March 23, 2013

DIY: nail art

I have been thinking really hard what to post for my next DIY since I seem to only have one post here since I started, and I truly apologize for that! Winter wasn't as inspiring as Spring/ Summer to do any cool DIY's. I have a list of stuff to do when Spring/ Summer hits so watch out for a lot of DIY posts then!

Even though Spring is officially here, it's still pretty cold here in the East Coast but that doesn't mean I can't start sporting my new, loud, bright colored nail polishes! So here's an easy nail art for you guys that I have been seeing lately in fashion magazines. if you have been following me on Instagram, every few weeks I post my Nail of The Day (#notd) which are inspired by pictures I found on Pinterest. Yes those two apps are pretty addicting! I'm pretty much on those sites everyday and posting and pinning a lot of inspirational, random, beautiful stuff around me so come follow!

okay on to the nail art! so what you need are:
- two polishes to use for all nails and another color for the accent nail (3 total for the accent nail)
- a small dotting tool OR a toothpick OR a bobby pin
- a piece of glossy paper - like a page from a magazine.
- your favorite base and top coats

Butter London 'Slapper' ; Color Club 'Insta-This'; Butter London 'Jasper'

March 19, 2013

Influenster 2013: Sugar 'n Spice Voxbox (First Impression)

Influenster is a website where members are randomly selected and get sent a themed box of goodies if qualified from the pre-survey, for free and in return you just need to leave your review on Influenster's site. You can also blog about it or make a video if you like. You can check out their website right here.

They recently changed their free sign-up to an Invite-only by other already members of Influenster. On that note, I have a few invites left if you're interested, comment down below your e-mail for an invite!

Once you sign-up, you fill out your profile info including your social media links to Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Blog and Instagram. Link all the social media accounts you have because this is one way for them to see how active you are online, I think this is one of their basis on choosing who to give a voxbox to. Another way is to be active on leaving reviews on their site and choose wisely your five Expert Badges.
You can click on the link on the lower right side of this blog to take you to my Influenster profile to give you an idea how it looks. I don't have a high score compared to other members but I have been active leaving reviews on products on the site. I'm pretty much addicted to Pinterest and Instagram, so I don't know if that actually helps me get a lot of those pre-survey e-mails to see if I qualify for a Voxbox.

This is my third box from Influenster and they actually have been giving a lot of these out the last few months, which is great for everybody! Again this is not a monthly box subscription, these are sent out for free by Influenster when you meet the qualifications for that certain voxbox and in return leave your review and fill out the post-survey they ask you to finish so not to get disqualified for future voxboxes.

Ok enough of that and let me show you what's inside the Sugar 'n Spice Voxbox!

*I will be giving a more in-depth review on the products later on here in my blog after I have used these products a few more times. 

1- Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture ($7.99 for 6.5 oz can): This claims to moisture skin and get absorbs right away without feeling greasy or sticky.
 I couldn't wait to try this out since I love Vaseline lotions already! I used this last night after my shower and the spray has a fine mist to it. You hold and spray all over your legs and arms then quickly rub into the skin. This felt great on my skin! It feels moisturized, non-greasy and feels light on the skin! This will be great for the Spring/Summer season!

2- Nectresse ($3.99 for box of 40 packets): This product is from the artificial sweetener Splenda and claims to be a 100% all natural and zero calories per serving. Nectresse is primarily made from monk fruit extract that is sweeter than sugar. 
I opened one just to taste test it since I'm not really a fan of Splenda. This still has a slight taste of artificial sweetener in it (like in a Splenda packet), though Nectress only has molasses, erythritol and sugar in it in addition to the monk fruit extract. This is just a small after taste I noticed but I would try to use this as like a honey substitute with my teas and yogurt maybe? updates later!

3- Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes ($5.99 for a 20-ct box): The Witch Hazel and Aloe in the individually packed towellettes claims to refreshes skin, hydrates, cleans oil, dirt and any other impurities while you're on the go.
I recently started using Witch Hazel toner for my sensitive skin since I read the benefits of witch hazel helps to cleanse, tones and soothes skin naturally. It also controls oil and fight blemishes without over drying, and just great for sensitive skin.
So I'm really excited to get this and try it out since this can be found in Walgreen's, CVS, Walmart, Rite-Aid and Krogers. The one I have, I bought in Whole Foods because it was on sale, I'm really glad to see I can buy this easily at my drugstore! I used one yesterday after my work-out and the towelette had a not-so-pleasant smell (can I say herbal-y smell?) to it which goes away after a while. My face felt refreshed and my skin didn't have that tight feel afterwards unlike using a baby wipe or a plain wet paper towel. I would definitely use this after workouts when I would rather shower at home. 

4- Colgate Optic White Regimen: Toothpaste ($2.99/ 4oz tube), Mouthwash ($2.99/ 8oz bottle) and Toothbrush ($2.99/ brush): I've only used Sensodyne brand as recommended by my dentist and have actually been debating on using those over-the-counter teeth whiteners since I got the OK from my dentist and I'm really glad I get to test this out for Influenster and Colgate! A more in-depth review on this later on the blog, including before and afte pictures. I just started using it last night so I can't say much right now. Only con is the mouthwash is not as refreshing in the mouth after rinsing. It has that weird taste that it leaves in my mouth that it kept me spitting for a while hopefully I get over it to not defeat the purpose of the wash.

5- belVita Breakfast Biscuits ($3.69 for a box of 5 packets of 4 biscuits): I just had this this morning and I love it! This has no high fructose corn syrup, have 18-20 grams of whole grain per 50 gram serving and a good source of Fiber and B-vitamins. 
I didn't think 4 thin biscuits will fill me up but I was actually starting to feel full after eating two biscuits! I love how subtle the cinnamon brown sugar in it is but it just has the right amount of sweetness I like in my morning breakfast and this goes great with my green tea! Not much to say here but I think I found my new breakfast food and I am definitely going to run to the supermarket and stock up on this!

All in all, I am very excited to try everything out from this box! I am actually going to share with my sister the Nectresse sweetener, since she drinks a lot of tea too, and Dickinson's Witch Hazel towelettes, since she's also debating on adding witch hazel to her skin regimen. 

March 12, 2013

March 2013 Ipsy/ Myglam Bag

If you are not on the Ipsy bandwagon yet well this is a $10/month beauty subscription bag that has 4-5 deluxe beauty samples. This can vary from makeup, makeup tools, hair, skin and body care. It's really a surprise what you will be getting every month as long as you don't check their Facebook page for their sneak peeks.

"The Great Escape" is this month's theme, hence the travel friendly products inside the bag. 

Let me talk about this cute lightweight zippered pouch that it came in. The cute nautical blue and white light fabric material just screams "Travel with me!". This ones definitely going in my travel bag! I wouldn't be afraid to take this out in the airport bathroom or on the plane or at the beach shore and grab my travel essentials from it since it has that really fun pattern!

Time for first impressions! I literally just got this yesterday, Monday Mar.11th which is pretty early. Ipsy would usually just start shipping at around this time and I wouldn't receive the bag until the mid-month. So yay Ipsy for sending it out earlier than expected!!!

This is a cute case! I have never owned a Z-palette but that's what I have been reading it is being compared to. So supposedly  you depot your eye shadows and/or blush pans and put it in one of these magnetic base palettes for easier access to travel with. Unfortunately I don't own a lot of single eye shadow or blush pans either so I wasn't sure how to use this cool bright pink case. I always carry bobby pins and safety pins in my bag so i tried putting it here and it works! I'll insert a picture right here:

4/11/2013: I've added my Yaby eye shadows in it and this compact case fits perfectly in my makeup bag, I love it! Now I can fit more lip glosses and eyeliners in my little bag!

this is a size of credit card which is great for travelling!

Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist; full size $22

I was really excited to get this in the bag because I have seen this brand in Sephora and been wanting to try it out because of it's "Certified Organic" stamp on it. 

So I used this yesterday after my Zumba workout to refresh my skin as I rest before I go shower and oh my gosh! I was not expecting the strong smell of roses from this! I was thinking more on the citrus side since that  citrus scent to me feels more refreshing and hydrating than the rose scent. I may not use this on my face, especially when I have makeup on but probably more on my chest and arms during the summer days when I'm out with my dogs in the park. I will keep using this though after my workout and maybe that first spray just really clouded my judgment. I really want to love this product so I am not going to give up on it! Updates later!

4/11/2013: I leave this in the fridge and spritz myself after I have put on my makeup. the scent goes away so it has not bothered me at all. i'm saving this to use during the summer heat waves, this will feel so cool on my face!

LA Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover 8ct Pouch; $1.99, ON SALE NOW for $1.49 click here
I haven't really used this but I am actually scared to use this just from reading the comments on the product at the Ipsy site, here. Yes I know I will never know how it will react with my skin until I use it but I hesitate using this on my face right now since I am trying to reduce my use of face products that has parabens and other strong chemicals in it. I use baby wipes right now to remove heavy makeup. I wash my face with Fresh Soy Cleanser, which removes my everyday makeup pretty well and recently I have added using Thayer's Witch Hazel with Aloe Toner since the Pixi primer from last month's bag broke me out. 
This is a nice travel size to have in the bag though for those emergency eyeliner or mascara melt downs, so yeh I'll keep it with my other travel essentials.

4/11/2013: I haven't used this yet, hopefully it doesn't dry out on me when that time comes.

Yaby EyeShadow Refills in Seashell and Azalea Petal; $3.15/pan
I am not really thrilled to receive this eye shadow samples when I just received a Coastal Scent quad sample last month which I still have to use. I have never heard of this brand but then I basically only know what's in the mainstream stores such as Ulta and Sephora. 
Left: Seashell (light shade), Right: Azalea Petal
*apologies for the bad picture but this was taken with an iPhone5 
This was founded by a Canadian make-up artist who wants an easy way to customize her make-up kits for easy travelling and organization. The formulation on this will be great because I'm sure as make-up artists, they would want something versatile; easy to use wet or dry and to mix and match, so you don't have to carry a lot of individual color pans. 
The colors I got are really neutral unlike the other girls who got the teal and yellow pans which is exciting to play with! For now mine are unopened and I still yet to play with. 

Overall, this months bag isn't that bad but I am not that excited about it. I am looking forward to be playing with all of this products this month and see how it works with my beauty routine. I'll say the brands they have featured for March are pretty high end, not just drugstore brands.These samples are probably still worth more than $10 in total.

I will update this entry at the end of the month to see how it worked out so keep an eye on that! For now don't forget to click on the products to take you to the Ipsy site where their discount codes are posted.

4/11/2013: I looove these eye shadows! I have used it as my everyday eye makeup! It's very pigmented and I have stored this in my GlamRX case with my bobby pins so this has been my travel companion as well when I need a touch-up. The Seashell eye shadow is great for highlighting on my cheeks too!

March 7, 2013

February 2013 Ipsy/ MyGlam Bag

First off, I apologize for not posting this earlier and give you my first impression and the discount codes for the brands featured. No reasonable excuse for it but I literally just forgot.

Okay on to the bag! For February's bag, the theme was "Red Carpet Ready". A pretty appropriate theme since this was the month of all those award shows and must-watch celebrities on the red carpet in their nice, sparkly super expensive dresses and accessories. I am not very big into watching red carpet award shows and stuff, but hey anything to get me "red carpet ready" is always welcome in my makeup collection!

So it came in this shiny black patent leather material with a red lining zip pouch. This material reminds of those "hooker boots" shoes you find in costume store, so I'm not really fond of this pouch. Not sure how this is "red carpet" worthy when patent leather is not really a fashion must (in my book that is!).

MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner; full size $30-35
I love this eyeliner! I 'googled' it and learned how this is an all mineral makeup brand which was great since I am trying to lessen my usage of heavy chemically contained makeups. Besides that, this was really easy to use! It goes on so smoothly and doesn't budge at all until you remove it with your eye makeup remover. This is something I would stock up on if I truly can't find another gel eyeliner out there as good as MicaBeauty, but for now I'm keeping my eye out for more budget friendly gel liners.

Pixi Poreless and Flawless Face Primer; full size $29
I have heard good things about Pixi on Youtube, but I was just not that intrigued to buy it myself and try it out. So glad Ipsy included it in this month's bag for us to try out, and this is another brand that keeps their product ingredients with less harsher chemicals. Unfortunately this one has Salycilic Acid in it and this reacted with my sensitive skin pretty fast. I would have loved this primer if not for that because it really made my makeup look pretty flawless! I tried it for a week but I started seeing a few red bumps showing up in my face so I had to stop. Salycilic Acid reacts backwards with my skin I guess. I will try other products on this line though and see how Pixi works out for me.
*Salycilic Acid is to help clear the skin from acne and prevent from anymore blemishes to appear, that's why you see this ingredient a lot added on face products.

POP Smokey Lash Kapow Mascara; full size $18.50
I did not like this mascara. It was clumpy after just one coat. I see it has smudged after a few hours of wear. Really disappointed but then I wonder if my sample just got dried out? The weather here in NY has been really cold, and that could have affected the formulation of this mascara.

Coastal Scents Shadow Palette Sample; price varies 
I haven't really used the palette from this bag but I have received a Coastal Scents Shadow Palette Sample before and it's ok. I would like to get more eyeshadows though that uses more natural ingredients.
I really love that Ipsy features more brands which I haven't heard of that uses a lot of natural ingredients lately instead of giving us samples from the big branded companies that doesn't really need anymore...publicity? 

Lash Card $6.99/10pk
This thing just added 5 minutes to my makeup routine! I have not really tried to put a card when I put on my mascara ever so this was something to get used to. I tried Michelle Phan's technique and I blinked too many times and made a mess than have a cleaner, full looking lashes. For short, this is not something I would say you MUST have in your makeup collection.

Here is the video where she shows you how she uses the Lash Card, and the rest of the products featured in February's Ipsy Glambag:

Pretty good bag for the price we pay again monthly, which is $10!
 I see in their Facebook page how Ipsy is gaining popularity that there's a waiting list now! So if you are interested to try out this Beauty Monthly subscription bag by Michelle Phan, full of 4-5 sample makeup products sign up now and be patient. I am not sure how long the wait is but I am sure it will be worth the wait! 
I am pretty content with the products I have sampled with Ipsy for the past 5 months.

March 5, 2013

February 2013 Favorites

Let's start off with a non-beauty product for my February Favorite List (try saying that five times really fast!) =) change things up a bit!

1- Argo Tea in Green Tea Ginger Twist: This loose leaf green tea has ginger pieces and lemon in it which smells and tastes so good! I just recently found out the Argo Tea Cafe here in NYC and I was really excited to try their teas. I would have bought more teas but I will be going to a Coffee and Tea Festival in a few weeks so I will hold on until then. But I would definitely come here when I run low of tea.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my cafe lattes and cappuccinos but during the winter months, I just seem to be sipping more teas than coffee. Less calories but still have the caffeine I need!

2- Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter: I have been using this lotion even before I received it in my January Ipsy GlamBag and I am just in love with this scent! Very moisturizing and it is such a plus that a portion of the proceeds support clean water; 100% vegan and cruelty free. See I am even helping in a pretty way! Win win for everyone! Also it's paraben, phthalates, mineral and peanut oil, and artificial color FREE! This surely helps me with my resolution of better, less chemical ingredient products for my skin and body.

3- Nailtini Dry Martini drying spray: I don't know how many times I can say I love Nailtini nail polishes! It goes on so smoothly and it's so much fun to mix and match the different nail lacquers they have and end up with a new nail color! *Nailtini is cruelty free also. Plus formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate free!

This drying spray is just amazing! After a few seconds of putting my top coat on, I spray once on each hands and a nice citrus smell fills the room, a much needed break from all the nail polish smell! It helps the polish dry quicker and gives my polish a nice sheen to it too. I forgot to use this one time and my polish took forever to dry and the top coat bubbled up and I was just watching tv! Never again will I be doing my mani and pedi without this baby! Nailtini is available in Duane Reade store ladies if you can't wait for your online order to come.

4- 100% Pure Lip Glaze in Fig: I stumbled upon this product in Duane Reade while looking for more Milani Color Statement lipsticks (more on that next!). I was super curious how one product is all made of mostly fruits (click here to see the full list of ingredients) and how would the color and moisture holds up compared to other beauty products that also claims natural and/or organic (yes they're two different things) that has not been really impressing me and not giving my lips enough moisture. And lo-behold this lip glaze has been my go-to lip product in February! It's very moisturizing and non-drying at all with this crazy winter weather! I am definitely going to be stocking up on more of these lip glazes since I only bought this one product. I am not sure what are the ingredients in their foundations and eye shadows but I will definitely go buy me some of that to test it out.

5- Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Plum Rose (17): This paraben free and has Vit. A, C and E lipstick claims to keep lips moisturized. This was very talked about in the beauty blog sites and Youtube beauty channels that I just had to try it out myself. I have never tried any Milani products before since I didn't think a drugstore brand that is pretty affordable will be paraben free and has Vit. A, C and E in it, will really do what it claims. Milani has proven me wrong and this is a great lipstick to have in your collection. It is just a lipstick and will not leave a nice stain on your lips and will definitely transfer to your coffee cup. It will also do come off when you do eat and drink. I have no problem applying it once in a while throughout the day because it feels like a lip balm on my lips, and it doesn't have that drying feeling when it do fades.

6- MicaBeauty gel eyeliner in Black: I received this gel eyeliner in my February Ipsy Glambag, which I will review next! I have only tried the Shiseido gel eyeliner in black and I mostly use a felt tip liquid eyeliner when I'm in a hurry. But this eyeliner I have been using mostly everyday, even on weekends to run errands since it is so easy to apply, dries fast and doesn't smudge n' budge all day! Glad I was able to try this since I don't think I will be buying this again for $35-30 from their website but then again it's a mineral makeup. The price to pay for a better ingredient list makeup.

7- Benefit They're Real Mascara: With all the hype from friends and online since this came out, I had to try it myself since all my mascara samples dried out and was not up to par with my lash needs, so I went to go purchase myself one at Ulta . I am truly amazed how this nicely separates and elongates every lash! It still has that nice natural look to it so it is not that harsh to wear during the daytime. For night, I just add two or more coats on my lashes to give it more drama. It is a truly impressive mascara that might be hard to beat when I run out of this product.

8- Fly Ties by Fine Featherheads: I have written a separate review on this here and this has not dissappointed me! I still am using the same band from that first day I took it out of the package. The elasticity is still there and it holds my hair with no tangles while I work out which is great! And of course no crease at all on my hair afterwards. I super highly recommend this brand if you are looking into getting one of these hair ties that is quickly trending everywhere, because they're not all the same!

February might have been short and sweet but it was a great month for finding products that are free of hormone disrupting chemicals such as parabens and phthalates. I am still also learning what is good and not for my skin as I try new products out there. I am just being careful not to try all these new products all at once so not to irritate my skin and get a different reaction from it. I am trying to keep the factors of my tests as minimal as possible so it is true to products claims.