Thursday, February 26, 2015

BoxyCharm's Sends Lots of Kisses Your Way! (February Unboxing)

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments
The last post for the month of February, and today we're talking all about the goodies that were sent out in BoxyCharm's February box. Are any of you subscribed to get their boxes? I'd love to hear what you thought of your the February box!
If you don't know what BoxyCharm is all about, see my first unboxing post and I lay out all the details of this fabulous beauty subscription service.

What's Inside BoxyCharm's February Box

This box was pretty different from all the others -- instead of opening up so beautifully as it previously did, this box opened at the side and I had to spill everything out. So no pretty picture of the box this time, sorry! But here's the card I received with it -- it was all about kisses and hearts this month!
Here's a quick snapshot of everything in my box. I always love using the fun, pink confetti paper that they use to package the products as a backdrop for my pictures. :-) As usual, we'll dive into each product in the order that I took them out of the box in.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was this pretty, apothecary-style bottle filled with powdered clay from Mullein & Sparrow. I did a little dance when I saw this -- I love doing mud masks to help keep my skin clear of acne. This is only a deluxe size sample, but it's still valued at $15 (they sell mini's for this amount on their website). There are several different types of clay in here, all of them very beneficial and detoxifying. Can't wait to use it!
Next was a chubby pencil from Jing Ai. I've never heard of the brand before, but loved the cute packaging.
 As you can see, I got the color Pink Star. :-)
Isn't it really pretty? The perfect color for the upcoming spring, and also very appropriate for Valentine's Day, don't you think?
Here it is on my lips. I loved that the color applied very glossy and pigmented for a lip shine. It was a shade or two lighter than it looked in the pencil, but it stayed true to the swatch on my hand. I love it! Can't wait to wear it some more this spring!
Next up was a brush. I always get excited for brushes -- don't ask me why, I just do. :-) The brush is called a Duo Fiber Mini Round Brush, retails for $15, and is the type I would use to darken my outer corner.
It feels a tad bit still, so I don't think it will work well for blending anything out. But I think it will be great to pack on the color.
In a previous box (I think December) they included a Mistura brush, and this time they've sent a complexion corrector stick along. I looked on the card and on the product itself, but I can't figure out what color this is....or if they only had one available. So I checked the site and, indeed, they only sell one color.
Which seems strange, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it looked like it would go well on my skin tone. Not as an under eye concealer, but should work to conceal any acne spots. Though I must throw out there really quick...this concealer is $37 in Canadian dollars (which means about $30 in US dollars). Kinda expensive -- but that's why you subscribe to a beauty box, right? To try out brands you wouldn't otherwise purchase. :-)
Last, but NOT least, is this nail polish. I love to paint my nails and try glitters and whatnot, so this instantly jumped to the top of my favorites from this box. :-)
This is the first 'chunky confetti' nail polish that I've gotten from ncLA, but I have received a solid color from them and really liked the formula. So I have high hopes for this bottle!
The hearts look so beautiful in here. I'll post a picture on my Instagram page when I do a manicure with this. The price is a bit steep ($16), but the quality is pretty fabulous. :-)
 And there you have it, all the products I received in my February box. I'm pretty stoked with everything I got. Nothing looks to be a dud, for which I am thrilled. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the concealer, but even if that's not all I had hoped it to be, it will still be well worth the $21 this box cost. Don't you think?! :-)

The Value of BoxyCharm's February Box

Now it's time to do the math. :-) The value always far exceeds the price of the box, but it's fun to see exactly how much.

Modern Minerals Mini Round Brush - $15
Mullein & Sparrow Mini Facial Mask (Deluxe size) - $15
ncLA Nail Lacquer - $16
Jing Ai Velvet Shin Lip Jewel - $22
Mistura Beauty Solutions C-2-P Complextion Corrector - $29.76
TOTAL = $97.76

Just shy of a $100 value to this box. Pretty good results for only $21. A girl can always use a mask, nail polish, a new eye brush, and another lipstick. And if the concealer works well and is in your color, so much the better!

So what do you think of BoxyCharm's February's box? If you received this (or wish you had :-), what was your favorite product from the box? I think mine is tied between the mask and nail polish.

I received the products mentioned above from BoxyCharm in the hopes that I would mention them on my blog. Regardless, this does not guarantee a review or feature on my blog. I only share information that I think will be useful for my readers and I only recommend products I have personally used.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blog Schedule Update!

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments
Really quick, I want to get on here and let you know that my blog schedule is going to change up a bit. Starting this week I will only be posting twice a week -- Mondays and Thursdays (So the next beauty post will go up tomorrow). I'm not sure if this will be my new schedule from now on, but it will be for the next several months.

I've been finding myself worn thin between traveling, being a wife, and putting out quality posts for you all. And since the next few months will only get busier as we prepare to move and my husband has some down time to spend with me, I think this is the best way I can balance everything.

Who knows, maybe once we move and my husband starts radiology residency (and I never see him anymore, lol!), I'll be able to go back to my usual, 3 posts a week, schedule.

I was really torn while making this decision, but I think -- in the end -- it's for the best. I hope you all understand and aren't too disappointed in the lack of posts in the months ahead. Stick around -- I am hoping this schedule isn't forever!

So, the new schedule, once again, is Mondays and Thursdays at 7:00am, PST. And you never know....sometimes I may surprise you with a post in between ;-)

Love y'all!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Curl up with Sandra Byrd's New Victorian-Gothic book, Mist of Midnight (Review & Giveaway)

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments

About Sandra Byrd

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. The Tudor series’ end cap, Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

A life-long lover of Victorian Gothic romances, Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, weaves elements of that mystical, traditional genre with inspirational and literary threads. Mist of Midnight, the series’ first book, debuts in March, 2015.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, and is passionate about helping new authors develop their talent and their work toward traditional or independent publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

More About Sandra...

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Pinterest

About Mist of Midnight: Daughters of Hampshire, Book 1

In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her...and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

Where you can purchase Mist of Midnight...

My Review of Mist of Midnight

I've been a fan of Sandra Byrd ever since reading the first book in her Ladies in Waiting series, To Die For and my love for her books continued to grow throughout the series. I learned so much about the Tudors through her books -- and my interest to learn more about this time period grew because of Byrd. So when I saw that she was starting another historical fiction series, I know I couldn't not read the book (even though I was a tad sad that we wouldn't be delving back into life at the royal court. So much intrigue! ;-).

With all of that background given, I think it's needless to say that I had very high expectations for Mist of Midnight. I wanted it to capture me in a time period that was so full of intrigue and tension that it pulled me effortlessly through the book.

The beginning of Mist of Midnight was rather slow -- but not in a boring way. It was an intense introduction that started to build in suspense and intrigue with every turn of the page. By the time I reached the half-way mark I was enraptured in the plot and completely engaged with the characters.

I found Rebecca to be such a heroic and strong character. To have gone through so much in the Indies, and then to return home and not find the rest and welcome you had looked forward to -- that would be tough! But her determined attitude just took it in strides.

Captain Whitfield (I was nearly at the end of the book before I could think of him as 'Luke') was such a mystery! It took me forever to figure him out...

...literally, it felt like forever!

And my favorite part about reading a suspense book is figuring out who is the real bad guy and who is the good guy. So it was somewhat frustrating that it took me so long. Good job, Sandra! ;-)

Mist of Midnight was a bit stronger on the romance than I felt (or that I remember) her Ladies in Waiting series having, so if you love a good, tension-filled romance with a seemingly shady hero and cautious heroine, this book will definitely appeal to you! Personally, I'm more into the suspense aspect of this book, which was also satisfying!

If you can't tell by now....I thoroughly enjoyed delving into this Victorian time period and walking alongside Rebecca as she tried to solve the mystery of what was haunting her beloved childhood home. Get this book, curl up on a dreary day, and get completely lost in Mist of Midnight.

Lace Bookmark Giveaway!

Because who doesn't love to win something? And if you're a bookworm (like me!) than this is the perfect prize for you! Isn't this bookmark so lovely??
RULES: USA Only. Must be a Bloglovin' follower of From My Vanity. Winner is randomly chosen using Once contacted, the winner has 1 week to respond to email. After a week, one more email will be sent. After another week, the winner forfeits the prize and a new winner will be chosen.Giveaway ends on March 16th, 2015 at midnight
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What's your favorite type of book to read? Historical fiction? Suspense? Romance? Non-Fiction? Is Mist of Midnight a book you would want to read? Share with me in the comments below!

I reviewed this book for the author. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How I Want to Decorate My New Family Room! (First Impression Review)

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments
If you didn't already know, I married a Navy doctor last April and have been living in California since. My husband was trying to get into a Radiology residency this year, and not too long ago we found out that he was accepted -- so we are going to be moving in a few months back to the other side of the United States. *happy dance*

So with all that said, a few weeks ago Bobee sent me this beautiful 'Family' wall decal. While I am REALLY tempted to put it up in my house right NOW -- I am holding myself back so that I can use it to decorate my new house in a few months. :-D

Even though I can't share the finished results of using this wall decal with you right now, I thought it would be lots of fun to tell you my plans and then -- after the move -- show you how it actually turned out and how working with this sticker was. So this will be like a two-part review. What do you all say? Sound like fun?

I am not pretending to be an interior designer or anything -- oh no! I hop on Pinterest to get any sort of inspiration and guidance when it comes to that! ;-)

About Bobee Inc


Our unique designs provide creative accents for your nursery, kid's room, family room and more.

Vinyl wall decals take only minutes to install. No mess or time-consuming decor projects like painting or installing wallpaper.

Bobee decals come with a guarantee and are easily removable.

Change your decor simply and affordably.

My First Impressions of the 'Family' wall decal

The wall decal arrived in a sturdy cardboard tube packaging and was rolled neatly inside -- no worries about your wall decal getting a funky bend during shipping! Bobee also decorated the outside of the package with a cute bee decal and two colorful circles. I loved this special touch -- made the order feel very personal and special. (Who else is like that?!)
I got a cute handwritten note!
The decal itself was much bigger than I had anticipated -- I'm really bad ad judging size, but I would say it is bigger/longer than two 8x10 picture frames. So no matter where you put this wall decal -- up high or down low -- it will be easily seen and readable.
On the back of the wall decal there are both vertical and horizontal lines. I am really happy about this, as I always struggle with getting things to line up just right, so these lines will be a life-saver when I go to apply this to my wall.

How I want to Decorate My Family Room

This is where Pinterest comes in handy! I, personally, love wall decals and think they are such a personal and fashionable way to decorate your house. But, unfortunately, one of the draw backs of being in the military is that you move often. When I moved out here to my first home, I didn't know if I would be here one or two years, so I held off on getting anything. But, now that I know we are going to be in the next house for at least 4 years....I'm going to put my Pinterest window shopping to good use! ;-)

Here are several picture I've found on Pinterest that really capture how I want to decorate my family room using this new 'Family' wall decal.
Image Credit
Image Credit
Image Credit
Aren't they all so pretty? I have a wall with a bunch of family pictures that is currently on one wall of my house, and I think having them all surround my new 'Family' wall decal from Bobee would be so nice!

What do you think? How would you decorate your house with this wall decal? It's currently on sale for 10.99 on Amazon....would you get this wall decal?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dupe or Dud: It Cosmetics 'Tightline' vs. NYX 'Skinny Mascara'

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments
I am SO excited -- I've been planning this new series for weeks now and have been nearly bursting at the seams in my enthusiasm to share this idea with you all! *happy dance*

Dupe or Dud is where I'll be comparing two products that are very similar -- one high end and one drugstore -- and seeing if the cheaper product is a dupe for the more expensive one or if it's a dud. Because who doesn't like to save a little money, right?!

So let's get right down to business! And tell me in the comments below what you think about this new series!

The Products

So for my very first comparison I'm taking the It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length mascara and seeing if NYX's new, more affordable, The Skinny Mascara is a dupe for it or not.
It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Mascara...
Tightline Full Lash Length Black Eyelash Primer is a true game-changer in mascara and eyeliner technology. This multi-tasking beauty must-have utilizes an ultra-skinny wand, allowing you to start coating your lashes at their actual root, so you coat black along your entire lash length (unlike most mascara brushes that are too large to get to the root, leaving the first 1/3 of your lash roots bare!). This gives you ultimate length and volume.
Sorry, I didn't have a non-waterproof version of the IT Cosmetic Tightline :-/
NYX Cosmetics The Skinny Mascara...
NYX Cosmetics ultra Skinny Mascara brush is perfect for coating every lash from root to tip - even along the bottom lash line! Finally, the smallest, thinnest lashes can get extra special attention too. The water resistant formula and micro brush work together to create long, beautifully defined lashes.

The Similarities

  • Skinny Tubes
They both are packaged in the exact same kind of tube, except that the It Cosmetics tube is almost twice as thick as the NYX one.
  • Tiny Mascara Wand
This is the aspect that sets it apart from other mascaras -- the teeny, tiny wand. And they both have the same tiny wand that gets right against the lash line and is able to coat every hair. People who have tiny, baby lashes on their lower lashes (LIKE ME!!) will love this!
  • Application
They both applied the mascara the exact same way. No clumping in any way, and yet coats the lashes with just the perfect amount of mascara to make your lashes much more noticeable.
  • Pigmentation
They both are a very intense matte black color. There's nothing grayish about either of these!
  • Longevity of Wear
I've tested these out on very long days -- wearing one on my right eye and the other on my left -- and neither of them faded or smudged. I don't have watery eyes, so I wasn't really able to test them on that, unfortunately. But if it's just a normal, long day, they work beautifully!

The Differences

  • Product Size
The It Cosmetic mascara has 0.118 fl oz (3.5 ml) of product in the tube, whereas the NYX mascara has 0.09 fl oz (2.8 ml). While they aren't the same size, there isn't that much difference and both tubes will probably feel like they last the same amount of time.
  • Different Formula Options
The It Cosmetics mascara comes in both a regular formula and waterproof, along with a travel size mini of the regular formula for only $10 (0.067 ml). The NYX Skinny mascara only comes in a regular, black formula.

So, Is it a Dupe?

I say that NYX's The Skinny Mascara is a definite dupe!

As you can see from the pictures, they look almost identical to each other, and I didn't notice any difference between them during the multiple wear tests I did.

If you don't care for waterproof formula's, than I would say definitely save $17 and purchase NYX's The Skinny Mascara. :-)

And that's the end of our first "Dupe or Dud" post! What did you think? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below -- along with what high-end product you'd like me to find a dupe for!! :-)

The products mentioned above were purchased with my own personal funds. I was not compensated in any way for writing this post -- I do it because I love it! :-) All thoughts are 100% my own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

L'Oreal Infallible's New Pro-Matte Line has a Solid Foundation! (Makeup Review)

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments
I meant to get this review up several weeks ago, but it took me weeks to finally find this foundation in my local Ulta and I wanted to make sure I took plenty of time to try it out. So, while this is a bit later than planned -- and you've probably already seen dozens of reviews on this foundation -- I hope you will find it beneficial.

Just for reference: I have normal-to-oily skin that is very sensitive and acne-prone. On a normal day, without any foundation on, I get very shiny and oily and have to blot at least two or three times.

About L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24 Hour Foundation

Retail: $12.99 - $14.99

L'Oreal Makeup Designer Paris presents Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation, air-light texture with a demi-matte finish. For the 1st time, a super gliding mattifying formula with a high water content for maximum comfort that lasts. 

Contains Shine Defy Blotting Spheres that act like blotting paper to mimic makeup artist gesture, instantly absorbing sweat and oil without disturbing color pigments. Medium coverage.


My Review of L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

First Impressions & Packaging:
The foundation is a thick, mousse consistency, so I was very glad to see this in a squeeze tube and not a glass bottle. It would've been difficult to get it out if the bottle didn't have a pump. And with it being in a squeeze tube, I can throw it around in my bag without being afraid it'll break.
This foundation is on the pricier end, for the drugstore. Not too terribly high, in my opinion...but definitely a product that will give you a pause before throwing it into your shopping cart.

Product & Application:
The formula is incredibly smooth and blends in beautifully -- whether you're using a brush or a sponge. It sets relatively quickly, so I recommend applying it in section to your face and make sure each section is blended in well before moving on. Because in a few seconds, it won't be budging!
I find that it's best to only use one thin layer on your face -- when I go in with a second layer I feel like it looks more cakey. The coverage is pretty good, definitely medium coverage. I'll still follow up with a good concealer on any acne spots I have at the time, but it does a great job at covering my mild hyper-pigmentaion.
Major Likes & Dislikes:
I like the coverage I get with this foundation. On natural days I will just use this and feel good to go. If I want a full coverage look, I'll just use a concealer on any spots. And because this foundation is a mousse consistency -- and very pigmented -- a little goes a very long way.
There are only 8 shades available, which can make it difficult for you to find a shade that will match well. I, personally, have to buy two shades and mix the two to get my perfect match. This can be annoying -- as I'm having to spend money on two foundation tubes, which is almost the same price as a high-end foundation. So.... :-/
Please excuse the dirty top!
Final Thoughts:
The foundation does a pretty good job keeping my face matte throughout the day. I wouldn't say that I'm 100% matte all day -- I definitely have to blot and powder a bit at least once through the day -- but it definitely doesn't make me as shiny as I usually am throughout the day. And when I do blot and retouch, the results are just as beautiful as when I first applied it.
If you can find your perfect shade -- and wait for this product to go on sale -- I don't think you will be disappointed with this foundation at all. Especially if you are someone who has oily skin. For my dry skin girls out there...I say that if you wear a moisturizing primer underneath and skip the setting powder, you could wear a thin layer of this foundation, too.

What finish do you go for in a foundation? Matte? Dewy? Luminous? Share with me in the comments below!

The product mentioned above was purchased with my own personal money. I only share information that I think will be useful for my readers and I only review products I have personally tested thoroughly. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gifts to Give HER for Valentines Day!

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:00 AM 0 comments
Whether you send a link of this post to your boyfriend/fiance/husband or you're looking for something special to give to your fellow beauty-loving girl friend....I hope you'll find this post helpful!
I always love when brands come out with products especially for certain holidays, and Valentine's Day is no exception. Here are a few of the products on Sephora that caught my eye and would make a beautiful valentines present.

Too Faced Soul Mates Blushing Bronzer

Price: $34

What it is: A bronzer and blush duo that adds warmth, contours, and a pop of color while offering the radiant look of true love.

This would be my top choice (and, honestly, I might just gift it to myself, haha!) because it captures the spirit of valentines day the most. I know, depending on how big the blush is, it's not very practical...but I know there are some days when I just want to brush a combination of blush and bronzer onto my cheeks and call it a day. And practicality aside...the packaging is just so pretty, especially with the fancy "TF" etched into the blush. :-D

Dior Cheek & Lip Glow

Price: $37

What it is: A cheek and lip blush to give the skin a flush of pink.

Talk about luxurious! If you, or someone you know, likes to use stains this would be the perfect gift. The packaging is really beautiful and if you have the opportunity to go into Sephora sometime, you should see if they have a tester out and try it. It blends like a dream!

Givenchy Les Mini Prismes

Price: $39 ($75 value)

What it is: A mini compact box that includes Givenchy makeup must-haves for eyes, face, and cheeks, plus two applicators in universally flattering shades.

This is an all-in-one set that makes a wonderful gift -- and you also save money purchasing this set. Along with powders for the eyes and face, there's also a little drawer filled with mini applicators you can use to apply these with. So cute, and it would also look really pretty displayed on your vanity.

bareMinerals Fresh & Flawless 5-Piece Collection

Price: $39 (value $73.50)

What it is: A five-piece fresh-faced collection for the eyes, lips, and the complexion.

If she likes bareMinerals, this is the set to get! It's a value set, so you're saving money, and it also comes in this cute coral makeup pouch. And remember the BB eye cream I've been raving about recently?? Well, you get a deluxe sample size with this pouch. Pretty sweet, and a great set to get so you can try out a bunch of new products.

Prada Candy Gift Set

Price: $88 ($109 value)

What it is: Prada CANDY is instantly seductive—pure pleasure wrapped in impulsive charm. In an explosion of shocking pink and gold, Prada CANDY takes us on a walk on the wild side, showing us a new facet of Prada femininity where more is more and excess is everything.

I just recently used my sample vial of this perfume....and I really like it! If you know someone who loves this foundation, than this gift set is a no brainer -- and it comes in a heart box! What's not to like?

Fresh Sugar Sweeties Mini Lip Duo

Price: $22.50

What it is: A Sephora-exclusive pair of top-selling Sugar Lip Treatments, one offering sheer nourishment and the other a rosy tint.

Okay, so if you're wanting a more affordable gift to give someone, this is a really nice set. Sugar is a really luxurious brand that is all about the lips. So if a friend of yours is a lip balm junkie -- get this mini lip duo for her!

Soap & Glory Happy Pamper Gift Set

Price: $12

What it is: A must-have, giftable duo featuring two Original Pink rose and bergamot fragranced award winners for clean, smooth skin.

Okay, last one -- this is the most affordable gift set. And it even comes with a cute little box that takes you back to the 1900s. :-) Their body butters always smell beautiful and feel amazing. If you're a husband looking for a special gift -- this body butter would be something that could be incorporated into a lovely evening together. :-)

There you go! Just a few that I think could make lovely gifts for a girl in your life, or even a gift for yourself -- give yourself to some luxurious makeup products this Valentine's Day!

Did any of these jump out at you? Which one would YOU like to receive (if you could pick out your own Valentine's gift, of course :-)

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