Saturday, January 26, 2013

tarte roundup

So I did Urban Decay a few days back and I thought I ought to do a tarte rundown as well because I have found lots of things to love about this brand.

The tarte LipSurgence natural lip luster, tint and matte lip tint products are currently my favorite of all the lip glosses and color I own.  That is saying something because I have an absolute obsession with lip products of all types.  I own stains, tints, glosses, balms, lipsticks, lacquers, and potions.  I keep some of them far too long (I'm looking at you L'Oreal James Bond collection Bond Bronze and Bond Bordeaux - I'm pretty sure Pierce Brosnan was Bond when you were originally purchased) and others I have barely even touched but felt I just had to have them.  Still the tarte collection of products have a great consistency, beautiful color and the bonus of a crisp minty flavor that I love.

I also am a huge fan of the tarte SmolderEYES eyeliners which I hope to add more of to my collection very soon.  They glide on and have a huge pop of color with a great line quality and a hint of sparkle.  They're easy to control and truly last all day - they're even nap proof.

I have swatched the tarte  LipSurgence and SmolderEYES below

From left to right:
Adored luster
Escape luster
Sweet luster
Enchanted tint
Elite tint
Exposed matte tint
Hope matte tint
QVC NBTT Blue (Navy?)

I also picked up a great new palette a few weeks back the "Rising Star Palette" - it was the last one they had in Sephora and I am happy I grabbed it because it has a lot of beautiful colors and was a good collection of neutrals and smokey eye colors.

Blush and powders left to right:

Amazonian Clay shimmer powder in Champagne

Amazonian Clay blush in Pouty

Amazonian Clay bronzer in Park Ave. Princess

Amazonian Clay blush in Ethereal

Shadows left to right

row 1: matte chai tea, shimmering citrine
           shimmering cocoa, burnished bronze

row 2: shimmering sienna, shimmering sage
           shimmering sunset gold, matte coffee liquor

row 3: shimmering platinum, matte light pink
           shimmering steel blue, shimmering smoke

The eye shadows aren't too glittery or super saturated and the powders have a great blendable texture.  The only real complaint I had about the set is that the small compartment that holds the double ended shadow brush and the blush brush isn't easily accessible and the blush brush is way too small and has really hard bristles.  I got rid of the blush brush and just used my own.  I find that several of the eye shadows go on better with a fingertip or a sponge applicator than the brush.  I haven't tried any of them wet yet but dry they have lots of possibilities.

I dyed my hair brown today and I'm liking the color change a lot.  I wish it pulled a little more red than it does but it was a really quick new foaming color from John Freida that went on fast and easy and seems to have a lot of shine and dimension.   I'm seriously considering getting a pixie cut.  I have been kind of obsessed with the idea since I started watching Once Upon a Time a few years back, and now that Anne Hathaway has jumped on the bandwagon it is going to happen soon.  I am wearing the blue smolderEYES liner, the blush in ethereal and the highlighter in champagne on my cheeks and brow bones.  I also have the matte chai tea shadow on the inner eye and outer corner and the shimmering steel blue lightly on the lid.  The lip color is the enchanted lip tint.  It looks a lot pinker here than it looks in person.

Two posts in one day?  It's a record for sure!  Hope you all have a day filled with excitement.

Fun stuff that arrived this week and links

I had forgotten about a few of these freebies that arrived, and others were unexpected delights.  There were quite a few things that showed up in my mailbox the past ten days or so and I thought I would share them with you.

I didn't take photos of all the sample packets and such - I get quite a few of them.  I probably wouldn't have to buy shampoo at all this year if I didn't hate those packets slipping around in the shower - I always seem to drop them and I never open them too well - I just get shampoo everywhere.  I did get some great things recently and I will tell you a bit about each and where the sample/gift came from.

Clockwise from top right.

I did take the L'Oreal Total Repair 5 photo because I am really interested in trying the repairing balm that came in this sample.  It was free from the Wal Mart sampling site and had 3 samples in the pack - shampoo, conditioner and the balm conditioning treatment.  I am thinking of dying my hair today so I will wait a few days to test it out.

The jar is the Legend BBQ Spice Rub from the Marlboro Flavor Makers page.  My husband smokes Marlboro exclusively, and I sign up to get things for him.  He doesn't have the time or the inclination to try for any of these things but Marlboro has given me some really awesome stuff in the past (a speaker for my iPod, a wide-angle lens for my cell phone camera, sunglasses, a Zippo lighter) and he spends tons of money with the company so they can afford to send me cool things every so often.  The spice rub was made by two celebrity chefs that formed the restaurant Animal in Los Angeles.  They were recently on Top Chef Seattle as judges on the Wolfgang Cluck fried chicken challenge episode.  You could get the spice rub by being one of the first 3000 to comment on their page.

The silver item in the box that looks like a lighter is called a Smoke Tin Tool and is also from Marlboro.  It is a portable ashtray which will be useful to Andy so he can pocket his cigarette butts until he can pitch them.  This is a huge pet peeve of mine since I worked in a summer theatre that was outdoors and we used to fine people for littering the mountain side.  It was available when you signed in and was totally free.

I must admit I am stupid excited about the coffee mug.  I love the brand that gave it to me - Nestle's Abuelita Hot Chocolate Mix.  It is a cinnamon spiced hot cocoa that you make by adding hot milk.  I use soy milk but it is just as delicious and I got hooked on it when I lived in Alabama.  I have just started to see it around here (Baltimore MD and Washington DC markets) so I was excited to find they had a Facebook page and even more excited when I was one of the first 200 one day in December to enter my email address and get a special holiday surprise.  It came with coupons and two packs of Abuelita too but they are already gone!  I happened onto the contest at the right moment - I hardly ever get in on those "be the first" contests but the timing was good. It was the same with the spice rub from Marlboro - I go to work very early in the morning and I saw the email at 6 am so it was easy to respond quickly while I was on break.  It doesn't happen often though.

The little pill box item is a ton of tiny gemstones that are for nail art.  I am a member of Crowdtap - a site where they send you free samples of products to try and you throw a party or hand them out to friends and get their opinions.  I have gotten quite a few things from them - Zicam cold medicine, McCormick spices, sauces and rubs for grilling, and very recently I was selected to host a "Sexplorers" party from Durex.  I have quite a few friends that I am comfortable around even though those things tend to embarrass me a bit and I think it will be really funny to see what they send.  I know that my friends will get a kick out of it and appreciate the samples they send too so it should be fun.  Anyway - the gemstones came from and they were purchased as part of a $50 credit I received by redeeming my Crowdtap points.  I also bought some bed pillows, other nail art items, a new waterproof case for my Kindle and a few odds and ends that ended up being within 10 cents of my gift card and I didn't have to pay any shipping so that was awesome!

The full size Sheer Blonde Everlasting Blonde Shampoo was an unexpected treat from the John Freida Elite club.  If you haven't signed up for their email list you can through their website.  They send out great coupons and the card that accompanied this simply said "Surprise!" and had instructions on how to leave a review of the new product on their website.  I am thinking of dying my hair brown, but it always fades back to blonde quickly and I change back and forth often so this will be great down the line.

The Align digestive supplement is a two week supply I received from Vocal Point.  Vocal Point always sends out some pretty great samples.  Recently I've received the new Pantene Pro-V silky whip mousse, some samples from Always and great coupons to try new food items on the cheap like the International Delight Coffees that launched last year.  A few weeks later they will send you a follow up email asking you how you liked it and you write a brief review.  I am always excited to try their samples although this one is something I have to research a bit more before I try it.

The Avery note tabs came from a company called Franklin Planner.  By signing up for their emails you got a random sample of an office supply that could be used with their day planners.  It was simple and they only send a few emails out.  If I were ever in the market for office supplies they do have some really good deals, but they are in higher quantities than what I would use at home, and the planners themselves are pretty pricey.  Still it was a great freebie and I appreciate their generosity.

Last but not least is the Dominoes Pizza gift card.  This is a $25 gift card that I won from the Coca Cola Merry Minutes of Winning contest on the My Coke Rewards website.  I always get wonderful things from the My Coke Rewards.  My husband teases me about the bottle caps that are all over the house.  I drink Coke occasionally and have friends that save their codes for me too and so it is easy for the points to add up.  I have gotten T-shirts, hats, free item coupons and my current subscription to Entertainment Weekly with my points.  This contest was completely free to enter and didn't cost any points at all - they often have free entries to their contests and you can enter up to five times a day on certain instant win games.  The gift card was a totally random win and will come in handy for dinner sometime soon.  I also won a free 12 pack of cans from this contest but that coupon hasn't arrived yet.  It is totally worth it to set up an account.  I played about 3 days before I won, and I won both prizes back to back on the same day.

Here are some links so you can find the same deals or some awesome new ones in the future:
Wal Mart Free Samples page (There aren't always samples here but there are often coupons)
Marlboro Sign Up (Many free offers available for smokers over 21)
Abuelita Facebook Page (They have contests with English translations and are owned by Nestle USA)
John Freida Elite club sign up (great coupons and content)
Vocal Point sign up (add their Facebook page to see when new offers show up)
Franklin Planner (they may offer the free sample with email sign up again in the future)
My Coke Rewards page (lots of opportunities for free points, free entries and cool stuff)
Crowdtap (this is my personal invite link!)

I hope you all find some delightful new things on your doorstep and that each day is filled with fun surprises.  Much joy to everyone!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

These are a few photos I took when we visited Washington DC last summer to visit the many memorials and the Smithsonian.  Much love to all of you today.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Urban Decay Haul

So you may or may not have heard of Ipsy (formerly known as MyGlam) - a beauty sample subscription box (bag really) that shows up in your mailbox once a month.  It is currently my favorite monthly beauty subscription although this month I've decided to try GlossyBox USA because I have heard some wonderful things about it and the Man Repeller box that's been curated for January which includes some of those new "sand" OPI shades, so the verdict is still out!  Anyway - December's Ipsy bag had a travel size Urban Decay 24/7 glide-on eye pencil in zero - a true black without sparkles.  It was a great find for me in an eyeliner because it was very no-fuss and it stayed on all day without moving the slightest bit.  Because I loved that pencil so much I splurged and ordered a bunch of random things from the Urban Decay website to try.  They were giving a bunch of free gifts at the time because they wouldn't resume shipping until after Christmas, and there was an additional gift from Ipsy that came in a code where you received a free travel bag of samples with your $25 purchase.  There was also a free shipping on $35 promo at the time and the shipping was nearly $8 anyway so I just threw a few extra products in my bag to meet the $35 minimum.  I also picked up a set of two travel size 24/7 eyeliners from Sephora that were on a $9 clearance sale, so what you see here is a little under $50 worth (purchase price) that retails for well over $120.  Some of the items were purchased in a set (a promo travel bag that was $16 and included a full size lip junkie gloss which retails for $19 by itself and other sample sized favorites as well as the double pack of liners from Sephora) and many were on a great sale.  I've place a star by anything that was a free sample, gift  or included in the Ipsy website promo bag for free.

Here is a breakdown of individual products:

Full size products:
Lip Love Honey Infused Lip Therapy in Stung
Deluxe Eye shadow in Shag
Eye Shadow in Midnight Cowgirl
Lipstick in Oil Slick
Lip Junkie Lip gloss in Naked

Travel size products:
24/7 Glide on pencils in Zero, Bourbon and Ransom
All Nighter makeup setting spray
TSA approved vinyl UD logo travel bags (2 - one for Ipsy promo, one for travel set)*

Deluxe Samples:
Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Midnight Cowboy*
Naked Skin Beauty Balm*
24/7 Glide on Pencil in Corrupt*
24/7 Glide on Eye Shadow pencils in Delinquent* and Rehab*
Eye shadow primer potion*
Supercurl Curling Mascara (I received 3 of these, one in travel set the other in Ipsy and UD promos)*

Sample Cards:
Eyeshadow card with primer and shadow samples (although mine had no shadow on it - boo)*
Primer Potion sample cards (2)*
$5 Off your next purchase card

All in all this was a smashing and very exciting haul - I got some things I truly loved!
Here are swatches of most of the color cosmetics:

From left to right:
Oil slick lipstick, Stung Lip love balm, Naked Lip Junkie and Midnight Cowboy Lip Junkie

From top to bottom and left to right:
Shag deluxe shadow, Midnight Cowboy eye shadow, Ransom liner (purple), Zero liner (black), Bourbon liner (copper brown), Rehab shadow pencil (brown), Delinquent shadow pencil (purple), Corrupt liner (dark brown)

Kind of hard to see but I have Rehab eye shadow pencil on my lids and Midnight Cowboy eye shadow blended to the brow bone.  I'm also wearing the new Naked beauty balm, Supercurl Mascara in black and the 24/7 liner in Bourbon with the eye shadow primer as a base and the Lip Junkie gloss in Naked.  The only non UD makeup I have on is a bit of Philosophy blushing duo in Hugs and Kisses.

Here's a bit about my favorites:
Lip products - I have heard tons of good things about UD lippys but I can see what all the hype is about!  Although it is such an odd grey shade I have to say makeup lover in me can find endless possibilities in the grey Oil Slick lipstick.  It is sparkly and super blendable with other lip colors so I can use it to shift the shade of lots of reds and corals into something really cool and edgy.  I love the texture and would buy other lipsticks in everyday shades for sure.  The Lip Junkies feel really nice and have just a hint of mint.  They stay pretty glossy and are supposed to have a plumping effect but I didn't really see it.  The travel bag was a great purchase and I'm glad to add this to my everyday gloss collection.  It's a nice "not too pink" color.  The Lip Love Therapy was amazing.  It was actually my favorite product I purchased.  It tastes of honey and a subtle spice and I will need more in the future.  For $4 (sale price) or even $12 (regular price) I will repurchase it when I run out.

Eye products - Kind of on the fence about the shadow primer.  No one on the beauty blogs can stop talking about it but I found it pretty hard to blend the colors once they were on top of the primer.  It caused me to pull and tug at my lids to get the shadow where I wanted it to blend together and I wasn't really a fan but it definitely makes it stay in place.  The shadow pencils were super pigmented and the Midnight Cowgirl shadow was amazingly sparkly.  I have to buff off most of it to make it a wearable everyday shade but this would be lovely for a really dressy occasion or a party.  I just don't go to so many of those!  The liners all rock.  They are the reason I visited in the first place and the reason I'll return too.

Other stuff - The UD Naked Beauty Balm was a nice texture - it blended easily and smelled a little bit like Noxema.  At $34 in the full size I wouldn't rush out to buy it but if I heard that it was a free sample offering at Sephora or Ulta or on the UD site I wouldn't mind another one.  It was very light but I don't think it works as well as the Dr. Jart+ BB Cream I got from Birchbox.  I was amazed by that one and I purchased it in the full size because I couldn't believe how well it covered and blended.  Of all the BB creams I've tried (6 now? ) the UD Naked Balm would be my second choice.

All of the makeup in this haul was purchased from my own pocket and although the Ipsy promo was what got me interested I pay for that subscription too.  On a side note I did contact Urban Decay and asked about the missing eye shadows on the shadow card and also about the fact that although I had used an Ipsy code for the free travel bag of deluxe samples with purchase there was also a second offer on the UD site running at that time for a free travel bag with purchase and although the Ipsy bag, the UD promo offer and the travel bag I paid for all appeared in my cart I only received two of what I believed were three bags in my order.  In an email their customer service person offered to replace it only if I double checked my order to make sure I wasn't mistaken.  The packing list only listed 2 bags although my order and original cart showed three.  She said she would get a replacement out to me right away, but I have yet to hear from their CS again or see any replacement products.  I was a little bummed because I was really looking forward to the mini liners but I will update if they ever come through and send a replacement.

I hope you all have enjoyed my Urban Decay breakdown.  Much love to all of you - hope your day sparkles!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy to have a "boring" day

Many people would probably think my life was a little boring.  I don't feel that way.  I'm happy to have a husband that loves me, and a life that is filled with simple pleasures.  My husband Andy posted this blurb on his Facebook tonight...

I got a great surprise today. I got the DVD "Buckle up Birds, An underdog story" about the 2012 Orioles incredible season in the mail today ( forgot that I had ordered it ) , ALONG WITH a complimentary ticket to a future 2013 Orioles game AND my headache finally has subsided after 4 days and spent the day with Michelle Joy Kilbert Reynolds just relaxing, what a great day!

It made me realize several things.

First - I share my life with a man who takes great pleasure in the little things and doesn't take them for granted.

Second - I should be inspired to be more like him and instead of worrying needlessly about silly things just relax and take each day and each joy in it as it comes.

Third - Even though the only thing we did today was eat pancakes (which I made for him for a change because he usually cooks our weekend breakfasts) and watch movies and tv shows I was completely content to just be in his presence and share my life with him and my two fur babies Obi-Wan and Cinna.  This is something I always dreamed for myself - to be assured of the love and devotion of a man and to be able to share even the smallest and least fascinating details of my life with him.  I need to hold that close to my heart.

Finally - It was a great day.  Really great and I was thankful to have it.  It is so nice to be finally settling in.  There are tons of things that I could have, would have and should have.... We don't have children, we don't have tons of money or fancy things.  We do have two great dogs, a house to call our own, jobs that pay our bills and most importantly each other.  That is something special and something to be terribly grateful for.

I wish everyone much love and joy - and hope that you find someone who makes you as happy as Andy makes me.

Oh - one more thing - his post also made me realize baseball season is starting soon and I'm going to lose him to the TV five nights a week while he watches the ballgames. ;-)  There's one great thing I can say for MASN - I always know where Andy will be if the Orioles are playing.  I hope we get to a few games this year - I know that the O's are going to be awesome after tasting the play offs.  Even though I find the daily games a little monotonous he is never as happy as he is during baseball season.  Those little things that make him happy make me happy too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Beauty Test Tube!!!

What am I excited about?  My QVC edition of the New Beauty Test Tube arrived this week and I immediately found some new "love it, need it, want it" products.  This was a stellar tube.  NBTT is a subscription service through QVC where you pay $29.95 plus shipping (around seven bucks) and you get a tube filled with beauty products (many full sized!) and get to try out some things that you may not otherwise pick up.  There is also a separate version that is through New Beauty magazine and I fell so desperately in love with the QVC tube this month that I ordered the alternate version too so I'll be sure to post when I find my second tube in my mailbox!

Here's what's inside:

  There's a copy of New Beauty Magazine which has their product awards in it this month.  The mag is really expensive - I think on the news stand it is $14 and I love reading it and seeing all the ads even though I can only afford about 10% of the things in it.

A tube of Bliss high intensity hand cream.  This company has been featured before in the QVC NBTT - I also have received face wash and body butter in past tubes.

A Julep nail color - Melanie - a very pretty metallic denim blue and thankfully not a dupe or color I have ever seen before since I subscribe to the Julep boxes and have a ton of their polishes.  This is a $14 nail polish and a welcome addition to my collection because their blues are my favorite!

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm.  Very expensive - I'm excited to try it, but probably couldn't afford to replenish the supply.

Ole Henrickson Truth Creme Advanced Hydration.  I have only heard good things about this luxury brand.  Similar to the Algenist it probably won't make my must have list due to pricing.

Nick Chavez Volumizing Conditioner.  Pricey, but the scent is knock me out amazing.  I want the fragrance as a perfume.  Seriously loving it and hoping to trade some other things for a matching shampoo sample on the beauty forums.

Mally High Shine Liquid Lip Color in Sunburst.  A shimmery gold pink that is really flattering.  I thought I had received the same color in a past tube but it didn't have the gold before.  I don't love click up color that comes through a brush but the texture is good and the color is really pretty.  Their eye shadow sticks are amazing.  I would consider buying a color set from this brand when they run their specials on QVC.

Philosophy Miracle Worker cleanser.  This small 2 oz. bottle is nearly $10 on and I have only heard good things about it.  I was given some awesome Amazing Grace Philosophy color cosmetics for Christmas from my friend Lauren so I am currently on a Philosophy brand kick.  I have tried and enjoy the Amazing Grace and Love scents of body wash so this should be great.  I also am interested in trying the Purity face wash and may pick some up with my Ulta gift card.

The last and BEST product was the smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eye liner from Tarte.  I can't tell you how much I love it.  It is super easy to control the thickness of the line with a fat pencil and a smudge sponge tip and the color I got is an amazing deep ocean blue that I would have previously shied away from but have come to love.  I just picked up a Tarte eye and cheek palette at Sephora and the colors are beautiful if a bit glittery.  I am so in love with their cosmetics that the full size Amazonian clay blush that is in the alternate NBTT was a major selling point - the full size Dr. Brandt+ cleanser also didn't hurt.  I can't wait for it to ship!!!

So - that's a wrap.  I am loving this quarter's tube.  At the moment it and the Ipsy Glam bag are KILLING Birchbox.  If I don't have a full size product this month in my Birchbox (hopefully an EyeKo skinny eyeliner) I am going to use my points and then cancel.  It hasn't wowed me for a long while, but I hope it does again.

I hope you all are having an amazing New Year and that you're keeping up with your resolutions.  Me?  It is going slowly and not as well as I hoped but I blogged!  Yay!  Go me!  Much love to all y'all and since Alabama won the National Championship game this week ROLL TIDE!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happiest of New Years to you all!

 Here is hoping all of my friends and family will have a fantastic year in 2013!

  I am starting off the year by resolving to blog more.  I love writing about the cool, fun little surprises that show up in my mailbox and I also love talking about beauty products, so that's what you'll hear more of.  I really think I am going to look into a job at Sephora or Ulta or even at Macy's behind their cosmetic counter.  I know I love talking about beauty and I love being happy and swooning over the latest products to come on the market, so hopefully that will be a great fit for me.  I am going to try my hardest to write at least twice a week on things that I think are awesome or interesting.  Hopefully the year will be so full of this stuff that I will be on here all the time!

This year I'm also planning to love myself more.  It seems like a very simple resolution, but it isn't always the easiest of paths for me.  If I can make every day a little happier, a little less stressful and really redirect and focus on the things that mean the most to me I think I can take this year by storm.  I am going to start making better choices in terms of what I'm eating, how physical I'm being (which reminds me I really ought to inflate my balance ball to be using while I'm online!) and just take better care of myself in general.  This year I will see the inside of a doctor's office when I feel just fine and I will make lots of little changes to feel better about myself.  One of the first things I have done (which I started a few weeks early) is to wear a little makeup every day.  This is kind of a big deal for me because I LOVE makeup and I never took the time or bothered because I thought nobody cared.  Just recently I realized somebody cares a lot.  Me!  I want to feel better about all aspects of myself and I've always felt a little more confident in mascara and lip gloss.  So starts my quest to love myself a little bit more.  You know what?  The girl in the mirror has some really pretty blue eyes.

What are your resolutions?  What can't you wait to do?

I can't wait to hear!