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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birchbox - July

The past two months my box has arrived over a week late (my Post Office was dropping the ball)...but NOT this time! Whoo!  I was excited to see July's Birchbox because of all the buzz on Birchbox's Facebook page that Cynthia Rowley was going to be filling it with her favorite products - and even creating the box design!

The Lineup:
philosophy purity made simple one-step facial cleanser
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil
Redken shine flash 02
Zoya Touch Collection Nail polish in Pandora

Extra Treats:
Kind - Almond & Apricot Snack Bar

The Winner:
Philosophy! I've used this facial cleanser before and was glad to see it in my Birchbox.  Using it again, I was reminded of how well it really works.  It really is a one-step cleanser.  It takes off my makeup and leaves my (oily) skin squeaky clean.  I find myself reaching for this cleanser over all my others - including my face scrubs.  Love it!

The Honorable Mention:
Zoya's polish in Pandora.  I really like Zoya polish and this is my third color.  This applies evenly, without streaks, and dries fast!  One coat is a pretty, sheer neutral color.  Two coats is a gorgeous pink oyster shell color.  Really, there should be a tie for the winner this month.  There should have been a photo finish it's so close.

The Disappointment:
Redken shine flash.  Honestly it's probably not fair for me to judge this.  I have fine hair that gets oily by the end of the day which means I'm one of those people who has to shampoo EVERY, DAY.  So shine sprays are tricky for my hair.  I do have a Garnier shine spray, so if I curl or flat iron my hair I will just spray a little bit in the palm of my hands and lightly smooth over my hair avoiding my roots.  This is the first time I'm using Redken's shine spray, but it was much heavier than the one I already own.  My hair looked heavy and really oily (more than usual) by lunchtime.  Since I know that when I filled out my beauty profile I indicated that I have oily hair, I think Birchbox should have skipped giving me this product.  I feel like the chances were extremely low that it would work for me.

The only thing left to talk about is the dry oil.  I have a dry oil from Sephora that I've had for years now because I don't really use it.  So I haven't used the Nuxe oil and will probably just give it to a friend.
All in all, my $10 this month was definitely well spent on the facial cleanser and nail polish.  The Kind snack bar was really yummy too!  I actually found them at my local grocery store for 2/$3.00 so I picked up a blueberry one to try and it was equally good! Thanks Birchbox and Cynthia Rowley - perhaps more guest designers in the future?

Thanks for reading,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Birchbox - June

So....did we do better this month with receiving our Birchbox on time?  No.  What goes on?  Really?  This kind of thing tests my patience (and I have none).  Last month's box was held up at the post office, and this month I went through the same thing.  Tracking number wasn't working, nobody knew what was going on.  Ugh! I didn't want to complain right away and decided to be patient.  The box arrived a week late, but it arrived.
The theme of June's box is "Travel".  What products do you travel with?  When you fly, what do you have to have on the plane with you to land looking fab?
Let's look at what Birchbox thinks would make our travels more beautiful...

The Lineup:
Bonus Treat:

The Winner:
Laura Geller's Baked Blush-n-Brighten.  This is a pretty highlighter/bronzer.  I'm pale.  Like Nicole Kidman pale.  This doesn't overpower my face and gives a pretty flush of color.  I look like I was pecked on the cheeks by the sun.  I also like that I can easily dip my angled blush brush just in the highlighter portion to sweep the top of my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose.  Another thing I really loved was that my girlfriends and I all received different colors.  Birchbox did a good job of selecting our products based on the way each of us filled out our beauty profile when we joined.  My friend with darker skin, received a deeper bronzer that complimented her, but would have been too dark for me and gone to waste.  GOOD JOB BIRCHBOX!!

The Honorable Mention:
Oscar Blandi Olio di Jasmin Hair Serum.  It has been CRAZY hot down here in South Texas this summer! I try to do right by my hair by drenching it in fresh water before hitting the pool, washing and conditioning in cool water, not blow drying, and using a heat protecting spray before even coming near the flat/curling irons.  But I can't do much about the humidity in the air, and that makes me, and my hair, crazy!  Rubbing a couple drops of this serum between my palms and smoothing over flyaways makes my hair look shiny, and frizz free. Since I have such fine hair I can't use too much or I will look like a grease factory by evening but, this really is a nice product.  Smells good too!

The Disappointment:
Deborah Lippman's The Stripper to Go.  So if I'm paying $12 for 6 per box, then these better knock my socks off.  Which they didn't.  One of these pads should have taken all the polish off both my hands - but it didn't.  Granted, when I do my nails I have a nail strengthener on, my base coat, two coats of polish, and a Seche Vite topcoat - so I've got a lot to take off.  I will stick with my go-to travel nail polish remover by Calico, it takes everything off with one pad and a box of 10 only costs $2.99.

What about the rest?
Kate Spade Twirl smells pretty, like roses.  But I already have a scent called Rock N Rose by Valentino that smells nearly identical excitement here for me.
The Pangea toner spray feels nice, but smells like old school Coppertone suntan lotion.  I already use Evian Mineral Spray and Fix+ by MAC on a regular basis for either finishing my makeup or refreshing my skin after Zumba class.  MAC has a smell to it, but it's clean and fresh like cucumbers.  Evian doesn't smell at all, because it's just mineral water - I'll stick with my favorites.

So what did you think of June's box?

PS- July is the Cynthia Rowley box!  Stay tuned for that...
PPS- My new camera takes amazing pictures! Can you tell the difference between this post and the previous ones?  I can!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Birchbox - May

May's Birchbox had me stressed!  Well not really the box, but the post office - which didn't deliver my box on time.  I sent a tweet to Birchbox and those ladies answered me within 5 minutes!  (They love a good tweet!) I don't know if the first box got lost in the mail or what, but Birchbox was on the ball with customer service and shipped a new box out immediately.  Finally my May box was here...

Since Mother's Day is in May, Birchbox dedicated their box to moms.  Exploring the idea that mom knows best, especially when it comes to beauty.
The Lineup
...and some bonus "treats"

The Winner:
Stila of course!  This comes in an individual pan so it will be easy to add it into a custom palette
(like a Z Palette).  As an eyeshadow, it applies smooth and not chalky.  The color can be layered to achieve a deeper color if you like.  I do use an eyeshadow primer, but this color lasts all day.  I look forward to trying more colors from Stila.

The Honorable Mention:
Oribe for beautiful hair Shampoo and Conditioner.  I tucked these travel sized packets in my toiletries bag and used them when I was on the road (instead of hotel Shampoo and Condish)  They smelled pretty (like a classy perfume), cleaned my color-treated hair gently, rinsed clean and left my hair soft and shiny.

The Disappointment:
Bvlgari Mon Jasmin Noir perfume sample - Not my cup of tea.  This smells like a rich old lady dripping in diamonds.  I'm more of a fruity/vanilla smelling perfume kinda girl.  I occasionally love a good "evening" perfume (like Gucci Rush or Narcisco Rodriguez For Her) - but mostly you will find me wearing light, summery fragrances like Dolce & Gabbana Light BlueSJP NYCAmazing Grace by Philosophy, or Victoria's Secret Heavenly. I was sad because I love trying new perfumes but I think this one is going to go to waste - even my friends didn't like it so I couldn't give it away.

The Rest?
I haven't tried the soap yet so you will have to try for yourself or come back later for a review once I do.
The Erno Laszlo night serum felt...OK.  It didn't smell funny or anything, but I am really not a fan of serums.  I feel like they are always slightly sticky.  I suppose that enjoying a trial sized sample of a skin treatment will help you determine whether or not you like the smell, texture, or any adverse reaction your skin might have, but you really won't be able to tell any results without using it for a decent amount of time.  I just can't see spending the money on this one.  I will stick with ROC for a small fraction of the price.

Thanks for checking out May's Birchbox!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Birchbox - April

April's Birchbox was all about being "green" - not just the contents, but the actual box itself. Birchbox's usual hot pink box was changed to green for the month of April - how cool! Birchbox was celebrating Earth Day so they chose products to reflect a greener way to beautify yourself.

The Lineup

  • Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion
  • LIV GRN C2C Fragrance Collection Natural Eau De Parfum
  • Zoya Intimate Spring 2011 Nail Polish Collection in Dove
  • Zhena's Gypsy Tea Italian Chamomile
  • Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser
and a super sweet little bonus, a card that you plant and it grows wildflowers!

The Winner:
SUKI!! SUKI!! SUKI!! - I can't stress enough how good this makes my skin feel! This sweet, lemon smelling cleanser starts off feeling like a sugar scrub, but then all of a sudden it changes to a foam and rinses clean.  Leaves my face squeaky clean, but without overdrying.  I haven't picked this up from the Birchbox store yet, but it is soon to be my first full-size purchase - $29.95 for a 4oz jar.

The Honorable Mention:
Well manicured hands in the air to Zoya's polish for not chipping for 4 days and looks beautiful - even in grey!  Since trying Zoya, I've purchased a pink matte polish from them that is quite pretty.

The Disappointment:
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion.  Sorry Weleda but this smells so wrong to me that I couldn't wait to get it off - and I only had it on my fingers.  I threw the sample away without even putting it on my face.

So what about the rest?
I actually haven't tried the tea yet.  I'm more of a hot tea in the wintertime girl.  Since I live in South Texas, I can't seem to get away from the heat.  I will let you all know about the tea the next time I am feeling under the weather or, it's cold.  Whichever comes first!
The LIV GRN perfume - is fresh and sweet, smells like apples.  But so does DKNY be Delicious, which I already own so, I gave this sample to a friend to enjoy.
The wildflower card I'm saving for a rainy day - flowers need water to grow right?

Thanks for reading!


I picked up the February issue of Shape magazine on a whim (the whim being my body telling me to get my butt in action!) and in "The Shape List" I read about a beauty service that for $10 little tiny dollars, would score you a box full of deluxe sized beauty samples.  We are talking makeup, perfume, skin care, hair care, etc.  SIGN.ME.UP!  You don't even pay shipping - $10 flat fee/month.  These aren't no name brands either!  Upon reading about this service (and quickly signing up), I took to YouTube (of course) to check out the buzz.  I watched NARS and Stila products popping up in these "unboxing" videos.  I knew I just stumbled onto greatness and I was soo excited!

Some great things about Birchbox:
  • When you sign up, you fill out a questionnaire about yourself so they can best determine what to send you.  Everybody doesn't receive the same box.  Just this last month, two girls I work with (both I enticed into signing up for BB) and I all received different color bronzers based on our skin color.  One received a face mask, I received a hair serum, one got a Kiehl's moisturizer - you get the point.  Everybody is different.
  • They have an online store where you can purchase full sized products.  Sometimes they offer free shipping or extra points for buying certain products.  Speaking of the points system...
  • You can earn points that you save up to get great discounts.  I got 100 points for referring my two friends from work.  Every 100 points equals $10 off a full size product purchase.  Doesn't the $38 NARS Multiple sound even better at $28?  Stila's famous lip glaze in "Kitten" for $12 vice $22?  I love a great discount!
You can also get points for every dollar spent (1 for 1) and for giving feedback on products.

So let's get to the good stuff!  March was my first box....

How exciting to get the hot pink box in the mail!  But what is inside?

The Lineup:
Extra Treats:
The Winner:
AHAVA Dermud Enriched Intensive Foot Cream - (soft) hands down! The foot lotion is my new addiction.  It's so soft and creamy, hydrates the rough patches on my feet, and smells lovely.  I managed to score a large bottle of Ahava at my local Marshalls store for half the retail price.  But I'm getting ready to buy some at full price now that my bottle is gone because, I LOVE IT! Worth the money.

The Honorable Mention:
The AHAVA bath salts.  They soothed my poor, tired body after ballet class.  The fragrance wasn't overpowering either - Mandarin/Cedarwood.

The Disappointment: 
The Pangea lip balm.  My only reason is: the smell.  Lavender on my lips?  Just strange.  But, I do use it at night before bedtime for the hydration and because it doesn't contain a sunscreen - which I obviously don't need at night.

The Rest?
The Cargo mascara was just alright.  The formula was a little runny and my lashes looked wet.  I did like the jet black color though.  As far as "lash activation" I didn't see any changes in lash growth.  The toothpaste was...well...a mint toothpaste.  Nothing special.

All in all I'm so pleased with Birchbox!  I'm actually getting ready to receive July's box but I wanted to go back in time and catch you all up.  So read on for April-June then let's unbox July together!  Birchbox has a special guest who prepared July's box...Cynthia Rowley!!

Please check this great service out for yourself and get more info.  

Thanks for reading!