Beautifully Bohemian

Ipsy. I love ipsy. I love the themes. Love the monthly custom bags. Love the samples. Love the pink shiny mailer. If you are from the US, you love the $10 USD price and free shipping. If you are from Canada, the love ends at the pink mailer (with the current dollar, ipsy is about $20 CAD a month – $10 USD for the Glam Bag + $5 USD Shipping). Even for $20 CAD, I still find immense value in my bags. Ipsy will send 5 personalized beauty products each month with a mix of full size products and luxury samples. In addition to the items sent, ipsters can participate in the points system to earn more free products!! I have redeemed my points for 6 or so items already since I joined in July 2014. Ipsy also has giveaways monthly (US and Canada) and ipsyMe; deals to buy featured products (US only).

It’s no news that I was feeling Boohoo over my Boho Glam Bag from ipsy this April (Out of the loop? Click Here to catch up!). Pair that with the loads of ipsters who received their bag with multiple problems (I was supposed to receive 4 of the 5 troubled products), and it’s safe to say I was NOT excited for April. What happened to all of that ipsyLove?

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I was very happy to see that all of my products were in mint condition! My blush was in perfect condition, not a crumbly, hot pink mess. My face lotion was still completely sealed, not exploded (read below). My primer was mold-free (read below) and my lip tint was perfectly earthy (read below). My love for ipsy had quickly returned. I received some great products, and I can forgive for being excluded from the EA elite.

What I Got:

• Hikari Cosmetics Blush in Tango – This shade is just as gorgeous as I thought it would be. It is a beautiful, bright, true pink. The blush applies evenly and is super buildable. It is so easy to customize the depth of the color. Plus, it is FULL size! The color lasts all day, especially with a good base/primer (I used Smashbox Oil Free Photo Finish Foundation Primer). This was the item that I was most excited for! With so many broken and crumbly blushes, I was elated to have mine in pristine condition. I might have only tried their blush and lipstick, I’m really loving Hikari Cosmetics.

• LATHER Ultra Light Face Lotion – This lotion is definitely light. I prefer a thicker creamier lotion, but if you like a light, quick absorbing feel, you will love this lotion. The scent was also light, not at all overwhelming. I will keep this for a spare lotion for travel or the gym. It is not my favorite facial moisturizer but it will definitely do in a pinch. I am very happy that my lotion arrived safe and sealed!! At least ipsy had a backup plan by putting the lotion in a separate bag. If you did receive an exploded lotion, at least it wouldn’t have leaked EVERYWHERE!
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• theBalm Cosmetics NUDE Dude Eyeshadow Single in Flirty – Initially, I was hoping to receive the copper shade (Fit) over the purple gold shade (Flirty). I’m actually very happy that I received Flirty. It is unlike any shade I currently own. It is gorgeous worn on it’s own, or used as a smokey eye with a pop. The shade is a beautiful hue for spring. It has the slightest hint of purple which accents other gold shadows perfectly. Kudos to ipsy for knowing what I would like better than I do!! The shadow didn’t crease on me and stayed beautiful all night. I had no problems with fall out and it blended like a dream, no chalky or powdery shadow here!! I love TheBalm products and this eyeshadow is no exception.

• MicaBeauty Eye Primer – Poor MicaBeauty was having a hell of a time with their Eye Primer this month. Tons of ipsters reported having mold in their product!! Yikes!!! Ipsy responded with this: “Mica Beauty has reported that the ipsy sample production was officially micro-tested and passed all inspections. No mold was found. The brand believes any blemishes appearing on the product are due to air bubbles rising to the surface, and is confident there is no health or safety risk in using their product”. I was worried. And once I received my product, I noticed that it had the dreaded green hued “spots” like so many others!! But I trust ipsy so I decided to do a little of my own investigating. I lightly poked one of the spots. It INSTANTLY “popped” leaving nothing green or moldy behind. You can see in my close up picture, exactly where the spot had been. My product had no off smell and no discoloration (after being popped). I truly believe that the “spots” are nothing more than air bubbles from when the product settled. If you received this primer, I urge you to try the “pop test” for yourself. As for the product itself, I haven’t tried it yet. But I will update as soon as I try it!!
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• Mullein & Sparrow Mini Lip & Cheek – This item is new to me (both product and brand), I also found it to be the most “Beautifully Bohemian” to me. Unfortunately, this was another product that people were complaining about. They said it also appeared to have mold and had a terrible “earthy” smell. Once again, ipsy responded: “We’re sorry about this! Since the Mullein & Sparrow Lip & Cheek Tint is an all-natural, product that contains alkanet root, which can create some grittiness and gives the product a natural, earthy scent. We can assure you that this is safe to use, and we apologize if you’re not a fan!”. My tint arrived with slight discoloration (most visible in the picture of all my Glam Bag items based on the way the flash reflected in the picture) but no mold to be seen. Although the tint did have an “earthy” scent, it was not overwhelming or off putting. It’s amazing the way things smell when they aren’t jam packed full of chemicals or artificial fragrances. The tint itself is very light and sheer. Adding more of a dewy fresh look vs. a high pigment statement look. I love that this product is all natural, the less crap, the better!!

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Last, but not least, the bag. The Glam Bag itself. What a glorious bag it was this month. It is woven straw (or at least feels and looks that way) and sooo colorful. This bag screams Boho Chic!! I loved this bag in the preview, but fell so much deeper in love once I held it for myself. And it’s lined!! Yay!! This will be a summer staple in my beach bag!

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Poor ipsy. Between my bitterness over missing out on one of my favorite lipsticks, and the slew of troubled products this month, I feel like April was a bumpy month. Luckily for me, my bag was mint and I ended up loving everything in it. How did your April Glam Bag pan out?? And tell me, did any of you get the Red Door Red??? Click Here to see what I got last month. Click Here to get your own Glam Bag!!

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Welcome To The Top

I might have done something very bad. And by very bad, I could mean very amazing. I have reached the top and the view is amazing. Or at least that’s what they tell me. That’s right, I hit VIB Rouge at Sephora. That means I spent $1000 CAD in one calendar year. Oops. Double oops. I can try and justify it and say “but I purchased my friend’s curling iron so she could get 20% off“, or that “I bought alot of Christmas gifts at Sephora“. But it doesn’t matter. I still spent an astronomical amount of money at Sephora, on myself.

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Of course, you get your little welcome kit and, as it’s designed to, you instantly can’t help but feel excited. I loved being a VIB, but I couldn’t help but envy the Rouges with their extra special birthday gifts, free shipping, unlimited makeovers, and extra cool, free VIB gifts with purchase.

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The card is red, shiny, and loud, calling to have a special place all it’s own in my wallet. The kit also includes a small pamphlet explaining perks, a card for unlimited beauty studio access, and a special mini BITE lipstick in an exclusive shade available only to VIB Rouge’s. Feel special yet?

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I’m so excited to be a VIB Rouge member and even more excited to share the goodies and perks with all of you!!

Some VIB and VIB Rouge technicalities I wanted to point out:

1. The amount of money spent to be apart of VIB or VIB Rouge is accumulated from January 1st to December 31st of that year. Meaning, if you hit Rouge at anytime in the year before December 31st (I for example hit Rouge on Dec. 26th) any purchases you make before the year ends (for me it would have been any purchases made between the 26th and the 31st) will not count towards your 2015 spend total to renew your membership for 2016. This wasn’t a big deal for me as I only had to wait five days for my “total spent to date” to refresh. But if you hit Rouge in October or November (or even earlier like in the summer) purchases you make before the new year will not be carried over to count towards the following year’s membership. Thanks to Janet from Jan&Jot for pointing that out to me!!

2. For us Canadians, buying online means LESS Beauty Insider Rewards Points and LESS money being banked towards totals spent in a calendar year. Buying online is beneficial for sales, clearance items, free gifts, and free samples. However, when buying online, points are accumulated based on USD prices, 1 point for every $1 USD spent. When you buy in store, you get 1 point for every $1 CAD spent. Based on slight variations between CAD and USD prices, you lose out on points and dollars toward year to date totals (roughly $20 worth on a $130 order). If you are getting something not on sale, or something available in store, and there are no crazy online promotions available, I suggest going into the store to buy your item (even though Rouge members get free shipping) to accumulate more reward points and help ensure you stay VIB or VIB Rouge the following year.

3. I have heard about people being locked out of their accounts or losing Rouge status for making too many online orders. Has anybody had this happen to them? If so, what is considered “too many orders”? I could see this being true if people made multiple orders in one day, obviously taking advantage of the free shipping. However, if this is happening even with days or weeks between orders, that is unacceptable. You can’t claim to have free shipping as a membership perk and then take it away just because.

Drugstore Daydream

Can I really call myself a makeup junkie if I just recently learned about brands like NYX and The Balm? Thanks to ipsy and Topbox for the introductions, it was the beginning of a hot and heavy love affair. I’ll be honest, I am a makeup snob. When I want to try a new product, I head straight to the closest Sephora, not the makeup aisle of the drug store. I mean, I wasn’t always like this. In junior high school my makeup obsession began with Lip Smackers. By high school I was fluent in the language of Maybelline and Loreal. Once I graduated and started making decent money, I stepped my makeup game up and became a permanent member of the Sephora cult. And I haven’t looked back, at least until beauty subscriptions started introducing me to new, high quality, “drugstore” brands!

First, I received a sample of The Balm Cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples Lip and Cheek Cream Palette in my October Topbox. I received the shade “Pie” and loved it (more for my lips than my cheeks though)!! This led me on the hunt to find some more The Balm products. I finally found them at London Drugs, and picked up a plumping lipgloss, Plump My Pucker in Spike My Punch that was 50% off! Once again, I was impressed and mentally added The Balm to my list of brands to love. The price of The Balm products is not actually that cheap. It might be a “drugstore brand” but at $45+ CAD for palettes, $20 CAD for a lipgloss, $30 CAD for a bronzer, etc. this beauty line is more luxury than budget.

Second, I recently received a full size of NYX Butter Balm in Red Velvet in my December ipsy glambag. I was instantly hooked and had to track down more! Again, London Drugs came to my rescue (I guess I should stop in more often!). The Butter Balms are actually back ordered here in Canada so I was unable to pick up a few more shades, but I was able to fall madly love with the NYX Butter Lipsticks!

While I was at London Drugs, I also checked out The Balm display and was delighted to find a ton of goodies on sale, including different shades of the Plump My Pucker lipgloss and some other amazing steals. Needless to say, my quick stop turned into a bit of a haul:

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NYX had a ton of holiday gift sets available. And we all know I love holiday sets!! Especially since they are such a great deal!! They had a huge selection of sets with different shades and different products. I picked up a trio of the Butter Lipsticks.

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This set in “Bombshell” included 3 full size Butter Lipsticks in the shades Licorice, Pops, and Big Cherry. This set retails for $14.99 CAD, such a great deal considering these lipsticks retail for $8.99 CAD each. But it gets even sweeter, because right now these sets are an additional 25% off, pricing the set at ONLY $11.24 CAD! I am so surprised by these lipsticks. They are true color in only one swipe. So pigmented. So creamy. So buttery!!

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I’m actually thrilled with these lipsticks and might have to pick up the lighter trio “True Love” just because they really are that amazing.

Next up, I grabbed another The Balm Plump Your Pucker lipgloss in Water My Melons. This shade looks so similar to my other one, but it actually isn’t. This one is pink wih hints of shimmer (versus the non shimmer red of Spike My Punch).

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This gloss retails for $20 CAD but was on sale for $9.99 CAD! I love that this gloss isn’t sticky and has just the perfect amount of tingling!

I also snagged this The Balm Shady Lady (Volume 3) eyeshadow palette for only $14.99 CAD (retails for $44 CAD). That’s nearly 70% off!!

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The outside packaging is super cute, all four volumes of the Shady Lady line have animal print cases! What I loved about this palette is that it has alot of shades that I don’t already own. I gravitate towards nuetrals, and have very few colored shades. For $14.99 CAD, this was the perfect opportunity to add some bolder, more colorful shades to my makeup routine.

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All of these shades were highly pigmented! Again, I was so surprised. They are not at all chalky and didn’t have a ton of fallout. Most of the shades also have an option to be used as an eyeliner. I’m excited to own such a vibrant colorful palette!

Last but not least, I got two free samples of ROC Pro Define Anti Sagging Firming Fluid. Because I am turning 27 after all! Haha!

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Happy Friday Loves! If you need some last minute gifts I suggest you hurry hard and make your way to the nearest London Drugs for some fabulous beauty finds. ♡

All About Me (& You!)

Ipsy has started releasing sneak peeks of December’s Glam Bag, and it’s all about me – well all about you!! This bag looks amazing!
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An exclusive, early sneak peek revealed that every ipster will receive a mini Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara. This mascara is one of my top five favs and is my makeup bag on the go staple! All glam bags will also have a NYX Butter Lip Balm!!
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Sneak Peek the Bag
Happy Haul-idays!! (Cute bag!)
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Official Ipsy Sneak Peek #1
You are a timeless star! All ipsters will receive a mini Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara!!
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Products:
– Tarte Light, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

Official Sneak Peek #2
Radiate inside and out with one of these incredible treats! Extra moisture to fight the winter woes!
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Products:
– Bumble and Bumble All Style Blow Dry, Straight Blow Dry, or Repair Blow Dry
– Sexy Hair 450° Blow Out Heat Defense Blow Dry Spray Mini
– BWC Beauty Without Cruelty AHA 3% Facial Cleanser
– CoolWay Boost Repair Treatment

Official Sneak Peek #3
Keep shining with one of these eye-catching beauties!
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Products:
– Pixi Fairy Dust
– Nourish Organics Renewing Eye Cream
– Cailyn Cosmetics Just Mineral Eye Polish

Official Sneak Peek #4
A signature voice deserves a signature shade like one of these pout perfect picks.
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Products:
– NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Balm

Official Sneak Peek #5
Compliment that charm with one of these pleasing picks!
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Products:
– BWC Beauty Without Cruelty AHA 3% Facial Cleanser
– Nourish Organics Renewing Eye Cream
– Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush
– Swissco Electroplated Eyelash Curler

This bag looks amazing! I’m so excited about the Duet Crown Brush making another appearance in this month’s bag. Are you excited for December’s bag?

UPDATE: Glam Bags are LIVE! Sign in to see what you are getting. Click Here to see what I’m getting. Click Here to get your own Glam Bag!

Topbox Lovin’

I may have jumped the gun and been a tad impatient because just 3 minutes after my last post, the mailman dropped off my Topbox (still no Lip Monthly in sight though). I was pretty excited to get this box as the pictures of other people’s boxes looked very promising. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I love that Topbox is a Canadian company and that they offer FREE shipping (Canada only!). This is the only beauty box I know of that offers free shipping to Canadians. That makes Topbox the cheapest beauty box that I am subscribed too. The cost is $12 CAD a month and they will deliver four deluxe sized samples (personalized) right to your door. I have only been subscribed for three months but every month has been awesome. The value of the boxes has FAR surpassed my $12, month after month. Products sent out are luxury, high quality makeup; I have yet to receive a “drug store brand”.

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Similar to Ipsy, Topbox sends the packages in bubble mailers. Even though these ones aren’t shiny and pink, I still save them to reuse to mail delicate items or pack away treasures full of memories. The products themselves come in a super cute tube (or if you prefer they can send your products in a organza bag). Again, these tubes have infinite possibilities for reuse. Super cute packaging for gifts (Christmas!!!).

Topbox sends an email to subscribers every month asking which box they would like on their “Wishlist”. You can opt to receive the “Regular Box” (as I have every time so far) or request a “Prive Box“. Prive Boxes are not guaranteed, so your final products will remain a surprise until you open your package. The Prive Boxes change from month to month, but they tell you what they will contain. Previous Prive Boxes have included a box with two full size Kerastase hair products, a box full of samples from Benefit Cosmetics, a box full of samples of Elizabeth Arden products, etc. you get the idea!

But let’s get down to why you’re really reading this, to see my boobies goodies.

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1. Benefit Cosmetics Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer
I don’t wear foundation but I’m sure this will work wonders under BB Cream or to prime for contouring or even to use on my lids as a shadow primer. It is in a stick form, and not a liquid or cream form that I would have expected. I love Benefit, so any kind of sample from them is always exciting!

2. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet Serum
This product is intended for when you start to see the first signs of aging. I’ll be turning 27, and although I still feel like my skin is youthful, I would like to keep it this way so I am excited to try this product. Full size retails for $72 CAD, making this sample worth $12 CAD (the price of the box!).

3. UniqOne All in One Hair Treatment
I have heard amazing things about this! Works on all types of hair. I’m hoping for volume and thickening without making my hair greasy (could this be my new favorite?). UniqOne is part of Relvon’s professional line so it will be interesting to see how this holds up to some of my higher end favorites.

4. Eyeko Black Magic Mascara
Yes! Yes! Yes!! What a great sample. I have been eyeing the Eyeko for months. Everytime I go to Sephora I’m tempted to buy it (love the reviews) but my love for Benefits’s They’re Real keeps me from impulse buying. I’m so excited to try this! And I love the squeeze tube, lets you get every last bit!

I give this box a perfect 10. I love everything. Extra excited for the Benefit and Eyeko. What did you get this month? And what’s your fav product? Click Here to see last month’s box.

Watt’s Up?!

When I saw this new reward from Sephora, I just had to post it! I LOVE the Benefit Watt’s Up! soft focus highlighter. I even have a mini in my purse (it’s a staple in my makeup bag!). The color works on many different skin tones. I also dab mine under the eyes for an instant brightening effect. Right now Sephora has the mini Watt’s Up! as a Beauty Insider reward! And only 100 points!! It is definitely worth it, especially since I know all you fellow beauty junkies racked up quite a few points during the big VIB sale!
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Sephora or Shopper’s?!

WAIT. STOP. HOLD EVERYTHING!! You know I’m a huge Sephora junkie. Like major. I’m addicted. Obsessed. In over my head. You know all of this. You also probably know how absolutely hard I fall for all holiday gift sets that are beauty related. Sephora Favorites Lash Stash is NO exception. I mean look at all those beauties. Benefit They’re Real Mascara, Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara, Lancôme Paris Hypnôse … so many pleasures!! You get 9 mini mascaras, 1 full size mascara (Smashbox) and an eye makeup remover for a reasonable $54 CAD.
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This set contains
– Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara
– Buxom Lash Mascara
– Clinique Dual Ended High Impact Mascara And Lash Primer 
– Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara 
– Kat Von D Immortal Lash 24HR Mascara 
– Lancôme Paris Hypnôse Drama Mascara 
– Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover 
– Sephora Collection Outrageous Curl Dramatic Volume And Curl Mascara 
– Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara
– Urban Decay Perversion Mascara 
– YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Baby Doll

But I don’t settle for “reasonable“. Or mediocre. As much as I looooved this set, I had a passionate rendezvous with Shopper’s Drug Mart’s Eye Studio Sampler. This kit is only $39 CAD … AND you get a gift certificate to redeem for a FULL size of your favorite product. Benefit They’re Real Mascara and Push Up Liner minis, Smashbox Full Exposure, Lancôme Paris Hypnôse … similar pleasures, better bang for your buck pun intended.
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This set contains:
– Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara
– Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Push Up Liner
– Lancôme Paris Hypnôse Star Mascara 
– Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara
– Clarins Be Long Mascara Length and Curve
– Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Lash Enhancing Mascara
– Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara
– One Gift Certificate for a FULL SIZE of your fav product in the box

I already knew when I picked up this kit that I will be using the certificate to redeem for the Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner. Did I mention that the gift certificate NEVER expires?! No brainer.

So you choose … $39 CAD 7 minis + 1 full size or $54 CAD 9 minis + 1 full size Smashbox mascara + remover. What’s worth it to you?