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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?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Birchbox and Beauty Army 4-month subscription haul!

I am super excited to be writing this post! Back in April of this year, a fellow makeup enthusiast, Steph, and I decided to do a beauty sub exchange. She ordered Glymm, Glossybox and Luxe Box and I ordered Birchbox ($10/month) and Beauty Army ($12/month). For four months the subs came in and now it's time for the exchange! I am just waiting for the last Luxe Box to come in (the first seasonal one of theirs) and then I will be sending her shipment. She already sent mine, and yesterday I received a giant box of U.S. beauty box goodies!

4 months worth of Birchbox/Beauty Army
To save space and save on shipping costs, the boxes were not included but each month was wrapped up with product cards.

Let's get to it!

May Beauty Army:

Beauty Army lets you choose up to 6 samples each month from a list of options. This is what I chose for May:

- Korres Body Butter in Guava
- Cover FX Clear Prep (this was before I knew about the one coming in my Topbox)
- Atopalm Moisturizing Cream
- Be Fine Night Cream
- Weleda Refining Toner (I love all Weleda)
- La Fresh Oil-Free Face Cleanser Cloth

June Beauty Army:

For the month of June I chose:

- NYX Individual Curl Mascara (full size!)
- Korres Guava Shower Gel (of course I had to match it up!)
- Pssssst! Dry Shampoo (see how this stacks up to my principessa)
- Indie Lee Lavender The Moisturizing Oil
- Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream
- Fiafini Delicate Cleansing Emulsion

July Beauty Army:

For July, my picks were:

- Aquolina Pink Sugar perfume
- Cell Ceuticals Daily Skin Protector Spf 55
- Atzen Balance Protective Day Cream
- Youngblood Mineral Primer (ohhh, I've wanted to try this out!)
- Besame Crimson Rouge
- Cocktail perfume

And that's not all!

August Beauty Army (modified box):

For August, my box didn't arrive in time when she was going to ship, so she put together a selection of products for me:

- philosophy love sweet love 3-in-1 (I do like this!)
- pur-lisse lip comfort (I love pur-lisse products)
- Elariia Blue Jasmine Body Cream
- Oscar Blandi Hair Serum
- Smashbox photo finish primer :)
- Salty Cosmetics mineral eyeshadow
- Color Club nail polish
- stila curl memory mascara
- Borghese Tono Body Cream
- Cosmetics bag

Amazing stuff!

Now for the Birchboxes...

May Birchbox (Gossip Girl Edition):

Birchbox did a special-edition Gossip Girl themed box in May; here's what I got:

- 2 packette of Kerastase Cristalliste shampoo
- Stila sparkle waterproof liquid eyeliner (fun!)
- Color Club nail polish in Disco Nap
- Dr. Jart BB cream spf 25
- Kerastase Cristalliste lumiere liquid
- notecard with envelope

June Birchbox:

In my June Birchbox I received:

- Lune Peanut Butter Cookie bar (it's really good; I devoured it after snapping the picture)
- Taylor Swift Wonderstruck perfume (this smells really good)
- stila one step bronze (full size!!!) - Yes!!
- Stainiac hint of tint for cheeks and lips in beauty queen
- 2 Comodynes self-tanning towelettes

And there's more!

July Birchbox (Glamour magazine edition):

Glamour partnered with Birchbox this month to bring me:

- Birchbox exclusive earbuds (I'm plugging these into my ipod right now!)
- Oscar de la Renta live in love perfume
- Jouer moisturizing lip gloss in wind
- Tea Forte mints
- Blinc mascara (OMG!!! this sample is close to full size!)
- Manna Kadar sheer glo shimmer lotion

August Birchbox:

In my August back-to-beauty school box I got:

- beauty fixation pre-tweeze treatment (24 swabs included!)
- Oscar Blandi smoothing shampoo (this stuff smells nice)
- 2 samples of Caldrea palmarosa wild mint hand soap
- Viva La Juicy La Fleur perfume
- Eye Rock Designer Liner instant eyeliner designs (4 styles included!)
- Schick hydro silk razor

That was all of my boxes, but Steph also put together a little bag full of her faves, and new and interesting products!

She included for me:

- Circus by Andrea's Choice nail polish in Somersault
- Urban Decay Lip Love
- Hot Ticket nail polish in Counterfeit
- eyeko skinny liquid eyeliner - awesome!
- jane iredale Just Kissed lip plumper
- Bare Escentuals Buxom lips in Leslie
- juice Beauty Green Apple organic spf 15 moisturizer
- Zoya nail polish in Lotus (all these polish colours are so cool!)
- MyGlam Glam Gloss in 01 (oh man when I saw this I squealed - I've seen this from other bloggers and wanted to check it out).
- Cosmetic bag

I am just tickled pink over this haul of products and for all the wonderful extras Steph included. When you get several months of a subscription box all at once, it really does feel like a big Christmas gift! I want to thank Steph sooo much for doing this exchange; it was a lot of fun and hopefully we can do another in the future!

What products out of this haul do you like the best? If there are any that you are curious about, let me know and I'll do a more thorough review of the product in a future post.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

e.l.f. giveaway!!! (Christmas in August) :)

Okay everyone - time for a CityGirl giveaway!!! HauteLook had an e.l.f. event, and I got a great haul of products for one lucky winner! Time to get gorgeous, girls!

What you could win!

e.l.f  smoky eye palette (12 eyeshadows, eyeliner and applicator)
e.l.f  5 shimmering lipgloss set
e.l.f. 5 colour nail polish set (these are really gorgeous shades!)
e.l.f. kabuki brush; false individual lashes (glue included); and eyelash curler
I just wanted to thank you all for reading, commenting and supporting CityGirl; I've made some great online friends and discovered a ton of great products and savvy beauty tips and advice.

This giveaway is limited to Canada/U.S. residents, though I hope to have a contest also open overseas in the future!

Enter via the rafflecopter form below. Contest ends Sept 14/12. Good luck!

*Congrats to Belinda M.* Enjoy your e.l.f. goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 27, 2012

Inspire Cosmetics Haul #2

A couple weeks ago, at another DivaGirl event (Divalicious 4), I met up with the wonderful ladies of Inspire Cosmetics. I was introduced to this line a couple months back, and the products I purchased at that time have quickly made it into my makeup staple case (corrector stix, white out, mascara, lipstick). It is easy to
put together a quick look with these products.

I knew I wanted to get more items from their line, so when I saw them at the DivaGirl event, I bought a few more things - tinted moisturizer, blush and I got another one of their creamy lipsticks as a bonus!

Tinted Moisturizer 
Inspire's Tinted Moisturizer is huge (30 ml) and has spf 15. I believe I paid $45 for this product. What I love about it is that I don't have to mosturize first, then bronze - this can be done all in one step.

Swatch on hand
I actually put a lot on my hand so it would show up in a picture; you can put on less to get a more subtle bronze glow. The formula is really easy to work with - just blend, blend, blend!

I picked up their blush in Tawny peach. It actually gives a soft wash of colour to my cheeks and is great to use with the tinted moisturizer or bronzer. The blush cost $18.

Nice colour!
And last we have another of Inspire's wonderful lipsticks...

Gorgeous shade!
The colour I got this time is Mercy. Lipsticks are priced at $20, but I got this as a bonus with my purchase.

Swatch on hand
Swatch on lips
It is a lovely subtle nude shade, and I love how it applies (very creamy and moisturizing).

I am super happy with my second Inspire Cosmetics purchase. If you are interested in their product line, they do various events around the GTA but if you are not in the Toronto area, or don't have the time to attend an event, you can also purchase all of their products on their website. I think for my next purchase, I've got my eye on their eyeshadows or powder compacts.

Friday, August 24, 2012

QVC New Beauty Test Tube - Third Quarter - July, August, September.

Eeek! Exciting news, my quarterly QVC New Beauty Test Tube came today!

Yay! Bright pink shipping box
The test tube
New Beauty Magazine
Product Guide
What's inside this quarter's test tube?

The goods.
Let's go through all the products...

Algenist Firming and Lifting Cream
I have heard such good things about this cream! This is a big sample - 0.5 oz (15 ml) and I hope it will last as the full size is 2 oz and retails for $94.00.

Ojon Restorative Conditioner and bliss lemon + sage body butter
I have used Ojon hair products before and I quite like them (especially the leave-in conditioner). The bliss body butter smells sooooo lemony-good! New Beauty sent a 2 oz (60 ml) sample of the Ojon conditioner (full size is 16 oz for $40) and a 1.7 oz (50 ml) sample of the bliss body butter (full size is 6.7 oz for $28).

Josie Maran Argan Oil; Laura Geller Waterproof Eye Spackle pen; Mally high-shine liquid
lip color.
I finally got my hands on Josie Maran's Argan Oil! I have been wanting to try this stuff forever! The sample in the tube is .17 oz or 5 ml (full size is 1.7 oz and goes for $48). It smells fruity almost. Next is the eye spackle pen - to be used under makeup to prevent creasing and boost longevity. It has a brush applicator and you click the end to deposit the product on the brush. This is a full-sized product (0.074 oz or 2.2 ml) and retails for $22. I received it in the colour fair/light. Then we have Mally's liquid lip colour - this goes on like a gloss but is supposed to work as a primer, gloss, lipstick and liner in one (it also has a brush applicator). I believe this is full size as well (0.12 oz/3.5 g) and is in a lovely shade of pink (not sure of the name). It smells like strawberries! This product retails for $20.

Swatch of eye spackle and liquid lip colour
Swatch of the Mally gloss on lips
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer; philosophy love sweet love 3-in-1 shampoo, bath
and shower gel
Another item from my beauty wishlist! Finally I've got my hands on a sample of the Smashbox primer  - so happy it came in this tube! This sample is 0.5 oz (15 ml) and the full size is 1 oz and retails for $36. And last is philosophy's 3-in-1 shampoo, bath and shower gel - I really loved the Amazing Grace 3-in-1 I got in the last test tube so I will definitely use this. It smells like citrus to me, almost like grapefruit. This is a 1 oz (30 ml) sample; the full size (16 oz) retails for $22. The New Beauty product guide says the lowercase writing philosophy uses on all their products is meant to symbolize "the genuine curiosity and joy of childhood." Huh. Never knew that. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this quarter's Test Tube. From the last shipment, my favorites were the Tarte lipsurgence, Mally shadow stick, Peter Thomas Roth gel cream and philosophy 3-in-1. I also love the magazine (which is a $9.95 value). I like how New Beauty has an assortment of higher-end products, and I am most excited for the Smashbox primer and the Argan oil in this shipment, as I've had my eye on those two for some time now. 

QVC New Beauty Test Tube's come in a single shipment or auto-delivery  (where QVC will automatically ship you a new tube every three months). The tube costs $29.96 plus shipping and taxes; for me in Canada it came out to $47.57 total (which is just a couple dollars more than a monthly Glossybox). QVC has a Canadian warehouse they ship from, so there were no duty charges. 

What do you think of this month's Test Tube?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lip Labz lipbalm and gloss

I was at the C.N.E. this weekend (Canadian National Exhibition); it's definitely a tradition as I go every year not just for the rides, food and games, but also for the crazy good shopping! This year I happened upon a booth that was making customized lip balms and glosses, Lip Labz. (Oh, they know my makeup weakness ;)

Customizing my gloss and balm 
For the lip balm, you pick your tube and choose your flavour(s). They make it and pour it for you on the spot.

The balm

I chose the flavour "peppermint patty". It smells just like an After Eight mint! Mmmmm. It is a clear gloss and very creamy and hydrating.

All the flavour combinations!

For the gloss, you choose the colour and add a flavour to it.

The gloss
I chose the colour "Spring Tulip" - a lovely sheer pink and flavoured it with Cupcake! It applies with a brush applicator (just turn the end to deposit the gloss on the brush).

Swatch of the gloss on hand
Swatch on lips
I love these lip products! Both the balm and gloss are vegan, really moisturizing, and made with all-natural ingredients (like coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter). To see all of the colour and flavour combos you can make, go here for lip balms and here for lip glosses (there's literally billions of combinations). The balms cost $3.99 each and glosses $9.99 each - and they ship free worldwide! (There's even a webcam on their site so you can watch them make your balm or gloss live!) Lip Labz is running a special promo at the C.N.E - lipbalms $2 each and glosses $6.99, so if you are going in the next few weeks you may want to check them out. If you aren't already hooked on lip balms, you will be :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

September Julep Maven Box Preview

Julep confirmed today what many of us have suspected - Trina Turk has partnered with Julep this month to bring us colours that are inspired by her Modernist Maverick collection. Check out this clip for a look at her clothes  (I love the bright colours and chunky necklaces!)

Here are your options for September 2012:

American Beauty - Eileen (white cream); Hoch (emerald cream); Mascara (black).
Boho Glam - Gunta (royal blue cream); Popova (kelly green cream); Mascara (brown).
Bombshell - Annie (electric blue cream); Alma (dijon yellow cream); Mascara (black).
Classic with a Twist - Sophie (mushroom cream); Brandt (off-black cream); Mascara (black).
IT Girl - Otte (neutral cream); Delaunay (chili red cream); Alma (dijon yellow cream). 
With any box you can also purchase up to 3 additional add-on's (polish $4.99 each; mascara $9.99 each).

Add-on products
This month Julep also has a unique opportunity - if you love the whole collection (and have the available cash) you can get the whole September Trina Turk collection plus the two mascaras for an additional $30.

The whole kit and caboodle! (Can you resist?!)
So what do you think of this month's colours? The whole collaboration with Trina Turk? Are you getting a box this month? Which one? Any add-on's? What do you think of getting the whole nail wardrobe?

I am still undecided (like usual) I have an awful lot of polishes right now that I'm enjoying and using (and just picked up a lot of 8 really pretty Sally Hansen HD polishes - more about that in another post) so I'm not sure I will be getting a box this month. Having said that, I do love these brights, especially Hoch, Gunta, Annie and Sophie.  I think it's a great idea that Julep gave us the option this month to get the whole polish wardrobe if you just love the whole collection. I hope they do this again in future months.

If you haven't signed up for Julep, consider using my referral link. Intro box is only 1 penny (shipping included!) Use code MAVENINTRO or PENNY at checkout.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Coastal Scents Mystery Box

I have been meaning to try out Coastal Scents for awhile now. Their eyeshadow palettes have always gotten great reviews, and overall they have great price points (and sales every week). So when they came out with their Mystery Box a few weeks ago, I thought I'd order one to try out the brand and see what it's like.

The Mystery Box cost $19.95 and it says it will have a $50 product value and the contents can include: brushes, makeup and other products. I also paid $8.30 for shipping and handling to Canada.

What's inside?
It came super-quick - only just over a week after ordering and that's great for a company based in the U.S.

Upon opening the box
First set of brushes
This box came with A LOT of brushes. (I mentioned in my Topbox post that I wouldn't be getting the Expressions brush kit - here's why). In the first set there is a classic blush brush ($6.95), a classic stippling brush ($6.95) and a hot pink kabuki brush (4.99). I actually like these brushes quite a bit; the handle is a good weight and the bristles are soft.

Second set of brushes
In the second set is a travel brush kit (powder, blush, various shadow, liner and eyebrow). Total of 7 brushes in a black bag. [I can't find the retail value for this item but there is a similar set (minus one brush) on their site that goes for $24.95]. This is a nice set as the brushes are of good quality like the first set and the bag itself is handy - on the side is a zippered pouch where you can put cosmetics so it could act as an all-in-one makeup bag for travel. I also like how the pouch is made of water-resistant material. I don't really have a travel brush set and this is a nice one I can see myself using. (BTW, all of the brushes came wrapped in plastic sleeves; I just took them off for the pictures).

3 mineral blushes
Also included in the mystery box was 3 mineral blushes in Sheer Natural, Essence and Sheer Radiance (2 grams each) (Not sure of the price point on this either - they go for $9.95 each on the site for full size - if this is not full size it is close).

Swatch of the blushes
From L to R: Sheer Natural, Essence and Sheer Radiance. They are all nice; Sheer Radiance is is like a hint of copper-bronze (can also be used as a finishing powder); Essence is darker and better for dramatic looks and Sheer Natural is light enough to be used as a highlighter.

Jar of Sterling Glitter
This was one product I wasn't expecting - it's a huge jar of cosmetic-grade sterling glitter. (Not certain of the retail value on this item). After taking a look at it, I realized it would be fun to experiment and mix into some loose mineral shadows I have. I bet I could also use this in nailpolish. Any other suggestions for uses for this glitter? It will last me a long time, that's for sure!

Soap Sample
Also included was a sample of their African Black Soap (full size goes for $3.95 - this looks like maybe 1/3 of full size). It is made with Coconut Oil and Shea Butter and I am excited to try this - this line of soaps and skin care products always gets great reviews for their calming and moisturizing properties and these products are made by a co-op in Ghana.

Fun sticker and eyeshadow sample
Last we have a couple extras - Coastal Scents cards, a sample mineral shadow in Aqua Zone, and a really fun "I heart Makeup" sticker (is it weird that I just love this sticker? It sums up my beauty product obsession!)

So overall, even though I expected more makeup and am somewhat disappointed that I didn't get an eyeshadow palette, I am still pretty pleased with this box. The value is there and I only rarely buy myself brushes. I don't have a whole lot in my makeup arsenal, (or a good travel kit) that's why I welcome these brushes. They are so soft and really nice to hold. I like the blushes and can see myself especially reaching for Sheer Natural quite a bit (for contouring and highlighting). The glitter was unexpected for sure, but it can be added to products I already have for nighttime looks. And I was curious to try the soap after reading about the whole Project Ghana on the site, and now I have a sample of it.

Of course, not everyone will welcome a mystery box like this, especially those that want loads of makeup. Judging from the different reviews I've seen on blogs and You Tube, people seem to either love these boxes or hate them. If you are thinking about getting a box, just be aware that you are almost certain to get a bunch of brushes so if you have no use for them then this box wouldn't be for you. But besides brushes, I've seen people also get eyeshadow quads as well as makeup bags, eyeliner (pencil and liquid) and false lashes. It's the luck of the makeup draw; the spin of the beauty roulette wheel I guess ;)

What do you think of this box?