Ipsy: A Full Review of the Subscription Service

Last year, I posted about my year experience with Birchbox. In that post, I talked about how I would be canceling and switching to a new program. Well, I did and it was Ipsy (this is my referral link). I was put on the wait list in January 2013 and received my first bag in February 2013. I have subbed for 14 months now and I'm ready to give y'all the low down.

What is ipsy? Ipsy (this is my referral link) is a monthly subscription service that sends you a cosmetic bag full of beauty products. They can range from hair, nails to makeup. Each bag contains 4-5 product samples (some are full size). Ipsy was formerly known as My Glam Bag. The service was launched by YouTube beauty guru, Michelle Phan. Before you receive your first bag you will take a beauty quiz to determine your needs.

What is the cost? Ipsy is $10 per month. This includes shipping. There are no other fees and you can cancel at anytime. I have mine set up on auto pay.

What attracted you to it? I was very unhappy with Birchbox but loved the monthly surprises. I had seen several Ipsy bags on social media and thought it fit my needs better. Since I didn't have to lock into a year of service, I figured I would try a month or two and if I didn't like it I would cancel.

When did your bags arrive? My bags always arrive around the middle of the month (the 14th or 15th). I get a "your bag has shipped" e-mail and it arrives within days of that. I notice, from Instagram updates, most people's arriving within a day or two of mine.

What was the packaging like? The bags arrive in a pink bubble envelope. Inside, you will find a cosmetic bag with the products inside. There is always a card included that generally has discount codes.

How is the customer service? My only experience with customer service is the monthly emails I receive when my bag ships. Otherwise, their website is user friendly.

What did you receive? I post my bags each month on my Instagram account, @beautybyarielle. To see all my bags up close, go to Instagram and search #ipsyBBA.

Ipsy bags

Each month I received mostly makeup with either a hair care item or nail polish. I rarely received skin care. Looking at other Ipsy bags, it seems we all get something just slightly different.

What was your favorite bag? April 2014. It had the perfect mix of items. I received a hairspray, eyeliner, skin care, eye shadow and lip product. Plus, the eye liner was Urban Decay and I love this one!

Ipsy bag

What was your least favorite bag? I think this one was March of last year. The colors of the shadow were not on point. The little GlamRx box did not protect anything (what I put in it broke) and the other two items were duds, too. This was the only bag I was ever entirely disappointed with.

How many full sized items did you receive? 32

What products do you love or purchased full size of? Ipsy turned me on to Pssst! Dry Shampoo. I have bought several cans of it. I also loved the high end items, like the Smashbox primer and Urban Decay pencil and the bareMinerals lipstick. While I won't purchase the full sized (because I'm cheap) I still really enjoyed them. I also appreciate the hair items. I have been saving them up for my travels.


  • You will receive high end brands. I had bareMinerals, Smashbox and Urban Decay.
  • The bags include mostly makeup items.
  • The price is on point.


  • The bags tend to repeat brands brands. I have received several items from Be a Bombshell, Pixi and Pop Beauty.
  • The bag really needs a description card. Sometimes I received items that I had no clue what they were. 
  • Some of the bags are down right fugly.

Overall, I love Ipsy. There was only one month I was disappointed. In each bag, there is usually one thing I won't use but it's mostly items I will. I did not like Birchbox because it was mostly body and skin care products that I couldn't use. With Ipsy, it's mostly makeup which is truly what I want anyway. I was also happy with how they put together the bags. I felt like they covered the gamut of what people are wanting.

I am continuing my Ipsy journey and have not signed up for any other subscription service (I don't plan to). 

What has been your Ipsy experience?

xo, arielle


Fit Friday: 5 Low Calorie and Healthy Lunch Ideas

I pack my lunch 4 out of 5 days per week. I find that brining my lunch saves me money and keeps me healthy. I switch it up week to week or else I get too bored. Sometimes, I hop on Pinterest for some idea. Generally I pack a fruit, vegetable and protein. If you're looking for some ideas, here are five new ones to try!

low calorie lunch
grapes, hardboiled egg, deli meat, baby carrots, cheese and a piece of chocolate

low calorie lunch
salad, half a sandwich (mine is ham and cheese), piece of chocolate

low calorie lunch
plain greek yogurt with blueberries, salad with chicken and low fat dressing 

salami, string cheese, kiwi, hummus and sugar snap peas

healthy lunch
salad with strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, chicken and raspberry vinaigrette 

New to packing a lunch? Here are a few of my tips:
  • Plan ahead! You need to have in mind what you are going to pack that week for when you go grocery shopping.
  • Pack two days at a time in the evening. This will keep your from scrounging something together in the AM. I like to do two days because I already have everything out and sometimes on days three and four I want something different.
  • Buy frozen berries and chicken. They keep for longer and are usually less expensive.
  • Buy seasonal fruits and veggies for your sides. This will save you moolah.
  • Invest in a good lunch box, storage containers with multiple compartments and cooling system (I have ones of those blocks you freeze each night).
  • Keep snacks on hand. I store these in my desk.
  • Keep a few healthy frozen meals in your freezer just in case you are in a pinch. I like Annie's variety and some of the Lean Cuisines. 

What do you take for lunch?

xo, arielle


#BusyGirlNails Flower Week: Poppy Nails

Our theme for #BusyGirlNails this week is flowers. I was very excited to complete this one because I had pinned this tutorial, from Paulina's Passions, for poppy nails. I thought the look was incredibly beautiful.

My version didn't quite turn out but I know it was because I didn't have the right tools. Either way, I'm happy with the result!

Poppy Nail art

Poppy Nail art

If you want to join in on our weekly nail art challenge, here is the info post. Last week, the theme was pastels. I was loving mirandasmakeup and krissutiina's work.

xo, arielle


Weekend Wear

I'm dropping in today to bring you a quick outfit post. Since it's spring, I'm busting out my bauble necklace again. I won mine in a giveaway but it is from Wild Butterfly Boutique. Sorry not sorry if these things have gone out of style because I love 'em!

I put this quick outfit together for my weekend shopping. I bought the shirt a few years ago at K-Mart on mega sale. Jeans are thrifted and my black flats are Steve Madden. 

What do you wear on the weekends?

xo, arielle


I Ran My First 5K

For many years, I have wanted to run a 5K. Why? Because I have barely been able to run a mile without feeling like I was going to die. When we had to do the mile in high school, I mostly walked. Even though this has always been a goal of mine, I have trained and stopped on many occasions. 

This was the year I was done thinking about doing one and was actually going to do it. I looked up the 5K's in my area and signed up. I knew if I spent the money (and told people I was going to do it) I would actually stick to it. I used the iPhone app 5K Runner to train. It was the best thing I could do for myself to prepare. 

I decided to go for a 5K that had a little extra to it. I signed up for our local Color Me Fun Run (it's basically a knock off of Run or Dye). It was a good time! I also asked a friend to run along with me for some added motivation.

Before the race

Everyone releasing their color at the start

Finished in 32 minutes

My friend got 2nd place!

I started training back in January and let me tell you, there were days I almost quit. I had some bad runs that got into my head. Whenever I felt like quitting a run, I would repeat my Eleanor mantra over and over again and this would help me to remember my purpose. Over time, it got better. 

Wednesday was the first time I completed the 5K without walking or breaking. I thought back to how a few months ago the 4 minute runs were hard for me and now I was running 40 minutes straight. I was on an incredible high.

Running the 5K yesterday was gigantic accomplishment for me. I was a little nervous but throughout the whole race I was feeling great. I was having one of those it's finally here and I'm doing it moments. It felt amazing to finish something I had put my mind to (and had wanted to do for so long). Seeing the change in my body's ability and endurance has been incredible. 

Going from the girl who touted "I hate running" to someone who looks forward to it is quite a surprise to me. I'm thrilled to now call myself a runner. I'm proud of myself, too.

xo, arielle


60 Second Review: MAC Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation

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As many of you know, I made my first trip to MAC. I picked up their Matchmaster foundation and wanted to share a 60 second review on it. Watch to find out more (I am wearing the foundation in this video)! Scroll down for the before and after plus swatches. 

MAC Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation
MAC Matchmaster foundation in 1.0
MAC Matchmaster before and after
before and after
MAC Matchmaster 1.0 swatch
MAC Matchmaster foundation in 1.0, right blended out

  • $34 for 1.2 oz
  • Pump foundation
  • Light-medium coverage
  • Melds well into the skin
  • Dewey finish
  • Not good for oily gals
  • Not good for ladies with acne or a lot to conceal
  • Buy online here

What is your favorite MAC foundation?

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.


How to Look Fresh and Awake for Spring

PR Sample // Affiliate Links

One of my goals this year was to collaborate with a different blogger each month. For April, I'm working with Fashion Maven Mommy. She brought up the idea of a Spring Awakening post to highlight the products we use to look fresh and awake for spring. I thought this was a fantastic idea because, now that the weather has finally perked up, I do find myself reaching for different products than in the winter months. I go for products that highlight, look natural and fresh. 

The products

During the spring and summer months, I think it's important to go for a lighter, natural base. That's why I have been reaching for MAC Matchmaster Foundation. Now that it's warmer, we can finally apply those bright pinks! I'm loving City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon and NYX Butter Gloss in Maple Blondie together. I always highlight but in the spring I go for something with a pearlescent glow. That's why I tap Benefit High Beam on my cheek bones. The combination of those four products will really brighten up your complexion. For my lids, I like to keep them light. L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Iced Latte is perfect for this. To brighten tired eyes, my best trick is to swipe a flesh toned pencil, like Pixi Crayon Combo in Wide Awake, in your waterline. 

I have been using all these products every day together for several weeks now. With a little bronzer, pencil liner and mascara and I'm out the door in about 5 minutes. If you're using products that do wonders for your complexion you won't need a heavy hand or a lot of time to look fresh and awake.

Don't forget to drop by Fashion Maven Mommy to see her picks and advice!

Shop this post!

xo, arielle

Disclosure: The Pixi product was sent by the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. The shop this post widget is an affiliate program. If you make a purchase, it may result in a small commission for me. For my full disclosure, click here.


#BusyGirlNails Pastel Week

I'm excited that #BusyGirlNails is back for spring. If you want to join us, it's never too late. Here is the info post.

This week, our theme is pastel. I dug through my nail polish to find my shades. I decided to make this fun and go with multiple colors and polka dots!

pastel nails

pastel nails

What are your favorite pastel nail polishes or designs?

xo, arielle


The Best Snacks for Work

In need a quick pick me up? Today, I'm sharing my 5 go to work snacks. Each of them are under 200 calories making them great for dieting people or the health conscious!

best work snacks

1. Luna Bars: These bars are made with mostly organic ingredients and are specially formulated with extra vitamins. They have lots of flavors to choose from including carrot cake. My favorite is Lemon Zest because it's light and crisp.

2. Beef Jerky: When I snack, I need something that's going to fill me up. That is why I love to have a protein packed snack on hand like beef jerky. I prefer the original flavor. A few bites of this and I'm good to go for a few hours.

3. Emerald 100 Calorie Packs Cocoa Roast Almonds: If you have a sweet tooth, these will satiate your desire. At 100 calories, and packed with protein, these are the perfect mix of sweet and crunchy.

4. 100 Calorie Popcorn: When I'm craving carbs, I go for these. I love the individual small bags because they keep me from overeating. I enjoy the kettle corn because of the sweet flavor. 

5. Planter's NUT-rition Wholesome Nut Mix: Here's a secret of mine, I do not like peanuts. Most bags of mixed nuts include them, except for these. The wholesome mix have cashews, almonds and macadamia nuts. If you do like peanuts, the Men's Health mix is for you.

What are your favorite work snacks?

xo, arielle


My New Running Buddy: Kiss My Face Continuous Spray Sunscreen

You may or may not know that I am preparing for my first 5K. Since the weather has perked up, I have become an outdoor runner. After my skin cancer scare, I have realized the importance of sunscreen so I have made sure to apply before my jogs. 

Kiss My Face sent me a couple of their new sun care items and I gravitated towards their Continuous Spray Sunscreen. I like the idea of being able to spray and go.

Kiss My Face Continuous Spray Sunscreen

I have ran from many spray sunscreens because they tend to be an oily mess. Luckily, this formula is not sticky or oily. It absorbs into my skin quickly. The width of the mist perfectly coats the skin. The scent is light and citrus. I'm also a big fan of the high SPF level at 50. 

I also discovered that Kiss My Face spray uses air propellant instead of aerosols. Its formulated with vegan friendly ingredients and is not tested on animals.

Kiss My Face Continuous Spray Sunscreen runs $16.99 and is available online or at mass retailers.

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. For my full disclosure, click here.


It's Back! Busy Girl Nails SPRING Edition!

I think y'all know the drill by now. This one launches April 14. Can't wait to have you join us!

In case you truly have no idea what this is about, here are the deets:
  • Use this image on your blog or instagram to spread the word.
  • Launches April 14, 2014.
  • Post your mani on instagram and please use the hashtag #busygirlnails. We would also love if you would tag the hosts. If you don't have instagram, feel free to post on your blog and tweet the link to us!
  • Post the week's prompt starting Monday's. You can post your mani any time during that week. (Ex: Week 1 is the week of April 14, Week 2 is the week of April 21, etc.) 
  • Follow the prompt to be as simple or creative as you would like. 
  • Participate in as many or as few weeks as you want!

xo, arielle


I Took Ice Skating Lessons

When I was in kindergarten, we had to write about the 100th day of school. One of the prompts was if "I had $100 I would buy _____." I said an ice rink. Yes, my five year old self thought 100 bucks was all it took to buy an entire rink. Growing up, I wanted to take ice skating lessons but it just wasn't in our budget. I had given up on that dream many moons ago.

For this year's birthday, I decided I wanted to go ice skating. When I was looking up the times for public skate, I noticed they offered adult lessons (a sign?). I knew it was time to take advantage of this.

After my first lesson

Prior to lessons, my knowledge of ice skating was zippy. Basically, I could skate without falling down. That was about it. Now I can glide, stop, swizzle, cross over, skate backwards, glide on one foot and several other things I can't remember the name of.

After my second lesson, my instructor said I was a natural and urged me to keep going. I progressed in the class fairly quickly. I decided I would continue in my lessons (I signed up again) and invested in my own pair of skates. 

My new Jackson Classiques

While all that is fine and dandy, what's more important here is what I learned. Obviously, I had been thinking about ice skating for a number of years. I think my inner self knew how much I would love it. One Sunday, I went on my own and realized how being on the ice was a zen place for me. I feel very connected when I skate. It also forced me to remember how great it feels to try something new and grow in it. I haven't felt that growth in a while. I really needed it because it keeps me invigorated. 

Also, that fear crap struck me again. During one of the lessons, while working on crossovers, I said to the instructor "I'm scared." I just kept going in a circle, never actually crossing over. I realized the worst that could happen is that I could fall. And, really, was that so bad? Thankfully, the fear was not nearly has bad as the other times I froze so I think that part of me is getting better. For the record, I did do it and am fine now.

In the end, I know I need to listen to my own guidance more. There are several things my subconscious has been telling me to do for a while and I haven't listened. I'm sure if I took its advice, I would be a lot better off.

xo, arielle


What I've Been Reading

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My Year with Eleanor* by Noelle Hancock: I have been telling everyone to read this book. The story goes that author is fired from her job and realizes how little she has been living her life. She decides to live a year of fear where she does something that scares her every single day. I love the rawness and the honesty in the tale. It inspired me to look at all my fears and things I have put on the back burner. I'm now trying to work on my own year of fear (but on a much smaller scale). 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time* by Mark Haddon: This was last month's book club pick and I loved it! The main character, Christopher, is on a quest to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington, the neighbor's dog. The book is written from Christopher's perspective, who experiences Autism. It was a quirky read but well written and left me wanting more.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism* by Naoki Higashida: I picked this up after I read previous book. It is written in question and answer style. It helped me understand autism far more. If you work with or have a family member experiencing Autism, I highly recommend this book. I think it will help you gain some insight. 

Eleanor and Park* by Rainbow Rowell: This book will make you smile on the inside. It's a teen read but it's just so darn sweet you can't help but love the story line. Bascially, two teens meet on the school bus and a romance blossoms. It was on NPR's 2013 list of top books and I absolutely see why.

The Total Money Makeover* by Dave Ramsey: Skip the first six chapters of this book. It can be summed up this way: Hey! I have this method for you to pay down your debt. It's called the Total Money Makeover. There were six entire chapters saying TRY THIS without saying what it is. Drumroll please, it's the snowballing method. Snowballing takes 0 brains so I guess in order to make money Mr. Ramsey had to fill a book with fluff. I can save you time with this one-just read the wikipedia article on the topic.

50 Shades of Grey* by E.L. James: I don't think I need to say much about this one. I'm sure you already know what it's about. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I found myself hanging on to each page but annoyed by how whiny and jealous the female character is. If I read "my inner goddess" one more time, I may scream. I must have liked it, though, because I'm on the second book in the series. 

xo, arielle

*This is an affiliate link. If you click on an affiliate link I may receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.


Modern Mod Makeup Tutorial Inspired by Rimmel

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. 

I recently picked up Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara and was inspired to create a mod makeup tutorial. I have noticed mod makeup popping up in magazines ads lately. I love the look but find it to be a little harsh. In my look, I added some blending to make it more wearable. I also used drugstore foundation to create this look.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara, Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

I picked up Rimmel's Stay Matte Foundation and Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara at Walmart. Lucky for me, our beauty section is right near the entrance! Together, these were a little over 10 bucks-a win for my pocketbook.

Now, on to my modern mod makeup tutorial. I hope you enjoy this #BeautyInspiration!
mod makeup tutorial
mod makeup tutorial
1960's makeup

Since it's Rimmel's 180th anniversary, they are having a sweepstakes with about $50 worth of product! Another bonus, you can find a $1 off Rimmel coupon in your Sunday paper. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Coty® Rimmel® Giveaway starts at 4/2/14 at 12:00 A.M. (midnight) ET and ends on 4/25/14 at 11:59:59 PM ET. Open only to (i) members of the Social Fabric community, (ii) legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and (iii) who are at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Click here for Official Rules and details including how to enter, entry criteria, prizes and restrictions, etc. Void in PR and where prohibited. Sponsor: Collective Bias, Inc.

xo, arielle

Disclosure: I am a member of the #CollectiveBias Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. 

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream Review

Sponsored Post

You've heard of the BB cream for your face and now the BB craze has expanded to our bodies through Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream. To learn more about the product and the effect it had on my skin, watch my latest video:

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream

Do you plan to BB your body?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jergens BB Body Cream through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Jergens BB Body Cream, all opinions are my own.