December Beauty Box 5 Review

Beauty Box 5 is exactly what it sounds like: a subscription box that sends five beauty and skincare products to your door!  It costs only $12 a month and always has a good mix of deluxe samples and full-sized items.

December's theme is about celebrating the holidays, or "Spa-lidays" as BB5 says.  The products inside help remind you to take a quick break during the hustle and bustle of the season to pamper yourself.

  • Lucky Brand Lucky Number 6 (~$1.47 for .05 fl oz) - This perfume is made up of a blend of lotus, tiger lily, cashmere woods, and jasmine.  It's a bit too floral for my personal preference, but I'm sure anyone who prefers floral scents would love this.
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Moisturizer (~$9.94 for .26 fl oz) - Juice Beauty is a great organic skincare brand, and the Stem Cellular Moisturizer is made of a blend of antioxidant-rich plant and fruit oils.  I've used this before and like it quite a bit, it's very light and absorbs quickly.
  • Absolute! New York Nail Polish Remover Pads ($2.99 for 32 pads, full-sized) - These are really hand to take on-the-go.  Mine are "Lavender."
  • Nanacoco Nail Polish ($3.95 for .5 fl oz, full-sized) - I received the shade "Punks," which is a blue/gold/pink glitter.  The shade was randomly selected, but all are glitters that are great for the holidays.
  • Body Drench Lip Drench ($4.99 for .15 oz, full-sized) - I'm always happy to receive lip balms, and this one is infused with vitamin E, rosemary extract, and beeswax for cold-weather hydration.  The scent was randomly selected, and I received "Pomegranate."
Bottom Line: I like and will use all of the items except for the perfume sample, so this box is a win for me!  It had three full-sized items and an approximate retail value of $23.34 (I had to estimate the size of the perfume).

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Beauty Box 5. Press sample received for review purposes.

GoodMouth Review

I received an email from a third-party company with a bunch of coupons for my birthday month, and one of them was for a free shipment from GoodMouth.  I had heard of their subscription service before and I love free stuff, so I figured, why not give it a try?

GoodMouth is oral care delivered.  For as low as $2 per shipment they'll send you a new toothbrush every three months.  At this time you're not able to change how frequently you receive a shipment, but they're working on adding that function in the future.  The reason it's set to every three months is because that's the recommended amount of time that you use a toothbrush for before getting a new one.

What impressed me about GoodMouth was that I took their "Brush Suggester" survey and was able to browse their recommendations for me.  I have sensitive teeth, so I ended up going with "The Chameleon" toothbrush.  You can also add on things like floss, lip balm, and mints to your shipment for a nominal extra fee.  I chose to stick with just the toothbrush this time, and it would have cost me $3.50 total if I didn't have the free coupon code.  Also, GoodMouth donates two brushes, or the equivalent in dental care, to someone in need for every subscription purchased.

$3.50 every three months for a toothbrush is a really good deal.  I like this subscription because buying toothbrushes is something that I never think about.  Honestly, the only time I used to get a new one was when my dentist would give me one during my biannual cleanings when I was a kid.  My adult dentist doesn't give out freebies, so if I purchase a new toothbrush once a year that's a lot for me.  I know that's a pretty poor practice, so now I can get one delivered to me without even having to think about it!  The price is super cheap, too, for a good quality brush.  Brushes in stores cost the same, if not more.

"The Chameleon" has a compact head, premium soft bristles (you should only ever brush with soft bristles, regardless of whether you have sensitivity issues or not), and an ergonomic handle with rubber grips.  The other brush that was recommended for me was called "The Panda."
  • Visit GoodMouth and see which brush is best for you!
Bottom Line; GoodMouth may not be the flashiest or most exciting subscription, but I think it's great because it's practical and something everyone could use.  The price is more than fair and the ability to add on extra items is nice.  I definitely recommend this service!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Post contains affiliate links.

December PetBox Review

Sami's second PetBox came and this time I decided to choose the treats inside.  I didn't realize that this was an option when I first signed up, but each month you get points to spend in the shop and you can use them to choose what will be in the box.  I had 200 points to spend, and I used 180 of them.  The extra 20 will rollover into next month's box.

I was surprised that this box was bigger than last month's, but obviously it just depends on the size of the items you pick (or that are picked for you).  I actually thought that the shipment had gotten lost at first, since the tracking info said it was delivered but there was no box at my door.  Turns out FedEx had dropped it off at my apartment's leasing office, which is something they'd never done before.  I was glad that they ensured safe delivery by leaving it there, though.

I liked the big sticker they put on the packaging; I don't remember having one last time.  I also like the writing on the inside of the box.  Even though I just end up recycling these boxes, I do like when they have a fun design.

Another thing I learned about PetBox was that each box purchased helps a rescue pet!  I looked on the website to find more information, but there's no exact information about how the purchases help.  They do have special boxes for fundraisers and giveaways for shelters, and I'm assuming that a portion of subscription purchases is donated to shelters.

I picked out two items for Sami, and the box came with a surprise third.
  • Nibble-Licious Cat Grass Kit - Cats love chewing on grass and it's great for their digestion.  Since Sami is an indoor cat and it's winter, that means no grass.  I got this for her because I thought it was a really neat idea.
  • My Little Lion Cat Treats in Duck Hunter Recipe - There is no such thing as a treat that Sami won't enjoy, so it's hard for me to say whether or not these would please a finicky cat.  I have a feeling that they would, since they're made with real meat and are grain free.  They also only cost 70 in PetBox points, so they were fairly cheap for how much is inside the bag!
  • Cosmic Catnip - I actually had this exact catnip in the fridge when this box arrived, but it's always good to have more.  I've been trying to get Sami to use her scratching post instead of the furniture by sprinkling some of this on top of it, but so far she still prefers my chair.
Bottom Line: PetBox is a really affordable subscription (boxes start at $7.95).  This review is for the Snack box, which is the cheapest option.  I like that you can choose your items or get a surprise box, and I also like that you can order items for cats and dogs in the same box.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsor post. Post contains referral links.

Target Beauty Box - Naturals Review

Every once in a while Target releases beauty boxes, and this time around they had a few different types: for her, for him, and naturals.  There may have been another, but I don't remember.  If I remember correctly, they were released on or around Black Friday.  The Naturals box only cost $5, and I'm very happy with it!

The box is about the size of a Birchbox and clearly has the Target logo all over it.  You could see what items would be in each box when you purchased them, and I picked the Naturals box because it was cheaper than the "For Her" version ($10 for that one) and I prefer beauty and skincare with natural and organic ingredients.

I was impressed by the packaging, especially since the box was so cheap.  I had purchased a Target Beauty Box the last time they had them, but I don't really remember it making much of an impression (hence why I never wrote a review for it).  They definitely stepped up their game with this round.

According to Target, this box has a total value of $25.  I'm not really concerned with calculating the retail values of these, so I'll take them at their word.  The box had six deluxe-sized samples, all from some pretty good brands.  There was also a coupon inside for $3 off a naturals beauty purchase of $15 or more, which I will most likely end up using.

  • Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes - Burt's Bees is a brand I've talked about before, and I'm on the fence about them because while I appreciate that they are cruelty-free, they're owned by Clorox, which is not cruelty-free.  I do prefer to support brands that are 100% cruelty-free, but as far as drugstore brands go, this is better than most of them.  Anyway, the package has 10 towelettes inside that I will put to good use.  I like to take these to remove my makeup when I go straight to the gym from work.
  • Skinfix Hand Repair Cream - I don't know anything about this brand, but I needed a good, thick handcream that was unscented.  I have a lot of perfumed ones, and they're nice, but during the winter my hands get so dry and I prefer something more heavy-duty.  The ingredients list has a few synthetic ingredients, but I still like it.
  • Borghese Age-Defying Facial Scrub - This is a Target exclusive, and it's "a clarifying scrub that refines uneven texture and tone while gently removing dirt and debris."  I've used some Borghese products before and they work really well.  Again, more synthetics in the ingredients.
  • Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Smoothie - This is a really big sample (3.2 oz), unfortunately I have no use for it since it's for thick, curly hair.  My hair is thick, but it is by no means curly.  I posted this for swap.  I've used other Shea Moisture products before though and they work really well.  They're also PETA-certified as cruelty-free.
  • Acure Organics Facial Cleanser - I've gotten this sample from a few other boxes, including Birchbox, and I had no idea they were available at Target!  I'm glad to have gotten it, since they're a really good organic brand that's Leaping Bunny-certified as cruelty-free.
  • SoapBox Argan Shampoo - I love products with argan oil in them because I heat style my hair daily and it gets pretty dry.  The brand is new to me, but the bottle says "Every SoapBox purchase is a donation to a child in need."  That certainly makes me want to look into buying more products from them in the future.
Bottom Line: The Target Beauty Box - Naturals was an excellent value at only $5!  I'm really glad I bought one, even though most of the products are not exactly "natural."  I'm not upset by that though, since most brands that advertise as "natural" at stores like Target are sometimes greenwashed.  Either way, these are still products I'll use and enjoy!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

December Fabletics Review + 50% Off Your First Outfit

I decided to give Fabletics a try since I've been working out more recently and I had extra money to spend thanks to my quarterly bonus from work.  I've always been interested in the subscription, but didn't purchase anything prior to now because it wasn't one that I absolutely had to have.

Fabletics is a part of the JustFab family and works the same way: when you become a VIP, you'll get to purchase an outfit at special pricing each month.  You can skip any month you'd like.  Outfits range in price from $49.95 to $89.95, depending on how many pieces there are and the complexity of the outfit.  The price tag had been another deterrent for me; I usually just get my workout gear from stores like Old Navy for much cheaper prices.  But since you can get your first outfit for 50% off when you sign up I decided it was worth a try.

I was surprised by the packaging, it comes in a flimsy mailer instead of a box.  I guess I just assumed it would come in a box because that's what I'm used to with subscription services.  The clothes weren't damaged or anything so I didn't mind.  Each piece was individually wrapped in plastic.  All together this outfit cost me $29.92 ($24.97 + $4.95 shipping).

I chose the "Sheen" outfit, which came with the Oula Tank.  It's very lightweight and great for cardio since the fabric is so breathable.  I chose the gray color because the capris I chose are much louder, so I wanted a simple tank to go with them.  I got a medium, but I'm used to loose-fitting tanks, and this one is more skin tight.  I would prefer a looser fit, but not so much that I'm going to return this,

I loved the fun design on the Camacan Capris, and they were the main reason why I chose this outfit.  The color scheme I picked was "Black/Chevron Print" and I got them in a size small.  When I buy capris from Victoria's Secret I get their small, so I assumed that the sizes would be similar.  I was wrong!  These are pretty tight, but not completely unwearable.  I'm on the fence about whether or not I'm going to exchange these for a medium.  Exchanges are free, I just don't know if I want to wait to send these back and get a new pair.
  • Visit Fabletics and sign up for a VIP membership, your first outfit will be 50% off if you purchase within 24 hours.
Bottom Line: I like this Fabletics outfit, but I don't think I will be purchasing another one any time soon.  The clothes are good quality, but they aren't better than what I was currently buying for half the price.  I'm glad I could get this outfit for only $24.97, but I would definitely not have paid full price for it.  Fabletics does come out with new designs each month, though, so if you're active and always looking for new workout clothes, this subscription would probably be great for you!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Post contains referral links.

NIVEA Creme "Get More For a Dollar" Challenge and Giveaway

Money is tight around the holidays for a lot of people (myself very much included!), what with all the gifts to buy, parties to throw, and all that's involved with the season.  As crazy as things can get, it's important to take time to treat yourself, too.  I know that I don't have a few moments of quiet alone time I will absolutely lose my mind!  One easy and incredibly affordable way to pamper yourself this time of year is to use NIVEA Creme!  I took part in their "Get More For a Dollar" Challenge this past week and was really impressed with the results.

NIVEA Creme was created back in 1911 and has been trusted ever since to hydrate skin with its clinically-proven formula of jojoba oil, vitamin E, and eucerit--a unique moisturizing ingredient that helps skin stay soft and supple.  Their 1 oz tin costs only $1, hence the name of the challenge.  If there's one thing in this world that really drives me insane, it's having dry skin.  Winter is especially rough on the skin, as we all know, because the air is really dry and the cold winds will suck any moisture you have left out of it!  For the "Get More For a Dollar" Challenge, I was tasked with using this creme for a week so that I could tell you all about my results.

I only really need to ever have two beauty products with me at all times: a lip balm and a lotion.  Once the colder weather hits the tops of my hands get these rough patches of skin that become really itchy, so it's important to me to have an effective moisturizer to keep that at bay.  I took my NIVEA Creme with me to my boyfriend's work Christmas party, since it fit perfectly into the clutch I took (along with a few other essentials)!  The tin is great for travel or anytime you're on-the-go.

I've been using this creme non-stop, not only on my hands and cuticles but on my feet and elbows, too.  I change my nail polish a lot so my cuticles are always a mess, and this is great at hydrating them.  I also get dry patches of skin on my ankles and elbows, and after exfoliating I slathered this cream on them for an extra hit of hydration.  I love the creamy formula, it's very thick and a little goes a long way.  It has a light cotton-y scent and absorbs quickly.  The tin might seem small, bit since you don't need a lot I could see this lasting for at least a month, maybe even more!  I would recommend using it more as a targeted treatment for certain trouble spots, but you could also use it as an all-over moisturizer after a shower or bath.

However you use it, I think you'll be pleased with the results.  I loved how it made my skin feel, especially my hands.  The dry patches really did start to clear up after a week of use, and my cuticles are in better shape, too!  I absolutely got more for a dollar with this NIVEA Creme, and I highly recommend it as a gift for yourself or someone you love (it would make a great stocking stuffer)!

Bottom Line: I'm so glad that NIVEA offers this affordable and effective creme.  For only $1, this tin will help with any dry skin issues you may have, and the size makes it perfect to take with you anywhere!

Want to win a gift basket of NIVEA goodies so that you can take the challenge yourself?  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win one!  Giveaway runs until December 20, 2014 and is open to U.S. entrants aged 18+.  See Rafflecopter for full terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by NIVEA.  Press samples received for review purposes. 

Saturday Thoughts

The snow is officially here and I don't think it's going anywhere soon.  To be honest, so far the winter has been pretty mild, so I can't really complain.  Southern Buffalo got hit really badly a few weeks ago, and our snow so far has just been pretty average for Rochester during this time of year.  I'm looking out my window now and this is what I see:

I've always loved winter and I love snow.  I don't love driving in it, but that's just something you have to get used to when you live in this area.  The most frustrating thing, well there are two most frustrating things--people who drive too slowly, and people who think that they can still do 75 down the highway in a snowstorm.  But other than during my commutes to and from work, I love cold weather and snow!  I think it's beautiful and it makes me feel like cuddling up in a blanket.

See?  Even Sami agrees.  I've been trying to stay active, too, since there is a goal I'm working towards, but weather like this makes it so much harder to want to get out and go to the gym.  I've been trying to go in the morning before work, but I found that my body just isn't prepared for a rigorous workout that early.  I hate going at night when everyone else is there, but I'm able to get a better work out during that time, so putting up with the crowds is just something I'll have to deal with.

I'm going to try to do a post like this every Saturday, and I'll end with some link love:
  • Win a cute set of Etude House hand creams from Hello Pretty Bird!
  • Dying to try this mac and cheese that combines my Korean roots with my love for cheese, cheese, cheese!
Photo courtesy of Looklab
I hope you all had a good week!  Feel free to share your thoughts or links to fun posts you've come across in the comments.

December Wantable Accessories Review

I've reviewed the Wantable Makeup Box in the past (read my review), and I've always wanted to try one of their other offerings (they have Accessories, Intimates, and Fitness boxes).  I decided to give the Accessories box a try when they offered 50% off of your first box.

Wantable costs $36 a month, or you can do a one-time purchase for $40.  The Fitness box works a little bit differently, and you can read about that here if you so choose.  I picked the Accessories box to try because I don't really need intimates, but I love getting scarves and other fun things to dress up my outfits so I figured this would be fun to try.

When the box arrived I was surprised at how small it was, it's much smaller than what I remember the makeup box being.  I could also just be completely making that up, since it's been a while since I reviewed the makeup box.  I was afraid that there wouldn't be a scarf inside, but my worry ended up being in vain!

This gorgeous Lisa Scarf in Red/White is so perfect for Rochester winters!  It's an infinity scarf that's super thick and soft, and I love the red and white pattern.  I posted a picture of what it looks like on on my Instagram account, which you can view here.  The only slight complaint I have is that it's not as long as I'm used to when it comes to infinity scarves, so when you loop it around twice it's very snug to the neck.  I suppose that's good for winter, though, since it will definitely keep you warm.

I also received two pairs of earrings and a watch.  I wish I had put necklaces under my "love" category on my profile since I prefer them over earrings, but I can always do that for my next box.
  • Kylee Earrings in Silver - These are the red and crystal earrings in the top left of the photo.  I normally don't wear earrings that are this style--I like studs, but usually I pick things that are much more simple.  Even though these have more bling factor than what I would normally wear I still like them quite a bit.  I think they're really pretty and the red is great for Christmas!
  • Christy Earrings - At first glance I didn't care for these earrings and I considered posting them for swap, but today on a whim I decided to wear them and I ended up liking them a lot more than I originally thought I would.  The shape is a bit odd to me, but I liked that they were bold enough to stand out but that they weren't too gaudy or obnoxious.
  • Miranda Watch in Gold - I currently don't have a watch and have been considering buying one, so this came at a good time!  It's definitely more of a "fashion" style, but I like it a lot.  The gold hardware against the black is my style, and I like that it's something I could wear everyday without looking to flashy.
Here's what my profile selection looked like:

  • Visit Wantable to learn more and subscribe
Bottom Line: I was very happy with my first Wantable Accessories box, especially considering it only cost me $18 for four items.  The scarf is my favorite, and I'll get good use out of the watch and the earrings.  Next time I think I'll shuffle around the items in my "Love" category and hopefully get some necklaces.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Post contains referral links.