Golden Tote Review!

Have you guys heard about Golden Tote yet? I just got my first Tote and I’m pretty stoked about it. It’s kind of like what I wanted Stitch Fix to be, where there’s more of a discount for the clothes that you’re sent.

Here’s how it works: You decide if you want to spend $49 and get 2-3 items (supposedly worth up to $250 in value), or spend $149 and get 5-7 items (worth up to $600). At $49, you get to choose one of your items from a small selection and the other item(s) are a surprise. At $149 it works the same way, except that you’re picking 2 items for yourself instead of one. There’s also a style profile that you fill out to shape what your surprise items are, but it isn’t as extensive as Stitch Fix’s quiz.

Once you have your items, you can’t return them. So the big difference between Stitch Fix and Golden Tote is that with Stitch Fix you only pay for what you want from your surprise selection and return the rest, but you’re paying full retail, where with Golden Tote you are stuck with all of it and have to return every single item if you want your money back, but you’re getting a major discount.

Without further ado, here’s what I got in my March Golden Tote!

Since I am nearing the end of this semester’s student loan stipend, I opted for the $49 tote and chose the Renee C. Chic V-Neck Dress ($42). This seems like a fair retail value for the dress. In fact, I wouldn’t bat an eye if I saw this at Anthropologie for $120, so if you consider that I was happy to buy this dress for $42, the next two items only set me back another $7. I’m really into that.

renee c v neck printed dress renee c v neck printed dress side view renee c sleeveless v neck batik printed dress

The dress also came with a styling card, much like Stitch Fix (although the other items don’t come with one).

golden tote chic v neck dress styling card

I really love this. It’s a great transitional piece that I can wear on the weekends or at work, and the rich colors should work right into fall. It’s a crepe fabric with an elastic waist and fully lined skirt (the top is not lined).

Next is a pretty taupe lace bralette. This isn’t the kind of bra I normally wear, but it’s very pretty and should be great to layer under some of my deeper v-necks. These also sell for $19.95 over at Modcloth!

flawless taupe gray lace braletteflawless taupe grey bralette lace closeup

Finally I got this drapey grey boxy top with bright orange fabric on the back with a mallard print. I love this top, but am not crazy about the boxiness. It would work better on me if it were longer, but that’s sort of a common fit issue for me. I’m not sure if I want to try to take it in at the sides, or leave it as is. I think even at its current box-like state it will still pair nicely with some skinny jeans for a slouchy, relaxed look. I was also looking around to find out more about the brand, and it looks like this was for sale at Anthropologie a few months ago. It retailed for $29.95.

porridge duck print orange and grey shirt porridge duck print sweet endings topporridge duck print orange and gray top  porridge sweet endings mixed media top duck print fabric closeup

And of course, there’s the eponymous tote. How cute is that?

golden tote bag march 2014

Not bad! I may get back into Stitch Fix at some point, but Golden Tote is really doing it for me right now. The item quality is similar if not better and the prices are WAY better. This $49 tote was around a $92 value. I may even spring for the $149 tote when my bank accounts starts looking a little healthier.


St. Patrick’s Day Green Eyeshadow!

I didn’t wear green makeup this year, but I did last year. Since I forgot to post then, here it is, a year late! It’s Throwback Monday, y’all. Sorry for the bad cell phone picture, I was in a rush to get going at the time. How fun is that green shadow, though? It’s from BH Cosmetics, although I can’t remember which palette at this point. 🙂

st patricks day green makeup

It Cosmetics Luxe Eye Shadow Palette Review

I was looking for a taupe-y matte crease color at Ulta the other day and ended up walking away with a whole palette instead. It’s the It Cosmetics Luxe Anti-Aging High Performance Eye Shadow Palette w/Dual Brush ($38).

it cosmetics Luxe Anti-Aging High Performance Eye Shadow Palette

These colors are highly pigmented and easy to apply, plus they’re smooth and really last. The mirror is a good size and the brush is good for something packaged in a compact. It isn’t the best brush in the world, but works well enough and I’d rather have a brush than not.

The faux leather packaging does feel cheap, however. I don’t know why they didn’t just use a standard slimline cardboard case if they were cutting corners, but honestly I’m buying this for the product more than the case. I don’t mind that the case isn’t as nice as an Urban Decay Naked palette when it’s also so much cheaper!

The best thing about this palette? Practicality! The eyeshadows on the top row are highlight shades, the middle are lid colors and the bottom row are liner colors. They can all be used in different ways, but it’s nice that they included all the colors you need for several complete looks. There is also a good balance between shimmer and matte finishes.

Bottom line: matte and shimmers in a range of tones with a mirror and brush for under 40 bucks? This palette has everything I need in one place (and I own a LOT of eyeshadow palettes).

Here are is a basic neutral look using the palette:

neutral cat eye pink nude lipssoft smoky cat eyeliner it cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette swatches

And a smoky look:

it cosmetics smoky eye it cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette smoky eyeit cosmetics Luxe Anti-Aging High Performance Eye Shadow Palette swatches

As for the longevity, here it is 7 hours later, still looking vibrant:it cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette longevity wear test

Also pictured in both looks: Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick by Kate Moss in 105 ($5.49).

rimmel lasting finish matte lipstick by kate moss 105rimmel lasting finish matte lipstick kate moss 105

March 2014 Ipsy bag and Birchbox reviews

Look at me being quick and posting my subscription reviews as soon as I get the boxes! And this month’s stuff was REALLY GOOD. I’m really happy with both Ipsy and Birchbox this month. Hooray!

This month’s ipsy glam bag was themed “destination beauty,” although that feels optimistic given  this never-ending winter. ANYWAY, here’s what I got. I really like the bag itself, too. The bags have been going up in quality since I signed up in 2012.

ipsy glam bag march 2014 review

bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie™ Lipstick in Get Ready ($18).
This is very opaque and pigmented and felt nice on. It has a slight shine to it and no sparkle. It’s a good quality lipstick that feels pretty standard for this price range, and I think this shade would work on just about anyone.
Deal: F
ree mascara sample + free shipping on through 4/30/14. This one has an individualized code, so I guess ipsy is getting wise to people like me who share the codes. I’m not using mine, so if you’re interested, here’s my code: P6US-QOEH-3L76-9VDB. This is a one-time code, so first come, first served!

bare minerals marvelous moxie lipstick in get ready bare minerals marvelous moxie lipstick get ready swatched

Nicole by OPI Roughles in “On What Grounds?” ($7.99).
Pronounced like “ruffles,” this is a gritty, concrete-textured polish with little contrast color flecks. It’s a really pretty bright, sky blue. The contrast of the edgy texture and the pretty robin’s egg blue color is pretty fun. I like this a lot, although I’d probably like it just as much without the texture. No discount code.

nicole by opi roughles nail polish in on what groundsnicole by opi roughles nail polish on what grounds swatch

Pacifica Body Butter in Indian Coconut Nectar ($15).
This is water based, so it absorbs cleanly. Pacifica’s scents are usually pretty nice, too. I really liked the coconut scent, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. It smells more like coconut milk than the sweeter coconut scent of suntan oil. Basically, it’s worth buying if you like the scent of coconut.
Deal: 20% off at with code ipsygirl through 4/15/14

Be a Bombshell Bora Bora Eyeshadow Quad ($16).
This was my favorite Be a Bombshell product yet. I wasn’t sure about these shadows at first glance. They don’t feel particularly soft or creamy upon pickup, but when applied they’re very pigmented, blend well and have a really nice pearly-metallic finish. These shades are all available individually on the site for $14 each, so it’s worth looking into their quads to get 3 extra colors for only $2 more. My only complaint is that this collection is very summery, which seems out of place when there’s still snow on the ground here in Chicago. That’s not the product’s fault, though, just an observation. I actually really love this color grouping and think the copper “Rock Bottom” shade is a passable dupe for MAC’s ever popular Amber Lights. And that teal blue! OMG.
Deal: 40% off + free fuchsia lip crayon at ipsy40 through 4/15/14.

be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora
Swatched without primer:
be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora swatches

On eyes with primer + Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($20) and Stila MAJOR Major Lash Mascara ($22):
be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora swatch

Other March Ipsy offers: 25% through 4/15/14 with code eyeliner. 25% off nyx lip butter balm through 4/15/14 with code ipsybb. 25% off through 4/15/14 with code flawlesspixi.

Now on to Birchbox.

birchbox march 2014 review

OmniPotent Duosity Hair Treatment ($25).
I haven’t tried this yet, but my frizzy hair always appreciates a new deep conditioner.

Air Repair Rescue Balm All-Purpose Skin Salve and Lip Balm ($12).
This stuff feels really good, it’s very smooth and melt-y, almost like a foundation primer. It has a really bad smell, though. It’s chemically and a little medicinal, like a gross mouthwash. The scent dissipates within 60 seconds and the moisturizer is pretty heavy duty, so this is something I’d use for super dry lip emergencies, but not for every day use.

Benefit Big Easy in shade 2: light ($38).
This was just a little foil sample, but that’s all I really needed to get an idea for the product. This is actually something I’ve been interested in trying and it lived up to my expectations! It’s smooth like a BB, but quickly dries to a soft, powder finish that looks and feels very natural. It has SPF 35 and medium coverage. I would absolutely buy this.

benefit big easy foundation 2 light  benefit big easy foundation shade 2 lightbenefit big easy foundation review

theBalm® cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples? ($32)
I was so excited for this sample! I love The Balm and I love cream blush. These are meant to work on both lips and cheeks, and they actually do work for both purposes. Some products like that are too creamy to work on lips, but this has a much slicker, thinner consistency that really does multitask. It’s sheerer than nost cream blushes or convertible products, but very vibrant. I’ll probably buy this in full size, and this little guy is going to live in my purse from now on.

the balm how bout them apples pie blush sample
Left side: built-up color, Right side: sheered out as much as possible.
the balm how bout them apples pie swatch
In action on both lips and cheeks:
the balm how bout them apples review cream blush in pie

Michael Todd True Organics™ Citrus Cream Moisturizer ($29)
I liked the Michael Todd cleanser ipsy sent me a while ago, so I was pleased to see another product from this brand. This feels light and moisturizing, although the citrus smell is a little bit weird to me. It wears off quickly, at least. My skin definitely felt smooth and soft immediately after application.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango.
I have no shopping link for this, but you really can’t go wrong if you pick up any Ghirardelli chocolate at the store. It’s also worth noting that birchbox sent this as an “extra sample” and actually stayed true to their word- I got 6 things this month. Sometimes they send something “extra” with a note that it doesn’t replace any of my usual samples, and yet I still get the same number of samples. That’s just silly.

And of course, here’s the final look featuring all of the products from this month’s samples!

march 2014 ipsy and birchbox reviews
be a bombshell eyeshadow risky business starlet rock bottomipsy march 2014 review

Lipstick Queen Butterfly Ball and Jean Queen Swatches

If you’ve been with me for a while, you may remember that I’m a pretty big fan of Lipstick Queen’s products. They’re so creamy and lovely and the packaging feels luxe and high quality. They feel more like lip balms than lipstick. I’ve only ever worn the sheer products from the line, so I can’t comment on the more opaque lipsticks, but I strongly advocate these translucent versions. I just got two new lippies from them in the Ulta exclusive “Sheer Days and Shimmer Nights” set ($30), and I’d like to share them with you.

First is Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Lipstick ($20). This is supposed to pair well with denim, which is odd since denim is supposed to go with everything as it is. Maybe they were going for a laid back, “I put effort into how I look, but didn’t overdo it” type of casual polish that you get from wearing a great pair of jeans.

lipstick queen jean queen sheer lipstick queen jean queen

So like all Lipstick Queen products, this feels amazing on. I have four of their lipsticks and all of them feel more “buttery” than even the nicest lip butter. It’s a balm and lipstick in one, which is great. This is a coral-pink sort of shade that should flatter everyone. It looks neutral in the tube but I think it leans slightly cool on me. It has sheer to medium opacity, and has a higher gloss finish than the other lipsticks in this post. In fact, Lipstick Queen also makes a matching Jean Queen gloss, but I don’t know why you’d need that when this is so shiny like a gloss, yet feels lightweight and non-sticky. The wear time isn’t great, but it does wear off evenly so you don’t end up with an unfortunate ombre mouth. I would definitely recommend this lipstick, especially if you can get it in a set, since I love bundling products and saving money.

lipstick queen jean queen sheer lipstick lipstick queen jean queen swatch

Next is Lipstick Queen Butterfly Ball Shimmer Treatment Lipstick in Moment ($24). This was not what I expected. I have another Butterfly Ball lipstick (more on that in a sec), and they’re kind of magical in that they’re covered in turquoise micro glitter that blends in almost imperceptibly when applied. The greenish tinge is slightly noticeable when it catches the light, but regardless of how weird that sounds, it gives more of an ethereal effect in real life. This isn’t for everyone, but it makes me feel like a fairy every time I apply it.

lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick moment lipstick queen butterfly ball shimmer treatment lipstick in moment

This shade looks like a very dark berry in the tube, but is so sheer that it turns into more of a vibrant cherry red when applied. I was kind of taken aback by the difference, but it’s still pretty. It feels rather chic to me, like the sort of product that wears well on its own and somehow makes you look really pulled-together without any other makeup. It isn’t buildable, so the color stays the same and any layering just adds to the glossiness and the teal shift. The jury’s still out on this one. I think I like it? I like the idea of it, it feels great and I do think it looks good, it just wasn’t what I expected, so cognitive dissonance is making this hard to accept for me. This isn’t about me, though. This is about you and what you would like to put on your face. So check out the swatches and decide for yourself!

One layer:
lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick moment swatch

Layered as much as it can go:lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick swatch in moment sheer red lips

Just for comparison’s sake, I thought I’d also show you my other Butterfly Ball Lipstick in Smitten, from the Lipstick Queen Look of Love set ($48). I wear this a lot, although it may look much paler on many people than the vibrant pink-nude you see below. Word to the wise.

lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick smitten lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick smitten swatch

And here are all three swatched on my arm. These are so emollient that it was actually hard to get any of them to swatch well. These are clearly formulated for lips, not arms. It’s also surprising how similar these all look here considering how different they are in the tube! You can definitely see here how glossy and creamy Jean Queen is.

lipstick queen butterfly ball jean queen swatches

L-R: Moment, Smitten, Jean Queen.

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter Swatches

I bought a few more Revlon lip butters, so I thought I’d compare them side-by-side. I like these a lot, all of them feel comfortable and smooth and have a glossy finish. I wouldn’t call them “buttery,” but they’re more moisturizing than a typical lipstick. Some are slightly glossier, some are easier to build up from sheer to opaque. Let’s take a look.

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter ($7.00) in Lollipop.
This is the most opaque of the three, and it’s a really fun, blue-leaning hot pink. It has a nice, glossy finish.

revlon color burst lip butter lollipop  revlon color burst lip butter lollipop hot pink sheer lipstickrevlon color burst lip butter lollipop swatch

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter ($7.00) in Red Velvet. You’ve seen this one on my blog before, but it’s nice to see all three of these together. This is a cool-toned dark red that is a little less glossy than the other two. In some lights it’s red and in others it leans more berry. It’s definitely got kind of a moody vibe to it that I love. It’s sheer, but builds to a semi-opaque consistency. It’s similar to a thin layer of OCC Strumpet Lip Tar ($18).

revlon color burst lip butter red velvet Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Red Velvet sheer red lipstick lip balmrevlon color burst lip butter red velvet swatch

Last up is Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter ($7.00) in Peach Parfait.
This is labeled peach, but to me it’s more of a warm pink with golden sparkle. A subtle distinction, sure, but I think of peach as being a little more orange. Maybe I’m being picky. Anyway, this is the sheerest and most glosslike of the three, but also very pretty. It’s great for days when I don’t want to look like I’m wearing much makeup (particularly relevant now that Spring is approaching).

revlon color burst lip butter peach parfait revlon color burst lip butter peach parfait sheer rose lipstickrevlon color burst lip butter peach parfait swatch

And here are swatches of all three side by side: 

revlon color burst lip butter red velvet peach parfait red velvet swatches


I can’t wait to get more of these!

February 2014 Ipsy review

It’s not my fault that I’m running late on my February reviews, my Birchbox has been lost in the mail, so I held off in hopes of reviewing it as well! This is not the first time one of my Birchboxes has gone missing, too. If nothing else, I can at least share my other subscription services.

February’s Ipsy Glam Bag:

february 2014 ipsy glam bag

Zoya Nail Polish in Odette ($8).
Zoya polish is always a winner. This is a nice purple that’s sort of bright and moody at the same time. It’s a grey-pink-mauve-plum sort of a shade and I really like it. Seems like a slightly warmer dupe for OPI’s “Parlez Vou OPI?”.

Zoya Nail Polish in Odette

Ipsy discount code: Buy 2 polishes, get 1 polish + remover free at with code ipsyzp4 through 3/15/14.

POP Beauty Plump Pout in Peony Petal ($16).
Not bad! This is very opaque and shiny, the coverage is nice and it isn’t too sticky. It’s still slightly more tacky than regular lipstick when first applied, but wears down to a softer finish after a little while. I like it.

POP Beauty Plump Pout in Peony Petal POP Beauty Plump Pout lip gloss Peony Petal swatch

Coupon code: 25% off any purchase at with code poppingpout through 3/15/14.

Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow + Base In One in Spiced Rum ($18).
I love ‘Tini nail polishes and have been interested in trying out other products from the brand. This cream shadow was really intense and pigmented, and it LASTS. It took me forever to scrub the swatches off my arm! It’s nice on its own as a highly pigmented metallic shadow, or as a base for a similar powder shadow. Also easy to blend out as long as you only apply a small amount and blend with fingers.

Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow + Base In One in Spiced Rum Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow + Base In One swatches in Spiced Rum

50% off any purchase AND a free nail polish at through 4/10/14 with code ipsylove.

NuMe Intense Renewal Mask ($29.99).
This definitely made my hair feel nice and smooth after I used it.

50% off plus free shipping AND curling wand at with code nipsyparty50 through 5/11/14.

City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon ($2.99)
This was very pigmented and felt smooth, but the color was pretty intense on me. Good option if you’re on a budget (lots of pigment and no cheap looking shimmer!), but sometimes a little less pigment in blush can be nice for a more diffused look instead of kind of a harsh edge. I’ll keep using this, but next time I’ll remember to only use the tiniest little bit and with a fluffier brush.

City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon

20% off entire purchase at through 3/15/14 with 14ipsy20.

And here’s a full face look with all three of the color cosmetics!

february 2014 ipsy glam bag look and product swatches

Birchbox didn’t show up, but here’s what was apparently in the February box:

COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face ($36). These are always great to throw in my bag for a weekend trip.
Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish ($10). This is a little silly, but I am strangely into it and hope it shows up.
Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Mascara ($19.50). Eh.
Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Palette ($49). Ummmm, this sample is actually eyeshadow samples on a piece of cardstock. What’s up with these sucky freebie samples? I’m very interested in trying this palette out, but this is not an accurate way to sample.
Beauty Protector Protect & Oil ($25.95). It’s an Argan oil spray, which sounds nice.

And since I have no Birchbox pics, here are pictures of my February Barkbox and Citrus Lane Box, which were both good! Better luck next month.

February Barkbox Products:

february 2014 barkbox large breed dogs

February Citrus Lane Box:

february 2014 citrus lane box 3 year old