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.”
Box

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

Juara
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
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
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
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:
Swatches

OVERALL
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 NEWS!
Birchbox is offering two new specialty curated boxes for sale:

cew_massbox_press_04_900x900
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!”

cew_prestigebox_04_900x900
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.”

THE BACKSTORY

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.

April Blog Hop: Spring Picks!

I’m part of a fabulous Beauty & Fashion bloggers group on Facebook and each month they host a blog hop where we all post about the same topic on the 1st of the month.   April’s topic is our Spring Product Picks.

I’ve decided to feature items that I’ve purchased for myself for Spring or that I intend to purchase soon.  I’ve come up with a bunch of fun categories and chosen one item for each one.

Box Pick:
The Homegrown Collective
(Retail: $39 per month/$9.00 shipping)
So you know I had to start this list with a subscription box pick.  Is it me or does the phrase “homegrown collective” make you picture a Bearded Hipster in skinny jeans saying “resistance is futile, you will be assimilated”?  So this subscription has been called “pinterest in a box” and features home items that help you be more self-sufficient and ecologically mindful.   The boxes are seasonal and feature various themes.  A few past boxes include: “DIY Detox in a Box”, “Superfoods and Antioxidants”, and “Eco Laundry”.  Now springtime puts me in spring cleaning mode.  I’ve got plans to overhaul my whole house including my kitchen.  This subscription seems like a great way to make my home a little more healthy and finally complete some of those DIY pinterest pins I keep accumulating and promising to do “someday”.  I haven’t ordered this yet, as it’s going to be my reward once I have finished spring cleaning my apartment.  (Thus forcing me to actually finish spring cleaning my apartment).

Beauty:BalmRosebud Smith’s Lip Balm, Rose and Mandarin, 0.8 Ounce
(Retail: $6.00)
I’m a lip balm junkie and I try tons of brands and always come back to the Rosebud salve.  They are super moisturizing, smell great and the retro packaging is adorable.  I discovered they came out with a Mandarin orange flavor and I adore it.  I keep it by my beside at night and apply it right before I got sleep.

Makeup:
Stila Closed Stila Open Swatch
Stila “In the Know” Eyeshadow Palette
(Retail: $39.00)
I have a difficult time finding neutral eyeshadows that I love.  I have pink undertones and browns and golds can go too warm and turn orange.  Because I’m pale, purple tones can look like big old bruises.  I saw swatches of this online and thought I’d take a gamble and see if they’d work for me.  I think they work really well with my skin tone and I adore the eyeliner included.  I can’t wait to use them for some new spring looks.

Hair:
Hair Powder
Lulu Organics® Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder
(Retail: $30.00)
I have a dry scalp, which means I tend to get oily roots.  The problem is when you wash too frequently you exacerbate the dry scalp issue, so I try to wash my hair every other day.  I’ve been searching for a dry shampoo to help keep the oil away on my off days.  This powder smells amazing and of all the dry shampoos I’ve tried I feel it blends in the best.  I also adore the art nouevau style packaging.

Nails:
Pahlish_His_Favorite_Sundress_2
His Favorite Sundress by Pahlish
(Retail: $9.00)
Melon is on trend for nails this spring and I really wanted an interesting coral-ly shade and fell in love with this color from Pahlish.  It’s completely different from any of my other polishes and I can’t wait to wear it with my spring dresses. There are so many fabulous indie polish brands creating really unique shades.  Llarowe.com has a wonderful assortment of indie polishes to get you started on your newest addiction.  I’d like to thank “Ida Nails It” for graciously allowing me to use her swatch photo.  I had a slight kerfluffle with my order and didn’t get my polish in time for this blog post.

Clothing:
Jacket
Striped Terry Jacket from Anthropologie
(Retail: $78.00)
At first I was so sure I was going to include a cute dress, but then I stumbled across this jacket at my local Anthropologie.  I love things with a nautical feel and the stripe drew me to it.  It didn’t seem like much on the hanger but I figured I’d try it on anyway.  It was really flattering and incredibly comfortable.  It’s warm and quite soft for a jacket.  I was concerned that without buttons it would lay oddly, but it doesn’t.  And the nice part about not having buttons is that you can lose or gain a little weight and have no issue.  Also a plus for the pregnant ladies who can wear it pre and post baby.   You can dress it up or down, so for more casual days I plan to wear this with a red tee shirt and my favorite pair of dark wash, flared Modcloth jeans.  For work I’ll wear it over my knee length yellow, navy or red dresses. It’s warm but not too heavy and I think I can wear it all the way through summer.

Shoes:
Shoes
Defined the Scenes Flat in Blush
(Retail: $29.99)
Modcloth is one of my go to places to shop and I love all their unique offerings.  Because I commute to work in NYC, flats become by go to pick for spring and summer.  I loved this blush color because I think it will soften a lot of the black and grey in my wardrobe allowing them a nice transition into spring by giving a sort of Paris in Springtime vibe.  They are also super comfy on my wide feet and the price is really affordable.  If you dig them, I suggest you snap them up asap; they are more than worth the pricetag.

Jewelry:
Flower Post Earrings
Rosebud Flowers Post Earrings from the Fresh Jewelry Company
(Retail: $22.00)
I love jewelry that’s nature inspired, whimsical and unique.  Spring time makes me long for flowers and greenery and I adore jewelry that manages to capture that feeling.  These little sterling silver earrings feature real flowers inside resin.  This way you can take a bit of springtime with you, wherever you go.  (I ordered these but they didn’t arrive yet so this photo is from the Scoutmob site.)


Bookshelf:
When Venus Fell by Deborah Smith
(Retail: $5.98 for Ebook)
When it comes to reading, springtime makes me long for romance novels.  Now, there are so many super cheesy, boring and poorly written romances that they’ve given the whole industry a bad name.  But I promise there are still wonderful romance writers that give you interesting stories, compelling characters and gorgeous prose.  “When Venus Fell” by Deborah Smith is one of my favorite books.  The characters are not your stereotypical romance novel folks (no bodice ripping Fabios) and her prose effortlessly engages you with her characters, so you’re invested in the story.  If you want to give a good romance novel a try, pick this one up.  It’s one that I reread year after year.

Organization/Spring Cleaning:
Beauty Cases Case Open  Velcro         

Joy Mangano Biggest and Best Beauty Case Set Ever with 3 Bonuses!
(Retail: $59.95)
I managed to pick this up when it was a today special so I snagged it with free shipping and $20 off the pricetag.  If you read this blog regularly you know that I get a ton of products in my boxes.  I grabbed  this set so that I could do some spring cleaning and organize all the products I receive.  You can fit a ton in these and they fold up quite neatly.  The sections are velcroed and pull out easily.  The kit included three beauty cases and three additional storage bags. Thanks to living in a Victorian house, I’ve got the world’s most narrow storage cabin for my products.  These cases will nestle perfectly inside and make it easy for me to see what products I have and what’s running out and needs to be replaced.  These bags are super versatile and you can use them for all kinds of things, like crafts and office supplies.  If you want to get more organized, I highly recommend these.


Crafting:
stamp_parescargot1
 Par escargot Stamp by Wit & Whistle
(Retail: $20.75)
I discovered Wit & Whistle through my Fair Ivy subscription and I fell in love with this stamp.  Rubber stamping is one of the easiest ways to craft.  You buy some blank cards or postcards, an inkpad and a stamp and get to it.  I like to make notecards and gift tags using rubber stamps and this one is perfect for using on envelopes.  I plan to pick this up so I can jazz up all my outgoing mail.  I haven’t ordered it yet, so this photo is from the Wit & Whistle site.

So those are just a few of my favorite things this season.  There are only about a billion more, but you have other things to do besides listen to me talk about shopping.

So what did you pick up for Spring?

To read some other fabulous blogs and check out their Spring hit lists, take a look at my fellow blog hop participants.   Happy Reading!

Popsugar Special Edition Fall Style- Must Have Box – September 2013

Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.  For details on the different subscription prices and some coupon codes, jump down below.  Now onto the review!

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.  This particular box is sold out, but you can still subscribe to the regular monthly box.

Box

As soon as I opened the package, I got the luxury vibe.  It had this big slide out box and all the packages were beautifully wrapped in black tissue paper.  It really was a joy to unwrap.
Unwrapping

RingRachel Zoe Gold Knot Ring: (Retail: $75.00 on Piperlime.com)
Verdict: Hit!
They had posted a sneak peek of this item so it was the only item I knew was guaranteed.  It’s a lot nicer in real life than in the photo and has a substantial weight to it.  It’s sophisticated, simple and will go with everything.  While I wouldn’t pay $75 for this, I have very few gold tone rings so it’s welcome in my jewelry wardrobe.  It’s important to note Rachel Zoe rings only come in size 7.  This ring is a little big on me, but still wearable.  If you’re a much smaller or larger size, you’d have to gift this.  Rachel Zoe has a matching bangle to this ring, which might have been a better item to include because of the sizing issue.


Shopper
Cynthia Vincent Classic Shopper Bag:
 (Retail: $49.99 on sale at Piperlime.com)
Verdict: Miss
Unfortunately I’m not an animal print person and I do have a lot of reusable tote bags.  (They, along with blank books are one of my addictions.)  While the print is not my taste, I have to say the fabric is very luxe and it feels more like something that should be on a dress rather than a tote bag.  If you dig this print, and like slouchy bags this would be right up your alley.

Bubblebath
Library of Flowers Bubble Bath:   (Retail: $36.00)
Verdict:  Hit!
While I wish they’d chosen a slightly more practical offering from Library of Flowers perfumery (like shower gel or perfume cream, because I just don’t take enough bubble baths), the packaging on this was so adorable I couldn’t help but fall in love.  Mine had a dent in the back but the lovely print was unscathed.

Notebook
Christian Lacroix Notebook:
  (Retail: $12.00 at Kate’s Paperie)
Verdict:  Hit!
As I mentioned earlier, along with an unhealthy addiction to collecting tote bags, I also hoard blank books.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m a writer or I just like fancy pants stationary.  This book has a lovely print and is a nice medium size.  I may end up giving this as a gift because I know someone who would just adore it.

Scrub
Goldfaden MD – Doctor’s Scrub Ruby Crystal Microderm Exfoliator, 3.5 oz:
 (Retail: $75.00)
Verdict:  Hit!
I love exfoliators and this claims to “improve skin tone and evenness” and “reduce pore size” without unwanted chemicals.  Sign me up!  I would probably never have splurged on such an expensive scrub, so this was a great addition to the box and I’m uber excited to try it.

Cookies
Buerre & Sel Rosemary Parmesan Cookies:
(Retail: $10.00)
Verdict:  Hit!
The description says these savory cookies are made with freshly grated aged parmesan, minced fresh rosemary, chopped toasted pecans and and-harvested fleur de sel from Guérande.   I don’t know where Guérande is, but it sounds fabulous and mystical, like you’d magically find yourself there via a secret door in your wardrobe closet.  I’m saving these to serve with white wine and a nice cheese plate.

Stila 1Stila 2 
Stila Luxe Eye Shadow Palette:
(Retail: $45.00)
Verdict:  Gift
I have worn a lot of Stila products and their eyeshadows are my favorite product from them.  This palette has a lot of very practical colors included that most people could get a lot of everyday use from.   That being said, I will most likely end up gifting this since the colors seem to learn toward purplish and with my skin tone and complexion, that usually means they will make me look like someone punched me in the eye.

Full BoxFor this luxe, special edition box I paid $107 (with tax) and even with the sale price on the Cynthia Vincent bag, I got $302.99 worth of product.  From the packaging to the items, this box really did feel luxurious and like an extra special treat.

I only have one complaint and that’s just that box did not scream “Fall Style” to me.  The flowery bubble bath felt like spring, as did the print on the notebook.  The cookies seem like a wasted opportunity to feature fall flavors like apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple,etc.  I also expected some cool/cold weather accessories (like hats, gloves, scarves or umbrellas.)  If someone asked me what “season” this box represented Fall would not be my first, or even, second choice.

Putting aside that one issue I loved this box so much I decided to try out a three month Popsugar regular subscription so be on the lookout for more reviews.

So what did you all think of the box?  Did it feel like “Fall style” to you?

Popsugar Pricing:
Monthly – $35.00
3 Months – $95.00
6 Months – $190.00
12 Months – $380

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off sitewide
MUSTHAVE10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

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