Sunday, November 30, 2014

Swatches & Stuff - November 2014 + GIVEAWAY!!!!

Hi friends,

I am back with another episode of Swatches & Stuff, and yes, there is a big giveaway again this month, to celebrate you, and the Holidays!

Here is the complete video, instructions as to how to enter the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.

1. Palmers Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil for Face - From $9 up to $14.99.

Who would have thought a face oil that cheap and that simple would make such a difference on a skin like mine! I like to joke that my skin is Bipolar, you never know what I wake up to. Sometimes it is super oily, sometimes it is super dry, at other times, it is a bit of both. This is beyond combination skin, really.
I came across this face oil at my local CVS Pharmacy, having heard other youtubers rave about it, I did purchase it but with some reservation because it is, after all, oil!
It turns out that this is the opposite of oily on my skin, it absorbs and penetrates rather quickly and does not leave a sheen on my skin. Overall, I think it has made a difference in those areas prone to dryness like my jaw line and around my scalp. It is also a good emollient for my cuticles. I really like this face oil. Having tried other brands, this one is well above average.

2. Yves Rocher Pure Light - Light & Luminous Foundation - From $22 to $12.10

Yves Rocher Pure Light - Light & Luminous Foundation
You guys must be so tired of my constant raving about this foundation formula from Yves Rocher. Truth is that if I had to pick one product that makes it to the top of my favorites each year, this foundation would take #1 spot, year after year.
I have tried every brand under the sun, none provides the result that this foundation does. First, the company claims that it will give you a second skin effect, that is true. You can barely see it, yet it covers just enough to even out and conceal. To me, this beats any BB or CC cream out there. The finish itself is beautiful, a velvety sating smooth that leaves enough dewiness to make you look fresh without a shine. I am not sure how they manage the luminous part of the foundation without shimmer, but they do, I simply glow when I wear this formula.
It s currently at 48% off ($12.10) on the YR site.

3. Yves Rocher - Polishing Foot Scrub - From $11 to $6.05

Polishing Foot Scrub
What a fantastic find! This foot scrub is packed with beads and moisture. Unlike other scrubs I have tried in the past, this one does a great job. The package itself is small and appears more like a deluxe size yet, such a little goes a long way. 
I have been using this for weeks and barely made it to the half mark.
Fabulous Lavender scent, it is super concentrated when it comes to scrubbing beads. You can use it on your feet and your elbows. It also leaves a silky finish to my skin, so I guess it is also a good moisturizer. I can't see myself switching to another brand at this time. I really like this one way too much! It is currently at 45 % off on the YR site ($6.05).

 4. Bath and Body Works - Wild Madagascar Vannila Bean Body Scrub - $16.50

Unlike other scrubs from BBW, this one is a creamy formulation. It goes on smooth and really does a good job as a all over body scrub. Their other formula which is more of a sugar scrub with an oil base, will dissolve almost immediately upon lathering (not to mention the gooey residue left behind on the walls of the tub). This one however, will lather and provide a moisturized finish, no glistening oily residue in sight.
It washes good too (which is kind of important since it is a body cream cleanser after all).
I like the scent, it is a rich vanilla, but not as strong as the Vanilla Noel from a different series at BBW.
Most of the time, I would say every two weeks, BBW offers online specials (in store as well) where you can buy 3 signature products and receive three for free. I plan on stocking up on this Vanilla one as well as other scents with the same formulation. 
Use this Coupon Code valid until 12/24/14 and receive $10 off any purchase of $30 or more. Coupon Code: F143259


5. Crown Brushes - Syntho Series Makeup Brushes - Price will vary.

So many people rave about so many different high end brushes, sometimes I can see how difficult it is to make a decision as to what brush you should get.  The bottom line is that just because it is Brand X, it does not mean the quality will be there. 
Case in point, I have an Estee Lauder Brush that is mediocre at best. I came across this brand through an Ipsy Bag I received a few months ago, and was instantly wowed. So much so that I had to rush and splurge on a few more brushes for my vanity (truthfully, I did not need any new brush).
These are wonderful, though synthetic, they feel like mink on your skin. They are dense, malleable brushes that leave a beautiful finish regardless of whether you are using a powder or wet formula as your makeup. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

The best part is that they are relatively inexpensive when considering the quality you receive in return. I think the most expensive one in the bunch on the left was the face blush and I paid under $16 for it. The site currently offers 60% off, so the original price is under $40. Still, at $40 it is less than what you would pay for MAC or SIGMA and the quality is just as good, in some cases, better!

6. Milani - Color Statement - Nail Polish- From $3.99

 I really believe that the quality is there, at least in 3 of the 4 featured on the image on the left.

From left to right:
Ruby Stone,  Ultra Violet, Pink Beige and Imperial Purple .

I kept reading about the red one (Ruby Stone) on line and thought I would check out their formula. Turns out the red one is not my favorite, both with respect to formula and color. I thought that it was a bit too fluid and did not have a great stay-on. Matter of fact, it lasted about 48 hours before chipping.
The pink one however (Pink Beige) lasted almost an entire week, and same with the Imperial Purple and the Ultra Violet, which is my favorite. Just a quick heads up, they are cheaper to purchase from the Milani Site itself.
These are very good when considering the price at the Drug Store which is almost half of what you would pay for an Essie Nail Polish with a mediocre formula.

7.  Yves Rocher - Grand Rouge Lipstick in Soft Coral and  Incandescent Coral- From $16 to $9.50

Grand Rouge Lipsticks
I own several lipsticks in this range and really like them. Having recently discovered that there were new shades in the series, I jumped right in, of course.
The Grand Rouge formulation is a creamy lipstick with a good stay, I also find that it does not bleed and can be worn without a lip liner.
These are currently on sale of the Yves Rocher Site for $9.50 instead of $16. The lipsticks I received by mail were in French and the numbers I provided in the video are not the same as the one on the website, so here are the correct reference numbers:

left is Soft Coral #702: a beautiful pale pink that is the perfect nude with a hint of color.
Light is Incandescent Coral # 1408: I was anticipating a darker shade of pink, it turned out this one is far too orange for my skin tone.

8. Yves Rocher - Quad Eye Shadow in Sophisticated Pink - From $19 to $11

Yves Rocher - Quad in Sophiticated Pink
These are on sale as well currently at $11 instead of $19.
Beautiful colors, great pigmentation. I really wish they had a larger variety of colors in this quad collection because I would love to buy a few more, unfortunately, there is only another 5 quads, all in colors I would not wear. 
This quad has three shimmers and one matte (darker shade) which can be used both dry or wet (as an eyeliner).
I am wearing it in the video above and I think it's a good look for me.  I would recommend these, they are a higher quality than what you find at the drugstore.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++ GIVEAWAY++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In celebration of over 6000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel as well as the upcoming Holidays, I am doing another giveaway. This is what you could win:


1. Bath and Body Works - A Thousand Wishes Collection (Body Spray - Body Lotion - Shower Gel in full size)
2. Yves Rocher Foot Scrub (Full size)
3. Yves Rovher Quad Eyeshadow in Sophisticated Pink (Full size).

Giveaway guidelines:

You must be 18 years or older to enter
You must be a subscriber of MGC on Youtube
You must follow me on my Facebook Page
You must follow me on either Twitter or Instagram.

The Giveaway is open Internationally and until DECEMBER 15, 2014.

Follow the Rafflecopter instructions to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my YouTube videos! Share the love!

Sophia, NJ

Connect with me:

Want to send me a product for review? Have a product request?
Mailing address:

My Great Challenge
PO Box 402
CEDAR GROVE, NJ 07009-9998

This blog contains affiliate advertising, this is how I support my blog and YouTube Channel.  I was not solicited to advertise for the products mentioned above, all opinions are my own. I am affilited with Amazon and  Yves Rocher. I am not affiliated with any other brand mentioned above.

e.l.f. cosmetics


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Eco Emi - October 2014 - Full Review

Hi friends,

Eco Emi is back! I tell you, Christine is finally keeping consistent with some awesome boxes and wait until you see the November 2014 Box!

Here is the opening video:

New to Eco Emi? It is a sample subscription box ($15/month shipping included) in which you receive up to 9 samples of beauty and household products that are all cruelty free, organic and environmental friendly. An awesome way to try new eco friendly products without breaking the bank. There are always a food item (or two) and full sizes too!
Let's dive right in!

Eco Emi - November 2014 box

1. Deep Steep - Hand Cream in Passion Fruit + Guava - $9.95/2oz 

Deep Steep's Hand Cream nourishes hands with enriched moisturizers targeted to restore softness. Keep one in your purse, one at your bedside, on your desk, and anywhere else you keep your quick grab necessities. Featuring Shea Butter and Olive Oil for quick absorption that won't leave hands tacky or greasy. Just a little dose of luxe goes a long way with this highly anticipated product. (Quoted from website).

This is just wonderful! the texture is rich, creamy yet fluid. It absorbs fast, making it ideal as a bed side hand cream for that bit of luxury we need before checking out. The scent itself is divine, yet again, who does not love passion fruit! I felt that it actually made a difference on the overall look of my tired and over used hands, cuticles included. This cream is Parabens free,  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free, Mineral Oil free. It has no Artificial Fragrances, no Chemical Preservatives, Vegan and cruelty free! It also comes in 6 more scents, including lavender, Tangerine, Rosemary or grapefruit...I want to try them all! A.

 2. Balanced Guru - Intuition - Essential Oils Mist - $10

 This thing is plain awful! I am sorry, I am all for aromatherapy and essential oils, which I use in my bath and at times in a steam bowl for my face. However, after trying it "live' in my last video, it gave me the worst possible migraine...4 Excedrin later, I was still feeling the aftermath of inhaling the stuff, which is exactly what you are supposed to do. 
The Intuition Spray website boasts that their organic blend of Palmarosa, Rosemary, Lavender, Lemon, Roman Chamomile and Pine oils will do everything for you short of folding your laundry, for real now! Check out their statement (don't you start laughing now):

"Intuition helps us recall our dreams and visualize our goals in order to manifest them and make them a reality. It nourishes our memory and its identity lies within the archetypes that surround our lives, this is what people may call your sixth sense or gut feeling [ The Intuition mist will ] nourish your intuition, stimulate your imagination, help you visualize your dreams and goals..."

Seriously? I tried their hair oil and fell in love with it, but this one? No THANK YOU! It's making it to the Wall of Shame: F.

3. Dancin' Goats -  Goat Milk Microfoliant Face Scrub - $24.95

 I must have received a bad sample, or did not use it properly, for sure! This did not work for me at all. The texture was very weird, with very irregular scrub beads that reminded me of coarse salt. Upon applying it to my face, whatever the medium (cream/milk) melted away and I was left with monstrous beads all over. Did not do much for my skin either. The site boasts that it is a gentle exfoliant and I disagree. If you are going to use scrubbing beads that are the size of tow trucks (it's actually oatmeal and rice), that is beyond exfoliating, you are basically scorching parts of your face and leaving other parts unattended!
That being said, the formula is non drying with a pleasant scent. I can see this being used as a knees, elbows and heels scrub...Keep away from face! There are better options out there. D-


4. Authority - 5 Free Nail Lacquer in Khloe - $14

WOW! Let me just start with the color, did I ever mention purple is my favorite color? This one is not just purple, it's ultimate purple! The prettiest deep shade with a hint of shimmer that is even (not a mother of pearl type that streaks on you) and part of their metallic collection. It wears well, one coat is pretty opaque, though two works best. I found this nail lacquer did not chip or crack right away like most metallic or glitter polishes, it does not stay past 5 days, but still, it's pretty good when considering that the "5 free" means it that it is free of Formaldehyde, DBP, Toluene, Camphor, and Formaldehyde Resin. Basically, it's good for your nails. 
Let's talk about price. $14 per bottle. First, it's a large bottle. I paid way more for a high end polish that did not come free from chemicals. The brush is okay, I wish it was a bit wider. The formula is a bit too fluid, but then again, on a metallic finish you may want that. Oh, and it's made in the U.S.A! A.


5. Bottle Bright - Water Bottle Cleaning Tablets - $6.99/10 tablets ($5.99 as a monthly subscription)

I really don't know what to think about this. Is it really all that essential? I mean, I clean my bottles and think I am doing a pretty good job so far. Let's face it, I have not caught malaria or anything that absurd so far this year! I think this is the kind of stuff you find at Health stores and other organic healthy living type places. You walk down the aisle, see it and think to yourself "wow, maybe that's something I should start buying and using" then you get distracted by the organic chocolate section and there goes the good decision making for the day.
They come as small white tabs, they smell faintly of clean, you know what I mean, like fresh air and a dash of bleach (though they do not contain any Chlorine).  The tabs are effervescent and they are supposed to clean all those hard to reach areas in your water bottles or Thermos even. Its a cool concept, but frankly I don't think this is the only way one can clean a bottle. Interestingly enough, they say nothing on the website about cleaning baby bottles. So either it's not safe for babies, or boiling water is still the best way to clean. Just saying! I am giving it a B, I just don't have time for that kind of stuff nor the money to throw when I can clean with a good pass of dawn and hot water. And by the way, if you are concerned about your bottle caps and other hard plastic tops, you can boil water (that's almost free) and dump them in there, cover, turn off the heat and walk away. BAM !sanitized!

6. The Good Bean - Roasted Chickpeas with Sea Salt - $30/50 packs

I reckon Chick Peas are an acquired taste. I personally love them in salads, not to mention Hummus.
The only variety of roasted chick peas I have tried in the past are those in dry Wasabi seasoning and I love them. So I  was pretty excited to try these.
Nice crunch, just a hint of salt, 4 gm of protein and fiber.
They are also - certified gluten free, nut free, soy free, vegan, non-gmo project verified, kosher and grown and made in the USA! 
They make a good snack and come in different flavors, such as Cracked Pepper, BBQ Mesquite (yum), Chocolate and many more. It's a good product, I recommend it. A.


7.  Soy Joy -  Baked Whole Soy and Fruit Bar in Blueberry Flavor -$1.89/bar

140 calories, 12 gm of sugar, 17 gm of carbohydrates and only 4 gm of protein. They are delicious, but I am not convinced that they are actually more nutritious than other bars. 
the one I received is in Blueberry flavor, they come in many more like Cranberry or Coconut Banana. In all honesty, with that much sugar in each bar, it's a crash and burn for me. Definitely would not make it as a breakfast replacement bar but it has 3 points as a weight watchers replacement snack, making them a viable alternative. 12 gm of sugars is still a lot of sugar though. B.


8. Sjaak's - Melk Chocolate Bar - $1.99/bar

It's chocolate, need I say more? How could anyone go wrong with chocolate?
The owners, a married couple living in California, started their business as part of their Vegetarian lifestyle, I understand that Mr. Sjaak was born and raised in Holland (they make decent chocolate there by the way). So long story short, this is organic chocolate that is  fair trade and non GMO. How does it taste? Pretty good. The bar itself is a hefty chunk so one square is plenty for me to calm the craving chocolate beast inside. I am all for mom and pops businesses and given the choice I would rather buy this chocolate over another popular American brand (you know the one) that is not organic and mass produced. And if you want to know whether you have a good chocolate on your hands, try to melt it in a bit of milk to try it as a hot cocoa. This one passed the taste test, it was delicious either way. A.

So there you have it, the Eco Emi Box for October 2014. It was a good box, aside from the ridiculous Intuition Spray.

Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my YouTube videos! Share the love!

Sophia, NJ

Connect with me:

Want to send me a product for review? Have a product request?
Mailing address:

My Great Challenge
PO Box 402
CEDAR GROVE, NJ 07009-9998

This blog contains affiliate advertising, this is how I support my blog and YouTube Channel.  I was not solicited to advertise for the products mentioned above, all opinions are my own. 

e.l.f. cosmetics


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag - October 2014 - Full Review

Hi friends,

I am giving a double thumbs up to Ipsy for their customer service! I was missing two items from this October 2014 bag, one simple email and BAM! problem solved! They sent me the two missing items, no question asked within one week! Very much appreciated, Ipsy Team, and now, on with the review!

Here is the open bag video:

Ipsy - October 2014

1. City Color - Be Matte Lipstick in Cappucino - D

image source

At first I thought this was going to be a great lip product for me. It really was my fault, I had applied it over a balm, so it stayed moist. Unfortunately, when you apply this matte lipstick directly onto your lips, it feels like an old formula you had left at the bottom of a purse for say, 10 years! It is awfully dry yet sticky. Not a good feel at all. It also smells horrible, in manner of rubber meets quick change tire garage! If it was not for the color, a nice nude with a hint of pink, I would give it an F. $5. For that price, I found  a better formula with a dupe color in e.l.f. Mineral Mineral Lipstick Rosy Tan

2. Doll 10 - H2Glow Highlighter in Champagne - B

image source
There is nothing innovative about this highlighter. You would think that for $30 one would be radiating with a heavenly glow. It's a balm, with a hint of shimmer, in a pretty shade of pale pink. That's it. Nothing more. Not much of a scent. It does look pretty but then again, most products in this category will give you the same effect. I do like the fact that it is not greasy and pretty much stays in place. Other than that, not a big deal as in "OMG, I need to stock up!" 

3. Figs & Rouge - Mango/Mandarin Hand Cream - A

Image source

Wonderful! Simply wonderful! This was one of the items I was originally missing and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait! the scent is divine, if you like exotic fruits. It come in a small convenient tube, a bit pricey when considering the size ($6.37) but the quality is there. It is a very emollient, yet light, formula that nourishes your hands and cuticles while leaving your hands silky smooth. I recommend it!

4. ModelCo - VolumeEye Mascara - B-

image source
I was not wowed by this mascara, I think it is very basic. It smells OK, but the formula feels dry and as a result it clumped for me on the second coat. The brush feels very hard as well, not supple at all. So as a quick fix on the go, maybe but when considering the price ($20) I can find a better formula and a better brush at my corner drugstore. Again, this is just basic for me.

5. Skyn Iceland - Glacial Cleansing Clothes - B

image source
I don't really use cleansing clothes, though I do like the Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes . That said, these were okay for me, they are very moist and do have a fine lather to them, making it a good alternative for removing heavy makeup. I found they did a good job at removing mascara and gel eyeliner. No particular scent other than the one of clean (whatever that is). Did not dry my skin either. So I guess it is a good review. ($15/30 clothes).

So there you have it, the Ipsy glam Bag review for October 2014. I pay $10 per month and receive a good bag (most are great) every month, I still think it is a great deal and to be honest, 90% of the products they send, I actually use more than once and also never heard of the brands. So I would say that if you are a makeup and skincare freak like I am, it's a good way to feel as though you have just splurged, without feeling the guilt (not that I would ever experience guilt over purchasing yet another makeup item!)

Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my YouTube videos! Share the love!

Sophia, NJ

Connect with me:

Want to send me a product for review? Have a product request?
Mailing address:

My Great Challenge
PO Box 402
CEDAR GROVE, NJ 07009-9998

This blog contains affiliate advertising, this is how I support my blog and YouTube Channel.  I was not solicited to advertise for the products mentioned above, all opinions are my own. 

e.l.f. cosmetics


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coastal Scents Deals (November 2014)

There is a huge sale going on at Coastal Scents right now, and you know I love their shadows...and the 10 blush palette!

Naturally You Combo was $67.80 now $29.85

10 Blush palette was $15.95 now $10.95
Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my YouTube videos! Share the love!

Sophia, NJ

Connect with me:

Want to send me a product for review? Have a product request?
Mailing address:

My Great Challenge
PO Box 402
CEDAR GROVE, NJ 07009-9998

This blog contains affiliate advertising, this is how I support my blog and YouTube Channel. I am affiliated with Coastal Scents,  I was not solicited to advertise for the products mentioned above, all opinions are my own. 
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