March Birchbox Review

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Like most months, March’s Birchbox totally didn’t disappoint.  In fact, I can easily say this has been one of my favorite boxes so far.  Everything included was useable, wearable, and I even found a new absolute FAVORITE make up removing towelette that will be going in my gym bag.

Check out the details on what I received this months, and my reviews below.

Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush

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I’m in the sun A LOT, so I have to admit, blush isn’t usually on my list of things I make a point to put on every day.  That said, this sample in Los Cabos was peachy, shimmery and pretty, and was totally calling my name.  One try, and I’m hooked.  It’s instantly become a step in my daily make up routine.  And what’s more, this stuff is seriously water proof.  After a nasty sweat session at the gym I could still see the shimmer on my cheeks (not that they needed any added flush!)  Loved this product, and will be totally buying the full sized once the generous sample runs out.

Yes to Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes

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I always ALWAYS have my gym bag stocked with some sort of make up removing facial wipe.  My sensitive, fair skin makes it a little tricky to find one that doesn’t have ingredients that irritate me, but these soothing hypoallergenic wipes are AMAZING!  I even used them on the really cranky skin around my eyes without any burning or irritation.  These are my new go-to fav.  Love.

Model Co. Party Proof Lipstick

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Next, I got to sample one of those Model Co Party Proof lipsticks in a really neutral pinky/brown shade.  While the shade was really close to my natural lip color, and didn’t do much to enhance my overall look, I did really love the texture.  This lipstick is designed to have a really nice matte finish, and was super wearable.  While it did come off on my drink straw, the color stayed put for hours, well beyond when I would need to reapply with other brands.  In a fun, bright color, I would give this two thumbs up.

Beauty Protector Protect and Oil

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Confession, I typically HATE hair oils.  My hair is wavy and I have TONS of it, making most people call it thick, but actually my hair is very fine.  Because of this oils tend to make it look really weighted down and heavy, and even sometimes greasy.

But in the spirit of sampling, I gave this product a try and was really impressed.  It’s thick, like really really thick.  I’ve found some hair oils in the past to have a consistency more like baby oil, and this is more like rubber cement (in a good way).  It allowed me to get just a tiny amount on my palm, spread it evenly, and work it through my hair.

Since my original use (on damp hair before a blow dry), I’ve also used it as a finisher on dry hair to run over the top to smooth away flyaways and add shine.  For both uses it was really great stuff.  I’m excited to give it a try on a high humidity day and see if I can notice the difference.

Mereadesso Tinted All in One Moisturizer

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I love a good tinted moisturizer, and this one from Mereadesso gives you a whole list of reasons to be impressed.  This baby does everything.  It’s designed to be your moisturizer, serum, primer, and eye cream, as well as foundation all in one formula.  It goes on smooth, was really blendable, and left a really pretty finish.  It was more full coverage than a traditional tinted moisturizer, and I actually skipped my powder all together after using it. My only complaint is that the sample was tiny, so I only really got one good use and it wasn’t on a day I was particularly active or sweaty, so I can’t really comment on it’s ability to last.


 

That was it for my box this month, how about yours?  Do you subscribe to Birchbox or another beauty box?  What do you think?  Be sure to let me know in the comments, or link me to your review!

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Rachel Zoe is Trying To Break My Bank Account

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There’s something amazingly cool about getting stuff in the mail.  You know, other than bills.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m such a fan of Birchbox.  Every month, for $10 I get a few little sample sized surprises that make me feel girly and happy and like it’s Christmas year round.

Well drool worthy fashionista Rachel Zoe announced yesterday that she’s launching her own version of a beauty box subscription called Box of Style, and I want in.

It’s going to be a quarterly box, curated with beauty, fashion and lifestyle items by Rachel herself.  It will include one big whammy item (or what she’s calling a “hero” item) in every box that they’re announcing ahead of time, and in the first box is a Miansai modern screw cuff that’s super chic and valued at $200.

At $100 each box, or $350 for the year, the price tag is kinda making me cry.  That said, if for $100 I can get at least one item I LOVE valued at twice that (or more), it might just be worth it.

What do you think beauty bloggers and fashionistas?  Are you going to make the investment of $100 for $300 worth of goodies?  What sorts of products would you love to see in the box?

And oh my gosh do you LOVE that bracelet or what?!

February Birchbox Review

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One of my favorite days out of every month is the day my Birchbox comes in the mail.  For those not in the know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty box subscription service that delivers at least 5 product samples to your door monthly for only $10 per month.

I’ll be honest in that I don’t usually love everything that comes in my box, but for only $10 if I find at least one item that tickles my fancy, I’m a happy camper.

This month had some keepers, one that I pretty much immediately threw away, and one that I immediately ordered.  Always a good thing when you love a product so much you need to have it in your arsenal RIGHT NOW!

Check out my unboxing below.

Juice Beauty® Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Back in October, Birchbox sent me a sample of Vasanti’s Brighten Up cleanser and I completely fell in love.  I’ve been using it since, so it would take a pretty darn impressive product to get me to switch.

This cleanser by Juice Beauty was a nice alternative to the exfoliation of the Vasanti product I use daily.  It’s a gel-based formula, so for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s slimy and thick.  It coated my skin well, but didn’t produce any lather, which was as expected.

It was gentle enough for every day use, and left my skin feeling clean, but not dry.

All in all, I liked the product, but not well enough to change from what I’m currently using.

theBalm® cosmetics Read My Lips™ Lip Gloss in BAM! Rose Pink

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It’s no secret that I LOVE lipgloss, so I’m always excited to see one in my box.  This formula by the Balm is awesome!  It’s thick and creamy, and in their BAM! Pink color it had the perfect amount of pink without being overpowering.  It also has a kind of delicate floral note to it, making it smell yummy and feel fresh on my lips without being totally overpowering.

Seeeeeee?

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Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal

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I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, I’m a total fragrance snob.  Truth be told, for every 20 fragrances I sample, I probably only like 1 of them.  And if a product doesn’t smell good, I don’t care how awesome it is, I won’t use it.

That’s one of the things I love about Birchbox.  When I set my preferences I indicated that I want to receive a lot of fragrance samples.  Because I don’t mind getting things I won’t use, and throwing them away, it’s a great way for me to try samples without having to invest a bunch of money into finding one that works for me.

This sample, from Juicy, was actually a pleasant surprise.  It has a few of my favorites, gardenia and jasmine, combined with pear, apple and vanilla and is kind of lovely and fresh.  I would actually wear this regularly, probably in the summer during the evenings as it has that kind of vibe.

Dr. Scheller Calendula Hand Balm

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, this product, for me, was an epic fail.  It smells like scented tampons.  Yeah, I know that’s gross, but it does.  It has that totally engineered “lady” fragrance that I feel like is in every feminine product, and it literally makes me gag.

I was really sad too, as the sample was huge and it would have made for a great gym bag product, but because of the scent I couldn’t even bring myself to try it.  Sorry gang, no actual product review here.

The Big Winner: amika Nourishing Mask

amika Nourishing Mask

The big winner from my box this month was… drumroll please… amika!

In truth it isn’t all that surprising as I’ve sampled a few of their products so far, and to date, have purchased every single one of them in a full size.  This Nourishing Mask is no exception.

It is thick and creamy, smells like heaven, coated my hair and stayed in place for the 2-3 minute recommended treatment time.

To give it a true test, once I was done with my shower I went ahead and blew out my curly hair without using any additional product and was shocked to realize I didn’t even need my flat iron.

My hair was super shiny, laid nicely, and even the Florida humidity didn’t get frizzy.

This treatment is a total keeper, and I ordered the full sized right away.  I’ll be adding this in as a one-per-week spa day for my long hair.


Readers, do you subscribe to any monthly boxes?  Which ones?  If you love them be sure to leave a referral link below so I can check it out!

October Birchbox Review

October Birchbox Getting stuff in the mail is about the coolest thing ever, and honestly, it’s one of the reasons I started subscribing to Birchbox a year ago.  Sorry I’ve been lazy so far and haven’t done any reviews, but starting with October I’ll be sharing my box with you, my readers.

If you’re not familiar with Birchbox, here’s the skinny.  It’s a monthly beauty subscription box that’s $10 for ladies and $25 for dudes that comes stocked with five samples based on your beauty profile.  The profile is pretty in depth, asking you about your skin type, skin care routine, make up preferences, hair type and style, as well as your style preferences.

In my case, every month I get at least one thing that I completely love.  Several times I’ve received full sized products valued at $20 or more in my box making it more than worth the money for me.

And this month, I totally discovered a new favorite thing.  So without further ado, here’s this month’s unboxing!

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Jouer Matte Moisture Tint
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The oil-free tint with an SPF 15 went on smooth and pretty, and was a great match to my skin tone.  I applied mine over my normal SPF 30 moisturizer, because I live in Florida and am outside all the darn time.  What I really liked about this product was the matte finish.  I actually opted against using any powder over top as it left my skin with just enough coverage and without any greasy shine.  Good stuff.  But, at $38 for the full size (or $49 for the set pictured above), it’s a bit pricey for my liking.

Miracle Skin Transformer Miracle Mud

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I’m really really picky about the way a product smells, especially if it’s going on my face.  This one, for me, was over before it started because it was stinky stuff.  There was no way I was going to be able to stand to have it on my face for 10 minutes.  $38 for a jar of poo? No thanks, I don’t care what it does to my skin.

ModelCo Power Lash Long Wear Mascara

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My eyelashes are pretty tiny, so I’m always looking for a great mascara.  While I loved the wand on this sample, I didn’t much like the formula.  It was super thick, and in the time it took me to apply one coat it began getting really clumpy.  After a second coat my lashes were thick, but to the point of looking more like tarantula legs and less like fat sexy bitches.  While the formula did last all night without any smudging and only a tiny bit of flaking, it was difficult enough to apply that I tossed this after one use.  At $20 for a full size, I’ll stick with my normal brand.

Essential Elements Wake Up Rosemary Shower Gel

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Holy mother of God this stuff smelled strong enough to tranq a horse.  If you could get past the overwhelming herbal fragrance that smelled like a combo day spa/anapestic wash, the texture was super smooth and it worked into a decent lather.  Like I said, I’m really picky about scent so this was too overpowering for me, but if you’re into spa quality body care it’s a nice choice at $19 for the full size.

Sage + fasten Onward Eau de Parfum 

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If you like light, fruity, fun fragrances this baby is for you.  The sample I received was in a nice sized roller ball applicator, and I pretty much instantly fell in love.  It made me feel like I was breathing in sunshine, and I would wear it all summer long.  As a Birchbox exclusive you can only get it from them, but at only $50 for the full size, I’ll be buying this to wear next summer.

Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator 

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I saved the best for last with this product.  I am seriously in LOVE!  I love a good face cleanser that exfoliates as it cleans, and my favorites leave my skin soft and bright.  This one fits every bill.  It has a mild scent and a really creamy texture.  The exfoliant in the product is microderm crystals, which give it a really amazingly fine gritty feeling that gives a deep clean while still being gentle on your skin.  After the first use I was hooked, and am swapping out my old cleanser for this one.  Even more impressive is the affordable $34 for a predicted four to six months of uses.  Love love love.  Winner winner chicken dinner.

Your turn readers!  Do you subscribe to Birchbox or another beauty box?  Do you love it?  Tell me about it or link me to your reviews below!

Holiday Gift Giving Guide- For the Well Groomed (ie The Primper)

Sweet mother of God, do you realize Thanksgiving is NEXT FREAKING WEEK?

I’m probably less in the holiday spirit than most seeing as I live in Florida and it’s a balmy 89 degrees outside today, but that doesn’t change the fact that the “most wonderful time of the year” is totally here.

Even though I’m feeling a bit like Ebenezer, the one thing about the holidays that I absolutely LOVE is gift giving, and picking out the perfect gifts for the perfect people.

Husband knows this, as usually about once a month I find something randomly that is just SO him that he has to have it, so he gets SURPRISE it’s TUESDAY NIGHT AND YOU’RE AWESOME presents all the time.

I would never in a million years claim to be a shop-a-holic, but I do have a few favorite websites that I turn to and always manage to find something beautiful and unique for even the most difficult person on my list.

So in the spirit of giving, I’ll be sharing these sites with you over the next few weeks to hopefully assist in your holiday shopping!  If you find yourself stumped this year on what to get some of the pickier people on your list, check out my recommendations in the weeks to come!

This week, let’s talk about what to get for the Well-Groomed- also known as the person in your group that always makes everyone late because they take so darn much time getting ready!  (Doesn’t mean you love them any less).

Birchbox http://www.birchbox.com/

The motto of the site is “discover your next everything,” and man they aren’t kidding.  The site has a smattering of unique items for men and women giving a twist on the old standbys for everyone from mom and dad to your personal trainer or best friend.

The easiest option is to give the gift of monthly surprises with the monthly Birchbox subscription.  At $10/month for the ladies and $25 for the gents, it’s a steal.  Each box features a sampling of awesome items that are tailored to preferences based on a quiz the subscriber takes.  Granted, this is more than the $50 gift, but since you as the giver can be billed monthly it’s an affordable way to give something pretty darn nice!

If you’re more interested in a one and done, check out their super friendly site for items at $25 and under for amazing skin care items, and unique trinkets.  Husband was most recently gifted a pair of amazing Bullet Designs Cufflinks that look so darn classy I almost can’t stand it, but have an edge that is so very him. At less than $25 including the shipping, I got to be a hero and get some extra special “thank you” time, and not break the bank with my kindness.

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Anyone have any go to stores or sites for the “primpers” in your life?  What about any go to gifts that fit lots of people on your list?

Stay tuned for the next gift guide- colleagues and your boss!