In-Depth Ipsy Glam Bag Review

As I mentioned before, I signed up for the Ipsy subscription service in November. I also mentioned that I would do a review of the service, so here I am. This is a comprehensive review of the entire service overall, so get ready for some opinions.


Michelle Phan (of YouTube fame) announced in November of 2011 that she was launching a beta beauty subscription service called The service was wildly popular, with many people on the wait list behind the 100,000 beta subscribers. When Phan noticed that subscribers liked posting photos and videos of their bag contents and makeup looks where they are utilized, she incorporated socialization into the service.

This is how Ipsy (launched September 2012) was born. It features the appeal of a beauty subscription service and the draw of a community of beauty enthusiasts around it. Ipsy boasts “stylists” (read: other big names in the YouTube beauty world) that help pick out items for Glam Bags each month and post videos using each month’s make up.

What You Get

For $10 per month, you get a makeup bag with 4-5 deluxe sized and/or full sized products. Products featured in the bag run the gamut from make up (think mascara, eye shadow, blush, etc.), to hair care (leave-in conditioners, hair spray, etc.), to skin care (face serums, masks, BB creams, etc).

Each month, there are usually between 14 and 18 possible products, each one from a different brand. 4-5 are chosen for you via the IpsyMatch customization service launched in May of 2013. Even for the items you do not receive that month, Ipsy gives you a discount code or offer especially for Ipsy members to shop these brands.


IpsyMatch, a feature that Ipsy launced in May 2013, takes the results from the Beauty Quiz you take upon signing up for the service as well as reviews for your Glam Bags and their contents and uses them to choose items each month that you are more likely to love. From what I’ve seen on the Ipsy chats, most people like the idea of IpsyMatch but are frustrated that they can’t opt out of an item or two that they would never use (examples: false eye lashes, blush, etc). Ipsy is a quickly evolving and increasingly sophisticated service, so this may be coming in the future.

Who Is Ipsy For?

After receiving 4 Glam Bags, I would say Ipsy’s target market skews younger, due to it’s heavy use of various social media platforms to display information not immediately found on their website such as item sneak peeks and monthly contests and giveaways.

I would also say that Ipsy is great for those who want exposure to different brands, types of makeup, and colors. This is not a subscription for those who are pretty set in their beauty ways. The service really emphasizes exploring different looks, styles, brands, etc. That said, even with the IpsyMatch functionality, you may find what I call a “wild card” item or two. I don’t mind, because I like the idea of being able to play around with products I may not normally pick up for myself.

Overall Impression

I really like the Ipsy subscription service overall. I’ve received some face serum, nail polish, and eye shadows that I really love and wouldn’t have normally been exposed to. I love stalking Ipsy’s Instagram to find out that month’s Glam Bag item sneak peeks. I like the social component of Ipsy’s website. I like that the contents each month’s bag are normally worth at least $15 more than what you’re paying.

I am assigning a score of 8/10 for the service and I would be pretty darn likely to recommend Ipsy to those who really like make up or subscription services.

The reason I didn’t assign a 10/10 would be because there is no option (at least yet) to opt out of receiving a certain type of product or two. There is also no option as of yet to skip a month of service or otherwise suspend it. If you wanted that flexibility, you would have to completely cancel your subscription, and then rejoin and possibly wait on the wait list later.

Feel Like Joining?

If you want to know more about Ipsy, just go go

You can also follow my referral link (if you do, I get points towards the occasional extra item in my Ipsy bag) here.

Yay for marathon writing! I hope that my in-depth review was helpful.



Spring Break Check List

As you are all aware by now, I’m not traveling anywhere fun for Spring Break this year. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get to have fun too!  Here are some of the activities and goodies that are on my Spring Break To-Do Check List!

Reading: It’s a requisite. When I have time off from school or work, I read. Here are some of the books I’ll be reading on my Kindle Fire:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

Yes, I’ve seen the two movies so far, and no, I haven’t read The Hobbit yet. I can hear you hissing at me. I’ve read the first few pages so far and I can see why the book is a cult favorite.

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

What can I say? I like authors with lots of abbreviations in their names. Seriously, though, I have yet to finish the first tome (I’m 80% of the way in) and I really want to power through. My goal is to get to start the second book by the end of spring break.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I picked this novel up in when it released in 2009 on a friend’s recommendation and I remember really liking it. It’s a more dangerous, complicated take on a high school girl and the paranormal world. Plot twist: the main female protagonist doesn’t want to get swept up in the supernatural! Gasp!

Netflix Binging: We all knew this was going to happen.

Dr. Who, Season 5

House of Cards, Season 2

A Young Doctor’s Notebook with Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm

Eating: This spring break, I’m going to take the time to cook and bake goodies that I don’t normally have the time to.

Lemon Bars

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Aoli (This helped me win my boyfriend’s stomach)

Drinking: Largely non-alcoholic beverages

I may have to try one of these awesome margaritas, thanks to Cosmopolitan.

Tons of berry-based smoothies

Café Americano from my favorite local bakery/coffee shop

Homemade lemonade or iced tea


This is the bulk of my list. It’s looking a little hedonistic, but hey, whose spring break isn’t? What do you guys have on your spring break check lists? Any books, recipes, etc that I should know about?

Leave a comment below!


58 Ways to Entertain Yourself At Home or In Your Dorm

This list is inspired by days when you’re cooped up in the house, like the day I’ll likely have tomorrow when class is cancelled by Winter Storm Pax.


I just HAD to use a Supernatural GIF

  1. Read a new book.
  2. Reread an old book.
  3. Watch YouTube tutorials.
  4. Watch YouTube animal videos.
  5. Watch music videos on YouTube or on Vevo.
  6. Watch something on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.
  7. Watch old DVDs you have around the house.
  8. Exercise
  9. Play music and host a rockin’ one person dance party.
  10. Write reviews for your Amazon purchases (it’s oddly addictive).
  11. Write a poem.
  12. Create a blog (Hi!).
  13. Draw, if you’re artistically inclined.
  14. Take a bubble bath or therapeutic Epsom salt bath.
  15. Skype or FaceTime with someone you don’t normally see.
  16. Start an Instagram or Twitter account for your pet.
  17. Make a toy/treat for your pet and feed/play with them.
  18. Turn to Pinterest for upcycling ideas for everyday household items.
  19. Turn to Pinterest for fun DIY/craft ideas.
  20. Make a new Pinterest pinboard and PIN ALL THE THINGS.
  21. Dust off the ol’ 52 card deck and play Go Fish, Spoons, War, etc.
  22. Start writing that novel!
  23. Learn how to Photoshop pictures with tons of free online tutorials. (Google them!)
  24. Explore your phone’s or tablet’s app store and take advantage of interesting free apps.
  25. Try out a new cocktail recipe!
  26. Bake cookies!
  27. Make your own nut butter.
  28. Make your own pesto.
  29. Play your favorite video game.
  30. Find fun, new, interesting, or healthy recipes online and bookmark them for later.
  31. Organize the items in your beauty routine (I’m talking ‘bout those bottles under your sink).
  32. Make a collage with magazines and newspapers lying around the house.
  33. Post restaurant reviews on Yelp.
  34. Give yourself a facial or other skin care treatment (Hello, pore strips!)
  35. Write and post a fan fiction piece (Hey, it doesn’t have to be dirty. But that’s cool if it is).
  36. If you know an instrument, play it.
  37. Take pictures in and around your house.
  38. Take a nap.
  39. Do or get ahead on your homework. I can hear people laughing at this suggestion as I type it.
  40. Have a naked party. Seriously, if you’re alone, it may be fun. Get to know yourself.
  41. Break out your labeler and go nuts labeling things.
  42. Give yourself a manicure or a pedicure. Cuticles, trimming, buffing, soaking. The whole nine yards.
  43. Make a sock puppet.
  44. Go window shopping online.
  45. Call or text your friends.
  46. Have a “Most Ridiculous Snapchat” contest with your friends.
  47. Find a new computer desktop picture.
  48. Brew and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.
  49. Do one of those newspaper crosswords or sudokus.
  50. Research and start a new hobby. Coding, anyone?
  51. Do something positive financially, like open an online savings account, or a Mint account.
  52. Run diagnostic, cleanup, and maintenance tasks on your computer.
  53. Clean fingerprints and dust off of your tv, computers, phones, tablets, etc.
  54. Do some laundry. We all know you probably ought to.
  55. Collect nonperishable foods and clothes you no longer want for donation.
  56. Meditate.
  57. Take online quizzes. Because we all need to know which Sailor Moon character we are.
  58. Take online surveys for rewards. Swagbucks is a great place to do so.

Here’s just a small list to get you started. Is there anything interesting you like to do to entertain yourself at home? Tell me about it below!

‘Til Next Time…Stay Entertained, Interwebs!


Budget Bytes – My New Favorite Budget Recipe Resource

Hola, fellow FlatBrok-ers! (I’m trying out a different greeting. How is it going over?)

Since the new year, I have been able to stick to my resolution of working out at least 3 days a week (yay me!) and have mostly been able to keep up with eating in a healthful way. It’s likely we all slip off the bandwagon. Maybe it’s because some healthy foods seem inconvenient or maybe you think you can’t eat healthy on a budget.

Well these are valid excuses no more!

About a week and a half ago I stumbled upon a wonderful blog run by a lovely lady named Beth. That blog is Budget Bytes. And let me tell you, it was love at first click.

The site is chock full of very well organized recipes for every craving. You want budget breakfast recipes? Beth’s got ’em. Indian dishes? Beth’s got ’em. Vegetarian and vegan recipes? She has them too.

And what sets this blog ahead of other frugal blogs is the fact that she breaks down the price of every ingredient, each serving, as well as the entire recipe! Budget Bytes is focused filling, healthful, (and lately sriracha-coated) budget recipes, which is great since the boyfriend and I are trying to eat a diverse yet healthy and satisfying diet. I guess we’re picky like that.

If you want a more healthful diet than the stuff that you buy at the college food court (hello, sodium and cholesterol) then check this website out. To get you started, check out my favorite recipe: the Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs. The boyfriend even called them “badass”.

Til next time!


Black Friday/Cyber Monday- Swagbucks Codes Galore!

Swag Code Alert

Hi guys! Welcome to my grandly titled post. It is a bit of a long title, right? But I just needed to get all of that information in there.

Anyhow, down to business. As I’m sure you are very well aware, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly upon us. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t feel like braving the crowds in the crazy cold, snowy, bipolar weather we are having in Pennsylvania, so I’m going to be doing my shopping from the warm, comfy haven that is my bed. In my pjs. Watching Family Guy. With hot cocoa. It’s how it should be done, really.

And, as you guys are also well aware of, I love using Swagbucks. If you need a refresher on what it is, click here to view my first post about it. Swagbucks is offering TRIPLE the normal amount of Swagbucks per dollar spent at all of their Shop & Earn partners on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday! Get Swagbucks back for all of the holiday shopping you’d do anyway to redeem for gift cards. Sounds good to me.

Swagbucks is offering a slew of Swagcodes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can get an extra 50 SBs worth of codes on Friday and an extra 60 SBs worth on Monday. That’s a really decent ways toward your next giftcard.

I mean, if you’re gonna be online shopping anyway, why not get rewarded for it?

I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda psyched for all of this. Good deals, bonus Swagcodes, and triple SBs per dollar spent? I’m SO there. You guys should totally take advantage of this!  It doesn’t happen everyday!

If you’re not already using Swagbucks, what’s stopping you? Click here to sign up using my referral code, otherwise, just pop on over to!

Happy Shopping!


Ipsy Glam Bag Subscriber!

Hey all!

     I’m officially a Bag subscriber! Yes!!

     For those of you who don’t know the gravity of this sentence, I shall explain. Ipsy is a beauty bag subscription service piloted by beauty guru extraordinaire (objectively) Michelle Phan! She got her start on Youtube a few years ago and used her fame to pursue such ventures as Ipsy (whose subscribers are called Ipsters. Cute, right?) and even premiere her own makeup line Em Cosmetics under the L’Oreal Luxe umbrella. They also handle YSL, Lancome, Kiehls, etc.

     Ipsy sends you 4-5 deluxe sample size or full sized beauty products from companies such as Pixi, Nailtini, Zoya, Buxom, etc, all for $10 a month! Woo! Now of course, my FlatBroke-ness had to come in somewhere, right? According to others who have received Ipsy bags, their monthly value is usually in the $40 to $50 range, so you really get a bang for your buck, and the excitement of a package in the mail each month!

     However, Ipsy is having a crazy surge of attention, so the company puts new subscribers on a waitlist for what seems like an an average of 3 weeks before they start the billing and shipping process. I was lucky to get off after just 12 days. 🙂

     Of course, given the nature of the products and the price you’re paying (which includes shipping, by the by), my shoestring-budget-college-self is intrigued. I’ll be so psyched to receive my first bag in mid-December and of course, I’ll do a review of the service.



A Pretty Excited FlatBrokeCoed

P.S. Does this sound like your kinda thing? Then sign up for Ipsy! Feel free to use my referral code for Ipsy above or right here.

P.P.S. This makes for a great gift subscription!

Five October Sales You Just Can’t Miss


 * -Cue first post since the end of my hiatus-*

   I’m back officially, and man, does it feel good to be home! 🙂 What better way to celebrate the end of my hiatus than with sales?

October is actually a great time to stock up on a handful of key things and goodies such as:


Generally speaking, most retailers offer great deals on jeans in October, especially in the second half of the month. This is due to the fact that retailers are dumping their late summer and early Autumn collections to make room for their Holiday merchandise. And you thought the holiday shopping season didn’t officially start until Black Friday. Use this time to score a great deal on new skinnies or maybe bell bottoms, if that’s your thing.


Just like denim, lingerie is a BIG holiday gifting item. So plenty of retailers, department stores and specialty shops alike, are prepping their sale racks to make room for pretty new winter-themed undies. The October lingerie sale trend may be due in part to the fact that late October sees the issuance of Victoria’s Secret’s BIG (and I mean it) Holiday catalog. Interest in new, flashy, opulent Christmas goodies makes their late summer/early Fall wares nearly irrelevant. Clever marketing for the early Christmas shopper, but good news for you if you’re in the market for new under-things and don’t want to pay full price.

Winter Apparel

We generally start to see winter apparel in the way of jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. making appearances on store shelves sometime in September. So the fact that we start to see sales on these items in October seems a little soon, and kinda weird. To be clear, these aren’t the sort of winter clothing deals you’ll score right after Christmas or New Year’s, but if you need winter clothes, retailers are offering anywhere from 10% to 30% off or more on on-trend cold weather apparel.


Fall is the season of the harvest and boy, does it show. Starbucks brilliantly capitalizes on this with their ever-famous Pumpkin Spice Latte. Delicious pumpkin-pie-in-a-cup’s aside (mm, it’s the stuff of dreams), there’s a plethora of delicious fruits and vegetables flooding grocery stores all over America. If you ever took economics, you know that when supply goes up, demand goes down, and so do prices. That means you can get great deals and cheap meals (rhyming unintentional) out of items like pumpkins, squash, apples, pears, kiwis, mushrooms, hearty leafy greens (think kale), and on and on.

Baking/Holiday Cooking Supplies

Seriously, if you know, or even have a vague inkling, that you’ll be a baking or cooking fiend this winter like I sometimes am, then you need to stock up on some non-perishable staples right now. Baking supplies (flour, sugar, oils, chocolate/ peanut butter/ butterscotch morsels, baking mixes, icing, canned fruits, etc) and holiday cooking supplies (oils, stuffing supplies and mixes, canned onions, canned pumpkin, Cream of- soups, gravies, broths, etc) tend to be marked up throughout November and December. Why? Because why not raise prices on these goods when everyone and their mother needs them to make extra money? Food retailers tend to mark these goods down in October to move any older items and make room for newer things, possibly with “limited edition” smacked on it to make it seem more interesting and relevant. Best stock up now to shave a little green off of your holiday grocery bill.

Quite frankly, this is just a small sampling of the things that go on sale in October. Other things include garden and patio items, HDTVs, and laptops. I am not sure if patio items are relevant to my readership, but as far as TVs and laptops are concerned, I advise you to just sit tight until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to snag the best deal you can.

So what are you waiting for? Go snap up some good deals! If you snag any that are brag-worthy, tell me about them below.

Until next time,