Monday, December 29, 2014

Birchbox - December 2014 (two boxes!)

Well, I'm really late on these and I have no excuse. But, I am getting two Birchboxes right now (I'll probably cut one out after January and I spend my points!)

The first month that I got two boxes, I got the same box on both accounts and that was a bit of a bummer. This month, though, I got two different boxes, and I like both!

Box 1:

This was the curated box this month. I chose it because I really wanted to try the Davines serum!

Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Ruffian Red - I'm not huge on red polishes, but I don't have many, and I like Ruffian polishes - I think they have a nice shiny finish and they last longer than a couple of hours on me, which is a feat!

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain in Sugar - This is the prettiest natural pink stain. When I buy things like this, I tend to go for bold colors so it was nice to get a nice natural color...this is very much a "my lips but better" shade for me and I like it a lot.

Davines Replumping Hair Filler (with bonus shampoo and conditioner packets) - This is a leave in that is supposed to help your hair look thick and shiny. I can always use that! So far, I like it. No mind blowing miracles, but it leaves my hair looking and feeling nice. (I haven't tried the packets yet!)

Joie Folle de Joie perfume - This is a fresh scent with mandarin. I'll admit I don't love it, I'm just into different kinds of scents lately. But I passed it along to a friend who will appreciate it.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre - This is a moisturizer that can also serve as a primer and makeup remover. I've sampled this before, and I really like it! I only use it as a moisturizer, but it leaves my skin soft without feeling greasy. 

Overall, I'm really happy with this box, and everything is getting good use.

The 2nd box came in the special blue holiday box - so cute! 

In this box, I selected a sample - the Manna Kadar Lip Locked. I received the sample I chose! Here's everything I got:

Manna Kadar Lip Locked in Lucky - This is a combo lipstain, gloss, and primer in a pretty mauvey color. It's another really natural shade for me, which I like! I really like the light texture of this and am definitely interested in trying more of them.

Yu-Be Moisturizing Cream - This is a tiny tube of moisturizing cream you can use anywhere on your body. I've frankly gotten about a million of these samples in various places. It's not bad! But it's nothing special to me. I'm using this one up on my elbows.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner - This is a creamy liner in the prettiest gold/olive shade. I am really happy with this...I already had the black and love how creamy and long lasting these are. I will use this one often!

Rusk Texture Spray - I used to hate hairsprays of any kind, and I would immediately toss them. But lately I've been wearing my hair wavy/curly, and a good texturizing spray is appreciated. This one is nice - it sprays on with a fine, light mist that never feels wet and just adds some nice texture and hold.

Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment Mask - This is a mask made from tea...masks and tea are two of my favorite things, so I love this! It has a nice tingle when you use it, and it left my skin feeling fresh and soft. I'd love to get my hands on some more of this!

Overall, I'm really happy with both of my boxes this month, and I'm excited for January!

What was in your box?

If you haven't tried Birchbox yet, feel free to sign up using my referral link here! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Haus of Gloi - indie perfume oil review

Well, this is about two weeks later than I intended it to be. I'm going to blame it on Christmas and not at all slackerhood and procrastination. Right? Right.

Anyway, I've mentioned before that one of my newer interests is in perfume oils - specifically, unique ones. I love fragrance, but I don't just want to smell like *perfume* (you know, that scent you think of when you think of perfume? Yeah, that's not me.) After months of looking and considering and telling myself "but you don't need more fragrances", I finally gave in and ordered some samples from a company called Haus of Gloi.

Haus of Gloi is a small, two person company. They are a vegan company, and everything is cruelty-free, handmade and from scratch. They make perfume oils, but also things like whipped soap, pumpkin butter (their version of body butter), foaming scrubs, soaps, and hair oils. They have a permanent collection of scents, but they are big into seasonal collections!

This review is on perfume oils...I haven't yet tried any of their various body care products (but they're on my to-do list!)

I ended up ordering 4 samples from their Yule collection (and they threw in a 5th as a free sample), a full sized bottle from the Yule collection, and one from the permanent collection.

I am by no means a perfume expert, so I'm just going to talk about each scent I tried and how it smells to/on me.

Each sample is in a little vial with the label wrapped around it. I think the labels are adorable! The full size is in an amber bottle with the same pretty label.  They came safely packaged with a little handwritten thank you note (I love touches like that!)

Now, onto the perfumes themselves! I'll start with the permanent scent, then move through the Yule releases I tried. 

Elevenses - This is described by HoG as "Not quite breakfast and not quite lunch, it's the little sip and nibble in between... Fluffy little orange cakes, sugar coated toasty almonds and a wee steaming cup of black tea."

I couldn't say no to this one, as a LOTR fan! And besides that, it sounded delicious. This is a really nice scent! On initial application, you smell the orange. It is a tart, orange zest kind of scent. The orange is almost too strong in the vial, but it is not overwhelming once it touches the skin.

After it settles in, the sugared almonds come through a bit more, though the orange is still present. Through most of the wear, it smells like orange glazed almonds! I don't get much tea on me, maybe just a hint. This is a really unique citrus scent - it doesn't have that freshness that most have, instead, it's more warm and cozy. It lasts a pretty long time - at the end of the day, I could still smell it on my wrist. I really like this one, and am interested in trying it in other products.

Sweet Potato Treat - This is described as "Sweet potatoes with mild spices, butter and brown sugar baked off with marshmallows."

This is a delicious scent, and probably my second favorite of the Yule scents I tried. It is a very sweet foodie scent, but it doesn't smell overwhelmingly sweet like some do.  In the vial, I smell buttery marshmallows. It reminds me of making rice crispy treats! Once it's applied to the skin, the spices come out. They are nice and warm (predominantly cinnamon), but not so spicy as to completely overtake the toasty marshmallowyness.  It wears well - the spices mellow without disappearing, and the sweet potato and brown sugar come out a bit more. This is one I will buy next year, for sure, and in multiple formats!

Parkin - This is described as "Glorious ginger cakes celebrating Guy Fawkes Day! Brown sugar, black treacle, oats, a peculiar blend of white spices tossed with chopped roasted chestnuts and coated with the lightest of icings."

This is a very spicy scent - for me, a bit too spicy. It smells good, but kind of reminds me of spending a little bit too much time in the cinnamon potpourri aisle at a hobby store - it's all I can smell after a while! I don't really notice the chestnuts or brown sugar behind all of the spices - but my body chemistry tends to amp up spice notes, so it might not be quite as overwhelmingly spicy on others.  If a spicy cinnamon gingerbread scent is what you're after, this is definitely one! I will use up my sample, but I don't think I'll buy any more of this scent in perfume - it might, however, be nice as a soap.

Eggnoggin - This is described as "The Haus 'nog! Cream, sugar and a shot of dark rum topped with fresh grated nutmeg."

This does smell just like eggnog in the vial. Eggnog is something I like every once in a while, so I had to give this a try. The bad news is, on my skin, it doesn't work so well. What smells nice in the vial smells like some sort of ointment once I put it on my skin! I think it's the combo of nutmeg and rum?  After I've worn it for a half hour or so, the ointment scent fades enough for the creaminess to come out, and it's okay then. But I can't really get past smelling like diaper rash ointment for the first few minutes enough to wear this one much.  I will finish this sample in my oil burner, I think! This is another one I might try in soap form, but it doesn't work on me as a perfume.

Fancy Bread - This is described as "Ripe banana, roasted nuts and brown sugar folded into a delicious quick bread."

I wasn't sure about this one in the vial - all I could smell was that synthetic banana smell. But once I put it on my skin, it was really nice - it does smell just like fresh baked banana bread. It's warm and sweet and I think the banana, nuts, and sugar are all there in perfect amounts. This one lasts quite a while. I like it, even if it makes me crave banana bread. I am interested in trying this one as a body butter.

Rosy Cheeked - This is described as "Pink grapefruit, fir needles, juniper berries, rosemary, a sprig of parsley and bright winter lilies."

This is the free sample they sent me - it's not one I would have picked at the time, because when I made my order, I was in the mood for cozy foody scents. However, I ended up really loving this one!

In the vial, and on the skin, at first it is pure grapefruit. It's slightly sweet, tart, and fresh. As it wears, the fir, juniper, and rosemary come out. It's a bright scent, clean and fresh and not too strong. I love grapefruit scents in general, but the notes underneath make it really unique.

Hearth - This is described as "The warm glowing center of home. Autumns last apple pickings, warm bread, orange rind, various fire roasted nuts, cracked black pepper all nailed down by an oozing sticky benzoin."

This is the one full sized bottle I got. I did so because they were out of samples and I was that desperate to try this scent! I'm glad I did. This is my favorite of the bunch!

It smells a little strange in the bottle and I wasn't sure how it would smell on me. When I put in on though, it's great. It's a very homey scent. I get the fresh apples and the bread at first, and then the pepper and orange rind come out a bit. It smells warm without being too spicy.  I love that the apples are present, but it is not an overwhelming apple scent. There's a lot going on with it in a good way. It just smells cozy and homey and it feels like the holidays to me. I want to try this one in a soap and a body butter next year (I'm sure I'll still have some perfume oil!)

Overall, my first experience with Haus of Gloi was a lot of fun! I will definitely be ordering from them again.

I'll continue my venture in to indie perfumes soon - I have a ton of Solstice Scents samples coming up! That one will likely have to be broken into two posts. 

Have you tried Haus of Gloi yet? If so, how do you like them? If not, what are your favorite fragrances? Have you tried any indie oils?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I've been MIA!

Yes, I haven't been here in a while. It's partly because I started a new job in August and adjusting to new hours is always tricky for me.

But even more than that, it's because I've honestly gotten bored to death with most of my sub boxes, and standard beauty products in general. It was bound to happen!

The good news is, I have been venturing into the world of indies - indie makeup, bath and body, and perfumes, and I'm excited again. I think I'm going to be posting about more of those, here!  And while I've been trying quite a few new things, I'm always looking to discover more.

SO, have you tried many indie companies? If so, what ones would you recommend to me?

I hope to have a little review of some Haus of Gloi fragrances up this weekend!