Ipsy Bag: October Unboxing

2015October01

I’m not a huge fan of makeup. I wear eyeliner, lip balm, nail varnish, sometimes mascara, and occasionally lip gloss. That’s about all I have in my repertoire and I’m happy with that, but I do often wonder if I’m missing out on something great – a fab moisturiser, or different brand of lip balm/gloss. I like trying new things but don’t want to be spending a lot on my new-product-adventure.

So a friend told me about ipsy and I jumped at the chance of signing up – there is a waitlist! After you sign up you can do some things to skip the waitlist, if you’re impatient like me hehe. (if you use my referral link I receive some points from ipsy)

Ipsy is a monthly service which sends you 4-5 full size and deluxe sample size products, for just $10 and that includes shipping! (for anyone outside of the US, do check availability and pricing for your area) The value of the products you receive is always much more than the $10 you spend. Each month has a different theme and makeup bag. This month’s theme is “Alter Ego”.

I’ve been a member for about 12 months, and have found some great new products along the way. This month’s bag has some products from companies I hadn’t heard of before.

2015October02

Nourish Organics Argan Face Serum: I’m not sure what a “face serum” is. Is it a moisturiser? Is it some kind of primer? The description on the website says it’s a concentrated face treatment to hydrate skin and improve it’s tone. Whatever it is, it smells great! I didn’t realise it was almost like an oil consistency, and ended up with a lot on my hands when I tried to smell it. Lesson learned. But I’ve never used anything like this before, so I’m looking forward to trying it out. I also love that it’s organic!
Full size (20 ml): $23.99
Size I received (14 ml): estimated $16.79

BWC Premium Botanical Lotion:ย This says it’s vegan and vegetarian, which is something I never thought to look for in a product before. It also says fragrance free – which I like – and it just has a nice clean scent. This is for hand AND body, which is nice. Not a product I normally buy, but so far I’m impressed – it sinks in nicely and isn’t sticky.
Full size (16 fl oz): $11.95
Size I received (2 fl oz): estimated $1.50

Royal & Langnickel MODA brush: I’m not really excited about the brush.ย I’ve receivedย other kinds of brushes in past ipsy bags – they’ve all been good quality, I just don’t need so many of them. The bristles on this one are nice and soft, and the handle has a soft-touch feel to it. I like it, but I’m not sure I’ll ever use it. This specific brush hasn’t yet launched on their website, so I had to estimate the value based off the other brushes they offer.
Full size/size I received: estimated $3.99

2015October03

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Liquid Lipstick: liquid lipstick? I thought that was justย lip gloss, but it is actually matte and feels like a lightweight lipstick when applied! It smells delicious – vanilla mint! Yum. It does feel a little bit tacky if you smush your lips together, but other than doing that to even out the application I don’t think I’ll be smushing all day hehe. The colour they sent me is called Committed, and it’s a pinkish-nude colour. Not one I would have chosen, but I actually really like it. I’m not sure about the matte finish, that’s a new one for me so I’ll see how I get on with that. It does have great staying power though!
Full size (6.5 ml): $17.00
Size I received (1.2 ml): estimated $3.14

MICA Beauty Cosmetics Cream Eye Shadow: I haven’t used cream eye shadow since I was in middle school, but it seems to have come a long way since then. This is a gorgeous bronze colour (appropriately named, Bronze). It feels really creamy and goes on very smooth. It seems to have good staying power too, though I’ve only tried it on the back of my hand so far. I’ll definitely try this on my next girls night. I couldn’t find it on their website, so I’ve estimated the value based on their mineral eye shadow.
Full size/size I received: estimated $14.95

Total value of my Ipsy October Glam Bag: estimated $40.37!

I purchased this Glam Bag with my own money, and received no compensation for my honest review.
If you use my ipsy referral link I receive some points.

Freebie Friday

I’m starting a new (hopefully) weekly post called Freebie Friday ๐Ÿ™‚ Or maybe Free Sample Friday, I haven’t completely decided yet. Thoughts or suggestions in the comments, if you have any!

Since moving to America I’ve delved into the world of couponing, which has been enlightening to say the least. But I’ve also discovered just how many companies offer free samples over here! Back in England, those same companies just don’t offer any such thing.ย  Which I guess, is also enlightening.

I request any free samples that are products I would like to try before buying, something new and exciting, or something that I know my husband and I would enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve been able to try a lot of different products over the past year – things that we wouldn’t have wanted to buy at full price in case we didn’t like them – and I’m really loving the free samples offers!

So my thought was, to share what I’ve got as a freebie and give you all my feedback on the products. I’m getting no incentive, financial or otherwise, from anyone for doing this. It’s just my thoughts of some products, plain and simple ๐Ÿ™‚

First up this week is a sample of Olay Fresh Effects: Shine Shine Go Away Cleanser.

I actually received this last month but wanted to mention it here because of how much I absolutely LOVE this product! I don’t normally get excited over cleansers, but this one deserves it. I’ll be doing a full review of this product soon because it needs more love than a paragraph review ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I will say, I was so impressed that I’ve recently purchased a full size of the Fresh Effects Moisturiser to try as well.

Next, I received a Fiber One 90 Calorie Lemon Bar.

Lemon foods are hit and miss with me, but this one was a hit ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a bit smaller than I expected – a square about 2/3 the size of the packet – but very tasty! The lemon isn’t too sharp, it has just the right balance between tart and sweet. The texture is soft but a little more dense than a cake. I’d definitely eat one again, though I worry that I wouldn’t be able to stop at just one. The smaller size makes that a greater possibility, which defeats the point of them being lower in calories. So, while I would eat one again I probably wouldn’t buy any. They offer more products in the range, including a 90 Calorie Cinnamon Coffee Cake, and a 90 Calorie Chocolate Fudge.

Then, our dog got a freebie! Purina One Smartblend True Instinct: Turkey & Venison.

This one came with a coupon as well, which is always nice ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It was a nice size sample and our dog was excited as soon as we opened the packet hehe! It looked like dark kibble and as soon as we put his bowl down he munched away happily ๐Ÿ™‚ย  He has never been picky about food really, but there are some foods that seem to make him really gassy! Which is not what you want in a dog food lol! This, thankfully, didn’t do that. He digested it well – no gasiness or upsets. I’m definitely going to be using my coupon to get a bag of this for him.ย  The Smartblend range is also available for cats, kittens and puppies.

Finally, since moving to America I’ve discovered Bath & Body Works (we don’t have that in England). It’s not a shop I go to very often, I admit, as the scents can be really overpowering at times and I’m not one to douse myself in perfumed things.ย  But, I do like trying new things and they recently had an offer on their Facebook page (and I’ve been told they do it fairly often), where you can print out the offer or show it on your phone in store and you get a free…whatever the offer is for.ย  This time it was for a free 3floz bottle of either Sweet or Sexy Body Lotion (normally $5 a bottle).

The offer was for one free bottle per person, so I went with my husband which meant I could get one of each scent ๐Ÿ™‚ I hadn’t tried either of them before. The scents are actually really similar – if not the same. The only real difference is the strength of the scent: Sweet is much softer and more faint, though still noticeable, whereas Sexy is a much stronger and more powerful scent.ย  I like them both, I think they have different roles to play depending on if I want a subtle hint of scent (Sweet), or if I want a stronger scent that will last longer through the day/night (Sexy).ย  They both feel really nice on the skin and soak in well.

So, that’s my freebie round-up for this week! I hope you guys enjoyed reading about some great products ๐Ÿ™‚ I thinking that I may experiment with the format – would it be better to just focus on one product each week instead of a round-up of several? I might try out both and switch between them depending on the week.

Freebie Roundup

So, since moving to America I’ve discovered couponing. This isn’t something that would work in England for the simple reason that all coupons there say “cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupon or offer”, whereas here in America I have discovered that isn’t the case!

But, while delving into the science of couponing, I’ve also discovered the vast amount of free samples available over here. I only started both 1 week ago so my free samples haven’t started arriving yet (apart from 2, the herbs book and vegan recipe book in the picture), but I’ve been able to find coupons and offers that have given me free products over the past week ๐Ÿ™‚ That is what this roundup is for, because I’m still amazed and so very new at this that I had to share the excitement ๐Ÿ™‚

Some things aren’t shown in the picture because I forgot them and didn’t want to re-take it, but here is my list of free stuff for the past week:

2 x 1 gallon carton milk (only one in picture, we used the other already)
1 x Quaker Life cereals
2 x Country Crock pumpkin spice butter
2 x Country Crock butter
2 x Birds Eye Voila frozen steam-fresh meals
2 x Kraft macaroni cheese
4 x Aquafresh toothpaste (travel size)
1 x Aussie conditioner (this wasn’t free but it was only 20c after coupons so it was as good as free!)
1 x 50 pack Arm&Hammer laundry detergent tablets
1 x Vegan recipe book
1 x Herbs At A Glance book
4 x feminine hygiene packs
2 x Nonni Biscotti
2 x Feta cheese (one totally free, the other only a few cents)

So yes, I’ll go more in depth with all of this later in the week. Does anyone else do couponing and have tips/advice? ๐Ÿ™‚

Is There A Doctor In The House?

I’ve been mourning the loss of my camera’s auto-focus. Although, hopefully it can be resurrected! Everything was fine and then suddenly, the next time I tried to use it, the auto-focus started making a sputtering, clicking noise and wouldn’t work :/

I’ve checked for dust and all of the usual things that might have made it go a little wonky, and manual focus still works fine. …Well, as fine as it can be considering I’m not very good at manual focus lol! So I really don’t know what’s happened but, long story short, it does seem to be the lens that’s malfunctioning and not the camera body. Fingers crossed this is the case because that should be a cheaper fix, or cheaper new purchase.

So wish me luck when I take my poor, sick camera to the camera-doctor (hopefully next week) and that it will be a speedy and painless (financially!) recovery.

For anyone with camera knowledge, mine is a Nikon D40x digital SLR and the lens is the one that came with it, 18-55mm. I’m open to any suggestions or comments from anyone who has experienced something similar because I miss my camera ๐Ÿ™

Elise Estrada – I Be That (played on Hellcats episode God Must Have My Fortune Laid Away)

In the middle-ish of the latest Hellcats episode is a toga party and during that party they sing 2 distinct songs. One is “Shout” (which everyone must know!) and the other, played in the middle of Shout, was something I hadn’t heard before but instantly liked! It has a very clubby vibe to it. I did a bit of searching and have found out that it’s called I Be That and is by Elise Estrada, who also features in the Hellcats episode singing the clip of I Be That in the party ๐Ÿ™‚

The song itself seems to be a single that hasn’t been released yet and I can’t find it on any of her albums thus far, but if you go to the Hellcats website and look down the page there is a link saying “Music from the show” and you can play I Be That on there. I don’t know how long they’ll leave that on the site though so for future reference, here is Elise Estrada’s website, although she doesn’t have I Be That on there yet.

I’m not sure if it’s the entire song or just a clip on the Hellcats site, but I’ve transcribed the lyrics from that for those who are curious like me! Apologies if I’ve made any mistakes but I think I got them right ๐Ÿ™‚

Elise Estrada – I Be That

Hey! Oh!
Hey! Oh!

Can we get a little closer
Got something you wanna hear.
I know I ain’t supposed to,
It’s only for your ear.

Let me make you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Make you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Wanna hear you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Hear you go oh-oh oh-oh.

I can be like that,
Good girl gone bad.
Forget what you think,
What you think you had.
If it gets you strong,
I can put you on.
I be that.

I can be like that,
Good girl gone bad.
Forget what you think,
What you think you had.
If it gets you strong,
I can put you on.
I be that.
I be that.

Yeah I be that,
Yeah I be that,
Yeah I be that,
Yeah I be..

It’s a preconceived notion,
But your brain’s about to change.
So lets stop the bullet,
Let me see your kinky little game.

Let me make you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Make you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Wanna hear you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Hear you go oh-oh oh-oh.

I can be like that,
Good girl gone bad.
Forget what you think,
What you think you had.
If it gets you strong,
I can put you on.
I be that.

I can be like that,
Good girl gone bad.
Forget what you think,
What you think you had.
If it gets you strong,
I can put you on.
I be that.
I be that.

Be the girl that makes you go crazy.
I’ll be the chick that’s stuck in your mind.
You know the deal it’s time to get at me,
‘Cause tonight is the night.

I can be like that,
Good girl gone bad.
Forget what you think,
What you think you had.
If it gets you strong,
I can put you on.
I be that.

I can be like that,
Good girl gone bad.
Forget what you think,
What you think you had.
If it gets you strong,
I can put you on.
I be that.
I be that.

(repeat chorus x1)

Yeah I be that,
Yeah I be that,
Yeah I be that.

Let me make you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Make you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Wanna hear you go oh-oh oh oh oh oh.
Hear you go oh-oh oh-oh.

It’s a preconceived notion,
But your brain’s about to change.
So lets stop the bullet,
Let me see your kinky little game.

‘Tis The Season To Be Sickly

Winter colds, flu, runny noses, coughs and general ickiness can make this time of year a sufferance rather than enjoyable. But there are a few things you can do to help prevent that – I will add that I’m not a doctor or medical professional so you should always seek medical guidance when ill or wanting to know about medications for illness prevention, etc.

1) Keep Warm! Now this may seem like a no-brainer, but with temperatures dropping so low it can be easy to go from a warm house, to a cold outside and not realise that you need more layers until you’ve been out there for a while. Gloves, scarves, hats and thick jackets are a must at this time of year for anywhere that gets cold in winter (as I’m aware that certain countries are hot right now!). Layer your clothes to help keep in the warmth – long sleeved t-shirt under a jumper, under a coat for example and always remember to keep your feet warm! Thick socks and warm boots suitable for the weather are essential additions.

2) Eat right! Keeping your energy levels up at this time of year can be difficult with long nights and less sunshine. Hot, substantial meals will keep you energised and also help to give you nutrients to combat any cold and flu germs around. Soups, stews and casseroles are great, and if you can make them with seasonal vegetables/meats then even better! I’ve given several soup recipes on my blog so far for my Soup Season recipe posts ๐Ÿ™‚ Give them a try for easy, warming comfort food.

3) Get Comfortable! Winter is all about comfort, be that curled up with a hot drink, a home cooked meal with friends, snuggling with a loved one in front of a log fire or any other way you make yourself comfy. Comfort food is a good way to do this during the winter. Being comfortable and relaxing means saving energy and stopping your reserves from running low which, in turn, helps to combat cold and flu symptoms.

4) Drink Fluids! Hot drinks during the winter help to keep you warm but regardless of their temperature, make sure you’re drinking enough during the season. Dehydration is just as much of an issue in the winter as it is in the summer and if you have a cold, or flu, then keeping up your fluid intake is a must. I’m not fond of tea or coffee (I know, English and I don’t like tea! lol!) but you can make any drink warm, heat up some milk or have a hot chocolate, mix up some orange juice with boiling water to heat it up, or a hot cordial drink. As I said though, cooler drinks are just as important to keep you re-hydrated.

So that’s it, 4 easy steps to help keep us all healthy and snugly over the frosty winter season.

If you do catch a cold there are remedies available over-the-counter if you talk to the pharmacist they can work out which is best for you.

One thing I mix up to take every time I start feeling ill is a simple home made honey and lemon drink. Put some boiling water in a mug, about 3/4 full, then add in 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir until mixed well. Add more honey and/or lemon juice to taste and you could even add a slice of lemon if you wish. Drink it slowly to soothe a sore throat and help combat cold and flu germs. To increase the benefits you could use manuka honey, but if you don’t have any then don’t worry because any runny honey is good ๐Ÿ™‚