Saturday Review: Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium

Black Opium
I recently received a small bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium perfume free from Influenster for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I’m pretty picky about fragrances. I usually prefer deeper, mostly musky scents – these really work on me, where as more fruity and flowery scents tend to go a little bit bitter. First opening the bottle, Black Opium had an appealing scent, but I was unsure how it would work on me.

First impression: Black Opium is strong and deep. I like that is comes off a little woodsy, but I’m unsure about the long-term wear-ability.

Later impression: The vanilla really starts to come out after a bit and I like it. Since I usually gravitate to musky scents, I miss out on the more sweet flavors. I like that this combines the two.

End of the day: This smell spectacular on me. A win.

Verdict: I really like this. I’ll use the rest of this sample bottle, for sure, and I might add it to my list of possible future purchases. I also enjoy the sparkly bottle.

Saturday Review: YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara


Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara
Retail: $32

I received this mascara for free through Influenster and have been using it for a couple of months now.

Pro: Great black color and very long-lasting. The sparkly gold tube doesn’t hurt either – I love that prestige cosmetics like to take the packaging up a non-tacky notch.

Neutral: The brush appears clumpy. Although I haven’t had this translate to my eyelashes, I have accidentally touched a hidden clump to my eyelid and had to perform spur-of-the-moment makeup reconstructive surgery. And it tends to get clumps around the top that will stick out the sides when you put the lid on if not careful. This isn’t really a big deal, but is disappointing when you are talking about $32 mascara.

Here is a photo of the clumps at their worst. I don’t know about you, but I’m not thrilled with a mascara that requires extra maintenance.
Con: It takes way too long to dry. Now, it isn’t unusual for high-end brands to take longer to dry than your typical drugstore variety, but this one just takes a really long time. I feel like I have to walk around not blinking for an eternity and I’ve often arrived at work and found a bit of a mess. One time in particular, I forgot about the mascara and used my setting spray a couple of minutes after putting the mascara on. Whoa. Raccoon disaster.

Verdict: No, not at this price point.

Influenster Frosty VoxBox

If you are here for the photos, you are in the wrong place; this is the best I can do.
If you are here for the photos, you are in the wrong place; this is the best I can do.

By now, you should all know how much I love getting free stuff from places like Influenster and BzzAgent. I will do any number of tasks (and do them honestly too!) if a company promises to keep sending me more free stuff or gives me a realistic opportunity to win free stuff.

For today’s special edition Saturday review, I’m going to blog about the products I received in my Influenster Frosty VoxBox because 1) it is a task that may get me more boxes in the future and 2) it means I get to share my free stuff with all of you. I’m not doing as much Influenster since they changed their website – I find it somewhat difficult to navigate the new setup – but I was happy to find out I was getting this box. And even happier when I started to see content spoilers online.

So, what did it include?

Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
I love love love getting basic products like this. Plus, this is full size and that is all kinds of amazing. Rimmel is my favorite drugstore brand and I’m sure this will be a quality product.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
Ditto to the above comments. This arrived at the right time; I’m down to one black eyeliner.

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color
I’ve tried this lipstick before and know I like it. My last tube (also free) was bring pink though and I never wore it. I love the updated ’90s look of this sugar plum color. Very me.

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea
Yay, decaf! This sounds delicious and I’m happy to try it. I had to resit opening it up when I first got the box – doing a taste test is one of the possible tasks to get Influenster points and I plan to do it.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect ADVANCED
I don’t know if this sample is big enough for me to really make have an educated opinion about the project. I do like Boots products (although I recently had a bad experience with another of their serums), so I’ll probably use it anyway.

McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme
Okay, I admit that I don’t really understand what thyme is doing in this box. I’m going to assume it is kind of along a holiday cooking theme. Not complaining though! I’m happy to use this. Or, actually, let my husband use this.

Fruit Vines Bites Cherry
This is absolutely the time of year I do NOT need any more candy or sweets around the house. I do think I will take this bag to work though to help with the after-holiday hangover when it is difficult to get anything done and little fruity sugar bursts help immensely.

EcoTools Sleek + Shine
I don’t brush my hair (seriously), so this one is going straight to the daughter who has super long hair and is always loosing hairbrushes.

That is the Frosty VoxBox. Stay tuned for some reviews of these products in the coming weeks.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Saturday Review: Pedigree Stackerz


Do my dogs like them? Yes.
Do my dogs like every snack? Yes.
Do my dogs eat trash if they can get their paws on it? Yes.

I don’t think the taste test is really the best way to review.

These treats were just fine for the dogs. I liked that they came in easily separable pieces – like a big meat candy bar. My dogs are two different sizes and buying something easily portionable could eliminate the need to buy two different packages of snacks.


Overall, good.

FYI: I received a package of Stackersz free from Influenster for review purposes. Opinions are my own.


Special Edition Saturday Review: Influenster’s TLCVoxBox

voxbox-blogimage-popup2By now, you should all know how much I love getting free stuff from places like Influenster and BzzAgent. I will do any number of tasks (and do them honestly too!) if a company promises to keep sending me more free stuff or gives me a realistic opportunity to win free stuff. Recently, I won a Target gift card and box of note cards from the Pilot Pens brand challenge on Influenster. It came with a little hand-written note (probably from some intern at Pilot) thanking me for my participation (see Instagram for a photo). This has proven to only add to my free-stuff-athon.

For today’s special edition Saturday review, I’m going to blog about the products I received in my Influenster TLC VoxBox because 1) it is a task that may get me more boxes in the future and 2) it means I get to share my free stuff with all of you. For those of you who haven’t been following along, Influenster is “a community of trendsetters, social media masterminds, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences . . . Influenster invites its most active members to participate in exclusive VoxBox programs where members receive complimentary products to test and review. In exchange, we ask our members to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media.” The TLCVoxBox in particular contained products that might be of use to moms doing their daily mom-thing.

full box

So, let’s break this down (in no particular order).


1) Ivory Bar Soap
I won’t lie. This bar went right into the microwave. Have you ever microwaved Ivory soap? It really is pretty awesome. Try it; you won’t be disappointed.

2) Breyers Gelato Indulgences
OMG. Delicious. Enough said.

3) Puffs to Go
You can never have too many packages of Puffs if you have kids around. My daughter has mono, so she immediately claimed this package for herself.

4) Neosporin Neo to Go
Quite a nifty little thing. A compact version of wound treatment and pain control in one handy spray. Great to have, if I can ever remember to put it into my purse.

5) Avon Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother
I haven’t tried this yet. My skincare routine is pretty set in stone, so it always takes me a little bit to try new things. I do intend to give it ago though to smooth my wrinkles. . . all three of them. I’m a little obsessive about my skin, I’m only 30, and I’m fat – wrinkles aren’t quite a problem yet.

6) Shell Fuel Rewards Network
I’m all about saving money and being budget-conscience, especially on items we use constantly. With this car, you automatically get $0.03 off per gallon. If you attach your debit/credit card to it, you can gain additional cents off for certain purchases you make. I haven’t done that (and don’t know if I will). We have a Shell station right next to our Kroger’s gas station. The gas there is already priced to compete with Kroger, so this is just an added bonus. I’m not typically brand-loyal, so I’ll be using this card mainly to maximize my discount whenever possible.

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. Opinions are my own.

Mail Call

[Yes, this is another nonsense post. I’m stressed out and only want to talk about the least serious stuff.]

voxbox-blogimage-popup2More free stuff showed up on my door step. This time I got a UniVoxBox from Influenster. This one is supposed to be full of products for college students. Well. . . I can’t imagine I was their target audience as a 30-year old going back for a second masters degree. And. . . I’m certainly not their target audience now that I’ve dropped out of that program. But, oh well!

Here are my goodies: Red Rose Real Tea Water Enhancer (actually pretty good); NYC Expert Last Lipstick in a really bright pink color; Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation (I rarely wear foundation, but I tried this one and it is pretty good); Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures (my daughter claimed these immediately); Playtex tampons (self-explanatory); and Pilot Acroball pen.

Don’t be jealous.

Review: Colgate Optic White Toothbrush and Whitening Pen

voxbox-blogimage-popup2Disclaimer: I received this toothbrush/whitening pen and a small tube of Optic White toothpaste from Influenster.com. Influenster is a site where you review products, answer questions, and – perhaps most importantly – share with people in your social network. Occasionally, Influenster will send you a VoxBox with a free product or an assortment of free products. Once you get the product, you are supposed to review, share, etc. So, that is what this post is. Opinions are all my own.

The Colgate Optic White Toothbrush with Whitening Pen promises whiter teeth in 2 days (and then continued results if you keep using it). It is a regular looking toothbrush with a gel pen that fits up inside. I like that – you don’t have to keep up with two products and won’t forget to use the pen since it is hiding under your sink somewhere. It retails for $14. [I have a few $3 off coupons. If you read the review and want to try it, send me a message on facebook and I’ll drop one in the mail to you.]

So, here we go. Let’s try this.


Day 1 and Initial Impressions

Toothpaste: It tastes is a little strong, but not bad. If I wasn’t using it for the whitening benefit, it wouldn’t be my first choice. It isn’t as foamy as my normal toothpaste either. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about it and I won’t review its effectiveness since I’m using it with the fancy pen.

Toothbrush: Just a normal toothbrush. The handle is a bit thicker since it has a place for the pen, but it isn’t awkward or heavy. The package says it is a medium, but it feels pretty hard. I don’t really have a preference, but if you are a soft bristle person you might not like this. During my second use of the day, a bristle came off in my mouth. Ew. I wouldn’t expect this of a brand new toothbrush, but I’m willing to consider it a fluke for now.

Gel Pen: Colgate never calls it bleach, so I’m going to keep calling it gel too. You give the pen a couple of twists at the bottom (like chapstick) and then brush it on your teeth. It reminds me of getting fluoride treatment at the dentist’s office. The taste was fine – it was a very mild version of the taste you have in your mouth when you wear white strips. It went on a little thick, but felt completely normal within a couple of minutes. Using it again in the evening, I was able to control the thickness and spread the gel around better since I knew what to expect.

Overall, I left the house with my mouth feeling like I had a professional cleaning (from the gel taste, I’m sure) and my teeth felt clean all day long.

Day 2 – Are my teeth whiter? Well, yeah actually. But it would only be noticeable if you had studied them in great detail (like if you were reviewing a toothbrush and wanted to see how it worked).

Day 3 – Okay, Colgate promises whiter teeth in two days and the verdict is . . . success! My teeth are noticeably whiter to both me and my husband. Let’s see what happens after a full week of use.

Day 6 – Woops! I forgot I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned today. I don’t want to give the toothbrush an unfair advantage, so we will just consider the morning of day 6 my end-of-test review. I love the toothbrush. My teeth look like I’ve been through a cycle of whitestrips, but without having to actually remember to wear them everyday. I’d like to do a little research about possible problems from using the bleach gel on a regular basis, but – assuming I feel comfortable – I intend to keep using the toothbrush. I’m getting one for my husband too. Fun stuff.

Mail Call

I love mail. Who doesn’t? You know what else I love? Free stuff. Last week was a pretty good mail week, so I am going to share a rundown of my goodies.

I got my first VoxBox from Influenster – a site where you share reviews, answer product questions, and connect your social media accounts in exchange for nifty boxes of free products. This box has a Colgate toothbrush with a bleach pen built it. It promises whiter teeth in two days and – I’ve got to say – I’m pretty excited to give it a try. I’ll be posting about the results here sometime in the future.


I got a free Kohl’s Beauty Box. Free! They gave this away on Instagram and were out within a couple of hours, but I was lucky enough to get one.


The products:
H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment
Lorac Tantalizer Baked Bronzer
Katy Perry Lashes – Sweetie Pie
Glowing by J.Lo Body Lotion
Escada Cherry in the Air Fragrance

And I got another Memebox (and my last one for a while). No, this one wasn’t free, but I did spend points on it, so I saved about $10. I do love trying out the Korean products, I’m not quite as excited about this one however.


The products:
O’sum Aloe Vera Soothing Mist
Kovas Cettua Silk and Shiny Hand Mask (I’m most excited about trying this)
Recipe by Nature Spray Essence Water (Very excited about trying this; I’ve loved similar products from other boxes)
Hanskin Bio orgin Wrinkle Talk BB
One Day Whitener Magical Whitening Lotion
Kerasys Moringa Miracle Essence
Dr. Jart+ Silver Label BB (sample size, but I’m excited to try it. I love Dr. Jart)
Leneige Snow Crystal Pure Lip gloss (I already have one of these)