Coola is The COOLEST!

Hello beautiful readers! As you know, I’ve been a bit obsessed with beauty box subscriptions for a while now, and I’ve been able to discover products and brands that I’m not familiar with, which is one of the many benefits of a Beauty Box subscription (as long as it is the RIGHT subscription, but that’s a topic for another day). Beauty boxes aside, today I’m posting to talk about a product line I discovered through Birchbox – a deluxe Coola Mineral Face Unscented Matte Tint SPF 30. It is basically a BB cream, with the added benefit of having sunscreen!

When I first tried it out, I was already in love. The texture was really soft and luxurious and it blended really well into my skin and matched my skin tone pretty well, which is awesome! Finding the right shade for any face makeup such as foundation is a difficult thing for me because I have really pasty skin! So I was impressed overall, and I liked the way it felt on my skin – it was light and I didn’t notice it was there at all! I started using it in place of other foundations and BB creams, as I was so happy to have found a product that was so amazing! And the fact that Coola’s products are cruelty-free, made in the US, and contain 72% organic ingredients is all the more reason to love this company! I give the unscented matte tint a 5/5 rating, as it can stand up to any BB cream any day!

I received Coola samples in several subsequent Birchboxes, and became a big fan of their brand. I really wanted to buy the full size unscented matte tint, however, at $32 – $36 retail value, that price is totally not in my budget, period! So what did I do? I contacted a Coola PR person to request some samples to review, and much to my delight, I got two full-sized items: Coola’s Mineral Face Cucumber SPF 30 Matte finish and a tinted moisturizer/BB cream from Coola’s other brand Bare Republic which is sold exclusively at Target. I absolutely love the Cucumber moisturizer and I wear it when I don’t need or want any tint/color on my face! The scent is really light, the formula is just the right texture (there’s no silky feeling as with the tinted stuff, but hey, I’m not complaining) and it feels light on my face. I love the scent so much that I sniff my hands periodically after applying it! Is that weird? Nooooooo, not in my world!!! I give the Mineral Face Cucumber a 5/5!

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My first round of products – Cucumber Face SPF 30 from Coola and Bare Republic Tinted Sunscreen. Coola is my fave, Bare Republic is just MEH!

As I said before, the first products I received included a Bare Republic Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30. Retailing at $14.99, it is way more reasonable and closer to being in my budget than the Coola product line. I honestly wasn’t too impressed with this, because it was so thin and watery. A little bit did go a long way, however, I got really frustrated with having to remember to shake the container each time I applied it. I’m not saying it isn’t a decent product, but it doesn’t match up to its sister brand Coola’s stuff, at all. I give this a 3/5 rating, and I’d honestly recommend buying something else because this just doesn’t cut the mustard in my opinion. I’ll stick with the Coola for now (and hope they improve the Bare Republic line to match the quality of Coola).

 

Soooo…I just had to get my hands on the Makeup Setting Spray after I saw it listed, because of the simple fact that it contains SPF 30, something I’ve yet to see from setting sprays – so this is great to keep in your beach bag or purse for those times your makeup or face could use a little boost AND it saves you from having to reapply sunscreen as well. It smells a tad like alcohol, but it does the job and delivers that sun protection I need. Plus it doesn’t ruin my makeup nor make it run down my face and it dries instantly. A little goes a long way, so it will last a while. Retailing at $36.00, it is again, a little bit on the pricey side, but I assure you, it is totally worth it when you consider what you’re getting quality-wise! I give this unique product a 5/5 rating – this is something I’m going to continue to carry with me when I wear makeup (especially on hot summer days!).

I’ve saved the best for last, and I’m so excited to share my FAVORITE COOLA PRODUCT EVER! 

Rosillance Organic BB+ Cream SPF 30 in the Radiant Finish shade is an item I was dying to try ever since I saw it listed on Sephora. My PR contact sent me this a month or so ago at my request, and O.M.G. I honestly thought the unscented matte tint was the best BB cream I’d ever used, until I got this item in the mail. First off, it smells a little bit like roses, but the scent is so light that it doesn’t linger at all! Second, the texture is a little thinner than the matte tint, but blends really nicely and again, feels super duper light on my face (so much so that I cannot feel it AT ALL). This is my new favorite and I’ll be buying it in the future when I run out because it is BY FAR the best match for my skin tone EVER!!! It has a bit of a pink undertone as opposed to yellow, and since my skin tends to be a little more rosy, this is THE PERFECT SHADE! I cannot begin to explain how amazing this is! Yes, it is expensive and retails for $52.00, but it is worth EVERY CENT. If you’ve got extremely light skin like me, with pink and red undertones, this will be a breath of fresh air! I’m in love with this BB cream to say the least. It just plain looks great on my face.

I have one bit of criticism regarding the Coola BB cream items – and that is, if you use other products underneath, the cream may end up chunking off, kind of like when you’ve got really dry skin and you put lotion on and the top dead layer of skin comes off as a result. My recommendation is to use these products sparingly and be careful when mixing it with other face creams and serums etc. I’ve had this issue several times now, and it is kind of a bummer, but I’ve learned from it! It actually happened earlier today – I think I used too much of another foundation (because I was attempting to contour and highlight).

By the way, I ended up buying the full size unscented matte tint (before I had a chance to get my hands on the Rosillance) but I didn’t pay a cent! How did I manage to do it? Well, I’m really great at earning Amazon gift cards, so I decided to treat myself. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with splurging once in a while, and honestly, it didn’t really cost me anything, so HELL YEAH!

I’m hoping to be able to try out some other Coola products in the future, and when I do, you can be sure I’ll be reviewing them here! Now here’s a picture of my face today, snapped JUST NOW, to show how well the Rosillance blends with my skin tone! These pictures aren’t edited nor touched-up, so you can see my wrinkles and the whole nine! The lighting is a bit weird but anyway…here’s how I look today!

Let me state again that I received some of the items mentioned above for free (this is my official disclaimer, people). While I’m not required to do reviews, write-ups and blog posts in exchange for these items I feel it is only right that I share my love of Coola with my readers (and the rest of the world!). I wasn’t compensated in any way, nor am I affiliated with Coola etc. All opinions are my own and any questions can be forwarded to me! Comments are always welcome!

So dear readers, have you had a chance to try Coola’s products yet? What are your favorite BB creams, foundations, sunscreens, etc? Tell me in the comments!

Stay tuned for your chance to win a beauty bag containing a Coola sample, as well as other great items! Announcement and details to come soon! Share my page and subscribe to my updates – and you might be a WINNER, though you already are a winner, if you believe you’re #winning! 

 

 

Promoting My Fundraiser

Hello beauties – I am raising funds to get my license and a vehicle, because I’m on disability and cannot afford to just go out and get these things taken care of. I owe over $500.00 to Brooklyn/NYC DMV for a ticket I got while visiting there in 2013. That ticket along with a speeding ticket I got on that same trip are the reason why I don’t drive anymore. And aside from that, I don’t have a vehicle either!

I recently received an offer from a friend of mine who will donate $500 once the fundraiser reaches the $500 mark – he offered to match as an incentive and motivation for me to put this out into the world! I hope and pray that I reach that level soon, as I could really use these funds to get my life back in order! Having transportation when disabled is really important!

Please consider helping and share WIDELY! Share with your most generous friends too! Share on facebook, twitter, wherever you can! I thank you all so very much and will be posting updates as soon as I have more donations! From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful for all of the help I get, even the smallest amounts!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE! 

 

Free Glossybox: One-Day Only

As you all know, I love subscription beauty boxes, and I’m a bargain hunter. What you do not know is how many boxes I’ve tried over the past few months, because I haven’t been blogging about them. I won’t announce my plans to write about all of the various boxes out there with reviews because of the simple fact that I may not follow through. One of my favorites of all is Glossybox, which offers a mix of high-end makeup, hair, body and skin care products, ranging from deluxe samples to full-sized!

TODAY ONLY, NEW SUBSCRIBERS GET A FREE BOX! The cost is a little more pricey at $21.00 a month, but the retail value has been at least double if not triple that amount consistently since I began my subscription. Their packaging is beautiful, the products are quality and customer service is great! Click here and use the promo code EXTRA to take advantage of this great offer!

For those readers who happen to be supporters of LGBTQ causes, I’d suggest this company. The reason for this is not because they publicize themselves as being supporters of any particular cause, nor are they philanthropists as far as I can tell, however, when I was creating my initial profile, I had more than two gender options to choose from, and as an activist who supports transgender rights, this stood out to me. So much so in fact, that I made a point to email them and thank them for this seemingly small thing that most people would overlook or even take for granted. Since I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, I plan to continue my support of this service as long as I can afford to.

Theoretically, you could cancel after the first month, and you’d be getting two boxes for the price of one! If I didn’t already have a subscription, today’s offer would have been a good enough excuse reason for me to give it a whirl!

Subscribe now using this link here, and I will get credit towards a free box! Think of it as a way to give yourself a present while also giving ME one as well! Thanks to everyone who reads my little beauty blog and stay tuned for more great updates on subscription beauty boxes and more!

 

Play by Sephora Subscriptions are Open!

I just checked my email and got an alert from one of my favorite websites – My Subscription Addiction and learned that the much coveted Play by Sephora Monthly Box is now open for new subscribers! So of course I immediately popped over to their website and signed up, because at $10 a month, they’re supposed to be one of the best in the game.

I really can’t justify adding another box to my monthly roster, so I’m going to get rid of another subscription first, but I’m not entirely sure which one I’ll be dropping yet. I love getting beautiful surprises in the mail, but this is the one I’ve been waiting for! I mean, it’s Sephora for crying out loud!

I don’t see a referral link, so you’ll just have to head over to the Play by Sephora site and sign up there! Hopefully you get in on the goods before there are still spots!!!!

 

Freebie Haul, March – April, 2016

It wasn’t that long ago I began this blog and set a personal goal to do some sort of writing every day – whether it be blogging, or journaling, or working on my memoirs. This particular project is a way of keeping myself disciplined and focused. I wanted to challenge myself to write about something I’m passionate about, that isn’t related to the heavier content I’m normally working on. Budget beauty and fabulous frugality is something I’m excited about, as it gives me a diversion from the everyday BS I’ve got to deal with as a disabled chick living in constant (chronic) pain.

When I first set out on this adventure, I had no idea I’d end up discovering even more ways to obtain nice things. I’ve gotten a ton of amazing products over the past few months, and I’m surprised at how easy it is to obtain free stuff if you’re willing to put in a little bit of legwork!

That said, I’m really writing this post to brag about discuss what I’ve gotten for free in a little over a month. I’m psyched to share this cuz I’m almost in disbelief at the amount of loot I have!

Today alone, I got the following:

TODAY’S HAUL ALONE IS WORTH $68.99 retail value! How sweet is that? 

Other stuff I got over the past week: 

  • A package of 10 Mr. Sketch Scented Washable Markers. Ahhh, the childhood memories! Retail Value of $8.99. (via crowdtap)
  • Three bottles of Vitafusion Gummy vitamins – with a retail value of well over $30.00!
  • A bottle of Nexium containing a 14-day supply, which is about $14.00 retail. (via Smiley360).
  • A deluxe sample package of cascade dishwasher tabs, which I gave away to a friend who actually has a dishwasher! Retail value is probably $4.00. (Via BzzAgent).
  • 11 deluxe-sized samples of Garnier Skin Active Clearly Brighter Moisturizer – SPF 15 (through my sister, via crowdtap). Retail Value? Those samples would probably be at least $1.00 each if they were available for purchase. So we’ll say about $11.00. Any samples we get are distributed to many of our family and friends, of course! What fun is getting freebies if you don’t spread the love?
  • I also got two truvia samples in the mail, for a total of four packets. Hey, they were free, right? *I don’t think they’re worth counting the value of, since they’re easy enough to snag while grabbing a coffee from Cumby’s or whatever convenience store is in your area. 

The rest of my haul, from the beginning of March until now, includes the following:

  • Sample of Secret Clinical Strength – Est. Value – $2.00
  • Lotsa Sample Packets of Garnier Whole Blends. Est. Value – $5.00
  • Sample of Playtex Tampons – Est. Value – $1.00
  • Sample of Poise Pads – Est. Value of 50 cents.
  • Magazine Subscriptions – Oprah, Seventeen Magazine and Elle. $30.00 value.
  • Wal*Mart Gift Card for $5.00 from My Coke Rewards.
  • $10.00 in Amazon Gift cards from Bing Rewards.
  • $80.00 in Amazon Gift cards from Crowdtap.
  • By far, the best single item I’ve received in the past month has got to be the Amope Pedi Perfect Rechargeable Wet and Dry Foot file (via crowdtap) which retails for $60 – 70.00!!!!!!

So far, the tally of estimated retail value is nearly $301.00! I’m impressed with myself as I sit here typing this. Just…wow!

The following list of items is stuff I got for free* in exchange for HONEST reviews:

When it comes to getting products in exchange for reviews, the process can be a tedious pain in the ass, so I’ll break that down for you in a future post! I am gonna continue to get freebies for reviews, but I think I got a little overwhelmed and bit off more than I could chew! I mean, look at how many products I agreed to review! I’ve got a whole new batch of items being shipped for review purposes too!

* The catch is that you have to pay for shipping – and write some good reviews! Having Amazon Prime is a major major bonus factor and saves you from having to pay to have these items shipped! 

All told, I’ve gotten $545.00 worth of products and gift cards in a little over a month. Not too shabby, if you ask me, and I’m still an amateur at this stuff! Now that it is spring, and better weather is upon us, I wonder if I’m going to be able to keep up with this little hobby of mine!

If you’re excited and inspired, and looking to get started on your freebie finding quest, I suggest signing up for Crowdtap and Smiley 360 (they don’t have referral links so BUMMER). They’re by far the two easiest sites to get free stuff from, and they require the least amount of work. Be sure to complete your profiles and any surveys they have available. Crowdtap rewards you for answering their polls and questionnaires by giving you points; once you accumulate 1,000 points, you get a $5.00 amazon gift card. When I get in a groove, earning those points is a BREEZE! Even better, if you sign up your significant other or bestie, you can bank their gift cards too (assuming they don’t want to do the work and reap the rewards themselves).

I didn’t get offers from Smiley when I first signed up, but after a few weeks, I got my first invite. It is well worth the wait – and the surveys you take there are short and sweet! I’ve also been using Bing Rewards (sign up via my referral link please). It’s easy to earn points that can be cashed in for gift cards and more!

I had every intention of posting pictures to prove I’ve actually got all of these goodies – but I’ve been working on this post on and off for hours, so the photos are going to have to wait! Besides, some of the images I took were pretty darned grainy, as I can’t hold a camera straight to save my life! But this post does deserve an image, so here’s me, looking happy, cuz, WOW, I scored some good stuff!

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Hoooray! I rock!

 

So what have you gotten for free lately that you’re excited about? Interested in learning more about my process? Subscribe and stay up-to-date on my posts, where I’ll give you tips, tricks, and even top secrets on how you can be like me – big, broke (but not broken) and beautiful! Thanks for reading, and stay beautiful! 

 

 

Review: Skin2Spirit Facial Serum

Hello budget beauties – today I’m going to post a flurry of reviews I agreed to do in exchange for free products.

The first one is from a company called Skin 2 Spirit which offers natural and organic, cruelty-free products. I got it through a company called Tomoson, which I’m impressed with thus far!

The product: Skin2Spirit Advanced Hyaluronic Facial Serum

#BESTSERUM (the hashtag I was asked to use for this product).

The price: $24.95 for 6 oz.

The claims: Superior moisturization, more potent hyaluronic acid formulation, good for all skin types, natural ingredients, non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t block pores), and finally, a promise of younger, fresh-looking skin.

Here’s what I think: I’ve been using this for a few weeks, and I like it so far. It’s light, it doesn’t irritate my skin, and works well on the parts of my face that are both dry and oily/acne prone.

The Verdict: Okay, honestly, I could never afford the price of this product. That means I’m highly unlikely to ever purchase it. Is it worth the money? That’s not for me to decide – it depends entirely on your budget. However, if you’re looking for a good product that’s organic, natural, cruelty-free and actually works, BUY IT, if you can afford to do so! The amount of product you get is 6 oz – far more than the average size of this type of product.

I think the company is great, and I’d be willing to try more of their products! I’ll continue to use this serum because it’s helped my skin and I am not allergic – and if you’re like me, that’s a big selling point!

 

Here’s the Mandatory Disclaimer: I got this product for free in exchange for an honest review. I agreed to try the product and post reviews on Amazon and my social media accounts (thankfully, WordPress is connected to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and google plus, which is hella helpful!). I wasn’t compensated in any way, and the fact that I got this product for free doesn’t mean I am going to give you a biased point of view. 

I’m a savvy consumer and when I see a sales pitch, I cringe! I can usually tell when somebody is being honest or if they’re outright providing an advertisement. I take the opinions and reviews of other people very seriously, and I don’t like to be duped – so I will NOT BS AT ALL! 

If my readers would be willing to click on my amazon reviews, that would be great! It would be EVEN BETTER if you could click on the part that says “was this review helpful?” and give it a “yes” because that increases the odds of me becoming an Amazon Vine reviewer – and Vine reviewers get free products in exchange for their opinions. I have no shame about the fact that I’m actively searching for free stuff, because as I said before, I’m always looking for deals, bargains, and I love to get new products! I could never afford to buy all of these things on my budget, but I deserve to have nice things, so this is one way I treat myself!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more product reviews!

 

Reviews I Gotta Do!

I have been looking for skin care products to add to my routine, and I’ve learned a lot about the types of ingredients that are actually effective when it comes to the concerns I deal with – sensitive skin, mild chin acne, dry/flaky skin in the winter, and of course, the dreaded signs of aging that start to creep up on people in their late thirties!

Being a budget beauty, I’m always looking for ways to obtain items on the cheap, so when I found sites that give products away in exchange for honest reviews and blog posts, I decided to go for it! But this discovery has been overwhelming, because I’ve been trying a bunch of new products ranging from skin serums to natural essential oils, and a couple of other random things I thought I might want.

I got an email today that stated I have 24 hours to submit my reviews, and since I promised to blog write-ups, I’ve got to get on that! So be prepared for a flurry of reviews over the next few days! Whether or not I continue to receive and review products is up in the air at this point, because I’m terrible with deadlines, even though they hold me accountable!

For those who are interested in learning more about how I got these products, I’ll post a list of the websites, and I’ll share my favorites with you as well! In the meantime, I’ve got to get on writing the reviews! I’ve spent the past few hours putting all of this together – and I just finished writing a handful of reviews that I posted on Amazon.com.

I’m passionate about beauty on a budget, but I must confess, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with this hobby at the moment. I didn’t realize how easy it could be to get stuff for free! Maybe it isn’t exactly free, and at times, it requires a good amount of work to obtain products, but I’m enjoying this process so far!

I have earned about $150 in Amazon Gift cards over the past few months, and I’ve gotten hundreds of dollars worth of free items too! If you’re interested in learning more about how I’ve done this, I’ll break it all down really soon!

STAY TUNED!

Review: Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Foot File

I’m a member of a pretty cool site called Crowdtap, which I signed up for about a month ago. I recently posted a whole write-up on what they’re all about, including tips on getting some GREAT PRODUCTS in exchange for input and honest feedback. The first product I got was Secret Clinical Strength (sample size) which I already reviewed here. The second product they sent me was the Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Rechargeable Foot File, which retails for almost SEVENTY FRICKEN BUCKS! Amazon currently has it for almost $60.00.

Prior to getting the Amope Wet&Dry, I did a little bit of research, and found that it gets really good reviews. I also mentioned to a few people that I’d be getting one as a part of a crowdtap campaign, and several of those people were familiar with this product – though I knew nothing about this particular product (and really didn’t know a whole lot about Amope either).

When the Amope Wet&Dry arrived on my doorstep, I was excited to give it a whirl. My feet NEEDED some serious help, especially cuz it’s wintertime. I’m not sure about you, but during the winter months, my feet are especially dry and tend to be cracked and just icky in general. I should take better care of my feet, because I suffer from chronic pain, which could be better managed if I did small things every day like use the Amope Pedi Perfect. It’s funny that I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my feet prior to getting the Amope, but now, I am. In fact, I’ve incorporated it into my routine – by using it daily, my feet continue to look and feel better. And using it has encouraged me to be consistent with moisturizing my feet, so it’s really a win-win!

As part of the campaign with crowdtap, I was asked to submit a review on amazon.com where I gave it 5 stars. The only thing that sucks is that you’ve gotta buy refill cartridges, which are a bit pricey at about $18.00 for a two-pack. The original foot file I got with mine is still going strong, and that’s after well over a week of use. I don’t foresee it needing to be changed anytime soon, though I’m planning on getting a few refills to have on hand, that way I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ve got the proper tools to care for my feet!

Here’s a Before and After picture collage I created to submit to crowdtap. I see and feel the difference, and that’s pretty awesome!

Here's my before and after collage!

Here’s my before and after collage!

An interesting little tidbit of information that I recently discovered is that Amope is owned by Reckitt Benckiser, which is the company that makes Suboxone for opiate addiction (which honestly saves lives, so don’t knock it unless you’ve been down that path).

I give the Amope Pedi Perfect 5 out of 5 budget beauty stars! My feet look and feel smooth, and I’ve been paying a lot more attention to how well I take care of them. Do you have an Amope Pedi Perfect? Tell me all about it in the comments section! And don’t forget to sign up for Crowdtap to receive great stuff! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

Crowtap is an Easy Way to Earn Great Stuff!

I accidentally posted this to my other blog, so I’m reposting it here. It’s all about the Crowdtap website that I’ve been active on for a little over a month, and so far, all I can say is THEY ROCK! I love being a member and I’ve gotten over a hundred dollars worth of products, samples, and gift cards thus far. They don’t do referral links, which is fine by me, as I merely want to turn my budget beauty blog readers on to this site! You won’t regret it!

Click Here to Read My Article About Crowdtap