Thursday, May 31, 2012

May favorites!

No, I didn't disappear...I've switched shifts at work, so I've been trying to adjust to my new sleep schedule. Aside from feeling like a zombie, all is well.

Anyway, here are my favorite products for May. I've been using a lot of my samples and packets to clear them out, so there are only a few things I've been using consistently!

I already posted about this Hot Mama blush here, but I have worn this nearly every day this month and gotten about a billion compliments on it. Depending on how I apply it, on my fair skin it can make me look rosy or fresh and glowy. LOVE.

Forgive the messy packaging on this and the below product. Just shows they're well loved!

This is a new product to me. I got it in the traveling sample box I took part in, and I am glad I did! I have been trying to master a neutral eye - I can do bright colors all day long, but I fail at neutrals. I choose the wrong shades, or apply them all wrong...this has helped me a lot! The pink color is the perfect light neutral for me, and the brown is perfect for contouring, they complement each other well and the texture is great. Love the darkest color for lining, too.

The concealer included is too dark for most of my skin, but luckily for me, my eye area is dark and this works great as a shadow base!

I've been trying a lot of new mascaras lately, including high end ones like Diorshow. I still end up going back to the Falsies Flared for my daily needs. Love it!

My love of Harvey Prince is no secret, and I've posted about a couple of their scents already. Lately, I'm absolutely obsessed with Eau Fling! It has notes of jasmine, lavender, pumpkin pie, apple, raspberry, and musk. It does not smell floral to me, just sweet and complex. It's definitely a sexy, seductive scent, but is not at all heavy or overbearing. LOVE.

As I mentioned above, I just switched to third shift. While it's not a huge stretch for me, being a major night owl, it's always hard to switch your sleep schedule. Not only that, but my allergies have been going crazy, so I've been battling major puffy eyes and dark circles. This skyn Iceland eye pen helps immensely and soothes my eyes. Love it.

As a bonus, my other May favorite is a website/service: LITTLE BLACK BAG. I'm not going to go too much into detail about LBB right now, because I have a bag on its way to me and I'll be posting about it then...but it is my current addiction and favorite subscription service. If you're interested in at least $100 worth of high end accessories for $50 a month and some super addictive trading, check it out. :) Linked above is my referral link!

Monday, May 21, 2012

theBalm Hot Mama Blush - Review (and rave)

Up until a few months ago, I had never even heard of theBalm. I blame it on living in a small town with no decent makeup stores, or maybe I was just living under a rock. I started to see the name pop up, and the products I saw had me intrigued - I loved their cute, sassy names and packaging. Finally, in the last couple of months, between winning a giveaway and finding a good sale, I've gotten my hands on several products by theBalm, and I'm happy to say they are among my current favorite brands!

Of the products I've tried, this review is of my favorite - Hot Mama blush. theBalm classifies this as an all-in-one, able to be used on the cheeks, eyes, as a highlighter, and to finish the lips, though you could really say that about most any blush, especially ones with a bit of shimmer.

Hot Mama has ridiculously cute packaging featuring a pin-up girl in front of a sunset. It is a magnetic cardboard compact that feels nice and sturdy. It comes in an identical cardboard sleeve. The mirror is great, and it contains a lot of product.

The product itself is beautiful! It's a gorgeous peachy pink with golden shimmer. The shimmer is nice and subtle and glowy, it does not make you look like you lost a fight with a disco ball. The color seems as though it would be suitable for most any skin tone. I've seen it compared to Nars Orgasm, which I haven't tried myself. The general consensus is that it is similar in color to Orgasm, but has more subtle shimmer.

The formula is wonderful - very fine, nice and soft. It goes on nice and sheer, but is easily buildable if you want more intense color! It takes only a quick tap of the brush to get enough color, so be careful not to overdo it!

I planned to do some swatches on my arm, but it just didn't show off how pretty the color is, so I decided to put it on my face. (Very sloppily, mind you, but that's not the point here, the awesome color is!)

 It's easy to get just a soft hint of color...I have been wearing it like this every day.

It is also easily build able to a more intense flush of color. It's also easy to overdo, due to the super silky formula, but it's easy enough to tone down with some powder!

Hot Mama has become my favorite everyday blush. I wear just a hint of it and love the subtle glow it gives me! It costs $19 for enough blush to last forever. 

What are your favorite products by theBalm?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

BarkBox discount

I just wanted to update that I now have a discount code for any of you interested in signing up for BarkBox. I added it to the end of my review post, but if you use the coupon code "MITAC032" at checkout, you get $5 off your order.

BarkBox - May Box (Rowan's first!)

This is Rowan.

Ro is my best friend. We adopted him from a rescue when he was barely more than a little puppy two years ago, and he's been spoiled rotten ever since. He had been bred with the intent of training him to dog fight, but he apparently wasn't aggressive enough for the scumbags, as they dropped him off in a box on the vet's steps with a note that said "I'm a p*$$y, not a fighter".  He was just a baby. He had a fractured paw, and a sweet disposition. His paw will always be a little crooked now, but his disposition is still just as sweet!

I had been seeing BarkBox mentioned here and there and I thought about how much Ro would enjoy something like that - every time I get something in the mail, he gets excited and has to stick his nose in when they had a good deal going on recently, I signed him up for a 3 month sub!

BarkBox is a monthly subscription service based in New York, very similar to Birchbox in concept...except it's for dogs!  They're a great company. It's run by dog owners and lovers and they have rescue dogs of their own! The price per month is $25 for a single month, and it gets cheaper if you buy a longer subscription.

Every month, they send a box with 4-8 carefully hand selected items for your dog. They include a variety of items, from toys to treats to bones/chews to pet care items - great if you have a dog like mine who gets bored easily!  They ask the size of your dog (small, medium, or large), so they can send appropriate items.

Best of all, they donate 10% of their proceed to dogs in need. This is something I feel very passionate about, so I am definitely excited to contribute.

Rowan got his first BarkBox today, and we are really happy with what we received!

We were excited to see this when we checked the mail.  It's a nice big box!

Opening it up, this is what we saw! Like other programs, they have a card with a little introduction note to the box's contents on one side, and a list of the contents on the other. The items are well cushioned with the paper fill. We saw a total of six items! 

This first item will NOT be loved by Rowan (he hates baths), but will definitely be loved by me! It is an all-natural conditioning shampoo from Cain & Able. This is a peppermint and tea tree formula, and it will be GREAT for Rowan. He gets itchy skin easily and he's very sensitive to fleas and bug bites. This not only has peppermint and tea tree oils, but citronella as well, so it will soothe the skin and help repel bugs. Awesome! The only ingredients are the 3 essential oils and a coconut shampoo base. Note that this does contain essential oils, so it is NOT safe for cats. Dogs only, please! I love the little note that states it was tested on humans first!

We're going to have a nice bath with this tonight and see how it does on Ro's itchy skin. Don't tell him I said that, though.

This is Ro's favorite item, by far. In fact, you'll see at the end that I was unable to get a good picture of him checking out his box, because he kept stealing this out of it and running away with it! This is a spiral bully stick from BestBullySticks. These are awesome. They are odor free and sourced from free-range grass fed cattle. They're a great alternative to unhealthy things like rawhide, and they'll help keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy.  No chemicals are used on these, unlike many dog chews you can buy. Rowan is over chewing on his as we speak!

I was excited to get these treats from Charlie Chews - Ro loves treats, and these are venison flavor, which he loves. They are 100% organic and contain no preservatives. I was really impressed by the ingredients - nothing in them but rolled oats, wheat flour, venison, carrots, parsley, bacon, water, and love. I offered him one and he gulped it down. 

This is a really cool product that I will get a lot of use out of! It's a Gulpy pet water dispenser. The pink you see is a little dish - you fill the bottle, and when it is closed like this, it is leakproof. When you lift the bottle out of the pink tray and squeeze, the pink tray fills with water. So much easier and more convenient than dragging around a separate bowl! This will be used often, as we love to take Rowan to the park and out to visit some of his dog friends at my dad's house.

Here it is opened up. Super convenient.

This is a yellow BarkBox plastic/rubber collar, and everyone gets one on their first box. It's similar in texture to those awareness bracelets everyone wears. While it's not functional as a "regular" collar, as you can't attach a leash to it and it is stretchy, it's a cute bright color and a fun touch.

This is something fun for both myself and Rowan - a Sqwuggie squeak and tug toy by Katie's Bumpers. This is a great toy for a strong dog! It is made of fire hose material, so it's super strong. It is meant for tug and fetch, and it floats! It feels good and sturdy, and it has a squeaker in there, which ensures that Rowan will have fun with it. I love that this is machine washable.

We are definitely impressed with our first BarkBox! Everything in it is awesome and useful, and it's a good mix of everything. These are all new brands to me, as well, so I consider it a big success when it comes to introducing me to new products. 

My first attempt to get Ro to pose with his box. Yeah, he just grabbed his bully stick and ran.

Mmm, bully stick!

And how annoyed he got after I took the bully stick OUT of the box for a minute so he'd sit still. HA. He does not enjoy having his picture taken. 

This is a great service with a worthy cause, and if you have a dog, I can't recommend it enough! If you are interested in trying it out, the coupon code "MITAC032" will get you $5 off!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kara's Way - May (first!) Box

A couple of months ago, I learned of a new beauty subscription service that was preparing to launch. I'm sure you all know by now that I am a sucker for these services, so I decided to look into this one. It sounded great, so I jumped to try it out.

Kara's Way is an eco-friendly, natural subscription service! Their monthly boxes cost $15 , and consist of 5-10 handpicked organic, vegan, or natural beauty and body care samples. They include a combination of makeup, skincare, body care, and fragrance.

I read an interview with the founder, and she said that she has very sensitive skin and eczema, so that gives me hope that she will be truly picky about the products she shares. I'm trying to reduce the chemicals I use on my skin and body as much as possible, and services like this can prove priceless when it comes to discovering new things. The founder stated that she wanted to focus heavily on up-and-coming indie brands, which is awesome and right up my alley.

One cool thing about this service is that they will not post your box's contents until the next month. This is pretty awesome for people like me, who love to be surprised, yet can't help but peek at the spoilers. Maybe I'll actually get a chance to be completely surprised by my boxes with this one! The other cool thing is that literally 10 minutes after it was delivered, I had an email talking about the seems like they might have it set to send it when your tracking is updated to delivered. Awesome.

As this is the first box, I don't yet know if everyone is going to get the same box each month, or if there will be random selection or customization. I do know that I received a nice variety of products at a good value.

I love the eco-friendly packaging. Instead of an inner box, the shipping box is lined with tissue paper (big sheets, great for reusing) and the goodies are wrapped in tissue paper as well.

Love the cute little tag and the ribbon! The tag is seeded with wildflowers, which is an adorable touch. I'm so going to plant it tomorrow!

I'm glad this eco-friendly company walks the walk when it comes to packaging

Opened up, I found a cute little pile of goodies. A couple of these things were wrapped up like little presents, cute!

The first thing I pulled out was this Cucumber Witch Hazel toner from Thayers. This is a big bottle for a sample! This is an alcohol free toner that contains aloe vera and non-distilled witch hazel extract. It promises high levels of therapeutic tannins. I need a good toner, and I cannot wait to try this! Alcohol based toners can be so drying, so this one sounds great.

A 12 oz. bottle retails for $9.95, so this 2 oz sample is worth about $1.66.

Next, I found a full sized keeki lip shimmer stick! It is made of all organic, food grade ingredients and natural minerals. It contains beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut and sunflower oils, peppermint and vanilla oils, mica, iron & titanium oxides. I tried this and I love the texture, nice and soft and moisturizing, with a slight cooling feeling from the mint but not what you'd really call "minty". So cute. I got the color Sassy, which is a golden honey color. 

I love the oblong shape! It will make this easy to identify when reaching for a balm. The label and branding is just adorable, as well.

This shimmer stick is full sized and it retails for $6.99.

Next is Daily Active Sunscreen by beyond coastal. I am super pale, I burn incredibly easy, and so a good sunscreen is a must. This one sounds awesome - it contains aloe, shea butter, and vitamins C and E to keep the skin healthy. Excited to see how this works out for me!

This 1 oz. bottle retails for $5.99.

In this cute little organza bag, I found 3 samples from Native Touch. This is basically a 3 step skin ritual for feet or body- a DreamCatcher soap, a Blue Corn Sugar scrub, and a Rooting Bear Rub salve/moisturizer. These products look really neat and are made of great ingredients. I'm really excited to try the sugar scrub on my body and the salve on my cuticles and feet!

I opened the scrub up to check it out and it looks amazing - grains of sugar and lots of visible seeds for scrubbing, with a nice citrusy scent.

The samples aren't labeled for size, but the full sized soap is $6 for 4 oz, the scrub is $20 for 16 oz, and the rub is $14 for 2 oz. While I can't estimate the value of the samples, I can say that they are definitely a good addition to the box.

I am familiar with the La Fresh makeup remover wipes, but I have never tried either of these, so I'm excited to. One is an oil free face cleanser wipe, and the other is acetone free nail polish remover. I love products like this to keep in my purse and for travel, so convenient. I love that they are biodegradable and include healthy ingredients. 

The face wipes are $9.99 for 30 and the nail wipes are $9.99 for 18, making the face wipe worth about .33 and the nail wipe worth about .56. 

I was really excited to find this sample of Naturelle D'Argan argan oil! I love argan oil for my hair, and this is a decent sample size, and contains antioxidants. I love that this is good for your skin AND hair, most products I have tried have other ingredients making it too heavy for the face. I'm excited to see what this does for my skin! It promises to fight aging and sagging skin and combat free radicals.

A 1.7 oz bottle retails for $48.99, so this .27 oz sample is worth $7.78!

And finally, a full sized polish from Honeybee Gardens. This seems cool - it is a water based polish! And even cooler - it removes with rubbing alcohol or grain alcohol. I love the pink color and the idea of NOT putting harsh solvents on my nails, so if this works for me I will be a happy camper.  It does have some different tips for usage and application and removal, and upon receiving your box, you receive a link to that information. I am excited to try it! One polish retails for $9.99.

All in all, this is an impressive first box! I love how truly green it all is, and how healthy all of these products are for my body. This is a $15 dollar subscription, and if it keeps up like this I'd say it is definitely worth it! This box has a value of approximately $33, and that doesn't include the three Native Touch products. Definitely a great value.

If this looks good to you, go sign up at 

Note: I received a free box for review. I was not otherwise compensated and my opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Influenster Spring Beauty VoxBox!

So, a few months ago, I noticed girls getting these awesome boxes from a company called Influenster, so I signed up. Influenster is a really cool program - basically, you first unlock certain badges related to your demographics and lifestyle. Then, periodically throughout the year, they offer boxes called VoxBoxes to people who fit a certain profile. The boxes can contain many types of items, and the boxes are always 100 percent free. Once you get your VoxBox, they just want you to spread the word about the items, good or bad. This is my very first VoxBox, and I am really excited about it!

The box is big! I'm used to the smaller Birchbox-type boxes, so I have to admit that it was exciting to get this in the mail. It shipped via USPS and took less than a week to get here after they let us know they were shipping them.

When I opened it, I saw first a card listing the contents of the box. Underneath that are lots of packing peanuts. The products were very well cushioned.

The first thing I pulled out were these Dr. Scholls For Her Ball of Foot cushions.  I work a job where I'm on my feet all day, so I really appreciate items like this. At first glance, it looks like these are specifically for high heels, but they can actually be used in any shoe. I don't wear heels, but I do have a pair of cute shoes I rarely wear because there is no cushioning under the ball of my foot, so I can't wait to stick these in there and see if they help! These are a bonus in the box, so they aren't listed on the card, but I found that they retail at CVS for $7.49.

The next thing I pulled out was this little box of Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips. I received these in "Kitty Kitty", which is a cute leopard print. I love the look of nail art, but I never even attempt it because I don't have the patience, and also because nail polish never lasts on me for very long (I wash my hands a zillion times a day at work), and I'd hate to waste that much effort. So, I'm really excited to try these! They just stick on like stickers, and remove with nail polish remover. Cool.

This box of 16 retails for $9.99 and also comes with a little file included.

This is the ChapStick Lip SHIELD 365. This is a year round product meant to protect your lips from the sun, wind, and cold. At first I thought I wouldn't really use this. I am a lip balm junkie and I have certain brands and types I stick to. But then I saw that this has SPF 50+, which is pretty much unheard of in a lip balm! While this will not be in my daily rotation, it will be great for anytime I spend a lot of time in the sun, or even in the winter. I do love to spend time outside, and living in Indiana, we get some pretty extreme weather, so I am glad to have this. 

It retails for around $2.

I already know and love Aveeno products, so this travel sized body wash was very welcome in my box! It smells great and is good for my sensitive skin. I love that Aveeno products are hypoallergenic and I find them very moisturizing.

The full size of this retails for around $7, so this 2 oz bottle is worth about $1.15.

This is a Soyjoy bar in Strawberry! It's all natural and full of good things. I already ate this for breakfast, and it was tasty and full of strawberries.

A bar retails for about $1.

The biggest and most exciting item in the box is this full sized Fine Fragrance Mist from Bath & Body Works! I love BBW, and had been wanting to try the new fine mists. I received Twilight Woods, which is a scent I do like!
This is a full sized product and it costs $14.

And finally, a sheercover duo concealer. I don't currently use a concealer, so this is something I am willing to try out! The light seems to be a decent match for my skin, and it feels nice and smooth and silky. I don't wear face makeup very often, as I hate the feeling of suffocating skin, so even if I don't like this on my face, I will use concealer around my eye area as a shadow base.

This isn't sold separately, but in a set with other items, so I estimate its worth at about $5.

In all, this is a pretty awesome box to get! It was completely free, and it has a worth of about $40.63. Everything in it is from a reputable brand, and everything but the body wash is full sized. And I will actually use every single item in here. I'm really impressed with Influenster! I can't wait to try more boxes in the future. If you haven't yet, you should definitely sign up.