Saturday, September 21, 2019

Walmart Beauty Box - Spring and Summer 2019

I never ended up posting my review for the Spring Walmart Beauty Box and I got the Summer one a few weeks ago, so I decided to post a review of both.

*Disclaimer: This box was purchased by See, Shop, Love!

The Walmart Beauty Box is a quarterly box that sends samples of products that you can purchase at Walmart stores and online. It's a free box but you have to pay shipping, so in essence it costs $5 a quarter for a box of samples.

For $5 every quarter, I think this box is a good deal and a lot of fun to open. You're not going to get high-end brands and there will be foil packet samples, but considering it's a "free" box I think it lives up to expectations.

The Spring 2019 box contained six samples and came with a canvas zippered pouch. I'm usually not a fan of getting pouches with subscriptions because I end up having too many of them, but this one is actually pretty sturdy so I'll actually use it.

Here's what was inside:

  • Soo Ae Purifying Black Charcoal Mask (full-sized): I love these masks and I pick some up almost every time I go to Walmart. The Soo Ae brand is a great K-beauty brand and these masks provide hydration and moisture with the clarifying benefits of characoal.
  • Hello Fluoride Free Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste: I like that this has charcoal in it (it really does help whiten teeth, in my experience), but I prefer fluoride in my toothpaste. It has no artificial sweeteners, dyes, or sulfates.
  • Purely Inspired Collagen Peptides: This supplement contains collagen to help support strong hair, skin, and nails. Am I sold on the efficacy of ingestible collagen? No. But if you're interested in trying, this is a nice option.

The Summer 2019 box also had six samples.

  • Schick Intuition F.A.B. Razor (full-sized): The "FAB" in the name stands for forwards and backwards because you can use this razor in both directions. It makes for easier and more precise shaving.
  • TRESemme Betweetn Washes Volumizing Dry Shampoo: I didn't realize until writing up this review that this is a duplicate product from the Spring box. If I'm going to get multiples, at least it's something I'll definitely use!
  • Olay Daily Facials Daily Hydrating Clean Makeup Removing Cloth: I like having a little cloth like this for on-the-go, especially to use after working out. This one is a dry cloth that you add water to for the cleansing power of a makeup remover, scrub, toner, and mask all in one.
  •  Freeman Detoxifying Charcoal and Black Sugar Mud Mask: This mask is made with Dead Sea minerals to moisturize and lift away dirt and toxins without drying out the skin. I've had good experiences with Freeman masks in the past and I think they're a good, affordable option.
  • Biore Witch Hazel Ultra Deep Cleaning Pore Strips: Even though I know these aren't the best for your skin I still use them every once in a while. It's just so satisfying to see the extra dirt and sebum lifted out of my pores. This one worked as well as the regular nose strips do.
  • Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer: I've gotten this in a previous box and I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan. It's a moisturizer that you apply in the shower to wet skin and then rinse off, and I didn't notice much of a difference in my skin after using it.

Bottom Line: For about the price of a latte at Starbucks, each quarter you can get a box of fun samples from Walmart. I think this box delivers exactly what it promises for an affordable price.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

September Book of the Month Review and Coupon

I love Book of the Month! I love getting a brand new book of my choice each month. I know I'll always have something fun to read and a new book to look forward to.

*Disclaimer: This box was purchased by See, Shop, Love! Post contains referral links. 

Book of the Month costs $14.99 per month for a brand new hardcover book. You'll be able to choose from one of five books that are selected by different judges. You can also add extra books to your box for $9.99 per book. This is an excellent price, considering most new hardcovers retail for at least $25 in book stores. You can also skip a month if you're not interested in any of the selections.

I love a mystery/thriller, so September's book was an easy choice for me. I picked The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. Here is the synopsis:

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

I'm a little more than halfway through the book and it's so good! It's really detailed but not monotonous. It also switches back and forth between different characters and I like getting their different stories and perspectives. It's also being developed as a Netflix original series!
Bottom Line: If you're a reader you will absolutely love Book of the Month! They always have excellent selections, but they make it easy to skip a month if you need to. I've loved each and every one of the books I've gotten so far.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Charcoal Expressions Review and Coupon

Charcoal Expressions is a subscription box that lets you explore your inner creative with a comprehensive drawing experience. I had a lot of fun trying out the charcoal medium and was surprised at how easy everything was to follow!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Charcoal Expressions was founded by Robert and Teri Gorder. They host live events where you can draw in-person around the Baraboo, Wisconsin area. They created the subscription so that people all over the U.S. could enjoy creating charcoal artwork.

The subscription comes with two drawings per month, video tutorials, supplies, paper, and mattes for easy framing. You don't need any drawing experience to participate; I found that the video tutorials were incredibly comprehensive and easy to follow.

The box costs $34.95 per month and you can subscribe in monthly, three month, or six month increments. There is also a one-time charge of $15 for the introductory kit, which includes all the reusable items you'll need: erasers, T-square, blending tools, Plexiglass, etc.

The Introductory Kit includes the following:
  • 11x14 Plexiglass
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Blue blending towel
  • Four sheets of heavyweight drawing paper
  • 12" T-square
  • 6B Compressed Charcoal
  • White Charcoal Pencil
  • One 4B Soft Charcoal Pencil
  • One set of three blending stumps
  • One Factis round eraser
  • One triangle eraser
  • Two 11x14 Show kits

All of the supplies were sent in a drawstring bag and the charcoal was inside its own bag. After the one-time purchase of the Introductory Kit, the monthly box will include four sheets of paper with guides, 6B compressed charcoal, one charcoal pencil, two show kits, catalog, bonus item, colored charcoal pencil (if needed), and eraser refills (if needed).

The catalog includes an "Inside the Drawing" story with information about the inspiration behind some of Robert's drawings, a letter from Teri, and the two drawings for the month, along with a space for notes and a link to the YouTube instructional video.

Your kit will only come with one catalog per month, but I was sent a few of the past months and decided to try the "Desert Moonlight" drawing from this past July. I have to admit I wasn't sure how well it would go since I haven't done any type of artwork since high school, but this was surprisingly easy! Robert does a great job of explaining everything in simple terms and showing you how to do all of the techniques in the YouTube video.

The whole process took me about an hour to complete and it was very enjoyable. If you're into doing adult coloring books for mindfulness I think you'll also enjoy working on a Charcoal Expressions drawing.

I'm very happy with how my drawing turned out! I loved the high contrast in this drawing and the matte frame makes everything look even better. My blending wasn't perfect, but I think this is pretty good for a first attempt.

I added a bit of orange to the moon using the orange charcoal pencil that was included in my kit. You'll only receive different colored pencils if your drawing calls for them.

A closer view of the details of the drawing.
Bottom Line: I had a lot of fun with my first Charcoal Expressions drawing! The whole process was pretty pain-free and it was satisfying to frame my final product. I don't have any formal art training but I found this to be easy to complete and not intimidating at all. I think it's a great deal at $34.95 per month, and $15 for the intro kit isn't bad either, considering you'll be able to reuse all of the supplies.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

August Allure Beauty Box Review

I've really enjoyed the past few Allure Beauty Box offerings, and August's box had another good selection of samples.

*Disclaimer: This box was purchased by See, Shop, Love!

The Allure Beauty Box costs $15 each month for $50 to $90 worth of deluxe samples from top brands. I've tried a bunch of beauty boxes since starting this blog, and this one currently tops my list for beauty subscriptions. They send well-curated boxes with samples from excellent brands.

You'll also get a full-sized bonus gift as a new subscriber valued at $10+. Mine was a bottle of Oribe Gold Lust hair oil, which retails for $55 on its own! The member gift changes, so be sure to check what yours is prior to subscribing (it will say on their website).

The box comes with around five samples that have been hand-selected by Allure beauty editors. You'll also receive a booklet with information about each item, as well as coupon codes and tips and tricks. There's also a reusable pouch with each box that's great for airline travel, too.

What I like best about the Allure Beauty Box is that they have a good variety of items. You won't get all skincare, or all color cosmetics, but usually a good mix of everything. Here's what was inside:
  • Nuria Defend Triple Action Eye Cream ($40, full-sized): This eye cream has a plastic disc applicator thats different, but really effective at dispensing the perfect amount of cream (so no wasted product), It's made with cucumber and ginseng to help reduce puffiness and plump fine lines.
  • Primera Alpine Berry Water Cream: This moisturizer is from a Korean skincare brand and is their best-seller. It hydrates with glycerin and cocoa-seed butter and is incredibly light.
  • Cargo Cosmetics Essential Lip Color ($22, full-sized): I received the shade Bordeaux, which is a deep wine red, one of 11 possible shades to receive. I've always enjoyed Cargo Cosmetics products so I'm sure this lipstick will hold up well.
  • Benefit They're Real Mascara: This is probably my favorite mascara of all time! It really makes my short, straight lashes look defined. The little ball at the tip of the applicator is great for reaching every lash (pictures below).
  • La Ritzy Liquid Beam in Topaz ($22, full-sized): I'm obsessed with this eyeshadow! It's a glittery liquid bronze that looks insanely over-the-top in the tube but actually goes on sheer and is a great highlight. I've been using it on the inner corners of my eyes to help brighten up.
  • Erno Laszlo Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask: I've become a fan of undereye masks recently, especially when I want to just chill out for a bit. This one is made with translucent hydrogel and works to plump fine lines and hydrate the delicate undereye area.
  • Makeup Eraser The Mini in Black ($12, full-sized): I guess I forgot to take a picture of this because I started using it immediately! I took it on a trip to Toronto with me and it was so much easier to pack than a big packet of makeup remover cloths (and more eco-friendly). This does a great job of removing all of my makeup, including waterproof mascara.

I really enjoyed the August Allure Beauty box, especially since it had four full-sized products! The La Ritzy eyeshadow is gorgeous and the Primera cream is a new favorite.
  • Visit Allure Beauty Box to subscribe and get your first box for $10 (no coupon needed)
That being said, I actually cancelled my subscription after this box. It wasn't due to lack of quality (obviously), but rather that I was starting to accumulate too many samples again and I wanted to be able to catch up on using everything. I would definitely resubscribe in the future, though!

Friday, August 30, 2019

August My Secret Snacks Review

My Secret Snacks is -- you guessed it -- a snack subscription box that sends 14 to 20 individual snacks right to you! I love snacking, and this box is a fun way to restock your pantry.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

My Secret Snacks started with servicing vending machines and decided to bring their snacks right to your doorstep through the subscription service. You'll get a box of surprise snacks similar to those you'd find in vending machines. Here are their pricing options:
  • Monthly: $29 per month
  • Three Months: $26 per month ($78 every three months)
  • Six Months: $24 per month ($144 every six months)
  • Yearly: $22 per month ($264 every 12 months)
Plans automatically renew and you can cancel at any time. Shipping is free for all subscription options.

I was really excited to dig in to this box because I love snacks! Keep in mind, this isn't necessarily a healthy snacks subscription, although they do have a variety of different types and brands represented.

My box contained 17 individual-sized snacks. Here's what was inside:
  • Doritos Nacho Cheese
  • Cheetos Flamin' Hot Chipotle Ranch
  • Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips Luau BBQ
  • Basil's Cappuccino Premium Cookies
  • Chex Mix Traditional
  • Munchies Snack Mix Flamin' Hot
  • Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips Sweet Maui Onion
  • Cheez It Original
  • Gardetto's Original Recipe Snack Mix
  • Rice Krispies Treats Original
  • Oreo
  • Nature's Bakery Fig Bar Apple Cinnamon
  • Nature's Bakery Fig Bar Apple Cinnamon (two bars total)
  • Skittles Original
  • Peanut Butter M&Ms
  • Mini Chewy Sweetarts
  • Original Slim Jim
I loved the variety in this box! There were a lot of great snacks, but my favorites were the Hawaiian Kettle Chips and the Sweetarts candies. If you assume each snack costs about $2 individually in stores or from a vending machine, the approximate retail value here is $34 for 17 snacks. That's a little over the $29 cost of the box, give or take some if each snack retails for a bit more or less in stores.
Bottom Line: My Secret Snacks is a great box for snackers! There are lots of goodies inside, so it's perfect for a family to share, or to keep all to yourself like I did.