Thursday, October 31, 2013

Product Review: The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Pumice Foot Scrub

So yesterday I pointed out that I'm not thrilled with The Body Shop's Chocomania Body Butter, so I thought I'd do a more positive review today.

Ages ago, I used to use a foot scrub from a different store. But they discontinued it, and I found the Peppermint Cooling Pumice Foot Scrub from The Body Shop. It's a bit pricier than the product I used to buy, so definitely wait until you find a sale for it, which is what I do.

I love to go barefoot in the summer, and wear sandals whenever possible. But my feet aren't in as good a shape as they were when I was younger, so it's not always as easy as it used to be. Which is why I started using a foot scrub in the first place.

This one is a very good product, and it does exactly what it says on the lid. The smell is lovely, the sensation is cooling so great for when your feet ache. And it scrubs away all the gross stuff that you want scrubbed off your feet to leave them feeling much smoother and softer. It's a really lovely treat, and the only slim drawback I've ever found is sometimes if you aren't careful you leave some of the grit behind in the tub if you don't rinse it really well. Small price to pay though, this stuff is fantastic. One of the best products like this I've found, and even at this price point it's one of the cheaper ones so when you get it on sale you can really stock up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Product Review: Chocomania Body Butter from The Body Shop

So one thing I'm going to be trying to do with the blog is do shorter reviews and just get to the point quicker. We'll see how good I am at that.

Recently, I placed an order with The Body Shop because they were having a great sale (and seriously, they're always having great sales but this was half off almost everything) and with my order they sent me a free sample of their Chocomania Body Butter.

I haven't really gotten into using anything else I ordered but I went ahead and used up this sample. One thing to note about it up front was I hated the packaging of it. I wish I had taken a picture, but it was this very large packet, and once you actually squeezed the product to one end to use it, the product itself took up literally less than one fifth of the size of the packet. So the wasted space irritated me up front.

That's not to say the sample wasn't generous, it actually had enough for me to use it for two days, which was nice. In the end, I think the actual body butter function was great, it was really moisturizing, it spread on quickly and blended into my skin quickly. I didn't feel sticky or weird after, which is one of my complaints with a lot of lotions and especially thick things like body butter. I'm actually quite glad that my order contained another one of their body butters, because I think it'll be great this winter when I'm really dried out and need something more severe than just an average lotion.

The trick for me was the smell. I get that chocolate is fantastic, I love chocolate. But for one thing it didn't actually seem to smell quite like chocolate to me, it smelled like some sort of fake "this is kind of like chocolate but not really." And it wasn't good, I just did not like the scent at all. Of course, I should also point out that I tend not to go for any kind of thick or strong "baked good" type scent for bath products, I prefer lighter smells for that.

So overall: yes to Body Shop's body butters, but no to the Chocomania for me just based on the scent alone.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Where did you go?

It's been too long since I posted! What in the world is going on?

A couple things. One, I started a new fabulous part time job, so I'm still getting used to my new schedule of going in to an actual office instead of working from home.

Two, I'm actually getting near the end of a three year saga of making my feature documentary film which is taking a lot of my time.

And three, I went to Vegas for a week! It was a ton of fun, and I plan on posting and reviewing as much as possible from everything we did there.

So tomorrow I'll be trying to get back into a regular schedule and re-evaluating my posting schedule. We'll get it figured out, stick with me! And especially you want to stick with me because I'm going to be posting something awesome just for my readers next week!

While I'm working on my schedule tomorrow, any suggestions? Things you want to see more or less of? How many posts you'd like to see in a week?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Julep Maven: Review and Manicure

I've been so thrilled with my Birchbox, and I saw an ad for Julep the other day. I've been wanting to do more manicures as well, so it seemed perfect. On top of that, they offer you the first intro box free. So of course I signed up.

When I took their style profile quiz, they said I was "Boho Glam" and when I saw what came in the intro box I figured that was probably pretty accurate, so I stuck with it. When you sign up, if you don't like what comes in the box you get you can select a different one, so take the quiz and see what you get, you can change it.

I also opted to get a mystery polish as an add on, so that's why you see three polishes in the picture. So I got this fabulous Pedi Creme, which I absolutely love, a sample of the instant warming foot scrub (which is also wonderful), and three new colors to experiment with: Marion, Courteney, and Charlotte - pictured left to right here.

I had also just gotten my order of the Ruffian extras from Birchbox, so I decided to use the Gesso Base Coat and Varnish Top Coat along with Charlotte and Marion for my first Julep manicure. I decided to go for a very typical look but with fun bold colors, so french tips, using the same drafting dots that I used for my Ruffian Manicure (check out the tutorial for details).

Overall, I think it came out great. I'm not sure if it was because of the gesso base coat, or the Julep polish in general, but I did have some trouble with the Charlotte polish peeling off in large chunks when it chipped, especially when I was cleaning up my cuticles after I was done. So I had to fix a few spots.

I'm a big fan in general, and Julep has so many fantastic deals and ways to save that while their prices are a little high, it works out well and it is high quality polish. I've ordered a few more, and can't wait to show them to you.

Roundup and Preview: Winged Reviews!

Next week Winged Reviews will be hosting the first stop of author Paula Weston's UK blog tour for the second book in the Rephaim Series: Haze!

I was so thrilled to be able to participate, this is my first time being part of a blog tour, and it couldn't have been on a better book series. Read my reviews of the two books, Shadows and Haze before the 14th!

While you're waiting, catch up on my previews reviews:
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clark
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Percy Jackson Series
The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan's Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Obsessed With the Dress

As much as I love Project Runway, and I will always admit I watched five seasons of Say Yes to the Dress in about a week, I don't want to admit how much I was addicted to this show.

I'm railing against the idea of "guilty pleasures" lately because well, you shouldn't feel guilty about enjoying things and you shouldn't feel like you have to pretend you don't ACTUALLY like something to avoid getting attacked by close minded jerks. I should be able to stand up and say I enjoy Kelly Clarkson without shame or ridicule, thank you very much.

And at first, my reason for not talking about watching the show was a bit of a "serious film people can't admit they watch reality shows, for shame!"

But I know plenty of people that are crew on shoots like this and it's what people want to watch so whatever. There's no shame in it. But now? The reason I don't want to admit I watch the show is because by the end of the six episodes of the show I realized that there were only two possibilities of what was going on: either it was completely scripted and everything was trumped up for drama, or every single person on that show (save one) is childish, immature, unprofessional, and doesn't deserve any success or notoriety they're getting from the show.

Yet I kept watching. It was an accident at first, there was nothing on, and my best friend and my sister were over and we wanted to just put the tv on something random. Then there was a preview for the next week that was enough of a cliffhanger that we wanted to know what happened, so we tuned in again. Only that preview was actually for the season, not the next episode, so we had to watch a couple more to get to that part and by then we were kind of hooked.

That's how they get you. So good on you Pie Town Productions, you did your marketing well.

But really, if the show focused more on just Michelle (the owner of The Winning Crown Boutique) and her pageant consulting, it could have been pretty good. A good insight into the pageant world? Sign me up. I got to attend Miss USA a few years ago, and talk with some of the contestants and I really learned a lot of stuff that would make a great series. And when the show was focused just on the girls coming in for their appointments and trying on dresses, it mostly was great. It had all the pieces of Say Yes to the Dress, but with an added bonus of pageant coaching and insider knowledge.

This is reality tv though, so the bulk of the show was actually focused on the drama between the staff, of course. Listen, Say Yes to the Dress did a little bit of that, but not much, because the drama came from the bride's personal stories, their annoying or loving families, and just the general stress of weddings. There wasn't a need for this superficial idiocy.

So in the end, Obsessed With the Dress really fails, because like I said, either it was all made up for the tv cameras, in which case it wasn't even a good story so why invent something so lame? Or it was that Michelle has no clue how to actually deal with employees, and Beau actually does a few things that might possibly be illegal, but are definitely immoral in how he handles his role as manager of the store. Not to mention that the employees behave terribly, and are constantly saying things in front of customers that if I was running the store would have resulted in being reprimanded, sent home, and only brought back after some serious training. I don't care if these girl's win pageants and "they're young" as Michelle keeps lamenting. It's YOUR job to teach them how to be salespeople and good at customer service. Gretchen was the only person in that place with some sense, really.

At the moment I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that it was probably almost entirely faked or at least exaggerated by the producers who egged on the people for extra drama. I'm certain they encouraged Tiffany to act out in the shop while customers were there, and encouraging Beau and Sarah's little commentaries in their interviews together.

Basically, while I have to admit I watched all six episodes of the show, I also have to say that even if I was suddenly ridiculously rich and wanted a fancy dress, the Winning Crown would be the absolute last place I would visit to get one. Michelle could undoubtedly pick a great one, but who needs the drama?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September Birchbox!

It's that time again! I got my September Birchbox a few weeks ago but now I've had time to try everything so I'll tell you all about it. First, I finally remembered to take a picture of the fabulous box it comes in. I absolutely love the Birchbox branding, it's really well designed. And I even like the pink when I normally don't like pink at all!

This is just the outer wrapping to make sure your box arrives in fabulous shape. The actual Birchbox itself is a fabulous brown box, that is perfect for reusing for all kinds of things, or turning into a craft project. I'm planning on taking mine and making a nice box with drawers for all of my cosmetics and jewelry.

One of the great things about Birchbox is that they don't just ship you a box of random stuff, they make sure to pack it with care and include plenty of information and instructions. Every month the box has a theme, and while I can't always make sense of how the products I get fit that theme, at the same time the company really takes the time to put together a great presentation and I love that.

The items are also shipped very safely, with any packets or fragile things being put in a small cardboard box so that they are protected and don't get jostled around. It's like opening a present that then has another present inside.

But in the end, it's all about the contents of the box! That part is the most fun, because it's always a surprise. I even wait to watch the sneak peek videos until after I've gotten my box, I don't want any hints about what I'll get!

So here's what arrived in September!

Now, the thing I was the most excited about was the Ruffian Nail Lacquer, which I did know was coming, and I couldn't wait! Mine came in Fox Trot, a beautiful orange shade. I had to wait a few days to try it out, but I was thrilled with the results. I wrote about it a little in my Ruffian Manicure tutorial, so check it out there!

The other product I really loved this month was the Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Luminous Lip Gloss (what a mouthful). Mine was in Precious Petal, which is a good color for me. It's a great lip gloss, though it is quite "glossy" which I'll have to take some time to get used to.

The Pearly Wipes did what they said, and definitely would be great for a person who drinks coffee or wine regularly. But I don't, and I don't think they'll ever take the place of brushing even in a situation where you can't really brush. Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray was also one I was lukewarm on. I'm sure it's a great sea salt spray, but a as a beauty newb, I just don't even know what it's supposed to do or how I'm supposed to use it. Spraying it on my hair while it was dry made it look a little too dull for my tastes (honestly I don't understand the point of matte finish for hair). When I used it while my hair was wet, I didn't notice any extra moisturizing properties I don't already get from my other product so I'll stick with that.

The last product was a sample of Paula’s Choice RESIST BHA 9 for Stubborn Imperfections. The main ingredient in this is salicylic acid or BHA, which is something my skin can't really tolerate very well. I did try the sample once, and I found it to be really oily and messy, and not really the type of product I'm apt to try to use more anyway. I didn't have a big reaction to the one-time application, but I didn't want to risk it so I didn't use it again and saw no huge improvement (which can't be expected with just using it once).

Photo from Birchbox!

Overall, it was yet another box I was completely thrilled with. I've of course already ordered some more Ruffian nail polish, and I still highly recommend Birchbox. I've discovered so many great things just over the three months I've been a member, it's well worth the money every month. Not to mention that when I do order full sized products I get points and coupons and deals. And their customer service and social media engagement are perfect. It's a great company, you should check it out!