Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two great tastes that taste great together

I really like Ulta cheek colors, they're inexpensive but still go on smooth and clean. Their cheek colors are infused with chamomile extract to soothe and moisturize the skin. (Right now they're buy 2 get 2 free!) Today I put on one of my favorites- the color Adore. It's a brown with a hint of burgandy, but the thing I really like is the microscopic gold flakes in it! They're tiny tiny tiny, but add this neat shimmer effect. For those shy types, this would be a great blush to come out of your shell with some evening.

$5 off $20 with code HOLIDAY20 from 10/31-12/25

I found that with this striking cheek color, a lighter lipstick is good to balance it out. I found the perfect match in Tarte's vitamin infused lipstick in Hatha,
a golden neutral with rosy undertones. This is a universal shade that should work well on anyone, and it's natural enough to not be blaring but does add a dash of color. This is a great daytime color, and with the addition of some darker lip liner will go straight into evening. (Any time I wear a neutral or light color after sunset people think I've gone insane, so I will usually add something to pop the color a bit.) It has a bit of a shimmer to it, but again it's very subtle. It's extremely moist and feels like some amazing balm. The only down side is that I find it to be a bit short lived compared to some other (less green) companies . In enviromentally friendly packaging and infused with a jillion nutrients though, it's a great lippie.

From the Tarte website:

acai berry extract: antioxidant rich super fruit helps fight free radicals, promotes cell regeneration,
has known anti-inflammatory and skin softening properties and combats premature signs of aging

beeswax: as an alternative to synthetic waxes, natural beeswax is used as a waterproofing agent,
a protective barrier between the skin and the environment and it has also been know to naturally
stimulate collagen production which plumps the skin and decreases the appearance of fine lines
and wrinkles

chamomile extract: rich in essential oils this natural plant extract is antiallergenic and
anti-inflammatory, and has been known to treat and heal dry or damaged skin

vitamin A: beneficial antioxidant that helps remove free radicals, promotes collagen
production and retain moisture, which plumps fine lines and wrinkles to give the appearance
of younger skin

vitamin C: antioxidant that fights free radical damage and prevents oxidative stress and
premature signs of aging, while brightening skin

vitamin E: natural preservative that also acts as an anti-inflammatory emollient
and protects against free radical damage

The Tantalizing Sampler

The great thing about so many sampler companies being out there is that there are so many options to find new handmade goodies. There are some companies, like my adored SBS Teas that are seemingly in everyone's sampler, and then there are those companies that you never would have heard of without their affiliation with a specific company. I always get excited to see what new surprises await me! 

The Tantalizing Sampler is one I just heard of recently because Anam Cara candles advertised them, and I'm a big fan of Anam Cara's scent tarts. The December box is $18.00 and goes on sale December 1st, as well as a smaller grab bag for $12.00. 

SBS Teas included a sample of their Cat's Meow Green Rooibos, along with a personal teabag sachet. Their tea grab bags are an EXCELLENT Christmas gift- I just stocked up myself. $7.95 for a paper bag chock full of loose and bagged teas. An awesome value that blows your normal tea sampler out of the water.

Sterling Silver Earrings from Shaped By Hand. I believe these to be with Czech glass, but I could be wrong. Very well made and striking with hair worn down.
Midnight Design Studio printed gift tags. Their web page is no longer valid, so they appear to have died a quiet death...
Lip Smackin' Creations Warm Strawberry Comfort instant coffee has got me excited- just been waiting for the perfect mix of cool weather with an early day. I'll let you know in a few days!
From The In-Scent Factory is a sample bag of 10 assorted cone incenses.
Here is what was left by the time I took the picture of my Fleur DeSel caramels from The Caramel Jar....I'm ordering some tonight so I can truly show you the glory of an unbitten chunk :-)
So let's call this pic from their web page the before picture!

From Simply Lavish Bath Co comes 2 delightfully scented bath samples. A hotel sized sample of Round The Way Girl soap and a jello shot sized sample of the hypnotic Pink Panties Bath Salt. I've been holding it up to my nose and simply inhaling :-)
We have a bag full of Aroma Beads in a sealed bag to keep the scent, but with a drawstring bag to use with it when you're ready to let the scent loose and 2 ice cube sized samples of solid lotion from Fran's Candle Creations. My only complaint is that the scent names aren't on the package, so I don't know them if I want to reorder.
From Delightful Scents is their trademark superbly scented products in 2 forms this sampler. We have a large bag of Baby Powder Aroma Beads Car Fresher, and these babies (har har) are super scented. I think these would even be enough for a small room! Then we have a tea light 2 pack in the divine Citrus Cream scent, which makes me fantasize about Dreamsicles.

I saved my favorite for last, these stunning, vintage inspired 'ear bobs' as my granny would call 'em -from Grape Suzette.

So a pretty rad haul for less than twenty bucks! I love me some big sampler deluxes, but these are a nice impromptu splurge. Any of these indie companies would be a superb place to get unique holiday gifts in every price range imaginable. Dig in and go wild and make this a handmade holiday! Check out other articles on my blog to get ideas on more awesome indie shops to scope out inventive ways to give the gifts that will stand out!

Mama Mia, Papa Peea! Awesome Ulta specials thru tuesday night!

click.email.ulta.com.jpg Visit Through this link to get awesome deals!
Special Offers: Sale Items, Clearance and Free Gifts at ULTA


Simply Sweet Confections... Num Num! Boo Hoo!

I have had the pleasure in the last week of being very thrilled to run out of things I loved! First the soap I kept in my upstairs bathroom for hand washing got down to nibblets, so it was time to debut a new soap. Then it came time to replace my wax tart in my burner. Lucky for me, I had replacements for both from Simply Sweet Confections!

Then, to my horror, I discovered that after making an awesome name for themselves with initial reviews like mine, they screwed over a bunch of customers and got kicked off of Etsy..... I wasn't the only one disappointed to find this out. After doing a lot of looking across the internet's vast handmade and beauty community- before they became flakes, their products thrilled.

I understand how this happens. I don't think a lot of consumers who are dealing with cottage businesses for the first time realize that they are NOT dealing with Target or Sephora. One kink in your personal life can completely throw off your home business and we can't control things quite as well when the entire company is 'me myself and I'. I supported myself and a loser boyfriend for 2 years running a fairly successful vintage doll restoration/resell business online. All it took was one tiny thing to throw the whole business off balance. Many's the time I had to grovel to keep in good graces simply because the average consumer didn't understand that I didn't come with a team of customer service reps and assistants.

What the seller should have done was to bend over backwards to fix the problems, even if at a financial stalemate and communicate with those waiting for their product. Honesty is the best policy in these cases, and usually reminds the anonymous person on the other end of the computer that you are, after all, just a regular person trying to share your passion but that sometimes life creates speed bumps. There will always be some folks who there is just no pleasing, but it's too bad this seller had to shut down their entire store and lose the good reviews their products had gotten. While I'm sure they probably just renamed themselves and started over, why not just hold your head high and try to work through it? I'm all for second chances, if warranted.

I imagine the artisan is fairly young and bit off more than they could chew, listing items that weren't ready or making promises they couldn't keep.

Too bad- because this would have been a rave review of the super creamy Kumquat soap that leaves my hands soft enough to forgo lotion and a scent tart that has lasted many many hours and makes it a joy to open my bedroom door. Simply Sweet Confections- R.I.P. I hope you learned from your mistakes and can move on with some experience and knowledge and hopefully start back up with a deeper understanding of how to handle unexpected success. Your stuff sold out for a reason! Get back on that horse and learn from your mistakes and invest in some spreadsheet software to keep track of your orders next time!

This has been a Beauty Pirate After School Special.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2nd Quarter 2010 BeautyFix Kit

Once again, BeautyFix does not disappoint. now that they let you pick your own products, you can optimize your choices to rack up a freaking CRAZY value worth of products for a mere $50. Once you sign up, you get a notification every season that your choices are ready. Then you get to pick from a few dozen items! Everything is picked out of all the items in the luxe market by a panel of skincare and beauty experts. Check out their panel and be impressed! My products added up to a $190 value, not including the makeup bag!

 I love the Pamela Ford Concealer/Foundation brush that I got. The handle is the perfect length and thickness for comfortable control, it doesn't shed one bit, and it's soft enough to get into tight places like around the nose. It gives excellent clean application and your foundation looks smooth and flawless. It really grabs your foundation too, so a tiny bit goes a long way- your liquids will last forever! ($36)

From RAW Minerals I got the Active Veil SPF18 Sunscreen. It's perfect to set your makeup, leaving you shine free. It has a tiny bit of mineral sparkle, so you don't have that matte mask, so it's perfect for use during the day- makes sense since it's a sunscreen veil, eh? I'm brilliant. I like to put it on my neck and chest as well, so I get extra protection without having to apply goop there. A little goes a long way and it's really long lasting.($25 normally, on sale at Dermstore for $12.50)

I got the PurMinerals De-Line Smoothing Lip pencil in crystal mauve, and sadly I'm not too crazy about it. I tried it first on a bare lip and it was so hard to get it to actually go onto my lips! I felt like I was pulling and tugging at the skin, making it impossible to get a perfect line. Then I tried it over a primer, thinking that would smooth out the surface making it a smoother application. (I used Philosophy Big Mouth Lip Primer) It went on a lot better, but that made an indistinguishable blur for a line. Sigh. Normally I really like Pur Minerals, but I think they need to go back to the lab on this one. ($17)

I have yet to meet an iQ Derma product that I didn't like. This time I got their Clear Remedy Purifying Cleanser, which is perfect for oily skin or summer use. You only need a tiny bit (about a  dime sized amount) and it leaves your skin clean without being stripped and feels really refreshing. It has a gently exfoliating effect, helping to decrease clogged pores, a particular concern of mine in the summertime. It's marketed towards those with acne, but I find it to be a marvelous general facial cleanser. I wouldn't recommend it for those with extremely dry skin, but on my combination skin I have nothing but raves. ($30)

Jonathan Flexible Control Hairspray ($30)
Is fantabulous. It has a very clean, even spray, so you  don't sop your hair or weigh it down. It comes out super fine and is really easy to work with. It's has really strong hold but isn't crunchy. It brushes out easily too, if you brush out your hair it leaves it thick and full but still soft. I like that even at the end of the day when my original 'do has fallen (I have VERY fine hair) my hair still looks vibrant and bouncy. It's great for putting together complex updos that need some sculpting time.

Jonathan Create Motion Gel Creme ($24)
Is a hair gel, make mo mistake. I read a lot of reviews from people who were expecting, well, I don't know what- but they were surprised that it was a gel. What makes it different from standard hair gel is that it stays soft and is really easy to work with. It doesn't harden into that weird stick hair thing that regular gels do. This is great for doing a slicked back style, and I like to use it for smoothness when doing a braided updo. Perfect for taming flyways without helmet head. 

Kronos K-Charge Discovery Kit ($55)
is a really PRICEY hair set, but a teeny bit goes a long way, and it actually WORKS!  I like that you can get a starter set like this to try it out before making a full-sized commitment, and often you can find this kit on sale. Believe it or not, you can genuinely see results from the first use. The overnight hair mask absorbs quickly and doesn't require you to lay down a towel over your pillow. In the morning your hair is rich and vibrant and bouncy.

The Liquid Theory is a spray that adds depth and shine to your hair without being greasy or weighing it down.

The volumizing shampoo & conditioner are easily some of the best volumizing hair products that I've used. I plan on keeping an eye open for the next discount coupon or code I get for Dermstore to get some more of this stuff!

The Cylinder Bag With Mirror are the perfect size for a weekend trips' essentials. Their makeup bags are always really well made and are more than a blow off extra to stick your kit items in (or in this case, around, since many of the products I got this quarter were HUGE) and I love the mirror in the pocket on the outside of the bag. it's easily accessible, the perfect size for touch ups, and because it's in a pocket on the outside of the bag, it doesn't get gunky from loose product.

Now remember, these were my choices from the dozens of options available. I wanted some new hair stuff, so that's a lot of what I picked, and I needed some new lip liner. I've gotten a full sized tube of $200.00 moisturizer from them before. That's what's so cool is that you get to customize your shipment. True, you no longer get the fun of the element of surprise, but what the hey, I get plenty of surprises in my life as it is :-)

All of the items reviewed above are available at Dermstore - $30 off $100 coupon for new Dermstore.com customers from November 15th - November 30th: NOV30OFF100DS

Free Shipping at DermStore

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Pretty Pink Box

I've told you about My Pretty Pink Box before, a monthly sampler box that focuses on all things beauty related. one of the best things about this one is that the cost is different every month, depending on how many participants there are, so you never pay too much for a sampler. You get everything from full sized products to samples, indie companies to national brands. Thanks to MPPB, I've discovered companies that I'm a life long fan of that I might not have ever heard of before! (Such as how they introduced me to Cherry City- a company that I'm planning my future wedding to!) So this is what was in one of my previous boxes from them to give you an idea of what to expect.....

Hurraw! Grapefruit Lip Balm full tube
Surgeon's Skin Secret Beeswax Moisturizer honey & almond 1oz jar
John Masters Organics Bearberry Oily Skin Balancing Serum 2ml packette
Body By Brigitte trial samples of Wax Hair Removal Strips provided by www.stormsister.biz
Exuviance Performance Peel AP 2 Step (2 treatments)
Mark Rebel Rose Eye Quad

Reviews of each item will be done in separate articles- this is merely to tell you about the service itself.
I think my total cost for this set was only $9.95, the retail price for the shadow quad alone! For the month of November, they're changing things up a little, with a weekly black Friday feature company. Check 'em out! I've been a fan for over a year and haven't been disappointed yet! It's a nice, inexpensive way to treat yourself and possibly find a new favorite.