Play by Sephora: July 2017

We’re continuing the push through my backlog of reviews with my July Play by Sephora subscription.  I do post lots of sneak peeks on my Instagram, so follow me there if you want to see the boxes before I post my review.

July’s theme was “Beauty Staycation” – which is actually sort of where I’m at right now since my break before my new job starts.  Of course, the “beauty” part is more about my house than me, but it still works.
Now to the box!

Bobbi BrownEye Opening Mascara
(Full Size: $30.00)
Description: “Long-wearing mascara visibly thickness, curls, and lifts lashes with a carbon-black formula.”
Verdict: Anti-climactic
So many black mascaras, so little time.  I didn’t find anything extraordinary about this mascara although I did like the brush, which was on the larger side. Still, there’s nothing about this mascara that would be worth $30.  I also don’t think it fits in a “beauty staycation”.  That implies different treatments and pampering, and mascara is not in that category.

Fresh Rose Face Mask
(1 oz: $25.00)
Description: “Hydrating and toning gel mask refreshes tired, dull skin with a calming infusion of pure rosewater and rose petals.
Verdict: Love!
I’ve always liked the Fresh brand and a rose mask sounds perfect for a “beauty staycation”.  I’m excited to try this one out once I’m not covered in paint.

Briogeo Rosarco Milk™ Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Ultra-light leave-in conditioning spray delivers non-greasy moisture without weighing down hair.”
Verdict: Like
I’ve tried Briogeo products before and haven’t been blown away, but haven’t disliked them either.  My hair is a wreck thanks to the hard water we have at the new house, so I’m happy to try any hair treatment that might help.

Tarte Color Splash Lipstick – Rainforest of the Sea™ in “Set Sail”
(Full Size: $21.00)
Description: “Long-lasting yet moisture-rich lipstick softens and smooths lips while providing full-coverage color.”
Verdict: Love!
They describe this shade as a “dark nude” and it is lovely.  It’s a great every day color for when you want to look put together, but not like you’re wearing too much makeup.  The consistency did seem a little softer than most lipsticks, which is a bit of a problem with this small tube, but I’m sure it’s not an issue with the normal size.

CaudalieVine[Activ] Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum
(1 oz: $52.00)
Description:”Highly concentrated pollution protection serum reveals a youthful glow while helping to visibly smooth fine lines.”
Verdict: Like
Caudalie is a great brand and since it costs $52 for an ounce, I’m happy to be able to try it out.  I also like that you can use it under your makeup.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
CLEAN Reserve Sueded Oud
(3.4 oz $95.00)
Description: “This creamy and sophisticated scent puts a new twist on a traditional heavy oud fragrance with its light, fresh notes.
Verdict: Not for me
Definitely appreciate the idea of a lighter fresher floral, but this is still too strong for me.

OVERALL
Verdict: Hit!
I loved the lipstick and the rose mask, and except for the perfume,(which I always write off anyway) I’ll use everything in this box.  I loved the theme of a “beauty staycation” but I felt like they didn’t really embrace it. Rather than lipstick and mascara which are more for going out, I think we should have seen more treatments and masks.  Still, for only $10.69, I think this was a great box.  If you’re looking for a budget friendly beauty box, Sephora is at the top of my list.

Have you ever had a “beauty staycation”?
What did you do?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.
Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

 

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Popsugar: July 2017 Must Have + November & Neiman Marcus LE Box Spoilers!

Happy Halloween!  The scariest thing I have going on today is how far behind I am in my boxes.  As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve got the next few weeks to catch up on my blogging, so today, we’re going back a bit to my July Popsugar review, but I’ve also got a bunch of great spoilers for November and for the uber luxe Neiman Marcus box. Before we get to the goods, I wanted to mention a new feature Popsugar has added.  Subscribers now have the option of adding on additional items at a discount from featured brands.  They’ve included makeup from Smith & Cult and accessories like socks.  Next month, I’ll actually remember to get more details to share.

Now enough chatter, let’s get to the boxes!

MUST HAVE X NEIMAN MARCUS BOX SPOILERS
Must Have x Neiman Marcus
Description: “We’ve teamed up with Neiman Marcus to give you a covetable box filled with treats ideal for gifting or for keeping all to yourself. This box is filled with over $750 worth of luxurious items you need for the holidays from sparkling home decor to beauty gifts that will make you glow.   Select between gold or silver hues to get a box shining with your preferred color delivered right to your door. Each box will contain all of the same items, but the color of 5 of the 9 products will vary based on your metallic preference.“
Cost: $250.00
Boxes will be shipped by November 27.

We’ve got two spoilers and both seem worthy of such a high priced box.  This time around, Popsugar is letting you choose between silver and gold themes for your fancy pants Neiman Marcus box.  YSL is a lovely makeup brand that feels luxurious and I like that the jewelry sets are both glamorous and understated.  You can easily wear them year-round.  Currently, my budget is a bit too tight for this box, but if you have the funds, you may want to give it a chance.

NOVEMBER MUST HAVE SPOILERS
NOVEMBER BOX

So we’ve got Anna Faris’ new book showing up in our November boxes.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.  I’m not much of nonfiction reader, and celebrity memoir/self-help type things are usually at the bottom of my book pile.  Still, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

JULY MUST HAVE BOX
Ocean Tribe by Turkish-T Kilim Towel

(Suggested Retail: $49.00)
Description: “Whether you’re enjoying a concert or having a picnic, this chic towel will become one of your most used accessories. It’s made of 100% Turkish cotton, so you and your loved ones can enjoy the sun-filled forecast comfortably.”
Verdict: Love!
Popsugar has given towels like this out in the past and they are so lovely.  This one is a perfect match for the little blue bathroom in my new house.

Supergoop!® Super Power Sunscreen Mousse SPF 50
(Suggested Retail: $19.00)
Description: Don’t forget to stay protected while soaking up the sun! This new whipped formula from Supergoop! is filled with moisturizing ingredients and antioxidant-packed blue sea kale and has SPF 50 so your skin will stay safe and hydrated.”
Verdict:
Like
I’m not a big fan of Supergoop!, however I do need a high spdf and I’ve never tried a “mousse” sunblock before so I’m happy to test this one out.

ban.dō Sip Sip Tumbler
(Suggested Retail: $14.00)
Description: ”’ Consider sipping on your favorite fruity drink (or cocktail) with a brightly hued tumbler adorned with a cute saying: “free refills.” Hydrating while unwinding on your new Turkish-T towel guarantees a great mood.”
Verdict: Gift
I have so many different kinds of water bottles and reusable cups thanks to my subscription box addiction so I’m going to gift this to a friend.

Tarte Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Splashes™ Waterproof Mascara
(Suggested Retail: $23.00)
Description:  “Ensure that your lashes stay volumized and lengthened through your active schedule with an incredible mascara that won’t budge.”
Verdict: Anti-climactic
If you subscribe to beauty and lifestyle boxes, you will get plenty of black mascara so this is pretty “eh” on the interesting scale, however Tarte is a good, sturdy brand and waterproof mascara is perfect for a July box.  I think what would have been more interesting is if we’d seen a blue mascara.

SISTERS OF LOS ANGELES California Fireplace Matchesa
(Suggested Retail: $10.00)
Description: “A warm night around a BBQ or a bonfire is a sure way to make lasting memories. These superlong matches come in a colorful case to match your stylish decor and make late-night gathering for feasting on s’mores even easier.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve got two fireplaces so these will definitely come in handy.

Snyder’s of Hanover® Wholey Cheese! Smoked Gouda
(Suggested Retail: $3.69)
Description: Pass around this bag of baked crackers and prepared to be wowed! The crackers taste like gouda and are made without artificial flavors. It’s obvious these crackers were baked with cheesy passion and love! Share with friends, or keep them all to yourself (we won’t judge).”
Verdict: Like
These crackers were tasty and a nice alternative to fried snacks.

OVERALL:
Verdict: Like
Now this wasn’t the most exciting box, since reusable cups/bottles and mascara are sub box staples, but I thought it fit the July theme really well.  The estimated retail on this came out a little low at $118.69.  I paid $42.70, and I loved the towel and will use nearly all the other items, but I do feel like, the box could have used a little something else to round it out.  Maybe a smores related treat to tie into the summer and the matches?  Or perhaps a spf lip balm? In any case, I’m not disappointed, but I’d like to see more creativity and a slightly higher value in future boxes.

I’ve got lots more box reviews coming up including a mystery game box!

If you want sneak previews of the box contents, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

What were your fave items from your summer boxes?

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.

They also have featured monthly products at a discount that are available as add-ons to your box.

Popsugar Must Have 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 to Must Have

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Play by Sephora: February 2017

I’ve been hella busy with the house, the upcoming release of “The Ice Maiden’s Tale” and the blog redesign, so as expected I’m a wee bit behind on my boxes.  Today we’re heading back to February for my Play by Sephora review.  This is one of the best budget beauty boxes at the $10 price point, so if you don’t have a ton of cash, but want to try out a beauty sub, check this one out.

If you want to see my box reveals as soon as I get them, follow me on Instagram for real time spoilers.

February’s theme was “The Soft Side” – Make a Radiant Understatement “Muted, mellow shade shades and skin-perfecting formulas are a never-fail way to show off your natural beauty.  From a romantic lip color to a radiance-boosting eye cream, add definition and just a hint of dram with this month’s subtle-yet-stunning lineup of makeup and skincare.”


CLINIQUE Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer

(Full Size: $29.50)
Description: “A lightweight, oil-free moisturizer-meets-primer instantly blurs imperfections while providing all-day hydration for a silky, soft-focus finish.”
Verdict: Like
I love trying out different primers and one that is light and moisturizing sounds particularly appealing.


Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in Milkshake
(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “Sheer tinted gloss uses a botanical-infused formula to visibly plump lips instantly while also hydrating and softening over time.
Verdict: Like
I’ve been looking for some nude lip products and I like that this one is hydrating.  This would look great paired with a smoky eye.


Rainforest of the Sea™ Quench Lip Rescue in Nude

(Full Size: $19.00)
Description: “Sheer ultra-moisturizing lip balm delivers vitamin-rich hydration and nurtures dry lips while providing a soft natural tint.”
Verdict: On the fence
This product is definitely moisturizing, but the color is very light and it doesn’t have much staying power.  It also got very soft, pretty quickly and it didn’t go anywhere with a lot of heat.  I’m thinking this product isn’t something to leave in your summer bag.


SEPHORA COLLECTION LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara
(Full Size: $12.00)
Description: “A jet-black volumizing mascara with an innovative flat paddle-shaped wand to lengthen and lift lashes.”
Verdict: Okay
I’m always on the lookout for awesome mascara, but this one is pretty ordinary.  Not bad, not amazing, but perfectly adequate.


Origins GinZing™ Refreshing Eye Cream

(Full Size: $30.00)
Description: “A luminous eye cream infuse with coffee beans, ginseng, and magnolia extract ot visibly brighten and depuff the undereye area.”
Verdict: Love!
Eye creams are one of my fave items to get in sub boxes.   I use them regularly and they typically cost quite a bit so sampling them in advance is super helpful.  This one was really light and suitable to wear even in the morning.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:

Prada Candy (1.7 oz $90.00)
Description: “A confident, daring, and seductive fragrance, this feminine scent features caramel, benzoin, and notes of white musk.”
Verdict: Confident = way too strong
As usual this doesn’t work for me.  I’m just going to pass it on to someone else who might enjoy it.

OVERALL

Verdict:
A bit uneven
This box had a lot of practical items that fit the “low key” “basics” vibe, but the curation felt a bit off.  There were two moisturizers and two nude lip products included.  I would have liked to see a hair product and maybe a nude shadow or a natural blush.  Overall, the box was still a great value since I paid $10.70 and I’ll use nearly all of the items.  The Too Faced gloss was a great size and easily covered a chunk of the box cost.

I’ve got so many more box reviews coming up including some really unique subscriptions, so be sure to check back.

What types of products do you want to see in beauty boxes?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: January 2017

I was looking down my handy dandy spreadsheet of “to do” reviews and realized I am woefully behind on my Play by Sephora subscription.  So for Throwback Thursday we’ve got my January 2017 review.  At only $10 a month, this box is a great bargain and sends a fun assortment of beauty items under a monthly theme.

January’s theme was “Beauty, Set, Go” – Stellar Products are only the Beginning.  Sephora described this as “It’s time for a fresh start: this January, detox and refuel your beauty routine with a section of super-effective, ultra-hydrating skincare, makeup, and hair care.  We’re beginning 2017 with an innovative on-the-go cleanser stick, game-changing moisturizers, and more essentials that will keep you motivated all year long.”


Tarte – FRXXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser

(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “Exfoliating gel cleanser in a unique twist-up stick format transforms from a solid gel to a cleansing lather that gently sloughs away impurities.
Verdict: Does this come in wrapped in plain brown paper?
This is such a unique product and I don’t think I’ve ever tried a stick cleanser that is exfoliating and lathers.  I’m intrigued and excited to try it out.  However, I do have a PSA – Dear Beauty Companies – stop it with the goddamn stupid names!  We just want to be able to easily google products and recommend them to our friends.  Something called “FRXXXTION Stick” does not strike up images of cleansers, nor is it something you want to recommend to the lady on the bus after she compliments your glowing skin.


Youth To The People – Age Prevention Superfood Cream
(Full Size: $48.00)
Description: “Whipped, lightweight cream restores and rejuvenates skin and deliver antioxidants with potent plant extracts.
Verdict: Like they took every hipster word they could find and put in lotion form
I love vegan and natural beauty products, but you know, enough with the goddamn Kale already.  They call this “a green smoothie for your face”.  I am firmly in the vegetables-don’t-belong-in-cold-beverages camp so this is not a selling point for me. I’m sure I’ll try this out, but I’m going to be a bit grumpy about it.


Ouai – Treatment Masque

(8 – .3 oz treatments: $32.00)
Description: “Restorative mask helps to care for damaged hair and leaves strands feeling smooth and touchably soft.”
Verdict: Hit!
My hair is getting to be ridiculously long (like Sister Wife long) and I’m putting off a haircut as long as possible to save money for my house.  This means hair masks are my savior right now.  I really need to break down and cut my hair already, but the masks help me delay the inevitable for just a tad longer.


Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

(Full Size: $17.00)
Description: “Sheer lip color with a glossy finish in the bestselling, cult-classic Black Honey shade.”
Verdict: Hit!
This is a cult-classic and if you’re into beauty at all you’ve probably heard of it.  I didn’t swatch this because I want to save it for after I’ve used up a few more of my products. This is a great shade for days when you want a natural look.  While the product looks dark, it goes on sheer and is very wearable.


AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

(Full Size: $60.00)
Description: “Cushion format CC cream hydrates, protects skin, and delivers buildable weightless coverage in two blendable shades.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love that this CC cream has a pink/cool undertone option. It’s amazing how many BB/CC creams and foundations don’t.  I’m always looking for the perfect CC cream with SPF, so this is exactly the type of product I like to try out for myself. $60 is steep so I’d be leery to buy it without a sample first.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:

Tory Burch Love Relentlessy (1.7 oz $86.00)
Description: “Unabashedly feminine and tender, this delicate scent feature notes of pink pepper, orris, and patchouli.”
Verdict: Friends don’t let friends wear patchouli
You know me and perfumes don’t typically work out and Patchoui is a death knell.  If you love it and can pull it off, kudos to you, but most people end up smelling like a dirty hippie.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Hit!
I thought this box hit the January detox/new year theme very well.  It featured a lot of very practical items and the black honey lipstick was a great size that could easily be worth a couple dollars on its own. With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I’ll use nearly everything. If you want to try out pricier makeup and don’t know where to start, I highly recommend trying out a Sephora Play subscription.  For $10, you’ll get a chance to try out some expensive brands and products and be able to decide if they are worth the splurge.

I’ve got so many more box reviews coming up including a fun, snarky women’s box and a free goodie box so be sure to come back.

If you want a sneak peek of the full boxes, just follow me on Instagram.

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

 

Play by Sephora: June 2016

Since I reviewed Birchbox’s June box yesterday, I thought it would be apropos to review the June Play by Sephora today.  This box is Julep’s direct competition in the $10 beauty subscription slot.
My first Sephora box was a great hit, so I was excited to see what subsequent months would bring.
Open Box
June’s theme was “The Minimalists” – Effortless is More.  Sephora described this as “Next-level nude and no-maintenance naturals: this month, we’re paring it down for understated style that prove sometimes less really is more.  Get a low-key look for summer with a  game-changing hair cream, refreshingly lightweight sunscreen and more must-haves for creating an easy-going appeal.”
Play Bag

Bumble
Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It
(5 oz: $31.00)
Description: “Innovative crème adds body and enhances fine-to-medium hair textures for a laid-back, air dried style.
Verdict: Love!
As someone who only blow dries her hair for special occasions, air dry products in subs make me so so happy.  I’d probably not risk buying this on my own since it’s spendy, so I’m super excited to get a chance to try it out before committing.

Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “Bestselling mascara lengthens, volumizes, coats even the smallest lashes, and features a specially designed brush.
Verdict: Like
Benefit mascara is one of my go to mascara options so I’m very familiar with it.  It’s made the rounds in tons of beauty boxes, but it’s a fabulous product, so I’m happy to have another one for my stash.

Tarte
Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
(1.7 oz $32.00)
Description: “Antioxidant-infused, non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizes and protects without leaving a stick feel.”
Verdict: Miss
SPF 30 is not nearly enough for a vampire like me.  I had to give this one to a friend.

BronzerBronzer Swatch
BAREMINERALS bareSkin Bronzer
(1 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Blendable, lightweight liquid bronzer may be worn alone or over foundation to give skin a sheer, natural-looking touch of sun.”
Verdict: A little too Michael Kors for me
Sadly, unless I am an Oompa Loompa or Michael Kors this is just not going to be “natural” for me.  With my pale, cool undertoned skin it’s just way more orange than it should be, so I’ve passed it along to a friend.  If you’ve got skin tone like mine and are looking for a natural bronzer, I highly recommend Laura Mercier’s Bonne Mine palette.  It’s easy to apply (it even includes direction cards), lasts forever and actually looks natural.  When I wore it someone actually said to me, “Oh you’re one of those rare redheads who can get sun.” No, I can’t, but I what I can do is shop.

Primer
BECCA Backlight Priming Filter
(1 oz: $38.00)
Description: “Shimmering makeup primer acts as a soft-focus filter to blur imperfection sand give skin an effortless, luminous look.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve only really started experimenting with primers in the past year, but they can really make a huge difference in your skin.  I haven’t tried a “shimmer” version, so I’m psyched to see how this one works with my skin.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Tocca
Tocca Beauty Florence (1.7 oz Size: $68.00)
Description: “Timeless and romantic, this fragrance conjures long-ogo Paris with a sophisticated blend of bergamot, violet petals, and blonde wood.”
Verdict: Not as terrible as I thought it would be
I thought this might be incredibly overpowering, but it wasn’t too bad, although stil to strong for me.  Unlike Birchbox, Sephora offers the perfume sample every month, but it is an extra.  You get five items PLUS the perfume.

OVERALL
Sephora Play June 2016
Verdict:
Like
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and while not everything worked for me, I thought the theme, variety of products and size of the samples was great.  Sephora also includes a bonus card for extra points on your next purchase, which is another nice perk. I really liked 3 of the items, and I think that most women (who aren’t as pale as me) would probably like even more of them.   I also don’t find an issue with the fragrance inclusion since it’s an extra.  I find the box definitely worth the $10.70 pricetag.

How do you think Play by Sephora compares to Birchbox?
Which sub would you rather receive?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: May 2016

It’s been pretty insane over here at Subscription Therapy, as I’ve been going through the hell, er, the process of trying to buy a new home, so of course I’m behind on reviews.  But I’ve got tons of boxes and pictures and fun things for you, so stick with me and I promise you’ll find something fun.

Today, in particular, I’ve got something extra special.  A bargain beauty sub to upset Birchbox as the standard: Play by Sephora.  That’s right, Sephora has a sub box!  Sephora rolled this out in stages, so a lot of us had to languish endlessly on the waiting list until we could finally try it out.  But in May, FINALLY, I was able to snag one for myself, so prepare yourself for a new box in the rotation.

Sephora sends 5 deluxe samples, plus a fragrance bonus, and packages it all in a little collectible bag for just $10 a month (plus tax).  They also include a bonus card that you can bring to any Sephora location.  The expiration is the end of month and it will give you 50 bonus points on any purchase you make.  If you’re a regular Sephora shopper, you know that this is part of their VIB beauty program, where you accumulate points from your purchases and can trade those in for featured deluxe samples. The only trick with this box is to get yourself on the waitlist and keep trying if you don’t immediately get signed up.  Sephora will periodically send you an email if you’re on the waiting list – but sometimes they won’t, so just keep checking back to their site to see if any spots open up.
play_about_banner_plus_image

Now let’s see what my very first Play by Sephora Box!

A cute well packed box with Sephora’s signature striped packaging:
Box Open Box
Bag Booklet
May’s theme was “The Forces of Nature” – Earth to Beauty.  Sephora described it as follows: “This month, discover products that are high performing and good for you, too.  Take your beauty back to its roots with hardworking formulas like a brightening facial treatment for petal-soft skin, an antioxidant-rich lipstick made with organic ingredients, and more products that prove that looking beautiful is only natural.”

Perfume Packet 2Perfume Packet 1Perfume
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine
(1 oz: $70.00)
Description: “A refreshing burst of sweet blood orange and bitter orange peel paired with notes of geranium.
Did you know: “Orange Sanguine is part of Atelier Cologne’s Collection Originale, which is made using high concentrations of essential oils to create fresh citrus scents.”
Verdict: Love!
This is one of my favorite perfumes ever and it came in such adorable packaging.  I love citrus scents and the Atelier line is wonderful and magically doesn’t trigger any of my allergies.  I’m adding this sample to my travel stash, so I can bring this along during my next trip.

BITE BITE swatch
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Kimchi
(Full Size: $26.00)
Description: “Handcrafted, high-pigment lipstick delivers intense hydration using twelve edible oils.
Did you know: “Bite Beauty creates all its lipstick suing food-grade ingredients that are antioxidant-rich and made in small batches
Verdict: Like
I’ve got some Bite Beauty lipsticks that I made in their lab, so I’m familiar with the brand.  This product feels great going on, but the pink is definitely on the bright side.  I do like it though, and it definitely gets me out of my comfort zone. It has a fun, almost 80s type vibe that I think fits summer really well, so I’ll be a bit brave and give it a shot during my next girls night out.

Origins
Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up & Clear Improvement Masks

(Maskimizer: 3.2 oz $22.00; Drink Up: 3.4 oz $26.00; Clear Improvement: 3.4 oz $26.00)
Description: “Innovative priming mist optimizes skins condition, while the charcoal mask cleanses and the overnight mask deeply moisturizes.”
Did you know: “In partnership with the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf project, Origins has planted over 500,000 trees around the the globe.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love trying out masks, and Origins charcoal mask is one of my old favorites.  I’ll use this little set on my next home spa day.

Tarte 1TarteTarte Swatch
Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram
(Full Size $18.00)
Description: “Prime and line this lip crayon that nurtures with vitamin E and antioxidants.”
Did you know: “The mineral pigments in tarte’s products are made by crushing actual earth minerals into fine powders and contain no synthetic counterparts, so they’re perfect for sensitive skin.”
Verdict: Miss
This color is a bit dark for me, but the miss is mostly for the texture.  This was oddly crumbly and hard to apply.  It just didn’t feel good on my skin and I think I managed to break the entire sample just trying to swatch it.  Sorry Tarte, this one wasn’t a winner.

Wildrose
KORRES Wild Rose Sleeping Facial
(1.35 oz: $48.00)
Description: “Lightweight overnight facial treatment melts into skin to brighten and moisturize with wild rose oil.”
Did you know: “Based in Athens, Korres works with local farmers to produce botanicals and other natural ingredients that are unique to Greece’s climate.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love sleeping masks, and Korres is a great brand that offers natural products.  This cream wasn’t too heavy and absorbed into skin very easily.

Conditioning Mask
BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
(8 oz Size: $36.00)
Description: “Intensely hydrating hair treatment made with naturally drevied ingredients to restore and replenish.”
Did you know: “Briogeo’s founder was inspired to start a cosmetics company by her grandmother who harvested raw ingredients from her own farm to make hair care products..”
Verdict: Hit!
I love deep conditioners that you apply in the shower and rinse off. Once a week, I like to use a clarifying shampoo and then follow up with a deep conditioner – sort of like a mini spa day for my hair.  I’m glad to have this new one to try out.

OVERALL
Sephora Play May 2016

Verdict: Love!
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I think it had a wonderful variety of products and really great sizes for samples.  The natural beauty theme was a great fit for the season, as we leave Spring and head toward summer.  I also appreciated the detail included on the card.  It included: descriptions of the products, info about the ingredients, fun facts about the brand, and helpful hints on how to use the products.  It was very thoughtfully put together and I felt like I actually learned quite a bit from reading it.  The extra bonus card for additional points is a nice tough as is the cute little bag included.  At only $10 a box, it’s a great way to get a chance to try some spendy products without spending too much.

Have you been one of the lucky folks to nab a Sephora subscription?
If so, what did you think of the box?
If not, are you considering signing up?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.
Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.
play_about_banner_plus_image

Rachel Zoe Box of Style: April 2015

Brand new this year to the sub box game is the oh so chic, stylist Rachel Zoe with her Box of Style. Boxes ship out four times a year and you can opt to pay quarterly for $100 per box, or $350 for an annual sub. The moment I heard about this new seasonal sub, I knew I’d be nabbing a box.   I really love Rachel Zoe’s aesthetic and am always on the lookout for awesome fashion and celebrity curated boxes. To save $10 on your own sub use code use code SUBTHERAPYSP10!

It’s always so exciting to try the very first box of any sub, so let’s stop talking and start ripping open cardboard.
Box Open Box 1

The actual box the items come in is very nice and similar to the kind in the Popsugar Limited Edition boxes. I’ll definitely be reusing mine.
Box 2 Open Box 2
Inside, everything has been lovingly packed. The attention to detail (with even a cute little sticker) makes this box feel super luxe.
Closeup Wrapping
We get a brochure from Rachel with a description of the products, styling ideas and why the item was included. Each item also has a special coupon code that subscribers can use on the product websites for extra discounts.
Booklet
Rachel writes, ” Every day, my team of editors at The Zoe Report and I set out to discover and share the best new products.  Now, we are making these virtual recommendations a reality with Box of Style: a curated assortment of the best fashion, beauty, and lifestyle items of the moment–and of course one styling tool to make sure you’re looking your most glamorous all year-round.  Brought to you four times a year, our very first box kicks off our spring obsessions…”

HERO ITEM:
Bracelet Bracelet on Wrist
Miansai Modern Screw Cuff:
(Estimated Retail: $200.00)
Rachel’s Description: “There is nothing more chic than simple gold cuff—it’s the perfect addition to your everyday look. You won’t want to take this piece off!”
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “Stack it with an armful of yellow, white, or rose –god pieces (whatever works best for you), for a “wow” look. For evening, pair it with your favorite cocktail ring or statement earrings and a smoky eye.”
Verdict: Frick’n Love
Rachel calls this the “hero item” and was the big ticket pick of the box. They released this one as a spoiler, which was extra motivation for me to purchase it. I love, love the classic cool of this cuff. It looks fab on it’s own, or mixed with other bracelets. You could wear this with a suit to a job interview or with a tshirt and jeans to a rock concert. It’s beautiful, versatile and chic. And as someone with a smaller wrist I love cuffs that don’t fall off or move around a ton. I also appreciate that Rachel Zoe released this item as a spoiler since it’s the big ticket product and might not fit bigger wrists. Just knowing this was in the box was enough to give consumers a good idea if this purchase would work for them.

Zoya Box Zoya Open Box
Swatches
Zoya Nail Polish in Zoe, Chantal and Haley:
(Estimated Retail: $30.00)
Rachel’s Description: “These polishes are perfect for the season yet transitional and will last the entire year. I worked closely with Zoya to create the perfect custom opal color, Zoe which I used in my Fall 2015 fashion week presentation—hence the name.”
Rachel’s Beauty Tips: “Layer a coat of Zoe over a coat of Chantal for a chic opalescent-nude color. Create an updated French manicure by using Chantal as a base color and Zoe in a half-moon style on the tips. Use one coat of Zoe for a sheer, two coats for a semi-sheer and three coats for an opaque pearl color.”
Verdict: Love!
You know I love polish and Zoya has one of my favorite formulas. This set is beautifully packaged and offers some classic shades everyone should have in their collection. I collect Opal polishes because it’s my birthstone, so I was extra psyched to see a special Opal polish that is unavailable on the Zoya site. These colors are wonderful for women of all ages and Rachel did a great job with the selection.

Glasses
Traveler by TOMS
:
(Estimated Retail: $68.00)
Rachel’s Description: “Every girl needs amazing black sunnies—this pair by TOMS is a brand-new shape that works wonders on virtually every face. Bonus: They come with a crazy-cute bold, floral case. What more could you ask for?”
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “Channel a boho-chic vibe by rocking them with a wide-brimmed hat or whatever style works best for you. For added drama, pair them with a red lip.”
Verdict: Hit!
It’s always fun to get new sunglasses and this shape is interesting but not so weird or bold that most women couldn’t pull it off. I also love the colorful case. I’m adding this to the travel kit I’m building up so I can rock these during my next trip.

Mascara
Tarte lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara
(Retail: $21.00)
Rachel’s Description: “I firmly believe that taking an extra few seconds to put on mascara instantly trnasforms your look and literally opens your eyes. It’s hard to overdose on mascara and this formula is one of my all time faves!”
Rachel’s Beauty Tips: “To make your eyes pop, use an eyelash curler before you apply. Once an initial coat has been applied, add more product on the outer corner of the lashes to create the illusion of falsies. We are huge advocates of top and bottom lashes, so don’t be afraid to trip up on coats.”
Verdict:
Like
Mascara in a sub box is not exciting, but Tarte is a great brand. I have pale lashes so mascara is a must for me and I love trying out new formulas.

Style Tape
Bristols 6 Stylin’ Tape
(Estimated Retail: $10.00)
Rachel’s Description: “A styling kit is incomplete without double-sided tape. Always keep in your bag for both day and night—you never know when you’ll have an unexpected wardrobe malfunction!”
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “If you’re wearing a billowy top or caftan, use small section sof tape to xsecure it to your body—near cleavage, at the shoulder sor anywhere eyou need a bit of extra security. This takpe can be used to keep the straps of a top in place on your shoulder o to adhere bra straps to your shirt so they don’t slip out. Keep a large bangle or ring in place if your jewelry is a little too big.”
Verdict:
Like
I love the idea of using this tape on oversized jewelry. I’m sure this will come in handy for dressier events when I want to keep small straps under control. This was a really thoughtful addition as we head toward warmer weather.

OVERALL:
Full Box
Where have you been all my life?

FINALLY.  A celebrity curated box that is everything it should be. This box was thoughtfully curated, seasonally appropriate and arrived on time. It had a great balance of beauty and style items and would work just as well for a 25 year old woman as a 45 year old. Even the packaging had lovely little details. All the brands are high end and nothing feels out of place or thrown together. This was an amazing box. I paid $100 and received $429.00 of product. The bracelet alone was worth more than the value of this box.

This sub has quickly moved to the top of my favorites list. If you can swing the cost of it, I can’t recommend it enough. I’m already looking forward to what will show up for summer.

Have you ever tried a celebrity curated box? If so which one and how was it?

THE BACKSTORY
Box of Style has Fashion, beauty and lifestyle items you’ll be obsessed with!   Over $300 worth of product in every box.

   Box of Style ships 4 times per year—March, July, September & December

   Membership renews each quarter

COSTS:
DISCOUNT!:  Use code SUBTHERAPYSP10 to save $10 off!
Seasonal Membership:
$100.00 / 4x year
Annual Membership: $350.00 / year
Free shipping!

Seasonal membership:  Cancel any time (after the shipment of your first purchased Box of Style)
Annual Membership: Renews each year (membership is not cancellable during the year)

 

Popsugar Limited Edition Summer Box 2014

While it’s always fun to unbox surprises, opening up the Popsugar Limited Edition Boxes is always extra awesome.

My Summer 2014 Popsugar Box arrived in this unassuming (yet substantially heavy) cardboard box.

Cardboard

Once opened it reveals the lovely Popsugar box that is a great size and shape for storing all kinds of odds and ends in your house. I hoard these boxes (along with the Birchbox ones). They are uber useful.
Box

Okay now that my toddler-like interest in the actual box is past, let’s dive into the items. They are all individually wrapped up and packed so nicely that they really do make you feel like someone sent you a present.

Open Box 1Open Box 2

And what’s inside the box? Another box (very meta) – and it’s pretty heavy….
SOLA Box

Glasses Open Glasses
Sisters of Los Angeles City Rocks Glasses (Suggested Retail: $45.00)
Description: “…Sisters of Los Angeles City Rocks Glasses made just for Popsugar. In honor of four of our office locations, we featured SF, LA, NY and London..”
Verdict: Love!/Gift
These glasses are really high quality and so fun. I love the colorful designs and the weight of them is quite hefty. Unfortunately I have a lot of classes in this size, but I know a ton of folks who would love these for a gift. (Although I may break down and find some room in my cabinet for them since they are so cute). This company makes products emblazoned with cool graphics of various cities, so check them out if you want a fun gift for that chic urbanite in your life. Since this set was put together exclusively for Popsugar it’s unavailable on their website so I used a similar set for pricing.

Pouch 1 Pouch 2
Samudra Blue Tropics Pouch (Retail: $60.00)
Description:“Keep all your essentials in your statement bag for an easy transition from beach day to evening soiree.”
Verdict:
Love!
I’m not sure if you know this about me but I’m slightly obsessed with organization and this giant pouch is perfect for travel. It’s even big enough to hold  a tablet. The tropical prints really give that summer vibe and I love that there are different ones on either side. I’ll be using it asap for my upcoming work trip to Baltimore. After that I think it will be making daily appearances in my work bag to corral notebooks, my kindle, pens and other odds and ends.

Hair Mist
Sachajuan Ocean Mist (Retail: $28.00)
Description. “Cult favorite Sachajuan’s Oceamn Mist will give you perfect waves without your ever stepping foor in the water. Spray on dry or damp hair for an effortless yet voluminous Summer look.”
Verdict: Love!
This is my year of experimenting with hair products and I love all the ocean and sea salt sprays where you can just spray on damp hair and boom, your styling is done. My hair is naturally wavy and I think this product will work perfectly with its texture and my propensity for being lazy with hair styling.

NecklaceNecklace Closeup
Soixante Nefu Jewels by Joie Jager Horn Necklace (Suggested Retail: $155.00)
Description: “…This vintage-inspired accessory is sure to be a Summer staple in your collection..”
Verdict: On the fence
I really like the idea of this necklace, the long length and the combination of colors. It’s pretty pricey and according to the description its 14K gold plated, but somehow it just feels a little cheap to me and I can’t imagine paying $155 for it. Apparently lots of celebrities wear this design so maybe it’s just overpriced.  I don’t love it, but it’s not terrible either. It may look cool layered with some other chains I have, I’ll just have to see how it works out. At the moment, I’m not sold.

Olive Oil
The Ingredient Finder Eliunt Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Suggested Retail: $16.65)
Description: “…The Ingredient Finder handpicked the best olive oils to transport you and your food around the world. Each Eliunt Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes with its own custom taste and cultural background to make your dish unique.”
Verdict: Hit!
Being that I am Italian, it is a requirement that I always have an ample supply of olive oil in my pantry. My bottle came from Australia and I don’t think I’ve ever tried an Australian olive oil so this will be something new. It’s a pretty small bottle so I’m going to save this for dipping with bread or drizzling over something special. I couldn’t find individually priced bottles (it looks like the smallest is in a set of 3, so I’m going to estimate the value based on that). I wasn’t familiar with the Ingredient Finder website before but it seems like a really fun foodie site for finding high end international cooking ingredients. It even lets you search by cuisine. If you like cooking you should check it out.

Tarte
Tarte Cheek Stain (Suggested Retail: $30.00)
Description: “…Let your skin glow this Summer with Tarte’s restorative Cheek Stain…”
Verdict: Love!
I love Tarte’s products and I already own one of their cheek stains in a different shade. I love the natural flush and the easy application. I can’t wait to try out this new color.

Tarte Lipsurgence Power Pigment (Suggested Retail: $24.00)
Description: “….This peppermint-infused tint will nourish your lips for a naturally fuller and healthier pout!…”
Verdict: Love!
As I mentioned before I really love Tarte’s products, so I’m very excited to try out this lip tint. The shade seems like a lovely neutral for summer and should work well with my albino skin tone.


Full Box
OVERALL:
Love!

This was an amazing box that totally made up for the lackluster Limited Edition Resort Box and the disappointing May Must Have. I love nearly everything in this box and all the choices feel theme appropriate and cohesive as a collection.

I paid $107.00 for this box and received $358.65 worth of products. Even discounting the overpriced necklace that is an amazing value. After this box, Popsugar has set the bar really high for their limited editions. I can’t wait to see what the next one brings.

So what did you think of the Popsugar Limited Edition Summer Box? Did you like it more or less than the Resort one?


LIMITED TIME COUPON!
Use code XL25K3Z to save $15 off your first POPSUGAR Must Have box

 

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 site wide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription