Sephora Play! March Box

This was a great box! There were seven items total: three I love, two I haven’t tried, 1 I don’t care for, and we’ll talk about the 7th in a minute.

Didn’t bother photographing this myself. Again, the paper they use as padding makes everything super dusty and while the boxes are nice the stuff just doesn’t look that great inside it. Still love it, though!

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper $19

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I love this liner! Love love LOVE it. This is my favorite liquid liner, hands down. The sample size has the little foamy tip, but I love the brush tip on the full-size. Perhaps it’s because that’s what I “trained” with, but I find the brush tip easier to use.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser $38

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I love this cleanser! I had never tried it before, but needing a new cleanser for my travel bag, I threw this in before a recent trip to NYS. It smells so good, like fresh grass and other scents, it cleans amazingly, and it left my skin feeling great. One thing that didn’t make it into my travel bag was a make-up remover, and this definitely took care of my raccoon eyes the next morning. In fact, trying this cleanser in the Play! box convinced me to take the Fresh duo (includes this and a rose face mask) as my birthday present, instead of the Marc Jacobs liner and lipstick. And I’m usually all about that liner and lipstick!

Sephora Collection: Perfectionist Airbrush Sponge $12

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So I love this, but technically haven’t tried it. At least, not this one that was sent to me specifically, but I got a set of Sephora beauty blenders for Christmas, so I know I like this. I went years being too cheap to invest in one, and now I have 5. None of which I’ve specifically purchased. How great is that? I don’t know the nuances of sponges, but the Sephora brand ones seem pretty good to me.

Maison Martin Margiela “Replica” Beach Walk $25 (Rollerball. $135 for 3.4 oz)

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I mean, it’s not like this is bad scent or there’s anything wrong with it. I just don’t care. It’s supposed to “to evoke a familiar but forgotten moment—a walk along a sandy beach.” but “bergamot, coconut milk, lemon, pink pepper, and musk” aren’t smells that make me think of the beach. Sunscreen, sand, salt water, rotting seaweed and a hint of something fishy are my beach-smell memories (guess who isn’t a beach person?) and like I said, this is fine and unoffensive but whatevs. I can’t even care enough to emphatically dislike it.

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield $80

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Moisturizing + Priming + SPF??? I haven’t tried this yet but it’s hitting all my wants and needs! Too bad about that full-size pricetag though. I know Murad is a great brand but this would have to last a long ass time and basically change my life to get me to switch from the awesome primers that are half that cost.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil $42

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I love Smashbox’s regular Photo Finish Primer. It was the first-ever review I did for this blog! So I’m optimistic that this will be great, but a little concerned about the “oil” aspect. I know Oil cleansing is supposedly a great thing, and I’ve had great success leaving oil treatments in my hair overnight and rinsing them out in the morning. And sometimes I use a quick spritz or Argan oil as my face moisturizer, so we’ll just have to see how this works. I’m apprehensive yet optimistic.

The Final Item

Finally, there was a tiny little tub that you can take to the Sephora store and get a sample of a liquid foundation. When I unpacked the box one of my cats (I have my suspicions as to who…) promptly stole the little tub. Whatever, I don’t feel too bad. I prefer a powder anyways.

This box was definitely a hit for me! I haven’t received April’s box yet, but it’s looking pretty good and I can’t wait to try it!

Sephora Play: First Impressions

I signed up for Sephora Play because the email made me feel special. Yup, that’s all it takes to get me. I’m also doing better than anticipated on the money thing because I got a sweet tax return. Thanks, Obama!

Actually, I should thank Drexel. The only thing grad school is good for is the tax break, and you know, the higher earning potential.

Enough about me, let’s talk about Sephora Play. This is Sephora’s new subscription box, which sends out monthly beauty products that can also be purchased at Sephora.

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The theme for February was “Now and Later,” described as “lip tips, hairstyle savers, purse essentials […] for looking your best day and night.” Aside from one product I didn’t see much now and later. The majority seemed more… reapply as necessary.

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I liked the box and packaging overall, but the white paper left an unattractive white residue on the darker colored packaging of the items and it was surprisingly hard to wipe off. Mostly for that reason I’m going to just use brand photos of the items as opposed to individual pictures.  All prices are the full-size retail cuz fuck me if I’m going to math out what a sample is worth.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, $21

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Woooo mascara. Didn’t even open this.

Lancome Drama Liqui-pencil in Noir, $23

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This is a good, black eyeliner pencil. Unfortunately for good eyeliner pencils and people who like a lot of text in a review post, there’s a lot more to be said about a bad pencil than a good one. I’m not going to run out and become a liqui-pencil convert… in part because I have enough black eyeliner samples to last my lifetime.

They do give instructions on how to pump up the eyeliner drama from day to night by going for a more dramatic wing, so I guess I see how this is a now and later item.

MUFE Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N9 (Copper Pink), $20

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God, I love MUFE lipstick (doesn’t everyone?). They just make such solid, wearable colors. I haven’t ventured very far out of their “my lips but better” shades and don’t own a single full-sized product by them, but they make a damn good lipstick.

Bareminerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil Balm in Plumberry Pop, $16

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Ignoring that something about the name “Plumberry Pop” makes me irrationally angry, this isn’t a bad product. The color isn’t intense, but it’s there (unlike Benefit’s posie balm…) and the forumla does feel creamy and hydrating.

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So here we have the swatches: Lancome Eyeliner, Bareminerals oil balm, and MUFE lipstick

Tom Ford Black Orchid, $45-$165

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This smells great but WTF at the price? A beauty expert says it is a scent for  “the person who doesn’t want to smell like everyone else,” or the person with a lot of extra money. As much as I do like this scent I don’t wear perfumes often and have a huge collection of scents that are rarely worn. I’m giving the sample to a friend who loves this scent though. Maybe I’ll make her write a guest post about her scent-hunting quest.

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder, $12-$27

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Greasy hair by the end of the day? Throw in some dry shampoo! This is the item that seemed most “now and then” to me. I’m keeping it but haven’t used it yet… it had the misfortune of arriving mere days after my first dry shampoo purchase. I’ve stuck this one in my travel kit, but haven’t traveled yet. Hopefully it’s not too hard to apply a reasonable amount.

So overall I liked Play! and am looking forward to March’s box: The Perfection Collection. I’m hoping there’s some kind of conturing product in the box so I can give that a try, I’m too wimpy to commit to a full-size kit!

I would recommend trying play if you like getting a variety of different items, love getting things in sample size, and have someone who takes your cast-offs. At this time it looks like there is a waitlist for Play! There are also no referrals for the program, unfortunately.

 

Ten Three Labs Grand Reopening Collection

(Note: I wrote this post before I went to NYC and forgot to post it. The cat+finger trap situation was sorted for good this past trash day)

Ten Three Labs is ruining my life.

I didn’t get any sleep last night thanks to Ten Three Labs.

How could an indie makeup company possibly affect my ability to get a good night’s sleep? you ask.

Well you see, when my order of their Grand Reopening Collection arrived, a Chinese finger trap* was included and I think it was laced with catnip because it is my cat’s new favorite thing and I can’t hide it well enough from her.

So I spent last night listening to my cat pull this thing OUT OF THE TRASH and then prance around the room after it. When I got out of the shower this morning there she was sitting on my bed (she always startles me because I turn the light on and she’s just THERE with her intense eye contact) and the finger trap was on the floor. I picked it up and threw it on the bed and she just lost her fucking noodles going after that thing.

Come to think of it, she was just after every single thing I received in my order.

Then she tried to eat EVERYTHING

Then she tried to eat EVERYTHING

Ten Three Labs: They’ll ruin your life via cats.

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS THOUGH when they announced their Bob’s Burgers themed collection I said to myself “I’m interested but I have a lot of stuff so I won’t buy it unless they have an Electric Love color.” thinking that was kind of a long shot.

Jokes on me guys! And it’s my favorite color!

I purchased the sample size of the collection which included two scents, two smudge sticks, and twelve shadows.

Like my previous assessment of the shadows in the Bad Bitch collection, I liked the colors but found the payoff a little inconsistent. The darker ones especially went on thin and streaky with my brush, but were able to be built up nicely. I was an especially big fan of the blue tones, but aren’t I always? It also might be time for me to invest in a better brush. On January 15th the size of the shadow collections will be reduced based on sales figures, so if you really want something and aren’t sure if it will make the cut… get it now! As much as I like their shadows, this seems like a smart business move to me, as the area they really excel in are the scents.

Bells Bells Bells, The Buttler, Capoeira, Ehhhuagh

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The scents are great too. I now own three scents from Ten Three and am really impressed because everything smells exactly as it is advertised! Sometimes I get scents and when I take that sniff I just have no clue how any of the notes are actually in that hodgepodge. Always Carry Roses smells of roses. Organic Blueberries smells just like blueberries and hippies. I will be passing these along to a friend who is on the hunt for a scent that she can love and wear, I think she will like Organic Blueberries (she is a big fan of OHWTO’s Samovar scent).

I was worried about mailing the scents in the winter. I’ve had liquids in packages freeze and break their packaging/leak everywhere. I made a note with my order requesting that the scents NOT be sent if there was a freezing concern (we’ve had a pretty mild winter up here so far but you never know…). Discretion was used and the scents were included in my package and no harm was done to them or the rest of the order! Even if they had leaked they were in their own little baggie (a plastic one… they were also inside a nice little cloth baggie). I’m glad they were able to make it through the mail unharmed!

In my first order I tried one of the salve sticks, which I heartily enjoyed (it’s hanging out in my purse now!). The smudge sticks are tinted versions of the salve sticks, retaining the high peppermint scent. The colors are very nice, far less glossy than I expected them to be. I had swatches and now I can’t find the picture, but I did have this one of Hell Hath No Fury popped out of it’s sample case. I don’t know if they were supposed to do that but it meant I didn’t need a brush to apply them.

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This was a super fun collection with the perfect references to Bob’s Burgers. The next collection being released is Orphan Black themed, and I’m sad that I don’t have the money to make any makeup purchases for a long while. I really recommend checking Ten Three Labs out, especially for their scents.

*Is there a different/better name for these things?

Irreverent Reviews: Alchimia Apothecary Makes Me a Scent!

To reiterate, in case I have not already established these points:

My favorite book is Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

My favorite color, flavor, month, number, and word is Free.

So while I’m not very much of a perfume wearer (most of my collection is because my dad went through a phase where he got me perfume as a stocking stuffer for a few years because my journey through puberty confused and terrified him and apparently paralyzed the gift giving muscle in his brain… fortunately Tommy Girl and Gabriella Sabatini are both nice scents). I’m not much of a scent person in general, but I do enjoy a nice raspberry body spray and anything scented with almond.

Despite my aversion to smells, Alchimia Apothecary has been on my radar for awhile, and not just because their name trips up my tongue. They offer an option to “Choose Your Own Adventure” and design your own fragrance, which is awesome because I’ve always wanted to smell like a berry almond cake (not sarcasm). In July, they announced they were doing a contest. The prize of the contest was a basket of Free (honestly there are a lot of neat looking things I’d love to try in it)! I want(ed) to win the basket of Free! So obviously I went over there and concocted something that would make me smell like a raspberry almond cake.

Close! I decided to go with something fun, referential, and a little gimmicky. I crafted “Ice-9,” named after the apocalyptic agent in Cat’s Cradle and blending the cool, icy scents of a world with no water and the tropical majesty of fictionalized San Lorenzo. If you follow the link you can “like” the post and vote for my blend of Icy Pear, Winter Ice, Salty Sea Breeze, Tropical Green Floral, and Fruit Musk. (I am 99% sure that I am going to lose to “Idaho”). You don’t have to like the page, just the post, and you’re welcome to click through and check out all 30-some entries.

My scent arrived yesterday and I’m quite pleased with it, especially since I have no experience creating a scent. The thing with the Choose Your Own Adventures is basically that if it shows up and it’s not great, it’s your fault. Ice-9 is a little bit soapier than I would have wished it, but it’s light and wearable and both Manbeast and myself think it is a nice smell.

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Normally, I can only comment on what I receive from places and if I like it, however I got to test drive Alchimia Apothecary’s customer service with this order! It appears their only payment option is through paypal, which fine, I have a paypal account, I’ll use it. However there were some difficulties, first Paypal shoehorned me in to paying by an “echeck” which neither myself nor Erin at AA really knew how to deal with, then it gave me some weird error messages, and basically I had to contact them to make sure everything went through (it did). My emails were answered promptly and politely and all the issues were quickly resolved and my entry scent crafted. It’s great to know the people behind the product are so helpful.

If you’re intrigued, check out their scent list for the CYOA, or look into some of their pre-created scents. And, if you’re feeling generous, you have the rest of this week to vote for me. They also offer an assortment of cosmetics and other products that I am unsure how to concisely categorize.

 

EDIT: Here’s a link to the refurbished and now public Mary Kay review I did forever ago

We Interrupt this Hiatus…

To inform you that Besame’s Champagne color is on sale. It ships free if you have Amazon Prime. Other sale colors include Chocolate Kiss, Debutante Pink, and Coral. I have only tried Champagne and Chocolate Kiss of these four (Champagne being my favorite color I sampled, Chocolate Kiss being my least). If you’re interested in checking these colors out I recommend snagging them now (the regular collection runs about $22 a tube).

 Alchimia Apothecary is also having a fun little promotion going on now, if perfume is your thing.

We now return to our regularly scheduled hiatus. Self-imposed vacation will end August 1st.