Loot Crate: September 2014.

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Three subscription review posts in a row? I know, I know. Despite my recent content- I assure you all that Legally Redhead is not being changed into “What’s in Ashley’s Mailbox Today?,” and I promise I’ll feature different posts within the coming days (apart from what’s been arriving in the post-) but most of you know that Loot Crate is the box I simply love receiving the most! So much that I wanted to share September’s box, with a “GALACTIC” theme- before I head off on an Autumn adventure this crisp, chilly afternoon!

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I always start off with the usual items I receive every month- the mini-magazine and collector’s pin. September’s issue, featuring a breakdown of all the stuff in the box, games, and puzzles- also included a fun little article for ‘Firefly’ fans (I’ll get to that in a minute,) that breaks down the best character items from the show- and an interview with Julian Higgins- the director and mastermind behind Loot Crate’s fun, creative theme videos.

I was also happy to find a blast-from-my-past in the form of a packet of Pop Rocks in September’s box- which were promptly ripped open and devoured as soon as I finished taking the photo above. The only flavor that is even worth paying attention to is green apple (same thing applies to Jolly Ranchers hard candies- end of discussion,) so a good thing was made even better.

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Okay, so I’m just going to go ahead and revoke my own “geek” card by fully admitting that I’ve never watched ‘Firefly’ before (I think I can hear some of my friends reading this blog actually screaming and recoiling in horror right now.) Somewhere among Joss Whedon’s infinite other projects- this one-season wonder simply slipped by me. It’s a shame, too- because I do love me some Nathan Fillion. Regardless, this stack of bank robbery money, inspired by the show- will be gifted to someone who will fully appreciate it, as it’s completely lost on me.

What isn’t lost on me is this month’s Bonus Digital Loot- codes to get a look at Dark Horse Comics’ “Halo Escalation” series. My love of Halo has transcended from my days many, many years ago- spending hours upon hours mercilessly destroying my ex-boyfriend on his XBox while he fought, in vain- to beat in me “Halo 2.” Needless to say, I’m excited to read these comics and take those days of glory to a whole new level.

And although I can never have enough magnets in my place- I think I’ll be gifting this Star Wars Retro Arcade one to a friend who will undoubtedly enjoy the throwback to simpler times and even simpler video game graphics. Oh, Intellivision, how I miss you.

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I actually cackled when I unfolded this 9 x 27″ poster that had been carefully placed in the bottom of my Loot Crate. Although I would love to keep this poster of one of Star Wars’ most iconic images/scenes someplace where company can get a good look at it (my bathroom, for instance-) I think I’ll be gifting this to one of my friends who is a huge Han Solo fan. I’m not sure if giving this photo to them could technically be considered cruel or not, since it does capture Han in quite the predicament- but I’m sure they’ll find a place for it!

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Before Hollywood had them showing up in countless sequels or battling Predator for some inexplicable reason- there was simply ‘Alien,’ and it was terrifying. Try to recall when and where you were the first time you ever saw the infamous “chest-burst” scene and then think about how your face probably looked immediately following it. Awesome, right? Of course it was! September’s Loot Crate featured this classic style ‘Alien’ action figure- which will find a happy home among my other collectibles I refuse to take out of their boxes.

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Oh, Funko- you’ve gone and done it again and you’ve given me an adorable figurine of Nathan Fillion’s character, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, from ‘Firefly.’ The hair! The coat! The gun! It’s just all so perfect. Unfortunately, since I’m now an admitted non-watcher of the show- I’ll be gifting this along with the bank robbery money pictured earlier in this post!

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Lastly, and maybe one of my favorite items in September’s box- OH MY GOD I GOT A TRIBBLE! It’s so cute, and furry, and isn’t multiplying all over the place! It’s just a fun little ball of hair that sits comfortably in the palm of my hand and can be displayed in it’s adorable “Please Do Not Feed” carrying container.

Once again, I had so much fun unboxing and playing with September’s Loot Crate. “GALACTIC” is a hell of a theme to take on- but I think they tackled it brilliantly! Now with October approaching, as well as Halloween- I’m hoping we get a horror-themed box chock-full of bloody, gory, terrifying goodness!

Ipsy Bag: September 2014 Review.

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With New York Fashion Week over and done, and Boston Fashion Week swiftly approaching- September’s Ipsy Bag, NYFW-inspired with a “Street Style” theme- arrived in an edgy silver, studded pouch and featured an assortment of chic products for the fashionista on the go. With skin care, makeup, and tools tucked inside- I was really pleased this month, both with the pouch- which I’ve been using to carry odds and ends within my Fall handbag- as well as the quality of what was is in it.

What I Received:

Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser

Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in ‘Gun Metal’

Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream

CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in ‘Love Affair’ (*Full Size!*)

Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser ($13.99)

When it comes to skin care and cosmetics, the more natural and organic- the better. I can’t stand using products that contain harsh chemicals and ingredients whose names I can’t even pronounce. They almost always result in some sort of horrid reaction or breakout that causes me more grief than I have the time or patience to deal with. For the past few years my skin care regimen has been simple, and effective. When I saw this vegan, fragrance-free cream cleanser, suitable for all skin types in my Ipsy bag- and read it’s short list of ingredients that I actually understood (watercress, cucumber, and aloe-vera, just to name a few-) I was excited to use it. This cleanser was gentle but effective on my face- giving me a deep clean without stripping my skin or drying it out. I was left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after each use- and without any aforementioned horrid reactions or breakouts!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This cleanser, with it’s organic components and ability to thoroughly clean even the most sensitive of skin- can and will make an excellent addition to my daily (and nightly) wash-up routine. I have a little of the sample left, but I fully plan on purchasing the full-sized tube once I’m out.

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Product # 2: Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in ‘Gun Metal’ ($11.00)

I make no attempts to hide my disdain for hard pencil liners. Ones that I like, or at the least don’t mind TOO much are far and few between- and I’m usually left tossing them out and replacing them with my usual gel or pen/marker liners. My overall impression has been that they hurt to apply, they don’t last long, and they’re rarely pigmented enough to my liking. I was skeptical when I saw this waterproof grey/silver pencil liner in my Ipsy bag, audibly sighing when I realized that I’d have to try it in order to give a proper review.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

This liner went on smooth- with no tugging or irritation. It was perfectly pigmented, giving me a beautiful stroke of silver that brought out the blue in my eyes and is a perfect shade for the season- and it lasted all day without fading, smudging, flaking, or bleeding down from my lash line. I was impressed, relieved, and really happy to finally have found a hard pencil liner that actually works for me!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I never thought I’d see the day where I would willingly and happily pay for a pencil like this- but it really is a stand-out product among other eyeliners. This particular formula comes in four shades total, including “Gun Metal,” and I’d love to try them all.

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Product # 3: Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream (£17)

In my July GlossyBox, I had received a tube of Mitchell and Peach’s body cream in this same fragrance that I had really enjoyed. The hand cream was no exception. Like the body lotion- this product sank into my skin quickly without leaving any kind of greasy residue and kept my hands soft and lightly fragranced (without being overpowering) for a long time. It’s a nice, effective, and luxurious treat that I’m happy to have in my handbag now that it’s getting chillier outside.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! For the holidays, I’d love to put together a Mitchell and Peach gift set for some of my girlfriends who are in need of a little pampering. These products are wonderful and I’d absolutely purchase more of them in the future.

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Product # 4: CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in ‘Love Affair’ ($19)

The last time I used a CAILYN lip product, it dried my mouth out so bad that I was peeling and sore for a good three days- only able to use clear balms and Vaseline to keep my lips hydrated while they healed. Needless to say, I was hesitant to try this lip gloss- despite it’s lovely cranberry color. I love a good matte, wine-colored lip in the Fall- but I thought this might be a nice way to transition into that- and threw caution to the wind to give this product a shot.

Here are the pros: The shade, is, at first- very pretty- and the consistency of the gloss isn’t thick or tacky. It’s lightweight and smooth.

That’s about it.

The gloss lasted all of ten minutes before it had faded completely (and I’m not a compulsive lip-licker or anything.) The description of the product stated that it could act as a lip stain- but after the color bled to the outer edges of my lips and disappeared, the only color that remained was the off-red that resulted in my lips once again becoming severely dried out and chapped. Sigh.

Would I Purchase?: No. This is the second time I’ve had a bad reaction to a CAILYN lip product, and I hope it’ll be the last. I don’t know what it is with the ingredients this brand uses but the colors never last and they are beyond drying. Thankfully, this was the only disappointing product in September’s bag.

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Product # 5: Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush ($6.99)

When it comes to reviewing beauty boxes/subscriptions- one of the hardest things for me to write about are makeup brushes. What exactly can be said? The bristles are soft, they apply color/product evenly? There’s only so much to review. For that reason, I’ll get right down to it instead of trying to create any kind of “filler” for this post. This brush is nice. It’s not revolutionary or groundbreaking- but it’s two-in-one function (one side is for shadow, the other for the crease,) is convenient. The bristles are, in fact, soft- and the brush does distribute shadow and blend it evenly. Best of all? It’s price point. You can’t go wrong for $6.99!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Although I don’t anticipate having to replace this brush anytime soon- I wouldn’t be opposed to buying a new one if and when the time came. It’s decent quality and fairly priced.

With the exception of the lip gloss- September’s Ipsy bag was a hit for me. I enjoyed, and was even surprised (in a good way!) by some of the products I received- and I discovered a new cleanser that I absolutely love. I’m looking forward to October’s bag!

GLOSSYBOX: August 2014 Review.

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For as long as I’ve been subscribed to GlossyBox, I’ve not only accepted- but defended- their late shipment dates. For the quality and quantity of products you get for $21 a month- having to wait an extra few days to receive your box as compared to other beauty subscription services that typically arrive weeks earlier isn’t the end of the world. Some past boxes haven’t necessarily been spectacular, but my overall experience with the company has been a positive one.

Recently, I almost canceled my subscription- not only because their shipments ran WAY later than usual- but also because there was no indication as to what the status of my August box actually was, period. I typically get two e-mails a month in regards to my service (not including spoilers of special offers-) one when my debit card is charged and one when my box finally ships. In August, there was no correspondence and nothing in my mailbox for weeks. After being charged for my September box and still not having last month’s one in my possession- I reached out to customer service over social media.

It took the efforts of a lovely girl named Leanna at the GlossyBox USA Twitter account to look into my subscription and give me a proper update- and as she promised- the box arrived at my door a couple of days after our conversation. Granted, it was nearly two weeks past when I usually receive it- but Leanna was polite, friendly, and prompt with her assistance. I ultimately decided to let this minor inconvenience slide and keep my subscription- but I really would like to see some changes in the future when it comes to shipping and keeping customers in the loop when there’s a delay/shortage/etc.

August’s GlossyBox celebrated the company’s third anniversary and included makeup, skincare, hair care, and nail polish- two of the items being full-sized. As always, I took my time trying everything- so apologies for the extended lateness of what was an already late review!

What I Received:

Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

Kryolan for Glossybox Highlighter in ‘Cashmere’ (*Full Size!*)

Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

SpaRitual Explore Color Collection in ‘Navigate’ (*Full Size!*)

Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream

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Product # 1: Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner ($23.90 & $25.90)

Whenever I receive any kind of shampoo or conditioner in a beauty subscription service, I’m almost always left squinting at the back of the tubes/bottles/containers- scanning the list of ingredients for color-stripping components or harmful, drying chemicals. Lucky for me, this shampoo and conditioner duo were free of both of those types of things- and were instead loaded up the good stuff- like fruit extracts, royal jelly, green tea, lemon peel, and keratin. Both products smelled really nice during my initial trial- which is a huge selling point for me.

The shampoo, sulfate-free and therefore ideal for my color treated red hair- didn’t lather up as much as I’m used to when washing, but my hair still felt squeaky clean and INSANELY soft and silky after I’d massaged it into my scalp and down through my ends before rinsing. So soft and silky, in fact- that I wasn’t sure using the conditioner was even necessary. I did anyway, of course.

The conditioner- which has a sort of unusual, slick, Vaseline-esque texture- sank into my strands easier than I thought it would and didn’t cause any sort of build up on my scalp. I had left it on my hair for about 5-10 minutes in the shower while I used my body wash and face scrub before I combed and rinsed it out- and my curls looked and felt fantastic afterwards. My hair was even softer, silkier, and so, so shiny. Best of all? It didn’t feel weighed down or greasy. I was beyond impressed- and happy!

Would I Purchase?: Yes to both! I absolutely loved both the shampoo and the conditioner and the results they gave me! After each use, I have such a hard time keeping myself from touching or playing with my hair. It just looks and feels so much healthier! The price tags for both of these products- especially combined- might be a little staggering, but I promise it’s a splurge that you wouldn’t regret. This duo is worth investing in- and I will definitely be purchasing the full-sized bottles very soon.

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Product # 2: Kryolan for Glossybox Highlighter in ‘Cashmere’ ($18.95)

On days where I want to achieve the “no makeup” makeup look, I use little more than a lightweight foundation, a highlighter for my cheekbones and brow bone, and a touch of mascara. I love highlighters that give my typically pale skin a subtle glow- a look that is flattering year round and perfect for those days where I want to look fresh-faced and natural but am in a rush or on the go (like when I’m running errands, for example.) This creamy highlighter- with a silky texture and a hint of shimmer- illuminates my skin without making it look glittery or oily. Instead, my face appears radiant and bright. Results aside- I’m also a fan of the small, sturdy packaging- which makes it the perfect size to throw in my bag for quick touch-ups throughout the day.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I love the texture of this highlighter, it’s natural finish, and the way it makes my skin look flawless after application. A little goes a long way, too- which means the $18.95 price tag is not going to waste. This has definitely become a “must have” in my purse.

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Product # 3: Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner ($16)

This product isn’t shown in the unboxing photo above, since the size of the tube was pretty small and seemed to get lost in GlossyBox’s black packaging confetti. I hadn’t even realized I’d received it until I went to put the box aside for future gifting purposes and it tumbled out!

Although I’m a stickler for gel eyeliners, I’ve noticed that in recent months I’ve also added pen liners to my makeup collection. For the most part, the fine, Sharpie-style points make for easy application and the formulas give me hours of smudge-proof and flake-proof wear. This Eyeko product, although designed much like a pen liner in terms of the shape of the applicator- was significantly more difficult to apply. It took numerous, uncomfortable attempts to get the tip of the liner to run smoothly along my lids and give me an even line. I also noticed that the pen seemed to dry out shortly after being opened- whereas other pen liners I own are still going strong after being used multiple times. The only saving grace to this product was that the longevity was fabulous. This liner stayed in place from early morning through well into the night without fading or smudging.

Would I Purchase?: No. I just wasn’t “wow’d” by this eyeliner. Sure, the staying power packs a punch- but applying it perfectly is nothing short of a hassle and the pen dries out quickly. The other marker-like liners I own are easier to work with and hold up for a lot longer than this one did. I’ll stick with those.

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Product # 4: SpaRitual Explore Color Collection in ‘Navigate’ ($12)

This is actually the second full-sized SpaRitual polish I’ve received from GlossyBox. The first, from my June 2013 box, was a beautiful red I had fallen in love with. The formula was easy to apply, gave rich color and a beautiful shine- and lasted for a long time without chipping. In August’s box, I was treated to a gorgeous sky blue from SpaRitual’s Spring 2014 “Explore” collection. Just like the polish I’d received before it, this glided on my nails with ease- giving me plenty of color with one coat (two coats pictured above.) Also like the polish before it- I thought this particular shade was a bit un-seasonal. This blue would be better suited for the Spring/Summer, much like the candy apple red I received last Summer would have been more appropriate in the Fall/Winter. Either way, I’m a fan.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is another hit from SpaRitual- a brand I’m confident enough in to highly recommend. Their shades are brilliant, the applications are mess-free, and the longevity of their lacquers is fantastic.

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Product # 5: Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream ($85)

When looking for a good daytime moisturizer, I really only need three things and three things only: I need SPF, I need it to be fragrance and oil-free, and I need it to be lightweight. I’m still in my twenties- so fine lines, wrinkles, and the loss of elasticity is (thankfully) not a concern for me just yet.

This moisturizer was indeed lightweight,  contained some oil (Avocado, wheat germ, and Sesame, to be specific,) but no SPF- and also had a slight fragrance to it- which caused concern. I have sensitive skin, and from past experiences, anything with any kind of perfume in it causes an allergic reaction or breakout on my face. Even still, I decided to give this cream a chance. Fortunately, there was no allergic reaction or breakout. The cream made my skin feel soft and hydrated- but not too greasy despite the oils in it. However, after a few days of use- I still haven’t noticed any changes in firmness to my skin. It still looks and feels exactly the same- not tighter or anything- as I had sort of expected it to feel with continuous use.

Would I Purchase?: No. While I liked the overall hydration this day cream provided me, it’s anti-aging purpose doesn’t fit my current needs and it’s lack of SPF means I’d have to put a sunscreen on top of it, too. Not only that, but the $85 price tag is a little steep for something that doesn’t meet my basic requirements for a moisturizer.

Overall, I loved three out of the five (six if you count the shampoo and conditioner separately) products I received in August’s GlossyBox- which isn’t bad at all. Not worth the extra waiting time- but still not too bad. I’ve already been given two sneak peeks into September’s box, a collaboration with Harper’s BAZAAR, which is shaping up to be a great assortment of products! Here’s hoping I receive it on time!

And once again, thanks to Leanna at GlossyBox’s U.S. customer service department for her help in getting the shipping fiasco sorted. Her efforts were, and are- greatly appreciated!

xx

The 2014 Seafood Fest Mini-Haul.

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Every September, as is tradition (and typically at my mother’s insistence,) her, myself, my cousin, and any other relatives that have an afternoon to kill- meet at her house, pile into one vehicle- and head up to Hampton Beach for their annual Seafood Festival for a day or two. The festival is exactly what it sounds like: a huge three-day gathering along the boardwalk where Hampton’s best restaurants cook up and serve their most delectable dishes and local vendors come to push their end-of-the-season merchandise- usually marked ridiculously low- during a weekend-long sidewalk sale before the beachfront shops board up and close for the Winter.

Although the whole thing is almost always crowded and parking can be downright nightmarish at times- the food is nothing short of incredible and some of the bargains and steals you can find on a wide variety of goods make the trip worth it. In past years, I’ve found so many brilliantly priced pieces of clothing and accessories that have long since become cherished staples in my wardrobe.

My family and I headed up this past Sunday (in two cars this time!) to do a little shopping and sampling. Naturally, we ate our fair share of lobster, crabs, and clams- and my cousin and I couldn’t resist getting in some quality skee-ball and pinball at one of the local arcades- but we took plenty of time to walk from booth to booth, table to table- and pick up some necessities (and some, not so much a necessity,) too.

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Whenever I go to the Seafood Festival, I make a point to stop by the Scentastics booth. I’ve been a longtime fan of their all-natural soaps and body oils- which are total lifesavers in the winter since they cleanse and condition my skin- leaving it soft, smooth, and lightly fragranced. I stocked up on five soaps this year for the upcoming colder months (after I run out of my pumpkin-scented body washes,) all of which smell heavenly. The company, based out of Vermont- has a wide array of other products available on their website, too- such as air fresheners, chap sticks, hand/body creams, candles, etc- but if you have sensitive skin- they are definitely worth checking out!

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Although I saw quite a few dresses and tops I was tempted to buy, I kept my purchases to a minimum this year- opting to budget instead of splurge. Apart from the soap, the only other things I picked up on the boardwalk are the two necklaces pictured above- one, a cross to add to my growing collection- and the other, a cow skull, which caught my eye and piqued my interest (I love unusual jewelry!)

Crowds and parking aside, I did have a nice time at the festival this year. I’m sure I’ll be heading back next September for the 2015 one, too.

Rainy Autumn Morning – A Fall 2014 Playlist.

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Some might say it’s a little early to be rejoicing in the upcoming arrival of Autumn, and sure- it’s been hot and humid these past few days where I live- but anytime after Labor Day is fair game for Fall enthusiasm, in my opinion. I’ve already prepared my warmer, layered wardrobe. I’ve already stocked up on plenty of pumpkin-scented body products to get me through the next couple of months- and I’ve already compiled a playlist for the season- this one inspired by those gray, rainy mornings after the leaves have started to change colors and there’s a slight chill in the air. Those are the mornings I like to curl up by my window with a hot mug of tea (or cider,) and listen to slower, soothing tracks- some included in this playlist from the likes of Elliott Smith, Angus & Julia Stone, and Birdy- among others!

I hope you all enjoy it!

August 2014: In a Nutshell.

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“So long, Summer” Bonfire. 8/29

And, just like that- Summer 2014 is coming to an end! While I will undoubtedly miss the days and nights I’ve spent at the beach, the cookouts I’ve shared with family and friends, seasonally appropriate iced coffee drinks, my very-faint-but-still-kind-of-noticeable-tan- and being able to wear sundresses and sandals pretty much all day, every day- I’m excited for Fall and all the things I have planned for it: including but not limited to trips to Vermont and NYC, some preliminary apartment hunting, a return to outfit/fashion posts (it’s been forever since I’ve done one!) and a Halloween-themed blog giveaway that I’m putting together and should have up by the end of September!

August ’14 was, to date, one of the rougher months I’ve had in a while. It began with attending a funeral for a good friend of mine from high school, and it goes without saying that it was a beyond sad and sobering experience. I had also briefly re-capped the unexpected and tumultuous turning point of a long-standing friendship/relationship I was in and the results it had on a move that I had been really looking forward to and preparing myself for. Those things aside, I spent the majority of August being ill, as well- first, catching a strain of a flu my co-worker introduced into the office, and then falling victim to a pretty nasty stomach bug shortly thereafter. Between being physically spent and emotionally exhausted- I was unusually glum for a good portion of the month.

That’s not to say August didn’t have it’s good moments, of course. Boston Comic-Con was a blast and seeing Arcade Fire live for the first time was life-changing. I managed to get in a couple of days with friends soaking up the last of the hot weather and greenery before the leaves begin to change, and just the other night we gathered at a friend’s apartment to have a couple of beers and an impromptu bonfire in the backyard- which felt like a nice way to say farewell to the Summer and welcome in Autumn.

I’m looking forward to September- so much, in fact- that I’ve already dug out my boots and my hoodies, and am putting together a Fall playlist (which I’ll share here when it’s done!) Bring on the season!

xx

Review: “Come Back to Me”

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ComeBackToMePosterIf any of you reading this have kept up with this blog for any extended amount of time, then you’ll know that I have a tremendous amount of fun reviewing horror movies- especially around October when I completely ruin my recommendations list by watching and ripping apart the worst of the worst- bottom of the barrel horror and slasher flicks Netflix has to offer. I’m scathing, spoiler-filled, and my critiques could be (and probably are) considered borderline mean to anyone involved in the creation of the films. That’s not to say I don’t encourage and support artistic endeavors and efforts- but I live for insane plots, cheesy special effects and shoddy CGI- and I definitely don’t hold back about it.

So I was admittedly pretty surprised when I was actually ASKED to not only watch, but also review an independent horror movie here on Legally Redhead last week. I felt like I would be the last person anyone promoting a film would want to go to, considering my knack for movie-mockery, but I went into the assignment, for lack of a better word- and the film itself- with an open mind. Not too long after agreeing to watch and dissect the movie: 2014’s ‘Come Back to Me,’ I received a gigantic version of the poster shown near the left in the mail. I plan on adding it to my “Horror Den,” which sounds far more diabolical than what it actually is- a spare bedroom filled with all my horror genre-related stuff.

‘Come Back to Me’ is available for rent and download on iTunes, and also as a rental on Charter on Demand. A quick plot summary, per the movie’s IMDB page:

“Sarah & Josh are married suburbanites. After a car accident, Sarah suffers blackouts & ends up pregnant though Josh is sterile. As her life spirals she hides a camera in her home & unlocks a horrific secret with far-reaching consequences.”

Before I begin, I would like to add that despite being asked to review this movie as opposed to just watching it on my own- I critiqued this like I would any other- giving it a final rating which will be revealed at the end of this post.

And, as always:

FULL SPOILERS ARE AHEAD. DO NOT CLICK THE “READ MORE” TAB IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW IMPORTANT PLOT POINTS- INCLUDING THE ENDING OF THIS MOVIE. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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“It’s just a Reflektor…”

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I’m a big fan of Arcade Fire. Unfortunately, whenever they swing through town- I either have other obligations and plans- or tickets sell out by the time I grab my wallet out of my bag to try and order some. Up until recently, I’d come to terms with the fact that the only time I would ever probably see the band perform live would be on television during festival re-caps and whatnot.

The lovely folks over at Radio BDC changed all that, however. When Arcade Fire came to Mansfield last week- they hooked me up with a pair of tickets to take in the splendor of their “Reflektor” Tour live at the Xfinity Center! I had missed the memo that the band encourage folks to come to their shows in costume- so I was a little confused at all the ball gowns, pirate hats, feather boas and sparkly suits in the audience at first- but the show was absolutely brilliant- maybe one of the top ten concerts I’ve ever been to. They were incredible.

I’m just getting around to going through my photos now, but above are some of my favorites so far. I didn’t capture any video (I was too busy singing and dancing,) but I’m sure there’s footage of the sing-a-long to “Wake Up” floating around on YouTube somewhere! If you get the chance to see it, I recommend it. A few thousand people singing in perfect harmony will definitely give you goosebumps!

xx

Loot Crate: August 2014.

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While July’s Loot Crate was all about giving some beloved baddies their due credit with the “Villains” box, August was all about celebrating the good guys. “Heroes,” the theme for August- arrived at my door a few days ago- and although “Villains” still remains one of the most fun Loot Crates I’ve received to date, this month’s collection of items didn’t disappoint. I was thrilled with every single thing I received- and the stuff that I gift will be appreciated and adored, too!

Let’s get right to it!

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First up, the usual items: my monthly collector’s pin and the mini-magazine included in every crate. This month’s issue featured the usual games and puzzles- as well as a brief summary of the origins of some of the comic world’s most iconic good guys- including Superman, Batman, The Ghostbusters- and my favorite- Rick Grimes. There was also a fun write-up about the history of heroes: how they’ve evolved and how they’re defined today.

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When it comes to my car, I do my best to keep it as clean and as neat as possible- because my friends are always in it and I don’t want them to be uncomfortable or grossed out while we drive. For that reason, I almost always have a lightly scented air freshener hanging from my rear view mirror or tucked away in the side compartment next to my seat. I am loving this Proto-Man air freshener, which smells delicious to the point of making me hungry- and it’s replacing my long-since-faded “Clean Cotton” air freshener this weekend when I go to pick up my mom and cousin for a day out.

In July’s Loot Crate, I had received a pair of cozy Deadpool socks. The most fun of anti-heroes, I was glad he made a reappearance in this month’s box, too- this time in the form of a fun little “Chimichang’Os Cereal” magnet that will find it’s way onto my refrigerator sooner rather than later.

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I was floored when I saw these “The Flash” inspired shoe accessories in August’s Loot Crate. I’ve owned the same pair of black Chuck Taylor high tops since high school, and although they are far from being in mint condition like they were when I bought them- they’ve still held up nicely. I think these bolts will liven them up a little- although I’ve been tempted to lace these onto my combat boots, too- once the Fall is here!

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When I was a kid, I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FANATIC. The cartoon? The 1990 movie? Figurines, clothes, stickers, a cassette of Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap”- you name it- and I owned it. My love of all things pizza-eating sewer dwellers has seemingly been passed on to my five-year-old niece, who might be a bigger fan now than I ever was back then. She’s obsessed- so when I saw these cute sunglasses that look like Michelangelo’s mask, and this Donatello figurine- I knew exactly who I was going to give them to.

Also: I’m just glad I didn’t get anything inspired by Michael Bay’s version of TMNT.

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I had heard there was going to be an exclusive Funko figurine in August’s Loot Crate, and was trying to guess which hero it could have possibly been. My heart melted when I opened the box and saw this adorable, glow-in-the-dark Groot figurine staring back at me. He’s currently sitting in between my Alcide figure I picked up at San Diego Comic-Con, and one of many Daryl Dixons (specifically: the season two figure with the arrow through his side.)

WAY too cute!

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Lastly, August’s Loot Crate came with a card for “Bonus Digital Loot,” too. This card had codes on the back of it that can be used for a couple of different games to try. I plan on giving “Defense Grid: The Awakening” a go this weekend when I have some down time.

Overall, August’s Loot Crate was a blast. I’m 99.9999% sure I say it every month, but I have so much fun opening this subscription service. There’s always just a great assortment of items and I never know exactly what I’m going to receive.

Also- much like July- the box itself was specially decorated, too. Villains can’t have all the fun, after all. Check out this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles design!

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Ipsy Bag: August 2014 Review.

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Even though there’s technically still a couple of weeks of Summer left- schools are starting up classes again, the early morning humidity has been replaced by a hint of chilly air, my urge to wear boots and hoodies has begun to come back- and coffee shops are releasing their Pumpkin Spice flavored beverages early. Yes, Fall is approaching- and even though it’s the prequel to the season I despise the most- I’m so excited.

Ipsy, getting into the Autumn spirit right along with me- sent out their August bags, themed “Beauty School(ed)” recently. The bag itself, which is supposed to be a tube shape with fun orange polka dots- arrived warped beyond repair to the point where it was comical. After multiple attempts to fix it to get a halfway decent photo, I called it quits and instead focused on the products that had been tucked inside of it.

What I Received:

Jersey Shore Sun ‘Mongongo’ Lip Conditioner (*Full Size!*)

Dr. Brandt ‘Pores No More’ Pore Refiner

J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow in “Half Naked” (*Full Size!*)

Urban Decay ‘Perversion’ Mascara

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

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Product # 1: Jersey Shore Sun ‘Mongongo’ Lip Conditioner ($5.50)

Right away, I knew I was going to like this lip balm- not only because of it’s name (which is fun to say,) but because it smelled like Jolly Ranchers candies the second I twisted it up to apply. ‘Mongongo’ is organic- loaded with anti-oxidants, UV protection, anti-aging components- and no artificial ingredients. I’ve been using it non-stop for the past few days and have really noticed an improvement in the overall softness and smoothness of my lips. The color-less, flavor-less formula is non-tacky, non-greasy, and stays on my pout for hours for long-term hydration. I can easily see this becoming my go-to for the days where I want to go natural and wear something on my lips that isn’t bright or bold, or even just as an everyday lip moisturizer.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! On the surface, this admittedly looks like any generic chapstick you’d find at the drug store- but I’m really liking the formula, the fragrance, and the results. Unlike most chapsticks, this isn’t harsh or loaded with chemicals that can actually cause more dryness, peeling, or cracking to the lips. It’s gentle and effective- and definitely something I’d purchase in the future for myself and for friends.

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Product # 2: Dr. Brandt ‘Pores No More’ Pore Refiner ($45)

Years ago, when I worked for Clinique, I used a “Pore Minimizing” primer that had the same light, fluffy texture as this pore refiner. There was roughly the same amount of product in the tube- but it was half the price. That’s not to say this isn’t a lovely primer, however. Although I was a little nervous with how dark it appeared at first, the product quickly and effortlessly blended into my skin- instantly mattifying it and making my face soft and smooth prior to applying my foundation. This formula is also anti-bacterial, which is a huge plus for people like me with sensitive skin that is occasionally prone to breakouts.

Did it reduce the look of my pores? Not really. I didn’t notice much of a difference both before my foundation had been applied and after- and I had to resort to my usual blending and powder techniques to give me a flawless finish.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. While I was a bit disappointed that this primer, specifically for pores- didn’t do much for mine- I did enjoy how it evened out and softened my skin before I applied my makeup. The $45 price tag is a little steep, especially for something that only delivered some of the promised benefits and results- but I liked the mattifying effect, the antibacterial benefits, and the finish- and I wouldn’t be completely opposed to eventually making the switch from my current primer to this.

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Product # 3: J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow in “Half Naked” ($2.99)

This eye-shadow, described as being “vividly pigmented,” came in a flip-up compact with a small mirror and sponge applicator. Although the shade appeared almost orange in the container, it actually applied and set as a shimmery champagne color- but it wasn’t nearly as pigmented as I would have hoped for or expected. The color would have worked great as a subtle highlighter had it not been for the lack of staying power. Even when applied over a primer,  this shadow creased and faded almost entirely in no time at all. Although the packaging is convenient and the price is pretty awesome for the amount of product within it- overall, this shadow was a let-down.

Would I Purchase?: No. Between the lack of pigmentation and longevity, this product was a dud. I’m fine with spending a little bit more money for a shadow that I know will not only show up on my lids, but will stay in place for a lot longer, too.

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Product # 4: Urban Decay ‘Perversion’ Mascara ($22)

Of all the cosmetics brands in the world, I think I’m most loyal to Urban Decay. I love their palettes, their pigmentation, and their prices. Of all their things I’ve purchased and of all the things from their brand that I’ve tried over the years- I’ve only ever been unsatisfied with one or two things. Overall, my experiences with Urban Decay have been positive. My love affair carries over into their newest mascara, “Perversion,” as well. With a big, thick brush and a blackest-black formula- this mascara made my lashes look long, dark, and dramatic with just two coats. There was no flaking, clumping, or smudging. Just a bold all-day look that required no touch-ups or reapplications.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Urban Decay has done it again. Although I’ve been quite content with my current mascara, I will absolutely be purchasing a full-sized tube of “Perversion” once I’ve run out. This is a great mascara that is perfect for those who love the “false lash” look (without the glue or hassle) as much as I do. This particular formula can be partnered with a primer, “Subversion,” as well- but with the results I’ve achieved with just the mascara by itself- the primer may not be necessary.

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Product # 5: Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($19.50)

For as long as I can remember, dry shampoos- specifically aerosol ones- have been one of my biggest enemies. I have yet to find one that hasn’t left behind some sort of residue, or smelled foul, or made my hair somehow feel LESS clean than before I’d applied it. I don’t know if it’s because of my curls, or because my hair is pretty thick- but I always inwardly cringe whenever I receive one in a beauty subscription service- and August’s Ipsy bag was no exception. Despite my skepticism, I tried this spray from Klorane anyway- covering just my roots from a few inches away and letting it absorb into my scalp for a couple of minutes before I attempted to brush away the excess. I say “attempted” because much like the other dry shampoos I’ve tried- this one didn’t absorb well at all- and instead left chalky residue on my scalp.

I will say that this product smelled a lot better than other dry shampoos I’ve received in the past- but it wasn’t enough to win me over.

Would I Purchase?: No. Again, these aerosol sprays are just not for me at all. I think this shampoo would work fine for someone with straight or fine hair, where it would be easier to distribute evenly and brush through- but for me- it was just messy.

August’s Ipsy Bag wasn’t the worst I’ve received by any means, but with only two products I really liked and one I’m still on the fence about- I’m hoping September’s will have a better selection of quality samples to try.