Monday, September 29, 2014

September Loot Crate Review - Galactic

The Box: Loot Crate
The Price: $13.37 plus shipping
The Goods: 6-8 items perfect for a geek or gamer with a total value of $40+.

Loot Crate is apparently making custom crate boxes a regular thing now.  

Pop Rocks: ($.73)  I think the last time either of us had Pop Rocks was at the Rock Jocks showing J and I went to over a year ago.  It seems appropriate, since it was space themed as well.  (It's also a hilarious movie and I highly recommend it.)

 Star Wars Retro Magnet: I think for Christmas, I'm going to make J some sort of cool way to display all the rad magnets he's gotten from Loot Crate.  Our fridge just isn't big enough!

Han Solo Poster: This is a really cool poster, but I'm mildly annoyed that they folded it.  The last posters they sent were rolled and they came out of the box looking much nicer.

Firefly Bank Heist Money: ($5?)  The pack they sell also includes a glossy map, so I'm estimating the price for these.  J claims he's seen Firefly, but he remembers nothing about it.  I like it, but I'm no superfan.  The currency is a cool novelty item, but we'll probably try to swap these.

Halo Escalation Comics #1-3: ($1.99 each)  I don't think J has used any of the digital items he's ever gotten from Loot Crate.  He does have a friend who loves comics, though, so this might go to him.

Alien Reaction Figure - Dallas: ($9.99)  I've never actually seen Alien.  J has seen it, but he didn't seem super excited about this figure.  This will wind up in the swap pile too.

Funko Science Fiction Mini: ($5.35)  Even though the box calls this a Mystery Mini, everyone got a Mal (from Firefly) figure.  Though there is a Mal that comes in regular mystery mini boxes, this Loot Crate exclusive version has him holding a shotgun.

Star Trek Tribble: ($9.99)  This is already Stella's favorite new toy.  I don't know that we actually *meant* for it to become hers, but we have a hard time saying no to her.  Our furbaby is spoiled.

Total Value: $37.03+

J and I are probably in the minority in this, but we both agreed that this was one of our least favorite Loot Crates. There wasn't any one item that J was super thrilled with.  I think if this month had included maybe one more item, it'd have been more impressive.  October's theme is going to be "FEAR" and will include a tshirt, so I have high hopes for it!

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manicure of the Week - Water[color] you thinking?

The past week or two has been all about water for me and J.  Either the weather has either been hot and we've been in the pool or it's been awesome and rainy.  Obviously, this inspired me to have a go at a watercolor manicure.

It didn't turn out quite how I wanted it to, but my dad (!) complimented it, so that says something.  I used all Sally Hansen colors - White On as a base and Ice TintVitamin D-LightSea ThroughWater Melon, and Grape Jelly as the "watercolors."

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Golden Tote Large Tote Review

The Box: Golden Tote
The Price: $49 or $149 + tax and shipping
The Goods: You select items from the curated boutique (1 for $49, 2 for $149) and then they choose surprise items to send you (1-2 for $49, 4-6 for $149.)

Lulumari Favorite Cozy Sweater: ($45)  This was one of my picks for the month and is actually the whole reason I got a September tote.  It's "One Size Fits All," which means it's huge on me - but I absolutely adore it.  (I don't think J's much of a fan, though...)

I mean, seriously, is this not destined to be worn to drink hot cocoa and read a good book?

Renee C Patterned V Neck Blouse: ($43)  I chose this thinking that it would be good to wear whenever I have to actually wear business-y clothes.  The V-neck is a lot lower than I was anticipating, but I should be able to get by with a cami under it.

Le Lis Quilted Sweatshirt: I'm super on the fence about this one.  I want to like it, but the sleeves are just a liiiittle shorter than I'd like.  It's not super obvious in this picture, but they hit at the top of my wrist bone.  My first thought was that I might be able to swap for a medium and just wear it slouchier...but GT actually sized up and this *is* a medium!

Jolie Striped Dolman Sweater: Man, I tried really hard to talk myself into this.  I love the cut and fit of it and it's super comfortable.  However...I'm not super into stripes and these colors aren't really my thing.

Ellison Gray Collared Top: I usually hate collared tops but I actually adore this one!  It's so soft and comfortable.  I do have an issue with gaping between the buttons (which is odd since I have no chest) but I think I can just do a couple small tacks and fix that.  The sleeves have tabs on them so that you can wear them rolled up, too.

Priddy by Puella Pants: I'm sure these would be adorable on someone else, but they're not my cup of tea.  They fit me like leggings around my calves and hammer pants from the knee up.  I'm not really fond of where they hit my ankles, either.

 As I was taking pictures of my stuff, J commented that I forgot to photograph the cutest thing in my Golden Tote box...Stella!

I paid a total of $157, which breaks down to a little over $26 an item.  I had three items that were definite wins, two that were definite no's, and one...I'm not sure about.  Hopefully I will be able to post my no-go's up for swap and get something I like!

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Manicure of the Week: All That Glitters Is...Fairy Dust

The weather here has been really rainy and gloomy - which I love.  For some reason, gray skies make me want to use ALL the glitter in the world.  So...

I snapped a cell phone picture because my camera battery died.  I shouldn't have settled - this totally doesn't do it justice.

I used OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby. and topped it with China Glaze Fairy Dust.  Super basic and SUPER sparkly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September Popsugar Must Have Review

The Cost: $39.95/month
The Goods: Hand-picked food, fashion, beauty, home, and/or fitness items.

Nicole Miller Round Interlock Earbuds: ($20)  J is a huge sound snob and he turned his nose up at these as soon as he saw the specs on the back.  They aren't the most comfortable and sound quality isn't too amazing, but they'll do in a pinch.  I do like the fact that they have a mic, though.

Ghirardelli Minis - Milk Chocolate Sea Salt & Almond: ($5.95)  I'm pretty much a fan of anything salt + chocolate.  I'm surprised they sent chocolate when it's still pretty hot in a lot of places in the US.  Fortunately, mine only got slightly melted - certainly not to the point they're uneatable.  (As though there is such a thing...)

Oribe Mini Superfine Hair Spray: ($21.50)  Based on the frequency that subscription boxes send out hair spray, I must be the only woman in the world who doesn't use it regularly.  I think a single bottle this size would easily last me years.

Tilo Gradation Scarf - Raisin: ($125)  Man.  Never would I pay $100+ for a scarf.  Admittedly, though, I think I have a grand total of one scarf that wasn't either handmade or from a mystery/subscription box.  This one is really soft and a great size that makes it easy to wear a billion different ways.

Rifle Paper Assorted Girls Card Set: ($18)  I do send snail mail on occasion, but it's usually thank you or birthday cards.  These are blank on the inside but still not quite my style so they'll be swapped.

Letter C Gold Arrow Pencils: ($4.67)  The only time I use pencils is if I'm drawing - which is a very, very rare occurrence.  J has a knack for losing writing utensils, though, so he'll probably wind up getting these.

Urban Remedy Almond Brownie: ($6.99)  I'm not 100% sure whether or not this is a full sized bar.  I didn't think it was awful, but I wouldn't order more of them.  It also came with a coupon for $10 off $50.

Nike Gift Card: ($20)  I am super smart and only took a picture of the packaging.  Included was a $20 gift code, a code for free two day shipping.  They also included a measuring tape to help fit yourself for one of their sports bras.  I'm not entirely sure what I'll spend this on, but I LOVE the fact that it doesn't have a minimum order attached to it.

Total Value: $222.11

This is actually the highest valued box I've gotten from Popsugar.  I'm not a scarf-crazy girl so I'm not completely blow away by this month since that was over half of the value.  That said, I know better than to complain about it because I've worn the last scarf they sent a LOT more than I expected.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall 2014 Elizabeth & Clarke Review

The Cost: $30-$60 a season, depending on the number of shirts you choose
The Goods: 1-3 high quality tops that you choose from their seasonal collection.

I completely derped and forgot to save my Fall selections, so E&C chose two shirts for me. 

The Bacall:  Y'all.  I am not smart enough to wear this shirt.  It has a flap of extra fabric around the neckline that I think is supposed to make it slouchy like a cowl neck but...I just can't get it to look right.  I think if it were a flowier material I might have managed but...yeah.  It's just not happening.

J was seriously cracking up while watching me fiddle with it in the mirror for several minutes.  He actually said that this is the best way to style it:

I call it Ninja Chic.
 The Ross:  I love this so much.  So, so much.  It's easily one of the most comfortable shirts in my closet.  I'm going to wear the crap out of this shirt when the weather cools off.  If E&C were to bring this back in another color (or three) I would definitely grab it.

If I had actually saved my selections for Fall, I would have opted for the Allende over the Bacall.  (I might actually try to see if anyone wants to trade...) However, I adore the Ross so much that I don't even mind the failure that is the Bacall.  One thing is for certain - I made 100% sure that I actually saved my Winter selections!

Friday, September 12, 2014

September Ipsy Glam Bag Review - Street Style

The Box: Ipsy
The Price: $10/month
The Goods: 4-5 full and deluxe-sample sized beauty products chosen based on your beauty profile.

September's theme is Street Style.  The makeup bag is a soft faux leather type material and I love it.  It might be my favorite one ever.

Crown Brush C476 Shadow/Crease Brush Duo: ($6.99)  I've heard good things about this line of brushes, but I really dislike the fact that it's dual-ended.  I store my brushes standing up, so this will probably become a travel-only brush to keep from ruining one end.

Pacifica Waterproof Eye Pencil - Fringe: ($2.86)  I really wish this were the black or pewter color; I feel like brown eye liner just looks odd on me.  The last thing I need is another eye liner, so I guess it works out.

Alterna Caviar CC Cream: ($8.50)  A woman I know is infatuated with this stuff.  Since it's her HG hair product, I have very high hopes for it.

Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Facial Cleanser: ($2.33)  Okay, I lied when I said that more eye liner was the last thing I needed.  More face wash is actually the last thing I need.  This will be swapped.

Hikari Lipstick - Cabernet: ($13)  Something about the shape of this lipstick made it really difficult for me to apply it without getting it in places I didn't want it.  The color payoff is great, but it's also great on anything your lips touch.  The staying power leaves something to be desired.

Several months ago I would have said the color was too bold for me, but I really quite like how it looks with my current hair color.  Plus, J commented that my makeup looked pretty - even though the lipstick was the only thing on my face.

I didn't even bother brushing my hair for y'all.  Rude.
 Total Value: $33.68

I was pretty happy last month so I had pretty much prepared myself to be disappointed this month.  It seems like September was the bag of "almost, but not quite" products for me.  Hopefully the CC cream will be its saving grace!

Disclaimer: This post contains referral and/or affiliate links..

Monday, September 8, 2014

Allure Fall 2014 Beauty Box Review

The Box: Allure Fall Beauty Box (no longer available)
The Price: $44.95 + s&h
The Goods:  A collection of beauty, skincare and haircare products curated by Allure magazine.

Arm & Hammer Spin Brush Truly Radiant - Deep Clean: ($8.97)  I mean, who can't always use another toothbrush?  Side note: is it just me or are there way too many options for toothbrushes?  Shouldn't there be a general consensus that a handful of styles are all we really need?

Neutrogena Triple Repair Fortifying Leave In Treatment: ($5.99)  I put my hair through hell with all of the bleaching and dying, so I use a leave in treatment every time I wash my hair.  I am glad to see that this one is safe for color treated hair.

e.l.f. Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths: ($3)  I have used these before, but I prefer Yes To... or Burt's Bees.  These are really thin, flimsy cloths and they aren't very effective on waterproof mascara.  They do work well as clean up wipes, however, if you happen to make your eyeliner wing a bit larger than you wanted or if you colored outside your lip line.

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Toothpaste: ($3.48)  Like with the toothbrushes, I feel like there are way too many options in toothpaste out there.  It does have a slight baking soda-y flavor, but it's not overwhelming by any means.

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Shampoo: ($5.72)  There are currently no brunettes in this household, so I'll be listing this for swap.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Shock Wave and Top Coat: ($14.99)  I've been wanting to try this line since it was announced.  I am pretty rough on manicures, so it'll be interesting to see how many days I actually get out of this.

Organic Doctor Tea Tree Face Wash: ($9.59)  I've  never actually tried this brand, but it is cruelty-free so I'm super stoked to give it a go.  I've been a fan of tea tree oil for years now, so this face wash has already been bumped up to the next on my list to try.

Make It Straight: ($12.49)  Most of the reviews I've read mention that they didn't like the smell of this.  I'm pretty picky when it comes to hair scents, so I'll sell or trade this.

John Frieda Intense After-Colour Conditioner: ($11.92)  I am going to be redoing my purple in the next week or two, so I'll be trying this then.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser: ($9.59)  This is a substantial bottle of cleanser and I already have a substantial backlog of face washes.  I already passed this on to J.  He goes through a LOT of face wash during the Halloween season.

TRESemme Keratin Smooth 7 Day Smooth Control Starter Set: ($6.98)  Unlike the Make It Straight, nothing I've read said that this has an awful smell to it.  I'm still a little hesitant to try it since I am overprotective of my color, but I might man up and give it a try.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Go Curlier: ($8.49)  This is heat activated and I usually just stick with braids or other heat-free options to add curl and wave to my hair.  I might give it a try the next time I attempt scrunching my hair, though.

Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths - Restore: ($3.29)  These actually are very cooling.  I wasn't entirely fond of the powdery scent, but it isn't strong enough to be a complete deal-breaker.  I would totally pack these the next time we go hiking.

Aloxxi Dry Shampoo: ($20)  This has got to be the wettest dry shampoo I have ever used.  It has a consistency closer to hair spray.  It did absorb the oil in my hair, but not quite as well as my beloved Batiste.  If you hate the powdery feel of most dry shampoos, this might be a good option for you. 

Real Techniques Blush Brush: ($6.74)  This brush is super soft.   I'm of the opinion that a girl can never really have too many different makeup brushes.  My current blush brush is a little bit different in shape.

Redken Blonde Idol BBB Spray: ($19)  Surprisingly, I really like the way this smells.  I'll probably make my way back to blonde at some point, so I'll keep this for the future.  I wonder if anyone makes styling products specifically for purple hair...

Jergens Natural Glow Firming Lotion - Medium to Tan: ($8.49)  You know, I remember when Jergens first came out with their natural glow lotion and it was in such high demand that you couldn't find it anywhere and people were selling it on ebay for super high prices.  Anyway.  I kind of like my ghostly-pale skin, and I think that this shade would probably be too dark for me anyway.

Organic Doctor Dead Sea Mineral Bio-Plasma Mud Mask: ($9.59)  I already have so many face masks that J and I could probably do a spa day twice a week for a year and not run out.  This will be traded.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon - Hawaiian Smolder: ($9)  I was a little surprised that this has a standard lipstick smell and not something yummy like Burt's Bees' lipbalms.  It feels smooth on the lips, but I did notice that it accentuated any parts of my lips that weren't entirely smooth.

It does have a nice, buildable color.  I was able to get it to look like a tinted lip balm by using just a little or like a lipstick by using several layers.

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash: ($5.99)  Meh. There isn't really anything spectacular about this body wash.  This will probably get donated.

Curel Rough Skin Rescue Body Lotion: ($8.88)  J is constantly complaining of dry skin, so he's already claimed this.

Clean & Clear Advantage Daily Soothing Acne Scrub: ($6.37)  My face is actually fairly clear right now, but I'm sure I'll be needing this at some point.

Organic Doctor Organic Moroccan Argan Oil: ($9.59)  Since J discovered the wonders of deep conditioner, we seem to go through a lot of it.  It isn't very fragranced, but I do like the smell of it.

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Oil: ($22.95)  I generally really like Sexy Hair products and this one seems to wear quite a few hats.  It can be used as a deep treatment, a thermal protector, a styling product, and/or a finishing product.

Total Value: $231.10

Compared to the past few Allure boxes, this one is a bit of a let down.  Others I've gotten were over $300 in value - so basically they chipped $100 off what you got and kept the cost the same.  It also seems like there were a lot more brand repeats in this one.  Don't get me wrong, the Allure Beauty Boxes are still one of the best values out there, but I really hope that this isn't the start of a downward trend.