Friday, May 22, 2015

Ipsy May 2015 Review

Ipsy, is a monthly subscription service which sends you 5 make-up, skin care or hair care items per month packaged in a make-up bag.  The products are often deluxe sample sizes but there are usually a few full-size items as well.  The cost is $10 per month with free shipping if you happen to live in the States but for those of us in Canada, add $4.95 shipping as well as exchange.  There are savings to be had if you subscribe to a longer period, though.  I paid for a year up front which worked out to $184.33 Canadian funds, or $15.36 per month - of course that was also at a time when our dollar was stronger.

If this review piques your interest in Ipsy, please consider using my referral link :)  I'd appreciate it!  There is usually a waiting list but they often offer ways to skip the line.

Here is what came in my Ipsy bag this month:

So, again I will comment on the bag, which is unusual for me.  I like that's it's canvas.  I like that it's larger.  I hate the message.  While some people might find this cute, "Contents:  My Life" just doesn't appeal to me.  Sorry Ipsy but my life is fuller than the contents of my makeup bag. . . in fact, makeup doesn't add that much value to my life in general! Kinda cheesy too.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil plus bonus Revolution High-Color Lip Gloss ($15 value?)
Seriously no idea on how to value this one.  I can't figure out how large the full size lip pencil is and while I'm sure the lip glosses add some value, have no idea how to calculate it.  I've seen this valued anywhere from $4 - 20 on other reviews.  $15 seems fair? The lip pencil is in "Ozone" which is colourless - it could be used as a lip liner to keep things in place or as a primer.  It seems to do that well but I'd rather have a colour.  There are also two tiny lip gloss samples - one in a pink shade that's nice and one that is quite purple which is fun but not very versatile for most people.  That said, I do like Urban Decay and will use the lip pencil when I think of it.

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo (FULL SIZE - $24 value)
This, however, I'm really excited by.  I've never received a product that didn't fit in the little makeup bag to date and this one sure didn't.  I've never used a dry shampoo before but I figure with a toddler and a little one on the way, there may be a time in the next few months when my hair could use a little boost :)

Luxie Rose Gold Tapered Blending Eye Brush 205 ($12 value):
I love getting tools like this in my Ipsy bag.  I probably wouldn't buy them myself (especially not a $12 brush) but I'm slowly replacing some of my crappy cheaper tools and brushes.  This is a solid brush and does its job well.

BellaPierre Cosmetics Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Ebony (FULL SIZE - $14.99 Value):
Another black eyeliner.  I have a few on the go so I haven't even opened this yet.  Full size is nice but yawn.

Peter Lamas Detoxifying Citrus C Facial Cleanser (1 oz - $6 value, 4oz sells for $24):
I like this cleanser well enough.  It's vegan and free from parabens and sulfates which is nice.  I am always a little skeptical of "detoxifying" claims in various products as it seems to be a hot term without a lot of clarity as to what it means, exactly.  This isn't a huge size but should last for a while and I do love these sizes for travelling :)

Overall Verdict:
Probably one of my better bags recently, content-wise (but, like I said, not a fan of the bag).  The value is impressive too - around $72 give or take the real value of the Urban Decay item, making it one of my more valuable bags :) As for the products themselves:  love the brush and dry shampoo (especially the size!), like and will use everything else - even the black liner.  Don't get me wrong, I like black liners; I'm just a little stocked for now so it's not that exciting.  Most importantly, no huge misses (yup, no self-tanners, no beige eye colours, no bronzers!!).

So, what did you get this month? Am I the only one who found "Contents: My Life" more stupid than cute? Hit the comments!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Little Tester Korea Haul

In addition to my last Rose Rose haul, I picked up a few items at Tester Korea - either ones that I couldn't get through Rose Rose or ones that were cheaper through TK.  This order was placed on March 31 (the same day as the RRS order) but took a little longer to ship and didn't arrive at my door until May 1!! That's about two weeks longer than the RRS order :( I know that sometimes shipping from Korea can take a while and it's something that I've been getting more and more used to but when two orders are placed the same day, I get a little antsy when one takes 2 weeks longer to arrive than the other.  I have been hearing about others having similar shipping issues with TK lately as well - especially that there is a relatively long delay before the order is even shipped.  So, if you're looking to place an order, be conscious of that.

As always, costs are in won and 1 won = approximately $1 US for reference.

Anyway, delays notwithstanding, I received my entire (little, for me) haul:

(from left - Nature Republic Snail Solution Foam Cleanser, Nature Republic Lemon Peeling Foot Mask, It's Skin Plant Water Balancing Serum, Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil and, in front, a sample set of Skinfood Platinum Grape Cell which includes a tiny toner and emulsion)

Nature Republic Snail Solution Foam Cleanser (9030 won)
I received a sample of this from either a previous TK or RRS order and really liked the texture.  Snail mucin does great things for my skin and despite this being a foam cleanser (which can often be a little harsh on skin - I don't ph test so I'm not sure where this falls), I found it to leave my skin feeling clean and soft.  I decided to spring for a full size but I haven't opened it yet as I have a few other products to use up.  I think my skin will be particularly happy with this come summer when it tends to get a little oilier.

Nature Republic Lemon Peeling Foot Mask (2800 won)
I have used a different brand of peeling foot mask in the past and quite liked it.  For those who don't know, this contains little booties full of the product which you wear over your feet for 1 - 1 1/2 hours then discard and rinse your feet completely.  Within a few days, all the dead skin on your feet will begin to shed and peel off.  While I experienced great results with these types of mask in the past, and this one gets great reviews, I didn't find it did that well on my feet.  While I did get some peeling, it was nothing compared to my prior experience.  Maybe my feet were in better shape to begin with? It does smell better than some peeling masks for what that's worth.

It's Skin Plant Water Balancing Serum (7020 won)
This serum is supposed to be light and appropriate for all skin types.  I haven't tried it yet so I'll hold off on any strong opinions.  I am hoping it will be light enough to use this summer.

Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil (6790 won)
I recently got into the 2-step cleansing method:  an oil cleanse to remove make-up and dirt from dry skin, followed by a traditional cleanse to finish the job and get rid of any leftover oil.  I have a few samples of a cleansing balm but much prefer an actual oil.  I also really like Skinfood's product lines and how delicious they smell plus have heard great reviews about this particular oil.  Excited to try!

Skinfood Platinum Grape Cell Toner and Emulsion (800 won)
My husband has been complaining about his fine lines and wrinkles so I thought I'd pick him up something to try out.  I really like Skinfood and this formulation is supposed to be great for anti-aging.  He has tried it once so far and said it was interesting.  But then, he's not that big on skincare.  Oh well, it was just a little sample and relatively inexpensive so he'll either use it or he won't.  I thought it smelled great though :)

And that's all folks! No samples this time around which was a little disappointing :(

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fabletics May 2015 Review

After thoroughly enjoying my Fabletics purchase last month, I decided to opt for another outfit (albeit at full VIP pricing) this month.  While I likely won't purchase a full outfit every month, and it's nice to know that I can skip anytime I like, for now I'm in!

This month I chose Kanpur which includes 3 pieces:  the Love Hoodie, Ko Jogger and Kemi Bra.  Here's what it looks like on the site:

And here it is in the colours I chose (and, of course larger-than-model sizing):

The full outfit was $69.95 US for all three pieces with VIP pricing (or $134.85 regular pricing) which ended up being just over $100 CAN.  So what did I think?

Love Hoodie ($24.95 VIP, $39.95 regular):
This seems to be a new item as there were no reviews available when I ordered it.  It is billed as a relaxed fit top, intended to be worn to just below the hip.  I chose the "cucumber" shade over the white as I'm not really a white clothing person (I have a toddler and a baby on the way so. . . no; also my skin tone is altogether too close to most whites).  While it did look a bit sheer and loose in the picture, it is definitely more sheer in person - thankfully this outfit includes a cute sporty bra to wear under it (although, depending on where I'm going, I think a cami or tank top is more likely!).  I really appreciate the relaxed fit as it is forgiving on my preggo tummy and will be nice for nursing and wearing afterward as well.  If you're not a fan of looser-fitting clothing, consider sizing down.  And this is so, so soft and comfy.

Ko Jogger ($44.95 VIP, $64.95 regular):
This also seems to be a new item and, as you can see, I opted for the Dark Grey shade as opposed to the lighter one on the model.  I prefer darks and brights as a rule and these pants look great in the darker shade.  They are described as a semi-fitted, mid rise jogging pant and available in 3 lengths (no hemming! yay!).  I'm not sure if you can tell from the pics (mine or theirs) but that stripe down the sides of the legs is mesh.  It doesn't go all the way up so it's not going to flash your underpants to everyone but it is a nice feature which adds a little style.  These are also a forgiving fit and very comfortable.  I would definitely buy another pair but in the next size down (I'm optimistic that if this one fits reasonable well at 7 months pregnant, I could manage a slightly smaller size afterward!).  I'll still wear these after the baby is born but they will definitely be roomy.

Kemi Bra ($19.95 VIP, $29.95 regular):
I thought this was cute enough to justify a closer shot :) This is a light support bra with removable cups. . . and it's seriously light support.  According to my bra size, I'm on the border between two of Fabletics sizes so I opted for the smaller size and am really glad I did.  This is still not supportive.  I could not use this as an actual sports bra.  Fabletics suggests their light support bras are good for walking or yoga.  I could walk in this but I wouldn't try yoga.  Maybe if I didn't have larger breasts? That said, I didn't intend to wear this for hardcore workouts but purchased it for comfortable wearing around the house - since I'm not dressing up for work or going out much, I've been wearing sports bras and nursing bras and even going without.  This is perfect for me right now.  Plus it looks really cute under the hoodie :)  I would even consider picking up another one!

Overall Verdict:
This was another great month for me and Fabletics! I'm starting to figure out the clues to their sizing - reading about the fit and reading reviews when available really help me to see what's going to work for me and whether I should size up or down.  While this month was definitely more expensive than last month (b/c last month I had a 50% off promotion as a new member), I do feel it was worth it.  I picked up 3 great items that I will wear and likely would have spent a similar amount on for similar quality (or less for less quality which is my usual).  Plus this outfit looks cute and feels great on!

If this makes you want to try out Fabletics yourself, please consider using my link :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tea Sparrow April 2015 Review

Mmmm. . . tea :) Nothing cures what ails you better than a delicious cup of tea.  Full disclosure:  I'm a tea junky.  And I'm kind of picky about my teas.  We have a fancy tea pot (this one) that allows us to brew the good stuff - loose leaf, of course - at home and I also have a mug (this one) for making a cup of tea on my break at work.  So when I read about a monthly Canadian tea sub, it was a no-brainer.

For $20 CAD per month (including shipping), Tea Sparrow sends 4 different types of loose leaf tea (so yes, you need some way to brew loose leaf although if you're not as hardcore about tea as I am, tea balls tend to be an inexpensive option - Amazon has some under $4!) - usually a green, a black, a rooibos and an herbal but sometimes they mix it up.  The teas are separately packaged and are each approximately 0.6oz for a total of about 35 cups of tea per month (less if you use a lot of tea in brewing, maybe more if you're willing to brew twice using the same tea like I am).  For those who regularly purchase quality loose leaf teas, the pricing on that is absolutely fair.  If you're used to boxes full of the bagged stuff, it might seem a little pricey but it's totally worth it!  Oh, and if you fall in love with a tea, while Tea Sparrow doesn't sell them, they do have the information for each blender - some of which are in Canada and some of which are not (shipping can be. . . pricey for some).

This was my first month (of many, I feel) of Tea Sparrow and I lucked out and found this 60% off offer making my first month only $8! So exciting! And, as of right now at least, it's still working.  When you click the above link, you will be taken to a password-protected page.  Enter "teas" as your password and you will be offered the promotional discount.  Please be aware that this will start a recurring monthly subscription (at least I'm pretty sure it does) but Tea Sparrow allows you to skip any month through their website and you can cancel at any time.  Enjoy!

This month, the focus or theme was fruit teas! A great choice for spring - especially with the full-on summery weather we've been having here.  That said, only 3 out of the 4 teas fit the theme which is. . . interesting.  But all 4 are delicious and make me happy :)  As you can see below, Tea Sparrow clearly labels each bag (and they are resealable too!) and includes brewing instructions and tips as well.

Clouds and Mist (100% Organic Green Tea)
Clouds and Mist:
While I do love a good green tea, and make no mistake this one is very good, I do wish this had fit the theme.  I have had some delicious fruity green teas in the past and would have enjoyed one here.  This is a lovely green tea but I have only had it once so far since it's not as flashy or exciting as the others.

Organic Cheery Fruit Tea (Caffeine-free, made with with Rose hips, orange peels, rooibos, pears, quince, fennel bitter dark and organic vanilla bourbon flavour)
Organic Cheery Fruit Tea:
Rooibos tea (sometimes called red tea or redbush tea) isn't really "tea" at all.  It comes from a South African bush, not from the tea plant at all.  It is naturally caffeine-free and has a little bit of natural sweetness to it making it a great choice for those who are concerned about caffeine intake or those who usually prefer their tea a little sweeter, like my husband.  Tea Sparrow is calling this an "herbal" which I suppose is because the rooibos isn't as prominent as some of the other flavourings? This was absolutely delicious, our second tea to finish completely.  We followed Tea Sparrow's advice and added a little bit of honey (well, I tried it without first since that's how I usually drink my tea) which did bring out some of the flavours a bit more.  I even tried it iced - and it was great that way too.  For me, this is what this sub is all about - I would never have bought this tea (rooibos isn't usually my fave) but we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Blood Orange Smoothie (Caffeine-free Rooibos with orange peel, hibiscus, rosehips, applies, safflowers, rose petals, vanilla and citrus flavours)
Blood Orange Smoothie:
So remember how I said the Organic Cheery Fruit Tea was the second tea we finished? This was the first.  Seriously delicious stuff.  Again, we added honey as recommended and again, Tea Sparrow was bang on with that suggestion.  Somehow this had a bit of a creamy flavour/texture in my mouth which contributed to the "smoothie" idea, I guess.  I didn't try this one on ice since we drank a few full pots of it hot instead :)

Chocolate Blueberry Organic (Black Tea with cornflowers, cocoa nibs, tea flowers and natural botanic extracts - all organic)
Chocolate Blueberry Organic:
Blueberry is usually a miss for me but chocolate is always, always a hit! Somehow this tea manages to taste creamy and delicious without reminding me why I dislike blueberries so much.  My husband hasn't tried this one yet. . . and he might not get to since I am probably going to finish it this afternoon!

Overall Verdict:
Yes, please! While this particular box only cost me $8 because of that awesome promotion (seriously worth trying out), I would still be very happy had I spent $20 on it.  I will be sticking with Tea Sparrow for a while, I suspect, and happily recommend it unreservedly!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

On Raising Boys

So it struck me the other day. . . I get to raise boys.  2 of them.  Exclusively.  And I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.  I didn't have brothers or cousins we were close to or boys who I babysat.  Everything I know about raising boys, I'm learning from my husband who did have brothers (well, a brother) and cousins he was close to.

I love my sons (the 3 year old - when did 3 years pass? - and the one in utero).  I'm not disappointed to have boys instead of girls, at all.  It's just a bit outside of my experience to this point.  I'm also not sure that anyone feels like they know exactly what they're doing when it comes to parenting.  I think that's the point, really.  Parents are experts at one thing - being bullshit artists - and that covers for all the things about which we are not experts.  Most of the time.

I'm sure raising girls is also terrifying.  I'm sure raising children who are not white in a world that wants nothing more than to limit who they can be and what they can achieve is also terrifying.  I'm sure.  I know that my white, blond-haired, blue eyed son (and whatever this next one comes out looking like) won't have the same issues.  He won't need to worry about being followed by the police just for looking a certain way.  He won't need to worry about being followed home by a strange man who wants to do him harm.  Or about a friend or date getting the wrong message about his willingness to engage in a kiss or make-out session or more.  At least, it's unlikely that these things will happen to him or to his brother.  Not impossible. . . but unlikely.

No, I am not worried (at least not as worried) about my sons being victims.

I am, however, worried about the possibility of them being villains.

I can think of nothing that would break my heart more than to learn that my kids are disrespectful and entitled in their dealings with other human beings.  Other moms want to lock their children away, never let them date, never talk about sex and sexuality.  Not me.  I want my sons to know everything there is to know.  I want them to have healthy attitudes towards their bodies and their relationships with others.

Do I want my sons to have sexual relationships at 16, 17 years old? Not necessarily.  But that's not my decision to make.  All I can do is give them the right information and tools to make it.  All I can do is offer an open ear, an open heart and an open mind so that they might feel like sharing with me.  Or with my husband.  It doesn't need to be me because it isn't about me at all.  While I would prefer that they wait, I need them to be responsible.  I need them to be respectful and caring individuals.  I would be absolutely broken-hearted to learn that my boys - who grew up with such strong feminist parents, who were taught that everyone is equally worthy. . . of love, of respect, of opportunity - could ever diminish another human being so much as to use him or her for their own needs.

That's what it comes down to, really.  There are people who treat others as individuals with their own wants, needs and feelings.  People who try to live their lives in such a way that they aim to have their needs met without trampling on others.  And then there are users.  The people who ignore "no" if it interferes with them getting what they want.  The people who assume not saying "no" is the same as saying "yes".  The people who don't even ask because the answer is irrelevant to them.

And, yes, this is largely about consent but not exclusively about sex.  It's about taking - and that isn't an action exclusively sexual by any stretch of the imagination.  Rapists take.  Thieves take.  Those who are ruled by greed take.  Sometimes even those of us who strive to live our lives without taking? Sometimes we take too.  Sometimes the sweet boy next to me, who I'm trying to teach to be giving and caring? Sometimes I take from him too.  Sometimes I don't ask. . . because he's 3 and asking if he wants to do something I know he doesn't want to do, but that needs to be done anyway, isn't something I have the time or patience for.  And sometimes I feel guilty about it and then I ask the next time, when I have the time and patience to do so.

So, how do I do it? How does my husband do it? How does this vast network or family and friends, this village, raise these boys to be mindful? I don't know.  I do know that some of these people have very good ideas - some of which work for us and some of which don't:

- The Good Men Project - this links to a great article on teaching consent but the whole site is pretty great
- Nurshable - a blog about gentle parenting
- The new Ontario Curriculum on Health and Physical Education - don't just read the debate and outrage. . . check out the actual document!

Do I do all these things? Nope.  Do I do them all the time? Nope.  So what's the point? To think about what we do and why we do it and what lessons we are teaching - both explicitly and implicitly through our actions and interactions with others.  And thinking first is always a plus :)

And do any of these ideas, actions, strategies ensure that my boys will always ask first? Do they ensure that my boys will never be villains? Of course not because it's their decision.  We can only give them the right information and the tools to make it.  And hope that they make good choices.  But I don't think that the ability to make good choices is innate.  We need to talk about it.  We need to model it.  And we need to think first.

Other ideas? Strategies? Thoughts on the issue? Please share in the comments.

Friday, May 01, 2015

More Rose Rose Shop Goodies

I love waiting on shipments from Korea.  As frustrating as Memebox was, there was something magical about having boxes en route to my house. . . sometimes for great lengths of time (frustrating but oddly enjoyable?).  I also really enjoyed (and still enjoy) all the fantastic products that winged their way to me overseas.  My new obsessions are Rose Rose Shop and Tester Korea, both of which offer great sales and deals (and regular prices, lol) on great k-beauty items (make-up and skincare).  Here is my most recent Rose Rose haul :)

This order was placed on March 31, shipped on April 5 and arrived at my door in Canada on April 17 with only a short stopover in  customs (and no customs charges).  Not too bad!  And shipping cost just over $20 which isn't bad.  All prices here and below are in USD, fyi.

All the masks :)
Clockwise from top left:  3W Clinic Fresh Mask Sheets in Apple, SNP Charcoal Mineral Black Ampoule Masks, 3W Clinic Fresh Mask Sheets in Syn-Ake and, my fave, Etude House's Blending Sleeping Creams in Royal Jelly, Green Tea and Blueberry

3W Clinic Fresh Mask Sheets in Apple (10 sheets for $1.81):

 I have purchased 3W sheet masks before and wasn't overly impressed with them. . . at first.  Upon further use, I find that they are a good size for my face and loaded with essence, which I really appreciate.  I still find that the sheet itself feels a little thinner than some other masks I've tried and sometimes worry about tearing them - but I haven't torn one yet.  To top it off, that price! Fantastic! That is a sale price but RRS always seems to have these guys on sale.  This version is Apple and is intended to:  "absorb into the skin that needs keratin management and organize the skin texture without stickiness and . . . make the skin soft and moist" - uh, what??? Best I can decipher, this is for softening and moisturizing skin? Also, it smells like apples and I like it.

SNP Charcoal Mineral Black Ampoule Masks (10 sheets for $10.57):

Okay, so these are obviously more expensive than the last ones although about a dollar per mask is still a totally reasonable price! These are actually black in colour, which gives my husband the giggles whenever I wear one.  The charcoal in this helps to cleanse pores and control excess oils.  Some sites bill this as a "men's" product but aside from the colour and the more medicinal-looking package, I'm not really sure what makes it more "manly" - women can have oily skin sometimes too!  I find that these do what they say they will as my skin feels less oily and shiny after using them.

3W Clinic Fresh Mask Sheets in Syn-Ake (10 sheets for $1.81):

More 3W masks! These ones are syn-ake which is a synthetic snake venom to help with anti-aging concerns.  I will say, there are some ingredients / masks that don't really seem to have much immediate effect on my skin.  These ones do.  I actually bought them for my husband to try out since he's been a) willing to join me in wearing masks once or twice a week and b) interested in anti-aging products now that he's 30.  He was very impressed with how well these seemed to minimize his fine lines and wrinkles after a first use. . . and I was pretty happy with them when I tried them too.  Seriously, I wouldn't touch a real snake but I'll gladly spread synthetic snake venom or snail goo all over my face? If you told me that last year, I would have thought you were crazy but. . . well, live and learn :)

Etude House Blending Sleeping Spoons ($1.14 each):

I've shared my thoughts on these before and I still love them.  They are a sleeping cream so they are smoothed on as the last step in a skincare routine before going to bed and provide moisture and other benefits (as listed) in addition to sealing in your other skincare products overnight.  One of these little spoons holds a generous amount (and you don't need to put much on!) so I find they can each last for 3-4 nights! The Green Tea ones (for Clear and Moist skin) are still my absolute faves - they smell awesome and I wake up with soft, glowing skin.  This time, I also decided to try out the Royal Jelly (for Firm and Moist skin) and Blueberry (for Antioxidant and Moist skin. . . what's antioxidant skin? lol) versions.  They're nice enough but. . . I really love the Green Tea ones :)

What? No more masks?
From left:  Skinfood Honey Lip Treatment, 3W Clinic UV Snail Day Sun Cream (x2) and Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Serum

Skinfood Honey Lip Treatment ($2.97):

This is not a lip balm, rather a lip treatment that you smooth over your lips before bed.  It is really sweet smelling and tasting, not to mention sticky!!, because it's basically honey.  I've read rave reviews about this.  I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it.  The texture doesn't really do much for me and I'm not sure how much effect I'm noticing on my lips.  That said, I do prefer this to a petroleum jelly type of treatment (that's the grossest texture on my lips, imo!).  I'll reserve judgement for now.

3W Clinic UV Snail Day Sun Cream ($4.28 each):

I'm going to tell you a secret:  despite my incredibly fair skin, I don't wear sun protection as much as I should.  If I'm going to be outside for an extended period? Absolutely.  But on a daily basis? Nope.  I just struggle so much with sunscreens.  I need a high spf but the higher it gets, the greasier and chalkier and white-white-white-why-won't-it-absorb?-how-can-I-wear-makeup-over-this? things get.  And I just can't deal with that.  This is a game-changer! This is a day cream so I'm using it as the last step in my routine (before make-up if I'm wearing any).  It has an spf of 50, it absorbs well, it doesn't leave a white cast on my skin and it has the skin-moisturizing effects and awesomeness of snails! This is a sun cream I can, and will, wear every day! And, while the tubes aren't super-large (70ml each), a little goes a long way and the price is fantastic, even with shipping.

Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Serum ($7.62):

I had purchased a few sheet masks in this line from Skinfood and really loved them so I wanted to try more of their Peach Sake products.  Seriously, they smell sooo good and are intended to reduce shine and the appearance of pores - what's not to love?  I have a serum on the go right now so this one's on deck for summer uses.  I have high hopes for this.

And the free samples:  Mizon Original Skin Energy Placenta 45 Ampoule, Etude House Collagen Moistfull Peeling Wash, Missha Super Aqua Refreshing Cleansing Foam, Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream and Mizon Water Volume Aqua Gel Cream

It's impossible to adequately review such small samples (although I always love getting them), so here are a few thoughts:

- The Placenta Ampoule? Yeah, I just couldn't try that one out.  I couldn't find out exactly what kind of placenta this uses and I don't eat much meat and I'm pregnant right now so the whole idea just turned my stomach :(
- The Peeling Wash was okay.  It's a gentle exfoliant which also moisturizes and it did a decent enough job.  I just don't think my skin type is what this was intended for.
- The Missha Cleansing Foam, on the other hand, was really nice.  I don't test ph levels in face washes, although I know many who do, so I can't comment on that but I did find this pleasant to use and it didn't strip my skin.
- The BB Cream was actually a pretty good colour for me.  I found it a little heavy but maybe I put too much on.  I haven't been wearing much make-up lately either so that could be it.  I'd test it out again but. . . little sample size ;)
- The Aqua Gel Cream was really nice - a good texture for oily or oil-leaning-combination skin with a refreshing feeling and a good amount of moisture.  I'm not in the market for a new cream right now but I'll keep this one in mind once summer demands I adjust my skincare accordingly :)