Saturday, April 25, 2015

Swatches and Stuff - April 2015 + GIVEAWAY!!!!

Hi friends,

I am back with another episode of Swatches & Stuff and what better time to celebrate Spring and Mother's Day but with a Giveaway! (Scroll down to the end of this post to enter the giveaway).

Here are the items I have reviewed for you for the Month of April 2015:

Swatches & Stuff - April 2015

You can watch the companion video here:

1. Yves Rocher Wrinkles & Lifting - V Shaping Line:

Yves Rocher Wrinkles & Lifting - V Shaping Serum
I have purchased the Day and Night creams as well as the Serum (pictured on left).

As mentioned in the video above, I am a big fan of Yves Rocher and have been for many many years. I am also affiliated with the brand in that I receive a small commission for purchases made through links provided in this blog - it is a small way of remaining afloat and supporting my blog and vlogs.
Over the years, I have purchased every line of skin care Yves Rocher makes - bar none. Some I thought were terrible, some I believe far surpass high end lines (e.g. the forever mentioned Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifier). I am honest about the line and my affiliation to the brand does not alter my opinion. If it sucks, it sucks!

When Yves Rocher introduced this new line earlier this year, I had to give it a try and be able to provide you with another honest review, so here goes: I LOVE IT!

While the regular Serum Vegetal line (the red cap) was just Okay for me, this one is simply amazing. After one week (ONE WEEK) I am already seeing a difference in my skin. It feels more supple while being tighter. In fact, after the first night time application, I felt an immediate tightening of my skin and that felt good for the first try. The serum is used daily, morning and night. The day cream is thicker than the night cream. Both have the trademark scent you find in all Yves Rocher products in that it has this cut grass, hay and flower scent that is not overwhelming. Personally I like it and am so familiar with it that it is almost a comfort scent to me.
These products are made from 87% organic plants - the main ingredient being "Ice Plant" which is known for restoring skin's elasticity.
Products are made in Ireland and France.

This line is for mature skin (50 +) and while I am still in my mid 40's with combination to dry skin, I am very, very pleased with the results.
This line is also currently on sale at 46 % off on their site.
I recommend. A+.

2. Estee Lauder 'Pure Color' Powder Blush - Electric Pink:

'Pure Color' Powder Blush - Electric Pink
It is not like I needed yet another blush, especially after having completed a big makeup purge a few months ago. However, my Valentine's Day gift card needed being used! So really, what is a girl to do but to just go ahead and splurge on some high end makeup!

This is a fine powder - very compact (pressed) in a matte finish. While the packaging is gorgeous with the trademark Estee Lauder Gold, it is not smudge proof and a bit hard to open. That would be my only negative for this blush which is otherwise absolutely gorgeous. The color I picked (Electric Pink) is just the perfect shade of pink peony/rose for Spring. So elegant and so feminine. It looks fantastic on my fair skin tone, wears all day too!
I tell you, if I had all the money in the world and was to chose just one makeup brand - just one - I probably would splurge on everything Estee Lauder has to offer. Their makeup line simply does not cease to amaze me.
I am also recommending this one. A+.

3. Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Shine Lipstick in Passionate and Pink Dragon

Pink Dragon
Tinted lip balms are by far my favorite form of lip color. They provide just the right hint of color while maintaining appropriate level of moisture throughout the day. They are also easy to reapply, without a mirror, when I am on the go.
There is nothing bad to say about these two lip shines aside from the lack of color swatch sticker at the end of the tubes.
The packaging is adorable and magnetized so that the tubes do not accidentally open when tossed in a purse (things like that matter when you are a messy person like me). The two colors, though similar in that they have blue undertone, are a perfect compliment to one another as a transition from day (Pink Dragon) to evening (Passionate).
I do not know what it is about my rediscovering the Estee Lauder brand lately, but I am yet to be disappointed. Want to splurge a bit? Get these two, or maybe just one, but try them. I love them both! A+.

4. N.Y.C. City Proof 24 Hr Eye Shadow in Purple

City Proof 24 Hr Eye Shadow in pruple

Totally unnecessary purchase on my part as I certainly do not need another purple shadow. Anyway, this is cheap and you pretty much get what you pay for.
While this is a super large (jumbo) pencil that will cover a good part of your lid in one swipe, it is not all that easy to apply. I would expect the tip to somewhat melt a bit on contact with warm skin but it does not. It does provide a nice shade of dark lavender/pale orchid in metallic hue after several passes and I am currently using it as an eye liner.
I simply was not wowed with this jumbo pencil and am nit running to the store to get different shades.
That being said, it does last all day as per the 24 HR claim. So if you are going to work and just need a quick makeup fix in the morning, this might do it for you. I am just not a big fan of jumbo pencils and would much rather play around with brushes. C+.

5.CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Fuchsia Flame

Stay Brilliant in Fuchsia Flame
I am really starting to be quite impressed with Covergirl Outlast Nail Polish collection. These little gems dry fast, stay on for a good while, are easy to apply and are just the right kind of fluid that they are neither goopy nor runny.
This shade, Fuschia Flame, is relatively new and though it looks more like a Fall color to me, it is actually very wearable in the Spring. Looks gorgeous on toes as well.

I really like this collection. Get your self a few! A.

7. Nuance Salma Hayek Rose Petal Hydrating Balm

Nuance Salma Hayek Rose Petal Hydrating Balm
So, I gave up, I have finally given my money to Salma Hayek's line of cosmetics - give me props for resisting over an entire TWO YEAR period!
Anyway, this is a dual balm, it can be used on lips (similar to the rose vaseline) or on cuticles. I use it for my cuticles and keep it in my purse so that I can apply throughout the day.
It's just okay for me, nothing extraordinary but it does moisturize my overworked fingertips and seems to have made a difference, thus far. I just do not care for the formula as it is very goopy and too vaseline like for me. But I guess it is just a matter of preference. The packaging is very cute though. B.

8. Ali Express - Foldable Beach Hat:

Image source
Image Source
I have found the cutest hat on AlieExpress. While I am not one to promote purchasing anything form China, I just could not resist the price (under $10) for this adorable beach hat.
Because I do not use sunscreen, I need to wear hats in the summer, it also allows me not to frown all day, thereby reducing the wrinkles (one can only hope). So I am always on the lookout for easy to carry hats that can be tossed around and would not care if they were to be lost or damaged. At this price, I can have a bunch of them to last me a season or two and not care as to whether they get damaged. (Not sure if you are aware but good hats are hard to find and very expensive).
Anyway, this is made of nylon, it has a very wide brim which is adjustable thanks to the wire insert. You can either wear it as in the picture above or loop your hair through the hole. I just love it. They come in different colors too. The only problem with this purchase is that it took 3 weeks for it to arrive at my door!

So, that was my Swatches & Stuff for the month of April 2015 - How about a giveaway!


In honor of Mother's Day I am having another great giveaway for you ladies!
Here is what you could win:

Mother's Day Giveaway - 2015

Contents of the giveaway:

Estee Lauder/Lisa Perry pouch
Yves Rocher 7.9 Elixir Youth Intensifier (Full Size)
Yves Rocher Shower Gel in Lotus Flower (Full Size)
Angled Brush by Luxie
ELF Blending Brush
ELF. Eyeliner Brush
Estee Lauder Mascara Sample
Estee Lauder Pure Color Shimmer in Pink Parfait
Yves Rocher samples

Please follow the rafflecopter directions below. The Giveaway is OPEN UNTIL 05/10/30.
There will be one winner, picked at random by the widget and the package will be mailed to you provided you give me your address within one week of winning.
You must be 18 years or older to participate.
This is open internationally as well.

Good luck!

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 review 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 love the before and after transformations. You have been an encouragement to me to tackle those areas in my home that I put off.

  2. I love everything about your videos. You are such a hard working woman and very talented at all you do. I want your energy and enthusiasm, lol. :)

  3. I love how you are such an inspiring person you teach us that anything is possible and that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to I love how good caring mother and wife you are

  4. I love how you are such an inspiring person you teach us that anything is possible and that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to I love how good caring mother and wife you are

  5. I like that you keep it real and are so honest. You inspire me to tackle things around the house. Thank you for sharing with us.

  6. I love all your channel content. You're just a joy to watch :)

  7. Thank you Sophia, this is an awesome giveaway! I have old skin an I need to try this product! Thank you! Hugs

  8. I want to surprise my mom this mothers day by giving her some of this beauty products 🎊 🎊 🎊

  9. I want to surprise my mom this mothers day by giving her some of this beauty products 🎊 🎊 🎊

  10. Love your videos! I learn a lot and you are honest about product reviews

  11. I like the variety of topics covered on your channel. There isnt anything I like least.

  12. Thank you Sophia for making your videos so detailed. I absolutely love all of your cleaning, organising, renovating, purging videos!!

  13. Putting my name in the pot. I have no shame, either :) :) :) Thanks for sharing!

  14. Definately the home purging process.

  15. I like the decluttering videos and hauls. total opposites, I know! Only thing I'm not a fan of very long videos in general. )

  16. I know I just commented but I don't see it. Again, I am hoping to win. I love your videos and there is nothing to dislike! :)

  17. You are very motivating...when you want something done you don't just talk about it... You do it! There is nothing I like least! Thank you for the giveaway!

  18. My favorite thing about your channel is that you let us see the real you, you are a very genuine person. I also love your organizing/cleaning vlogs....they are my favorite. and I dont have a least favorite are great!

  19. What i love about your channel is You're so straight to the point. And not fake And i love the video quality. It's so clear. I love everything
    So thank you so much for doing this amazing giveaway. April 30 that's my mom birthday. And if i ever won i will make up her using this products so yeah good luck to all of us

  20. I love your decluttering and cleaning videos best, because you are so real and just like us! No "fake perfect housewife-ness", which makes me (and I'm sure others!) breathe a sigh of relief! I have no interest in subscription bags and boxes so they'll be the things I dislike the most. Thanks for the chance of winning !

  21. I live in the Uk and have only just discovered you so I am trying to catch up with as many blog posts and videos as I can!!! (Yes, I am totally hooked!!!) .... you are an inspiration with all that you do, than you for sharing your entire life with usl. And thank you for the chance of winning this fabulous giveaway, such a kind thing to do xx

  22. Those lip balms/lipsticks by Estee Lauder are especially beautiful! The give-away looks lovely too, I'd love to win.

  23. Sophia,

    You are an inspiration to me! I love Yves Rocher products as well and look forward to many other product reviews. Carry On!

  24. Sophia,
    I love your blog, your youtube channel, and facebook and instagram sites. I am not on any social media so I have not commented on those, but I had to jump in here now. You are so inspirational and motivating and I love your positive energy. You truly seem as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside.

    I have been through some rough spots lately, and would love to be entered in this giveaway. These products all look wonderful and would be a much needed pick me up for Me!

    God Bless,
    Caroline in CA.

  25. You are always so inspiring!

  26. You know, I love Most your decluttering and home Projects videos. But, even if I ' m Not on diet, I watch also your diet videos because I like listening you ;-). Many many kisses from Italy . Cettina

  27. I like that you don't post fake reviews and only say your honest thoughts

  28. I love all of your videos, my favorites are the DIY. Can't wait for more of your home office. You are looking great

  29. I love your DIY videos and my least favorite would have to be the diet stuff? I even like those but they are the least of my

  30. Love you and your channel. My favorite videos are cleaning ( not that my house shows it) I don't have a least favorite.

  31. I love your channel! Yours is real and down to earth. You give good idea's that I can try, do and use. Thanks for all you do and Happy Mother's Day!

  32. Melissa TokarczykApril 27, 2015 at 2:18 AM

    I absolutely love your cleaning videos. I also really admire your talent for building things.

  33. Hello Sophia ! I've just let you a comment on your latest "Swatches and Stuff" video !!!
    Thank you again for sharing with us all of your tips (beauty and home), you probably know what I think about you and I'm joining everybody to tell you that, yes, you are an inspiration for me too !!! :)
    -Sophie (pixiwoofanfromfrance on YT)

  34. I love that you are motivational. You make me want to improve my home and get organized. I love how you are a handy woman and want to teach other people. My favorite videos are the ones that you are organizing and cleaning things. I also like the swatches videos and makeup decluttering. I don't have any videos that I like least. I am just not interesting in the losing weight videos because I am trying to gain weight but I know they are helpfully for a lot of people. I love your videos and you, keep up the great work!

  35. I love your cleaning and organizing videos. They have helped me so much. Thank you!
    - Emily

  36. I love your videos! My absolute favorite series are the stair project (those leading up to your room) and the office makeover (can't wait for another installment!). You are extremely talented as well as inspiring! Pam (Pamela1063)

  37. i really like the before and after transformation very detailed and inspiring x fab giveaway x

  38. I really like how down to earth, real and sensible you are. You appeal to many because of your next-door-neighbor type
    presentations. You are someone like one of my friends; not a model, not a beauty queen ( although you are pretty)
    not a spokesperson..... that's what I like... you are REAL Sophia, living a REAL life w family, budget, and every day highs
    and lows. Thanks for being real! Kathleen Sauer, Southport, CT

  39. I really like how usefull your vídeos are, I learned a lot :)

  40. I love this post! I have heard you speak of Yves Rocher so much so it's exciting to see it again. Thank you for sharing your swatches & stuff as always. <3
    What do I like about your channel? I love everything. You offer a variety of videos to accomidate many tastes. Also, I enjoy your accent. I'm a good ole' southern belle, so your accent is intriguing to me. You don't push products onto the viewers either. That means a lot to me.
    There is nothing to dislike!! Why would you think that?! I love it all. :)

  41. I really like your channel because your videos gives ideas and usefull. :D
    Thank you for this chance! <3

  42. Hi Sophia, you have quickly become my favourite youtubers and blogger!

  43. I am a UK fan! I love your DIY videos and challenges and there isn't anything I don't like! Could you tell me what the music is you have on your challenges please? I would like to have it playing when I do my own challenges as it's very perky !

  44. I love your personality and reviews.

  45. I like you organization please try to make short video. Hani

  46. OMGee, I have been wanting to try the Yves Rocher 7.9 Elixir Youth Intensifier since I first heard you talk about it! Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

    1. I got so excited about this that I didn't read the directions - I love your DIY projects (especially the small ones as they are ones that I feel comfortable tackling myself). What I like the least.....hmmmm, not sure that there is anything that I like the least.

  47. I am a new sub on youtube....I found you because I was looking for organizational videos but I subbed to you because of your personality plus I enjoy longer videos that are very detailed. As a newbie I haven't found anything I don't like about your channel/blog but I am on pins and needles to see your finished office.

  48. i like the way you talk and describe things its like watching a best friend

  49. Sophia I am so glad I watched your makeup graveyard videos as you have already saved me money :)
    I almost bought a new lipstick today, then thought to myself 'this looks like something I own!' I swatched a clarins lipstick (pink magnolia ) and it was exactly the same as the Boots No.7 'entice' I was about to buy! I will definitely buy the boots as a cheap replacement when I use up the clarins as it's a real favourite of mine, but I walked away without purchasing anything today :D

  50. Well i am only new and dont really have anything negative to say.
    Im enjoying having a good look around and love the beauty product reviews...thats what brought me here in the first place but im also keen to check out the other sections of the blog as well.

  51. Sophia you are just such a joy to watch. You definitely inspire me to get things DONE. Keep up the great content :)

  52. Those colors would be fantastic for my complextion. You are the most inspiring person I know. Definately a hard worker!! I see that in your videos when you are working on a huge project, like your stair case redo. I am still working on mine LOL

  53. I like that you are so real and honest about life and everything. You really inspire me to get things done! Thankyou Sophia!

  54. Hmmm I don't see my comment now that I posted it! I said that I like your organizational videos and home decor but all of your videos are great! I love the variety! I am or PinkProzac16 on YT, IG, and Twitter. :) Thanks and Happy Mother's Day!

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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.

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