Charcoal Masks are INTENSE (Giveaway!)

The folks at ASDM Beverly Hills were awesome enough to send me their new Detox & Renew Charcoal Mask to try out. I've only ever tried one other charcoal mask so I was interested to see if different masks had different effects.

This particular mask comes inside a rather large box. (See the first image above.) Inside the box is the 2 oz jar containing the product and a fan brush for applying it. I have to say that the box seemed unnecessarily large for the two items. The jar takes up about 1/3 of the space and the brush fits flush against the side of the box. Sure, it is taller than the jar but there is still a lot of empty box wasted. The brush could probably be a lot shorter without having any real effect on the usefulness of the tool. Then the box itself could be smaller as well.

Like many masks, the instructions are pretty easy. After washing your face, use the fan brush to brush on a thin layer of the charcoal mask, making sure you avoid the eye and nostril areas. Wait somewhere between 2 and 10 minutes, then rinse off. Easy peasy!

But this is where things went wrong for me. As you can see in the picture, I have a very thin layer on my skin and I thought I avoided the eye and nostril area. However, my eyes started burning the second the mask touched my skin. Shortly thereafter, my skin started feeling very warm as well. It's difficult to tell from this picture but I am having a very hard time keeping my eyes open long enough to snap a shot of the mask actually on my face. Unfortunately, I couldn't even wait two minutes before having to wash it off. For the rest of the night, the skin between my nose and my cheekbones was red and felt very warm, almost like the product actually burned me. Very disappointing.

Have you ever tried a charcoal mask? The first one I tried didn't seem to get nearly as hot as this one did. What are your experiences with charcoal masks?

ASDM Beverly Hills has given me a jar of their charcoal mask to give away to one of my readers. The contest will run from 10/27/15 through 10/31/15 and is open to everyone. The winner will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on 11/1/15 so be sure to follow me on both of those platforms. Good luck!

I received a sample of the charcoal mask for free in exchange for this review. All opinions contained within are my own.

One To Go Giveaway

One to Go by Mike Pace tells the story of Tom Booker, an alcoholic attorney in Washington DC. The story is a little difficult to tell so, please, bear with me. Tom is a divorced father. One Saturday, he was late picking up his daughter and two of her friends for a field trip. Annoyed by his tardiness, his ex-wife sent the kids off with her sister. As Tom was rushing to get to the kids, he texted his ex-wife, attempting to figure out the plans for the day. Of course, this means Tom got into a huge accident on a bridge. A teenage driver was killed and the van containing the kids (and his ex-sister-in-law) teeters over the river below.

Just then, two preppy-looking demons jog up to him. They offer him a deal. He can "take back" the accident but he would have to kill five other people in exchange for the lives saved. Disoriented by the crash, Tom agrees to the deal. But can he really murder five people?

While I loved the idea of the plot, this book was not very well executed. At a whopping 313 pages in length, not once are we given a reason to care about the lives of these characters. Sure, we're supposed to believe that Tom is protecting his daughter but he never really acts like he loves her. He spends most of his time getting drunk and sleeping around. Even when he is supposed to be emotionally torn about murdering people, he doesn't ever seem like it really bothers him. He just goes back to drinking and screwing. 

I really wanted to like the book. The plot sounded so interesting to me. In the end, One To Go is a short story that was never fully fleshed out to become a real novel. And that makes me sad.

Oceanview Publishing is giving away a copy of the book to one of my readers. I hope that you will read the book and think that I am being overly critical. Perhaps you will see the characterization that I missed. The giveaway ends on September 18. 

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this review. All opinions contained within are my own. 

Evian Facial Spray giveaway

I'm pretty sure everyone has heard about Evian, the bottled water.  But did you know they also make a facial spray? The Wilkes Group, the US distributor of the spray, has allowed me to host a giveaway for it. Twenty people will each win two 5-oz facial sprays. Just click below to enter! The giveaway ends on 3/29/15. Good luck!


One Direction Makeup Kits - Mascara, Lip Gloss, Nail Polish

Even though my daughter is not a One Direction fan, I had to try their new makeup. I mean, when I was her age, I had the Debbie Gibson perfume (which I would still wear if they still made it!) but I don't remember if any celebrities made actual makeup products. Since there are gobs of One Direction fans out there, I needed to make sure this stuff was at least decent makeup. 

First up is the mascara. It comes in three colors - "Why Don't We Go There?" is blue, "Does He Know?" is pink, and "Story Of My Life" is yellow. Personally, I think yellow is a weird color for mascara but I'm not the one that has to wear it. Back when I was in my early 20s, I used to wear blue mascara. Never tried pink though. The cool thing about these is that they also double as a "hair mascara." If you want to add a stripe of color too your hair, you just swipe the brush through the strands. Since my hair is dyed, I'm not going to try that. I will, however, put this stuff on my eyelashes!

All three of the colors came out spectacularly bright. While the yellow is not  my favorite, it still looked nice. Both the blue and the pink looked fabulous! And it is pretty easy to put the colors together for a new look. Say, do your entire lash blue but then put some pink on the very ends. I love it!

Of course, there is also a lip gloss set. This one also has three colors - "Through The Dark" is red, "Taken" is pink, and "Kiss You" is an orange. These glosses supposedly change colors under UV light. However, I don't have a UV light to test that theory. According to the box, the red turns neon red-orange, the pink turns neon pink-orange, and the orange turns neon yellow. I'm not sure how many teenage girls have UV lights in order to take advantage of this "feature." 

All three of these lip glosses have glitter in them. Quite a bit of glitter, to be honest. Considering the target audience, I don't blame them. I think the teenage girls will love glittery lips. The orange one is probably the worst. It barely shows up on the skin. It's basically a lot of glitter with a little color. The pink one isn't too awful. It does have a nice candy pink color, again, with tons of glitter. My favorite is the red one. (OK, they call it "poppy." It's red.) It has some really nice color to it with just the right amount of glitter to make your lips sparkle without looking like you tried to eat a craft store. 

The last piece of the puzzle is a nail polish kit. This kit has three polish colors and three different colored glitter bottles. "Happily" is the blue nail polish, "Moments" is the pink, and "Diana" is a silver glitter polish. The glitter bottles consist of "Kicks" (blue), "Not Afraid" (pink),  and "Star" (purple?). Supposedly all of these also react to UV light.

These things are just weird. The best of the three is "Diana." Even though it is basically a clear nail polish with glitter, it still looks much better than the other two. "Happily" is so sheer that you can see your nail right through the blue. You would need at least three coats for this to have any real effect. "Moments" isn't terrible but it is a very neon pink. Like 80s neon pink. I'm not sure 2014 girls would even want to wear this color. 

I will admit that I did not try to add-on glitter. One, it looks super messy. They come in these tiny little pots and, in order to use the glitter, you would need to pour it out onto a plate or buy a separate brush or something. Two, there isn't a whole lot there. Since I don't particularly want glitter nails, I decided to save it for someone who would want to use it. You might be able to get one whole hand out of each pot. I'm not sure why they made them so small. The nail polish is definitely my least favorite of the three kits.

As a whole, I am kinda impressed with these kits. I figured that, since they are celebrity endorsed products, that they would be complete crap. Just another product made to drain the teenager's money. However, they aren't half bad. The nail polish sucks a bit but it can be pretty hard to find decent nail polish that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. If I were a younger woman, I would definitely use the mascara and probably the lip gloss. They would be absolutely awesome for costumes though. Very bright colors that can be seen from far away. Good job, One Direction!

Want to win your own set of One Direction makeup? Here you go!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, all opinions contained within are solely my own. 

Old Factory Candle Gift Set Review & Giveaway!

I love candles but I don't get to burn them very often. My house is filled with all sorts of things (both animal- and people-related) that will easily knock over a lit candle. The last thing I need is my house burning down! Sometimes I burn candles in my office but not very frequently because there is a LOT of paper there. Fire hazards everywhere! But I couldn't resist the Winter Wonderland gift set from Old Factory Candles. I know, I know. I hate winter. These aren't cold, though. They just smell like winter.

The gift set contains three 2 ounce soy candles. This particular set has Hot Cocoa, Roasted Chestnut, and First Snow as the scents. I mostly picked it for the Hot Cocoa. I can never have too much chocolate!

Hot Cocoa smells exactly like a steaming cup of hot cocoa! Just like cocoa, the scent is more along the lines of a dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. It is a very deep, pure chocolate smell. If you have ever been on the tour in Hershey's Chocolate World, you can find a similar smell in the beginning parts of the tour. It is delicious!

Roasted Chestnut is a little more difficult to describe. You would think that it would have a nutty smell but it doesn't. It has a light scent that sort of has a vanilla type of feel to it. I think that this would probably be good if you are looking for a scent that isn't very overpowering. Something that will just give you a slight wintery feel without going overboard like a pine tree or gingerbread scented candle might.

First Snow is an interesting scent. I'm not even sure how to describe it. I wouldn't say that it smells like snow. It has a little more of a baby powder type smell to it? I don't know. It smells nice but it is a scent that has you thinking "I should know what this is but I don't." Very weird.

If these scents aren't for you, they have a ton of others available. Coffee Shop, with Coffee Bean, Hazelnut, and Chai Tea scents, sounds perfect for the person that loves coffee. There is a Fall Harvest set that contains Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry, and Autumn Leaves, which might be great to get your house set for Thanksgiving dinner. Or, if you are super into Christmas, there is a Happy Holidays set with Christmas Tree, Candy Cane, and Gingerbread scents. And there are even sets for the "Manly Man" type. The Man Cave set has Straight Razor, Leather, and Mahogany, which definitely sounds interesting. 

So even though I'm not ready for it to be winter yet, I'll be burning some of these candles to try to try to get me hyped for the colder months. Maybe they will help me get through the next six months until summer comes back. I'm ready for you, summer!

Old Factory is being awesome enough to give away one of their candle sets for free! The giveaway runs from November 11 through November 18. Good luck!

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