Friday, June 15, 2012

How I Save Money On Makeup

Let's state the obvious: High quality makeup can be VERY expensive. It gets worse when you are allergic to practically every makeup brand out there, such as myself. From drugstore to high end, there are only a few brands that I can actually use. Also, it's not so much the brand but the ingredients in a given product. For example, I can use Too Faced eyeliner, but their mascaras and eyeshadows irritate my eyes and make them very itchy.

I don't have the extra income to constantly try new brands and take the risk of being allergic to it, so when I find a product that I can use, I stick to it. But what if that product is expensive? If I could use a $5 mascara rather than a $20 mascara, I'd do so in a heartbeat. But I'm not as lucky as many people who have no reactions to mascaras, so managing my money is very very important to me. Also, I'm not a makeup fanatic, so I don't have 4 foundations, 8 blushes, 100 eyeshadows; I own a normal amount of makeup.

Another thing you must always remember is: "A high price does NOT equal high quality." I recently purchased my first M.A.C. lipstick and I do not like all! I find the packaging to be quite cheap, my Avon lipsticks come in beautiful high quality packaging for a lot less money. I also did not like M.A.C.'s formula, it's very drying and does not last long on my lips unless I apply a lip balm and gloss over it, then the color looks GORGEOUS. But I think I'll stick with my Avon lipsticks that go on smoothly without having to apply a lip balm AND a lip gloss to have it look nice. I have not found a brand, whether drugstore or high end, that can beat Avon lipsticks <3 (; So there you go, I just recommended a brand hehe ^_^

Here are the makeup brands I can use:

For eyes:
Urban Decay
Physician's Formula (only their mascara)
Too Faced (only their eyeliner and eyeshadow primer)
Eyeko (found them through Birchbox)

For face [Makeup]:
Urban Decay
Physicians Formula
Laura Mercier
Laura Geller
Make Up For Ever
Dr. Jart

For lips:
Avon (My absolute favorite lipstick brand out there)
M.A.C. (which I don't like very much)
Urban Decay
Sephora (lip glosses; I don't like their lipsticks)

How I save money on makeup:

1. I try to purchase all my products online | Whenever I purchase from, I am guaranteed 3 free samples with my order. Free samples give me the opportunity to try a new brand and see whether I am allergic to it or not. Also, whether you purchase in-store or online, try to become a member of stores like ULTA or Sephora where you accumulate points and then exchange them for a deluxe sized sample [usually 100 points] or a kit [usually 500 points]. The reason I prefer over the store itself is because my Sephora store never has free samples to give me, and as you can see I love samples (; ULTA usually never gives me the promised samples I ask for online, so I avoid them unless there's a sale with something I need.

2. I like to purchase during the holidays and sales | During Christmas time, I have noticed that company's will come out with value kits that will easily save you hundreds. I remember getting my mom a Smashbox value kit with tons of Smashbox products for only $36, and it had a value of $146. It included a full size face primer, blush, bronzer, lip stick, eye shadows, eye shadow primer, and more I can't remember. But that alone saved $110.....$110!!! That's insane! My recommendation is to save your money during the year and during holidays or sales purchase the best value kit you can find, or a brand you have been wanting to try. Also, palettes will save you more money than buying the eyeshadows individually. The individual eyeshadows I own have been gifts or from sample boxes, which is my third way of saving money on makeup.

3. I am subscribed to 3 $10 sample box subscriptions | Yes $30 a month may break the bank for some people when it comes to makeup and beauty, but I can afford it so I choose to spend it. Keep in mind that I do not purchase clothes, leisure products, or any other makeup during any given month (unless it needs replacing). Those $30 is all I spend on myself. But in doing so, on average, I receive 12-18 deluxe size to full size products. One time I received a $29.50 blush in my $10 box, last month I received a $22 eyeliner, and this month I received a $15 eye stick. If I were to go and pay full price for those mere 3 products I would spend $29.50 + $22 + $15 = $66.50! That's A LOT of money if you're on a budget or just trying to save for the future like I am. The ones I'm subscribed to are Birchbox, LookBag, and now MyGlam.

My favorite of the 3 is Birchbox because I can accumulate points and then get $X off a future purchase. My favorite FREE way of getting points is by giving feedback to the products I received in a month. I get 10 points for every product I give feedback to and when I get to 100 points I get $10 off. Right now I'm at 181 points, which I've gotten by leaving feedback and purchasing a product or two. My goal is to get to 400 points by not purchasing anything. There's a moisturizer that I loved but it's $44! By getting to 400 points, only by leaving feedback and not spending money, I will get that moisturizer for $4!! That's awesome (; You can also get points for buying a product through them, for every $1 you spend you get 1 point.

Also, I had actually unsubscribed from MyGlam after being subscribed for 3 months when the company first began because it was not sending good sized samples. But now that has changed and in the past 2 months I have liked what others have received, so I resubscribed and should be receiving my next bag in July.

Also, I share my samples with my mom, who is allergic to a lot of products (I get it from her hehe).

4. I bid on eBay | This one requires patience and searching. I once got a $64 Urban Decay palette for $15 on eBay, that's an INSANE STEAL :D On eBay, I also purchase my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette for $30 rather than the usual $50, and yes, it's authentic and not a fake. But like I said, this requires patiences and constant searching.

5. I try before I buy | I never ever ever ever purchase anything unless I have tried it (except that M.A.C. lipstick >.<). This is why I like stores that allow me to try the product before I purchase it. This is very difficult to find in drugstores, which is why friends come in handy (; My best friend purchase 2 of the Revlon lip butters, which I was skeptical to buy because I didn't know if my lip/chin area would get itchy because of it. She let me try one and what do you know, no reaction ^_^ So once I'm finished with my tinted Nivea lip balms, I might just try it (;

If you can use any makeup brand without any allergic reactions, here are some ways I've seen and helped others save money on cosmetics:

6. Coupons | In the newspaper, I always see coupons for brands like Revlon, Cover Girl, Maybelline, Sonia Kashuk, Almay, Physician's Formula and Loreal. You can also find coupons online, print them, and use them at the store.

7. Dollar Tree | I always see brands like E.L.F., L.A. Colors, Almay, Jordana, and N.Y.C at Dollar Tree. I can't use these brands but I've heard good things about them and you can find these for a dollar which is cheaper than what CVS or Walgreens might be selling them for.

8. Make a wish list or ask for a gift card | If you're a makeup enthusiast, make a wish list of products you would love to receive from family or close friends. This can be for Christmas or your birthday. Or even better, ask for a gift card so you can spend the money on whatever you like. I prefer to give visa gift cards rather than Sephora, Target, or ULTA gift cards, so that they can spend their money at a high end store or a drugstore, and try products they've been wanting(:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Divergent and Insurgent Book Reviews

            Insurgent starts off right where Divergent ended, so if you haven’t read Divergent I recommend reading it and then coming back to this blog if you’re still interested because I have to give parts of Divergent away in order to give reasons for my thoughts and opinions on Insurgent (: In case you haven’t read Divergent I’m going to give you what I remember about the book without giving any spoilers. I read it over a year ago, so my mind is a bit fuzzy on details but here we go:

           *Spoiler free* Divergent takes place in dystopian Chicago where society and its people are divided into 5 factions: Candor, Abnegation, Amity, Erudite, and Dauntless. Every year all 16 year olds have to choose 1 faction out of the 5 to live in for the rest of their lives. After these teenagers choose their faction, they have to go through an initiation which determines who will stay in the faction they chose and who will become factionless. The factionless are basically the “homeless” who don’t belong to any faction. The main character is Beatrice Prior, and you will learn more about her and what faction she chooses when you read the book (if you haven’t already). But Beatrice has a secret she can’t tell anyone and that she has to hide because in her society people get kill for “that.” What I loved most about Divergent was how action packed it was. Every time I turned a page, something new was happening. What I believed was true wasn’t true and there were twists and turns all over the place. Towards the end of the book, a lot is revealed and all I’m going to say is: not everyone is who you thought they were. There’s betrayal, sacrifice, friendship, love, and most importantly I felt like I was part of the book, almost like I was living it in my head. I definitely recommend this book and I give 5 out of 5 stars.

            Now to Insurgent, also by Veronica Roth. This part of the blog post will contain spoilers about Divergent but not about Insurgent. 

*Divergent spoiler begins* 
         Insurgent starts off where Divergent left off: Tris’ parents were killed by those under the simulation when Abnegation was attacked. Also, Tris is trying to cope with the fact that she killed her friend Will. In this book we learn why Abnegation was attacked in the first place and what that particular faction wanted. Just like in Divergent, people are murdered or gravely injured. 
*Divergent spoiler ends* 

        In Insurgent, we learn more about each faction, and some of the factions “dirty little secrets,” as well as what they are trying to hide from the society. A lot of secrets are revealed, and we get to learn more about Tris and why she is the way that she is, and why she goes around doing pretty reckless and outright insane things sometimes. What I loved most about it was how those who I thought were loyal turned out to be traitors, and those I despised I actually felt love for. After page 300, things really start to intensify and that was when I really couldn’t put the book down. Although a lot of what happens during the first half of the book had me on edge, I still felt that it was missing something that was not drawing me in as much as I was drawn into in Divergent (I think it was the lack of action). But after having read the entire book and going through every scene in my head, I realized that without the emotional and heart-felt first half of the book, I would not have felt the way that I did after I finished the entire book. Insurgent has a little bit of everything, there's some funny moments, there's drama, curiosity, excitement, and so many more emotions tied to the reading experience. 
           Overall, I loved the book and have high expectations for the third one; it gets 5 out of 5 starts in my book(:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 2012 Birchbox: Jet Set

"This month's box is devoted to products that will indulge your inner jet setter, from hardy formulas that can last throughout a long-haul flight to imported finds that we've picked up on our global adventures." - Birchbox

Birchbox monthly subscription: $10

This was what I first saw when I opened June's BirchBox. They always have a cute introduction to the months box...which I never read hehe (; For this month, I love the little detail of making the introduction card look like a postcard!

After removing the card and tissue paper, my samples were revealed!

At first glance, I went crazy when I saw another full-size eye product! Last month they sent a $22 Stila liquid liner, it was amazing until I had an allergic reaction to it, and ended up giving the liner to one of my best friends. But without further ado, here is everything out of it's packaging(:

This month I got 6 products in my box, they were:
~Comodynes | Self-Tanning Intensive
~Eyeko | Fat Eye Stick
~Likewise | Facial Moisturizer + Sun Protectant SPF 50 Normal To Oily
~theBalm cosmetics | Stainiac in Beauty Queen
~tili bags | Lifestyle Extra
~John Varvatos | Birchbox Man Extra

Here's what Birchbox said about the Comodynes Self-Tanning Intensive Towelettes in this months card: "Who needs the sun when you can get a safe, build able, and natural-looking tan with these bestselling European towelettes?"
Price: $14.99 for a pack of 8
Initial Reaction: I'm not going to lie, I got freaked out when I saw the self-tanning towelettes because I'm terrified of artificial tans. For starters, I'm not a tanning person (I don't even like the beach hahaha!), so I wasn't very excited when I saw it. But then I watched a video by Birchbox on YouTube, and in the video they showed how it applies and how to apply it. That changed my perspective about them a little...but I'm a bit scared of them (; 
Overall Opinion: I still haven't tried them, but when I do I will update this section

Here's what Birchbox said about the Eyeko Fat Eye Stick in the color Old Gold in this months card: "A Birchbox exclusive, this UK brand's too-cool shadow stick combines creamy color and long-lasting wear."

Full size price: $15
Initial Reaction: One word: EXCITEMENT! I got so happy when I saw this in my box! I have never tried an eye makeup stick before. I know that various brands make this type of product, but I was always afraid to buy it and end up with irritated itchy eyes. So I took the product out of the box and swatched it on my hand, like girls do on YouTube, and it applies so softly; it has a pretty creamy consistency. 
Overall Opinion: I love it! I would definitely pay $15 for this product in the future when mine runs out. It applies very smoothly and does not tug on my eyelids. I do not have to apply a lot of product to get the color I want on my eyelids since I get an opaque finish with a single, soft, no pressured application on the lids. This is a plus for me because it means that I am not wasting a lot of product on one application, which will increase the longevity of the eye stick, making it worth $15. In a nutshell, it will last longer since I don't have to reapply [or build on] the product. Also, it looks beautiful on its own, but I love to place YDK or Suspect by Urban Decay on top to prevent any creasing (I have very oily eyelids). Additionally, it brings a good amount of product: 4g [or] 0.14oz; that is enough to last me a pretty long time! Most importantly, I do not have an allergic reaction to it, so I can add this product to my list of eye makeup products I can use :D 

Here's what Birchbox said about the Likewise Facial Moisturizer + Sun Protectant SPF 50 Normal to Oily in this months card: "Get sun savvy with this zinc-infused cream. It acts like a hydrating toner to mattify skin while deflecting UV rays."
Full size price: $44
Initial Reaction: "Oh my goodness another sticky, oily, overpriced SPF moisturizer." When I saw this moisturizer had an SPF of 50 I was about to have a heart attack. I have never in my life met a moisturizer with SPF, whether it's 5, 10, 20, or 30, that will not make my face more oily than what it already is, which is why I do not use a moisturizer with SPF on a day-to-day basis...I don't use a moisturizer at all because that's always what I get: an oil reserve on my face. So imagine my disappointment when I saw it was a moisturizer with SPF 50; I was very happy that the sample size wasn't very large! But as always, I was open to try it, that's why I'm subscribed to Birchbox: to try products I would probably never ever pick up on my own, such as this one!
Overall Opinion: I was proved wrong. This moisturizer is unlike anything any beauty subscription has ever sent me. After applying this product it's almost as if it sucks the oil out of my face! How? I have no idea! :D I'm still amazed at how it protects my face from the sun yet does not make it greasy or heavy feeling. Also, since there's less oil on my face, I feel that my BB cream lasts longer then it used to, especially on my forehead and nose areas. Would I pay $44 for this? Yes, after budgeting properly of course. Why? A little goes a long way, and the product does exactly what it claims to do. This is a quality that is very difficult for me to find in a moisturizer, and to think that I have finally found a moisturizer that will protect my skin with an SPF of 50, while not making my face shiny, makes me the happiest girl in the world! Also, I don't wear makeup on my face everyday, so having a moisturizer that works as a mattifier is a timesaver! Imagine waking up in the morning with an oily face, washing it, applying a moisturizer, some mascara, and you're out the door ^_^ I don't know about you but that's my kind of routine (;

Here's what Birchbox said about the theBalm cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen in this months card: "We're crazy about this two-in-one lip and cheek stain: the sheer gel formula delivers a subtle, long-wearing flush."
Full size price: $17
Initial Reaction: I had heard of the brand theBalm in the past, and tried their nail polish in a MyGlam, which I must say I did not like the color they sent me! Since I liked the application and overall nail polish by this brand, I had high hopes for the stain. Now I must say that I have never tried a stain in my life! The closest I've ever gotten to a stain is a lip surge by Tarte, which came in a previous Birchbox. When it came to a cheek and lip stain, I have never ever tried one!
Overall Opinion: I really like it! I've worn it twice since I received it and it actually lasts on my cheeks, but not so much on my lips. Since it's red and it reminds me of blood, I feel like a vampire when I apply it to my lips hahaha! It gives a very nice stain to the lips but not very long lasting for me. I cannot say I'd purchase the full size of this product just because it doesn't wow me so much. I can't compare it to other stains since I haven't tried others, but I found this to be an okay cheek and lip stain. It's not a product that I can honestly say "I cannot go a day without this product," such as the mascara I use on a daily basis (it's the only mascara I don't have an allergic reaction to, so you can imagine how much I love it!).  I do love the product for cheeks, but not for lips.

Here's what Birchbox said about the Tili bags in this months card: "Breeze through airport security with these too-cute plastic bags. They're perfectly sized for storing all your travel essentials (and beauty samples)."
Price: Pack of 9-12, $8.49 - $9.49
Initial Reaction: "Oh my goodness it's animal print!" This is like a ziploc bag with an adorable twist! 
Overall Opinion: If I had the extra money to purchase these, I would! I can imagine myself taking grapes or dry snacks to work or when running errands, but I cannot imagine spending $8.49 on 9 of them hahaha! I've been using mine in my shower caddy. Inside of it I keep my everyday lip scrub, lip balm, hand cream, foot cream, and cuticle cream. It seals very well. It didn't come out in the picture but it actually seals like a Hefty baggie. It has a little white "zipper" that opens and closes it. I think these would make a very cute back to school gift!

Here's what Birchbox said about the John Varvatos Star USA Birchbox Man Extra Cologne in this months card: "In honor of Father's Day, we've included this dapper cologne, a blend of ginger, juniper berries, and vetiver. Pass it on to a lucky guy friend or family member."

Full size price: $55 - $70
Initial Reaction: "I'm not a man." Let me just say I gave the cologne sample to my boyfriend so I don't have a picture taken by me...I stole the picture of the full size from the Google (; But if you scroll to the top, you can see the packaging from my initial unboxing(: So moving on, I love the smell of this cologne and my boyfriend did as well...someone might be getting it in their birthday bag hehe(;
Overall Opinion: It's a delicious and fairly affordable cologne for a male of any age. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ideas for Videos and Blog Posts

Hey there love. Long time no see!

Since I have been so busy with schoolwork, life, work, family, socializing, and housework, making videos has [unfortunately] gotten pushed to the back burner. For those who don't know, I'm taking two 8-week summer courses online, and the amount of work that has to get done is massive; to that add the things I previously mentioned and you get jam packed days with hardly any time to get everything done. I have 4 more weeks left of these 2 online courses before I begin my official summer break from school.

So about video making. I have TONS of video ideas and inspirations for my main channel; here are some of my ideas (if you have any, please leave them in a comment or tweet me and I will add them):

School related:
-Study Tips: How I Study
-Avoiding Procrastination [Part 2]
-How to Stay Motivated
-Planning in a Small Agenda
-How I Outline from a Textbook

Organization related:
-Makeup Organization
-Jewelry Organization (mainly consists of all my mom's stuff, but I'm considering this "Jewelry Organization" as a blog post with pictures rather than a video)
-Dresser Drawer Organization
-Cleaning and Maintaining Your Bedroom Organized (This will be both a video AND blog post ^_^)

Finance related:
-How I Save Money on Skincare/Makeup
-Creating a Budget
-Prioritizing your Budget (I might make this a blog post)

Just For Fun:
-Scentsy review (which I've been using for 6 months so it's a very honest review (; )
-Hello Kitty Live Wallpaper Review for Android (Which I've been using for about 5 months now)
-Various Tags

For my blog I'm thinking of expanding my horizons and going outside my comfort zone. If you don't already know, I am allergic to practically every single makeup and skincare brand out there. But from time to time, I find products that are amazing quality and there's no allergic reactions. I discover these through monthly subscriptions like Birchbox and Lookbag, and Sephora, ULTA, or Urban Decay online purchases which always give me samples for free to try out. I never buy anything unless I have tried it and I know I will not have a hive-like allergic reaction. So I would LOVE to share a review of those [few] products that I discover. The reason I want to make blogs about beauty related things rather than videos is because I do not feel comfortable making "beauty" related's just not my thing, I prefer organization, budgeting, and school related videos (; They've been requested A LOT on videos, but I will not do them as videos, I will do them as blog posts ^_^ Here are the blog post ideas I have (again, feel free to add more):

Health related:
-My favorite juice recipes
-My favorite homemade foods/recipes

Beauty related:
-BirchBox: Reviews of the products I get each month, and whether or not they worked for me
-Lookbag: Reviews of the products I get each month, and whether or not they worked for me
-My Haircare Routine (highly requested on my channel and I don't know why hahaha!)
-Products I've repurchased (There's A LOT)
-Favorite nail polishes
-Reviews of products I've sampled through online purchases (Sephora, Ulta, etc)

Organization related:
-Tip of the day [or] Tip of the week: I will include links and pictures of fun and affordable ways to organize everyday spaces like the kitchen, bathroom, etc
-Links that will correlate to organization videos
-Anything you request (;

Book related:
-I'm thinking of making my book reviews as blog posts rather than videos, and have my book channel to show you books I'm planning on reading, as well as books I've read in the past and have loved [or hated]. I find that I express myself a lot better on writing then I do orally, and book lovers will definitely benefit from that.

Life related:
-Relationship Advice: I get asked about relationships a lot and I think blog posts will be of more help then videos.
-Prioritizing schoolwork while managing a home: I do live in my parents house but I do everything in the house, this means cooking, cleaning, organizing, maintenance, laundry, party preparations (really rare, about twice a year), anything handy that has to get fixed, and week-to-week groceries. So I think it's be amazing to help those of you who have to manage a home (which isn't easy) while also going to school, working, having a social life, and finding family time which is so very least to me (;

The reason there is more on my blog ideas than on video ideas is because of this: My life is changing, for the best of course, but it's changing and I do not have the time I used to have to make videos. I am NOT going to stop making video...EVER! But it is easier for me to type everything I want to tell you than it is to film it, edit it, then upload it and reply to everyone. And yes I have to reply to everyone, not because it's mandatory but because as a video maker, I have given myself the responsibility to reply to everyone who asks a question or needs help. If you have taken the time to watch and comment my video, I will give back that same time with a response and more videos. I find it's the right thing to do(:

I'm not very good in front of the camera, and since I'm such a perfectionist and want to give the perfect video that will help you, I'll easily spend one to one and a half hours refilming until I know that the video has everything it needs to assist you. At this time I just don't have that hour or so to spend on a video, I'd rather spend that hour cooking a healthy meal for my family, on schoolwork, or with my boyfriend, etc. So I want to start making 1 video a week, I don't know when this will start, but I want to set the goal of uploading 1 video every week(:

I think that's it ^_^ Any other question you have feel free to ask, I love you all and miss you so much! <3