IPSY Ultimate Review May 2020

IPSY Ultimate May 2020 (again the outer box was purged before items entered the house)

This was the week of the subscription boxes. Most of the boxes I subscribe to came in either late last week or this week.  I’m still waiting for Vella Box, a candle subscription, which sent out an e-mail telling everyone they were mailing in batches and would therefore be a week late and my Face-tory subscription which won’t even be processed until the 18th.

So now that most things are in I get a few days without seeing the mail man.  My babydoll thinks I’m crazy, but I secretly believe he holds the rest of our mail until he knows we are getting packages and then just brings it then.  Admittedly we don’t get much mail other than things we’ve ordered at this point so maybe there just isn’t a lot to leave.

Either way, I won’t see him much until next week.  And this is a post about the May IPSY Ultimate, not my very nice postman who tends to whistle the Spiderman theme song when he delivers mail.  At least that’s what it sounds like to me (and consequently the song that gets stuck in my head everytime I see him).

But on to Ipsy.

IPSY is a beauty subscription box with several tiers.  The first tier is $12 per month, which I believe gets you five deluxe samples per month (with the occasional full size thrown in) and a small makeup bag.  The second tier is the $25 per month bag and it too comes with a makeup bag and five full sized products.  The third tier is the Ultimate which costs $50 per month and comes with a large makeup bag, eight full sized products and four deluxe sample sized products. I receive the third tier, and that is what I will be reviewing today.

This tier has had its ups and downs.  It premiered in October and got off to a really rough start.  Since then, for me anyway, it has for the most part improved.  There were a couple of dud months in there but for the most part I have really enjoyed it.  So let’s see what was in my subscription this month, shall we?

First up is the Dermedicine Advanced Skincare Weightless Face Moisturizer with SPF 25 (retail $60). After my recent sun debacle, I am not going to complain about any form of sunscreen.  I believe this was a full sized product.  The card was less than informative about the products.  Instead of prices and sizing it offered Pro-Glow tips. Fun, but not really what I want on an information card. I have to say I have never heard of this brand before. And I have to admit a part of me is rather juvenile and is thinking Der…medicine. But I am trying to wrangle that part of me into submission. I will put it in my line up of moisturizers to try.

Moving to the next Item I found the Laura Geller Urban Garden Palette in Central Park (retail $14).  I was very happy to see it actually.  I have loved Laura Geller liquid lips for a long time and still wear them and I used to have one of their blushes that I used down to pan, but I have never tried the eyeshadows.  And you know I love face palettes.  This one comes with four shadows in neutral colors and has a blush and a bronzer as well. The cover is that soft, almost rubberized material but not quite. I honestly have no idea what to call it but I love the feel of it.  I am really looking forward to playing around with it.

There was a Pureheals Pore Clear Black Charcoal Peel off Mask (retail $26) in my Ipsy Ultimate this time around as well.  I also received a Pureheals serum in my BoxyCharm Premium this month so I guess this was the month they decided to go into subscription boxes.  I love masks, although peel off ones always make me a little twitchy.  All of them seem to cause pain, but not all of them do noticeable good on the skin.  Hopefully this will be not as painful and beneficial.  My fingers are crossed, but I’ll let you know either way.

There was a second mask, or I should say masks, in my box this month.  It was a duo of sheet masks from Huanjisoo.  It was the British Rose Hydrating and Shea Butter Nourishing Sheet mask set.  I know I normally complain about sheet masks in boxes but my complaint is mostly that sometimes they try to claim one mask as a full sized item when you know they sell them in packs of five or something along those lines.  I am happy to say this was listed as one of my deluxe samples instead of a full size so it doesn’t make me mad.

The item I chose this month was the Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro- Dissolve Cleansing oil (retail $38).  A while ago I tried the moisturizer from this line and loved it enough to pick up another jar.  I have been adding various products to my collection in the hopes of doing a full Sunday Riley Regime test sometime in the near future. 

As IPSY have been selling a lot of products from Sunday Riley in the last few months, I was able to pick up several things for my trial, although I will have to order from Sunday Riley for a few others. I’m actually getting very close to being able to start a trial. I just need to take stock and see what I’m missing, as well as work through the open products I am already using. But soon, sooooon.

For now we move on to the St. Tropica Beach Goddess Hot Oil Hair Mask (retail $17.50). I have to say I found this very intriguing.  I’ve been using a lot of hair masks lately in an effort to battle split ends. 

Essentially I should have gotten my hair cut a while ago and didn’t, now I’m trying to keep it healthy longer.  I have the feeling I will get annoyed with it soon enough and attempt to cut it myself but anything that puts that day off a little longer is a good thing. 

What I found interesting was that apparently you dispense the product into a mug and then microwave it to get it hot before using (hence the hot oil).  The last time I tried a beauty product involving the microwave involved a home waxing kit and it did not end well. Which to be honest was more my fault than the products.  Still the memory remains.  I am finishing up a Verb hair mask this week and once it is gone I will establish safety protocols before attempting to use this. But I will be using it.

In the realm of the less dangerous was the Ciate London Watermelon Burst Hydrating Lip Oil. It is not a full size but it is still a good sized product.  I’ve had good luck with Ciate before and have high hopes.  It’s also nice to see another makeup item in this month’s bag.  Subscription boxes have been going a little skin care heavy lately.  I don’t mind too much because I love skin care, but at the moment I have several products waiting to be tried so its optimism with delayed excitement for the skin care items. But watermelon does say summer to me so I feel it is a very timely scented lip oil.

Continuing with makeup I received an Il Makiage lip liner in the shade vintage (retail $17) this month.  I have had good luck with all of the products I’ve tried from them so again I have high hopes for the performance of this lip liner.  The liner is a lighter pink but I think with summer lip glosses it will look fine.  It certainly looked good with the next item in my box and that was the Sugar Crush velvet lip in the shade Sprinkle (retail $15).

Sprinkle is a liquid lip and when you open it is smells exactly like cake batter.  The color is nice and in an initial try on it felt really comfortable to wear. I’ll have to see how it holds up under testing but I think it is going to be a nice shade for this summer.

Rounding out the makeup was an eyeliner from Skone.  (retail $20).  I’ve never heard of the brand and while I normally complain about a lot of eyeliners in my recent clear out I found several of my eyeliners had dried and died, so exciting it may not be, but a black eyeliner will be useful. Provided it is a good eyeliner of course.

There were two more items in my IPSY Ultimate this month.  The first was The Way of Will hand and body lotion in Sweet Orange and Elemi.  It is not a full sized product and while I have no idea what elemi is, the cream smells like orange. I like orange.  And with all the handwashing lately I have been hitting my stockpile of hand creams pretty hard lately. So even though it isn’t my favorite, I can’t really complain.

Finally we reach the last full sized item and it is a Foxybae Rose Gold Detangling brush (retail $12.95). It is a nice brush and if I am honest my current brush is so stained with white residue from dry shampoo that even after I clean it, the brush base looks dusty, so it might actually be time for a new wet/dry hair brush in general. I did use it on my wet hair after getting out of the shower and I had no problems with tangles.  (I also used a hair mask which helped, but it didn’t pull at the hair either.)

While there were no values given for the deluxe sample sized items, the retail value of the full sized items came to a little over $220. All of the products are ones I will use or at least look forward to trying out.  The bag they came with is pretty and one I will see myself using for quite a while.  I like the little glittery stars inside.

Not that I am planning on going anywhere anytime soon, but I like knowing it is there. While a lot of the bags that come with this subscription box I send to my mother for use by her church as they put together self-care kits for the homeless (and tend to run out of bags for toiletries), I think this may be one I actually hold onto.

Over all I am pleased with this month’s IPSY Ultimate box, however next month when offered a choice for my items, I think I might choose a makeup product over a skin care one in an attempt to steer them towards sending more makeup and less skin care, at least for a little while. Don’t worry, I’m sure at some point I’ll start longing for more skincare again and complaining of too much makeup. It seems to be the way things go, and even then my complaints are only minor grumbles since I usually like what I receive.

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Palette Review: Maple Glazed by I Heart Revolution

Recently I have begun cleaning out and sorting through my dressing table.  It is amazing how jumbled the drawers can get just through daily use.  So I’ve been going through and removing dried up eyeliners, nail polishes that have polished their last nail and lipsticks that shall be worn no more.  I recently took out all of my eyeshadow palettes and decided to give the drawer a good cleaning (there was some spilled glitter and the fallout from a couple of broken shadows inside.  I’m pretty sure that the glitter will remain throughout the rest of eternity despite my best eradication attempts. It won the day). 

I figured while I had them out I would go through the palettes and do a bit of a declutter.

As I removed them, one small little eyeshadow palette rolled out from the back and took center stage in the mostly empty drawer.  That was the little yellow doughnut shaped palette from I Heart Revolution.  I’m sure you’ve seen them, for a while it seemed everyone had them. It was one of those palettes I liked, but completely forgot about because it is small and rolled to the back. I picked up the Maple Gazed version at Ulta when I was there for something completely unrelated.  It was a spur of the moment purchase and one I have never regretted. I thought the fluffy doughnut decoration would help keep the shadows from breaking when traveling and it seems to have worked as I traveled with it last summer. It was $8 I believe and my only regret is that I didn’t buy the entire doughnut set while I was there.  

When I went to look the palettes up on the Revolution website, I couldn’t find them.  The metallic Bunnies seem to have taken the place of the doughnuts.  But they were still on the Ulta website when I looked them up and when I was last in the store (before they closed for Corona) they were still available.  I suspect that there will be both more doughnuts and probably a few bunnies in my future (once I clear out a little space.)

The Maple Glazed Palette has five shades, four in a circle and one in the center. The two matte shades are a little powdery, but I found if I tapped my brush off after dipping into pan I didn’t have a lot of fall out issues.  The mattes fall more into the buildable than the highly pigmented camp.  I personally like that because it means I can determine exactly how dramatic I want to be that day instead of letting the shadow decide for me.  I was able to get a surprising number of good everyday looks with just the five shadows.

The two mattes worked well together for a very low key office look.  Adding just the central white shimmer to it, made the office look pop a little more but not stray into the inappropriate for an office arrena.  The shimmery bronze color could also be applied lightly with a dry brush for just a little shimmer, or a wet brush could be used for an extra metallic look after work look.  The gold was naturally more dramatic because it is a bit brighter.  Changing the application and the surrounding shadows, it could go from a more muted old gold sort of look to a bright gold coin look.

Also given the small size of the palette (and the fluffy padding of the doughnut) it could be slipped into a purse so a day time look could be worn throughout the day and then a quick trip to the ladies can adjust the look for the post work cocktail hour.

I used either a lid primer or (more often than not) concealer on my eyelids to give me a good base.  With that and a quick hit of setting spray once the look was complete I found that the shadows didn’t crease throughout the day and lasted the full day with no issues.  

It is a great neutral with a pop palette and I am sad that I forgot about it for so long.  I will be looking for a new home for it somewhere easily accessible so that it doesn’t get lost in the depths of the drawer with the other larger palettes.  It is fun, easy to work with and great for everyday use. I just can’t keep it out on the dressing table as just looking at it makes me want to go to my local doughnut shop. There is a family run place about five miles down the street from me.  It’s apparently been there since the 1930s.  Just looking at the palette makes me think ‘I should really support local business.’ But that is an argument between my waistline and my social consciousness.  Whichever wins, the eyeshadow palette is still good and isn’t leaving my dressing table any time soon, unless it is packed in a bag for travel.

Maybe the Bunnies will make me less hungry. They are only made of chocolate at Easter right?

Weight Loss Regime Survival Top #49: Patience

It is often said that there is nothing new under the sun. Willow bark becomes repackaged as aspirin and Taxis become ubers. While I don’t always agree with the nothing new, I have to say this week has been one where I have been destined to relearn one of the first lessons I had when I first decided to lose weight.


When I first decide that I was finished playing around with the idea of losing weight and actually decided to actively pursue it as a goal (my decision based more on not wanting my knees to give out on me than any desire to look good in a bikini), Patience was the first lesson I had to learn.

I wanted to run but could only make it once around the block walking before my body hurt too much to continue. I wanted to be able to lift large weights without a thought but found my arms shaking with the little baby weights. I wanted to keep pace with the slim athletic folks who make the work out videos but struggled to make it through one round.

Most of all, I wanted all of the excess weight to slide right off my body leaving me svelte and healthy with no aches in knees of feet.

The truth, as I’m sure all of you know, is that the weight didn’t all one day decided to pile on my bones. It wasn’t all going to leave in a single day, or even a single week.

Logically I knew that. I understood it. But the constant barrage of miracle weight loss advertisements somehow wormed its way into my brain. I do a lot of my shopping on line. For long stretches of time I lived in remote areas where it was my best option if I wanted any sort of variety in my purchases.I also moved around a lot and ended up picking up favorites from different locals that were not available once I moved. As my weight increased, I also found a better selection in my size range on line. My largest size was 3X, thankfully a size I have left behind and actually cleared out of my closet. Most stores don’t carry a lot of clothes in 3X.

But the internet does.

However there are lovely little computer programs all over the world wide web and I very quickly found that once you start ordering clothes in a size 3X on line, the commercials that get flashed your way tend to lean into the miracle diet lane. The most sensible tend to promise things like fat flushing and a 10 lbs loss in a week.

I knew I wasn’t going to take any pills or potions but concentrate on creating a healthy, sustainable program for me to lose weight and set myself up for a sustainably healthy future. I was looking long term and permanant, not quick fix.

But it is hard chipping away slowly at the mass with the diet and exercise hammer and chisel when you see the pneumonic jackhammer of the quick fix flashing at you everytime you go online. Even with the suspicion of overblown claims and possible unpleasant side effects, they tested my patience.

For the most part, I have gotten past it.

To be honest the high boasts of many of the pills and tinctures kind of scare me out of using them anyway. I can’t think of anything that works that dramatically as being good for me. I will admit I have a strange fascination with the sort of neoprene looking sweat vests. You know the ones where you slip on a rubber lined band around your middle so you sweat more and lose weight fast. I don’t know why they fascinate me, but they sort of do. I suspect if I tried them then I would end up passed out under the summer sun from dehydration more than anything else, but still they draw me in.

For now, they too are relatively easy to ignore.

But now I am learning the same lesson of patience in a different format.

While my body is healing from my burn, parts have been slower to heal than others, mostly because they took more damage. My feet were particularly hard hit. While I can walk around the house and stand without pain, the joint where my ankle meets my foot is still raw and the rounded knob of ankle bone on the inside of my foot took a particularly hard beating from the sun.

Given that I could stand and walk around the house without pain I thought to myself, maybe a quick walk around the block just to see if I can. So I pulled on socks and shoes. I took three steps and then hobbled back to the bed to take the shoes and socks off. The angry red of the abraded flesh screamed all sorts of subverbal obscenities at me. So I am still not walking. I am doing some work with my weights and I am doing crunches and other basic exercises that don’t rely on me walking. They are helping me burn off some of my antsy energy, even if they don’t burn a high amount of calories.

And again I find myself remembering the lesson of patience. Rushing to walk before my feet are healed enough will cause more damage and a greater delay in getting back into my calorie burning walks. Taking the time now, helps me in the long run.

While I don’t always agree that there is nothing new under the sun, at this point in time it seems I am destined to relearn the same lesson I thought I mastered. weight loss, like many other goals in life, requires patience in order to achieve.


Let there be lip Balm

The May Jersey Shore Cosmetics Lip Balm Subscription

I know I have mentioned it time and time again, but my favorite anti-snacking device involves lip products. Currently, as outside time is limited, I have a selection of lipsticks, lip glosses, lip oils and limp plumpers arranged on my desk in front of my computer monitor. 

While I love lip products, sometimes the choices I make when shopping (or what comes in a subscription box) aren’t the colors I gravitate towards when actually applying my makeup for the day.  As a consequence what I have started doing is lining up the shades that just don’t work for me, but whose formula I would like to test before investing in the purchase of another from the company, on my desk.  These off colors are my test subjects.  I apply them while looking into my compact and then forget the color while seeing if I like the formula.  As I have some really interesting colors in this selection there have been some interesting reactions when my baby doll asks if I want to join him for lunch.

It also keeps me from just using my Kristopher Buckle Cashmere Lip (Bardot, fav everyday color hands down) down until it is nothing but a nubbin when it is just me and a computer monitor. So that’s a plus.

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Oddly enough this makes my lip balm even more important.

In the morning after applying my skin care, my final touch is to apply some lip balm to my lips.  At the end of the day, I apply another coat after my final tooth brush of the day. While I also use masks, scrubs and oils on my lips, I generally find that a morning and night application of lip balm helps my lips recover from whatever drying effects some of my tester lip products have had during the day.

This is only one of the reasons the Jersey Shore Cosmetics Lip Balm subscription is one of my favorites.  For $10 (with a $3 shipping charge) they send you four lip balms per month.  Sometimes they’ll include a pigmented lip balm, sometimes not.  The subscription is mailed out between the first and the fifth and  renews on the 11th of the month.  So if you ordered on May 14th for example, they would charge you immediately, but you would get the June subscription and then on June 11th they would charge you for July’s package.  As their lip balms usually cost about $12 each, it is a pretty good deal. 

This month was an exceptional one as in addition to my four lip balms, I received a small silver heart necklace with the word Mom inscribed on it for mother’s day and a reusable (non-medical grade) face mask. I appreciate both the sentiment and the safety concern. My baby and I will soon make a trip out to the grocery store to forage for fresh veg and I will be wearing both the lip balm and the face mask then.

Then of course there are the lip balms.

Two are plain lip balms, one scented like strawberry and one scented like pomegranate. They are both perfect scents for this early spring when warmth is still a fleeting thing.  They bring to mind long days in the sun (although for me with an extra layer of sunscreen to prevent a burning repeat).

The third lip balm is the Super Sativa.  I have to say I am getting more and more enthused by some of the CBD products lately.  While there are several products out there that seem like a stretch, I have found a few that I really like using lately. The Yensa CBD infused cleansing oil comes to mind actually.

I tried this same lip balm last fall and through the winter.  It was a little more solid than the other formulas but once it warmed up a little it was one of my favorites.  The Jersey Shore Cosmetics lip balms do tend to be a little soft, but the Sativa one was stout enough that I could keep it in my pocket when running around outside, so it was close to hand all winter.  As a consequence it was used up first.  Because of this trait, I suspect I will save it for winter again and have safely sequestered it in my dressing table for later use.

What I tend to do with this subscription is keep it for a few months running, building up a stash of lip balms and then once I start to feel overwhelmed by my stash, I cancel the subscription for a few months and work on using up the lip balms I have.  Then when I run low again, I rejoin and start the process over again.  While some disappear in the wash or in the bottom of a purse never to be seen again, I am generally pretty good about only keeping one open at a time.

The fourth lip balm in this subscription is usually something a little fun.  This month it was the Moon Glow Silver Lip Highlighter. It can be worn alone or with lipstick and it has a little shimmer to it.  It smells like peppermint actually and tingles slightly on the lips.  It isn’t glittery, just sort of a lip balm with a little extra shimmer.  Because I was curious, it was the first one I opened and I have no problem using it as a general lip balm. I love that it has both Argan oil and aloe in the product so even though it is a shimmer product it is super hydrating. I’ve actually been paring it with some of my dryer liquid lipsticks. I find if I put it on, give the lip balm a minute or two to settle and then apply one of my more drying formulas of liquid lips over it, my lips don’t dry out as much. The highlight is actually covered by the matte of the lipstick so I still get a matte lip. Unless I put the highlight over the lip again after the lippie has dried down. I’m actually finding it super helpful in making some of the lip formulas I wasn’t very enthused by work for me.

highlight on hand

Admittedly, my baby doll thinks I look fancy when I wear this one to bed at night.

But he doesn’t have a problem with the texture when I kiss him, so it’s all right.

That is one of the other reasons I keep coming back to this subscription.  There are many products that my baby thinks feel slimy when I wear them and then kiss him.  And yes he makes the scrunched up face when he says it. 

Every time. 

He doesn’t think that these feel slimy so I don’t get the ‘Oooh slimy,’ comment. It’s a small thing, but to me, it matters.

Incidentally, while it is easier to find than it once was, sometimes it is hard to find this subscription on the Jersey Shore Cosmetics Home page. I tend to sign up through crate joy for this one (partially because when I reach my cancellation stage it is super easy to deal with). 

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If you don’t want to use cratejoy, I’d still suggest going through them to the Jersey Shore Cosmetics Site because oddly that has proven the easiest way for me to find the subscription link on their site. It’s sort of a strange back door, but it works and is worth the effort.

Under Eye Balm

Sox Box May 2020 Review

Sox Box May 2020

As many of you know working out can be hard on your clothing.  I managed to sequester a section of shirts in my wardrobe specifically to walk in under the hot sun on the walking trail.  (Actually many of them come from Just My Size in case you are wondering.  They fit comfortably and are Hanes products so they can take a beating and still come out nice in the wash.)

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I have secured various other exercise clothes from stretchy yoga pants and leggings to jeans of varying sizes, depending on the situation.  I have monitored my shoes and my undergarments for wear.  But you know what I forgot? 

My socks.

Well forget might be the wrong term. 

Let me explain.

I love socks. I love big fat fluffy ones.  I love cartoons of all varieties.  I love holiday socks and flying pig socks. And I have quite a collection.  Or had really. You see when I started working out I thought, I have so many socks, there is no point in buying socks just to work out in.

I thought that would be wasteful.

So I didn’t.

I wore my regular socks.  So, soon the fluffy socks no longer were and my fun socks developed holes. While both were designed to cover the feet and keep toes toasty, they weren’t made for working out and it soon showed. 

Because I’ve never really worried overmuch if my socks matched (either each other or the outfit I’m wearing, since most of the time my socks don’t show anyway) when one sock wore out to the point where it could no longer be worn, I chucked the worn out sock and if it’s mate was still usable I kept it, pairing it with another loose sock until it too wore out. Soon enough though, my sock collection started to dwindle under the constant barrage of abuse.

Replacements were purchased, although they were not in my usual style.  I picked up socks with reinforced toes meant to take the beatings workouts provided. (again, Hanes is my go to for these very necessary items, just FYI, and no this is not sponsored, I just happen to like and wear their socks on a routine basis).

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So the athletic socks are in predominantly white and black.  They are easily distinguishable from my other socks, which is by design. They are not as fun, but they are easily identifiable and quick to grab.

So a while ago I was poking around on Cratejoy.com.  At the moment I was picking up a tea subscription for my mother as a mother’s day gift.  (Simple Tea, in case you were wondering.) She loves tea of all varieties and was lamenting that when she goes to the store at the moment she goes in and quickly gets what is needed and then gets out, forgoing her usual leisurely brows of the tea aisle. (I know there are other items in the aisle and tea is not even the majority of the aisle in her favorite store, but it will forever be thought of as the tea aisle in my head.) So I figured this would give her a nice surprise. 

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While on cratejoy I also renewed my Jersey Shore Cosmetics lip balm subscription since I am running low and then I decided to poke around, just to see what else I could find that was interesting.  I found many things actually, but then I find subscription boxes rather fascinating.  Anyway, one of the ones that caught my eye was the Sox Box: Cute Socks from Korea subscription.  It is $10.99 (with 1.99 shipping for a grand total of $12.98).  For this price you get three pairs of socks.

After looking in my sock drawer and seeing that the black and white athletic socks now actually outnumbered my colorful socks, I decided to give it a try.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I expected three pairs of thin socks that would be cute, but not really last long.  While longevity hasn’t been tested, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when my socks arrived. I have to say I like that the packaging was minimal. There was a plastic mailer on the outside (not bubble wrap because socks really aren’t breakable when squashed) and then a cardboard sleeve. Inside the socks were wrapped in a sheet of tissue paper. That was it. Personally, I like the minimal trash produced.

the packaging

First, some additional details.  The subscription charges you when you sign up for your first box and then mails the socks out between the first and the fifth.  After that they charge on the 11th for the following month (May 11th for June’s box, and so on).  The socks claim to fit a variety of feet and I have to say I am a US 7.5.  They fit me perfectly.  I can see that there is a little wiggle room for anyone with either larger or smaller feet, but on me they are just about perfect.  They are ankle socks which are great for around the house wear for me.  (Not that I won’t wear them out of the house, just not on workouts. I don’t like running around barefoot, never really have to be honest so I’m always in socks in the house.)

The socks are much better quality than I expected and are quite adorable.  This month featured two puppy socks and a pair of kitten themed socks.  At least I think they are puppies.  They could be bears.  They have the ears and are brown and could go either way.  For now I’ll call them puppies. All three socks come from a company called Aries. When I looked up Aries socks on line I came up with varying prices mostly between $8 -$10 per pair so I am happy with the value of the three pack. The socks are compostable to wear and I ran them through the hot cycle in both my washer and dryer (I use the heat to help shrink my jeans a little so they stay on my hips, oddly enough I’ve not lost enough to fit into the next size down, but the pair I’m wearing is too big – ah the joys of weight loss)

I have to say as much as I love my plain work out socks, I am really happy I am adding fun socks back into the mix.   As three pairs per month will add up quickly and the one negative review I saw of the subscription claimed lack of variety was the issue, I’m not sure how long I’ll keep the subscription. For now though I am loving the subscription. It isn’t terribly expensive and when I look at my feet throughout the day, the socks make me smile.  Not really a bad deal all in all.

May 2020 BoxyCharm Premium: A Review

My Premium BoxyCharm Box for May 2020

For those who don’t know Boxy Charm is a beauty subscription.  The premium tier is $35 per month and for that price you are supposed to receive six full sized items with a minimum retail value of $120. This month’s theme was Mother Nature. I’ll be honest, I was not happy with my May box.  Generally I really like Boxy Charm.  They have a few months here and there where the box isn’t the greatest, but even then it is still fun to get. Other times it is super amazing.

For the record, I really hate writing negative reviews.  Usually even if I don’t like a product or a box, there are enough positives about it that I can see it working for someone else.  This month was different.

Now here’s the deal.  All of the products in this month’s box are ones I like.  The products are fine, but this isn’t a product review, this is a subscription box review. Even though each product is individually fine, it is their sum taken as a whole that makes up the subscription box and determines whether or not the subscription is worth paying for.  

This month not only did the box not feel premium, but when I opened it my first thought was ‘They must have forgotten to pack something.’  The box felt incomplete. It was light weight and the items sort of rolled around looking a little lost in the large box. Even when I counted the items and read over the card, I still pried out the bottom of the cardboard to make certain nothing else was hidden because it really felt as though something was missing. I think I would have felt that even if it was a regular box.  The fact that it was a premium one made it even worse.

But let’s get into the box. 

We’ll start off with the high note of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (retail $30). It was the item I chose for this month’s box.  It is gorgeous.  It looks luxe.  I love the packaging and it felt very premium. I look forward to using it.

The second item was the Pure Heals Centella 90 Ampule Serum (retail $28). I’m always up for trying new skin care.  At the moment however I am completely awash with skin care so it is going in my skin care drawer and will be used at a later date.  I am happy to have it to try, but lately there has been so much skin care in subscription boxes it is really hard to get all that excited.

Next there was the Kevyn Aucoin The Expert Mascara (retail $29).  It is a good mascara.  I’ve used it before and really like it. It is actually in my top five mascaras. It is one I would purchase on my own. In subscription boxes, however, mascaras always feel like filler. It is something that gets added in because there are already several higher priced items in the box. I got a mascara last month as well, so even though I like this mascara, I wasn’t terribly excited to see it in the box.  I do hope this means there will be more Kevyn Aucoin in future boxes because I really like the company’s products and would love to have more of them to try out. Again this nothing against the product.

The next item in my box was the tarte sugar rush best bud lip butter balm (retail $12).  Do I like tarte?  Yes.  Is it pretty? Yes.  But it is a lip balm.

I like lip balm. 

I currently have a lip balm subscription with Jersey Shore Cosmetics. (incidentally even though their lip balms are also $12 each, their monthly subscription for a four pack of lip balms with tax and shipping comes to $13.  I actually received this month’s JSC subscription on the same day as Boxy Premium which invited direct comparison, just so you know where I am coming from.)

But in a box like this, a lip balm is still a filler item.  Like mascara it is something that gets added to the box when the value is already high. Will I use it?  Yes, it’s a nice lip balm. But that’s not why I get BoxyCharm.

Following the tart lip balm was the Milk Make Up Glow oil lip and cheek (retail $15).  Again, I like Milk. There are several of their products I use and repurchase on a regular basis.  I’ve even used this product before and loved it.  It is an excellent lip oil and gives the cheeks a naturally flushed look for a no make up makeup look.  It’s a great product. 

And if it was full sized, you might be reading a different post.  Despite the fact that one of BoxyCharm’s claims to always provide only full sized products, this was a travel size. I won’t lie, I felt cheated.  The size of it made it feel like a chubby lip balm, which it kind of is, but it also made it feel like a quick add on not a featured product. which is not something I like saying about Milk because again, I do like their products.

So at this point I am looking at the last item in my May box to not only get the value for the box in the way Boxy Charm is known for, but to make up for two filler items and a travel sized product.  A tall order in general and one not really fulfilled by the final item; a set of Battington Beauty powder and contour brushes. 

Before I even mention the retail value of these brushes lets go over something. Last month, I received the 5 piece Lavish eye brush set (which I love by the way and will be posting a review on soon) It retailed for about $30.  The month prior I believe I received the brush trio from Alamar Cosmetics. Those are also great brushes.  A few months ago (late last year sometime I can’t remember which month) I received a set of the Boxy Charm Brushes.  They are fabulous as well. These brushes set the bar relatively high for the kinds of brushes I expect from BoxyCharm.

These Battington brushes have soft bristles, and really light weight cheap feeling metal handles. In addition, the handles are really fat. It is like gripping one of those chubby pencils little kids use when they are starting to learn how to make letters for the first time.

Because I have so recently gotten brushes from BoxyCharm, I had plenty of items to compare them to. In fact a direct comparison was inevitable.  The Alamar and BoxyCham brushes both beat these hands down for quality and usability.  The bristles are fine. I can’t complain about those, but I do not like those handles. Even if you neglect the quality issue, the fat handles are not for me. There needs to at least be a dent or something in there for better gripping. I know I have relatively small hands to begin with, these just made my hands look tiny and they felt awkward to use.

If the set of two was listed as retailing for $30 I would consider that fair value for the duo. I wouldn’t consider it a particularly good value, but I wouldn’t think I was being rooked. When I looked at the card and realized they were listed as retailing for $90, not only was I floored, but I was kind of mad.

If you add up the retail value of everything in the box without the brushes it comes to $114.  With the brushes it comes to $204. Boxy Charm Premium is listed as having a minimum value of $120 per month unless it is a brand take over month.  This was not a brand take over month. I understand that not every month is going to be a super fabulous month.  Subscription boxes are a gamble. Sometimes you get products you want, other times you get products that don’t work for you. I kind of like the gamble which is one of the reasons I purchase subscription boxes instead of just putting the cost of the box towards a product from Milk or Kevyn Aucoin.  Sometimes I get products I would never have purchased on my own and I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone with them. Sometimes the new products become favorites that I repurchase on my own again and again. Sometimes I try them for fun and decide they aren’t for me.

This month not only am I disappointed, but I sort of feel as though someone at BoxyCharm is taking revenge for not letting them win at Dodge Ball in elementary school or something.  (Admittedly I never defeated anyone at dodgeball. I always deliberately missed because I wasn’t a big fan of actually hitting other people, so maybe it’s vengeance for not helping them win.)Its like they put in the item I chose, selected the cheaply made over priced brushes and then added enough items to consider it complete.

While I have noticed that the boxes that come the month before a Boxy Luxe Month are never the greatest, this was a new low.  It should have been a warning not to expect too much when they started showing spoilers for the June Luxe month at the end of April.  That should have been the moment when expectations were lowered for May.  Maybe that’s it.  They were so excited about June that they rushed through May. But quite frankly if they aren’t going to pay that much attention to Premium the month before a Luxe box then maybe they shouldn’t have a Premium category. 

At the moment I am not happy, and at the moment am seriously considering cancelling my Premium box. I am willing to concede that times are a little strange with everything going on in the world. That is at this moment one of the primary reasons I am not automatically cancelling my Premium subscription. Truthfully, if it was any higher than $35 I probably would have cancelled it, but as I would have paid more than $35 for the products in this box that I like, I’ll let it ride for a few months to see if it is just a sign of the times or a continuing trend. The premium tier is also less than a year old so they still may be working out a few details and learning to juggle their various subscriptions. So I will be watching and at the year mark (which was my initial re-think marker for this subscription) I will decide if it is worth keeping or not. As I have loved having BoxyCharm, even in the somewhat boring months, I really hope this is just a sign of the times and a temporary slip up.

SPF 728x90

Fresh Pressed Ginger + Vitamin C for my Friday Face Mask

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are having a good one.  Today for my Friday Face mask I decided to try the Sweet Chef Ginger + Vitamin C Sheet mask. I chose it for a couple of reasons. 

The first is that at the moment sheet masks are easier to apply and remove. This week as I’ve been recovering from sunburn, I have been going through my extra moisturizing masks and using the excess serum on arms and legs to aid fried skin. The ease of application and removal has been a fantastic feature this week.

As an aside, most of the masks have been just fine general sheet masks.  One of the ones I would re-order though came from my Facetory Subscription. It was the Vitality mask (I think it retails for $2.50) with pomegranate.  It was extremely hydrating and felt very good on the skin.  I will definitely be re-ordering it for use throughout the summer. Thus far it has been the best of the bunch.

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

The second reason that I wanted to try the Sweet Chef mask is because of the serum shots also offered by the company. If you remember I had the bottle of Kale serum and the Kale sheet mask and did a side by side trial.  In that I basically found that the liquid in the sheet mask felt more or less like a watered down version of the product in the serum shot.  As I am a big fan of Vitamin C serums, I wanted to test out the sheet mask and see if I liked it enough to try the Ginger serum shot.

It seems like everyday companies are having sales so as I was especially interested in the possibility of purchasing the Ginger Serum Shot from Sweet Chef I wanted to try it out before I happened to see a sale.  I didn’t want to buy it, then try out the mask to find I didn’t like it at all.  I would consider that a foolish waste of money. So I tried out the mask to see if I liked it, that way if I know more or less whether I want to try the serum before I see a sale and pounce.

If that makes sense.

So, according to the Sweet Chef website…

Oh, ginger snap! The Ginger + Vitamin C Fresh-Pressed Sheet Mask instantly leaves your skin looking radiant and glowy — just the way we like our selfies. The potent blend of Ginger and powerful Vitamin C help fight environmental aggressors, revive dull skin, and even skin tone.

as always, the sheet mask is way too big for my face, it makes me wonder if I just have a tiny head and no one bothered to tell me until now.

There is a slight ginger scent to the mask, which as I like the scent of ginger, I don’t mind. It isn’t hot on the skin like ginger, it has the same coolness most sheet masks possess.  The serum soaked into the skin well and after using, my skin did, in my mind, appear brighter and more refreshed.  I wouldn’t say glowy, but certainly more refreshed.  If the same holds true with the ginger as it did with the kale, then the ginger serum shot would be a bit more potent. 

As I really liked this mask I think I am going to have to put the Ginger Serum Shot on my to try list.  At the moment I am finishing up the 111Skin Vitamin C serum so I have time to wait, but it is definitely on my to try list. I would actually consider picking up this mask again as well. I really felt quite refreshed after using it.  It is actually one of those masks that I could see having more of an effect if used more routinely. 

A lot of sheet masks I tend to think of as nice, but not something I would use on a regular basis. Or something I would only use to address a specific issue.  For example, the Vitality mask I mentioned earlier, I will be ordering to keep on hand for when my skin needs extra hydration after being outside for too long. It isn’t something I would consider a routine part of my weekly skin care.  I could see adding the Ginger mask in on a routine basis.  That not only speaks highly of the mask, but actually makes me more interested in trying out the Serum shot.  I suspect even if there is no sale, I will end up purchasing it and testing it out.  At this point I am too curious not to.

I hope everyone has something fun to do this weekend.  Currently my plans involve re-reading the Peter Mayle Marseilles Caper and the subsequent books in the series.  It’s one of those series I can re-read over and over again every few years.  It seems like a good time to take it out.  Our weather has turned cold again as a front moves through and the mountains are even expecting a little snow tomorrow.  It definitely seems like a good time to read of adventures in the south of France. Whatever you have planned, I hope you take some time to enjoy yourself.