Ipsy Review: September Glam Bag

Subscription boxes are all the rage right now—pay a set amount every so often, and receive a mystery package with a selection of goodies. For the past six months, I’ve been subscribed to Ipsy, which delivers a makeup pouch and five cosmetic/haircare/skincare samples for $10 a month. It’s my way of treating myself to something small and exciting—I like getting mail (who doesn’t?) and the bag contains samples of things I would otherwise never think to purchase, because I am a) cheap and b) …no, that’s it, I’m mostly just cheap. I probably will never purchase a full-size replacement for any of my Ipsy samples, because I’m cheap. Well… maybe one of the Elizabeth Mott blush they sent that one time, but the sample looks like it’s going to last awhile, so maybe not.

My problem is that I also now work in an office with a very lax dress code, so I am not driven to make myself entirely presentable every day. I show up in jeans and a hoodie every morning, and although I started off wearing makeup every day, my colleagues have now seen what I look like without it, stumbling in at 9 AM with only two cups of coffee in my system. It’s a sight they can’t unsee, so I don’t bother as much. Once that curtain comes down, it’s down forever.

The above paragraph is part of the reason why my August bag sat untouched until my September bag showed up—between working at work and working on the house, the only time I got dressed up to go out was when I went to give the commencement address at We Can Code IT. (I also put on some makeup to take a new headshot, but that doesn’t count because I didn’t leave my house.)

Therefore, I am starting a new category on this blog for the review of items in my Ipsy bags. This will actually force me to use the items in the bag, plus, it’ll help me sharpen my review skills—and maybe it will even help someone out there is looking for something like hyaluronic acid toner or shimmery pink highlighter.

Also, even though this blog is obstinately tech-related, I don’t think there’s any harm in an occasional post about makeup and skincare products. Awhile back, I wrote a post entitled “I Am Not Developer Barbie,” in which I said that being concerned with my appearance in no way detracts from my intelligence or ability to write code. Heck, if a woman somehow finds my blog because she’s searching for makeup and decides to sign up for Codecademy afterward, that’s great. If a woman in tech who doesn’t otherwise wear makeup finds my blog and decides to sign up for Ipsy, that’s great, too. I’m allowed to be a femme developer, and so is everyone else—or not. Personal freedoms, yo. Hashtag justlibertarianthings.

Read more

Review: Ting

When I moved back to the United States and had to acquire cell phone service, I had two requirements: I had to be able to bring my own device, and I would not sign a service contract.  I had an unlocked iPhone 4S and had been using a pay-as-you-go service (Lebara, if you’re interested) in the UK.  I purchased a SIM card for £1, activated it and was able to choose whether to pay-as-you-go or pay for a monthly plan with a set limit on minutes, SMS (texts) and mobile data.  Every month, I would purchase a £10 (about $16 US) Lebara service voucher with my groceries at Tesco, and top up my phone on the bus ride home.

After a little bit of searching, I found Ting, a Tucows company.  (Yeah, that Tucows.)  With Ting, your monthly bill is based on how many minutes, texts and mobile data you consume, plus a $6 fee for every active device on your account.  Service is sorted into “small”, “medium”, and “large” caps (you can see a rate table here.)  I generally use a “small” amount of minutes and texts per month, and a “medium” amount of data.  My bill is generally $30 or less, and I’ve set it to automatically deducts from my checking account.  Here’s a snapshot of my account dashboard showing what I’ve used this billing cycle:


Ting piggybacks on the Sprint network, and I am rarely out of the service.  The only time I couldn’t get anything more than an emergency-only signal was when I was driving through very rural areas of Ohio.  That isn’t a regular occurrence for me, so I wasn’t concerned, but check on coverage before signing up if you live in cow country.  Ting is also the first North American carrier to offer service across both GSM and CDMA networks–I have a Ting GSM SIM in the LG Google Nexus 4 I’m currently using.

I like that I can switch phones at any time, that I own my phone outright, and that I’m not locked into a years-long service contract.  You can bring your own device (check the MEID/IMEI to see if it will work with Ting here) or purchase a new or refurbished phone directly from Ting.

If you’d like to try Ting for yourself, head over to their website and click through the wicked-easy activation process.  Oh, and to spread the love–use my personal referral link to get $25 a device purchase, or $25 in Ting credit.