Tuesday, November 18, 2014

IPSY Glam Bag: October Un-boxing; September Review

Oooh!  The excitement!

Okay, I realize that we are well into November and I am posting an October "un-boxing."  Here's the deal... it took me a while to decide whether or not I wanted to post beauty-related content or not.  I am not, i repeat NOT a beauty guru.  However, since the beauty world is a new adventure for me, I figured that it related to this blog.

So, if you like subscription un-boxings like I do, or you are interested in honest reviews by someone who may or may not know what they are talking about... read on my friend, read on!

If you are wondering what an IPSY Glam Bag is, it is a monthly beauty subscription.  It costs $10 a month and you receive a cosmetics bag filled with 5 different beauty items tailored to you.  Some are full-size and some are samples, but the contents is always worth more than $10.  You can CLICK HERE if you want to check it out.  You can earn points through referrals and reviewing the products you receive, to redeem for additional items.

Here's what I got in my October Glam Bag bag:

The candy theme is cute, but not very autumnal... it seems more spring-like to me.

I'm not sure about this bag... I'll use it, but again, seems more spring/summer to me.  It does seem easy to clean though, so that's a plus.  I like to use little pouches like this to organize my purse.

ECRU New York: Acacia Protein BB Cream Beauty Balm for Hair, NYC: Big Bold Curl - Curl & Volume Mascara, Figs & Rouge: Nourishing & Soothing Hand Cream - Rose Berry, Skyn Iceland: Glacial Cleansing Cloths, Noyah: All Natural Lipstick - Deeply in Mauve

Tiny Lipstick

Lipstick Swatch

My first impressions are:

I am excited to try the BB for hair.  My hair is curly and the ends are always  dry.  This balm claims "ultimate conditioning, manageability, smoothness, body, and shine."  We shall see.

I'm not in love with the packaging of the mascara... it is HUGE!  However, if it actually delivers "big bold curl," then it might be worth the extra real estate on my vanity.

The hand cream is love at first smell, which is AMAZING and moisturizes without feeling greasy.  This is definitely next in line for my purse.

The Skyn Iceland cloths also smell nice.... really fresh.  I don't usually buy face cleansing cloths, but I like the idea for travel or the gym... or just really lazy days.

I really like the color of the mini Noyah lipstick.  I think it will be great for fall and winter.  It's a nice size to throw in my purse.  It swatches kind of matte which isn't usually my thing, but sometimes adventures force you out of your comfort zone, so I'm ready to give it a go.

Here's what I got in my September Glam Bag:

* Sorry there's no actual bag to show you.  I gave it to my fabulous sister-in-law.  The theme of this bag is "Street Style."

Sally Hansen: Miracle Gel - Redgy, Cailyn: Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss - Basic Instinct, Pacifica: Natural Minerals - Fringe, Briogeo: Don't Despair, Repair! Deep conditioning mask, Be A Bombshell Cosmetics: Smooth Criminal Powder

So Shiny!

Lip Gloss Applicator

Lip Gloss Swatch

Eye Liner Swatch

These are my thoughts on my September Glam Bag products:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in the color Redgy.  This product claims "up to 14 days of lasting gel color & brilliant shine."  While I got no where near 14 days, I did get a solid 5, which is pretty good for me.  I really liked the finish... it actually does look like a gel manicure.  I liked the color, but would have preferred a darker, deeper red going into the fall.  This red looks kind of pinky-coral to me and is a color I would normally wear in the spring and summer.  I will definitely be buying this in other colors.

Cailyn Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in the color Basic instinct (09).  I really wanted to like this product... and I really didn't.  It is a beautiful peachy-nude in the bottle, but it looked terrible on.  It just isn't a color that works with my skin tone.  It ended up looking more orange and was really opaque for a "tinted" gloss.  I also didn't care for the applicator; it is kind of paddle-like and I found it a little awkward to use.  The final strike is the bad taste... not that anyone should be eating their lip gloss, but ew.  I will not be looking to buy this product.  Even in another color, I feel like there are other glosses out there with better applicators that don't taste nasty.

Pacifica Natural Minerals in the color Fringe.  I like this pencil liner.  It is a pretty chocolate brown, is creamy, and seems to have good staying power.  There are other eye liners I might purchase over this one, but I did like it and wouldn't rule it out.

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep conditioning Mask.  This product claims to "increase hair elasticity to prevent breakage and promotes healthy shine."  I liked this conditioner a lot, however, I don't think it's moisturizing enough for my hair as a deep conditioner.  For my hair texture, this would be more like a daily conditioner for me.  It smells great though, and I would highly recommend this for someone with more "normal" hair.

Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Smooth Criminal Powder.  This is really nice setting powder.  I like it a lot... that said, it is my only setting powder, so I don't have much to compare it to.  It seems to hold up well throughout the day and I like how "smooth" it is.  I also think it does a nice job reducing creasing under my eyes.  What I don't like is that it is a loose powder.  I don't prefer loose products, in general.  I would consider re-purchasing this product if this one doesn't last forever... which it might.

Well, friends, I hope you enjoyed this un-boxing and review.

Do you subscribe to an IPSY Glam Bag?  What was your favorite September item?



Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Clutter Free Challenge Day 10: Kitchen Counters

Yaaaaaaaaay!  I made it to day 10 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life Challenge!  Today is all about clearing off the kitchen counters.  Our kitchen counters seem to slowly collect clutter throughout the week.  It all starts out fairly innocent... a couple papers here, an empty air-freshener there... and then it becomes the home of things that should live elsewhere.

The goals for today's challenge are to remove things that don't belong, and to only keep items that get used more than three times a week out on the counter.

Here are the before photos:

The peninsula to the left of the stove.  A pile of recipes, my friend's cake carrier, an empty air freshener, our "coffee tray," a candle, a pile of my husbands things, a toy DIngo flung up there, crowded kitchen equipment, and spice-jar explosion hidden behind the electric teapot.

To the right of the stove.  A spoon rest, utensil holders, a compost bin, a little pot I keep sponges in, the dish soap dispenser, a rogue sponge, a dirty glass, a bowl of apple cider vinegar (aka fruit fly death-trap), butter, and a little pile of garlic cloves.

Dingo Before.  ALMOST ready to play.

I cleared everything that didn't belong in the kitchen from the counter and put it away or found it a home.  Then I attacked the cluttered appliance corner and decided that we really only need to keep the toaster-oven and electric teapot out.  I made a new place for the cutting-boards and weeded out the spices so they all fit in their drawer.

I added a "collection" basket for the things that will inevitably end up on the counter.  This way, it still looks clutter-free and I can designate a time each week to go through it.

Here are the after photos:

I love how open and clean it looks.  I think I will be much happier cooking here now.  

* Please note the entryway fail in the background... remember day 2 when I put up those 3M hooks because the Marshall's ones weren't going to work?  Well, guess who needs a lighter purse?  One out of three hooks remain.  Maybe in November I'll do a 30 days to fixing all my October fails challenge.

Oh how the mighty have fallen... that little hook was no match for my mammoth of a purse.

Moving along... this space had no excuse... I was just being lazy.  I basically just put everything away.

Ding After.  Ready to play now.

I'm really excited to test out the "collection" basket and see if it can keep the counters clutter free.

What's the one thing that seems to keep creeping back onto your kitchen counters?  Have you had any challenge "fails" yet?



The Clutter Free Challenge Day 9: Dining Area

This is where it gets real y'all... it's day 9 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life Challenge and it's all about the dining area.

We have a beautiful counter-height table that was our first substantial purchase as a married couple.  We now also own a "real" couch; yay for adulthood!  To be fair though, each took a couple years to save up for.  That's besides the point; back to the beautiful table... or should I say staging surface, because that's what it gets used for most.

In my dream world, my husband and I would sit down every evening to a lovely candle-lit dinner at that table with smooth jazz playing in the background.  In my real world, however, when my husband and I are both home and hungry at the same time, we end up eating at the kitchen counter... no smooth jazz.

The gorgeous table has, consequently, become a staging platform for various projects and or piles of things to sort.  I want my table back!  Today I fight the good fight to free the table!

The goals for today's challenge are to put things back where they belong, clear the surface, and create dedicated storage spaces.  There are a few more goals for those with actual dining rooms.  Our apartment is one big room, a bedroom, and a bathroom... so you will start to see some overlap in the photos.

Here are the before photos:

Oh geez, here we go... Some fabric bags, my sewing lamp/caddy, a giant lantern, a lamp, a bin of things to sort with random papers and a blonde wig (yes, a blonde wig) on top, some toys that belong at my in-laws hiding in the back, and a really ironic chalk-board sign right in front... sometimes you just have to follow the signs... he he... he.

Dingo Before.  She says she won't look at me until the table is clear.

I put my sewing lamp and the bags in my "craft corner," although it looks more like a "something that rhymes with craft" corner... another day for another hot mess.  I am testing out the lantern in the living room.  The other lamp went to the bedroom because I didn't have a light on my side of the bed.  The toys will be going back to the in-laws.  The bin is being sorted, the papers got dealt with, and the wig went in my dress-up box.  Lastly, the sign went back to its rightful place on the wall.

Here are the after photos:

Da da da daaaaa!  Glorious!  I guess I should think about decorating or something, now that there's room.

If anyone is curious, the table is from Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings.  I don't get anything for posting their link, I just think they are amazing... great products, great customer service, the end.

Dingo After. She says I did a good job.

Eventually, I would like to actually have meals at the table, but for now it's just nice to see it clutter free!

Do you have your meals at the table, or are you more of a counter eater?



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Clutter Free Challenge Day 8: Junk Drawer

While I had high hopes that I would be diligently checking off each day actually ON the day it was assigned, that doesn't seem to be happening... so my new approach is to just keep on truckin' and get them done as I am able...

Which brings us to MY day 8 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life Challenge... tackling the dreaded JUNK DRAWER!  To be fair, I had done a junk drawer over-haul a few months ago, so it really wasn't as bad as it could have been.  Our main junk drawer is in the kitchen, and that is the one I sorted out today.  The other one is my husband's and he gets to do whatever he wants with it... which is why I try not to look in there too often 'cause it's cray-cray.

The goals for this challenge are to only keep items that are currently useful, in good working order, and don't belong somewhere else.

Here are the before photos:

I bought these clear plastic drawer organizers from Target a few months ago, and I LOVE them!  There are definitely some items that could live somewhere more practical than in a kitchen drawer... garden twine, anyone?

Dingo Before.  Not amused by the state of the drawer.

I took evereything out, wiped out the drawer and the organizers, and got to sorting!  The only thing I didn't do was label everything, because I couldn't think of a good way to attach them.  If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment.  I would like to fix that later.

Here are the after photos:

I like being able to see where everything is.  Most of these things don't have duplicate homes, although I do like to keep scissors and pens in every room.  I left a few compartments empty for now.

Dingo After.  Still not amused, but at least making eye-contact.

I love being able to open a drawer and know exactly what I will find and where I will find it.

What's the most strange thing you keep or have found in your junk drawer?



Friday, October 10, 2014

Clutter Free Challenge Day 7: Toys

Hello friends!  It is day 7 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life Challenge and today we are working the toy scene.  As you may know, my husband and I don't have any human children of our own; we have a Dingo baby.  However, we also have three nieces and two nephews... and consequently, a toy basket.

I had recently done a mini-purge and attempted to maintain order with a few tupperware containers and gallon-sized zip bags.  The toys behaved very well on their own and stayed in their respective places, but when the kids came over, chaos ensued.

I realized that my system wasn't working.  I had too many toys crammed into each container and too many toys free-ranging... I had made it too difficult for the kids to put the toys away.

The goal for today is to weed out toys that aren't in good condition or that don't actually get played with, and organize them by type in a functional way.

Here are the before photos:

The giant, over-flowing, toy basket.

That funky-looking monkey on the top is "Wink."  He was my childhood buddy and, as you can tell, he was loved.  I decided to keep him elsewhere because the kids don't play with him anymore.

Dingo Before.  She is supervising.

I know, the assortment is random.

This was my initial attempt at creating order.

I tried to pare the toys down to only the ones that were better quality and that I had seen them play with.

I used the gallon-sized zip bags with the sliders because I wanted to make it easy to get the toys out AND put them away.  I labeled each bag with a Sharpie.

I tried to refrain from stuffing too many items into one bag, even though I think fewer bags looks nicer.  Too many items makes the bags more difficult to fill and close.  I want to make it easy for the kids to put the toys away, because I want them to... put the toys away.

Here are the after photos:

Maracas, green airplanes, and felt fruit... a recipe for a party, I say!

I got this 56 gallon bin at Target for under $5.

Everything fit nicely, with enough room for the kids to find what they are looking for without taking everything else out to get to it.

Dingo After.  I'm not so sure about her supervising skills.

As I mentioned in my day 4 post I decided not to keep the toys in the living room, which is why I put them in a bin.  I put it in this attic-like storage space we have.  It will be easy to get the bin out when the kids come over, but will leave the living room clutter-free in the meantime.

What's your favorite toy storage solution?



Clutter Free Challenge Day 6: DVDs & Video Games

Oh, the DVDs!  It is day 6 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life Challenge.  Today is the day we sort and organize all those DVDs and video games we have in a jumbled mess somewhere.

I lucked out a little today because we don't have any video games.  That said, we do have a decent stash of DVDs that needed some attention.

Here are the before photos:

I love this vintage phonograph table a girlfriend gave me... but it hides a dirty little secret...

Surprise!... clutter!  On the left are various DVDs we own, and a few that we borrowed.  On the right are two CD books full of CDs and one I keep DVDs in.  Clearly, I have a few more to put in there.

Dingo Before.  She's smirking because she knows about the secret.

First, I pulled everything out of the table and sorted the DVDs into piles.  Then I dusted, because that needed to happen.

DVDs to keep, DVDs to give away or back, DVD sets, and my husband's school-related DVDs.

I pulled all the paper inserts out of the DVD cases.  Then, I cut the front image with the movie title out of each one to fit inside the CD book with the DVD.

My little Fiskars paper cutter made cutting out the images fairly quick.

Talk about space-saving!  Empty cases on the left and, my much smaller, stack of DVDs with inserts on the right.

I put them all in the DVD book in order of genre and then put everything we are keeping back into the table.

Here are the after photos: 

On the left are a few sets we kept in original packaging because it was small, my husband's school DVDs, and the DVD book.  On the right are the CD books.

Dingo After.  She is laughing because the secret is out, but I don't care because everything is in order now.

I used to keep all my DVDs in their cases and was constantly trying to find a good storage solution.  When I finally came up with the idea to keep them in a CD book, I couldn't believe how much space I saved.

Do you hang on to DVD cases?  What's your favorite DVD storage solution?