Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick Tip: Give Your Skin a Chill Pill!

Cold weather outside can mean all kinds of nasty things, but a little cold for you skincare can actually do you good!

Keeping eye creams, face masks, even moisturizers in the fridge can give your skin a little extra in addition to what's built into the formula. The chill of your potions on the skin can help to relieve puffiness, reduce redness and make pores appear smaller! It's a nice wake-up call too!

Just remember to keep bottles and jars tightly capped (or if possible, store them in a low-humidity compartment) to keep goods at peak performance!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shop Beautiful:
2nd Annual Charity Auction

What's the most you paid for a beauty item this year? How long did you wait in line to get that hot-selling limited edition? Us beauty fanatics will go to some pretty fantastic lengths to satisfy our cravings, and thanks to Beauty Blogger extraordinaire Karla Sugar, once again this year your lemmings can help those less fortunate. is the partnership of over 70 beauty bloggers and brands. In the spirit of the holidays, we wanted to make a meaningful contribution to charity, so we’re putting our (new) makeup on the auction block. Winning bids are donated directly to Doctors Without Borders. International bidders are welcome, and since we bloggers have agreed to donate the cost of shipping along with our beauty goods, shipping to winning bidders is free. That means the full amount of your winning bid will go to charity!

I'm honored to be able to participate once again, and hope that you can help me spread the word far and wide about this great opportunity to simultaneously give and receive! If you're a lip plumper fan, check out (and bid on!) my donation- a limited edition set of Fusion Beauty LipFusion glosses, paired with a bling-a-licious compact for creating your perfect pout.

If that's not your bag, check out one of the other items up for sale- from Armani to Urban Decay, there's something for everyone (don't forget your gift list!) The 2011 auction began at 8am CST on Monday, November 28, and ends at 5pm CST on Monday, December 12.

Ebates: Shop Online, Save Money!

Though this is included in my list of Black Friday- Cyber Monday deals, I just wanted to pull it out in case some of you aren't aware of this great service! Ebates offers a way to get actual, cold, hard cash back on many of your online purchases- not just this weekend, but all year long. I've known about it for a while, but it wasn't until this weekend that I realized just how many retailers participate. Target, Best Buy, Walmart, you name it, they're probably there!

If you do any online shopping through out the year (especially this holiday season) it's worth registering for a free account here. Earn cash back (they send checks to you!) when you shop at popular retailers- all you have to do is register, click the E-bates link to the website of your choice, and SHOP! Since you're shopping from the actual retailer, you can be assured that your transaction is safe and authentic.

As a bonus, Ebates offers Daily Double deals where you can beef up your bonuses! For example, today's deal is at the Apple Store. What's usually worth a 1% Ebate is worth 2.5% today. That means you can get up to $20 off a new iPad, just for clicking the Ebate link to the Apple website! Not to shabby, and you can imagine how it adds up!

Today, the site's Cyber Monday Double Cash-Back Event raises the steaks a little: deals include 16% cash back on, 12% online at Bobbi Brown, and 10% cash back from Ulta. Keep in mind, to my knowledge, Ebates offers are ON TOP OF other discounts the individual companies may be offering, so you can double up!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Great Big List of 2011 Thanksgiving, Black Friday
& Cyber Monday Beauty Deals!

And it officially begins: I searched far and wide to bring you one comprehensive list of the best deals out there in beauty land. If you know one that's not on here, please add it in the comments and I'll do my best to update the master list as the weekend progresses! Happy Thanksgiving to all and have fun shopping!

40% Off of all product purchases of $100 or more with code black. Friday November 25th ONLY.  Free shipping on orders over $200, some exclusions apply.

Armani Beauty
20% off and Free 2 Day Shipping orders over $75 with code GAHOLIDAY1.

The Balm
Friday, November 25th get 40% off site wide with code BLACKFRIDAY. Sale begins 9am PST and ends at 11:59pm PST.

Bath And Body Works
Monday, November 28th, get 25% off your entire online order with code CYBER2011.
Free sample filled Erickson Beamon makeup bag, valued at $165, with your $100 purchase.

BFTE Cosmetics
Cyber Monday only, get 40% off (excludes Zach's Friends and Indelible Gel Liners). Free US shipping to all orders of $50 or more.
50% off everything with code cyber50. Offer valid while supplies last.

Bella il Fiore
25% off site wide from Black Friday to Cyber Monday with code Bella25

Belle Butters
Black Friday, receive free shipping on any order, even international! On Cyber Monday, spend $35 or more and receive 10% off your order with code ZE24CS at checkout. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales begin at 12amCST and end at 11:59pmCST on their respective dates.

Free Shipping over $50 with code PRETTY50

BH Cosmetics
Thanksgiving: 35% off palettes, 25% off brushes (exp. Thursday 11/24/2011 at 6pm PST) 40% off Build Your Own Palette (exp. 11/24/2011, 11:59 PST) Offers can not be combined.

Black Friday only:
45% off of the 88 Color Tropical Matte Palette

Cyber Monday only:
Save up to 50% on eye shadow, eye liner, brushes, and more.

20% off orders of $75 or more plus free shipping when you shop November 25th through 28th, 2011. Use coupon code cyber11.

Black Baccara
Now through Monday get 15% off of your entire order with code PROMO88.

Black Rose Minerals
40% off full size individual jars with a purchase of $20 or more with code BF2011. Excludes collections and Your choice. Offer valid on Friday, November 25th, 2011 only.

Also beginning Black Friday, use coupon code blackfriday for 15% off your entire purchase with the regular site minimum of $6 or code BF201130 for 30% off your entire purchase of $20 or more. Offers end Monday, November 28th at midnight PST.

Bliss US
20% off Bliss, Elemis, and Remède purchases with code THANKS20. Ends 12/5/2011

Bliss UK 
20% off all orders with code AFFDEC20. Expires 12/31, one use per customer.

Free shipping with code FREESHIP11, expires Monday, November 28th.

Bobbi Brown
3 mini best sellers plus free shipping on all orders with code HAPPY12. Online only, one per customer.  Offer valid through midnight EST November 29th, or until supplies last.

The Body Shop
Entire store 3 for $30, excludes prepackaged gift sets and charitable items. With a $30 qualifying purchase, get a $125 "Mistletoe" set for only $25.

Thanksgiving (while supplies last) get a 6-piece free gift with any purchase of $50 or more, plus free shipping on orders over $60.

25% off entire purchase on Cyber Monday with code 25CYBER11. 12PM EST through 4PM EST 11/28.

Brazen Cosmetics
Black Friday surprise- get 50% off any order over $35 (before tax/shipping) with promo code SURPRISE50. But act quick...this deal is good starting midnight until 10am est tomorrow.

Butter London
Now through Wednesday, November 30th get 30% off with code CELEBRATE11.

Carol’s Daughter
Thanksgiving day get 15% off with code THANKS. Orders over $25 ship for free.
Black Friday sale and free shipping with code THANKS, ends Sunday, November 27th.
Cyber Monday spend $35 save $5; spend $50 save $10, spend $100 save $25. Offer valid Monday November 28th through Wednesday, November 30th.

Starting Black Friday and until Cyber Monday with every $150 purchase on, enter SHOPCHIC at checkout to get Les Macarons Palette and complimentary shipping.

FREE Single Treatment of our Anti-Fatigue Eye Mask Kit, a $12 value, with any purchase.

Cherry Culture
Cyber Monday get 20% OFF everything in store and double rewards with code CM20. Offer expires at 11:59 CST.

Free 2 piece gift and standard shipping with $30 order with code SEM.
Free 3 piece gift with $40 order with code THANKS, expires 11/27.

From Friday November 25th through Tuesday November 25th, get 20% off all Clarisonic skincare pairs.

Black Friday only, get a free eye look and free shipping with code HOLIDAY orders $25 and more.

Coastal Scents
50% off entire site. Sale ends Tuesday, November 29th at 9:00am EST. Offer does not include packaging products, combos, kits or collections.

C.O. Bigelow
Black Friday only, get a free I Love Bigelow tote filled with over $130 in full-sized product with any purchase of $75 or more.

Also, get $10 off orders of $75 or more with code BIGTHANKS. Offer expires Monday, November 28th.
Black Friday only, Get a Weekender Collection worth $400 for just $150. Features an overnight tote, fleece robe and 16 Crabtree & Evelyn body and hand care products. Offer valid online and at participating Crabtree & Evelyn stores.

Cult Nails 
Friday November 25th through Monday 28th, 2011
  • ALL Polish Colors $7.75 each
  •  Nail Treatments $6.00 each ($12 for the pair)
  • Glass Nail Files $10.00 each
  • ALL Available Collections $31.00
  • Each US domestic order placed during the sale will come with a Quick Response Code in the package!  Simply scan the QR Code with a QR Reader on your smart phone for your chance to WIN!  (Contest open to US residents only) Prizes include:
  • 1 complete set of every color in stock.
  • 1 gift set of out Get It On/Wicked Fast combo, a polish and a file.
  • 1 Clairvoyant Necklace (by Ginger Kitty Designs), a Cult Nails T-Shirt, and 1 Unicorn Puke!
Darling Girl Cosmetics
20% off everything in the shop! Starts Thursday November, 24th at 6:00pm and ends Friday November 25th at 10:00pm CST. Discounts will be refunded via Paypal within 24 hours of your order.

For every 5 orders placed during the sale there will be a raffle ticket included in the envelope with your free samples. If you get one, that is $5 in free Darling Girl swag. All you have to do to redeem is leave the raffle number in notes at check out and I will refund your $5 within 24 hours.

Detrivore Cosmetics
50% off all orders over $20 with code Black Friday. Only good November 24th through 26th, 2011.

10% off Cyber Monday only, no code necessary.

Dr. Brandt
Black Friday only, get a 4 piece Dr. Brandt Detoxygen Experience ($225 value) for $75.
Cyber Monday, get a Lineless Eye Cream for $29 (reg $60) or Flaws No More for $39 (reg $80)

If you're doing any online shopping this holiday season, it's worth registering for a free account here. Earn cash back (they send checks to you!) when you shop at popular retailers including Bath and Body Works, Lancome, Macy's, Nordstrom and Sephora (among TONS of others). All you have to do is register, click the E-bates link to the website of your choice, and SHOP!

Cyber Monday Double Cash-Back Event raises the steaks a little: deals include 16% cash back on, 12% online at Bobbi Brown, and 10% cash back from Ulta. Keep in mind, to my knowledge, these ebates offers are ON TOP OF other discounts, so you can double up!

Cyber Monday only, use code 50WIDE at checkout to get 50% off sitewide on orders of $25 or more, maximum discount $100.

Elizabeth Arden
Thanksgiving only, get a free 12-piece gift with any purchase over $49. Use code WILD49 at checkout.
Black Friday through Cyber Monday get 25% off and free shipping on any order with code BF2.

Eve Pearl
From Thursday 11/24 11AM EST  to Monday 11/28 11pm EST receive 40%-55% off store wide with code BPTG2011.

Face Atelier
Now through Monday, 11/28, get 30% off with code THANKS.

Geek Chic Cosmetics
Black Friday through Cyber Monday get 30% off site wide (excludes samples). Free shipping and full-size prototype/discontinued item on orders over $50.

Hi Fi Cosmetics
40% off Black Friday only.

Free full size liquid metal of your choice with any purchase from the Illamasqua Christmas Gift Boutique. One transaction only, can not be combined with other offers, use code GIFTFORYOU at checkout. Offer expires 12/20/2011 at 11:59pm GMT.

Inglot Cosmetics
Thanksgiving online sale, 15% off all online orders and free standard shipping this Thanksgiving weekend. Offer valid Thursday, November 24th 3am EST until Sunday, November 28th 3am EST).

Josie Maran
25% off your entire purchase with code GIVEBACK, offer expires Monday, November 28th.

Black Friday through Cyber Monday get free shipping on all online orders and a free 4.75 oz Candlenut Hand and Body Balm (a $25 value).on all orders $50 and above. Free shipping and gift will be applied automatically to your order.

Kate Somerville
Online offer will be announced on Friday morning!  Stay tuned!

Free US shipping and deluxe trio of your choice with any order of $30 or more. Use code BIGTREAT at checkout, offer ends Monday, November 28th at 11:59 EST.

Kiss My Sass 
Thanksgiving Day: use coupon code turkeyday2011 to save 24% on orders over $10!
Black Friday: use coupon code blackfriday2011 to save 40% on orders over $25!
Cyber Monday: Buy 3 full size eye shadows and get 3 free! There will be a special listing for this, do not buy from the regular eye shadows page.

20% off your entire purchase with code FF2011. Offer valid Tuesday, November 22nd through midnight PDT, Sunday, November 27th.

Laura Geller
Black Friday only, get 20% off online kits, no code necessary.

Lime Crime
Cyber Monday 24 hour extravaganza starts November 28th at noon PST and ends noon the next day. Everything 25% OFF, except Carousel Gloss since it's a new release.

Linnaeus Cosmetics
Friday November 25th through Monday, November 28th, all eye shadows will be $4 (regular price $6). Discounted sample packs will also be available.

LIT Cosmetics
Buy 1 glitter, get 1 free (enter free color in comments box). Valid midnight Thursday, November 24th through midnight Friday, November 25th.

Lost in Makeupland
Now through December 1st, get 20% off everything (excludes 10 sample packs which won't be available through the sale) using the code EARLYXMAS.

On Black Friday, in addition to the 20% off, get a special gift with purchase depending on your order's total (pre-shipping)

  • Orders over $10 receive a 5 sample pack from the upcoming Rock My Look v2.0 collection.
  • Orders over $20 receive a full size eyeshadow jar from the upcoming Rock My Look v2.0 collection.
  • Orders over $30 receive a full size eyeshadow jar and a 5 sample pack from the upcoming Rock My Look v2.0 collection.
  • Orders over $50 receive a full size eyeshadow jar, a 5 sample pack from the upcoming Rock My Look v2.0 collection, AND a surprise gift. 

Gifts with Purchase begin on Friday, November 25th and ends on Sunday, November 27th.

Spend $40 and get your choice of the "Best of Shea" or "Best of Provence" 7pc gift sets for only $14.

30% off Black Friday only with code BLKFRIDAY.

Free overnight US shipping with code CYBER. For MAC Pro members (levels A, B, S and P only), free US or Canadian overnight shipping with code CYBERPRO. Offer expires 11:59 EST on Monday, November 28th only.

Click here to see almost 40 different beauty offers, including a free digital video camera with a $65 fragrance purchase!

Magnolia Makeup
Beginning midnight on Friday, get 50% off pigments and glitters, 20% off everything else. Offer ends Monday, November 28th.

Mario Badescu
Cyber Monday only, spend $50 or more and get 10% off, free shipping and a free gift with code cmonday. US orders only.
Meow Cosmetics
20% off w/ code gobble. Free shipping on all US orders and international orders over $30.

Cyber Monday only, get 50% off and free shipping with code CYBER. 8AM PST through 11/29 8AM PST.

The Morbid The Merrier
Now through Friday, November 25th, buy any 2 full size perfumes, get one free. Buy any 3 solids, get one free.

Morgana Cryptoria
Sale begins Thursday, November 24th at 11:30 PM PST and ends on Cyber Monday at midnight PST.
  • 50% off lip balms in regular tubes
  • $2 lip balms in slimline tubes
  • Quantity discounts on cream lipsticks ranging from $4-$6 off!
  • Gel Lipsticks $5 (including new and soon to be released shades)
  • 50% off New Limited Edition Glosses (large tube)
  • various other specials
My Pretty Zombie
Black Friday through Cyber Monday get 25% off new "The Blue Period" set.

Naila MD Skincare
Use code BF40 and get 40% off all Acne products and SPF20 on Friday, November 25th (online only).

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
20% off all individual OCC products (excludes already discounted items such as box sets and airbrush systems).

To receive discount, click here and log in using guest as your user name and cyber as your password! Sale prices will not be reflected on product screens, but will appear in your cart.

One Hand Washes the Other
Black Friday through Cyber Monday, get 40% off remaining Halloween collection and 25% off the rest of the store. No code necessary, follow link on site's main page to receive discount!

On Cyber Monday only, "Choose your own scent" products will be available. 

There will be various doorbusters added, and a "Post-BF" sale in case your wallets are stretched too thin during the Black Friday week!

$10 off and free shipping on purchase over $25 with code TENOFF, expires 11/28.

Persephone Minerals Artfire and Etsy
Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday get 30% off with coupon code BFMADNESS.

Daily doorbuster deals, holiday sale and free shipping on all orders.

Cyber Monday through November 30th (while supplies last) get a free gift valued at over $100 with your purchase of $85 or more. Use code holidayjoy.

Pollen Cosmetics
Cyber Monday get 20% off with coupon code CyberMonday. Includes new Winter and Holiday Collections!

40% off on Black Friday only. Use code PRTTYFRI40.

RéVive Skincare
Free Shipping on all orders (no code required) plus your choice of deluxe samples.

Ricky's NYC
Cyber Monday, online only, get 20% off select discount appliances with code CYBERMONDAY. Now through November 30th, use code BEAUTIFUL20 to get 20% off all professional haircare, Mattese Elite Cosmetics and all hair appliances (excludes Moroccan Oil and sale items).

RockABetty Beauty
Black Friday through Cyber Monday, use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to receive 35% off your entire order! Sale starts Black Friday at 12:01am central time (1:01am eastern) and ends Cyber Monday at 11:59pm central time (12:59am eastern).

Royal and Langnickel Brush Inc.
Cyber Monday special: All SILK 12 piece sets for $60, plus a free gift (total value $194.99). Offer runs November 28, 2011 from 6am to 12am CST.

Pro Only Cyber Monday offer: 25 piece SILK set, plus free gift, for $75 (total value $294.99)

Saks Fifth Avenue
Cyber Monday deals include free gifts with purchases from Bobbi Brown, Burberry, Clarins, Clinique, Jo Malone, Estee Lauder, and many more! Qualifying purchase varies, offers good while supplies last.

Monday, November 28th only get up to 70% off of over 100 beauty and makeup top-sellers.

Scaredy Cat Cosmetics
Black Friday only, get five free Trial Vials for every $10 spent (specify colors in Notes to Seller section).
Black Friday through Cyber Monday get all full sized sifters for only $3.00 each (reg. $5.00)
All Trial Vials 30% off.

Cyber Monday only, enter code MYSTERY at checkout to receive a Mystery Sample Bag including five samples, free with any online merchandise purchase of $25 USD or more. Valid while supplies last, US only. Free Shipping on orders over $25, with online code SHIPNOW.

Shiro Cosmetics
November 25th-28th use code 30off30 for 30% off of orders totaling $30 or more.

Shu Uemura
20% off with code WISH2011, Thanksgiving through Tuesday, November 29th. Free shipping on orders over $50.

10% off with code IN2011
20% savings store wide with code GIFT20. Certain items are excluded from offers. Each product detail page indicates if the promotion does not apply.
20% off with code SBXFF11, expires 11/28.

The Soap Seduction
Use coupon code BLACK30 to save 30% now through 11/27!

Somme Institute
40% off site wide 11/24 through 11/29.

Sonya Dakar
Cyber Monday only, save 15% storewide with code PR/CM1111. This sale ends tonight, November 28th at 9pm PST/12am EST. Free ground shipping on orders over $100.

Stila Cosmetics
Black Friday first 500 people to spend $25 will receive a 6-piece eyeshadow palette and free shipping with code BLACKFRIDAY.

Cyber Monday through December 2nd: Warehouse sale, up to 80% off!

Sugarpill Cosmetics
Pink Weekend Sale: Get 30% off Friday, November 25th and 20% off Saturday, November 26th through Monday, November 28th. Use code PINKWEEKEND at checkout, applies to in-stock items only.

Sweet Treat Cosmetics
  • Black Friday: 6 for $20 on all $5 items
  • FREE surprise item with purchases of $25.00 or more 
  • FREE shipping on all orders $30 or more! 
Cyber Monday: 25% off your entire purchase in the Facebook store with coupon code cybersweets.

Cyber Monday only, get a free full-size gift PLUS:
$10 off orders $50 and up
$20 off orders $75 and up
$30 off orders $100 and up!

Use code CYBER at checkout.


Cyber Monday only:
20% off all systems with code SYSTEM20 
10% off all AIR Pod makeup with code POD10

Three Custom Color Specialists
Cyber Monday only get 30% off site wide with code CYBER11.

Tick:Tock Cosmetics
Black Friday through Cyber Monday all items are 45% off, no code necessary.

TINte Cosmetics
20% off online only with code FRI11, expires 11/25.

Too Faced
Use code CYBERMONDAY to receive an extra 10% off your entire order (does not apply to items already marked 50% off).

Cyber Monday only, receive a free Deluxe Lash Injection Mascara with orders over $50, the mascara and a free fluff eye shadow brush with orders over $100 and mascara, shadow brush and a free Lash Layering Mascara Kit ($30.50 value) with orders over $250. Gifts will automatically be added to your order, while supplies last.

50% off all Too Faced vintage products.

Use code Black11 for free shipping November 23rd through 28th, 2011.

Cyber Monday deals include an online only "choose your own beauty bag" filled with 14 samples, free with a $35 purchase. 25% of Pur Minerals and Fekkai haircare, $3.50 off any $10 purchase with code 61733 (exclusions apply); $10 off any $60 purchase with code 18137 (exclusions apply), expires 12/2. Free shipping on $25+ orders with code HOLIDAYSHIP25.

Unique Pigments
Use coupon code CYBERMONDAY to get 25% off all of our eyeshadow products, including collections.

Urban Decay
Feminine, Dangerous and Fun 8 piece Eyeshadow Palettes on sale for $19 (Reg. $34)plus, get free shipping on orders over $50 and a free gift with orders over $75.

Victoria's Secret
Free with any $65 purchase: a limited edition tote filled with $70 in beauty products (As a former VS manager, take my word for it- if you want the tote, show up within the first hour your store is open!)

Violent Lips
Black Friday only, get 50% off any order and free shipping worldwide with code VLFB50.

20% off now through 11/26 with code CYBER.
Cyber Monday 20% off  with free shipping; orders over $100 get a free gift with code MONDAY until 11/30 or as supplies last.

Whimsy Beading
  • 30% coupon discount all day Friday,November 25th, 2011 using coupon code BLACK30
  • Free shipping on orders over $75 (after discounts, shipping cost refunded via Paypal). 
  • If you purchase a gift certificate at full price for use on or after December 26th, 2011, you will receive a gift certificate with a bonus amount.
$25 gift certificate will get you $35 in shop credit (40% more).
$50 gift certificate will get you $75 in shop credit (50% more).

Now through January 1, 2012, get free standard ground shipping with code ZOYA4ME.

Purchase 2 or more nail polishes and get a free 2oz Remove Nail Polish Remover and a Coupon Code for $5 Off Your Next Zoya Order

Some restrictions apply, see website for details.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November Birchbox: Instant Reviews

Birchbox is a tiny bundle of monthly love made with beauty junkies in mind. For $10 a month you receive a package filled with 4-5 samples, many of which are deluxe size, with the occasional full-size product thrown in. Deluxe size samples are plenty big enough get a good feel for the instant effects, but maybe not quite enough to judge long-term results. Instant reviews are just that- my instant impressions on the products. These installments will be based on my initial testing, swatching and, of course (you know me) a peek at the ingredients.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules
Sample Size: 5 capsules
Retail Size: 60 capsules (.95 oz) for $68
Sample Value: $5.67

Ceramides are great. They're a major part of our skin's natural barrier- they help to keep moisture in and bad stuff (bacteria, allergens, etc...) out. Elizabeth Arden has been stuck on ceramides for years; I was first introduced to these single use capsules no less than seven or eight years ago. This particular serum is a hydrating blend of silicones, fatty acids and oils, the aforementioned ceramides, and several antioxidant ingredients. It feels like a light oil on the skin- it absorbs into my dry skin quickly and feels soft (not greasy). Having said that, I don't imagine it's a texture oilier skin would enjoy. For those looking to get a good ceramide fix without the high-end price tag, both ceramides found into this Arden serum can also be found in CeraVe moisturizers, which is one reason why I always keep a jar of CeraVe in my medicine cabinet!

Gueralin Shalimar Parfum Initial
Sample Size: 1 ml
Retail Size: 60 ml for $84
Sample Value: $1.40

This resinous amber floral is meant to be an introduction to the classic (and according to Gueralin, the world’s first) oriental fragrance, Shalimar. I’m a fan of the original, and this update has many of the same notes- a sharp, citrusy bergamot top note gives way to a woody, floral heart of rose, jasmine and iris. The vanilla and tonka bean base lend to the powdery, almost gourmand dry down.

It was a surprise that the newer version actually seems bolder to me than the original- Parfum Initial has a muskier finish, and I can’t shake my impression of a somewhat sour note that seems to pull the fragrance out of balance for me. The original Shalimar feels soft, feminine, sophisticated and innocent all at once (it actually reminds me a bit of how Strawberry Shortcake dolls smelled when I was younger!?) The new one smells, to me, like what you'd get if you layered Chanel Chance over original Shalimar. Somehow, it's just not quite right.

Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion
Sample Size: 1.5 oz
Retail Size: 9.25 oz for $24
Sample Value: $3.89 (plus a max of about $.55 for the packet, see below for explanation)

Feels light if not a little waxy going on, but dries down quickly leaving behind a scent that smells lightly lemony- kind of like the moist towelettes they give you at a ribs joint. Both my fiancé and I felt it smelled like soap also- not at all the brisk, medicinal scent I'd expect from something labeled Eucalyptus. Having said that, the lotion reminded me entirely of a complimentary hotel toiletry- not at all luxe feeling and definitely not something I'd pay $24 for. One positive about the ingredients in this fairly standard formula: it doesn't contain actual eucalyptus, which can be a potent skin irritant.

Oddly, apparently one scent of this lotion wasn't enough- Birchbox also included a sample packet in Thymes' Kimono Rose scent. Given my underwhelment with the formula, I have a feeling this little packet will join my stash o' samples that I stick in with giveaways and gifts. (The packet is not labeled for individual sale, thus, it doesn't include a weight for me to figure in the value total. By my calculations, the entire packet weighs around 6g, so this is the quantity I used for the value estimate given above. Obviolulsy, this includes the weight of the package itself so it is definitely a high-end estimate.)

Zoya Nail Polish in Sooki
Sample Size: .25 oz
Retail Size: .5 oz for $8.00
Sample Value: $4.00

Sooki mini (left) next to my own full size Raven (right).

A nice ever-so-slightly cool red polish. The Shiny, creme finish makes it a classic year-round choice. Applies smoothly with almost one-coat coverage, and if your inclined to wonder, you probably already know: Zoya is 3 Free (for those less inclined, that means no toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates). Though I'd say this polish was the bright spot in this month's box for me, I do feel like I should mention that this is the second time since I joined in July that I've gotten a mini Zoya in my box. They were different shades, of course, so I'm not exactly complaining, but knowing that one of the downfalls of Beauty Fix, to me, was too much repetition of brands, so this seems important to note.

TREAT: Two Paperdolls Coasters
Sample Size: 2 coasters
Retail Size: 10 coasters for $15 (if ordered through Birchbox. The set is 8 for $15 on two paper dolls’ site)
Sample Value: $3.00

Coasters? Are you kidding me? Watching some Birchbox reviews this month, I couldn't help but notice some people got chocolate, but I got coasters. Not just any chocolate either: spicy artisanal chocolate with popping candy inside. Did I mention I got coasters? Not just any coasters though- paper coasters. OK, they do have cute letterpress typographical designs on one side (and a Birchbox ad on the other) but still...coasters?


Definitely kind of a dud box this month, in my opinion. As I mentioned in the blurb about the coasters, I did see some more interesting things in other subscriber's boxes. Birchbox does claim to customize the box to your preferences; I'm not really sure what in my profile said "send paper coasters, not chocolate" but I'm thinking I'd better check my preferences stat! Nonetheless, I'm still pleased with the service as a whole- knowing I have the box coming always gives me something to look forward to!

Do you subscribe to any beauty sample services? What do you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

This Week's Sales: Lorac, NuMe, Terax & More!

Beyond the Rack
Monday, November 7th: Lightning Whitening

Brand Alley
Ends Wednesday: Baylis & Harding
If you're not a member yet, click here for an invite and we can both earn a £10 voucher!

Monday: LORAC
Tuesday: Juice Beauty
Wednesday: NuMe

NuMe Hair Styling Tools (yes, here also!)
Holiday Shop featuring: Fiat Luxe, Lipstick Queen, Lollia, Tocca, Tokyo Milk and more!
Ends Monday: Pangea Organics
Ends Tuesday: Terax Haircare
Starts Tuesday: Baudelaire

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 in 30: Question #29. Do You Like Liquid Liner?

OK, so 30 days didn't happen. My cat ate I accepted a drink from a stranger and woke up yesterday in a motel bathtub full of ice? I thought it was 30 business days (on the planet Mercury)? Anyway, we are in the home stretch, so I'm going to continue on with...

Question #29. Do you like wearing liquid liner? If so, what's your favorite?

I adore a nice winged cat eye, and my long-time favorite to achieve it is Lancome Artliner in Noir. It’s a long, felt tipped pen that applies precisely, goes on bold in one stroke, and stays on all day. I’m honestly surprised it’s not more popular among other bloggers and YouTube gurus- it’s tops!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone out there had a great Halloween. It's my favorite day of the year, and even though it was on a Monday this year, I was determined to make it special. I filled my day watching cartoon specials with Lily,  eating Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins (not bad, but they look better than they taste!) with hot spiced caramel-apple cider, and carving pumpkins.

The bottom two are mine, Brad did the top one!

When it came time to dress up, Brad set to work endowing super-hero powers on Lily. I'd planned on being a ghostly specter, but soon realized that wasn't going to be possible, due to a cat-related occurance. So, pressed for time and in need of something I could create with what I had on hand, and without an actual costume, this is what I came up with...

Obviously, not dressing up isn't an option, so living-dead it was. Keeping in mind I've never done zombie/dead makeup before, and didn't have time to research or even check out any tutorials, I'm fairly happy with how this came out. Aside from a just a few items (like the cocoa powder I used to give the blood a clumpy texture) this is all Ben Nye makeup- yay for my college theater makeup kit!

I custom blended a light gray-green base color, used red shadow to rim my waterline and a deep plum to shade in the orbital bone- especially in the bottom, inner corners. After adding some texture by mottling different shades of grey, green and plum, attempting to use eyelash glue for rotting, peeling flesh (bad idea!) adding blood and teasing out my hair, all I needed was a few leaves from the yard to give my costume that authentic crazy touch. It was a bit scary for the younger kids, but I got lots of compliments from the older kids- especially the boys!

So what did you do for Halloween? Trick or Treats, party times, or just a quiet evening at home? Hope everyone was safe & had tons of fun- can't wait until next year!

Urban Decay Holiday 2011 Friends & Family

Now through Saturday, November 5th, use the code FFHOLIDAY11 and get 20% off of your entire online order at Urban Decay! I believe this is the first time they've allowed a discount on the coveted Naked Palette, so if you've been lemming it, now's the time! Of course, don't forget your whatever denominational winter gift-giving holiday consumption list (buy gifts).
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