Friday, February 27, 2015

Swatches & Stuff - February 2015 + Giveaway

Hi friends,

I am back with another episode of Swatches & Stuff in which I go over products I have used during the last 30 days and let you know to either "Buy it or Bash it"!
I am also doing a giveaway this month, you may scroll to the bottom of this page to enter the Giveaway

You can watch the coordinating YouTube video here:

Swatches & Stuff - February 2015

1. Liz Earle - Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (not pictured above):

Liz Earle - Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

I was given a sample of this cleansing system by Jane from England as part of a RAK she had sent me. This is a wonderful cleanser (though pricey here in the US) from the UK.
It comes as a two part routine: the cleanser itself which feels like a clay (minus the opacity) that you would apply to a damp face. Then, the cleansing cloth, a double layer of muslim you would soak and wring in hot water before applying to your face to remove all cleanser cream that is left over.
All together, I felt my skin has felt more hydrated and moisturized since I have started using this product. It has a wonderful scent (Eucalyptus) which is very refreshing. Does not leave a greasy residue on the skin, and leaves the skin soft and supple. Thank you Jane for sending this sample to me, I truly enjoy it and would recommend it.

2. St. Ives - Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Face Moisturizer

St. Ives - Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Face Moisturizer
This is about as basic (in a good way) as you can go when it comes to moisturizers. It is cheap (under $8 for a huge 10 oz tub) and does everything you would want a moisturizer to do. It basically leaves your skin supple while nourishing it with Elastin and Collagen as a wrinkle treatment. I am not using it for that purpose at the moment, I am only looking to keep my skin hydrated until I can purchase a treatment cream again. This is better than Nivea and by far the best drugstore moisturizer on the market. It is lightly scented, the formula is neither heavy nor greasy, it absorbs well (and fast)...It is just the perfect in between products moisturizer or if you are looking to save money and get something with no frills. 
The tub is so big, I would recommend you decanter some of the product into a different jar for everyday use. You can also apply it to your neck and decollete, elbows etc. St. Ives also has a Body Lotion variety which I like, as well as a Body Wash .

3.  Dermapeutics Hyaluronic Lift Serum

Dermapeutics Hyaluronic Lift Serum
I was looking for an inexpensive Eye Treatment at TJ- Maxx and found this eye serum for under $10 (It is sold under $25 on Amazon).
The texture is definitely something you need to get used to, it is very slippery and comes out as a clear gel like (yet fluid) serum. Though it glides over your skin, it needs to be worked through as it will absorb. After a few minutes, you will feel a tightening of the thin skin under your eyes, thereby giving you the appearance of a lift. It is someone an instant lift in that regard.
The main ingredient (Hyaluronic Sid) is known for its firming and depuffing properties so I would say it is a good option if you do not want to spend a huge amount of money on an eye treatment.  


4. Heel to Toe Natural Lava Rock Pumice Stone  

Heel to Toe Natural Lava Rock Pumice Stone

If you have scaly feet or need to prep your heels for the Spring and Summer months, I just cannot rave enough about this pumice stone. It is not only natural, it does an amazing job in transforming your feet in just three uses. All you need to do is stand in the shower, lather some soap on your heels (or elbows) and scrub away. Just like that, racks, dryness, ridges etc. are gone!
I love, love, love this pumice and it is cheap (under $8).


5. MILANI Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer - Rome  

MILANI Fierce Foil Nail Lacquer - Rome
I am not a big fan of glitter nail polish. However, this one is very different in that while it adds pizzazz and bling to your nails, it is not over the top. It basically comes out as a muted (dulled) mirror finish that is elegant rather than "in your face". The formula is also very good, it applies well with no streaks, stays on for a good 5 days and, as opposed to regular glitter polishes, comes off easily.
I have been gravitated towards Milani Color Statement Polishes lately as I find them to be good quality for my busy lifestyle. 

6. Women's Dior 'Diorshow New Look' Mascara - Black 

I have had this mascara since Christmas. Everyone raves about it and I thought I would give it a try. Well, I don't.
The brush is another one of those gimmicky plastic flexible things that promises long, individual lashes.
While I love the pigmentation (jet black), this mascara is too wet and clumps on the second coat. 
For the price (upwards of $30) it is a big disappointment as it is High End and supposedly better than Drugstore brands. Well, not on this one. I can find a better mascara at my local Drugstore.
I am not recommending this mascara.

7.  Chanel Coco Rouge Lipstick - Jean

 I am in love with this lipstick. The formula is simply wonderful. It is very moisturizing, applies well, stays on, great pigmentation, does not dry your lips. What else could you ask for? Simply the best!
The color (Jean) has just the right blue undertone to make it a fabulous wear with jeans, of course, as well as anything that would fall within the cool tones. It is a good day wear as well as an elegant evening wear. I just love it. If I had all the money in the world, I would purchase them all!


8. Alba Botanica So Smooth Gardenia Hawaiian Shampoo and Conditioner

Alba Botanica So Smooth Gardenia 
Hawaiian Shampoo and Conditioner

I was looking for a natural shampoo and conditioner duo as a way to prevent any further damage to my hair and scalp since I am allergic to Zing ad Nickel (both ingredients are found in most shampoos).
I have used this twice thus far and feel this is a good enough shampoo/conditioner formula. I picked the Frizz/sleek formula because of my unruly mane, however, this formula only comes in one scent, that of Gardenia, which I find to be very overpowering. It is just too flowery for me. If they could do the same formula in a more woodsy or nutty scent, I would be hooked. So, I do not think I will be repurchasing this product because of the scent. Otherwise, it does a good job at cleansing my hair, my scalp does not itch afterwards and it seems to be delivering on its anti-frizz promise. If only I could get pass the smell!


9. Copco Tea Thermal 

Copco Tea Thermal
I do not think it could get any better than this when it comes to drinking tea on the go (or around my house). This little gizmo allows you to infuse tea with its own lock in infuser and carry it in a double wall thermal tumbler.
Not only does it keep your drink hot (or cold), it also allows the tea to seep just enough without ever getting bitter since the water level goes down as your sip from the tumbler. It s just genius!
You can either use loose leaf tea or bagged tea and you can also use fresh fruit if you want to flavor water. The infuser is removable if you do not want to steep anything at all and the entire unit is super easy to wash.
I am loving it!


10. Cool Mist Compact Humidifier

What an amazing gadget! 
I have had sinus problems for a long time. In the winter, with the heat in the house and the cold weather, it has gotten worse and to the point where my ears became affected and in turn my neck. I was waking up with a stuffy nose, headache and stiff neck every single morning until I started using this tiny unit.
It is basically a cool continuous mist unit you would place on your bedside table and orient towards your head. 
One water refill will last 12 hours.
In just one night, my sinus cleared. Just like that!
Run to your Walgreens and get this little gadget for yourself if you suffer from Sinus Headaches!


I hope you have enjoyed these reviews, there were a lot of items to consider as great alternatives to the expensive stuff from Department Stores and great products to try (aside from the mascara).

Since I have not done a Giveaway since late November, I thoughts it was time to give back to my subscribers and readers again so here goes:

The February 2015 MGC Giveaway!

February 2015 MGC Giveaway

The giveaway contains the following items:

  1. Two CoverGirl Cheekers Blushes
  2. Milani Mascara
  3. Milani Eye Liner
  4. NYX Butter LipBalm
  5. Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Body Scrub
  6. Copco Tea Infuser/Tumbler

Follow the directions below to enter the Giveaway.
The Giveaway will be running until 03/11/15 (8 PM).

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
519 Pompton Avenue
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. 

My Advertisers:

Too Faced - New Chocolate Bar (#2) is here!

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

JA Cosmetics Corp

Visit My Great Challenge's profile on Pinterest.


  1. I wear a nude color and find myself just going to Burts Bee lip balm because it is so much easier and I don't have time to worry about the transfer on my teeth or touching up all the time....need to venture out though. :)

  2. Currently I'm wearing MAC's "Ravishing" but I have so much trouble keeping any lipstick for long on my very thin lips! Any suggestions appreciated!

  3. I actually wear lip gloss more than I do lipstick and my favorite brand and color is Nyx in Sugar Pie. Thanks for this giveaway and all of the giveaways you've done in the past!

  4. i love lip balm , i don't really wear lipstick only for occasions , i love wearing a mac deep red one :)

  5. I love the Buxom plumping lip glosses ... beautiful color and no stickiness. Lipsticks, I like MAC, Kat Von D and several others. Thanks you so much for this giveaway! I appreciate you and enjoy watching your videos so much!!

  6. I am really enjoying your YouTube channel and it is motivating me to get things done. Most of the time I I wear lip gloss, usually Burts Bees in the winter.
    I will check out that humidifier too. Copco tea infuser in giveaway is neat. Valerie

  7. I love your channel. I usually don't take the time for make up but am obsessed with bath and body works. I want the humidified but am too cheap to buy it. Lol keep up the amazing job

  8. My current favorite lipstick is Chanel Ambigue.

  9. Hi Sophia, I usually comment on your You Tube channel but thought I'd come over here and sign up for your wonderful give-away! My all time favorite and almost gone lipstick is the Cover Girl in Sparkling Rose and now I'm using Maybelline's 105 Pink Wink. Usually I use a CG clear gloss over them for a little shine and moisture. This last IPSY bag had a City color lipstain in Flitini, it always needs blotted and then gloss on top. You can see I'm a pink lady!! Thanks for all your YouTube posts, I really look forward and enjoy them all! Also thank You for the opportunity in this giveaway, that is so kind of you! Luella

  10. Hi Sophia, New to your channel and blog. I will definitely try out some of your favorites, and it's so nice of you to do a give away. :) Liz

  11. I like mostly like stains right now so the balm stainiac and those type lippies. Though I do have a red lipstick from appeal cosmetics that actually stays put that I love! I don't like to worry about color transfer, it's stress I don't need!

  12. OK 4th attempt at trying to leave a message. My current is not a favorite but it is protecting my lips Burt's Bees in rhubarb. Trying to save my lips because our temps have been in the negatives (-25F), where is spring???

  13. Thanks Sophia....looks like great stuff!!

  14. Hi Sophia!
    I recently just found your youtube channel and decided to enter the giveaway, i've been wearing allot of NYX soft matte lip creams (Copenhagen). Im so excited that tea infuser looks so cool I cant wait , thanks for the giveaway! xoxo

  15. I like the Mary Kay 'True Dimensions" Lipstick firecracker... My lips tend to suck up the color and this one stays put for hours even with eating a drinking without having to keep putting it on. Thanks Sophia, I have really enjoyed your youtube.... inspirational. I hope I win... would make a wonderful birthday gift to myself!

  16. I like the NYX butter lip balms in pinks.

  17. Clinique black honey almost lipstick is a favorite in my over 40 makeup routine.

  18. Any berry shades from Ulta. Love them all and the formula of their creamy lipsticks.

  19. My favorite lipstick is Fire and Ice by Revlon.

  20. Honestly, I don't have a favorite lip stick, but I do love natural colors. I usually wear a colored lip gloss in natural colors like bronzes, etc.

  21. Very nice review. Just to let you know, I have the same issue with zinc.

  22. I have always loved Mood Matchers. They last a long time and the colors are just beautiful.

  23. Sorry if this is posted twice my computer just decided to quit. I am glad that the humidifier worked! I am currently using AVON lipsticks and gloss since I have a friend who is a sales rep. I tend to gravitate towards the mauve colors. Sidenote I miss your old intro music LOL

  24. I'm not much of a lipstick fan but the one I use is Boots No 7 brand called Highland Mist No370 - been using it for a number of years. Lorna UK

  25. Sorry if this posts twice...having some technical difficulties!
    So nice of you to do such a nice giveaway! I am really liking Arbonne's coffee/plum lipsticks right now. Thanks!

  26. I love cherry Chapstick, it gives my lips the perfect flush
    Love your organizing and cleaning videos :)

  27. Hello Sophia ! About lipsticks, I love the Revlon lip butter ones, especially the "Macaroon" one, a glossy and glitterish brown shade, perfect for this moment !
    Thank you for sharing this "Swatches and Stuff" video, I love discovering the products you use !
    A bientΓ΄t,
    Sophie :)

  28. Hello Sophia, my favourite lipstick colour and brand is Mac - Freckletone its a gorgeous nude shade and its a great lipstick

  29. Hi Sophia!
    I usually wear tinted lipbalms.. The only lipstick I sometimes use is Rival de Loop nr. 46. It's a brown-red colour, not too dark, similiar to my lips colour. Thank you for all your great videos.

  30. Hi Sophie,
    I usually just wear lipstick for social gatherings and events and then I wear Buxton pink shade lipstick that supposedly "plumps" up your lips. You can actually feel your lips tingling after applying it.

  31. Hi Sophia,
    my favourite lipstick is Rouge Coco Chine from Chanel in Adventure. It's a coral tone with a gold shine.

  32. Hi Sophia! This might sound surprising to you but I like all the wet and wild lipsticks. Like the browns, pinks and dark colors like burgundy. Thanks for this great giveaway! I love your channel! You make me motivated to do stuff!

  33. Hi Sophia!
    My favourite lipstick is Mac Creme Cup. I like nude shades.

  34. First of all thank you very much for this giveawaym,its great :)
    I have 2 favorite lipsticks,the one is a nude pink colour from SEVENTEEN,its name is Matte Lasting lipstick,its very moistorizing,thats why i actually love it,and the other one is from a greek company,called KORRES,and its name is Mango butter lipstick,if you wanna take a look at their site here it is.: :)

  35. I love Mac but don't really have a fav, I like brownish pinks & dark reds.

  36. Great video and vlog. I really love all the items πŸ˜πŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’ž i wish i can win them. Because there so worth it! 😊😊

  37. I love your channel! Your diy and home organizing videos are my favourites! My favourite lip colour of all time has to be o boticario - brilho labial - cor 331! It's great to layer over any lipstick! I love it!

  38. I like Nars shocking pink lipstick! It really suit my face. Sweet, girly look! ^^

  39. Hi Sophia! I've really been enjoying your videos, especially the de-clutter and cleaning projects. My question is what kind of camera are you using and what kind of software to edit the videos? Is there a chance you will make a video about that? -brooks

  40. Hi Sophia! My favorite lipstick brand is Isadora (Swedish brand) and MAC of course. I like pinks and mauve colors. Thank you for your YouTube videos, I watch them all and my husband like to watch your declutter videos etc. :-) Awesome giveaway!! Take care! // Linda Settergren from Sweden

  41. If you're looking for a reputable contextual ad company, I recommend that you try Chitika.

  42. You could be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

  43. Are you looking for free Google+ Circles?
    Did you know that you can get these ON AUTOPILOT AND ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE by getting an account on Like 4 Like?


    Get professional trading signals delivered to your mobile phone daily.

    Follow our signals NOW and earn up to 270% daily.

  45. If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you gotta watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Text Your Ex Back?

  46. Considering to join new affiliate programs?
    Visit our affiliate directory to look at the ultimate list of affiliate networks.


I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover