Emily & Tony Aromatherapy Massage Candle – Coco

Sometimes I find myself in a bit of a rut with finding new things to write about, so when I was offered the opportunity to try out this  Emily & Tony Aromatherapy Massage Candle in Coco this past month, I jumped at the chance. I mean who doesn’t love scented candles in their life? (Or the chance to coerce their boyfriend in to a back massage!?!)

Emily & Tony’s website describes this candle as such:

“This luxurious soft glowing massage candle sets the mood for an exhilarating sensual experience. Scented in a tantalizing Coco fragrance, which opens with top notes of coconut, with a sexy hint of cedar in the heart of the fragrance. The base is warmed by a delicious vanilla note. This formula is designed to moisturize and nourish the skin for the ultimate sensory experience. Burns up to 50 hours.”

Once again, who wouldn’t LOVE all of the above? I was so excited to receive mine to try!

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When the candle arrived at my doorstep I was floored by the packaging. Honestly, photos don’t give this gorgeous bauble the justice it deserves. If you didn’t already know, I LOVE the color grey. I just always have. The opaque grey hue of the glass on this candle is so pretty, I know I will keep it around long after the candle is all burned out.

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The next thing I immediately noticed by first impression was the scent. The moment I opened the box, I was greeted with the most rich and aromatic coconut fragrance that immediately filled the room with a lovely freshness and warmth. It doesn’t smell too sweet or overpowering, the perfect balance of softness and richness I usually go for in a home fragrance.

Lucky for me, this candle arrived right around Valentine’s Day, so convincing the boyfriend I absolutely needed a back massage to try it out wasn’t too difficult 🙂

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Once burning, the candle’s scent was amplified and filled the room with the gorgeous Coco scent. After just a short few minutes, there was enough melted wax in the candle to test out and I was pleasantly surprised by the texture.

Emily & Tony’s site describe the melted wax’s benefits:

“Beeswax, an intense moisturizer, helps heal damaged skin. Soybean Oil smooths and moisturizes while helping to brighten and even skin tone. Coconut Oil, and excellent hydrator, helps to preserve the skin’s natural moisture.”

I would definitely agree with the claims on this one, the texture of the melted wax is velvety soft and hydrating, without unpleasant stickiness. The infused oils allow the product to glide on skin easily, but the beeswax keeps it from being messy and runny like other, less complex, novelty massage oil candles available.

Once massaged in to the skin, the melted wax made my skin feel supple and moisturized, a feeling that lasted well in to the next day of wear. I only wish I would have done a heavy exfoliation prior to to trying out the product, I think the oils would have given my skin even more hydration benefits if I would have had that foresight. Regardless, this product feels like an absolute dream on the skin.

I have thoroughly enjoyed testing out the product and can honestly say I will be repurchasing this item when the candle has completely burned out. If you’re interested in checking out one of Emily & Tony Aromatherapy Massage Candle’s for yourself, they are available in three scents Coco, Creme de Vanille & Fougere. All three fragrances sound divine and I’m looking forward to checking out the additional scents in the future.

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All things considered, the Emily & Tony Aromatherapy Massage Candle in Coco is an absolute STRUT. The scent is heavenly, the texture left my skin hydrated and glowing and the packaging is a lovely addition to my bedside nightstand.

Have you tried out a massage oil candle before? Any suggestions for additional home fragrances I should look in to? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit Review

As may of you may know, I’m a bit of a “crazy coupon lady.” So when I come across a GREAT deal, especially on beauty products, I am all over it.

A while back I scored this Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit on one of my coupon runs for an absolute steal. The starter kit normally retails around $30-$40 at drug stores, but my braggable price was under $10. Scorrrrreee.

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(the box for “Shell We Dance,” looks MUCH more pink than actual strips)

Now I need to premise this post with the understanding that I am not a nail geek. Yes, I love it when my nails look feminine and polished, but I tend to spend more of my time on skincare and cosmetics and tend to ignore my claws until I find a moment of serious boredom or I have a special occasion I feel the need to be especially pampered for.

I used to be an acrylic nail FIEND, but my habit was tearing up my poor nails and the process was painful, time-consuming and expensive so I gave up my gorgeous acrylic manicures a few months back in hopes of finding a more affordable and less damaging option.

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(the contents of the package: Gel Strips, Nail Cleansing Pads, Nail Buffer, Gel Top Coat, LED Lamp & Instructions)

So when I was going through some old things the other day I came across these Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Starter Kits and figured I would give them a try. Maybe they would be the easy, lovely and affordable option I had been waiting for!

When I originally purchased the kits, I selected two colors: “Shell We Dance” and “Red My Lips.” The “Shell We Dance” color on the box looked to be a light, shell colored pink for those demure, conservative days while the “Red My Lips” showed a traditional vampy fire-engine red stunner shade.

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I was feeling girly so I reached for “Shell We Dance” to try out the kit  and unfortunately, was disappointed by the misleading color depiction on the box. The color is more of a transparent, skin-colored nude with none of the creamy pink tones I was looking for. I tried out one of the strips, saw how colorless and lackluster it was and decided to abandon the remainder of the strips in the shade and go straight for the big guns with “Red My Lips.”

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The instructions to the kit are pretty simple to follow, here’s a paraphrased version of what they say in the package:

#1. Prep: Start with clean, dry nails. Use the provided wooden stick to press back cuticles. Use the provided nail file to buff the nails to a desired shape. Use the provided nail cleanser pad to remove any excess dirt and oil. (This step is extremely important as it helps your manicure last longer.)

#2. Select & Apply Strip: Select best fitting strip for each nail. Remove clear plastic cover and peel strip from backing paper. Place strip against cuticle line and press strip to nail. Use warm hands for maximum flexibility and to help mold the strip to the nail. Gently stretch strip for a perfect fit and firmly smooth over entire nail. Run flat side of cuticle stick along edge of strip to firmly bond strip to nail.

#3. Shape: Smooth excess polish strip over nail edge, forming a crease around the edge of each nail. Gently file away excess from nail edge using provided file. This was the most difficult for me! I have short, broken nails so it was a little difficult to get the strip bent around the edge of all of my nails.

#4. Apply Gel Top Coat: Shake bottle of gel top coat vigorously and apply a thin coat to one nail (completely polish free edge of nail and remove any product from the skin prior to curing) and cure for 30 seconds with Mini LED Lamp. Complete this process before moving on to next nail.

#5. Cleanse & Finish: Once all nails are cured with the gel top coat, wipe all nails with nail cleanser pad to remove tacky residue; manicure is complete.

#6. Removal: Saturate a small piece of cotton the size of your nail with Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover (do not use an acetone free remover.) Place cotton over gel and wrap tightly with a small square of aluminum foil. Check first nail after 5 minutes; the gel should be lifted up off the nail and easy to push off with the cuticle stick. If necessary re-saturate cotton, re-wrap nail and check every 5 minutes. Gently push off gel with cuticle stick. Do not pull gel away from natural nail plate.

Pretty darn easy sounding RIGHT? Well the start to finish process took me about an hour and a half (including the color change fiasco) so it didn’t exactly save me the time it would take to hit up a nail salon. The color payoff was good with the red and the gel made my nails quite shiny, so I did approve of the final product.

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I don’t really know how I would say I 100% feel about this product. I did love that I could do this at home and get virtually the same effect of a gel manicure, but the strips were slightly too narrow for some of my apparently large nail beds so there were places that the red strip wouldn’t reach on application. The flip side of that argument is that the gel strips were EASY clean up and no mess was involved. No sloppy clean up on the skin and cuticles and no need for the anxiety of combating my shaky hands for nail perfection.

I wore these red nails for about a week with minimal chipping, so the resiliency of the product was good, but didn’t live up to the two week wear time boasted on the box. Yes, I am a bit hard on my nails and have been told many a time that my nail beds are a bit oilier than the norm, so that might have had something to do with it and I can’t fault Ms. Sally Hansen for those discrepancies.

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All in all, I think the Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips have a place in my regimen, but definitely not as an every day option. They are a bit time consuming to put on, the start up package retail price without a large discount is high, the replacement gel strips without coupons or discounts are a bit steep, but the finished product is lovely for a special event or weekend getaway if you are looking for something as a quick solution.

The good news is, Sally Hansen comes out with great deals and coupons on this product all the time, not to mention they update their selection frequently and phase out older colors so next time I will be STOCKING UP on extra gel strips in fun colors and patterns for the special events coming up all year. With 4 weddings, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, baby showers and MY 25TH BIRTHDAY coming up, I’m sure to make good use out of these babies and save some dough on salon costs in the process.

I was a little so/so on this one, but I’ll give it a STRUT (under the right circumstances!) If you can find this Starter Kit on sale (don’t pay more than 15-20 bucks!) and can find the Gel Strips around 7 bucks, I say these are nice to have on hand for special events when you want a fool-proof, flawless manicure. Just remember, don’t expect more than a week of wear per mani.

Have you tried any at-home gel manicure supplies? Should I try another brand? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara Review

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This month, I graciously received the #RoseVoxBox from Influenster to try out and review! The box was packed to the brim with samples and goodies, one of which was a very generous FULL SIZED Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara. I love me some big, Bambi lashes, so I took gave it a shot and was flabbergasted by the amazing length this awesome formula packed on to my lashes.

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A picture is worth 1,000 words, right?

The beginning, with my stick-straight naked lashes!

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Curled my lashes and applied one coat of the Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara:

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It’s a start! 🙂 I noticed a bit of length and a nice separation of the lashes. Time for a second curling and coat!

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The photo above is my second curl and coat. The lashes stuck together a bit more, but you can notice a LOT more length from the first coat. One more should be perfection

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Hello, bright eyes! Three rounds of curling and coating the lashes made a HUGE difference! I look like my usual falsie-wearing self!

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A side by side comparison, from now to wow! My lashes look HUGE and FULL, no complaints here!

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I also like the wavy curve to the brush. It makes it really easy to reach the inside and outer corners of the lashes so nothing gets missed. I’ve never used a brush like this before, so it was fun to try something new!

Pictures tell no lies! The Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara pumps up the length and fans out the lashes to give a definite retro feel. I usually opt for a voluminous mascara but this one might just have me singing a different tune.

Overall, I would say this mascara experience was a STRUT. The product hit shelves November 2013, so go out and get you some!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Sargento Voxbox from Influenster!

I signed up for Influenster a while back and finally qualified for a VoxBox program from Sargento Cheese.

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When my Voxbox arrived, I was really excited to tear in to it, as Influenster was teasing the box contents for weeks and mentioned that we would all be receiving some cool goodies from Sargento, along with a ‘mystery cheese accessory.’

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That was my box, all ready to be opened! I like that they put the Colby-Jack on the front. I always forget there are other kinds of cheese snacks other than the traditional Mozzerella String Cheese.

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Once opened, I saw my coupons, one for a FREE bag of Sargento Cheese Snacks, another for $1 off a bag of Sargento Cheese Snacks, some literature from Sargent and Influenster and finally my surprise cheese accessory: an insulated cheese case for my cheese snacks!

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It’s so cute and handy! I am going to use it with my Bento Box when I pack lunches and snacks for work 🙂

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I took my free cheese snack coupon to my local Ralphs and picked up some Pepper Jack Cheese Snacks for the fridge in my office. They were so delicious, took the edge off when I had snack cravings over the last week and they only were 90 calories!

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Needless to say, they didn’t last long. 🙂

This Sargento VoxBox was so fun to receive from Influenster! I really enjoyed the chance to try out these cheese snacks from Sargento, and I will be using the $1 off coupon to pick up another bag very soon. This VoxBox opportunity was definitely a STRUT.

Are you signed up for Influenster? I still have 3 invitations left, so please feel free to leave your information in the comments and I will invite you to be in Influenster too!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Birchbox customer service is AMAZING

HOLY CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Had the best experience of my life this morning with Birchbox.

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I ordered 2 full sized products with Birchbox  last week using some points I had been saving up. The products arrived last night and when I opened my package this morning I was disappointed to see one of of the items was damaged. 🙁 After collecting myself, I noticed a card in the box with a customer service number on it so I didn’t fret too long.
I called their customer service and after a brief hold, they immediately offered to send out a new product for me, told me to keep the damaged item AND gave me 100 points ($10) in their shop as an apology for my shipment not arriving in perfect condition. I was floored.
Not two minutes later, I was also already sent an apology email and let me know that the replacement product order had been placed and will arrive shortly. Talk about a speedy recovery!
A+ for Birchbox
These guys really know how to keep their customers happy and I am NEVER going to cancel my subscription with them now. Take notice people, this is the customer service of the future. SO IMPRESSED.

If you too would like to join Birchbox, please use my referral code as I earn rewards for telling my awesome friends about their awesome service. Code here: http://birch.ly/18oBwrf

As if I really need to say it, but this experience was a breath of fresh air from Birchbox and I would definitely categorize it as a STRUT.

Have you ever had a customer service experience that WOW-ED you? Do you also think Birchbox is amazing? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

finally, Klout pays up.

Picked up my mail this afternoon and cleverly hidden in the back of the mailbox was a little spherical package from none other than Klout.

Let’s rewind a few weeks back; shall we? I have been an active member of the Klout community as per my employers’ request that I become familiar with the social scoring platform. I had heard of Klout before, though I didn’t spend put a lot of merit in it. Once I signed up however, I found myself maniacally checking that score and obsessing over raising my pitiful score of a mere 25 to something far less shameful- obviously I’m a complete loser of a ‘Citizen Influencer’ with anything less than a fifty right?

(Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m a steady 60 now 🙂 )

But enough of all that. Despite being a temporary obsession, Klout’s measurement is nothing more to me than an online popularity contest masked by ‘constantly updating algorithms.’ I think the whole thing is sort of hogwash, personally, but I find myself drawn back weekly out of amusement.

The amusement behind Klout for me comes down to two simple things: the competition and the Perks. Ahhhh, the Perks. The slippery, slippery, elusive Perks.

Moving on… (focus, Nicole FOCUS!) A few weeks ago, with my shiny, steady Klout score of 60, I finally got the email, ‘You just earned a Klout Perk!’ Giddy as a schoolgirl, I clicked the link, entered my address and what could be in my mail box as soon as I got home from work this afternoon?

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Oh, the sweet satisfaction.

My very first Klout Perk! After months of social engagement, acquiring Twitter fans, linking up my various social media platforms, setting up my blog and YouTube channel and generally stepping up my social media game, I finally got the Golden Ticket.

Though I already knew it was coming and already knew what was in that little box, I rushed inside like an impatient child, briefly stopped for this photo-op moment and proceeded to tear in to the package.

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In all its shining glory, my first Perk was un-boxed. My bounty, you ask? Two shower gel samples from Herbal Essences, some marketing material from Herbal Essences and Klout, and a $10 Walmart gift card. What sweet, sweet satisfaction. 🙂

I happen to already be a fan of Herbal Essences products, through my couponing endeavors and general life experience as a 20-something year old red blooded American female consumer, so I knew I would enjoy both scents of the body wash samples.

The scents I received were “Body Burst” and “Hello Hydration.” Body Burst is described to allow you to “Indulge in an exhilarating shower experience that you are bound to love with an invigorating burst of citrus essences. It will awaken your senses and leave you feeling energized and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. ” Though I do like the scent, I felt the citrus is a bit off, with some sickly sweet fruity fragrance mixed in. I couldn’t see myself purchasing the scent again, surprising to me, since I tend to prefer either VERY sweet or VERY citrus-y scents for body care products like this, and the Body Burst was my first choice in scent to sample through my Perk.

On to the Hello Hydration. This scent was 100% a HOME RUN for me. The scent is described by Herbal Essences to allow you to: “Indulge in a rejuvenating shower experience that you are bound to love with the oh-so-fabulous scent of coconuts. It will transport you to beaches, palm trees, and sunshine delight without drying out your skin like regular soap, leaving you feeling refreshed. Just like vacation.” I have to give it to H.E. on this one, they nailed it with this scent. Fresh and beachy and sweet, but not too sweet, Hello Hydration smells like a far superior product I would purchase from a much more expensive body care line. I could certainly see myself purchasing this product again.

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Here is a close up shot of the items I received. Not going to lie, this was a fun little package, and FREE! And the best part? I already have another Perk on the way… thanks Blowfish 🙂 That being said, my first Klout Perk is definitely a STRUT.

Have you ever gotten a Klout Perk? Did you like it? Are you even a Klout user? Let me know!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

National Cheesecake Day!

The most delicious holiday of the year has rolled around again… National Cheesecake Day!

Last year I celebrated with making not one, but TWO cheesecakes to mark the occasion: a plain cheesecake and a sinful chocolatey cheesecake.

This year, I’m undecided.

The Cheesecake Factory announced that they are offering half off one slice of cheesecake per person at their restaurant to mark the occasion… no coupon necessary! This is my lazy, yet still festive option.

On the other hand, my ambitious, Pinterest-loving self wants to make a cheesecake again, I have been compiling recipes for the entirety of a year for such an occasion!

Pinned recipes include: Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes, Lemon Cheesecake Morning Buns, Green Tea Cheesecake White Chocolate Brownies, No Bake Nutella Cheesecake and Cheesecake Lemon Bars, just to name a few. I would love to say I found a bomb diggity recipe for HEALTHY cheesecake, but that seems like a bit of an oxymoron.

Must be why National Cheesecake Day is but once a year 🙂

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(I celebrated a little early with room service cheesecake at BlogHer 2013 this past weekend in Chicago!)

I really don’t know which way to go this year! Decisions, decisions… I guess this is why they call these first-world problems!

What are you doing to celebrate National Cheesecake Day? What should I do this year, bake or buy? Please let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

BlogHer 2013 In Photos (So Far!)

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At the Honest Tea booth, giving an honest compliment.

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I make the Gorton’s Fisherman gear look GOOD.

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The Moskato Life booth was doing complimentary manicures, but I already had my nails done! They asked me to take a photo in their mini photo booth anyway 🙂

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The Snickers booth was hilarious! “You’re not you when you’re hungry”… the funny thing is we were both STARVING HERE!

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The Land O Frost booth had a contest to win an Ipad mini, and all you needed to do is snap a picture with an adorable little minion and post it up on the Twitter Machine. Minions and winning stuff? Count me in.

Ipsy July 2013

Back in May, I signed up for Ipsy after much indecisive contemplation throughout the few months prior. And damn was I glad I did, the May Glam Bag was ridiculously amazing. And lucky, lucky me… each Glam Bag following my subscription has been amazing as well 🙂

Basically Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service curated by Michelle Phan and a collection of other YouTube beauty gurus. For $10 a month, plus tax, a Glam Bag is delivered to your doorstep filled with 4-6 beauty items ranging from sample sized to full-size pieces, all sweetly packaged in an adorable makeup bag to store it all in. The products and bag all change monthly and are based on your individual needs as per the Ipsy style survey that is completed when you sign up for the service. Ipsy almost constantly has a wait list to subscribe, which is a bit of a pain, but it never seems to take more than a month or so to become a subscriber and when you do,  it is oh, so WORTH IT.

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The theme of this month’s Glam Bag was Beach Beauty and Ipsy hit the nail on the head with their product offerings for this beachy bag.

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The first item in my bag was the Coola Mineral Suscreen Tinted Moisturizer. The sample size is generous, the formula is creamy and the pigment is a good match for my skin tone with a slight yellow base. I’m a sunscreen NUT and have been experimenting with more natural products, so this item will be exciting to try out!

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I have never heard of this brand before, but the color is so sassy and bright, I am really looking forward to trying out this Nailtini laquer in the shade “Mai Tai.” Not going to get a mani with this one, but this is SO a poppin’ pedi color. Photos when it happens 🙂

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This item made my pink Glam Bag package SO FULL! The Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray smells like summer and has an awesome trigger spray delivery method which makes it so simple to mist my locks into beachy submission. I did an on camera trial of this product in my Ipsy unboxing video if you would like to see how it works on my hair.

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The next item in my Glam Bag is the California Collection sampler from BH Cosmetics. This mini pallet features one shadow shade from each of the California Collection pallets including ‘Hollywood’, a deep matte indigo, ‘San Francisco,’ a beautiful metallic rust (I’m thinking this is going to be a lovely crease color), and ‘Malibu,’ a vibrant glittery gold. I’m looking forward to trying all three in a summery, beachy look and will post it up as soon as I do.

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The last subscriber item in my Glam Bag this month was a full-sized Pouty Pop Crayon from Pop Beauty. The color is vibrant and goes on smoothly without leaving the lips creasy or over glossed. The best part about this crayon is NO SHARPENING necessary! 🙂 The crayon just twists up to deliver more color, a genius invention if I do say so myself.

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Thanks to a few of my friends signing up for Ipsy last month using my referral code, I was sent an addition bonus item! (THANK YOU BRITTNEY AND KIM!!) The bonus item was this nail laquer from the Nicole collection from OPI… how fitting 🙂 The color is a rich metallic purple which screams fall, so I’ll likely be stashing this gorgeous baby until the weather starts cooling down and I can rock it in the appropriate season.

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This is a quick snap of the bag all these products came in this month. Ipsy has been REALLY stepping it up with their bags lately. This month’s bag is a clear pink plastic barrel shape, a completely new and fresh look for the traditional makeup bag. Bravo, Ipsy 😀

So that’s a wrap on my Ipsy bag this month! I have been a subscriber for 3 months now and for my mere $10 investment, this is a heap of fun, useful items that I can’t wait to try!

If you would like to sign up for Ipsy, please click my referral link. The bags are great, the products are awesome, and the Ipster community is a great place to find fresh new ways to switch up your beauty routine.

Until next time, thank you all for reading my post and I hope you’re having an amazing day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

My unboxing of Ipsy July 2013!

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