Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Myglam Glam Bag Review

Well I just got my Myglam bag for April.  I was really hoping for some better things this month, but I'm beginning to think this might not be worth the money each month.  I was pretty disappointed with the items in this month's bag.
First of all, the bag is absolutely hideous!  It's a gross metallic pink, kind of has a  fake leather feel to it.  It's probably just my opinion, but it's definitely not something I would use (perhaps if it were a different color.)  It feels very cheap and has a weird smell to it (like paint), very similar to the bag last month.  Here is what was included this month:
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Ransom
Dermstore Lip Quench Moisture Infused Lip Treatment
All-Belle False Eyelashes
Myglam All Over Shadow Brush and Eyeliner Brush
Like I had suspected last month, they included two more mini brushes.  The one they included last month came in a plastic wrapping, but these don't.  I'm not sure why, but I think it might be a little more sanitary that way.  The brushes are a lot smaller than the one from last month and don't feel so nice.  They're a little scratchy, but thankfully they don't smell nearly as bad as the other one I got.  I'm not crazy about the false lashes either since I don't use them.  I also wish the packaging was in English, or came with an English translation.
I'm pleased with the Urban Decay eyeliner.  I was scared I was going to get a weird color like the bright pink one, but I'm happy with the color I got (Ransom).  I don't really need another purple eyeliner, but this will be nice to try out.  I did try out the lip balm today and it's alright.  It seems to have a slight tint to it and a fruity scent, which I'm not that fond of.  But it is very moisturizing and a good size too.  I liked these two samples the best out of the bag.
I also noticed there was no full-sized product included this time, nor were there any coupons.  I feel like there is a lack of variety with Myglam.  We've already seen a bag with Urban Decay and Dermstore, two bags in the past have had Freemans products and we got more makeup brushes in this bag too.  It sucks to see that the products have been going downhill.  I feel like the first bag was so promising, but since then I've yet to find one that I'm impressed with.  I'm a little tired of getting drugstore and infomercial type products with Myglam.  I also feel like they only send skin/hair care products rather than makeup.  I think the first bag in December was all makeup, but since then I've noticed there have been less and less makeup products, so I'd definitely like to see more of that.  I think I will be canceling my subscription this month and sticking with Birchbox.  Although they are sometimes a hit or miss, I feel like they have more variety and I actually use the stuff I get in my Birchbox.  
Anyone else get a Myglam bag this month?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 16, 2012

NOTD China Glaze- Agro

This is the other color I bought from the Capitol Colors collection from China Glaze.  Agro is a really pretty olive green color with gold shimmer.  This color looks amazing in sunlight, when you can really see the shimmer. 
The formulation on this was great.  The swatch you see above is only one coat, so this polish is very opaque.  This polish was a little thicker than Fast Track so the application wasn't as smooth.  But because it was so opaque in one coat, I had to be really careful applying it.  It lasted quite a long time on my nails.  I wore this to The Hunger Games premier and it lasted a good 5-6 days without chipping. 
I'm really beginning to like China Glaze nail polishes!  Are there any other good colors you'd recommend?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wedding Planning: Venue Reviews

Sunset Ranch
Sunset Ranch
 This was one of the first sites we visited.  Sunset Ranch is located on the North Shore at the very end of Pupukea Road.  The view from this place was incredible!  It's also quite secluded and feels very private on the ranch which was nice. The woman who gave us the tour was very helpful (I can't remember her name) and answered a lot of our questions.
  • The rental fees were for an all-day rental (10am-10pm) and gave full use of the facilities.  They don't book more than one event per day.
  • Location!  The view here was amazing, and overall the property looked great (despite the storm from the previous week).   Unique location that not many people know about.
  • Allowed outside catering.
  • Outdoor and indoor space (they had a barn that you could hold the reception in), or you had the option of setting up tents on the lawn.
  • Guest suites were included in the cost.  You can use these for the day to get ready in and they included en suite bathrooms too.
  • Free parking on-site.
  • Price!  For a party of our size (about 80 people) it was $3,000 for the site.  This was the most expensive place we saw.  They were willing to offer a Kamaaina discount, and had a Facebook promotion that would take $250 off, but even than it was still out of our budget.
  • Bathrooms, although included in the guest rooms were only for brides and close family to use.  Other guests were to use the portable AC restroom trailer.   It actually looked pretty nice, but I could see a line forming easily (only one mens and one womans bathroom).  The concept was interesting, but I guess I would prefer something indoors.
  • The site was quite big, and I think almost too big for under a party our size.  Also, since it's on the North Shore it's a long drive for a lot of our friends and relatives.
  • No smoking allowed on property.  Not that I smoke, but a lot of friends and relatives do, so that would be a problem.
While this place was amazing, and it did meet a lot of our requirements, it was out of our budget and a little too big, which is why we chose to keep looking.  

Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch Moili Gardens
Kualoa Ranch was the second venue we visited, and this one was much more reasonable than Sunset Ranch.  They had several different sites that we could chose from, and the views were great!  The tour was very through and we got to see all the sites.  Kristi who did our tour was really helpful.
  • Price was reasonable.  For up to 150 guests, an all day rental was $1500, half the price of Sunset Ranch.  For certain sites like Secret Island, it cost more and there were time restrictions, but for the most part, the sites were reasonably priced.
  • Choice of different sites within the venue.
  • Allowed outside catering (at an additional cost)
  • Great outdoor spaces with nice views.  Each site also had a covered pavilion area which would make a nice reception area.  Good size for our party.
  • Free parking on-site.
  • Catering fee was something like $2.50 per person if we chose to use outside catering. 
  • Location was a little far, and through it is secluded some of the rental sites felt very touristy and felt a little dated.
  • They don't really provide an on-site room to get ready in. 
Overall they offered a competitive price, but I wasn't too keen about paying extra for the catering.

Hawaii State Art Museum
Hawaii State Art Museum Courtyard
This place was right in the middle of Downtown Honolulu.  I didn't even know the building existed, let alone rented the facility out for events.  The building looks nice from the outside, very European.  They had several rental options.  We didn't actually take a tour of this place, we just went there one day to look around.  I did email them for some information though.
  • Location is right in downtown Honolulu, so it's pretty central and convenient.  
  • Rental options included the lawn in front of the museum, or the courtyard upstairs.  I loved the courtyard and it would have made a nice and intimate setting for the reception.  There is also a nice open garden downstairs too.
  • Allows outside catering.
  • Prices quoted are only good for a rental period of 5 hours maximum.  I would prefer an all day rental so there isn't as much time constraint.  I don't plan on the wedding going all day, but it's always nice to have some flexibility.
  • Overall it's quite expensive.  Not as bad as Sunset Ranch, but considering it's only 5 hours it's not such a great deal.  For the courtyard option it would be $2400 for the 5 hour period.  
  • It's only available Tuesday through Saturday after 4pm, which wouldn't work for us since we wanted a day reception.
  • Because it is a museum, there are a lot of rules to follow in regards to decorations etc.  
I really liked the look and feel of this place, but for the price I think it's a little out of our budget.

Queen Emma Summer Palace
  This was actually one of the last places we looked at.  I started to feel like we were running out of options especially for our budget, so I was really happy when we found this place.  I actually heard about it from a co-worker who said he had been to a wedding here once.  Queen Emma Summer Palace is located right near Oahu Country Club on Pali Highway.  It's actually a historical site, but can be rented out for events.  
  • Very reasonable and budget friendly!  They actually have 2 sites you can rent: Prince Albert Terrace which is $400 for all day rental, as well as Emmalani Hale which for a party our size would be about $400, also for all day rental.  At a combined total of about $800 this is by far the cheapest place we found!
  • The site is really nice.  Small and intimate so I think it would be the prefect size. I think this would also be a unique place to get married, since it is a historical site.
  • Indoor and outdoor space.  Although the indoor space seems a little small, they also allow tents which would be nice for additional covered outdoor space.
  • Allows outside catering.
  • Parking might be an issue.  With a party of 50 or more they do require a valet service, so that would be an additional cost.  
  • Since this is a historical site, the palace hours will coincide with our actual wedding.  This place can get a bit crowded, at least it was the day we went there.
  • Weather could be a problem.  It's located on the Pali so there definitely is a chance of rain.  
So after going to look at this place and talking to some of the staff there, we decided on Queen Emma Summer Palace for our wedding.  There are some downsides, but the cost is definitely what sealed the deal.  It's incredible affordable and the place itself is really nice.  I think it would be prefect for a group our size.  We are hopefully meeting with someone on Monday to pay the booking fee, and that would secure the date!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wedding Planning: The Hunt For The Perfect Venue

Wow, the past few months have been pretty busy!  I'm finally getting around to writing this post, and I'm happy to say I think we have finally settled on a wedding venue!  Finding a venue that was within our budget and that met our needs turned out to be a lot harder than I thought.  It took us about a good two months of researching and visiting several sites to finally decide.  Here are some of the things we were looking for:
- Allows outside catering
Since my father-in-law offered to cater our wedding as their gift to us, this was at the top of our list.  This actually ruled out a lot of venues in town, namely hotels, that didn't allow outside caterers.  We found a couple sites that we liked (Laniakea YWCA), that we couldn't use because of this condition, so we just had to keep looking.
- Outdoor venue 
We really wanted to have our wedding outdoors.  This is Hawaii after all, and finding an outdoor venue wasn't too difficult, however I would have preferred to have a "plan-B" (aka an indoor space) in case of rain.  A lot of the venues we went to see had a nice big outdoor space as well as an indoor or covered area. 
Well, quite frankly we don't have a firm budget.  We have a rough estimate at about $10,000, but nothing really set in stone.  I think the cheaper the better, but finding a cheap venue in Hawaii wasn't easy!  The sites we visited ranged anywhere from $800 to $3000 for anywhere from 5 hours to a full day rental. We were hoping to find something under $2000, but again, the cheaper the better!
- Parking
We would have preferred free parking (or parking fee that was included in the rental fee) and something that wouldn't be a hassle for our guests.  Most of the places did offer free parking, but some would leave guests needing to find street or public parking, which would be really difficult.
- LGBT friendly
To be honest, this was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process, for me at least.  We were fortunate to find that people were very accommodating and didn't get any negative reactions for anyone.  For most of the venues they had never had a same-sex couple married there before, so they were equally excited.

Now on to the list of places we were considering
  • Sunset Ranch
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Hawaii State Art Museum
  • Queen Emma Summer Palace
  • Bishop Museum
  • Waikiki Aquarium
I will do a separate blog about each venue with pros and cons, and you'll see the one we ended up choosing.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Fast Track

When the China Glaze Capitol Colors collection was released, I picked up two colors: Agro and Fast Track.  I had never used China Glaze nail polish before, but I have to say I'm really impressed with the quality and application! 
Fast Track is a really pretty neutral beige color with lots of gold shimmer, which looks amazing in sunlight!.  As soon as I saw the swatches for the collection I knew I had to buy this color.  It's a great neutral color and it's work-appropriate (compared to some of the other really bright ones from this collection.)  Application was nice!  This polish was more sheer compared to Agro so I used two coats here to build the opacity. 
Anyone else get polished from The Hunger Games collection?  What did you think?

Monday, April 9, 2012

March 2012 Birchbox Review

So, as expected I also received my March Birchbox late this month.  I'm not sure why there is a sudden change in the shipping time, because it never took me 2+ weeks to get my other boxes.  It's a little annoying that I have to wait so long, but I'm very pleased with this month's box!  I opted for the special Teen Vogue box and here's what I got:
Annick Goutai Petite Cherie perfume sample
Essie Luxe Effects- Set In Stones (full sized)
Peter Thomas Roth Mac Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel
tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tine in Joy
twistband Hair Tie
ModCloth discount code
I was most excited to see the full sized Essie nail polish!  I've heard a lot of great things about the Luxe effects line and can't wait to try it out!  The mattifying gel is a nice sample size and definitely something I've been looking to try out for my oily skin.  I just hope it doesn't break me out.  The tarte Lipsrugence pencil is also a really nice size and I'll definitely get  a lot of use out it.  The color Joy is a bright coral/orange color, which isn't something I would usually wear, but I'll definitely give it a try.  It was also nice to see them include a coupon with this box.  The coupons (although not always something I'll make use of) are something I really like from Myglam, and hopefully there will be one in next month's box too!  The only thing I'm not crazy about is the perfume sample.  I don't know if it's just me, but I almost never use any of the perfume samples I get from Birchbox.  I never really found one I liked, and I'm not crazy about seeing them in every single box I've received.  Other than that I really like what I got this month.
Sorry for the lack of posts lately!  I've been busy with work and wedding planning (I'll do an update post soon).  Hope everyone had a good Easter weekend!