Ipsy Review: December 2012

So I just realized that I should be getting a tracking number from Ipsy within a day or two, but that I never reviewed my December bag.  Sorry, folks.  The flu took precedent.  I’ll keep this (relatively) brief.

The Bag – It’s smaller in height than other bags, but it’s the first I’ve gotten that’s wide.  I really enjoy this bag!  It’s silky and I’ll call the colour Weimaraner.

Loose Pearl Shadow by NYX – I don’t have this in front of me right now, and I can’t figure out which shade it was supposed to be.  It comes with a strange brush inside that seems to just get pigment everywhere.  When I finally got reins on the product (I just poured some out and used my own brush) it was pretty standard-issue stuff.  I didn’t like the colour on me at all–it went on more neutral than it looked in the bottle (sort of army green gunmetal,) but it was still pretty overwhelming for my pale face.  For $3 for 0.06 oz, I feel like this is on-par with other brands, even though the packaging is awful.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Zero – Zzzz.  I already have this.  I’m sure people who got Woodstock the last time these were in the bags are happy. Then again, the people WHO ALREADY GOT THIS are probably shrugging.  It’s a great black eyeliner, but c’mon.  I shouldn’t need eyeliner again until sometime in 2016.

Mai Couture Highlighter Paper – I just don’t care for products like this.  I haven’t even opened it.

Mirabella Primer for Face and Eyes – This was silky and nice, and worked okay as a primer.  It’s $29 at Mirabella, which is downright ludicrous.  Suggested alternative: $6 elf Mineral-Infused Face Primer

Be a Bombshell Lipgloss in Hot Mess – I was expecting this to be like last month’s Be a Bombshell lip product, so I was surprised to find it was a gloss.  I was doubly surprised to find that it left a nice amount of colour, thought it was more pink than the tube would suggest.

The Overall – This is decent for making a vampy face, but meh.  I’m considering cutting this subscription.  I’ve been happy to get such deals on some of the products, don’t get me wrong.  I still think it’s wonderful for someone on a budget who wants to fill a close-to-empty makeup drawer.  But I have so many products that are so similar, and I’ve gotten plenty of stuff to keep my face done up.  The sneak peeks for January are okay.  The products include SPOILER ALERT an eyeshadow crease brush, argan oil for the face, Pacifica blood orange scented lotion (I love this brand,) Big Sexy hairspray (no idea how they’re getting these products to us…) and red nail polish.  I’m really only excited for the lotion, but who needs more lotion?  No one.  The hairspray will be nice if it’s a can, simply because I don’t have any at the moment.  Meh.

We shall see.

Trader Joe’s Review: Saag Paneer, Lamb Vindaloo, Lava Cakes, Chicken Enchiladas

First, let me start by saying… freezer food makes me sad.  I don’t like eating out of a freezer.  It makes me feel like some sort of sad latchkey kid.  I think that’s the echoes of my college days, scrounging together microwaved soy patties and mustard for lunch.

And usually, the results are even more depressing.  Smelly, mushy, unevenly-heated… don’t even get me started on the vague pickled sensation my tongue gets after loads of sodium like that.

But lately, the chef of the house has had a horrific case of eczema that’s put his hands outta commission   So freezer food has been an awesome convenience.

And Trader Joe’s freezer food doesn’t feel as sad.  It’s got a brightness to it that you just don’t find in most stuff.  We gravitate toward exotic stuff we can’t find in our regular grocer’s freezers.  Things that are supposed to be crispy end up crispy.  That’s like a miracle.

Shopping at Trader Joe’s makes me feel kind of bougie.  Because, c’mon, it’s Yuppietown.  But I just can’t deny the delish, so I carry on.

$6-ish Saag Paneer: This was a bit less saucy than I’ve seen at Indian restaurants, but I think I like the lack of gravy.  The spinach was finely chopped and it gave it a really nice, thick texture that was great for scooping up on the garlic naan we’d previously gotten at TJ’s (which are a definite buy if, like me, you can’t keep fresh naan.  It bakes up a bit more crispy than I like, though.)  There weren’t a lot of chunks of paneer, but the overall flavor and spice level was great.  The overall portion was comparable to what I’ve seen at Indian restaurants, but much smaller and fewer chunks of paneer.

$6-ish Lamb Vindaloo: This came in a tray with a bit of basmati rice.  The rice was very flavorful and wonderful for a baked frozen entree–I got very few pieces that were hard.  There weren’t a lot of pieces of lamb, but it was very tender; I didn’t detect any gristle.  The curry was delicious with a nice bit of heat.  There was a slight funkiness to the sauce, but I really enjoyed this dish.  The portion was a lot smaller than I’m used to getting at Indian restaurants, but plenty for a meal without ending up overfull and sleepy (which is how I ALWAYS feel after an Indian restaurant meal.)   Also significantly less pricey than an Indian restaurant meal around here.

$2-ish Chocolate Lava Cakes: OMG awesome.  Two per package.  These might seem a little on the small side, like a brownie hockey puck in a darling black plastic cup.  They’re the perfect size; anything larger would be unfinishable.  The cake is like a rich, dense, moist, cakey brownie.  There wasn’t a ton of lava in my cake, but again, anything more probably would’ve been hard to finish.  With a scoop of ice cream, one cake would be an amazing dessert for two.  It made me want a cup of coffee.  For a little over a dollar apiece, I honestly don’t know how these could be better.

$2-ish Chicken Enchiladas: I haven’t tried these yet, but my boyfriend reports that they’re awesome.  He says the texture of the chicken is wonderful and it reminds him of something that was handmade.  I’ve had bad experiences with frozen enchiladas before, so I didn’t have high hopes.  Two in a package.

Other things we’ve had that I don’t believe I’ve mentioned?

Pork Gyoza: These are great!  A lovely taste and texture from the freezer to the stove/microwave (full disclosure: my skillet was too small, so I browned them a bit in my skillet then nuked ’em.  STILL an awesome texture.)  They did need a sauce.  We used…

Orange Chicken: This came as a bag of fried chicken to bake and a little packet of sauce to nuke.  The chicken baked up nicely and had a great texture and smell that reminded me of takeout.  The sauce was good, but not as orangey or sweet as some I’ve had.  On the chicken, it was lovely.  The sauce never quite penetrated the chicken the way takeout does, but it was still tasty.  The quantity was like two takeout containers and much cheaper than that.

My Glam/Ipsy Review: October 2012

This bag game in three days and shipped on the 10th.  So much speedier shipping, but I think that was thanks to the SmartPost-esque shipping.

The Bag – It’s a black and white chevron with a bright red zipper.  I think it looks SO GOOD.  I don’t tend to equate chevron with bombshell, but the black, white and red are spot on!

the Balm What’s Your Type mascara in The Body Builder – This mascara is lovely.  It has a curvy brush that made my lashes both thicker and longer–they’re batting against my glasses as I type!  Love love love.

Be a Bombshell eyeliner in Onyx – This eyeliner is a thick marker.  It’s a little tricky for that reason (I tend to line my eyes with the marker turned on its side.)  Liquid liner tends to bleed along the little creases of my eyelids, but this stuff goes on and stays put pretty nicely.

Coastal Scents eyeshadow quad Set 2 – When I saw the preview of this, I thought it would be larger.  The pans are just a bit bigger than an M&M.  I’ll review these shades separately.  Bright Yellow is a bright yellow, a bit darker than a crayon.  Without primer, it doesn’t have very good payoff.  Jewel Green has lovely payoff and is a nice mermaidy teal.  Gypsy Gold is a brownish gold with a sheer application, which is nice as a shader.  Dark Golden Olive is an almost black-olive-brown.  The application is a bit sheer.  It would be nice for a smoky eye.

Mirenesse Lip Bomb in 4 – This is a pink that’s believable as a red lip.  I applied it without reading the packaging, so I just thought it was a nice, thick gloss.  It’s not terribly sticky and it’s slightly minty.  It’s a lip stain, and stain it does.  I keep marking myself with it on accident!  I keep accidentally brushing my lips, so I get little rubs of it on my hands and nose and everywhere.  Now, would I pay $35 for it, ever?  Oh my God, no, not ever for any lip gloss, ever.  EVER.

Pequi Oil hair shine treatment – This smells somewhat coconutty.  A little goes a long way.  I use these products, but it’s hard for me to be terrifically excited about them.

The verdict? – This bag was so exciting.  I watched the sneak preview spoiler images on the Ipsy Facebook page, and each one was more exciting than the last.  I pulled these out and started reviewing them right away, which I normally don’t do.  I did a whole face, which I normally either can’t do for lack of product or simply don’t have the immediate desire to do.  This bag was FUN!

The Ipsy (still can’t get over that dumb name) team promises that the next bag is just as exciting.  I really hope so.

 

Edit: The yellow eyeshadow is amazing over primer–perfectly yellow!  The lipgloss has garnered about a billion compliments.  This bag is a huge success!

Trader Joe’s Review: Pumpkin Macarons

Holy wuuuuuuut.

Trader Joe’s pumpkin macarons are incredible.  They’re only at Trader Joe’s for a limited time, so snatch them up and hoard them like some sort of pastry dragon.

The shells have the perfect balance of crust and meringue.  The filling is a fluffy, whipped cream that’s heavy with pumpkin spice.  They’re pretty much everything I wish pumpkin pie was–no dry crust, no weird gelatinous texture.  (I love pumpkin pie, but if you REALLY think about it, the texture is pretty weird.)

Anyway, go grab ’em.  They’re significantly better than the chocolate and vanilla ones.  Still $4.99 a dozen here.

MyGlam/Ipsy September 2012 Review

So let’s start here.
I got by bag on September 22nd. That’s NOT mid-month. It shipped on the 17th. That’s closer to mid-month, but still wrong. While I will grant that I’ve been having zero love for the postal service lately (the second package was misdelivered out of Cincinatti, I guess.)

The bags were shipped late because MyGlam relaunched itself as “ipsy“.
A brand, not even a year old, renamed itself. That’s never good.
The rename came with the launch of a big online community… thing. It’s for uploading makeup looks. Okay. But renaming yourself? Something so wildly different? I dunno.

Bag: Black, gold zipper, long handle. The bag is seriously the best thing I got this month. It’s really nice and seems sturdy.

SOHO Smudge Brush: Fluffy brush, really long handle, feels substantial. It works beautifully. I’ve been smoking out my eyes since I got it. I didn’t have a smudge brush, so this was a nice get. The bristles are nylon, but they almost feel like real hair. This is $5.97 at Walmart.com

Jane Sparkle Lip Gloss: I got this is a pretty bright watermelon shade. It’s a pretty wearable colour. It’s sticky and I don’t really like it at all. These are only sold in sets of three for $9.99.

Andrea’s Choice Nail Polish in Tightrope: This is a bright fuschia/purple neon. I actually bought this shade from Sinful Colors, and I’m much happier with the Andrea’s Choice polish (by about a million.)

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Split End Sealer: First of all, lets get this out of the way–“split end sealer” is a lie. This is a big ol’ glob of oil and silicone. And I just want you to know, dear readers, that I’m only trying this for you. It smells like a sunscreen I used once, mixed with some sort of herbal smell. It’s strange. It feels nice in the hair and would work as an overall smoother. And my ends do feel smoother–for now.

Mirabella Eye Color in Semiformal: This colour is a little strange. It looks bronzey in the package, but it’s sort of a pinkish goldy brown on. It’s not for me. The colour payoff wasn’t exceptional (which I’m glad.) It’s shimmery. This shade would be nicely suited to a warmer skin tone than mine. Also, I know they only do pans without a hard casing, but it kinda sucks to have one pan like this, just floating around. I’ll find a way to store it, but I’ve avoided purchasing loose pans for a reason.

Anyone else get a Myglam Ipsy bag this month?

MyGlam: August 2012

Another month, another Glam Bag.  The August theme was Endless Summer, which the GlamTeam took to mean “don’t ever look old”.  Fair enough, MyGlam.

The bag was neon orange mesh with a neon pink zipper.  I was raised to react with horror to that color combination.  But it’s a nice little bag.  I’m starting to feel like a lot of other Glammies: these will be great at Christmas.

Let’s go with my order of excitement for this bag:

Demeter Fragrance Roll on Perfume Oil in Clean Skin – Finding out Demeter was going to be in MyGlam was amazing for me.  SO EXCITE.  I was hoping to get the other fragrance–dragonfruit–but this is lovely and admittedly probably more wearable for me.  It smells like a clean baby to me.  Light hint of baby powder, a little skin muskiness, a whiff of a lullaby.  The site describes it as “Clean Skin is a blend of orange, lemon, white rose, bergamot peach and vanilla, making the perfect shower-fresh scent.”  But I don’t pick up on that so much… maybe a hint of the bergamot and vanilla.  With MyGlam,  I get a 20% off discount at Demeter, and I’ll cash that in.  If you’re not familiar with Demeter, you’re missing out.  The roller perfume isn’t really a sample size, but it’s definitely not their full size product.  This size is $10 in itself.

Circus by Andrea’s Choice in Ringmaster – I hope this isn’t what wrecked my nails last time.  The color is great.  It’s a bright neon pink, deep and IN YO FACE.  The polish is a bit thin, which is disappointing because the white was thick and took two coats for glory.  Two coats of this and I can still see the white of my nails.  Still, it’s a nice polish with a smooth matte finish.  And it doesn’t flake off.  Full size product.

Eclos Cellular Activator System & Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream – I’m always so skeptical about these products.  Plant stem cells are going to get rid of my fine lines?  Fat chance.  Still, this stuff smells nice–spicy, vaguely hippie–and a little goes a long way.  I’ve been using it in the morning to see if I notice any difference.  I won’t hold my breath.  Sample size on both products.

– MyGlam Lipgloss – This was a “bonus” item, as a thank you for our support or whatever.  I was excited to see they’d developed their own lipgloss, and I popped it on without reading the box.  It smells faintly of watermelon, but tastes oily.  It’s a little sticky, like every lipgloss ever.  In the bottle, it’s very pink, but that color doesn’t translate.  But then I read the box.  Whomp whomp.  Parabens, mineral oil and nothing that would indicate what was causing the smell.  Full sized.

SALTY Cosmetics Eye dust in Glama-ZOID – Meh.  I put this on and I’m totally meh about it.  The color appears to be white, but it’s got a bit of shimmer.  On, it goes on faintly pinkish plum.  I applied two layers without primer and it’s pretty minimal still.  On me, it looks more purple, though the site said it would look more pink.  Whatever.  It was clumpy in the container and tricky to even apply.  A lot of fallout.  They charge $4 for this gram sample size.  NOPE.

The verdict?

Good value this month.  It’s not MyGlam’s fault I’m a hater; I definitely see how someone else would’ve been over the moon with this bag.  I’ve been meaning to invest in a morning skincare routine, anyway, so cool.  I’ve been moaning about how I can’t wear perfume for sneezing everywhere, and the combination of Clean Skin and Eclos and the Nume conditioner from last month is a wonderful substitute.  I smell a little hippie, though.

Sinful Colors Review

Note: at the time of post, it’s been about 2 days since I originally reached out to Sinful Color’s parent company, Revlon, for a customer service complaint (Sinful Colors currently doesn’t have a customer service department at all.)  I’ve received no response.

A while back, I purchased three bottles of Sinful Colors polish in a bright fuschia, a neon pink and a pretty teal.  I couldn’t put them on immediately due to their weird nail fiasco, so you can imagine my glee to put on these bright polishes the minute I mentally cleared myself for painting.  All the beauty reviews at the time had nothing but good things to say about Sinful Colors (later, I’d learn that they stole photos from bloggers for their press materials, and I’d realize that most beauty bloggers don’t review wear longevity.)

I was let down, big time.

I first tried the fushcia, a shade called Dream On.  It looked lovely as I brushed it on.  Then it went sort of flat gloss matte.  It was a bit streaky, so I did two coats.  I like the matte look, so I decided to give it a wear without a topcoat.  As I brushed my hair, the polish began to flake.  The next day, I spent most of my time brushing off the polish flakes that had scattered everywhere.  I wrote Revlon about this experience.  Any polish should be able to be worn without a topcoat, in my opinion, and a polish should be up front about what texture it will be when dry.

Since two of my fingers were totally clear of polish after that, I brushed the teal on my pinkie and the neon pink on my ring finger.  The teal only needed one coat but the neon pink was super streaky and could’ve used two coats.  I didn’t bother, just to see if it would chip as quickly.  It didn’t, so I gave the teal a try on all my fingers.

The color is Savage.  On this blog post, you can see the matte finish, as well as how it looks with a topcoat.  I did a basecoat, a single layer of Savage and a topcoat.  Within 24 hours, this happened:

It shattered.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Not only did it chip and require a touch-up, the polish actually appears to have shattered in the middle.  It’s completely cracked all across the nail, which the photo doesn’t totally show.  There are other chips on other nails, as well.  Some of the chips are in the middle of the nail.  I didn’t do anything too rough with my hands.  Certainly nothing that could gouge the polish.

This is awful product quality.  If I can’t get 24 hours worth of wear out of a nail polish, the company may as well fold.

Have you tried this brand?

Trader Joe’s Macarons

I’m a bit late to the Trader Joe’s game, mostly because my city is a bit late to the Trader Joe’s game.  We just got our first.  We’ve been by once before, but the aisles were so packed with people, I couldn’t even attempt to browse the freezers.

For those unfamiliar, Trader Joe’s is the big brother chain to Aldi.  Very similar setup, but with far more panache.  Trader Joe’s has its own line of products, all with delightful packaging.  Goods are displayed in open coolers and shelves to maximize space.  Our Trader Joe’s feels pretty small (much like our Aldi–I expected something much bigger) but packed with little delights.  From Speculoos spread to craft beers to organic produce, it’s a pretty nice little market.

I’m not as obsessed with macarons as everyone else seems to be, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the hype.  They’re delightful, they’re adorable, they’re delicious.  So when I found out sometime last year that Trader Joe’s had a frozen macaron, I was pretty sad that I had no access to a Trader Joe’s.  Well now I do.

Trader Joe’s maracons come in a package of 12 for $4.99, which sounds pricey for anyone who’s seen a macaron, but never seen one priced out in an actual bakery.  They only offer a box of 6 vanilla and 6 chocolate; I really wish they had some other flavor options.

The macarons have a very solid, smooth, shiny crust and beautiful feet.  The package I picked up held twelve perfect specimens–no smashed ones or torn bits.  They come in a tray that separates them and offers structural support to keep them safe.

The chocolate macarons have a delightful brownie flavor.  Unfortunately, the cookie was more like a bread than a meringue; it was full of air pockets and very chewy.  It left my mouth pretty dry.  The ganache was creamy and lovely, though.

The vanilla flavor is much more pleasant than, but still very reminiscent of, tasting pure vanilla extract.  They meringue is much better, very creamy and smooth.  The interior was almost homogeneous once you got past the nice crust.

All together?  A nice snack.  If you’re looking for Laduree quality, uh… LOL.  But if you’re like me, hundreds of miles from any bakery that might even contain a macaron, you’ll be glad you stopped by Trader Joe’s.

MyGlam July 2012 Extended Cut

Let’s revisit that MyGlam post, shall we?

I hadn’t gotten to try out a couple products when I reviewed, so Imma tackle them now.

First, the conditioner.  I mentioned that it smelled nice.  When I got it out in the shower, I have to say, “nice smell” went to “OH MY GOD I LOVE.”  It’s vaguely hippie meets autumn.  Not quite sandalwood, but sort of spicy like that.  I kind of want this as a perfume.

As for the actual, indended purpose of the product?  The very tippy ends of my hair are pretty dry, but the rest of my hair is average.  I get a lot of flyaways even when I’ve trimmed and my normal hair texture is sort of wavy bordering on slightly curly at the ends when it air dries.  I brushed it straight and let it air dry.  The bottom half of my hair went NUTS with curls after this stuff.  I really loved the effect, and hated to brush it out again this morning.  My hair feels slightly slicker, but I’m about average on flyaways and overall fluffiness.

On to the nail polish!  I stripped my nails down and did them all with Reverso, one coat.  When I was a wee tot, I tried painting my nails with white out.  This is sort of what I’d been hoping for all along.  It feels sort of chalky and matte, but has a faint shine.  The polish itself is nice and thick.  It’s a bit streaky, so I think two coats is ideal.  I had a hard time getting the tips of my nails painted, due in part to the thickness of this polish.  Still, it’s a totally lovely white, what I’d almost describe as neon white.  SO WHITE.  Like, Ross’s teeth white.

Myglam Bag Review: July 2012

This month’s bag was themed for beach beauty.  It had a couple items that everyone got, then some this or that options.  I think that’s actually sort of fun because even when I totally ruin the surprise of what’s in the bag, I still get something of a surprise.  I love a good spoiler, but I also like getting a little bit of a treat in the end.  I was sort of hoping for the green apple SPF moisturizer, but oh well.

This bag came today.  The bag was cute.  It came with a couple coupon codes, too; 50% off at NuMe and a special offer on one of their products.  If you want either of them, first to ask gets ’em.

 

Random weirdness in this bag?  The postcard advert for Andrea’s Choice nailpolish was a sticker.  ERMAGERD. I AM TOTALLY STICKING THIS TO MY TRAPPER KEEPER GUISE.

In my bag:

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion – This came in a small blue bottle with a label that looked sort of generic.  I’m a huge proponent of a company doing their best packaging for their samples.  Kiehl’s clearly has other priorities.  Unfortunately, those priorities seem to have little to do with making an interesting product.  I (with some difficulty) squeezed out some of this lotion–it was thin and opaquey white.  While it’s not at all oily, it wasn’t much of anything for me.  I put it on and didn’t feel much of anything.  Doesn’t really smell nice (theoretically fragrance free.)  The list of ingredients was surprisingly long.

Nume HydroPunch Hydrating Conditioner – I don’t have a lot to say about this because I haven’t used it yet.  But it smelled nice.  I got a small squeeze tube of this.  Smells like tea tree oil.

Yes to Cucumbers on-the-go Facial Towelettes – These have a nice smell of cucumber, but also the usual baby wipe smell.  These have the same soapy feel that most facial towelettes seem to leave behind, but it’s a product I’d buy for the right price.

Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip and Cheek Stain – First of all, YAY FINALLY A COLOR I LIKE.  But second… cheek stain?  Not this color.  I marked it on my hand and tried to smudge it and I just don’t see using this on a wide expanse of skin.  I put it on my lips and it stays pretty well, but it doesn’t taste nice.  That’s something the Covergirl markers have on everyone.  It feels a little sticky while wearing.  Considering the Covergirl markers are about half the price, I’d stick with those unless the fragrance free/vegan/natural ingredients/recyclable is worth the cost.

Circus by Andrea’s Choice – I got this nail polish in Reverso, a pretty basic white.  It went on nice and thick and didn’t have too harsh of a smell.  But can we talk about the bottles?  They were notably heavy to me.  There’s just too much glass.

 

Did I get my value?  I love the bag (it’s pink mesh with multicolor solid stripes) and the nailpolish is actually one I’ve been needing.  The lipstain is nice and my boyfriend said it looks nice on me (WINNING–seriously, you don’t know how happy I am to finally get a lip color from myglam that isn’t too much.)  I wouldn’t miss the conditioner, but I’ll use it.  The lotion I don’t care for at all, but hey.  It’s lotion.  So for $10, I’m satisfied.