“T” is for “Tracey’s Basement” – An A-to-Z Blogging Challenge Post


For the A-to-Z Challenge 2017 I’m writing all about myself. Every post will be some random fact or bit of information about me that you may or may not have already known. Maybe you’ll learn something! Feel free to let me know! ^_^

No one who comes to this blog even a little bit casually could have possibly missed this fact, but for those of you who might be stumbling in because of the blogging challenge: I’m a YouTuber!

I began my YouTube channel in the summer of 2014, and it began as a pure unboxing channel. Before then I hadn’t even known unboxings were a thing – in fact, I hadn’t even known subscription boxes were a thing – but after watching a few other people doing I thought, “I could do that!” I placed orders for a couple of nerdy subscription services and a couple of girly ones as well, and started unboxing. Those first videos were…not great. But I got better, bit by bit, and talking to the camera slowly began to help me calm my anxiety flare-ups as well.

Eventually my husband, Jason, began helping out on the channel by putting together a “studio” for me, creating an opening for the videos, making nicer thumbnails, working on branding, and other such things, and it really began to blossom from there. Jason started joining me in videos, we started focusing more on quality, and the channel became what it is today: “Tracey’s Basement” featuring Tracey and Jason (and sometimes the little one as well). It took me about a year and a half to get my first thousand subscribers, but once Jason took over quality control and we got into a groove, that number tripled in less than the following year.

These days Jason and I still do unboxing videos, but we also do toy hauls and mail calls (whenever awesome, awesome people send us things), and whatever random geekiness comes across our desks, such as the My Life in Movies TAG we were tagged in not too long ago. So basically, what I’m getting at, is that if you’re a geek, or if you just love collectibles and/or subscription boxes, come check us out over at “Tracey’s Basement“!

Halloween Forevermore Wax Warmers Review

Yeah, I know, it seems really odd to review Halloween stuff in at the beginning of the year, right? But Halloween Forevermore is a website that celebrates Halloween and horror the whole year through! And they wanted to send us a couple of these awesome monster wax warmers to review! They’re going to make an awesome addition to our horror collection. ^_^

Unboxing “MunchPak Mini” with Mini-Me!

More uber-adorableness today! Mini-me is helping me open up a MunchPak Mini box, courtesy of the awesome people over at MunchPak! It was tons of fun to go through, and hey…you get to see me eat on film!
Plus, if you’re interested in trying this box out for yourself, there’s a promo code also courtesy of the awesome people at MunchPak, so check out the video for that as well!

What’s in a Game?

Video games were a huge part of my childhood, and though I don’t have nearly as much time for them as I used to, they’re still a pretty big part of my adulthood. This past weekend my daughter and I (mostly me…:P) defeated Little Big Planet 3, and I’m currently traveling with a PS Vita in my luggage, just waiting to finish off the last bits of Lego Batman 3.

Yeah, okay, I mostly play a lot of the more childish games these days, but we’re not talking about that today. Today we’re talking about a fighting game, because the hubby and I recorded our first ever gameplay YouTube video the other day. I unboxed the Collector’s Edition box of Street Fighter V, and then we proceeded to plunk down on the couch, stuck that sucker in the PS4, and ripped up some fights for the amusement of my subscribers. It’s definitely not the greatest gameplay video of all time or anything, but it was quite amusing to do and I’m sure we’ll do more of them in the future. I did get a huge kick out of how one of the very first comments on the video was a subscriber letting me know that I’ve got to play more defensively because yes, I suck at fighting games, goddammit. XD

So anyway, without further ado, I would like to direct you to said video. Give it a look! You may even learn a little thing or two about the history of Street Fighter. ^_~

BzzAgent “Super Sizer” Campaign Review

Today it’s time for something a little different. Instead of sharing an unboxing video and then talking about the box, I’ll be talking about a single item that I received from BzzAgent for reviewing purposes. I actually received three separate BzzAgent campaigns all at once, so I have a single unboxing video to share with you for those, and then I’m going to talk about a single one of those items, as per the campaign “activities”.

So first off, please check out the unboxing video, in which I show off campaigns from Covergirl Super Sizer, Secret Clinical, and Herbal Essences Naked Collection:

Not a bad little haul, am I right? Of course I am! And I’ve been having quite an excellent time testing these products so far. Lucky for me, BzzAgent has started making “Blog Post” an option on the activity list for some campaigns, so today I get to earn points on the site by talking to you about one of the items I just showed you, the “Super Sizer”, by Covergirl.

Now, this mascara makes some bold claims. With the special “Lash Styler” wand, Covergirl insists that you can gain up to 400% more volume in your lashes. I can’t even begin to say where that figure comes from, but I can tell you what my experience has been so far.

First off, I do have to say that using the “Lash Styler” has proven to be a lot easier than I was expecting. I’ve never been skilled when it comes to makeup application, so I figured the fact that there’s a special way of using this was going to turn into a disaster right from the get-go. Luckily I was very pleasantly surprised. Basically, you start with the core of the wand right at the base of your lashes, and twirl as you move upward to the end of your lashes, then repeat until you’ve achieved your desired effect. The process was so easy even a clumsy fool like me was able to figure it out in seconds, so that’s definitely a huge plus!

Second – and this sorta goes along with the ease of use – is that I’m a big fan of the wand itself. It’s nice and thin and delicate, which is exactly what I look for in a mascara wand because I find that the thicker wands deposit too much mascara at once and I wind up with tons of clumps and uneven application. I didn’t have that problem at all with this wand, so I was quite happy with the overall application process.

Third, and most importantly: the results. Now let me say this right off the bat: you are not going to get super-thick, “400% more volume” lashes with a single application. This is definitely the type of mascara that requires multiple layers if you’re trying to accomplish a very dark, voluminous look, but the point is that you can accomplish it. Me personally, I look mostly for length and boldness of color, and this I was easily able to accomplish with one application and a little bit of touch-up around the edges. To prove just what a difference can be made with that single application, I posted this photo to Instagram, showing only one eye done:


Not the greatest picture, perhaps, but you get the idea!

So clearly you can see that with a little bit extra effort you could create some lovely, thick lashes by applying a few times over. For me, personally, I love the look it gives me with just the one application, but those are my preferences.

In conclusion, I’m really rather enjoying using the “Super Sizer” as my new go-to mascara. It’s easy, it works, and it gives me the kind of look I want with minimal effort. I’m really glad that BzzAgent chose me for this campaign so that I could test it out, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to enhance their eyes. Two thumbs up. 🙂

Influenster “Laneige” Campaign Unboxing and Review

Moving away from the geeky unboxings for a moment, today I want to share my experience thus far with a little brand called “Laneige”.

Recently I received a campaign “vox box” from Influenster and Laneige, and I was pretty interested to see what it was all about. Right off the bat, Laneige is a brand of skin care products that is sold through Sephora, which struck my interest right away because I have never purchased anything from Sephora. I’ve heard lots of great things about their brands and multitude of beauty products, but I don’t have one nearby and I hate spending a lot of money on beauty products without knowing if they’re going to be any good for me, so I was definitely on board when Influenster invited me into the Laneige campaign.

So, first of all, I have to share this line: “I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes”. Second, I’m going to go ahead and share my unboxing video so that you can actually hear me talking about the products. Check it out:

Okay, so now that we’ve all be introduced to the products, the real question is how has my experience been with the “Water Sleeping Mask” that I received?

Well guys, I have to say that so far I am genuinely loving it. I was a little bit iffy at first because the idea of wearing a mask all night in bed sounded horrifying. I figured I’d look like a monster with some kind of paste all over my face, and that by the time morning came 90% of it will have rubbed off all over my pillow. But I am happy to report that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Right off the bat, although the mask has a bluish tint to it, it goes on very clear, so by the time I’ve covered my face in it you can’t even tell that it’s there, except for a little bit of a shiny sheen. Even better, after about five minutes or so the mask has completely dried into my skin. I can still feel that it’s there, but it doesn’t rub off at all. There has been, thus far, zero residue left on my pillowcases. So as far as application goes, the product gets two thumbs up right out of the gate.

The next thing I have to talk about is the scent, because that’s a huge part of the appeal of this product. The mask is infused with orange flower, rose, and sandalwood, which are scents that help to lull you to sleep. I can’t honestly say whether they’ve really helped me sleep or not, because I have sleep problems anyway, but what I can tell you is that I personally find the scent to be heavenly. I would honestly wear this mask at night just for the scent. In fact, even though you’re only supposed to use it 2-3 times a week, I used it a few days in a row at first because I was so enamored with the scent. Obviously this is going to be a reaction that’s individual to the person (my husband thought it smelled like stinky perfume), but all I can really tell you is that I love it.

So application is a breeze, it doesn’t make a mess in bed, and the scent is divine. In the morning you rinse it off and go about your day. Where does that leave us? Well, I don’t know that I’ve used it enough times to really judge yet, but I do feel like it is doing a great job with my skin so far. I have noticed that my face seems to be a little smoother and brighter; I even skipped foundation for a few of my YouTube videos because I didn’t feel that I needed it, and that sounds like a good sign to me! I plan to use the mask the recommended 2-3 times per week until the bottle is empty so that I’ll have given it a real, fair trial, but my initial reaction is that this is a really nice product that seems to be accomplishing what it sets out to do. In fact, using it has made me really wish that I had the other three products in the line so that I could test them all out at once!

So, in conclusion, what do I think? I think it’s great. I’m really enjoying using it, and I would definitely recommend checking out the line if you’ve got a Sephora near you. I can’t speak for the other three products, but the Sleeping Water Mask seems like a lovely product that lives up to its claims, and for how slowly the bottle is going down for me the price definitely sounds reasonable. A huge thanks to Influenster and Laneige for allowing me to test it out! I can definitely see myself repurchasing if I get the chance!

Nerd Block Unboxing and Review for January 2015

I’ve got another first-of-the-year for you today in the form of the first Nerd Block for 2015, and as with the first Loot Crate of the year, I have mixed feelings about this box. Let’s go to the video!

You may have noticed a couple of annoyed looks as I was rummaging through that box. Shall we go to the breakdown so I can explain why?

“Doctor Who” Sonic Screwdriver t-shirt: The shirts in these boxes can be hit or miss sometimes, but this one is a hit. I, of course, love the hell out of Doctor Who, but what also makes this shirt great is that it’s different from a lot of the other shirts out there that always seem to feature the TARDIS or a silhouette of the Doctor. Also, I kinda sorta want a sonic screwdriver, so this shirt is the next best thing. We’ll assign it the default shirt value of $15.
“Grumpy Cat” mini-plush: I really can’t figure out for the life of me how Nerd Block thought that this item played into the box’s theme at all. It’s kinda cute, but I really couldn’t care less about Grumpy Cat, and certainly they could have found a little plush of an Ewok or something? Psh…anyway, this little dude goes for about $5.
Elf Ears: Just…just…yeah. I find this item extremely silly, not only because I personally will never use them, but also because even if you wanted to use them they very likely will not fit. Upon closer examination of them they’re pretty small, so if you’re bigger than, say, your average 13-year-old, I don’t think these are going to be of use to you. These particular elf ears are a Nerd Block exclusive, so based on other similar items and the fact that these ones look kind of extra-plastic-y, I’m assigning them a value of $3.“Thorin Oakenshield” bookmark and pen: So here, at least, we have a pair of items that I might actually get some use out of, since I both read and write on a regular basis. My husband and I recently watched the first two Hobbit movies so these actually amuse me. This pair goes for a cost of about $12.
“Star Wars” film cell: Last month I got a “Nightmare on Elm Street” film cell (one of my husband’s favorite movies) in a Horror Block, and this month I get a cell from one of my favorite movies in the Nerd Block. A cute collectible for sure, but I’ve got to be honest and say that I don’t really know what I should do with these things. I couldn’t find this exact cell, but similar items go for about $8.
“ScatterBrainz” sticky darts: As mentioned in the video, it rather annoys me when Nerd Block wastes box space with little kid toys that are cheap Walmart items. My daughter might get a kick out of these, but I could literally drive five minutes to the local Walmart and pick them up for $4, so to get them as part of my special monthly awesome-stuff-just-for-me box is a bit frustrating.
Nerd Block theme Target/Decision Maker: To go with the sticky darts, Nerd Block included a little target/decision maker to throw them at. It’s just a thin piece of board with a picture printed on each side, so I’ll give it a value of about $1.
“Star Trek”/”Planet of the Apes” crossover comic: I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting this item. I’ve gotten several comics in my subscription boxes, but this crossover was definitely a surprise. I’m assuming that the cover is a Nerd Block variant since it has the Nerd Block symbol in the corner. This might actually be the first of the comics I’ve received that I open because I’m kinda dying to read the story that the writers came up with. I’m giving this comic my standard “variant cover” value of about $5.

Total approximate value of box: $53
Total cost to me: $33

So right off the bat, although the value is still technically there, this is one of the least valuable Nerd Blocks I’ve gotten as far as just looking at the cost of the items. Then there’s the whole thing with the ScatterBrainz toy being something I could pick up for a couple of bucks down the road. And, of course, there’s the Grumpy Cat, which bugs me mainly because I think that if Nerd Block is going to try to do themes they should actually STICK to the theme. And those elf ears, man…I just don’t know what to say about the elf ears. That said, I do very much like the shirt, the comic is amusing as hell, and the film cell, bookmark, and pen are all cute. I just feel, personally, that there was a lot of junk in this box, but at least there were a couple of items that I enjoy. All in all, I guess I’m pretty firmly on the fence about this box. It’s not great, but it’s not awful either. Keeping my fingers crossed for next month!