Popsugar Must Have: May 2014

So now is my frantic push to review all the May boxes that came late in the month or I forgot about when I got super busy. Cue my review for the May 2014 Popsugar box. The April box was chock full of awesome products so I was psyched to see what would show up this month.

Box Open Box
Open Box #2

Tone it Up One Day Fat Blast (Suggested Retail: $15.00)
Category: Must Have Fitness
Description: “Give your metabolism a boost, and get fit with the ladies from Bravo’s Toned Up.”
Verdict: Miss
I don’t mind fitness items necessarily, but from what I saw on youtube this is one of those DVDs that kind of needs you to be able to jump around and have a decent amount of space around you. Unfortunately I have a small apartment and not much room for this type of workout. It also requires you to have your workout space in front of something that can play a DVD, which is not always common in this age of tablets, smartphones and streaming media players. Unless it’s something super interesting or universal, I’d really like to see less random “fitness” stuff, and maybe it’s just me but the DVD feels super dated as a workout medium. A code/gift card for a fitness workout download or app would have been more on trend.

Water Bottle
Zing Anything Citrus Zinger (Retail: $16.99)
Category: Must Have Home
Description:“Press lemons, limes, or any other citrus directly into your water for a energizing drink.”
While I have a glass infusion water bottle from a long ago Jennifer Love Hewitt box, I don’t own one in plastic so this is the perfect option for me to bring to work. I love citrus in my water and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of this.

Smell Bent St. Tropez Dispenser (Retail: $45.00)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Description: “Escape to your favorite tropical island with this intoxicating blend of jasmine absolute and fresh coconut aromas. It’s a relaxing beach day in a bottle.”
Verdict: Miss
I can’t say how disappointed I am that one of the big ticket items is a perfume and in a scent like coconut that is not particularly universal. I’m sensitive to scents so I really can’t use this.  I don’t mind including a perfume, I just think a better option would have been to feature a smaller size and allow for something more accessible to be the “big” item.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nail Lacquer in Pool Boy (Retail: $10.00)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Description: “This polish is densely pigmented and delivers super-long-lasting results. Better yet, this quick drying nail lacquer is 100 percent vegan and cruelty free.”
Verdict: Like
I usually swatch polishes, but I didn’t with this one since I’m on the fence about keeping it. I have a fairly large polish collection and limited space so I have to be a lot pickier about which polishes I keep. It’s a nice color and a brand I haven’t tried before, so I’ll probably end up finding space for it.

Kerry Cassill Eyemask (Suggested Retail: $24.00)
Category: Must Have Home
Description: “…with your printed Kerry Cassill eye mask designed exclusively for Popsugar Must Have, you can sleep peacefully. It is made with soft voile cotton…”
Verdict: Miss
I’m shocked at the cost of this. It honestly feels super cheap to me—like something you’d pick up at Walmart for $5.00 or thrown in as a freebie in a cheap bath set. I tried to use it but the fabric and print are so lightweight that it lets too much light in. I thought the point of a sleep mask was to make it nice and dark so you could sleep better. I’d have loved a sleep mask that actually kept out the light.

Hi, I’m Skinny Sticks in Multi-Grain Sweet Onion (Suggested Retail: $2.99)
Category: Must Have Food
Description. “…are a supertasty and healthy alternative to chips and cookies. With 40% less fat than potato chips, 15g of whole grains per serving and under four calories per stick, you can satisfy your munchies guilt-free.”
Verdict: Hit!
If you like onion flavor, you’ll probably love these. My boyfriend enjoyed them as well. I think they are a nice alternative to chips, but your healthiest snack bet is probably still to grab an apple or banana.

Because the Resort boxes had delayed shipping, Popsugar included a bonus product for those of us who purchased it.

Lip Gloss
Vbeauté Lip Spread® Original – Anti Aging Tinting Lip Gloss
(Retail: $19.00)
Description. “The clear gloss reacts with your pH balance to create your own unique shade of light pink to berry red. Our silky formula gives you the right amount of shine without your hair getting stuck to your lips. Cherry and Pomegranate fruit extract hydrate and BioCellular Peptide’s antiaging properties reduce fine lines and wrinkles.”
Verdict: Love!
I have this fabulous vbeauté travel kit (from my first Nina Garcia Quarterly box) that I’ve been hoarding and plan to use for a work trip at the end of the month. This will go perfectly with it. It was nice of Popsugar to send us a bonus because of their mishap, and I do appreciate the extra effort they went to.

 Full Box
Trés Disappointed.

After last month’s box of awesomesauce, it was inevitable that May would be a let own, but I just feel like there wasn’t much thought put into these items. Opting for a perfume to be the big ticket item and throwing in a random cardio fitness DVD (which feels very dated and just not on trend) along with an eyemask that isn’t functional, just made this box super lackluster for me. I’m sure if these items just happen to be your taste you’ll enjoy this box, but I think the odds were stacked that a fairly large group of people were not going to enjoy or use a chunk of these items. The only item I really loved was actually not a part of this box and was an “I’m sorry/thank you for your patience” gift after shipping snafus with the Popsugar Limited Edition Resort Box.

Luckily I got this box free with referrals so I’m not out any money for this particular set of items. The suggested value was $113.98, which I do think is a bit inflated. I’m crossing my fingers the June box will be better.

Now I know I’m slow with posting the last of my May boxes (I’ll catch up, I will, damn it!) but Popsugar also introduced their Limited Edition Summer 2014 box which sold out pretty quickly.  And while the May Must Have box made me a sad panda, and I was meh about the Resort Limited Edition, I still picked up the Summer box, because I obviously have a shopping problem. The Summer Box is now sold out, but if you want to find out what’s inside be sure to come back soon.

So what did you think of the May Popsugar box? Did you use most of the items or gift them?

Do you regularly use fitness DVDs or do you head outdoors or to the gym for your workouts?

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

Nina Garcia Quarterly Box – November 2013

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

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

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

Okay people, this is going to be good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Box

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

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

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