May 16, 2012

Love it or Leave it: Cargo Spring Collection 2012

Not too long ago, I posted an Apothica and HauteLook haul. I promised reviews and now that I've gotten a chance to use the Cargo set I picked up for $39 at Apothica I wanted to share my thoughts on it. I also promised a review of the Urban Decay stuff I got on HauteLook, so don't worry, that one will be next!

The Spring Collection 2012 set came in this cute makeup bag. The quality isn't the greatest, but hey, I can always come up with a use for yet another makeup bag!

The kit included four products: a blush in Coral Beach, an eye shadow duo in Sardinia, a long wear lip gloss in Fresno and a 3 Triple Action Mascara. Before this kit I had never tried anything by Cargo, so I figured this would be a great chance to try out a variety of their products. However, right off the bat one thing bugged me: the tin packaging that the eye shadow duo and blush come in. The pan of blush had detatched from the packaging so it would just fall out whenever I opened it. This is a common issue that I've had with other brands, but it still bugs me. I shouldn't have to super glue my brand new makeup into it's own packaging, haha.

As for the mascara, it came in typical packaging with a slightly unusual brush. It has rubber bristles and is rather thin overall. The packaging claims that the mascara  thickens, lengthens and curls- I'll let you be the judge of that when we get to pictures later in the post ;)

This lipgloss surprised me in how tiny it is! It is about the length and width of my middle finger. However, I can't seem to figure out for sure if it's full size or not (the Cargo website doesn't list amounts). Regardless, it's .15 fl oz if that gives you an idea. It's your usual tube with a small doe foot applicator.

Finally, heres the blush and eye shadow! The blush has four shades that are variations on pink and peach and the eye shadow duo has a light brown and pretty baby pink. Hopefully you can see how theres a gap between the pan with the product and the case around it, so they're really not in there super securely.
Now for the most important part- the swatches!

The shadows and blush are all pigmented, soft and perfect for a natural spring time look. The gloss is a light milky pink, but on the lips it's pretty much sheer. It has a slightly not-so-great scent that I can't really describe, and it has a thick and sticky-ish texture that is typical of long wearing lip glosses. I don't mind the feeling though and I can see myself wearing this a lot this coming summer!  Finally, as you can see, the Mascara is a basic blackish brown.

Last but not least, here are some action shots of these products in use for my makeup look for today!

Heres a good shot of the mascara. Honestly, I'm already pretty lucky in the lashes department so I'm not totally blown away by the difference this mascara made. This was one coat though and I haven't had any issues with clumping or smudging, so I'll definitely be using this. I also like the brush- I've always been partial to rubber bristled brushes.

The eye shadow duo is good for a basic, natural eye look- here I'm wearing the pink on the lid and the brown on the crease. It's not particularly dramatic or unique, but it's great for an understated day to day look.
In the picture below you can also see the blush and the lip gloss. See how sheer the gloss is? I'm not complaining though- I think that these four products are pretty much a complete natural spring look in and of themselves. I predict that I'll be reaching for them a lot in the coming months =) 

Are any of you girls fans of Cargo?
* Disclaimer: I did purchase this set using an Apothica gift card that was given to me as part of my sponsorship. However, beyond the sponsor link on the upper right column of my blog, my relationship with Apothica doesn't influence any of my opinions or the content on my blog!

May 15, 2012

Love it or Leave it: My first impressions of the Balm!

Not too long ago I posted a haul that included these two adorable sets that I purchased at Marshalls at a great discount. I promised swatches and a review after I had tried them out, and now my verdict is ready: they're awesome! The Balm is a brand that I had always heard lots of good things about but this was my first personal experience with their products. They definitely didn't disappoint- the products themselves are great quality, but above all I'm in love with the packaging. It's all just so adorable!

First up are the three face powders in the Hey Mama! set. Bahama Mama is a matte bronzer, Hot Mama is a shimmery peachy-pink blush and Sexy Mama is a anti-shine translucent powder. Initially I wasn't sure how much I'd like the cardboard packaging, but it's actually really sturdy. The magnet closure is also pretty strong so I'm not concerned about one of these popping open in my purse.

Finally, here are swatches! I didn't bother including the translucent powder because, well, it's translucent! The bronzer is nice and not too orange- it is dark though, so I have to be careful not to over do it. I'm a big fan of the blush as it's very natural looking. In the packaging it initially made me thing of the NARS Orgasm blush, but after a quick comparison I realized that it's lighter, more peachy and not as shimmery.

Now on to the next set! For me the stand out of the Oh So Bright kit is the Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter. It is so pigmented and just gorgeous- I've been reaching for it just about every day!

I'm also loving the Plump Your Pucker lip gloss in Pink My Lemonade. It's a great everyday color and perhaps best of all it really does smell like pink lemonade! It has the usual tingling sensation that plumping glosses tend to have, but its not too harsh for me.

Last but not least we have the Hot Ticket nail polish in Princess and the mini Kabuki brush (not pictured). These weren't quite so exciting. The kabuki seems like one of those little "extras" that simply isn't the greatest quality. I'll probably carry it in my purse though, so it's not a total loss. The nail polish is a pretty shimmery nude champagne color, but again it's not that exciting.

Finally, heres a shot of my makeup today. I'm wearing the powder, blush, bronzer and lip gloss from above so hopefully this will give you an idea of how they look on =) All in all I'm very pleased with my first Balm experience and I definitely suggest that you grab a few things if you see any of the Balm sets that have been popping up at discount retailers lately!

Are any of you ladies fans of the Balm?

May 12, 2012

Love it or Leave it: My first BirchBox!

Yes, I know, I am just about the last person in the world to jump on the BirchBox bandwagon. I'm not even going to give you a run down of what it is, because I don't know about you but I get REALLY tired of hearing "BirchBox is a monthly blah blah blah" in every YouTube video and blog post. But, if you really don't know what it is or want to sign up, here is a (referral!) link to their website!

Anyway, I've been tempted to try out Birchbox for a while and I figured that their special Gossip Girl themed month was as good a time as any! I received it today which left me impressed right off the bat, as my estimated delivery date on the tracking website wasn't until the 14th!

I love the packaging. The cardboard box is pretty substantial and will definitely hold up, so I'm sure I will be able to get some use out of this storage wise. Everything was carefully wrapped in tissue paper and the presentation was really nice and chic.

Now for what I actually received! All in all, I feel like I got pretty lucky- I've seen some other posts for this months Birchbox with different products that I would have been sort of disappointed by, but I'm happy with mine. I got...

  • A Color Club Nail Polish in Disco Nap. I really don't need another gold in my polish collection, but I'm excited for an opportunity to give Color Club a shot- I've actually never tried any of their polishes!
  • Kerastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide, Cristalliste Bain Cristal Shampoo and Cristalliste Lait Cristal Conditioner. I'll definitely use these, but I'm not a huge hair product buff so these weren't really the highlight of my box.
  • XOXO Notecard. Cute, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with a single notecard haha. I'm sure an occasion to use it will eventually pop up though =)
  • A Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner. Yes, I was one of the lucky ducks who got a full size Stila eye liner! Mine is a cobalt blue color, and I'm really excited to use it for some summer eye looks with a bright pop of blue!
  • Dr. Jart + Waterfuse BB Cream. This was my only disappointment and it was one of the products that I was most excited about. I've never tried a BB Cream, so I was super eager and decided to swatch a bit on my hand to check out the texture. Well, I took off the cap, squeezed.... and squeezed... and squeezed.... and a tiny drop came out and that was that. The darn thing was 95% full of air, and barely contained enough for a swatch. I'm sure this was a manufactuing error that Birchbox had no way of knowing about, but I still want my chance to try this BB Cream- I actually emailed customer service about it, so we'll see if anything comes of that. (UPDATE- I just received a very kind email from BirchBox apologizing and saying that they would send me a replacement right away! I am now totally sold on BirchBox- talk about great customer service!)

So theres my May BirchBox! I'm pleased with it and looking forward to future boxes. I'm glad I finally jumped on the bandwagon!

Were you girls happy with your May BirchBoxes?