Crazy Week- Check In

*cricket* *cricket*

ECHO! Echo! echo!

What the above jokes are trying to tell you is that I have not posted in 10 days. I’m not going to start this post out with awkward apologies. I will say, though, that we can all thank a new part time job, a snow day, and my car’s rapid approach to death for the gap. In short, it has been a crazy week. I’m sure you all are familiar with that kind.

Thankfully, after a week of the new job under my belt, I have a better handle on how to manage my time. My father was also kind enough to drive from Pennsylvania to Virginia to bring my newer car (purchased with my money, by the way. I’m no freeloader) and drive my old one back.

As for snow days, it looks like the D.C. area might get some snow this week. That’s outrageous. It’s officially spring now.

Anyhow, I felt that I should touch upon the gap in posts before I get back into more nitty-gritty type of stuff.

Fret not, child. Cuz Courtney’s back.

FlatBrokeCoed

In-Depth Ipsy Glam Bag Review

As I mentioned before, I signed up for the Ipsy subscription service in November. I also mentioned that I would do a review of the service, so here I am. This is a comprehensive review of the entire service overall, so get ready for some opinions.

Background

Michelle Phan (of YouTube fame) announced in November of 2011 that she was launching a beta beauty subscription service called myglam.com. The service was wildly popular, with many people on the wait list behind the 100,000 beta subscribers. When Phan noticed that subscribers liked posting photos and videos of their bag contents and makeup looks where they are utilized, she incorporated socialization into the service.

This is how Ipsy (launched September 2012) was born. It features the appeal of a beauty subscription service and the draw of a community of beauty enthusiasts around it. Ipsy boasts “stylists” (read: other big names in the YouTube beauty world) that help pick out items for Glam Bags each month and post videos using each month’s make up.

What You Get

For $10 per month, you get a makeup bag with 4-5 deluxe sized and/or full sized products. Products featured in the bag run the gamut from make up (think mascara, eye shadow, blush, etc.), to hair care (leave-in conditioners, hair spray, etc.), to skin care (face serums, masks, BB creams, etc).

Each month, there are usually between 14 and 18 possible products, each one from a different brand. 4-5 are chosen for you via the IpsyMatch customization service launched in May of 2013. Even for the items you do not receive that month, Ipsy gives you a discount code or offer especially for Ipsy members to shop these brands.

IpsyMatch

IpsyMatch, a feature that Ipsy launced in May 2013, takes the results from the Beauty Quiz you take upon signing up for the service as well as reviews for your Glam Bags and their contents and uses them to choose items each month that you are more likely to love. From what I’ve seen on the Ipsy chats, most people like the idea of IpsyMatch but are frustrated that they can’t opt out of an item or two that they would never use (examples: false eye lashes, blush, etc). Ipsy is a quickly evolving and increasingly sophisticated service, so this may be coming in the future.

Who Is Ipsy For?

After receiving 4 Glam Bags, I would say Ipsy’s target market skews younger, due to it’s heavy use of various social media platforms to display information not immediately found on their website such as item sneak peeks and monthly contests and giveaways.

I would also say that Ipsy is great for those who want exposure to different brands, types of makeup, and colors. This is not a subscription for those who are pretty set in their beauty ways. The service really emphasizes exploring different looks, styles, brands, etc. That said, even with the IpsyMatch functionality, you may find what I call a “wild card” item or two. I don’t mind, because I like the idea of being able to play around with products I may not normally pick up for myself.

Overall Impression

I really like the Ipsy subscription service overall. I’ve received some face serum, nail polish, and eye shadows that I really love and wouldn’t have normally been exposed to. I love stalking Ipsy’s Instagram to find out that month’s Glam Bag item sneak peeks. I like the social component of Ipsy’s website. I like that the contents each month’s bag are normally worth at least $15 more than what you’re paying.

I am assigning a score of 8/10 for the service and I would be pretty darn likely to recommend Ipsy to those who really like make up or subscription services.

The reason I didn’t assign a 10/10 would be because there is no option (at least yet) to opt out of receiving a certain type of product or two. There is also no option as of yet to skip a month of service or otherwise suspend it. If you wanted that flexibility, you would have to completely cancel your subscription, and then rejoin and possibly wait on the wait list later.

Feel Like Joining?

If you want to know more about Ipsy, just go go Ipsy.com.

You can also follow my referral link (if you do, I get points towards the occasional extra item in my Ipsy bag) here.

Yay for marathon writing! I hope that my in-depth review was helpful.

FlatBrokeCoed

Music Monday 3/10

And I’m back for my second installment of Music Monday!

Whoa, two posts in one day? Well it is spring break and I am in college, so I’m allowed to get a little crazy.

This week’s theme: Songs I’d Listen To On a Sunny Day With the Windows Rolled Down

I think that a lot of upbeat country music is made for blasting in your car. Most songs by Gavin DeGraw fall pretty well into that category. It’s a perfect song to bob your head along to. You’ll be the only person having fun in traffic if this is on your radio.

This song requires no explanation.

This song played all the time on the store soundtrack at one retail outlet I was employed at. It grew on me, and now I love this song for warm weather fuzzy feelings.

Are there any songs you guys just can’t help but blast on a day with beautiful weather?

FlatBrokeCoed

 

Taking Stock

It’s the first official day of my spring break, so I think it is time to look around and appreciate what I have. It’s time to reflect and take notice of the things I may normally miss during the busy school week.

Making: A spring cleaning to-do list

Cooking: A lot of healthful-veggie filled meals. The boyfriend and I are striving to be healthier.

Drinking: A cafe americano at my favorite bakery/coffee shop. Mmmm.

Reading: The Hobbit, just like I said I would.

Wanting: To start planting herb and vegetable seeds.

Looking: Forward to having time to spend with my significant other this week.

Playing: Diablo III, Patch 2.0 in preparation for the Reaper of Souls expansion in a few weeks! I can’t wait!

Wasting: No time this week. I shall use every minute to the fullest. I’ll relax and be productive to the best of my ability.

Wishing: That the new poodle puppy would be old enough to bring home already!

Enjoying: A leisurely Monday afternoon in a coffee shop, eating, sipping, and people watching. (Sounds a lot better than “creeping”)

Waiting: for the time later in the day when I am unleashed upon Trader Joe’s.

Liking: listening to my favorite music on my computer through Spotify.

Wondering: How the crisis in Crimea will play out. I’m hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Hoping: that my sniffles are just allergies.

Marveling: at all of the blogging challenges available. Should I even do one?

Needing: A haircut in the worst way. I’ve just poorly pretended that my split ends don’t exist.

Smelling: freshly brewed coffee and espresso, pastries, wood furniture, and my perfume.

Wearing: Dark wash jeans, brown boots, and a red long-sleeve scoop-neck t-shirt.

Noticing: What a weekend of not exercising and food indulgence can do to my energy levels.

Knowing: I have homework to do during spring break but I would much rather blog instead.

Thinking: My laptop seems to be the only one in this coffee shop without a neat skin, case, or sticker on it.

Bookmarking: This yummy Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce I made last night. Mm.

Opening: My Netflix app on my boyfriend’s Xbox and hoping I never have to close it again.

Giggling: At my near-ridiculous addiction to silly Buzzfeed quizzes

Feeling: caffeinated and ready to tackle the week.

Inspired by Keira’s post on A Pretty Penny.

Spring Break Check List

As you are all aware by now, I’m not traveling anywhere fun for Spring Break this year. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get to have fun too!  Here are some of the activities and goodies that are on my Spring Break To-Do Check List!

Reading: It’s a requisite. When I have time off from school or work, I read. Here are some of the books I’ll be reading on my Kindle Fire:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

Yes, I’ve seen the two movies so far, and no, I haven’t read The Hobbit yet. I can hear you hissing at me. I’ve read the first few pages so far and I can see why the book is a cult favorite.

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

What can I say? I like authors with lots of abbreviations in their names. Seriously, though, I have yet to finish the first tome (I’m 80% of the way in) and I really want to power through. My goal is to get to start the second book by the end of spring break.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I picked this novel up in when it released in 2009 on a friend’s recommendation and I remember really liking it. It’s a more dangerous, complicated take on a high school girl and the paranormal world. Plot twist: the main female protagonist doesn’t want to get swept up in the supernatural! Gasp!

Netflix Binging: We all knew this was going to happen.

Dr. Who, Season 5

House of Cards, Season 2

A Young Doctor’s Notebook with Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm

Eating: This spring break, I’m going to take the time to cook and bake goodies that I don’t normally have the time to.

Lemon Bars

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Aoli (This helped me win my boyfriend’s stomach)

Drinking: Largely non-alcoholic beverages

I may have to try one of these awesome margaritas, thanks to Cosmopolitan.

Tons of berry-based smoothies

Café Americano from my favorite local bakery/coffee shop

Homemade lemonade or iced tea

 

This is the bulk of my list. It’s looking a little hedonistic, but hey, whose spring break isn’t? What do you guys have on your spring break check lists? Any books, recipes, etc that I should know about?

Leave a comment below!

FlatBrokeCoed

Another Lifehack Article Posted Today

I had my second Lifehack.org article published today, with a second one to come in a few weeks. :)

For those of you who don’t know what Lifehack is, it’s a website with a handful of contributors like myself who apply, submit writing samples, and have to be accepted by their staff in order to write for them. Their articles are tips, tricks, and how-tos (lifehacks) that aim to make life as frictionless as possible.

Once you’re a contributor, you must submit your article pitch, have it accepted, write the article while meeting a host of article standards, submit it for review, have a lifehack editor send it back with suggestions, then edit and publish it. Whew, it’s a small process, but a rewarding one.

That’s why I’m excited to get my second article published. It’s a good excuse to get me writing in a way that is different from the way I write on my blog.

Do you guys contribute to any sites like Lifehack? Do you want to?

FlatBrokeCoed

Spring Break Wish List

I keep seeing advertisements, mostly for clothing companies, touting sunny beaches, fruity cocktails (mmm Malibu Bay Breeze), swimsuits, and a whole boatload of greenery. It’s so cruel.

These companies are sending a small army of models to have fun in Turks and Caicos or St. Barth’s or some other beautifully sunny locale while I’m stuck inside, shivering and cursing the 10 inches of snow that’s about to dump on the Washington D.C. area tomorrow.

My spring break is little more than a week away, and it surely won’t be warm, let alone sunny. I certainly don’t have the funds to travel somewhere fun and splash around in a pool. But a girl can dream, can’t she? The answer is yes, by the way. That’s what this list is for:

1) A couple’s vacation to Turks and Caicos.

beaches.com picture

With the boyfriend being kept perpetually busy with an enormous mountain of paperwork, assignments, studying, and clinicals, we don’t get to spend much couple time together. Oh, how much fun it would be for us to go to an 18 years and up resort to just lounge on the beach! We would have a fun drink in hand at all times and would take regular sea-frolics, with lounging being so strenuous and all.

2) A beautiful pool to go splish-splash in.

cancuncanuck.com picture

I lived in the pool as a child. My family belonged to a higher-end swim club withing walking distance when I was in elementary school. That meant countless days playing and practicing for the Tri-County competitive swim league. I haven’t had access to a pool in years and I miss it badly. It would be such a treat to be able to swim and swan dive off of a diving board into a beautiful pool. You know, the kind with a bar and a hot tub near by. The kind without wee tiny kids. Just mature people with mature beverages. (mmm gin and tonic)

3) San Francisco!

tripadvisor.com picture

While nobody would argue that San Francisco is a tropical locale, it would still be a lovely place to visit in the springtime! The culinary scene is quirky and amazing. You could ride Route 1 up the coast to Wine Country (are we sensing an alcohol theme yet?) for a scenic day trip. You could visit the famous Fisherman’s Wharf or Alcatraz (I almost just typed “Azkaban”) or Ghirardelli Square! I would be pretty happy spending my spring break here.

Sigh.

I hope someone reading this will leave a comment below about their spring break plans so I can live through them. Please.

FlatBrokeCoed