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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award - yay! I was actually nominated twice for this, (by Provincial Budget Beauty and Canadian Beauty Reviews - thanks girls!) but have only got around to posting about this now.

The rules are: 

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. 
  •  Include a link to their blog. 
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. 
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Because nominating 15 blogs at this time is quite a lot for me; I will follow Provincial Budget Beauty and nominate 7 bloggers but also stick to naming 7 things about myself. I don't believe I can nominate the bloggers who nominated me, so I will instead thank them profusely and tell everyone to check out their blogs if you haven't already!!!

So...seven facts about me.

1. When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a farmer. I'm not sure this would have worked out so well, as City Girl doesn't like getting messy or dirty, and if I had animals I wouldn't make a profit because I would want to keep them all as pets :)

2. Even though I don't particularly like getting messy, I absolutely love welding. I am not good at it at all, but I do know how to do both mig and arc welding. Again, I must stress, I am not very good. I actually kind of suck at it. But I vow to keep practising. And I love the smell of the metal shop. 

3. I used to be vegetarian (when I was in high school). My doctor told me though after four years of it I needed to go back to eating meat because I wasn't getting the proper nutrition and kept getting sick. But nowadays at home we only buy free range organic, humanely-raised meat (and I don't eat certain meats like lamb or pork). Or foods like foie gras (the closest I will get to that is the China Glaze Hunger Games polish of the same name).

4. My name is City Girl and I have a shoe addiction. It's serious. I actually don't blog really about my shoe purchases, but maybe I should. I am a member of both Just Fab and Shoedazzle and am especially fond of impractical (but sooo cute) high heels that I only wear occasionally but buy often. A couple of my recent purchases is the Abbey Dawn beauty (WTH in pink) and this amazing shoe.

5. Surprisingly, even though I'm subscribed to every beauty box I can get my hands on and make regular shoe purchases I somehow always stay within my grad student budget. It's a miracle!

6. In university (well the undergrad part) I pledged a sorority and most of my friends are from the greek community. And the fraternity system is nothing like what they show on Hollywood movies (well, okay, maybe there is a toga party or two). 

7. I am perpetually stuck in the 80's. I just think that was a wild time with fun music and movies- and even though the hair and makeup was crazy big and scary, it was a great time to just let loose (so no I won't go out with parachute pants and shoulder pads), but I think it's fun to add in an element or two to an outfit (think scrunchy foldover boots with leggings or maybe throw on a Madonna-esq cross necklace when going out). Though I'm not going to deny that I subscribe to Much More Retro (hey, "Everybody's working for the weekend" is a classic and Loverboy is Canadian ;)

Phew! That was a lot! Ok, now for the seven blogs/bloggers I nominate for the award...(In alpha order)

1. Jessica at Beauty Gnome
2. Jayne at  Cosmetic Proof 
3. Gaby at Gaby's Beauty Blog
4. Euginia at Ommorphia Beauty Bar
5  Maddy at Spilled Polish
6. Mary at Swatch and Learn
7. Aleeza at Stylish and Literate

Go check out these blogs if you haven't already!

Changing gears, I just wanted to quickly mention two additional things; first, I have a bunch more book reviews up on my reviewer page at Coffee Time Romance so if you are in the market for your next read, check it out (I also got an award for my review of The Lawman's Vow - take a look at my page for the deets!) I will also have my first interview with an author coming out very shortly; when it does I will link up to that.

Second, this is very exciting...CityGirl has teamed up with Pandora's Makeup Box to offer a 20% off discount for all purchases made through to the end of 2012. This offer is good worldwide, just type in code CityGirl20 at checkout. I will be doing a review of Pandora products in an upcoming review as well!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

20 follower giveaway!!!

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I was going to do a giveaway when I reached 20 followers. I am so thankful to everyone who takes the time to read my blog and/or post comments, so I wanted to show my appreciation by hosting a little contest!

The prize is....(drum roll, please)...a Julep Maven box! The winner will have their pick from either an April or May Maven box. You can choose any one of the following...(all photos from Julep.com)

American Beauty April Box
Boho Glam April Box
Bombshell April Box
Classic with a Twist April Box
IT Girl April Box
American Beauty May Box
Boho Glam May Box
Bombshell May Box
Classic with a Twist May Box
IT Girl May Box
I thought this would be a great prize as current Mavens could get a different box and girls that are not Mavens can check out some of their products!

To be entered, all that you need to do is the following:

1. Make sure you are following my blog - either by GFC, Bloglovin' or Facebook (I have all these links on my homepage).

2. Post a comment on this page stating by which method you are following my blog, and what box you would like if you win (e.g. Boho Glam May)

3. Ensure I have a way of contacting you (email, GFC, etc).

That's it! This contest will be open for two weeks and one winner will be randomly chosen on May 9/12. One entry (comment) per person. Open to both Canadian and U.S. residents.

Good luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

April Glymm Box Review

I've had my April Glymm box for over a week now but wanted to try out a few of the products before I gave my review. So let's get to it!

The shipping container
The outside box changed this month, it used to be a pink box, now it is a white box with the Glymm name on it in pink.

The box
The inner box is the same this month...let's open it up!

Upon opening the box
Spring theme I see for April (fitting).

The product descriptions on the back of the card

Upon opening the box, I'd like to mention that there was a very pleasant smell - soft, fruity and feminine. It is exactly the kind of luxe smell I want for these boxes. I've been reading lately about a lot of the American beauty boxes and MyGlam apparently has a serious problem with their bags and products smelling like industrial chemicals (ugh!) That is not what you want to hit your nose when you open a sample box; it would put you off using the products inside.

Underneath the cards
 This month in the Glymm box there was 4 items plus a discount card...let's go through each.

Free Your Mane Shampoo and Conditioner
The first item here is Free Your Mane Sulfate Free Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner sample packets.

The card reads: "'I'm sorry, I can't make it, gotta wash my hair.' You will totally use this line after trying this shampoo and conditioner. It gently cleanses hair and scalp while natural oils help rebuild your hair's delicate moisture balance. With an exclusive blend of Brilliant Baobab Oil from Africa, ultra-moisturising Argan Oil from Morocco, anti-oxidant rich Pomegranate Seed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil it will truly Free Your Mane". The full size bottles retail for $16 (300 ml); I received 7.4 ml packs for both the shampoo and conditioner.

This is the only product I have not yet tried, but I will update when I do. It looks like there is enough for at least 2 uses, but that is for me - it depends how much hair you have. What some other bloggers mentioned is the packaging, and in this respect I agree - it would be much more convenient to have little bottles instead (kind of like the Wella sample in the February Glossybox). But I do like that this is a new-to-me brand; if this were packets from say, Herbal Essence, I would feel cheated.

Lucia soap
Next item is Lucia soap in No. 6 - Wild Ginger and Fresh Fig.

The card says: "These refined jewels are packed with pure botanical extracts and enriched with 100% certified organic Shea Butter. Not only will your skin feel silky-soft, it will also be thoroughly cleansed and smelling so seductive. Go ahead, drape yourself in luxury, you know you want to. Signature scents include: Goat's Milk & Linseed and Wild Ginger & Fresh Fig". For the full size, a package of 8 soaps goes for $17.50; I received a guest sized soap (25 grams).

I don't use soap in the shower, because no matter how moisturising it claims to be, my skin is always tight and dry afterwards. So I'm using this as a hand soap, and truthfully, it's really nice. It has a light, fresh scent and is actually very creamy. This is exactly this kind of soap I would love to be putting in the bathroom for guests.

Atelier postcard and fragrance sample
Another shot of sample

Next product is the Atelier fragrance sample in "Orange Sanguine".

The card reads: "Atelier Cologne is a niche perfume house based in Paris and New York. Each scent is intended to embody a 'singular moment' of memory and experience. We present to you Orange Sanguine. 'It was the kind of moment you would want to revisit. Everyone was here, gathered on the terrace for breakfast, and the scent of fresh oranges was diffusing in the yellow heat. A symphony of their laughter and waves hitting the cliffs played in the air'". The full size retails $60 for 30 ml (on Glymm's website) or $165 for 200 ml. I received a small sample (approx. 1.2 ml).

I'm surprised by how much I like this fragrance. At first I thought, "oranges"? but I've used it many times in the past week and I like it more and more each time. I do like how they are trying to create a moment by showing you a scene on the postcard. However, like the shampoo samples, I would have liked this sample to be a bit larger, as I found that Atelier is giving away free samples on their facebook page, just for the asking. If you are going to get this, definitely buy from Glymm's online shop, as on Atelier's website, the fragrance is going for $55 not $60 but shipping is over $70!!!!

Mai Couture Social Gloss in French

Swatch of gloss
The last product is Mai Couture Social gloss in "French".

From the card: "Treat your lips with luxury you simply can't live without. Not only will this gloss fill in unwanted lines and restore moisture but it will create full, kissable lips. Your lips will be healthy and plump. This sheer formula will create a sumptuous and luminous sheen. The secret: A complex mix of plant extracts naturally enhances lip volume effortlessly without the allergen. Your lips will be the life of the party." The full size retails for $28 for 5 ml; I received a full size gloss.

Who comes up with these cards? "Your lips will be the life of the party?" I don't know about that, but in any case, this is a really nice gloss. Mai Couture has redeemed themselves from the shimmery bronzer sheets from a previous box! It is sheer, is lightly scented (reminds me of marshmallow) and is good over lipstick or on it's own. I don't find it sticky either and actually like it a lot better than the Sula lip gloss from the December Glymm box. It reminds me of this Mary Kay gloss I used ages ago that I just loved (I never buy Mary Kay, but I did love that lip gloss!) $28 is a bit steep for a lip product though.

NuMe $100 coupon

The bonus in this month's box is $100 coupon for NuMe. It says it's a gift certificate, but really it's a coupon, as it is only good on extensions (not the feathers from last month's box) and styling tools and these are all over $100. I would have preferred a coupon for the Atelier fragrance but oh well. So this coupon was also received by MyGlam members in a past bag, and I looked up what people bought with it. Many got the Mini flat iron and all the reviews I saw had extremely positive ratings - it heated up quickly, did a thorough job at straightening and was amazing for travel or even just to fit in your purse for touch ups. So I got the mini in the fun zebra print as I was looking for a travel friendly styling tool (and it works with dual voltage so you don't have to be worried about melting your flat iron's plates in another country). After the $100 coupon it was $15, plus $15 for shipping. So not bad for a flat iron. I heard that these irons sold at Winners for a comparable price, but at the very least I got the size I was looking for and didn't spend a heck of a lot more.

Overall, this was not a bad box for me, I liked discovering the Atelier fragrance and Mai Couture gloss the most, and was happy to receive a NuMe discount card. However, this box would have really benefited from   larger sample sizes - perhaps small bottles for the shampoo and if that's not possible then a couple of the packets; two of the guest sized soaps would have been fab and a slightly larger, more deluxe fragrance would have made this box really great for me. But again, I do like Glymm as they consistently introduce me to new products that I would have never heard of if I didn't subscribe to the box.

What about you? Did you like this month's box? What did you think of the products/sample sizes?

If you'd like to join me on my beauty box journey, you can sign up for Glymm here. $10/month plus taxes (shipping included). Box is currently available only in Canada. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Julep Maven April add-on: The Best Pedi Creme Ever.

I got one add-on for my April Julep Maven box - their new foot cream - "The Best Pedi Creme Ever!" That is a huge claim, so for $4.99 more, I thought I'd see what it was all about.

The cream
It came about a week after my IT girl Maven box, and I used it for several days at night before I went to bed. I rubbed the cream into each foot, and my husband also tried it out as well.

It does have a soft, creamy feel, not overly thick or goopy. The consistency is nice and absorbs into the skin very well. It also has a light cucumber-minty scent, which is good for feet. The directions on the tube state: "Apply nightly to tops and bottoms of feet to exfoliate and hydrate. Expect noticeable results in just 1 to 2 uses". I actually did see subtle results after a few uses - mainly my feet were softer and the dry skin at the tops of my big toes was much less noticeable. My husband though said it made his feet sweaty a bit - I didn't experience that but there's two different reactions to the cream.

So overall, I found it to be a pretty good foot cream - and for the add on price of $4.99 it was worth it. To purchase it again though I would like to see it in a bigger size than 60 ml - I'll go through this tube quickly. *Update* - I went on Julep's website and found out that this cream retails for $22 (or $17.60 outside the monthly boxes if you are a Maven). Again, I would need it in a bigger size.

Did you get this cream in your April box? What did you think?

If you'd like to join me on my beauty box journey, intro box is only 1 penny. Simply go here and type in COLORS4ONE or PENNY at checkout. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Preview: May Julep Maven Box

The choices are out for the May Julep Maven Box. Again, third time in a row, I'm lovin' the IT girl box; it has a great summer vibe (all pictures from julep.com)

IT Girl
The coolest thing is - three of the polish boxes this month come with a magnetic polish and magnet! How fun - I haven't yet tried this trend, so I'm really looking forward to the May box. IT Girl comes with Ashley (shimmery sunset orange; Nessa (lemon shimmer) and Kylie -the magnetic polish (in violet shimmer).

The other selections are:

American Beauty
American Beauty has Ellie (shimmery holographic pink) and Kylie - magnetic polish (same as IT girl box). It also comes with The Best Pedi Prep Ever and a foot file (you could probably use this with The Best Pedi Creme Ever in last month's box).

Boho Glam
Boho Glam has Sheryl (butterscotch shimmer - ooh, I like the sound of that!) and Kylie - magnetic polish (same as IT girl box), The Best Pedi Prep Ever and the foot file.

The Bombshell box has Fina (sky blue metallic); Sarah (glittery pink coral); and The Best Pedi Prep Ever with foot file.

Classic with a Twist
Classic with a Twist does not come with polish this month, but has main-pedi prep items - a Sicilian Orange foot soak and The Best Pedi Prep Ever with foot file.

Honestly, I am quite excited for the May box! The magnetic polish is definitely a bonus and I can't wait to try it! Julep has extended their add-on promotion to May's box, so you can add one or two additional items to your box for either $4.99 (polishes - even Kylie + magnet!) or $9.99 (foot soak or pedi prep). I definitely want to do add on's, but can't decide. Should I get pedi prep, foot soak or polishes? If polish which colours?

Also, if you're a Maven, what box will you be getting this month? Are you excited that they introduced a magnetic polish to the mix?

If you'd like to join me on my beauty box journey, intro box is only 1 penny. Simply go here and type in code COLORS4ONE or PENNY or COLOR2012 at checkout.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sally Hansen Gem Crush swatch

I was super excited to try Sally Hansen's line of Gem Crush nail polishes. This is definitely a line of nail bling, so you can let your sparkly side come out, all at drugstore prices. I went into Shoppers Drug Mart and couldn't find them on the nail rack display; turns out they hadn't yet got around to updating their display so they went in the back to find some so I could choose colours.

From Sally Hansen's ad campaign (from L to R: Cha-Ching, Bling-tastic, Glitz Gal, Lady Luck, Be-Jeweled, Showgirl Chic, Razzle Dazzler, Big Money)
I ended up choosing Lady Luck (magenta) and Bling-tastic, (a fabulous blue). Each colour retails for $8.99.

L to R: Bling-tastic; Lady Luck
This whole line of Gem Crush polishes kind of reminds me of the 2011 Muppets Holiday Collection by OPI. I was in love with Gone Gonzo, but never picked it up - Bling-tastic is a pretty close match I think!

L to R: swatch of Lady Luck; Bling-tastic
Different lighting

Bling-tastic is azure blue glitter and silver sparkles in a clear base. It took 3 coats to achieve this look. Lady Luck is magenta glitter and multicolour sparkles, also in a clear base but it took less applications to get a uniform look, only two. Using a topcoat keeps the glitter polish from feeling too rough after it's dry. I'm actually quite pleased with the Gem Crush line so far. The two colours I tried are bold, sparkly and fun. If you like your glitters to be more on the subtle side, there are shades like Razzle Dazzler - rose-pink glitter with silver sparkles or Big Money - gold glitter with purple sparkles. I have my eye next on Cha-Ching - red glitter with silver sparkles!  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Deal Alert: Bella Terra Cosmetics 9-stack shimmer kit

Just a quick post to let you beauty fanatics know about a deal I stumbled on yesterday from Dealfind: $34 for a 9-stack shimmer kit from Bella Terra Cosmetics (includes taxes and shipping). It's a Canada-wide deal as well. They retail this package on their website for $114.99, so it is a bit of a discount (70%). They are a mineral cosmetics company and do not test on animals (all pictures below are from Bella Terra Cosmetics)

From Bella Terra Cosmetics

The kit comes with a 9-stack of different mineral makeup colours; a clear lip gloss, clear nail polish, eye primer, eye shadow brush and makeup bag. Why I think this kit is super cool for us crafty, DIY beauty girls is that the mineral stack in this kit can be used to create 8 different products - creamy eyeshadow, matte eyeshadow, eyeliner, lip gloss colour, nail polish (yay), mascara, and even body glitter and hair streaks (if you are daring!)- a really fun and versatile palette (and that's why they include the polish, gloss and primer).

You get to choose which colour stack you prefer out of a total of 8 choices. I chose Topaz...

But it is hard to choose! The other colour options available are:

Mother of Pearl
I can't wait to get my hands on this and start mixing up polish, gloss and shadow. I do like mineral makeup and have a lot of Pur Minerals products so I am excited to try this out! If you'd like to get a kit, you can pick one up here. Let me know what colour set you got!

Last thing, this deal expires Thursday April 19, 5 a.m. EST.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review #3: Handmade Samplers - Out of the Box

I'm still experiencing some issues with commenting on blogs; so please check your spam boxes if I usually comment and you haven't seen anything from me in awhile. I saw that some other bloggers have this same issue on the google forums -  I hope this gets resolved soon!

In any case, the blogging must go on. Today I have for you the third out of the handmade sampler boxes; this one is called Out of the Box. They have been in business since 2006, and are based in Freeport, PA. Like Sampler Village, every month they have one merchant sponsor the box and each month has a different theme. April's theme was the Bunny Hop Easter Box. Monthly boxes go on sale roughly the first Tuesday of every month at 8 pm (though for May it will go on sale on the 7th of the month). There are several different box sizes to choose from: the Mini Sampler box has 8 samples (U.S. only) and is $10.95, shipping included; the regular box has 18-20 samples and is $25 (add $12 for Canadian shipping or $30 for international shipping) and the Bodaciously Bigger box has around 45 samples, from all of the merchants that have sent in samples that month and is $54.95 (add $17 for Canadian shipping or $35 for international shipping). All boxes have the option of adding insurance for $1.85; if you choose this option and something goes wrong, you are not out of your hard-earned money!

I've found the boxes tend to sell out within a day or so of going on sale, so if you'd like to get a box, mark your calendars! (I also have a button on my sidebar that goes to the Out of the Box site).

For April, I chose the regular box and with Canadian shipping and insurance, my total was $38.85. This is the most expensive of the three handmade samplers, with Sampler Village costing $35 and Sweet Delight Divalicious costing $26.

Let's look inside the box!

The box
Upon opening the USPS shipping box, this is how the sample items were packaged. Most of the samples are in the box; a few edible samples are in the bunny bag and there was a card included that listed the theme of the box, the sponsor of the box and a website to go to - if you review the products in the box you are entered to win a free one!

Opening the box
There's all of the samples, nestled in the box, and another view of the edible samples in the bag.

All the samples
 In total I received 19 samples. Let's go through them and see what I got!

 Starting from top, clockwise: First of all, I got this GIANT tub of stress-relief bath salts from Rustic Ridge Creations - in Bergamot scent. It also comes with a little wooden scoop! To the right of that are two full-sized Orange Dreamsicle bath cubes from Bee Silk Naturals. Below is a full-sized wax melt in the scent - 'Pucker up my sweetie' from The Melt Shoppe (this smells absolutely, unbelivably amazing!) Below that is scented soap and easter confetti from Blue Strawberry Scents (another amazing scented product). At the bottom at the two cards that welcome you to the Out of the Box sampler. Above the bunny card is a full-sized bar of soap in Black Lavendula from Round Tree Organics. And above that is a sunflower bath bomb from Bugs and Bubble Soap Co.

 In this section, we have (clockwise from top): a pack of flower power wax melts from Cozy Critters; a carrot cake soy tealight from Me and the Boy; two full-size flower wax melts in Island Mango scent from the box's sponsor, Clarks Creek Candle Co.; a full-size fudge brownie wax tart from Ugly Duckling Designs (it really does smell like mouth watering chocolate!); a wax tart cup in the scent 'pink lemonade' from Candle Confectionery; and above that, two lip balms, the first in Acai and Juniper from Tiki Bar Soap and the second at the top from Fairly Charmed in Marshmallow Fluff scent.

And in this last section, we have (clockwise from top): the edible items; in the bag we have a pumpkin-pecan cookie and a Reese's peanut butter cupcake cookie (mmmmm!) from Caseosa Crafts Baked Goods; beside that is a cake pop (cake on a stick) from Angel Cake Pops; below is a really sweet handmade card with pearls and ribbon from Elodie's Shop; at the bottom there is a lotion bar sample in the scent 'Crystal Blue Water' from Bimini Bars; above that is a little crocheted circle from Jodis Craft Emporium (which, among many things, can be used as a scrubbie for your face, to foam up and massage in face wash); and lastly, in the middle is a cute little felt flower bookmarker clip from Zandy land.

Discounts and coupons
I also just wanted to show you that this sampler also comes with a whole page listing the companies and the discounts and samples they are offering (for more info on this go to this page) (I didn't do a super close up on the page because I don't know if this is just for those who purchased the box, but it is just to give you an idea). There are also some coupons online, just follow the link.

Overall I am super-impressed with this box. The shipping was timely, it was nicely packaged and organized and the samples are fantastic - many are full-sized and I like how there was a wide variety in the box (e.g. not a ton of soap). The scents are also absolutely amazing and very unique (brownies, pink lemonade anyone?) Again, if you cannot tolerate scents, this might not be the box for you, but for those who like scented products you will get a kick out of this box. It is also the most expensive of the three handmade sampler boxes but I feel like you get good value for the money because of the variety and full-sized products. I also like how they offer insurance at a reasonable cost to make sure you get your samples! All of the coupons and discounts are great as well and I like how they outline what discounts you can get on a separate page.

I think this is my favorite of the handmade sampler boxes, followed very closely behind by Sweet Delight Divalicious, then Sampler Village. Sampler Village needs to get a larger variety of items and ensure that samples are guest sized or small full-sized, because tiny soap pieces are not really what people are looking for when they buy a sample box. In terms of money, the Sweet Delight Divalicious is the most economical and it does have many nicely-sized samples (though a bit too many soaps). For an extra $10 or so though, I do like the scents, variety and size of the products that Out of the Box gives. If I had one negative comment for Out of the Box it would be that there are a bit too many wax melts, but because I am enamoured by the scents of these, I really don't mind too much.

In other news, I think I will do a giveaway contest when I hit 20 followers. So far I have 16 with google (it says 17 but for some reason I am following myself - don't know how that happened!) so I really have 16 followers. I am also on Bloglovin but don't have any followers yet there. I think when the combined total of google friends and bloglovin reaches 20, I'll have a little contest!