This giveaway is now closed and winners have been emailed. Thank you to all who entered!
I’m so excited to announce the Wink’s latest giveaway with MJXL Jewelry! I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle at the Poshmark San Francisco event last month. Michelle is a talented jewelry designer, known for her minimalist, beautiful designs handmade with only the highest quality materials. MJXL Jewelry is giving away two of her gorgeous designs to two lucky readers!
One lucky reader will win her stunning Lucid Dreams necklace – a sparkling crystal quartz suspended in a 14kt gold-filled hoop. Chain is also 14kt gold-filled with an approximate pendant drop of 1 inch.
Another lucky reader will win a pair of Michelle’s gorgeous Emma earrings. These are a brand-new design not yet available to order on her website! Delicate freshwater pearls, apatite, and prehnite dangle from 14k gold filled wire.
With the advent of all these new subscription boxes, keeping up with them can make a gal’s head spin. Which one is better? Am I wasting my money or will I be missing out? How will I know if they’re worth it? Since makeup is such a personalized item, it can be hard to objectively judge this kind of thing. Many other blog posts written about these subscription boxes have reviewed them based purely on personal preference. To see for myself, I subscribed to both the Ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox, both $10/month with free shipping. However, to keep things objective, I measured them in the most equitable way possible: a breakdown of price based on the percent net weight for the full-sized product. Keep reading to see what came in my Ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox and to find out which subscription gives you more bang for your buck!
The Ipsy Glam Bag by Michelle Phan is very cosmetic-heavy. It is personalized for you based on preferences that you set when subscribing. I think they do a great job of personalizing the bags to suit your skin tone, hair/eye color, etc. Here’s what mine came with:
Benefit Lollitint Deluxe Sample (2.5 ml): $8. I’ve been waiting to try this product! First use shows that it is difficult to blend, so it’s probably better suited for lips than cheeks.
Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-on Eye Pencil (.03 oz): $15. This pencil glides on soft and easy and is great for a smoky eye. The pencil that came in the bag was nearly full-sized!
City Color White Gold Shadow & Highlight Mousse (.092 oz): $3.99. Super creamy (almost whipped) consistency. The color is a mix between silver and gold and has a nice shimmer.
Kiss Looks So Natural False Lashes (1 Pair): $3.99. I’ve had mixed results with false lashes in the past, so I’m looking forward to finding out how they look!
Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm in Acid Pink (.14 oz): $19.00. Pigmented matte lip color that leaves a nice stain on the lips. Comes with a built-in lip brush.
Total Value = $49.98
Birchbox is much more lifestyle-based than the Glam Bag. They like to include one “non cosmetic,” such as a food item, each month. Here’s what came in my Birchbox:
Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash (1.35 fl oz): $2.53. Has a nice, clean, ocean-y smell.
Davines OI Absolute Beautifying Shampoo (12 ml): $1.11 and Davines OI Absolute Beautifying Conditioner (12 ml): $1.54. These samples are even smaller than hotel samples! I also found it annoying that they come in packets.
Color Club Nail Laquer in Gold Struck (7 ml): $4. Seems like a nice color, although I’m not a huge fan of shimmery nail polish.
Sumita Contrast Eye Pencil in Jamun (.024 oz): $5.25. A very dark plum colored pencil. Plum color not noticeable (looks almost black), but it’s good for subtly highlighting brown/hazel/green eyes. Pencil normally sold as part of a 4-pack.
Kind Bar, Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt (1.2 oz): $0.79. Not much flavor… why is this even in here?
Total Value = $15.22
Calculations based on the percent of net weight for the full size.
The Ipsy Glam Bag blew Birchbox out of the water with value and had much more recognizable items and brands that I would have considered buying independently. Birchbox had nicer packaging, including cute tip cards, but I like how the Glam Bag came in a little cosmetic pouch with a pretty pattern. Also, I liked the pink sparkly package it came in – was fun to get in the mail! I was completely underwhelmed by Birchbox and I am considering unsubscribing from it.
The final result? In my opinion, Ipsy Glam Bag won hands-down. Based on the actual monetary value of the products included in each, Glam Bag beats out Birchbox 3:1.
You know when you have those moments where you know it was destined to be? For me, that was the moment I discovered my favorite YouTube hairstylist was in the same city as me. I’ve been following Silvia Reis on YouTube (also known as ellebangs) for about a year now, using her straightforward tutorials to guide me through my at-home hair DIYs. Little did I know that when I moved across the country, I would be moving to the same city and could actually book an appointment with her! It was meant to be.
Last night after work, I headed over to Bibbo Salon on Sutter to meet the lovely Silvia Reis in person. I decided to go for a blonde balayage instead of the all over, one-dimensional blonde hair that I already had. We spent the first 10 minutes of chatting about what I was looking to achieve with this appointment. I showed her a bunch of photos that I had pinned on Pinterest for inspiration. She really took the time to listen to me and then explained to me, in her own words, what she was going to do and exactly how she would do it. Everything Silvia does is precise, and you can tell she really takes pride in her work and making sure her clients are happy.
Silvia mixing up the magic! She was so easy to talk to. We chatted about boyfriends, trash TV, and the woes of making dinner after a long day of work. I think it’s really important to have a good relationship and to feel comfortable with your hairstylist.
I woke up like dis. ***FLAWLESS***
The finished product! I love it so much and it was exactly what I was looking for.
The haircut was also super flattering and so beautiful. I’m still not entirely convinced this is my actual hair. It has never looked this good before!
Thank you so much, Silvia! You’re the best!
P.S. Make sure to check out Silvia on YouTube and book an appointment with her if you’re in the San Francisco bay area!
Forget everything you think you know about bra size. Pretty much everything the lingerie industry tells you is wrong (measure the circumference, add 4, subtract what…?). I’m going to let you in on Victoria’s biggest secret – they want you buy their stuff, so they will tell you that you’re a bra size (surprise!) that they carry in their store. Those big fat liars. This is post is going to be really long (sorry) but chock-full of important information! I wanted to include it all in one post for easy reference. A properly fitting bra is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
Start by wearing a somewhat loosely-fitting cami with a built-in bra. This will give you the most accurate measurements. Wrap the fabric measuring tape around your ribcage directly underneath your bust. You must 1) make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor all the way around your back and 2) exhale (to get the most compressed measurement) and pull the tape as tightly as you comfortably can without it digging in or hurting. 90% of the breast support comes from your band (not the straps!), so you want it to be tight. Write this number down as it is your new band size. If the measurement was a fraction, round to the nearest inch.
Bend at the waist and let your bust hang (we’re letting gravity help you out on this one). Wrap the tape around your bust at the fullest part, again making sure that the tape is parallel to the floor all the way around the back. The tape should just touch you and not be pulled tight. Write this number down.
Take the first measurement (band size) and subtract from the second measurement. The difference you get is your cup size. 1 inch = 1 cup size.
0-1/2 inch = AA cup
1 inch = A cup
2 inches = B cup
3 inches = C cup
4 inches = D cup
5 inches = DD cup
6 inches = DDD/E cup
7 inches = F cup
And so on. Be aware that this new measurement may contradict everything you think you knew about breast size. You may have been wearing a 34C (thanks, VS) but this new measurement is telling you that you’re a 30F. How could you possibly be an F cup?! No, you did not become Pamela Anderson overnight – you haven’t been let in on a crucial piece of information. Band size and cup size are an inversely proportional ratio. For example, a woman who wears a 30F and a woman who wears a 38F do not have the same sized breasts. The volume of breast tissue that a 38F bra holds is much larger than the volume that a 30F bra holds. A 30F cup is a fraction of the size of a 38F cup. This is a difficult concept to explain, so maybe this diagram will help:
Notice that the cup volume remains the same across each band size.
Now, what are you supposed to look for in a properly-fitting bra? It can get confusing, so here are some examples of wrong versus right bra fits:
The center gore should lie completely flat tightly against your sternum. Your breasts should neither be flattened nor spilling over the cups.
The underwire shouldn’t dig into your sides but should fully encapsulate all of your breast tissue.
The band should lie parallel to the floor and not ride up. The straps should not dig in or slide off.
Once you’re in the changing room with your new bras, you should always use the “swoop-and-scoop” method to make sure they fit properly. Check out that link for some jaw-dropping before-and-after pictures of this method. Seriously. All that “armpit fat” and “back fat” that you think you have is actually migrated breast tissue. After using this method for a while, you may find your breasts slightly bigger due to the misplaced breast tissue migrating back to your breasts.
Keep in mind that the underwire of your new bra will extend much farther into the underarm than you’re most likely accustomed to. Don’t worry, this is actually the proper fit. Remember, all that “armpit fat” is really just breast tissue (and your bra should fully encompass the entire breast tissue). Each breast should individually be lifted and separated in its own cup with no line of cleavage! Shocking but true.
Also, remember that every woman’s breasts are shaped differently. Most likely you’ll either fall into the “full on top” or “full on bottom” category. To determine which breast shape you have, bend at the waist and let your bust hang freely. You’ll either notice that your breasts fill out from the bottom (“full on bottom”) or the top (“full on top”). “Full on bottom” breasts look best in full coverage bras, bras with elasticity along the upper edge of the cup, and push-up bras to mimic upper-breast fullness. If you have “full on bottom” breasts, stay away from demi or balconette bras, as the top of the cup will be loose and may look too big. “Full on top” breasts look great in a variety of different styles and it is much easier to find bras to fit this type of breast shape.
Even the best bras lose their elasticity after a year or so. When buying a bra, the band must feel tight on the first row of hooks. When the bra starts to lose elasticity, start using the second or third set of hooks to ensure that you still have a tight-fitting band. Always hand wash and air dry your bras to ensure their longevity and to retain their shape. Throwing your bra in the dryer degrades the elastic and warps the cups.
It is important to measure yourself about once a year to note any changes. If you’ve recently (in the last 6 months) lost weight, gained weight, had a baby, or are going through other hormonal changes, measure yourself again to ensure a proper fit.
Resources for bras:
Thirdlove: A SF-based lingerie company specializing in half-sizes to ensure a perfect fitting bra.
True & Co.: No more fitting room drama. Try on 5 bras in the comfort of your home for free! I just ordered mine and I’m giving you $15 to put towards your next purchase!
Curvy Kate: An online lingerie retailer that specializes in cute bras for busty women! Cup sizes range from DD to K and band sizes from 28-44.
Freya: Another great retailer for larger-chested women. Their bras are beautiful and well-made (and worth every penny!). Sizes range from 28D-K.
HerRoom: A really informative resource that goes in-depth into many of the things I mentioned in this post.
We all have days that get started on the wrong foot. You hit snooze one time too many and suddenly you have 10 minutes to get out the door. Since I am the queen of the snooze button (and this happens to me literally every day), I’m here to show you how to master the 5 minute shower – and still have 5 minutes for hair and makeup!
Start by quickly rinsing off your body under the water. Lather up your loofah with body wash and only wash skin that touches other skin. Wash your neck, your underarms, underneath your breasts, between your legs… you get the picture. You do not need to wash your lower arms/hands/legs/feet at all. Just rinsing off the suds will passively clean them as much as they need. Time: 2 minutes
Wash your face. I use my Clarisonic, so I know it takes exactly one minute to go from dirty to clean. Time: 1 minute
Use the last couple of minutes you have to quickly shave the bottom half of your legs. Ain’t nobody got time to shave their upper legs on days like this. Time: 2 minutes
And you’re done! Slip on a black jersey dress (my secret weapon for lazy days), pull up your hair in a top knot and blend some BB cream with your fingers. A swipe of mascara and a dab of cheek & lip stain and you’re out the door!
Have you ever tried out a facial oil? They’re kind of this new and awesome beauty product that can be swapped out in lieu of your regular daily moisturizer. For the Wink’s first ever product smackdown, I tried out both the Josie Maran Argan Oil and the Tarte Maracuja Oil. Keep reading to see how they stacked up and which one I loved (and which one I didn’t)!
Josie Maran Argan Oil: Just a few drops of this oil on a freshly cleansed face will leave you with radiant skin all day. I have fairly dry and sensitive skin and this oil absorbed quickly and left my skin perfectly balanced and moisturized all the live-long day. I even put a few drops in my hair and it helped to tame frizz! I was very pleased with the results this oil gave me. The only con? I used 4-5 drops on my face daily (and a few more drops on my hair) and went through the bottle pretty quickly. At $48 per 1.7oz, it’s not particularly easy on your wallet.
Tarte Maracuja Oil: I wanted to love this product, but next to the Josie Maran Argan Oil, it just didn’t compare. I had similar results with both oils on my complexion – a radiant, dewy glow that lasted all day. This oil, however, had a strange odor (almost like it had gone rancid) that didn’t dissipate. Also, the applicator dropper was kind of difficult to use and made me frustrated on several occasions. I never tried it, but I wouldn’t recommend putting this oil in your hair like I did with the Argan Oil. The consistency was slightly thicker and more viscous and seemed like it would weigh hair down. And, at $46 per 1.7oz, both prices tags are virtually the same.
The verdict? I would re-buy the Josie Maran Argan Oil and I would not re-buy the Tarte Maracuja Oil. I would also be interested in trying the light version of the Argan Oil! Personally, I felt like I had better results with the Argan Oil than I did with the Maracuja Oil. Although my skin felt and looked similarly moisturized and dewy with both oils, there were certain things (the smell, the dropper) that I didn’t care for in the Maracuja Oil. This is just my opinion, though! I’d love to know…
Have you ever tried these products? Do you agree with my choice? Let me know in the comments section below!