Birchbox: June 2016 Review

Today I’m back from my brief hiatus to review one of my last Birchboxes.  Because of the very controversial changes to the Birchbox subscription that I discussed in my last BB review, I opted to cancel my subscription after July.
So let’ see what June brought inside my very cute box.
Gimme BrowGimme Brow Swatch
Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel
(Full Size $24.00)
Description: “This innovative, water-resistant fiber gel has a precision tip for shaping and buildable formula for thick, lush brows.
Verdict: Like
This was the sample I chose and I got the medium shade.  The product seems to work decently but I actually really prefer Julep’s eyebrow product.  I think it’s easier to apply.  I also hate that redheads never get our own shade.  Yes, I know eyebrows are typically darker than the hair on your head, but I’d love to see an option that gives a more reddish tone.

Coola Sun
COOLA® Environmental Repair Plus® Radical Recovery™ After-Sun Lotion
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: This soothing lotion uses agave to moisturize protect and calm any post-sun woes.”
Verdict: Déjà vu all over again
Is it a Birchbox if we don’t get anything from Coola?  Since the sun and I are mortal enemies, I do not need “after sun” recovery, because I load myself up enough sunblock and protective clothing/products.  I really hate these “recovery” products.  Just use enough damn sunblock the first time and save yourself $32 extra dollars and those wrinkles.

Evologie® Intensive Blemish Serum
(Full Size: $35.00)
Description: ”Aside from obliterating blemishes (as if that weren’t enough), the serum also tackles scars and hyperpigmentation.”
Verdict: Not the best fit
I don’t really have much of a problem with acne and I’ve indicated that on my profile. This says it tackles scars and hyperpigmentation too, but those aren’t problems for me either.  I do get the occasional pimple so I’ll set this aside, but it really wasn’t a good choice for me.

Oribe Côte d’Azur Eau de Parfum
(Full Size: $95.00)
Description: ”Enjoy the scent you love form Oribe, now in a perfume that lasts all day.
Verdict: You know they give these away for free at makeup counters?
Oribe makes fabulous hair products, the only problem with them is they have a very strong perfume scent.  I don’t use a lot of the Oribe products I own just because the scent gets to me.  Now, this product right here is a perfect example of why I canceled Birchbox.  Fragrances should not be included in the 5 products.  Every makeup counter will give these to you for free, plus so many people cannot handle strong scents.  Birchbox lets you select a “least” option for getting perfumes.  Out of 6 months of boxes, I chose a curated boxes twice.  Out of the remaining 4 months, I received a perfume sample 3 times.  Is it really worth me paying $10.70 a month to consistently receive a product I can’t use or opt out of?  When I got points for reviews it offset the cost, but now?  No way.  You can keep your tiny little vials of headaches, Birchbox.

Parlor Shampoo
PARLOR® by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Shampoo

(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “A lightweight, sulfate-free cleanser infused with softening and strengthening ingredients.”
Verdict:  Again?
I don’t know how many products are in the Parlor line but I feel like I’ve gotten them all 10 times already.  For the love of god, try a new brand.

Birchbox June 2016
I’m a Sad Panda
This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  Even with the discount, this one was a stinker.  The only item I really liked was the Benefit product I chose and that product is super tiny.  The products don’t match my profile and it’s the same brands over and over again.  Where are the cool fun finds?  Hello, Birchbox if we haven’t bought Coola or Parlor by now, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO DO IT.  Birchbox is never going to last if they want folks to pay full price for such badly curated boxes.  They have a lot of great brands and unique products, they can do better.  At this point the only thing I’ll really miss about this sub are the cute cardboard boxes.

How do you feel about fragrances in beauty subs?  Are they appropriate as key items or should they only be used as “extras”?

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

Birchbox: October 2015

Between the holidays and the plethora of new boxes that have shown up over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten behind on some of my old favorites, so prepare yourself for some quality time with good old Birchbox, the subscription that really started the whole beauty box craze.

Today I’ve got my review of their October box.

As usual another pretty box that I’ll be hoarding.
Box Open Box

Avène Thermal Spring Water

(5.29 oz.: $12.00)
Description: This hydrating mist is your best bet for curing dryness and irritation in a snap.”.
Verdict: Like
This isn’t something I’d ever buy for myself but it came right in time for my trip to San Diego so I packed it with my toiletries and used it after walking in the sun on some hot days. It was nice, although not something I’d purchase myself.

BioRepublic Cucumber Breeze Soothing Mask
(Set: $14.50)
Description: Fiber face mask that calms stressed skin and minimizes the look of pores and fine lines.”
Verdict: Love!
I love trying out sheet masks and this one was really soothing. My skin had been really temperamental and this did a great job of calming it down. If you’re looking for a sheet mask, I’d definitely recommend this one.

Manna Kadar Lip Locked in Lucky

(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: ”All-in-one primer, stain, and gloss that’s loaded with nourishing vitamins A and E.”
Verdict: Gift
I feel like I have so many lip products close to this shade that I’ll probably pass this along to a friend.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

(8.5 oz: $42.00)
Description: ”This cult-favorite multi-tasker soaks up oil and gives hair body and bounce.
Verdict: The Holy Grail Product for Hair
I’ve got a giant bottle of this from another sub box and like all Oribe products it is amazing (and super expensive). These little bottles are great for travel or keeping in your work or gym bag. This was another item that went along with me on my San Diego trip and it was great for keeping my hair looking good during some hot days.

Stila huge extreme lash mascara

(Full Size: $23.00)
Description: “One coat of this jet-black mascara gives you a major boost in volume, curl and length.”
Verdict: Like
This was the sample I chose and it was mostly because I’d tried all the other mascaras they were offering. I liked this one a lot – I felt that it had staying power and did give my lashes a noticeable boost. I wasn’t crazy about the applicator so that’s why it’s not a “hit”.

Birchbox 10.2015

Verdict: Love!

This box actually arrived at the perfect time and with the exception of the lip product, all the items came along with me on my trip. I enjoyed using them and this box was definitely worth the $10.70 I paid. After reviewing the products, (except the Stila which didn’t have a link), I received $4.00 of Birchbox credit, so really great value overall.

Have you ever tried an Oribe products? If so, what did you think? Are they worth the high price tag?

Birchbox is now offering new Limited Edition Boxes!

LE Charmed Life
Limited Edition: The Charmed Life

(Retail: $40.00)
Description: This collection is filled with chic treasures that keep your space organized in style, while adding modern design touches. From gilded accents to luxurious body potions, these treats will make your happy place that much happier. Welcome home! A $120 value!”

Everday Glamour
Limited Edition: Everyday Glamour
(Retail: $48.00)
Description: A Wednesday night out. A work meeting. A weekend brunch. Not everything can be quite as exciting as a black-tie affair, but doesn’t your day-to-day still deserve a touch of glam? This Limited Edition Box is packed with with gorgeous, timeless products that will elevate your everyday beauty routine to new (gorgeous) heights. From a big-and-bold mascara and cult-favorite lip lacquer to strand-nourishing hair oil and an antioxidant-rich mask, this collection will keep you feeling fabulous and looking glamorous—even on a Monday. A $197 value!



Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

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.

Birchbox: July 2015

Along with the sample options for July, Birchbox offered their Beachy & Bright curated box. “…this collection is full of products perfect for a weekend at the shore—or for achieving that back-from-the-beach look.”

“Beach look” works for me, so let’s get to the goods.
Open Box

JUARA Radiance Enzyme Scrub

(Full Size: $38.00)
Description: Gentle exfoliator that minimizes imperfections and leaves skin glowingly smooth..”
Verdict: Okay
I like scrubs but I’ve tried the Juara brand before and found that it’s not particularly impressive. It’s not terrible or anything, but it just doesn’t do much for me. I use exfoliators regularly so I will definitely give this one a try even if I’m not wowed by the brand.

Oribe Aprés Beach Wave and Shine Spray
(Full Size: $39.00)
Description: This spritz delivers beachy, texturized waves—plus , it hydrates summer-dry hair and boosts shine.”
Verdict: I think I love you too much
Oribe is an awesome brand and every product of theirs that I’ve tried has been amazing. They have somehow managed to combine beachy waves and shine in one adorable little spray. This has made it onto my Birchbox list and I think I’ll be hoarding some points in order to pick up a full size.

Supergoop!® Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30

(Full Size: $42.00)
Description: ”This antiaging serum blocks UV rays while hydrating skin and preventing future sun damage.
Verdict: Is anyone besides me super annoyed with the ! Is it really necessary?
What would happen if sub boxes just stopped including Supergoop!? Would the entire industry collapse? I am so damn tired of this brand. SPF 30 is too low for a ginger like me so I’m just going to set this aside and give it to someone else who doesn’t hate Supergoop(!) as much as I do.

The Balm
theBalm® cosmetics Balm Desert® Bronzer/Blush
(Full Size: $21.00)
Description: ”A blush and bronzer in one, this velvety powder gives a long-wearing fresh-from-the-beach glow.
Verdict: Hit!
This shade was easy to apply and worked well with my complexion. I also used it as an eyeshadow and it gave this great bronzey summer vibe.

Stila Stay all day liquid lipstick

(Trio Set: $20.00)
Description: This creamy, matte formula glides on like a gloss and yet lasts (and lasts and lasts) like a stain…”
Verdict: Miss
I love Stila so I wanted to like this, but the consistency just doesn’t work for me. I swatched it on my hand and found it to be drying so I tried it with a moisturizing primer. Unfortunately the primer takes away from the staying power and I had hot pink lipstick all over my water glass after an hour of wearing it. It did leave behind a stain on my lips, but not the rich saturated color that you would expect. I also think the red shade probably would have been more appropriate for my skin tone. It’s definitely a bright, saturated fun color for summer and if you use it without primer it should have more staying power.

Swatches of the bronzer and the lipstick:

Birchbox 7.2015

Verdict: Hit!

I chose this box (despite the Supergoop!) so I knew what I was getting. I love the Oribe and the bronzer and those two products alone make the box worth the $10.70 I paid for it. After reviewing my products, I received $5.00 worth of credit so the cost to me comes out to only $5.70. This box for that price is really amazing.

Have you tried any liquid lipsticks?
What do you think of the texture? Do you find them drying?

Birchbox is offering two new specialty curated boxes for sale:

Mass Appeal Beauty Collection – Birchbox for CEW

(Retail: $15.00)
Description: “This exclusive Birchbox collection features drugstore-available honorees from the 2015 awards—you’ll get a luxurious overnight mask, a lip pencil that packs a wallop of creamy color, and more. A $68 value!”

Prestige Headliners Beauty Collection – Birchbox for CEW
(Retail: $18.00)
Description: “This exclusive Birchbox collection features honorees from the 2015 awards—you’ll get an indulgent glow-ifying face mask, a legendary liquid liner, and much more.”


Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

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.

Popsugar Must Have: September 2014

So it’s time for one of my favorite boxes – the Popsugar Must Have. I loved the August box so I was super excited to see what was in store for September.

BoxOpen Box 1 Open Box 2

Tilo Scarves Modal Gradation Scarf in Raisin (Suggested Retail: $125)
Category: Must Have Fashion
Description: “Sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Fred Segal, and Ron Herman, this hand-dyed modal scarf provides warmth and style as you layer your way into Fall.”
Verdict: Love!
Do I have a ton of scarves? Yes? Can I find room for more awesome ones? Of course. This scarf is super soft and I adore the ombre effect on it. I love that it’s neutral but has an edgy vibe. I can already see this becoming a staple in my fall wardrobe. This scarf definitely feels expensive so I can understand where the high retail value comes from. This scarf is also quite large so it has a lot of versatility. This item alone is worth the cost of the box.

Nicole Miller Stereo Earbuds (Suggested Retail: $20)
Category: Must Have Home
Description: “Listen to your favorite tunes with these fun and functional earbuds with three ear-cap sizes.”
Before my subscription box addition, I used to go through new earbuds nearly every other month because they just couldn’t stand up to my daily commute. Then I got a pair of random Sony ones that somehow still haven’t died. Meanwhile I have accumulated a stack of earbuds and headphones including the super fancy ones from the last Nina Garcia Quarterly box, so I think I’ll be gifting or trading these.

Brownie 2
Urban Remedy Almond Brownie (Suggested Retail: $6.00)
Category: Must Have Food
Description: “Made with 100 percent organic, quality ingredients, this almond brownie from Urban Remedy, for which Cindy Crawford is a brand ambassador and partner, is the smart way to indulge.”
Verdict: Miss
Okay so I’ve been doing this low carb thing for a while, so it annoys me when packages (particularly those labeled “healthy”) don’t include detailed nutritional info. This lists the ingredients but not things like calories, carbs or portion size. I had to look this up online to determine that it had way more carbs than I’m allowed so I couldn’t try it myself. Based solely on its appearance and ingredient list, I’d skip this. It lists “almond flour” as a main ingredient which sounds great, because almonds are delicious, but almond flour is a lie. A giant evil lie. If you use too much it makes your baked goods taste like mold. I don’t know why because almonds are awesome, but almond flour. No. Just No. Trust me on this one.

Oribe Superfine Purse Size Hair Spray (Suggested Retail: $21.50)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Description: “When you need to tame those fly-aways in a pinch, this purse-size hair spray from celebrity favorite Oribe will give you reliable hold.”
Verdict: Hit!
Once again, we receive a product from the awesome and super fancy pants hair brand Oribe. I have their texturizing spray from other boxes and it’s wonderful. I’ve been accumulating different hair products in a sad attempt to get into actually styling my hair so this is a great little guy to add to my collection.  Maybe I can finally go all Jersey girl and attempt some big hair.

Letter C Design Gold Foil Arrow Pencils (Retail: $5.00)
Category: Must Have Home
Description: “Ditch your average number two pencil and write down all your bright aideas with these hand-foil-stamped arrow pencils instead.
Verdict: Like
I’ve been revamping my desk area so I’m happy to pick up some more fun office supplies. I like that this came with a little sharpener which I promptly used to sharpen all the Clueless pencils I got from my July Jennifer Love Hewitt Fancy Box.

Rifle Paper Co. Garance Doré Assorted Girls Set (Suggested Retail: $18.00)
Category: Must Have Home
Description: “Partnering with Garance Doré, Rifle Paper Co. presents a stationery set with blank interiors and iconic illustrations – it’s fabulous and versatile.”
Verdict: Hit/Gift
Looks like we got some stationary to go with our pencils. The Rifle Paper Co. is a staple in subscription boxes and they have lovely designs. These have a Paris Fasion type feel to them. I tend to hoard stationary so I’m not sure if I’ll use them myself. I have a few folks on my gift giving list that I think would adore these.

Special Extras

Nike $20 Gift Card
Category: Special Extra
Description: “After you’ve found your perfect Nike Pro Bra, use this $20 gift card to make the look complete. This new bra collection features over 25 sizes to give you the desired support for the perfect fit.”
Verdict: On the Fence
I know this is a “special extra” but I’m just not typically a fan of items that require you to spend a significant amount in order to use them. The Nike store isn’t cheap so I’ll have to spend some time looking around to see if there’s anything that makes this worth it.

Ghirardelli Milk chocolate Sea Salt & Almond Minis
Category: Special Extra
Description: “Individually wrapped, these mini Ghirardelli sea salt and almond crunch cholates make snacking on the go so much simpler”.
Verdict: Gift
So once again the low carb thing spoils my snacking fun. But I can totally add these to my stockpile of candy for the Halloween trick or treaters so this is still a win.

Full Box

Excluding the “special extras”, this box had a value of $195.50 and I only paid $42.75 (with tax). The scarf alone is well worth the $42 and the other items are just fun extras. I thought that the plethora of upscale brands in this box gave it a luxury fall fashion type of aesthetic that really appealed to me.

What did you think of your September Popsugar Must Have Box? Did you love the scarf as much as I did?


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 site wide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

Neiman Marcus Popsugar Must Have Box – November 2013

So it came.  Finally.  The holy grail of subscription boxes.  The now infamous Popsugar Special Edition Neiman Marcus box that cost $250 and sold out in 12 hours.  I have one and now it’s time to see what’s inside it.

BoxBox Half Open

To start, this frick’n box is so heavy that there has to be something breakable in there.  Only stuff fragile stuff can weigh this much. If I thought the $100 Fall style box was luxurious, this was like it’s uber snobby, super rich, older cousin. The box itself is really high quality and I plan to reuse it for storage, so we’re already off to a great start.

Neiman Box Open Wrapped

Chevron Printed Throw:(Retail: $195)
Verdict: Hit!
This item was the spoiler Popsugar released when the box was first announced.  The big question was what color you’d find in your box. I ended up with the gray which is the shade I wanted.  I had planned to gift this if I ended up with certain colors, but sorry suckers, this one is mine.

Jonathan Adler Carnaby Zebra Stacking Dish:
(Retail: $24.00)
Verdict: Gift
We’d been told this box would include something by Jonathan Adler.  Now I love me some little dishes for rings, keys or paperclips, but I’m just not feeling the design.  I got the navy blue and, something about the navy + animal print just isn’t working. It’s like nautical, but not. I think if this had come in the shiny gold they offer on the Jonathan Adler site I’d have loved it.  As is, I’m putting it in my Christmas gift pile.

Le Métier De Beauté –  Pretty in Punk Eye Shadow Palette:(Retail: $95.00)
Verdict: Love!

The last clue Popsugar gave us is that there’d be a Le Metier De Beauty item in this box.  This punk palette was made exclusively for this Popsugar collaboration so I don’t have a link to the item itself, but I’ll price it the same as their similar palette on the Neiman Marcus site.  Before I signed up for this box, I was unfamiliar with the brand but now that I’ve seen it, I’m so excited to try it out.  These folks are so fancy pants, I can’t even figure out how you order from their site (apparently everything is in sets?).  At first I was startled by the colors  and was afraid that my translucent self would be unable to use anything but the shimmery gold.  After googling I came across Le Métier’s video of their Couches de Couleur technique.  (You know it’s super fancy because the name is in French).  It seems that you layer these colors on top of each other to achieve a smoky eye.  After watching the whole thing, I think I can actually attempt this!  It has totally rocked my beauty world.  Just keep your fingers crossed that I don’t waste a $95 eyeshadow palette making myself look like I got punched in the face.

Neiman Marcus “Twist” White Fudge-Covered Corn Twists:
(Retail: $19.00)
Verdict: Hit!
This tube of calorific goodness is described as “white fudge-covered corn snacks.”  I’m game for trying all kinds of food items and while I’m normally not a fan of white chocolate this looks intriguing and will be a perfect to munch on when I put up my Christmas tree and decorations.

Slim & Sage Dinner Plates:
(Retail: $99.99)
Verdict: Gift
So these porcelain dishes are supposed to help you lose weight by being smaller (9 inches versus the standard 12) and with super secret portioning via geometric design (two quadrants for veggies, one for protein and one for carbs).  I seriously love dinnerware, but I’m just not in love with this pattern.  For the most part I’m not a geometric person and I don’t think I’d get much use out of these.  Another disappointment is that on the bottom of this beautiful box it reads “made in china” (as does the Jonathan Adler).  I don’t mind stuff being “made in china” when I buy it at Target, but for a super luxury box from Neiman Marcus, I’d kind of like to see it come from France, or Italy, or some other place that makes crap I can’t normally afford.  The plates are packaged really nicely and there are a few people on my Christmas list who I think would really love them, so they most likely will be gifted. ( Although the red is so perfect for Christmas I still might change my mind!)

NecklaceNecklace Closeup
SHY by Sydney Evan Love Pendant Bezel Diamond Necklace
: (Retail $125.00)
Verdict: Hit!
This is a 14K gold plated (over silver) necklace with an itty bitty diamond.  Yes, I said DIAMOND.  (Apparently Neiman Marcus is well aware of what’s a girl’s best friend.) I don’t own any word jewelry so this is a nice addition to my collection.  It’s really the offset diamond that makes it interesting.  The strange thing about this necklace is that it is very, very tiny.  It’s pretty much choker length. I think this could actually be a really cute gift for a tween aged girl, and if mom wants to go super cutesy she can get one for herself and they can match.

Nest Candle in Birchwood Pine:
(Retail: $34.00)
Verdict:  Love!

First, I love candles.  Second, this one has a really authentic pine tree smell.  This is perfect since I have a fake tree and every year my compromise with my boyfriend is that I’ll burn a pine candle and get a real wreath (he complains that there’s no Christmas smell with my fake one).  The glass container is adorable and has this fabulous mid-century modern holiday vibe to it.  This will be making its way into my holiday decorations come November 29th.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray:
(Retail: $39.00)
Verdict:  Love!
The description makes this sound like magic for your hair: “This invisible dry hair spray builds in incredible volume and sexy texture. Patented polymers absorb oil at the roots, leaving you with just-styled hair for days (and nights).” So as I’ve mentioned in other posts, my hair is my final beauty frontier.  This year I conquered nails (thanks to Julep) and 2014 will be my hair year.  The last couple years, I’ve been going with a short bob, but I’ve been growing it out in search of long hair.  Right now I’m having an Ally Sheedy Breakfast club moment, so I’m hoping this item is as amazing as it sounds and will give me some much needed help with styling my hair.  I mean people it has patented polymers  which is so sciency it just has to work.

Full Box

With tax I paid a whopping $267.50 for this box, but the value tops out at $630.00.  Now under normal circumstances I don’t splurge this much, but every year since I turned thirty I allow myself one luxury purchase at my birthday.  It should be something high end and special that will last a long time.  This year I decided to gamble on this box.  I’m actually quite happy I did.  Not only did I get a diamond, but I got a fabulous throw and candle that will look great in my apartment, a yummy treat to have during my holiday tree decorating, hair and makeup products that will totally help me try out new looks and a couple of fabulous Christmas gifts.

Popsugar also has a sold out Holiday box, but I snagged one so if you want to see what’s in it, be sure to check back.  Currently available along with Popsugar’s regular subscription there is also a Must Have Holiday Box for Men

So what did think of the Neiman Marcus Popsugar box?  Was it as luxurious as you thought it would be or did you expect more?

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 Subscription 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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