Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings

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Influenster Cosmo VoxBox 2012

Happy Monday and Yay for another Influenster VoxBox!!

I believe this makes box number six for me, plus I have two more VoxBoxes of complimentary products to review this month ūüôā If you have not heard of Influenster before, you can read up on it here.

So I received the Cosmo VoxBox in early December full of items a “modern girl needs” and I have to say that this box definitely had some great things!

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Cosmo Voxbox 2012

The Cosmo VoxBox Goods

1. Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape Chocolates

2. Bath & Body Works “Forever Red” Perfume

3. Venus Embrace Razor & Cartridge

4. Venus & Olay Razor Refill

5. Pilot “FriXion” Pens

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Cosmo Voxbox 20122

Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape Chocolates

Mmmm… these were sooooo good! Milk chocolate with almond bits and a hint of sea salt. I’m sold! If you are a milk chocolate lover, a fan of Ghirardelli in general, or just needing something a little different for your chocolate fix – definitely check these out.

Final Verdict: A great buy, at $2.79 Р$4.35 a pack, to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Bath & Body Works “Forever Red” Eau de Parfume

A slightly sweet fragrance, with a bit of floral and just a tiny hint of vanilla spice. Forever Red is described as B&BW most luxurious fragrance and it definitely is a luxurious (and pricey) one for B&BW, but it is a sweet luxury.  It is a gorgeous scent Рin moderation, at least for me.

I apply just a spray or two and I love it; but too much and the fragrance is too overwhelming for me, and ultimately causes a mild headache. The mist, as opposed to the perfume here, may be easier on the senses.

It is a blend of pomegranate, osmanthus (floral) and vanilla rum. So, if you like semi-sweet and floral fragrances, and have no qualms with vanilla, I would say stop by a B&BW and give this one a test – you may fall in love.

Final Verdict: Beautiful in strict moderation.

Venus Embrace Razor & Cartridge

Okay, so I’ll take this one in two parts. First, the actual razor handle is awesome! Fits and feels great in your hand with a gel cushioned handle and it attaches the the razor cartridge at the base – making for a very flexible and easy shaving experience.

Attaching at the base of the razor cartirdge, as opposed to the middle – as many are, lets the razor move over curves, bumps, knees, etc., very easy.

Also, something really awesome is that the handle fits any Venus blade cartridge refills – so if you don’t like the one you originally received with the razor, you can try out another without having to buy the whole thing!

As for the Venus Embrace blade cartridge, it is a very good razor. It has five blades that are extremely close together, making it quite effective on the first pass. It has a “ribbon of moisture” around the blade head, basically that is just a fancy ¬†way of saying the regular moisture strip has just been extended around most of the razor blade head.

Like, most moisture strips, it is really only effective for the first shave.

Final Verdict: One of the best razors I have used and if you are in the market for a new razor, I would recommend trying out a Venus non-disposable razor.

Venus & Olay Razor Refill

Okay, so I was initially quite skeptical about this one, but this Venus & Olay refill really surprised me. I loved it!

It looks a little funny, with the “moisture bars” looking like gummy, floppy tongue tabs hanging off the razor blade head; but once in the shower, they turn to super slick flexible bars that have a really nice sensation on your skin and keep your skin slick throughout the entire shave.

I do think it is important to say that they do not claim or state to not use shave cream/gel, but in my limited experience with it – you can skip the cream/gel with this one, if you want to.

Also, I have read some reviews of people getting angry that the bars didn’t last more than 3 or 4 shaves, but honestly, you really shouldn’t be keeping disposable razor blade refills (or full disposable razors) for an extensive period of time anyway. It can be very unsanitary and poor for your skin. Maybe these were some very hairy ladies, or maybe they were using it everyday or stored it improperly (it should be common sense but, this razor should not be stored in the shower – due to the water activated moisture bars – if you allow it to get wet regularly when not using it – you really are just washing your money down the drain).¬†

So far I used it once and it hardly made a dent in the moisture bars.

I’m so glad they included a coupon in my VoxBox, because I am definitely wanting to purchase these refills!

Final Verdict: Definitely recommend trying it out, but the refills are a little pricey!

Pilot “FriXion” Pens

For an artist, doodler, and constant note-taker, these are great to have! They have good strong pigments, but are easily erasable if needed.

They have a grey, rubber nub on the end of the pen – not an eraser that dwindles down with every use, that lets you “erase” the ink with a little¬†friction.

Final Verdict: Great for artists, moms, students and anyone in a business that is constantly putting a pen to paper.

Well, that sums up everything for the Cosmo VoxBox ūüôā


Beauty Confessions ‚Äď ‚ÄúWould You Rather‚ÄĚ Tag

Hello loves!

So I have been watching a couple of super fun Would You Rather beauty tags on YT and since I had a lot of fun reading and writing last weeks This or That tag, I thought why not do another!!

It was definitely entertaining seeing Tanya (Burr on YT) and Zoe work around the questions… something I’m sure I’ll be guilty of as well.

The questions vary from video to video and blog to blog on the Would You Rather tag, but I think I gathered the most common ones… some of which are going to be terrible to answer for me or just really fun ūüėČ

There are a lot of questions, so I’ll stick to short answers here…

Beauty Confession Tag - Would You Rather cover

The Questions:

Would you rather only ever wear eye makeup or skin makeup? 

– Wow. If my skin was always perfect and under-eye concealer counted as eye make-up, then eye make-up!

Would you rather cut off all your hair, or never cut your hair again?

– OMG! Easy, as I’m quite attached to my very long hair and rarely cut it anyways – I would never cut it.

Would you rather always wear your clothes too big, or too small?

– Too big… too small is¬†uncomfortable¬†and looks much worse than too big, plus can anyone say belt it!

If you were given $1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes or makeup?

– Clothes, as I already have quite a bit of make-up and if I bought $1000 worth (which would be amazing!!) I would also need to buy more make-up storage (and find room for it), as I’m already maxing out my current make-up storage situation.

Would you rather wear lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?

– Eyeliner as lipstick! For sure, I could easily embrace the¬†Gothic¬†look ūüėČ

Would you rather wear MC Hammer pants or Biker Shorts in public?

– This is a random question, but I would have to say MC Hammer pants :/ As horrible as they are, they seem comfortable enough.

Would you rather never be able to fill in your eyebrows or only fill them in using a sharpie?

– Okay…are we talking black super thick sharpie or thin fine tip sharpie? I almost always fill in my brows a little, as some areas are a bit sparser than I would like… but I could go without filling them in if we were talking about a thick sharpie ultimatum.

Would you rather never pluck your eyebrows, or never shave your legs?

РOMG! Sorry legs, but I have to clean up my brows a little, my skin is quite light and so not cleaning up my brows can be noticed easily and good brows are very important to me.

Would you rather never be able to shop at MAC again, or only be able to use MAC?

– Ahhhh… I LOVE MAC! I use quite a bit of MAC products, though I also use a lot of other make-up products… ¬†hmmm… can I pass on this question?? Okay – if every other make-up line perished in a beauty world catastrophe and MAC survived – I would happily use MAC and not be sad – that’s the best I can do with this question.

Would you rather only use one eye shadow color or one lip color for the rest of your life?

– Ha! I’ll take the Tanya Burr route and say one lip color because you can always mix in your endless supply of other make-up products and create custom lip colors!

Would you rather have dark nails or bright nails all year round?

– Dark nails!

Would you rather give up your favorite lip product or your favorite eye product?

– Well I would have to go with lip product, as I have quite a few, so I could live with a substitute, but eyes are more sensitive.

Would you rather go out with messy hair and nice make-up, or nice hair and no makeup?

– Messy hair and nice make-up! Messy hair works, and if it isn’t working – put in a bun ūüôā

Would you rather dye your hair neon green or wear neon green lipstick – for the rest of your life?

Р I would prefer neon green hair, rocking colored hair is much easier than being stuck with green lips for the rest of your life!

Would you rather never take your make-up off or never wear any for the rest of your life?

– If it didn’t affect my skin or my eyes, I would have to say never take my make-up off. Some days my skin just need a little help looking its best.

Would you rather leave the house with an obvious foundation line or overdone blush?

– Overdone blush! Foundation lines kill me!! Eeek…

So… Bloggers, Readers, Followers, Subscribers…¬†I TAG ALL OF YOU!!!!¬†


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Long Overdue – July/August 2012 Birchboxes

Sorry! Since I was having to deal with other life issues, I am now getting around to posting my Birchbox reviews for July and August. I will try to keep my judgments as concise as possible, as I am combining the past two boxes in one post ūüôā

Also, I will post my MyGlam bag reviews for the July and August bags, also in a single post, probably tomorrow or Wednesday.

First up, July!! Overall Рit was alright, but considering it was a Birchbox + GLAMOUR (yeah Рas in Glamour Magazine) collaboration, I was expecting it to be amaZING! 

So what was in the July Birchbox?!?! 

AHAVA Purifying Mud Mask (Deluxe .9 fl oz. Sample) 

It was one of those masks that you only apply for 2 minutes. A typical clay/mud mask, with a natural beach/ocean sand scent. It suggests that you apply the mask generously, which makes me doubt how long the product would last, considering I had to use quite a bit of my sample (and I always run the mask onto my neck as well).

Caution: If you have any cuts, bites, acne spots – this will sting just a little.

The mask uses Kaolin white clay and Dead Sea mud, as well as jojoba oil. It was decent, non-drying, but no miracle mask.

Full Size: $31.00 (4.3 fl oz).

Birchbox Exclusive Earbuds

Meh… blue and pink, and they seem very cheap. They work fine, but the rubber ear buds have a texture that prevents them from creating that suction/friction to keep them in your ears properly.

Retail Value: $10.00.

Laura Geller Double Dipped Lipstick in Caribbean Kiss (FULL SIZE)

Smooth application, dual sided with two shades – one a cool rose pink and the other a warm golden blush. Creamy and non-drying, with standard lipstick scent. The shades are very “frost” heavy.

While I typically like Laura Geller products, and the lipstick product itself is quite nice, the shades are something I would almost never wear personally. They seem very “mom” – as in the shades of lipsticks that moms have been wearing for the past decade without deviating. Simply put,¬†¬†Caribbean Kiss is meant for an older generation.

The real thing that irks me is the heavy frost look, which can look dated and draw attention to any dry areas or lip lines – make sure you exfoliate prior to applying.

Full Size: $17.50.

Manna Kadar Cosmetics sheer glo shimmer lotion (.01 fl oz. Sample)

Nice, standard liquid shimmer lotion, not runny or too thick. Dries quickly. Light champagne shade, great for highlighting and mixing into foundation for an all over glow. Buildable product.

May be a bit too light for tan and deep skin tones, though does comes in two shades.

Personally, I will not be buying this product, as I already have my go to shimmer/highlighting products.

Full Size: $29.00 (1 fl oz).

Oscar de la Renta “live in love” (Standard Fragrance Sample)¬†

Classic floral scent, with a bit a warmth. Nice, not overwhelming and could be worn by anyone 25 and over during the Autumn/Fall and Winter. A non-offensive scent you could easily smell walking into the¬†cosmetics/fragrance/shoe level of a Macy’s or Dillard’s type department store.

Full Size: $78.00 (50 ml).

Now onto August… which was a good box, but personally, some of the products just were not to my liking.

So what was in the August Birchbox?!?! 

Miss Jessie’s¬ģ Original Cr√®me de la Cr√®me Conditioner (Single Use Sample Package)

Now I hate having to judge a product like a conditioner when I could only test it once, but after that single use, I can say that this is a nice conditioner, but did not seem to amaze me after that single use. It is a lightweight conditioner and rinsed out cleanly, without any residue, so points there.

Apparently, this can double as a leave-in treatment as well, but I won’t be able to test that claim out properly.

It also states that it is supposed to help with detangling, according to its formula, but it did not help much more than an average conditioner in that department. My hair was definitely in need of a detangling aid when I used this, which was part of the reason I chose to use it, considering its magic detangling formula.

It seems like a decent conditioner and maybe with a larger sample I could have judged it properly on its claims, but for now, its not making it onto my favorites list anytime soon.

OH! I almost forgot, but a big reason I was turned off when I was using this conditioner was that fact that it smelled just like a shampoo I use to wash my dog! Now, the dog shampoo smells nice, for a dog shampoo, but still – I don’t want that reminder all day long and that thought of someone recognizing that dog shampoo smell ūüôā

Full Size: $16.00 (12 oz).

Miss Jessie’s¬ģ Original Curly Meringue (Deluxe 2 oz. Sample)

A super thick curl cream! Luckily, I do have quite curly and very long hair – so I was excited to try this out – as I’m always looking for a great curl product.

Alas, this product was not my holy grail of curl creams, but it wasn’t all bad. As I said, it is very thick, which is both good and bad.

Good – a little goes a long way – so I have enough in my sample tub to test it out a couple times.

Bad Рit is not the easiest product to work into your hair because of the thick consistency.

Applying when your hair is quite damp is a must! Then let air dry. Once it is worked into the hair well and dried naturally, it gives a nice, natural, frizz free and soft curl.

I could deal with the thick consistency, no problem, but unfortunately the scent nearly killed me! It is described as a fresh pineapple scent Рbut it was overwhelming me while I was applying the product to my hair.

It was less fresh pineapple and more artificial pineapple soda smell. I love pineapple, but this “fresh pineapple” scent of the product nearly gave me a headache.

Again with the scents Miss Jessie!! Dog Shampoo + Pineapple Soda = $@&!

Full Size: $22.00 (8 oz).

TALIKA Lipocils Expert (Deluxe .07 fl oz. Sample with Doe Foot Applicator)

A botanical based lash serum to condition, grow, darken and curl your lashes! So far, so good with this one. To be honest I had forgot about this one, so I have no been using it very long – but I like it so far ūüôā

It is a French brand, which has been around for over 6 decades, and many people rave about the French skincare and make-up companies. The full size version comes with a mascara wand and doe foot applicator in one, but the sample on has the doe foot applicator Рwhich works just fine.

It has not irritated my eyes or lashes, and may be good Рconsidering its botanical formula Рfor those who are looking for a lash serum and are prone to sensitivities.

I’m am loving it as my pre-mascara primer. It coats my lashes nicely, leaving them soft (and conditioned) but¬†separated (even without the mascara applicator). ¬†I don’t need any help in the curl department, as my lashes curl naturally, and since I have not been using it too long, I cannot comment on whether it makes them darker or longer – but we’ll see!

Full Size: $55.00 (10 ml).

Juicy Couture “Viva la Juicy La Fleur”¬†(Standard Fragrance Sample)

Fruity then floral! It’s a scent that you could describe as a pretty scent, and not too heavy. The scent could be used in all seasons, but of course Spring would be the most obvious.

Full Size: $70.00 (2.5 oz)

Sabon¬ģ Foot Cream (Deluxe 1.05 fl oz. Sample)

Loving this stuff! Non-greasy, with natural ingredients and the scent of camphor and a bit of menthol – plus aromatherapy oils.

It’s from¬†Israeli¬†brand Sabon and states it is packed with¬†antioxidants¬†– yay antioxidants and smooth feet!

As always, the best time to apply foot cream is after your shower – before bedtime ūüôā

I would say try this product if you want/can, especially those of you who like natural ingredients and natural scents.

Full Size: $16.00 (5.27 oz).

Schick Hydro Silk Razor – Birchbox BONUS – Full Size + Coupon

My only real requirement for a razor is that is must have at least 4 blades and a flex head, after that, I’m not too picky. This one has five blades, and flex head and a gooey serum that splurges out of the razor¬†cartridge¬†once wet! Yes, I said gooey serum and splurges!

Its a good razor, with a moisturizing serum – that gets slick!! Seriously. Be careful, especially if using a shave gel/conditioner.

The five blades get you a close shave, so that is great, and they provided a good coupon for cartridge refills – so I may buy them.

Caution: The serum really does turn to a very slick goo, so make sure you have firm footing and a firm grasp on the razor. I could certainly see someones leg slipping or their hand or both and OUCH!

…till next time xoxo

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Life on a (Beauty) Budget!

The amount of money women (and some men) spend on beauty products and regimens is staggering – and I would know!

And let’s face it, sometimes you have to ask yourself, where the hell do they get the money to spend on that beauty crap?!? I have been on both sides of this, the spender and the questioner.

So I have been in a transition, financially speaking, which has caused a necessary change my spending habits. The main topics in my blog should be proof enough that beauty and fashion are both weaknesses of mine.

Now while I am the girl that always goes shopping with a coupon or during the biggest sales, I am also a firm advocate of buying a product that I believe in Рdespite the price tag. And really, what is your face worth to you?  I know that some call me crazy or may simply not agree with this, and that is okay.

I’m also the type of person that stocks up, as in if there is a sale on some of my favorite products, I will purchase multiples and toss them in the drawer. Yes, THE drawer full of products I use religiously, and will not expire before I use them.

I think this habit of stocking up during sales or just when I had the funds to purchase multiples, has worked in my favor, considering my much reduced beauty budget.

This shift in my beauty budget has caused some changes, right down to this blog: less money in the budget means fewer opportunities to try out new products, fewer new products to review, and no real hauls of products or fashion worth talking about.

When you are on a budget, one of the smartest areas to cut down on spending are the luxuries – which,¬†depending¬†on who you are, your beauty¬†regime¬†could be considered one of your luxuries. Now I say “smartest” as apposed to easiest¬†because¬†hey, sometimes it just isn’t that easy to cut down on the things you deserve and that you feel are worth it, or just make you feel good.

Not all products I use would break even the most frugal people, but some would certainly be classified  as luxuries.

So I thought, since I was going through this, many of you may be going through a similar situation and maybe you would like to hear some of my tips and methods for surviving on a beauty budget!

Now some of these things may work for you, while others may not, but have worked for me in the past and now…

Invest in quality products that will last

  • Examples: Prestige cosmetic/skin care lines’ serums and¬†specialty¬†treatments

Find less expensive, yet comparable products to more expensive options

  • Examples: SPF face lotions, shampoos and conditioners, high quality drugstore cosmetics, body lotions and cleansing products, and be sure to¬†also¬†checkout your local beauty supply stores

Skip the salons and spas, do your own nails and hair coloring

  • Personally, I do not have a need/want to dye my hair, but ask a friend you trust with your hair to help

If you are able, have a hair dresser friend you trust trim/style your hair

  • Treat your friend to a homemade dinner or take them out for lunch, especially if they don’t ask for anything in return for cutting your hair

“MAKE” some of your own products

  • Examples:¬†Fragrance body oil, face masks, body wax, and¬†¬†hair treaments

Opt for shaving, depilatory creams or at home waxing

  • If you don’t have the time to keep up with shaving, opt for¬†reasonably¬†priced depilatory creams that keep hair away a bit longer, or make your own wax – sugar paste is quick, cheap and easy to make!

Take care with your clothing

  • Wash your clothing properly, hand wash if necessary, to ensure your clothes keep their color, shape and quality

Try out upcycling

  • Use old product containers or clothing, revamp/decorate¬†them into something new and creative like a new outfit or storage containers
Stock up – a.k.a. THE drawer
  • When you know that great once-a-year sale is coming up, set aside a little extra money and stock up on your favorite items, even if you haven’t run out yet – that way you’ll always have a stocked drawer of those most-loved products and if you run out and can’t afford to go buy more, your covered.

Make a wishlist!

  • One of my favorite things to do: Make a list of products or items that you don’t need but simply want, luxury items you can’t just buy on a whim anymore, and once a month – or when you are able – get yourself something on that list (set aside a bit of money every week/month towards your wishlist fund)