Monday, July 30, 2012

July The Look Bag Review

I finally decided to try The Look Bag, but even if I had loved it I wouldn't have been able to continue because July's bag is their last.  I guess they were having some difficulty with shipping or other things, so they discontinued it in order to focus on making The Look Shop as good as possible.  I admire that, since I know of other companies (*cough* MyGlam *cough*) who really screwed things up and instead of bowing out to fix their problems, they just created a nightmare of customer "service" for their subscribers.

But anyway, onto the bag.  Part of me thinks that half of this bag was thrown together in haste, so I wonder if it would have been slightly better had it not been their abrupt last.  Either way, it showed promise and I did like what was included in previous bags.  It arrived in a pink bubble wrap envelope, which I kind of liked as opposed to a box because I get so many packages that sometimes my bedroom is overflowing with boxes (until I break them down and recycle them, of course).

I opened up the envelope to find everything packaged in this cute little drawstring bag.  The first thing I noticed was the leopard print card, I wasn't sure what was going to be included.

This bag cost $10 a month, and I have to say that based on this and previous ones I saw from others, it's the only service that I find comparable to Birchbox for the price.  The brands might not be as high-end, but I just liked the products that were included.

  • Bremenn Research Labs Miracle Cream - This is a decently-sized sample of moisturizer.  Nothing too special, but it worked well and I'm going to throw it in my bag when I go to my boyfriends' house (we're long distance).
  • Ultraflesh Mascara - I wasn't very excited about this one because I have so many mascaras already.  It worked pretty well, and again is a good size for travel.
  • Korres Lipstick - This was my favorite product.  I love my Korres Guava Body Butter, so I was curious to see if I would like their lipstick.  The shade I got was nude, I would have preferred something more along the lines of a coral or pink (or any color, really), but this glides on so smoothly and it really feels great on my lips.  I usually stay away from lipsticks because they make my lips feel dry, but I do like this one quite a bit.
  • Betsey Johnson Eau de Parfum - I didn't like the way this smelled.  The packaging was really cute and eye-catching, though.
  • Mini Nail Polishes? - I have no idea who these are by.  They aren't listed on the card, all it said was something about a new trend item?  I guess these are it, but I already recycled my card so I don't remember.  They're pretty cheap though, so I don't think I'll be starting any trends with them.

Bottom Line: If The Look Bag wasn't discontinued after this bag I would recommend subscribing to it.  It's kind of a moot point now, though, but you can still shop around at The Look Store (they have some really excellent prices on good brands).

*Disclaimer: I purchased this with my own money and was not asked to review it. I was not compensated for this review in any way and the honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Beija Flor Naturals Review

First, I want to apologize for not posting very much this past week.  I had some personal things come up that kept me from blogging over the weekend.  But I'm back, and armed with a review for a great company!

I was approached by Stevonne, the owner of Beija Flor Naturals, to see if I was interested in reviewing some of their products.  I was immediately interested because I was familiar with them from other blog reviews, and I jump at the chance to feature any organic products.

Beija Flor Naturals is a line of hair and skin care products that's based in California, but draws inspiration from Brazil.  Their vegan and vegetarian products are free of petrochemicals, made from raw vegetable based ingredients, and are naturally preserved whenever possible.  They sustainably source their healing ingredients from the Amazon rainforest and have a commitment to keeping their products affordable for all.

I received three products to review, the first of which is the Agave Aloe Facial Polisher.  It's made from raw organic sugar and has a soothing herbal scent.  The granules are pretty big, so I will definitely be using this only once a week.  I think that if I used it more it would be too abrasive for my skin.  I've read from most places that you should only exfoliate once a week anyway, though, so this is perfect for that.  I've used it twice since receiving it and my skin feels nice and smooth after.

After using the facial scrub I applied the Acai Mango Face Lotion, which is formulated for all skin types.  This product also has a light scent that is very fresh smelling.  The main ingredient is organic shea.  This cream is pretty thick, so I used it as my nighttime moisturizer.  It absorbed well and since it's so thick, a little went a long way.

The third and final product I tried was the Licorice Root Scalp Elixir, and I have to say that it was my least favorite of the bunch.  I wasn't expecting this product, so I had to look it up on their website to see how to use it.  It's formulated to relieve dry, itchy scalp, so I thought that it might be good for me since I do have that condition from time to time.  I used it once, but I won't use it again because it left my hair too oily.  I have thick hair and an oily scalp to begin with, so this was just not a good combination for that.  If I do ever try it again, I'll use less and maybe spend some more time washing it out, but in general I just don't feel it was a good fit for me.

Bottom Line: Beija Flor Naturals has a wide variety of skincare and hair products for those seeking vegan/vegetarian, organic options. Their prices are affordable and I really enjoyed the facial scrub and lotion that I received.

*Disclaimer: I received these products for free to facilitate my review. I was not compensated for this review in any way and the honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July KLUTCHclub Review

You all know that I'm a sucker for subscription services.  I was approached by KLUTCHclub to review their July box, and since I was able to see what items were included before buying I wanted to give it a try.  They sent me a coupon for a blogger 50% off discount, which helped too.  All in all, I paid $9 for $70 worth of product ($18 for normal subscriptions).

KLUTCHclub is really different than any other subscription service I've tried.  It isn't one I would normally purchase, but worth trying.  For $18 a month they send a box that's geared toward health and wellness.  I like to keep track of what I eat, but I'm by no means that interested in exercise.  In fact, I hate it.  I'll do cardio and pilates here and there, but...yeah, I just don't go to the gym.  That was the main reason why I hadn't signed up to try this service before, but with the 50% off I was willing to give it a try.

I really, really like their packaging.  It's a nice departure from the standard box that most subscriptions come in--this one is more of a long rectangle (rectangular prism, if you must), and it opens on one end.  The flaps say "Get Ready" and "Your KLUTCH has arrived!," which I thought was a fun touch.

I think that this box was definitely worth $9, but since I'm not a fitness person I'm not sure I would want to pay $18 for it.  But that is really just because fitness is not one of my hobbies; I think that those who were more into the health and wellness lifestyle would love this box.  Here is what I got for July:

  • Mighty Leaf Teas - I've gotten lots of Mighty Leaf teas in other subscriptions, but I'm glad I'm a tea drinker because they're one of my favorite brands.  The flavors I got were Chamomile Citrus, Green Tea Tropical, and Organic Earl Grey.
  • Molecule R - This is an informational packet about molecular gastronomy, and it came with a packet of natural emulsifier to turn liquids into foam.  I've heard of molecular gastronomy on Top Chef, but I don't really know what to do with this.  I'm going to read the packet to learn more.
  • 1st Step Pro-Wellness/High Performance Fitness - This is a natural liquid Vitamin B-12 supplement.  It's pretty much an energy shot to me.  I haven't used it yet, but I will sometime this week since I'm going into work at 630am.
  • Truvia Natural Sweetener - I've tried Truvia before and I'm not a fan.  I have another package and I'm going to take these to work and leave them near the coffee for people to use.
  • Nia - This is probably the most valuable item in the box, it's a certificate for a special Nia class.  I've never heard of Nia before, but apparently it's a workout that combines martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts.  It sounds super interesting and I'm excited to try it out!
  • Zoye Vegetable Oil - I don't cook, so this is probably my least-favorite item in the box.  It'll get put to use eventually.
  • Mineral Hygienics - This is the second time I've gotten a $15 coupon for Mineral Hygienics.  I never used my first one, so I'm not going to let this expire.  Too bad it doesn't cover shipping, though.
  • Goulibeur Cookies - To prove how much of a non-fitness nut I am, this was my favorite item!  These shortbread cookies were so delicious, and I immediately devoured them upon opening the box.  I just wish they had the nutritional information listed on the package.
  • Cascal Fermented Soda - I drank this with my lunch today and it was so good!  The flavor I got was Fresh Tropical (I think everyone got the same flavor), and I really enjoyed it.  Even though it's fermented, it doesn't have alcohol in it.  It was 80 calories for the can, but worth it as a treat once in a while.

Bottom Line: KLUTCHclub definitely earns its worth with the certificates for classes that they include each month.  I think this was a good box as far as variety of items, though I would have preferred to receive a physical beauty item instead of a certificate where I have to pay shipping.  All in all, I would recommend it to anyone who likes health and wellness services.

More photos after the cut.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July Little Black Bag Review

I bought my first Little Black Bag in June, and I loved it so much that I wanted to open up another one for July.  After this I'm going to skip a month or two, because it is a little pricey.  If you've found my blog, you've probably found other posts and vlogs about LBB, but just in case you haven't here's a quick rundown: It costs $49.95 a month to open a bag, or $59.95 (I think) to try it once.  Monthly subscribers have the option to skip their bag each month if they want, and you can also cancel your bag if you aren't happy with your items.  You choose one item from the gallery to open with, and LBB picks 2-3 others for you that are revealed after you buy.  You then have 7 days to trade your items with other members if you so choose.  After tax (because I live in NY, also applicable for CA residents) and shipping, my LBB costs $59.

I had a referral credit this month (thanks to everyone who signed up and shipped a bag through my referral link!), so I had an extra item in my bag.  It was pretty lame, one of those ugly green picture frames, but at least it was something I could trade.  LBB also did a promo for July where everyone who opened a bag got a deluxe Redken sample while supplies lasted.  I received five items total in this bag, including the sample.

The item I chose to open with was this awesome Street Level Tote, which is more of a messenger bag in my opinion.  I had seen it on the site in June and thought it was something I would like, but I liked the Melie Bianco bag I had better so I didn't try to trade for it.  When I got the notification on the 1st that I had a new bag ready, I intended on skipping it, but then I saw that this bag was back and I snatched it up right away.  I believe the retail price was $78, but I couldn't find it anywhere else (nor could I find a website for Street Level), so I couldn't really verify that.

I wish I had this bag while I was in college.  It's huge and perfect for carrying around notebooks and my laptop.  Unfortunately I don't know how much use it will get now since I rarely carry my laptop anywhere, but I'm still glad I have it and I'll find some way to use it.  The other items I got were:
  • ncla Nail Wraps in Hi-Fi Stereo ($16) - I thought the pattern on these was really pretty and I've been wanting to try them for a while, so when someone offered me these in a trade I accepted.  I think I traded an ncla nail lacquer for them.  I'm glad I tried them because now I know, but I have to say they are pretty crappy.  They're basically stickers, and the pattern itself looks like it was printed off of some ink-jet printer from the 90s.  I know that's a weird description, but I have a close-up photo that I'll post to better show what I mean.  Aside from the bad quality of the print, they don't apply well and they just look bad.
  • ncla Nail Lacquer in Miss Sunset Strip ($16) - While I don't recommend the nail wraps, I do really like this nail polish.  It's a purple glitter that I was really excited to get, because all of the swatches of it that I found looked really nice.  I'm happy I didn't trade this item away.
  • All The Rage Snake Bracelet ($22) - This bracelet is totally not something I would imagine myself liking, but as soon as I saw it in the LBB gallery I wanted it really badly!  There was also a tiger one which I liked a little bit more, but no one was willing to trade me for that.  In the end, though, I really like this snake design because it's really fun.
  • Redken Align 12 Straightening Lotion - I think these extra samples were a nice addition, but I wish that they were only tradeable amongst themselves.  I was getting really annoyed at people who were trying to offer me a $0 value, 1 oz. sample for my items.  I know that some people were able to trade their samples for nail polishes, etc., but I personally just wasn't willing to part with one of my valued items for a free sample.

The total value of my July bag was $132.  I like to choose purses for my main item because then I feel like I'm really getting my money's worth.  If I was to choose a necklace that cost $80, it wouldn't really feel like I was getting as good of a deal because I wouldn't get as much use out of a tiny necklace, and could probably find a comparable one for less than that at Target.

Bottom Line: I am 100% happy with my July Little Black Bag, but I'm going to hold off on purchasing another one for a little while because I'd like to use the $60 elsewhere.  If you'd like to give it a try, I'd love if you could use my referral link!

More photos of my items are after the read more!

Friday, July 20, 2012

RevitaShape Review and Giveaway [CLOSED]

Back in May I reviewed a product called Complexion MD, an anti-wrinkle cream.  I was contacted again by  Brenda, from their PR department, to try another product, the RevitaShape Anti-Cellulite Skin Toning Formula from Dermavant Labs.  I was originally hesitant to try it, since I don't currently have to worry about cellulite, so I wasn't sure if I would truly be able to gauge how well it worked.  But Brenda said she would still be happy to have my review the lotion and I could evaluate how well it firmed my skin overall.

Brenda also assured me that RevitaShape is cruelty-free, and she had checked with the manufacturer.  It's a white cream lotion with a light scent.  The bottle contains 6 fl oz. and retails for $89.95 on their website.  It works to reduce the appearance of cellulite and fat, promote firmness and elasticity, and reduce the appearance of dimples, bumps, and bulges.  The key ingredients are:

  • Glaucine - An alkaloid found in plant species with anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Bupleurum Falcatum - Also known as Chai Hu, useful in helping establish radiant health
  • L-Carnitine - Improves skin appearance, including wrinkling, dry or peeling skin, and sunburn
  • Coenzyme-A - Reduces the appearance of dimples, bumps, and bulges
  • Centella Asiatica Extract - Improves collagen foundation of the skin, firmness, and elasticity
  • Caffeine - Aids in the appearance of a rejuvenated, youthful complexion
  • Bladderwrack Extract - Helps strengthen the connective tissues of the skin

As I said previously, cellulite is not a problem for me at the moment, but I was still interested to see if this made my skin feel firmer.  I used it once a day after my nightly shower for a little over two weeks, but the instructions say that for maximum benefits you should use it for 4-6 weeks.  I focused mainly on the top half of my legs, on my quads and hamstrings.  I'm not going to bother to post the before and after photos I took because there really is no visible difference in my skin, plus it would just be kind of creepy to have pictures of my legs on here.  Even though there was no change in appearance, I did feel that the skin on my quads especially felt a little firmer.  To apply the lotion you have to rub it in a circular motion until it's fully absorbed, and it was easiest for me to do that on the top of my leg as opposed to underneath on my hamstring, which is why I think I felt better results there.

Bottom Line: This cream is definitely pricey, so I wish I could expand more on whether or not it worked on cellulite.  But it did make my skin feel firmer after two weeks, so I think that's a good sign.

Want to try a tube for yourself?  The generous people at Dermavant Labs have offered up one for a reader to win!  Enter after the cut with the Rafflecopter form.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July Birchbox Review

So even though I cancelled my Birchbox subscription (for the second time) after my June box, I re-joined shortly after because I found out that they were pairing with Glamour for July's box.  Glamour posted a sneak peek of the brands that would be included, and I really liked the way it sounded.  I'm glad that I reactivated my subscription, because I'm pretty happy with my July box!

The theme for the month was the five senses, which is apparent from the box sleeve.  I loved the green and blue hues, it's my favorite color combo.

The tissue paper inside was also blue and green, which was a fun break from the usual pink.  I do like the pink, but these theme boxes are something nice and different.  My box took way too long to get to me again (8 days!), and I still think it's ridiculous how long it takes to ship from NYC to Rochester.  But oh well, if I want to stay a subscriber I'm just going to have to suck it up.

I received four beauty samples and two lifestyle extras, which is a good quantity of items for $10.  My loot included:

  • beautyblender - I've heard a lot of buzz about the beautyblender sponge, so I was interested to try it out for myself.  It definitely applied my makeup nice and smoothly, but at the end of the day it's just a sponge, not something I would spend $26 on (for two of them).  I was also turned off by the company owner's aggressive comments on the official YouTube video.
  • Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint - I have also heard quite a bit about Jouer products but have never tried them before.  The shade I got was "Bronzed," which was perfect for my skin.  It wasn't the best for coverage of my redness, but the shade blended in really well and was just luminous enough.  It was also really weightless.  I would consider buying a full-sized bottle of this.
  • Stila It's Go Time Lip Glaze - The color of this gloss ("Action") is gorgeous!  It's a mauve/pink with flecks of gold in it and I just love it.  It also smells really nice.  I usually hate the twist dispensers because I feel like I twist and twist and nothing comes out, but this one dispensed nicely.
  • Harvey Prince Hello - I love Harvey Prince perfumes!  I've tried three (Yogini, Ageless, and Eau Flirt), and Hello is a great addition to my collection.  I usually don't wear citrus-y scents, but this one is fun and perfect for the summer.  And thumbs-up for it being an atomizer!
  • Tea Forte minteas - I've had minteas before (through Conscious Box) and they are super yummy.  The flavor I previously had was Ginger Pear, and this time I got Cocoa Mate.  Both are awesome and I was really happy to get another tin of these through Birchbox.
  • Birchbox earbuds - Everyone got these in their box this month, and it was supposed to come with a month of premium Spotify.  I haven't checked out the playlist on the info card, so maybe the Spotify link is on that.  But anyway, the color of these is really cute (reminds me of cotton candy), but the sound quality is terrible so I probably won't actually use these.

Bottom Line: My July Birchbox was pretty good!  I cancelled in the past because I felt like I was only getting skincare, but if Birchbox keeps up sending me stuff like this I'll probably hang on to my subscription for a while.  I'm definitely staying on until at least August because I'm only 10 points away from having 300 to spend in the store ($30).

*Disclaimer: I purchased this Birchbox with my own money and was not asked to review it.  I was not compensated for this review in any way and the honest opinions here are entirely my own.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stila In The Know Palette Review

I recently won a giveaway for a Sephora gift card, and I had it in my mind to treat myself to a Stila palette since I had never tried their eyeshadows before.  When it came time to spend it, though, I talked myself out of the palette because I thought, "I don't need another palette."  But then I realized that I don't actually need any makeup, so I went ahead and got what I wanted!

I have heard great things about Stila before, and I really wanted to get their "Stylish In Seoul" palette because that's where I was born, but it was out of stock online and my gift card was an e-gift code.  My second choice was the "In The Moment" palette because I love purples, but I ultimately chose the In The Know palette because it's new to their collection and is made up of all mattes.  I usually gravitate toward shimmers, but I wanted to try something different.  The shades are also really gorgeous.

The palette retails for $39 and comes with 10 shadows and a full-sized Smudge Stick.  I was drawn to the shades because they're all "Earth-inspired," and I have an affinity for neutrals.  So I guess this is the third neutral palette I've acquired, but they make me happy!

Another aspect of this palette that I really liked was that it came with a little booklet that contained tutorials for six looks.  These shades can definitely be worn to work and played up for night.  For work I used Air, Clay, and Earth.  I think Clay is my favorite color in the palette because it's so pretty; it's slightly peachier than my skin tone so I just love the way it looks all over my lid.  The shadows apply decently with a brush, but when I swatched them I noticed that they didn't feel as soft as I had envisioned them to be.  By "soft" I mean that I was expecting a really smooth application, and in reality their color payoff wasn't as solid as I was hoping for (Fire is definitely the most pigmented).  I have yet to try the Smudge Stick (shade: Halfmoon), but I did swatch it on my hand out of curiosity and it applies super smoothly!

Bottom Line: I think this is my second-favorite neutral palette that I have in my collection.  The colors go together very well and I like that it comes with a full-sized Smudge Stick, too.  I would recommend this for someone who wants a great set of eyeshadows but might not want to pay as much as some other palettes cost.

Check out my swatches after the cut!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July Conscious Box Giveaway! [CLOSED]

Now that you've read my July Conscious Box review (many thanks if you have!), enter to win one for yourself!  The kind folks at Conscious Box have promised one free July box to one of my readers.  Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

This sweepstakes is open to US residents aged 18+.  It begins today, 11 July 2012, and ends at 12:01 AM EST on 19 July.  One winner will be selected at random via the Rafflecopter widget and will by notified via email, so be sure that you enter with an email address you have access with.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond via email to claim their prize, or a new winner will be chosen.  The sponsor is responsible for shipping the winner their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July Conscious Box Review

My unconditional love for Conscious Box has been well-documented on this blog, so are you surprised to learn that July's box is yet another one I'm going to rave about?  But even better, after this entry you'll have a chance to win a free box for yourself!

This month's theme is "The Simple Joys of July," with the products reflecting the "vibrant summer season" (as stated on the card attached to the top of the box).  I can confidently say that this box is by far one of the best simple joys I have in my life right now.  I always know that each Conscious Box is going to be packed with things that I'll use and enjoy, and July didn't disappoint.

Conscious Box is a lifestyle box, and it always includes a good variety of items.  While I was opening the box I first noticed how heavy it was, and then I heard some mints jingling around inside.  I usually rip right into the box and take out all of the items as quickly as I can while still being careful, because it's so much fun to see what surprises are in there!  It's Christmas every month, it really is.  Here's what was in the box:

  • The All Natural Face Vegan Eyeshadow - I received the shade "Honey Gold;" I'm not sure if everyone got the same shade or if there was a variety.  I've used The All Natural Face's cosmetics before and I love their eyeshadows!  Honey Gold is the perfect shade for me, and the sample is pretty decently sized.
  • Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Deck - This is what was making the box so heavy.  At first I didn't know what it was, but it's a deck of 54 cards with information about all different types of aromatherapy ingredients (ginger, lavender, etc.).  I'm interested to flip through them and see what they have to say.
  • Aura Cacia Brightening Pure Essential Oil - This is a .5 fl oz bottle of "Sweet Orange" scented 100% pure essential oil.  It smells absolutely amazing and I'll probably combine it with water to use as a refreshing mist, as the text on bottle suggests.
  • Just Great Stuff Organic Superberry Acai - I love getting food bars in my boxes because I take them to work and eat them for snacks.  This flavor sounds really yummy and I can't wait to try it tomorrow.
  • Naturally It's Clean Floors - I have another packet of this from an Eco-Emi bonus box that I still haven't used, but it will get used eventually.
  • Jadience Herbal Formulas Muscle and Joint Therapeutic Cream - This is perfect for me because I have a little bit of chronic back pain.  I fractured my tailbone when I was 10 and I've been a little achy ever since.  Nothing too terrible, but enough to be uncomfortable at times.  I'm definitely going to use this next time I'm feeling sore.
  • Madhava Natural Sweeteners - I can't lie, I really like using plain old sugar in my coffee.  I am interested to give these a shot, though; the package contains an Organic Coconut Sugar and an Organic Agave Nectar and a $1 off coupon.
  • GoGo squeeZ - Okay, I love these!  My favorite product this month is this package of "applesauce on the go."  I even got the Apple Mango flavor, and mango is my favorite flavor of everything all the time!
  • Tea Forte Teas - I've had Tea Forte's mints before and they're really good, but never their tea.  I got Cherry Marzipan, Cucumber Mint, and Honey Yuzu.  They all sound delicious.
  • St. Claire's Organics Mints - These mints are USDA Organic, vegan, and allergen-free.  The tin is a good size, 1.5 oz, and the flavor is peppermint.  I like to have mints in my purse so these will be great for on-the-go.
  • Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein - I think I'm going to pass this one on to my brother.  It's vanilla flavored and is gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free and non-GMO, but I'm just not a protein powder user.
  • Mighty Leaf Iced Tea - Mighty Leaf is one of my favorite tea brands because they taste so awesome.  I received the Ginger Peach flavor, yum yum!
  • Powbab Baobab Superfruit Chews - This is the bonus item for July, which can be earned by writing on Conscious Box's Facebook wall.  These are made with the African Baobab fruit pulp and delivers daily antioxidant needs.  The packaging is kind of large for only a few chews inside, which seems wasteful to me, but otherwise I'm excited to see how these taste.

So much amazing stuff, right?  I just can't say enough about how much I love Conscious Box.  For those who haven't heard of them before, a monthly subscription costs $19 ($12 for the box and $7 for shipping).  It's a bit more expensive than other services out there, but just look at all of the items I got!  It's totally worth the price: it's consistently amazing and the shipping is also really fast (my box usually arrives within 2 days of receiving the shipping notification, from California to New York).

Bottom Line: Sign up for Conscious Box!  It's my all-time favorite subscription service and I hope I never need to cancel.

Check out more up-close photos of the items after the "read more."

Monday, July 9, 2012

June Julep Maven Mystery Box Review

I recently bought my first Julep Maven Mystery Box, and it seemed like everyone was getting theirs before me.  I was getting really worried, because I was checking other peoples' unboxing posts and I wasn't impressed by what they received.  The boxes cost $20 and Julep promises you'll receive at least $60 worth of merchandise.  But their items are a bit overpriced in my opinion, so $60 could mean you get only 4 bottles of nail polish (they retail for $14 each).

Aside from the box taking forever to get to me (it shipped from Washington state, I'm in New York), I was really happy with it.  I lucked out, I got a bunch of merchandise and I really like most of it!  When I plucked it out of my mailbox, I instantly knew that I was getting more than a few nail polishes because it felt pretty heavy.  Here's what was inside:

  • Nail Lacquer in Amy - $14
  • Nail Lacquer in Megan - $14
  • Nail Lacquer in Alyson - $14
  • Nail Lacquer in Sienna - $14
  • Fast Dry Top Coat - $14
  • Julep Basecoat - $14
  • Julep Nail Growth Revitalizing Serum - $38
  • The Best Pedi Creme Ever - $22
  • Pomegranate Body Creme - $18
  • Pomegranate Body Scrub - $18

So I paid $20 and received $180 worth of product.  HOLY, mother.  I didn't even realize the total retail value of this box until I added it all up just now!  And I forgot to include the Nail Growth Revitalizing Serum in the photos here, but I promise I did actually get one.  I'm kind of blown away by the prices of some of these items, though, because honestly I don't feel that the quality reflects the high price.  The Pomegranate scrub and creme are nice, but they remind me of those off-brand ones you might find at the dollar store!  In all seriousness, they smell extremely artificial and I definitely wouldn't buy them on my own.  The Pedi Creme is interesting, but it's a small bottle and I wouldn't pay $22 for it.  I haven't used the Nail serum enough yet to make any sort of comment on whether or not it works, but for $38 I hope it does some good!

L to R: Basecoat, Topcoat, Megan, Amy, Alyson, Sienna

I was most excited about all of the polishes I got, because that's the main reason why I was interested in the box.  The other products are just bonuses to me.  I was in need for a new top and base coat, so those were great.  Aside from Alyson, I really love the other colors.  Julep's formula is not my favorite, their creams are kind of streaky in my opinion, but Sienna went on really well.

Bottom Line: Would I buy any of these products individually?  Probably not.  Would I buy another Mystery Box for $20?  Probably yes.  I know not all boxes will be like this, but hey, it was fun to be surprised!  Want one for yourself?  Julep releases them every once in a while, visit their website and sign up for their email list to be updated (that's how I found out about this one).

Photos of the other products are after the cut.

Friday, July 6, 2012

500 Follower Giveaway! [CLOSED]

It's here, it's here!  Finally I've gathered up the prizes for my 500 follower giveaway!  I really appreciate everyone who follows this blog.  When I started it back in November, I kept thinking, "I'm so jealous of those blogs that have over 100 followers!"  As I write this, I have 546 followers on Google Friend Connect, and many more on Twitter, Facebook, and RSS.  I am so appreciative of all of you, so I wanted to host a fun giveaway!

I meant to post this sooner, but I wanted to gather up a few prizes and it took me a while.  The prize pack includes:

  • X-Out Cleansing Body Bar
  • Bath & Body Works Peach Splash Body Lotion
  • theBalm Plump Your Pucker Lip Gloss in Pink My Lemonade
  • theBalm Stainiac Mini in Beauty Queen
  • theBalm Hot Ticket Nail Polish in Princess
  • Naturale Beauty Complete Natural Eyeshadow Palette
  • Auromere Ayurvedic Soap in Sandalwood-Turmeric
  • Puristics Intensive Eye Treatment 
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Souffle Gel
  • pink makeup bag

Want to win?  This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada (sorry, I still can't afford to ship a large package overseas) aged 18+.  Since this is a follower giveaway, I made a mandatory entry because I want this to go to someone who truly follows my blog.  Enter using the Rafflecopter form after the cut.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July Birchbox Man Review

I purchased a Birchbox Man subscription for my boyfriend to try out, mostly because I was curious to see what was included.  We were both pretty impressed with the July box, so I'm glad we gave it a shot.

The packaging is basically the same as the women's box, except the men's is in blue and is a little bit taller (when lying like in the picture above).  I like how the men's box opens, too--the inner container pulls out like a drawer, instead of lifting up from the top like the women's box.  A minor detail, but I thought it was kinda cool.

My boyfriend, Pete, came to visit Tuesday night to stay for the July 4th holiday and the box arrived on the same day.  I wanted to be able to save it for him to open, but I'm impatient so I opened it when I got home from work.  I figured that since I paid for it I could open it before he got here!

A Birchbox Man subscription costs $20 a month, as opposed to $10 for the women's box.  It's a little bit pricey, but I think that's because they might not have as many subscribers to the men's subscription yet.  Here is what was included in the box, along with Pete's thoughts on the items:

  • CoSTUME National Scent Intense - Pete isn't a cologne user, but he still liked this sample because he's interested in trying something new.  The little vial had an atomizer, which I prefer because they're just so much easier to use.  Pete was indifferent to the scent, but I really liked it so overall this was a decent sample.
  • Quirky Cordies - This was Pete's favorite item in the box.  When I saw that it would be included in every July box, I knew that he would really like it.  It's pretty simple in the grand scheme of things, just a rubber gadget that you can slip your cords through to be organized.  He even said something along the lines of, "I know it may seem dumb, but I really like this!"
  • Quirky Wrapster - This is the only item in the box that he said he wouldn't use, so I kept it.  It's something you can wrap your earphones around, but I'm going to use it as a stand for my iPhone instead.
  • BENTA BERRY Super Moisturizing Face Cream for Men - Face cream is definitely not something that Pete would ever think to buy for himself, so I'm glad that this was in his box.  I tried using it myself, only to realize that it's scented for men.  It did smell great, though!  The texture of it is interesting, it's not entirely cream but not entirely serum either.
  • Supersmile Professional Whitening System - This was Pete's second-favorite item in the box.  I've used Supersmile products before and I liked them, and I know he's excited to see how this system works.  He was a bit surprised at how small the bottles were, but I told him that it'll probably last longer than it seems.
  • Jock Soap Bloody Orange Body Bar - Blood orange is one of my favorite scents, but I couldn't really smell anything when I sniffed this.  Pete didn't comment much on it, but it's something he'll use.

Bottom Line: Both of us were happy with the July Birchbox, but I did cancel my subscription after receiving this first box.  We only wanted to try out just one, but based on the items included I would recommend it to anyone who was interested in trying it.  I think it's perfect for guys like my boyfriend who want to try more personal care and grooming items, but just don't have any idea where to start.

I have some close-up photos of the items under the "read more."