Sunday, June 23, 2013

May 2013 Starlooks Starbox - Unboxing and Review

The theme for the May Starbox was Tribal... let's see what was inside!

I loved the box this month... zebra print with a red elasticized ribbon to add to my growing collection. :)

Here are the contents of this month's Starbox (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Quartz Crystal

Starlooks provides us with quartz crystals in every Starbox (except December 2012). They are supposed to attract energy and help maintain focus. The other idea is that subscribers can collect them in a glass jar to eventually build a brush holder. I received two tiny crystals this month.

2. Brow Shader Compact in BS3 // 8 g // $21

The Starlooks card tells us that this can be used as a smokey eye palette but I find the brown shade in particular too waxy to use on my eyelids. The black shade is a little waxy but could probably work. The photo below shows the waxy sheen of these two shades. The two lighter shades are softer and more pigmented - they could definitely be used as eyeshadow. That being said, the two darker shades work well on my brows, and while this is not one of my favourite products I've received from Starlooks, I do like this little compact. It's great on the go because the packaging is sleek and sturdy. There is also a little brush and mirror included.

3. Pigment Luster in Cinnamon Toss // 2.8 g // $17

Starlooks has recently changed the names of all its makeup shades so I'm not sure which colour I received under the new system. It looks very close to the shade, Black Gold. Regardless, I am loving this pigment. It has a beautiful metallic sheen to it and I'd describe the colour as a cool toned bronze. I've been wearing this shade very close to the lash line (like an eyeliner) and I think it's really pretty.

4. Cream Blush in Emphasize // 6 g // $17

This shade looks like the "Bellini" shade on the website. It's a beautiful dark red that leans a little rusty in certain lighting. It looks very scary in the pan but blends out beautifully to provide a subtle colour to the cheeks. I like wearing this shade a tad lower on my cheekbone as the deep red almost acts as a contour on my skin tone. I see myself reaching for this blush more in the fall and winter.

Overall, I thought the May Starbox was pretty good - my favourite items were the pigment and the blush. Our little bonus this month was a zebra print mini nail file. I might save this one as it's too pretty to use! Did you receive a Starbox this month? If so, what did you think of the products?

// Approximate value of the products in the May 2013 Starbox: $55.00 //

The May edition of "Why, Marci!?" has not been posted yet so I will update this blog post when it becomes available. Updated to add the video!

The June theme is Modern Warhol and I'm quite excited to see the contents!

Note: Canadians who wish to subscribe to Starbox have to contact the company directly to get set up. I signed up by filling out the information on the contact form and a representative got back to me very quickly. I asked them to call me and I gave them my credit card information over the phone.

Note: I paid for the May Starbox with my own money.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

May 2013 SeasonsBox - Unboxing and Review

It's been difficult to motivate myself to blog about SeasonsBox this month. The company has moved to the U.S. with no communication to its subscribers (most did not know about the change) and service to Canada has been extremely delayed. I received my May SeasonsBox in early June and it took me a really long time (in blogger terms) to try the products, record the video, take the photos, and now (finally) to write the blog post. I've also been waiting to see if there would be an official communication about the recent changes (more about that later) but unfortunately no word on that yet.

We received a purple organza ribbon this month. I didn't think I would like it when I saw it in the previews but it's actually really nice and I'll be able to reuse it for gift-giving. That being said, SeasonsBox is phasing out the inner box... I'm not sure of the timing but there will eventually only be the outer shipping box (which will have a customized SeasonsBox design on it). This change was quasi-announced through SeasonsBox's Facebook page, via a poll where you could vote for your favourite design for the shipping box.

I wasn't as excited about the products in this month's box. The main reason is because the contents of the May box (in terms of the types of products) were too similar to what you would find in a regular beauty box. I've come to expect (and appreciate) the "lifestyle" items in SeasonsBox so this month's box was underwhelming. Here is what I received:

1. Deep Steep Lavender-Chamomile Body Wash

8 oz // $9.95

Deep Steep is a company based in South Carolina and we received a very generous full-size of the body wash. I wasn't too excited to receive this product because I have so many body washes in my collection I still need to use up. I do like the scent of lavender though so I will probably bump this up in my line-up of shower products. This product is free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, artificial fragrances, and chemical preservatives. It is also vegan, cruelty free, and gluten free.

2. Priti NYC Nail Polish in Happy Wanderer

12.6 mL // $13.50

This shade is from the Spring 2013 Sherbert Collection, which is great because I prefer to receive season appropriate nail polish shades from recent collections. I love the name of this shade because I see myself as a bit of a happy wanderer! :) I love this nail polish. It's a beautiful purple shade with a hint of a fuchsia shimmer. It applies very nicely and is opaque in 2-3 coats. Priti NYC nail polish is 5-free, vegan, cruelty free, and non-toxic.

3. Gourmet Body Treats Natural Eyeshadow in Island

7 g // $18.99

Gourmet Body Treats is based in Texas and uses only pure, non-toxic, and fair trade ingredients in its products. I received an eyeshadow in the shade island, which is a really neutral cream coloured shade. While not very exciting, I really like this type of shade because I find I get a lot of use out of it. I can use this shade as a base colour all over my eyelid and also as a highlight.

4. ZEN-ful Bath and Body Rose Bath Bomb

5.5 oz // $5.50

I've used this bath bomb already and I really liked it! It smells great and fizzes beautifully in bath water. We received the rose bath bomb, which was featured in a recent issue of Vogue UK as a spring must-have. This bath bomb is handmade in Pennsylvania with grade A rose essential oil and organic rose buds. The SeasonsBox card also mentions that since rose petals are not very high in oil content, it takes several thousand pounds of rose petals to produce just one ounce of rose essential oil!

Overall, while this was probably the least exciting box I've received to date, I actually ended up really liking the products I've tried so far. I like that SeasonsBox includes brands that I have never heard of and they are typically all responsible products you can feel good about using. While I do still like this subscription service, I am extremely disappointed by the lack of proactive communication from SeasonsBox. I feel like Canadian subscribers have been left in the dark about recent company changes, which are having a significant impact to our shipping dates. I strongly feel that good communication is a cornerstone of running a reputable business and hope that SeasonsBox will reach out to us soon.

To close off, I contacted SeasonsBox at the end of May with a few questions and will share the responses below, in the absence of any formal communication from the company:

I received a shipping notification for the June box on the 14th but USPS did not receive the package until the 18th. As of today, the parcel is still in the U.S. so it is unlikely I will be receiving the June box before July.

About SeasonsBox
SeasonsBox is a subscription service that promises 3-5 full-size luxury products for your home, body, and spirit. The box now ships out of Atlanta, Georgia and is available to Canadian and U.S. residents. Besides curating boxes themed with a particular season (i.e., winter, spring, summer, fall), SeasonsBox also curates boxes themed with specific holidays (e.g., Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Halloween). The contents of every box are intended to stimulate your senses with the scents and flavours associated with a season or holiday. SeasonsBox provides high quality, luxury, and full-size products (versus samples) with a focus on natural and responsible products. The products are also sourced from various places around the world and most of them are not available in commercial stores. SeasonsBox provides a preview of the products at the beginning of the month. Please visit the SeasonsBox website for current pricing. If you would like to subscribe to SeasonsBox, I would be grateful if you would use my referral link... of course, I will also send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: I purchased a one year subscription to SeasonsBox with my own money.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

May 2013 Empties

Yikes, how is it mid-June already! Here is my much delayed May empties post...

* = Disliked the product - would not repurchase
** = Liked the product - might or might not repurchase
*** = Loved the product - would repurchase

1. EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: One of my favourite shampoos! It is gentle yet effective. It is paraben free, sulphate free, and not tested on animals. I purchased this from the Glymm boutique but since that business is now defunct, I had to find an alternate retailer.
Rating: ***

2. Shu Uemura Full Shimmer Illuminating Shampoo
Source: April 2013 Topbox
Thoughts: This is the second time I've received this sample from Topbox. I didn't like it the first time. While I liked it a little bit better this time, I'm still not a fan of this shampoo. It doesn't seem to cleanse my hair very well (too gentle?) and it is a very runny formulation. The scent is nice though.
Rating: *

3. L'Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray in Unfragranced
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I had high hopes for this hairspray because I've seen such good reviews on it. Unfortunately, this hairspray did not work for me. It's great if you're looking for a super light hold but I like super strong hold as I generally use hairspray to tame flyaways or to add volume. I purchased the "extra strong hold" version and it did nothing for my hair. The major deal breaker for me was the fine mist... I breathed in so much of this hairspray! Even if I tried to hold my breath, turn my face, or run to the shower and breathe through my nose, the fine mist still found its way into my throat.
Rating: *

4. Goldwell Jelly Boost
Source: December 2012 Topbox
Thoughts: I love the idea of this product but unfortunately the gel does not hold very well. I use this primarily to tame my flyaways but they go all crazy again within a few hours.
Rating: **

5. Coolway Boost Repair Mask
Source: February 2013 Beauty Box 5
Thoughts: Another product I didn't like. This mask doesn't make my hair soft and silky like other treatments do. I liked the scent at first but the more I smell it, the more it bothers me.
Rating: *

6. Asira Conditioner
Source: Hotel sample
Thoughts: How many Asira samples do we have?! I use up a few every month, but it seems like there are still so many remaining. This conditioner doesn't do anything for my hair. I do like it to condition my makeup brushes though.
Rating: *

7. Asira Body Wash
Source: Hotel sample
Thoughts: This product was ok but nothing special - I wouldn't be excited to see this brand at a hotel.
Rating: *

8. Provenance Bath Collection Shimmer Salts in Brown Sugar and Fig
Source: This product was included in a gift basket (can't remember who gave it to me)
Thoughts: Nothing too exciting - it didn't have a strong scent and I didn't really notice it in my bath.
Rating: *

9. Unearth Malee Organic Bath Tea in Thai Herbal Steam Bath
Source: January 2013 SeasonsBox
Thoughts: I liked trying this product - I particularly enjoyed the eucalyptus scent - but being a bath tea, it turned my bath water an unfortunate brown shade that just looked dirty.
Rating: **

10. Filthy Farmgirl Bar Soap in Filthy Pussy
Source: Purchased by me in Hawaii :)
Thoughts: If you haven't clicked through to the website for this soap, you have to just to read the tagline for this "flavour" - I really love how cheeky these soaps are! This soaps smells like mint and rose. It lathers beautifully but peppermint in this soap really stings your womanly parts... ouch! After learning my lesson the hard way, I only used this soap on my arms and legs. I guess it's called filthy pussy because you'll still have one after you use this soap! ;)
Rating: **

11. Filthy Farmgirl Bar Soap in Filthy Monkey
Source: Purchased by me in Hawaii :)
Thoughts: I really loved this soap. The banana scent was mouthwatering (even though it took some getting used to as I am not used to having banana scented products in the shower) and the soap lathered really nicely. I also love that this soap lasts a long time.
Rating: ***

12. Personal Paradise Noni Papaya Pineapple Body Lotion
Source: Volcano Teapot Cottage
Thoughts: I love the Noni Papaya Pineapple products... they smell absolutely divine!
Rating: ***

13. Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed Skin Indulging Body Cream
Source: Care package from Tammy! :)
Thoughts: This cream is so luxurious and it smells incredible! I would definitely purchase the full size of this product once I'm done the many many many lotions, moisturizers, and creams in my collection. I'm thinking of trying some of the other products in this collection because I love the scent so much. Thank you to Tammy for this lovely sample!
Rating: ***

14. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15
Source: April 2012 Glossybox
Thoughts: I liked this moisturizer but the scent was too strong for me. If there was an unscented version, I would probably purchase it.
Rating: **

15. Complex 15 Daily Face Cream
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: My favourite face cream but it is very light so I typically use it only as a bridge product between getting out of the shower and going to bed. I apply a heavier night cream or oil before retiring for the evening.
Rating: ***

16. Nivea Gentle Toner
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is my favourite toner! It is very gentle and has a nice light scent. It also does a great job removing any additional residue from my skin after cleansing and leaves my skin feeling moisturized and fresh.
Rating: ***

17. Pure and Simple Collagen Elastin Plus
Source: 2012 BlushPretty Beauty Board
Thoughts: I really enjoyed using this product. The consistency is very runny - almost like water but just a touch thicker. I feel it did make a difference in improving the moisture in my skin; however, I don't think I noticed enough of a difference to justify the price. It is quite an expensive product but I would consider purchasing it as part of a set or if it was on sale.
Rating: **

18. Face Q Sheet Mask in Grape Seed and Green Tea
Source: Purchased by me from T&T Supermarket
Thoughts: This is the first time I've tried the Face Q sheet masks and I really like them. They are very similar to the MaskerAide sheet masks except there is less essence inside. They are still very well saturated with product and stay on your face nicely. I had a little bit of slippage at the chin area but I just pressed it back into place. The price is incredible at 10 masks for around $12.99 (I think I got them on sale). I like that there is a little sheet of plastic layered in with the mask to make it easier to unfold. I want to try all the Face Q varieties - this particular scent was nice and light - I don't remember the exact scent but it was pleasant.
Rating: ***

19. Face Q Sheet Mask in Ocean and Aloe
Source: Purchased by me from T&T Supermarket
Thoughts: Same comment as above - I'll try to pay more attention to the scent next time but it was also light and pleasant. The packaging for these masks is so cute! The western version is actually cuter than the packaging of the masks in the link above.
Rating: ***

20. My Beauty Diary Sheet Mask in Bulgarian White Rose
Source: Purchased by me from T&T Supermarket
Thoughts: I liked this mask a lot but the scent was a little bit too strong for me. The My Beauty Diary masks are also folded in with plastic making it easier to open up. There is not as much essence as the MaskerAide sheet masks but I still find them very saturated.
Rating: **

21. Elizabeth Arden All Gone Eye and Lip Makeup Remover
Source: April 2013 Topbox
Thoughts: I thought I would really like this product when I first started using it... but then the more I used it, the more it felt like it was burning the skin around my eyes. I never thought I had sensitive skin but maybe I do! That being said, it did do a good job removing my eye makeup - even dark eyeliner and multiple coats of mascara.
Rating: **

22. Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment with SPF 15
Source: Sephora 2012 birthday gift
Thoughts: I like everything about this product - the scent, the lack of flavour, the texture, and the moisturizing properties. The only issue I had with this product is that both my samples from my birthday kit broke and then became a bit of a mess to use.
Rating: **

23. Elizabeth Grant Moisturizing Stick
Source: February 2012 Glossybox Canada
Thoughts: I still remember receiving this in my very first Glossybox. I really love this lip balm - it is a nice texture, reasonably moisturizing, and very comfortable on the lips. It smells wonderful (like melon) but has no flavour. I also love that the discrete packaging doesn't scream "lip balm!"
Rating: ***

24. Bailey Cosmetics Kabuki Brush
Source: March 2012 Glossybox Canada
Thoughts: I loved this brush right up until it started shedding like crazy. The natural bristles started clumping up, and even as I was washing it, I felt little hard bits among the brush hairs. I think the glue must have been dislodged from the ferrule.
Rating: **

25. Vance Kitira Incense Cones in Green Tea
Source: March 2013 SeasonsBox
Thoughts: While I enjoyed the Peach Cassis incense cones, the Green Tea variation was too strong and made me sneeze. Each incense cone burns for around 10-15 minutes so I'm not sure how the 45 hour burn time on the website was calculated. I think I've left my incense days behind so I likely will not be purchasing this product, regardless of the scent.
Rating: *

26. Miyu Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea
Source: 2013 BlushPretty Beauty Board
Thoughts: I am eagerly awaiting the launch of this product line in August 2013 so I can buy a full size of this tea! I still regret not picking up a few packets at the beauty board. If I recall correctly, the Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea is a green tea and rooibos blend with goji berries.
Rating: ***

27. David's Tea Razzmatazz Rose Bling Bling
Source: David's Tea sample with purchase
Thoughts: I got a kick out of saying the name of this but it looks like David's Tea has changed it to plain old "Organic Razzmatazz." I wasn't a fan of this infusion. The ingredients are rosehips, lemongrass, lemon verbena, hibiscus, rooibos, raspberries, stevia, and organic and natural flavouring. I wish I had read the website before using up my sample because it says this: "our favourite way to drink it is the Razzmatazz Fizz: brew a double-strong cup, then top your glass up with soda water. Stir in a little agave and a squirt of lime, and it’ll take you to the moon."
Rating: *

28. David's Tea Pineapple Oolong
Source: David's Tea sample with purchase
Thoughts: I love this tea with a little honey! The pineapple flavour is perfect (while I love pineapple, I'm usually not drawn to pineapple flavoured items) and the oolong is subtle yet present. I will be purchasing the full size of this.
Rating: ***

29. David's Tea Pineapple Oolong
Source: David's Tea sample with purchase
Thoughts: I love this tea with a little honey! The pineapple flavour is perfect (while I love pineapple, I'm usually not drawn to pineapple flavoured items) and the oolong is subtle yet present. I will be purchasing the full size of this. The ingredients are Tie Kwan Yin oolong, pineapple, apricot, and natural flavouring.
Rating: ***

30. David's Tea Organic Rooibos
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I like that this is a pure rooibos so the only ingredient is organic South African rooibos. I enjoyed this tea but my favourite rooibos is still the Republic of Tea Double Red Rooibos Tea - I had it when hubs and I were in Hawaii earlier this year and it blew my mind.
Rating: **

31. NourishTea The Duke Of Earl
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: Earl Grey is one of my favourite types of tea but this version was a little too bitter. I rinsed the leaves before steeping and that definitely cut some of the bitterness but this tea was just alright for me.
Rating: **

32. NourishTea Warming Chamomile
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is such a delicious tea with a little bit of honey. I was drinking it every night and I think I have withdrawal now that I've finished it. I've actually repurchased this already and just waiting for it to arrive. I wish I took a photo of the actual "tea" itself because it is so pretty with the little chamomile flowers. I will definitely remember next time. :)
Rating: ***

It doesn't seem like I had as many empties this month... maybe because I finished a few more full size products? I already have a pile for June so I will make up for it soon! :) How are you doing with your empties? Are you getting through your products as quickly as you would like?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Get Ready With Me - May 2013

Some of you may have seen this video already because I uploaded it a couple of weeks ago. I haven't been doing a good job keeping my blog and my YouTube channel in sync so I'll have to make more of an effort on that front! It's been a while since I've posted a get ready with me video so I thought I would record one since I've been using some different products lately. This was also the first time I curled my hair after cutting it. :)

Below is a list of the many, many products I used! This list has really ballooned since I started my YouTube channel, but everything has a purpose haha. I don't use this many products on a day-to-day basis (I don't wake up early enough to put on this much makeup) but when I have the time on the weekend, I like to use a wide range of products in my collection.

- Perfumies Solid Perfume Stick in Femme Fatale
- Starlooks Lip Scrub
- Belmacz Glow in Cornelian
- Benefit POREfessional
- Boxx Concealer in Amber
- Revlon Colorstay Foundation in 220 Natural Beige
- Ecotools Foam Applicator
- Dream Organics Rose Water
- Urban Decay Primer Potion
- Brazen Organic Mineral Eye Shadow in Birthday Suit
- MAC 239 Eye Shadow Brush
- Starlooks Infinity Liner in Sculpture
- Starlooks Pointed Slant Brush
- Silk Naturals Eye Color in Regent
- Starlooks Soft Small Dome Fluff Brush
- Sonia Kashuk Blending Brush
- MAC Eye Shadow in Blanc Type
- Ecotools Eye Brush (Blend)
- Benefit Brows A Go Go
- Tweezerman Spooly
- Ecotools Eye Brush (Shade)
- Tweezerman Eyelash Curler
- Starlooks Lash Boost
- The Body Shop Leona Lewis Bronzer
- Bailey Cosmetics Blush Brush
- NARS Foreplay Palette
- Ecotools Blush Brush
- Starlooks Lengthening Mascara
- NYX Eye Liner in Velvet
- Starlooks Mineralized Powder in Translucent Nude
- Ecotools Kabuki Brush
- Dior Addict Extreme in Silhouette
- Dream Organics Rose Water

- Principessa Beauty Notte Breeze Dry Shampoo
- Expression Bronzing Brush
- Got2b Guardian Angel Heat Protectant Spray
- Nume 4 Play with 25mm Barrel
- L'Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray in Unfragranced

Do you use a lot list of beauty products? Or do you have a handful that you know and love?

Note: Not sponsored. The Tweezerman products were sent to me for review. Everything else was purchased by me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

May 2013 Wantable - Makeup Box Review

Wantable is a new-to-Canada subscription service. You can select between two types of boxes - jewellery or makeup. The subscription service is relatively expensive compared to other boxes. It costs $36 per box plus you have to pay for shipping, duties, and taxes... which means a subscription to Canada costs nearly $50 per month. You can also buy one individual box for $40 plus the other fees. I was one of the first 1000 people to sign up to receive a free box so I decided to go ahead and check it out. I came very close to choosing the jewellery box but I am rather picky with jewellery (even when I pick it out myself) so I figured the makeup box would be a better fit. To take advantage of the offer, I had to sign up for a monthly subscription but I received a $36 refund to my credit card... so basically I paid $12.32 for this box. I have since cancelled the service as I believe $50 per month is way too much for a beauty box.

There is a very extensive survey on the Wantable website and you answer questions by toggling a slider to indicate what products (or aspects of a product) you love, like, or dislike. You have a higher chance of receiving items that you love and are guaranteed never to receive something that you dislike. I was extremely selective on my survey and, if you ever decide to try Wantable, I highly recommend that approach. I indicated that I wanted blush, lip colour, nail polish, and eye shadow. I asked not to receive brow products, eyeliner, highlighter, lash products, bronzer, and brushes. I also indicated that I "dislike" shimmer and glitter. As a result, my May box was very much to my liking... I'd go so far as to say I love the products I received!

The Wantable makeup box contains 4 to 6 full size products valued at around $80 to $100. I received 5 full size products plus a bonus. Here are the items I received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Frownies Eye Gels

This was a bonus sample and I am very excited to try this product! Frownies have apparently been around in some form or another since 1889. When the product was initially launched, it was called "wrinkle eradicators" so I am very eager to see if it works. I received 1 reusable set of eye gels, which is enough for 2 to 4 treatments. The directions on the back of the package say to use the eye gels 3 days in a row initially and then once a week for 30 minutes per application. You can store the eye gels between uses in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator... just be sure to keep the eye gels moist.

Full size // 3 reusable sets // $29.95
Sample size // 1 reusable set // approx. $9.98

2. Knock Out Cosmetics Flatte Nail Polish in Powder

Knock Out Cosmetics was founded by celebrity makeup artist, Mike Potter. It looks like this brand currently consists of a nail polish line only. I received a crisp, white nail polish that is supposed to have a matte finish. I find it to be a cross between a matte and a satin finish - it's a pretty shade and I've used it under another light nail polish but I would definitely wear this on its own. The Knock Out Cosmetics website indicates that a topcoat is not needed as this nail polish is naturally chip resistant. I will be testing out that claim. :)

Full size // 16.5 ml // $14

3. FACE Stockholm Matte Eye Shadow in Chiffon

FACE Stockholm is a Swedish cosmetics company based in Stockholm and New York. There is a whopping 71 matte eye shadow shades on the website! Part of me wants them all. The shade I received in my Wantable box is described as "lightest warm pink" on the FACE Stockholm website - I'd say it's more of a beige but in certain lighting, it does have a slight peachy undertone. This is a finely milled eye shadow and I think I will get a lot of use out of this.

Full size // 2.8 g // $20

4. Manna Kadar Blush in Unsung

Manna Kadar is based in Laguna Niguel, California and the blush I received was made in Canada! This blush is beautiful. It's a mid-tone warm pink (with a hint of peach) and I have nothing like it in my collection. I am normally drawn to bright or neutral blushes so I can see how this shade would fly under the radar. It leaves such a pretty and natural flush to the cheek - I can see myself reaching for this shade a lot, especially for work since it has a matte finish.

Full size // 6 g // $19

5. MiA BelleZZa Summer Sedona Runway Lip Vernice Lacquer in Juicy

MiA BelleZZa means "my beauty" in Italian. This company is based in Georgia. When I initially saw this product, I assumed it was a lip gloss; however, after swatching it, I found it had more of a lip cream or liquid lipstick consistency. I am in love with the colour and the texture. The lip product has a nice scent, no flavour, doesn't bleed, and is super comfortable on the lips. The shade I received looks a lot more pink than how it is represented on the website but I still really love the shade.

Full size // 5.7 g // $18.50

6. Besame Classic Color Lipstick in Coral

Besame Cosmetics was founded by Gabriela Hernandez, originally from Buenos Aires but now lives in Los Angeles. I love the concept behind this company... essentially, Besame tries to replicate colours from vintage makeup! The packaging is lovely too. The lipstick I received comes in a beautiful warm tone gold tube and a small velvet carrying case. The lipstick itself is a peach shade with gold shimmer so it's perfect for the summer. I like wearing this on its own and also with my Hourglass lip gloss on top to tone it down.

Full size // 3.5 g // $22

Overall, I loved the contents of my May Wantable box; however, I have unsubscribed because I find $50 per month too steep to pay for a beauty box. Pretty much the only downside I see to this box is the price. The positives about this box:

- All full size products.
- High quality products from lesser known brands.
- Detailed survey to customize the contents.

// Approximate value of the products in the May 2013 Wantable: $103.48 //

Did you try a Wantable box this month? If so, what did you think of the contents?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

HUGE Canada-US Swap :)

I have a huge swap to share with you today!! In mid-March, one of my YouTube viewers mentioned that she'd be interested in doing a swap. I hadn't done a swap since the holidays and I had never done a cross border swap before so I was definitely game. We discussed the parameters for the swap and decided on a shipping date in mid-May to give us some time to shop and wrap everything up. I was absolutely blown away when I received a huge swap box filled with tons of goodies! Lisa and her daughter, Mitsuko, did such a wonderful job picking stuff out for me... I was beyond impressed! I have really been enjoying all my presents and I hope Lisa is having fun with hers too!

Lisa and Mitsuko sent me so many items that it took me an hour to unbox the package on camera. I cut the footage to a mere 32 minutes. :) If you don't have half an hour to watch the video, I've also included photos of all the goodies below!

I was so happy to received some Arizona Wildcats paraphernalia! I wasn't familiar with the team prior to the swap (I may have heard the name in passing but I didn't know anything about it) but I was still excited because I love location-specific items. I received a t-shirt for my hubby, a t-shirt for myself, and two washcloths. My hubby and I buy a lot of t-shirts when we travel (mostly for him) and it makes me happy to see him wear them after the fact because it reminds me of our trip. Now when my hubby wears the Arizona Wildcats t-shirt, it reminds me of Lisa, her lovely family, and this fun swap! These items were such a nice addition to the swap package. Hubs thought so too. I wish I had included some Toronto t-shirts (Blue Jays perhaps?) in her package.

I love bath and beauty products and there were definitely lots included in the swap package... get ready!!!

- Two COW beauty soaps // The packaging for these soaps is right up my alley. I love quirky animal themed items and even better if it looks retro. I will be keeping the boxes even after I use the soaps. These soaps are made in Japan. I love Japanese products... hubs and I are actually hoping to go to Japan again next year. :)

- Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes // Believe it or not, I have never tried the Pacifica products. I sniff them all the time in Indigo but I've never purchased anything for myself. I can't wait to try these wipes as they smell amazing!

- Coronado Soap Co. Apricot Freesia Hand & Body Cream // I've tried this cream on my hands and it is amazing! The texture is smooth and silky but not greasy and the scent is out of this world. If I ever make it to Coronado, California, I will definitely be in search of this cream.

- Coronado Soap Co. Orange Avenue Hand & Body Cream // I can't wait to try this cream - I like that it's a sample size so I'll be able to show it in my empties soon. :)

- Coronado Soap Co. Cucumber Castaway Soap // I love cucumber beauty products and this little soap is very cute.

- Shiseido Facial Cotton // These are a staple in my beauty regimen so I was very happy to receive a package of these. I can never have enough of this workhorse product!

Nails, nails, nails!! Look at all this stuff for my nails!

- Revlon Mini Tweezer Set To Go // I suspect Lisa knows I like to travel a lot because there were a number of travel themed goodies in my swap package! I love these little tweezers and plan to bring them with me when I go to France in the fall.

- Revlon File 'N Peel 6-in-1 File // This looks like a neat product - it's a two-sided nail file but you can peel off a layer once you are done with it so in theory this nail file should last 3 times as long. I can't wait to try it! This may be coming with me on vacation too as I always need a nail file but never remember to pack one.

- L'Oreal Colour Riche Nail Lingerie in In With The New // These are really pretty nail appliques. I've only tried this type of product once but I had such a good experience that I've been meaning to try it again. I want to save these for the new year because of the name but I'm not sure I'll be able to wait that long...

- Eternal Sticker Collection Nail Stickers // I've never worn nail stickers before and these ones are so pretty! This product is made in Japan and I think the stickers would look really cute on my nails.

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Lacey Lilac // Such a pretty colour for spring! I think I am going to put this on tonight after I finish my blog post.

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Blue Me Away! // I was very drawn to this shade... so much so that I actually noticed I already had it in my collection after filming the video! I will be giving this to one of my sisters. :)

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Green With Envy // This is a gorgeous green that is also perfect for the spring. I might put try this one on the weekend. :)

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Sun Kissed // I had this on my nails today and got a compliment on it at work. This is a beautiful mid-tone orange that leans a little coral in certain lighting.

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Bubblegum Pink // This was the first shade I tried as pink and red are my favourite nail polish colours to wear. This pink is cool toned but still very flattering. It has a little shimmer in it that is barely detectable but so pretty.

- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Mellow Yellow // I love yellow nail polish but I'm still searching for my holy grail so I can't wait to try this!

Lisa must know I'm a huge fanatic when it comes to lip products... thank you for indulging me! :)

- Too Faced La Creme Lipstick in Naughty Nude // This was the item I requested in our swap. I've been meaning to try one of these lippies and I regularly swatch them when I go to Sephora. I'm happy to report that I am loving this lipstick! It has a great formulation and also a very nice scent that is akin to lemon pie. I also love this nude shade! I think I will be wearing this a lot as I love me some nude lips.

- Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya // Lisa got me all the new lip butter shades! I think I may have whooped for joy in the video. :) I had been wanting to try these shades but I couldn't seem to find them. I saw a couple in Shoppers Drug Mart but they had both been swatched. Juicy Papaya is my favourite shade out of the four.

- Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon // This is a very pigmented shade and it is a beautiful red! I love this one too as a little goes a long way.

- Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Sorbet // This shade is also very pigmented but it is more of a pink rather than a red. Another winner for me.

- Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Pink Lemonade // This shade is a little light for me but I still like wearing it on its own topped with lip gloss. What I love about this shade though is that I can use it to tone down brighter colours - I've used it with both Wild Watermelon and Sorbet and the combination is so pretty. These new shades are definitely among my favourite of all the lip butters!

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Cherish // I love these balm stains for their ease of use and staying power. They also feel comfortable on the lips! Cherish is right up my alley - I'm surprised I don't own it already. I'm going to wear this to work tomorrow as I'm always looking for long lasting lip products for work as I can never remember to re-apply.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Darling // I am really curious about this shade because there's a tinge of purple to it. I will be giving this one a try soon!

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous // I already have this shade but I love it! I will either keep this one as a dupe or give it to a friend or family member. :)

Dior Addict Lipstick in 783 Londres // Oh yes, you saw right - Lisa included a Dior Addict Mini in my swap package!!! I feel so spoiled as this is a very luxurious product that I've been meaning to try. I have a couple of the Dior Addict Extreme sheer lipsticks and I love them so I was over the moon when I saw this cute mini. I cannot wait to play around with this.

Twist & Pout Lip Balm in French Twist // This potted lip balm is super cute and smells wonderful! There is a little bit of a sweet flavour, which I normally don't like, but I love the packaging so much that I'm willing to overlook it. :)

Twist & Pout Lip Balm and Bag Charm // This product is adorable! I've been using it as a bag charm but I haven't dug into the actual lip balm yet. This one looks slightly tinted - a really pretty baby pink.

I have the Wet n Wild eyeshadow palette in Comfort Zone and I love it so I was really happy to receive a couple of different 8-shadow palettes to try. One of my YouTube viewers let me know that these are limited edition palettes that are extremely difficult to find... so a huge thank you to Lisa for sending me both! I feel very thankful as I always miss out on limited edition products.

- Wet n Wild Spring 2013 Limited Edition Spring Forward Color Icon Palette in Nude Awakening // I've used this palette once and the shades I used were very flattering. I can see this becoming one of my go-to neutral or smokey eye palettes.

- Wet n Wild Spring 2013 Limited Edition Spring Forward Color Icon Palette in Going in the Wild // I've used this palette twice and I was surprised by how much I liked it! I've been wearing a lot of neutral eyeshadow lately and I haven't been playing with colour as much as I used to so I forgot how much I like having a pop of colour in my eye makeup. I used the green on my lower lash line one day and the purple the next day. I thought both looked really nice.

Yay, sets!!! I love sets and kits...

- Benefit How to Look the Best at Everything in Medium // I was SO excited to see this set in my package! Mitsuko loves this kit and I'm sure I will too. I already know I love the POREfessional and the Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow. I can't wait to try the Boing concealer and the setting powder. I've been big on complexion lately so this kit came at the perfect time.

- Skinnygirl Face Solutions // This set contains 3 of my favourite things - a face mask, a facial scrub, and a lip product! I have never heard of this brand so I'm excited to learn more about it. Lisa mentioned that it was well reviewed on YouTube. :)

- Jack Black Balm Squad Lip Quad // I had heard great things about this product and being the lip balm junkie that I am, I wanted a set so bad. I ended up buying a set for my husband so I could try them too and they definitely live up to the hype. I was going to steal one of my hubby's lip balms but he refused to give me one so I was super happy to receive a set all to myself. I love the scent of these lip balms and I also love that there is no flavour.

This is the Tarte Awaken Your Complexion Kit... it is WONDERFUL! I tried the Maracuja oil last night and it made my skin so moisturized and radiant in the morning - it was really incredible. The concealer is lovely - it brightens up my under eye area while also concealing my dark circles... a little goes a long way so the tube will probably last me forever. The finishing powder works well too and I can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning so I can use it again. I've been enjoying the eye cream sample as well but it's too soon to tell if it's making a difference.

Look at this Estee Lauder set! I love love love the oversize clutch. It is perfect for going out and I will be using it often this summer. The makeup itself comes in a heavy duty "book" and it contains 9 pretty eyeshadows, a bronzer, a mascara, and 2 eyeliners. There are also 3 beautiful lip glosses included - my eyes were immediately drawn to these.

As if all the beauty products were not enough, Lisa and Mitsuko also included some charming accessories! I've already worn the lace & sequin bandeau - it is perfect and goes with so many different outfits. I also love all the costume jewellery - the oversize stud earrings fit my taste perfectly and I wore the bow studs all weekend. The necklace is simply gorgeous - I love the vintage aesthetic. All of these items are from Charlotte Russe and that was fun for me too as I've never been to that store.

A few other little goodies that were included:

- Coronado Brewing Co. Reusable Bag // My husband has taken this bag over. He was previously using a plain red reusable bag but this one is much more his style.

- Behind Every Successful Woman is a Substantial Amount of Chocolate // This is a notepad! I love stationary and I make a lot of notes for my YouTube videos so I will definitely be putting this item to good use.

- Bows for Bags Luggage Tag // This luggage tag is so cute and whimsical. I can't wait to attach it to my luggage. :)

Tea and chocolate... my nightly indulgences!

- Teavana Capital of Heaven Keemun // This is a lovely black tea! I've only tried this tea once and there is a flavour I can't quite place but I really like it and so does my hubby. He's actually requested this tea a few times when I've asked him what he wants steeped in the evening.

- Lupicia Decaf Muscat // This is my new favourite black tea and even better that it is decaf. I drink it every night. I have a mugful beside me as I type this. I love this tea so much that I've already placed an order at Lupicia. The company doesn't ship to Canada so I actually asked our hotel in Chicago (where we'll be at the end of June) if they would accept a parcel for me. They said yes and I placed the order. So excited to try a few more teas from Lupicia. Am I driven? Yes. Solution-oriented? Yes. Crazy? Just a little.

- Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry // I have heard so many wonderful things about these chocolates from my viewers on YouTube! I can't wait to try them! I'm saving them because my hubby is working in the evening this week and I want us to share them.

- Chuao Chocolatier Orange a Go Go Bar // Yummy!! I love orange scented chocolate. I can't wait to dig into this one. I will probably be bringing this to the office as I like to munch while I work and hubs isn't a huge fan of orange and chocolate together. Even though I like it, I don't buy orange scented chocolate very often because my hubby doesn't like it, so this will be a special treat, just for me. :) This chocolatier is based in San Diego.

Lisa also included little presents for my hubby, Lulu, and Truffle!

- Anthony Logistics for Men Three for the Road // My hubby has tried some of the Anthony products and he really liked them so he was very happy to receive this set! This set would also be perfect for travel. :)

- Sahuaro Cactus Dog Toy // Lulu loves this toy... she plays with it every night! Lisa wrote me to tell me that the toy is designed based on the Sahuaro cactus. This cactus is only found in the Sahuaro desert and they don't bloom until they are around 75 years old. Lisa has two of these majestic cacti in her yard and this year is the first time they have bloomed. I love that!

- Rabbit Toy for Truffle // Truffle is the most stubborn bunny you will ever meet and he refuses to play with this toy. He's not a huge fan of toys but I have a feeling he'll bite this one in due course. I hung it on his door and I might secure the bottom with a ribbon as he tends to like to bite things that have some resistance.

Lisa and Mitsuko wrote me little messages on these adorable Shiba Inu notes. I am keeping them all. :)

A huge THANK YOU to Lisa and Mitsuko for putting together such an amazing swap package! I'm overwhelmed by all the goodies and I'm having so much fun trying all the products. I hope you will enjoy the products I sent you as much as I have been enjoying mine. I really appreciate your generosity and kindness. My hubby, Lulu, and Truffle say thank you too! :)

Lisa doesn't normally do videos but she was so sweet to unbox her swap package on video so I could see her reaction and so you could all see what I got her... if you like, you can check out her unboxing here!

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