Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sprout Skincare Review

Today was a very good day for me because after a stressful day at work I came home to lots of goodies!  My three shipments from arrived, but for this review I'm going to focus on just one of them.

Sprout Skincare is a company based out of Brooklyn that creates all-natural, sustainable skin care.  Two of my favorite things!  I was super excited when they were featured on because I love skin care products, and even better that these are sustainable.  The card in the photo above came with my order, on which the founder Adina wrote,
I created Sprout because I wanted no-frills skincare that worked.  We make everything in small batches, using the simplest possible blends of whole, high-potency ingredients--no dangerous synthetics, no exotic fillers.  I choose all of our ingredients from organic, local, or fair trade sources so that our products are healthier for our customers, our communities, and our planet.  I hope you enjoy using them as much as we enjoy making them!
What's not to love about that?  I love finding out about new eco-friendly companies, and Sprout Skincare has it all: they support local farmers by using local or fair-trade materials, their ingredients are all-natural, and their products work.

The first part of my order was a four-pack of their original lip balms.  As you can see from the photo the flavors are Peppermint, Cocoa, Citrus, and Cinnamon.  They smell absolutely amazing!  My favorite is the Cinnamon, but they're all really excellent.  The Peppermint has that fun tingly feeling that I love.  I love organic lip balms because I feel that they work so much better than the traditional drugstore types with artificial ingredients.  These go on smoothly and don't leave any sort of funky residue feeling on my lips.  The ingredients are cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, and essential oils for scent in the Citrus, Cinnamon, and Peppermint.  They also come in a vegan variety without the beeswax.  The four-pack "Lip Balm Flight" retails for $18, and an individual balm costs $5.

The second item I bought is this luscious cream.  The jar is smaller than I envisioned it, and I was a bit bummed at first, but after using it that quickly went away.  This cream is very thick and a little bit goes a long way.  I can already tell that it's going to be great for the winter on my chapped knees, elbows, and ankles.  It feels really luxurious and smooth!  My only (tiny) gripe is that there is no essential oil scent.  It smells a bit like cookie dough before you cook it, but less sweet, if you can imagine that.  The ingredients are wildcrafted, unrefined shea butter, extra virgin coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil.  It costs $32 for 3.75 ounces.

What sets Sprout Skincare apart for me is the fact that they hand make all of their products for each customer.  As you can see, the back of my jar says "This batch made by Adina on 11/23/11," and the message is clearly hand-written.  The care that they put into their products is so evident, and it translates into amazing skin care!
Bottom Line: I love these products and I will definitely be buying more in the future.  I highly recommend them to everyone: those who regularly buy organic/sustainable products and those who have never tried them.  You won't be disappointed!

Disclaimer: I received these products through a flash sale on free of charge because I had earned enough credits and free shipping through referring new members to the site.  I was not reimbursed in any way for this review, and these honest opinions are entirely my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dino Lingo: Language For Children Review

I found about this company called Dino Lingo through another company called Influenster (more about Influenster later, since I'll be reviewing some products from them soon).  They are a service that offers language tools for kids.  I was originally drawn to them because of the cute factor of their branding.  And even though I'm no longer a child, I still have an interest in learning another language.  Everything I learned from high school Spanish is long gone, so I figured, why not check this out?  I'm basically at a child's learning level when it comes to foreign languages.

I "liked" Dino Lingo on Facebook and found out that they were holding contests to win a free set of flashcards.  They often do giveaways like this, so it's a great way to preview the program.  I was really excited to have won on my first entry!  I requested a set of Spanish cards, and received the package above.
The set is "animals," and came with two posters and the card set.  The green poster has actual photos of the animals with their names in Spanish, and the blue poster has cute drawings of the animals with their names below.  The card sets are also drawings/animations.

Dino Lingo utilizes the immersion technique in three main steps.  The first step is engagement: they capture the imaginations of children through their fun dinosaur cartoons.  The second step introduces children to the 200 commonest words in the language they are learning in order to build their confidence and not overwhelm them.  The third step has children playing games and interacting in the language, and they practice through play and repetition of what they have already learned.

What I think is great is that they use the immersion technique.  It isn't the way I was taught Spanish, which was cat = gato, dog = perro, etc.  There is no English reference point, just the visual aids that are entirely in the target language.  To get an idea for what I'm talking about, check out their introductory Spanish video here.  Starting kids on learning another language at a young age is, I think, the best way to ensure that they'll become fluent speakers.

Bottom Line: I can easily see this being an effective way for children to learn another language.  Their full program combines flash cards, games, videos--all sorts of ways for children to learn about new cultures and become bilingual.  I will be passing these cards along to my younger cousin; I hope she'll enjoy learning new Spanish words!
  • Learn more about Dino Lingo at their website
  • Connect with them on Facebookt (and enter to win a flash card set!)
  • Follow them on Twitter
Check out some more photos of the package I received under the cut.

*Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated for this review.  I received the Dino Lingo flash card set for free by entering and winning a contest on their Facebook page.  The honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Upcoming Giveaways and Reviews!

Hi everyone, I have a lot of exciting things in the works for See, Shop, Love! and I wanted to fill you in them. I've been reaching out to companies and requesting sponsorship for product reviews and giveaways; since, after all, this is a product review blog.  I have heard back from a few of them and I'm really happy to announce that you will be seeing some great giveaways in the near future!

1. Eco Discount Store is an amazing eco-friendly online marketplace.  I've received an initial message of interest from them, but have yet to hear back from their marketing department.  Either way, I will definitely be highlighting this company because I love green companies.

2. Auromère Ayurvedic Imports produces a line of ayurvedic products including soaps and lotions.  I'll be reviewing one of each of those and will have a special offer for all of the readers of this blog!

3. Headline Shirts is a company based out of San Francisco that makes funny/witty tshirts (they print with eco-friendly ink, too!).  They have a bunch of designs that I really liked, and I'll be writing up a review for one of their tshirts.  They are also going to give one lucky reader a free shirt, so be on the lookout for my review and giveaway post.

4. Superfood Snacks makes raw, organic, handmade energy snacks.  Sound too "crunchy" for you?  Bear with me--the product I'll be reviewing and that Superfood Snacks has offered to give away to a reader is called Brazilian Chocolate Ecstasy.  I don't know about you, but I'm really excited to try it out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wet n Wild Nail Polishes

I have recently gained an interest in painting my nails a color other than pink or red, and my foray into the world of nail polish has produced these recent results.

The first shade is Wet n Wild Wet Shine in Caribbean Frost.  The glare from the lighting makes it a bit difficult to see on my actual nails, but it's a very pretty turquoise-ish color with a bit of sheen.  I bought this bottle a while ago, but I'm pretty sure it only cost $.99 for .43 fl oz at CVS (I'm a big fan of drugstore nail polish).  This is with two coats and a topcoat.  I  like this polish because it goes on evenly and lasts a long time.

This second one is my newest shade and I love it!  It's also Wet n Wild, part of their Fast Dry collection.  The shade is Teal of Fortune and it cost $1.99 for .46 fl oz.  I couldn't get a great photo because I was taking them at night with artificial lighting, which is why the shade looks much more blue than it actually is.  I have it on my nails now and it is more of a teal, as the name says.  What I like most about this shade is the little flecks of glitter.  This is two coats, with a base coat and top coat.  I'll try to get a better picture later and will update it here.  The only thing that was a little weird about this nail polish was that the brush is really thick and the bristles are kind of hard to maneuver with.  But I guess you can't ask for much from a $2 nail polish.  It's got great staying power, though.  I'll stick to my Wet n Wild shades for awhile!

Bottom Line: These polishes are an inexpensive alternative for people like me who aren't completely obsessed with doing their nails.  They have good staying power and come in a variety of fun shades.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mini Makeup Pack Giveaway! [CLOSED]

This giveaway has ended, congratulations to the winner: Robin!

I have some brand new, unopened makeup items that I won't use so I decided to give them away to a lucky follower!  I'm calling this a "mini" makeup giveaway because it's three items, not because the items are small--they're all full-sized.

  • 1 CoverGirl LashBlash Fusion mascara

  • 1 CoverGirl Cheekers blush in Rose Silk

  • 1 Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush lip gloss in I Want Candy

  • *Note: Sorry to my international followers, but this giveaway is US only.

    I know it isn't a huge prize pack, but it's still free! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below, and good luck to everyone :)

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    October Eco Emi Review

    I got my extra October Eco Emi box in the mail today! It came really quickly and it made me wonder if I'll be receiving all of my boxes so fast (Christine, the founder and CEO, said that they would be shipped out on Wednesday). I thought for sure it would take longer, especially due to the holiday.

    The contents of this box are old news to probably everyone who is familiar with Eco Emi, but I can at least offer up my personal opinions about the products and the service as a whole. I subscribed in November, and since payments are for the following month I won't be receiving my first box until December. I was really happy when extra October boxes went on sale and I snatched one up!

    The box comes shipped in a standard USPS flat rate box, and it looked like this upon opening. All of the items were tucked away in a pretty little velvet bag, and underneath the bag were some inserts about some of the companies in the bag.

    For those who aren't familiar with Eco Emi, it's a monthly subscription service that sends out samples from eco-friendly companies for $15 a month. Learn more by visiting their site here.

    These are all of the items that were in the box. As you can see, three of them were wrapped in tissue paper, which I think is really fun because it's like opening up presents. I already knew what was going to be in my box so the surprise element was missing, but I didn't mind because I knew that I already wanted to try everything!

    Each box comes with a card that talks about the theme for the month and what products are included. The October theme was, very appropriately, Halloween and autumn. The text is hard to read on some of the lighter parts of the image, so an extra print out was included since the cards were printed much lighter than they were supposed to be.

    On to the reviews! First I'll go over the food items...
    • Vegan Organic Mulling Spice by Simply Organic (1.2 oz) - This is a full-sized product which usually costs $2.19. I haven't made it up yet since I don't have any apple juice in the house, but I love spiced cider and this just sounds so yummy! I can't wait to try this.
    • Gin Gins Boost Ginger Candies by The Ginger People (1.1 oz) - I'm not a huge ginger fan (aside from gingerbread cookies), but I wanted to try these out anyway. They're interesting; a bit hard at first but after you suck on them for a bit they turn chewy. I can deal with the flavor, but it's not one of my favorites. A 6 pack of 3 oz bags normally costs $16.99.
    • Blueberry Coconut Rise Energy Bar by Rise Foods (.85 oz) - I thought this was really yummy. It's kind of odd looking, brown with pieces of nuts and seeds and everything, but I enjoyed the flavor. It's nice and chewy and had the perfect hint of blueberry. A case of 12 bars costs $22.68.
    • Organic Fair-Trade Oolong Tea in Peach Blossom by Zhena's Gypsy Tea (.07 oz) - I am a huge tea drinker so I was really happy to get this in the box. Peach is also one of my favorite flavors! I haven't tried this yet; I'm going to save it to drink at work. I'll let you all know what I think of it then.

    And now for the beauty products:
    • Organic Vegan Lip Balm by Crazy Rumors (.15 oz) - This was another full-sized product, which retails for $3.49. I absolutely love love love Crazy Rumors! If you recall, I reviewed them in my "Bevy of Balms" post (find it here). Christine sent out random balms from their Brew collection, and I was hoping that I wouldn't get Spiced Chai since I already have that flavor. I was lucky enough to get the Orange Bergamot balm, which is lovely. It smells really good and, like all Crazy Rumors balms, goes on really smoothly.
    • Neuma Hair Care (.25 fl oz each) - I used these today and I love them. The samples included were the Renew shampoo and conditioner, Blow Dry Lotion, Style Texturizer, and Smoothing Creme. The Renews smell like peppermint and left my hair big and full after blowdrying (my thick hair sometimes gets weighed down by conditioners), which I loved. I also tried the Blow Dry Lotion and Smoothing Creme, which also were very nice. The Blow Dry Lotion had an herbal smell, while the Smoothing Creme had more of a citrus touch. I would have preferred for them all to smell like the Renew shampoo, but oh well. I would definitely consider buying these full-sized products, which range from $15-$25.
    • Rejuvenation Candle by Big Dipper Wax Works (1.7 oz) - I have an obsession with candles so I was really excited to try this out. I know it's technically not a beauty product, but I felt it was more appropriate to add it to this grouping. The full-sized candle is $5 for 2 oz or $9.50 for 6 oz. The scent is sweet orange and clove bud, and it's very delicate. I had it burning for a while and couldn't really pick up much of a scent.
    • Herbal Soap in Almond Spice by Herbaria (size unknown) - This is my favorite product in the box! It smells soooooo amazing! Spice-y scents are my all-time favorite, and this has a very strong spice scent. I'm not even going to use it as a soap because I don't want it to ever be gone. I think I'm going to stick it in my drawer to scent my clothes. The full-sized soap is $5.95 for 4.5 oz and I will definitely be buying some.
    Bottom Line: I love this box because I love autumn and spice things, and I love Eco Emi because I enjoy learning about green, organic, and eco-friendly companies. I can't wait until I get my December box, I'm confident that it'll be full of fun holiday products!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    I'm on Blogger!

    If you're wondering why all of the posts previous to this one were posted on the same day, it's because I just migrated all of my posts from my Tumblr blog. I am still going to post on Tumblr, but I wanted to have a Blogger/Blogspot account as well to gain more exposure.

    Please follow this blog on Google Friend Connect if you like what I post; you can do so by clicking the button in the right-hand column. I would greatly appreciate it!

    Food Interlude: Candy!

    All of you Birchbox-ers out there will be familiar with at least one of the products in this food interlude: the Chuao Chocolatier Firecracker bar; I'll start this candy-centric review out with that!

    I was kind of jealous of the people who received a Chuao Firecracker ChocoPod in their Birchbox for November because I love chocolate! My "treat" were the Two Paper Dolls coasters...they're cute, but I can't eat them. The Firecracker bar sounded so amazingly delicious, too: as you can tell from in the photo above, it's a "Dark chocolate bar with chipotle, salt, and popping candy." That might sound disgusting to some, but oh goodness--they are absolutely delicious! I am usually not a dark chocolate fan, but the chipotle and the popping candy balance out the bitter taste of the chocolate. The popping candies are so fun, and you get a nice chipotle flavor when you swallow the chocolate. It's definitely not a bar I could eat all at once, though, since the chipotle does get a bit strong (at least, for my tastes). I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes spicy-ish foods, or candies that are a bit out of the ordinary!

    The second bar, the one under the Chuao, is the Willy Wonka Triple Dazzle Caramel Bar. I bought them both at Wegmans, which is a nirvana of all grocery stores here in the Western New York area (they've expanded a bit along the east coast down to Virginia, too). I grabbed the Wonka bar because I figured that if I didn't like the Chuao, I would at least have a caramel bar to satisfy my chocolate craving. I'm glad I bought both, because they were both delicious. The Wonka bar is a pretty standard milk chocolate and caramel mixture, but its simplicity is what makes it wonderful. This is definitely the bar for the less-adventurous chocolate types.

    The Wonka bar cost me $1.79, and the Chuao was $4.49 (they're $6 in the Birchbox shop, with free shipping for November). If you don't feel like waiting to have chocolate shipped to you but want to try the Chuao bar, I'd suggest checking out your local grocery store first. Or perhaps a store with higher-end foods.

    Last but not least are these little cuties: Milkita Strawberry Milk Candy. I also bought these at Wegmans, but on a different shopping trip. I wanted to save the review until I had more foods to bundle with it. The whole bag (3.2 oz) only cost me something like $1.25 for 30 candies. The company is from Indonesia, I believe, and I picked these up in the International Foods section. I usually like Asian candies because they have cute packaging (each individual candy has the cow doing a different pose) and yummy sweets. These are no different! They basically taste like a strawberry creamsicle, or one of those Lifesavers Creamsavers. Don't let the "milk" part freak you out (unless you don't like the flavor of/are allergic to milk), because the combination totally works.

    Bottom Lines:
    • Chuao Chocolatier Firecracker: Delicious! Spicy! A little pricier, but definitely worth the indulgence once in a while. I don't recommend it to people who are more sensitive to spicy foods, though.
    • Willy Wonka Triple Dazzle Caramel Bar: A milk chocolate bar filled with caramel, for simplistic chocolate lovers. Inexpensive and yummy.
    • Milkita Strawberry Milk Candy: Adorable packaging, affordable, and great flavor!

    A Beautiful Nail Idea from STRONGnails

    My recent Zoya nail polish from Birchbox and Julep Maven box have piqued my interest in making my nails pretty. I've always liked painting my nails, but I usually just stuck to solid color reds and pinks. I was exploring around Twitter, though, and found this tutorial that I just had to share:

    Isn't that glitter gradient by STRONGnails just gorgeous (image courtesy of her blog)? Ha, sorry for all of the alliteration. But regardless, this technique is beautiful and I can't wait to try it out for myself. Find out how to do it (it sounds remarkably easy) here at her blog. She has lots of other reviews and tutorials there, too!

    Another Bath & Body Works Haul

    On Saturday I went to Bath & Body Works for their Holiday Fragrance Event and got a pretty good haul. I think it's apparent how much I love this store by now, but just in case you didn't know, I'm pretty obsessed!

    All of this merchandise totals $47, and I only paid $20 with my coupons ($10 off of $30) and the promotions they had going on. The Carried Away mini lotion and the Jingle Bellini mini lotion were free. I also got a pair of Shea Infused socks (I'm wearing them right now, they're so nice!) for free, but I forgot to take a photo.

    The two fragrance items I bought were:
    • Twisted Peppermint Scentportable ($6 for the holder and one scent pod, .2 fl oz): This was so cute that I couldn't pass it up. I took it to put on my desk at work today, but the scent is too light for a large space. I'm going to keep it in my car. The Twisted Peppermint scent is very nice.
    • Winter Cabin Wallflower ($6.50 for .8 fl oz): I bought this refill for my Wallflower plug in. I love warm, wintery scents and this one is very light and comforting.

    Here are the lotions I bought:
    • Carried Away Mini ($5 for 3 fl oz): I don't love this scent enough to buy a full-sized lotion, but I picked it up because it was free. I had a coupon for a free mini candle, but the store was out so they let me take a mini. The scent reminds me of sweet tarts candy.
    • Jingle Bellini Mini ($5 for 3 fl oz): This was also free, along with the Shea Infused socks. The Holiday Fragrance promotion was buy a Signature Care item, get those two things free. The scent is fruity and fun!
    • Charmed Life Select-A-Shimmer ($14 for 6.7 oz): I had been wanting to try the Select-A-Shimmer lotions, and this one was perfect because it was 50% off. The scent is light and summery. I like it because you can twist the cap to adjust how much lotion and/or shimmer is dispensed.
    • Dark Kiss Body Lotion ($10.50 for 8 fl oz): This is one of my favorite scents. It's very sexy, and has flowery notes combined with warmer's hard to describe, but I just love it!
    Bottom Line: Another great haul for me! I love Bath & Body Works forever and ever. They always have great promotions and sales, and since I shop there so often I continue to get great coupons in the mail and email.

    Want to get a head start on your holiday shopping? Enter my giveaway for a $10 Bath & Body Works gift card! I bought it specially for one of my followers, because I really appreciate you all supporting this blog. View the details here.

    $10 Bath & Body Works Gift Card Giveaway [Ended]

    Want to win this $10 Bath & Body Works gift card? View my post on Tumblr!

    The giveaway ends on Saturday, November 26th at 10pm EST.

    Zoya Nail Polish Review

    Surprise! Two posts in one night. This one is for Zoya's "Izzy" nail polish, which I received in my November Birchbox. This bottle is half the size of a full-sized Zoya polish, which costs $8.

    I love this nail polish! And that's after saying in my previous post that I'm not a nail polish girl. Please excuse my shoddy paint job in the photo, I kind of rushed. Anyway, this polish really impressed me because it's of really great quality. Unlike the Julep polishes, this one glided onto my nails so smoothly and evenly. The color is really fun, too (like I said, I love reds and pinks). Even better, it lasts a long time. This is a new coat, but I had been wearing it for the past week and barely had any chipping.

    Bottom Line: I will definitely be buying more Zoya nail polishes in the future. They have a ton of colors to choose from, and I was very impressed by the quality of this polish.

    Julep Maven Review

    When I came home from work today I had a present waiting: my first Julep Maven box! And my last, for now, but more on that later.

    Julep's Maven program is a subscription service much like Birchbox, Eco Emi, et al where you are billed monthly and sent a package in the mail. Julep Maven costs $19.99 a month, but I was able to get this box for only $5 (and there is no extra charge for shipping). How did I get it for so cheap? Read this post.

    According to their website, each box contains $40+ worth of merchandise a month, but from what I've seen that translates into two nail polishes and some other gift. I am not a huge nail polish girl, so I feel like for $40+ worth of product I should get much more. But since this trial offer was so cheap, I figured, why not?

    This is what the box looks like when I first opened it. There were some sheets on the top with details about the program, and the products were underneath inside of a black bag (photo of that behind the read more cut). I liked the introductory letter, it was actually kind of cute. The first line says "We jumped and cheered when your order came through (I hope you heard us!)." The English major in me wanted to tell them to just leave the exclamation point outside of the parenthesis; that would eliminate the need for a period. BUT I digress.

    My box came with the above polishes: Lindsay, the dark burgundy shade, and Shania, the frosty silver/white/whatever it is. I knew that I would be getting these colors before I ordered, since when you join you fill out a survey that matches your style to a specific profile. The people at Julep then select colors to fit that style. I wasn't crazy about the silver, but I did really like the burgundy. I wear mostly reds and pinks, so I thought it would be a great fall/winter shade. There was also a hand scrub in my box which was 3 fl oz. To be completely honest, I bought the box mostly for the hand scrub! It's a decently-sized bottle (unfortunately no pictures of that one, the ones I took were too blurry and then I was too lazy to take another).

    Here's the "Lindsay" shade. Pretty color, but see how streaky it looks? I wasn't happy with that at all, and I'm fairly certain that it's not due to my nail polish technique. The polish itself seemed very thick and gloppy to me. This is with two coats, no base coat or top coat. I think Julep's nail polishes cost something like $18 full priced, which definitely is not worth it to me (for any kind of nail polish). For a view of what the "Shania" shade looks like on, click the read more cut.

    Bottom Line: I will not be continuing with Julep Maven. In fact, I already cancelled my subscription via email. I knew I was going to cancel right away anyway, since I don't have the budget for Birchbox and Eco Emi and another $20 box. Plus, like I said, nail polish isn't something I go crazy for.
    That being said(!!), if the polishes were a better quality I would probably consider signing up again sometime in the future. Julep does have a cool feature where you can choose to skip a month, you just have to log in to your account and tell them so before the 25th of each month.
    Read more about Julep Maven here, and more photos behind the cut!

    Giveaway: 1 Year Subscription to Green Grab Bag! [Ended]

    I am wholly obsessed with monthly subscription services. Sure, I like magazines; I currently subscribe to Cosmo and Glamour and it's fun to get those in the mail. But what I really love is getting a package of goodies each month! Right now I'm subscribed to Birchbox and Eco Emi (I won't be able to tell you about Eco Emi until the end of December, though; when I get my first box).

    What I like about Eco Emi is that they send out green/eco-friendly products. Healthy Blender Recipes is currently doing a giveaway for a similar service called Green Grab Bag from White Apricot. You can win a whole years' subscription! That's 12 Grab Bags, delivered to right to you. If you aren't currently subscribed to any services, I can promise you that it really does feel like you're getting a special present each month.
    Entering this giveaway is super easy. Head over to this page on Healthy Blender Recipes, create an account (all you need is an email address and name), and then enter the giveaway. Bonus: If you enter my Healthy Blender username, sixfourthree, in the referral box you will get an extra entry!
    What do you guys think, would you like to see more posts about beauty giveaways that I come across?

    Who Doesn't Love Free Beauty? [Ended]

    Today I discovered a really cool website, which combines two of my favorite things: free, and beauty! Free Beauty Events has a ton of information for beauty lovers like me (and you, too, I'd assume, since you're reading this)!
    At Free Beauty Events you'll find exactly that -- tons of free beauty events that are going on in your area. You can search by zip code at their locator page. For example, on December 17th Walgreens is having their SaturDate with Beauty event with Coty. Beauty Advisors will be at various stores to provide customers with personal assistance with their shopping, and will also have seasonal gift sets available for purchase. Anyone who is planning an upcoming free beauty event can post it for free on the Free Beauty Events website via the submission page.
    Free Beauty Events also has a product review blog, which can be found here. If you like my product reviews, then you'll definitely like their blog as well! You can find weekly contests at their blog, too.
    Even more exciting, Free Beauty Events has monthly giveaways featuring great products! The current giveaway for November features the following:

    • CoverGirl LastBlash Fusion Mascara
    • NatureLuxe Foundation
    • Cheekers Blush
    • Bio-Oil Scar Treatment
    Ten of these prize packages will be given away, and all you need to do is enter here at the contest page! The contest runs from November 1st to November 30th. Winners will be chosen on December 5th and notified by December 15th. You can earn additional entries by commenting on Free Beauty Events's blog entries.
    Bottom Line: Check out Free Beauty Events! They have fun giveaways each month and extensive lists of a variety of free beauty events in your area. Their main website is, and they also have Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts you can follow.

    Badger Balm Review

    This review is for one of my all-time favorite organic companies, WS Badger Company, or as they're more popularly known as, Badger Balm. Their slogan is "Powerfully Pure Body Care," which is so true.
    Badger sells a ton of products, from soaps to lip balms to sunscreen...basically any kind of body care product you could ever need. Even bug spray! Their most famous products are their balms, which I absolutely love.

    Badger Balms are oil-based, so they are a little different than what most people have probably tried. But they're very potent; a little goes a long way. The tins that I own are the Stress Soother, Original Balm, and the Cheerful Mind balm (not shown above), as well as the Sweet Orange Cocoa Butter Lip Balm (more about that one later).

    Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the main ingredient in the balms. These products are not vegan, however; they do contain beeswax. The scents are added using a variety of ingredients. The Stress Soother has a tangerine and rosemary scent, while the Cheerful Mind is made up of lemon and sweet orange. I actually bought the Cheerful Mind and Sweet Orange lip balms in a gift set.

    Here are what the balms look like inside. You can tell from the shine that they're olive oil based. That may sound odd, but it doesn't smell like cooking oil at all. The balms may feel overly greasy to some, so I don't recommend them for people who already have well-moisturized skin. But my hands get really chapped, especially my knuckles, and these work wonders for extra dry skin. They're perfect for the wintertime. The original balm, "For Hardworking Hands," is especially good for calloused skin. The other two also can be used for aromatherapy. I like to rub the stress soother one on my temples when I need to relax.

    The Cocoa Butter Lip Balm is divine. I love orange chocolate, and this smells so delicious that I want to eat it! The stick is also really hefty, so like the balms, it lasts a long time. I've had all of these products for months and I've barely put a dent in any of them. The Cocoa Butter Lip Balms come in a variety of different scents.

    Bottom Line: WS Badger Co. is a fantastic skin care line with organic (but not vegan) products. They are very affordable (each balm costs around $7) and they last a very long time.

    Even Better: Badger announced on their Facebook page today that they are holding a Thanksgiving sale with free shipping very soon! It's the perfect opportunity to try them out!
    Learn more about Badger Balm and check out their online store here!

    November Birchbox Review

    After five days of complete and utter anguish (okay, I'm being dramatic), I got my Birchbox in the mail yesterday! It was delayed a day due to no mail on Veteran's Day. I just get so anxious for them because I love this service so much. It really is like Christmas each month.

    I really love how the boxes are packaged. With everything wrapped up so nicely it definitely adds to the feeling of getting a present. Here's what my box looked like when I first opened it up. The card is placed on top and it contains a message about that month's box on one side (November's theme is "Getting Gifty"), and the other side has a list of what your products are and a small description about them.

    The photo above is the list of my products for this month. I love this box! It's only my second box, but I have been so happy with the samples I've gotten thus far. I love any kind of skin care: body creams, facial masks, etc., and Birchbox has sent me some gems in that category.

    I also received an extra gift, the above bracelet my Baublebar. It's the "Black Wood Pop Bracelet" and I guess has a value of $20. To be honest, I couldn't imagine ever spending $20 on this. It's cute, and I like the sparkly piece, but the black pieces feel like a really cheap plastic. I'll definitely wear it and I'm glad it was free, but not something I would buy for myself otherwise.

    But like I said, I'm very happy with my box this month. Here are the product reviews.
    • Atelier Vanille Insensee Cologne Absolue: I love this perfume! I think it's the perfect warm scent for fall and winter. The scent profiles are some of my favorites. I wish that it wasn't so expensive, because I would definitely buy the full-sized version. It also came with a cute little postcard (a photo of that is behind the "read more" cut)!
    • BORGHESE Fango Active Mud (1 oz): I was really excited to try this facial mask out because, like I said before, I am a sucker for any kind of skin care products. I used it on my face last night and it made my skin feel really tingly. It has a strong, clean scent, and is a dark gray color. Not very cute on your face, but it made my skin feel really soft.
    • LaROCCA Skincare Champagne & Shimmer Supreme Creme (.05 oz): This is the product I was most excited about! I saw it in Birchbox's preview video and was crossing my fingers that it would be in my box. It smells fantastic and leaves a really pretty shimmer sheen, and feels really moisturizing. I may be purchasing this in the future.
    • Zoya Nail Polish in Izzy (.25 fl oz): I'm not a huge nail polish fan, but I was interested in trying out the Zoya polish because I've heard a lot of good things about them. I like this color; I was hoping for the green shade that some people got, but the pink is very pretty as well. I like it because I could still wear it into the office. The polish goes on smoothly and is very vibrant (I used two coats).
    • Two Paper Dolls Ampersand Coasters: These were my "treat" for this month. I know a lot of people were like, WTF, Coasters?! And while I do agree that I have about zero use for these, I don't mind that they were in my box. I would have preferred that chocolate that some people got, though. I think I'm going to mount these on a magnet and use them for decoration on my desk at work. I think that people forget that Birchbox is a business, and I don't blame them for accepting Two Paper Dolls as a client!

    Bottom Line: I am so in love with Birchbox! I've been lucky enough to receive samples that I really loved in my first two boxes, but I know some people have been dissatisfied with what they've been getting. If you're in the latter category, check out your beauty profile on the site. I've read in a few places to not have more than two choices selected in each category (except for maybe the hair one), since that makes it more difficult for the product pickers to choose things that you will really like.

    What did you get in your Birchbox this month? Tell me in the comments! And check out a few more photos from my box behind the cut.

    FABulous Finds!

    I'm really excited about this post, because part of this review is about one of my favorite flash sale sites!

    In the mail today I received all of the things in the above photo: a Pocket P'Owl t-shirt and Moe Snoe.Down print, both by Strawberry Luna. I ordered both items from, my absolute favorite flash sale site ever. I signed up before they launched and I'm never disappointed by all of the great merchandise they feature. Everything from clothing to prints to books to, seriously, everything! I highly suggest signing up.
    I ordered this merch during their Strawberry Luna sale, and got it all for only $8.95 because I had racked up a bunch of credits for referring people. I'm now a Prime Member there and have earned a total of $145 credits, and I have free shipping for two months. If you're interested in checking out Fab (they operate like all of the other flash sale sites, featuring merch for about two days at highly discounted prices), here's my referral link.

    But on to the items -- love them. The Moe poster is adorable. I don't even listen to Moe, but I thought this print was so cute. I'm going to frame it and hang it up in my room. The tshirt fits perfectly and has a soft cotton feel (it's an American Apparel "Track Shirt"). I'm very pleased with both items.

    All of those other trinkets were sent to me for one of two reasons -- either Allison, the owner of Strawberry Luna, sends those out with all of her orders, or she threw in some fun surprises for me because I had a hiccup in my delivery. I had placed this order back in the beginning of October, and had received confirmation of shipment a week or so after. But, here it is in November and I had no items and the tracking website said my package had never even been scanned.

    I first reached out to, who said that they would contact the vendor (Allison). They didn't hear anything from her. So I contacted her myself, and she was very quick to respond. Turns out that some of her orders weren't scanned by the delivery company, but that they were still delivered safely. All except for mine, apparently. She apologized and quickly sent me a package with my items, which arrived in about 3 days. She even wrote me a note, which I thought was very nice.

    Bottom Line: I am in love with both and Strawberry Luna! Allison's designs are so cute, and she has tons of different things available for purchase. I highly recommend visiting her website (linked in the first paragraph). She also has an Etsy shop. All in all, a great haul!

    Great Deal on Julep Maven

    If you couldn't tell, my newest obsession is monthly product subscription services. It all started when I discovered Birchbox back in August, and it has snowballed from there. I never realized there were so many services like these! I've already subscribed to Eco Emi as well. There are a few more I'm interested in, namely Blissmobox and Conscious Box (more eco-friendly boxes).

    Anyway, I had heard of Julep Maven through my box explorations, but nail polish isn't really something that interests me. This service is $19.99 a month for a box that is supposed to contain $40-$60 worth of merchandise, but when I look up peoples' reviews all that's in their boxes are a few dinky nail polishes and one other item. Julep's nail polishes do retail for $14, which is a bit ridiculous if you ask me. But like I said -- I'm not really into nail polish.

    But yet, I still decided to buy a Julep Maven box! Why? Because it only cost me $5 with free shipping. $5! I couldn't pass up the opportunity--instead of paying that much for a slice of pizza and a Coke on my lunch break this Friday, I'll get a fun box in the mail. If it had just been nail polishes I probably would have passed, but what got me was the hand scrub.

    Let me backtrack for a second: when you sign up for Julep Maven, you fill out a survey that categorizes you into a beauty profile. I got "American Beauty," which was spot on for my style. So I'll be getting the American Beauty sneak peek box, which contains:

    • Lindsay, a deep, dark burgundy polish
    • Shania, a pearly silver-champagne polish
    • Julep "Facial for Hands" Glycolic Hand Scrub, which contains glycolic acid combined with apricot seeds for double exfoliation that leaves your hands noticeably softer after just one use.

    I'm pretty stoked for the hand scrub! I love products like that. I've been considering ordering the Mary Kay Satin Hands set for $30, but $5 sounds much better! I watched an unboxing video from a girl who got that product and I'm pretty sure it's a full-sized bottle. If not, it looked like a pretty huge sample bottle.

    I used the code FB at checkout in the "discount code" box. I found it via Retail Me Not (another great site--never buy something online before checking to see if they have any discount codes!).

    The code was posted a month ago as of 9 November 2011, so I don't know how much longer it will be active for. I hope it works for you!

    A Bevy of Balms

    Well, maybe not a bevy, but more than one. I've always been a hoarder of lip care products; in middle school/high school I was all about the lip gloss, but now I've moved to balms. I will buy any kind of lip balm, especially if it smells nice. Here are some that I've picked up recently.

    First is the eos balm in summer fruit. I've been wanting to try one of these for a long time, but never picked one up until just this past weekend. I think the packaging is really cool, and it smells amazing, pretty much what you would expect a summer fruit to smell like. To me it makes me think of watermelon mixed with a hint of citrus. It goes on smoothly, too, and keeps my lips moist for a while.

    Here's what it looks like opened. eos, which stands for evolution of smooth, products can be found at any drugstore. I picked this one up at Wal-Mart for something like $2.69. Very budget-friendly!

    These three are some of my all-time favorites. I think most people have probably heard of Burt's Bees, so I won't spend a ton of time reviewing this one. It's the original Beeswax Lip Balm, which I love because it leaves that tingly feeling after you put it on your lips. It is certified by the Leaping Bunny program, meaning they don't test on animals. But, it's noted on the Leaping Bunny site that Burt's Bees is a "Cruelty-free subsidiary of parent company that does not comply with the Leaping Bunny Standard." Something worth noting if you want to buy only cruelty-free products.

    The two balms flanking Burt's are by Crazy Rumors, another Leaping Bunny certified company (that is not owned by a company that doesn't comply!). I actually found out about them via Leaping Bunny, which is cool. The green one is from their Candy Cane collection and is "Pear and Peppermint," the orange is from the Brew line and is "Spiced Chai." I actually got these for free; I won them in a giveaway that Crazy Rumors did on their Facebook page.

    These lip balms are fantastic. They go on smooth and hydrate well, and they smell great! The Pear & Peppermint leaves just a little bit of tingle, but not nearly as much as the Burt's Bees. The Spiced Chai (one of my favorite scents and flavors ever) is delicious. Crazy Rumors has a ton of yummy flavors to try, all of which cost $3.49. They also have a line of colored lip products, check it all out at their website!

    Bottom Line:
    • eos - smells great, fun packaging
    • Burt's Bees - love the tingly feeling, is cruelty-free, but owned by a company that does not comply to Leaping Bunny's standards
    • Crazy Rumors - deliciously-scented vegan, cruelty-free lip balms with great hydration