Ipsy Bag: October 2014 Review.

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Since early September, I’ve been fully immersed in all things Fall- from fashion to the foliage- so when October’s Ipsy bag arrived, a bright, glossy teal that was reminiscent of Summer shades- I was a bit surprised. As it turns out, October’s theme is “Beauty Candy,” meant to be colorful and eye-catching. This month’s products covered skin care and makeup- and with the exception of one sample I received- was a great collection of items.

What I Received:

Épicé International Purifying Exfoliant

MicaBeauty Mineral Eye Shadow in ‘Reluctance’ (*Full Size!*)

Starlooks Lip Gloss in ‘Guilty Pleasure’

Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in ‘Mango Mandarin’ (*Full Size!*)

Doll 10 Beauty H2Glo Highlighter in ‘Champagne’

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Product # 1: Épicé International Purifying Exfoliant ($32)

When it comes to skin care in subscription boxes, one of the things I most like to receive samples of are scrubs and exfoliants. I’m always on the hunt for a nice, gentle facial scrub that will smooth my skin and clear out my pores without drying me out with harsh chemicals or scratchy seeds. This creamy textured exfoliant from Épicé, with a light, refreshing and clean scent- gently sloughed away dead cells from the surface of my skin and helped get rid of any bacteria lurking in my pores. The results were smooth, soft skin and a visibly brighter complexion. This isn’t a daily scrub, either- it’s only meant to be used every few days- which means you won’t have to continually replenish the $32 full-sized bottle on a weekly basis- which is always a good thing to hear.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved that this scrub wasn’t loaded with perfumes or drying and damaging ingredients. I achieved great results with only a couple of uses and with only a small amount of product per each use. The scrub is gentle and effective- and a little goes a long way. I’d definitely splurge on this in the future.

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Product # 2: MicaBeauty Mineral Eye Shadow in ‘Reluctance’ ($14.95)

I do not have the best of relationships when it comes to loose powder eye shadows. A lot of formulas I’ve tried in the past crease like crazy, have no pigment at all, or end up everywhere on my face EXCEPT my eyes by the end of the day. I took a look at this green/gold shadow when I first opened my Ipsy bag, thinking the color looked pretty at first glance. Then I dipped my brush into it, closed my eyes- and hoped for the best…

… And I was pleasantly surprised! This shadow applies with incredible ease- with no flaking or creasing. The color is true to how it looks in the container, a beautiful and subtle-shimmered ivy green with flecks of gold throughout it- and it stayed in place on my lids all day without fading at all. I received so many compliments on this particular shade, too- which complimented my blue eyes and my recently refreshed red curls. The photo above is before I blended the shadow with a shimmery brown I have in my collection.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I absolutely loved the longevity of this shadow, it’s pigmentation, and how easy and mess-free it was to apply. I’ve been wearing ‘Reluctance’ non-stop, but I’ve already started picking out other shades to purchase in the coming weeks because I’m so smitten with the quality of this product.

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Product # 3: Starlooks Lip Gloss in ‘Guilty Pleasure’ ($12)

Can I just take a moment to get something off my chest when it comes to beauty subscription services? I am sick- BEYOND tired- of receiving the same safe, boring rose-hued lip glosses. I get that companies want to send out universally flattering shades- but some of us out there want to try something bold and different to mix up the drab, redundant colors we’ve already stored from past boxes and bags. Give me a daring red! A deep plum! Hell, I’ll experiment with navy blue- but please, PLEASE- no more rose shades. I’m begging you.

My exhaustion with the color aside, I wasn’t a fan of this gloss from Starlooks. It applied easily and evenly enough- with a nice vanilla/honey-esque scent and no stickiness- but it didn’t last long at all. I’d say maybe 10-15 minutes after I’d applied it, and it was already coming off of my lips- and that was before I’d even had my morning coffee. I’ll stick to my current Fall trend- a neutral matte lipstick.

Would I Purchase?: No. Even if I had liked the color, this gloss didn’t last nearly long enough for me to want to go out and purchase a full-sized tube of it. I need something that is going to stay in place a little longer than this since I can’t continuously stop to re-apply it.

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Product # 4: Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in ‘Mango Mandarin’ ($6.56)

In past beauty boxes/bags, I’ve received Figs & Rouge’s lip gloss- which I am a big fan of. I haven’t had the opportunity to try their hand creams until now, however- so I was pretty excited to receive a full-sized tube of this product. Despite getting the ‘Mango Mandarin’ scent, I couldn’t help but think this cream smelled a little bit like bubble gum. Was it just me? Or am I going crazy? Anyway- the formula is nice. It absorbed into my hands quickly without leaving behind any kind of residue, which meant I could resume what I was doing before application- and my hands and cuticles stayed soft and moisturized for hours. The only downside to this product is that the full-sized tube is actually quite small, so if you tend to go through hand creams as often as I do- you may need to stock up on a few of these at a time so you won’t run out.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! The quick absorption was the selling point for me. This cream is thankfully grease-free and works wonderfully. I’d buy lots of these tubes (and would probably give some as gifts, too!)

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Product # 5: Doll 10 Beauty H2Glo Highlighter in ‘Champagne’ ($30)

Lately, my go-to Fall look has been the above-mentioned neutral matte lipstick, subtle color on my cheeks, and soft greens/golds/browns on my eyes. I decided to implement this creamy highlighter into the mix, too- by adding a touch along my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose, and along my brow. Despite minimum application, the results were really noticeable. My skin looked like it had a beautiful, healthy glow, and the best part is that the highlighter didn’t fade or budge for hours- so I didn’t have to constantly keep touching it up throughout the day. I think this is a great must-have for any makeup collection, especially since it’s perfect for year-round use.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This highlighter wasn’t too light, too dark, or too shimmery. It gave me a natural glow with just a couple of quick swipes. I anticipate this nicely sized sample will last me a while for that very reason, so I would definitely purchase the full-sized compact when I run out of the one I received in my bag.

With the exception of the lip gloss, this month’s bag was a hit for me. I really enjoyed the products I received- and discovered a couple of new brands I will be experimenting with more in the future!

Loot Crate: October 2014.

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I’ve been subscribed to Loot Crate for nearly a year now, and I enjoy the assortment of items I receive more and more with each passing month and with every theme. Since October is my favorite time of year, I was really excited for this month’s Halloween/horror-themed “FEAR” box- which arrived earlier than expected last week and still has me grinning from ear to ear with delight. I feel like I say it every month when it comes to Loot Crate, but this might very well be my favorite box to date (really! I really mean it this time!)

First of all, the box in itself features some fun, zombie-themed artwork- which was pretty cool to see once I unloaded the contents of my box- which I’ll get to now!

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October’s mini-magazine was really interesting for two reasons: one, the 3-D cover (glasses included!) and two, the interview with the man behind my favorite life-ruining franchise himself- “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman. Also featured in the mini-mag was the usual break-down of the items included in the box, fan photos, and a quick Q&A with artist JSalvador- who drew an original print for October’s collection.

And, of course- this month’s crate included my monthly collector’s pin (and some sour candy!)

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If the internet- and the world in general- collectively loves one thing: it’s cats. And if you’re like me and you love Halloween, then you have a fondness for the morbid and macabre, too. This super soft and really flattering t-shirt from Super 7 combines the two- creating an adorably eerie skull design that is compiled entirely out of kittens. I recently stepped out in this shirt for the first time, and when I didn’t catch people leaning in a little too close for comfort to make sure their eyes weren’t playing tricks on them- I got a lot of compliments on it!

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I’m spending this Halloween in New York City where I’ll be attending a “7 Deadly Sins” themed party. The dress code calls for all black, which is all well and good- but Halloween just doesn’t feel like Halloween without a little fake blood. Just a little. Thankfully, Loot Crate came to my rescue with these temporary tattoos. I’ve shown a great deal of restraint in not applying them all, at once, in various locations on my body- but I’m thinking the vampire bite one will make a nice accessory to my party dress for the big night.

And since I’ll be traveling to NYC by train, I’m bringing along this “How to Survive a Sharknado” manual to read on the way. Although I’ve learned a great deal about surviving Sharknados by watching Ian Ziering in action- I’m unfortunately not as prepared for other natural disasters or creatures like Antdemics, Boaricanes, Piranhacondas or Robocrocs. This book has me covered (and it’s hysterical!)

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It takes a lot of talent to take one of the most heartbreaking scenes in ‘The Walking Dead’s TV history and make it adorable- and even a little funny- but artist JSalvador of SuperEmoFriends pulled it off. I admittedly cackled when I first saw this print, which I plan on keeping in it’s plastic wrapper and proudly displaying on my currently under construction “Walking Dead” wall space. R.I.P. Merle!

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Pens in my office seem to have a bad habit of disappearing on a regular basis. Maybe it’s because I lose track of them when I’m in full-blown work mode, or maybe it’s because my co-workers and I tend to use the same types of pens and therefore just take each other’s without malicious intent- but either way- it’s frustrating. I don’t see that being a problem now that I have this Sledgesaw Hammer pen inspired by Capcom’s “Dead Rising 3.” I highly doubt anyone in my office can use the “I thought it was mine” excuse should this one go missing.

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Lastly, I was beyond thrilled to receive this alternate-covered copy of issue #132 of ‘The Walking Dead.’ The  cover art, drawn by Charlie Adlard, is really kick-ass. As much as I would love to tear this beauty out of it’s packaging and read away- I think I’m going to keep it in pristine condition. It’s just so cool to look at.

October’s Loot Crate also featured a digital bonus in the form of a gift card to obtain a “Jack the Reaper” skin for the game ‘Smite.’ I haven’t played (I’ve been obsessively battling it out in South Park’s ‘Stick of Truth’ as of late,) but I’ll be holding onto this for the future!

I cannot get over how great October’s box was. I do mean it, with all sincerity- that this one is by far my favorite (until November’s crate arrives, anyway!)

Can it be Halloween EVERY month?

Nerium Skin Care.

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Shortly after reviewing Lionesse Gem Skin Care back in August, I was contacted by a very sweet representative from the skin care company, Nerium International, who wanted to know if I would be interested in trying their day and night anti-aging creams. Although reversing the signs of aging is not yet a concern for me (I use plenty of preventative products and try to schedule a deep-cleansing and repairing facial with my esthetician every few weeks,) I agreed- because despite the anti-aging benefits being the main selling point- Nerium’s products target a lot of other common issues, too. From their website:

“During advanced research on the uses of the Nerium oleander plant, an accidental discovery was made: the unique properties of Nerium oleander provided remarkable age-defying results when applied to the skin. This finding led to the formation of Nerium International and the creation of the NeriumAD skincare line.

Nerium scientists developed a breakthrough process, NBio-PL2, to derive an extract from the Nerium oleander plant in a way that preserves its unique and beneficial properties. This patented extraction process yields the NAE-8 extract, with powerful antioxidant properties, used to formulate the first-of-its-kind, age-defying Nerium product line.

Nerium International is the first company with the exclusive capability to harness the power of the Nerium oleander plant in its skincare products. The product line addresses multiple concerns at once, including: wrinkles, discoloration, and texture. Nerium controls this main active ingredient from seed to bottle, making the Nerium skincare line both high-impact and innovative. This is the Nerium Difference.”

As someone with combination/oily skin and a very fair complexion, maintaining a smooth texture and avoiding discoloration is very important to me- and I always keep an open mind to new companies and products who are trying to help me do just that. Nerium were kind enough to send me full-sized pump bottles (and I LOVE the chic packaging,) of their day and night creams with supporting literature detailing the company, their products, and how to get started with selling Nerium from home should I want to get involved with their brand on a business/sales level.

I’ve been using the creams- first every other day as my skin adjusted to them- and now every day- for the past few weeks, and I feel as though I can now write a thorough and informative review based on the results I’ve seen over that time.

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NeriumAD Day Cream

The first thing I noticed about NeriumAD’s day cream was that unlike it’s P.M. counterpart, this light-consistency moisturizer didn’t have much of a fragrance (I’ll get to that momentarily.) Using only a couple of small pumps, which spread and provided even coverage to my entire face- the product sank into my skin effortlessly and left it comfortable- not overly greasy or worse: dried out. On closer inspection, my pores didn’t look any smaller, but my texture appeared smoother and the overall brightness to my skin was an unexpected but welcomed result. My skin felt good throughout the day, even with makeup applied over this cream and everyday hazards like the weather, temperature changes, city pollution, free radicals, etc. taking their usual toll.

The only downside to this cream is that it lacks SPF and therefore I had to add a sunscreen to ensure my skin was thoroughly protected before I left my house each morning. I think including some level of sun protection, even if it’s just the basic SPF 15, would make what is already a good product even better and more convenient for those who don’t want to have to apply numerous creams, serums, and sunscreens on their skin.

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NeriumAD Night Cream ($110)

Of the two creams I was sent, the NeriumAD Night Cream was the most potent in terms of results, consistency, and fragrance. While the day cream had little to no scent at all, the night cream smelled strongly of plants. It wasn’t a bad thing- but every time I pumped a small amount onto my finger tips to massage onto my face, it reminded me of stepping into a greenhouse and just inhaling deeply- if that makes any sense.

Consistency wise, this cream is pretty tacky. The directions on the box suggest applying it to slightly damp skin, which I did- but the formula is still sticky until it fully absorbs. Thankfully, once it does- I didn’t have to worry about anything (like my pillowcase) clinging uncomfortably to my cheeks while I slept or waking up with my dog’s fur stuck on me or something. There’s no residue left behind which is a huge relief.

Afterwards, my skin didn’t feel particularly hydrated, which was surprising for a night cream- but it did feel tighter. I also noticed that after the cream absorbed, my pores looked considerably smaller. Almost invisible, if I dare say it. I typically have to use foundation and setting powder to get that effect, so to instantly have it by just applying a cream was pretty exciting!

THE VERDICT:

While Nerium is geared more towards anti-aging benefits, it was it’s other helpful perks that got me interested and kept me using both creams for quite some time. The day cream, which brightened and gently hydrated- was a nice morning moisturizer, while the night cream- heavier and more potent- minimized my pores and made my skin feel taut and strong. Neither cream rendered any kind of allergic reaction or irritation- and both required only a small amount of product per application to cover my face and down towards my neck- making their $110 price tags (less money if you purchase the two creams as a set) easier to swallow when you take into consideration that both of these products will last you for a long time if used correctly, and sparingly.

As much as I liked the day cream, it’s lack of SPF was a bit of a deal breaker for me. Not that I consider myself lazy by any means, but an extra step in my morning routine could have been avoided had the cream had any sort of sun protection added to it. The night cream, however- is definitely something I would splurge on in the future. Despite it’s tacky consistency and powerful fragrance- it has been doing wonders for my pores and my overall complexion over the period of time I’ve been using it.

All in all, I really enjoyed being introduced to, and learning about Nerium. The science behind their products is fascinating- made even more so when you see and feel the results they give. I want to thank them, and Tom- the representative who reached out to me- for giving me the opportunity to try their creams for myself! I truly appreciate it!

[ EDIT: 10/22/14 ] Hey everyone! I received an update on the pricing of the Nerium products. Taken from a recent e-mail I received:

“The night cream is $110 for a single bottle, and $80/month if you become a preferred customer (PC), meaning a bottle is shipped every month. If you refer 3 customers, then the night cream is free. The day can’t be purchased on its own. It’s really just a compliment to the night cream, but it has the same primary ingredient. The day/night combo is $165 for just one month, but is $120 for PCs. After 3 consecutive months of being a PC, the day cream becomes free for life, so both products could become free.”

*Note: All opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not work for, nor was I paid by Nerium International to write these reviews.*

Horrors of Netflix: “The Den”

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TheDenPosterI’m not going to lie, for this installment of “Horrors of Netflix,” I tried to find the shortest movie possible, but one that also had a terrible enough rating where I would still hate myself for sitting through it and the world around me for allowing it to be made in the first place. As much as I inexplicably enjoy torturing myself with bad horror movies- sometimes 90+ minutes of one feels like an eternity and I need a break to appreciate a condensed version of a cinematic atrocity.

My search yielded 2013’s “The Den.” The synopsis, from Netflix:

“While investigating webcam chat habits, a young woman witnesses a gruesome murder online. Now she and those she loves are being pursued by the killer.”

As someone who occasionally uses the webcam built into my laptop and has made the horrible mistake of visiting Chatroulette before- I’m pretty sure seeing a murder would fall into the “tame” spectrum of things I’ve witnessed on the internet. Is “The Den” a cautionary tale of internet stranger-danger? Or is it an ingenious social commentary on this generation’s blind trust and faith in technology and social networking disguised as a 76 minute horror movie with a 1 1/2 star rating on Netflix?

There’s only one way to find out.

As always, this movie will be spoiled- heavily- under the “Read More” tag, so if you want to see this film for yourself and don’t want to know what happens until you do- TURN BACK NOW. You’ve been warned!

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Odds and Ends.

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In my teens, when I first began taking an interest in urban exploration- the Holy Grail of locations to photograph was undeniably Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts. Opened in 1878, Danvers State was notorious for it’s experimental, and often inhumane treatments for the mentally ill- and for (allegedly) being the first facility to begin performing pre-frontal lobotomies. After it’s closure and ultimate abandonment in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the large, sprawling property, as beautiful as it was haunting- was left to succumb to the elements. It was also heavily patrolled. I can recall my friends and I being followed or stopped on more than one occasion by local police as we walked/drove by- attempting to snap photos or simply just gawking at how monstrous the buildings were from where we stood or sat- who warned us of no-nonsense arrests and steep fines for anyone caught trespassing.

What attracted me to Danvers, more than anything, was it’s architecture. It was one of the few remaining institutions left standing in the New England area that were designed under the Kirkbride Plan- the same layout used in another mental institution (now demolished) in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, that was equally breathtaking.

Interest in Danvers State and it’s creepy, sordid history only intensified with 2001’s cult-classic horror film, “Session 9″ (which gave us the greatest line ever uttered by David Caruso,) but despite it’s historical importance and efforts from the community to preserve it- the property was bought out a few years ago, and a large portion was demolished and converted into apartments.

Now, with no one to stop me (Take THAT, Danvers Police Department!) I like to head up to the main office, the former administration building- every so often to take in the beauty of the preserved Kirkbride structure and surrounding scenery. The photos above were taken a few days ago during a lovely, crisp, late afternoon. Even though the newly constructed condos clash with the brick of the main building- I do have to admit they did a good job with the overall renovations. It’s nice to see the space getting some use.

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When I wasn’t walking around the remains of a former mental institution- I spent a portion of this past weekend with my mom visiting a couple of farmers’ markets and general stores outside of Boston where we ate homemade fudge and maple-glazed jerky (delicious, I swear,) My mom snapped the above photo of me and my over-enthusiasm for finding what I think was the perfect pumpkin- but the real star of the picture is my navy Michael Kors bag, which has become my go-to purse for the Fall. It goes with everything.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll have another “Horrors of Netflix” review, as well as an in-depth review of a skin care line I’ve been testing out over the past few weeks!

But before I get to that:

Have you entered my Halloween Giveaway yet?

There’s still a few days left to enter!

GLOSSYBOX: September 2014 Review.

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In between working and watching terrible horror movies on Netflix to review, I’ve also been using the products I recently received in my September 2014 GlossyBox, a collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar. After the debacle that surrounded August’s box, I was pleasantly surprised my box arrived on time- and even more so at what was inside of it. With an assortment of full-sized and deluxe samples that covered hair care, nails, makeup, and skin care- September’s GlossyBox might be one of my favorite ones to date!

What I Received:

Benefit Cosmetics ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara

BVLGARI Eau Parfumée au thé vert conditioner

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics ‘Black Dahlia’ Lip Tar – Matte (*Full Size!*)

essie ‘She’s Pampered’ Nail Polish (*Full Size!*)

Vichy LiftActiv Night Cream

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Product # 1: Benefit Cosmetics ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara ($23)

The only product I received in September’s GlossyBox that I DIDN’T try was Benefit’s “They’re Real!” Mascara- not because I’m not a fan of it- but because this is actually the mascara I’ve been using every day for the past couple of months. I’m saving this sample sized tube for the next time I travel for quick and easy touch-ups on the go. This mascara delivers phenomenal results- giving me long, fluttery looking lashes with just a couple of sweeps with no clumping, smudging, or flaking- and the formula stays in place comfortably all day.

Would I Purchase?: Yes, and I already have! While I’ve been a fan of the false lash look for the longest time, lately I’ve gravitated towards a more natural approach to my eye makeup. “They’re Real!” makes my lashes pop without making them look TOO heavily done. I’m a big fan.

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Product # 2: BVLGARI Eau Parfumée au thé vert conditioner ($45)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it comes to BVLGARI, their products are hit or miss for me- mostly because of the fragrance. For example, in past GlossyBoxes, I’ve received samples of perfume and bath teas that have smelled lovely- only to receive a bar of soap with the same perfume that have downright made me gag. This conditioner thankfully smelled really, really nice- and I found myself unconsciously touching my hair throughout the day because this product made it silky soft. The only thing that would keep me from going out and buying a bottle of this right away would be the $45 price tag. I don’t mind, and even encourage, the occasional splurge- but even I draw the line at this!

Would I Purchase?: Yes. Like I said, if I could afford stocking up on multiple bottles of this conditioner without breaking the bank- I absolutely would. It gave me great results and smelled great- but whereas I use LOTS of conditioner for my curls, I can only see myself treating myself to this conditioner every once in a great while.

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Product # 3: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics ‘Black Dahlia’ Lip Tar – Matte ($18)

Don’t let the name of this highly pigmented lip color or the appearance of it within the tube fool you- while the shade may look like something out of a gothic tutorial, the color when applied on the lips is actually a beautiful deep plum with crimson undertones- perfect for this time of year! I’ve heard a lot of good things about OCC’s Lip Tars, but had yet to try one until now. The product applied easily enough with the included brush, giving me rich, full matte color with just a droplet of the gloss- and it stayed in place for HOURS- through morning coffee and my lunch break. Even when the full extent of the color had faded by dinner, my lips still had a bit of a stain to them. The only downside to this product, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the matte formula or the longevity- is that it’s drying. I highly recommend using a balm under or over before/after applying this to prevent cracking, peeling, and general discomfort.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! The drying aspect aside, which can be easily solved with the aforementioned balm- this is an impressive product that packs a punch- both in color and in how long it lasts. I was surprised with how flattering ‘Black Dahlia’ looked on me, and would re-purchase it in the future- but I’d love to try other shades, too!

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Product # 4: essie ‘She’s Pampered’ Nail Polish ($8.50)

I can never have enough brilliant red nail polishes in the Fall and Winter, so I was pretty excited to see this full-sized bottle of bright, bold, cherry-hued polish from Essie in September’s GlossyBox. The photo above is after two coats and a top coat- but despite my love of the color, the polish began chipping within 24 hours and required more than one touch-up- which chipped again in a short amount of time. I was disappointed in the lack of staying power- but other than that- I liked the easy application and the shade.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. Essie is good for a 1-2 day manicure or if you need a quick pop of color for a special event, but for those who like their polish to last more than a couple of days- I don’t think you’ll find what you’re looking for with this formula. While the color was beautiful, I really wished it would have stayed on my nails for a longer period of time.

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Product # 5: Vichy LiftActiv Night Cream ($50)

Back in January, I had received a sample of Vichy’s day cream in my GlossyBox that I had liked despite it’s strong fragrance. This cream, it’s nighttime companion- didn’t seem to have such a strong perfume added to it, and whereas the day cream was rich but not too heavy when it sank into my skin- this product started off with a thick, heavy texture and eventually melted onto my skin- almost immediately making it feel tight and firm without irritation or any kind of reaction. After using it for a few days, I noticed an improvement in my skin’s overall tone and texture. I may not need firming/lifting benefits in my skin care regimen just yet- but I was a big fan of this product.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! While I was on the fence with the day cream, I really enjoyed this night cream and would splurge on a full-sized jar in the future. It’s less-overpowering fragrance was a relief, the cream was hydrating (which is important in these colder, dryer months!) and the results I achieved with such a small amount in only a few short days was impressive.

With 4 out of 5 products receiving positive reviews, and one not quite living up to expectations- overall I’d say I was pleased with September’s GlossyBox.  I think Harper’s Bazaar curated a great assortment of goods that covered a broad spectrum of areas. I absolutely loved the conditioner and lip tar- both of which were my favorite things in the box- and I hope to discover more brands/products to get smitten with when I receive my October one near the end of this month!

Horrors of Netflix: “Apartment 1303″

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Apartment1303PosterMaking the transition from star of a popular TV series- typically geared towards teenagers- to serious and well-respected film actor/actress can’t be easy- and success stories are far and few between. Dustin Diamond of “Saved by the Bell” fame ended up being a gross, arrogant and unlikable prick that made a short return to the spotlight (if you could even call it that) on reality television, whereas Will Smith reigned supreme on “Fresh Prince” only to go on to create blockbuster gold time and time again over the years.

Mischa Barton, previously of the once enormously popular “The O.C.” unfortunately falls into the not-so-successful category. After dropping out of the show (did they kill of Marissa Cooper? I can’t remember. I sort of lost track about halfway through the second season,) Mischa all but went M.I.A. for years, I was surprised to see her name attached to this. Same thing with Rebecca De Mornay. For a movie that was somehow released in 3-D (although I cannot for the life of me ever recall hearing about this film being shown in any theaters, ever-) and having a currently working movie actress and formerly employed television actress receiving top billing- I hadn’t expected to find this at the bottom of the barrel of Netflix horror- usually reserved for unknown and aspiring actors looking to build their resume. Then I noticed the one star rating and knew I was in for a disaster that both Ms. De Mornay and Ms. Barton probably wish would fade into obscurity forever.

The synopsis, from Netflix:

“After Janet moves into a 13th-floor apartment and falls out the window to her death, her sister aims to reveal the frightening truth about the place.”

As always, I will spoiling this movie at length and in vivid detail. If you don’t want to be spoiled- DO NOT PROCEED FORWARD.

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Halloween Giveaway!

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I’ve been occasionally mentioning it in my past few posts, and the time is finally here to announce the details of my 2014 Halloween Giveaway! As most of you have probably figured out by now- October is my favorite month of the year- and Halloween is undoubtedly my favorite holiday. For that reason, I wanted to do something a little different this year and curate an assortment of items  to give away to one lucky Legally Redhead reader! And unlike other giveaways I’ve hosted here on the blog in the past: this giveaway isn’t limited to United States residents only. I’ll be paying for the shipping and handling myself- which means it’s open to those of you across the pond, below the border, and anywhere in between, too!

Before I get to the important part: how to enter- let’s take a closer look at what’s inside!

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As an avid collector of Funko figurines, included in this giveaway is a POP! Vinyl figure of one of my favorite horror movie villains- Freddy Krueger. From the detail on his burned and scarred face, to his infamous striped sweater- to the even more infamous metal clawed glove- this toy is too adorable to be afraid of. Put it up on a shelf, in a display case, or- if you dare- near your bed.

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To help get the winner into the Halloween spirit, I’ve also included the medium sized “Pumpkin Patch” candle from Yankee Candle in the giveaway. A mix of the “Harvest” and “Spiced Pumpkin” scents from the same company, this swirl candle will get your entire room/home/wherever you light it smelling like a delicious combination of sweet cinnamon and pumpkin pie- perfect for the season.

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I couldn’t possibly have a Halloween themed giveaway without including SOMETHING “Walking Dead” related, could I? To help the winner catch up just as we’re set to begin the fifth season (one week to go!) or even just provide them with something to gift to a TWD-enthusiast they may know, I included a new copy of the recently released fourth season of the show. This particular edition is Blu-Ray – Digital HD formatted and is loaded with special featurettes and deleted scenes that will keep you occupied for hours after you’ve binge-watched every single episode.

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Fable & Fury has been one of my favorite Etsy-based jewelry shops for a long time. Their pieces are well-made, unique, and guaranteed to garner attention. This stainless steel Nosferatu pendant is no exception. This would be a perfect accessory to wear on Halloween night to whatever frightening plans you have lined up- although I’m the type of person who would wear this year-round, too.

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On the surface, this brown bar from Fortune Cookie Soap- scented like berries and cinnamon- may look a little bland, but inside- it’s loaded with bugs. Not real ones, of course. From the “Nightmare Before Christmas” collection, this “Oogie Boogie” bar soap is made from natural ingredients and adds a bit of fun to any bath or shower as the soap begins to melt away with each use, revealing a bunch of creepy crawlers lurking on the inside, below the surface.

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Lastly, most people my age can recall reading Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” “More Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark,” and “Scary Stories 3 : More Tales to Chill Your Bones” in middle school around this time of year. Admittedly, the stories weren’t particularly terrifying, but when paired with the haunting illustrations by Stephen Gammell- the books became timeless. This hardcover compilation of the best works from the three novels is a nice shot of nostalgia to keep for yourself or to gift to a friend or loved one.

Not shown in the above photos, but will definitely be included in the giveaway- is the candy I plan to send the winner after contacting them (just to make sure he/she doesn’t have any allergies, of course!) and a personalized card once someone has been selected!

So now, some important stuff:

The giveaway is running from now through midnight (EST) on Sunday, October 19th, after which time a winner will be selected  at random through Rafflecopter and contacted directly to obtain additional information to process shipping. If selected, you’ll have 72 hours to respond to the confirmation e-mail. If I don’t receive a response in that time, I’ll unfortunately have to select another winner, instead!

Nothing in this giveaway can be traded or swapped for something else. What you see is what you’ll be receiving if you win!

HOW TO ENTER:

First and foremost- please visit the Rafflecopter page for the giveaway by CLICKING HERE to make sure your entry is properly counted!

1. Comment on this post with your name and e-mail address. Please keep in mind that I have comment moderation turned on to avoid spambots- so if your comment doesn’t appear right away; don’t panic! I’ll put it through as soon as I’m able!

2. You can tweet about the giveaway and link back directly to this post or to my homepage: legallyredhead.com

That’s it! Just two simple steps and you’re in!

Good luck to everyone who participates. I’m really looking forward to selecting a winner!

xx

Horrors of Netflix: “A Haunting at Silver Falls”

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AHauntingAtSilverFallsIt’s that special time of year again- when buying bulk packages of candy isn’t frowned upon, the prices of Halloween costumes skyrocket, gory and morbid decorations on your lawn don’t result in a frantic call to police by your neighbors- and when I suffer through the worst of the worst horror movies Netflix has to offer solely to rip them to shreds for your reading pleasure.

Despite braving bad acting, even worse CGI, and pointless plots- I had a lot of fun with my “Horrors of Netflix” series last October. So much fun, in fact, that I’ve decided to do it again this year. The great thing about Netflix, apart from obvious perks like convenience and a wide selection of critically acclaimed shows and movies available to stream in an instant- is that there is a never-ending supply of poorly written independent endeavors to choose from. Just type “horror” into the search bar, hit enter- and prepare yourself for what is essentially a game of Russian Roulette with awful films.

Choosing a movie to kick-off this year’s collection of reviews was a challenge, especially since my very first “Horrors of Netflix” post last year was one of my favorite, love-to-hate films, “Dead End.” After perusing titles and posters for a good length of time, I decided on “A Haunting at Silver Falls” from 2013. Clocking in at just over an hour and a half, this movie has been given 1 1/2 stars via the Netflix page.

Awesome.

The synopsis, also from Netflix’s page:

“In this creepy thriller, an orphaned teen arrives in a Pacific Northwest town to stay with relatives, only to find herself haunted by murdered twins.”

Now, I detail these movies from start to finish. I spoil pretty much everything. I regret nothing (except maybe watching the movie in the first place,) but I digress- if you want to see this film for yourself- DO NOT CLICK THE “READ MORE” LINK. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Let’s do this.

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September 2014: In a Nutshell.

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Despite the fact that we’ve reached the end of September, the leaves have been changing colors, and we are (officially) in the midst of Fall- it has felt more like mid-July these last few days here in New England. I briefly had to swap my boots and hoodie for comfortable flats and a t-shirt when temperatures unexpectedly soared this past weekend. Much like Winter did earlier this year when it came time for Spring to reign supreme, it seems Summer isn’t ready to go without a fight.

As excited as I am that my favorite month of the year is finally here, proper respects must be paid to September- which, when not in my office, was spent in beautiful locations like Hampton Beach, rural Vermont- and the always picturesque Western Massachusetts taking in the beginnings of Autumn. September also saw the start of what has quickly become my newest favorite tradition: bringing my six year old niece to kindergarten a couple of days per week. I love concocting bizarre pancake recipes with her for breakfast, listening to music together in the car, and talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while we walk hand-in-hand to her school. She’s just such a fun little kid and I adore spending time with her.

I also ended this month on the highest of high notes:

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On Friday night, I saw one of my favorite bands, Kasabian, at The ‘Dise.  The last time I saw Kasabian live was circa 2005 at a small outdoor festival in Staten Island with my friend Sam. At the time, Sam had quite the crush on singer Tom Meighan (not that I blame her- he was, and still is- very, very handsome,) but I’ve always had a thing for Sergio Pizzorno, the guitarist. Despite my love for the band- it seems as though every time they came to the area in recent years, I was either out of town or busy with other plans.

Regardless, Friday night’s show was worth the wait. Kasabian were fantastic and the show was fun and memorable enough to climb near the top of my list of all-time favorite gig experiences. Not even getting accidentally elbowed in the face during the encore by a very enthusiastic fan could deter my good mood. I sang along to every song, fawned ridiculously (and shamelessly,) and jumped up and down with the crowd until it became physically impossible to move.

I hope they come back to Boston sooner rather than later.

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On Sunday, I headed out to West Springfield with some of my girlfriends to attend the final day of The Big E, because what better way to start the week than by stuffing ourselves with the unhealthiest of fair foods and then risking our necks on carnival rides? When we couldn’t take anymore deep fried Oreos or swinging dangerously high off of the ground- we spent the afternoon and early evening walking the fair grounds, feeding farm animals and perusing booths upon booths of goods from local vendors. It was a really lovely afternoon spent in good company.

And with October mere hours away, I’m so excited for all the things I have planned! “The Walking Dead” returns in a couple of weeks, as does “American Horror Story.” I have a pretty fun Halloween-themed giveaway coming up (the details will be announced this coming weekend!) some travel and day-trips scheduled, and I get to absolutely decimate my recommendations on my Netflix account when my “Horrors of Netflix” reviews return!

It’s been fun, September- but now it’s October’s turn to shine- and I couldn’t be more excited!