Sunday, December 25, 2016

December Ipsy First Impressions

Another month, another "meh" bag. I think I've fallen into a rut of having a subscription for far too long. Bright side, I just got a year's subscription for Birchbox as well so there will be something new to complain about! I no longer know what I would get excited about, product wise. Just discovering new brands at this point, but I have so many duplicates that it feels like a waste when I don't get to something I love a bit less. That and I can't justify giving things away once I've tried them and I feel obligated to try everything at least once. I sound extremely entitled and critical though so let's tuck it in and be objective about this. Scroll down for some incredibly shitty photos due to a combination of not knowing how to utilize technology, inability to operate a phone camera, zero sunlight for days now and poor apartment lighting. 

And a closeup of the bag

Angry muppet!

Monday, December 12, 2016

U by Kotex free sample haul (still available online)

Note: U by Kotex will be providing free samples until December 31st.

This post has been a long time coming so of coursw I'm like 2 months late. I received free samples in the mail from U by Kotex a few weeks ago and it was pretty nice. The goal of their new campaign called The Period Project is to try to find ways to help women enjoy their periods more. Let's be honest, every month I just want to curl up on the couch and die because I just feel smelly, filthy, uncomfortable and like everybody knows what I'm going through. Like a dog in heat or a biblical menstruating women. I'm not justifying the separate tent, I'm just saying... I might understand. At least my own self exile. And that's the problem they're trying to fix, the shaming of women and shaming we feel for our natural existence (yes, I'm part of the problem here). What's even better than a morale boost? The samples require no subscriptions or memberships or anything, just a quick survey and choose your samples.  They do follow up afterwards to make sure you got your samples and to get some feedback (less than 5 minutes via online survey) to determine if your opinion of the brand has changed at all and I must say, whomever is behind their marketing is a genius. It certainly endeared me to their brand. I'll be honest, since their re-branding some years ago I thought the U by Kotex brand was a subset geared towards teens and tweens (I now some brands have been providing tween sizing of feminine products which let's be honest, I shot out two kids so that shit just won't fly around here) and as a result I'd been avoiding the brand more recently. Welp, I am one to admit when I've been wrong, even when it physically hurts to do so. I was wrong.
Samples that were offered in each pack varied from tampons to pads, heavy to light flow etc, and each pack, though it leans more towards one particular need, is varied enough that one can get a decent enough feel of a range of products. I opted for pads because, as annoying and overtly THERE as they may be, I just feel more secure with them. That and I may or may have gone to Costco recently and have enough tampons to last the second coming of Zombie Jesus.

The packaging was cuter than I ever expected and too large to fit in my apartment mailbox. Items were clearly labeled for ease of identification (aside from the obvious panty liners) and there are three extra items that could be included in the packaging depending on your survey answers. You could receive recipe cards, affirmation cards, or adult coloring cards. Recipe cards include recipes for "Dark and Spicy Hot Chocolate," "Bees Knees Grilled Cheese," "Popcorn Four Ways" and "Crispy Ice Cream Sammies." Somehow I was able to get two boxes, one with the adult coloring cards and one with affirmation cards. Unfortunately, my eldest manhandled the card that said "Tell me I'm pretty while I feel all my feelings" and I don't know how to take/crop pictures so you're left to deal with this visual shit.  Sorry, guys. Of the three box extras, I would say the coloring cards would be most desirable. For me, at least. The affirmation cards were really cute though and I'm just too lazy to clean up whatever kitchen mess is left behind from having a Bloat Day, if you will. Each box comes with a card (buried under a mound of pads and pantyliners in the first image) detailing the contents and two $1 coupons.

The first box came with:
  • 1-U by Kotex CleanWear Pad Heavy Flow
  • 1-U by Kotex Security Pad Long with Wings
  • 1-U by Kotex AllNighter Overnight Pad with Wings
  • 1-U by Kotex Security Ultra Thin Overnight Pad with Wings
  • 2-U by Kotex Barely There Liners
The second box came with:
  • 1-U by Kotex CleanWear Pad Regular
  • 1-U by Kotex Security Pad Regular
  • 1-U by Kotex AllNighter Overnight Pad with Wings
  • 1-U by Kotex Security Ultra Thin Overnight Pad with Wings
  • 2-U by Kotex Barely There Liners

Shitty organization and coloring cards

Shitty cropping with affirmation cards
So I guess the gist of this post is go out and get one. Great marketing, they achieved what they wanted and I think I like the brand considerably more now. At least I don't feel like a high schooler whenever I touch their packaging. Maybe a 6th year college senior, just over the joy of binge drinking but not sure how to get out of the habit, needing to grow up but not quite sure how, pondering post college life while drinking baileys in coffee on a late Friday morning after class. I... may have just had a flashback of my college career... I almost regret not opting for a version with tampons, just for the sake of reviews, but for reasons listed above, "meh."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

September/October Subscription Product Reviews

It's too late for preamble. Here are some analyses:

September Haul
September Ipsy bag

ToGoSpa Undereye Collagen Gel Masks in Green Tea Eyes-I think I like them. Mild tingle, cool texture but without that cooling minty feeling if you hand sensitive skin. I would typically pass on a product like this but it saved my life when I was sick two months ago, if you'll excuse the hyperbole. I had a massive head cold and a pretty hefty headache, all while I was roasting to death from a combination of fever, chills and summertime Chicago humidity so these things were great for cooling my head. They tend to slide though so I find they work best when I'm lying down. I'm half tempted to buy theses and just leave them in the medicine cabinet but I wouldn't have the will power to save them exclusively for that use. They were absolutely useless for reducing redness and bags and dark circles under eyes but then, I never believed this company's claims because, you know, science. 

Glow For A Cause Body Butter in Inspire-I know I said this wasn't my favorite scent because it smells very perfumes and very adult but this stuff is going quickly. I suppose fruit smells are "cheap" smelling but I'll admit I have absolutely zero class and I prefer those to this highly perfumery (with a hint of citrus crispness). 
Update: it's gone. One of the fastest I've blasted through a sample. Blame the cold. It's so expensive though and no better or worse than any hydrating cream or body butter. 

Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner-I love how incredibly black this is, but it doesn't glide on as easily as others and it creates a thick line, but I have small, hooded eyes (I think?) and my line goes on a little too thick for my taste. I fail at liquid eyeliners and the learning curve is steep with this one. I must note however that even though this eyeliner brags of being smear proof and waterproof, it is absolutely neither of these two things. A slight rub of my eyes after it dries or a warm day and my eyes have slid straight to my chin. That much said, I still love how black it is. I just wish I did not have the hand dexterity of a two year old with advances Parkinson's. Part of the problem is that it's felt tip and therefore not overly flexible. It's too expensive for me to repurchase for face scribbles and will be designated as a backup at this point. Judge's score: 6.2 out of 10. The dive started out great with the color but somehow resulted in a belly flop, open mouthed with execution. 

Onomie Powerful Priming Serum-I enjoyed the hell out of this serum. It's slightly (ever so slightly) radiant with micro shimmer and very hydrating. It's miles ahead of Too Faced's Hangover primer. I've used it as a serium, which by the way absolutely works, but looking at the cost per unit, I preferred using this as a primer. Even though this performed better as a serum than a primer, I learned that I cannot hold a grudge against all lotion primers. I would never drop $50 for a bottle though, tyvm. 

 Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme-this product grew on me. It did have a mild plumping effect but it does one hell of a job irritating my lips to get to that point. I also find that for maximum effect this needs to be worn alone, and that won't fly going into the winter months. I like it, but I don't think I dislike my natural lips enough (they are pretty full to begin with) to buy this in the future. That and especially with the upcoming months, protective lip balms will interfere with this gloss's efficacy. 

October Haul
October Ipsy bag

Trust Fund Beauty Gimme Good Face primer-the makeup gods have heard my prayers. It's a silicone based primer that my face so needs. I love how filling this is. And it came at the perfect time since I finally ran out of my Elf primer which was embarrassingly old. I have to repurchase the Elf primer for two reasons: 1) to see if they've ever updated it the formula and 2) because the Trust Fund Beauty primer is available for pre-order on the company website at $25 for 10mL and there's probably a pretty long waitlist. Incidentally, that's how large my sample was.

Lottie London Perfectly Precise brush-I'm loving this cute little guy. It's smaller than anything I've used in the past so it's crazy precise. That and it's just so damned cute and soft. Bunnies should be made of this brush's fibers. 

October eyeliner-I should shake Kat von D's hand for this one. The brush is not a felt tip but rather "325 bristles in [a] super tight point" and oh my Jesus, is this thing flexible and crazy easy to handle. It is a complete 180 from the Eyeko liner I struggle to use. I could probably still apply eyeliner properly after 5 cups of coffee spiced with more coffee. The only complaint I have is that it isn't the blackest black that I've seen. The product says it is waterproof though and it does resist water well enough. I would buy the shit out of this. 9 out of 10. Points lost for being glossy and not the blackest black, but I would love to try other things in her line.

Pūr~Lisse Daily Lip Nourisher-I can't say no to a lip balm. This lip balm is very hydrating and what I would look for- it isn't sticky or waxy feeling, tastes a little sweet and I love the applicator. I cannot tell you what it smells like but it has a very nice, almost fruity scent.

Cosmoholic Liquid Lipstick in Mysterious Mocha-I'm still enjoying this guy. It's more of a taupe/mauve shade on me than brown) and shiny a f. It is pretty sticky sp I've been patting translucent powder on top to get a matte look. It also solves my problem of never being able to find nude lip colors for my skin tone.

Please excuse the shit/repeat pictures. It's all i have to work with right now.

November Ipsy First Impressions

Not only am I exceedingly overdue for this post, but I only have one shitty photo of my own because a combination of holidays and traveling, life and work have teamed together to kick my ass. I have a couple of equally uninformative posts in the queue also, so let’s jump into this so I can procrastinate on something else. If stock photos and shitty swatches are your thing, feel free to use my my referral code.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

ELF: Same sh*t, new packaging

I don't think I've ever fallen out of love with a brand as hard as I have with ELF. Yet another sleepless night where I find myself perusing their new items and online swatches and I just can't care anymore. They've released their Beautifully Bare and Aqua Beauty lines that have been out for over a year now, and now there's the new Beautifully Precise line that is comprised of tools. I've whined some time back about my theory that they are rebranding to increase prices and phase out their Essentials line, or at the very least whittle it down to the bare bones, thus eliminating the one thing that appealed to me as a company: the super affordability. I used to have no problem spending $1-3 on something that might be incredible or could be total shit. I mean, I would be disappointed if a formula or shade was awful on me but at that cost it wouldn't kill me to pass it on to someone who could actually use it. If their products are (now) no cheaper than your basic drugstore line and my experience with their products is so splotchily hit or miss in the past, I have zero desire to branch out and drop money to try their new products. I can be perfectly content with their items I've fallen in love with in the past. At least the packaging is sleek and pretty?

Monday, October 17, 2016

October Ipsy First Impressions

Another month, another late post. So I may have convinced two coworkers to sign up for Ipsy, which for those of you don't know, is a $10 a month beauty subscription bag. I promise, I did not proselytize or subscription stalk them (not my style, having grown up baptist). I cannot see it being overly useful to your average person since most of the samples are deluxe or sample sized and there are a LOT of black eyeliners that are sent out, and the profile one creates for oneself does not always correlate to the products one gets in one's bag, but it works for me (and the coworkers) since we are admitted nerds who have a minimal makeup "collection" to begin with. One of the coworkers has stated that she does not have a blush brush *GASP* though I only have one because I got married three years ago and did not feel like going Sarah Plain and Tall. I will admit my occasional disappointment (Tarte Lipsurgence and Thrive Causemetics Eyeliner, to name two) but I just ended up re-purposing those items. If you are sold from that piss poor pitch, feel free to use my referral code.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Subscription Box Review Part 2

I'm back for round two of subscription box reviews. I will try to make a concerted effort to post more or at least be more timely about reviews. No excuses, as I look at the clock, see that it is 12:30, and know that I have to be at work at 6:00 AM on a weekend. But enough bemoaning my insomnia, let's dive right into the analysis.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Room for improvement

I am keenly aware of how much this page sucks and I am up for any suggestions you may have to help make it better. It started as an afterthought but for some reason I'm still contributing to it.

Things already considered include:

  • A better camera. I've already been in talks with the other half about getting one and he thinks I want him to get it for himself (lol) but we are really cheap people and I can't see this happening until I am done shooting out kids. 
  • Diversify and expand out to different subscription boxes. The problem is I haven't found any other boxes that I think are worth the cost. The one I was interested in was the Essence Beauty Box but unfortunately that one went belly up this month. I believe it was only between $10 and $15 a month two. The only other two boxes I would be interested in would be CurlBox and CurlKit but both are $20 a month + $5 shipping and handling. I would have a hard time justifying $20 a month on hair care products just buying full size again store. The probability of getting mostly foil packets for that price is upsetting. 
  • More photos of what the products look like when worn? Sure, I'm not on friendly terms with photo capturing devices but I can try. To this day I stalk Google and YouTube to see what women of color got in their subscription boxes and try to see if I can manage to wear any of the shades I received that month. There are two black Ipsy girls but one is hi-yellow and the other is considerably darker than me and they are always glammed up with tons of makeup and studio lighting so their demonstrating a product is highly deceptive.
Just let me know if one of the above points is a concern, or just drop any other suggestions you have. I'm a big girl. I can take it. 

September Ipsy First Impressions

It's mid-month so that means once again, it's bag time. Fortunately this time I'm actually posting within the same month that I got my bag-it's like all of my terrible high school qualities have followed me deep into adulthood. I've been thinking of changing my profile because lately I have not received many overly swatchable or interesting things. Useful? Yes. Pretty for unboxing? Meh. On with this boring shitshow.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Empties in Brief

Finally getting around to a mini, non-subscription box empties. Mini because I haven't rounded up all of the semi quality pictures need yet. Note, this pic is nowhere near quality but at the time and with all the tools (that aren't) at my disposal, it's the best I could do.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Subscription Box Review Part 1

Alright, this has been a very long time coming (and will end up being a two parter) but I finally found the time (will power) to sit down and do a detailed review of my Ipsy Glam Bags that I've accrued since I started back in April. For this I'm just focusing on the products themselves, not the bags themselves, there have been a couple of actual bags that I've loved, some that I hated and a lot of overall indifference. And boy, are there a lot of words (I'm sorry). Anyhow, let's get into this.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August Ipsy Bag Review

Alright, so remember how I promised I would be patient and not sneak any peeks at my bag this month? Yeah well... that didn't happen. Once again, I was a little disappointed, until I got my items that is. And then I was still somehow a little disappointed afterward.

For those of you who aren't even reading this don't know, Ipsy is a $10 a month subscription service that sends 5 full, deluxe and sample sized products a month in a makeup bag that is usually pretty cute. Ipsy is one of the cheapest makeup subscription services out there (right next to Birchbox, which I haven't tried yet). If you a are interested in Birchbox reviews or want to see a comparison of Ipsy vs. Birchbox check out My Subscription Addiction.

I received my bag on August 16th and this month Ipsy only offered one beauty tool, which seemed uncommon. I've been a subscriber since April and it seems like they have at least two brushes per bag (or the dreaded nail file) but this month the only offering was a sponge.

I won the lottery and scored the Beau Gâchis Paris Pro Series Applicator Sponge. A two pack of this and another sponge runs for $28 on the store's site (at the time of this writing they are on sale for $23 for the duo pack). Ive been wanting to try a beauty sponge for a while now but I hadn't quite worked up the nerve to buy one so I'm extremely glad this rolled through that door...

A Roundup of My Favorite Blogs (Addendum)

I've fallen hard into watching beauty gurus on YouTube in the past two years but lately I've become a little disenfranchised with them. I don't feel like browsing through notes to see who is being honest with reviews and who is peddling an item, I don't care for the showmanship which may or may not be genuine, and really, after browsing way too many videos it feels like my go-to people are doing nothing but filler videos.

Let's be honest, I just like reading, and if I can't get quiet time to knock out a novel or a Netflix series, I can at least read a tv episode transcript or Google a one-off blog post.

Of all of the random Googlings I've done, I've encountered 4 blogs that I find myself routinely coming back to:

Brutally Honest Beauty (formerly Cheap as F*ck)-the name says it all, and I just love Lyn's tone. She speaks like a real person and really skips the bullshit. A reviewer, entertainer, and beauty therapist all in one.
Everything and Nothin'-Elisabeth is absolutely relatable, honest, has a wonderfully organized, easy to navigate site, and oh my god the freebies. I just recently started checking out her freebie section. I religiously visit this site for reviews though.
My Subscription Addiction-this site is aptly named. I'm very fortunate that this site exists because, working in a lab I make jack shit, and a few peanuts, in terms of income. That's where MSA comes in. The founder, Liz Cadman and husband are subscribed to like, a bajillion boxes, and they have other writers on the site for various nine boxes (I tend to follow Celicia Gantz, representing women of color). The site also has a swaps page and a directory for a slew of subscription services for almost every interest.
The Passenger Element-(named for Autolux?) I stumbled upon this site when I was looking for a swatch for Urban Decay's Lounge eyeshadow. This site is more to see what's new or up and coming when the author reviews items companies send to her. I do love that she is always straightforward about what she purchased on her own and what was sent for free by a company.

Update: This is a blog I failed to originally list in this post because it appears to be defunct. The last posting was in 2014. But I loved reading through it because it is smart and fairly analytical. After a long enough read the cynicism grew to be a little tiresome but a student's t test or chi squared test comparing Birchbox and Ipsy is always good for a laugh.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What happened to E.L.F. Cosmetics?

At one point in my life, as recently as two years ago, I found myself perusing the ELF (or Eyes Lips Face) Cosmetics at least once a week checking out the awesome deals they had on new products and best sellers. Hell, I even remember a time where I would see the brand in Target around Christmas time, see the name ELF and think "oh wow, how cute and festive!" (I was so adorable and ignorant back then). But I absolutely loved the brand, as hit-or-miss as they were. Let's back this up and have a little story time, shall we?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July Ipsy Bag-First Impressions

I finally got my Ipsy Glam Bag for the month of July. I I feel horrible for not being excited about it but let's be honest, that is entirely because I ruined it for myself by stalking spoilers on Facebook and Instagram. I promise I won't do that for the August bag, I just want to be completely surprised.

This month I got:
  • an eyeshadow single from theBalm called Meet Matt(e) Trimony in the shade Meet Matt(e) Moskowitz - $5.50
  • Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Quinoa Frizz Control Gel - $2.50
  • Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer - $3.79
  • skyn ICELAND the ANTIDOTE Cooling Daily Lotion - $12.98
  • Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner in Lauren (Matte Black) - $22 (full sized)
Swatches after the break.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A futile effort... Books, Activity and Garbage

I've been trying to read lately. That's been an utter failure. I don't even pretend television is an option and I'm too much of a book snob to do audio books. My current efforts are:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life Accomplishment: Red Lipstick

On this day, the 29th of June in the year Two Thousand Sixteen, I have found a red lipstick that looks good on this black girl.

So here's the thing, we wear red lipstick all the time. It works on some of us, and I've been told there's a shade for everyone (blue tone red?). Its just the workable shades (for me) are so limited and deep and I've always looked like a hooker clown. Don't get me wrong, prostitutes and sex workers are very nice people. I hear they even offer great services. But clowns are evil monsters and looking like a hooker clown doesn't qualify as one of my #goals.

The lipstick is by Tarte in the color Bae and is unfortunately $20. I happened to wander into a Sephora today and tried some matte colors, Bae and Buxom's Centerfold. Centerfold did not work out, way too pink, but Bae is the ONLY good looking pinup red lipstick I've ever seen. I would do the black pinup girl or black Gwen Stefani if I felt like wearing a bhindi and a cropped top after taping my breasts down.

June Ipsy Glam Bag

So my June Ipsy Glam Bag finally came in on June 17th. It was pretty late this month, but it looks like I'm not the only one who had this issue. This month's bag included:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 2016 Ipsy Bag

So I got my May Ipsy Glam Bag earlier this month. The happy dance totally happened. It did. It costs $10 a month and usually comes with 5 products. Swatches can be found after the jump.

Monday, May 30, 2016

April 2016 Ipsy Glam Bag Review

I was super excited to get my first Glam Bag. It came in on April 13th for me (it usually arrives around the second week of the month, I've noticed). Each bag has 5 items, ranging from sample, deluxe and full size, as well as a cosmetics bag. Note: since a review blog was a total afterthought, I failed to get pictures of what I received so I will have to settle with glam bag reveals from the source. Swatches can be found at the bottom.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Beginning

My husband, God bless his soul, heard me whining about never buying anything for myself and got me a one year Ipsy Glam Bag subscription for my birthday. 1) yay! 2) I now have to figure out what to do with 900 bags but that is a future Morgan problem.

Not knowing the first thing about makeup, and just purging a ton of lip glosses (when they shipped the color difference was so subtle it was maddening), a crusty eyeliner and even crustier mascara I figured I'm a good candidate for an Ipsy bag. Couple that with the fact that I have a job that absolutely won't let you wear makeup (or look remotely human), a one and a half year old and a newborn who won't let me have time to read or cook, let alone try to look presentable (I'm not complaining, I just respect anybody who can balance kids and budget their time, because I am not that person. I couldn't even budget time to leave the house, pre-kids, and be somewhere anytime before 15 minutes late). At least the sample sizes are usually small enough that they won't go rancid or dry out before I can get my money's worth out of them. That and I may find a brand or new color I love.

As you can see from the ramblings, I'm not sure of the tone I want this blog to take. So far it will be a monthly Ipsy bag (that is my only subscription at this time), random product review? Maybe shed a tear or two for one of those sleepless nights (in my younger days witching hour gaming, now Netflix and Wikipedia are my saviors).