Thursday, September 21, 2017

Glam Bags and Birchboxes

Last month, a friend of mine introduced me to Birchbox. It's a monthly subscription for $10 where you get 5 beauty samples in a pretty box. I have often complained that I don't know how to "do" makeup... I don't want to spend $20 on some product that I may or may not like, only to (maybe) have to throw it out if it doesn't work! So now I am able to try products for $10 a month, and if they're duds, I'll know not to invest, and if they work well, I can purchase full size! (and, knowing me, probably in a cheaper brand!). 

Here's what I got my first month, in August:

I received
-Dry shampoo (dud)
-Mud mask (fun/not necessary)
-Blush/bronzer duo (okay)
-Liquid lipstick (win)
-Day cream (win)


Overall, I was pleased with my subscription, so I decided to keep going. I also decided to add Ipsy, another $10 monthly subscription box, because Ipsy provides more makeup whereas Birchbox provides more skincare products. 

Here is my comparison of Birchbox and Ipsy for September. 

Here's what I got in my September Birchbox:

I received
-Spray in conditioner (haven't tried yet... meh)
-Makeup remover (can't I just use my usual facial cleanser?... meh)
-Anti-aging serum (do I really need this? dud)
-Lip mask (fun to do, didn't see any real results)
-Strobing stick (was broken upon opening, made my face look greasy)

All of the samples in this box are tiny, except for the strobing stick, which is full sized. Overall, this box was a big DUD, but I'll keep up because last month's was great!




Here's what I got in my September Ipsy:

I received
-TWO face masks (so fun and they felt good!)
-Nail polish (Fun! I had a nail salon party with my girls!)
-Primer (I don't really get the point of this... it didn't seem to do much)
-Blush (Looks good on me!)
-Liquid lipstick (Yay! what a pretty color!)
-Makeup bag (in faux leather and a nice satin lining, great quality!)

This month there were 3 full sized products, 1 large sample (2 masks), and only 1 small item. There was also the bag. I enjoyed and will use all the products, so this bag was a very big WIN in my book!




(Here's a closeup of the lining on the bag)


If you would like to join in the fun, you can look into Ipsy by clicking HERE, or into Birchbox by clicking HERE. Have fun!


Monday, August 28, 2017

Game Review: Deal or Duel

Welcome to my very first game review! As the back of the box explains, "In the face of the political instability and financial turmoil of the American Revolution, only one individual always came out on top: ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Pit your survival instincts and spending savvy against all the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) in this historical action card game whose simple objective is as old as Ameritocracy itself: get all the money or die trying."

The game can be played by 2-6 players, so my husband and I began a game one night once the kids were in bed.


It took about 15 minutes to set the game up for the first time, since the instruction booklet is long and very descriptive. The game is refreshingly complex. Each person starts the game with $150 and 9 historical people on their "team." There are two ways to win: Get $1,000 OR be the last man standing by knocking out your opponents' people.

We had only a couple of hang ups:

-We found some dead ends that weren't explained in the game. Like, "What do you do when it's your turn but none of your cards are playable?" But we took up the challenge, and invented new rules whenever we hit a dead end.

-The game seems like it would be MUCH better with more than two players. Some of the cards were pretty useless for a two player game. But that's okay; we're planning to get together with friends to play soon, and then I will be able to post an updated review!

Definitely a play again soon game!!


I received this game from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Review: Egypt's Sister



Alexandria, 79 B.C. Young Cleopatra is enjoying palace life with her best friend, Chava. Chava remains faithful to her as she ascends to the throne. But when Cleopatra begins to taste power, she also betrays Chava. Chava becomes a slave, travels to Rome, and must fight to survive. 

I don't want to say much more about the plot in this review (because I hope you'll go read it for yourself!), but this is an excellent book! The author did a lot of research and took great care to ensure the book is historically accurate. Chava is a fictional character, but in the novel we meet Cleopatra, the Ptolemies, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and many other real characters. The setting is also well described, with a background of geography, ship life, and class: slaves, freemen, and royalty. Overall a wonderful book about the "silent years" between the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

You may learn more about the author HERE.  


I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Book Review: Almost There


Life is full of transition. Parts of "Home" might be ripped away at any time. People die, people move, relationships become fractured. We desire to have deep roots, but we are often uprooted. Even when we physically stay where we are, we are often unsatisfied, longing for something more. Author Bekah DiFelice and her husband have moved a lot. They get it. And Bekah writes to remind us that we are not rootless; we are rooted in an unchangeable God. He alone can quiet our restless hearts and become our true Home.

I've lived in 8 states and 5 countries, so the themes in this book resonate deeply with me. I felt like I could have written this book. Not the specifics, but the heart. God has shown me that He is my Home; that I am able to be content when my roots grow deep in Him. And so this book was a confirmation of sorts, a lovely book to ruminate over, to remind me of what's most important.

To learn more about the author, click HERE

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for this review.

Book Review: Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted



Our culture has undergone massive changes in how it perceives homosexuality. Author Ron Citlau attempts to answer two fundamental questions: "How can someone with same-sex attraction be faithful to Jesus? And how can everyone else support and encourage them in this pursuit?" He does this by first identifying obstacles that must be overcome (such as, "the obstacle of gay marriage,") and then by sharing several gifts available (such as "the gift of the Church.")

The author himself once identified as gay, and therefore lends an excellent perspective on the issue at hand. I appreciate how he approaches the issue, often communicating that we ought not take HIS word for the things he says, but we must test his words, read the Bible, and search things out for ourselves. Overall I think this is a thoughtful, loving response to a difficult matter in our Church.

You may learn more about the author HERE


I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Review: Bible Sleuth, New Testament



Did you ever look at the Where's Waldo books? This book is a LOT like those books, except with Bible stories! This version (New Testament) starts with the Birth of Jesus and a busy Bethlehem scene and ends with the story of the crowd of people praising God in heaven. Here is what it says on the page about Jesus' birth: When Mary was expecting Baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to register in the census. There was no place to stay for the night, so they slept in a stable. That night, Jesus was born. Some shepherds, who were watching their sheep nearby, saw a choir of angels singing, and the angels told them the Savior of the world had been born. The shepherds hurried away and found Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the stable, and they worshiped God... See Luke 2:1-20. In the Bethlehem scene, you can find Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus, the shepherds, and a host of other villagers and animals!

This book is so much fun, my kids have been fighting over it! My 8 year old just said, "Can I read all of it?" I suppose that's the extent of this review: This book is awesome, colorful, fun, and educational!


I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for this review.

Book Review: The Ragamuffin Gospel



What is grace? I've learned that it is "unmerited favor from God." But do we really believe it? Do we really believe in a God of grace? This book is about how we are "ragamuffins." We are ignorant, dirty, sinful creatures who do not deserve what God lavishes on us. Brennan Manning says, This is the God of the gospel of grace. A God who, out of love for us, sent the only Son He ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for His milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross, and died whispering forgiveness on us all. This is the Gospel, the Good News, for ragamuffins like you and me.

I read this book in a season when I needed to hear it. Most Christians know that the Gospel is for sinners, but a lot of Christians like to forget that they are STILL sinners. We like to think that we've gotten better than that. (And then, in moments of weakness, we come close to despair, for we see then that we can never measure up to God's glory.) This book is about the Ragamuffin Gospel. The Ragamuffin Gospel is for all of us, all the time. And that's some pretty good news!

To learn more about the author, click HERE

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.