Goodebox September 2014 Review

IMG_2106My all-things-makeup-and-skincare obsession is still in full effect. Yes, I don’t need this. Yes, my mother has teased me for spending $18 per month on a beauty subscription service. If there was a Shopaholics Anonymous group, I would seriously consider it. But for now, I’ll stay in denial.

This is a monthly or bi-monthly service that sends you natural, eco-friendly beauty and wellness samples. As a consumer, it’s important to me to support eco-driven companies, and to incorporate more natural products into my routine. Therefore, this eco-conscious service seemed like an easy, cost-effective option.

In collaboration with barre3, the September box consists of 7 items that focus on fitness and wellness. Below, you will find a list of these items and reviews.


Wristband, Challenge Field Guide, and one-month access to online videos ($15 per month), Product Rating: B+

barre3 is an online fitness company that features 10 to 60-minute workout videos, centering on yoga and Pilates. I plan to do the 4-week challenge, and I also feel motivated to eat healthier. A list of recipes are included on the website like Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins. Yum.

Homespun Northwest

Himalayan Citrus Head-To-Toe Cleansing Bar, Product Rating: C

This cleansing bar has a subtle scent and works for my sensitive, dry skin. It also provides gentle exfoliation through salt crystals, but these disappeared after the first application.

The All Natural Face

Matte Cream Blush for Lips & Cheeks, Product Rating: A-

For the color, I received Dusky Rose—a muted mauve or cool-toned, pink shade. It’s similar to my natural lip color; however, I haven’t tried it as a blush. The color is fairly sheer, but I’m able to build the layers in order to intensify the pigmentation.


Pure Flake Sea Salt, Product Rating: C-

To be honest, I haven’t tried this product. My work schedule hasn’t allowed for much cooking time (but I think it would taste great in a salted caramel latte). Overall, I’m puzzled with this product in my beauty box.


Nail Polish ($14.99 + shipping per month), Product Rating: A

This subscription service offers 5-free formula polish (sans formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, and formaldehyde resin), and it’s not tested on animals. The color came in Rodeo Drive—a shiny, brown hue. However, when it’s painted on my nails, the color is silver. With this fall color, it’ll be nice to venture out of my usual pastel polish.


Arnica Relief Gel, Product Rating: C+

Arnica is a natural remedy for muscle pain, so after an 8-hour shift at Starbucks, I tried the sample. It has a strong, minty scent, and when applied to the skin, the product creates a warming sensation. In terms of muscle pain, though, I didn’t experience overwhelming relief.


Skin Food, Product Rating: A

By far, this is the best sample in the box. This multi-purpose cream is “100% certified natural,” and its consistency is super thick. In the winter months, I need a thick lotion because my skin basically becomes the Sahara desert. I’ve used it for my hands, feet, chapped lips, and even as a cheek highlighter.

Hopefully, this review gave some insight into eco-friendly, natural beauty products. If you’re looking to try a beauty subscription service, I would recommend Goodebox. It provides practical, well-made samples that are applicable to many lifestyles. And again, thanks for reading!


High-End Vs. Low-End: Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara Review

IMG_2066I spend an embarrassing amount of time scouring YouTube for makeup reviews and tutorials. Vloggers of all ages, skin types, and (most importantly) salaries, tell me when Too Faced primer is their “holy grail product,” or when 70 dollar mud masks are less than exciting. On several occasions, I feel a little silly—that 70 dollar mud mask is half of my monthly student loan payment.

However, it’s nice sometimes to spend a whopping amount of money on yourself. But I do this in small doses (aka: buy the travel-sized bottle). This happened to me recently when I came across the highly-hyped Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara. It was travel-sized, so I justified the 10 dollars as a “trial run” treat. And if I didn’t like it, I still had my drugstore item, Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara.

Based on my thought process, I assumed the high-end mascara would thrill me to pieces, but it didn’t. I liked the drugstore brand instead. With this review, I hope to throw in my two cents that Benefit Cosmetics mascara isn’t worth the money (even though Bravo TV tells me different). For me, the drugstore brand is better quality for less money.

 Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara

Pros: My lashes are fairly curled already, but it accentuated the curl even more. If you are looking for a good base-to-tip curling wand, I would recommend this product. The wand is a nice feature too. It’s thin, so I was able to reach my entire lash without hitting my eyelid.

Cons: It didn’t lengthen and thicken my lashes enough, so I ended up layering it with my drugstore mascara. This was disappointing since it’s quite an expensive product. It also seemed a bit clumpy—but if you don’t mind clumps, then it won’t be a problem.

 Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara

Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara

Pros: It gives me lengthy, thick lashes, and it separates them perfectly. I could also layer the mascara without creating clumps. For the money, I would highly recommend this product.

Cons: The wand is a little big, so I did have to clean up my eyelids. However, the product isn’t waterproof and wipes off easily. It also didn’t curl my lashes as much as Benefit Cosmetics. If you want more base-to-tip curl, I would suggest an eyelash curler.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to see a review of other makeup products, “like” this post or let me know in the comments.

Strawberry Sesame Salad (with Balsamic Vinaigrette)

IMG_2055IMG_2051In a matter of days, I’ve realized it’s the end of summer. Sunsets are earlier, the hot weather is more forgiving, and my first summer as a college graduate is saying goodbye. This has given me some time to reflect, and some time to understand what is important to me—my writing. Therefore, I have started this blog; it’s called #BROKELIFE. Here, you will find an assortment of topics including veggie-centric recipes, makeup, skincare, book and movie reviews, etc.

Essentially, this blog deals with the oh-so-pleasant task of having no money, yet living comfortably.

Meals have been pretty simple for me lately; however, that doesn’t mean they’re simple in taste. For me, this salad serves as a light meal, or an end-of-summer side dish, and blends a sweet taste with crunch and texture. If you prefer vegetables, you can also make this salad with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, or black olives.

If you have any suggestions, please comment and share your recipe ideas with us! And thanks for reading!



Strawberry Sesame Salad (with Balsamic Vinaigrette)  Serves 1

2 cups lettuce (50/50 blend)

3 strawberries, sliced

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette*


Slice the strawberries horizontally in 1/4” sections. Each strawberry should get about 3 slices.

In a small bowl, combine the lettuce, strawberries, sesame seeds, and vinaigrette.

*Instead of balsamic vinaigrette, you could replace it with raspberry vinaigrette to make it sweeter.