Little Black Bag Review

As I mentioned in my last post, I just got my first order from Little Black Bag! For an overview of how it works, see my intro post here. Basically it’s Golden Tote for accessories, but with trading. It’s insane and addictive and perfect for cheap-o bargain hunters like me.

So my first LBB post featured nine items, but I traded several of them out to best fit my style. Here’s what I got in the end:

A huge box!
big subscription box little black bag shipment

 

There were three handbags inside:

Deux Lux Gramercy Hand Tote ($180).
(Hand shown for scale.)
Deux Lux Gramercy Hand Tote dark teal
Deux Lux Gramercy Hand Tote interior liningDeux Lux dust bag mint chevron stripe

Nila Anthony Pyramid Stud Crossbody ($66).
Nila Anthony Pyramid Stud Crossbody Nila Anthony Pyramid Stud Crossbody interior lining

Pink Cosmo Top Handle Satchel ($68).
Pink Cosmo Top Handle Satchel Plum Pink Cosmo Top Handle Satchel Plum size

And there was quite a bit of jewelry inside, too.

Mata Traders Honeycomb Necklace ($20).

Mata Traders Honeycomb Necklace

timi Large Horseshoe Necklace ($13).
(This one was really long, which I like.)
timi Large Horseshoe Necklace

Geranium Arrow Necklace ($26).
Geranium Arrow Necklace Little Black Bag Jewelry

punch Geometric Collar Necklace ($30).
punch Geometric Collar Necklace

Flea Market Girl Stone Skull Necklace ($21).
(Another super long one.)
Flea Market Girl Stone Skull Necklace

all the rage Gold Anchor Bracelet ($20).

all the rage Gold Anchor Bracelet

april 2014 little black bag jewelry trading haul

Pretty crazy, right? Everything was well packed, I thought the black on black printed tissue paper was neat and each handbag came with a dustbag. I don’t think the Pink Cosmo bag originally included a dustbag, it seemed like it may have been a generic one Little Black Bag threw in, which was nice of them. The purses all also came with detachable shoulder straps which I didn’t take pictures of.

I also bought a bonus item. You can only buy one bundle at a time, but you can still buy items while in the trading period, (you just don’t get any freebies with the purchase). Then once you finalize and ship the order you’re able to purchase bundles again. My bag add-on was a pair of $135 summer wedges that I got for $7. Seven dollars!!! I can’t wait to wear these to a patio somewhere as soon as this insane weather finally warms up.

bacio61 Betulla Wedge
buff-bacio61-betulla-wedge-1 bacio61 bettula wedge heel nude bacio61 bettula wedge heel back view platform width

 

So after shipping (it isn’t free, but I can understand), my grand total for this haul was $68.83. I am ob-sess-ed.

You guys seriously need to consider trying this service out. Making offers and trading up your items over and over again is the most fun thing ever. I played this thing like a shopping-themed strategy game.

Speaking of strategy, here are a few tips I used that may help if any of you want to play:

Continue reading

April PopSugar Box Review

Yay, it’s been a busy week for my mailman! I received my PopSugar box today, and it totally made up for my mild disappointment from yesterday’s Golden Tote. My Little Black Bag order ALSO showed up today, but that’s going to need a separate post.

Here’s what came today in the April PopSugar Must Haves Box ($39.95, $5 off with code REFER5).

april popsugar must haves box 2014

 Blue Avocado Shopper Tote Bag ($25).
This should be pretty useful. I have a lot of reusable totes at this point (looking partially at you, Golden Tote), but this is a much higher quality option. Bigger, too!
Blue Avocado Shopper Tote Bag zipped
Here it is zipped for compactness.
Blue Avocado Shopper Tote Bag rose print turqupise trim
Cute retro rose print.
Blue Avocado Shopper Tote Bag full size unzipped
It’s pretty big when it’s unzipped! It expands to 4x its zipped size.

Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection ($36).

too faced natural eye neutral eye shadow collection

Yeahhhhhh, this is the whole reason I bought the box, so I’m so glad to finally have it! As expected, the shadows are smooth, pigmented and blendable. The shades are all warm neutrals in a variety of matte and shimmer finishes. They’re really rich and pretty, I can’t wait to play with them! I’ve also included a few side-by-side comparisons to the Boudoir Eyes Palette, to show the difference in tone. The large pan shades in each palette are the most similar, but each of those dupe shades in the Natural Eyes palette is slightly more yellow/gold toned. I promise to post a look using this palette soon and swatches!

too faced natural eye neutral eyeshadow palette shades
Compared to Boudoir:
too faced natural eye palette vs boudoir eyes palettes too faced natural eye palette vs boudoir eyes palettes shade comparison too faced natural eyes palette vs boudoir eye shadow palette nude shades
Are those pink shades dupes?
too faced natural eye palette vs boudoir eyes palette satin sheets silk teddy swatchI was interested in whether or not these shades were identical, and they almost are, but in the right light you can see that Silk Teddy (swatched to the left) is slightly more peach, and Satin Sheets (the swatch on the right) is pinker.

Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap ($10.50).
I love having higher quality hand soaps on my counter, I’m putting this next to my kitchen sink right away.

Graphic Image Pocket Notes ($36).
This leather bound mini notebook is cute, and it seems high quality. The Run the World tagline is a fun touch, it feels like my style. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it or give it away, it seems like it would make a great gift option for a friend. We’ll see.

Graphic Image Pocket Notes leather bound notebook popsugar must haves Graphic Image Pocket Notes run the world notebook

Fresh Pastry Stand Tea Towels ($18).
After the Too Faced palette, this is my second favorite item! The slogans are fun and the towels are way bigger than I expected when I first opened the box.

Fresh Pastry Stand Tea Towels totally awesome print

And last but not least,
Nature Box PopSugar Must Have Mix ($19.95/month for a box of 5 varieties, or a few more subscription options).
This seems really nice, something I would have loved before I took a carb break. I’m sure my son will love it! Heck, when I start eating carbs again, maybe Nature Box will be my next subscription!

BOTTOM LINE:
As far as I’m concerned, this box was a bit hit. I don’t know how consistent PopSugar is, though, so since it’s $39 per month I may try another couple of months before I decide to spring for a full year subscription. This month was absolutely worth it for sure.

April Golden Tote Review

My Golden Tote is finally here! I have been dying for it to show up and it was taking so long! I noticed that it takes twice as long to get a tote shipped if you buy it the day the boutique opens. It was super quick last month, but by the time I shopped it a lot of items were sold out. This time I was early and the process took two weeks. If you need a quick review of how this service works, check out my original Golden Tote Review.

149 april golden tote reviews april 2014 golden tote item reviews

So as I mentioned in the preview post, I ordered the playful zebra print shirt in navy ($45) and the variegated print dress in green ($70), so I knew those were on the way:

The Zebra shirt by My Beautifully ($45).

beautifully playful zebra print blouse in navy april golden tote beautifully playful zebra print blouse navy golden tote april 2014 beautifully playful zebra print blouse navy golden tote april beautifully playful zebra print blouse styling card golden tote april 2014
Wow, this is way too big (at least on my shape)! I know, the ’90s are cool again and I love that and all, but billowy shirts were not my favorite part of the ’90s. I was a little worried when I ordered this because the fit notes said it was “relaxed,” but that it was also true to size. I can see that, because the sleeves fit, but the torso is flowier which doesn’t work on my body type. Since I know I’ll never wear this, I’m going to try my luck in the Golden Tote Trading Group on facebook. This shirt is well made and the print is cute, so hopefully it will work for someone else who can pull this style off. I can’t blame Golden Tote too much for this fail since I was the one who picked this item, but I wish they’d been a bit more specific about the real-life fit (it’s not like I can tell from the model).


Variegated dress ($70).

collective concepts tribal ikat print dress april golden totecollective concepts variegated print dress side view golden tote collective concepts variegated print dress placket embroidery detail  collective concepts variegated print dress styling card april golden tote
Golden Tote never lists the brands for any of the boutique items, but I was pleased when I found out that this one is by Collective Concepts. It’s a Stitch Fix brand and I really like their clothes, they make a lot of cute work-to-weekend kind of pieces that are perfect for me right now. This dress didn’t disappoint, and I appreciated that the tribal pattern detail on the chest is actually stitched in rather than being printed.


Now on to the surprises! [UPDATE: I was initially disappointed to find that I only got 3 surprise items with my 2 picks, but I’m updating my review because Golden Tote is fixing the problem. You see, some items in the shop had a disclaimer that if you picked those pieces you would only get 5 items and not the normal 6-7 (like this dress). That seems fair, as long as you know what you’re getting into. I wanted to be sure I got at least 6, so I was careful not to pick those pieces. Even so, I only got 5 total items. I was really disappointed, so I emailed Golden Tote’s customer service and they said they would send me an additional item! I’ve heard nothing but great things about GT’s customer service and now I can personally attest to it. They really seem to care about their customers, so I wanted to be sure to amend my review.]

That said, let’s see what was in the bag.

Souvenir Edition by Woo Lace Raglan ($50?).

souvenir edition woo lace raglan elbow sleeve black and white woo lace raglan 34 sleeve baseball tee black fabric closeup

My face may look grim in the picture (I don’t know what’s wrong with me), but I really liked this one! This was a special edition, but is almost identical to this past piece, which was originally $50. Golden Tote did include a black cami to go under it because it needs a layer, which was thoughtful.


Under Skies Sleeveless Floral Print top ($68?).

under skies floral print button front sleeveless topunder skies floral print button plackard tank golden tote april 2014  under skies floral print top golden tote april 2014 review
Mrrrrgh, I don’t like this print at all. I can do florals and I can do bright colors, but I don’t really like them both at the same time. I guess I like my flowers a little gloomy. The top itself is well made and it fits well enough, but that print reminds me too much of my grandmother’s swimsuits. It’s possible that this is one of those things that seems ugly to me at first but is actually really cool and I don’t realize it. That’s happened to me before, where I think something is the worst and then it grows on me, but somehow this floral print rubs me the wrong way. Too bad, since I like the button detail and would totally wear this in a more subdued print. Time to see if anyone is willing to trade. (Btw, I based the pricing estimate on this similar top in a different print.)


Priddy by Puella Striped Tank Dress with Contrast Lining ($60?).

priddy by puella striped colorblock trim tank dress april 2014 golden tote priddy by puella striped contrast trim tank dress april 2014 golden tote priddy by puella label priddy by puella striped contrast trim tank dress in navy and red
Sorry for all the armpit shots. Anyway, I love this one! The fabric feels nice, it’s really comfortable and the red lining that peeks out at the bottom is great. It has a good weight to it that makes it feel substantial, if that makes sense. I can’t wait to wear it, this is the item that redeemed my tote from being a complete fail. I’m not sure on pricing because Priddy is Golden Tote exclusive, but $60-ish seems to be the general consensus about pricing online, and this dress is definitely worth at least that much.

In case you’re curious about fit, everything in this tote is a size medium, and right now I wear either 6 or 8 depending on where I shop.

So all in all, I got two dresses that I really like, one shirt that I really like, two shirts that I’m trading, plus a no-show that is now on the way. A pretty good bang for my $149 bucks! I wasn’t as excited about my Golden Tote experience as I was last month until I found out how awesome their customer service is. I didn’t think I’d get anything and only really emailed them to give feedback (which I even said in my email), so I really felt like they went above and beyond by offering to send me a 6th item. They could just as easily have told me to deal with it. There’s a principle in business that the problem isn’t what sets your reputation, but how you handle the problem. Golden Tote definitely has a stellar reputation in my eyes right now.

More Meow Cosmetics Reviews! Eyeshadow and Glow Powder swatches.

After my disappointing shade mismatch with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (review here), I rekindled my love for Meow Cosmetics. I have reviewed them to some extent here and here, but I still had a bunch of samples that never got swatched.

Problem solved! Here are the remaining swatches, in case anyone was interested in seeing more of the product lineup on a person with really fair skin.

First, eyeshadows:

meow cosmetics eyeshadow swatches on pale skin

L-R: Duplex, Platinum Mine, Indecency, Melpomene, Depravity, Kisses, Plague.

Closer views:
meow cosmetics eyeshadow melpomene depravity kisses plague swatched
meow cosmetics eyeshadow review

meow cosmetics silver and gray eyeshadowmeow cosmetics eyeshadow duplex platnum mine indecency melpomene swatch
L-R: Duplex, Platinum Mine, Indecency, Melpomene.

Duplex, Platinum Mine and Kisses are all from the Santa Baby collection, which is only available around Christmas. I know that doesn’t help anyone now, but I figured I’d swatch it for future reference. The rest of the shades are all from the Pandora’s Box collection, which is still available.

Most of these shades are what you would expect, but Plague and Duplex took me by surprise. Plague in person is both green and tarnished gold at the same time, so it would make a really pretty lid color OR definer shade. Duplex looked a little more grey online, but in person it was much warmer with a rosy-plum-grey-taupe base and a golden pink highlight. Very pretty, definitely great if you’re into the rose gold Naked3 look. It’s kind of like a pearlized version of Nooner from UDN3.

These shadows also all feel good and are very pigmented (except for Platinum Mine, but I think that’s intentional). I only used a tiny dot of product on the tip of my pinky finger to make these swatches! Considering how I never use up any of my shadows, these sample baggies contain all the product I need.

 

Next, let’s talk about the Crystalline Cat Tinted Glow Powders ($9.95-$13.95) I mentioned in the Hourglass post. Here are swatches of a few of the finishing powders:

meow cosmetics crystalline cat tinted glow powders meow cosmetics crystalline cat tinted glow powder swatch topaz opal quartz moonstone
L-R: Topaz, Opal, Quartz, Moonstone, Original Untinted.

You can see that they vary in opacity, and that any of them could work as a highlight or a blush depending on your skin tone. These are just samples obviously, but the full ones are a pretty good size, about the same size as a typical Bare Minerals Mineral Veil jar but for only $9.95 instead of $20. If you’re really into them you can get twice as much glow powder in the large size for only $3 more.

Speaking of Bare Minerals/Escentuals, there’s also a pretty big size/cost difference between Meow’s regular foundation and Bare Minerals foundation. Here’s a comparison of the jars side-by-side (and yes, those are both full sized containers).

meow cosmetics purrrfect puss mineral foundation vs bare escentuals product amount meow cosmetics purrrfect puss mineral foundation vs bare minerals jar size
Be sure to check out where the product has settled in each container to get an even clearer picture of the size difference. I tapped each jar a few times to try to level the products out. These have both been used, but neither of these have been used a ton. As I mentioned earlier, I never manage to use my products up.

Depending on the formula you choose (medium coverage, sensitive skin, or full coverage), the large Meow jars cost $23.45-$28.95 and contain 22-30g net weight of product. The small size costs $12.75-$16.75 depending on which formula you choose and the jar contains 6-8g net weight. The standard size bareMinerals foundation jar contains 8.5 g of product for $27, although I’m not sure if that is net or if that’s just the jar size. Regardless, you can get the “small” size of Meow Cosmetics standard coverage foundation and get almost as much product as in a regular Bare jar for less than half the price. I mean, the pictures above speak for themselves.

And in case you want a refresher on how the products apply, see this post, or check out the picture below, wearing  Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation in Frisky Chartreux ($23.45) and untinted Meow Cosmetics Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95) all over.

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder

P.S. Meow Cosmetics has never paid me or provided me with free products and none of the Meow links are affiliate links, so don’t think this is a biased sales pitch!

April Ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox Reviews

They’re here!

Let’s start with April’s Ipsy bag, “Beauty Rocks”:

ipsy glam bag april 2014 review

Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil ($20).
This is maybe a shade lighter than the other black 24/7 liners. Like the others, it has great staying power, although I don’t think they need to have this many different black liners (one is enough!). This one’s gimmick is that it has a slightly softer looking finish, a lot like the look of cake liner, so it is good for a smokier look. It also doesn’t go one quite as smoothly as the other UD eyeliners. Weirdly, the liner is slightly crumbly, so it has a lot of fallout. You can just brush it away, but it’s still kind of weird to deal with eyeliner fallout.

urban decay black velvet 24-7 eyeliner fallout

Free gift with $35 purchase on urbandecay.com with code UDIPSY through 4/18/14.

Demeter Jasmine Perfume Oil Roll On ($10).
I love Demeter and I love fragrance rollers, so this was great. It’s a pleasant, every day scent.
20% off any purchase at demeterfragrance.com with code 20ipsydfl through 5/31/14.

dr. brandt microdermabrasion ($78 for full size).
I love these, my winter-torn skin really needs all the help it can get and this made my face feel nice and smooth.
20% off dermabrasion kit + free gift at drbrandtskincare.com with code MICRO20 through 9/31/14.

Elizabeth Mott pop! goes the shadow in champagne ($12.99).
This wasn’t bad, but wasn’t as good as previous Elizabeth Mott products. The texture was average, although longevity was good. I can’t comment on the pigmentation because it’s so close to my skintone. Definitely a worthwhile addition to my bag, but not something I’d spring for on its own.

elizabeth mott pop goes the eyeshadow champagne swatch elizabeth mott pop goes the eyeshadow champagne

50% off any purchase at elizabethmott.com with code IPSYPOP through 6/1/14.

Mary Kay At Play Jelly Lip Gloss in Berry Me ($10).
Meh. I’m not into gloss, and this was a slightly thick, sticky gloss. It does look nice, it provides a really smooth look. The feel and color remind me a lot of the Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer I got a few months ago, but the Mary Kay texture was much stickier. I’d go with the Pop gloss over this one.

mary kay at play jelly lip gloss berry me mary kay at play jelly lip gloss berry me swatch

No discount code provided.

And here’s the final look with all products!

april ipsy review swatches

 

Other Ipsy offers:
www.cailyncosmetics.com 20% off + free gift with IPSYGIFT through 5/31/14.
www.benefitcosmetics.com free High Beam sample with $30 order with APRILGLAM through 5/15/14.
www.coverfx.com 20% off $50+ purchase with IPSY20 through 6/30/14.
www.rainbowhoney.com 25% off with IPSY through 5/31/14.
www.coastalscents.com 25% off with BRUSH25OFF through 5/31/14.
www.starlooks.com 20% off with IPSY20 through 5/31/14.

 

Next up…
Birchbox took a really long time to get here  this month, and this box was slightly boring to me. It wasn’t *bad*, it just wasn’t super exciting, kind of middle-of-the-road.

april 2014 birchbox review

Camille Beckman Body Butter ($15).
This is the second time I’ve gotten something from this brand, and I really like their products. This smelled fresh and absorbed very cleanly.

Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection ($13 for a set of four).
I liked this a lot. It’s supposed to be inspired by the ’70s and ’80s and I definitely got the retro vibe from this collection of pearlized pastel shades. I got a sample of the shade “Breakfast at…” which is supposed to be pearlized Tiffany Blue, but it’s a bit too green to be quite right. It’s still a pretty shade aside from the failed reference. If I didn’t already have more polish than I can deal with, I would buy this set for sure. This shade actually looks a lot like one of my favorite Sinful Colors polishes, Mint Apple, although that has more of a glass shimmer effect.

color club breakfast at nail lacquer color club breakfast at nail polish sinful colors mint apple color club breakfast at turqouise seafoam green nail polish swatches

Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo ($9.50).
This smelled very nice, which is the only thing I really care about in a shampoo. I don’t understand hair beyond looking for things that say “extra moisture” and “reduces frizz”).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($22).
This was great, although a clear mascara is the same thing and way cheaper (Like this one from e.l.f. for only $1!). Seriously, why would you ever spend more than $5 max on clear mascara/brow tamer?

KIND Healthy Grain Bars ($11.88 for a box of 15).
Since I’ve been eating low carb for a while, this tasted too sweet to me. It wasn’t a total loss, because my son enjoyed it! The ingredient list is nice, although 6 grams of sugar seems like a lot for a “healthy” item.

kind pumkin seed granola bar(He’s so into it.)

Little Black Bag Overview

My April Golden Tote and PopSugar Must Haves are both taking forever to get here, so I got antsy and tried out a new service. It’s called Little Black Bag and I am going crazy over it right now.

It basically combines the concept behind Golden Tote with a daily deal site like ideeli or Hautelook. So you pick out the accessory of your choice (all of which are super marked down), and then you get surprise bonus items after checkout. That’s pretty cool, but the fun part is what comes next. There’s a trading marketplace, and you get to trade your items with other members. So if you don’t like the freebie necklace you got, you can make an offer to trade it for a pair of sunglasses you like, or a cute wristlet, and everyone who got the item you like will be notified of your offer. You’ll also get a bunch of offers to trade your things which you can pass on, or accept, or accept and use to trade for something even better. I’ve been doing this obsessively for a half hour, it’s crazy addicting.

All of your items are held for a week, and then LBB ships everything to you. So you aren’t trading with strangers and hoping they’ll be honest, it all happens before anything leaves the warehouse and LBB handles all of the logistics. If you’re happy with your stuff, you can also ship your package before the week is up. It’s kind of brilliant.

Right now if you sign up through this link, you’ll get 25% off your order, plus they’re running a special today where if you order a bag that’s at least $39.95, you’ll get two additional bags with your freebies to give you more stock to trade with. Frickin’ amazing. The deals change frequently, but all of them seem to be crazy, rock-bottom, how-can-they-afford-to-do-this kind of deals.

This is what I have right now. In spite of what you see, LBB also offers shoes and home accessories. They also have a few high end items as well, but I ended up shopping in the lower range. I got nine total items, and all of this cost me ~$50. I’m still trading so it may not reflect my final order. I’ll be sure to update with IRL pics once my shipment arrives!

Deux Lux Dolce Vita Tote MSRP $185

Deux Lux Dolce Vita Tote MSRP $185

 

Punch SIlver Geometric necklace MSRP $30

Punch SIlver Geometric necklace MSRP $30

33rd & Mad by Koret Rose Python Power Convertible Clutch MSRP $78

33rd & Mad by Koret Rose Python Power Convertible Clutch MSRP $78

Punch Red Triangle Stone Necklace MSRP $14

Punch Red Triangle Stone Necklace MSRP $14

Pink Cosmo Plum Top Handle Satchel MSRP $68

Pink Cosmo Plum Top Handle Satchel MSRP $68

Stephan & Co Triangle Drop Earrings MSRP $18

Stephan & Co Triangle Drop Earrings MSRP $18

Punch Gold Shield Ring MSRP $28

Punch Gold Shield Ring MSRP $28

Geranium Arrow Necklace MSRP $26

Geranium Arrow Necklace MSRP $26

All The Rage Gold Anchor Bracelet MSRP $20

All The Rage Gold Anchor Bracelet MSRP $20

Radiant Orchid Soft Smoky Eye

To go along with Spring 2014’s lavender trend (Radiant Orchid is Pantone’s color of the year for 2014, after all), I did a lavender eye and lip look. I skewed mine a little more into the smoky plum territory just because the former goth in me refuses to be silenced. Here’s how it looked:

smoky plum purple eye makeupradiant orchid smoky plum makeupradiant orchid purple smoky eye makeupradiant orchid soft plum smoky eye spring 2014

 

I’m wearing the shade “Sexy” from TheBalm Nude ‘Tude Palette ($36) as a base, with “Curvy Cami” from TheBalm’s Shady Lady Vol. 1 Palette ($39.50) layered over, plus “Luscious Lani” to highlight and “Risque Renee” as a liner.

I’m also wearing Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture ($22). By the way, this shade is nearly identical to OCC Lip Tar in Lydia.

radiant orchid lips - urban decay rapture