The Monkey Is In.

So be prepared. Bring a banana.

I'm a writer of horror and dark fiction. I've been doing this since 1999 and believe me when I say, it's cheaper than therapy and safer for the world at large.

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly June 2018 Review

In case you missed my post last month, the indie make-up brand, Notoriously Morbid, has a monthly lipstick subscription service called Mystic Monthly. For $10, you receive one full-sized, exclusive Mystic Matte lipstick, plus one other full-sized lip product. And they're cruelty free! Check it out here: MYSTIC MONTHLY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The theme for the 2018 MM service is, "The Dragon's Tail". The slip of paper contains info on the theme, the particular Dragon's name and history, plus ingredient lists for both products (sorry, the coupon code is just for subscribers). And, like last month, they included a little Dum Dum sucker!

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Let's talk about the 2nd item first--the Night Kiss Lip Balm. I'm addicted to lip balms. I always need them, and I keep them in almost every room in the house (along with Kleenex). And, unlike last month, I'm pretty sure this IS full size. The balm is wonderful. Thick but not sticky or greasy. It lasts a really long time on the lips. And the smell is divine (baked goods). Super happy about this!

And now for the star of the show--the Mystic Matte lipstick in Bolla. Bolla is from Albanian folklore and is known as a transforming dragon, with three stages of change: starts as a snake, changes to the Bolla, then finally transforms into the Kulshedra. I don't really know what any of that means, but it sounds wicked-cool.

It's a cool indigo base with a warm violet sheen, and it's stunning, folks. The hand swatch shows you how thin and sheer the formula is. The first lip swatch is just one coat. The second lip swatch is two coats. I didn't go to a third, which was suggested, because it does start to feel really dry after that second application.

Because of its transformative abilities, this lipstick can be worn three ways (just like the dragon - see what they did there?). First, the sheer formula can be worn as just a light wash of color. Second, it can be built up to be more opaque. And third, it can be worn OVER another lipstick to change its color. Nice...

So let's see what happens when I apply it over two different lipsticks. The first is Wet n Wild's Liquid Cat Suit in the shade, Missy and Fierce (gorgeous red). It's a liquid lipstick, so I let it set before I put Bolla over it. The second pic shows one layer. The third is two, letting Bolla dry between coats. 

I'm not the most precise applicator of lipsticks, but you REALLY have to have a steady hand when trying it this way. If you don't get all the way to the edge, it looks like you're wearing a lip liner that is absolutely the WRONG color, which looks goofy in my opinion. But the color goes from red to a magenta-orchid purple. Which is TITS.

The second to last pic is Colourpop's Lippie Stix in Bull Chic, which is supposed to be a matte formula, but it never really sets, and feels more like a creme finish. When I put Bolla over it, (as you can see in the final lip swatch), it amped up the blue-purple aspect of the lipstick. Which is also TITS. It didn't matter if I put one or two layers on, it looked the same. But again, you have to be very precise with your application, and the watery formula of Bolla makes that difficult.

So until I get the hang of it, I think I'll just put on a blue or purple lip liner and wear Bolla on top.

Loved the products I got this month and look forward to playing with Bolla more!

 

Universal Yums May 2018

For those who don't know, Universal Yums is a monthly food subscription service. For $14, $25, or $39 you get 6+, 12+, or 20+ snacks and candies from a different country. Check them out for yourselves: UNIVERSAL YUMS

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

May's box comes from the Philippines! Here's some trivia for you (answer at the end of the post). Filipinos send more ________ per person than any other country. A.Texts; B.Fan mail; C.Emails; D.Packages

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I don't think there was one item I didn't like. Granted, they weren't all fantastic but I enjoyed everything.

Boy Bawang Barbeque Flavored Corn Nuts: I loved that these aren't the same texture as a corn nut we know in the states. These are much crispier than their US cousin and they've got a lot of garlic added. Pretty dang good, unless you don't like garlic. Then you might want to avoid these.

Pinipig Polvoron Toasted Rice Flavored Shortbread: This was probably one of my favorite treats. I love short bread and this stuff was similar in texture to the purple ube one we received in the last Philippines box. But the flavor is milder, not too sweet, and you get that toasted rice finish at the end. Delicious!

Cupp Keyk Nutty Chocolate Flavor: This was okay. It was a little on the dry side but the flavor was good. The peanuts added a nice layer to it.

Leslie's Cheezy Corn Crunch Cheddar Jalapeno Flavored Corn Snack: These are a lot like Cheetos but with a muted, more natural cheese flavor. The jalapeno is not spicy (which, apparently, hot and spicy is not the norm in the Philippines) but adds a nice flavor.

Fudgee Bar Cake with Salted Caramel Filling: The cake was so much better than the cupcake. Moist, very flavorful, almost too sweet. I didn't get much in the way of salted caramel in the filling but it was super sweet.

Oishi Pillows Ube Filled Crackers (technically cookies): I loved these, too. Little crispy pillows filled with ube cream. Ube is a potato common in the Philippines and they use it a lot in desserts. These also kind of tasted like when you eat a sugary cereal and the milk left behind becomes sweetened and flavored by the cereal itself. Really good!

Mr. Mais Chewy Sweet Corn Candy with Butter Filling/Mr. Buko Budo Pandan Chewy Candy with Milk Filling: I forgot to take a pic of the corn candy but it looks just like the Buko one, only yellow instead of green. Same texture - starts out hard but softens as you chew. The corn candy SERIOUSLY tasted like summer corn on the cob, maybe a titch sweeter. The pandan candy was truly unique. I can't think of what it tasted like but they were pretty awesome.

TRIVIA: A. Texts! The Philippines is considered the texting capital of the world - and for good reason. Every day, 35 million Filipinos send about 450 million text messages.

 

That's it for May. The clue for next month makes us think Colombia might be on it's way for June. We'll find out soon enough!

Ipsy May 2018 (FINAL REVIEW)

All righty folks. This will be my last review for Ipsy. It's been a (mostly) fun run. I've been subscribed for about 4 years but it's time to move on. Getting a lot of the same products and colors that do nothing for me and the value seems to be decreasing, in general. I'm also finding more non-cruelty free brands (or at least unknown) so buh-bye, Ipsy. 

But if you don't know what this is, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10 you get sample (sometimes full) sized makeup, skin care, and hair care products, as well as a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

(I paid for this service with my own money and all opinions are and have been my honest ones)

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I think the theme is about travel or whatever. The theme each month is completely irrelevant and that little card just spews generic positive platitudes and other bullshit. No product information or pricing EVER comes with this bag. Maybe someday that will change but I won't be around to find out. Oh well. The bag is kind of cute but I don't think I'll be keeping it. Let's get to the products.

Trestique Mini Matte Blur Stick: This product does actually mattify my skin but it does NOT minimize pores. Not by a long shot. While I like the portability of a primer/blur product in stick format, this feels very slick and almost greasy on my skin. Which is weird. But the little nub wore down a lot after one use so I can't imagine I'll have it for very long. Can't find any info on the weight of the full size product ($28 but comes with blotting paper) so don't know how much this 1.1g sample is worth. Also it's on the "Pending" list for Cruelty Free status at Logical Harmony so I'll probably just avoid this brand until I see differently.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum: I've had good luck with FAB in the past so I'm excited to try this. My skin loves gel formula anything and since my Ordinary "Buffet" serum has not been working well (so I stopped using it a couple weeks ago), I need to get this in my rotation. I though it was a moisturizer so I haven't used it yet. But now that I'm digging into the details, I see it's a serum and will start incorporating it into my skin care routine tonight! It is a pricier brand but from what I've tried, it seems worth it. Full size is $36 so this .25 ounce sample is worth $9. (CF plus has some vegan options)

PureHeals Centella Green Tea Mask: Got two sample pods of this mask to try. I did like it. Didn't burn or do weird stuff to my skin. Felt nice going on. I probably used more than necessary because these pods don't reseal and I didn't have anything to put it in to keep it from drying out. *shrug* My skin felt good afterwards, too. Full size goes for $27 so I think each pod is worth about $2. Can't find info on CF status but it is a Korean brand so it's a toss up.

SLMissGlam Sparkle Everyday Glam Beauty Sponge: Oy, that name. It's a piece of foam, people. Calm down. Got a brush from this company before, I believe, and yep, it's the website that looks like a unicorn puked cotton candy all over it. The sponge is fine. Doesn't get super squishy or much bigger after wetting it but it workswell. This is full size and costs $17.50. (CF)

Ven Effect Micro Exfoliant: I got something from this brand two months ago and I liked it. But these kind of exfoliants usually fuck my shit up. It's a super fine grain, almost like baking soda, but through user error, I go too ham with it and shred my skin. I'll probably still give it a shot but I'm not expecting much. Full size is $60 so this sample is $6 (CF - ?).

I think I'm going to value the mini blur stick at $1.50 (cut full price in half then take 10% of that and round up a titch). So this bag is worth approximately $38. That's decent. 

Thanks for the memories, Ipsy. I hope you can improve for future subscribers and good luck!

Universal Yums April 2018

Been dragging ass on this review. Sorry it's late!

Universal Yums in a monthly food subscription service. For $14 or $25 or $39, you get 6+, 12+, or 20+ snacks and candies from around the world. Check them out here: UNIVERSAL YUMS

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The April box comes to us from Spain! Here's a little trivia for you. Answer at the end of the post. TRIVIA: The national anthem of Spain: A.Is 16 minutes long; B.Has no words; C.Was written by a 10-year-old; D.Is played only twice a year.

 Lots of yummy stuff in there, people!

Lots of yummy stuff in there, people!

I have tried every product but one this month. And they've all been pretty tasty!

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La Abuela Nieves Artisan Potato Chips: I'm not sure how they did it but these Iberian ham flavored chips TASTE EXACTLY LIKE HAM! The chips are nice, textured like regular potato chips with fantastic flavor.

Carmen Lupianez Tortas de Aceite (Olive oil cookies): I know, it sounds weird. But I made an olive oil cake one time and it was delicious so these did not scare me. Soft and moist, delicate flavor but not super sweet. Very good.

Lacasitos Gold Caramel White Chocolate candies: HOLY HELL these are good. They are really REALLY sweet but the flavor is beyond awesome. They're the same size as an M&M but taste like dulce de leche. Very creamy and wonderful.

Montecado Doble de Limon (Lemon Shortbread Cookies): These are those kinds of cookies that completely crumble when you touch them. So the consistency is very dry. The flavor is more like butter than lemon, there's just a hint of that, and they're not very sweet. I enjoyed it!

Leticias Naranja al Chocolate (Chocolate Covered Candied Oranges): Second favorite item this month! The dark chocolate is bittersweet which contrasts nicely with the candied orange slice - yes a real orange slice - which has a touch of bitterness to it, too, with the peel. It was awesome!

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Puntazos Mix Cocktail de Maiz: This is the one I haven't tried but it's Spain version of corn nuts. It's apparently a very popular bar food and they're mixed with rice puffs and corn chips.

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Shiki Shin Barbacoa (Barbecue Potato Snack): These are not potato chips in the regular sense. I think this is one of those potato snacks where they mash up the potato, mix in the flavors, then form the paste into shape then fry it. These actually taste pretty good, like bbq beef, but with that slight styrofoam texture. Which doesn't bother me at all.

El Caserio de Tafalla Crema Pistacho (Pistachio Toffee): Third favorite thing from the box this month. Though it's called toffee, it's not the hard crunchy version most of us are used to. This is soft and chewy, but not sticky at all, and tastes like sweet pistachio cream. SO GOOD!

El Caserio Chocolate con Pinones (Chocolate with Pine Nuts): I forgot to take a picture of this before I gobbled it down. Another soft chewy candy but it tastes like chocolate and pine nuts. Very flavorful and delicious!

 

TRIVIA ANSWER: B. Has no words. The Spanish national anthem, the "Marcha Real", is one of only four national anthems in the world (along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and San Marino) that has no official lyrics. It was originally composed as a military march in the 18th century, and though attempts have been made to add lyrics, none have ever quite stuck!

Good assortment of tasty treats this month! We're a bit stumped by the clue for next month. It's gotta be an island chain or something like that. I guess we'll find out soon enough!

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly Subscription May 2018

I really thought I'd be on the waiting list for much longer before a space opened up on this lip product subscription service. But here we are! Right now this will be more of an introduction than a review. I have my Invisalign trays for only a few more weeks (gods willing) and once that's done, I can get a better idea of how most of these products will work. But let's get better acquainted with Notoriously Morbid, shall we?

Notoriously Morbid is an indie cosmetics company based in West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains. They are also cruelty free (hooray!) which is what made me check them out in the first place. From their site:

We pride ourselves in creating unique cosmetics that are
perfect for those who embrace their beautiful darkness.

Notoriously Morbid makes a ton of different beauty products, from eye shadows, face powders, body lotions, primers, blush and bronzers, lipsticks, and more. You will find a lot of the more 'unusual' colors, like deep greys, blues, greens, bright fuschias, etc., that many people may not find comfortable to wear on a daily basis (or can't due to work restrictions or what not) but there are tons of 'wearable' colors, too. None of that shit makes me uncomfortable and I work from home so further into the fray I went.

I discovered they have 2 subscription services. The Vanishing Cabinet is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $13.25 (domestic US) for 4-5 items, usually mini, with a pop culture theme. The Mystic Monthly is their lipstick subscription service with a yearly theme. It runs $10 for US customers (shipping included) and you get one full size exclusive Mystic Matte lipstick and one other full size lip product (could be another lip stick or something else already in stock). The theme for 2018 is "The Dragon's Tail". HOW COULD I NOT SIGN UP???

I signed up for the lipstick one because, unless you're new here and don't know, I'm a lipstick whore. I hopped on the waiting list and figured I'd get in long after my Invisalign was done. 

SURPRISE!

As I type this I'my wearing the Mystic Matte I received so I could at least get an idea of how it looks on my lips and how it feels. Not really trying to test the longevity yet but so far it's doing a pretty bang up job. Hopefully next month I can be a bit more thorough! But let me share a few pics I've taken of the products I received in my first month.

 Free Dum Dum? HELLZ YEAH!

Free Dum Dum? HELLZ YEAH!

Notoriously Morbid includes a little info sheet with an explanation of the theme, lipstick name, the ingredients of both products, plus a shopping code (which is not for the unbelievers...I mean, non subscribers), and a sucker. Awesome! I think I got the cherry flavor because of the Slumber Salve.

The Slumber Salve is exactly what it sounds like. You put it on at bed time, sleep, and wake up with soft lips! The scent/flavor is cherry, strawberry, butterscotch, and pink lemonade. The lemonade is the strongest and it's seriously smells like a glass of pink lemonade. I haven't tried it overnight yet so I'll update you in another post. The little jar isn't full and searching the pics on the site, though the tubs look a little different, they are definitely more filled than mine. Keep in mind the product in my subscription is coating only one side of the jar (I'm guessing it melted a bit in shipping but it hadn't leaked or anything) and even after I scraped it out and set it right, the container was not full or even close. It might be filled by weight but even then, I have a hard time believing it's correct.

The Mystic Matte liquid lipstick is the main event here. I don't know if this color is the same for all subscriptions but it's called Katla. There's an explanation for that on the little sheet of paper, which is kinda cool. This color is a beautiful light copper with a pink base. Once you let the lipstick set a bit, and press your lips together, a bright gold sheen pops up. It's stunning. I don't think I captured it in the swatches, though. I like that the tube comes with a little mirror, too!

First pic is the lipstick freshly applied, still wet. The second was after it set a bit and I opened my window shade to let in some sun. You can really see the gold sparkles there! The gold sheen is a little apparent in the 3rd pic but my phone camera just didn't do it justice. The last photo shows that even after its set, you can still smudge the color (and that really shows the pink base). So while it IS set on the lips and kiss proof, it will come off when eating or drinking. 

Not sure if you can see how damn pretty Katla is in these last pics but trust me, she is. And now that I've had it on for a couple of hours (playing with the dog, drinking water, licking my lips as I struggle to figure out how to move forward on my current story...), you can see how it's faded on the inner rim of my lip. Which makes sense because that's the wet part (that's what he said) and most lip products will not adhere there for any period of time. It also hasn't bled or feathered into the lines around my mouth and that's awesome. I did NOT use a lip liner before applying Katla to my lips.

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So for my first exposure to this brand, I have to say I'm happy. The full size Mystic Matte goes for $12.50 and the lip salve is $4 (though, again, I don't think my jar was full which is fucking weak). But I don't want to judge anything to high or harsh after just one month's experience with the service. I'll keep you all posted!

RK Makeup by Kiss Review

I wasn't planning to write up this review, rather post a couple pics of a new brand of makeup I saw at CVS. But here I am, a dozen pictures later and doing research on this company.

(NOT SPONSORED, I PAID FOR EVERYTHING I'M REVIEWING)

RK by Kiss

KISS appears to be mainly a nail care manufacture but they sell a few different brands under their umbrella. This is the main gist from their website, kissusa.com:

Kiss is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of professional quality nail products. The company originated in the lucrative beauty supply market. As the popularity of the products soared, distribution was quickly expanded to the mass-market arena from Walgreens to WalMart. Capitalizing on this success, Kiss became the first company to bring quality, professional nail care directly to the consumer, creating easy-to-use, all-in-one kits so she can achieve Salon Results at home. Today, the Kiss line of products has expanded to include nail care, nail jewelry, nail art, and manicure & pedicure tools. Each of these quality products originated from Kiss's innovative thinking and vast salon experience. 

Kiss does have links for the brands they sell so I headed on over to RK, or Ruby Kisses. Not much really in the way of information on them, though. From their site, rubykissescosmetics.com:

Our passion lies in not only enhancing a woman's individual appearance, but to deliver quality products at affordable prices. We take great pride in being able to provide a wide range of colors cosmetics to women of all shades and ethnicities.

I have an app on my phone that will scan the bar code of any product and tell me if the company is cruelty free or not. The app gave me the all clear, though the brand is still on the "pending" list at Logical Harmony (which basically means the company hasn't responded to inquiries yet). So for now we'll go with "it's possible!"

The RK site doesn't list the lipstick, mascara, OR eye shadow palette I bought at CVS (rather peculiar but may be exclusive to in-store purchase only). So I really just don't know what the hell is going on with this brand. They are SUPER inexpensive products so could be trying to give Wet n Wild a run for its money (and their prices have begun to climb - not all but $9 for a foundation that's half the weight of a standard bottle is high for them).

I've tried all three products so I can at least give you my first impressions of them. 

EYE SHADOW PALETTE - Break of Dawn (Dear Diary Series, whatever that means)

This is a very soft-toned, neutral palette. I think it even says on the back that these are for creating every day, natural looks. And I would agree with that. I feel that I could intensify the darker shades with a dark sticky base. I'll have to experiment with that. 

You can see from the second image that after just doing a few finger swatches the pans already show some wear. The shadows are very powdery but that doesn't necessarily translate to good pigment. The hand swatch shows they don't have much color payoff but you can't always tell how well a shadow will perform from swatches, though again, I believe they're meant for softer eye looks.

The fourth picture is what the palette looked like after I did my eye makeup. There is powder fall out errwhere. The shimmery lid shades I used dropped glitter all over the place, too. They were small bits, like micro glitter, but very hard to remove. I highly recommend shadow shields, a shit ton of powder under the eyes that will catch the glitter then you can wipe it away, or maybe some glitter glue. I put yellow dots on the colors I used:

2nd row, middle shade (matte light tan): crease.

1st row, middle shade (light peach w/white glitter): eyelid

3rd row, third shade (white w/white glitter) THEN first shade (deeper pink w/white glitter): eyelid, over the original peach shade because it hardly showed up even after wetting my brush, which did help but not much. Then that white glittery shade completely wiped off so I used the deeper pink shade.

4th row, middle shade (satin reddish-dark brown): outer corner, crease. This shade worked the best so far.

1st row, first shade (matte cream): under brow bone

The end look is super pretty, very soft, and I guess what would be called 'romantic' because of the pink and peach tones. I want to work with it more, try some glitter glue or wet bases to help with pigmentation and fall out.

The packaging is plastic but feels pretty sturdy. In fact, it snaps closed so well that I struggled to open it back up! Each pan holds .035 ounces of product for a total of .42 ounces. There are 2 matte shades, 5 satins, and 5 glitters (other 12 pan palettes I found vary from .3 to .6 ounces and cost anywhere from $7 to $55). This palette was $2.99.

 

EXTEND ILLUSION FIBER MASCARA - Black

I don't think I realized this was one of those fiber mascaras, which I've never used before (that I can remember). It could be what's making my eyes feel gritty right now...or all the damn glitter from the shadow. But I love trying new mascaras so I figured what the hell.

It feels pretty dry right out of the tube but sometimes mascaras take a few uses to loosen up. I love the bristle brush though I prefer a more tapered end, not the blunt cut of the inner wire to be poking out. You can see the fibers in the close up pics, too. Looks kinda funky, right?

It definitely lengthens my lashes. I have slightly long and curled lashes to start but this shit sends them up to my brows! We'll have to see if there's transfer, which is what the Catrice Glam and Doll mascara did. But for a first time use, I really like it. I prefer a more natural look as opposed to the false lash effect or clumpy spidery lashes.

The packaging is plastic and really lightweight. Feels kind of cheap. You get .5 ounces of product in the tube. A lot of mascaras average .24 (the more expensive ones) to .44 (drugstore brands). This cost me $3.99.

 

FOREVER MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK - Wild Fire

I couldn't test the long-term wear of this product but I just had to know how it looked and performed when eating. This probably sounds tiresome to those who know me but my Invisalign trays fuck up all my lipstick metrics. Even ones that don't get all over my teeth get over my trays so it's really hard to judge all aspects of them. So I stopped wearing lipstick until I'm done with the trays (which should be in a month or so!!!!). I knew I was about to eat breakfast so I thought, let's get this baby on my lips and see what happens.

Might be me but does the packaging on this look like it's going for a Kylie Cosmetics vibe with the drips...? I couldn't possibly care less about the Kardashian family and their beauty products but I'd hate to see another brand get in trouble for copying.

First off, it's a thin formula but not watery. It eventually dries completely but it gives you some time to play and move it around (in case you mess up or go outside the lip line or whatever) which I appreciate! I only had it on for about 10 minutes before eating and it felt comfortable, didn't transfer, and looked beautiful. It started out more tomato red (that little hint of orange which I don't like that much) but it dried down a touch darker and looked more like a true red.

As soon as my lips got wet, the product stared to come off. Mostly the inner rim of both lips, more so on the bottom. It got all over my bagel and the coffee cup but MIRACULOUSLY didn't get all over my face. I only dabbed at my lips once while eating and I expected there to be lipstick all over my chin, under my nose, on the sides of my mouth. NOPE. And I put A LOT of butter on my bagel.

Damn that sounds dirty...

Anyway, I put on another layer just to see how it would work before taking it off. Layered just fine. Didn't get thick or crumbly at all. It was a bitch to remove, though, which makes sense since a lot of it didn't come off with eating. I have to say I'm impressed for something that only costs $1.99.

The packaging is plastic, feels lightweight but not cheap. I love the rose gold accents. Comes with .1 ounces of product (a lot of other brands on the market vary from .07 to .26, both high end and drugstore pricing).

I have to say I had fun with my new discovery. I look forward to playing with these a bit more and get a better feel for them. They sell a lot of different products so I'm interested to see what else could be a new favorite. For anyone just learning about makeup or who doesn't want to spend a fuck ton of cash on a new brand, RK could be your go-to. Which ones do you want to try? (Check for them at CVS, Ebay, Amazon, Target - those are the places I found listed on-line)

 

Ipsy April 2018

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full sized) makeup, skin care, and hair care products along with a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

 April's theme: Social Butterfly. Because yes, that's EXACTLY what the introvert in me wants.

April's theme: Social Butterfly. Because yes, that's EXACTLY what the introvert in me wants.

Each month Ipsy creates a theme for the bag. While I hate them most of the time, this being no exception, the bag itself is so frakkin cute! The pink toned butterflies are pretty, the rose gold accents are beautiful, and that little card can go fuck itself. Don't ever count on that card to have useful information, by the way, unlike every other service out there. 

Anyway, let's get to the products. I'm pretty sure I'm excited about all these and mildly okay with one.

H20+ Oasis Hydrating Treatment: I want to say I've tried at least one product from this brand before thoughI can't remember for sure. But I'm excited to try this gel-like moisturizer. I've had good luck with all brands that come out with this kind of formula so I'm hopeful this will be amazeballs, too. Full size is $38 so this sample runs about $7.50. (I can't find ANY info on their cruelty free status so I've emailed them directly.)

Purlisse Coconut Oil and Coffee Sugar Body Scrub: I've used face products from Purlisse that can suck my dick but this body scrub is awesome. Gentle but effective exfoliation, the oil leaves your skin soft (it does coat your tub/shower so be careful of that!), and it smells divine. Not like sweetened coffee - just a good strong coffee scent. You can actually purchase this sample size tube on their site and it goes for $10. It's good for one use, though, and that's it. If you're bigger than me, it won't be enough (Says CF on their site but no other website backs that up).

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Ciate London Starstruck Double Ended Stamp liquid liner (black): At first I thought the stamp was going to be wing shaped, which I would not be opposed to trying because the struggle to get a good wing on my eyes is real. But this is a star because it's festival season (Coachella - who outside of California fucking cares) so I was a little disappointed. However, it looks so cute on the face (don't mind the lines on the hand stamp - product got on the base of it but you can get a clean stamp if you're careful). So since the liner end works pretty well, nice and black, easy to use, I'll let the star stamp slide. This particular eye liner is not available on the Ciate or Ipsy site so it must be an exclusive. The link I provided is for their regular eyeliner and it goes for $18 (CF).

Paula Dorf Bronzer in Bora Bora: I seriously thought this was an eye shadow until I went to Ipsy to get info on the product. Whoops. But that just proves they always send bronze or browns or neutral shades all the time so it was easy to mistake this for eye shadow. That would explain why it's not too warm or cool a color. It's a nice neutral shade that should look nice on everyone (at least with fair skin). I only use a little bronzer, if at all, and I have 3 of them already so I might not keep this. It's a nice shade, though, and feels nice on the skin. Full size is $32 so this sample is about $6.50 (Says CF on their site but again, can't find confirmation anywhere).

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Glamour Dolls Romantic Rose blending brush: Never mad to get a brush! And I think this has replaced my favorite Real Techniques brush for crease work. This is the perfect mix of precision shadow placement and blending. It's soft but not too soft, tapered to get the shadow right where you want it but doesn't plop down color that won't blend out. It's pretty perfect. Full size and is $5 (CF and Vegan).

Overall value runs about $47. Not too bad. I'm not completely surprised that I couldn't find CF status confirmation on several sites. A lot of brands are not well known and/or don't pay to have PETA or Leaping Bunny certify them. But it does leave me a little leery of what brands Ipsy is committed to working with for the bag each month. 

Universal Yums March 2018

I think I may have missed February....ooops. It was from France and I don't think either the hubs or I enjoyed it that much.

For those who don't know, Universal Yums is a monthly food subscription service. For $14, $25, or $39 (new giant size), you get 5+, 12+, or 20+ snacks and candies from a different country. It's pretty awesome! Check them out here: UNIVERSAL YUMS

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

This month's box is from Poland (which I know we've had before so let's see how it compares!). First some trivia - answer will be posted at the end. TRIVIA: Craving a pizza? In Poland, you can expect it to be topped with: A.Sour Cream; B.Sauerkraut; C.Ketchup; D.Mashed Potatoes.

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Tapsy Cheese and Onion Chips: The flavor on these is good. Not strong by any means but enjoyable. But their version of potato chips is kinda like eating styrofoam. They process the potatoes then mix them with rice flour which makes them fluffy. Still pretty good though!

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Wawel Milkizz: This is a chocolate bar filled with a smooth milky center. I can't say I enjoyed it that much. The chocolate is fine but the milk flavor is overpowering, as much as milk can be. Though I love the packaging. Apparently, sweetened condensed milk is sold in tubes and people eat it as a snack. The work, "smak", means flavor so the line EXTRA SMAK should mean it's good. Just not sure I agree.

Krowki Milky Cream Fudge: I think we got this in the other Poland box from a couple of years ago. Again, that milk flavor is a bit off but I love the texture. It's like what we Americans know as fudge but maybe a teeny bit drier.

Soleo Caramel Pretzels: If you like Pocky, you'd probably like this stuff! But instead of a covered cookie stick, it's a pretzel. Which I think makes it a bit better because the caramel coating on these is SUPER sweet.

Dobosz Chocolate Plum: I think we may have gotten a chocolate covered plum in the Austria box (?) but whatever other country did this, did it better than Poland. The chocolate coating was fine as was the thick layer of cocoa filling. But the plum was tiny, gritty, and not good. It kinda ruined the whole thing for me. 

Aksam Peanuts with Paprika: These were awesome! I'm going to try to not eat a lot because the hubby REALLY like them. These are peanuts with a kind of cracker coating that's been covered in paprika. Not the boring after thought decoration I've come to know as paprika but a nice smoky, spicy, sweet flavor that compliments the peanuts really well. Perfect paprika peanuts!

Raczki "Lobster Tails": I believe these also came in our last Poland box and they're still good. The shell has a slight mint flavor and the filling is a peanut-rum mixture. Very good!

Can't say I enjoyed this Poland box as much as the other one but a couple of the savory snacks were really nice!

Judging by the clue for next month, we think it's going to be Spain! Ole!

TRIVIA: C. Ketchup! Even the biggest ketchup fans might find this surprising, but it's the thing to do in Poland. Polish pizza, or zapiekanki, is made with halved baguettes topped with mushrooms and cheese, then covered with a heavy squirt of ketchup. Now comes the existential question: just because it has cheese, tomatoes, and crust, is it still considered a pizza?

Morgue Drawer March 2018

Welcome to my trash! This is a post dedicated to all the products I've used up over the past few months so I'm pretty sure I know how they perform, smell, feel, taste, and wear on my personage. (AGAIN - these are reviews of how these products work for MY body). I'll provide links to all, assuming I can find them, so you can check them out for yourselves.

 

BEAT THAT MUG

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Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara: Love this mascara, though this tube seemed drier than past tubes I've used. Could be I had it in my drawer too long!

Lunatcik Costmetic Labs lipsticks: I love the color on these but the bullets are so dry and sticky now, I can't even swatch them let alone use them on my lips. *sad trombone* Mine were the old packaging, apparently, so looks like you have to get the gold packaging now.

NYX Dewy Finishing Spray: I love this and it has replaced the ELF one I used to use.

Essence Eyeliner brush: I absolutely love this for gel liners. I imagine if I had a liquid one where the wand or brush went wonky, this would work great for that, too. And it's $2!

 

LIKE BUTTAH

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Bath & Body Works Body Cream (Jasmine & Vanilla): I know B&BW sells in China but I still haven't found anything to replace this scent, one of the best I've ever found in my life in a body product. The whole Sensual line is this combo of jasmine and vanilla and is pure heaven. This body cream is excellent. AND FUCK MY LIFE I CAN'T FIND IT ON THE SITE ANYMORE.

Simply Creative Living lip balm (peppermint): This was okay. I got it at the Clawson Farmer's Market, I think, from a local vendor. The quote on there also has a spelling mistake.

PurplecatCreatives Apothecary Body Butters: This is a seller on Etsy. I bought a 6-pack of minis to try out. These are super thick and hard to spread on the skin. BUT they're perfect for your feet. The Dragon Butter scent (dragons blood) was a little too heavy. The Candlelight scent (which I can't remember and there's no description - it's seasonal) was nice but a little perfumy. I'm using Lemon Chiffon now which is heavenly. 

Skin & Co Umbrian Truffle hand cream: Decent hand cream. Smells like coconut.

 

(MOSTLY) CLEAN AND SHINY

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Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil shampoo/conditioner: This stuff worked really well. The shampoos that say they're 'color safe' are useless. Find yourself a good moisturizing one and that will work much better. This line is really good - scent it nice, my color didn't fade too quickly, and my hair felt wonderful.

Hask Charcoal Purifying Dry Shampoo: I liked this one because it didn't leave a lot of white residue that most dry shampoos do. Smells good, too. Not the best dry shampoo I've used but decent!

MY SKIN WOULD MAKE A GREAT LAMP SHADE

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Mario Badescu Facial Spray with rose water: I love this stuff so much. I'm still working on a giant bottle I got off HauteLook. I recently got the lavender one, too, and it's great to use before bed.

Formula 10.0.6 Day/Night Creams: I love these. The day has SPF15, which I know isn't a lot but it works fine. Nice cream and doesn't make me feel greasy. The night cream is great, too. It makes a great seal over my serum and oils.

Benton Honest Cleansing foam: This was a nice gentle cleanser. It was nice to take traveling, too.

The Ordinary Buffet serum: Love it. Works great. Will continue to buy!

 

DEBRIS (AKA RANDOM ASSORTMENT)

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Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes: I wanted to find some wipes to replace the small packs of makeup wipes I've used over the years. I don't use them on my face - mostly just for cleaning swatches. So why not baby wipes? These were pretty good. If I did need to take something off my face (a mistake perhaps?) these did sting a bit and left some lint behind. But for general swatches they were fine. Trying something different now, though.

ACT Restoring Mouthwash (cool mint): Since I've started Invisalign (last August), I worry about my teeth being covered up all the time and trapped food, etc. So in addition to more brushing and flossing, I use this mouthwash. I love ACT. This and the green flavor (mint - my preferred) do NOT sting at all.

Mitchum Dry spray deodorant: I discovered this brand when Secret stopped worked for me. And I really like the gel so I thought I'd give this a try. WAAAAY to heavy on the scent but the product works well. I'm back to the gel, though.

Tom's of Main toothpaste: I wanted to see if their non-fluoride sensitive toothpaste works as well as the maximum sensitive fluoride one. It does not. Plus I like having fluoride in my oral care as much as possible because I am cavity prone. But I can only find it at The Vitamin Shoppe - which is fine. I have a membership there!

Hello Sensitivity Relief toothpaste: Meh. Not a foaming paste, which is fine, but felt like I wasn't actually brushing with any product. Didn't help with sensitivity that much, either. The taste was bleh. But the worst part was trying to open the flip cap. I struggled a lot with it so will not be going back.

PDs, MEHs, and GFYs March 2018

Here's my list of products that have been great for me, so-so, and making me cast them into the fiery pits of HELL! That's right. It's the Panty Droppers, MEHs, and Go Fuck Yourselves. Let's get to it!

PDs

Sad to say I've only got 1 panty dropper this time around. But it's pretty fucking good and deserves the spotlight.

BH Cosmetics Zodiac Palette: I've got a few BH products in my stash, some I've decluttered and some I've continued to treasure. This will be staying with me for a long time. The metallic shades are phenomenal. Many times I find other brand's baked shadows like this VERY dry and chalky, hardly pigmented. These are so damn soft and easy to work with. The mattes are the same. Very soft and great color payoff. I'd have to say the only downside is if you're one of those people who NEEDS a transition shade in the crease of your eye, there are VERY limited options here (the light brown of Aquarius and the light pink of Virgo are really your only options) and you'll have to grab another palette or shadow to use. I personally don't care that much so it's not a deal breaker for me. The highlighter in the middle is not the best I've ever used but again, not a big issue. This goes on the website for around $21 but I've seen it as low as $18 (cheaper elsewhere sometimes).

 

MEHs

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LA Girl Pro Conceal (peach): This had meh coverage. It was nice and creamy but it didn't really color correct the purple under my eyes so...what's the point?

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer: Not sure why everyone goes gaga over this. It's pretty sticky but it doesn't do a great job of making my eye shadow last any longer. Milani makes a much better one.

GFYs

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Lots of stuff pissed me off this time around...

Ulta Beauty Color Correcting Concealer: This stuff dries down so much darker than it is in the tube, just like paint does, and it doesn't do a thing to color correct (which I'm beginning to think is a sham).

Make Moonlight Primer: This is one of those cool ideas - black in color but a gel texture so it blends out clear - but is terrible in the execution. It balls up under any foundation. And I mean ANY. It's disgusting and useless.

Blaq Mask: It's fun to put on a peeling mask that solid black (I like the Montagne Jeunesse one) but this shit ruined my skin. It was red and irritated as fuck and it broke me out.

Catrice Glam & Doll False Lashes Mascara: I do love the length this mascara gives but because of that, it transfers all over my brow bone. I end up looking like I slept in my makeup. (tip: if you put a coat of mascara over this stuff that DOESN'T tranfer, that helps - but that's too much work).

Spa Life Grapefruit mask: Absolutely USELESS. The mask material is way to thick and stiff (Imma leave that one alone...) so it wouldn't stay on my face. Literally, it kept falling off. The holes for the eyes and mouth were way too small. It smelled like artificial fruit. Just all around bad!

Sand & Skye Purifying Pink Clay mask: I had to wash this shit off about 30 seconds after putting it on. It burned so much and my skin was bright pink/red for a while before it calmed down.

Labotica Liquid Foil mask: Cool color but this shit really bonded to my skin making it extremely difficult to remove. It also irritated my skin AND broke it out. Ugh.

That's it for now. I didn't wait until I collected an entire box of stuff so I think that might actually make it a better read. Until next time, folks!

Ipsy March 2018 Review

For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10, you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full sized) makeup, hair, and skin care products, as well as a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

(I purchase this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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March's theme has something to do with creating. Whatever. I don't particularly like the bag but I do enjoy being able to color it in. That's kinda cool. But let's get to the products!

Labotica Transforming Liquid Foil Mask: While this stuff looks super cool (like you're mutating into the Silver Surfer), the description of "gentle" and "great for sensitive skin" can SUCK MY BALLS. This stuff bonded to my face like the Man in the Iron Mask. It was not gentle to remove, my skin was irritated as fuck, and I broke out in a couple places across my chin. It's made by Leaders Cosmetics, a Korean brand, and it's on the "Pending List" over at Logical Harmony (which means they've reached out to the company about their cruelty free status but haven't heard back yet). Full size is $32 so this sample should be valued around $6.50. (CF - UNKNOWN)

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VenEffect Pore Minimizing Cleanser: This company's products fight hormonal aging (that lack of estrogen we produce as we get older contributes to signs of aging). I enjoyed this face wash. Smelled like a spa but not overpowering. Gentle and my face felt really nice afterward. It'll be a nice travel product. Full size (150 mls) is $60 (yikes) so this 15mls sample should go for $6.00. (CF? - can't find any info)

Hikari Cream Pigment Eye Shadow in Shine: I wish I could have gotten the green color instead of gold but wutyougonnado? Very pigmented, soft eye shadow and it looks great on the eye. Not sure I want to keep it because I have a couple gold shadows already and it's not a color I use a lot. I can't find the exact amount but most shadows are around 2g so I'll assume this is full sized and worth $13. (CF)

Tarte Cosmetics Sex Kitten Eyeliner: I think I've only ever tried one Tarte eyeliner before and it wasn't great (which might explain why it was on clearance when I bought it). But this stuff is pretty bomb. Though it doesn't break through the Hikari eye shadow (not sure if you can see but it goes green on the eye over the shadow), I put it on my waterline & tightline after I took the picture and that shit didn't budge. Well, some of it did, which is to be expected, but most of it stayed in place. In fact, it took about 2 days for it to completely wash off my eye. This might be my go-to eyeliner for convention makeup I need to last at least 10 hours. Full size is $20 so this sample is worth $10. (CF)

Steve Laurant Beauty Lip Oil in Orchid: It looks pink but this is a clear oil. It feels thicker, like a gloss/oil hybrid. Sort of like what Milani did a few years back. This stuff feels nice, it's not sticky, and it smells like vanilla butter cake. NOM. This is full size and goes for $18. (CF)

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Wow, looks like this bag is worth about $53.50. Pretty good deal though I'm disappointed that two of the products are not cruelty free/unknown CF status. I can usually forgive one but...to be honest, I'm thinking of phasing out of this subscription and trying something else. We'll see.

My Face Story Mask Subscription Service Review

Yes, it's another subscription service. I've actually had this since July 2017 but I didn't want to review it until I'd used it at least 6 months. I love using sheet masks so I thought it would be a good service to try out.

CAVEAT: Though I know Korea is working on becoming completely Cruelty Free in 2018, I can't guarantee any of the products I receive in this service are CF. I don't know if any of the brands sell in China or are part of the few companies that do still test on animals in Korea.

**I pay for this service myself; this post is not sponsored in any way**

Facetory is a Korean sheet mask service. They have two sizes: Four-Ever Fresh which sends 4 masks per month (obvi) for $5.95 plus $2.95 in shipping, and the Seven Lux which includes 7 masks (again, obvi) for $15.95 plus $3.95 in shipping. I opted for the smaller one since I wasn't sure I could go through 7 masks per month. Sometimes I don't get through 4 so the smaller box was for me (that's what he said...ugh, sorry...)

I'm not necessarily reviewing the products in this post, just the service. Though I have to say I've absolutely LOVED at least one mask each month. At the very least, I've enjoyed them all except maybe one or two.

Each month the masks arrive in this sealed envelope. It includes an information card about the benefits and usage of each mask (which I GREATLY appreciate - I keep those cards then mark the masks I like best for future purchasing). There's also some kind of happy or inspirational card. Since this month is for February, we all got Valentines. So friggin' cute. I personally hope the animal mask actually DOES look like a sheep!

It seems most of the masks can be used on any skin type, though they usually have some targeted purpose (pore minimizing, anti-aging, moisturizing, soothing, brightening, etc.). But even if you're not looking to reduce pores, the mask will still have other skin care benefits.

They have a rewards program where you can earn points a bunch of different ways (buying stuff on the site, referring a friend, reviewing products, following them on IG or FB, etc.). Even the monthly renewal earns you about 11 points each time. It's like you barely have to try! Then those points translate into dollar amounts (ie, 200 points = $2 off a purchase).

As a subscriber, they sent me a referral link I can share where I earn 500 points if anyone uses it to join. You can get up to 4 free masks on your first subscription order and I get points (POINT WHORE!!). So if you'd be interested in checking them out, the link is below!

INVITE A FRIEND

Again, I don't plan to review this every month because I just don't get to the masks fast enough. But if you like sheet masks or K-Beauty products, then check out Face Story for yourself. It's pretty fun!

Ipsy February 2018

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full sized) makeup, skin care, and hair care products, as well as a reusable makeup bag. Check them out for yourself here: IPSY

(I purchase this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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The theme this month is "Unzipped". I think that's in reference to being naked (not necessarily physically) or our true form or WHO THE FUCKING JESUS GOD CARES? The bag is pretty cute so I'm hanging on to it for now. Let's get to the products.

PUR Fully Charged Mascara: I haven't tried this yet because I'm trying to Project Pan another mascara (plus I have another one from Catrice that's open). But the reviews look good. I love trying new mascaras. Full size is 15mls for $22, so this 4 mls mini is around $5.50. (CF)

Beaute Basics Eye Shadow in "Lavish": While this shadow is described as a warm, shimmery bronze, it looks more coppery on my skin. Which is fine because I'm sick of bronze shades. It's very soft so can kick up some powder but the pigmentation is nice. Haven't tried it on my eyes yet, though. This looks like a full sized pan (4g) and goes for $15 on the BB site. (NCF - so I'll probably donate it)

Mellow Cosmetics Liquid Precision Pen Eyeliner: I haven't tried this on my eyes, either, but the swatch looks nice and black! It didn't smudge after it dried, unless I put water on it. Pens can be a little tricky to work with as they can dry out fast or get covered in eye shadow and not work as effectively. This also looks full size and goes for $14. (CF)

Luxie Beauty Blending and Shading Eye Brush 249: I love getting brushes and I've enjoyed every Luxie Beauty one I've received. They are super soft but not flimsy. Since it's double sided, it's not available on Ipsy or LB's site (naturally). But it looks like a combo between the precision shader ($14) and the tapered blending ($12) brushes. So let's average that to a $13 value. (CF) 

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Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask: Now this stuff can go fuck right the fuck off. First of all, look at that picture. If you're gonna skimp on a sample then don't put it in a tube 4-times the size you need, asshats. Also, the package said it contains .45 ounces of product (the Ipsy site says .5). I cut that sucker open and weighed it. There was somewhere between .38 and .40 ounces (I used a titch on my face before it caught fire and I had to remove it, and whatever was left in the tube that I couldn't scrape out, which wouldn't be usable product anyway). I don't know how much is in a full sized jar but it goes for $49. I'd say this sample is worth $1, if even that much. (CF)

Overall, the value is around $47 (I'm not counting the clay mask because fuck that shit). So even without that this ain't too bad!

Universal Yums January 2018 Review

For those who may not know, Universal Yums is a monthly food subscription service. For $14 or $25, you will get a box of 6+ or 12+ candy and snacks from a different country. Check them out here: UNIVERSAL YUMS

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

January brings us goodies from GREECE. Here's some trivia for you. Answer at the end of the post.  TRIVIA: In ancient Greece, throwing an apple at someone was a way to say: A.I'm in love with you!; B.Happy New Year; C.Good luck!; D.You and your family shall be cursed

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There are a couple items in here that I will NOT be eating. One, because they're too hard to chew or two, I vomit a little just thinking about them. I'll get those out of the way first.

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Olympas Sesame Pasteli with Almonds: I couldn't even break this bar within the package to test how crunchy it might be so yeah. Not gonna eat it. Which makes me sad because there are only 3 ingredients: sesame seeds, honey, and almonds. It sounds so good, dammit!

Bliss Cocoa Toffee: Even without my Invisalign issues, toffee is hard for me because of all my crown work. Sometimes if there's sufficient chocolate coating, that helps to break up the stickiness. But these little bricks...no way. *all the crying*

Parthenon Green Olives with Fennel & Corriander: Olives, man. EWWWWWWWWWW.

Tottis Onion Bread Chips: Remember bagel chips? That's basically what these are if they had a one-night stand with some Melba toast. The onion flavor is a little sweet and subtle, not too overpowering. Very nice.

Serenata Dark Chocolate Wafer: I think EVERY country has some kind of wafer cookie in their arsenal. I have to say that I think this is my favorite so far, though. Because it's dark chocolate, it's not overly sweet and the filling between the layers is not too thick or too thin. It's pretty dang perfect.

Bergamot Jelly Candies: Though the bergamot in these tasted a LOT like perfume (and not in a good way like those mints from Turkey), I loved the texture. They're like a cross between Jello Jigglers and a Chuckles Fruit Slice.

Tottis Chips: I'm not a huge oregano fan but the flavor is these chips is subtle enough for me to handle. Texture is like any regular potato chip so they're easy for me to eat, too!

Derby Chocolate Bar: OMG this is my favorite item from the box. Coconut, caramel, crisp rice, and chocolate. What's not to love?!?

Overall, a very nice box (that's what he said). The clue for next month makes us think we'll get some snacks from France. It would super cool if, like last year, we get the bigger sized box as a Valentine's ILY. Yes, I'm a greedy bitch.

TRIVIA ANSWER: A.I'm in love with you! Hey, it's a lot cheaper than a ring! Throwing an apple at a woman in ancient Greece was considered a marriage proposal. As that tradition slowly faded away, a new one appeared: many couples in Greece ate an apple as part of their wedding festivities as a sign of their love for one another.

Ipsy January 2018

All righty. Here we are, 2018, new year, new Ipsy bag, same lame ass non-info card bullshit...

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10, you'll get 4-5 sample (sometimes full) sized makeup, hair, skin care products, and a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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January's theme is Game Face, I think. To be honest, I usually throw away the card the second I take it out of the bag. It's covered in bullshit platitudes, heavy handed 'inspirational' crap, and I can hardly believe it but I'm sure it's even smaller than last year. To play devil's advocate with myself, they're probably saving $$ by not making it larger and are able to get companies like The Balm, Ole Henriksen, and other well-known brands to get their products in here. But still....SO FUCKING WEAK.

The bag is an absolute hideosity. I just can't even...the contrasting colors are so 80s, which might be on trend but as a child of that era, I don't ever wanna see it again! However, I'm digging the products this month!

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Absolute New York Eye Artist Single Shadow (Posse): This shadow is soft but not crumbly, decently pigmented, and does look very pretty on the eye. It swatches like a warm orange/brown but it's actually a rose-taupe color. It's nothing super special so I'll probably donate it. Looks full size and goes for $5. (their website says CF but I can't find any corroboration on that from my cruelty free resources so...?)

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer: I've tried quite a few products from this brand through Ipsy and I've been satisfied with most. I've never tried this cult favorite and now I can! Though I hate the size of their samples (sometimes the small pans are difficult to work with) I'm usually happy to get something from them. I'm sort of okay with Mary-Lou. It's described as a warm honey color but it looks more light gold. Can look like a wet, high-shine accent on the skin, which is nice. In some light, though, I can see all the sparkle (mirco glitter, at least, and not giant chunks). So I do and don't like it. When I'm in the mood to look like a micro fairy jizzed on my face, I'll probably reach for this. Full size is $24 so this 1g sample is around $3. (CF)

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Cake by Cake Beauty Heavenly Cream Intensive Body Balm: I still have 2 or 3 other lotions from Cake Beauty but they are all different formulas! This stuff smells fantastic and absorbs well. It's 20% shea butter and also contains aloe and camellia leaf extract. I look forward to smelling like vanilla frosting for the next 6 months. Mmmm...frosting (disclaimer: don't be an asshole and eat lotion. That's just dumb.) Full size goes for $22 so this 1 ounce sample runs around $4.50. (CF)

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream: Holy hell the website claims this eye cream can do ALL THE THINGS - brighten, reduce dark circles, firm, instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and is great for under concealer. Then there's a long list of data including lots of "100%" and asterisks and on and on. Personally that comes off as trying too hard but that's just me. The first time I tried it, it felt thick and sticky and didn't brighten anything. BUT it did feel moisturizing and it absorbed rather quickly for such a thick cream. I thought it would be too heavy under concealer but damn if the Tarte Shape Tape didn't look great! If nothing else, at least it'll provide some moisture during this frigid winter season! Full size is $38 so this teeny sample is maybe $7.50. (CF)

SLMISSGLAM L36 Tapered Highlight Brush: I love getting brushes. And I'm not usually a girly-girl, but the pink glittery handle on this is adorbs. The synthetic bristles are super soft and it works perfectly with the Mary-Lou Manizer highlight sample! Apparently it works with powders, creams, and liquids but...because it's kind of flimsy, I'm not so sure about that. I'll have to test it out. Full size. This brush is not available on the SLMISSGLAM site (which actually makes me want to throw up it's such a pastel rainbow unicorn glitter shit show) so it may be an Ipsy exclusive. I've linked the closest looking set of 6 brushes which goes for $80. So maybe this brush is around $13. (CF)

All told this bag is around a $33. Not terrible but I've had bags that are upwards of $50-$70 so it's kinda weak. However, I do think I'll get a lot of use out of the products this months so it's still a win for me!

 

Nerium Review

Ahhh... ALL THE POSTS...(this will be the first of 3 that I'll probably put up this week)

I got the chance to to try something for free that I probably never would have purchased myself. A good friend of my husband is a sales rep for Nerium International. They produce skin care and vitamin supplements. So in exchange for an HONEST write-up (I wasn't paid or compensated in any way nor required to write a glowing review) I got 4 days worth of samples of three products.

A very brief overview of the company is this: they make skin care and wellness products with age-defying properties. From their website:


See the Difference

Transform your skincare routine with our unique, science-based products that target all the major signs of aging and the underlying causes.

Feel the Difference

Take your health to the next level with our wellness products that keep you looking and feeling great, inside and out.


The entire brand has that "feel good, do good" mission ideal, contributing to the welfare of their communities, and gosh darn it, just being happy. There are also opportunities for people to become Nerium Brand Partners, aka sales reps though it does sound nicer with their phrasing. The company started in 2011 with a staff of only 13 people and one product, their Age Defying Night Cream. They now have 9 or 10 different products, have over 200 employees, and produce in 8 countries. 

Check out their website where you can find a ton of information about NERIUM INTERNATIONAL

Now, to the products I got to try!

 

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Age Defying Eye Serum: These were tiny little packets but I was able to get 2 uses per day out of each one. I wish I remembered to take a picture. It's a beige colored cream that didn't feel too heavy or too thin. In fact, it was the most unique eye product I've ever tried. It dried within 30 seconds and didn't leave a tacky residue on the skin, like most creams. It felt like fucking VELVET under my eyes. It looked like I used one of those pore filling face primers - it looked so smooth and even.

From the website: This transformative serum delivers both short- and long-term benefits for the appearance of smoother, younger-looking eyes. Powered by our exclusive SIG-1191™ and I-FIL4R™ ingredients, our Eye Serum helps reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles and fine lines, making the skin appear more toned.

While in the immediate sense most of those claims are true, I could still see my dark circles very well. I also can't agree with the long term claims because I only used it for 4 days. Who knows? It could actually do what they say if you used it for a month or more. 

I tried to use it directly under concealer but over moisturizer. My eyes have been dryer lately so I wanted to know if this stuff would work as well or maybe better than a traditional eye cream. Short answer - NOOOOOOPE. It looked so dry. If I added eye cream over this stuff, it almost made a paste - like the serum never fully absorbed into my skin and actually just created a barrier over it to make the skin look smoother. So that kinda sucked. But when I used it alone and simply put powder over my skin (on a minimal make-up day), it looked beautiful.

Again, perhaps with prolonged use, it would improve concealer application and overall dryness of my under eye.

 

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Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches: Since I love sheet masks, I also love using eye patches, too (they're like under eye masks). These little buggers were made of a wobbly thin layer of gel. Once you got them positioned under the eye right where you wanted them (very easy to manipulate into place), they stayed put. You could totally lean over and they wouldn't fall off. After 20 minutes, you remove them and pat in any extra serum. 

From the website: Innovative patches deliver targeted hydration to the delicate skin around your eyes for the appearance of an instant, refreshing “eye lift.”

 This was the first time I tried them. They felt pretty awesome.

This was the first time I tried them. They felt pretty awesome.

For me, there was no left over serum. And though I didn't try the patches right before doing make-up for 'date night' as the instructional video suggested, I did use them right after washing my face one morning when my eye bags were particularly puffy. Can't say they reduced the puffiness much, though my left eye (which is worse than my right) did look SLIGHTLY better. However, the patches felt so cooling under my eyes. It was wonderful first thing in the morning!

 

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Youth Factor Superfood & Antioxidant Boost Powder: I'm not that much into dietary supplements like this. I will have an Ensure or a protein shake on days when my stomach feels overwhelmed by regular food (I have gastro paresis) or I just wanna give it a break from working overtime. *coughBOOZEcough* And since I have trouble digesting fruits and vegetables, this actually sounds like it could be a good thing for me. But that's why the gods invented smoothies, stewed fruit, and mushy peas.

From their website: Daily use powder featuring body-fortifying antioxidants and hearty servings of fruits and vegetables to help boost your body into its optimal state of wellbeing.

I was pleasantly surprised by this. I mixed a packet with plain water because I wanted to get an idea of the true taste. It was pretty good! Tasted like a berry punch but not sugary-sweet and just a hint of an undertaste (like most protein drinks will give). Color me impressed.

That's all I got to try. I got a few pamphlets with the samples but no in real in-depth information. Hence I headed to the website. I also contacted the company directly about their animal testing policies. Here's their answer:

Dear Peggy,

Thank you for contacting Nerium International Product Integrity. I am happy to help with your inquiry.

Nerium International is committed to bringing products to market that are safe, socially responsible, and compliant with the local regulations of the countries in which our products are sold. Nerium International does not conduct animal testing on our skincare products or ingredients. We conduct testing on all of our finished products using third party clinical testing facilities with human volunteer panelists. In the case of dietary supplements, such as EHT, animal testing is accepted to support the ingredient safety of the product.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.  

Okay, cool. So they don't test their skin care products or ingredients on animals. I love that they use humans for final testing. That's pretty awesome. HOWEVER, did you pick up on the double speak in there, about complying with countries' laws? (I bolded the text to make it stand out) Yeah. That means if a country they produce in requires animal testing, they will do it. Here's some info on the animal testing policies for the countries they are in (if anyone finds different or updated info, please feel free to let me know):

Canada: Animal testing is not regulated by the government (for cosmetics). So I'm guessing that means it's up to individual companies if they do it or not.

Mexico: It is legal to test but I don't think it's required.

Japan: It's neither required nor prohibited. Again probably up to the individual company if they want to test on animals.

New Zealand: Animal testing was banned in 2015.

South Korea: I read a couple years ago that S. Korea wants to make animal testing completely illegal by 2018 so it might happen this year. At least they're working toward it but I know many companies still do it.

Australia: In 2017 they banned the sales of cosmetics tested on animals. Not sure about anything else.

Hong Kong: As it's part of China, animal testing is no longer a requirement. However, anything claiming "cosmeceutical" status (a makeup or product that claims skin benefits) is required to be tested on animals. 

Colombia: That country is a MESS with animal testing. Years and years of violations and abuse. Hard to find any info saying otherwise.

Also they were right up front about the supplements being tested on animals and I can appreciate their direct honesty.

So, for me, I will not be purchasing anything from Nerium in the future. Anyone who's been reading my blog or reviews for a while knows that I'm trying to go cruelty free in as much of my life as possible. But for those who aren't following that path, by all means look into this company and their products and get some to try for yourselves. A lot of it actually looks pretty cool.

If you're in the Detroit area, I have contact info for a local rep who is probably one of the most friendly people I've ever met (also my hubby wouldn't be friends with a douchebag). I'm sure if you're not all that close, at least he might be able to direct you to someone who can hook you up! (don't quote me on that because I actually haven't asked him if he could do this!) He's also an RN so that gives me hope he wouldn't support a company that uses hazardous ingredients.

Mark Gadzinski

248-444-1947

mtgflyboy@gmail.com

markgadzinski.nerium.com

 

So there you have it. Again, check out the link I provided above for the Nerium website to get more info, email Mark and ask questions, try some of the products for yourself. Only you can determine what works best for your skin type and beauty ideals. These are just my experiences with something new and I wanted to share the information. If any one does try Nerium products, let me know what you think!

 

Universal Yums November/December 2017 Review

As per usual, I got a little behind on my reviews. Partly from hubby's busy season at work but also I stared Invisalign in August. As of October, my teeth hurt pretty much all the time. Snacks that are too crunchy or chewy are impossible for me to eat so I can't try everything and I want to give as thorough a review as possible. Well, I still have 5 more months to go with Invisalign so I figured I'll do the best I can during that time and get back to detailed descriptions in the summer. 

For those who don't know, Universal Yums is a monthly subscription service. For $14/$25 each month, you'll get 6+/12+ snacks from a different country. Check them out here: UNIVERSALYUMS

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

NOVEMBER - TURKEY

Here's a little Turkey trivia for you (answer at the end of this section): We have Turkey's diverse climate to thank for bringing about which popular spring flower? A.Easter lilies; B.Daffodils; C.Tuplis; D.Azaleas

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First let's look at the stuff I haven't tried:

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Today Croissant with Thyme, Basil, and Olive Oil: Interesting fact, without the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey) the croissant never would have existed. The empire planned to attack Vienna in 1683 during the middle of the night using underground tunnels. The bakers in the city could actually hear them coming, since they were already awake and at work. They warned the Austrian army who fought off the attack. No reward wanted, the bakers instead baked bread in the shapes of crescents (the symbol on the Turkish flag) to celebrate the victory. How cool is that? Though I have to say the description on this snack didn't intrigue me and it felt VERY weighty for such a small treat. If the hubs ever eats it, I'll let you know if it's any good.

Clip Sesame Stick: Basically these seem like your basic breadstick completely covered in sesame seeds (they're based on the sesame encrusted bread normally served for breakfast). Crunchy sticks of bread are just too difficult for me but I image these taste pretty good.

Torku Cocoa Helva: I'm pretty sure we've had this type of sweet from half a dozen other countries. It's dry and crumbly but melts in your mouth. This is a sesame paste based sweet. According to the info card we DID get something similar in the Israel box so I just never got around to trying this one.

Miniki Turtacik: This was my favorite treat this month. The cookie was nice and the tangerine jelly was tart and sweet. Don't think I got much flavor from the sprinkles but that's okay. Divine cookie.

Baharatli Ulker Krispi Kraker: I was worried this might be too crunch but it definitely had a texture more like a Ritz, maybe a titch firmer. The flavor was great, too. Nice and salty and the spices were wonderful (onion, parsley, garlic, thyme).

Ibon Yogurt Candy: We got the banana flavor and it was yummy! It could have been chewy but I ended up sucking on it to soften it up and then my teeth could grind it down a bit. Very tasty.

Toffix Mastic: Mastic is made from tree sap and it takes a year to extract! It's a very unique flavor but I really enjoyed it. Tasted a little like bergamot (which is an oil from the bergamot orange peel) but really it's hard to describe the flavor. Did the same thing with the Ibon - I just sucked on this until it got soft (holy hell, really, Peggy?). Another tasty treat.

Miniki Milk Cream Chocolate Bar: This reminded me of a 3 Musketeers so much but a lot sweeter. If that's even possible...Nice soft texture but way too sweet, even for me. Not my favorite.

Torku Sade Mevlana Seker: These candies are nearly identical in texture to a butter mint (if you've never had one of those, you NEED to try them). These are made from sade (bergamot oil). Bergamot is used a lot in perfumes so when I say these things taste like perfume, that's why I mean. But not the alcohol and other additives - just like a slightly sweet and bitter mixture of orange. It's really unique and they are my 2nd favorite treat from Turkey!

TRIVIA: C.Tulips. We credit the Dutch for tulips but they actually originated in Turkey. Tulip bulbs brought to Europe from Istanbul in the 1500s were so intensely popular that by 1634 they had caused "tulipmania" in Holland. Aside from tulips, Turkey is also home to approximately 9,000 other species of plants!

DECEMBER - EVERYWHERE!

To wrap up 2017, the final box for UY contains a variety of snacks from a variety of countries - BUT NO REPEATS. Fucking A, man! Still have some trivia for you! (answer at the end of this post)

TRIVIA: Latvia claims to be the home of the very first_______? A.Christmas tree; B.Christmas stocking; C.Christmas carol; D.Christmas lights

(as of typing this I haven't tried any of these treats yet - I hope that will change over the next day or so)

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Garlic Straznicke Bramburky: These garlic chips are from the Czech Republic. Apparently garlic is thought to provide strength and protection and it's put under the chairs of your holiday guests. They're nice and thing chips so they're easy for me to eat. And they taste like garlic butter. Sooooo nice....

Brevas con Arequipe: Colombia includes figs as an essential part of their Christmas dinners. And this fig is stuffed with arequipe, caramelized condensed milk (kinda like dulce de leche). It's a little too sweet, even for me, so I can't say it's a favorite. At least it wasn't sticky!

Golden Flake Dill Pickle Chips: Leave it to America to turn a not-so-popular German Christmas ornament into a best seller. Woolworth's sold German ornaments since the 1880s but the fruit and veggie shapes (particularly the pickle) were not in high demand. So a salesman made up a story about German folks putting a pickle in their trees and the first person to find it would have good fortune in the coming year. How can we be so inventive and so gullable at the same time? And these do taste like straight up dill pickles. Awesome! But I can only eat a few at a time because the briny flavor does get overpowering.

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Hillier's Mini Christmas Puddings: In Australia, Christmas pudding is a hold-over tradition from their UK roots. This candy has the traditional fruits, nuts, and spices used in the pudding (sans the bread) and wraps it all in chocolate. Hillier founded the first Aussie chocolate company and was known for his creative chocolate fillings, as well as injecting his candies with booze to sneak it past the local governments!

Jabri Baklava: Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated on the last day of Ramadan and is known as the 'sweet' holiday. This is where you will find baklava during the celebration. Subhi Jabri & Sons is a famous restaurant in Amman, Jordan, where you will find this brand of baklava. If you've never had this confection before, WHAT THE EVER LOVING HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Yugwa Candy: South Korea has been making this candy since the year 918. Dayuuum. The making of this treat is regulated by the SK government and it MUST be made by a Korean Food Grand Master. Mr. Kim Kyu-Heun is the master who made the batch for this box. He's been studying the practice of yugwa making for over 20 years. And while I respect the tradition here, the snack itself doesn't really taste like much. Kinda like rice cake air with a little chewy sugar coating.

Mince Pie Candy: This English candy is based on the original mincemeat pie popular during the 12th century, sans the meat. You will find traditional spices of the time (cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg) plus chocolate. I didn't really get the chocolate flavor off it but the spices were wonderful.

TRIVIA ANSWER: A.Christmas tree. Germany is usually given credit for the Christmas tree but the first recorded use was in 1510 in Riga, the vapial of Latvia! Maybe we should be singing, "Ak, Ziemassvetku eglites" instead of "O, Tannenbaum"?

That wraps up 2018! Hope you all stick around for my less in-depth reviews for a while and I promise I'll be back at full strength by summer (barring any horrendous complications!).

Ipsy December 2017 Review

The end of 2017 is upon us. And so is my last Ipsy review for the year. For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10 you receive 4-5 sample (sometimes full) sized makeup, skin, and hair care products. Check it out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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I guess the theme this month is Snow Globe, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean. Who cares anyway? The bag, though, is awesome. It looks like some kind of fancy clutch you'd take to a party or something. So yeah, that's a keeper. Let's see what's inside this month!

The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream: Doesn't sound to great, does it? Who wants their creams watery? But, according to the on-line description, this is supposed to be a great gel based moisturizing cream with 63% fermented green tea extract (instead of water). I do like the gel based ones. They're kiind of cool. Haven't tried this and I probably won't because Tony Moly is not cruelty free. Full size is $25 so this sample should run around $4. (NCF)

Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Pumping Serum: I love the glycolic cleansing pads from N+F so when I got this in my bag, I was pumped! No pun intended. Haven't opened it yet because I've still got half a bottle of The Ordinary buffet serum to use up. Full size is $20 so this sample is worth about $8. (CF)

Luxie Beauty Precision Shader Onyx Brush 239: I'm never mad at brushes, y'all. This is a nice compact shader with a slight taper to it. It really can put shadow RIGHT in the crease. It's not as good at blending that color out if you got too precise and heavy with a shadow so keep that in mind. This is full size and is valued at $14. The link is to their Rose Gold style - the black handle might be an Ipsy exclusive. Not sure. (CF)

Pixi by Petra Mesmerizing Mineral Duo in Orchid Ornament: I've never tried Pixi shadows before. I've heard mixed reviews so I've never wanted to spend the money on them. They're not high end pricing but they're not drug store either. These are two very soft and beautiful shades. They actually seem different in the pan compared to on the skin. I can't quite put my finger on it! You can see in the swatches that these shades can be built up but for my eye look, I just powdered my eyelid and swept a little of each color on (the gold on the lid and the dark rosy brown in the crease). These particular shades aren't available on the Pixi website (again, might be exclusive to Ipsy) and the mesmerizing minerals only come in 6-pan palettes. But they all look really pretty! Full size is $12 so this little duo is probably around $3. (CF)

NYX Faux Blacks Eyeliner in Obsidian: I actually own two other colors in this line. They're not great (one is Oxblood, the other is Olive but I kept the red one because I have no other color like it) so I was a little bummed about getting this. AT FIRST. Boy was I wrong about Obsidian. First, you'd think the name would indicate it's black but it's actually a dark, dark blue. Second, I've never encountered an eyeliner that stayed on my tight line and waterline as long as this one. MAYBE the Urban Decay 24/7 came close. So holy fuck me I love this pencil. It goes on super creamy so it wears down very fast. But I can live with that! This is full size and goes for $8. (CF)

Total bag value is around $37. Not too bad considering only one of the items isn't cruelty free and I'm stoked for everything else, including the bag. Nice little holiday wrap up (heh, see what I did there?) for 2017. Hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday! See you in 2018.

FINAL Medusa's Makeup December 2017 Review

Well, the time has come. December is my final month for the Medusa's Makeup monthly subscription box. It's been fun and I've really enjoyed about 50% of what I've received. Not the best score, not the worst, but not enough to keep going. At least for now. The good news is I've gone out on a pretty dang good note!

In case you'd like to check them out, head to their website for all pricing, inventory, etc. MEDUSA'S MAKEUP

(I paid for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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The makeup bag included this month is new (valued at $8.00). It feels like it's made out of canvas, something sturdy. It's actually kind of nice but I don't know if I'll keep it. I have so many from Ipsy....oh fuck it. I'll toss one of those and replace it with this! The personalized note is also new. Very nice touch!

Contour Brush: I've received their eyeliner and angled brushes in past months and I've enjoyed them. The eyeliner one is too thick for precise lines but it still works if you don't mind a little messy application. This one is a flatter, denser brush with a slight point. It will be great for getting into the eye socket/crease. $6.00 (on their site they only have the whole set for sale but if you've never tried their brushes, $18 for the set is a good price to find out how they work for you)

Lip Balm: I was so excited to get this. I really wanted to know how it is, since it's new. I've only used mine once so far (since I have about 6 already opened around the house) but it feels really nice, seems to last a good while on the lips, and smells great. $8.95

Eye Dust in Golden Boy: DEAR FUCKING GODS WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS COLOR!!! If I've learned nothing else from MM, it's that their eye dusts are fantastic (not the Mystical Eye Dusts - those are kinda lame). And that's not a built up swatch. I had very little product on my finger when I made that. So pigmented! I've already planned out a look for a convention I'm working this weekend so I can wear this. Ah...I feel faint...so...beautiful........ $8.00

Lipstick in Triple X: I've only received one regular lipstick from them before and it was beautiful. This is just as creamy and comfortable so I do recommend a lip liner. I was worried this was going to be way too bright of a fuschia for me. But the top pic is just one layer and it's rather sheer. It's perfect if you just want a little bit of a brighter color but aren't ballsy enough (or maybe bright fuschia doesn't work with your skin tone) to go full saturation. It can be built up so the second swatch shows that. Took 3-4 swipes across each lip to get this opacity. I have to admit I really like it both ways (hey now...). $12.00

So including the bag, this month's value is $42.95. Great value and great items to close out my subscription. In case you forgot, or are new, Medusa's Makeup is also a vegan and cruelty free brand so if you'd like to explore that route, this isn't a terrible place to get started!

Ipsy October/November 2017 Review

Well, as per usual, October got away from me. So instead of completely skipping that month's reviews, I thought I'd do some combo work. So let's get October and November together and have us a baby! A review baby, that is...

For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription program. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full) products of makeup, hair, and skin care. Check them out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

OCTOBER

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October's theme was something like The Power of Change. And while I absolutely ABHOR their themes each month, I have to say I love the saying on the small useless card that comes with the bag. This one made me giggle. Also there won't be a lot of pics because there wasn't much to swatch!

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder: I've wanted to try IT for a long time but the brand can be pretty expensive. And I really don't like to drop a lot of money on something that could possibly suck major ass. HOWEVER, this powder is infused with alchemy or dark magic or something. I put this on and my skin never looked smoother (and I have pores the size of Nebraska). It's also great for under eye concealer setting - doesn't make my nearly half a century aged skin look like a full century. And that pisses me off because now I have to buy it!! Be warned - it is very soft and crumbles easily. Full size is $29 so this 3g sample is just under $10. (CF)

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Context Vitamin C All Day Eye Cream: Honestly, I haven't even opened this yet. I have a couple creams going right now but they are almost empty. Once they are, I'll give this guy a shot. From the Context website: "A revitalizing and hydrating lightweight formula contains a powerful combination of preventative botanicals. Keeps eyes protected and nourished with potent antioxidants to protect the delicate area against free radical damage. Leaves skin nourished and refreshed all day." This is a full sized tube and costs $35. (CF)

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer: At first I thought this brand was still NCF but as of 2017, they no longer sell in China and do NOT test their products on animals where required by law. So that's cool! This is also another brand that's on the expensive side so I usually don't purchase from them. But this was a nice way to try the lid primer people go ape shit for. Though I don't know why. It's thick and sticky (here we go...) so it needs to be set first. Even so, my eye shadows still looked kind of patchy and they didn't last any longer. In fact they looked more faded and blended into one color than what usually happens with my Milani eye primer. So I might keep using it, I might pitch it. Depends on my mood. I know I ain't buying the full size at $21. This sample was worth $5.25. (CF)

Hey Honey Active Propolis Cream Concealer: I did like a peel off mask from the brand once, long ago. But this stuff is pretty crap. First the color is a touch too dark and yellow for me and it looks REALLY dry under the eyes. Doesn't do a great job at concealing spots on the face either. Full size goes for $36 so this 8mls sample is just about $19. (CF)

 Forgive my dry crepey centuries old looking mummy hand...eeeesh.

Forgive my dry crepey centuries old looking mummy hand...eeeesh.

Blaq Mask: I do love face masks, in all their forms. I haven't had a chance to try this but look at that color! (see pic above). It's also a peel off mask, mostly aimed at the blackheads and gunk around the nose. But I bet you can use it anywhere. If you've never tried a peel off mask, there are plenty on the market. And they're so fun. The full size on this costs $29. The sample I got should run around $7.25. (CF)

UPDATE: I've tried this mask twice. And while it's fun, it initially leaves the skin red and irritated but that does fade over a few hours. I also broke out with fresh zits after each use. So......no. It's going away now.

All right, October. The bag value is about $76.50. Holy shitzies (I stole that from thataylaa on YT). And all the products are Cruelty Free brands. SCORE!

 

NOVEMBER

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November's theme is who cares. I'm torn on the bag right now. I'm not a bronze and yellow kinda gal (though it's close to the brown and gold colors of my alma mater, Valparaiso - GO CRUSADERS!). I'm still thinking about keeping it.

Benefit They're Real Mascara: Benefit isn't a cruelty free brand so I won't be using this. I don't think I've ever tried anything from Benefit, even before I started paying attention to CF stuff. *shrug* (Oh wait - their Porefessional primer. Made me break out. Fuck 'em.) Full size is $24 so this sample is about $8.50. (NCF)

Colourpop Pressed Eyeshadow in Come and Get It: Anyone who's read my one-brand review of Colourpop knows I love the brand. And, naturally, I already own this eye shadow. It's gorgeous, a "duochrome rose with a gold flip". I own about a dozen of their pressed shadows and they've all been very good. This is no exception. This is full size and goes for $5. (CF)

The White Company White Lavender Body Lotion: I just opened this tube so I could at least give my first thoughts on it. There is a nice lavender scent but underneath it there's something...grassy. Must be the vetiver. Kinda weird. But it absorbs really fast and my hands aren't greasy. Huh. If the scent lingers too long or it's too overpowering for the hubby, I might just donate it. Can't really find any info on the cruelty free status of this company but it's based in London and I believe it's illegal to test on animals in Europe. The full size is $20 so this sample goes for $4 (CF...?)

Manna Kadar Perfection Powder: I've had MK items before and I think they've been hit and miss. This powder is actually super nice. It's a lot like the It Cosmetics powder I got last month...way to switch things up, Ipsy (*sarcasm*). Full size is $29 but I can't find any info on how much is in the full size. This looks similar to the It Cosmetics sample so let's just price is out the same at $10. (CF)

Make Beauty Cream Luminous Lip Gloss in Abalone: I believe I've received a thing or two from Make before in Ipsy but I'd have to go back and look because I just can't remember. This is a nice gloss. Not sticky, decent amount of color (for a gloss), and feels very comfortable. Nice nude color, too. Got a weird ass applicator, though, that makes it difficult to apply neatly. Plus it's very...phallic. Not that that's a BAD thing. Full size is $25 but again, can't find total product weight so let's give this sample about $8. (CF)

Give or take a few bucks to adjust for guesstimates on sample value, $36 is okay. Let's see what December has in store for us.