Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Battle Duochrome Highlighter: Kat Von D vs Makeup Geek

Dear Reader,

You may be looking at all the makeup highlighters that are popping up and launching, especially the duochrome ones (they have a color shift) and think to yourself "Those are so pretty - I must have them all!" Then your bank account pipes up and says, "No, you must only choose one." You put on your sad panda face and see the wisdom of your bank account. But how do you choose? I am here to help.

Today I am going to pit the much anticipated Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette against similar Makeup Geek Duochrome highlighters. For today's test I am going to put the KVD {blue} Sapphire against the MUG Moon Phase (The blue shift ones) and the KVD {pink} Opal against the MUG Lit (the pink shift ones).

 Lets look at the blue ones first. I used both a brush and my finger to swatch and I took photos with my LG V20 in both outdoor and indoor light.
KVD {blue} Sapphire vs MUG Moon Phase Outdoor Light
KVD {blue} Sapphire vs MUG Moon Phase Indoor Light with Flash

Personal opinion here, but I think the MUG has a slightly better color pay off in the blue version. What do you think? Let's take a look at the pink:
KVD {Pink} Opal vs MUG Lit Outdoor Light

KVD {pink} Opal vs MUG Lit Indoor Light with Flash

With the pink I feel like the Kat Von D product has the better color payoff.

So lets break down cost. The Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette is $32 at Sephora.Com right now if you're a VIB or a VIB Rouge Member. It will hit Sephora.Com and KatVonD for everyone on 12/24 and will be in stores the 26th. You get four shades in the palette and each shade is 0.05 oz. This is $8/shade or $8/0.05oz. The Makeup Geek Highlighters are sold individually for $20 on the Makeupgeek website. You get 0.25 oz for the price.

If I were to wave my magic makeup wand and was able to make the pan sizes equal (0.25 oz) and have the ability to buy colors individually, you would end up paying $40 for the Kat Von D pan and still $20 for the Makeup Geek. From that stand point it is easy to see which one is the better value. Since I feel the color pay off in each is very similar, I don't know that the price of the Kat Von D one justifies purchasing it unless you're a diehard Kat Von D fan.

L-R MUG Lit, KVD Alchemist Holographic Palette, MUG Moon Phase

Sorry Kat, but it looks like Marlena (founder and head of Makeup Geek) won this one. I still love your products, though, so no hard feelings. :)

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Self Care and Why You Need To Do It

Dear Reader,

It's time we talked about self care. This is important for normal people and for us spoonies. I know a lot of you don't invest in self care which is why we are going to have ourselves a little chat. Now you may be asking yourself, what makes this random blogger an expert? Well dear reader, I have lived with fibromyalgia and an autoimmune disease called CREST for over 5 years now. If I do not take care of myself daily and set up boundaries I get myself in a whole mess of trouble. Trouble equals a flare and me being in bed for days if not weeks. It is my goal in this blog to impart to you some of my hard-gained knowledge in the world of self care.

Go grab yourself a drink. Coffee or tea if that's what you need. Something stronger if that will help. I'll wait... Are you ready? Then let's do this.

Step One - Figure out the energy you have. In the spoonie community we call this our number of spoons. For my readers who might not be familiar with Spoon Theory you may find it here. Now your energy level should be what you can accomplish on a normal day. Not a full on emergency situation day. This is the energy level you have without being totally wiped out. The kind of day where you go to bed tired, not the kind of day where you literally fall into bed.

Step Two - Now that you have figured out what you can get done in a day, you need to prioritize your day. What must get done versus what you'd like to get done. These priorities might change from day to day. For example, must the laundry get done today? If you still have clean clothes to wear and you have more pressing matters, I'd put that on the "like to get done" list. It is very important you learn the difference between "like to get done" and "must get done." You are not Superman or Superwoman. There is no reward for getting it all done right this minute.

Step Three -  Learn to forgive yourself. I know you have been taught you must get everything done in one day and what you don't get done you must lay in bed and flagellate yourself over. I know, I know, we have been conditioned by society that we must put on this facade of a perfect life. Guess what, there are no awards for having the perfectly cleaned house or always helping out people when they ask for it. Which leads me to step four...

Step Four - The magic word. This is going to be a tough one. Deep breath and repeat after me. NO. Let's try it again. NO. Use this magic word (NO) to create boundaries for yourself. Your time on this planet is finite. Don't waste it all doing everything for everyone. You can't be all things. If you are running around trying to do everything asked of you, you will have no energy for yourself.

Step four is a very hard step. I get it. You want to be a good friend, a good sister, a good child. However, if you are constantly using your energy for everyone else and leaving nothing for you, your batteries will eventually just run down to zero. Then what? You can't do anything on a dead battery. Learn to set boundaries and take care of yourself first. This step is critical for self care.

Are you still with me? You've evaluated your energy, figured out the difference between have to's and like to's, learned to forgive yourself for not being superhuman, and learned to say no and set firm boundaries. Are we ready to move on?

Step Five - Recharge. What can you do just for you? This might be taking a bubble bath, or reading a good book with a glass of wine. Maybe going for a walk. Figure out what you can do just for you. I know you're used to putting yourself last, but this must change, dear reader. You need to put your own needs first. Now now, I'm not telling you to be selfish and never do anything for anyone else. All I'm saying is put yourself first, take care of what you need to do, including recharging your batteries. If you have energy left over after you've done what YOU NEED to do, then you can help others.

As to not overload you dear reader, I am going to leave it there. You can start practicing these five steps and see how it goes. Please report in on how you feel after practicing. You know I love to hear from you!

Do you have a recommendation on self care? Did I miss a step? Please comment below. I too am learning how to do this "self care" thing.

Until Next Time <3

Monday, December 12, 2016

Battle of the Beauty Subscription Boxes

Lets Get Ready to... I was going to say "Rumble" but that doesn't sound quite right when talking about makeup/beauty subscription boxes. Anyway... (insert long awkward pause)

I love getting beauty subscription boxes. It's a happy surprise each month in the mail. And who doesn't love happy surprises as opposed to bills? Today I am putting Ipsy, Sephora Play, and Lip Monthly up against each other. May the odds be ever in your favor.

First up, Ipsy. I don't even know how long I have subscribed at this point. Three years? Its been a while. Ipsy is $10/mo and you get 5 items.  Here is November's Glam Bag. Included in my bag are Elemis anti-aging day cream, Absolute New York Matte lipstick in Dark Red, Tarte Maracuja Oil, The Balm Mad Lash mascara, and a W20 Angled Eyew20 brush from SLMissGlam.

November Ipsy Glam Bag

I did say five items and you can count, there are six. I had used my points in October to get the eyelashes. You get points for reviewing products, so it pays to review so you can cash in on extra items. Plus it helps to dial in what items you will like (30-40 are available each month) and which ones you aren't a fan of.  An additional Ipsy benefit is items/brands featured each month typically have a coupon code so you can purchase full size items that were featured. Ipsy also does daily offers of beauty items (Monday-Friday). I think this is the biggest feature. I have gotten some crazy deals from this. Most recently I nabbed 2 full-size Besame lipsticks for $20. That's two for the price of one!

Next up in this battle royale is the new kid on the block, Sephora Play. I believe Sephora Play launched three months ago. I signed up after the first month and this is my second box. Just like Ipsy it's $10/mo. It comes with 5 items and a fragrance sample. The bonus of the Sephora Play box is that it comes with a 50 point bonus card that you can redeem with purchase. I don't know about you, but I love Sephora points. Just last month I cashed 1000 in for a really nice bag of deluxe size items from Urban Decay (which will be reviewing in a future blog).

November Sephora Play Box

Included in the November Play box is Pop by Stella McCartney, Glam Glow SuperMud Clearing Treatment, Sephora gel gloss in Pin-Up Pink, Cover FX Illuminating Primer, Dissolve The Drama 2 in 1 Cleaner by Estee Edit, and Caviar Stick Eye color in Rose Gold from Laura Mercier.

Last up is Lip Monthly. It is 4-5 items a month. I buy the four month blocks for $54 ($13.50/mo).  It's a little more expensive but it's a combination of full sized items and deluxe size. Additionally, just last month they started to allow you to select the shades your lip items will be. I like having a little say over what I get beforehand. It's somewhat disappointing when you get a shade you really don't care for.

November Lip Monthly

This month the Lip Monthly bag included a Luna lip gloss in Titania, a lipliner from Ofra in Maya, a lip crayon from Hikari in Duchess, and an anti-aging eye serum from Freeze 24*7.

Do we have a clear winner from these three boxes? In my opinion no. Each has positive qualities. Since Ipsy and Sephora Play are the same amount it's a little easier to compare the two since it's more apples to apples. I like the high end items (and bonus points) from Sephora Play, but I like getting full size items and tools (a girl can never have too many brushes) from Ipsy (plus coupon codes and daily offers). Is the extra $3.50/mo with Lip Monthly worth it? Some months yes, some months not so much. If there was one I was going to stop subscribing to it would be Lip Monthly.  I like that they have added on the shade selection option and they are promising more changes. We will see what the future holds.

All three boxes appeal to my spoonie side. I love having items delivered right to me. Beauty items shipped right to my door at a value price? You are speaking my language!  I also subscribe to the Wal-Mart Beauty Box, but that only comes in quarterly. That is $5/quarter and comes with some great samples and coupons. Oh, and Ulta, if you're listening, Sephora has thrown down. What do you have? Time to get in the ring.

Did my review help you? Are you currently subscribed to any of these? Are you subscribed to a box I didn't mention but I need to? Would you like me to review future months? Let me know dear reader! I love hearing from you.

Until Next Time,