Ipsy Bag: May 2015 Review.

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While nearly all of the Ipsy bags I receive are cute and fun with their designs and colors- every once in a while I get one that just wins me over before I even see what’s inside. May’s bag did just that. I thought the simple and clever lipstick logo printed on the side of the bag was fun (and yes, I’ve since stored my now minimized lipstick collection in it!) and a nice change from the usual floral prints I receive this time of year.

What I Received:

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

AMIE Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturizer

BelláPierre Cosmetics Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner Pencil in “Ebony” (*Full Size!*)

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil

Products I Didn’t Use:


Product # 1: Luxie Beauty Tapered Blending Eye Brush 205 ($12)

Why Not?: I say this pretty much any time I receive a brush in a beauty subscription service- but I have so many makeup brushes as is, that using this one seemed unnecessary! Sure, the handle is a pretty pastel pink and the bristles felt super soft when I grazed them with my fingertips as I removed the brush from my bag- but I’d much rather give this away- brand new- to a friend than use it on myself just for the sake of writing a quick review about it! If anyone is really curious about the quality of this brush, and any of Luxie’s other brushes- I’m sure there are plenty of reviews floating around YouTube and the Blog-o-sphere!

Onto what I did try, though.


Product # 2: Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray ($20)

First things first, if you have curly and unruly hair like I do- this lightweight but VERY strongly scented spray is not going to be enough to simply style-and-go. It’s not very effective at taming frizz or giving the hair any type of texture or definition- and you will need to use another product/products to get your desired look.

That small set-back aside, I liked how soft and shiny my curls felt and looked each time I spritzed some of this product from my roots to my ends while my hair was damp after the shower. There was no crunchiness, no greasy residue, no scalp irritation and no flakes. The product helps mend split strands and protects the hair from UV damage and free-radicals- which is especially great in the Summer when I spend a lot of time outdoors in the city.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! While the floral fragrance can be a little overpowering at first, it doesn’t last long- but the results from this spray certainly do. This is a quick and easy addition to any post-shower styling routine, and I’d definitely purchase a full-sized bottle in the future to have on hand.


Product # 3: AMIE Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturizer ($9.40)

Until now, I wasn’t familiar with the brand Amie- but I was intrigued by it’s natural ingredients and was quick to try this moisturizer. The yellow color, the light texture, and the fragrance sort of reminded me of Clinique’s ‘Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion,’ but once I applied this product- I noticed my skin felt a bit tighter once it had fully absorbed. It wasn’t uncomfortable by any means, but it was unexpected- and it would probably please those who are looking for something with firming benefits.

The downside to this moisturizer, though- is that it made me break out. After a few days of use, I had painful blemishes along my chin, the bridge of my nose, and my forehead- all of which cleared up once I stopped using this product. That was a bit of a let down.

Would I Purchase?: No, for obvious bad reaction reasons. This moisturizer might be great for someone with less sensitive skin and who is looking for something lightweight that will hydrate and firm- but for me- it just didn’t work out.


Product # 4: BelláPierre Cosmetics Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner Pencil in “Ebony” ($14.99)

And now, for my least favorite product in May’s Ipsy bag- this black eyeliner from BellaPierre. I typically post a picture of how the liner looks on my lids after I apply it, but this time there is no such photo- because the second I gently pressed this pencil to my lid- the tip completely broke off. Thinking maybe it had just dried out a bit while in transport, I attempted to sharpen the pencil down to a point- only to have it continually crumble over and over (and over.) Considering this was the only other full-sized product I received- I was really disappointed that I couldn’t even use it.

Would I Purchase?: No. This product was a mess from start to finish. I can’t describe it’s pigmentation or staying power- because I couldn’t apply it! I’ll skip over this liner in the future and stick to my tried and true, instead.



Product # 5: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil ($20)

Oh, Urban Decay- how I love you. Your shadows. Your liners. Your lipsticks. You are a bright, shimmering, and highly pigmented beacon of light in the cosmetics world. I’ve been meaning to try UD’s new Revolution Lip Glosses for a while now, but haven’t had the chance to head to Sephora just yet- so I was pretty excited to receive two different samples of the gloss alongside an *almost* full-sized version of their lip liner in the clear formula, called “O-Zone.” Now, it was kind of hard to determine whether or not the liner stayed in place- what with it being colorless and all- but it didn’t feel drying and it didn’t feel greasy after I’d applied it to the best of my ability.

Now, the glosses. Out of the two, “Bittersweet,” the purple color shown above- was my favorite- but both glosses went on easily and stayed in place for hours before they began to fade. I loved how pigmented they were, and really the only downside to the formula was that they felt a little sticky for a while after they were first applied- but that’s only a minor setback in what was otherwise great gloss.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe on the pencil- but yes to the glosses! I’d like to try the lip liner in a subtle but more noticeable shade to get a better idea of it’s staying power since “O-Zone” was a little difficult to gauge- but I am head over heels in love with the Revolution Glosses and will be stocking up when I finally get to Sephora to replenish some of my skin care next month!

May’s bag was more like the “Meh” bag (I’m so clever,) because while I loved the Urban Decay products and the leave-in conditioner sample- the moisturizer caused a bad reaction, the eyeliner was a crumbling, dried-out mess- and I didn’t use the brush at all. I just wasn’t all that impressed this month.

I think it’s great that Ipsy occasionally ventures away from the usual brands they collaborate with and mix it up a little with new companies- but I’d like more of a variety in terms of products. No more black eyeliners or oily moisturizers- and PLEASE– no more brushes! I’ve altered my profile on their site countless times but I still get brushes every other month. I have plenty!

Here’s hoping June features a better selection.

Memorial Day 2015.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I spent most of the past few days going from beach to beach throughout New Hampshire and Maine- rounding out my overcast Memorial Day at Old Orchard Beach, where I spent a couple of hours watching the waves crash in beneath the pier (the water was freezing, by the way!) and doing a little window browsing at some of the seaside surf shops.

One of the things I love about OOB is that while most, if not all of the action is located primarily at the pier and the boardwalk arcade/amusement park- making finding whatever you want to do for fun very convenient- you can walk 10-15 minutes in any direction and be in a more quiet, less-crowded area without losing that “beach town” charm. There’s still plenty of cozy motels, bungalows, little stores and restaurants scattered around to check out.


One restaurant in particular, the Sunset Bar & Grill, located just down the road from the pier, happened to be one of the places I stopped to grab a quick bite to eat and people watch from the outdoor patio. Although there were quite a few inebriated people seated around me who were growing increasingly louder and belligerent (Memorial Day weekend and all,) the food was good enough to distract me and my waitress was so sweet!

I’ve mentioned spending weekends this Summer in Concord and Upstate New York, among other places- but I’d really love to take a few days to head back up to OOB to swim, surf, and lounge. The sea air feels wonderful (although it does tend to make my hair huge.) Even though I was only there for a few hours- I left feeling so relaxed.

I’d actually like to do a comparison post this Summer of all the pros/cons of Old Orchard Beach and what I consider to be it’s biggest competitor- Hampton Beach, New Hampshire- since I usually frequent both throughout the Summer. It looks like I’ll just have to take a couple of  weekends to do some more thorough research. Poor me!


Established 1635.

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Despite enjoying driving pretty much all over- especially in the warmer months- I haven’t been around Concord, Massachusetts in nearly several years. The last time I was there, with friends and under the most unusual of circumstances- I fell in love with how picturesque the community was. With beautiful homes, museums and old cemeteries bursting with interesting history, unique shop fronts and restaurants- it’s a charming part of New England that I found myself passing through again last weekend.

Luckily, I had my camera in tow and managed to stop to snap a few photographs while I took an hour to stroll around the downtown area and some surrounding trails before I had to be on my way.




One thing I noticed about Concord during my brief time there was that there were a handful of old inns still open and operating just a short walking distance away from the busier parts of town, which inspired me to take a weekend- maybe later this Summer or early in the Fall- to do some more exploring and enjoy a nice, relaxing mini-getaway like I had when I traveled to Liberty, New York last month.

We’ll see how it turns out!



GLOSSYBOX: May 2015 Review.

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The first GlossyBox that arrives after receiving an impressive curated/themed box (like the one from this past April, for example,) always has big shoes to fill- and it can be easy to get one’s hopes up that it will be equally, if not more of an incredible assortment of products- which is why I make it a point to approach each box with an open mind so I’m not left disappointed. Although May’s GlossyBox arrived in the usual (and slightly bland by comparison) pink and black box, packed with the expected ribbon and confetti- and didn’t have a particularly specific theme for the month- I did receive two full-sized products and three deluxe samples to try- meaning it’s total value surpassed the monthly $21 cost I pay for the service- which is always nice!

What I Received:

GLAMGLOW POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment

Doucce Mineral Matt Lipstick in “Cherry Blossom” (*Full Size!*)

Sebastian StylBrid 9 Hair Spray

teeez Head over Heels Nail Lacquer Top Coat (*Full Size!*)

Clearista Retexturizing Gel


Product # 1: GLAMGLOW POWERMUD Dualcleanse Treatment ($69)

I’ll never say no to receiving GLAMGLOW samples, since I have yet to try a product of theirs that I haven’t liked. The POWERMUD Dualcleanse is one of the newest additions to their line, and acts as a pore-refining mask when applied to clean, dry skin. After ten minutes, once the mask has set and dried- it turns into a deep-cleansing oil when met with water that doesn’t leave behind any kind of greasy residue and won’t make my skin look shiny.

I’ve used this a couple of times, spacing out the applications about 2-3 times a week, and I’ve been really happy with the results so far. My skin feels so clean and soft after I use this product- NOT dried out. It’s really refreshing and comes in handy on those days where I feel like my face just needs a little something extra in terms of deep-cleansing. GLAMGLOW has done it again!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Is it any surprise? I love how quick and easy this product is to use, and how it gives such great results in such a short amount of time. I’ll definitely be picking up a full-sized tub of this mask/cleanser combo- especially before the hotter months when I’ll need that deeper clean to rid my pores of sweat, dirt, oil, and makeup that my daily cleanser may not get rid of entirely.



Product # 2: Doucce Mineral Matt Lipstick in “Cherry Blossom” ($20)

I was ecstatic when I saw another rose-hued lipstick sitting in May’s GlossyBox and couldn’t wait to try it!

Just kidding. I was actually pretty disappointed, and not even the slick shape of the tube, the SPF it contains, or the matte finish the product’s description promised me could get me excited about it. I digress, I went ahead and tried this lipstick to see/feel the formula and longevity for reviewing purposes. The first thing I noticed was that this lipstick does not apply easily. It took multiple swipes to get the color to show up on my lips and even more swipes to get the product to look even and not patchy. The second thing I noticed was that even though the finish was matte- this lipstick didn’t feel heavy or drying (always a plus!)

Finally, this lipstick lasted a really, really, really long time before it faded. I got nearly a full day’s worth of wear with just one application and didn’t require one touch-up! That’s pretty impressive- and definitely won me over.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I might have been quick to pass judgment on this product, mainly because I’m so sick of rose tones and have been for a while now- and even though the initial application process is a bit tedious- once the lipstick is on, it’s comfortable and long-lasting. I don’t think I’d re-purchase “Cherry Blossom” again after I run out of the one I received, but I’d love to try some of the other colors Doucce has available!


Product # 3: Sebastian StylBrid 9 Hair Spray ($14)

I’ve tried some Sebastian products in the past that I’ve really enjoyed, and despite the fact that I’m not a fan of aerosol sprays that shoot out of the bottle unnecessarily  hard and feel like a sucker punch to the head- I was eager to give this multi-purpose hairspray a try to see if it met the standards set by the samples that came before it.

On damp hair, this spray held my curls in place and gave me a nice boost of volume as I let it air dry- and on already dry hair- it tamed my frizz and gave my ends a little bit of a bounce. That’s all well and good, of course- but like most aerosol sprays- this product also made my hair feel crunchy and hard in certain spots around my scalp. I can’t stand that, and sadly had to shelf this bottle for the time being and stick to my usual styling products,

Would I Purchase?: No. I have yet to find an aerosol spray that gives me fantastic results without the crunchy finish or without making my hair look/feel greasy. It’s always one or the other and for that reason, I stick to mists, creams, and/or oils. I’m still fond of my other Sebastian samples- but I’ll be skipping over this one in the future.


Product # 4: teeez Head over Heels Nail Lacquer Top Coat ($14)

It’s hard to write more than a couple of sentences about a top coat nail lacquer. I mean, what can be said that isn’t stating the obvious? It’s clear. It makes my nails shiny. It protects the polish underneath from chipping or peeling. It’s all pretty standard, really. This lacquer did it’s job- which is appreciated- and came in some bright, colorful, and cute packaging. Other than that, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking or memorable.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think if I were ordering any other polishes from teeez, I’d probably add another bottle of this just to have in my collection where it’d be easily available for whenever I needed it- but for $5 I can buy a top coat in almost any other brand and it’d do the exact same thing as this top coat. It’s not awful by any means, but it’s not something I absolutely need to have.


Product # 5: Clearista Retexturizing Gel ($79.99)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this sample- although it being called a “gel” made me think that it was possibly a spot-treatment for blemishes. In actuality, it’s a non-abrasive scrub that is to be used twice daily- once in the morning and then again at night- to clear pores, smooth and soften the skin, and brighten the complexion. I’ve been using this for a few days now (and a little goes a long way,) and have noticed an improvement in my skin’s overall tone and texture. My face looks brighter, clearer, and feels really soft- but I’ve also achieved similar results with similar and less-expensive scrubs, which makes the $80 price tag a little disheartening.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I think I’d splurge on this product if I had some extra cash I didn’t mind putting towards it, because it is good quality and gives very nice results- but in an attempt to be more mindful with my money- I’ll be sticking to the aforementioned similar and more affordable scrubs until that day comes.

May’s box, while not as awesome as April’s Pop Art-inspired one- wasn’t a complete disappointment. I really liked two of the products I received (one being full-sized,) and was left on the fence about another two- which leaves one sample that was underwhelming. That’s not bad at all!

I recently received my May Ipsy Bag, which is the only other beauty subscription service I’m currently subscribed to- so we’ll see how that one is. The post will be up soon!

When Life Hands You Lemons…

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To go into detailing the benefits of early morning intakes of hot water with lemon and afternoon sips of fruit-infused water would be beating a dead horse, sounding like a broken record, etc. The truth is, there are already so many articles available out there that outline the pros of this very simple addition to your daily routine.

Long story short- hot water with lemon, when drank first thing in the morning- helps boost metabolism, acts as a natural daily detox for the body, brightens and clears your skin, is a great source of Vitamin C, and much much more.

And it tastes pretty good, too! A little bitter, sure- but not terrible.


I own a cute water bottle from Define Bottle that makes mixing fruit-infused water for on-the-go really simple- but when I’m at home- I like to prepare a pitcher or container to store in the fridge for when I squeeze in an evening workout and need to stay hydrated or when I just want a refreshing drink after a hot day. Lemon and lime is one of my favorite combinations as of late (and anything with orange in it,) since I really love citrus flavors- so in the morning while I’m brewing some hot water to sip before I start my day- I kill two birds with one stone and slice up some limes, too.


I typically drink about two cups/mugs of hot water and lemon every morning, and have noticed some amazing results since I started. I have a lot of energy (without the shaking I typically get whenever I chug my morning latte,) my skin is glowing- and I’ve shed a couple of pounds I didn’t even know I had lingering around! Given the simplicity that comes with just throwing a couple of lemon slices into hot water- I’m kicking myself for not starting this routine sooner.


Any water that doesn’t make it into my morning mug is stored in this glass pitcher with the left over lemon slices and the freshly prepped lime, and left to cool for the day. In the evening, when I want water with a kick (and not bottled flavored water- because those ALWAYS taste gross,) or plan on doing some living room yoga or crunch and squat sessions- I pour some from the pitcher and enjoy.

I’m gradually phasing out coffees and espresso from my diet all together and replacing them with less strong teas, juices, and of course- the hot water with lemon. I plan on doing a post on some of my other favorite infused water concoctions in the future, as well as some more smoothie recipes and brewing tips for anyone who is interested in healthier alternatives to caffeinated drinks that are packed with sugar or who just want something easy to make and enjoy when they’re in a rush.

And of course, I’d love to hear your recipes if you want to share!

In Bloom.

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I think it’s safe to say that New England completely bypassed Spring and dove straight into Summer this year, what with temperatures hitting the high 70s and 80s nearly every day. It feels like I’ve been rocking rompers and sandals a little prematurely, but I’m not complaining one bit. After the winter we had here- I’ll gladly take scorching temperatures and even humidity any time, any day. Just give me the sunshine. All of it!

The sudden appearance of Summer-esque weather after a brief few days of cooler, Springtime conditions has thrown off the usual time frame of flowers and trees blooming. Some trees are still pretty bare, probably afraid it’ll start snowing all over again- while others are flourishing- like the one pictured above in my mom’s front yard that I photographed this past weekend while her and I spent Mother’s Day together.

I’ve been putting the final touches on some posts (and sitting in front of an oscillating fan) that will be up here at the blog over the course of the next few days- so be sure to check back!- but I also felt inspired by the recent weather to make a little playlist of some fun, freeing, and Summery songs over at my 8Tracks page.

This is “Summer’s In the Air” and it includes tracks by Brandon Flowers, Kristin Diable, and In The Valley Below- among others!

I hope those who give it a listen enjoy it!



Drug Store Finds

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When I pack for a vacation, or even just for a quick weekend getaway- I try to be as thorough as possible when it comes to keeping my bag light and manageable while simultaneously not forgetting the important stuff. Toothbrush? Check. Contact lens solution? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Mascara? Check. Where did I put my deodorant? Where’s my hair brush?

Occasionally, however- I can forget or overlook a few necessities- never realizing it until it’s too late. Sure, I can drive around wherever I’m visiting to try and locate the closest Sephora or department store to re-purchase the products I left behind, but that cuts into time that should be spent enjoying myself and relaxing- not scrambling to find things- and it can also get expensive. I consider myself savvy when it comes to budgeting, which is why I carefully plan my Sephora hauls and splurging sprees so that I don’t spend too much or buy things I don’t necessarily need at the time.

So what do I do when I forget a product(s) at home or need a substitute when I run out and can’t get to Sephora or the makeup counter in a timely manner?

I head to the drug store.

There used to be a bit of a stigma attached when it came to purchasing the more affordable cosmetics that can be found in most drug stores and pharmacies- like Cover Girl, Maybelline, Rimmel, etc. I remember hearing the words “cheap” and “amateur” being used freely and often by representatives for name brand cosmetics companies when they were comparing their products to their less expensive competition at one of my last jobs in the world of retail. Buying foundation at a pharmacy was something teenage girls did- not grown women. At least that’s what I was told as I tried to find an actual difference between a $12 bottle of Cover Girl makeup and a $42 bottle of a high end one (spoiler alert: the only difference was the products’ names.)

But a lot has changed in terms of drug store cosmetics brands, their formulas, their packaging- and thankfully- the aforementioned stigma is pretty much gone. Through the years I’ve found that much of the makeup products I’ve purchased at my local CVS or Walgreens actually surpassed more expensive name brands in terms of quality, longevity, results, etc.

Best of all? I’ve saved a ton of cash.

That being said, I’d like to introduce a new installment here at Legally Redhead, called “Drug Store Finds,” where every so often I will share my recent purchases from the pharmacy in the hopes that other thrifty ladies or forgetful travelers on the road will have some options to check out when they’re in a pinch.



I remember that the only product any of my friends and I ever owned from Burt’s Bees back when we were teenagers were tubes of their tinted lip balm. At the time, that seemed to be the only thing the company ever made- and they were always available at nearly every register at the grocery store, gas stations, etc. Since then, Burt’s Bees have taken on other endeavors- including all-natural hair care and skincare.

I have sensitive skin that reacts poorly to artificial fragrances and harsh chemicals- so I’ve been loving these gentle makeup remover wipes (and the snap on the pouch keeps them from getting dried out between uses, unlike other makeup remover wipes that can’t seem to stay sealed no matter what I do) to remove the makeup from the surface of my skin before I follow them up with the matching facial cleanser to get any excess makeup, dirt, and oil out of my pores without drying my face out. Both products, purchased together, are under $20.



I’ve been trying to incorporate more corals and gold tones into my color palette since it seems New England has completely bypassed Spring and is diving headfirst into Summer (it’s currently teetering on 80 degrees outside,) and those are the colors that best compliment my skin tone this time of year. After carefully cleaning out my makeup collection- tossing empties and expired products- I picked up one of Maybelline’s new Color Sensational Rebel Bloom lipsticks in “Peach Poppy,” a non-drying and pretty bright peachy/pink that pairs well with a NYX Butter Gloss I own in a similar shade. It lasts a long time on my lips before it fades, too- so numerous reapplications throughout the day aren’t really a concern. The lipstick is priced at just under $8.

I also snatched up a matching coral-toned nail lacquer from essie in the color “Tart Deco.” I’ve found that pairing any brand of nail polish with Sephora’s Formula X base coat pretty much guarantees it’s going to last longer than it would have all by itself, so I’ve been sporting this shade the past few days (with no chipping or peeling just yet!) It makes me feel very beachy- like I’m back at OB in San Diego and just chilling out by the water….

… I think I need another West Coast vacation.

Anyway, the nail polish is marked at $8.50.

Lastly, I picked up this quad, also from Maybelline. Part of their Eye Studio Color Plush Silk Eyeshadow collection, the color(s) is called “Copper Chic” and included a highlighter with three buttery smooth and very pigmented gold/rose tones that really make my blue eyes pop without causing me to look tired or overly made up. I’ve been wearing these shades to work lately since they’re pretty tame- but there’s a couple of other available quads with bolder colors that I’m really eager to try soon. They’re priced at $9.99.


All of these products, with a couple of other essentials (toothpaste and the like) plus tax- put my total bill at just over $50. Not bad, considering the damage I usually take at Sephora can exceed $200+ sometimes.

Do you have any drug store brands/products that you swear by? Is there something you want to try? Let me know and the next time I stop at my local pharmacy- I might check it out for my next “Drug Store Finds” post!


April 2015: In a Nutshell.

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BethelApril20151“I’m going to camp out on the land. I’m gonna’ try and get my soul free.”

You’ll have to excuse my whimsical demeanor in this post. I’m still coming back down to Earth and re-adjusting to city life after a beautiful and sunny few days in quiet and quaint Bethel, New York. This past weekend- spent re-visiting the 1969 Woodstock Festival, hiking through a portion of the Catskills, photographing just a few of the breathtaking abandoned buildings throughout different counties, and enjoying some of the local cuisine- was the perfect way to round out what was overall a pretty good month. Some of my photos can be viewed in the album below!

I’d love to go back this Summer with more appropriate hiking and photography gear, since some of the long since emptied houses and businesses were a little tricky to get to due to their altitudes along the hillsides and the fact that they have been overtaken by the elements growing around them. I had packed ankle-length flowing skirts and boots with little to no tread on them this last time around- so I kept getting snagged on things every few steps! Lesson learned.

April was a busy month at work, which kept me on my toes- and between Boston juries returning GUILTY verdicts on both Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and former Patriots’ star turned murderer, Aaron Hernandez- it was an excellent month for the justice system in general, too.

This past month also kicked off the 2015 convention circuit for me. I had a blast at the New England Super MegaFest a couple of weeks ago, and I’m excited for the upcoming events in my area where I can get my geek on and wear some of the costumes I’ve been working on in my free time.

Not only that- but “Avengers: Age of Ultron” finally opens tomorrow! If that’s not the perfect way to start the comic-con season, then I don’t know what is.

So what’s in store for May? Definitely a little more traveling if I can manage it, some in-depth posts I’ve been drafting about fun things to do around my city, healthy recipes (that don’t taste like chalk- I promise!) and another “Inspired By” look that pays homage to the greatness that is the movie “Almost Famous.” I’m also doing some re-decorating in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for a peek at the newest developments unfolding in my bedroom and bathroom. I love to paint, so it’s going to be fun (I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV lately and getting a TON of ideas. Someone stop me. Please.)

‘Til next time!



Ipsy Bag: April 2015 Review.

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I started this review while I took a break from packing my bag for a weekend away in beautiful Bethel, New York- where I channeled my inner flower child and embraced nature and the very rustic culture in the Catskills for a couple of days. It seemed fitting, then, that April’s Ipsy Bag was themed “Beautifully Bohemian” and came in a bright, hippie-esque woven pouch. Consisting mostly of makeup, I ended up packing some of the items to take with me on my trip to try out on the road.

My post-Bethel write-up (with plenty of photos!) is coming up shortly- but first- let’s get to the products!

What I Received:

theBalm Cosmetics NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in “Fit”

Gallany Cosmetics Lipstick in “Petal”

Hey Honey Good Morning – Honey Silk Facial Serum

JulieG Nail Color in “Damsel” (*Full Size!*)

Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek Tint




Product # 1: theBalm Cosmetics NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in “Fit” ($36 for palette)

I’m a sucker for clever and cute packaging (which is partly why I love “Soap & Glory” products so much,) so when I saw the half-naked cartoon male models used in theBalm’s “NUDE Dude” palette, I was amused and nearly sold. There are twelve colors total in the palette- two per dude- and I received the shade “Fit,” which is a shimmery gold tone. Of course, as funny as the packaging was/is- I’m all about quality- so I gave this shadow a test run to see if it held up.

“Fit” applied smoothly and with very little fallout, and was pigmented enough where just a couple of sweeps over my lids gave me a bold, noticeable pop of color that I think will look really great come Summertime when I pair it with some bronzer and brighter lipsticks and glosses. Best of all? The shadow didn’t budge. It stayed in place all day and well into the evening without flaking, smudging, or creasing. I was thrilled!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! If the other shades in the “NUDE Dude” palette are half as great as the shade “Fit” was, I’ll happily splurge on it in a heartbeat. I’ve already gushed about the packaging, but the product itself was great in quality, coverage, and longevity. I was so pleased with this sample and grateful I got to try it out!



Product # 2: Gallany Cosmetics Lipstick in “Petal” ($21.50)

After I got done angrily screaming into a pillow at the fact that I received another rose-hued lipstick from Ipsy, I sucked up my frustration and tried this creamy and highly pigmented formula for the sake of reviewing purposes. The bland and boring color aside, which applied as a deep mauve- this product was comfortable and non-drying on my lips, and didn’t require a touch-up or reapplication for hours- even after eating and drinking. Those perks alone were enough to convince me to explore more of what Gallany has to offer.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I don’t think I’d re-purchase “Petal” again, since I’m so over this type of color and have been for months now- but I really liked the formula of this lipstick and I’m not opposed to trying some of the other available shades. I’d personally like something a little more coral-toned for the Summer.


Product # 3: Hey Honey Good Morning – Honey Silk Facial Serum ($41)

For something with the word “honey” in it’s name more than once, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the lack of honey-like fragrance in this product (especially because I love the scent so much!) I digress, this lightweight serum- which really only shares the same color as it’s namesake- absorbed into my skin quickly and left it feeling soft and hydrated prior to my makeup application. Overall, however- I wasn’t really all that impressed with this product. Even after days of continuous and diligent use- my skin’s texture and tone didn’t particularly look and feel much different or improved. This serum was a nice way to start the day’s skincare, and acted as a great primer for my foundation and blush- but for $41 for a full-sized container- I’d like visible and long-lasting results.

Would I Purchase?: No. It’s not that this serum was awful or anything, but it lacked the “wow!” factor that would make me want to rush out and purchase more of it.  I liked the consistency, I liked that there were no adverse reactions after I applied it, but it wasn’t an extraordinary product for me- and I’ve achieved similar, if not better results with my every day skincare regimen and other samples I’ve received in past bags and through other subscription services. This product was just “okay.”



Product # 4: JulieG Nail Color in “Damsel” ($3.99)

I feel like I need to apologize- profusely- for how ghastly my nails look in the above photo. I haven’t had time to sit down for a proper manicure in a couple of weeks now, so the above D.I.Y. job is pretty offensive to look at. I’m so sorry!

Anyway, I really loved this bright pink polish when I first saw it. I thought it would be perfect for the Spring/Summer, and it was a nice change from the usual pale pinks I receive in subscription services. I was especially pleased with how rich the cream formula was. I got full coverage with just one coat (as depicted above,) and a beautiful shine- even before I applied a top coat! I’ve been sporting “Damsel” for a few days now, and there hasn’t been any chipping or peeling yet. For $3.99 a bottle- that’s pretty impressive!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This brand/formula is actually available in a chain of local drugstores in my area. I really loved this color, the long-lasting and strong formula- and of course, the price- so I fully plan on repurchasing “Damsel” once I run out- as well as a bunch of the other available colors, too!


Product # 5: Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek Tint ($10)

I did a double-take when I first laid eyes on this deep plum cheek and lip tint from Mullein & Sparrow. I’m pale- super pale- and I was worried this product would look really, really harsh on my skin if I tried to use it as a blush. I ran my finger across the top just to get an idea of the texture (which felt like a balm) and pigmentation- and was a little surprised when the color barely showed up on my fingertip. It took multiple swabs to get the product to be even the slightest bit visible on my skin- and the results didn’t vary much when I worked up the nerve to apply it to the apples of my cheeks as a comparison. This tint just did NOT show up on me.

I tried using it on my lips, as well- and while it softened my pout- I encountered the same problem in terms of color. This product was pretty much transparent on me. I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t want something that was too bold to wear- but I wasn’t expecting something that was practically invisible, either.

Would I Purchase?: No. I will use the remainder of this tin (which is cute, by the way,) as a clear-ish balm on my lips for quick hydration- but this product was pretty much a dud in terms of it’s intended purpose. I’ll stick with my more pigmented powder blushers, thanks!

With three out of the five products I received being hits- April’s “Beautifully Bohemian” bag was a good one for me! The serum and the cheek and lip tint were forgettable- although not outright awful- but I am completely smitten with the eye shadow, the nail lacquer, and the lipstick formula. While I love a nice assortment of products that cover skin care, makeup, hair care, etc.- I thought this bag was a nice way to introduce me to some makeup products and brands I otherwise may not have known about! Especially since I’m always refreshing my collection for the coming seasons.

Bring on May’s bag!


Loot Crate: April 2015.

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Although my geek-dom typically revolves around the horror and superhero genres, I have a soft spot for the world of fantasy. “The Princess Bride” and “The NeverEnding Story” were just a couple of the movies I cherished in my childhood- and even though I’ve never played “Dungeons & Dragons”- I leveled pretty good in “World of Warcraft.” My point is, the fantasy genre will always be popular across all facets of entertainment, be it movies, video games, literature, etc.

“Fantasy” was the theme for April’s Loot Crate, arriving at my door just a few days ago- and I knew from the second I opened the box that I was going to have a lot of fun looking at everything more closely. The items curated this month were so much fun!


I always start these reviews with the two items I receive every month without fail- my collector’s pin and the monthly magazine that features games, puzzles, fan-submitted photos of fellow subscribers enjoying what they received in the previous month’s crate, and a breakdown of each item included in the current one. April’s magazine also included a glimpse into the influence “Dungeons & Dragons” has had on pop culture throughout the years, and a list of fantasy-themed shows to check out sooner rather than later.


My favorite item in April’s Loot Crate was this rubber Harry Potter luggage tag. For as long as I can remember, I’ve relied on a bright blue scarf with orange and red owls printed on it that I keep tied around the handle of my suitcase to help me differentiate it from others’ bags at the airport when I travel- but it’s starting to show it’s wear and tear after all this time and after all my trips. This tag is going to make a great replacement.

I also seriously adore these “Princess Bride” playing cards I received, which have beautiful illustrations of the characters printed on them. I’m looking forward to breaking these out the next time my friends and I decide to have a nice, quiet get together.


Oh, “Game of Thrones,” how I hate how much I love you. While the content of GoT definitely fits into the fantasy spectrum- the show feels more like a nightmare every time I watch (and cringe- a LOT.) I digress- I would have been surprised if I didn’t receive at least one related item in April’s Loot Crate- but instead- I got two. The first, a 4GB flash drive shaped like the Stark sigil, and the second, a set of four magnets- one representing each of the clans in Westeros.

I can never have enough magnets on my fridge, and I’m always looking for additional storage for my photos and such- so I’ll be getting plenty of use from these!


Don’t let the photo fool you- this inflatable crown actually looks pretty cute once it’s blown up. It’s not something I could wear to work or for a night out on the town, really- but I’m sure my little niece will enjoy wearing it and pretending she’s a Queen one of these days when she’s over for a visit.


April’s Loot Crate included the second bow tie I’ve received since subscribing with the service- this time being in the form of this bright red tie with little dragons and gemstones printed on it. I’m not a bow tie girl, really- since they don’t particularly look good around my neck, but I do love having cute things to tie my hair back/up with- and I think this’ll do the trick! I’m saving this one for the next comic-convention I attend!


Finally, I love when Loot Crate sends t-shirts, and even though I’ve already admitted that I’m not “Dungeons & Dragons” savvy, I’ll still wear this bright and soft t-shirt (which has the logo for the game screen printed on the front,) out and about when I’m running errands or lounging around my place. It’s so comfortable!

Overall, April’s “Fantasy” crate was fun (but Loot Crate is never NOT fun,) and a nice mix of useful items, some nostalgic stuff, and little random knick knacks I plan on gifting within the next couple of weeks.

I haven’t heard what May’s theme is just yet- but I know it’ll more than likely be a good one!