Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 2013 No Buy Rules + Beauty Subscription Cancellations

Okay, I need to hurry up and set my rules for my no buy before I find out about anything else that is going to make me want to bend them (Kelly just tweeted about the Target beauty box, which is NOT on my list).  Here is the way I think about a no buy...I like to sit down and think about what I am trying to achieve, and set the rules accordingly.  Depending on the month, it might be just beauty products, or it might be a life no buy.  I might have exceptions, and I might not.  

For me, it's not so much about literally buying nothing this month.  May is FULL of weddings and birthdays and mother's day and whatnot, and it's not like I can just stop being a contributing member of society just because I need to save up to send the girls to an extra day of daycare per week.  It's more about planning all of the things that I want to spend money on IN ADVANCE, deciding the amount I will spend on them IN ADVANCE, and sticking to it.  You know, basic adult responsibility.  

From a beauty box standpoint, I am not planning on unsubscribing across the board, especially since most of the May boxes were already paid for before I decided to officially do the no buy.  I "accidentally on purpose" let my ipsy sub get renewed for another year because you know what?  I like it and I am totally okay with keeping it another year.  I am still on month to month for Birchbox, and I possibly have a Salma Hayek Box coming this month in addition to my main box.  I plan to ask hubs if he will renew it for another year for mother's day / my birthday.  If not, I WILL cancel it after this month.  This is my last month ever for PopSugar Must Haves - I WILL cancel it next month (saaaaaaaaaaad).  As much as it pains me, I just got off the phone from cancelling New Beauty Test Tube.  I LOVE that one, but it will still be there after I use some stuff up (that is how I feel about Birchbox too, but it's only $10).  They also just switched the NBTT from quarterly to 6 times a year, and I just CAN'T justify $80 more a year for that one. I don't have a QVC Test Tube or a QVC tarte set coming in May so I'm good there.  I will not get a Julep Maven box this month unless a) it's awesome, and b) I have enough points for it to be free (not sure, I burned through a lot).  And once my points are completely gone, I'm thinking I need to cancel completely and just USE all of my nail polish in my collection for a bit.  

So the longer term subscription box plan is to just have ipsy (on my dime) and Birchbox (gifted or I'll cancel it).  I'll decide on the allure boxes depending on my current needs whenever they are available (usually August and April, sometimes November too).  I will also keep getting the QVC Test Tube until my auto-renewal runs out (I have one more in August and one in October) and then cancel that as well.  The Test Tubes are definitely the hardest to let go, but I REALLY just need to focus on USING UP what I already have.  They will be there when I'm ready for new fun things. Plus I'm finding a lot of cool free stuff to try (more on that later).  

Other than the aforementioned monthly subs, the only thing I'm allowed to buy in May that is beauty related is the Sephora Sun Safety Kit.  It was $30 and full of amazing things last year; people who are "in the know" (MUT-ers) say it will come out mid May this year.  I have to take care of my skin because of my rosacea (and because cancer sucks), so I'm not planning on letting a no buy make me miss out on that.  In exchange for this, I am committing to do a no buy in June too (rules on that next month).  

Here are the non-beauty things I am allowed to buy:
- Thank you gift for friends who gave us new patio furniture
- Birthday gift and lunch for mom
- Birthday gifts for my cousin's girls
- Birthday card for my brother (and cake if mom asks me to pick it up)
- Wedding gift for Justin's stepsister
- Wedding gift for my lovely internet / real life friend :)
- Mother's day gifts for entire family
- Up to $100 in summery clothes for Adriana, if I can get good deals
- Mulch and mulch-related labor
- Anything that is health related (vitamins, prescriptions, etc.)
- Must have household items (toilet paper, cat litter, tampons, cleaning supplies, etc.)
- Gas
- Groceries

Here are my food and beverage allowances:
- Dinner for my family that I didn't cook - THREE TIMES ONLY 
- Coffee that isn't free - THREE TIMES ONLY 
- Pop that isn't free - THREE TIMES ONLY 
- Lunch out with friends - ONE TIME ONLY 
- Book club dinner and drinks - FREE PASS BUT BE REASONABLE
- I'm allowed to buy lunch only (no snacks or drinks) at the work cafeteria, but I have to get a salad 3 days a week

I will plan all of our meals with the intent of using up stuff we have in the freezer and pantry.  I will also only go grocery shopping with a well thought out list.  I'm not allowed to buy any beverages other than milk, and no junk food whatsoever.  Scooby doo graham crackers, cheese sticks, gogurts are all approved snacks; the majority of purchases will be meats, fruits, and veggies.  I will go to the farther away grocery store to use up my $75 in gift cards.  

I won't buy any new clothes or shoes for me and Lucy whatsoever; the only new clothing allowed is for Adriana.  If I can pay for it entirely with money brought in from selling outgrown kid clothes and gear - even better.  If I can find enough short sleeved stuff from last year to get her through May without buying anything at all, EVEN BETTER.  

I'm not allowed to make ANY iTunes purchases whatsoever...no new games, books, movies, or music.  

I'm not allowed to make ANY random purchases ever, beauty or not.  NOTHING.  If it's not on this list or a grocery list, I can't buy it.  

No haircuts or brow waxes.

Gift card purchases are allowed but only if I don't go over the amount on the card.

I'm not allowed to open up the Hautelook app.

I have to fill out all expense reports as soon as possible.

I have to make REAL ACTUAL EFFORTS to sell as much kid stuff on the portal as possible.  

I have to pay all bills ON TIME.  

I have to say that this is not as strict of a no buy as I did in February, since I am letting myself get the Sun Safety Box and buy clothes for Adriana, plus I think I had zero family gift obligations opportunities in February.  I am likely going to continue working on no buys and saving up goals for the rest of the year, so this is kind of my "transition to a mostly beauty sub free world" month.  

Let me know if you plan on joining.  It's YOUR money, so make up your own rules to fit your lifestyle.  You can be super strict or just focus on an area or two...the way I look at it, any change - even a little one - counts!  

Summer 2013 Allure Beauty Box Review

Yesterday was an A+ mail day...I got my Bzzagent BedHead Buzzkit, my May Julep box, and my Summer Allure Box.  Woohoo!

If you still don't know what the summer box is, I talked about it here and here and pretty much nonstop over on twitter.  I apologize for the overkill, but this really is my favorite thing all year - such an amazing deal!  And part of the fun of these beauty boxes is getting all of you excited right along with me.  I absolutely love hitting refresh together, comparing order numbers (262!), and laughing at the crazies on the allure facebook page with all of you.  

Now to compare notes about which variations we got!

Date of arrival: April 29, 2013

Packaging: Same plain white box that the fall one came in, but with fun new giant pink peanuts.  I see some pink little girl art projects in my near future.  The booklet has nice pictures of each product but the details are somewhat lacking.  You'd think that if they are going to go to so much effort to make a whole book they would give little tips and tricks or something.  There are coupons in the back for Dickinson's and Not Your Mother's products, Sally Hanson's gel line, and a Tan Towel coupon code (BEAUTYBOX13 for 20% off your order through 6/30/13).

Contents and mini reviews: My box had all of the goodies it was supposed to come with EXCEPT the Neutrogena lip balm.  I contacted customer service and they promptly told me they would send a replacement.  Excellent service!  Every last product except the perfume seems to be full sized.  Awesomeness.  

Adriana must have known something was special about the Clear Shampoo and Conditioner...instead of getting the regular Total Care formula, I received the Damage and Color Therapy version.  Which is fine by me, as that is what I buy anyway (love it).  I didn't see a ton of other makeuptalk (MUT) folks with that version, but it is listed as an option in the booklet.  

The pixi endless silky eye pen was also sent out in different colors.  I'm glad I got the True Teal, I don't have anything like it and it's gorgeous.  It was SO pigmented and creamy!  I received a pixi eye shadow stick and primer in past beauty boxes.  The eye product was fantastic, but the face primer was not.  I will definitely buy more of this eye pen and other pixi eye products in the future.  

The Burt's Bees gloss was not my favorite.  It's pretty but it's kinda sticky and has a gross plastic-y taste.  I can deal with sticky as long as it means it lasts longer, but I can not deal with the taste.  I feel like I licked play-doh.  Bleh.  I'll use it up but I will stick to their awesome lip balms for future purchases.  

I was a little sad to see that I didn't get the Sally Hanson polish in Jaded.  Fellow MUT-er Anastasia posted the most BEAUTIFUL Jaded swatches on her blog - check them out!!!  I got Back to The Fuchsia, which is a very cute name but I feel like I already own other bright fuchsia polishes with a bluish purple microshimmer...Butter London's Disco Biscuit comes to mind.  

Even though I would have preferred something else, Back to The Fuchsia sure is pretty.  I am dying to paint my toes this color.  The Dry and Go Drops worked nicely as well.  I can safely say I will be going back to my early 2000's ways and buying more Sally Hansen in the future.  The formula was great, I could have gotten away with one coat (but I'm a 2 coat girl), and I like the wide brush (it's stiff enough that there is lots of control).  Good stuff!

And as far as the Butter London polish goes...seems like everyone but me wanted Bit Faker, so of course that's what I got.  It's similar to Julep's Jane - smaller glitter and more coppery than rose, but close enough that I would have rather tried a different shade. 

Other pleasant surprises in the box were the Dickinson's witch hazel wipes and the BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Chic.  I LOVE that the wipes are individually packaged - PERFECT for travel.  They smell a little weird due to the witch hazel, but it's fine.  They did the trick.  I will definitely repurchase because of the packaging.  The Bon Chic isn't something I would have picked out on my own (it's very fruity/sweet) but it's a nice scent and I think the bottle is cute.   

Lucy knows not to steal Mama's beauty products for long...
Value: I'm not going to add it up today (I'll update if I get motivated later), but Allure claims it's $250 worth of stuff and I trust them.  I paid $53.24 and it was worth every penny.  A+++++

Overall impression of the box: LOVE.  I obviously haven't had a chance to test much of it out, but I am always SO HAPPY with these boxes.  The value is through the roof, the products all get really high ratings on every site I've looked at, the products are all full sized, and it came in less than a week.  A+++++

Overall impression of the service: LOVE.  I am so happy that they are replacing the missing product with no hesitation, and I can't believe they shipped them so fast.  A+++++

And as for the facebook drama...I get that people are mad at allure for putting the wrong link on facebook, but those people need to get a grip.  It was just a mistake, and the true allure beauty enthusiasts knew where to go.  I totally understand that allure is only able to get a limited number of products, and I think it's a testament to the awesomeness of the deal that it sold out in 15 minutes.  I am also fine with allure letting people buy up to 5 boxes.  I would love to be able to afford to get that many; I think it would be a fantastic mother's day gift.  It's survival of the fittest in the beauty box world - learn how to work the internet and get your ass in your chair before noon next time!  These deals are amazing, and allure is amazing for offering them - don't ruin it for the rest of us with your complaining!!!

I am now off to enjoy my non-ruined beauty product-filled summer :) 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Diniwilk Stew

  • I'm back!  Again!  Other than rebuttal testimony (1-2 nights tops) and daytrips here and there, all of my big work travel for the year is DONE.  And thank god for that.  I missed my family and the little girl guilt trips were killing me.  Even Lucia was saying "No Combus.  HOME." when I would talk to her at night.  Argh.  I (obviously) felt horrible about leaving them and that didn't make it any easier.  At least Adriana is old enough to understand that I was going away for work and that I was coming back.  I felt so bad for Lucy, she must have been so confused about where her mama was :(
  • The allure beauty box purchase went well - I was number 262 out of about 2500, and that was with lightning fast typing.  I LOVE that so many of you joined in and got one too!  I can't wait to see which products are hits and misses with everyone.  And I just got my shipping notification!  YAY!  If you didn't get one since it sold out in an INSANE 15 minutes, the details on the fall box will be in the August Allure issue.  I think it went on sale around August 23 of last year.  There's always a next box!!!  
  • In addition to the allure beauty box, I have also bought a few other beauty things recently.  I did SO GOOD during project 10 pan (which I will update at some point in the nearish future) and my February no buy.  Between that and the fact that my parents want to bump up the number of days the kids go to daycare (from 2 to 3), I need to do another super strict no buy to tame the beast.  I know Kelly is doing one too, so it might be a good time to do another one, as I'll have moral support.  Anyone else interested in a May no buy?
  • My house is totally disgusting to the point that I am planning week long cleaning vacation.  I CAN NOT wait until my kids are old enough to have chores beyond picking up their shit they just threw all over the floor.  Do you like how I say that as though I have any success in actually getting the older one to clean up after herself?  What's that thing you are supposed to say when your kid doesn't listen and can be quite the tiny d-bag about it?  Spirited?  Yeah.  I have a SPIRITED KID (or two).  I also have a SPIRITED HUSBAND and a SPIRITED CAT.  They have SPIRITED all over my damn house and it will never be clean again.    
  • I am curious about where I fall on the scale of boob paranoia.  I just had a boob ultrasound today for a bean sized lump and a couple of Nerds candy sized bumps.  I started noticing after the second round of breastfeeding that I had some boob weirdness going on, and was constantly making Justin feel them to see if I was just being paranoid or what.  He could feel them too, but both my family doctor and OB/GYN brushed me off until a full year passed after breastfeeding.  I finally got my OB/GYN to actually check them this time around, and she was either concerned enough to send me or just wanted to cover her ass since I expressed frustration about being blown off the last time.  Anyway, it is all 100% normal dense boob stuff, much to my amazement.  They politely implied that I should not come back until I'm 40, seeing as how I also had a lump checked pre-kids, 2008 or so.  I am happy that it all checked out, but I also find it kind of freaky that I have these THINGS that feel EXACTLY LIKE CANCER IS SUPPOSED TO FEEL just hanging out in my boobs.  It's like the boobs who called wolf...how am I supposed to know if I ever have non-normal lumps?  But I will try to act like a normal non-paranoid person for the next 6 years, especially since I don't have a family history of breast cancer (I'm totally fucked as far as Alzheimer's goes though).  Anyway.  Do you have boob paranoia or am I just a boob hypochondriac?
  • If you do have boob paranoia...does your significant other think that asking to feel a lump is an invitation for nookie?  If you are reading this and you are a fan of boobs, let me tell you something.  It's not.  Ever.  Seriously.  Don't even think about it.     
  • Boobs.     
[Update...I just got the email that I am in the running for an extra (free!) Birchbox full of Nuance by Salma Hayek goodies! Did anyone else get this?  I saw it in the MUT thread a while back but thought I missed out.  I'd love to try the line, I hope I get it!]

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reader Request: 15 YouTube Beauty Gurus I Love

Megan asked me to talk about which YouTube beauty gurus I watch, and you know you really have to twist my arm to get me to talk about that sort of thing.  

This is in no particular order, just the order I wrote them down.  Which I suppose is telling in and of itself, but I wouldn't read too much into it.  There is a pretty big range in expertise and personality type and number of subscribers in here; I am drawn to different people for different reasons.  I should also say that these are just 15 I am loving RIGHT NOW, and aren't necessarily all time favorites.  There are some people I have been watching forever but I'm kind of bored with them right now so they didn't make the cut.  

EmilyNoel83: Emily is a newscaster turned YouTube beauty guru.  I love her because I think she is honest and relatable.  Her super supportive husband and her cat Cupcake make regular appearances on her channel, and she has had her mom and her sisters show up in her videos as well - her family is super cute.  I think her makeup always looks beautiful and not too overdone.  She is very knowledgeable about the products and can usually think up dupes if you don't want to spend the money on something.   I love her one brand tutorials where she does an entire look using products all from (you guessed it) one brand, alternating between drugstore and higher end brands.  I also highly recommend her annual Emily Awards and her get ready with me videos.  She is one of the few YouTubers who actually chats with us while she does the get ready with me, and I love the little personal tidbits that have nothing to do with makeup.

Grav3yardgirl: A lot of people probably find Bunny to be a bit too much because she has a really big personality, but I find her entertaining and hilarious.  Every time I play one of her videos, Justin complains about her, but then sits there and watches the whole thing with me.  She does way more than just makeup - lots of thrift store hauls, shoe unboxings, tea vlogs (vlogs where she (you guessed it) drinks tea), follow me to target / bed bath and beyond / whatever store.  I like her because she is totally someone I would have hung out with in high school back when I was one of the freaks (I'm pretty boring and mom-ish now, haha).  When she does do makeup, she's usually one of the first people to say she's not very good at it, which I think is refreshingly honest.  I think the first video I watched she basically painted her face orange with one of those mousse foundations and it was horrible but fascinating and I just couldn't stop watching.  Even if she's not always perfect at it, she knows her stuff, especially the high end products.  She has her own style and is very much her own person, and I love her for that.

ShadesofKassie: Kassie is someone I like to watch because she uploads very regularly and her videos are high quality.  She does weekly favorites and massive hauls and tons of tutorials. She wears much bolder makeup than what is my taste and isn't as good at it as the pros, but there is something about her that I am drawn to.  I had to think really hard about what it is, but I think I got it - she is ON TOP of the trends.  Whether it's fashion or accessories or makeup, if it's in style, Kassie's doing it.  So even though I don't really consider myself a trendsetter or a trend follower, I guess I just like knowing what they are.  Plus she just uses so many damn products it's fascinating to watch her put them on.  

Lisalisad1: Lisa is definitely the newest guru in my collection - I just started watching her maybe a week ago.  I don't mean this in a mean way AT ALL, but I don't know how else to say it.  She's kind of like one of the Real Housewives.  Or at least how I imagine them to be, having  never actually seen an episode in my life.  She is older (in a totally graceful way) and clearly has a ton of disposable income.  She buys $150 t shirts that look exactly the same as $10 ones from target.  She buys handbags that cost more than one of my paychecks.  She is also really sweet and positive and just INTERESTING to me because I don't know anyone like her.  She offers advice like "If you buy an expensive handbag, you should USE it and don't just put it in your closet for special occasions...you deserve it and every day is special!" and she does it with complete sincerity.  I don't know, I just think she's a cool lady - beautiful inside and out.  I also love that she doesn't rush through her videos AT ALL, so I can just pop on a 40 minute video while I'm driving and listen to her talk about all of the crazy things she bought and tell stories about her family and maybe glance down and see some pictures of her cats.  

Vlogwithkendra: I went through quite a Kendra phase where I watched a shit ton of her videos all in one fell swoop a couple of months ago.  She is a newlywed with pretty much the cutest, most supportive husband ever (sometimes he picks up the camera and talks to us too, always a bonus).  She is really into living a healthy/natural/organic lifestyle and has a lot of smoothie recipes and vitacost hauls and the like in her vlogs.  Her channel is a good mix of tutorials, monthly favorites and empties, hauls, and vlogs.  She really shines at hair tutorials and neutral eye looks.  She kind of has a million different variations of the same natural looking makeup, but each one has a little twist.  I like that because I go neutral about 98% of the time - makeup for real life.  I think she's really down to earth and easy to listen to.  It kind of feels like your girlfriend or sister is talking to you.  For some reason I am thinking she would be a great fit for you, Megan...maybe because you also have beautiful hair and live in California?  Haha.    

Pinkiecharm: If I know what her real name is, I certainly can't think of it right now.  [I looked it up...it's Irene].  Pinkie is another guru I love for her honesty - I have never once felt like she was sugarcoating anything.  I get the feeling that she has been making videos for a really long time, so she knows what she is doing.  She is VERY knowledgeable about the products and really does her homework before she does a review.  Almost 100% of her videos are reviews, but there are occasional hauls or 5 faves thrown in there.  Her perfume reviews are freaking amazing - a real work of art.  I can never describe scents beyond "me likey" or "eww gross", but she goes on for 15 minutes straight sometimes.  It's impressive.  I also like her because I'd totally hang out with her in real life - she seems like my kind of people.

Frmheadtotoe: Okay, so I am actually having a really hard time putting into words what I like about Jen.  She first won a special place in my heart with her really informative and helpful two part series on Japanese BB Creams.  She is obviously beautiful, and her makeup looks are really pretty.  She seems incredibly friendly and often gives good advice to her younger audience.  She is very put together and I like looking at the well decorated backgrounds of wherever she is filming.  All of that just sounds so generic though and I feel like I'm not doing her justice.  Just watch her, I think you'll like her!  

Jaclynhill1: Love, love, love me some Jaclyn Hill.  First off, she is simply stunning.  More importantly, I have learned SO MUCH about makeup from this girl.  She is a legit makeup artist.  She used to work at a MAC store so her tutorials are almost exclusively MAC (at least the shadows), but don't let that stop you.  This girl can BLEND.  She is SO GOOD at explaining what she's doing and why and how you can do it too.  Plus, she is unexpectedly hilarious.  Like, out of nowhere in the middle of a tutorial she yelled "now pack on that bronzer, bitches!!!" except it was about a thousand times funnier than I am describing it.  If your main goal when checking out YouTube gurus is to actually learn something from a tutorial, go directly to Jaclyn's channel and watch every last video.  You won't regret it.  

Tanya Burr: I didn't discover Tanya until a couple of weeks ago, and I seriously don't know where she has been all my life.  I LOVE HER.  I think I thought that pixi2woo (her old channel name, I think it's just her real name now) was just a lame ripoff of the pixiwoo sisters, but it's my understanding that she dates their brother so she has a legitimate connection to Sam and Nic.  I'm pretty sure she's also a legit makeup artist.  Her looks are BEAUTIFUL and her videos are SO WELL DONE - perfectly edited, tons of energy, visually appealing.  I love watching her get ready with me videos...she has one of those infectious personalities and just puts me in a cheery mood.  I feel like I could copy her tutorials with reasonable success, which is not something I'd say about many of the people I love to watch.  Highly recommended.  

Pixiwoo: The pixiwoo sisters, Sam and Nic are the real deal - old school YouTube gurus who blazed a path for everyone to follow.  They can do tons and tons of different looks, on themselves and on others.  Their technique is flawless and they are both gorgeous.  I also love that Nic is approximately my age and also has dry skin with redness, so I think what works for her coverage wise ends to work for me.  They are true professionals; the only tradeoff is that you don't get quite as much of the personal tidbits as you do with some of the other girls.  

Nikkietutorials: Nikkie is a self-taught makeup goddess.  I am SO SO SO impressed that English isn't her first language - it took me a while to pick up on that.  She is a true artist - she does a lot of really creative looks with vibrant colors.  She always looks absolutely flawless at the end, like she's right out of a fashion editorial.  I especially love her Hunger Games tutorials (both from the first movie and the new one).  She has a fun, bold personality and often makes me laugh, especially in her monthly hits and OH GAWD NOs.  Also...There is this one video she did that is super cool and has a good message but is quite possibly the freakiest thing I have ever seen in my life.  I don't want to link to it without warning you what it is (lest you have a heart attack), so I'll link to this article about it instead.

Beautyfoolreview: I feel like no list of gurus would be complete without one of my fellow beauty subscription junkies.  I can honestly say April (which may or may not be her real name...I think she has only told us once ever) is largely responsible for my descent into beauty subscription madness.  I love her reviews because she is brutally honest and I find it to be hilarious when she totally rips on something she hates.  What you see is what you get with her.  She is also really knowledgeable about a ton of products, and always knows what's new in the beauty sub world.

LisaEldridgedotcom: Lisa is another legit makeup artist...probably the biggest name artist on YouTube (she has done celebrities and whatnot).  Her makeup always looks really natural and fresh and flawless, and I love her skincare advice.  My favorite video ever is definitely her routine for long flights.  Genius!  Like the pixiwoo sisters, Lisa uses a lot of models so you can see her looks on a lot of different people.  Very informative, but again, very little personal information.  

MMandLshow: If you watch the Bachelor, I'm sure you know who Michelle Money is.  She and her friend Laura have a YouTube channel and it really is quite a show.  I'm sure they are basically playing characters here (god help us all if they aren't), but it is highly entertaining.  I love the way they play off each other.  I'm pretty new to their channel so I'm not really sure of the full range of what they have to offer, but I can't get enough.  If you want entertainment plus a smattering of beauty / makeup / diet / fitness / fashion, check them out.  

JennaMarbles: Okay, I know Jenna is an entertainer and not a YouTube guru.  However, she got internet famous for her "How To Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking" video, which is pretty much the most hilarious makeup "tutorial" ever made.  She also has done a few legit makeup tutorials before,and has bits on "Things I Don't Understand About Girls" (GOO HOARDING!!!) and  "What A Girl's Hair Means" and "What A Girl's Makeup Means" which are freaking hilarious.  It's all funny cause it's true.  I also wanted to include her because she did the Draw My Life tag that is all over YouTube and it totally made me cry.  Oh, Jenna, I love you.                       

Do you guys watch YouTube beauty gurus?  Who do you recommend?  And what do you think of the gurus I'm loving?

Also - if you have made a request in the past, I haven't forgotten about you!  Expect me to come back full force after I'm not in hearings anymore.  This includes your manicure question, Susie!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring 2013 Day in the Life

Summer 2012 DITL here
Winter 2013 DITL here

It's Day in the Life time again!  If anyone wants to participate, read about it over here.  Other Laura is much more ambitious than I am, as she is doing a full week.  I can barely handle one day, but at least I'm participating (on time, even) this time!  

This was Monday, April 15, 2013.  I am doing a lot of traveling to Columbus for work - I stay in a hotel from Monday through Friday and only see my family on the weekend.  I did the last 2 weeks of March + half of first week of April for the last case, and will be doing the last 2 weeks of April for this case.  I thought I would capture my business travel working mom day (or at least as much of it as I can without talking too much about work itself). I'll make sure I do a day with my family next round!

12:00 am: I wanted to spend as much time with Justin and the girls as I could, so I didn't start my trip to Columbus until close to midnight Sunday night / Monday morning. I topped off my gas and hit the road. Does anyone else think "something's afoot at the Circle K" every. single. time. you see one? 

12:00-2:00 am: The drive from Akron to Columbus is 125 miles. I spent it listening to (not watching!) YouTube beauty gurus. I always pick out 2 hours worth of longer vlogs or hauls or favorites, anything I can listen to and don't have to watch, before I head down. This time it was a lot of lisalisad1, someone completely new to me.  I feel like we would have absolutely nothing in common with her in real life (other than a love of makeup), but sometimes those are the people I love listening to most. She seems like a sweet lady :)

2:00-2:05 am:  I got all checked into the hotel and loaded my stuff on the cart.  Normally I pack much lighter but every once in a while I just say fuck it and take enough for a month. If I'm going to be stuck here, I want to have fun pampering stuff and plenty of snacks. 

2:05-2:10 am: I got settled in my room. I normally try to get one of the rooms with a tub, since I love soaking in the tub with no kid interruptions and I hate these half door showers. There is no way to turn the water on without completely drenching myself.  The shower rooms have a much more comfortable king bed instead of two queens, so it was a decent trade-off.  

2:10-2:24 am: I pulled out my night time routine ziplock and got to it. Products used were Neutrogena eye makeup removed and face wash, Dr. Haushka toner, Kiehl's dark spot corrector, philosophy hope in a jar night, Perricone MD eye serum, and EOS lip balm. I set my alarm for 6:03 (I never go right on the hour, it bugs me) and went to bed. 

2:24-6:41 am: Sweet, sweet sleep. I generally fall asleep within about 8 seconds of my head hitting the pillow, which is good because I need every minute I can get.  

6:41-6:45 am: Apparently I turned off the 6:03 alarm. I have no memory of this. Good thing my body is programmed to wake up around 6:40, which is right when the girls wake up every day.  I threw in my two cents to a beauty question (which actually resulted in a tweet from Sonia Kashuk later on, haha).  Makeup talk makes me happy (obviously), thanks for thinking of me, Kirsten!

6:45-7:00 am: I took a shower before driving down (thank god) so I got to skip that and go right to the hair. Products/tools used were my Conair curling iron and brush, Garnier flat iron spray, bigsexyhair spray and play, and GK hair serum.  The pic on the top right is what my hair looks like before I tame it - wavy frizz. 

7:00-7:20 am: Makeup time! Products used were finacea, philosophy take a deep breath moisturizer, Murad primer and eye perfector, fresh lip balm, Real Techniques brushes, tarte amazonian clay 12 hour foundation, theBalm frat boy blush and nude tude palette, Urban Decay liner in zero, lorac pro mascara, and tarte LipSurgence in smitten.  Not pictured: Anastasia Brow Wizard in brunette.  That is a LOT of makeup for a very natural look, haha.  

If y'all want reviews of any of the stuff I used this day, let me know :)

7:20-7:30:  I made my way over to our office (after covertly taking pictures of myself in the hotel elevator, as one does).  I need a zillion documents so I have to carry them in a wheelie box of doom.  Pretty much every time I take it with me, someone asks if I'm going to perform magic tricks or makes some other smart ass comment.  They are clearly jealous.  

Our Columbus office is kind of old man chic, and has one of those giant fishtank conference rooms in the middle.  Glug glug.  

7:30-9:50:  I helped myself to some breakfast from the office stash.  I only ate the nature valley bar, the nutrigrain got all smashy in the bottom of my bag.  Oops.  

Justin checked in around 8:30, letting me know he was alive.  The girls spent the night at my parents since he was still recovering from wisdom tooth surgery and was all hopped up on pain meds.  

I addressed almost 150 emails, which was about as exciting as it sounds.  Some of the groups our business works with LOVE to hit reply to all for even the most mundane responses.  ("Thanks!")   

9:50-10:00:  I took some outfit / better hair and makeup pics for you guys in the bathroom before heading over to the hearings.  The jacket and pants are from the Limited, which is my professional work clothes store of choice now that I can fit in their bottoms thanks to the Fall of 2012 Intense Stress Diet.  The necklace is the Heather Belle tassel necklace I got in the March 2013 PopSugar Must Haves box (my favorite box so far).  It's something I never would have picked out on my own, but I really love it!  

10:00-1:30:  Work...let's just assume it was much like the Charlie Brown episodes where the teacher standing up in front of the room says "wah wa wah wah".  Seriously, I could try to explain it but you would die of boredom.  I obviously find it more interesting than that, or I wouldn't leave my kids to do it, but every time I try to explain it to people I watch their eyes glaze over while they die a little on the inside.  

The legal process kills approximately 1 million trees a day.  These paper stacks are way taller now.  

My view of the hearing room
1:30-2:30:  Lunch.  Today we had Jimmy John's.  I also showed my morning snack (a DELICIOUS Orange Cranberry bar my coworker gave me because I started gnawing my arm off around noon) and my afternoon snack (a Snickers bar when I started crashing around 3:30).  

2:30-5:30:  Back to hearings.  The same witness was on all day and didn't finish, so we were already behind schedule.  I HATE YOU, COLUMBUS!  (It was totally because the attorney examiners were letting every single party read documents into the record and overruling every single objection - SO FRUSTRATING).

In addition to the usual wah wa wah wah, I got some sweet messages from Justin and of course the horrible news about the Boston Marathon explosions.  I think we found out about the explosions shortly after they happened - people started whispering about it between rulings and then we all watched the videos on our ipads at break.  Heartbreaking.  

5:30-9:10:  Back to the war room to work.  We had Chick-fil-a for dinner, yum.   I realize this whole Day in the Life has been pretty much entirely about getting ready and eating food, but I seriously do nothing other than work when I'm down here, and I can't blog about that.  

I did call the girls for a bit, but our office doesn't allow anything but laptops to have wifi access, so I couldn't facetime.  Boo.  Adriana made me laugh when she told me she shouldn't get a sticker for the day because she and grandma had "a little fight".  We are working on a behavior chart - she gets a scooter when she gets 25 stickers.  She has only earned 3 in 2 weeks, so I'm sure it will be snowing again by the time she actually gets it.  3 1/2 is so fun.  

9:10-9:30:  I transferred the contents of my old wallet (the red one) into my new one (black and white).  It's a hard case one from target and I lerve it.  Then I organized my work bag since it was a mess from last week and I was too tired in the morning to do it. OCD heaven.  

I always feel like the number of highlighters I carry far exceeds my need to highlight things.  

I had this much makeup crammed into the little ipsy makeup bag I carry with me to hearings. I am ridiculous.  

9:30-10:00:  I got caught up on the day's news and then watched a bunch of YouTube makeup videos to distract myself from it.  There were some cute videos, but sometimes even makeup doesn't solve everything.  Sad day.  

Thatsheart doing the my boyfriend does my makeup tag
10:00:  Sleepy time.

I would love if some of you play along - link below if you do.  Hopefully the next one a) won't be so depressing/boring and b) will have 100% more cute little girl pics.  


Perhaps I am the only one who finds this hilarious...I went back to the Day in the Life rules post to figure out if I should email the link to Laura (yes) or leave it in the comments or what, and I saw this:

Make sure to include pictures of YOU during the day, even if that means mirror self-portraits (turn the flash off!) or using that good old timer. And don't forget to include pictures of the mundane - your make-up on the bathroom counter, the messy office desk, your lunch, what you bought at Target, a note your spouse scribbled for you. That's part of what makes it so interesting.

I DID EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THINGS (if a text counts as a note).  And not even a little bit on purpose.  I am so very original! Slash mundane!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Enabler Alert Update: Allure Summer Beauty Box SPOILERS!!!

Update:  This box was sold out within 15 minutes.  I had confirmation number 262 and I was LIGHTNING FAST.  The highest number I've seen was near 2500, so I assume that's many boxes were for sale.  Hope you got one if you wanted one!!!

Update2: Review here.  

Squeee!!!  I just got the email with the full product details if the Allure Summer Beauty Box!  Go here at noon (eastern) on 4/23 to spend the best $50 of your life.  

Stop reading now if you don't want to know what's in it!   I'll add some white space in case you don't really want spoilers.  

This box definitely exceeds my crazy high expectations.  I see a bunch of products I use on a regular basis anyway (the clear shampoo and conditioner, simple sheets, butter london polish, cetaphil, neutrogena), so in my mind this was money I would have spent regardless.  I have been hoping to get the not your mother's beach babe in a sample box for months, so that is one of the things I'm most excited to see.  A close second is Butter London's Bit Faker (see swatches here - now I want the whole damn collection).  I LOVE my GK hair product I got in the fall box, so I'm also dying to try out something else from their line.  I mentioned in my April Birchbox post that I was happy to get the nexxus hair elixir sample, and now I'm going to get a full size.  Love at First Byte was actually the second nail polish option (the one I didn't get) in the April Ipsy Glam Bag, and I had been debating getting it after seeing everyone's pretty swatches.  YAY!!!

Are you planning on getting this box?  Which product is most exciting to you?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April 2013 Ipsy Glam Bag Review

Much like my April Birchbox review, this is more of a first impressions / unboxing post than anything.  The lighting in my house is crazy today (April showers), so if you want accurate swatches, you should probably re-google :)

Date of arrival: April 10, 2013.

Packaging: This month's bag came in the usual pink bubble wrap mailer.  There was a card inviting us to ipsy's generation beauty event in LA along with the theme card (Pretty in Pink) listing the brand discounts.  Doesn't it seem like they should have saved this theme for October?

This month's makeup bag is white with a pink zipper.  It has large white and pink stripes inside. Kinda boring, but it'll do the job.  

Contents: Shimmer powder, blush, hair powder, nail polish.

I haven't tried anything out yet so I'm not posting reviews.  If it's really awesome I'll put it in a favorites post.  Here are my first impressions of each:

  • The MICA Beauty Shimmer Powder in Earth is just GORGEOUS.  I personally think it's too sparkly to use as a highlight, but I love that kind of color swept all over my lids, especially in the spring / summer.  I swatched it on my hand when I first got the box (around lunchtime) and it's completely worn off now, so I'd definitely recommend using with a primer and/or setting spray.  I was super happy to get this instead of the two cosmetics shadows.  
  • I got the Be A Bombshell full size blush in Sweet Cheeks (bags also contained Beach Please).  I am really confused though...if you look at the website, mine definitely nothing like what is pictured for Sweet Cheeks.  It doesn't match either of the blushes shown here either.  I have already said that my pic isn't accurate, but even there you can tell it's not Sweet Cheeks.  I will try to take a true to life one to post it so you can see.  Did anyone else get a off colored blush this month???  Anyway, the color I got was a pretty bright pink.  It's still on my hand almost as dark as when I first swatched it, so it has nice staying power.  I'll probably have to apply it with a light hand since I have fair skin.  
  • The bigsexyhair product was also a this or that kind of thing.  I wanted the healthysexyhair soy renewal beach spray, but I'll probably use the powder just as much.  Looking forward to testing it out.
  • Both Sation polishes were pretty boring shades of pink.  I think I got the slightly better one - Of Corset I'll Call You.  The color in my picture is prettier than what it looks like in real life - plain pink.  I'll post pics when (if) I ever wear it.  
Here are my swatches.  Earth didn't photograph well (it's SO PRETTY in real life, I promise), but the blush color is close.  See?  NOT SWEET CHEEKS.  

Without and with flash.  

Update:  Here is a better picture of the blush.  Not even close to what it's supposed to look like, right???

Not Sweet Cheeks

Value:  With 3 out of 4 full size products, I knew this one would be a decent value.  A fifth product (even a packet) would have rounded it out nicely though. $32.12:  B-

Click to enlarge
Overall impression of the bag: Some of the shades of pink aren't my favorite, but for the most part I like what I got.  I think I am most excited about Earth.  I REALLY wanted it and I got it, woohoo!  I actually got almost every option I wanted (just not the hair) which never seems to happen to me.  I would have preferred the actual Sweet Cheeks color over what I received, so I might take pictures of it and send it to ipsy to see what they say.  The whole random color thing is just mystifying.  The only product I didn't really care for was the nail polish, but Adriana will love it.  B+ to A-.  

Overall impression of the service: After reading some of Zadidoll's posts in the makeuptalk threads, I'm beginning to think that ipsy is dealing with some less than reputable companies.  Dropping them down to a B+.  I know that's a bit harsh because I had them at an A, but I am not happy with ipsy slipping back into its old myglam habits.  Shape up, Michelle and friends!  You can do it!

April 2013 Birchbox Review

I have only had my BB in my possession for about 8 seconds, so this is more of a unboxing / first impressions than a review.  But life is going to get busy again in a few days, so I want to get my sample box reviews out before that happens.

Date of arrival: April 10, 2013

Packaging: Regular pink outer box and brown inner box. This month BB partnered with Women's Health Magazine, so there was a bright green outer sleeve that says "tiny tweaks, BIG RESULTS" (this month's theme).  It also included a card for a one year subscription to Women's Health, which was a nice surprise.  Hopefully I'll remember to send it in (the mailbox is my archnemesis).  Update:  See Jessica's comment below - you can send in the card to get a rebate instead if you prefer cold hard cash to magazines.  TEMPTING.  But that's even more paperwork, and you know how I LOVE paperwork.  

Contents:  Anti-aging hair treatment, body wash, CC cream, anti-aging serum, eye roll-on.  OH YAY, Birchbox is trying to tell me I'm old again.  I'll let it slide since it's the Women's Health box.  And because I really like this box.  

I haven't tried anything out yet so I'm not posting reviews.  If it's really awesome I'll put it in a favorites post.  Here are my first impressions of each:

  • I am intrigued by the Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir.  I think this is the first anti-aging product I've ever seen for hair.  I'm not sure that it's entirely necessary...I mean, isn't hair dead already?  How much more aged can it get?  But I'll try it.  
  • I REALLY REALLY REALLY love the bergamot scented Malin + Goetz body wash.  It smells SO GOOD.  The card says it's a natural antiseptic, and the bottle says it has amino-acid technology.  Fancy.  
  • Yay, I have been wanting to try a CC Cream!  I am a fan of other Supergoop products I have tried, so I have high hopes for this one.  
  • I am also really excited to get another Kiehl's product.  I talked about some other samples I liked in my winter skincare routine, and 2 out of 3 made my January favorites.  The package says it will decrease the appearance of "Marionette Lines, Crow's Feet, and Sub-Orbital Wrinkles", which totally made me laugh.  Marionette lines!  I know what they are talking about, but I have only heard those lines referred to as laugh lines.  I have JUST started to notice wrinkles at the corners of my mouth, and the ones on my forehead and neck are deepening.  I will use the shit out of this product.  
  • I think it's kind of interesting that BB is dipping into drugstore products now.  They acknowledged that simple isn't a high end brand, and gave it fancy "Birchbox Finds" packaging to explain why it was included.  I was happy to see it because my card only had the other 4 products listed on it, and I'd definitely rather get a fifth sample than another twist band or a freaking note card.  Plus my eyes have been SUPER PUFFY lately thanks to lack of sleep and allergies, so I'm very interested in trying it out.  I just hope this isn't the beginning of the end as far as BB goes...I feel like the whole point of the box is that it's supposed to be higher end stuff, and that's why I think it's so complementary to ipsy.  If both boxes send stuff I could get at a drugstore, I would probably cut down to one or cancel entirely.  [Which I keep saying I need to do ANYWAY but then I keep NOT DOING IT.]  [I was taking so long to write this review that I just put some on.  The metal rollerball is cool to the touch so it does have that instant refreshing feeling.  Will definitely put it in my fridge for a nice little pick me up.]

Value: YIKES this was a cheapo box.  I thought with all of the anti-aging stuff it would be okay, but these samples are really tiny.  The full size simple product and the magazine subscription account for much of the value.  It's worth $28.74 if I remember to turn in the magazine card, a mere $18.74 if I don't.  C+/D+

Click to enlarge
Overall impression of the box: I liked it until I calculated the value :)  I was happy to get every single sample, and even though they are small, a lot of times a little bit goes a long way with skin and hair products.  I looking forward to testing them all out.  I think I'm most excited about the body wash because it smells so amazing and the kiehl's because I love the brand.  For whatever reason my box isn't listed among the April boxes...box 11 and 14 appear to have full size tarte lipsurgence in them, so I have a bit of box envy there.  I'd still give this box an A though - it's not often I am 100% happy with every item.  

Overall impression of the service: I know for a while I was rating ipsy higher than BB, and gave BB a B+.  Lately (after playing around with some of my older samples and seeing how awesome they are), I am thinking that I prefer the smaller size but higher end products featured by BB over the bigger size but lower end stuff in the past 3 ipsy glam bags, so I'll bump BB to a A-.   

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