Play! by Sephora: March Review

Monthly subscription boxes are the hottest new trend to treat yo’ self. In addition to just the pure excitement of receiving mail, there’s also the aspect of literally opening a package of surprises catered to your tastes. The idea of sending deluxe beauty/cosmetic samples for a low monthly fee, first came from Birchbox in 2010 and was later revolutionized by ipsy. Sephora hopped on this train at the end of 2015 and was apparently so well received that they have a wait list at times to subscribe to the box. Being thrifty, I’ve always been skeptical that the samples you receive in these monthly boxes will actually be valued for the $10 price, or that the samples will simply be disappointing. However, I felt compelled to try Play! by Sephora since I regularly shop at Sephora and am a fan of their brands which are more high-end than drugstore names, like Kat Von D Cosmetics, tarte, Make Up Forever, Anastasia Beverly Hills and so on.  

I received my first box the other day, so let’s take a look at what’s inside!

17453402_10156051096844768_1366357418_o

March’s box focused on all things glowing, gleaming, and bright. Having glimmering cheeks like the sparkling light blue waters of a tropical beach is the latest trend. Everyone on Instagram has been sporting shimmering highlighted faces in the sun.

The samples were neatly packed in cute ribbon tie pouch that reads, “Glow Your Own Way”.

The items are:

  • A card for 50 bonus Beauty Insider points with purchase (this is standard with every box)
  • GlamGlow- Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Nude Glow- This is a two in one moisturizer that doubles as a highlighter. It’s creamy, sparkly, and smells super sweet like a dessert yogurt drink!
  • Benefit Cosmetic- Watt’s Up!– This is a highlighter stick that glides on smoothly and provides a more natural shine. Benefit Cosmetic’s products are of really good quality, but I’ve personally received the same Watt’s Up sample so many times I couldn’t be excited for it. Despite all the times I had it, I’ve actually only gotten close to buying the full size. Still didn’t do it though. I think for me, the pigment isn’t dramatic enough for the price.
  • Algenist- REVEAL Concentrated Luminizing Drops in Pearl- This sample was the one I was most excited for! They are pure concentrated liquid drops of a creamy white pearl highlighter. You squeeze them out in a eyedropper bottle and it looks like a tiny gleaming pearl falls onto your skin. This color is more of a brighter white-cream shade than the other samples, but is so vibrant and pigmented.
  • Make Up Forever- Artist Shadow in I-544– I wasn’t excited when I saw this but it grew on me. It’s an eyeshadow that looks like a very dark bronze to the eye, but when applied it actually has very subtle whispers of pink. They call it a “pink granite” color but to me it’s more of a bronze gold dust with very slight hints of pink which results in a dusty purple. I have applied it in the picture below. 
  • Living Proof- Full Dry Volume Blast– Travel sized spray can to provide hair some life with volume and texture! I haven’t tried this yet but I’ve heard great things about Living Proof.
  • Atelier Cologne- Clementine California– There’s a post card and tiny cologne sample that’s more for smelling than actual use. It’s a very heavy citrus aroma with floral tones. I think they were going for a sunny Californian day, which I can totally imagine. It reminds me of a countryside highway besides an orange farm and a field of poppies!
17408291_10156051095704768_1715542014_o

I’m wearing the Make Up Forever & Algenist samples!

My verdict? The box was definitely worth $10 and the products were carefully and thoughtfully  picked! I’m excited to receive April’s box which I hope is a beautiful Spring themed box.

Another Song About California

Midsummer 2016… new hair, more self-love, and big ol’ mom jeans.

I wanted to do a typical self-encouraging, motivational “new year, new you” post during New Years but in all honestly I didn’t actually feel that way at the time. I was actually feeling really low and I couldn’t bring myself to lie about feeling great, even though I did really want to convey the message of self-love.

But where, has the time gone? It’s the midsummer, and the living is somewhat easy. A lot has changed, and I’ve definitely made some hard choices to improve my life for the better. But I think I’ll elaborate on that in a later post. ❤️

I’ve wanted to do my hair ombre for years now, but was always afraid of looking unprofessional and possibly damaging my hair by bleaching it. But you know what? I did it! And I couldn’t be happier. You should be judged by your skills, ability, and hard work– not looks. I’m glad to be somewhere that does so. I got my hair done at my usual salon, and it turns out they only had to bleach the tip of my hair, so if it is damaged, it’ll grow back!

1 ww v2

Yup, repping more pussy power with my statement feminist clothes. I’m a huge fan of Valfre and get really excited when they have sales. The highest discount I’ve ever seen from them was 40% for Black Friday, but I am more than happy to support feminist indie designers instead of fast fashion chains!

2 ww

MMM I LOVE HAIR YUM YUM

 

I don’t know why, but I became infatuated with high-waisted mom jeans and decided to buy a pair. I’m about 5″3 so I thought they might make me look even stumpier than I am, but you know what? YOLO! I don’t have that seamless hourglass look that I see all over Instagram, in fact I got more rolls like La Boulangerie, but I only have one life to live, so why be afraid of fashion?

3 ww

Here’s a close-up of my locks! I call it sunset hair! Where do I get it done? Chinatown, San Francisco.

DSC_0595

Outfit:

Tee- Valfre

Jeans- American Apparel

Milk: Tattoo Stamp Review

13624566_10155074868519768_1752089723_n

Milk Makeup is an up-and-coming contemporary beauty brand that hit the shelves sometime early this year or last year. If you take a gander at their Instagram or website, it’s easy to see that they have a modern, artistic yet functional feel. Most of their products come neatly sealed in a plastic tube with their brand name in a sleek white or shiny silver holographic font. They really try to exude an effortless feel with products such as Spray Nail and Cooling Water Stick.

Their makeup displays at Urban Outfitters or Sephora say something along the lines of, “Milk girls get ready faster.”

To which my boyfriend asked, “If I buy this for you, will you get ready faster?”

“No. Good luck with that,” I replied.
Anyways, I’m here today to review their Tattoo Stamp. When I first saw the product at Urban Outfitters, I gushed. It reminded me of the stamps I played with as a kid, and of the oh-so-beautiful Marina from her album cover for Electra Hearts.
marina

Marina of Marina and the Diamonds

So how did it fair?
7/10- I really like it, but I don’t love it!
Pros:
  • Definitely a really cute playful idea
  • Easy to use and apply
  • Instant and easy to wash off

Cons:

  • It was easy to apply on the body, not so much on your face. Especially if you’re trying to place it near your eye, the way your hand is angled makes it hard to achieve a perfect shape since it’s a long pen
  • This is a pro and con, but it came off fairly easily– easy to smudge

Here is how it came out on my face:

13618142_10155074868449768_897464773_n

As you can see, it got a little smudged since our faces are not flat surfaces! But I am eager to try again, and place it a little lower like Marina, instead of a gangster tear drop. Oops.

Here’s What Happened at a VIB Rouge Event

coffee

Today I was lucky enough to attend a VIB Rouge event! For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s the top tier of Sephora’s rewards program. Admittedly, I spend way too much of my paychecks on beauty products and believe me, everyone loves teasing me about it. I’ve never had perfect skin. I’m very sensitive and prone to breakouts. I have adult acne and cystic acne every so often, (and I thought I could say goodbye to pimples when I tossed my fingerless gloves away years ago) so I end up having to buy pricier skincare regimens.

I had never been to an exclusive VIB Rouge event before. It was a before store hours private shopping session / new fall line preview and I wasn’t really expecting much. If anything, I was going to get a free makeup bag for attending, so why not?

Here’s what normally happens at Sephora:

  • It’s PACKED.
  • All the beauty advisors are so busy they zip past you. Unless you open their drawers– then they get pissed and finally ask you if you need help. (This happens to me a lot.)
  • The checkout line is modeled after Disneyland rides.

13296055_10154982779459768_443217252_n

Here’s what happened at the Rouge event (Note: I had no makeup on and was wearing my gym clothes):

  • Since it was an RSVP event and before store hours… it was EMPTY! There was more employees than customers. No waiting for anyone to finish swatching so you could move in.
  • A million employees complimented me and asked me if I needed help or wanted to try anything.
  • They also kept offering me free food!! A beauty specialist even poured me coffee and put cream and sugar in it for me.
  • Essentially, rock star treatment.
free2

Yay for free stuff!

In conclusion, I got a major ego boost and a beauty advisor helped me find a new moisturizer!

 

 

On Fleek: Anastasia Beverley Hills Eyebrows Review

13241178_1215569231797165_2968014940858323674_n.jpg

(Photo Source: Anastasia Beverley Hills Facebook)

Full, defined, arched eyebrows are the hottest look. It would be nearly impossible to scroll through five photos on your Insta feed without seeing a perfectly thick curved eyebrow perched over a winged cat eye staring at you.

Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH) is a well known beauty brand that makes a wide array of eyebrow products. When I first decided to venture into the world of groomed eyebrows, I browsed the ABH aisle at Sephora. I’ve tried a few different ABH products throughout the years, and found some treasures that my brows are thankful for, and some that I can do without. I know how great it is to have your makeup slay for the day, but, I also know what it’s like to live on a budget. So, I’m gonna highlight some ABH eyebrow cosmetics that I absolutely recommend and some that I think be replaced with a cheaper alternative!

Yas List:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – $21.00

brow_wiz_auburn_

(Photo Source: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

This thing is slim and tiny, which may make some people question its worth, but trust me, it’s the perfect tool! Imagine you’re an artist and you need to paint teeny small strokes on your canvas. Well, the canvas is your brows! This little number allows you to define your brows very carefully and the color is nice and pigmented.

Anastasia Beverley Hills DIPBROW Pomade – $18.00

dipbrow-medium-brown_1.png

(Photo Source: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

I do not use the term holy grail lightly, so believe me, this product is the holy grail of eyebrows. This stuff can shape, fill, define– its a one woman team! All you need is an angled brush (I just use one I picked up at Target) and the possibilities are endless. Also, mine has lasted me MONTHS. If you’re afraid it’ll come out too dark, just pick up a spooly and brush it out.

Ditch This, Try That:

Clear Brow Gel – $22.00

clear_brow_gel_.jpg

(Photo Source: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

Of course brows wouldn’t be complete without holding them in place with a clear gel. ABH makes a clear brow gel for $22– which is a little, or a lot, steep.

Alternative:

Mialni Brow Shaping Clear Gel – $4.99

MBC-01 Brow Shaping Gel.jpg

(Photo Source: Milani Cosmetics)

You don’t need to use a lot of brow gel to hold them in place, so I suggest Milani’s Brow Shaping Clear Gel that works just as well– and is a steal for $5!

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Definer – $23.00

074_chocolate_off.jpg

(Photo Source: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

I was unfortunately unimpressed by this product. The packaging is a really cute pink shiny box which drew me in, along with this promise of an innovative triangle tip. However, the triangle tip didn’t do anything for me. If anything, it was harder to use than the Brow Wiz. Also, this may just be me and my super strength but the triangle tip kept breaking off and I ended up wasting a lot of product.

Alternative:

Etude House Drawing Eye Brow Duo – $10.40

41U3NMlQMRL._SY355_.jpg

(Photo Source: Amazon.com)

Korean beauty brands are all the rage now, with Etude House being one of the most well-known. Their Drawing Eye Brow Duo also features an edged tip with a spooly to blend for almost half the price!

Perfect Pout: Kylie Lip Kit Review in Posie K & 22

12966346_10154808365134768_271505065_n12939078_10154808365109768_1673356587_n.jpg

Kylie Jenner’s lips have been the talk of the town. Whether you love her or hate her, it would be nearly impossible to avoid her headline inspiring pout. Her plump lips always look oh so plush and glamorous. Not to mention, they’re always painted a beautiful shade that just makes them look even more flawless. Users on Pinterest and beauty boards have spent countless months trying to recreate her lips. But then, King Kylie answered everyone’s prayers and released her own line of lip products, Kylie Lip Kits.

However, these little babies aren’t easy to get. If you’re aquatinted with buying EDC or Coachella tickets, the process is much like that. There’s an announced release time where hundreds of thousands of users flock to the store. When trying to shovel items in your cart, the site will crash relentlessly and only a few customers will be lucky enough to crawl out into the check out and receive an order confirmation.

Luckily, I got my paws on two colors! And I’m more than happy to share swatches and let you guys know what I think. I got Posie K, Kylie’s Valentine’s release which is a dark mauve pink and 22, a fierce orange red.

12939243_10154808364469768_2078261667_n

Left- 22, Right- Posie K

Pros:

  • Each lip kit comes with a lip liner and matte liquid lipstick. For $29, this is a great deal. Brands at Sephora usually sell each item for about $20, making the lip kit a steal.
  • Long lasting. I’m not even kidding, these things are like Hans Solo frozen in carbonite strong except your lips are Hans Solo.
  • Bold color. These colors stand out! However, I would do my research first to make sure you really know which color you want to get. Tapping on tagged photos of KylieCosmetics on Instagram does not fail.

Cons:

  • Nearly impossible to get. They sell out in ten minutes. The site is infuriating. If you have two things in your cart and one sells out, it pushes you back to start instead of just purchasing the one still in stock. By the time you get back to check out, the one you had is probably gone now too. This system needs a serious upgrade.
  • Can be drying and crack. I think the kits are fabulous, but be careful to not layer them. Too many layers can cause the color is crack easily.
  • There is a con to long lasting, which is you will need makeup remover to get this color off. Just H2O does not do the trick!

To Apply:

  • Line your lips with the pencil.
  • After you’ve lined with the pencil, carefully trace your outer lips with the liquid lipstick and proceed to fill in of the rest of your inner lips.
  • Do not apply too many layers!

12966461_10154808364664768_1060507205_n

Posie K:

A very lovely dusty mauve pink. It came out a lot darker (more purple) than I expected but is very pretty and bold.

As one of Kylie’s most sought after shades, there are a lot of inaccurate dupe articles online. Be careful not to listen to any of the ones written BEFORE the color was released for Valentine’s Day. Speculation dupes based on the look of the tube suggest really bright pinks that don’t look like Posie K at all. Believe me, I tried. I bought a $6 NYX dupe suggestion that was basically a fuschia that looked nothing like this.

 

22

22:

A daring bright red orange. This color is cute, but definitely a sometimes shade for me.

When you first apply it, it looks REALLY orange. After you give it a few minutes to dry, it looks more red!

My verdict: These lip kits are the real deal! Good price, great colors, the lip liner and lipstick combination really makes things easier. They’re just really really damn hard to get and shipping is a little ridiculous.

Lolita & Mauve Pink Lippies

12782027_10154681315124768_1581736127_n

Top: Lolita – Kat Von D

Middle: Lolita II – Kat Von D

Bottom: Cannes – NYX

My go-to lip color is a dusty mauve pink. It’s an elegant yet fierce color that’s appropriate for almost any social situation.

My all time favorite brand of lipstick is Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick.

Pros:

  • Wand makes it easy to apply evenly
  • Long lasting
  • Over 25 different bold and varied colors
  • Matte

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Popular shades are often sold out
  • Can be drying

Kat Von D’s cult classic shade is Lolita, a dark mauve rose color. It’s a lovely color, but can be come out very dark if you apply more than one layer and can be somewhat of a chameleon in different lighting. In fluorescent lighting it looks a lot more mauve but when taking a photo in flash it looked really pink.

The shade pictured above is the most current batch that is being sold at Sephora. It is rumored that there first batch created was much lighter, and the second batch, the “bad” batch which had a brown tint.

Sephora recently released a Lolita II, which is a more of a nude/pink Lolita. I actually prefer this shade over the original Lolita, which I find to be more flattering and flexible with my skin tone.

If you’re looking for a lighter shade than Lolita, NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cannes is a great option. I’ve been wearing it almost everyday.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Matte
  • Vibrant colors

Cons:

  • Comes off easily
  • Strange perfume scent (I find it a turn-off but I suppose other people may like it)
  • Drying