Ipsy vs Birchbox

Both Ipsy and Birchbox seem to have gained a lot of traction over the past couple of years, but is one better than the other? Let me start by saying that I have not tried Ipsy, but I have done Birchbox and have several friends who have done both. For those who don’t know, Ipsy and Birchbox are subscription services that for around $10/month, they send monthly packages of 5 sample-sized beauty products. It could be makeup, hair care, skincare, or really anything in between. I even got a little packet of almond butter as a bonus once. Birchbox sends their samples in cute little paper boxes, and with Ipsy, you get adorable makeup bags.

First, let me say, they do send a good mix of really good brands (Benefit, Oribe, etc) and brands I’ve never heard of to help me find some things I’ve really loved. However, I always felt with Birchbox like I was getting less actual makeup than I really wanted and more skincare and hair care. There was a place on their website to update what I wanted more of, but I’m not sure it really made a difference. For me, I have a skincare routine I like, but I just wanted to try new types of makeup. I think this was my main problem with the service. Now, I have tons of skincare products that are just tucked away in my closet, which may be great one day, but for now, it’s kind of a nuisance. I don’t say this to say I haven’t gotten some amazing makeup from Birchbox. I really have. I got a Benefit Porefessional primer that I’m in love with, some ColourPop eyeshadows that looked great, and even a Cynthia Rowland silver eyeliner that I wasn’t sure about, but ended up loving. Friends of mine that have used both say they definitely prefer Birchbox and recommend it if you don’t care about the bag.

Clutter is another problem I had with them. I ended up keeping most of the boxes I got, because I felt like they’d make good gift boxes. They have the approximately 3 times I’ve used them, but I still have around 30 boxes just hanging out in my closet. Plus, they almost all still have samples in them. I tend to let clutter accumulate, so these were probably not great things for me to take part in, but if you are a hoarder as well, I recommend Ipsy simply because makeup bags are much easier to store. However, they did help me discover a lot of things that I really like, so I’d say it was worth it overall for me.

Have you tried Birchbox or Ipsy? Both? What was your experience? Did you like the service? I hope if you’re on the fence that this was at least slightly helpful in making your decision easier. Let me know!

Why I Don’t Hate My Stretch Marks

I was looking in the mirror tonight before I got in the shower and noticed I had a couple new stretch marks on my stomach. Then, I realized something. That I didn’t hate them. Yes, sometimes I wish they weren’t there, but I don’t hate them. I don’t hate them, because they’re a part of me. I know I’m a little overweight, and sometimes I don’t feel beautiful or sexy because of it. However, I still like who I am. I definitely struggle with my feelings of self-worth on many occasions, and I have trouble loving myself or thinking of myself as beautiful, but I’ve at least gotten to the point where I like who I am. I’m funny and smart and passionate and loyal as hell to those who deserve it and even some that don’t.

My stretch marks remind me that I’m human, and no matter what, I’m always going to have imperfections. But imperfections make life better. Imperfections bring beauty and character into this world, and I think it’s important that we occasionally acknowledge those imperfections and realize they don’t diminish our worth. In fact, they actually probably increase it, because they make us unique from everyone else. No, I’m not the only one with stretch marks on my stomach, but I’m the only one with my stretch marks. And for that, I don’t hate them; I may even kind of like them.

What are some imperfections that you have and have learned to at least appreciate? I won’t tell you to love yourself, because I know how hard that is, but try to look at your imperfections as unique features, and see if that doesn’t help you at least like yourself a little more.

 

Retail Therapy – UK Basketball Edition

So, I’m a huge basketball fan. I love the Kentucky Wildcats, and I watch a lot of NBA with my husband. For my fellow Cats fans, you know this season isn’t going as well as our standard, and it’s been a little frustrating. But, I still like my team and wouldn’t trade them for the world. Cal is the best coach we could ask for, and I think he’s doing exactly what he needs to be doing.

With that being said, they lost today, and rather than heading home where my husband is playing Call of Duty with some of his friends, I headed to Ulta for some much needed retail therapy. They had a 20% off coupon, so I got some good stuff that I needed anyways. I got some Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Oil shampoo and conditioner, which I’ve heard great things about and am excited to try. I got a Maybelline Baby Face Pore Eraser, because I’m still searching for a primer that I like and won’t break the bank. Finally, I got an Essence baked highlighter. I’m excited to try it out, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Who’s your team? What’s your favorite way to cope with a loss? Let me know, and good luck to your teams this weekend!

Why Getting Your Hair Cut is the Bomb

I love going to get my hair cut. Especially since the girl I go to is so sweet, and she works for herself, so she always gives me a really good deal. I went to see her yesterday to get my hair trimmed and styled and my eyebrows waxed. I always forget how amazing it feels until I’m there, and my hair is always so soft when I leave. Here are some of my favorite things about getting my hair cut.

  1. Someone plays with your hair for about an hour. I love having my hair played with. It’s so relaxing, and for me, it’s like the equivalent of getting a massage.
  2. My hair looks and feels amazing when I leave. I don’t think I ever feel better than right after I leave a good haircut. My hair is so smooth, and my hair stylist always thins it out for me, so it’s so light.
  3. You get to gossip guilt-free. Now, my hair stylist and I don’t know too many people in common, but it’s just fun to talk about your life with someone you only kind of know, but still feel like you can confide in.
  4. It raises my self-confidence. I’m trying to move back towards my natural hair color, which is kind of an ash brown. When I was a teenager, my mom and hair stylist at the time convinced me it was “dirty dishwater brown”, which obviously didn’t make me feel great. However, my current hair stylist always tells me how pretty my hair and my natural color are, and it makes me feel so much better.

Finding a good hair stylist is so important. If you’re unsure where to start, get referrals. Some places will even give referral discounts! What are your favorite things about getting your hair cut? Let me know, and happy hunting!

Night Out Makeup

Good morning! I am very excited for this evening because I’m finally getting a night out with some of my girls. It’s been far too long, because we’re all adults and have our own lives now. However, every once in a while, we like to get together at our favorite bar downtown, have a couple drinks, sing some karaoke, and just let loose a little. Today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite makeup looks for going out.

To start, I like to use BECCA’s backlight priming filter, because it gives my skin a nice glow. Then, I add my foundation. Currently, I’m using CoverGirl Tru Match, which is a drugstore brand, but I really like it. Next, I contour with a matte bronzer from Ulta. I put this under my cheeks, at my jawline, and on the sides of my nose. I know some people do their forehead as well, but I usually don’t. Next I use Tarte’s live boldly blush, pictured in the photo above. I just sweep on a little to give my face some color. Finally, I highlight with Tarte’s posse, also pictured in the above photo.

That is traditionally my routine for my everyday makeup, which I also follow when going out, because I like the way I look in it. Playing with my eye makeup is where I like to have more fun than with my everyday makeup. For this eye look, I use Tarte’s Double Duty Beauty Palette, an Ulta black eyeliner pencil, Ulta eye primer in satin blush, and No.7 mascara. Start with Ulta eye primer in satin blush, which is a really pretty rose gold color. I like to use this for my primer, because it layers easily, but I can also wear it alone. Next, I use a large eyeshadow brush to add date night (top left) all over my lid up to my brow bone. Then, with a small, flat brush, I dab messy bun (one to the right) in the center of my lid. On either side of that, I dab glam girl (in between date night and blush), so my eyelids have three color blocks for the moment. Once that is done, I sweep a little bit of girl code (next to glam girl) into the lid. Finally, I blend it all, so it looks seamless and add a little eyeliner. I can never pull off a winged look, because my eyelids are too thin, so I just put a small line. I finish with my No.7 mascara.

Finally, I choose my lip color. Currently, I’m wearing NYX Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake, but I may switch to something a little bolder when the time comes to actually get ready for the night. I like dark lipsticks, especially in winter, so I may pull one of those out tonight. What are your favorite going out lip colors or looks? Let me know in the comments, and have a great weekend!

Product Review – Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

To anyone who noticed, I’m sorry I was pretty absent last week. My grandmother died, and I’ve been taking it pretty hard. I was lucky to have her in my life as long as I did, which I am so thankful for, but it makes this even harder. But anyway, enough about my sad news and onto the post.

For those of you who have been following my posts, you know I’ve been looking for a lip balm since I ran out. Well, my mom had me signed up for Birchbox for about 3 years, so I’ve got boxes with little samples in them all over my bathroom and closet. I went through one looking for something else the other day, and found a sample of Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil. I tried it out, and it works really well. It’s not sticky like I expected it to be, and it is relieving. My lips get really dry, and this has helped tremendously. There is also no color, so I can wear it at any time for anything. Plus, even when it initially wipes off, it seemed like it lasted all day. After I ate, there of course wasn’t much left, but I didn’t have to reapply afterwards, because my lips still felt hydrated.

It is expensive, but if your lips get really dry like mine do, especially during the winter, it is probably worth it. It’s about $26 for a full-sized container at Ulta. It also smells really minty, which I love, but I know some people don’t particularly like that or it makes them sick, especially people like one of my friends who have had a little too much experience with a certain peppermint liqueur. If you’re a traditionalist when it comes to lip balm, I also got two tubes of Burt’s Bees lip balm on closeout at my local Kroger last week, and it works pretty well, too. What’s your favorite lip balm?

Product Review – Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray

 

This product is an aerosol spray meant to give your hair beachy waves. Maybe it works for some hair types, but it did not work for mine. This is one of my least favorite products I’ve used to get easy air dry hair. It made my hair really crunchy, and when I tried to use less to avoid the crunchiness, it didn’t give my hair hardly any shape. Thankfully, it was something I got with a gifted Birchbox subscription a while ago, so I didn’t actually pay for it. A full bottle is $34, and I feel like there are much better sprays you can get for much cheaper. Again, I can’t say it wouldn’t work for some hair types, but I would not recommend this product. Let me know if you’ve had better experiences with this product.