Influenster Frosty Vox Box

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I was so fortunate to receive my 5th and favorite VoxBox in December, and now that I’ve had enough time to test out most of the products, I figured it was time to share my thoughts! This Vox was actually a surprise to me because I received it before I got the confirmation email from Influenster that I was chosen and that my box had shipped – I may or may not have squealed with happiness when I saw it on my door step! And then I stepped in dog poop. #blessed

I have to say, I thought the assortment of things in this VoxBox were a little random. Not at all in a bad way, just not what I anticipated from a “Frosty” Vox! The contents included:

  1. Rimmel Just Let It Go Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (wow, that is a mouthful)
    • I was genuinely impressed with this product. I got it in my eyes…and nothing! No horrible stinging sensation, no swearing with words that would bring my mother to tears, no redness. It is SO gentle, and it (mostly) removed the eyeliner below with ease. I don’t usually use eye makeup remover, I’m one of those lazy people who uses regular soap or cleanser, but I will probably continue to use this. The bottle is HUGE, and at over 4oz of remover, I will probably be set for the rest of my life. Or maybe the next couple of years. Hopefully my life is longer than that. Now I’m getting superstitious.
  2. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner (their product development team might want to tone down the names on these products in the future ๐Ÿ˜)
    • This is a product that I did not anticipate liking. I haven’t had good experiences with Rimmel eyeliners in the past, and I usually stray from any eye products that have waterproof in the name. I have to say, this eyeliner glides on SO easily. It doesn’t tug on my skin and I don’t have to pull my eyelid to apply it. (Hooray for not having old lady eyes at 25!) For me, the waterproof-ness is actually a downfall because I find that even after using makeup remover and sometimes even following up with my cleanser, there’s still black residue around my eyes. To be fair, though, the eyeliner does not smear at all, especially on the lower lashline, and as previously stated, I like most eyeliners that steer clear of the middle school scene kid look. I will repurchase this!
  3. NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum
    • I will not lie to you. I thought this color was hideous when I first looked at it. I almost considered regifting it as a stocking stuffer because holy wow did I think this shiz was not for me. I was pleasantly proved wrong, because what I thought was going to be frosty and dated, turned out to actually be a very pretty soft plum color. The frost comes off as more of a sheen, so no “do-I-look-like-a-hooker” worries here. I HATE the packaging. It is cheap, and it looks cheap. The lipstick is creamy and smooth, non-drying, and not the most long lasting. I believe these are $2, so I would definitely consider looking at more shades and trying them out!
  4. Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea
    • If you know me, you know that I drink anywhere from 3-5 cups of tea a day. (Mostly because I hate the taste of water ๐Ÿ˜ฃ) I hate, and I mean despise with every tea-loving fiber in my body, mint teas. So when I saw Celestial Seasonings, I was at first like, “OMG SHUT UP YAY TEA THIS IS THE GREATEST” and then I read the flavor and I was like, “This is probably what it feels like to be disappointed in your child.” There are two tea bags in the sample, and I steeped and drank one mug (using 1 sachet). It is definitely candy cane inspired, but also way more pleasant than I was expecting. I still hate mint tea, so I gave the other sachet to my roommate, but I would imagine if you are a fan of mint teas that you would like this. Shout out to Celestial Seasonings, though, because I love their tea!
  5. Protect & Perfect serum samples from Boots No. 7
    • Real talk, I have not tried these yet.
  6. Strawberry Fruit Vines Bites (literally ate the whole package the day I received the box)
    • I honestly don’t think that I need to explain this one, but…..it’s strawberry flavored licorice bites. They are delicious. You will like them. Probably go buy some. And then feel guilty about eating the whole package. No, I am not speaking from experience. Yes, that last sentence was a lie.
  7. EcoTools Styler + Smoother hair brush
    • I really wanted to love this brush with my heart. I have several EcoToolsย  makeup brushes and have always been satisfied with the quality of their products. This brush just didn’t do it for me! The best way I can describe this brush is as a round brush cut in half lengthwise. I typically use a paddle brush for my hair, and I found that this one was not nearly as gentle on my scalp as I’m used to. When I attempted to use it while blow-drying my hair, it got stuck. Seriously, every single time. I’m pretty clumsy when it comes to hair so I had my mom try it and she experienced the same thing. I don’t know if it’s the bristles or the backing (which is open with vents in order to make blow-drying faster), but it was not fun times to use this brush on wet/damp hair. It just seems to catch on damp hair and not pull out any tangles. On dry hair, it is just your average brush. The curved backing made this brush look super cool and I had high hopes for being able to style my hair easily, but it just didn’t do it for me. I was pretty disappointed to see that other Influensters received the Sleek + Shine hair brush, which seems suited more for someone like me with a gentle scalp and fine hair.
  8. McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme
    • I haven’t had the time to test out the thyme. See what I did there? I love to cook, but I don’t regularly come across thyme in my recipes! If you have any recipes with thyme in them, please share below and I would love to try them out!

My overall thoughts on this Vox were that I loved trying out (most) of the products, and am so thankful for yet another opportunity to try out some new things! If you are interested in joining and/or learning more about Influenster, feel free to join through my referral link (http://www.influenster.com/r/594505). I would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Disclaimer: I received all of these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

“What kind of relationship could you have?”

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A lot of people don’t understand long distance relationships. Why would someone ever choose to be in a relationship with someone they rarely get to see? Why spend hundreds of dollars on plane tickets when you could just find somebody else nearby? How do they do it? Why do they do it?

What I think a lot of people don’t realize is that they’re asking me how I love someone. I don’t do anything other than faithfully remain in a relationship with someone I love. There are a lot more challenges in this type of relationship than typical relationships, and I do recognize that. It’s almost impossible to plan things around the Marine Corps, and it does get old having FaceTime as the only face-to-face communication for months at a time. It gets expensive buying plane tickets and sending care packages. But if I were to divide that out by the number of dinner dates the average couple gets to go on, it’s probably not much different. If I got to see, talk to, hug, and kiss Alex every day, I would cherish every second of it. I would. But I don’t get to do those things, so I try to cherish every second we’re apart, because I really have no other choice. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. There is no making up for missed anniversaries, missed holidays, and missed 3am runs to Walmart. But this is only temporary, and I genuinely believe that being divided by distance has brought us closer together as a couple.

If I wasn’t absolutely positive that Alex is the man I’m going to marry, the person that knows every part of my soul – the good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly, the person that will forgive me when I don’t deserve it, the person that will hang on, even when the water gets rough, I would not put myself through the heartache. But as I’m reminded too frequently, every cliche about life being too short is true. I have one life to live, it could end at any time, and I don’t want to wake up one day feeling regretful and alone.

People will talk about and judge literally anything in the world. I don’t expect everyone to understand my relationship, my feelings, and how I could possibly love someone that I saw for a total of 40 out of 365 days last year alone. But when someone asks me, “What kind of relationship could you have?” my feelings do get hurt. I don’t need anyone’s validation to feel secure in my relationship. But it does occasionally bruise me when someone suggests that I can’t have a healthy, happy, intimate relationship simply because I can’t be there in person 24/7. I write letters. I send texts. I spend hours on the phone. I FaceTime. I fly to North Carolina when I can. I have a relationship that is strong because we have vowed to face our problems as a team. I have a relationship that is unbroken because we have promised to be loyal and honest. I have a relationship that is fulfilling because we give and receive love equally. I have a relationship that is healthy because we make the most of the communication when we can. I have a relationship that is fun because we’re best friends. I have a relationship that is merciful because we forgive each other. Quite frankly, I have a relationship that rocks. Is it perfect? No. Do I really care that it isn’t perfect? No. Because I’m pretty sure that only exists in Nicholas Sparks books and D-list romance movies.

So really, the point is, I can have a relationship just like everybody else. And I can be happy, and loved, and fulfilled, and thankful no matter the circumstances.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

14 Beauty Favorites of 2014

2014 has officially come to a close. Amongst all the “baes” and “or nahs,” “Let It Go’s,” (what needs to be let go is that song) and abundance of Netflix binges, I fell in love with some pretty cool products. I handpicked 14 of my personal beauty faves just for you!

2014

1. Clarisonic Mia – I am borderline obsessed with this thing. How does it spin? Why does it spin? Does it actually spin or just vibrate? The world may never know, but what I do know is that it actually makes me want to wash my face at night, and for that I am eternally thankful. My face is softer, smoother, clearer, and feels cleaner after I wash it. ($99 at Sephora)

2. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel – I was cursed blessed with oily/combo skin that always seems to dance the line between Sahara Desert and BP oil spill. This moisturizer has dramatically (actually) helped quench the dry patches on my face without increasing oil production. It’s a little pricey, but will probably last me 8 months to a year. ($26 at Sephora)

3. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – If you’re like me (and every other sane person in the world), and think that paying $20 for aย BeautyBlender SPONGE is outrageous, then you should try this product. I don’t doubt that the BB is a fantastic product, but the RealTechniques spongeย has the exact same rating as the BB and has gotten a lot of publicity on YouTube. It flawlessly applies liquid foundation and blends undereye concealer like a dream. It is so soft and bouncy! And it won’t break the bank. ๐Ÿ‘ ($6 at Ulta)

4. Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – I had my eyes on this palette for quite a while before my awesome boyfriend gave it to me on my birthday! It has 12 taupe-inspired shades ranging from matte to shimmer, and is my most-used eye product. I use it every day! The brush it comes with kind of sucks, but shadows are soft and pigmented. This one lives up to the hype. ($54 at Sephora)

5. e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator – I bought this on a total whim on Cyber Monday, and it has quickly become an everyday staple of mine. I have chronically dry lips that peel and flake no matter how many layers of chapstick and balm I apply. It smells good, tastes good (it is a sugar-based exfoliator after all), and actually works. It leaves my lips smooth and primed for lipstick! ($3 at elf)

6. BareMinerals Lasting Line Eyeliner – I got this liner in a gift package from my friend Audrey for my birthday. I wasn’t actively seeking out a new eyeliner, but when I finally ran out of this stuff 4 months later, I actually yelled “NOOOO!” It’s creamy and black, retractable, smudgeable, and comes with a built-in sharpener in case the point gets dull. It lasted all day on me and successfully helped me define my eyes without looking like a raccoon or 14-year-old scene kid. And in my book, that is a win. ($16 at Ulta)

7. Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara – I am not the kind of person who spends $20 on mascara. I got this on Black Friday at Ulta for $10, but I would seriously pay the $20 for it again. It contains 0.51 fl oz of product, which is like…miraculous considering my usual standby (L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly) only contains 0.21 fl oz. This mascara is a one coat and done kind of deal. Which is also miraculous. It makes my lashes super black and full, and doesn’t flake. I will say that it occasionally smudges on my lower lashline, and is pretty difficult to wash off, but not so much that it’s obnoxious. ($20 at Ulta)

8. Maybelline ColorSensational Lipstick in Blush Beige – For the majority of my makeup-wearing life, I have avoided nude lipstick on the principle that I don’t want to look like my lips disappeared into my face. I can’t stand the look of pale, concealer-toned lips. Why are your lips flesh toned? Are you a vampire? I bought this on sale at Target, and I’ve actually come to love it. It’s sort of an apricot-beige tone, creamy, and doesn’t camouflage my lips. For someone with fair skin like me, this is an ideal nude that goes perfectly with a smoky eye or just an everyday lip. ($7.50 at Ulta)

9. Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade in Blonde – There is a saying that goes, “Don’t let anyone with bad eyebrows tell you sh*t about life.” I firmly believe that. Get your eyebrows right and then we can talk ๐Ÿ‘Œ This is definitely more expensive than my long-loved e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit (which is $3), but I can’t go on enough about how pigmented and creamy this product is. Once it sets, it won’t smudge or wipe off, and the pot will easily last me an entire year or longer. I highly recommend going into an Ulta or Sephora and having an artist match your brows with a shade – I could have worn blonde, taupe, or soft brown. I went with blonde, and even with my light brown hair, it’s still pigmented enough. BROW POWER ($18 at Sephora)

10. Sigma F8 Flat-top Kabuki – This brush deserves every little bit of hype it gets. I tend to only purchase high-end beauty products when I’ve tested them and heard overwhelmingly good reviews about them. So, although I was content with my elf and RealTechniques brushes, I decided to splurge on this brush. (I purchased it from Amazon for $19 through an authorized retailer, but I have heard that it’s safest to order directly from Sigma) It is SO soft and beautifully blends in liquid AND! powder foundation with no brush streaks. I was able to get full coverage with less product compared to my RealTechniques expert face brush. It feels like you’re applying foundation with a non-ticklish feather. It is that soft. ($24 at Sigma)

11. MAC Satin Lipstick in Rebel – This lipstick makes me feel cool. I feel like I could intimidate people with this lipstick on. Maybe even rob a bank. It’s a rich plum color and ultra-popular this fall and winter. It’s creamy, non-drying, and lasts all day. In fact, it stains my lips for about two days. But I love it so much that I don’t care. Having purple lips is cool. ($16 at MAC)

12. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer – Maybe you’ve read my previous rant about Maybelline Fit Me foundation. Maybe you haven’t. All you need to know is that the foundation is the absolute worst ๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ”ช and the concealer is awesome. It’s creamy, smooth, amazing for undereye concealing, and medium-coverage for spot-concealing. ($7 at Ulta)

13. Neutrogena Shine Control Primer – As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have oily skin. The kind of oily skin that breaks up your makeup halfway through the day and keeps people wondering, “Am I supposed to be able to see my reflection in her face?” First of all, the answer is no. Second of all, this primer keeps my shine at bay for at least 4 extra hours than if I don’t use it. It’s a little pricey to me since I’m not super into primers, but it’s lasted me around 6 months with regular use. And if that means 4 extra hours of not having people mistake my face for Exxon-Valdez, then I’m willing to pay for it. ($14 at Ulta)

14. MAC Mineralize Blush in Gentle – I am a huge sucker for berry blushes. I don’t know why, and I’m almost certain that most fair skinned people like myself shouldn’t be wearing it on a regular basis, but I’m kind of a rebel and do it anyway. I was looking for a blush to coordinate with MAC Rebel lipstick, which I originally purchased to wear to my boyfriend’s Marine Corps Ball. (Is coordinating blush and lipstick a thing? No?) I watched what felt like, and probably was, ten billion YouTube videos before I pulled the trigger on this blush. I love it! It’s pigmented, but not so much that you have to be careful when applying it. It has a sheen, but not so much that it’s frosty on your cheek. If you want to look like a gorgeous sugar plum fairy, buy this blush. ($27 at Nordstrom)

๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ That is my official list of favorite products of 2014! Comment and let me know what your 2014 favorites were!

Maybelline Fit Me+ Matte & Poreless

Let me preface this review by stating how much I hate the original Maybelline Fit Me foundation. I’m convinced that if Satan himself were to concoct a foundation product, it would be that one. It is goopy, greasy, and all around what I imagine having tinted Crisco on your face feels like.

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The new Fit Me+ Matte & Poreless is nothing like its vile predecessor, and I have to say, I am super impressed! I originally found out about this product while combing Ulta for sales on drugstore foundations. It’s relatively new and will not permanently be in stores until the spring, which made finding it a bit of a challenge. The Ulta here did not even have it in stock yet, and it was $10 at CVS.Help me I’m poor. I know that in reality, ten dollars is not a lot of money for foundation, but that is a 200% markup on the going price for this foundation at Walmart, which is $5.

About a week ago (ha) I ran into Walmart quickly and found a new display for this foundation. It was not accompanied by the Fit Me+ Matte & Poreless powder, which supposedly exists as well, but I grabbed the foundation in the shade 120 Classic Ivory.

Pros:

  • Medium buildable coverage
  • Much thinner consistency than Revlon Colorstay
  • Dries to matte finish
  • Controls oil for ~5 hours

Cons:

  • Dries almost immediately on the skin, so you have to work quickly
  • Clings to dry patches
  • Does not actually last 12 hours (but you should probs wash your makeup off by then)

I will say that the shade I got is a tinge on the orange side, so I mix it with the tiniest dab of my Colorstay foundation in 150 Buff and voila! Problem solved. Definitely try it with a primer, though, and don’t expect it to make you actually poreless.I applied this both with a Real Techniques miracle complexion sponge and a Sigma F80 and was able to achieve full coverage with both methods, however I think it worked better with the F80 because it sets so quickly. Overall, I would say I’m pretty impressed with this foundation and I would recommend it to anyone else cursed blessed with oily combo skin!