Month: October 2012

Bath and Body Works 3-wick candle HAUL and review

As you all know I was PSYCHED to get a mini Bath and Body Works candle in my Influenster VoxBox. Even better? The attached coupon for $10 off the three wick candle! I headed into the Bath and Body Works store in my local mall for a haul and walked out with even more than I expected!

First, I used that coupon to grab five of the three-wick candles. I got Fresh Balsam, Bonfire Maplewood, Evergreen, Spice, and White Barn No. 2 Chestnut and Clove.

It was really tough choosing just five candles, but I went for five that smelled like Christmas. The Balsam and Evergreen candles smell very much like freshly cut trees, so those would be fab if (like me) you have a fake tree in your house! (I refuse to chop down a living tree for a mere two weeks’ worth of decoration.)

The Bonfire Maplewood candle makes me think of eating treats by a fireplace. The Chestnut and Clove and the Spice candles both smell like their namesakes, but while the first candle has a more low-key spice scent, the Spice candle is very strong. I think it would make a whole room smell like baking spices!

If you want to pick up your own three-wick candles, you need to hurry, because they’re currently on sale: two for $20! That’s half off! This offer only lasts through November 4 and whenever this deal goes up these candles fly off the shelves, so I wouldn’t wait to stock up!

Of course, because I had many other coupons to use, and because I simply can’t resist that store in general, I wound up leaving with other purchases as well! First up was a giant metal candle sleeve for one of the giant jar candles; it was only $5! Here it is with the Balsam candle; isn’t it pretty?

Then there was this mini Cranberry Woods candle. I’m not sure about this scent; it’s like a deeper, less fruity version of a cranberry candle. I don’t know if I’ll wind up buying a larger version of this candle; I’m really in love with the pine scents!

Okay, non-candle items: a pair of lovely hand creams, one for me and one for my Mom. I think this Peppermint Twist scent is just what I need to get me through the winter months; it was $4 but there were very few left in-store, so I’m not sure if you’ll be able to find it or not!

The True Blue Spa hand cream was on sale for $6 and features a blend of cashmere, shea, and silk. It smells like almonds, vanilla, and sandalwood. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a clearance item or not. (You can also see how tiny that mini candle is in this picture.)

I also picked up a couple of bottles of lotion from the clearance table: Paris in Bloom and Paris Nights, both of which were marked down to $5.50. You can find matching shower gels for these too, I believe. Paris in Bloom smells similar to the original Paris Amour, but with a slightly sweeter, more floral twist; it’s described as pink peony, dewy pear, and blonde woods. I know it’s a rather summery fragrance but I really like it!

The second is (I’m hoping) similar to my Black Raspberry Vanilla, which isn’t sold in stores anymore. (Sad face! But I can still get it online.) Paris Nights is described as French jasmine, clementine, and Cabernet musk.

And guess what? I left the store with even MORE coupons! They’re handing out holiday coupon books right now with special deals that run in stages, starting now and working up through Christmas. Make sure you check the dates on the coupons so they don’t expire behind your back!

Okay, a few more things to tell you: if you’re shopping online, you can get $10 off purchases of $30 or more and free shipping on orders of $50 or more with the code “TEN50”, now through November 18. They’re offering buy tree, get two free on Signature Collection body care through November 4. And as always, you’ll get coupons and coupon codes on your receipts with all purchases, so stagger them carefully to take maximum advantage of your coupons and the sales!

Blogger tag!

Happy Halloween everybody! I have a few posts for you that I’ll try to get up there today, but first let’s start with something fun and different: a blogger tag!

Klaudia from Style It With Me! tagged me for this post, which is basically a fun get-to-know-you chain. Here are the rules:

  • Each blogger tagged must post 11 random facts about themselves
  • They must answer the 11 questions posted by the previous blogger
  • They must create 11 new questions to ask their tagged bloggers 
  • They must then tag 11 blogs with less than 200 followers apiece
  • The bloggers must be told
  • No tag backs!

Sounds fun, huh? So let‘s get started! 

11 random facts about me:

  1. I like driving in the car and listening to music. I could just drive around town doing this and not get bored, but gas is too expensive these days!
  2. I like wearing makeup, I just dislike taking it all off. I guess I’m lazy!
  3. I collect penguin stuff at Christmas.
  4. I can read upside-down.
  5. I’d really love to travel to New Zealand, partly because I’m a Lord of the Rings nerd and would love to visit the filming locations!
  6. I’d like to learn to speak Latin!
  7. I love peppermint anything–food, candles, body lotion–so when the holidays come and everything gets a peppermint makeover, I stock up and hoard the items for the next ten months until the peppermint blitz begins anew. I’m currently finishing off last year’s peppermint marshmallows!
  8. Everyone thinks that it must suck to work nights and try to sleep during the day. But I’m scared of the dark and like sleeping with a light on anyway, so I secretly don’t mind! I just pretend it’s a real pain so I don’t have to admit my fear to people.
  9. I’m usually wearing head-to-toe-black or a bright color. I really do like wearing bright colors and prints and buy lots of them, but I’m such a lazy dresser that I gravitate toward the easily coordinated black outfits. Unfortunately, this makes my closet look rather bipolar.
  10. I like my cats more than most people I meet. Animals aren’t judgmental!
  11. I have a huge girl crush on Kate Beckinsale and her hair. Mostly her hair.

Klaudia’s questions for me:

  1. Are you a saver or spender? Both! I try to religiously save part of my paycheck every month. I guess I’m overly cautious about having something for a rainy day. But when I do spend money, I splurge.
  2. Blackberry or iPhone? Neither! I’m still using one of those basic mobiles that only calls and texts–no web access, no contacting the dead.
  3. Favorite magazine? Glamour.
  4. What’s your hobby? Reading!
  5. What do you usually eat for breakfast? A granola bar. I rarely have time to sit down to eat, so this is a nutritious on-the-go solution for me.
  6. What country would you like to visit? I already said New Zealand, but also Italy.
  7. What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable? Strawberries.
  8. Do you prefer writing in pen or pencil? Pen.
  9. What holiday you went on was your favorite? I haven’t been on a “real” vacation in a long time. I did love visiting the Oregon coast with my family in high school. It was a long trip to get there but it was beautiful and lovely.
  10. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook–I’m too longwinded for 140 characters. 
  11. Is your bedroom currently messy or tidy? Tidy–I have company, so the hubby and I cleaned the house really nicely before they arrived! I wish it looked like this all the time.

My questions for you:

  1. If you could spend the day with any celebrity, male or female, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
  2. If you could live inside the world of any book or movie for a day, which would you choose and why?
  3. What is your secret skill?
  4. If you could use just one makeup item for a month straight, which one would you choose?
  5. Which do you prefer: salty snacks or sweet treats?
  6. Do you read the book first and spoil the movie, or watch the movie first and spoil the book? And how much do you really care if the two are different?
  7. What’s your biggest online time-waster? (Mine is Pinterest!)
  8. What is your favorite holiday or special occasion, and what do you do to celebrate it?
  9. What no-fail recipe do you whip up to impress dinner guests?
  10. If you could only wear heels or flats for the rest of the year, which would you pick and why?
  11. If you could time-travel to any period and place in history and spend some time there, when/where would you visit?

I tag:

  1. Little Beauty Blogg
  2. Paperbacks and Polish
  3. Three Six Five
  4. Smokey Blush
  5. Wallflowers
  6. Makeup Guinea Pig
  7. Pretty Squared
  8. Wildflower Child
  9. Blogs and Mogs
  10. Cute Beauty
  11. [Insert Witty Title Here]

Okay ladies, it’s time to get tagging! Have fun everyone!

    Blogs I loved this week!

    Hey lovelies! I thought it would be fun to start doing a weekly post in which I point you guys to my favorite posts across the blogosphere this week. I follow tons of blogs (and I’m doing a horrible job of updating my link list), so this is just a fun way for me to share with you some posts from some of my favorite bloggers.

    I don’t know if I’ll manage to post this every week or how many links I’ll include each time, but I’ll try to stay consistent!

    If there is a more sparkly and lovely outfit than this one posted at City Scape Bliss, then I haven’t seen it, or it is from Marchesa and I can’t afford it! I think Tereza did a great job replicating the Marchesa catwalk look with High Street pieces and this dress would be divine for the holidays.

    Don’t feel like dressing up? Then perhaps, like me, you’re eyeballing Lily’s panda hood from What I Heart Today. Paired with the orange-red lips, it’s anything but childish!

    Christine from Makeup Guinea Pig posted the October Birchbox Goop Edition, and not only does she have some choice things to say about the box, she also sums up the dilemmas of cruelty-free beauty junkies trying to navigate subscription beauty box services. While you’re there be sure to enter her Bath and Body Works three wick candle giveaway–you’ve got about ten hours left to get your entries in!

    I found two new nail shades to obsess over this month: Catrine at Unnaked Nails posted the most unique mustard yellow polish (Nails Inc. Hampstead), while Jenn at Paperbacks and Polish showed swatches of a stormy blue-gray (Sally Hansen Gray By Gray). I don’t buy either of these brands, but after seeing the pics, I’m on the hunt for similar shades! Stay tuned.

    On the non-beauty beat, Claire from Make Room For Cupcake shared this tasty-looking recipe for pumpkin, cheese and chive muffins. I have company coming this week, so I think I might try making these as a little snack!

    Finally, here’s a slightly older (but very relevant) post from Kate at Shoes, Sushi and Spare Change about the problems associated with counterfeit luxury goods (think fake Louis Vuitton bags). While many people assume that this is a “victimless” crime, the truth is very much the opposite; I’ll let you click on over to her article to read the dirty details.

    One of my favorite things about the #bbloggers chat is the change to meet new beauty bloggers who have only just gotten started in the blogging world! If you don’t know what the #bbloggers chat is, head over to the #bbloggers blog to get all the details and join in on the fun! One of the new bloggers I met this week is Ainsley at Wallflowers, who just posted a great review of Yes To Cucumbers Facial Towelettes.

    Also new to beauty blogging: Elysia from Little Beauty Blogg, whose in-depth review of Batiste dry shampoo for brunettes basically convinced me that I’m missing out on absolutely nothing by skipping the tinted dry formulas. Whew!

    Finally, the ladies behind Cute Beauty are actually two British teens blogging about their love of all things beauty. Their latest post: a review of October favorites, including Taylor Swift’s new CD, Red.

    So that’s it for this week! I hope I gave you guys some cool new bloggers to follow and some interesting posts to brighten up a dull Monday!

    Cute Shoe Monday: velvety ballet slippers

    These ballet flats just have “holiday sugarplum fairy princess magic” written all over them. Except, uh, maybe not in so many words.

    I mean, look at them. They’re the most flattering shade of peacock blue, they look like crushed velvet, they have that cute bow detail on them…don’t they look like something you’d wear to all of your holiday parties, instead of torturous heels?

    Ballet flats, $14.95, H&M stores

    Product reviews: NYX Eye Shadow Base in White and NYX Jumbo Eye Shadow Pencils

    Here’s a very belated review of a couple of the products I bought last month from ULTA’s NYX sale (which you can read about here). I really hate to badmouth products without lots of testing, so when I try a product and just don’t love it (or really, really dislike it) I try to wait a while and test it out a few more times, just to see if my original opinion will change.

    For one of these products, it definitely didn’t.

    I have to say, I’m a huge fan of drugstore makeup. I’ve found some amazing bargains at the drugstore and would never swap those products for more expensive dupes. That said, NYX is sort of hit and miss for me. I loved the Shine Killer (you can read my review here) but really wasn’t impressed with the Jumbo Lip Pencils (read about those here). Now it’s on to the eye shadow pencils and primer pot, and once again, my feelings are mixed. So without further ado, let’s get right into the product reviews.

    The product: NYX Eye Shadow Base White, $6.99

    The claim: “Maximize the intensity, longevity and unashamed brilliance of your eye shadow…creates a smooth canvas for color, increases its durability and prevents fallout.” (From their website)

    I tried it: As you can see from my swatches, this is a stark white primer, so you’ll want to blend it in well and let it set for a moment before adding any color over the top or else the color doesn’t apply correctly. This seems to be a pretty generously-sized primer pot and it would appear that a little goes a long way.

    My big problem with this product is that the colors really don’t seem to be “intensified”. As you can see in the swatch below, I have stripes of the NYX cream shadows and of some Physician’s Formula powder shadows (top) running down my arm. The left side has the primer; the right is bare skin. Can you tell a difference? I can’t. Any increased intensity in the color is minimal at best.

    I’m not sure about the power of this primer to prevent budging or creasing because I don’t get creases on my forearms (duh). I don’t feel like it really gives the shadow all that much protection against smearing, though.

    My verdict: Pass. I’m really disappointed; I thought this would make my eye shadow colors really pop, but I can’t see that much of a difference with or without the primer. I’m glad I got it on sale, because it’s certainly not worth a whole seven dollars.

    The product: NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil, in 28 shades; $4.50

    The claim: “A radiant eye liner that also doubles as an eye shadow…glide on effortlessly—no pulling, tugging or fading.” (From their website)

    I tried it: First, allow me to praise the intensity of the colors and the sheer jaw-dropping gorgeous hue selection. These are eye shadow colors as they were meant to be: rich, luscious, and utterly amazing. The colors are just as intense and gorgeous on your skin as they are in the pencils.

    That said, as with the Jumbo Lip Pencils, there’s very little product in each pencil; what you see in the tip is what you get, so I recommend grabbing them on sale. ULTA often offers these at 40% off and while that seems fair, $5 is a bit high, in my opinion.

    These pencils have a very silky glide and go on with ease, but they’re almost too slippery. As with the lip pencils, I blame all of the added mineral oil; the color slides around on your lids and creases easily. You can blend it out with a brush and top it with colored powder to help it stay put, but then you lose the jewel-box intensity that made you buy the pencil in the first place. It’s a Catch-22.

    This is not just a problem when using the pencils for shadow; as a liner, they’re terrible. You can line your upper lash line with a flick of the wrist, but when you blink, you’ll transfer a thin line of that pencil to your crease. Primers, waiting for the pencil to dry, and topping with powder do little to lessen this effect.

    My verdict: I’m so disappointed! I love these colors and would buy one in every shade if only they stayed put–but they don’t. If you’re doing Halloween makeup or something special like that, then they’d be a great cheapie buy for added color and ease of use; you can seriously doodle all over your face with these. But for everyday wear, they’re a letdown, and I doubt I’ll repurchase them.

    New video review: my Minerals By Bee indie makeup sample order

    I posted on my blog recently about trying out an indie mineral makeup and skincare company called Minerals By Bee. Well, now that I’ve had a chance to use the products, I wanted to shoot a little video to tell you what I think!

    If you want to try Minerals By Bee for yourself, here’s their website link and here’s the link to their FREE sample offer!

    Mini product review: E-Boost

    Earlier this week I showed you guys my awesome Influenster Beauty Bloggers VoxBox, packed with beauty booty like false lashes, hair cream, and that lovely Bath and Body Works mini candle. One of the items in the box was an E-Boost drink packet, which I decided to writer up as a mini-review for those of you who watching or read about the unboxing and were curious about the product. (Disclaimer: this product was sent to me for review by Influenster; however I was not paid for this review and the free sample does not alter my honest opinion of the product in any way.)

    Product: E-Boost effervescent powders, in orange, pink lemonade, acai pomegranate, or super berry; $28 for a box of 20 powders or $39 for a box of 30 powders

    The claim: “Boost your mood, focus, and immunity with natural ingredients and no crash.” (From my VoxBox card)

    I tried it: If you’ve ever tried the Emergen-C drink packets, then this product should look familiar. It’s basically the same thing–a mixable drink powder packed with vitamins to boost your energy and immunity–but with an added kick of caffeine.

    I’m not really a huge fan of Emergen-C simply because I don’t care for the taste of the drink mixes. The E-Boost packet was slightly more palatable and had less of a carbonated taste/texture to it.

    I did feel like this gave me a boost for my day; I definitely had more energy and I got a lot done in a short period of time!

    My verdict: If you like Emergen-C, you’d like this, too. I personally won’t re-purchase it simply because I’m not a fan of this type of drink mix–I’d rather pop a vitamin tablet–but if you do like vitamin drink mixes, then it’s a nice upgrade from regular to turbo.