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I received several products in my "Fall 2013" (though I didn't receive it until nearly winter!) Violet VoxBox from Influenster. My first box was all about a toothbrush, and my second one was all about a new makeup. Color me violet....oh, I mean....surprised when I got this one in the mail, full of all different kinds of goodies! 
(I find myself tending to say "violent" instead of "violet." Lol. I have to watch myself on that one!! ;) )
The goods included in my box were:
  • a Goody Athletique headband [dark grey] ($6)
  • Sally Hansen New Triple Shine Nail Color in Kelp Out [green] ($5)
  • SoyJoy [dark chocolate cherry] ($1)
  • Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa mask [dead sea mud spa] ($2.50)
  • Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo ($6)

If you're a nerd like me, you know the un-boxing of new stuff can be the best part....like Christmas day! ;) You can watch it all coming out of the box below! 

While it looked promising, there were definitely some things that I liked, and some things that I didn't. Let me show you what I mean.

We'll start with the Goody Athletique headband. It's not the prettiest headband, but it is functional. 
I have been lax with my exercising goals, which means that I haven't had many opportunities to try it out during a workout. I did, however, put it through the next best thing. My hair is coarse, thick, and holds water like a sponge. I decided to try out old-fashioned pin-curls, and needed something to hold them in (and keep them from frizzing) while I slept. I toss and turn a lot, so I wasn't sure if the Athletique would hold up to my night-time mania, and the sheer amount of hair it had to contain. Apparently, due to the 'moisture-wicking' material it's made out of, it let my hair easily dry naturally, and didn't stay wet, itself. In fact, it was still firmly in the same place the next morning. It has a velcro strap in the back that holds it on really well. I was sick that day, so I just left the curls pinned up, out of my way, and that headband never moved. It actually felt nice to have my hair held out of my face with something other than a ponytail holder. This one's definitely a keeper, even if I continue to renege on my exercise obligations, and just use them for hair-dos. ;) 
Next up is the Sally Hansen New Triple Shine Nail Color in Kelp Out. 
I'm a nail-biter. There. It's out there. It's true! I rarely get a manicure, or paint my nails, because nail polish does not tend to be mom/housewife friendly. I just bought a few pretty colors at the dollar store the other day for - you guessed it - un doll-hair (each). I also have a bottle of Maybelline Wet Shine nail color in 'Clearly Wet,' which is the shiniest nail polish, EVER, and I ration it, because they no longer make it anymore.
*sad face*
 I compared my dollar-store finds, and my Wet Shine clear polish, to this 'Triple Shine' color. 'Kelp Out,' is literally the only color in the Triple Shine lineup that I would NOT have picked. All the rest are pretty blues, pinks, purples, and yellow. Ah, well. I tried it anyway. 
I had a pink, a teal, and a blue glitter in the L.A. Colors brand, in addition to the clear Maybelline, and the green 'Kelp Out' Triple Shine. I painted one fingernail with one coat of each of them, and here's the deal-i-o: the discontinued Maybelline polish outshone all of them, but it's sadly technically out of the running. The Triple Shine was the next-shiniest, but it was actually pretty close with the teal L.A.C. polish, which is not marketed as a high-shine color. The pink, and the blue glitter polish both were very watery, and didn't provide a lot of coverage. I painted both hands with the Triple Shine, and tested them just doing normal housework, and the polish generally lasted three or four days before it would begin to flake off. I found it most often came off in the shower, when I would be scrubbing my hair. The Triple Shine color is more durable than all the dollar store polishes, though. 
It also has a strangely fat, flat brush, which makes it hard for me to avoid making a mess over my tiny fingernails. (Seriously, y'all - they're the same size as my eight-year-old's!)
I might try this polish in another color, but I'm still not sure about the weirdly-shaped brush.

I have long been intrigued by the idea of a vlog, but I've never been brave enough to do one where I show my face! I finally just sat down on the couch the other day, and decided to take the plunge. I did the one thing that I'd been putting off since I got this box - I tried the gluten-and-everything-else-free SoyJoy. Watch here - you can ride along on that crazy roller coaster with me:

Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa in Dead Sea Mud Spa is an intriguing product. 
"Hey, everyone - come and see how good I look!"  ----------->
 It's not your run-of-the-mill spread-on clay mask. It comes in a pouch, with an actual mask pre-soaked in the clay mixture. I found that to be an intriguing idea, but before I opened it, I was a bit disappointed in the instructions on the back of the package. They are just pictures with one word underneath each of them. At the time, I thought that the mask would have the clay on just one side of it, and I thought that the instructions were a little on the lighter side, as the majority of the print on it is in French. Since the mask is actually soaked in the mixture, it doesn't matter which side you use. The mask, first-off, smelled amazing. It smelled very outdoorsy, like cedar, maybe, and a little bit of mint, or some other such clean scent. I left it on a bit longer than the recommended 10-15 minutes, just because I loved how it smelled so much. It also had a lovely, refreshing cooling sensation. I have very sensitive skin, and have had bad experiences with masks burning before. This was nothing like that. It was a very light, tingling sensation, that actually felt good. I was sad when it was starting to dry, because I had left it on so long! ;) 
When I lifted the mask off my face, I rinsed it out in the sink, and used it to wash the rest of the clay off my face. The mask itself looks and feels like a big, makeup-remover wipe (with eye, nose, and mouth holes cut out.) where instead of makeup-remover, it's soaked in a special type of clay. It's genius, really. I will definitely be buying more of these. I may even have a girls-night-in with these, and my friends. I need to try all the varieties! ;)
Washing my hair every day makes it really dry, so I secretly crack out dry shampoo on the other days. I use Suave Professional's Dry Shampoo, which runs about $3 - it smells good, and works well. The Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo seemed promising, with its schmancy can, but where the Suave Professionals wins, it loses. A ton of it comes out of the can at once, it doesn't smell pleasant, and doesn't absorb the oil as well as the Suave brand does. I was really surprised at this, especially since NYM's product costs twice as much, coming in at $6 at the register. I'll definitely be sticking with Suave. 

Overall, I had fun with the stuff sent to me in the Violet VoxBox, and I can't wait to see what's coming my way, next!
If you're interested in trying products out for free, you can check out Influenster.com. I didn't know any existing Influensters, so I was on the waiting list for about six months. If you're interested in joining, be sure to request an invite now, as you never know how long the list is. :)
Let me know if my reviews helped influence whether you're going to try the products from this VoxBox. I love to hear feedback! :D
-Steph
 
 
PictureMe, all gussied up with the Stay Matte Mousse Foundation.
I received the Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation from a program by Rimmel London and Influenster for free, to try before it came out in stores. I tried liquid (and one mousse) foundations in the past, and was not a fan. I found mineral makeup several years ago, and have used that since. 
I noticed recently, that, as I'm nearing thirty, my skin is changing. I have combination skin - oily t-zone, and everywhere else is dry. I thought this foundation, being mousse (lighter than liquid), and a new formula might just be the ticket to me finding a new foundation that covers better. 

Conclusion: It DOES cover better than my mineral powder foundation. In fact, I got a LOT of compliments on how nice I looked when I wore it! 
I picked the lightest shade, light ivory, not remembering that I'm still carrying my late-summer tan. It was too light for me, but I was determined to try it, so I covered it with a light layer of my regular mineral powder, and blush, to make it less noticeable. (Nobody noticed!) ;)

I tried it on a cool day, in the fifties, and on a warm day, in the eighties,. (That's one week of Oklahoma weather for you!) It stayed on nicely on the cool day, but I was sweating on the warm day, and it was noticeable. It settled into my pores, making them stand out more (I do have large pores, to begin with), and wiped off easier than I would have liked. I suppose that's the fight with any liquid makeup, really.

I hated that it came in such a small package, but I came to realize - a little bit goes a long way! It says use a pea-size amount. USE A PEA SIZE AMOUNT! LoL! I cannot stress enough - start there, and you might only need that and a half. Maybe. ;)

At the end of my experiment, I agree that it is much lighter-feeling than a liquid, which I'm happy about, because I hate that 'mask' feeling. I didn't get that with the Stay Matte Mousse Foundation. 
I still don't like being able to feel that there's something on my face. I think I've ruined myself for liquid makeup, permanently, unless I have a day (or an event) where I need more coverage than that can really offer. Those are the days that I'll keep this around for. I probably won't buy any more after this is gone, but if I ever do, it will be mousse, and never liquid. 

 
 
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Oh, Smarterer, where have you been all my life? This former straight-A-student-turned-SAHM has missed this all-too-familiar high. Smarterer unleashes my caged inner-competitiveness. (I've been told it can be a little intense - hence the cage.) Question after question after question that proves how much you know, and publicly lets it show! ;) (I made that up. Lots of time on my hands for wordplay, dontchaknow?)

How improtant is it that I know a LOT about Facebook? Probably not so much in the real world, but it feels pretty darn special to me, the girl who counts the Tuesday-Thursday workouts as the highlights of her week. Well, that, and playing Zelda whenever I gosh-darn please! Anyhoo, I was introduced to Smarterer.com earlier this week by BzzAgent.com (my favorite place on the whole internet *at this second...it'll change in a jiffy*). See my BzzAgent post for more info on them and their deliciousness. Since being introduced, Smarterer and I have created a symbiotic relationship. It feeds my *secret* need to prove myself, and I feed its need for more and more info to help it feed other people's not-so-secret need to prove themselves. It's lovely, really. Smarterer periodically lets you update your quiz score via Facebook, Twitter, AND LinkedIn. That last one there surprised me. Interesting. Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe it's time for another Smarterer fix. I'll figure out the new-fangled way to affix those there Smarterer badges to this here blog, and we'll continue on our way to out-Smarterering each other. Can YOU beat me? ;) I look forward to seeing you try!