Nina Garcia Quarterly Box: March 2014 (#NGQ02)

Okay peeps, it’s that time again.  That oh so special time of year when the Nina Garcia Quarterly box shows up on my doorstep!  This is only the second box in the subscription and yet it’s at the top of my favorites list.   Quarterly is a service that offers quarterly subscriptions curated by all kinds of interesting folks who send select items in their special area of expertise.  Nina Garcia of course is a “Style Expert” and this is a fashion and beauty focused subscription.

BoxOpen Box 1

I was super excited to see what the theme of the box would be. Nina Garcia invites us to celebrate her fifth anniversary with Marie Claire and the arrival of spring.   So it turns out it is a “celebration box that includes a mixture of accessories, beauty products and home items”.
Card

Once again the first thing in the box is a lovely letter from Nina describing her items and why she’s chosen them.  The inclusion of personal and detailed letters from the curator are a feature that make Quarterly stand out from a lot of the other boxes.  The letters make these boxes feel extra special and like the curator took time and care putting the box together.

Open Box II
Okay, okay enough backstory, let’s get into this box!  Drumroll, please…

TshirtMuy Cool T-shirt by SpƎnglish: (Estimated Retail: $55.00)
Nina’s Description:  This oversize tee can be worn dressed down with jeans and stylish sneakers, or dressed up with a skirt and blazer.”
Verdict: Love!
This is a special edition T-shirt created especially for Quarterly subscribers and includes Nina’s signature on the tag.  I was incredibly surprised to find a sized item in the box since Quarterly doesn’t ask for that info.  Amazingly the shirt came in a size I can wear (large) and I think it will fit great.  I love the flared cut and because it can be worn “oversized” it will probably fit a lot of the smaller folks as well.  I do think including this was a gamble since it won’t fit everyone, but for me personally I love it.  Because this is a special edition, I’m estimating the value based on the only women’s tee available on the SpƎnglish site.

Necklace
Sterling Silver Shark Tooth Necklace by Sara Beltran:  (Retail: $100.00)
Verdict: Miss
Nina’s Description:  “It’s an incredibly versatile piece—you can wear it alone, or mix it up with other necklaces to create a bolder statement.  Its happy and brightly colored cord will seamlessly transition from spring into summer and the silver shark tooth gives it a trendy edge.”
My first instinct was that this looked cheap and sort of dated.  Color me shocked to find out it actually costs $100.00.  I like the daintiness of it, but the shark tooth just doesn’t feel fashion forward.  I do think it might be cute layered with some other pieces, so I’ll give that a shot.  If the pendant had been something that felt a little more fresh I would have adored this item.

Nail Polish
O.P.I “Greenade” Polish (Estimated Retail: $9.00)
Nina’s Description: “As with clothing and accessories, nail polish also changes from season to season.”
Verdict: Miss
This is another exclusive item for Nina’s Quarterly subscribers.  You all know I love polish and O.P.I is the first brand I really started using.  I like their polish, but this shade will in no way work for me.  I think this bright yellowish green is  a really hard color for a lot of folks to pull off.   I also don’t get a Nina Garcia vibe from it.  It’s not a color I imagine her wearing—even in spring.  I’m sure someone else will enjoy it though so I’ll probably trade this one out.  Since this is another exclusive I based the value on regular O.P.I. polishes.

Bracelet
C Wonder Delicate Skull Cuff:
 (Retail: $34.00)
Nina’s Description: “This fun bangle can be worn alone or stacked with other bracelts you wn to create a signature look.”
Verdict:
Miss
I don’t know about you but for me “skulls” do not scream out springtime (or celebration).  If this had come in a fall or winter box, I’d probably like it, but I’m looking for birds and flowers right now, not skulls and shark tooths.   It kind of looks like something I could pick up from a discount accessory place.  After googling, it seems like other folks got different styles, so I may have just been unlucky.  I may try it out with some other bracelets (like my hot pink gorjana and griffin from a long ago popsugar box) and see if I can “spring” it up.

ReVive
ReVive’s Moisturizing Renewal Serum : (Retail: $??? Full Size: $235.00)
Nina’s Description:  “I wanted to include some of my favorite beauty products that turn back the clock for my skin.  Apply..every night and you will wake up feeling naturally refreshed with dewy skin.”
Verdict: Love!
So throughout my boxes I am quickly accumulating a billion serums, but I love trying out uber fancy pants expensive products so I’m excited to give this one a shot.  I hope I don’t love it too much because $235 for one beauty product is not going to happen.

Wallet Wallet Open
Wallet from Charming Charlie(Retail: $15.00)
Nina’s Description:  “The radiant floral print will be the perfect finishing touch and pop of color for all your spring outfits.”
Verdict:
Hit!
After this never-ending winter, I’ve been craving florals so this cheerful wallet was a nice addition.  It is extremely practical with lots of slots for cards and the hardware has a rose gold color that is really nice.  I don’t know if the fabric on the wallet will stand up over time, but it’s an extremely affordable piece so if it lasts for just a season I’m fine with that.

Soap
LAFCO “Fleurs de Baies” soap (Retail: $17.00)
Nina’s Description:  “The scent leaves subtle floral notes on your skin without being overwhelming, and the packaging is beautiful.”
Verdict:
Gift
This is a lovely soap and Nina is right the packaging is beautiful, but the scent is just not for me.  I’m super picky and sensitive about scents and this one is too reminiscent of heavy old lady flower perfumes.  I’m going to gift this to someone who will love it and appreciate it.

Parfum
Tom Ford’s “Jasmine Rouge” Perfume (Retail: Freebie/Sample; Retail – 1.7. oz: $210.00 )
Nina’s Description:  “…Jasmine Rouge as another way to get your floral fix…this scent is lovely and I like the finish.”
Verdict:
Miss
So like I said fragrances for me are problematic.  I hated this one.  It was too strong and overpowering.  I think a lighter floral would have been better for spring.  Despite my perfume pickiness, I do think spring is the perfect time to pick out a new fragrance so including one was a good idea.

Palette
Laura Mercier Bonne Mine Compact (Retail: $48.00)
Nina’s Description:  “…contains neutral colors for blending, to give your skin a fresh spring glow.  Additionally..100% of the proceeds to go toward the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund, which is a cause close to my heart.”
Verdict:
Love!
I adore Laura Mercier and use her products regularly.  I’ve been eying plenty of cream cheek products for spring but luckily haven’t committed yet.  This product looks like it will work well with my skin tone and I’m going to have fun trying it out.  The best part is not only does this palette make you pretty and the proceeds go to charity, so this is officially my favorite item in the box.

Tea
Donkey Co. Tea Bag (Retail: €$7.95; USD $10.97)
Nina’s Description:  “Donkey Co. makes absolutely adorable tea bags and in honor of my 5th anniversary at Marie Claire, they created a Nina Garcia 5th Anniversary Marie Claire Special Edition of their Pret-A-porter.”
Verdict:
Hit
So now I can have morning tea with Nina Garcia!  Well, sort of it.  It’s a fun little whimsical addition and I’m trying to broaden my tea horizons so I’m going to give this one a shot.  Since this is special edition, I based my prices on similar tea bags from their site.

Notebook
X Pen Ballpoint Pen (Retail: $??? Estimate: $8.00)
Graphic Image Pocket Notes Notebook:(Retail: $36.00)
Nina’s Description:  “This X-pen ballpoint pen is both functional and fashionable—an accessory that works with any outfit.  The graphic image pocket notes notebook is the perfect size (and weight!) to carry around with you on a daily basis.  I think there is something classic about taking handwritten notes and keeping a personal touch.”
Verdict:
Love!
These guys were packaged together so I figured I’d review them that way.   I hoard blank notebooks so this is right up my alley and I love high quality pens. For spring I had planned to re-organize my workbag and these items will be my new go-to pad and pen.  I couldn’t find the retail value of the pen so I’m estimating it at $8.00.

Frame
Happy Chic By Jonathan Adler (Retail:12.00)
Nina’s Description:  “The modern design on this Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler picture frame makes it perfect for holding some of your fondest memories.
Verdict:
Miss
I guess this item was included because Nina is the “resident style voice at JC Penney” and they want us to know they have low budget Jonathan Adler items.  Problem is this one is boring and the quality on it is pretty cheap. It looks like something you’d get on sale at Target.  Don’t let the Jonathan Adler name on this fool you, you could spend the same amount at TJ Maxx for a similar but much better quality frame.  I think other folks got different designs, which I may have liked more than this one.

Serum
Philosophy’s Time in a Bottle Serum (Retail:74.00)
Nina’s Description:  “For long lasting beauty, start your morning with philosophy’s time in a bottle serum.  Its impressive cocktail of antioxidants will protect and perfect your skin.  I use it on a daily basis to keep my skin healthy and smooth.”
Verdict:
Hit
Another serum?  So I guess we have learned that serums are really important and this is Nina’s day serum.  It’s been a long time since I tried a Philosophy product so it will be nice to revisit the brand.  Although at this point  I’m going to need to create a spreadsheet to figure out when to use all the serums I have now accumulated.

Marie Claire
Marie Claire Magazine & Fausto Puglisi Collage (Retail:4.99; Freebie?)
Nina’s Description:  “one of the most special items in the box is the illustrated Fausto Puglisis Collage which he create din celebration of my 4th year at Marie Claire.  I adore Fausto’s runway collections.”.
Verdict:
Hit/Miss
We all know there will be Marie Claire in the box and I always enjoy reading the magazine.  I understand the idea behind the collage and it’s a nice thought, but it’s not particularly attractive and I don’t know many people who would want to put this up on their wall.  Sadly, it will most likely end up in the recycle bin.  So sorry, Nina.

Overall:
Full Box
Hit!

The tshirt, notebook/pen and cheek palette made this box for me.  Unfortunately, there were also a lot of misses, but the value on this is so high that overall it was still an uber fabulous box.  I paid $100 for this and received about $420.00 worth of items even excluding the cost of the two sample items.

While I do love this box, I found her first one to be much more cohesive and on trend.   Perhaps the nature of the “anniversary” and “my favorite things” pushed this box into being less thematic and more random.  I had been hoping for an amazing spring fashion box and I did get some great items for spring, but this box had quite a few things that felt out of place for the season.

I’m interested to see if the next box is more thematic (like the fall) or more eclectic like this one.  And as usual I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

If you’re interested in the celebrity boxes at Quarterly, check back soon because I should be receiving the Andrew Zimmern box shortly!

Which box did you like better?  The November box or this one and why?

Nina Garcia Quarterly Box – November 2013

When I opened my mailbox and found a jury duty summons there was only one thing that could make me feel better.  The fact that it was sitting on top of my Nina Garcia Quarterly box.  Quarterly is a service that offers quarterly subscriptions curated by all kinds of interesting folks who send select items in their special area of expertise.  Nina Garcia is listed a “Style Expert” so this is a fashion and beauty focused subscription and November 2013 is the launch of its first box.
Box
I was a little perturbed by the size of the package.  It just didn’t seem big enough for a $100 subscription, but I’m not going to panic because I trust Nina.

First ImpressionThe first thing I find when I open it up is the nicest descriptive info I’ve gotten from any of my boxes.  It’s a long letter from Nina detailing all the items and why they were chosen.

CardsNina writes, “For my first box, I’ve handpicked products from this season that reflect what’s happening in fashion today: hot brands, wardrobe staples, beauty essentials and up-and-coming designers.”  She goes on to explain that she’s connected the items with an underlying theme: Glam Grunge.

Okay people, this is going to be good.

The first item is:
Leather Cuff
Leather Dual Cone Cuff by Baublebar:
(Estimated Retail: $32.00)
Verdict: Love!
This item is exclusive for Nina’s first Quarterly mailing. She writes that it “strikes that perfect balance between polish and edge”.  Okay one, how cool is to have something that only the other folks smart enough to subscribe to Nina’s box will get and 2. This thing is just badass.  What I also love about it is that it has 3 rows of snaps, so whether you have a larger wrist or a freakishly small one like I do, it will fit you.  This item also came with a Baublebar coupon for $15 off of any order of $30+.  Because this is an exclusive, I’m basing the retail on a somewhat similar studded bracelet on the Baublebar Site.

Ear Cuff
Jack Vartanian Ear Cuff:
  (Retail: ????)
Verdict: Love!
The ear cuff trend is everywhere and I think it looks pretty damn cool, but I’ve been on the fence as to whether I could pull it off.  But now that Nina Garcia has given me permission I am totally ready to rock this.  It’s so dainty but edgy, and its subtle enough to make that touch of punk seem effortless.  Now I googled trying to find a retail price only to discover that Jack Vartanian is super fancy – as in jewelry at Barneys with price tags in the thousands of dollars.  This might not be gold and diamonds, but I’m betting the retail on costume jewelry from this caliber of designer is quite high.

Stole
Faux Fur Stole by Adrienne Landau
(Estimated Retail: $39.90)
Verdict:
Love!
How did Nina know that I’ve been pinning fur scarves to my Pinterest board for the last two months?  This little stole is quite soft and has an easy Velcro closure.  It’s small so it can add just a touch of fur without overwhelming your outfit.  Plus it’s warm, which is helpful for facing NYC winters.  This is yet another item made exclusively for Nina (clearly everyone loves Nina or she’s got a safety deposit box chock full of incriminating photos).  So this is another one where it’s difficult to pinpoint a retail value.  Adrienne has products in stores from Saks Fifth Avenue to HSN.  Since this stole is faux we’ll estimate the price to be on par with this piece she has on HSN.

Liptstick
Too Faced La Créme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Teddy Berry:
  (Retail: $21.00)
Verdict: Love!
Nina chose four different shades of plum lipstick and included a different one in each box.  Mine seems to be a little on the lighter side, but I think it will complement my skin tone really well.  I’ve never tried any Too Faced cosmetics so I can’t wait to give this one a whirl.

Essie
Essie Polish in Shearling Darling:
(Retail: $8.50)
Verdict: Hit!
I am a sucker for dark red polishes and this is a lovely shade of burgundy.  I only own one Essie polish, so this will help build my collection.

Soap
Pearl+ Luxury Soap: (Retail: $6.00)
Verdict:
Miss/Gift
This is a detox soap comprised of crushed pearl and charcoal.  It sounds fascinating but I am really sensitive to smells and this one is just too strong.  It’s definitely a manly type soap (think musk and cologne).  I think I will be adding this one to the gift pile.

Open Kit
VBeauté It Kit Anti Age Skin Care System:
(Retail: $99.00)
Verdict: Love!
Okay so the cost of this little kit pretty much covered the entire box.  It is an anti-aging skin care system and this little clutch is designed to be TSA friendly.  I have to say this is the most luxe travel skincare set I have ever seen.  Included with this was a coupon code for $25 off of a $75+ at vbeaute.com. I am unfamiliar with this brand, but if their product is half as good as their packaging I will love it.

Magazine
December 2013 Marie Claire Magazine:
(Retail: $3.99)
Verdict: Hit!
We all knew this would be in here.  I don’t subscribe to this magazine, so it’s nice to get a free copy.

Full Box
Overall:

Amazing.  Badass.  Awesome.
I had high hopes for this subscription and it more than exceeded them.  I paid $100 for this box.  Without including the Jack Vartanian ear cuff or the coupons,  my estimated retail is already at $200.00.  I love nearly everything, and with the exception of the soap I will use it all myself.  It’s clear that Nina had a lot of input and took a lot of care with this box.  I also adore that she gave all the items a theme.  I have to say I think this is my favorite subscription box to date.  Brava Nina!

There is just one downside to this box.  I have to wait a few months until the next one.