Top Ten Stocking Stuffers – fun and femme versions

You’ll have to put up with two Top Ten Tuesdays lists today. I just couldn’t resist the FUN one since that’s what I’d love to put into stockings (all of these items are from the amusing website Archie McPhee). Then I went with FEMME since those are the things I’d love. Enjoy — Marcia

1417380495_macho_tissuesMACHO TISSUES – Perfect for the guy that you makes you carry the tissues even though he’d need them.
1417380447_cleansing_kisses_soap_leavesCLEANSING KISSES SOAP LEAVES – so pretty for a powder room or even to carry this cute tin with you for those restrooms you aren’t so sure about using. These will bring a smile to her face.
1417380371_bacon_soapBACON SOAP – You know who needs this. All your bacon crazed friends will get a kick out of this.
1417380296_anime_eyes_sleep_maskANIME SLEEP EYES MASK – For the friend who complains they never get enough sleep or for the traveler who wants to be fashionable while ignoring everyone.
1417380247_rainbow_monkey_bandagesRAINBOW MONKEY BANDAGESArchie McPhee has the cutest bandages. They were so many I fell for but I know this will bring a laugh to almost everyone on your stocking stuffer list. But check out their other ones too.
1417380195_uh_oh_emergency_underwearUH OH EMERGENCY UNDERPANTS – What else to get the girl who has everything or the girl who never makes it home at night!!
1417380148_sigmund_freud_toothpasteSIGMUND FREUD TOOTHPASTE – Take care of the psyche while taking care of your teeth. I’m sure some smarty pants could enjoy this.
1417380038_sugar_skull_air_freshenerSUGAR SKULL AIR FRESHENER – Why not be fashionable? Who needs another pine tree hanging?
1417379988_shakespearean_lip_balm_setSHAKESPEAREAN LIP BALM SET – What’s more typical than putting lip balm in a stocking? But who else will give them Shakespeare at the same time?
1417379917_grump-notebooks_1_1GRUMPY GUY NOTEBOOKS – I can see your mind going over someone who needs these since they describe his life perfectly. Maybe he’ll even smile.
1417383520_fw1406_mediumLOVE ME KNOT HAIR TIES – This site has hair ties and headbands in a lot of styles and colors. Hair ties are sold in a lot of places and always need replacing since they do stretch out. I have them all over my house.
1417383386_2014-11-19-04.32.47-360x480MINERAL FUSION SHEER MOISTURE LIP TINTS – This 3 piece set for $19.99 is a great buy and will be something any woman would enjoy. (Full review to come)*
1417382917_1-pack-op-408x408EYES by TO GO SPA MASKS – Lisa and I love these. They have a new one in this set ($12.50) so now there’s Coconut, Ice Water and Green Tea. You could split up the packages to give 3 people treats. You can get these on Amazon or the EYES by ToGoSpa site. *
1417382362_51qb2znxt6l._sl190_cr0_0_190_246_ANDRE LORENT BRUSH SET – 5 great vegan brushes in a great case. This would especially be a teen’s dream but anyone you know who appreciates beauty’s finest at a great price ($19.95 at Amazon) would be smiling when they see this. *
1417382282_51m2gaktddl._sl246_sx190_cr0_0_190_246_BRUSH EGG – This is a fabulous gift but one you’ll have to explain. For $8 (Amazon) you can give this brush egg that cleans brushes with or without cleanser. I love this tool and may even buy a second since now they have purple!! I’ve barely touched my brush cleanser since I bought mine.
1417382028_celebrationpalette_over_pair_0001IT COSMETICS NATURALLY PRETTY CELEBRATION MATTE LUXE EYESHADOW PALETTE – This is my most coveted of all the items on this list. I don’t know why I haven’t bought it. I really need to. All these pretty matte shadows plus a transforming one that gives them more brightness and sheen.
1417381958_the_it_girl_box_group_straigntIT COSMETICS, THE IT GIRL CC+ LIP SERUM COLLECTION – As a die hard IT Cosmetics fan I’d love to own this LE set.

  • Snowbunny (a pale sheer pink shade)
  • Joy to the World (a rich red berry shade)
  • Under the Mistletoe (a sheer red flush shade)

1417381884_s1636216-main-hero-300BEAUTY BLENDER AND BENEFIT KIT – I adore my Beauty Blender sponges. I can’t be without. Now there’s this cute set at Sephora that also includes

– Mini beautyblender blendercleanser solid sponge applicator cleaner
– 0.25 oz Benefit “that gal” brightening face primer
– 0.25 oz Benefit “girl meets pearl” liquid highlighter
– The air.port pro bag
1417381826_s1640481-main-hero-300JOSIE MARAN WINTER DREAMS -A six-piece collection of Josie’s argan skincare beautifiers to hydrate and nourish skin with powerful antioxidants and essential fatty acids. A great intro to this cruelty free line. ($39 at Sephora)
– 1.9 oz Argan Cleansing Oil
– Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment
– 0.5 100% Pure Argan Oil
– 0.5 oz Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil
– 0.5 oz Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
– 1 oz Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream
1417381772_s1643204-main-hero-300SMASHBOX LEGENDARY LIP KIT – A set of nine deluxe lip colors in reds, nudes, and pinks for getting any lip look for the season. A lot of bang for the buck ($39 at Sephora)
– 3 x 0.13 oz Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Legendary, Cognac, Promise
– 3 x 0.04 oz Be Legendary Lipstick in Legendary, Cognac, Pout
– 3 x 0.10 Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Firecracker, Off-Duty, Flamingo

I hope I didn’t bore you with two lists but once I got the Archie McPhee catalog I had so much fun going through their site that I thought you might enjoy something different. And I’ll always love cosmetics and I’d happily gift any of the ones from that list.  Visit my fellow bloggers to get more ideas. –Marcia

*some items received for consideration, most are just wishlist

Glossybox welcomes 2014 with this fun January box

January 2014 Glossybox

January 2014 Glossybox

I’ve been extremely lucky this month since I not only received this January Glossybox for review but also the limited edition La Prairie box. Both of these are filled with items that I hadn’t tried before (except for one) so they’ve enriched my life. The January subscription box teased us with two special items and I knew I wanted both of them. When I received the box I quickly opened it to make sure that they were in there. Smiles followed!!!

And what's inside the January box?

And what’s inside the January box?

The most treasured item in the January Glossybox is a Beautyblender sponge. I am crazy about Beautyblender and am thrilled to at last have the three colors they’ve made (the original hot pink, black and now white). The other teaser was Vichy though I didn’t know exactly what would be included.

Glossybox for January 2014

Glossybox for January 2014

Let’s learn about the items in this month’s subscription:

BALANCE ME Super Toning Body Wash

Balance Me Body Wash

Balance Me Body Wash

This is loaded with spa inspired aromatics like juniper, bergamot, geranium and lavender. It’s a great wake up shower wash that foams to get you going in the morning. This deluxe sample is 1.7 fl oz while the full is 3.4 fl oz making this great for home use or to take to the gym or on vacation.

TONI&GUY HAIR MEET WARDROBE Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray

Toni&Guy Casual Sea Salt Spray

Toni&Guy Casual Sea Salt Spray

I didn’t try this since my goal with hair is straight and smooth but that doesn’t mean that my blog partner isn’t dying to get her hands on this. You spray this evenly on your hair (either towel dried or dry) and work it through to create tousled waves. It has light hold to keep your style fresh looking throughout the day.

VICHY Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream:

VICHY Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream

VICHY Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream

VICHY Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream

VICHY Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream

The Vichy moisturizer is especially good for people with dry skin. It’s paraben free and contains the mineral rich Vichy Water as well as Hyaluronic Acid. It has a light fragrance that works for me during the day as it dissipates after about 10 minutes.  It’s a great winter moisturizer.


Beautyblender and cleanser

Beautyblender and cleanser



Actually the original Beautyblender sponge was the one we affectionately called The Pink Egg. There was much debate on whether facsimiles of this were worthy but in my opinion nothing matches the Beautyblender. While I adore my pink egg I’d be afraid of just how dirty this white one would get but since it can be used for both skincare and cosmetics, I’ve got the perfect use for it! Skincare it will be. When I opened Glossybox I thought at first that this was a small size but it’s just the packaging that’s smaller. The sponge is full size and absolutely wonderful. If you’ve never used this then Glossybox brought you the best product ever! The cleanser is a small size and it really does get these sponges clean better than anything else.


Bellapierre Mineral Blush in Desert Rose

Bellapierre Mineral Blush in Desert Rose

I don’t know if every box contained Desert Rose but it’s a beautiful shade that should be universally flattering.  Mineral products are recommended for all skin types even the most sensitive. This is a full size blush at 4g (value $20). It’s also available in Autumn Glow, Amaretto and Suede. My advice with this type of top is to only peel back a small amount of the taped top and then shake the powder into the top of the blush. That’s how I use all loose products like this so that I don’t get any overload or spilled product.

Glossybox's products for January 2014

Glossybox’s products for January 2014

This box is an especially nice one and a great way to start a year with Glossybox. For $21 a month you get great products like the ones this month. The value of this month’s box is approximately $62 so your money is well spent.

Is there anything in the January box that you’d love to own too? — Marcia

*sent for review

To see other Glossybox reviews click HERE


Top Ten Tuesday – 2013 Stocking Stuffers

TOP TEN TUESDAY is here with stocking stuffer ideas. This was extremely fun for me since I’ve never filled a stocking nor had one filled for me. Poor Marcia. But that has never stopped me from thinking about items as stocking stuffers. I just love the idea of it and love to hear what others would be getting. Here are some items that I used this year that I’d put in stockings if given the chance.
1. PIXI BEAUTY ICY EYE PALETTE is a fabulous palette for only $12 that I’m in love with. It would be great for any woman on your list and your own stocking too. Buff Blizzard is just the right size for any stocking.
2. PIXI BEAUTY ICY LIP LUSTER is a set of 4 glosses in a decorative box for $16. You could give 1, 2 or all 4 of these to someone on your list. The lighter shades in this are sparkly and fun and would be great for young teens while the darker shades could go to your older teen.
3. BEAUTY BLENDER SPONGE is my go to. I’ve used these for years and consider it to be a holy grail item. If you have a makeup lover in your life that wouldn’t splurge on something when there’s a very inexpensive alternative, then this would be absolutely perfect. Plus it now comes in black or white!
4. MONT BLEU MIRRORS are simply stunning. Every woman wants something sparkly for a gift and these mirrors are the perfect item to put a smile on someone’s face. There are so many styles to pick from that every woman you know could get a different one.
5. EYES COLLAGEN EYE PADS (these used to be called Eyedews) are my favorite treat for party time. These help diminish the puffiness and lines that all that partying (or life) does to me. There are now 3 varieties which we’ll be reviewing very soon. You want them and so does your mother, sister, niece and best friend!
6. FURLESSE LIP-STICKS are another favorite especially for party time. You’ll be amazed at how relaxed those pesky lines will look. Furlesse also makes Crows, Rows and Elevens for your eyes. You’ll be doing someone a big favor with these in their stocking.
7. BEAUTY SPOON is a fun and unusual gift that won’t get you in trouble with your mother-in-law. These are available at Walmart in the beauty section so you could buy this as a last minute gift. The Beauty Spoon helps get out every last bit of the creams, lotions and potions from a jar.
8. SHAVE TECH RECHARGEABLE TRAVEL SHAVER absolutely wowed my husband and I know it would wow my sons. It’s a slim, portable electric razor that you charge with your USB port. It has the sleek lines of today’s technology and fits in a pocket. The men in your life will thank you for this.
9. UNCOMMON GOODS iPHONE CASES are just plain fun. The ones shown in the collage are on sale for only $9.99. There are so many styles that it would be easy to find the perfect one for anyone on your list that has an iPhone 4/4s/5. Follow my link and enter the giveaway for one (through 12/13/13).
10. LILLY BRUSH is a practical yet nice looking stocking stuffer. It does a great job on clothing that pills up and also for removing pet fur. I bet you have a long list that this would be appropriate for.

I can’t wait to read the other lists to see what I’ll be missing out on this holiday or what I should be shopping for now actually. Join me! — Marcia

*some items received for review

Makeup Wars: Cruelty Free Favorites

 photo cruelty-free-drugstore-makeup.jpg

It’s always fun to write a Makeup Wars post like this since it gives me a chance to really think about what I have and what I’d say are favorites. Truthfully I have a lot more products than you have the patience for so I picked 9 items that I’d buy again and again. Several of these were samples (*) but knowing that I will buy them myself led them to be the chosen ones.
1. Too Faced Boudoir Eyes palette – naturally I have all the pictures done and no time to write about this but this is a favorite and will be reviewed soon. Too Faced is known to be cruelty free and their eyeshadow palettes are beautiful. Their palettes are $36 which is great for 9 shadows.
2. Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Cream Blush* – ooh la la! I have both shades of the blush duos and I can’t stop wearing them. There’s a beautiful bright cool toned pink called Mr. Pink and a fabulous pinky coral called Coral Cameo. I could never pick a favorite since they are both out of this world, long lasting and of course cruelty free.
3. Tarte Smooth Operator Concealer* – I love tarte concealers. I truly love them. I recommend them to people all the time. They have a lot of formulas so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. Smooth Operator Concealer is my new favorite from tarte. I still use my others but this one sort of pushes them out of the way. It’s creamy, not messy, and like all tarte is cruelty free.
4. Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Foundation – the last few months I’ve been using mostly BB and CC creams but the minute the weather cooled down a little this is the foundation I took out. I apply it with their Good Karma Optical Illusion Brush and the finish is wonderful. There are so many shades of this that you really need to go in and get matched for it, once you have it though you won’t want to put it down.
5. Bootie Babe Nail Polish* – I’m c-c-crazy about my Bootie Babe! Not only are the bottles the cutest thing this side of Miley Cyrus but the polishes are beautiful and last. This is not the last time you’ll be hearing about Bootie Babe from me!
6. Beauty Blender Sponge – I’ve been using the Beauty Blender sponge for years and years. It’s affectionately known as the Pink Egg around here. Even my 2 year old grandson is fascinated with the Beauty Blender Sponge and is always taking it off my vanity or asking for it. He may think it’s a fun toy but I think it’s great for blending my foundations.
7. DermOrganic hair care* – I love trying new hair care (though not as much as my blog partner Lisa) but you always need a staple to come back to and DermOrganic has made that cut. This argan infused line leaves my hair shiny and easier to manage.
8. It Cosmetics brushes – I don’t own this set but it was a great way to show you several of the It Cosmetics brushes together plus it’s a great buy on QVC. The It Cosmetic brushes are superior cruelty free brushes and every one I have is a delight. The good news is that you’re able to buy It Cosmetics at Ulta now too so you’ll have several places to find this amazing line.
9. Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum* – actually I could have picked one of a dozen Reviva Labs products since they are all wonderful. I’m totally in love with their Makeup Primer, Anti-Irritant Gel, Vitamin E stick and this Hyaluronic Acid Serum. I wanted to include some skincare in this post and Reviva Labs jumped to the forefront. You can’t go wrong with this cruelty free well priced line.
Thanks so much for reading about some of my favorite products. Beauty Info Zone isn’t a cruelty free blog but we appreciate products that are and try to mention that in our reviews. There are wonderful CF brands as you can see. Which of these have you tried? — Marcia
Be sure to click on the rest of the links. You’ll be delighted to find products that you might not have realized were CF.

Makeup Wars – my repeat purchases aka the holy grail

It’s that time again. Makeup Wars!  If you haven’t been keeping up with us, Makeup Wars is a series with over a dozen amazing bloggers on a variety of topics. Today we have decided it show you the items we buy over and over. I’ve chosen to call them Holy Grails since I prefer these to similar products. These are products I consistently purchase and assume I’ll continue to do so for years to come.
So what has Marcia chosen and why?

Mary Kay Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover has been a constant for at least 10 years when I unwittingly ended up at an MK party. Actually I enjoyed the experience especially because I bought my first eye makeup remover there. Now I try to buy two or three at a time. The two items that I find the hardest to remove are gel eyeliner and mascara. No matter how stubborn those two are the Mary Kay works. I shake, squeeze it on my cotton square, hold it to my eye for a few seconds and wipe gently. I rarely need to add more since it’s so effective. Plus it’s not oily so if I’m redoing makeup I only have to pat on a little water and I’m set. The MK leads to the next item…makeup war repeat marykay

DHC Silky Cotton squares. I’ve used other brands of pads but this is what I stockpile. Since I hate paying shipping I always buy enough to avoid that charge and I’m set for a year. I like these because they are soft yet sturdy and they never shed fibers. I also buy Shiseido’s version because  those are super soft. But DHC stands up to eye makeup remover better. I usually only need one square for both eyes. I also use these for toner and other light liquids. These cost $5.50 for 80 pads and I now see that DermStore carries war repeat dhc

Another type of cleanser I love having on hand all the time is J.R. Watkins Hand Soap aka Natural Home Care Liquid Hand Soap. This comes in about 5 fragrances and is my favorite item to wash my hands with. I keep these in all my bathrooms. It’s  natural earth-friendly formula that is moisturizing without being sticky. It washes off cleanly without a residue. It’s only $4.99 at or Rite Aid and lasts me about 6 weeks. I buy the yummy citrus scents of lemon, orange and grapefruit.

makeup war repeat soap

YSL Touché Éclat   Another product I buy again and again. I buy this kind of concealer/highlighter from other brands all the time. I  probably have half a dozen similar products in my stash. But when it’s all said and done, this is my favorite. It’s not the best concealer but it brightens under my eyes making me feel more alive. I’ve got a few new brands of this type of concealer/highlighter I will be using to review, but they’ll always be compared to YSL war repeat ysl

Last in this list is the BeautyBlender sponge aka Beautyblender Makeup Sponge- accept no substitutes. I’ve got this type of sponge from Sonia Kashuk and MAC and they don’t compare. Other brands will tell you that they are as soft but they aren’t. I love my “Pink Egg” and have gone through quite a few. Mine almost always stains but it’s not entered in a beauty pageant – its job is to make my foundation look perfect and it succeeds. They now produce this in black and in white so if you choose those colors just make sure they are genuine. I’m a bouncer ladies but only with my war repeat sponges

Now that you’ve read my 5 choices let me know what you’ve been buying over and over again. Then when you are done do some clicking (bouncing) yourself to see what my fellow warriors have selected. — Marcia

Christina Choi and Le Metier de Beaute Face of the Day

christina choi FOD2

I used a combination of mostly Le Metier and Christina Choi products one day last week and I loved the results.  Here’s what I used:

For this face of the day, I used Le Metier de Beaute Classic Finish Foundation in V applied with a Beauty Blender. Next, I smoothed It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer under my eyes and on any dark or red areas.  After that, I applied Inglot Cream Blush in 81, followed by It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores loose powder and It Cosmetics Hello Light Powder Illumizer, plus a little bit of Le Metier Sun Kissed Bronzer.

CC eyes

Christina Choi Glitz & Glamour eyes

cc eyes

On my eyes, I used Christina Choi Glitz and Glamour which I reviewed HERE.  I used Chandelier on the lid, then I used the Glamour cake liner dry on the crease.  I followed with Glitz on the crease and down onto the lid.  Then I wet the cake liner with Face Atelier Transforming Gel and lined my upper lid.  I used Make Up For Ever Kohl Liner in black on my waterline.

cc eye

I used the cake liner as an eyeshadow – love multitaskers!

I used my Joey Healy Brow Architect Stylo in Molasses for my eyebrows.



My LM/CC FOD…love acronyms!

Lips were Clarins 01 Bay Rose Lip Definer, Guerlain Levres Lips 02 gloss, and I used my Verge One Spiral Wand on my hair.  Wow, sounds like a lot of products, but it didn’t take long to apply and I was totally ready for my day.  I loved my combination of favorite go-to products, it’s always great when things turn out even better than you had hoped!  – Lisa

*some items received from PR

Bouncing away with MAC Cosmetics

MAC comes out with new collections all the time but there hasn’t been much lately that’s made me want to go into the store. When I read that they were coming out with their BIG BOUNCE eyeshadows I was really excited since I love cream products. Then the reviews started coming out and they really weren’t favorable. I asked several MAC employees though and they all seemed to like them. The color that was most recommended to me was Trophy so eventually a shoppin’ I did go.

Trophy is a beautiful peach with some gold pearl to it. Big Bounce ($16.50) are in the same containers that MAC Paint Pots come in. The texture is very soft, almost like the texture of sour cream (what an image!). It’s more of a mousse texture. The most important thing to remember with Big Bounce shadows is that LESS IS MORE. If you put too much on these will crease but if you apply a light layer I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with these.

I’ve worn Trophy with and without eyeshadow primer. I prefer using it with a primer and think it lasts a lot longer that way. I’ve also worn it alone with just black eyeliner and also with eyeshadows. Powder eyeshadows blend easily over Big Bounce though I find that when I waited too long before applying eyeshadow that it was a little harder to blend them well. With testing I’ve found that the best brush to get the right amount on has been the MAC 217. Now that I have Trophy and know that it works well I’ll be checking out one of the other 15 shades. Top eye is Trophy alone, generously applied. Bottom eye is Trophy as a light base with Le Metier de Beaute‘ Rose Champagne on the lid and Le Metier de Beaute’ Corinthian in the crease. That turned out to be a stunning combination.

When I was at the MAC store I saw another product that also bounces. It’s called the PRO PERFORMANCE SPONGE and it too had to come home with me.This is MAC’s version of the “Original Beauty Blender Sponge”. It costs $18 and is available at MAC stores and online only, not counters. I’ve written before about the Beauty Blender Sponge and said many times that it’s a Holy Grail item for me. I use mine just about every day. (On the right is a new but creased BB sponge, on the left is a new MAC sponge.)

These two sponges aren’t the same. There are several differences. MAC has a very wide head with a pointy bottom to get into the crevices of your face. Beauty Blender is an egg shape and there’s not the big difference in size from top to bottom. The MAC Pro Performance Sponge is bigger and when it’s wet it doesn’t expand in the same way. Both though work well with foundation and concealer.

Beside the fact that they look different the texture of them is different. What makes me prefer the BB sponge though is the softness of it. The BB is more flexible and smoother. The texture of the MAC sponge reminds me more of the ones I bought from Sonia Kashuk at Target.

I can’t speak to the longevity of the MAC since I’ve only been using it about 2 weeks. I do know that with proper care that the Beauty Blender will last me a full year. Both of them stain for me in the same way so if you are fussy about keeping it pink then you probably should be using throwaways.

I think Bounce is a good name for these products since I bounce around in my feelings for them. Sometimes I like them a lot, sometimes I’m on the fence. I’ve got to say though that I like both of these but I’m not sure that I’ve fallen in love with either one. — Marcia