Birchbox: October 2014

Since October is my birthday month, there’s a lot of pressure on my sub boxes to deliver fantastic surprises. It’s time to dive into the October Birchbox and see if it delivered.
Box
The cute pink box opens up to reveal:
Box 2
The even cuter brown box that will surely hold someone’s Christmas gift later this year.

Along with our info card, we got a cute little one to broadcast our favorite TV show. My current fave is hands down Once Upon A Time. There are no stories better than fairy tales. Not a one.
Cards

So now we move the tissue paper to dive into the pretties.
Open Box Open Box 2

Beauty Blender
beautyblender® + deluxe solid cleanser

(Retail: $28.95)
Description: Pro-favorite sponge for smooth, natural-finish foundation (plus cleanser to keep it clean)”
Verdict: HOT DAMN!
We had heard this item would be featured in boxes and of course, everyone wanted one. And as luck would have it, I am one of the chosen. I have heard so many amazing things about beautyblenders but have yet to try one. I can’t wait to give this a shot with my favorite CC cream. This item alone is well over the value of the box, and everything after this is just icing on the cake.


Hand
Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey Glycerine Hand Therapy
(6 oz Retail: $13.95)
Description: Sweet-smelling cream that restores and protects hands with glycerin and healing botanicals.”
Verdict: Hit!
Do you see that adorable little flower attached to the top of the itty bitty jar? This thing could be empty and I’d love it. This is a nice little size to keep in your work bag and I’m adding this to my mini nail kit that I’m taking for my birthday weekend trip.

Pore
brandt® pores no more® vacuum cleaner™
(1 oz Retail: $45.00)
Description: “Award-winning gel that degunks pores for fewer blackheads and smoother skin.”
Verdict: Hit!
Blackheads are my skincare nemesis so anything that will “degunk” or remove them is a winner for me. This is pretty pricey on its own so I’m psyched to have a chance to try it out before committing to a full size.

Modelco
ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Kitty

(Lipstick Trio Retail: $24.00)
Description: “”Hydrating, semi-matte formula in a soft pink shade that lasts as long as the party does.”
Verdict: Hit!
This was the sample I chose from the options we were given. It’s a nice neutral pink and I like the packaging with the clear top. I didn’t swatch this just because I have a ton of lipsticks currently in rotation. I’ve been wanting to try a smoky eye look for evening and I think it will pair perfectly with this lipstick. (Plus the small size of this will work great in a tiny clutch bag).

Perfume
Sage and Fasten Onward

(Full size Rollerball Collection: $29.00)
Description: Grapefruit, green apple, and lemon mingle in this energizing citrus scent.”
Verdict: Hit!
Typically I don’t care for perfumes, but I love fruity scents – particularly citrus, so this is right up my alley. I also love rollerball perfume applicators so this is a great choice for me. This is another item I’ll be taking along with me on my trip.

 

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
I love it so much that I want to marry it and have its sub box babies

They could have thrown the beautyblender in with just a bunch of packing peanuts and this box would have been worth it. Not only is everything in this box something I will use, but they are all items I would have grabbed for myself if I’d seen them on a shelf. Birchbox really outdid themselves this month and this was just the perfect birthday box for me.

As for the value, I paid $10.70 and received $5.00 in Birchbox points after reviewing each item, so a great deal becomes even better.

I have plans to head out soon to the Birchbox store in Soho, so if you want to get a peek at the Brick and Mortar Birchbox, be sure to stop back.

Were you one of the lucky folks to grab a beautyblender? What was in your October Birchbox?

THE BACKSTORY

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year.

Your options: Women’s Box or Men’s Box

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends. If your review all the items you receive in your box each month, you’ll receive 50 Birchbox rewards points!
If you purchase a full size of one of the sample items they sent you in that same month, you receive free shipping on them and often extra points.

Road Trip Beauty Essentials: Blog Hop Post

I’m part of a fabulous Beauty & Fashion bloggers group on Facebook and each month they host a blog hop.  This month’s topic was 5 beauty essentials you’d grab for a last minute road trip.  With winter being so brutal this year, the wanderlust beats strong in my heart so I couldn’t resist joining in.
Background

My Destination:  I live in northern NJ, just outside NYC so I’d head out to Connecticut.  I’d spend a night at Foxwoods casino playing some slots, seeing a comedy show and grabbing a fancy pants dinner at David Burke’s Prime.  The next day we’d head out to pick up some Sheer Chardonnay from Stonington Vineyards then go antiquing in Putnam at the Antiques Marketplace with lunch at the Courthouse Bar & Grille.

If you’re a subscription box junkie like me, you always want to grab the cool beauty finds from your latest boxes and run with them.  I figured we’d start off with a few fun things from recent boxes and then add on my 5 beauty essentials to create an effortless and versatile look.

Let’s start with something compact to hold our beauty products.  The Gorgana clutch from the February Popsugar box is billed as a “jewelry roll” but it will be perfect to hold our makeup and can double as a great clutch for that nice steakhouse dinner.  In that same Popsugar box, we received a Modelco lipgloss/lipstick duo.  Two in one products are great when you don’t want to pack a ton of stuff and this shade is a lovely neutral.  Let’s grab one more goodie from our boxes…an eye sheen from the Julep February Maven Boxes.  I received the Dusty Taupe and it’s a pinkish shimmery neutral that is fabulous for day or night.
Box Items

Now that we’ve grabbed some fun new things, let’s dive into our five beauty standbys.

It Cosmetics
Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

(Retail: $38.00)
Description:
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ is your Full Coverage Color Correcting Cream, Anti-Aging Serum, plus Broad Spectrum Physical Only SPF 50+ all in one! Paraben-free and SPF 50+ UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, Physical Only, Non-Chemical Sunscreen. The anti-aging hydrating formula is infused with peptides, niacin, algae, vitamins A, C, B, E, hyaluronic acid, and hydrolyzed collagen along with anti-oxidants and exotic natural botanicals for long-term brightening and color-correcting benefits.”

This guy is a multi-tasker if ever there was one and I use it every day in the “Fair” shade.  It’s like a cross between a tinted moisturizer and foundation.  It gives you a ton of coverage, but isn’t super heavy and doesn’t look like you’re wearing a mask.  It’s also got a high SPF so you don’t have to worry about constantly reapplying sunscreen to your face and the serum aspect gives your complexion that dewy youthful look.  It’s easy to apply with your fingers so no need to pack any brushes or sponges for this.

It Cosmetics Hello Lashes Clinically Proven 5-in-1 Mascara
(Retail: $24.00)
Description:
Hello Lashes Clinically Proven 5-in-1 Mascara revolutionizes and takes the place of 5 products: 1) Your natural volumizing mascara, 2) Your conditioning, hydrating lash primer, 3) Your lash enhancing serum, 4) Your lash tint and 5) your lash comb/curler! Hello Lashes Clinically Proven 5-in-1. The triple brush lengthens, curls and separates lashes while the innovative Magic Wand Lash Ball Detailer tip is designed to reach every last inner and outer corner lash.”

So I’m one of those folks with oily lashes.  Mascaras will often end up giving me those giant raccoon eye smudges after five minutes of wearing.  This one not only stays put, but it gives me volume and curl, so no need to pack an eyelash curler.   It also has a unique brush design that has a spiky little tip which allows you to go in and get all those little lashes that the regular brush can miss.

Benefit
Benefit Fine-One-One
(Retail: $30.00)
Description:
This creamy stick features lovely coral, watermelon, and champagne pigments that blend together for a sheer wash of color. The swipe-on stick is supereasy to apply—great for times when you’re on the go.  This goofproof tint features a cream-to-powder formula that goes on sheer and imparts a lasting pink hue that blends coral, watermelon, and champagne colors. The multidimensional shade brightens dull cheeks and works as both a blush and highlighter. You can also wear it as a pretty lip tint.

This product is so easy to apply and gives the perfect mix of color.  It is a really natural shade that compliments nearly every skin tone.  The stick includes a highlight and contour shade as well, so it’s an everything in one.  Just swipe on and then blend with your fingertips.  You get a fresh, youthful and natural look. It’s that easy.

Laura Mercier
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Khaki
(Retail: $26.00)
Description:
This no-fuss, creamy eye shadow stick delivers easy application and high-definition color. The long-lasting formula glides on smoothly, blends easily, and is resistant to unwanted creases. The possibilities are many. Wear as a liner, shadow, or both, for a flawless finish.”

Laura Mercier caviar eye sticks are amazing.  You can use them as a fabulous eye shadow or line your eyes for the easiest smoky look you’ve ever tried.  The Khaki shade is perfect.  It looks great on everyone and it can transition from day to night with no problem.  I’m extremely pale but have brown eyes.  A smoky eye with black or gray can look severe, and brown or bronze doesn’t really bring out my eye color.  But Khaki is the perfect compromise.  Dark enough for that edgy look, but with enough color to keep me from looking too goth.  Apply that Julep eye sheen over you lid and crease and then line your eyes with this for a perfect day to night eye.  If you want a full smoky eye for the evening you can apply to your entire lid.

Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder – Shine Control
(Retail: $34.00)
Description:
Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder – Shine Control is a lightweight, oil-free powder that visibly eliminates shine and produces a fresh, matte complexion. The naturally derived Shine Control Complex controls oil breakthrough and the ultra-sheer, mint green shade works to correct redness and visibly even out the skintone. It’s ideal for touch-ups throughout the day as it keeps your complexion flawless and shine-free.”

An easy to apply powder that controls shine is a must have in your bag.  I keep one of these in my purse at all times.  It’s perfect for keeping shine away and evens out skintone.  The mirrored compact design is perfect for a quick touchup.

Full Bag
The best part about these beauty must haves is they are all multi-taskers that don’t require you to pack any brushes.   I also managed to fit everything into that cute little clutch.  Ultimate cosmic (beauty) power!  Itty bitty living space.

Have you tried any of my must haves?  If so, what did you think?

Are you planning a road trip?  If so, where are you heading?

To read some other fabulous blogs on the subject, take a look at my fellow blog hop participants.   Happy Reading!

BLOG LINK LIST

Popsugar Must Have: February 2014

So my February Popsugar box came a bit late since one of my postmen seems to be really confused about how to leave packages, so let’s not waste any more time and get right into this box.
Open Box 2 Open Box

Clutch
Gorjana Brooks Jewelry Roll
(Retail: $45.00)
Category: Must Have Fashion
Verdict: Hit!
This brand tends to pop up a lot in subscription boxes and they have some really cool designs.  This is described as a “jewelry roll” but if I hadn’t read that I would assume it’s just a cute clutch.  It’s a fab red shade with 18K gold hardware and has three zipper pockets that can fit quite a lot.  You can use this in a myriad of ways from a little makeup bag, to an evening clutch to its intended use as a jewelry roll.  I think it would be a nice versatile piece for a vacation.  This little bag also came with a $25 off coupon at gorjana-griffin.com that I can’t wait to use.

Sugarwish
Sugarwish Mini Red Cinnamon Hearts(Retail:????)
Category: Must Have Food
Verdict:  Hit
Although I didn’t get my package in time for Valentine’s day, I still appreciated the red cinnamon hearts.  This was one of the most beautifully packaged treats I’ve ever gotten and it gave the whole box that perfect Valentine’s Day vibe.  This item also came with a coupon for 20% off a “petite sugarwish”.  (Doesn’t “petite sugarwish” sound like the name of a Kentucky Derby horse?)  Anyways, at the time I was working on this review their site was down so I couldn’t give you a price on this one.


ModelcoModelco Swatch
Modelco Lip Pops Duo Lip Gloss and Lipstick
(Estimate $12.25)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Verdict:  Love!
-I’m in love with this shade of lipstick.  It’s a perfect pink and the combo of lip gloss and lipstick make it a great multi-tasker. You can wear the lipstick and gloss layered together or individually for a different look. I know this is going to become a staple in my makeup case.  I couldn’t find this on its own so I just estimated the value from a set that Modelco offers.

Peony
K Hall Designs Peony Travel Candle
(Retail: $11.00)
Category: Must Have Home
Verdict:  Hit
I know that candles are a staple of the subscription box world, but I still love them and get excited to see them in my boxes.  I am, however picky about scents and this one is lovely.  It’s a light floral that smells quite natural (as opposed to that overwhelming grandma perfume type scent).  I wish it was a touch bigger, but it’s billed as a “travel candle” so I guess it’s supposed to be easy to tuck into your luggage.

Polish
NCLA Rodeo Drive Royalty Nail Polish
(Retail: $16.00)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Verdict:  Hit
So despite the fact that my Julep addiction and my newfound love of Indie polish has given me a gigantic polish horde, I still like trying new brands. NCLA is a 5 free luxury brand so it’s all of the fancy and none of the freaky chemicals.  I don’t have any NCLA polish and I’m sucker for dark reds so this will be a great addition to my collection.

Serum
Nourish Organic Pure Hydrating Argan Face Serum
(Retail: $23.99)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Verdict:  Hit!
I adore trying new organic skincare and this particular brand is new to me.  This is a face serum made from a “concentrated blend of Moroccan, apricot and rosehip oils.”  They claim it “hydrates and softens skin for a brighter even complexion.”    That all sounds wonderful so I’ll be giving this a try in my spring skincare routine.

Dial
Dial Vitamin Boost Body Wash
(Freebie)
Category: Special Extra
Verdict:  Hit!
Okay, so a lot of people were complaining about this item because it’s a “drugstore” brand.  But here’s the deal, it’s an “extra”.  And it’s a gigantic full size extra.  I’m sure this is a product that Popsugar got free from Dial for promotion purposes.  Since this box was chock of great, higher value items I don’t have a problem with this inclusion.  Maybe I’m a cheap date but I’ve loved all the drug store stuff they threw in like the Revlon nail files last month and the Ghiradelli chocolates from December.  I figure as long as there are plenty of other luxury items, a little extra drugstore find shouldn’t get my panties in a twist.

Full Box
Overall:
Love!

I really loved this box.  I appreciated the subtle Valentine’s vibe.  It had a holiday theme, but not in an overpowering way.  Even without the cost of the candy and the Dial bodywash, the estimated retail value on the box came out to $108.24. This month, I had enough referrals to get a free box (as always, thank you readers!) but even if I’d paid the full amount I’d still be quite happy with the contents since I will use every item in the box.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Popsugar has another special edition box:  The Must Have Resort.  Yes, the beloved and beautiful word “resort”.  So foreign from the cold frozen tundra we have all endured during this never-ending winter of our discontent. I think you know me well enough to know I already ordered it.  It’s still available for $100 (plus shipping).  If you don’t want to spend the cash, but still want to see what’s inside, be sure to come on back for the review.

So what did you think of the February Popsugar Must Have Box?

Were you turned off by the Dial soap or was it just a practical freebie?

The Backstory

Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.

In addition to Popsugar’s monthly must have boxes, they have some seasonal special edition boxes that contain uber luxe items.  The price tag on these boxes is higher, but the products you receive are high end.

Popsugar Pricing:
Monthly – $39.95
3 Months – $109.85
6 Months – $214.70
12 Months – $404.40

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off sitewide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

Popsugar Must Have Box – December 2013

And it’s that time again for the Popsugar Must Have Box.  For info on Popsugar subscriptions along with some coupon codes jump down below. Now let’s dive into the December Must Have Box.

BraceletBracelet Closeup
Lulu Frost for Popsugar Bracelet
(Retail: $110.00)
Verdict: Hit!
Lulu Frost seems to be a big hit with a lot of celebrities and is “known for mixing vintage and modern elements to create timeless baubles”.  This bracelet won me over because it has baguettes (they are a favorite of mine and don’t show up as frequently as I would like) and it has an art deco vibe (another favorite but this one does show up pretty often).  The only downside to this piece is that the design is only on the front while the back has the “Lulu Frost for Popsugar” logo.  With this style bracelet that logo is bound to show when the charm dangles.  I wish it had something more decorative in the back and maybe just a little dangle tag by the clasp to indicate the designer. The retail value of this item is more than three times the cost of what I paid for this box, so we’re off to a great start.


Wrapping Paper
Mixt Studio Holiday Gifting Set
(Retail: $9.00)
Verdict:  Hit!/Gift
It seems no matter how much wrapping paper I buy, I always run out at an inopportune moment, so I was happy to see this in my box and it promptly made it’s way onto Christmas gifts.  The “snow drift” print in particular is incredibly striking and has made my Mom’s Christmas gift look all the more amazing.

Mascara
ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Black Mascara
(Retail: $)
Verdict:  Hit!
Once upon a time I fell in love with a Fibre mascara and then..gasp..they changed the formula.  Then, of course it didn’t work for me anymore.  I’m still in search of a replacement for that fibre mascara I once loved and lost, so I’m happy to try out a new one.  I’ve never tried anything by Modelco so it will be fun to play with a new brand.  The mascara also includes a cute little mirror right on the tube.  This  came with a coupon for $10 off plus a free ultra lip gloss.

Flutes
Govino Go Anywhere Flutes
(Retail: $12.95)
Verdict:  Gift
I have a lot of glasses.  It’s one of those things that people seem to love to give me plus I inherited a ton of my grandmother’s, so I am well stocked up.  In order for me to add on a set of glasses I have to love them and these just don’t speak to me.  The fact that they are shatterproof and plastic isn’t really appealing either.  I feel like if I’m at an event casual enough for plastic, it’s time to bring out the giant red beer cups, that I won’t have to wash when all is said and done.  These do however complement a Christmas gift I already had planned so they are getting packed up with that.

Popcorn
CC Caramel Corn
(Retail: $4.00)
Verdict:  Hit!
The only problem with this was that there wasn’t more of it.  It was delicious and I had to fight my boyfriend in order to get some.

Nail Wraps
NCLA Peppermint Lane Nail Wraps
(Retail: $16.00)
Verdict:  Hit!
As I’ve mentioned before, 2013 was the year that I got into doing my nails.  I’ve been meaning to try some nail wraps but haven’t gotten around to it.  These designs seem pretty basic and I think they’d work great as accent nails with my Julep colors.

Chocolates
Ghirardelli Squares Chocolate
(Retail:$8.40/Retail: $4.25)
Verdict:  Gift
I love chocolate but since this time of the year is filled with so many amazing confections and treats I decided to add these to some Christmas gifts and share the calories—eh, I mean the love.  Yeah, the love.

Full Box
Overall:
Hit!

With my discount for purchasing multiple months in advance I paid 33.88 for this box and it had an estimated retail value of $184.60.  I either liked or could gift everything  so it was definitely a win for me.  I do think the appeal of this box lies with the high ticket item.  If you like that Lulu Frost bracelet, everything else is just gravy.

What did you think of this box?  Hit or Miss?

The Backstory

Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.

In addition to Popsugar’s monthly must have boxes, they have some seasonal special edition boxes that contain uber luxe items.  The price tag on these boxes is higher, but the products you receive are high end.

Popsugar Pricing:
Monthly – $39.95
3 Months – $109.85
6 Months – $214.70
12 Months – $404.40

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off sitewide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

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