Monday, September 29, 2014

ToiletTree Professional Skin Care System Review

If you haven't yet heard of the benefits of using a facial brush as opposed to manual cleansing, then you've been missing out!  Brushes are much less work to use, and they cleanse so much better--they remove a lot more makeup and other dirt from your skin than washing just with your hands.  But some brushes are also quite pricey...luckily, there are great, affordable options like the ToiletTree Professional Skin Care System out there, too!

The Water-Resistant Professional Skin Care Face and Body Brush System is a great value at only $35.  Not only does it come with two facial brush heads (soft and medium bristles), it also comes with a body brush and a pumice stone!  You're essentially getting four different brushes for the price, which already gives it a leg-up over a lot of more expensive brush systems.  It is battery-operated and comes with 4 AA batteries and is available in six colors: pink, purple, green, blue, gray, and black.

The skin care system works to reduce the appearance of problem areas such as dead skin, oily skin, dry patches, fine lines, blemishes, enlarged pores, and blackheads.  Its gentle exfoliation stimulates skin renewal and improves overall clarity, leaving skin feeling soft and smooth.  It also cleans deeply to remove stubborn makeup.

I do own a different type of facial brush, so I was glad I had something to compare this one to.  Coincidentally, my other brush is the same color as this one (I was sent the purple one to review)!  What I really like about this system is that it comes with a pumice stone.  I get really dry skin on my ankles and it's quite unsightly--the pumice stone head makes it easy to exfoliate my feet and ankles.

I opted to try the soft brush head first since my skin is oily but sensitive.  I can't even put into words how incredibly soft this brush is!  It's also very effective, but using it felt like a gentle massage.  The entire brush head rotates at one speed, and you hold it flush to the skin and cleanse in circular motions.  You can apply your cleanser either to your skin first or to the brush.  Using this brush really felt like a treat; prior to discovering facial brushes, I hated washing my face because it seemed like a chore.  Not that scrubbing manually really exerts that much energy, but using a brush feels like a mini-spa experience and makes it all the more enjoyable.

I also really enjoyed using the body brush in the shower.  It's basically just a bigger version of the facial brush, with the same soft bristles.  It was a little awkward to maneuver at first, but after getting used to how the brush felt while it was rotating I was able to use it easily.  The body brush also felt like getting a massage, and I loved it!  It lathered up well with my body wash, and I loved how it felt on my arms especially.

Last but not least, the pumice stone is an effective exfoliator for trouble areas like the elbows, knees, and feet.  I know most people use pumice stones to remove dead skin on their feet, but I like to use it on the dry patches on my elbows as well.  Even though it's a stone, using this didn't feel too rough on my skin.  Only a few seconds of work on my ankles banished the stubborn dry skin, and it also felt great on my feet.

The brush also comes with a water-resistant strap for hanging after use.  I like this because the brush heads are able to dry more effectively, which keeps the bristles in prime condition.

Bottom Line: The ToiletTree Professional Skin Care System is an incredible value.  With the holidays approaching, I think it would make a great gift for anyone in your life who is looking for affordable luxury (or, treat yourself to one!).  Having used both more expensive brushes and this brush, I can confidently say that this one works just as well as the pricier brands, and it comes with many more brush options!

*Disclaimer: ToiletTree sent me this brush for review purposes.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Green Esthetics Argan Oil Gift Basket Review

Green Esthetics is a brand with a lot to brag about: they're Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, GMO Free certified, Ecocert certified for sustainability, BIOCert certified for organic and ecosocial products, and USDA certified organic!  Not only do they clearly have a commitment to the environment, but they have a line of incredibly effective products.

Argan oil is all the rage right now, and Green Esthetics has an Argan Oil Gift Basket that's brimming with great products!  Their argan oil is imported directly from Morocco to the United States, and it is 100% cold-pressed pure argan oil.  They then add 100% natural clary sage and lavender extracts to give it a nice fragrance.  Many other argan oils on the market contain unnatural fillers, but you can be assured that that is not the case with Green Esthetics--they comply by the USDA's "Truth in Labeling" standards, so you can be sure you're getting a high-quality, honest product.

  • Argan Oil (15 mL) - This is pure virgin, cold-pressed argan oil.  It's 100% natural and contains no chemicals or preservatives.  I love using argan oil on my hair; I heat style daily so this is an extremely effective way to impart more moisture into my strands.  It's also great to use on the skin.  This bottle has an airtight pump applicator, so no product is wasted.
  • Argan Oil Roller Ball - I love this travel-sized roller ball!  This can be used to target specific problem areas, such as the dryer parts of your skin like the knees and elbows.
  • Prickly Pear Exfoliating Soap - I originally thought that this would be a scented soap because of the "prickly pear" name, but it is fragrance-free and designed for sensitive skin.  It moisturizes and exfoliates, and is made with prickly pear seed and cactus oils.  It's also high in omega 3, vitamin E, and organic betalains.
  • Facial Sunscreen with Argan Oil - Even though fall is here and winter is fast approaching, it's still important to use sunscreen every day (sun protection is even more important when it snows since the UVA/UVB rays reflect off of the snow and are even harsher on your skin!).  This sunscreen has SPF 50 and is unscented, with vitamin E, sesame seed oil, and argan oil.  The active sunblock ingredient is titanium dioxide, a safe mineral-based sunblock.
  • Anti-Aging Cream - This is my favorite item in the basket because it's so luxurious!  The cream is thick, so a little goes a long way, and it feels like such a treat to use.  It stimulates skin regeneration and reduces wrinkles, and is free of parabens, chemical dyes, and GMOs.  It's also made without dye synthesis or petrochemical derivatives, so you can feel safe putting this on your skin.
Bottom Line: The Green Esthetics Argan Oil Gift Basket is surely a treat!  I love that they are committed to creating products that are free from harsh chemicals and animal testing.  They prove that skincare doesn't need to be full of fillers to be effective!

*Disclaimer: Green Esthetics sent these products for review purposes.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rochester Food Truck Rodeo!

I'm taking a quick detour away from my usual product reviews to blog about another passion of mine: food!  Food trucks have become incredibly trendy as of late, and I'm so glad that they have because I love them.  There's something about walking up and getting something amazing out of a truck--it seems like the two things should be mutually exclusive, but they most definitely are not!  This past week I went to the monthly Food Truck Rodeo that my city (Rochester) holds and I sampled an old favorite along with a few new fares.

I have been to the rodeo twice, and Le Petit Poutine is by far the most popular truck there.  Their line is always the longest, and everyone I've ever talked to has always raved about their food.  If you're unfamiliar with poutine, it's an amazing concoction consisting of a french fries base, gravy, and cheese curds.  It's a Canadian thing, and living so close to the Ontario border, I'm glad it's one that's made its way over to the States!  Above is a photo of the ladies who run it inside of their beacon  to foodies that is the green poutine truck.

And here's the poutine!  This was my second experience with Le Petit Poutine; I had previously tried their food at a different festival.  My friend Linze is the one who introduced me to them, and I had high hopes because I knew how much she loved it.  My first experience was great--the poutine was delicious and the service was fast, despite it being busy.  This time was not so wonderful.  I ordered the Bacon poutine, and as you can see in the photo above, there is no bacon.  I honestly wouldn't have even minded, except for the fact that I was charged $3 more for the bacon ($8 total for the cup, plus a $1 tip).  I went back up to the truck and explained what had happened, and was met with less-than-stellar customer service.  I ended up getting the bacon, but I was a little disappointed with how the situation was handled.  For now I'll chalk it up to just being busy (even though I'm sure they're always busy, so that isn't really an excuse).

But what about the poutine itself?!  I can't say it was as great as the first time I tried it.  It still was yummy and had great flavor, but the fries were soggy.  I really need crunchy fries to balance out the smoothness of the gravy.  I also wish that the cheese curds were a bit smaller and more spaced out instead of just on top of the fries.  It doesn't melt as well and the chunks are too big.  I want a good cheese to fries ratio without having to work for it, since I'm eating out of a takeout carton.  I'm not giving up on Le Petit Poutine after this, though, because they really do make a good product.  They have some other reviews on yelp that echo the sentiments I've expressed, so hopefully they are able to continue to improve!

Next up is this heavenly dish from Macarollin'.  I LOVE macaroni and cheese (who doesn't?!), so I was eager to try out this truck.  I had passed on them at the August rodeo because their prices seemed steep and there were others I wanted to try more, but I'm so glad I gave them the benefit of the doubt this time around!  This mac was so. damn. good!  I got the Classic mac for $9, and as I was waiting for my order I couldn't help but think, "for $9 this mac had better be life changing!"  I was not disappointed in the least.  There was no one in line besides me so the service was fast, but according to their yelp reviews they are always pretty quick at churning out orders.  I waited only as long as it took me to think out the aforementioned thought.  The first thing I noticed was how heavy the order was!  It was served in a large takeout box and I swear it was at least a full pound of macaroni (maybe more?).  Once I actually took a bite, I was transported to a very happy place.  It had four cheeses, regrettably I do not remember what they were, and breadcrumb topping.  There was also a strong pepper taste.  The noodles were just the right texture, the cheese was amazing, and overall this was just fantastic and well worth the price tag!  I will be ordering from them again for sure.

I had $1 left after the poutine, mac and cheese, and a can of soda I picked up at Macarollin', so I used it to get an Apple Cider donut from Duke's Donuts.  Their stand was across from the table I ate at, and the whole time the aroma was wafting over and filling me with longing.  I had also read rave reviews for their donuts and was surprised at how reasonably priced they were, so of course I had to get one.  This was not a bad decision.  This was the best donut I have EVER had!  It had raised sugar and a good apple cider taste.  The texture was what really got me, though--so perfectly crunchy on the outside, while being melt-in-your-mouth buttery smooth on the inside.  My boyfriend was with me and he had a little more cash left over, so I'm regretting the fact that we didn't take a dozen to go!

I love you, donut.  Just look at that sugar!  I looked up Duke's immediately when I got home and found out that they don't have a shop and are from Buffalo (about an hour away from Rochester), so I don't think I'll be able to treat myself to their buttery goodness as often as I'd like to.  But there's going to be one final rodeo of the season in October, and come rain, shine, or snow (yes, it is 100% possible that we will have snow here in October), I will be there with plenty of money to devote solely to donuts!

Bottom Line: Food Truck Rodeos are always a good time, and even if you're never going to be anywhere near Rochester, New York, I bet there are some great trucks in your area.  Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of your local trucks, and what kind of food they serve!

Monday, September 22, 2014

September BoxyCharm Review

I've only gotten one other BoxyCharm (back in June) and I thought that that box was amazing.  Then I got September's box, and it was even more amazing!  I think this might actually be the best beauty box I've ever gotten, of any subscription!

BoxyCharm boxes cost $21 a month and they always have a good amount of full-sized items from high-end brands.  September's theme was "Fashion Week Fabulous," and it boasted five full-sized items, all from brands that I love!

  • Coastal Scents Go Palette in Cairo ($12.95) - There were four different palette options, and I was really hoping for Cairo and I got it!  I love neutral shadows, so this is perfect for me.  Some of the other palettes had really wild colors which I probably wouldn't have used, but this will be used on the daily.  Or, rather, I'll work it into my rotation of palettes because I have too many.
  • ncLA Nail Lacquer in Call My Agent ($16) - I have a few other ncLA polishes and while the brand is not my favorite, I do enjoy them.  This one is a red creme, and was one of four possible options.  I would have preferred any color other than red, so I posted this for swap.  I'm still happy to see the brand in the box, though.
  • Harvey Prince Hello 10 mL ($29) - I love Harvey Prince perfumes and this is my second sample of "Hello" that I've received from a box.  Actually, this is a full-sized vial and not a sample, but I just mean to say that I've had the scent before and I really like it.  It's citrus-y, which is better for summer, but this will still last me a while so I'll use it more once the weather turns warm again.
  • Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperlight ($22) - I guess new subscribers got the Hyperlight and existing subscribers got a mascara.  Technically I was a "new" subscriber because I had cancelled after that first box in June, so I got a repeat product.  I posted it for swap because I don't need two, but it is a great highlighter.
  • tarte LipSurgence Lip Gloss in Tipsy ($19) - This is my favorite item in the box because I love tarte!  This was also randomly selected from four options, and I got the color I liked best.  I was hoping it would be more pigmented on my lips, but it goes on very sheer.  Either way, it has a nice applicator and doesn't feel too sticky, so I like it.
Bottom Line: This box had a combined retail value of $98.95 and I only paid $21 for it (shipping is included)!  I have been consistently impressed with the brands BoxyCharm features as well as the amount of full-sized products they include.  You can still purchase this box at their website.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Memebox Special #26 Hand & Nail Care + Coupon

The Memebox Special #26 Hand & Nail Care is my first experience with their special boxes, which are packaged with four to eight full-sized products and deluxe samples that fit a specific theme.  Obviously, this box is all about having a great manicure!

Memebox (pronounced "mi-mi-box") is a Korean beauty service that curates tons of different boxes.  All are one-time purchases, so you can buy as many or as few as you'd like without having to worry about a recurring fee.  This Hand & Nail Care box is an example of a Memebox Special, but they also have Superboxes (which contain only full-sized products) and standard Memeboxes.

  • with shan Baby Hand Set ($9 for 15 mL) - I received the Lemon Treatment Oil, which is infused with lemon juice and vitamin E.  You soak the nail file (the purple one in the photo above) in the oil and also place a drop on your nails, and then you can use the file to buff away callouses.  I was excited to try this because I hate the mini-callouses that form around my nails, but I don't think I soaked the nail file for long enough because it just ended up hurting my skin.
  • with shan Dr. Care Set ($13 for 15 mL) - This is an "emergency kit" for split and/or broken nails, which is not something I really have a need for.  My nails have always been ridiculously strong (I have to use a toe nail clipper to trim them), but this would be great for someone with softer nails.  You are supposed to apply it every two days for a full week, and it can be used as a basecoat.
  • BARBINIE Shea Butter Hand Cream ($18 for 50 mL) - This is my favorite product in the box because I love all things moisturizer!  The scent I received was White Lily, and while I normally don't like florals, this one is light enough that it doesn't bother me.  The cream is very silky and absorbs quickly into the skin.
  • Shara Shara Soft Hand Gommage ($6 for 50 mL) - A gommage is an exfoliating gel that you apply to the skin and massage in.  It then starts to ball up on the skin, lifting away dead skin cells with it.  This is a gentle peel, and I think it's almost too gentle, because I didn't really notice much peeling when I used it.
  • PURE SKIN Hand Care Pack ($4 for 15g) - This is a hand mask that contains grape and grapefruit extracts, witch hazel, collagen, and boabab tree and olive leaf extracts.  It deeply moisturizes dry hands and also removes excess skin impurities.  I haven't used it yet, but you're supposed to leave it on for 20-30 minutes while it works its magic.
  • PURE PLUS Hydrogel Moisturizing Nail Patch ($8 for 10 patches) - I was interested in trying these because they are a different design than the Kocostar 5 Finger Pack I got in my Memebox Global #14, so I thought I might like them better.  They're little gel patches that you apply on top of your nail, so they did allow me to use my iPad while I was waiting to remove them (the Kocostar's didn't), but I didn't care for the effects.  My cuticles actually felt more dry after I used them.
  • SUR 3D Nail Art Kit ($29) - This kit comes with a magnetic nail polish (mine is silver), a magnet, and a nail art pen.  I'm a bit confused by the instructions, because normally you paint on the polish then use the magnet to create designs, but this one is saying to use the polish then draw designs on with the nail art pen.  I think that the polish itself is not magnetic, but the nail art pen is?  I haven't tried this yet, but maybe I'll do a separate review for it when I do.
Bottom Line: If you like boxes that are catered around a specific theme then you'll really enjoy Memebox Specials.  I thought this one was a lot of fun and contained great products for healthy hands and nails!

  • Use coupon code XUQ6 for $5 off of any order in the Memeshop.  This is an affiliate code, so you have to use my affiliate link in order for it to work.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent for review purposes.  Post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September Love With Food Review & Free Box

When I received a shipment notification for my September Love With Food box I was a little surprised because I had forgotten that I'd signed up for one.  I've gotten one other box before, and they're one of my favorite food subscriptions.  Not only is it affordable ($10 a month) and packed with great products, but for each box sold Love With Food donates a meal to a hungry child in the United States.

September's theme was "Spice Up Your Life," and the box contained seven items and some coupons.  Like I said, I really like Love With Food.  Not only do they donate to those in need, but their boxes are usually just awesome!

  • Way Better Snacks Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips - I love these chips.  I buy them regularly and was introduced to the brand by one of my subscriptions; I don't remember which one exactly.  Anyway, they are delicious!  Nice and crunch and they have a great spicy/sweet flavor.
  • Love With Food Churro Kettle Corn - Apparently Love With Food makes their own snacks now, and this popcorn is a great one!  Cinnamon, sugar, and sea salt made this an incredibly delicious salty/sweet snack.
  • Mandy's Rich Chocolate Cookie Thins - I haven't tried these cookies yet, but I think they're are the least-spicy item in the box.  All the description says is "Sugar and spice and everything nice is packaged in these addictive chocolate cookies," and the ingredient list lists nothing spicy that I can see, but I'm sure they're still delicious.
  • Shotwell Candy Co 5 Spice Caramels - I was most excited to try these candies because I love caramel, but they didn't quite do it for me.  They have cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger, and clove, so there is quite a bit of spice going on here.  I'm not a fan of anise, so that's probably why I didn't care for these as much as I thought I would.
  • Amazing Grass Green Superfood - I can say with certainty that there is no spice in this product because I've tried it before (I'm not complaining, just stating it for anyone who may be interested to know).  It's kind of like a protein powder, but instead it's made with superfoods and can be added to smoothies, milk, or just be mixed with water.
  • Fogg City Spice Co Lemon Rosemary Seasoning - I could smell this seasoning packet as soon as I opened the box and it smelled great.  It's a mixture of lemon and rosemary (obviously) with smoked black pepper, garlic, and salt.  I'm going to use this with some chicken for dinner sometime this week.
  • Maruso Ghost Soy Sauce - I like soy sauce, and I like spicy, and this one is definitely going to pack a punch.  It's made with ghost chili powder, and for those who are unfamiliar, ghost peppers rank incredibly high on the Scoville scale (read: they are ridiculously hot and not for those who are not used to hot, hot spice).  I can't wait to try this!
  • Ziggy Marley Organics Roasted Hemp Seeds in Sea Salt & Pepper - Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and the nine essential amino acids.  Since these are sea salt and pepper flavored, instead of trying to add them to a smoothie I think I'm just going to eat them by themselves as a potato chip substitute.
If you're interested in trying Love With Food, you can get your first box for free when you use my referral link.  They also have a review-for-points program where you can give input on the snacks you received and earn points that can be used as currency towards future purchases.

Bottom Line: I loved this tasting box and was impressed by the variety of items.  I was interested in trying each item, which is usually a rarity for me when it comes to food boxes.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beauty Box 5 August and September Reviews

I have a two-for-one review for you today since I received my August Beauty Box 5 a little bit late.  I was accepted into their blogger review program, but there was a little mix-up in getting me transferred to the accepted list, but they were kind enough to send me the August box I had mixed this month to review with September's.

If you aren't familiar with Beauty Box 5, they send a mix of makeup, beauty accessories, hair products, skincare, and more for only $12 a month.  Like the name suggests, each box has five total items.  Shipping is free within the United States, and $3 extra to Canadian addresses.  They also have a shop where you can purchase full-sized products.

August's box was all about "recognizing the brilliant beauty that you are and adding the finishing touches to carry your carefree attitude well into the fall."

  • Novex Brazilian Keratin - I love using keratin products on my hair because they leave it feeling so smooth!  I've never used Novex before (I have another jar of this from a different box that I still haven't tried), but this one works on all hair types to renew and reinforce hair's strength.
  • Pur-lisse Pur Protect SPF 30 - Even though summer is ending and the days are getting shorter, it's still important to wear SPF every day.  This lightweight formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin while still providing ample protection.
  • Nanacoco Lip Gloss - I do love a good lip gloss, but the shade of this one doesn't quite work with my skin so I posted it for swap.  Nanacoco's formula contains vitamin E for extra nourishment.
  • LA Fresh Travel Lite Facial Cleansing Wipes - I really like the LA Fresh brand, and I'm always in need of facial wipes.  My skin is pretty oily, so when I get home from work I immediately wipe of my makeup and refresh my skin with a wipe.  These condition with vitamin E, aloe, and cucumber.
  • Style Essentials Nail Polish - I love the shade I got!  It's black with subtle silver glitter.  I would prefer a little stronger sparkle in the glitter, but it's still a really nice shade and the polish has a great formula.

The September box features new fall favorites and has a good variety of products.  One thing I do appreciate about Beauty Box 5 is that they do a great job of sending different items, you won't receive a box of predominantly one thing.

  • Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara - I already have one of these mascaras (actually, this is the third I've received from a beauty subscription) so I gifted it to a friend, but she loved it.  It really does give bold, black lashes and is good at lengthening, too.
  • Nicka K New York Eyelight Crayon - This creamy shadow stick glides on smoothly and has great pigmentation.  I love the color I got (bronze) and will put this to a lot of good use!
  • Sally Hansen Toe Spacers - So this isn't the most exciting product I've ever received, but it is quite practical and I will definitely use it.  I paint my toenails even in the winter when they're covered up, and spacers help to keep me from smudging.
  • Natural Style by FUBU Deep Conditioner & Co-Wash - This conditioner is equipped with eight repairing oils, shea butter, and is free from sulfates and parabens.  It can be used as a co-wash for curly hair or a deep conditioner for all hair types.
  • My Beauty Spot Nail Polish - I would be happy if every box contained a nail polish because it's one of my favorite types of products!  The shade I got is a shimmery mauve, and the formula promises to glide on smoothly and dry quickly.
Bottom Line: Beauty Box 5 sent two great boxes for August and September.  I was pleased that both contained a few full-sized items and had a good mix of hair, makeup, and accessories for me to try.

*Disclaimer: These boxes were sent for review purposes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September Birchbox Review

I was really excited to get my September Birchbox because my last few had been just okay, but this month's had a bunch of samples that I was really excited to get!  Much to my chagrin, upon receiving the box I found that one of the samples had leaked.  Later I found that another one was defective.  I contacted Birchbox, who has always had excellent customer service, and they promised to rectify the problem by sending me an entirely new box!

My replacement box is still on its way, so this review is for my original box.  I love the new design they unveiled, which was done because September is their birthday month (they're four years old now!).  I'm not sure if this is a permanent change, but I hope it is because the boxes are really cute!

The theme, fittingly, was "Fresh Paint."  Not only does it symbolize an anniversary for them, but also the changing of the seasons that September brings.  The informational card also promises more surprises all month, and I know one of them is their Customer Appreciation Day tomorrow.

Even though two of my samples were damaged/defective, I still really loved this box.  I think this is one of my favorite boxes ever, and I've been a subscriber on and off since Birchbox launched in 2011.

  • Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel - When I saw that this was going to be in my box I was so excited; I've seen it in other peoples' boxes and it was something I really wanted to try.  My first use didn't go so well, but I think that's because my skin was still just the slightest bit damp from washing.  I'm going to give it another chance because I just really like what it can do.  I suppose it would help if I said what it does--it's a gentle exfoliating gel that you apply then massage the skin, causing it to kind of "bead up (for lack of a better description)" and carry away dead skin cells with it.
  • Macadamia Professional Healing Oil Spray - This was the sample I chose to have in my box when Birchbox sent out the sample selection options, so naturally I was really excited to try it.  Unfortunately this is the defective sample; when I go to spray it the nozzle doesn't work, it just drips down the bottle and onto my hand.  For now I'm just pouring a small amount onto my hands and applying it that way, but once I have an old empty sample spray bottle I'm going to transfer the nozzle onto it to see if that works.
  • Temptu S/B Highlighter - This sample is so tiny!  The shade is "champagne shimmer" and it's a liquid highlighter.  I prefer solid highlighters, but I was interested in trying this one out because I thought the shade was really pretty.  It might be that I'm just not applying enough because I don't want to use up all of the sample in one use, but I wasn't impressed by the effectiveness.  I couldn't really tell that it was there at all (I used it on my cheekbones).
  • ChapStick Dual-Ended Hydration Lock Moisture & Renew - I'm not a fan of the ChapStick brand (I don't like their formula, always feels too waxy), but I think this is an interesting product.  One end is a moisturizing balm, the other is a "renew" for revitalizing lips.  I gave this to my boyfriend to try and he liked it a lot.
  • Acure Organics Day Cream - I love Acure Organics and I like how ample this moisturizer is in size.  It smells great, too; the scent is citrus-y and light.  It feels really light on my skin and is probably a product I would purchase a full-sized version of.
  • Harvey Prince Ageless Liquid Loofah - Harvey Prince is another favorite brand of mine, and their Ageless scent is great (pink grapefruit, mango, and sandalwood).  The instructions on the tube say to not use a sponge with this, since it would lather and exfoliate best when applied directly to the skin.  I found that it didn't, so I still used my loofah sponge with it.  I absolutely love the scent, though!  Oh, and this was the sample that was damaged.  The cap wasn't on securely and it leaked inside of the box (photo below).

Bottom Line: Even though this box had a few technical issues, I was so happy with the selection (and with Birchbox's amazing customer service, I really didn't expect an entirely new box!) that I can't be mad.  I hope that all of my boxes have products this relevant to my interests from now on!

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wet Shave Club Review

As a lady, I do not have facial hair, so I wouldn't normally consider a box like Wet Shave Club.  I do, however, have a boyfriend who has a beard who would be able to put a box like this to good use, so when Wet Shave Club asked me if I'd be interested in doing a review, I said yes.

Wet Shave Club sends a monthly shipment of traditional shaving items, and the box I'm reviewing contains the same items that everyone receives during their first month.  Subscriptions are $29 a month, or $24/month for three months, $22/month for six months, or $19/month for a full year.  Shipping is free for all options within the contiguous U.S., and is $7.99 for Canada, and boxes ship the same day you place your order!

Each starter box comes with a safety razor and shave brush, along with two packs of razors, matches, two bars of soap, and a bottle of aftershave.  The box is packaged very nicely and contains a welcome card.  Mine also had a handwritten note about the box, but that is because this box is for review purposes (I'm not sure if each order comes with one or not).

The only razors I've ever shaved with are the standard ones you buy at the drugstore, and prior to trying Wet Shave Club the same went for my boyfriend, Pete.  Pictured above is the safety razor; to use it you unscrew the top and place the razor, then screw the top part back on to set it in place.  The instructions that came with the box are sure to state that you should let the razor do the work--don't try to press it into the skin (results in ouchies), let the weight of the razor do the shaving as you glide it down.

The shaving brush is really fluffy; the bristles are slightly coarse, but understandably so.  The aftershave is from Whiskey Ink & Lace and is cedarwood scented.  I absolutely love the scent!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with aftershave, it's applied to help soothe the skin.  The razors are both from Gillette, each box containing five blades.  Wet Shave Club recommends replacing the blade every three days or so, so if you don't shave daily then you could stretch these out to last for quite a while.

Lastly, there are two bars of soap from Red Leaf (Oatmeal & Honey and English Coast scented) and a book of matches.  I honestly don't know what the matches are for and I didn't see anything in the instructions, so pardon my ignorance.  The soaps appear to be glycerin-based and Pete said they lathered well and felt really smooth.
Bottom Line: Overall, Pete really enjoyed using the Wet Shave Club products.  He was intimidated at first since he'd never used a single blade safety razor, but he didn't have any issues and came out nick-free in the end.  I like this box a lot because it appeals to low-maintenance guys as well as those who spend a little more time on their appearance.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent for review purposes.

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Memeboxes and Affiliate Coupon Code!

If you couldn't tell already from my myriad of reviews for them, I love Memebox!  I've gotten quite a few boxes that have all been wonderful, and now I'm here to share with you an exclusive $5 off coupon.

One of the newest Memeboxes is the WTF (Wonderful Treasure Finds) box, which features up-and-coming finds as well as cult favorites.  It's only $23, but with my $5 coupon you can get it for just $18!  Other great options are the Wine & Cheese Cosmetics box and the Banila Co. Superbox.

So what's the coupon code?  Use XUQ6 for $5 off of any order -- but since this is an affiliate code, you have to purchase through my affiliate link.  You can click here (or on any other link in this post) to do so.  Which box are you going to get?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Total Beauty Collection Jetsetter Grab Bag Review

Prior to today I had never received a Total Beauty Collection box; I had seen lots of review for them and they just didn't really seem to be worth the price.  I finally decided to purchase one a few days ago when I saw that they were having a huge sale, and I picked up the Jetsetter Grab Bag for only $16.

These boxes were on sale along with nine other collections (two of which are currently sold out, view them all here), and I chose the Jetsetter option because it had the best promised retail value of $65+ with eight total products.  I definitely am not disappointed by this box, especially because it was so cheap.  I was able to get it for $16 instead of the advertised $20 by using the coupon SALE20 (as I type this, it's still a valid coupon).

Since it's a grab bag, I'm assuming that not every box will contain the same items.  The shipping was free, and I was really impressed by how quickly it arrived.  I ordered it on the 10th, it shipped on the 11th, and it arrived today on the 13th.  I think that's the fastest I've ever received any box!

The box did not come with an informational card, but I'll do my best to describe each item.
  • Montagne Jeunesse Aloe Vera Face Spa Mask - I've used a lot of Montagne Jeunesse masks in the past and I really like them.  This one is a paper mask, and while I prefer ones that aren't on paper I will still use this one.  It contains aloe vera and green tea to soothe and cleanse the skin.
  • Vapour Organics Vernissage 3-Free Nail Lacquer in Scandal - I love Vapour Organics, they're one of my favorite brands, but I do not need any more red nail polishes!  At first I thought this was a skincare item because I didn't realize Vapour made polishes, but when I saw the name "Scandal" I knew before I even opened it that it was going to be red.  I'm sure it's got a great formula, but I won't be using it because I posted it up for swap as new and unused.
  • Astara Biogenic Skincare Antioxidant Infusion - I couldn't find an exact product page for this, but it appears to be a moisturizer that soothes the skin.  The consistency looks kind of thick, so I might try this as a night cream.
  • LaLicious Vanilla Body Butter - This one is nice and self-explanatory.  I love body butters, I love vanilla, but I don't love the packaging of this.  At least it's small enough that I can use it all up in one or two uses.
  • Acure Organics Cell Stimulating Body Wash - Acure Organics is another one of my favorite brands, but I already have a bottle of this so I posted this for swap as well.  It's vegan, paraben-, sulfate-, cruelty-, and gluten-free, and has no synthetic fragrance.
  • NYX Roll on Shimmer in Pink - This is a little bit too bright for me so I also posted it up for swap.  It's a shimmer that can be used on the eyes or body.
  • Juara Candlenut Body Creme - I've never used any products from Juara before so I'm excited to try this.  I've also never heard of candlenut oil before, but according to the back of the package it is known for its high content of essential fatty acids (therefore, great for moisturizing).
  • Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask - I had a sample of this a while ago but I never used it (I ended up swapping it), but I think I'll keep this one and give it a try.  It's an exfoliating mask that, if I remember correctly, is quite expensive full-sized.
Bottom Line: I've very happy with this grab bag and I'm glad it only cost me $16.  I think I still would have been satisfied if I paid the full $20, but it wouldn't have felt worth it for any more than that.  You can still purchase one of these (and other collections) at the Total Beauty site, and remember to use coupon SAVE20 for $4 off!  You can also get two for $30 using code 2FOR30.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Deux Lux Mystery Box Review

Deux Lux is one of my favorite handbag brands, and I probably would have never even known about them had it not been for the now-defunct Little Black Bag.  Their purses and accessories were always incredibly popular on LBB and I was able to trade for/purchase quite a few, but I have a problem and I can never have enough!  Every so often they'll hold a sample sale at their flagship store in NYC, but since I can't just go to New York on a whim I usually just sit in my apartment, wishing I was there to snag a ton of purses at awesome prices.

But luckily for me (and other DL fans that aren't so close to the city), with this past sale they offered a Mystery Box!  It cost $40 and promised to include three random items, and of course I bought one.  I probably should have gotten two because it was such a great deal.  The only thing I didn't like was that I never got a shipment notice or a tracking number, but the website said it would ship within three to five days, so I just waited and hoped that they would make good on their promise.  I think this took about six days to get to me after I bought it, but that's not too bad.

My first item is the Wink Mini Messenger, which retails for $90 on the Deux Lux site.  It's my favorite item from the box; I love crossbodies and this one is really cute.  I love the stitched detailing and the gold chain strap.  It's small, but it definitely has enough space for your cards, keys, and a few makeup items.  I have a DL Empire Card Case from a Little Black Bag purchase that would fit perfectly in this bag!

I also got a wallet, but I don't know what it's called because it's no longer for sale on their website.  I love the way it looks, the faux snake print and gold detailing is really pretty.  All of the Deux Lux wallets of this size have the same design, they zip open and have three compartments with eight card slots (there's a photo of the inside of the wallet further down in the post).  My best guess on the retail value of this is around $60, since that's what the other wallets are listed for on the site.

Last up is the High Line Clutch, my least-favorite item in the box.  I'm not a clutch fan to being with, and I don't really care for the design (it's also quite big at 9" x 14").  It kind of reminds me of a bad pair of jeans.  Regardless, I'll still use this as an iPad case or to store makeup or something when I travel.  I can definitely find a use for it.  The retail value is $85.

Bottom Line: I hope Deux Lux has Mystery Boxes every time they have a sample sale from now on!  I will absolutely positively be buying many more if they do since they are a fantastic deal and I love being surprised.  If I had purchased each of these items individually, it would have cost me $235.  I'm not sure what price they were sold for at the sample sale, but it doesn't really matter to me because I'm very happy that it only cost me $40 for them.

View more photos of the bags after the "read more."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Memebox Global #14 Review

I ordered this Memebox Global #14 so long ago that when it arrived I had totally forgotten that I even purchased it!  This is actually the first Memebox I ever purchased, but usually they ship a month or so after they're initially listed on the site for sale (sometimes longer), so that's why it had slipped my mind.

I chose Memebox Global #14 because at the time the reviews I'd seen for their Global boxes were better than the themed boxes (it just seemed like the products in the Global boxes were more relevant to my needs and preferences).  Since then Memebox has come out with plenty of themed boxes that I loved, but the Global boxes are still fun because the items inside are a total surprise.  This box is no longer available, but it had a price tag of $23.  You can view current Memeboxes at their shop.

  • Recipe by Nature Golden Time Vita Capsule Essence ($42 for 40 mL) - This is a full-sized "vitamin essence" that I think is essentially a facial serum.  It is "packed full of vitamin capsules that will deliver deep nourishment and nutrition to your skin," according to the description on the box's informational card.  It works to balance oil levels, brighten the skin, and even out rough textures.  When I first used it I only used a drop or two, but even that felt too heavy on my skin, so I found that this should be used very sparingly.
  • Shower Mate Perfume de Whip Body Wash ($4 for 50 mL each) - When I first saw these they reminded me of something you might find at the dollar store, due to their packaging.  I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, though, so I'm willing to give them a try.  I thought I would like the "Pure White Blossom" scent better than the "Marilyn Red Fantasy," but I actually found the opposite to be true.  The other option was "Romantic Pink Garden," which I (obviously) did not receive.  I'll probably save these for travel since I already am pretty stocked up on body wash.
  • VOV Good-Bye Black Smudge Waterproof Mascara ($19 for 9 g) - Mascara is another thing I have tons of, so I put this up for swap.  This was randomly selected from three products (Lash Proof Mascara, Volume Proof Mascara, or Button Liner), and I received the Lash Proof formula.  I may have kept it if I received the Volume Proof, but the Lash Proof has a straight, thin brush and I prefer mascaras with more voluminous brushes.
  • a;t fox Fantasy Holic Lip & Cheek Designer Pencil ($7) - This was randomly selected from shades Sweet Orange, Lovely Coral, and Rose Beige.  I received Sweet Orange; I would have preferred Lovely Coral but this orange is more on the pink/coral side so I'm still willing to give it a try.  I like that it can be used on the lips or cheeks.
  • Sua Young Mineral Essence In Liquid Foundation SPF33 PA+++5g (~$5.65) - A full-sized bottle of this retails for $34, but the sample size contains more than enough to get a good feel for how well this product works.  I really wanted to like it because it offers more coverage than a BB cream while still being lightweight, but the color was too light for my skin.  It's free from parabens, alcohol, artificial fragrance and contains only organic ingredients.
  • Beauty People Miss 100 Super Waterproof Gel Liner Auto Pencil ($38) - I find it hard to believe that this liner retails for $38, but that's what the info card says!  I received the "Glimmer Bronze" shade, and I actually already have a set of these pencils with that color from the My Cute Wishlist Superbox, so I posted this for swap as well.  I do love these pencils though, they glide on smoothly and have great pigmentation.
  • Kocostar 4 Package Set ($20) - This set contained four products total: the Ggongji Hair Pack, Face Spot Mirror Patch, 5 Finger Nail Pack, and Foot Peeling Pack.  The Hair Pack is a mask that you need to tie your hair into a ponytail for, and since my hair isn't quite long enough yet I'll be saving it to try later.  If you want to use the Face Spot Mirror Patch, choose a day where you aren't going anywhere because you have to leave it on for at least eight hours (or, I suppose you could wear it while you sleep).  The 5 Finger Nail Pack is for your cuticles, and the Foot Peeling Pack is pretty self-explanatory.  I'm most interested in the foot and nails packs, but they both require more than 10 minutes of application time so I haven't used them yet.
  • Sally's Box 4SET ($14) - This set contained four paper face masks: the Love Recipe Apple Mask, Delight Ceramide Hydrogel Mask, Delight Collagen Hydrogel Mask, and the Delight Panthenol Hydrogel Mask.  I used the Apple Mask right away because I love all things apple, but I was disappointed to see that one of the first ingredients was alcohol (this is one of the few items from Memebox I've received where the ingredients were also listed in English).  As we all know, alcohol is incredibly drying for the skin, so now I'm wary of using the other three because I don't want to put harsh ingredients on my skin for that long.
Bottom Line: I was so impressed by this box; I couldn't believe how many products it contained for only $23!  A lot of them were full-sized, too.  I hope that Memebox releases more Global boxes in the future because I love their variety and would definitely purchase more.

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