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

s1177567-main-hero

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

s487694-main-hero

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

s1676758-main-hero

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)

s1687839-main-hero

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

s1818533-main-hero

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

s1783224-main-hero

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.

So basically you’re paying for their marketing.20160218_223150.jpg

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.

20160218_223126.jpg

 

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

s862417-main-hero

Woooo mascara. Didn’t even open this.

Lancome Drama Liqui-pencil in Noir, $23

s1727460-main-hero

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

s1396795-main-hero

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

s1688092-main-hero

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.

20160218_223358.jpg

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

Tom Ford Black Orchid, $45-$165

s1007723-main-hero

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

s1562859-main-hero

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.

 

This Slacker Reviews Nadine West: June-August

I know, I’ve been awful. Part 2 of my summer break started today and I’m free from schoolwork until the 21st but I’ve still be incredibly busy bridesmaiding. I have so many posts that I need to make- I’m awful! Here’s my review of June, July, and August’s Nadine West shipments, plus a little update on the company itself.

Nadine West continues to be my favorite subscription service- though there are some changes I need to mention. But first, let’s look at two months worth of goods.

June was a pretty decent month for Nadine West. I almost kept everything!

Unfortunately this killer black necklace didn’t hold up superbly in shipping and a few of the rings holding it together had fallen out. Couldn’t justify keeping it with that knowledge.

wpid-20150724_221809.jpg

I have a silver bracelet very similar to this one… but I still kept this one because I think it’s such a fun design and I love a good bracelet.

wpid-20150724_221926.jpg

I also kept my first Nadine West top! It’s not work appropriate but it’s fun and comfy- plus it fits great!

wpid-wp-1442724598773.jpg

July was my first month dealing with Nadine West’s customer service. It was a positive experience that we’ll get to in a minute.

First, these earrings are adorable! I decided to keep them and have gotten so much wear out of them already. Arrows seem to be “in” right now, and blue is my favorite color. Adorable and perfect!

wpid-20150816_133303.jpg

This necklace ended up being sent back but it was a toughy. I loved the ancient, hammered gold look. I seriously felt very Mesopotamian trying this on and I did love it. But even with an adjustable chain it didn’t quite hit at a good spot for me and since I was hemming and hawing about it and not going “YES!” I decided to send it back, though I kind of wish I hadn’t.

wpid-20150816_133402.jpg

If this top had been a scarf I would have kept it. Alas the pattern was gorgeous but this cut was just NOT flattering. I carry my weight in my midsection, I don’t need to draw any more attention to that.

wpid-20150816_132524.jpg

wpid-20150816_132932.jpg

As to why I contacted customer service… there were two tops listed on my invoice, and I had only received one. Since they bill on what is NOT sent back to them, I did not want to be charged for “keeping” an item I didn’t receive. So I emailed customer service with a picture of the top I did get and a picture of the invoice. Less than 24 hours later I had a response telling which top it was I had received and assuring me that I wouldn’t be charged for the one I didn’t. Awesome!

The pictures from August are exceptionally bad because my phone was in the process of dying and I had to send the package back before I got my new one.

August had a blue tank top that would have been much more fitting for the beginning of summer as opposed to the end. It was also an awkward cut. I was also trying to photograph it on my old phone and couldn’t get a decent picture of it.

The hammered metal bracelet was nice but I didn’t love it, especially having just kept another Nadine West bracelet, it didn’t seem justified.

wpid-wp-1442771079649.jpg

The necklace was glitzy and awesome (made me feel kind of like a sorority girl,  don’t know why!) and I was going to keep that but I didn’t think I’d wear it enough to justify $25. So this month was all returns.

wpid-wp-1442771079648.jpg

Which brings me to Nadine West’s new policy. Before, the shipments were free, you only paid for what you kept. Now shipments will be $7 which can be deducted from anything you plan to keep (so for a $10 you’d pay the $3 difference). I understand why they do this, and on the months when I decide to keep something then it’s totally whatever- I’m not actually paying any more money. But months like August where there’s nothing I want to keep I’m out $7- which is reasonable compared to most other subscription services but given how tightly I’m pinching my pennies because of vet bills…

I will probably stick with Nadine West because it brings me joy. If you’re interested even though it’s no longer free you can use my referral link to check it out!

Irreverent Reviews: Snack Fever

When it rains it pours and I have a ton of stuff to review coming up! Unfortunately I’ve been running myself to exhaustion between wedding stuff (friend’s, not mine), grad school requirements, taking on a second cat, preparing to take on a third cat, some health stuff, and trying to make time for friends and family.

I just haven’t felt like blogging. The last thing I want to do after speed writing a five page paper (because it’s Sunday afternoon and I just thought to check the syllabus and hey, paper due by 8am!). Which is a shame, because I actually have stuff to say.

I found out about Snack Fever through Beeju Boxes and was instantly intrigued. I haven’t been able to find Pepero in the states and even though it’s the same thing as the cult classic Pocky I don’t want your stupid Japanese sticks, I want Pepero chusayo! The price was reasonable enough that I figured I could get a regular subscription and have some fun snacks, but I had to cancel after the first month because when you bring home a stray cat the vet bills will get you.

We love Agnes. If only she could get a job.

Snack Fever!

Snack Fever!

So: Snack Fever is a monthly sub ($20/month) filled with assorted Korean snacks, including my beloved Pepero and ramyun (ramen). My time living in Korea wasn’t that great (nothing against Korea!) but there are still things I miss it about.

The box mostly reminded me how not into snacking I was in Korea (which is probably why I lost 50lbs when I lived there… just kidding, it was the crippling untreated depression that kept me bedridden even though I literally lived over a pizza place and a kimbap shop). Believe me, that actual food is incredible and I miss Pizza School, Dasarang, and cheap bibimbap all the time but I had a hard time finding snacks that I really liked. Fortunately I also lived near a Paris Baguette and could buy fresh bread and pastries from them.

Tangents! I received two almost-identical Snack Fever boxes and was super thrilled to see Pepero and one of my favorite raymuns in the box (and one I’d never tried before)! It also included little sticks that could be dipped in a sweet cheese or nutella-like mixture, some little candy wafers in lemon and apple flavor, “floral” gum, melon milk, little chocolate puffs, and an assortment of cookie like things. Most of it was crushed to heck but it didn’t effect the taste. I still haven’t tried everything in the box but other than the spicy corn chips there’s nothing I’ve really disliked

I've tried the ramyun in the red package, but have not tried the squid ink one!

I’ve tried the ramyun in the red package, but have not tried the squid ink one!

This was the best pepero: chocolate filled! The Kancho are little chocolate filled cookie balls.

This was the best pepero: chocolate filled! The Kancho are little chocolate filled cookie balls.

Crunchy biscuits (probably closer to the British estimation). Very mild coconut flavor

Crunchy biscuits (probably closer to the British estimation). Very mild coconut flavor

Spicy corn chips... not my jive

Spicy corn chips… not my jive

Dippin' sticks. The cheese is very sweet so if it gets mixed with the chocolate it doesn't taste awful.

Dippin’ sticks. The cheese is very sweet so if it gets mixed with the chocolate it doesn’t taste awful.

This was like a thin rice cake with a sweet glaze. I really liked this!

This was like a thin rice cake with a sweet glaze. I really liked this!

A spongy cookie with some quintessential Korean packaging.

A spongy cookie with some quintessential Korean packaging.

A little wafer stick with chocolate drizzle.

A little wafer stick with chocolate drizzle.

Fruit flavored hard candy. I haven't tried this one yet but I used to buy huge bags of these to give to my students as bribes.

Fruit flavored hard candy. I haven’t tried this one yet but I used to buy huge bags of these to give to my students as bribes.

"Floral" gum and another wafery cookie

“Floral” gum and another wafery cookie

I can't remember if I've tried this one yet

I can’t remember if I’ve tried this one yet

Candy tabs, kind of like giant sweet tarts

Candy tabs, kind of like giant sweet tarts

And I missed getting a picture of the Melon milk.

One time in Korea I had an upset stomach so I went to the store to try and buy some saltines. They didn’t have pure saltines so I got the closet approximation (a box that said “cracker” in English). Turns out these crackers were just crusted with crystalized sugar! I was so upset I threw them across my apartment. Fortunately nothing in this box was too sweet or too spicy and if you’re interested in Korean snack food this gives a great overview.

And it was entirely worth it to give Anges a new bed (since she didn’t like the actual cat bed we got her)

A cat with a box is a happy cat.

A cat with a box is a happy cat.

(post contains affiliate links to Snack Fever site)

Irreverent Reviews: Nadine West June

My Nadine West shipment is quickly becoming my favorite part of the monthly mail. The life of a grad student is dependent on small pleasures. This month’s shipment was not a hit, mostly because of some personal preferences/needs.

As always, Nadine West is a free monthly clothing/accessory subscription. You only pay for what you keep, and returns are free.

wpid-20150628_142601.jpg

Summertime Glasses- $19.99

wpid-20150628_142726.jpg

Oh man, I love these shades! They are awesome! And I immediately knew I wouldn’t be keeping them. I generally only wear sunglasses when I’m driving and it is pretty mandatory that I have prescription lenses in when I’m operating a vehicle. Since I don’t fuck with contacts, I’ll stick with my stylish blue prescription sunglasses. I did make a “no sunglasses” note, since they’ll just inevitably be sent back no matter how much I like the frames.

So cute!

So cute!

Blue Enamel Studs- $9.99

wpid-20150628_143914.jpg

I really liked the color of these earrings, and there’s a fun mod-ness about them. I don’t wear studs though, thanks to a childhood trauma where I pushed my earring backs in too far and my ear tried to assimilate them. Fish hooks or hoops for me!

Static Electricity Top- $22.49

wpid-20150628_152603.jpg

The top was strange. It felt like it was made of scrub fabric, and wasn’t dissimilar in cut. It didn’t fit well.

This month I kept nothing. The sunglasses and earrings I would have kept if I didn’t need prescription glasses/wore studs. The shirts are getting closer to my style, if this one were a bit nicer in terms of quality I probably would have kept it.

As always I recommend trying out Nadine West since it’s  free! As always, you’re encouraged to use my affiliate link if you want to sign up!

Irreverent Reviews: Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is one of the many curated subscription boxes on the market, this one dealing with clothes. Each box is $20 and you can chose to have the delivered monthly, every three months, or on an un-automated schedule you decide yourself (the option I selected for the time being). The $20 fee is applied as a credit towards whatever you want to buy from the box and there’s an additional discount if you keep all 5 items. Anything that you don’t want to keep you can send back for free.

Each box comes with an “order” sheet, detailing what was selected and the price, as well as an illustrated styling guide that provides ideas for how to wear each piece.

In my continued quest to build a more professional wardrobe, I decided to give Stitch Fix a go. It’s difficult because I don’t really gravitate towards truly professional clothing. That’s why I need help from stylists.

The items in a Stitch Fix can be rather pricey, even considering the credits and the discounts. I couldn’t afford to keep the entirety of my box (valued at about $300 before credits/discounts) which is ok because I didn’t care for everything in the first place, though there was one clear winner and I felt like my stylist was on track with what I like.

I'm trying to be better about photographing the packaging!

I’m trying to be better about photographing the packaging!

Moda Luxe Palermo Stitch Detail Clutch- $38

wpid-20150625_170408.jpg

This sturdy grey clutch is nice. It’s one of the designs that can be a clutch (folded over with a magnetic clip), but inside there’s a gold chain that can be attached you can use it as a more traditional purse. I like bags, and I do wish I had a good clutch, but logically I have a hard enough time remembering to transfer my epi-pen from bag to bag. ER doctors like to yell at you when you do that.

Margaret M Emer Jacquard Tall Straight Leg Pant- $98

wpid-20150627_170505.jpg

These pants were a hard “nope,” and not just because of the price point. I liked the jacquard design, but these were more leggings than pants. They fit over my large calves in a way skinny jeans won’t but still felt more like a “skinny” than my preferred straight leg or boot cut. They were also oddly bunchy in the crotch. No debate needed, they went back.

I did like the design though

I did like the design though

Papermoon Taluca Printed Pencil Skirt- $58

wpid-20150627_170550.jpg

Oh the pencil skirt. I love them but am just so inept at styling them. This was incredibly comfortable and I did enjoy it. The patterns made it very versatile but I just feared not having an appropriate blouse to style it with. I’m trying to minimize and have enough closet orphans as it is. If I could have assured myself that this would not join their ranks I’d have kept it, but since I  couldn’t it went back and I am a bit sad for it… though I do feel responsible!

Brixon NY Jarred Lace Detail Cap Sleeve Blouse- $68

wpid-20150627_170750.jpg

It’s a darker blue in real life (“cobalt”), but this shirt gave me an “oh yes” moment like I had with the necklace from my first Nadine West package. This top is total perfection, it’s my favorite color, it’s versatile and I can feel good wearing it to work or out, but it also has personality. It should be worn with a strapless bra, which is a bit of a con, but if I wear it to work my arms and shoulders will spend all day covered by a jacket anyways. I kept this piece, it was too good to pass up (and really made my wallet glad that the whole box wasn’t this on point!)

41Hawthorn Teegan Draped Blazer- $78

wpid-20150627_170703.jpg

This roomy blazer was actually more comfortable than my more conventional blazer! Still there were some issues that made it a no-go. I wish it had full long sleeves, they roll and snap up, but unrolled they are still rather short. The draped style was comfortable but I prefer a blazer that will zip or button in the front for more security/warmth. I also liked the inner details (polka dots, bright blue piping) better than the outside, and no one but me would get to see the inside! It was nice and not a full miss, but there was enough to make me feel comfortable sending this one back.

I think this particular type of digital curation (that’s a library school joke) is a little fraught. My stylist has my notes and my pinterest board to go off of, and my pinterest board is less practical workwear and more “If I were a vengeful fairy queen with an excuse to wear capes all the time.” As a picky person, especially one trying to fulfill specific wardrobe needs, I’m really pleased when things are in the right field- I don’t expect perfection. While I haven’t scheduled my next Stitch Fix yet, I know that I will. And I’m very excited to see what else is in store because even though this box was not 100% wins it was still great and I did feel like my stylist overall “got” me.

If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix feel free to use my referral link. I think it’s definitely worth checking out, especially since you don’t need to commit to a recurring shipment, and you’re able to apply your styling fee to your purchase.

Irreverent Reviews: Nadine West, May

Nadine West is a free clothing/accessory subscription service. For no monthly fee you get a shipment of about three pieces at various price points. You’re only charged for what you keep and you can return anything you don’t want for no fee. It’s my favorite thing.

I’ve received two other Nadine West packages, the first wowed me with one of the most beautiful statement necklaces, the second struck out all around. They set the bar incredibly high with the first month, I’m not sure they’ll ever be able to top it!

Let’s see how they did this May:

The List

The List

The “Firecrack Tank” was a miss, but I’m really glad they sent it to me! If you’ll remember, I had “meh, I don’t know.” feelings about the previous two tops I received. Nadine West encourages you to write notes about what you did/didn’t like so they can improve your packages. This top was sheer and while some people are masters of layering- I’m not. Knowing exactly what I didn’t like about this top meant I could leave an annotation and know that I was giving constructive feedback, getting closer to them sending me the perfect item that I’ll snap right up!

As it is, if the tank were solid I might have kept it because the colors are so fun! And if it had arrived just a few days earlier, I would have gifted it to a friend for her birthday.

Red, white, blue... and purple!

Red, white, blue… and purple!

The “Take me to the Tower” pendant was also a miss. I’ve been to Paris, I like Paris, but Paris doesn’t stand out to me as an overly romanticized city. If I were going to wear a landmark as a pendant, I’d be more likely to pick Christ the Redeemer (Brazil) or Angkor Wat (Cambodia). Something a little less cliche. I’m not crazy about the long leather strap, it’s a little more “festival” than I tend to wear.

Maybe my next apartment will have adequate lighting?

Maybe my next apartment will have adequate lighting?

The “Lolli Loops” are so fun! I kept these awesome hoop earrings. They scream “summer fun” to me, and I can think of a ton of different outfits I can wear them with- from a tank and shorts, to my awesome black sundress, to a more formal and work appropriate look.

It looks very pink here, but very red in person

It looks very pink here, but very red in person

wpid-20150602_193054.jpg

They’re not too big to be bulky but large enough to make a statement. They have the kind of back I like and they’re gold- a metal I don’t have a lot of, so I’m always excited when I get a gold piece I can add to my collection (even though silver is my favorite). Earrings are a “rarely” item for me, because I’m so picky about the backs. This was a great pair to get.

I highly recommend Nadine West! Even if you keep everything you get it still works out to be the same or cheaper than a lot of other fashion subs and even the things I haven’t kept I’ve been pleased with in terms of quality. If you’d like to check them out you can always use my Affiliate Link!