Magpie in the Mirror
Beauty Box 5, October 2014: Effortless Allure

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night…

October 2014 is my final Beauty Box 5 subscription box, and I’m sad to say that after nine months, I won’t miss this subscription at all.

This month’s box, ‘Effortless Allure’ is all about ‘less is more’, which in my mind translates to ‘Let’s pass off uninspiring products to our subscribers, and charge MORE for them for Canadians’. None of these products can help ‘pull together’ a look, but the marketing copy will try to spin it that way anyway!

Through my ten months of this subscription, there were some highs and some lows, but unfortunately all those lows seemed to come right after they priced Canadians out of the market by upping our boxes by $3 while dropping the value of items in-box. I cancelled my subscription in August, RIGHT after I’d resubscribed for three months at the previous price in July. And since then I haven’t had one good box, just ones there were more disappointing than the next.

Is BB5 the next Glossybox? Who knows, but let’s dissect this final offering.

Extend Your Beauty Cosmetic Tool - $5.49

Yup, it’s a stick with a paddle on the bottom to get the most product out of your makeup. Very alluring. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Chapstick Hydration Lock - $2.99

Chapstick. Chapstick? CHAPSTICK?! I have lip balms in my purse like any good Canadian but this is probably one of the last things I’d expect from a BEAUTY SUBSCRIPTION. Please tell me how this is alluring. No.

Nanacoco Ocean Breeze Nail Polish - $3.49

You know, there’s nothing too wrong with this compared to some of the really cheap polish I’ve received from BB5 lately, but it’s nothing to get excited over. Especially since it’s a summer shade in October.

Lashem Picture Perfect - $1.70

The product is only $3.95 for .5oz and this sample is 0.17oz so who knows how far this will go. I loathe ‘wrinkle creams’ but apparently this doubles as a primer? Verdict is out. I’m bored.

Bellapierre Cosmetics Cheek and Lip Stain in Pink - $19.99

Now don’t get me wrong, this is really the only product in the box worth getting excited by, but I’m a bit tired of these faux-prestige products in subscription boxes. This really should be a $12 tint, not a $20 one. That said, it’s light and buildable so it offers some versatility whether you use it on your cheeks or lips.

Thing is? I keep seeing people post this online with ‘OMG AMAZING’, ‘I LOVE my BB5 this month!’ or ‘So much cool stuff to try!’ Am I crazy? Spoiled? Bitter? This stuf seems like one good thing, the Bellapierre, and a bunch of stuff I could get at the dollar store or that I could get a more prestige sample of for free from Sephora. (Looking at you Lashem!)

Next month I’ll run through my favourite products from Beauty Box 5 as a post-mortem, because I certainly found some amazing products from the subscription, just nothing in the last three months really.

Do you have a subscription to Beauty Box 5? Or did you have one and cancel? Do you agree with my review?

Oh well,

This is what about 1.5lbs of #Diwali sweets looks like.  #fatkidforever #barfi #ladoo #gulabjamun #dilbahar #HappyDiwali!

This is what about 1.5lbs of #Diwali sweets looks like. #fatkidforever #barfi #ladoo #gulabjamun #dilbahar #HappyDiwali!

How I’m (Trying) to Stop Worrying About Money and Live My Life

NEW POST: How I’m (Trying) to Stop Worrying About Money and Live My Life

Mr Worry

My grandmother loves to repeat a charming anecdote about my brother and I, a story about our saving habits as children. It goes as follows: When I was in early elementary school (think maybe, 8 or 9 years old), she’d regularly take us to the mall near her condo. Once we were there, she would give each of us $5 to spend on whatever we want, and then she’d take us for dinner and a movie. My…

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#Halloween lawn decorations spotted on my street!

#Halloween lawn decorations spotted on my street!

Selfie #latergram. Brow & eye & lip game DOMINATED.

Selfie #latergram. Brow & eye & lip game DOMINATED.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire, Orange Tempo & Ruby Opera Review

I’m a sucker for a lot of things. Cats, beer, macarons, coffee, nail polish, matryoshka dolls, lipstick, etc. But if there’s one thing I’m an even bigger sucker for, it’s any of those items for free! In September at the Toronto International Film Festival, I had just picked up my tickets for The Riot Club when I noticed the L’Oreal tent nearby had almost no line! True to my nature, I quickly darted over and joined in.

Turns out the tent was dedicated to promoting the Makeup Genius app, a really neat makeup simulator that did a fantastic job of testing out various L’Oreal products on my face - but VIRTUALLY. And one of the product lines they had on the app? The Colour Riche Extraordinaire collection.

Now, I worked for an opera company for years, so the charm of naming the entire product line on musical terms wasn’t lost on me. But they only had a few glosses left by the time I made my selection, so my pick was Orange Tempo, a bright tangerine shade that smelled of passionfruit and mango.

Orange Tempo turned out to be a hyper-pigmented gloss that managed to moisturize my lips and really add a dazzling pop of colour that worked on a made-up face, or in casual day-to-day wear. The applicator is a flat doe foot that made it really easy for me to apply a whisper of colour, or a whole stack of it. I found that Orange Tempo looked particularly great when I painted a full coat on my lips first and then filled in any missing parts. Two coats would’ve been overload.

On the other hand. Ruby Opera is a colour that can be layered and used differently. In my picture I have just one sweep of colour on my lips, but if I add a little more, the colour intensifies (you can see a thicker coat on I’m a Beauty Geek). This colour wasn’t as unique as Orange Tempo and it looked a LOT darker in the tube than in reality, but it’s a great blue-red gloss that can be a great staple for your gloss collection.

In terms of longevity, I find that, as with many glosses, your mileage may vary. I had a habit of applying this at work because I found as long as I wasn’t eating/drinking, the colour lasted throughout hours of meetings and interactions. While I shouldn’t kiss my boyfriend with this on (shouldn’t, but did!) if you do wear this out to dinner, be sure to check in on it every once in awhile. And while I find that it doesn’t suffer from feathering but it will fade out over the course of the day, so have it handy to reapply.

Also, have I mentioned how luxe/high end these look? Not bad for something you can grab for about $10!

August & September Empties

It’s that time of the month! Well, actually, it’s several days away from that time of the month, but better late than never right? Time for some EMPTIIIIIES.

I was surprised at how few products I used in August and September, but I did make a concerted effort this month to use shampoo/conditioner samples and index my nail polish, so I’ve made some purging progress. I did also give a TON of hair product samples away to friendsand made a sale page for the rest, so while it may not look like it, a lot of stuff has left the building :)

Onto the empties!

Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Treatment Sheet Mask

I do enjoy a good sheet mask, especially when my skin needs calming down! Visit my ‘Battle of the Sheet Masks' for a full review.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Smooth Start Shampoo & Conditioner

I’ve sampled a bunch of John Frieda this year and while I do like the formulas, I just haven’t found one that works enough to replace the paraben-free stuff I currently use. However, if you need frizz control, especially IMMEDIATE frizz control, this set does the trick. Personally I felt it left some residue in my hair but for that first day it looked awesome.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Weather Works Shampoo & Conditioner

This set smelled reaaaally good, but it didn’t do as good a job at frizz control as the Smooth Start, and the conditioner was more like a soft mousse? Did. Not. Condition. So, skip it!

L’Oreal Power Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

This stuff smells FANTASTIC! It definitely was a boon for my dry hair this summer, adding an extra OOMPH of volume when I needed it the most. I’d definitely consider buying this.

OGX Coconut Water Shampoo & Conditioner

And this is a counter-example to the previous set. This set smelled really good but I didn’t notice any extra moisture AT. ALL. And I didn’t notice extra shine either. Welp.

Stila Stay All Day 1 in 1 Beauty Balm

I love this stuff. I basically love all of Stila’s balms. They are ridiculously expensive but my god, it looks amazing and makes your skin FEEL amazing. Demon products, all of them.

Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash

We all know I’m a body wash nut and would never buy the same wash twice, but this is a serious contender for PERMANENT BATHROOM STATUS. It’s UBER refreshing and envigorating and literally TINGLES on the skin (thanks to all that peppermint). As with all other Burt’s Bees products it’s sulfate/paraben/cruelty-free so not only is it a fantastic choice, it’s a responsible one.

H20+ Targeted Care Hand and Nail Cream

This stuff is like a great hand salve, it’s perfect for the cold seasons and works really well if you put it on at night. Too bad the smell is SO STRONG that I can only really put it on before I go to bed.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat

This used to be my go-to topcoat but I’ve fallen out of love with it recently. While it does an AMAZING job at the fast-drying, gel-nail-look, it gets super goopy and doesn’t always land evenly on the nail. The bottom 20% of the product also likes to congeal in the bottom too, so that’s a waste. I’m officially breaking up with it!

Ojon Revitalizing Mist Hydrating

Oh Ojon, I really want to like you but you’re so expensive, and while I like the smell, it does linger a little too long. It works really well as a wet-hair detangler, but not much else.

Quo Diamond Liner Black Spark

I’ve had this eyeliner or awhile and while it has a great brush and applicator, the formula is SO RUNNY that it basically requires a hair dryer to dry on your lid. It doesn’t stick to the eyelid and causes your shadow or mascara to gob onto it. I finally decided to chuck it!

Olay Regenerist


Bic Dual Blade Razor

Why? WHY? WHY? Never again. No. No. No.

Gillette Venus

YES, MUCH BETTER. You get ONE handle and then you can interchange the cartridge heads as much as you want and SMOOTH SKIN IS JUST A SWISH AWAY.


Currently destashing a bunch of un-loved, used polishes and giving them away at work for free. On the chopping block - Sally Hansen HD Hi-Definition Nail Color in Laser, Blu, DVD, Wavelength & Revolution, four miscellaneous Sally Hansens, four off-brand polishes I got from beauty boxes and a GOSH glitter that I really hate the formula of.

The ones that were unused are going in my Christmas beauty boxes for my Shoebox Project boxes this winter (I’m aiming for two or three boxes of stuff) and the rest posted here are going to people at work.

It looks like I didn’t use too much these last two months, but I’m nearing zero on several maaajorrrr products this month so there will be more reviews to come! I also just did a lipstick inventory so expect some OLD AS DIRT lipstick to show up next month, I’m sure.

My @eatsleeppolish order is obviously an attempt to add more fall/winter shades to my collection!

My @eatsleeppolish order is obviously an attempt to add more fall/winter shades to my collection!

Tips for Saving your Tips!

Tips for Saving your Tips: Or how to not blow all your money on beer and twizzlers. (Just some of it.)

Tips for saving your tips

Oh, TIPPING. One of the personal finance community’s most controversial topics is the focus of today’s blog post! But instead of the standard, cyclical ‘Who should you tip, and why and how much?‘ debate, this post is going to focus on the RECEIVERS of said tip, and tips for saving your tips! (Because I swear I can’t find any consensus about this anywhere!)

It’s no surprise to anybody who reads…

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