ipsy and Birchbox: October arrivals!

Morning, y’all! Last week I received both my ipsy glambag and my Birchbox ot he same day and the angels rejoiced and the heavens sang and…well okay, really I just got a lot of crappy little samples. But you know how I feel about getting packages.

I also had some help with the unboxing/bagging from my personal assistant Squeaks, who just told me she wants to start a blog. Help us all.

Winner this month is definitely ipsy. Once again, Birchbox is getting canceled. I bought another month because it gave me free shipping on something else that I needed, so it ended up being only $4, which isn’t too bad. And I got a bamfy mascara, so there’s that.

First of all, the ipsy bag is adorable. It’s all Halloween-y, and even the witches are cute and look like Bewitched and that makes me feel nostalgic for watching Bewitched on the Hallmark channel when I was younger and oh, those were the days my friend.

I literally thought they’d never end and I’d die alone.

All of the products this month were great too- I received the Tatcha Cleansing Oil,  Ciate Fierce Flicks eyeliner (YAAAASSSS QUEEN), Cosmoholic Liquid Lipstick in Mysterious Mocha, Indi Beauty Buttercream Antioxidant Lip Scrub, and Adesse New York Liquid Chrome Nail Lacquer.

Total winners were the Ciate Fierce Flicks eyeliner and the liquid lipstick. I actually don’t have a liquid eyeliner pen, so that’s cool. It goes on really smoothly and stays put. I like that. The tip is really nice and bendy so you can get where you need to.

The lipstick is a great consistency, not minty (yay) and while it’s too dark for a nude on me it’s definitely good for layering with other colors. I have a lot of deep berry lipsticks that look too blue, and the brown helps turn that down. I’m wearing it over the elf Scarlet Nights in these pictures.

The cleansing oil is amazing. It takes all the makeup off and I haven’t felt overly greasy, just clean and even. My only problem is that the full size is $48 and that’s kind of steep for a product you’re supposed to use one whole teaspoonful of every night.  The lip scrub is a lip scrub- not really necessary but kind of fun to play with.

And honestly I haven’t used the nail polish yet. I don’t go a whole lot of places in which liquid chrome is appropriate. But it looks fun. My kid enjoyed it!

Overall, 4/5.

BirchBox wasn’t terrible either. The box was cute and artsy, which I liked. (It looks adorable holding my primers in my bathroom now.) I received the Escada Agua del Sol scent, Tocca Hand Cream in cucumber and grapefruit, Mally Mascara (YES!!!), Sugargoop Anti-Aging Eye Cream, and Number 4 Prep and Protect Hair spray.

I thought the Mally mascara was going to be the only standout honestly. Not too liquid, great brush, and I don’t even mind the sample size because I never use up mascara before you’re supposed to throw it away. It looked amazing when I put it on on top of my previous coats for these pictures and I was super excited.

Unfortunately on naked lashes it was really really unimpressive. Clumpy, did nothing to lengthen, and just not good. I tried to salvage it with my trusty tube of Better Than Sex mascara, but even that didn’t work. Booo.

The hand cream and eye cream were not offensive. All did what they were supposed to do, so I guess that’s good. Just not terribly exciting.

The hair spray was AMAZING. I didn’t think it was going to be overhwelming, but I used it and then dried my hair without any other products and OH MY GOSH IT’S AMAZING. Seriously. My hair is soft and clean and fluffy but not frizzy and shiny and it’s amazing.

The perfume I couldn’t stand. It smelled like I spritzed myself with a grapefruit. Nothing light and citrusy- just…grapefruit. A lot of grapefruit.

So overall, not great. I loved the hair spray. And three other samples were fine, just not like uber life changing. So yeah, BirchBox is getting the ax again.

I did film a video unboxing, but it’s my first try and oh man it’s bad. Maybe someday I’ll put it up but today is not that day.


Morning, loves. Today we’re talking about makeup, which isn’t that surprising. I’m pretty much always talking about makeup. Or therapy. Or both. But this is kind of different. We spent last weekend in the Great Expensive North with Buzz’s parents, camping.

I know. Camping. What. Not my jam. I do not like to camp.

It’s okay. They don’t really either.

They have a gorgeous RV hooked up to water and electricity and a fridge stocked with cheese and better wine than I can afford on my own. They set the coffee to brew in the morning, and my husband turns into a guy from a nature food commercial and insists on cooking all of our food over the campfire while I sit inside drinking coffee or wine. (Probably wine. I’m on vacation. It’s always wine time.)

Now, granted, it’s not as perfect as it was in 2011. Buzz and I weren’t married yet, and so when we joined his parents for a weekend at the camper we obviously slept separately. I had the whole master suite to myself- huge bed, overhead light, a door that closed.

Oh man. Married life is lovely. But virginity had way more room.

By the next year I was married and almost pregnant and no one cared about my virtue anymore and I was on a pullout couch. *sigh*

I mean, I love being a wife and mother! Yeah!

No for reals, one of my favorite parts of the camper (or any traveling really) is that I get to sleep next to my husband with our babies right next to us in the next bed. Our kids sleep in in their own rooms, and really always have. I’m not complaining about that. At all. But it’s so cozy to sleep with them right there, so that’s super fun.

Anyway, I certainly wasn’t going to go without makeup for the weekend. I mean, we had big things like…sit on the beach planned. But I legitimately don’t do makeup for anyone else, I just love to play with it.

So here is my Super Awesome Not Patented Way to Get Pretty in the Woods. (As long as you have a shower, a sink, and some patience.)

First of all, tools. You do not have to lug your entire vanity to the northwoods. I mean, you can. And God knows I have done that on vacation. Ask my dad sometime about the bag of shoes I dragged all over the East Coast in 2010. He loves that story.


I can fit all my stuff in a makeup case. The handled ones are nice if you’re “camping” because you can just carry it to the bathroom and not worry about bags and other random crap that you have to keep track of.

The kids have enough of that.

I keep brushes in the pencil-like case. A few eye brushes, a blending brush, and a blush brush, and you’re good to go. The separate case keeps them from getting lost or bent or anything.


Liquids go in a bag in the same container. I bring one cleanser (Philosophy’s Purity) when I’m traveling. It cuts through EVERYTHING, and can be decanted into tiny containers. I usually do the same thing with moisturizers, but I had a few from Birchbox that were pretty good, so I just brought one of those along.

For the actual makeup, primers, setting sprays are key to making it last. I use Smashbox for primers (face and eyelid) and they are really the best. I’ve spent so much money trying to find a better cheaper one, but I just can’t. Better to suck it up and pay the $21. You will not regret it. This weekend I brought NYX Matte Finishing Spray. It’s not my favorite- that’s Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. But it’s super expensive and a big bottle and I didn’t want to take a chance losing it in a campground bathroom. NYX works almost as well honestly, and it was like $6.

For actual makeup, I stuck with palettes and powder formulas mostly. It made packing a lot easier and I had the freedom to do basically any look I wanted.

I didn’t, because I’m a mom who was camping. BUT IT’S NICE TO KNOW THAT I COULD!


I’m in love with Ulta’s Sculpting Palette. Got it for free during their 21 Days of Beauty Event (I’ll have a post on that next week- so many good deals!) in a Buy 2, Get 2 promotion. It has a passable contour/bronzer shade, a really nice highlighter, and a blush. I legitimately love the highlighter. I use it most days actually.

The blush is a really pretty pink with a light shimmer, and great for a neutral look.

The contour isn’t amazing by any means- we’re not talking Anastasia here. But it definitely does the job and some days I even prefer it because it blends so well in my pale skin. And really, you’re not going for a full contour on a camping trip anyway, right? I just wanted it to look like I had cheekbones at one point in my life.

I used Laura Gellar’s Balance and Brighten foundation, and Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer. I used my fingers and a brush to blend them, and oh man I DESPERATELY MISSED MY BEAUTY BLENDER YOU GUYS.

Alas, there was no place to dry my Beauty Blender, and so it had to stay home.

That little bit of roughing it aside, I think I did pretty well.

I brought along the Tartelette palette and a black eyeliner, and did a fair job on making a halfway decent eye the first day. Sunday I neglected to realize how difficult it was to get mascara perfect when you’re rushing to get to Mass and then when it ends up on your eyelids it’s really hard to blend out without…well, anything to blend it out with.



Some setting powder (I used valuable real estate and brought my full size Laura Mercier setting powder, because you really cannot do better than that) and a few spritzes with the NYX spray, and I was good to go all day. At like 5 pm Buzz looked at me and said, “Wow. Your makeup still looks really good! We must buy good stuff!”

Which is the first and last time he has been thankful for the amount of money I spend on makeup.

Here I am at the end of the day-


Still pretty good. And obviously outlasted my straightener. Geez. My baby hair is so curly. Jesus Himself could straighten it and it would only last an hour.

Oh, and the most important thing- SUNSCREEN. Any kind. All kinds. ALL THE TIME.

Ain’t no primer that covers up the horrific sunburns I get from, like, standing outside for a minute.


Literal white girl problems, yo.


Ipsy August Glam Bag Unbagging!



For those of you who are responsible with your money, ipsy is a company that sends you bag with five makeup items every month in a fun bag and a super exciting pink mailer that is brighter than the sun.

FOR ONLY TEN DOLLARS. Or, what I make selling random crap of my kids’ that I find around the house. So in my newfound plan to be more fiscally responsible, I promised myself I would only keep the subscription as long as I made at least ten dollars in Kidscycle cash that month.

I know. I’ll be 29 in a few weeks. Be impressed with my almost adulthood.

Also full disclosure, this is a fake unbagging. Because when it actually arrived and I tore into it like a hungry jackal it was like 11pm, I had no makeup left, and had been eating cheese curds in the sun for like twelve hours.

I am capable of making fun of myself. But no way would those pictures have seen the light of day.

First of all, the bag.


How cute is this bag???? This bag is worth $10. (No it’s not. But it is cute.)

I love mermaids! (No I don’t. But it’s super cute for some reason.)


Now, for the actual items. Omg. I was so excited. MAKEUP. I LOVE MAKEUP YOU GUYS. Especially makeup I’m not totally familiar with.

Overall, I was impressed. The sizes were all normal or deluxe sample, except for the face mask which was just one mask.

First up, the tarte LipSurgence lip crayon.


Guys, I love me some tarte cosmetics. I can’t get enough of them. And I literally can’t afford any of them so I just steal them occasionally from my mom.

WHAT? Her closet is like the back room at QVC.

It’s a place dreams are made.

This was definitely the same quality as a tarte lip pencil sold retail- deluxe sample size, but given that the full size is $24 and I can’t imagine using the whole thing (even with the amount I wear makeup) this is totally a steal in a bag like this.

The color is Wonder, a super pretty pinky berry shade.


It went on super nicely, really creamy, and my only complaints were the one that I have every time use a tarte lip pencil- the mint smell. Ugh. I hate it when lip products smell like mint. Sometimes I can get over it, but tarte takes it to a whole new level. Like, it’s not just a whiff of fragrance. I might as well be dipping a lip brush in a julep.

But I really really really love this formula, and it stayed on super nicely. So my hangup is just that, my hangup. Really good product though.

tarte lip pencil- 4/5 (sorry, I can’t get past the smell)


The next item was an eyeshadow trio by Jelly Pong Pong, in Neopolitan. I’ve never heard of the company before, but the little bunny rabbit on the packaging assures me they’re cruelty free.

Whatever. I’d like MY eyes to not swell shut guys. But you worry about the bunnies.

Anyway. This palette looked suuuper shimmery in the container. Like, wow. All the colors came nicely when I swatched them on my arm though, so I was willing to try it.


I did a pretty typical look for me- I used a matte shade in my crease, inner highlight, the pinky color on the lid, and then the dark brown in my outer v. I don’t think I did any liner here, so I must have used the brown as a liner too.

And holy disco balls, was it shiny.


(Also- holy forehead wrinkles batman. Is 28 too young for botox???)

I’ve been using my Kat von D palette every day lately, and that’s exclusively matte shades, so maybe I’m just not used to it. But the shimmer in this palette made me feel like it was 2002 and I was starting high school. Soooo much frostiness.

There was a ton of fallout from all the colors- I actually had to wash under my eyes again after finishing. The highlight shade was really nice, went on creamily and all that jazz. Blended well. I actually really liked the color of the dark brown too, it was shimmery, but not overwhelmingly so. Soooo much fallout, but it blended well and went on really pigmented the first few swipes.

The middle shade was just a total bust. It looked pigmented, but I tried for like ten minutes to pack it on my lid and I could barely even see it. And after like an hour I couldn’t even see it.

And by the end of the day of running errands, taking care of kids, and napping (don’t judge me), really only the dark brown was remaining, despite my using primer and a base shade.

So, meh. 2/5.


The next item was a Ciate nail polish in Dangerous Affair, a deep red shade that reminds me of the Essie color I wore for our wedding. This was a full sized bottle, and overall it was fine.

I did love the color, but I felt like it went on way too sheer. I needed three coats to get t he opaque look I was going for, and that was hard to keep without smudging. I put an Essie top coat on it, and once it dried I was happy with it. It’s been three days now, I think? I don’t have any chips on my left hand, and my right hand only has a few, which is pretty impressive given that I’ve been doing my normal washing dishes, cleaning, bathing kids, etc. (And my nails are total crap.)

So 4/5 for the nail polish. Good job coming back, ipsy bag!


The next product was a deluxe sample size of Nuema neuStyling Creme, a random hair anti-frizz thing. Meh. I don’t know, it was a hair cream. That’s great, but it’s not like I used it and immediately had the bob of a Hollywood starlet. (As this hideous picture shows.)

3/5- perfectly acceptable, but underwhelming and the full size version is only $9. Eh.


The last thing didn’t fit in the bag so I immediately flipped out and was all YOU SAID FIVE SAMPLES AND THERE ARE ONLY FOUR AND WAAAAHHHH SEND ME MORE STUFF.

But it was in the mailer. Okay. Whew. Crisis averted.

It’s one single face mask, which I love, but one? Really? Booo.

And then I figured out that the full size package is $117. So…one mask it is!

I did this yesterday while my kids were gone, because I have significantly less time for sitting around with weird shit on my face than I did in high school, the last time I religiously used masks. But I was so impressed by this one, I think I’m going to get back into them. (Not this one obvs. Again. $117.) My skin felt hydrated and smooth and the smell was really pleasant. I didn’t use moisturizer the rest of the day and I was totally hydrated.

Only one problem though….


I looked like a serial killer. I watch a lot of Criminal Minds and yeah, dude, this is exactly what somebody would do with somebody else’s face and then Hotch and Co would have to come in and restore our faith in humanity.

4/5, only because of the price of the actual product and the fact that I’m now on an FBI watch list.

Overall, this bag was fun. I really liked most of the products, and even the ones I wasn’t bowled over by had some redeeming features.  I’ll definitely keep up the subscription for at least another month.

(Provided I can sell enough of my kids’ stuff.)