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Beauty Box Battle: Ipsy vs. Birchbox

Ipsy and Birchbox are the queen companies of beauty subscription boxes and I've been dying to try both of them out! I decided to sign up for both for three months to see which one was the better option. Check out my first impression on not only the companies, but also the products that came inside. Hopefully this will help give you a better insight on which service would be better for you!

August

Birchbox

The August Birchbox had a simple yet pretty box to represent the end to summer with its shifting pink, purple, gradient sunset and silhouetted palm trees.

  • Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer Palette: Coastal Scents generally runs middle of the road as far as quality goes. I liked the shade of blush and how pigmented it was, but on the flip side the bronzer seemed like it was lacking pigmentation.
  • Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream: I have not been using this product long enough to notice or develop an opinion. Sounds like it does all great things though to help boost moisture retention with ceramides. 
  • Marcelle City Multi-Protection Tinted Cream: I like the idea of this product protecting your skin against pollution and harmful UV rays. I'm not impressed with the coverage. 
  • Number 4 Super Comb & Protect: I noticed a difference in my hair with how tangled it gets, but without using heat I can't say how it works for that. I'm also not sure how this product compares to others like it because my hair generally needs something to help with detangling.
  • TOCCA Stella perfume: I kept going back and forth if I sort of liked this fragrance or if I really didn't like it at all. The blood orange citrust scent that I love is what had me on the fence, but I've come to the conclusion that with everything else mixed together it has an "old lady smell".

 

Ipsy

The Ipsy glam bag had the killer "good vibes only" quote on it. I thought the background was interesting with it's similarity to Birchbox so I was curious to track the similarity in designs and themes.

  • Juara Rice Facial Cleanser: I thought this was a nice cleanser and it smelled good. Long term I haven't noticed anything that makes it better than what I already use. I prefer a cleanser that doesn't just cleanse, but tones and gently exfoliates as well.
  • The Balm Voyage vol. II Kuwakaribisha shadow/luminizer: I'm a fan of The Balm so I thought this was a very pretty shadow and highlighter that you could toss in a bag for travel, but it wasn't a unique shade or formula in my opinion.
  • Seraphine Botanicals Liquid Coal Waterproof Liquid Liner: The formula was smooth and the application was nice, but it didn't last any longer than any other liquid liner I've used.
  • Yadah Silky Fit Concealer BB Cream: The formula was thinner and easier to blend, but the coverage was average.
  • No. 7 Sundays Nail Polish: I thought the color would be a really pretty peachy pink, but instead it was the same color as my nails and pretty boring. It also didn't last but a day before it started chipping terribly.

September

Birchbox

The September Birchbox was a black and white floral pattern with a gold metallic background. Loved this design! 

  • Amika Un.Done Texture Spray: I was not loving this for my hair type and style. It made my hair feel dry and coarse. It tangled and was extremely hard to brush though kind of like hairspray. It changed the texture of it by touch, but it didn't do anything for me in terms of appearance. The best thing about it was the cute design of the container.
  • Daily Concepts Facial Micro-Scrubber: This was such a great addition to my skincare routine! I normally use a skincare brush, but this is perfect for traveling to help with exfoliation and deep-cleansing. 
  • Lored & Berry Strobing Pencil: I had never seen a product like this before so it took me a second to get use to the idea. I prefer creams and powders for highlighting and strobing, but this is a nice little guy for just adding a pop of highlight onto your cupid's bow or the inner corner's of your eye that require less and are not as easy to get to.
  • Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow: At this point was pretty much BB Creamed out after getting one in every shipment so far. Average, but gave a nice golden glow sans the name.
  • Vasanti Eye Wonder 2.0 Super Powered Eye Cream: I have not been using this product long enough to notice or develop an opinion. The description really talks it up though "this eye cream uses a mix of peptides, botanicals, and vitamins to hydrate under eyes and reduce dark circles."

Ipsy

I was totally digging the September glam bag theme: #GirlBoss. The bag itself was edgy and fierce in an amazing way.

  • Colour Pop Lippie Stix in Matte X: Such a gorgeous color with a matte finish! You can't go wrong in general with the bargain steals that Colour Pop has, but when you get a full size product like this in your glam bag you know your bag was worth the money.
  • Adesse New York Organic Infused Nail Lacquer in Deception: Unsure about the color - it wouldn't be my first pick. At first, I didn't like it, but it's grown on me. It took two coats and wasn't super fast drying, but it has held up pretty good. At least the majority is still on the nail after a week of wear.
  • Luxie 207 Medium Angled Shading Brush: As a makeup brush junkie, this was a pleasant discovery! Super soft and does a good job at blending!
  • E Nature Birch Juice Hydro Sleeping Pack: I have not been using this product long enough to notice or develop an opinion. Although I can guess, I'm really not sure what it does. At least Birch Juice sounds interesting?
  • Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Gunmetal: Although pretty, it's still a standard shadow color. For having oily eyelids, I was impressed with it's durability to last as long as it did. 

October

Birchbox

The Birchbox this month had a colorful foliage/rainforest design. It wasn't my favorite design and I wasn't sure how it fit with October.

  • Eyeko Liquid Eyeliner in Black: I have oily eyelids so I'm really not sure if it's just me or the product, but it didn't last any longer than others for me. I'm not sure if it was the shape of the tip or the material, but it seemed to pull at my skin making it difficult to get precision.
  • Lavanilla Vanilla Coconut Fragrance: A very natural smelling fragrance. I could definitely smell the vanilla and the coconut. I didn't mind the smell, but my husband didn't care for it. 
  • Lipstick Queen lip pencil in the shade Nude: I loved the shade of this lip pencil and the smooth formula. Although it wasn't budge-proof, it did last a while on my lips. 
  • Embryolisse 24 Hour Miracle Cream (moisturizer): I didn't notice this specifically make a difference with my foundation like it suggests it will. As a moisturizer, it was okay. 
  • Beauty Protector Detangling Spray: I loved this product and noticed it made a huge difference! I'm not sure if it's the fact that my hair is one of the most neglected things or not because outside of dying it my hair doesn't get much TLC, but I definitely noticed a difference! The question is how does it compare to other products like it on the market? I can't answer that one. 

Ipsy

The October glam bag was a dark, red lace pattern with a cute little bat zipper pull for a Halloween touch. 

October Products:

  • DLS (Dirty Little Secret) Eyeshadow in the color Bronzed: it was sub-par to me - a pretty color that I could probably find in any neutral palette. I couldn't see what would make me choose the DLS brand over something else.
  • MDM Flow in the color Retro: I was impressed by this transfer-proof lip color! It was a super pretty shade and it really was transfer proof! However, it was not water proof and was gone after two hours of wear from eating and drinking. It still doesn't come close to outshining LipSense!
  • Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in the shade Perversion: So creamy and smooth-gliding! Perfect for smoking and smudging! I have yet to find an eye pencil that stays on me and this one was no exception. Not sure if it's just me or the product. 
  • Hey Honey Trick and Treat Concealer: I received it in the Normal to Dry formula which is not my skin type, but it didn't seem to make a difference. It was a nice feeling formula, but it wasn't as much coverage as I'm used to.
  • Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream: The name "cracks" me up! Are you rolling on the floor yet? Ha! It has a really nice smell, but it seemed and felt like regular lotion to me. First impression doesn't make think it's anything special, but I think it's going to take more time using it to see if really makes a difference. 

Birchbox Overview

Pros

  • Shipped in a professional box
  • Personalized mailing label - a nice touch
  • Inserts that tell you about the products and how much they cost
  • The online customized profile was very detailed and easy to work around.
  • Emails telling you when it was shipped out with a tracking number

Cons

  • The products weren't customized toward my preferences even though they were supposed to be.
  • The samples weren't worth $10 in my opinion and were samples you'd get as giveaways in stores.
  • The samples were odd brands I hadn't heard of for the most part.

Ipsy Overview

Pros

  • Comes in a super cute, quality made makeup bag
  • Full size products 
  • Products that were department store brand

Cons

  • It came in a bubble mailer instead of a professional looking box, but it is advertised as a glam bag and I'd rather have the cost put into that instead of what it ships in.
  • I really liked the inserts in the Birchbox and think it would be a nice touch if Ipsy had them too.

The winner ....

I really felt like I got my money's worth with the Ipsy Glam Bag. The products were tailored toward my preferences, they were full size, and didn't just have new brands but higher end brands for diversity. It was all wrapped up in a super cute makeup bag to boot! I'm all about presentation and even though Ipsy wasn't on par with the professional quality of shipment like Birchbox was, I'm way more interested in the product I'm paying for inside and Ipsy was a winner every time for me. 

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

holiday2016giftguide

I’ve been hopping around the internet and along my travels have seen some pretty nifty and drool worthy products that would be great gift ideas – at least I would love to receive them! (In fact, some of them I have!) So if you’re stumped, hopefully these will inspire you for someone you’re shopping for or even to put on your own Christmas list.

Benefit Cosmetics Sassy Lassie

“Chick Picks” Beauty Bestsellers Kit

Benefit Cosmetics Sassy Lassie "Chick Picks" Beauty Bestsellers Kit
An all around great beauty gift for the makeup lover or the makeup dabbler. Some of Benefit’s greatest products all in one. All of these are great products for a simple, finished look or the base for a more glamorous ensemble.

Succulent Wall Art

8x10 Matted Print, Botanical Decor, Sage Green Floral Wall Art, 'Succulent Heart'
A beautiful print of your favorite cactus friend: the good ol’ succulent and a contemporary, in-style statement piece for any room that is certainly going to draw eyes and make people swoon.

HP Sprocket Printer

Image result for hp sprocket
This nifty little gadget fits in the palm of your hand and slips into a bag safe and out of sight for those special nights you know will be capturing memories and want to share them instantly. It doesn’t even need ink to print your Polaroids – and you can even turn your photos into stickers (what?!)!

 

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Necklace

Real Blue Butterfly Pendant, Blue Morpho, Real Butterfly, Nature Necklace, Blue Butterfly
Become one with the beauty of nature and show off the brilliance of one of the most “eye catching” butterflies in the world around your neck. (It’s a blue morpho – do you see what I did there?) 😉 *Butterfly wings are from farmed butterflies – not wild caught

 

Bonsai Tree Kit

Image result for Best Seller Plant Theatre Bonsai Trio Kit, 3 Distinctive Bonsai Trees to Grow
Grow your own bonsai tree with this kit. You can have a zen oriental garden experience growing before your very eyes. WARNING: Must have a green thumb.

Camera Lens Coffee Thermos

Image result for 350ml Caniam Camera Lens Travel Mug Lens Cup Tea Mug Black
For the photo lover, the coffee lover and especially the one who loves them both! I’m in love with my travel mug and take it with me everywhere. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it – even my husband steals it from me! Also, easy conversation starter if you run a photog business. 😉

Truth Serum Decanter

Image result for truth serum decanter
Pick your poison and fill the decanter with it. Play a game of truth or dare and if someone picks truth, make them drink. A pretty and unique piece for your bar and a fun edition to a classic party game.

Happiness Journal

Focus on what makes you happy and write lists down so that you never forget. This is great to help you focus on the good instead of the bad and serves as a reminder of something to go to when you’re feeling down. For the one who loves to journal and the one who loves to make lists.

 

Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp

Image result for WBM Himalayan Glow Hand Carved Natural Crystal Himalayan Salt Lamp with Genuine Neem Wood Base, Bulb and Dimmer Control, 8-to-9-Inch, 8-to-11-Pounds
Not only is it just a gorgeous piece for the home, but the added health benefits are a huge selling factor. I have two of these and I want one in every room of the house.

 

Planetarium Light Projector

Image result for Parrot Uncle 270 Degree Rotating Laser Twilight Stars Hologram Projector - Constellation, Nebula and Galaxy Projection
After hunting for a while, this was the only planetarium light projector I could find that looked beautifully realistic and was more than just for a kid’s bedroom. Although, great for kids this is something that would be cool even for adults. I’m also loving the aurora and ocean light projectors as well.

Hope you enjoyed this unique list of gift ideas for Christmas. Have you purchased any of these? What did you fall in love with from this list? If you love makeup, I will be posting my makeup wishlist next week so stay tuned for that!

loveamanda

Cityscape Mary Kay Fall 2015 Product Review and Giveaway

Mary Kay Cosmetics Cityscape Fall Line Product Review

I’m so in love with the classy and simplistic vibes the 2015 Cityscape Mary Kay fall line gives off. I’m having so much fun playing with colors and creating looks for you guys. Check out the video below to see all of the products in a more personal way and find out how you can win the GIVEAWAY (yay!!).

All of the makeup products from the Mary Kay Cityscape Fall 2015 Collection:

> His Cologne

Hers Perfume

> His Hair and Body Wash

> Hers Silkening Shower Gel

> Silkening Dry Oil Mist

Garden Terrace Nail Polish

Berry Stylish Nail Polish

Gallery Gray Nail Polish

Naturally Chic Lip Shine

Oh So Currant Lip Shine

Berry Stylish Lip Shine

City Sophisticate Eye Palette

Metro Modern Eye Palette

Give Away Rules:
Must be located in the United States
Must be 18 years older
1. Share this video
2. Follow me on Twitter (@amandagloth)
3. Comment on this video telling me what your favorite product is

I will announce the winner on November 1st if this video has 2,000 views by October 31st.

 

Loving It: Passion Planner

lovingitpassionplanner

It’s been about a month since my long awaited Passion Planner finally arrived. I had high expectations when I got it and let me say … it’s lived up to those expectations and beyond. This planner is designed to help you gain clarity in setting goals, developing a timeline, and figuring out what you need to do in order to reach those goals. The thought process is truly spectacular. Here’s a sneak peak into the goal training that Passion Planner provides. There are so many features and design elements in this planner I’ve never seen before that really sets it apart from other planners. The encouraging quotes, weekly challenges, and monthly reflections make it so personal. I love that it’s not just a place to record your schedule, but it’s a place to write your to do lists, hold yourself accountable, and truly chase after your passions.

passionplanner

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt (quote from Passion Planner)

passionplanning

A planner is only as good as the person who utilizes it, but if you utilize this then I think you will be pleased with the results. The creators know the value of this tool so much that they even have free downloadable templates that you can get at www.PassionPlanner.com.

What are your thoughts about the Passion Planner? Is it something you would use?

I’m Loving It: Nicole by OPI GelStyle Kit

One of my Christmas gifts was the Nicole by OPI gel style kit. Let me tell you a little bit about this snazzy product…

What is it?

Okay so it’s basically a fancier form of painting your nails that looks better and lasts longer. You get this gel nail lacquer in a sparkly red and sparkly transparent pink, a remover, cleansing pads, nail file/buffer, cuticle pusher, and a UV light. You clean your nails first making sure they are clear of oils and old polish. Then file, buffer, and make sure your cuticles are pushed back. Paint your nails with the base coat and stick them under the UV drying light for 30 seconds. Then choose your color, paint your nails, and dry for 30 seconds. Repeat the process with a second coat of the color, and the top coat. When you’re finally done, take the cleanser pad and wipe any stickiness on the top off.

*Things to be aware of based on my experience:

  • Make sure that your layers are thin. The thicker they are the easier they will peel off and they won’t last as long after dried.
  • Make sure that the polish is not on you cuticle or skin around your nail AT ALL. If it is, it will peel off.
  • Steam from hot water seems to make the gel peel when it gets on the cuticle.

Why I’m Lovin’ It…

I absolutely love both of the colors. They are beautiful and I’m a huge fan of pale transparent pinks because they aren’t as noticeable when they chip. I’m wearing the pink above ^^ and as you can tell it looks very natural, but in the right light it has a really pretty glitter. After a week of wear, the only change is a little chipping at the very tip of my nail and it’s not much at all – hardly visible. AND they are completely dry when you’re finished. I’m super impressed. The whole process takes about 30 minutes to make sure everything is done properly which for me is a bit of a time investment especially when it comes to nails, but I do love when my nails look nice and the pay off is worth it for how long they last and how nice they look. I’m the girl that usually has the really gross looking, paint-chipped nails or nails with no polish on them at all because I never have time to deal with the upkeep. Not to mention, I’m not a very good nail tech so when I do paint my nails, they look like a sloppy mess. Partly because I’m impatient and don’t wait for them to dry and partly because I just can’t color in the lines. Let’s just say, this gel style kit is a heaven send.

 

I’m Loving It: Bentonite Clay

I’m lovin’ me some of the Yerba Prima Great Plains Bentonite Clay. Talk about one of my favorites from 2014.

What is it?

Bentonite comes from earth and is an absorbent clay created from volcanic ash aging with water. There are many varieties of bentonite clay based on its different chemical components. Sodium and calcium being the most readily available and popular. Based on these varieties you can get it in liquid and powder form so you can take it internally and use it externally.

What does it do?

When mixed with water, it acts like a magnet pulling toxins and metals into it and locking them away. In exchange, it leaves the body with minerals.

How to use it:

Mix a tablespoon of the clay in a glass of distilled water and drink on an empty stomach. Whatever you use to scoop the clay with must be non-metal so plastic, wood, ceramic etc. Same thing for the glass. (The clay is pulling metals out of whatever it comes in contact with so the goal is to take advantage of that as much as possible and not put it back in your system with metals from a spoon or what could be found in regular water.)

Why I’m Lovin It…

The Yerba Prima Great Plains Bentonite Clay is for internal use. Every time my stomach is starting to feel funky I take this and I’m feeling better in no time. It’s an amazing detox and does so many things for the body. It helps with…

  • acid reflux
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • gas
  • skin/allergy issues,
  • recovery from vomiting and diarrhea

Have you used bentonite clay before? What are your thoughts – are you lovin it?