping             17.00            (booooo i know - Canada is really not that far)
Total            44.30 USD

so even with the discount, it's not the most affordable box out there. the Coco Rocha Fancy box description states that the boxes have more than a $80 value. so it's a gamble, like all other subscription boxes.

i placed my order on December 2, 2013 for the December box. since this order was placed before the 26th, it was shipped on December 30 (Fancy's cutoff date for the current box is the 26th). it arrived on my doorstep January 3, 2014.

the box is pretty huge! here is a picture to illustrate the size, as well as my current collection of unopened Fancy boxes:
the leaning tower of Fancy boxes

upon opening the Fancy box, i see some black tissue and then... some more tissue. these ones were 'inflated' (what's the term here?) to keep the things from moving around too much. on the VERY bottom of the box is where i found all of my items.

keep reading to find out more about my first Fancy box experience!
p.s. all retail values listed below are in USD.

you get these little cards for each item you get, along with some notes from Coco on the back:

1) Greeting Cards for All Occasions by Rifle Paper Co. - "Go Get 'Em Tiger"
Inspired by vintage playing cards and perfect for a friend or significant other.

this is quite a neat-looking card - it has a 'Papyrus' feel to it: a unique, well-made card that i can't ever bring myself to purchase. but i guess $5 isn't really that bad. except it is blank inside, so it's all on you to write something clever.

retail value: $5

2) Moleskine Ruled Notebook - "Brilliant Violet"
The Moleskine Mini Notebook has 56 acid-free pages (28 leaves) with rounded corners. It is so lightweight you'll forget about it - till you need it. Whether you're a veteran Moleskine aficionado or new to this fabulous world you can't pass up this new simplicity for thoughtful journaling.

i do often find myself looking for something to jot down some ideas or to make a quick list. opening the 'Notes' app on my iPhone can literally take too long.. my phone has way too many blogging photos on it so e v e r y t h i n g  i s  s u p e r  s l o w .
this is the perfect size to throw in a handbag. it even comes with a small pocket in the back for you to slip cards/receipts in.
now all i need is a mini pen to go with it.

retail value: $6

3) Quay Sunglasses - "Kitti / Tortoise Shell"
Polycarbonate Frame
Polycarbonate Lens
100% UV protection

Width: 14cm/5.5"
Height: 5cm/1.9"
Nose gap: 1-4cm/0.3-1.5"

these sunglasses aren't your typical cheap plastic sunglasses. staying true to the name of the model, these sunglasses are very cat-like. i am not quite sure how i feel about them - they may indeed be too fancy for me. but i can maaaaaaybe see myself busting these out on a summer road trip. maybe.

retail value: $40

4) Sovanna Earring by Senhoa 
Golden Shade Swarovski crystals, evoking the rich essence of luminous sunlight hitting the stirring streets of Siem Reap. Sovanna is a homage to the promises of the coming dawn.

okay seriously hands down - my favorite item in the box. and of course, the most expensive. these earrings alone exceed the "> $80" Fancy box value promise.

i thought these were absolutely beautiful the second i took them out of the velvet bag. but it was after reading the card about the company that really amazed me.
"Each Senhoa jewelry piece is individually handcrafted by a survivor of human trafficking or a young woman vulnerable to sexual exploitation."
if that is not one of the best reasons ever to buy jewelry, i don't know what is.

i love the color and shape of the golden Swarovski crystals. definitely gorgeous to wear to a fancy event with an updo or more subtly with my hair down.

retail value: $85
oooh the color is so purdyy

so i must say i love this box. the highlight and most valuable item were the earrings and they are very pretty indeed. the total value of this box was $136! that's quite amazing. the notebook is very cute and practical at the same time. the sunglasses and card may not be as impressive to me, but still very interesting and different. this was definitely a great first impression.
i must say that i am itching to open my next Fancy box. maybe it's because it's a change of pace from all the makeup bags which makes this so exciting! there's so many things that could possibly be inside!
i believe there is a t-shirt in my next box because i recall the Fancy team asking me to pick a size... guess we will just have to see!! must. breeze. through. January. boxes. stat! 

Friday, May 02, 2014

WANTABLE: December 2013 [accessories box]

oops so i got lazy! gahh work is so busy with quarter end and my taxes are due... wait, overdue? yikes! 

one thing i did get done is booking my Orlando trip in August!! i'm super excited! but there's another trip... later this month that i haven't booked yet. i should just do it! but just last week when i was going to book it, my credit card failed me and prices have slightly gone up since then and i keep waiting for it to go back to what i could've gotten... ughh. don't you hate that??

December's Accessories Box and my preferences: 

Vivian Zhu (who picked the items) only chose 3 pieces this month:

1) Olivia Headband 
very retro feeling. the Style Tip says to pair it with a messy updo. if only i could... i find that the messy hair look is actually so difficult to achieve! who else has this problem?!
the headband is a little too big/eye-catching for my taste but it's sorta cute. not twenty-four dollars cute though.

retail value: $24

2) Bessie Necklace 
hands down my favorite item in the box. i don't own any thick linked chains like this and so i was a little unsure when i took it out of the box. it is surprisingly light. it's simple yet it can totally dress up an outfit in an instant.

retail value: $34

3) Lottie Ring (size 6)
i have an important announcement to make... Frankenstein and i got married!!!! 
check out the bling:
look at the sparkle on those nuts and bolts!

but for realsies, i had to analyze this in depth the second i saw it. odd isn't it??
i ... do not know what i chose in my preferences (above) that would've selected such an item for me. it's just so strange. i can't remember if i said i loved statement rings... but this is indeed it.

i took several pictures to show you the size of it. personally, i find it reaaaaally big. i think i would keep knocking into things or getting it caught on something. FYI, those nuts actually spin.
retail value: $26

sooooo i really don't feel like i got my moneys worth in this box. Wantable boxes are quite expensive and if you only like 1/3 items, it's not a good sign.
quick mention about their packaging! they switched it up to these foam pieces which i think does a better job at protecting your accessories.
is anyone still getting the Wantable Accessories Box?
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