Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's in My Little Black Bag?

So some of you may already know, due-in-part to various beauty/style bloggers/vloggers, of a monthly (or one-time, if you choose) subscription service called Little Black Bag. I highly suggest checking out Michele1218's video on it here where she gives a comprehensive description of the program. Basically, you pay either $49.95 (if you elect for the automatic monthly-service) or $59.95 (for one-time customers). You also need to pay an additional $4.95 for shipping. I decided to do the one-time order, because I wasn't sure how I would like it. You pick an item from their gallery which includes several designer brands (Steve Madden, Kenneth Jay Lane, Big Buddha, and Betsey Johnson were among the brands that I recognized), and they surprise you with two items. You then get to trade with other members on the site for a week until you are satisfied with your bag, and then they ship it to you.

So, here's what I picked out:

Big Buddha - Large Frame Sunglasses

I had been looking for a pair of sunglasses in tortoise shell, and these fit the bill. I appreciate this cool detailing on the side:

I was really hoping that these would provide full UV protection (otherwise, what's the point?), and I'm happy to say that these do!

I think that this is a really crucial quality of the sunglasses that should be mentioned on the LBB website. I noticed that the descriptions of the items are pretty bare-bones, and I assume that this is because there is such a rapid turnover with their inventory (there are usually only 5-10 items of a kind at once), so maybe they don't have time to constantly be updating their information. Still, this would be something very important for the consumer to know.

I also REALLY wish it had come with a case instead of a little pouch. For a pair of sunglasses that retails for $38, I expect a hard case that will protect them. I can't just throw these in my purse without fear that they'll get crushed, so I'm sure I'll be buying a case for them at some point.

Here's a shot of me wearing the sunglasses (with a scary, not-smiling face, so you can see where the sunglasses naturally rest on my face). I took a risk ordering sunglasses online, but luckily I'm happy with the appearance (perfectly bug-eyed! ;) )

Next are the items that I did not originally choose. I actually traded for them both- I originally got an iPhone 4 case (I already have a case for my phone that I like) and a necklace that wasn't really my style, so I traded with other members for several days before I was fully satisfied with my bag. First up, these Robert Rose Tri Colored Stone Open Earrings (retail: $14):

(Quarter added for scale). I was VERY pleasantly surprised by these- they are much heavier (but not too heavy) and more substantial than I expected. The craftsmanship on the embedding of the stones appears to be very sturdy and well-done. I'm really excited about these!

Lastly, this beautiful Arrow Head Necklace by Steve Madden (retail: $50):

This is another very well-made, nice piece of jewelry. It's metal is tri-colored (silver, gold, and bronze), so I can mix and match it with other jewelry. I also feel that it lends itself to casual OR more formal wear, so it's great to have a versatile piece like this.

I love this bronze linking at the top of the necklace:

Here's a pic of the necklace on...even pretty with just a plain white t-shirt!

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty of likes and dislikes of Little Black Bag:

What I liked:

  • It's an INGENIOUS idea. The trading is really fun and very addicting. I tried explaining the concept to my guy friend, and he likened it to the girl version of Fantasy Football, which I found amusing and pretty accurate.
  • Overall, the retail cost of these products would have totaled $102 + tax, which here in California would have added up to $110.93. I paid $63.62 altogether (including shipping and tax, and that includes a 10% off code that I used from one of the YouTube beauty vloggers), saving me $47.31. Pretty awesome!
  • The pieces I received were awesome quality. I think this would be great way to get gifts for family/friends for birthdays, holidays, etc, at a discounted price.
 What I didn't like:
  • I REALLY wish that there were more details on the products, models wearing them, etc. that would help the consumer make a better choice instead of just shooting in the dark (I feel like we're already taking a risk of not getting to really pick our other two items). The more information, the better.
  • It would also be cool if you could "block" trade offers on items you weren't interested in trading (like the one you picked out), or block trade offers on certain items (if I don't want that laptop case from Person A, I'm not going to want the same laptop case for the same item from Person B).
  • Again, I REALLY wish that my sunglasses came with a case. I realize that this isn't entirely LBB's fault, and rather the manufacturer's, but again, to know this information in the product description before committing to buying it would be awesome.
All-in-all, I had a lot of fun with this service. I would most certainly be interested in doing it again, though maybe not monthly ($49.95 + tax and shipping is a LOT to spend per month!).  I'll be interested to see how this company evolves in the months to come :)

Disclaimer: No products were provided for consideration, nor am I receiving any type of compensation for this post. This post contains no affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Greetings Blogosphere!

I figured I should probably introduce myself here before delving into any future posts. If you're at all like me, then you may be curious about the person writing the posts, their background, etc. If you're not at all like me in this regard, feel free to disregard this ramble-y post :)

My name is Meg. I'm a 23 year old recent (well, I guess it's been almost two years, woops) college grad born and raised in Los Angeles. I work a (what I like to think) big-girl job (read: entry-level) and am trying to find my place in this crazy world (just like everyone else, probably!).  I have been a lurker, commenter, and admirer of the internet beauty community for almost four years now (I stumbled upon the Youtube beauty community in Fall of 2008, and quickly discovered blogs after that). I have followed tons of other blogs (Nouveau CheapScrangie, and of course, the mother of all beauty blogs, Temptalia, and many more). Since then, I have hemmed and hawed over the prospect of creating my own blog. I'm sure this blog will be beauty-focused, but it may include, from time-time, tidbits about other things. But who doesn't love tidbits?! ;)

I finally decided to jump into it during a recent Hautelook shopping spree. Bodyography was being featured and had some neat looking polishes. I began clicking through and Google-Imaging the ones that looked interesting, but had no luck finding any pictures. I finally decided to purchase a polish solely on the name (sadly, I've been guilty of that a few times..)- Prague. I'm part (distantly) Czech, so I was drawn to it, and the fact that it was an interesting, murky purple didn't hurt.

I was very pleasantly surprised when this little guy knocked my socks off. 

I paid $4 on Hautelook, but I believe that it retails for $8.50 on the Bodyography website.

This went on my nails like BUTTER. Although my pictures are after two coats, one coat could easily deliver desired opacity.



It's a very difficult color to describe...almost grape/wine-y, mauve/taupey even. It retains that level of murkiness that keeps it from looking too "Grandma-y" and pretty on-trend. I went through my stash and couldn't find an exact dupe, though I have some that come close. If anyone is interested, I'd gladly show a comparison.

Then there's the brush. I am normally a fan of the wider, flatter brushes, but this brush gave me no trouble. Here it is compared to China Glaze's (second from the top) and OPI's (last from the top):


The 3-free element of polishes is really important to me. Bodyography's appear to be 3-free, which is awesome.

(Ingredients: Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimeltic Anhydride, Copolymor, Isopropyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Propyl Acetate, Butyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone-1, Citric Acid, Dimethicone)

Wear on this polish appears to be about average- 2-3 days before noticeable chipping.

I definitely would be interested in seeing what else this line has to offer, as I'm quite impressed with this polish.

Prague and other shades by Bodyography are available here.

Disclaimer: No products were provided for consideration, nor am I receiving any type of compensation for this post. This post contains no affiliate links. All opinions are my own.