Monday, January 28, 2013

New Halloween Goal for 2013!

I am a HUGE video game nut and there are many that I love and adore but the entire Fallout series tops my list. It is my favorite game series ever. I own every game, save Brotherhood of Steel. I could write for hours as to why I love this series so much and hold it in such high regaurd but that's not what I'm here to talk about.

I have decided that by Halloween I am going to have a complete Fallout cosplay costume. It will be comprised of an armored vault jumpsuit, a pip boy, a Chinese assault rifle, a bag of caps, a Nuka Cola Quantum, a Big Book of Science, and some Rad-X. I haven't decided which vault number I'm going to use, it will ether be 13 or 101. I am also going to use the features of my favorite character I've created for Fallout 3, since the characters are more customizable. I usually have my character very pale with dark eyes, red lips, and seductress hair.

This is a big endeavor for me since I have little money and time, thus the long period of time in which I have given myself to complete this project. I am going to make the pip boy, Chinese assault rifle, and costume mostly by myself. A couple of my friends have been gracious enough to offer their help with prop making.

I have been trying to get a plan set out for getting all the items I need, and there are a lot. I'm going to have to scour thrift stores, army surplus stores, garage sales, etc. I'm also going to need an airsoft gun, a pip boy kit, and paint.

I've never done anything like this before so this is a pretty big project for me but I'm excited to get started. My husband and I should be getting a fair amount of money back in taxes so I'm going to put a little towards getting started on this.

 My main concern is the Pip Boy. I found a post on a forum by a guy who has casts and the items required to build your own Pip Boy but I've never done anything like that before so I'm nervous about it. So if I mess up I'm going to have to be really inventive.I'll have to assemble the whole thing, sand it, paint it, etc myself. The cast comes in two pieces and you can buy an extra kit with all the things you need to put it together. I'm sure it wont be easy but it should be a fun art project!

My plan for the Chinese Assault Rifle is not original. I'm going to get an airsoft AK-47, mod it, and destress it to look like the CAR. When done right this looks really awesome and this will probably be the easiest step.

My vault suit is another story entirely as I cannot sew. Given I can sew well enough to make a blue jumpsuit work I really want this to be awesome so I've thought about hiring someone to take my measurements and make the jumpsuit for me. I honestly think this will be easier because I want the colors and fit to be spot on. All the armor for the suit is easy enough to make and are things I can add myself. (gun holster, belts, shoulder armor, ammo belt, etc.)

As far as the Big Book of Science, bottle caps, and Med-X I have found some really good shops on Etsy that I can get these from, kind of as a time saver.

This is going to be a huge endeavor for me since I'm broke all the time and I can't work on art stuff around Ira. He always tries to help but ends up messing it up >_<. He's two so it happens. So I'll have to work around him and have a strict budget. I'll make blog posts every time I complete something. I'm going to break it down into mini projects to make it seem less daunting!


Benefit Boi-ing Concealer

This is the box they sent my concealer in....what the what Birchbox? hahaha

My beautiful concealer ♥

I picked this up from the Birchbox shop with points I had acquired, through a box messup and review points. (See my thoughts on Birchbox here --->My Thoughts On Birchbox) I got a set called Realness of Concealness from Ulta, pictured below, a while ago and loved the concealer but it was too dark for me which was a let down. I also don't have any concealer currently so I figured why not pick this up for free?!

As I said I love this concealer. I got the lightest shade and it matches me perfectly, it is super pigmented and covers problem spots with ease, it gets a little cakey in the under eye area but I don't have under eye circles so that's not an issue for me. Its just a great concealer overall and it was worth the $20 in points I used!


Little Late Night E.L.F. Haul :D

Last week I was hanging with my friends, Lauren and Vinny, and we decided to go to the grocery store and get some late night snacks. (We were planning on staying up all night playing Risk and Yu-Gi-Oh.) While there I stopped at the E.L.F. trolley and I decided to pick up these goodies for Lauren and I!

I picked up:
Two Natural Lash kits in Black
Two eyeshadow quads in Luxe and I can't remember the name of the 2nd one pictured and it's not on their website anymore :/
Defining Eye Brush
Concealer Brush
Each of the products I bought was $1 though they have a much larger range.The most expensive it gets is $3 which is still a steal! I have had several E.L.F. products and they are really hit and miss but they're so cheap I try everything because you never know if it's going to be awesome or not! And it's only $1-3 so if its a bad product I didn't waste a ton of money on it!
I have had the E.L.F. lashes before and the lashes are nice, not the best quality, but the band isn't thick and they are easy to apply. The downfall of these is the "glue" they include. It does absolutely nothing, it doesn't dry, it isn't sticky, its useless. So if you wanna load up on cheap lashes and have Duo lash glue at home this would be a good option. I had some NYX lash glue at home I was going to use with these, to my surprise it was completely dried out so I'm saving these for a rainy day haha.
I got two eyeshadow quads, one for me and one for Lauren. I have never tried E.L.F. eyeshadow before and I have been spoiled by Urban Decay, MAC, and Sugarpill so I wasn't sure I'd like these. I got the Luxe quad for me and it is beautiful! Its shimmery and gorgeous, they are a little sheerer applied than swatched but when I used this it gave me a very natural look! The garnet color in there was a nice pop of color with the otherwise neutral tones. 
This is the look I did with my quad. I put the lightest color on the inner corner and as a brow highlight, the red all over my lid, the light brown in the crease blended out, and the grey/brown on the lower lash line. Added some winged eyeliner, mascara, and done! Its a super easy look :)

The second eye quad, which I have named it that shall not be named, was along the same lines of the one I got. Neutral toned with a pop of color. The lilac color in this quad was very sheer but over an eyeshadow base it looked beautiful blended out with the browns. Lauren also has green eyes so this was beautiful on her! (Though I didn't think to take a picture of the makeup I did :/)

I have a few E.L.F. brushes in my collection, they are pretty good for the price, though the $1 ones shed a TON. I wanted the concealer brush for my eye area, since the brush is really small, and I got the defining eye brush on a whim. The concealer brush is great but the defining eye brush is not very dense and sheds like a beast!

All in all I'm happy with the purchase, E.L.F. is great for someone on a budget since they have some great products that are super inexpensive!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My thoughts on Birchbox...

I found out about Birchbox through a friend of mine on Facebook. A youtube channel called Popsugartvbella (Popsugartvbella on Youtube) was holding a contest to win a years subscription to Birchbox. I entered every day for two weeks and won! I got my starter box in March 2012. I have recieved such brands as Stila, theBalm, Juicy Coture, Jouer, Color Club, Eyeko, Ojon, fresh., etc.

I have a serious love hate relationship with Birchbox and there are many factors to this which I will explain thorualy...

Before I won my subscription I was researching Birchbox because I had never heard of anything like it. I was really excited because they listed brands such as Benefit, Boscia, Essie, fresh., Juicy Couture, Origins, Smashbox, theBalm, and Tarte. Basically you get 5-6 deluxe samples every month from varying brands suited to your "beauty profile" which is your hair color, skin type, hair type, etc. I already listed some of the brands that I have gotten in my box but one of my beefs with Birchbox is they have all these super expensive, mediocre brands I've never heard of. Given that wouldn't be a bad thing if I got a product I liked from these companies, and I have a few times but for the most part I only get a couple products in my box I actually like and use.

On top of that I have gotten so many foil samples, samples in small tear open packets, it's sad. To me a deluxe sample of a hair mask should be one I can actually cover my hair with, and more than once would be nice. I need to try something a few times to decide if it's working or not and when I get a sample I can't even use once its a horrible disappointment. I have had that problem with moisturizers as well. I just feel like the sizes of samples they give aren't "deluxe" all of the time, especially when they need to be.

Another HUGE problem I've had with Birchbox is damaged products. Half of the boxes I have received have had damaged products. That is ridiculous and completely unprofessional in my eyes. Even though I didn't personally pay for this subscription someone else did and I worked hard to win it so I expect my boxes to arrive undamaged.

I also wish the boxes were more customizable. I received a hideous nail polish this month and that was the big ticket item in my box. I am never going to use it and I feel it's a complete waste. When you receive a nail polish or an eye liner I wish you could chose the color you get so you don't receive a pointless product.
On the plus side...
Birchbox has EXCELLENT customer service. Every time I have received a damaged box when I call or email they get back to me right away and I either receive points or a new box as compensation for the damaged one. The girls over there are so nice and I love that my problem always gets resolved.

I love the fact that you can review your products from your Birchbox for points. You get 10 points per product review so in two months, since you usually get 5 samples, you will have $10 to spend in the BB shop! I have gotten so many full size products for free because of this. I've gotten nail polish, mascara, a lipgloss set, concealer...It's awesome that they reward you just for giving your opinion.

I am a beauty junky so receiving this every month is awesome. I get to try new things and there's usually at least one thing in the box that I love.
Overall I love having Birchbox and every month I feel my boxes get better. Given I wish all of my boxes would arrive undamaged the issue is always resolved so I don't get nervous about being screwed over one month because something leaked/broke. I will probably purchase this myself when this subscription runs out.
As far as beauty subscriptions go I really think, if you are thinking about getting one for the first time, try Ipsy. I am subscribing come tax time. They give out amazing bags, a lot of the time you get more than one full size product, they have an amazing beauty team of guru's, an interactive beauty community, rewards, and so many other awesome things. Ipsy is really the holy grail of beauty subscription boxes in my opinion and it's the same price as Birchbox, $10 a month.


theBalm Put a Lid On It Eye Primer

I used the card as a reference to show the size of the sample.

I received this sample of the soon to be released theBalm Put a Lid On It eye primer in my Birchbox and thought it deserved its own blog post..
. I want to start out by talking about the other eye primers I have and use. My "go to" eye primer is Urban Decay's Primer Potion, which is kind of thick but works well and keeps creases away for the most part. I have also used Too Faced Shadow Insurance, I own it in Candlelight. This eye primer is not as thick as the Primer Potion but they work the same I think. Many people prefer one over the other, usually Shadow insurance over Primer Potion, but I cannot tell the difference other than consistency. I have also owned Mary Kay, .Mark, Elf, NYX, and many other eye primers. Too Faced and Urban Decay's are better than all of those, though NYX is a good contender. 

Now on to the item at hand. I squeezed a bit of this out of the tube to see the consistency, how eyeshadow applied on it, if it creased, etc. It has the strangest feel to it, almost like oil but it dries and you can't tell its there. I really, really hated that at first but then I realized how light, thin, and unnoticeable the application of this product was. I then put a strip of this, Primer Potion, and Shadow Insurance on my hand and applied several different eyeshadows over it to see how they swatched. I used a super bright teal, black, pink, and champagne. I thought this would be a good range of color to test. (If I had a better camera I would have taken pictures of the swatches in a heartbeat but I fear you wouldn't be able to tell the difference with my phone camera.)

First I swatched the Primer Potion and the Shadow Insurance. They, of course, help the color pop and apply more evenly. Then I applied all four colors on the Put a Lid On It and oh holy lord I have never witnessed anything so amazing in makeup as this primer. The colors applied like they had a white base, they popped so much more than with the other two primers. They also applied like a dream. The application was SOOO smooth I couldn't believe my eyes. I also had to use less product with theBalm's primer than the other two because it just grabbed on to the shadows so well. 

I really thought from the consistency of this primer I would hate it but I am buying this as soon as I can because this is the most amazing product I have ever used in the way of primers. I really hope this product gets a lot of hype because it deserves that and more. Every time I try a new product from theBalm I am blown away. They are such a solid company and they make amazing products. This is going to be my go-to eye primer from now on!

It's not available at yet but it is available on the Birchbox website, Birchbox Shop-Put a Lid On It for $18!!


Birchbox January 2013

My Birchbox for this month

 fresh. Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream- I got two packets of this so I had my friend come over to try it with me. We did a face scrub and mask before we used this so our skin was fresh and clean. This soaked in really well and really did leave my skin feeling moisturized. It also smelled like cucumbers so it really felt like a spa day! I can't say through one use if this was life changing or amazing, but it was nice and it did its job.

 Harvey Prince Skinny Chic- I have received another Harvey Prince perfume in a previous Birchbox (Eau Flirt) and LOVED it. So I had high expectations for this one. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting but I really did like it! It has notes of apple, mint, lotus blossom, grapefruit, white cedar wood, and amber. It's very light but fragrant. Also the sample was a great size. Usually you get the vials or a spray bottle. This one was a spray bottle but it was twice the size of any other perfume sample I've gotten! So this will last me a little while!

Alessandro Nail Polish in Blue Lagoon- I'll just start out by saying I LOATHE this nail polish. It's ugly, the polish is thick and weird to put on. I wish they would have given me ANY color but this one. It's like a darker, washed out cornflower blue. I will never wear this and I feel it was a total waste in my Birchbox. The bottle looks cheap and I just don't like anything about it save the fact it dries very quickly, which is nice.
Sorry for the state of my nail, I know its horrible haha. But this is the color I got. It's a little darker in person, the flash washed it out a bit. Not that it matters much...its hideous...

theBalm Put A Lid On It Eye Primer- This is a whole other beast to tackle. I'll be making a separate blog post about that and insert the link later.

 Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum- I've gotten this as a sample from Sephora and loved it. You have to be careful not to use too much or your hair gets really oily and gross. As far as hair serums/oils go I really prefer Shu Uemura's Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil. I received a sample of that in my first Birchbox and FELL IN LOVE. It's rather expensive though ($68) so I have yet to buy it but one day it shall be mine, oh yes, it shall be mine! Back to Ojon though, this is a great, cheaper alternative to the Shu Uemura product!

Overall this was a pretty good Birchbox. Again, I really wish I would have gotten a different color polish, but 4/5 is pretty good I think. :)


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sephora freebies!

After Christmas I made a Sephora purchase and got a couple freebies. I thought they were worthy of their own blog posts haha.

I hear about this face primer all the time. I have always wanted to try it but was hesitant because its SOOO expensive! ($52 for 1oz!) So when I saw this was up for a 100 point purchase I jumped at it. The bottle is actually a nice size, I'll get a lot of use out of it. The formula is so nice, it glides over your skin and really blurs everything. It doesn't drastically change your skin but it does do a good job making your skin a smoother surface for your foundation. My foundation also went on super nicely over my trouble spot, the dreaded T-Zone... My makeup looked smoother and more natural but I got really good coverage. I also didn't feel like I had a ton of makeup on! I also thought the SPF was a nice added bonus.

If you really want to try this there is a smaller size, 0.33oz, for $18. That's still kind of pricey but if you are in need of a great primer this might be it for you!

Every time I shop anywhere online I use Ebates for cash back and coupon codes. At this time Sephora didn't have a lot of good coupon codes so I chose to get a deluxe sample of this BECCA product. I have never tried anything from this brand and know little about it. The sample was in Opal, it's supposed to be used as a highlighter or you can mix it in your foundation to give your face a glowy effect. I didn't expect much out of this because I knew nothing about it but I was pleasantly surprised! The product is very creamy and its a BEAUTIFUL color! It's a much more pronounced highlighter than most of the ones I have but I really love it! I was also surprised by the size of the tube! I expected it to be at least half the size it is. This is going to last me for quite a while, which is good because I honestly won't buy the full size since its $41. Given this is a beautiful product that is really pricey compared to most other highlighting products.

Overall these were great freebies of expensive products I would not have tried otherwise and I'm glad to have them both!