Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Birchbox vs Ipsy Round 4 (August)

It's round 4 and everything is still tied up. Let's see if we can break it this go around.

Background: Ipsy is a monthly make-up subscription that focuses on make-up. Birchbox is a beauty subscription that focuses on high end beauty products and sometimes make-up.

On to the show!

Ipsy: There were a lot of combos available so I'm not going to list them all. I got: Urban Decay lipstick in 69, Pixi Beauty Lash Booster Mascara, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, MicaBeauty eyeshadow in Bronze, and the Michael Todd pumpkin nutrient mask. The only substitution I would have made in my dream box would be to get the nail polish instead of the primer. Plus a cute purple bag with crests on it.

The Good:

Urban Decay: LOVE this lipstick. So much so that I went and bought "Shame" which is a dark burgundy/plum color (FINALLY FOUND ONE!!) Decent staying power with good application and a plethora of colors. This one is a win.

Michael Todd- Love masks first off. Secondly, pumpkin=awesome. All around good mask.

MicaBeauty- Nice eyeshadow. Nothing outrageously different from other good eyeshadows but the color is a good one.

The O.K.:

Pixi- It's a mascara. I use Benefit's "They're Real" (the best mascara ever in existence in my opinion) regularly so it's hard to compete.

The Bad:

Smashbox- I hate all over primer. I have decently good skin so only need the lightest of mineral foundations so this was a big miss for me.

Birchbox: I received a set of Birchbox Bobby Pins, Dr. Jart Beauty Balm, Number 4 Super comb Prep and Protect, ModelCo Party Proof lipstick, and OC8 Mattifying Gel.

The Good:

Bobby Pins- These things are amazing. They made the box worthwhile. They hold great and look cute too. I only need one to pin back all of my long bangs. I like them so much I put myself on the waitlist to buy more.

The O.K.:

Comb and Protect- I used it on my bangs (the only part that tangles) and it was ok. Nothing to write home about.

ModelCo- The shade was nice and application was smooth but had zero staying power. Completely confusing considering it's called "Party proof."

The Bad:

Dr. Jart- The sunscreen aspect is nice but otherwise has zero appeal to me.

OC8- What is with all these face things? This held no appeal for me. I don't generally get very shiny and usually put on shimmer anyway.

Verdict: OMG! Ipsy won! We've finally broken the tie!! IPSY 1 BIRCHBOX 0

If you want to join ipsy here's a link: Join IPSY
If you want to join Birchbox go here: Join BIRCHBOX

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Round 3 (July Review)

It's round 3 and everything is still tied up. Let's see if we can break it this go around.

Background: Ipsy is a monthly make-up subscription that focuses on make-up. Birchbox is a beauty subscription that focuses on high end beauty products and sometimes make-up.

On to the show!

In my Ipsy bag I got: POP Beauty lip crayon in Rose (traded for Coral), Benetint in rose, COOLA unscented SPF 20 moisturizer, BH Cosmetics California Collection palette, and Sexy Hair Soy Renewal. Also comes with a pink see-through vinyl bag. Sorry kids....no pics this time as work is taking over my life.

There were quite a few combos available for this month. Benetint, POP Beauty lip crayon, 2 kinds of COOLA, eyeshadow, scrub, perfume, nail polish, humidity resistance spray for hair and soy renewal for hair. My ideal bag (choosing 5 items) probably would have been: eyeshadow, Benetint, Pop Color, nail polish, and either the renewal or the scrub. Well, I got pretty damn close.

The Good:

POP Beauty Crayon- Didn't like the color I got so traded for coral and LOVE it. Fairly good staying power and good color.

BH cosmetics- This palette is really nice. Good colors. Nice little package.

The OK:

COOLA- A nice sunscreen is always good if a bit boring

Benetint: The stain is nice but if you accidentally lick your lips beware! It tastes AWFUL!

The Bad:

Sexy Hair- I don't use hair products very much. My hair is very low care intensive so this was a miss for me.

In my Birchbox I got: Kerastase Bain Chroma Riche Cleanse, a Kerastase Masque Chroma Riche Treat, WEI pomegranate buffing beads, WEI golden root purifying mud mask, DDF acne control, and Pur Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum with SPF 40.

Not gonna lie....when I initially saw the contents of my box online I was kinda bummed. Especially since there was some other stuff that looked awesome (including make-up). Then I started reading through the descriptions. The shampoo and conditioner are for color treated hair and are super high end. I dye my hair colors in unnatural shades. So, ok, point for Birchbox: that could be really helpful. I always love an exfoliate (buffing beads) and masks are always nice when you've had mining slurry splashed on your face and really don't want it sitting deep in your pores anymore. So more points for Birchbox. CC cream and the acne treatment were the only I was apprehensive about before getting my box (after reading the descriptions....I'm calling that knee jerk reactions don't count). Plus then I noticed I get 6 items! SIX! Go me! See how everything panned out below.

The Good:

Keratase- these are very nice and high end. Too pricey for me to buy normally they were a nice treat.

WEI- These are also nice and high end but too pricey for me to buy normally. Perfect for an in-home spa day.

The OK:

DDF- This acne control was ok for me. It seems like it works alright but I have been blessed with nice skin so rarely have acne problems....just the occasional breakout.

The Bad:

CC Cream- I almost never use CC cream and this stuff was nothing special.

Verdict: TIE again. Eventually I'm sure one will win.

If you want to join ipsy here's a link: Join IPSY

If you want to join Birchbox go here: Join BIRCHBOX

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Steampunk Festival Happenings and Outfits WIPs

Hello blogging world!

Ok probably no one. But whatever.

Today I bring to you some of my works in progress for upcoming steampunk conventions.
Looking for Group ala Steampunk
What is steampunk? Generally it's classified as a neo-victorian aesthetic movement. Think a love of cephalopods, tophats, bustles, gears, steam, tea etc etc. Here's Looking for Group all steampunk-ed up for reference.

I'm FINALLY getting to go to some conventions this year!! I'm going to Salt City Steamfest in Salt Lake City July and SteamCon in Seattle in October.

Here's why I'm super excited: Unwoman (cellist musician extraordinaire) is going to be at Salt Lake Steamfest. I LOVE her music. It's always beautiful and touches you in some way. I'm pretty sure she's one of the coolest human beings alive. Here's her playing "The Heroine" which is probably my favorite song:
On top of that awesomeness, I get to have tea there with a dessert bar and get to meet her in person. Tea+Steampunk+Unwoman+Dessert=Epic Times. Added plus, Vernian Process is going to be there. This is their newest single.

I'm excited for SteamCon too! Professor Elemental is going to be there doing his awesome and hilarious chap hop and he also did a series of adventures on YouTube the first of which I've posted here for your enjoyment:

Otto and Victoria in the Dog Park
Brian Kesinger, who does amazing art that I want to hang in every room in my house, is going to be there. One of my favorite pieces (of his Otto and Victoria series) is to the left.

PLUS, I just found out Abney Park is going to be there! This is one of their less talked about songs, "The Clockyard," but I really love it:

TOO. MUCH. AWESOME. IN. ONE. PLACE. Also, I get to go to Seattle which will be a nice change from the desert wastelands of Northern NV. 

Now, onto the OUTFITS!!

The first piece that I'm almost done with is a Victorian recreation piece. It has hand stitched detailing (hours and hours and hours of work....let me tell you. Lots of cursing involved there.), hand stitched cartridge pleats in back, a separate bodice piece with immense tailoring and a false jacket and bust pad. Oof it was a lot of work. But well worth it I think.

I will be pairing it with my black top hat and some sort of black shoe.

The second piece is a kimono-style dress that I drafted together. The top is based off of a traditional kimono pattern and the bottom is free handed. I still need to finish the turquoise/teal edging on the sleeves and hem. Plus finish a petticoat for it (also in progress). It will be closed by a faux leather waist cincher and accented with a vintage golden koi brooch that I will be attaching to a headband or feather pad fascinator. I may even make a thigh holster for some vials or something. Also, probably paired with some sort of brown shoe.

The other planned outfits include a blue bustle skirt with some form of top and one of my many corsets and a jodphur style pant with an Indian influence top. Probably also with that faux leather waist cincher. I'm also making some pieces for hubby so stayed tuned for those too.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Round 2 (June Review)

It's round 2 after a tied first round! Let's see how this shakes out.

Background: Ipsy is a make-up subscription box. Birchbox is a beauty/make-up subscription box. I subscribe to both. They are $10/month.


Ipsy: On the Wild Side

In this month's "wild" box I got a NYX Cream Rouge Blush in Boho Chic, a Starlooks lip pencil in Tipsy, a J. Cat Beauty cream Palette in Suzie, Psssst Dry Shampoo, and a Cailyn gel eyeliner in Iron. Plus a rather standard leopard print bag.

The Good:
NYX: Actually really like this cream blush. I got Boho Chic which is a medium pink color. I always powder over it because I'm not into the dew-y look but the color and application is nice.

Starlooks: I like the pencil. It's a little light for me (why have you forsaken me burgundy plum colors???!!!) I don't use a lip liner all that often but it's nice enough.

J. Cat: GLITTER! I love me some glitter. I know everyone was freaking out that this isn't deemed as eyeshadow, but here's the thing: no make-up company will tell you big chunky glitter is 100% safe around your eyes. I wear Medusa's glitter around my eyes all the time. You just have to be careful. If you get it in your eyes, there is a chance of injury. So, I will be reviewing this product on 2 fronts: body glitter (not to make pictures as suggested but as collarbone/cleavage accents) and eyeliner/shadow. As a collarbone cleavage accent it works great. Just a little sparkle. Eyeliner/eyeshadow.....eh not as perfectly. Nice for accent and tipping the end of cat eye eyeliner though.

Cailyn: I have heard great things about this and was super excited to try it. Was definitely hoping for the purple. However I got the gunmetal (which is fine...just not as fun). I actually liked this product so much I bought 2 other colors (purple and fall night). It is super smudge proof, has a brush in the handle and goes on easy. LOVE. Also, LOOK AT ALL THE COLORS!!!!

The OK:
Pssst: Dry shampoo is apparently a big summer thing. I hear it's good for extending stylings (which I never get done) so for me I though "ehhhhh" but I'll try it out. I also got one in my Birchbox so this is a good "apples to apples" type comparison. (See below for Birchbox). It was ok for me. Not the best product. I would probably only use it camping or after a workout.

Birchbox: Wanderlust

So for the "travel themed" box I got: 2 samples of 100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream in Coconut and Vanilla, Mirenesse Glossy Kiss in Perfect Kiss, Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo, Color Club Wanderlust Collection: Reign in Spain.

The Good:
100% Pure: Ok, this stuff is nice. At first I was like "aw, small samples" but then I used one. With one tiny packet I was able to lotion my arms and legs plus my husband's hands. Which is pretty damn impressive. And the smell is divine. So much so that one of my doxie mixes kept trying to lick it off of me. Could use a bit more hydrating power, but I live in a desert so I can't expect miracles.

Mirenesse: LOVED this. Love me some lip color and the hydration is great. I love that it's a semi stain. I even like the color. However, I wish they made more colors (a nice dark plumy burgundy....please? PRETTY PLEEEASE???) Hopefully they extend the colors in that line.

Suki: I wish the sample were bigger only because it's a really nice product. I was really excited to get this as I've heard amazing things. It smells like Lemonheads which  is a big win for me (mostly because it's one of hubby's favorite candies). It is a gentle exfoliate and you don't have to use a lot. I won't be purchasing only because I need an aggressive exfoliate. I live in the desert and work in mining so I'm constantly exposed to wind, dust, and chemicals- gentle just doesn't cut it for me. Otherwise, very nice product. EDIT: If you don't foam it before applying to face as directed it's much more aggressive and wonderful.

Color Club: Love nail polish. Wish it was a bigger bottle but for $10 I will not complain. The color is like an electric coral which I am all about. This sucker is bright! It is gorgeous. I can't speak to the chip resistance of it as I have an awful habit of picking at my nail polish while I'm at work. However, I managed to keep myself from picking for two days and there were almost no chips. Not quite as good as, say, Zoya (which lasts for ages on my nails if I don't pick at it) but still impressive.
The OK:
Klorane: Wasn't sure how I felt about this when opening the box. I've never used dry shampoo and my black-dyed hair scoffed at the idea of placing a white mist in my hair. But I'm open to new ideas and I work long hours in a mining environment so I said "what the hell? I'll give it a shot." I let my hair go unwashed from Monday until Wednesday night. My hair is short and doesn't build up oils very quickly so it needed three days. Wednesday night I used it and let it work overnight (I heard this is preferable for people using it to soak up oils and not extend hair dos). It was just ok for me. Better than Pssst. But still not for me.

All in all, I was pretty damn impressed with both of this month's bags. Like, super impressed. So what's the verdict? Tie again! Whoo!

If you want to join ipsy here's a link: Join IPSY
If you want to join Birchbox go here: Join BIRCHBOX

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Round 1 (May Review)

So, I finally broke down and subscribed to two beauty boxes: Birchbox and Ipsy. Now, to be fair, they are two different types of boxes. Birchbox tends to focus on body care and lifestyle items such as lotions, face scrubs, creams, sunscreen etc etc. Ipsy tends to be mostly make-up with the occasional lotion or hair care product. So, take this head to head match-up with a grain of salt.

May Ipsy Bag:
In my May Ipsy bag I got: Zoya nail polish in Piaf, Nume Hair Serum, Juice Beauty gloss in Fig, Yaby concealer in buff, and St. Tropez self tanner. Plus the Ipsy bag- a cute bright chevron number. I traded my Nume serum (I have short, straight, spiky hair....not a whole lot of need for it) for a Mirabella lipstick in Posy that was an either or item. Good trade!

The Good:
Zoya Nail Polish- I was really worried I would get Piaf as I'm not a fan of yellow....and then I did. But I tried it out anyway because that's what these boxes/bags are all about. Turns out it is WAY more gold than anything else. *insert big sigh of relief here* Ended up loving it and buying a few more polishes from Zoya including a green sparkly one that reminds me of Poison Ivy and will probably end up making me sew up a Poison Ivy outfit just so I can wear the polish for it.

Juice Beauty Gloss: Unlike virtually everyone else, I WANTED this in Fig. I love me some dark lip glosses because goth is my first love. Anyway, the gloss is nice (although not as dark as I wanted *sigh* nothing ever is) and is very hydrating.

Yaby Concealer: Ok, was super worried this was the wrong color for me but ended up being ok (not perfect but oh well) for cut/pimple cover up. It is too dark/yellow for my under eye circles. But all in all, not a bad find.

Mirabella Lipstick: Also a good find. Not sticky. Doesn't transfer. Still too light for me (I really need to find a deep plum/burgundy colored one...the search continues). But overall good.

The bag: Cute pattern! Loved it. Ended up using it to hold all my nail stamping plates.

The Bad: Self tanner. I hate tanner. I really love and embrace my paleness. I even marked this on my profile but such is life. I ended up giving it to a girlfriend who liked it.

May Bichbox:
In my May Birchbox I got: a twistband hairtie,  Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle, Folle de Joie perfume sample, COOLA moisturizer, and Cargo Hybrid touch-up powder.

The Good:
COOLA moisturizer: It is really nice. Smells good. Probably wouldn't buy full size as I have a good moisturizer already.

Folle de Joie: This perfume was ok. Smelled nice and didn't make me break out which means it's good. But, the fragrance didn't blow me away enough to move away from Clinique's Heart.

Cargo: I'm not usually a fan of finishing duos with bronzer (again, pale and ok with it) but this one is actually too light to really notice the bronzer which works out well for me. Light and not cakey. Comes with a brush and a compact mirror built into the case.

Beauty Protector: I will never use this. However, my husband has long curly hair that always tangles and he said it helps out. (Not fix by any means, but helps) The fact that my husband can use it makes it a win.

The Bad:
Hairtie: I do not have long hair. I marked in my beauty profile that I have hair that is too short for a ponytail. And still I get sent a hairband. I will never understand why. So I gave it to a girlfriend of mine who does have long hair. She says it's a hairtie. Nothing spectacular.

The Final Countdown: TIE
Both ipsy and Birchbox gave me something I had distinctly marked as a NO on in my profile. Everything else worked out in one way or another. I'm hoping June is a little more tailored to me in both of the boxes.

If you want to join ipsy here's a link: Join IPSY
If you want to join Birchbox go here: Join BIRCHBOX