Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nail Polish!

Some of my newest additions: Veruschka, Ibiza, and Holly by Zoya
I've made a home for my new-found obsession with nail polish.  Instead of clogging up the blog with individual posts each time I swatch a new polish, I made a page for them.  You can view what I have so far by clicking here, or by clicking the link that says "Nail Polish Swatches" under the header of the blog.  I'll be adding more and more each time I change the color of my nails!

My first ever Wordless Wednesday!

I've seen Wordless Wednesday posts around the blogsphere and I never knew what they were.  I guess it's pretty self-explanatory, but I finally looked it up just to be sure.  So here's my first ever post!  I know we're supposed to let the photo speak for itself, but just a little description: this is my cat, Bing, playing with a ribbon I got on a Christmas gift.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CrazyDog T-Shirts Review and Giveaway [CLOSED]

I come bearing another giveaway!  I am really excited to blog about this company, for reasons which you will soon discover.  I've seen other features for CrazyDog T-Shirts on other sites around the blogsphere, but I was unable to enter their giveaways (blog owners are not allowed to enter).  I viewed their Facebook page on a whim, and then realized that they are based in my home city of Rochester, NY!  I immediately contacted them about featuring them on this blog because I like supporting small businesses, especially local ones.

CrazyDog T-Shirts and their sister site, Nacho Mama Tees, offer tons of funny tshirts for everyone!  Some of my favorites are below:

I like this one that says "Stand Back: I'm Going To Try Science" because it reminds me of my boyfriend.  He's actually really good at science, he's in grad school for aerospace engineering, but I'm terrible at it and we always joke about it.

Another shirt that made me laugh is this one that says "Relax, I'm from the internet."  Pretty relevant to anyone who blogs, or is active on the internet (which equals pretty much everyone I know).

CrazyDog T-Shirts generously allowed me to choose two tshirts to review, one from and one from  I chose a maroon one that says "The Drunken Bear, Anchorage Alaska," which can be found in the T-Shirt Designs section of and a navy and gold one that says "I ♥ Beers!," which can be found in the Funny T-Shirts section of I'm not sure if the Drunken Bear one is a reference to a tv show or movie, but I just liked the polar bear on the front.  The Beers one is clever and will make a good gift for one of my friends, or possibly my brother.

I was most impressed by how soft these shirts are.  The Drunken Bear one is a men's small, and fits me well, although it's a bit long.  The Beers one (get it, bear plus deer?  It took me a second to figure out lol) is a medium and is a little roomier but just as comfortable.  The prints are nice and vibrant.  Overall, these shirts are great quality and very affordable ($16.99 or below at full price).  CrazyDog also has plenty of shirts on sale, and a daily $6.99 shirt deal, which features a different shirt each day.

Bottom Line: CrazyDog T-Shirts and Nacho Mama Tees are perfect for the jokester in your life.  They have lots of tv and movie themed shirts, as well as cute styles targeted towards women.  The shirts are great quality and made from super soft cotton, and are nice and affordable.

CrazyDog T-Shirts has also generously offered a $15 Gift Certificate to one of my readers!  Find out how to enter behind the read more.

Best Price Nutrition Review, Part III - Wholemega

Part three of my Best Price Nutrition reviews!  Remember that at the end of these reviews (there are four total), there will be a giveaway and one winner will be able to choose a full-sized bottle of supplements from the ones I've reviewed to try.

I received a five-day trial size of New Chapter Wholemega, which is a whole fish oil supplement.  It's made of 100% Extra-Virgin Wild Alaskan Salmon.  I've heard a lot about the health benefits of whole fish oil, so I was interested to give these a try.  If you aren't familiar with fish oil, the label states that it is "clinically shown to reduce triglyceride levels."  In layman's terms, triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils (yes, I had to look up the definition, haha).

These pills are big and I had the most difficulty swallowing them out of all of the supplements I received.  It took a few tries with a lot of applesauce!  But someone who is used to taking vitamins and supplements would surely have no problem with these.  They're smooth gel capsules, too, which made them easier for me to take than a pill with a chalky consistency.

Wholemega is different than conventional fish oil because the extra-virgin process used to extract Wholemega delivers an oil that is striking in color (an orange-ish bronze) and transparency.  The gentle, food-grade process preserves beneficial compounds like Vitamin D3 and Astaxanthin (which the brilliant hue of the pills comes from).  The antioxidant is naturally found in Wild Salmon and abundant in this Extra-Virgin fish oil.

Bottom Line: These supplements didn't make me feel any different, but I'm impressed by the process in which they are made.  I don't think I would invest in a full-sized bottle at the moment, but it's clear to me that these are beneficial to those who are interested in taking a fish oil supplement.

*Disclaimer: I received a 5-day trial bottle of Wholemega for free to facilitate my review.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review and the honest opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, December 26, 2011

NYC New York Color Liquid Lip Shine Review

This is the last VoxBox review I'll post for a little while, but I saved one of the best for last!  I received a NYC New York Color Liquid Lip Shine in the shade "Nude York City" in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox and I absolutely adore it.  I'm a lip product junkie, so I'm always up for testing different glosses and balms.

I was familiar with the NYC New York Color brand before testing the product through Influenster, but I had never tried the Liquid Lipshine before.  The brand offers "products with uptown style at down-to-earth prices, from $.99 to $4.99."  I shop at drugstores for cosmetics a lot, so I have no problem with buying a lip gloss that costs less than $5; the listed price is $2.49 for one tube.  These glosses come in a broad range of shades (10 total, some of which are pictured above).  The Liquid Lipshine contains pure pigments that create a 3-D gloss effect on your lips.  Vitamin E provides shine and a moisturizing feel, and the formula is non-sticky, shiny, and soft.  They are available at stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Rite Aid, CVS, etc.

Each Holiday VoxBox contained the same shade: Nude York City.  I really liked testing this out because I had been thinking about purchasing a nude lip color, and this gave me the perfect opportunity!  The first thing I noticed about the gloss is that it smells really good; the scent reminded me of a vanilla cupcake.  The shade matches the color of my skin pretty closely, so it basically looks like a sheer gloss on my lips.  It really is the perfect "nude" shade for me.  I also appreciate that the gloss lives up to the "non-sticky" claim on its label.  It feels like it really moisturizes my lips and absorbs into them, as opposed to just sitting on top of them and feeling gooey.

Bottom Line: The NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine gets a thumbs up from me.  They are super affordable, easily accessible, and work well.  Anyone looking for a quality gloss that won't break the bank will really enjoy these.  I want to get a red shade next.

*Disclaimer: I received the NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine for free as a part of Influenster's VoxBox program in exchange for writing a review and promoting the product through social media.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review and the honest opinions are entirely my own.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Montagne Jeunesse Mask Review

Another product I received in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox was a mask from Montagne Jeunesse, which was really fun for me because I love trying new skin care products.

The mask I received was the Strawberry Souffle version.  I've seen their products at stores like Wal-Mart before and have tried one of their other masks in the past.  It was a while ago so I don't remember what the exact name of it was, but I remember it being gel-like.  Montagne Jeunesse has a large variety of masks available at very affordable prices.  They are packed with delicious, natural ingredients and are bursting with fragrance!  They are also suitable for all skin types, so there's no need to worry about which ones will be appropriate for your skin.  A plus of these masks for me is that they are free of parabens, are vegetarian-approved, and are never tested on animals.  You can pick them up at stores including ULTA Beauty, Walgreens, Claire's, Wal-Mart, Kroger, CVS Pharmacies, and other retailers across the U.S.

As I said, I received the Strawberry Souffle mask.  Other varieties include Cucumber Peel Off, Passion Peel Off, Dead Sea Mud, Fruit Smoothie, Chocolate Mud, and many more.  The Strawberry smelled absolutely wonderful.  It was so sweet and perfect and it smelled good enough to eat!  I was able to get two uses out of this sample packet, I probably could have even stretched it to three if I really wanted to.  I slathered it on my skin and left it there for about 15 minutes, then washed it off with a washcloth and warm water.  It didn't over-dry my skin, which I appreciated.  It left my face feeling super soft and smooth.

Bottom Line: I highly recommend Montagne Jeunesse's masks!  They are high-quality, cruelty-free, vegetarian-approved, and very affordable (also easily accessible).  What more could you want?  I want to try the Fruit Smoothie and Passion Peel Off kinds next.

X Out Wash In Treatment Review

I received the X Out Wash In Treatment in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox.  It was one of the special extra items that Influenster sent out, so I was really happy to have received one.  It was supposed to go out to college students, but I'm currently not in school.  I think I may have received it because I'm a recent grad; I graduated with my undergrad degree this past May.

Regardless of why I received the treatment, I was eager to try it.  It's a one-step acne wash from the creators of Proactiv.  It's formulated to help kill the bacteria that causes breakouts, banish existing pimples, and leave skin feeling smooth and looking healthy.  X Out works to lift away the dirt and grime that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.  It also leaves behind a powerful medicine that helps to keep pores clean after washing.  It's sold as a 30-day supply and comes with a bonus Shine Control product to help fight excess oil; the subscription is $19.95 per supply.

I have sensitive skin, so I worried that this product would be too strong for my skin.  I've been blessed with pretty good skin and I never had too many breakouts while I was in high school and college.  I still wanted to give this a try, though.  The sample sized I received (pictured above) was a good size--2.5 ounces.  It can be used as a wash, a mask, or a spot treatment.  I decided to use it as a wash.

The first thing that I noticed was the scent.  I'm a very scent-driven person, and this one smelled nice and sweet; it reminded me of bubblegum.  It's a white cream with little exfoliating particles in it.  The texture reminded me of a sugar scrub.  The directions say to massage into face for 1-2 minutes, but I knew that would be way too long and harsh on my delicate skin.  I probably rubbed it in for about 30 seconds, then washed it off.  My skin felt nice and smooth after, but it definitely dried it out quite a bit.  One thing I thought was fun about it is that there is a QR code on the side of the bottle that you can scan for a "daily distraction."  These distractions last for the 1-2 minutes you're supposed to wash for, so it's a good way to time your progress.  I don't have a smartphone (I know, I'm practically a dinosaur!) so I couldn't try it out, but you can also view them at
Bottom Line: I think that the X Out Wash In Treatment would be great for someone who has severe acne.  It's not something I would buy a full-sized version of because I have fairly clear, sensitive skin.  I will continue to use it as a mask or an exfoliating wash on occasion, though.

*Disclaimer: I received the X Out Wash In Treatment for free as a part of Influenster's VoxBox program in exchange for writing reviews and promoting the products included in the box via social media.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review and the honest opinions are entirely my own.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December Eco-Emi Box!

I'm so so so excited to be writing about my first official Eco-Emi box!  I had first signed up for the service in the beginning of November, and since you are always paying for the following month's box I wouldn't be getting my first one until December.  I say my first "official" box because I purchased an extra October box in the meantime, to tide me over.

The packaging this month is so beautiful!  I was really impressed when I opened up my package and saw the bow.  I love the colors, too; the brown and tan are very chic.

Here are what all of the goodies looked like when I first opened the box.  I had spoiled myself (I can never really stand to wait to be surprised!) and found out what we'd all be receiving through other peoples' blog posts and the Eco-Emi site, but it didn't take away from the joy I got from opening up the box!  The green tissue paper stood out to me, since green is my favorite color.  I thought that the brown box with green accents was much more refreshing than a predictable red and green combo.

Each box comes with an index card with a welcome from Christine, the Eco-Emi founder, along with descriptions of all of the products inside.  I noticed a few typos and grammatical errors on it, which the former English major in me found a little disappointing.  But overall, I'm most interested in testing out the products, so less-than-perfect grammar is definitely forgivable.

The loot!  Since Eco-Emi is a lifestyle box, there is a variety of different eco-friendly products each month.  I like lifestyle boxes more than strictly-beauty boxes, because I only need so many beauty samples.  I was very pleased with the items in this month's box.

  • Wyk Candles Whispering Pine Candle - I love candles, and I love fall and winter scents the best.  This Whispering Pine scent is wonderful!  It's definitely got the pine notes, but it's slightly sweet, too.
  • Zambeezi Tangerine Lip Balm - There has been some chatter from members who are tired of getting lip balms in every box, but I say keep 'em coming!  I'm glad that this was included since it's my first box and I'm obsessed with lip balms.  This one smells great, and like many of the other organic balms I've tried, it feels great on my lips.
  • Artisana Organic Raw Cacao Bliss Coconut Butter - I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds yummy. It's a spread, so I plan on buying some graham crackers and taking it to work for a snack.  The index card describes it as a "rich, creamy, vegan chocolately-coconut spread."
  • Organic Candy Cane from The Natural Candy Store - I just ate this tonight and it was really good!  It was a fun little treat for the Christmas season and I'm glad they included it in the box.
  • GreenShield Organic Free and Clear Laundry Detergent - I haven't used this yet, either, but it's an interesting product.  I also received an organic laundry soap with my Conscious Box, which worked rather well.  I like these because I don't want to be putting harmful chemicals into the water when I do my laundry.
  • John Masters Organics from Hip Apotheca - The two silver packets are a Jojoba and Ginseng Exfoliating Face Cleanser and a Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Wash, which are featured by Hip Apotheca.  I haven't used them yet but I'm really excited to.  The exfoliating facial cleanser sounds nice because I love trying new exfoliating products, and the blood orange and vanilla scent of the body wash sounds wonderful.
  • Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Botanical Lip Gloss - This lip gloss is a full-sized tube of the Winterberry shade.  I guess a sample of it was featured in the first ever Eco-Emi box, and since the feedback was so great they decided to include a full-sized one for us to close out the year!  The applicator is one of those brush tips where you click the bottom to release more gloss up through the brush, which isn't my favorite.  I feel like they never dispense enough gloss so I'm always clicking away.  The shade is pretty, though, and smells great.
  • Genesis Today Vitamin C Zinc Chews - I really like these!  One chew provides 200% of your daily value of Vitamin C, along with other vitamins.  They taste nice and citrusy.
  • Maggie's Functional Organics Patterned Footies - I love these; they're so cute!  My feet are always cold, so I wear socks around the house all the time in the winter.  The pattern I got is black with stars.  They're nice and soft; I'm wearing them right now!
Bottom Line: For $15 a month, Eco-Emi is becoming my favorite subscription service.  Keep in mind that it's a lifestyle box, so there is more included than beauty samples.  All of the products are eco-friendly, too.  Learn more about them and see what's been in past boxes here!

More photos behind the cut.

Best Price Nutrition Review, Part II - Perfect Energy

Here is the second installment of my 4-part Best Price Nutrition reviews.  I received Perfect Energy, Holy Basil Force, WholeMega, and Zyflamend supplements to review.  After I post the final review, Best Price Nutrition will send one winner a bottle of the supplement of their choice.

This review is for "Perfect Energy" by New Chapter Organics.  The supplement is a whole-food multivitamin designed for balanced energy and endurance; I received a 5-day trial bottle.  I was interested to try these because I admittedly do not eat very well.  I don't eat a ton of vegetables, so I look to supplements to provide me with my daily servings of vitamins that I need.

These pills were a bit difficult for me to take, since I'm not the best at swallowing pills.  They're the size of an average vitamin, but I'm a baby when it comes to taking pills!  I couldn't take them with just water, so I ate them with a spoonful of applesauce.

The label on the bottle states that Perfect Energy is "the ideal organic whole-food multi delivering enhanced energy, performance, and endurance."  I definitely like that they were organic.  Organic Maca, Ginseng, and Rhodiola herbs boost energy without causing the crash that you'll get from sugary coffees or soft drinks.  These herbs enhance the body's ability to adapt to stress, fatigue, and worry.  Like the Holy Basil Force I reviewed in Part I, these were appealing to me because I get stressed at work and would much prefer to take a natural supplement to help me out.

Bottom Line: I liked these vitamins a lot and would definitely purchase a full-sized bottle.  It put my mind at ease to know that they were natural and organic, and that they could aid in my adaptation to stress and fatigue.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kindle Giveaway Sign Up

Terri's Little Haven, See, Shop, Love!, Ashley And The Little Ones Too and Totally Terri are sponsoring a Kindle for an upcoming Giveaway Blog Carnival.

Bloggers can get more likes and follows by signing up to be a part of this giveaway. The giveaway will be for a Kindle Touch with special offers and will run from January 3-10.

For bloggers to sign up for the first link it is $5.00 made payable to as a personal GIFT. Each additional link is $2.00 each. The giveaway will be a big one, there are over 100 bloggers including lots of big name heavy traffic bloggers participating in the blog carnival. December 31 is the last day you can sign up to enter.

I also have a sponsor (author) who will provide two different eBooks for the winner as well so her books will be included in the giveaway.

Sign up by using the form behind the cut!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Price Nutrition Review, Part I

I received some supplements from Best Price Nutrition to review, and I am going to do a separate post for each supplement.  Hence the "Part I" in the title.  At the end of my fourth review, there will be an opportunity for one of my readers to win a full-sized bottle of one of these supplements.

I received Perfect Energy, Holy Basil Force, WholeMega, and Zyflamend.  This first entry is going to focus on the Holy Basil Force, my favorite of the bunch.

Holy Basil Force is from New Chapter Vitamins, and it promotes calm and balance.  I was most interested in trying this supplement out because my job can get pretty stressful, and I can take any kind of calming help I can find!  I received a 5-day supply, and took them for the past week.  The pills are a little larger than your average aspirin, and dark colored.  They actually had kind of a nice taste, too--not that I munched on them or anything, but they didn't have an unfortunate taste like some pills do.

I did notice a difference in my stress levels after taking these pills.  Some might say it's just a self-fulfilling prophecy, but either way, I felt more balanced after taking these supplements.  The label states the Holy Basil has been used by India's Ayurvedic masters "to support a positive stress response and healthy mood and spirit."  There are no potent chemicals or solvents in these supplements, just a pure, potent herbal extract.

Bottom Line: I would be willing to give these a long-term try.  Like I said, the sample size I received was for a 5-day trial.  I'm definitely okay with anything that's natural and could help me balance out my stress levels!

*Disclaimer: I received these sample-sized bottles of supplements from Best Price Nutrition free of charge to facilitate my review.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review, and the honest opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

iShop4Beauty Review and Giveaway! [CLOSED]

I recently discovered a great cruelty-free company called iShop4Beauty through The Leaping Bunny Facebook page.  They are one of the newest companies to be certified by The Leaping Bunny Project, which means that they are entirely cruelty-free and do not test on animals.  This is something that's very important to me!  While I admit that I do, on occasion, purchase from big-label cosmetics companies who are not Leaping Bunny certified, I'm trying to stay away from companies that test on animals entirely.  There are so many cruelty-free companies out there, and iShop4Beauty is a great one!

iShop4Beauty's catalog is so extensive.  They cover everything from bath bombs to lotions to body scrubs...they really do have everything you could ever want!  I requested samples from them after The Leaping Bunny wrote on their Facebook page that iShop4Beauty was offering two free samples to anyone who requested them via email or phone (read more about that here).  I approached iShop4Beauty about a possible giveaway sponsorship after requesting my samples, and they very kindly agreed!  They even sent along some extra samples for me to review.  I'll talk about them first, giveaway details can be found behind the "read more."

The samples I got are in the photo above, minus one.  I forgot to include the Wild Honey & Orange Facial Cleanser.  From left to right, they are: Mandarin Orange Six Hour Lip Balm, Shea Body Lotion, All-Day Facial Moisturizer, Coconut Milk Hand Lotion, and a Lychee Fruit Six Hour Lip Balm.

These little lotions are so cute!  I really like the packaging, I think their design elements are simple and beautiful.  Both the Shea Body Lotion and the Coconut Milk Hand Lotion are nice and thick, which I really look for in a moisturizer.  They are lightly scented, so they're perfect for those who don't want an overwhelming fragrance.  I'm definitely going to be buying a full-sized bottle of one, if not both, of these in the near future.

The facial moisturizer is also excellent.  I'm careful about what I put on my face, because my skin is a bit sensitive.  I have that weird combination thing going on, where my skin is dry after washing my face, but oily on my T-Zone during the day.  I look for light, airy facial moisturizers and this one is perfect!  The scent is so lovely, on the bottle it says "Blossom."  This is also lightly scented, and goes on smoothly.  It doesn't feel greasy or heavy on my skin at all, and it gives me just the right amount of moisture.

I love me some lip balms, so I was really excited to open my package and find these.  I wasn't expecting them, so it was such a sweet surprise.  They both smell wonderful, but I really like the Lychee Fruit one.  Both are very sweetly scented.  The "Six Hour" title is appropriate, too.  These last quite a while, and absorb nicely into my lips.  They don't just sit on my lips with that waxy feeling that some mass-market lip balms have.

This is a picture of the full-sized Wildflower Honey and Orange face cleanser taken from the iShop4Beauty website.  The sample I got was an ample size, and will last me for at least a month.  This cleanser was very mild on my skin, which was great.  I have to be careful about cleansers, too, because some of them are too strong and leave my skin dry and flaky.  This one smells less sweet than I was imagining, but like the other products it's nice and light.  I was very happy with how this left my skin feeling.

  • Check out all that iShop4Beauty has to offer at their website!
  • Connect with them on Facebook

And now, for the giveaway!  Check out behind the "read more" to see the awesome package that iShop4Beauty put together just for my readers :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

FRUIT ENZYME Micro Scrub by, an independent retailer of salon-quality skincare products, has created a new product called FRUIT ENZYME Micro Scrub.  It combines the natural benefits of papaya, mango, orange, and pineapple fruit enzymes to soften and polish your skin.

The papaya extract is known for its exfoliating properties and its ability to reduce sun spots and freckles caused by sun exposure.  Mango extract is great for moisturizing, and the antioxidants found in mangoes are able to repair skin damage caused by the elements and offer UV protection.  Orange extract has a mild bleaching property, which makes it ideal for treating age spots.  It is also a rich source of Vitamin E, and aids in the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines.  The astringent properties of Orange extract help reduce acne and blemishes.  Lastly, Pineapple extract offers moisturizing and anti-aging effects.  The sugars and derivatives in pineapple enhance skin's elasticity, resilience, and softness and are able to remove damaged skin.  All of these properties combine to create a micro scrub that targets multiple skin concerns, from sun spots to wrinkles.

I think that the enzyme that would most help my skin would be the Orange extract, for reducing blemishes on my uneven skin.  I am excited to have found out about and their new FRUIT ENZYME Micro Scrub, and hope to try it out soon.

Learn more about the FRUIT ENZYME Micro Scrub by visiting here.

*Disclaimer: I will be receiving a sample of FRUIT ENZYME Micro Scrub from for writing this post.  I was not otherwise compensated for this post.

December Birchbox

Here's my December Birchbox haul!  This post is a little late because I had other reviews that were more pressing, but I do enjoy sharing my unboxings with everyone.  I also really enjoy reading other peoples' blog posts and watching YouTube videos to see what they got in their boxes, so feel free to leave a link to your blog/vlog in the comments!

The outer wrapping of this month's box was the standard pink, but with snowflakes on it for winter.  I thought that was a cute touch.  I was especially excited to get the December box because December is my birth month.  I know Birchbox doesn't do anything different for birthdays, but I just like getting a "present" in the mail each month, and this one felt extra-special.

The theme for December is "Frolic & Fancy," and the introductory card was different than the normal ones.  Instead of just being a single index card, this one opened up like a Christmas card and was printed on thicker paper.  It still contained the standard descriptions of all of the products, though.

Here's what the box looked like when I opened it.  I really liked the tissue paper this month, it's a white paper with silvery shimmer.  This was a nice change from the usual pink; it made it seem a bit classier in my opinion. I wouldn't be against Birchbox using different colors each month instead of pink all of the time (even though I know it's kind of their branding thing).  I peeked at my profile before my box came, so I knew what items I would be getting before I opened the box.  I wasn't in love with any of them, but there were a few I was interested to try.

My items:

  • Benefit The POREfessional - This was the product I was most interested in trying.  I'd never used a makeup primer before, but wanted to invest in one.  This came at the perfect time for me to test it out before committing to buying one.  It was nice, and I liked the silky feeling it gave as I put it on my skin, but it didn't diminish the appearance of my pores nor have much of a difference on the wear and appearance of my makeup.  I do really like the scent, though; it's kind of citrus-y.
  • Jouer Moisturizing Lipgloss in Birchbox Pink - Birchbox paired with Jouer to create this signature shade, and everyone received it in their box this month.  The sample is super tiny--about the size of my thumb, and I have small hands.  And that's including the cap, so the amount of lipgloss isn't even as tall as my thumb.  This is just "meh" for me.  The shade is cute, but nothing I would ever purchase full price.
  • Olìe Biologique Huile Moderne - I'm glad I'm not a vlogger, because I have no idea how to pronounce "Huile."  Anyway, this is a multipurpose oil.  You can use it on your face, body, or hair.  I've used it once in my hair and the other times on my face after I wash it.  I would have been more interested in this had I not just received a bottle of Bio Oil to use for the same reason.  It also has a different scent, I'm not sure how to describe it.  Not sweet or floral though.  Another "meh" product, I'll use the sample but I wouldn't buy it full priced.
  • Harvey Prince Yogini - I was kind of annoyed to be getting another perfume sample because I would prefer anything but a perfume sample.  I really did love the Atelier Vanille Insensee I got last month, but I didn't like Yogini at first.  It doesn't smell bad, it just isn't the type of perfume I would normally choose.  It smells more appropriate for an older woman (sandalwood, myrrh, that kind of stuff).  I have grown a bit more fond of it, though, because I figure as long as I have it I might as well use it.
  • EBOOST Orange Natural Energy Booster - This was one of the "extra" samples for the month.  I think the extras are stupid, especially for December.  I haven't gotten one yet in 3 months that I actually found useful or was something that I really wanted.  But as long as they don't take the place of a beauty sample, I don't really care whether they're there or not.  This one is a powder you add to your drink to boost your energy, I guess.  I probably won't use it.
  • Showstoppers Designer Fashion Tape - I definitely won't use this.  They are basically pieces of black and nude tape you use to hide bra straps or something.  I have zero use for these and will probably throw them out.
I actually cancelled my Birchbox subscription this past week, so this will be my last box for a little while.  I do plan on resubscribing at some point, but there are a few other services I want to try and I didn't have room in my budget to stay subscribed to all of them.  I like Birchbox and would still recommend it to others, but I was finding that I wasn't really using the samples I was receiving, so I didn't mind putting my subscription on hold for a little while.  In the meantime I'm going to try Conscious Box, MyGlam, and Cravebox, as well as continuing my subscription to Eco Emi.  I have a feeling that MyGlam is going to end up taking the place of Birchbox for me.

Bottom Line: If you are interested in trying a range of new beauty products, Birchbox is definitely worth trying.  It's only $10 a month, and they do send samples from high-quality brands.  The samples are not always big (example: the Jouer lipgloss), but I do feel that the value of my boxes for the past 3 months have exceeded the $10 price.  I don't see it as something I would be a long-time member for, though, because how many little perfumes and skin creams do I really need?

Check behind the "read more" for a few more photos, including a swatch of the Jouer gloss.

Friday, December 16, 2011

imPRESS Press-On Manicure Review

My previous post described what I got in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox, and shortly after writing that entry I decided to try the imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails that I received in that box.

Basically, these are a set of plastic press-on nails.  I think their packaging is really cute; I like how the nails are inside of a little nail polish bottle.  They're available at drugstores and mass-market stores like CVS.  The imPRESS nails are marketed as a long-lasting alternative to polish that doesn't fade or chip.  I've recently gained an interest in nail polish and nail art, so I was excited to try these.

I was very happy when I opened my VoxBox and saw the pattern that I received, it's called Over The Moon.  The colors are perfect for my skin tone, a purple/maroon with gold swirls.  The nails were easy to apply, you just pull off the piece of plastic covering the sticky underside and press them on.  The bottle has a bunch of extra nails, too, to cover a wide range of nail sizes.  I have really small hands and nails and was happy to find that they had ones small enough to fit me.  I also like that they're shorter than other press-ons I've seen, because I really dislike the feeling of long nails.

I didn't keep these nails on much longer after I took this photo, because I didn't like the way they felt on my nails.  The combination of the sticky substance and the weight of the nails made me really uncomfortable.  Have you seen the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia scene with the kitten mittens?  That's how I felt with these on my nails (if you haven't seen it, click here).  I like the idea of the product and I think they're really fun, and I'm sure they do last a long time, they just aren't for me.

  • Learn more about imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails at their website, where you can find a full list of retailers, download an exclusive coupon, and virtually try on all of the patterns
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter
  • Learn more about Influenster

Bottom Line: I can see imPRESS nails being a really fun product for people who are fans of press-on nails.  I really loved the pattern I received, and if they didn't feel so uncomfortable I would definitely wear them out and about.  They were easy to apply, had lots of sizes, and come in 36 different styles (ranging from animal prints to solid colors).  They are also easily accessible and affordable, they retail for $5.99 for solid colors and $7.99 for patterns.

*Disclaimer: I received the imPRESS Press-On Manicure free of charge in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox.  I received these products via Influenster in exchange for promotion of the companies and products through social media.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review and these honest opinions are entirely my own.

Influenster Holiday Voxbox Review

After much anticipation, I received my Holiday VoxBox from Influenster on Tuesday!  Influenster is a site I discovered a few months ago that sends out products in what they call VoxBoxes to members who are active on social media.  Basically, they send you themed products free of charge in exchange for you promoting the brands via blogging, vlogging, tweeting, etc.  Sounded like a great plan to me!

So this is what the box looked like when I opened it (you can click all of the images in this post to see them at a larger resolution).  The card on top has a description of all of the products inside.  I think I remember seeing that Influenster had 5,000 of these VoxBoxes to send out, so I'm really glad that I signed up when I did.

Before I dive into the products, a little bit more information about Influenster: as I said, it's basically free products for the member and free promotion for the companies.  In order to qualify to receive these boxes, you fill out surveys to earn "badges."  You can earn up to 5 lifestyle badges based on your interests, and no limit on the amount of Influence badges (the more the better--there are 10 total).  I currently have 6 lifestyle badges, with one still pending approval (one more than the usual 5 because Influenster recently allowed people to apply for one more for a limited time): Outdoorsy, Foodie, Cat Lover, Beauty, Cosmopolitan, Health Nut, and Green.  I also have 6 influence badges.  It's best to collect as many influence badges as possible because the more "influence" you have across social media, the more likely it is that you'll receive a VoxBox.  So, for example, when it comes time for Influenster to send out a "Foodie" VoxBox, if I've shown that I have high influence I could possibly qualify for that box.

Here are all of the items I received in the VoxBox.  I was pretty happy with the variety: some edibles and some beauty/skin care products.  The inserts are nice, too; the Larabar one has a sticker and a $1.00 off coupon, and the imPRESS Manicure is also a $1.00 off coupon.

These are most of the beauty/skin care items:

  • X Out Wash-In Treatment - This is one of 3 bonus items, so I was pretty happy to find it in my box. It was sent out to college students, and I'm not in college anymore (graduated last year), but I won't complain!  This wash is from the makers of Proactiv, and can be used as a facewash, mask, and/or a spot treatment.  It smells really fruity, it kind of reminded me of bubblegum, and has little exfoliating beads.  It's supposed to be used 2x a day, but my skin is really sensitive so I think it's appropriate for me to use it only every few days.  It left my skin feeling nice and tingly, though!
  • New York Color Liquid Lip Shine - I really like this lip gloss!  The shade is "Nude York City," and it's perfect because I've been meaning to buy a nude lip shade.  It also smells delicious, like a cupcake or cookies or something.  It goes on smoothly and doesn't feel sticky; I hate how some glosses just "sit" on my lips and feel too thick.  This one doesn't feel that way at all.
  • imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails - Funny story: another Influenster member posted a photo of her manicure on their Facebook page, and I commented with "I love that pattern, I hope I get that one in my box!," and I did!  It's called "Over The Moon."  I'm going to write a review about these in a separate entry because I haven't put them on my nails yet.
  • Monagne Jeunesse Face Mask - You all know that I love skin care products, so this was a really fun sample to receive.  The mask I got is Strawberry Souffle, and I just used it tonight.  It smelled really nice and left my skin feeling super smooth.
Read more of my reviews behind the cut!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Conscious Box Review

Ever since I discovered Birchbox back in October I've been obsessed with finding and trying new subscription services.  I can't say enough how much I love getting packages in the mail each month!  I'm currently subscribed to Birchbox, Eco Emi, and MyGlam, but I've had an interest in Conscious Box for a while, and after receiving their December box to review I'll definitely be subscribing!

Conscious Box works like many of the other subscription services out there: you pay $19 each month ($12 for the box, $7 for shipping) and receive a box of goodies in the mail.  What drew me to Conscious Box is that all of their products are sustainable and eco-friendly.  They also contain a variety of products, from food to beauty to everything in between.

I think sometimes people lose perspective about what these programs exist for (I've especially found this to be true with Birchbox subscribers).  The beauty of these programs is that they expose you to new products and companies that you may not have found before, they aren't boxes that will send you the same brands or makeup each month.  I love discovering new green products, which is why I love Conscious Box so much!

Here is how the box looked when I first opened it.  Purple is one of my favorite colors (second to green!) so I found it very aesthetically pleasing.  There's a card on the underside of the top flap of the box, which isn't visible in my photos, that explains the theme for that month.  December's theme is "Gifts to Give the Soul;" here's what the card says:

Unwrap this holiday season to reveal the gifts of grace.  Each day of December is a chance to illuminate your soul with peace, love, and joy--offering a bright light to all those around you.  Witness as compassion and generosity wrap the world in radiance, and hear your spirit sing in harmony with your heart.

"Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul." - William Hazlitt

As you can see from the purple photo, this box is packed with items!  A pleasant surprise, since I'm used to the 4-5 items in my Birchbox.  I didn't even know where to start!

Here is everything all laid out.  I'd say that's a very impressive spread (you can click all of these photos to view them at a larger resolution).  The box also has a few cards in them that explain in detail each of the products, along with suggestions on how to reuse your Conscious Box.  There was also a card with tips on how to make the holidays more sustainable.  Click behind the 'read more' to see what I have to say about the products.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Auromere Ayurvedics Review

I recently came across a company called Auromère Ayurvedic Imports, which is one of the first companies to introduce Ayurveda to the United States over 30 years ago. What is Ayurveda? It literally means "the science of life" and is an ancient system of promoting health and rejuvenation with natural herbs and minerals. It began over 3,000 years ago with the sage Dhanwantari.

Auromere products are pure and effective, with distinctively different manufacturing procedures than regular bath and body products. Their catalog consists of a broad range of products, from toothpaste to shampoos to massage oils. They work closely with their suppliers in India to ensure that their products are of the highest quality, authentic, and natural. They engage with local specialists, practitioners, and cottage industries to provide employment for local village communities in various parts of India.

I chose to review Ayurvedic Sandalwood-Tumeric Soap and the Ayurvedic Hand and Body Lotion. I'm a soap fiend, so I was really excited to try a new kind. This soap smells strongly of sandalwood, so if you aren't a fan of the scent I would choose one of the other (many) varieties that Auromere offers. The Sandalwood-Tumeric soap is especially for blemished or oily skin, which is why I chose it. The soap doesn't dry out my skin at all, and lathers up really nicely. I would definitely recommend it for those with oilier skin.

I was sent a full-sized bottle of the Hand and Body Lotion, which I definitely didn't expect (a pleasant surprise, though!). It has a very light, pleasant scent, so people who are sensitive to strong fragrance would love this. It's not unscented, but it's not overpowering at all. It contains sesame oil, which is the premiere oil for Ayurvedic skin care. It also contains almond and castor oils for extra moisture and rejuvenation. The cold-processed oils are infused with 13 Ayurvedic herbal extracts that are traditionally prescribed for skin preservation, conditioning, and muscle tone. It left my skin feeling soft and lightly fragranced, and it went on very smoothly. It didn't leave that weird greasy feeling that some lotions tend to leave. Big thumbs up for this one!

There's no giveaway to go along with my review this time, but Auromere is still providing a special perk for my readers. If you contact them through their website (links are below) and mention this review, you can choose a free sample for yourself to try!
  •  Visit Auromere's website and see what they have to offer (you can also contact them at this site)
  • Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter
Bottom Line: I enjoyed learning about the world of Ayurvedic care, something I didn't know anything about before. I enjoyed even more the opportunity to test such great products! I recommend Auromere products for people who are looking for natural skin care. They're also Leaping Bunny certified, too!

*Disclaimer: I received a body lotion and soap from Auromere for free to facilitate my review. I was not monetarily compensated for this review, and the honest opinions are entirely my own.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Momo's Piggery: Stories In Clay

This post is a bit different than what I've posted before, but I really wanted to highlight a great charity that I found.

The charity is called Momo's Piggery and they are based in Mountain View, California. Momo's Piggery caught my eye because I am an animal lover. I especially liked them because they work to find forever homes for guinea pigs. I've had rabbits all of my life, and although they aren't guinea pigs, I have a special affinity for all small animal pets!

Some of the cuties at Momo's Piggery in Momo-made cages

Momo's Piggery began as a one-time fundraising idea for an adoption event at their local SPCA. Founder Monica creates adorable charms and jewelry pieces, and portions of all of their sales are donated to Cavy House Guinea Pig Rescue. After the SPCA event, people began writing in to see if they could still purchase some of the pieces, and sending in pictures of their own guinea pigs to be made into art.

Soon, Momo's Piggery became involved in a string of local summer rescue events that led all the way into September. I also found out that earlier this very week, Momo's Piggery received an official Donation Acknowledgement letter! What began as a simple fundraiser has blossomed into an impressive operation to help find homes for adoptable guinea pigs. They work with rabbits on occasion as well, since Cavy House is a branch of the Rabbit Haven organization.

Momo's Piggery has a simple mission: all creatures deserve loving, forever homes; and they work to ensure that this need is met. Each of their creations are made with love, come with an official certificate of adoption (along with a name and story), and need a loving place to call home. These cute and whimsical pieces help to encourage those interested in having a guinea pig as a pet to adopt as opposed to buy one from a breeder or pet store.

Momo offered to send me a product from her shop to review, so I chose the Gupi necklace, which is her most popular item.

The necklace is so cute! The charm is made out of clay and is perfectly sized: not too big, not too small. The detail on it is very nice, and I appreciate the work it must take to put them all together. I could see the designs being really popular with younger kids, too, since they're very cute-themed.

I also liked how my necklace came packaged. The blue ribbon and sticker on the box are simple, but I just really liked the way the blue popped against the box. There were also two cards included, the first (bottom left) is an Adoption Certificate for my Gupi necklace with my name on it, along with the date of birth for my Gupi. On the right is Momo's business card.
  • See the entire line of charms, trinkets, and jewelry at Momo's Piggery - Momo just posted the new Holiday collection!
  • Connect with them on Facebook
Bottom Line: Momo's Piggery is a fantastic charity, and if you love animals like me I would highly recommend checking out what they have to offer. If you're in the Mountain View area, keep an eye out for Momo and her wares at different animal events around town!

Check behind the cut for more pictures of the sweeties at Momo's Piggery.

Eco Discount Store Review

I've found a website that I am absolutely loving! It's called Eco Discount Store, and it's exactly what it sounds like. They are an online marketplace that sells natural products at low prices.

They have a passion for the planet, and provide opportunities for those looking to a make positive impact on the environment. They also realize that their mission goes beyond a simple online store; the shop is just the beginning of the process. They believe that coming together as a community will result in collective efforts that can great impact the Earth for the better.

In their own words,

Eco Discount Store wants to give back to the planet by promoting natural living. This is achieved by supporting manufacturers that create products in environmentally friendly ways and by showcasing goods that help give back to the planet in our Community SpotLight. Even after the product reaches your doorstep we hope to educate you as a consumer on ways to make your life and home more "green".

It's easy to see why I would love Eco Discount Store--they combine my two favorite things! Shopping and green living, all in one place. I contacted them about reviewing some of their products, and I was sent a new shampoo and conditioner that isn't available on their site quite yet.

The Conceived By Nature Rosemary Conditioner and Shampoo has a nice light scent, so it's good for those who don't like heavily-perfumed products. They are made from certified organic herbs, which fortify and strengthen naturally. I didn't notice much of a difference in my hair after using it, but that was only after using it once. I'm going to continue using the samples for a week or so.

Look DeVine Lip Shimmers

The people at Eco Discount Store were also kind enough to include a coupon code for my readers. They sent a bunch of business cards with the same code, so I'm assuming it is multiple-use. If you try to use it and it doesn't work please let me know (and I apologize for the inconvenience). The code is EDS642516812.
Bottom Line: Eco Discount Store is a great marketplace for green living. They have a broad range of products, from pet shampoos to clothing to beauty, at great prices. Check them out for all of your eco-friendly needs!

*Disclaimer: I was provided with the Conceived By Nature shampoo and conditioner samples for free to try by Eco Discount Store. I was not monetarily compensated for this review and the honest opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Diamond Candles Review Opportunity

Attention fellow bloggers! Diamond Candles is currently extending a review opportunity for 100 bloggers to review and giveaway their precious soy candles.

Precious? That's not usually an adjective used to describe candles—but these really are. Each candle contains a ring valued anywhere from $10-$100-$500-$5000! It reminds me of the feeling I get before I see what the value is on my Victoria's Secret “Secret Reward” gift card—except so much better!

I'm really hoping to review one of these candles because, as you can see if you've been following my blog for a little while, I am a candle junkie. I prefer soy candles because they burn so much cleaner and are better for the environment.

If you're a blogger and are interested in applying to review Diamond Candles, head over to this post on A Family Full Of Opinions!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Larson Farm Naturals Review

I was lucky enough to win the Holiday Soap Collection from Larson Farm Naturals from a giveaway at Kanelstrand Organic Living. This was the first blog giveaway I had ever won, and I was extra exciting because I love skin care products. Soaps, lotions, body scrubs--I'm all about it. What's even better about these soaps is that they're natural and hand-made!

My package came in the mail in a standard flat rate USPS box, and when I opened it up the soaps were wrapped up so nicely by Larson Farm owner Debbie. I was impressed by the care she put into the package, and really appreciated the handwritten note on top.

The Holiday Set contains four soaps: Snow Drops, Peppermint Stick, Sugar Plum, and Earthy Pine. I first entered the giveaway because not only do I love soaps, but fall- and winter-themed scents are my absolute favorites. I was most excited to try Earthy Pine and Peppermint Stick!

The soaps are a little bit larger than the average bar you'd buy at the store, and they're so much better than mass-produced soaps! First, they smell fantastic. Their scent is very delicate: just the perfect strength of aroma. Snow Drops is very clean with a hint of mint (I think), Peppermint Stick is deliciously peppermint-y, Sugar Plum is nice and sweet, and Earthy Pine smells like a fresh Evergreen tree. I love them all!

I used the Peppermint Stick bar today and I liked that it lathered up really well. Sometimes I've found that soaps don't mix well with my loofah sponge and I don't get enough bubbles. Not the case with these soaps. They are cold-processed by hand and made from all-natural goat milk, olive oil, and herbs, botanicals, and essential oils. You can really tell the difference with all-natural skin care products, I feel like they just work so much better.
  •  Check out all that Debbie at Larson Farm Naturals has to offer at her Etsy shop, where you can also buy all-natural lip balms!
  • Read the Larson Farm Naturals blog
  • Connect with her on the Larson Farm Facebook page
Bottom Line: I'm so impressed with Larson Farm Naturals and I would highly recommend them to everyone! Give these a try, and I bet you'll never go back to mass-produced soaps. The care put into these is so evident, and for me, that's what really sets a product apart from the rest of the pack.  They are really affordable, too ($5 per bar).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Headline Shirts Review and Giveaway [CLOSED]

I had a half day off from work today, which means I was home to get the mail. I'm glad I was, because I had two packages delivered today! One of them was my tshirt to review from Headline Shirts (the other was my Larson Farms Naturals soaps--more on them tomorrow).

Headline Shirts had emailed me to inquire about me hosting a giveaway and I happily agreed! I had heard of them before and really enjoy their witty, offbeat shirts. They really suit my sense of humor. They offered me a free shirt to review, so I chose the No Regrets design.

But first, a little bit about Headline Shirts: they're based out of San Francisco, and as their website states, "We're obsessed with making intelligently funny tees and apparel." Their Vintageblend™ tees are hand-sewn right at their San Francisco headquarters using a poly/cotton blend. What I really liked is that they also use eco-friendly inks (they even call themselves "West Coast tree-huggers," haha). The bags they ship in are even compostible!

It took me a little while to decide which tee I wanted to try, since so many of the designs made me laugh. I really liked the following designs:

I settled on the "No Regrets" tiger because, well, I don't really know why. I just really liked it for some reason--probably because it makes little to no sense.

These tees are super soft. I ordered a women's medium, and I'm glad I didn't go for the small because it would have been too tight. The medium fits perfectly; it's snug and flattering for a woman's shape, but not too tight. The tiger image is really vibrant, too. I'm sure that the men's styles could be unisex, though, for someone looking for a looser fit.

Bottom Line: I think Headline Shirts are really clever and affordably priced. I would recommend their shirts to anyone who likes intelligent, offbeat humor!
Click behind the read more cut to learn more about the GIVEAWAY!