I Need Your Help! Ipsy vs. Birchbox: May

Hi Beauties!

For this post I need your help!  I have decided that I want to explore more environmentally and animal friendly beauty products, and therefore I am going to sign up for a vegan beauty box.  I looked at a few, and the one I think I have decided on is Petit Vour.  BUT, I can’t really afford to have three beauty boxes every month!  Much as I would love that, it seems a bit excessive when trying to stay on a budget. SO, based on this month (and previous months), I need your help deciding which box (or boxes) to drop when a subscription to Petit Vour becomes available!  I just took quick photos of everything in each box for you to compare, but if you want to see and hear more about each item be sure to check out my video here!

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First off: Birchbox comes in its standard brown box, and Ipsy comes in a cute re-usable bag every month.

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Here are the goods!

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Birchbox – May, 2013

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Coola – Classic Sunscreen

First up is a sunscreen from Coola.  This is their classic sunscreen moisturizer with SPF 30, a cucumber scent and organic anti-aging ingredients.  The card says that it is a mineral sunblock, but the active ingredients are avobenzone (2%) and octinoxate (2.1%), which means that it is actually a chemical sunscreen.  Avobenzone is inherently unstable, and it breaks down into unknown chemicals when it absorbs UV light, this is what protects the skin.  I have a physical sunscreen from Coola that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which I love, so I do really like this brand!  They are environmentally friendly and cruelty free, so big thumbs up there!  This sample is 7mL; full size is 50mL and retails for $32.

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Beauty Protector – Protect & Detangle

Next up is a detangling leave in conditioner from Beauty Protector.  I have never heard of this brand before.  It comes in a rubbery bottle, and is a perfect size for travel, it would even be fine for a carry-on!  On the back of the bottle it says that it is a: Instant detangler, thermal protector, UV protector, that it seals cuticle, smoothes hair, locks in colour, adds shine, conditions, and is weightless, non-greasy and ideal for every day use on all hair types.  That’s a lot of claims!  I do need to use a spray in conditioner most days after the shower, as my hair gets super tangled.  I don’t often use heat, but a UV protector is nice!  I don’t have coloured hair, but I might this summer…  If it does all that it promises this will be quite the little product!  I can’t find a size on this anywhere to know how big the sample is, but full size is 8oz (maybe 4x the size of this?) and retails for $21.95.

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Joie – Folle de Joie eau de parfum

And here we have yet another perfume sample from Birchbox.  Enough already!  They all smell the same to me, floral and not my taste.  This one was one of the better ones that I  have received I do have to say though.  “For its debut scent, the chic fashion brand created this carefree mix of mandarin, rose and sandalwood”.  I probably like it better because it has some fruit but is also grounded with the sandalwood.  The small sizes are handy to carry in your purse, but I often find that without a cap these just spray whenever they want to and get all over everything…  This sample is 0.06fl oz, full size is 3.4 fl oz and retails for $98.  I’d have to REALLY love this to spend that much…

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Sumita – Colour Contrast Eyeliner

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Sumita – Colour Contrast Eyeliner

Next is an eyeliner from a brand called Sumita, another that I have never heard of…  “Inspired by traditional Indian formulas, this velvety liner glides on easily and lasts for hours”.  The colour is a really beautiful midnight blue, and the pencil did glide on really smoothly.  I often have worries about the staying power of such soft pencils on my eyelids as they get oily.  I find the UD 24/7 pencil liners go on great, but fade after a few hours.  I rubbed at this swatch after letting it dry for a few minutes, and I did see a bit of colour transfer, but I would never be rubbing my eyelids that hard!  The full size of this is a set of 4 minis (the same size) and I am assuming they                                    come in 4 different colours.  That set retails for $21.

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Pilot – Acroball Pen

Last and very least, we have a pen.  Really?  A pen?  Thanks Birchbox, but I don’t pay $10 for office supply samples.  It writes in pink ink, and came with a $1 off coupon for any 3, 4, or 5 pack.

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Ipsy Glam Bag – May, 2013

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Pacifica – Island Vanilla Perfume Roll-On

This smells so amazing!!  Like sugar cookies or vanilla icing.  Very sweet and delicious.  Not usually my type of fragrance, but I am loving this one =) “Inspired by the unique magic of Tahitian vanilla, this sensual blend sets sweet and sultry vanilla absolute, with honey-jasmine notes and a touch of fruitiness, against a deep and beautiful base of tea.”  This is 0.33 fl oz (10mL), which is full size!  And it retails for $12.  The Ipsy discount for this month is 20% off any purchase from Pacifica.  A portion of all of the sales from the Island Vanilla fragrance line goes to the Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation organization, and it is 100% vegan.  How amazing is that!?

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Pacifica – Coconut Crushed Pearl luminizing body butter

Next is another product from Pacifica, the luminizing body butter.  This smells so delicious.  I am not usually a fan of fake coconut smell, but this one is actually really good.  It gives just a slight glow to the skin, so it would be really nice on your legs or just on your décolletage for a night out.  It is cruelty free and contains coconut oil, pearls and sea minerals.  “Shimmer and glow from the inside out with luminescent crushed pearls and ultra-nourishing tropical phytonutrients”.  This is a 2oz tube, which is their mini size, and retails for $7.  The full size is 8oz and retails for $24.  Again, the Ipsy discount is 20% off.

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Juice Beauty – Reflecting Gloss in “Fig”

This product is an exclusive pre-launch through Ipsy!  It is an organic lip gloss that smells delicious.  Fruity and sweet!  It has great pigmentation, as you can tell from the swatch, and has a doe-foot applicator.  It is made with acai and goji berries for antioxidants, as well as minerals and agave nectar (that’s what the smell is!).  I haven’t used this on my lips yet, but I’m sure I will love it!  I have loved everything else I’ve gotten from Juice Beauty so far =)  This is a full size sample, and it retails for $15.

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Juice Beauty – Reflecting Gloss in “Fig”

The discount is also 20% for Juice Beauty.

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Yaby – Concealer in “Buff”

The yaby concealer is actually not too bad of a match for my skin tone, kind of crazy for a beauty box sample!  I haven’t tried it on my face yet, but it seems to be quite thick and high coverage, so for me it would be a blemish and redness concealer, not for under my eyes.  I will have to let you know!  It is a full size refill, which has a value of $5.06.  The discount code for this is actually for camerareadycosmetics.com, and it is 20% off.

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Zoya – Nail Polish in “Neely”

The final product is a full size Zoya nail polish!  It is a really pretty colour called “Neely”.  To me this is more of a true minty green than Essie’s “Mint Candy Apple”.  I actually used it in the manicure that I put on yesterday, so keep an eye out for an Instagram photo!  The first coat goes on streaky, but the second really packs on the colour.  I love my Zoya polishes, so I am really excited to get a new one!  It looks like this could have come in any 1 of 6 pastel colours.  I’m happy with mine =).  The discount code for this is buy two get one free, plus a free 1oz Remove+ (their polish remover) and $5 shipping, pretty good deal!  Zoya polishes retail for $8 on their website.

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Zoya – Nail Polish in “Neely”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to let me know in the comments below which bag is your favourite and which one you think I should drop!  I can’t wait to show you the goodies I will be getting in my new boxes =)

xoxo

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Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in CIA

Hey Beauties!

Here is a quick post about the Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencils.  I bought this on HauteLook a while ago for the purpose of having a handy concealer that I could easily just throw in my bag and have with me anywhere I went for touch-ups.

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It is a very convenient form, a nice soft pencil that goes on smoothly and blends right in.  It lasts quite well, but does crease a little bit under the eyes.  This is unfortunate because it turns out the colour that I bought is too light for the rest of my face!  It highlights any blemishes I use it on, so I really only use it under my eyes.  I don’t put it on first thing because it doesn’t last all day on my oily skin, but it is still great for touch-ups before dinner and such, and it highlights nicely.  I think I would use this a lot more if I had a shade or two darker!

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Have any of you used these pencils?  What is your favourite concealer for on-the-go?

xoxo

Pictorial: Black and Bright – Geometric Nails

Hey Beauties!

Here is a simple pictorial (picture tutorial) for a manicure that I wore last summer.  I wanted something a little bit funky that incorporated a bunch of colours, as well as black polish for an edge.  Here is what I came up with!

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Please excuse that there is tip wear and an Instagram filter on this photo…  This was before I really figured out what I was doing with taking photos for my blog, and apparently this is the only photo I have after I cleaned up my nails!  But you get the idea…  (This was actually my first ever Instagram photo!)

Here’s what you need!

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Scissors, 5 bright polish colours, opaque black polish, scotch tape, top/base coat

First Step: Paint each nail a different, bright colour and let it dry completely.

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From L –> R (Pinkie –> Thumb): OPI “Kiss Me On My Tulips”, Essie “Mint Mojito”, Essie “First Dance”, Butter London “Blagger”, OPI “Red Lights Ahead, Where?”

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Next: Cut up straight strips of scotch tape to the desired thickness that you want the stripes of colour to show through (or use striping tape).  For the pattern that I created you will need 4 strips for each nail, so 40 in total.  Arrange the strips in the desired pattern, either on all nails of one hand, or work one nail at a time.  Paint over with a thick coat of black polish.  This needs to be opaque in one coat!

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Quickly peel off the tape strips before the polish dries to get nice, crisp lines.  This will show off the bright colours underneath!

Here is the finished look before I cleaned up around the edges (I’m normally messy, but this is to the extreme!):

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You can see that I didn’t get all of the strips the same size, if you want these to be perfect I recommend using striping tape.  I really like how it turned out, and I got lots of compliments on them!

What do you think?

If you recreate this look please tweet me photos @wstcoastbeauty !

xoxo

NOTD: Eggplants and Pirouettes

Hey Beauties,

This will be just a quick post because it is a recap of my favourite nail combination from the past fall.

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This is OPI: “Vampsterdam” topped with OPI: “Pirouette My Whistle”.

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Vampsterdam is a gorgeous deep eggplant purple with a hint of a warm burgundy shimmer. It is from the Holland Collection in 2012. This is by far my favourite nail polish for fall. Be sure to check out my post and video all about my favourite fall nail polishes!

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Pirouette My Whistle is the only full sized polish that I bought from the New York City Ballet collection that came out a while back. I LOVE it! Such a delicate glitter top coat. It is a clear base infused with shimmering micro-glitter particles and sparse white hexagonal glitter. It adds a real feminine touch to any manicure =).

This combination spent a lot of time on my nails this past fall! And I know it will be around again in the fall of 2013.

Did you have a favourite manicure for any of the past seasons?

xoxo

Videos: April Beauty Boxes

Hey Beauties,

I have been just so busy that I didn’t get a chance to photograph and write about everything that I got in my boxes last month =(.  I did film and upload some videos though.  So if you are interested in seeing what I got in my Birchbox and Glam Bag, be sure to check out the videos below!  I am also looking into signing up for a vegan beauty box.  The one I am looking at is Petit Vour.  Have you ever gotten a vegan beauty box?  What are your recommendations or suggestions?

Thanks!

xoxo

Glymm: Beauty Gone Wrong

Hi Beauties,

After coming back to my blog after a two week hiatus with my family visiting, I found a comment on an old post with some sad news.  The Canadian beauty box company Glymm, which I subscribed to and enjoyed before moving to the United States, abruptly shut down their business in April, leaving many subscribers having paid for up to 4 boxes that they never received.  Now, all business ventures are a risk, and as a consumer you are partially responsible for this, but it just sounds like Glymm was very irresponsible in the way they handled the transition.  Continually billing customers for services they couldn’t (and knew they wouldn’t) provide, as well as continuing to take orders from their online shop and never shipping the items.  I have even heard someone claim that they charged some clients for their May boxes, and then shut down and removed all public presence within 24 hours.  They sent subscribers a short email indicating that they were going out of business effective immediately, and that they would not receive a refund for anything they had been charged for.

You can read the whole story here.

I guess I consider myself lucky that I was forced to unsubscribe when I moved.  It sounds like the bag had been going downhill for a while before this happened.

I found out about all this because Nikki from NailPolishCanada.com commented on one of my posts and shared the news story with me.  I wish I had seen this earlier because she told me that they were putting together a FREE box ($25CAD value) that they would give to a certain number of Glymm subscribers who had been ripped off in the whole debacle.  Sadly they are all sold out, but I still wanted to post about this, to let you know about a company that was trying to step up and help a girl out!  While it’s not the end of the world, it still really sucks to feel like you’ve had something pulled out from underneath you like this.  So please, share the love and check out a website that tried to step in and brighten your day.

I hope none of you were affected by this!

xoxo

(Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with either Glymm or NailPolishCanada.com)

MIA

Hey Beauties!

Sorry I disappeared for a while, my parents and my sister came to town!  We had such a great visit, one week flew by just way too fast! We did get to see so many things though, including a few things that I hadn’t seen before.

We went to Washington DC and got to see all of the monuments at night.  How breathtaking!   I had seen them in the daylight before, but when they were all lit up, it was just so beautiful.  Unfortunately they are still restoring the Washington Monument, so there was scaffolding about 3/4 of the way up, which takes away from the beauty of the view down the mall.  We also went into the Newseum, which I think is fairly new?  That was amazing, since my husband is a photojournalist, but it is fascinating for anyone who is interested in current (or not so current) events!  They have a gallery full of Pulitzer Prize winners, some of which are stunningly beautiful, and some of which will rip your heart out.  They also have an updated digital screen with over 100 papers from around the world displaying their front pages.  They have an exhibit on the FBI, JFK, and even the First Dogs, all about how the media covered the various aspects.  We thought it would be a quick buzz through, but we were there for almost 3 hours, right up until it closed.  It was a busy 2 days filled with walking!  We were all exhausted by the end of it.

We also wandered around Wilmington on Market Street and the riverfront.  We went to Harry’s Seafood Grille for my birthday dinner.  O. M. G.  The food and the service was amazing!!  If you are ever in town make sure you check them out.  They have a two course lunch for $15 too!  We will be checking that out for sure.  They were also fabulous about accommodating my family’s crazy dietary issues.  My sister is celiac, my mom tries to avoid gluten and dairy, and I am allergic to dairy.  They had a whole separate gluten free menu even.  Also, Loma Coffee on Market street is delicious =).

We had an appointment in Philadelphia to get me my Green Card, and so we checked out a few things while we were there.  We saw Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, and also walked around a neat market right downtown.  It had the cutest wine store, and a stall with so many different kinds of goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses, heaven!  We bought a honey goat gouda, I don’t think I have ever tasted anything so delicious in my life.

We decided to skip out on Baltimore in favour of having a night in to play Catan.   If you have never played it: Settlers of Catan is a MUST!  Such a great game that is fun and competitive and involves luck and strategy and trades and it just amazing.  It’s different every time too because the board changes!

Since they left ( =(! ) I have been busy working and cleaning our apartment.  I am starting some new training at my job, and also coaching a soccer team and getting involved in volunteering with the SPCA and the Junior Board of Christiana Care.  I have a really busy few weeks coming up, but I am hoping to have a few posts prepared so that I don’t leave you with a void again!

I hope you enjoyed this little blurb on where I’ve been lately =)

xoxo