Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Birchbox - February 2014

Man, I'm behind on everything this month! I blame it on the cold.

Anyway, Birchbox teamed up with US Weekly to curate February's boxes. They went with a theme of "Step and Repeat" in honor of awards season and the tricks behind red carpet looks. I usually like collaboration boxes, so I was excited to see what I was getting!

The outer mailer was different this month - red with US Weekly and Birchbox logos on it. The inner box was the same!

I received 5 items this month - 4 beauty items and a lifestyle extra.

Ahmad Tea London teas - This is my lifestyle extra. I was actually super happy to get tea! I am a tea fanatic and whenever subs send out tea, they NEVER send it to me! These teas are all delicious. I took them to work for a mid-day pick me up, and the Lemon Vitality is especially great for that! I can attest that they taste great both hot and iced!

Ayres Bar Soap n Patagonia - This is a natural soap with jasmine, lavender, ylang-ylang, and fir. I do use bar soap occasionally, however, when I do, I generally go with Lush or handmade soaps from indie sellers. That said, I don't mind trying another one. I don't care much for the scent of this. It is a fresh scent, but kind of masculine and just not my style. It does have a pretty rich lather. I think I'll finish it up, but I won't buy the soap - for the price I can go to Lush and get one of my favorites!

Juicy Couture Couture La La Malibu perfume - This is a scent with notes of mandarin and pink sugar. It's official - Birchbox is determined that I need Juicy in my life. They have sent me every single Juicy Couture scent they have sent out to date. They aren't bad, but they aren't my favorite. This one is okay! It is nice and summery. I was hoping it would be lots of sweet citrus, but instead it is more floral. Regardless, it smells nice and I'll wear it!

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil - This is a hair oil that protects from damage, UV rays, and heat. It smells just like the Beauty Protector spray - basically, AMAZING. I use hair oil every day, but I am generally not excited to get them, just because my current stash is pretty big! That said, this is a really nice one. It is not heavy at all and it leaves my hair nice and smooth and silky...and the scent is incredible. I might rebuy this one once my other oils are used up!

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Liquid Liner in black - This is a smudgeproof liquid liner. Now, I have a ton of liners and getting a black one is not generally terribly exciting for me. However, I have not tried any of Cynthia Rowley's products yet, and I am really excited to do so! It seems to be easy to work with and it's a full size. Not bad at all!

Overall, I am happy with my Birchbox this month! I like everything except for the soap, and the rest will be used happily (and the soap will be used in one way or another!) I love that I always receive something new to me from Birchbox. 

What was in your box this month?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Popsugar Must-Have - February 2014

I love February. Despite the horrible weather, the snow, and the fact that I'm always crying for spring by the time it rolls around, there's one reason I love it - Valentine's Day! And Valentine's Day means an overabundance of CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE, and pink sparkly things, and chocolate, and pretty flowers, and did I mention chocolate?

So needless to say, I was excited to start getting my subs this month! Surprisingly, Popsugar was the first one to roll in. I always love getting my Popsugar box. As much as I love my beauty subs, it's fun to get a variety of things, too, and Popsugar always sends things I enjoy.

Here's what I got for February!

The February box promises products to help you treat yourself well while getting ready for spring, as well as an item or two for a sweet Valentine's Day. Sounds good to me! 

Sugarwish Mini Red Cinnamon Hearts - These are little red hots shaped like hearts! They are super cute for Valentine's Day. I am not huge on cinnamon candies, actually...I will be melting these into hot chocolate and/or cider or sharing them at work. I did try a few and they are not too hot, and they are very crunchy. The hearts are cute, but some look more like blobs than hearts...no big deal, though.  The little box is adorable and would be great for storing earrings or other small items. They also come with a discount code for Sugarwish - a site that allows you to send someone a candy gift. Basically, you purchase the box, and then they are invited to pick four candies they'd like to receive, and it comes in a cute box. The service itself sounds really fun, but it is super pricey...$25 for a pound of candy! I won't be using the discount code. Today, I spent less than $25 and got a ton of discounted Valentine chocolate at CVS! But, it was still a cute touch.

Dial Vitamin Boost Body Wash - This is a "special extra" in this box. It's a new body wash that is infused with lotion and promises to bring moisture to the skin. It smells so good, super sweet and fruity! Dial is not exactly a luxury brand or a "must-have", but this smells good and I will absolutely use it. I know some ladies were upset with this inclusion, and felt that it cheapened the box. I don't think that is true at all, since it is an extra. I use plenty of drugstore items and I can always use body wash...so I say, bring on the special extras!

K Hall Designs Peony Travel Candle - This is a fresh floral scented candle in a cute little tin, made of vegetable wax. I don't normally care too much for most floral scents, but this really does smell nice in the tin. Unfortunately, I have found that it doesn't have much of a scent while burning. It may be that I've been spoiled by my Slatkin candles! At any rate, it's still cute and smells like spring.

NCLA Nail Polish in Rodeo Drive Royalty - This is a quick dry, chip resistant polish in a pretty dark red/burgundy kind of color. I like NCLA polishes, and this color is pretty, though I have a couple of similar shades! A nice color for Valentine's Day, for sure. It will definitely be tried and worn!

Nourish Organic Pure Hydrating Argan Face Serum - This is a blend of argan, apricot, and rosehip oils that promises to hydrate and soften skin. This is a bit heavy to call a serum, and I would not wear it under a moisturizer if you have oily skin. But for winter dryness, it's great! The last few nights, I've been wearing it to bed under my night cream and I've been waking up to super soft skin. It smells fruity/citrusy and I like the ingredients. This is probably my favorite item in the box!

I lost my picture of the ModelCo Lip Pops Duo, but it is a full sized double ended lipstick and gloss duo. The lipstick is in Dusk, a pinky browny nude (which is not very flattering on me) and the lipgloss is Striptease, which is a shimmery pinky shade with some sparkle. It smells like strawberry and the gloss is not sticky! The colors aren't marked on it, and I was sad when I realized it was the same colors I received in another box a while back...I wouldn't have tried it on if I'd known I already have the same shades (in a different format). I gave this to a friend who didn't mind that I'd already tried it on, as I don't wear the first one much because browny colors don't look good on me. But, it is a nice product if the color suits you!

Gorjana Brooks Jewelry Roll - This is a poppy colored jewelry pouch with three zipper compartments to organize necklaces, rings, and other jewelry and keep them from getting tangled together when traveling! This could have been a really great item, however many of us received defective items, with missing/loose stitching and/or non-working zippers. Popsugar is currently working out how they are going to make up for the defects, since there are too many to replace. In the meantime, I'm using it to store necklaces that won't fit on my jewelry stands.

Overall, this isn't my favorite Popsugar box, but it wasn't a total disappointment for me, either. I wish it had a bit more of a Valentine feel to it - maybe some chocolate and a cute necklace, or even a cheesy romance novel. But, everything but the lip duo will be used and overall I am satisfied. 

What do you think of this month's box?

If you haven't tried the Popsugar Must-Have box yet, feel free to sign up using my referral link!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January 2014 favorites.

Along with monthly empties posts, I've decided to go back to sharing my absolute favorite products for each month. These are things I've found myself reaching for repeatedly and truly enjoying! In January, I tried a lot of new things, and also opened things I've had sitting around, untried. Here are my favorites!

Malin & Goetz detox face mask: This is the coolest mask. It comes out like a typical gel/cream...but as you apply it to your face, it starts to bubble and foam. It is a weird, almost itchy, tingly sensation at first. It foams up so much it looks like you've covered your face in shaving cream! But it leaves my face feeling soft, smooth, and super fresh. I really like it, and I've been using it every Sunday!

La Roche Posay Redermic Eyes: This is a nice eye cream/treatment. I find that it really does help my eye area feel a bit firmer and more perky, and my dark circles are less pronounced. It is a nice kind of thin consistency, which I prefer when it comes to my eyes - it takes less tugging to rub it in than it does some thicker creams! I've been using this morning and night, and will continue to do so.

eyeko Black Magic Mascara: This is a really good mascara. I love that the wand is a bit angled, it makes it easy to really open up the outer corners of my eyes. It gives good length and thickness, and it doesn't smudge or flake on me. I also like that it comes in this kind of tube, rather than the typical rigid one. I feel like this will enable me to get every last bit of product out! If I ever use up my mascara stash, this is one I would likely repurchase.

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Audacious: This is such a pretty bright orange!  I love this shade because it is so outside of my usual range. I'm pale and cool toned, but I wear this anyway, because WHY NOT? The matte finish is pretty, and it does not feel as drying as some mattes do. I want to collect all of these!

BUTTER London Horsepower Nail Fertilizer: My nails are so thin and peely. I've been trying to baby them, and this is really helping! They feel a bit stronger, and I intend to use it for a week each month to see how the long term effects are!

stila Barbie palette: This is a cool little palette...four little shadow trios that can be mixed and matched. I love the color variety, and as usual, stila shadows are great quality. I love how soft and blendable they are!

LUSH Santa's Lip Scrub: I usually make my own lip scrub out of honey and sugar, and it works great...but I was curious about this one, so I bought it. I love it! It has a cherry cola flavor to it, and it leaves the slightest red stain on your lips. It has a slightly more moist consistency than the Popcorn scrub does.  I'll still use my homemade stuff most of the time, but if this is available again next year, I might order another! I do also like the Popcorn scrub, but I find mine more moisturizing.

Lancome Le Stylo in Turquoise: This is the prettiest  teal liner...it is nice and soft and it does not smudge once it sets. I've been using it more often than even my liquid liners this month.

Susan Posnick Coloreyedefine in Sapphire and Amethyst: This is a double ended stick with a purple shadow on one side and a dark blue pencil on the other. The colors are pretty. The shadow is too small to use as shadow, for me, but I love the sponge applicator for defining the crease. 

From top to bottom: Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Audacious, Posnick shadow in Amethyst, Posnick liner in Sapphire, Lancome Le Stylo in Turquoise.

See how pretty the shades are in the stila palette?? 

What are your favorites so far this year?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January 2014 Empties!

This is a new kind of post for me! One of my goals for this year was to buy less, and use up what I have. As such, I will be sharing what I've used up each month and sharing my feelings on each item. I've decided that this applies only to full sized and deluxe sample sizes, and not single use foils. I feel pretty satisfied with my January empties!

Here's everything all together! For the sake of simplicity, I've divided it up into 3 "batches". 

LUSH Ro's Argan Body Conditioner - This is a really unique product! You apply it after you wash in the shower, and then rinse it off, just like a hair conditioner. It smells like fresh roses and left my winter skin so soft and pampered. I absolutely loved this and was so sad to see it gone! This was definitely my favorite of the products I used up in January! It goes so well with the Rose Jam shower gel by LUSH. 

Aloxxi Leave-In Conditioner - This was a nice leave in spray by Aloxxi. It did a good job of keeping my hair soft and conditioned. It has a nice scent and didn't weigh down my hair or make it greasy. There was nothing really unique about it, so I won't be purchasing it, but I did not mind using it at all!

Origins Ginger Souffle - This is a really amazing whipped body cream! It feels light and delicious going on...and it is so gingery! This is not a bakery type of ginger scent, but rather a true, fresh, zesty ginger scent with citrus notes. It felt so refreshing on my skin, with almost a slight tingle. This is really great for the morning. I would repurchase, but I have so many body creams I need to use up. It's amazing!

The Aloe Source Jojoba Radiance Cleansing Polish - This is an exfoliating face wash. It smells so good - just like fresh grapefruit! It exfoliates both with gentle beads and with enzymes. I really loved this, it left my face feeling fresh and soft. I would also repurchase this once my stash is used up!

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment in Fair - This is another BB cream...but unlike many others, this one is actually pale enough for me! It is designed to also be used as a primer, so it leaves your skin with that super smooth feel. I really liked this. It did not have much coverage. I don't think I will repurchase for the price, but I loved the color and finish.

Lancome Genefique Creme Serum - This is a serum with a light creme texture that promises to fight aging. I really liked it! It left my skin feeling nice and fresh under my moisturizer.  I would not repurchase due to the price, but I am so glad I got to try it. It is a very nice serum.

Dermorganics Shampoo - This is a sulfate free natural shampoo. I love that it didn't strip my hair too much! I didn't really love the scent, but it wasn't a dealbreaker. I would absolutely consider repurchasing both this and the hair masque...I'm trying to incorporate more natural  products into my routine.

Minus 417 Hand Moisturizer in Ocean - This is a light hand cream with a fresh, almost slightly masculine scent. I really liked it and it left my hands soft, but not greasy. I didn't love the scent, but it was okay, and a nice break from my usual sweet or fruity scents I gravitate toward. 

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream - This was a great moisturizer - not too heavy, left my skin feeling great, and it lasted a good long time. Really liked the fresh scent and I do feel that it helped keep my skin looking young and fresh. I might repurchase in the future! 

VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum - This is the most amazing eye serum! It provides instant tightening, as well as long term effects, and it is free of parabens and preservatives. I love eye creams and treatments - I've always had dark circles and slight fine lines, and I want to prevent those first signs of aging as long as I can. I would love to repurchase this, but it would definitely be a splurge.

Shiseido Perfect Mascara Full Definition - This was a really great, dramatic mascara! I loved how long and full it made my lashes look. I would use it again, but I have way too much in my stash to repurchase!

Be a Bombshell eyeliner in Amethyst - This is a pretty purple marker-style eyeliner. The shade and staying power are great...unfortunately it dried out on me pretty quickly. The marker is a bit clunky to use, but some really liked the larger size.

Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer - This is a simple, light moisturizer. I actually prefer it for summer, but it is also good for using over serums without feeling too heavy on the skin. I love the natural ingredients.

BentaBerry Mattifying Moisturizer - This is the worst moisturizer I've ever tried. Even when I used a tiny amount, it balled up on my skin, and made it look like my face was flaking off. NO THANK YOU. Glad to see this go.

Biolage Exquisite Oil hair treatment - This is a really nice hair oil. It is nothing mind blowing or unique, but it kept my hair soft and smooth and moisturized. I'd use it again, but have too many similar oils to repurchase!

Red Flower gingergrass bamboo scrub - This was a really cool scrub - it was made of gingergrass instead of salt or sugar! It was gentle, and felt super luxurious! It smelled nice and citrusy, too! It is out of my price range for a body scrub, but I really loved trying it.

eyeko skinny liner in black - This is one of my favorite liners. It stays put and goes on really easily. I already have a second black one as well as a couple of other colors. I do think I will repurchase all of the colors once I use up my other liquid liners. The turquoise is especially beautiful!

Annick Goutal Petit Cherie perfume - This is a great perfume - it smells of roses, peaches, and fresh grass. I really like it and would love to buy a bottle of it. I should use up some other perfumes first, but this is definitely on my "rebuy" list!

Did you use up anything you loved in January?

Glossybox - January 2014

I run so hot and cold with most of my subs. Some, I have consistently been with since I first tried them (Ipsy, Popsugar). Others, I break up with and then come crawling back (Birchbox, Glossybox, Sample Society). Glossybox especially always leaves me debating, not because of the products, but because of a combination of price and various other issues, like customer service.

Glossybox ships late. Sometimes REALLY late...and this month, they have had even more shipping delays than usual (weather, waiting for products to be delivered, etc). The good news is, I actually don't mind that. Most of my subs come in at roughly the same time...it's kind of nice to get one spread out like this, when the fun of my others has passed! As long as my box shows up, I am generally happy. More important is what is inside!

January's box has a theme of, simply, "Welcome to 2014"! The card says that they want to make sure we have the best skincare and makeup to start the year off right. 2013 was a rough one, so a fresh start sounds good to me!

beautyblender pure and blender cleanser - This is the "star" of the box, and the item they used to draw in subscribers. beautyblender is a sponge that allows for flawless application of not only foundation, but skin care as well! It's a little different from other sponges. You get it wet before using, and it nearly doubles in size! Then you stipple/pat on your face products. I have tried cheap knockoffs of this, but people always said they don't really compare, and just by feel, I think they're probably right. I'm so excited to try this! pure is just like the original, only it has no dye, which is good for sensitive skin. My skin can handle a dyed sponge, but it's a nice thought. The blender cleanser is a lavender scented wash for the cleanser and also brushes. I've actually tried it before - Birchbox sent it to me a while back. I didn't have a beautyblender to try it on, but it did a really great job of cleaning my brushes, so I'm happy to have another sample! These items alone make the cost nearly worth it!

Balance Me Super Toning Body Wash - This is an invigorating and toning body wash with lots of essential oils in it. It smells very herbal and refreshing. I'm always happy to get a new body wash, and i love ones with natural fragrances. It's not the most exciting sample, but it is a good one. It seems this is one of the products that delayed the box, and some subscribers won't be getting it as planned, and instead they'll be getting a perfume. I would have been okay with that, too.

Toni&Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Casual Sea Salt Texturizing Spray - This is just what it sounds like - a sea salt spray to give the "beachy" look. I have to try to be objective about this. It is a great brand, and the sample size is wonderful! However, I just absolutely hate sea salt sprays. I've been sent so many by so many different brands, and all of them just make my hair look and feel dirty and dry. I guess I just don't have the hair type for it. I've never been able to pull off the "messy on purpose" look...on me, it just looks like an unfortunate accident. No matter, this will be added to my "trade or gift" pile, which already contains a similar spray (not to mention the 4 others I just got rid of a few weeks ago...sigh).

Bellapierre Cosmetics Mineral Blush in Desert Rose - This is a natural toned mineral blush. I love blushes, and this one is very pretty! However, my blush box is a little bit out of control. As it is, I'll probably never be able to even make a dent in most of them. While this is a pretty color, it is not unique in my collection, so I will probably add it to the trade/gift pile, as well. I have a shadow by this same brand and it is gorgeous and good quality! I'm just trying to waste less!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream - This is a soothing moisturizer with mineral-rich thermal water and hyaluronic acid. I have actually tried this before, (I believe I have 2 pots of it right now, in fact) and it is very nice! Super moisturizing, but not too heavy or greasy, and it smells light and fresh. It feels really nice on my winter skin! I love the .5 oz pots, too, and use them to put foil samples in to make them last longer. I won't be purchasing, only because I have enough samples of moisturizers to live on for a while, and when I DO purchase, I have vowed to buy only natural items. But it is a very good product!

Overall, this is a pretty good box! All of the items are high quality, even the two I will not be using. It's not my favorite box, but it is definitely not the worst. The beauty blender and the body wash alone make it worth it for me!

What do you think about January's box?