Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Non-GMO Box Review & 20% Off

I love food and I love to snack.  I've always been a grazer: I don't eat a lot of any one thing, but I do like to eat a lot of things.  Recently, the use of GMOs in food has come under criticism, and I like to buy non-GMO snacks whenever possible.  My Non-GMO Box now makes it easy for everyone to access these types of foods!

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

Currently this box is a one-time purchase, but they do have plans to start a subscription in the future.  The box costs $14.99 and shipping is included.  It appears that they are shipping to the United States and Canada, based off of the order page.  I'm not sure if there is an extra shipping charge for Canadian addresses.

The first collection features six products, all of which are verified by the Non-GMO Project.  The Non-GMO Project is North America's only third-party verification and labeling entity for non-GMO products.  They are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Why do GMOs matter?  That's up to you to decide, but GMO stands for "genetically modified organisms," which means a living organism whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated through genetic engineering.  While I do understand some of the impetus behind using GMOs (for example, modifying livestock so that they can produce a higher yield for impoverished communities), I choose to purchase non-GMO foods when I can.  You can learn more about GMOs and the Non-GMO Project at their website, which I've linked in the paragraph above.

But back to the box!  Like I said, this box makes non-GMO verified foods easily accessible for those who may not have a wide variety of them available in their local stores.  Although I can usually find a pretty big selection at Wegmans (the best grocery store ever), I'm always interested in finding new favorites!  Here's what was inside:
  • Beanfields Bean and Rice Chips in Nacho - I love Beanfields chips!  They have a really good crunch and are incredibly savory.  They're made from beans and rice, so they are gluten-free as well.
  • Tasty Brand Organic Wild Berry Fruit Snacks - All of Tasty Brand's snacks are made with certified USDA organic ingredients.  They're chewier than "regular" fruit snacks that most people are probably used to, so I suspected they were made with carrageenan, but the first ingredient is actually organic tapioca syrup!  I liked these a lot, though; they had a lot of flavor.
  • Nature's Path Dark Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bar - I'm a big fan of Nature's Path's Love Crunch granola, so I'm sure that this is great as well.  It's also gluten-free and and made with fair-trade certified dark chocolate.
  • Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company Tea Sampler - Most boxes with natural/organic foods are going to have a sample of tea at some point.  Luckily I'm a big tea drinker.  This pack has one sachet each of their Organic Assam and Organic Better Rest Blend teas.  They're certified USDA organic and kosher.
  • Wild Friends All-Natural Honey Sunflower Butter - This is sweetened with USDA organic honey and is dairy-free.  I love the little chipmunk on the front, it's so cute!  I've never had sunflower butter before, so I'm curious to see how this tastes.
  • Heavenly Organics Honey Pattie Chocolate Mint - This is made with raw organic white Himalayan honey and are gluten- and dairy-free.  Aside from honey, it has only two other ingredients: organic Italian dark chocolate liquor, and peppermint oil.  I thought it was delicious!
Bottom Line: I like what My Non-GMO Box has put together so far and I would definitely consider subscribing when they launch as a full-on subscription.  For now, you can purchase this box at their website as a one-time purchase, so you don't have to worry about canceling or being billed again.  You can also purchase full-sized versions of each item at their shop section.

What do you think of My Non-GMO Box?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

BeautyKind EcoBeauty Discovery Kit Review and $25 Off!

I was catching up on my Bloglovin' feed last week and I came across a post about the BeautyKind EcoBeauty Discovery Kit.  Unfortunately I didn't save the post, so I can't remember which blog it was from, otherwise I would link to it!  I was intrigued both by BeautyKind and the box, because we all know I love a good box of samples.

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

BeautyKind is a wonderful online shop that has a ton of products in stock, from skincare to cosmetics to fragrance and more.  They are not exclusively an eco-beauty site, but they have a special Vegan section and lots of eco-friendly brands available.  Even better, 5% of each of your purchases is donated to the charity of your choice, which you can change at any time.  I chose the ASPCA (American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as my charity.

I'm sorry to say that the EcoBeauty Discovery Kit is currently out of stock, but BeautyKind let me know that they are in the process of restocking them!  Keep checking here to see when they become available.  It was priced at $50, but mine only cost me $25 because I was referred by the blogger I spoke of earlier (keep reading to find out how you can get $25 off of any order, too).  All of this stuff for only $25!  I was in sample heaven.

The box is, obviously, packed with BeautyKind's favorite eco-friendly products.  Many of them are free from harsh chemicals, dyes, synthetics...all of those things that many people try to stay away from.  Most of the box is made up of skincare, and I would have preferred to receive more color cosmetics.  However, this is still an excellent deal for the price I paid, so I'm still happy with it.

I haven't tried every product yet (and I probably won't get through all of them for a while!), but I'll list what's inside along with their approximate retail values and give some feedback on the few that I have tried at the end of the post.

  • Teadora Nourishing Shampoo in Rainforest at Dusk ($5.00 for 2 fl oz) - For stronger, shinier, moisture-infused hair.  It smells slightly herbal with a little citrus thrown in.
  • Teadora Nourishing Body Cleanser in Rainforest at Dawn ($4.00 for 2 fl oz) - For cleaner, healthier, moisture-infused skin.  This one is much more "earthy" than the Rainforest at Dusk scent, with clear notes of bergamot and woods.
  • Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Plumping Lip Gloss in Honor ($22.00 for .13 oz, full-sized) - This is made with hydrating botanicals and is 70% organic.  The shade is a pink shimmer.
  • Hush & Dotti Balm Cleanser ($10.96 for ~.6 oz) - I'm guessing on the size of this.  I also had no idea what this was until I looked it up, but it's a facial cleanser.
  • Mio Fit Skin Kit ($33.00 for three 1 fl oz bottles) - I'm considering this "full-sized" because, although the tubes are sample-sized, you can purchase the whole kit as one item.  Anyway, it's made up of the Boob Tube+, Workout Wonder, and The Activist creams.  Boob Tube+ weirds me out, it's for keeping the skin on your boobs firm.  Workout Wonder can be used pre- or post-workout to invigorate/soothe muscles, and The Activist is a body oil.  I'll definitely get good use out of Workout Wonder and The Activist, and I'll give Boob Tube+ to someone who is more worried about their boob skin than I am.
  • Le Bebe Coo Nourishing Lotion ($8.59 for 4.4 fl oz) - This is formulated for a baby's gentle skin, but it's appropriate for anyone to use, really.
  • Le Bebe Coo Head-to-Toe ($8.20 for 4.8 fl oz) - This is made with soy and is formulated to provide a better alkali environment for a baby's tender skin.
  • Molliderm ($14.00 for 3.39 oz) - I definitely had no idea what this was because the labeling is not in English, but I guessed that it was Swedish and I was correct.  I then discovered that there was a tiny sticker on the back that had some information about the product in English.  It's a hand cream made from beeswax, vegetable oil, and sunflower oil.
  • Lea Journo Hydra-Riche Hydrating Conditioner ($5.21 for 2 fl oz) - The only other time I see packaging like this is for those applesauces or other fruit mixes.  This is not edible!  It's a sulfate-free condition that restores body and shine to hair.
  • Susan Ciminelli Cleansing Milk ($15.00 for 2 fl oz) - This has lavender and calendula extracts.  I think I'll enjoy it, I like cream cleansers because I have sensitive skin.
  • Lalicious Sugar Kiss Extraordinary Whipped Sugar Scrub ($9.50 for 2 oz, full-sized) - I'm dying to smell this but I haven't broken its seal yet because I already have some body scrubs I want to use up first.
  • Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream in Tea Tree ($14 for 2.4 oz) - I've seen a few Meow Meow Tweet products in subscription boxes before and have always wanted to try their stuff.  I prefer natural deodorants, so I'm sure this will be a good fit for me.
  • RGB Nail Color Remove Pad ($1.40 for one pad) - This has no artificial dyes or fragrance.
  • Tiziana Terenzi Mediterranean Candle ($25.00 for ~2.4 oz, full-sized) - I'm guessing on the size of this, but I know the price is correct per the BeautyKind website.  This has a wood wick and a beautiful container, but unfortunately it has zero scent throw.  It actually doesn't have much scent, period.  It looks pretty and I enjoy the crackling of the wood wick, though!
  • RGB Nail Care Liquid Buff ($20.00 for .4 fl oz, full-sized) - This "mimics the look of buffed nails," and I'm not really sure what that means.  A matte look, I'm guessing?
  • Pour le Monde Perfume Samples ($18.09 for three ~.125 fl oz vials) - Guessing again on the size of these, but a full-sized bottle (1.7 fl oz) retails for $82.  "Envision" is a lavender/vanilla/spicy citrus blend, "Empower" is fresh and spirited, and "Together" is a woodsy floral.
  • Patyka Samples - This brand is Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free which is always something I like to see.  This pack included:
    • Absolis Face and Body Serum ($1.40 for .034 fl oz)
    • Absolis Face Cream - Tea Tree ($1.80 for .051 fl oz)
    • Radiant Eye Contour Cream ($7.50 for .051 fl oz)
    • Ultra Rich Radiant Face Cream ($4.80 for .051 fl oz)
    • Repair Night Serum ($10.71 for .051 fl oz)
    • Repair Face Cream ($4.05 for .051 fl oz)
    • Intense Moisturizing Mask ($2.70 for .051 fl oz)
    • Radiant Exfoliating Mask ($2.70 for .051 fl oz)
  • Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9 Repair Balm ($15.00 for .1 fl oz) - So a full-sized version of this costs $255, for 1.7 fl oz!  We can add this to the list of products I will never buy a full-sized jar of.  It's an intense skin moisturizer.  Very intense, based on the price.
  • Duggan Sisters LifeStinks ($6.00 for ~1 oz) - This is a safe and effective natural deodorant, and it can also be used as a dry shampoo, foot powder, or toothpaste!
  • Christian Siriano Silhouette ($1.36 for for .033 oz) - I received this in my January Birchbox and I really like the scent.  I was surprised to see it in this box because I didn't think of it as a natural product, but I'll still take another sample of it.
  • Gloss Moderne High Gloss Masque ($16.25 for ~1 oz) - This is a hair mask for high gloss shine.
My favorite product so far is the Molliderm cream.  My hands have been so dry and cracked this winter, and it's nice and rich and leaves my hands feeling soft.  I also like the candle, even though it doesn't have much of a scent.  I'm most excited to try the Meow Meow Tweet deodorant cream.

Bottom Line: This box would have been an excellent deal at $50, but it was even more amazing for only $25!  The total retail value adds up to approximately $288.22, since I had to guess on the weights/volumes of some of the products.  I'm excited to dig in and find some new favorites, hopefully I don't fall in love with any of the really expensive ones!
  • You can get $25 off of any order simply by clicking here and using my link!  Don't forget to choose your charity to donate to!
What do you think of this box?  Have you tried any of these brands before?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Bare Bliss Box Review

I bought a voucher from Gilt City for one month of Bare Bliss Box, a subscription that's been on my "to try" list for a while.  They send organic beauty products and promise to only feature brands that create toxin-free cosmetics.

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

Bare Bliss Box normally costs $19.99 a month, with shipping included. They also have three- and six-month subscriptions available, for $16.99/month and $12.99/month, respectively.  The Gilt City voucher I purchased was for $12, but there was also a $3 shipping charge, so the box cost me $15.

There were five items total, and two of them were full-sized.  I was impressed by the packaging and the curation of items.

  • Box Naturals Box Feminine Towelettes ($2.66 for two towelettes) - These gently-scented wipes are made with all-natural ingredients and organic essential oils.  They're also 100% biodegradable and free of parabens, dyes, petrochemicals, sulfates, and synthetic fragrance.
  • Adorn Nails Nail Polish ($11 for .5 fl oz, full-sized) - I got the shade "Fairy Dust & Happy Thoughts," which is a light gold/cream pearl shimmer.  They're "Big 5" free and come in a variety of colors.
  • Pure By She She Creamy Body Wash ($2.49 for 2 fl oz) - I received the scent "Sweet Orange."  This is cruelty-free certified by PETA and is plant-based.  It's also vegan.  It has a distinct scent, but it doesn't really smell like sweet orange to me.  I'm glad to have a body wash that's free of harsh chemicals, though.
  • S.W. Basics of Brooklyn Vegan Cocoa Lip Balm ($4 for .15 oz, full-sized) - I've owned a lot of lip balms and other products from S.W. Basics of Brooklyn in the past, but I had never tried the vegan variety.  This smells just like cocoa and provides long-lasting relief from chapped lips.
  • Palmetto Derma Retinol & Peptide Infused Lifting Eye Cream ($8.50 for .125 oz) - A full-sized version of this (1 oz) retails for $68, so even if I loved it, I probably wouldn't buy a full-sized tub.  I'm sure that it's wonderful, I just have too many eye creams to get through already so I posted this up for swap.  It is also cruelty-free certified by PETA, and it is made with botanical oils and organic vitamins and minerals, among other things.
Bottom Line: I liked this box.  The total retail value is $28.65.  My voucher was good for one box and did not automatically renew, so as of now I am unsubscribed.  I would consider subscribing to Bare Bliss Box in the future, but right now I think I have too many subscriptions to manage as it is.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest Post: 14 Questions To Help You Launch Your Own Subscription Box!

I post about subscription boxes quite a bit here, but today I have a guest post from Katherine Raz about how you can start your own subscription box service!  I won't lie, I've definitely toyed with the idea myself.  Read on for all of Katherine's tips!

Photo credit: Brown paper packages tied up with strings via photopin (license)
If you've been subscribing to monthly boxes for a while, chances are you might have considered starting one yourself. The marketplace is so saturated now, though, it seems like there's a subscription box for pretty much everything already. While this is great for shoppers, it doesn't feel awesome if you want to start a business in a niche that hasn't already been dominated by one of the major subscription box players.

But there are still great subscription box ideas out there! Your answers to these questions might uncover an idea that'll work for you.

Successful subscription box companies share one thing in common: they make people feel awesome about themselves. You can launch a similar subscription box company to one that already exists if you can master the art of making your subscribers feel like they're getting more value by subscribing to your box. To do that, you need to brainstorm subscription box ideas that add a unique value to people's lives.

Here are 14 questions to help get you thinking about what type of subscription company can do that:
  1. What wears out quickly? What do you grow out of quickly? What gets old or obsolete that you can replace with a subscription?
  2. What’s a regular hassle for you?
  3. What do you wish you never had to leave the house to buy again?
  4. What are you frequently out of?
  5. What would impress people in your social circle if you had it and no one else did? What if you had a new one of these each month?
  6. What can be bundled to create a unique surprise each month?
  7. What are some seasonal needs that could be satisfied by a subscription?
  8. What could a subscription offer access to that is otherwise hard to come by? Are there products that you don’t have access to (think: geographical area, industry connections, etc.) that you would like to have access to on a regular basis? Or vice versa: do you have access to something others would like access to?
  9. What do you have in-depth knowledge of that you could bring to a wider audience?
  10. What is a little luxury that you would like to indulge in on a regular basis, but that you don’t usually allow yourself?
  11. What life experiences do you have, from being a parent to being a patient, that have given you insight into small inconveniences that could be made better with a regular shipment of something?
  12. Is there something you regularly rent or borrow that could be made more convenient if it came in the mail as a subscription you could send back?

Katherine is the author of of the e-book How to Start and Run a Successful Subscription Box Company and runs the blog Hey Little Engine.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February Scentbird Review - Chocolat Mat

I never used to be that interested in perfumes, but I've recently converted to being slightly obsessed, thanks to Scentbird.  I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my February perfume because I was so curious to see if it would smell as wonderfully as I was hoping it would.

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

If you're not familiar with Scentbird, they send authentic designer perfumes to you each month for $14.95 (shipping included).  If you live in New York like I do, it'll cost you a little over $16 due to tax.  They have hundreds of perfumes to choose from, from brands like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, and more!  Your first month will include a deluxe case and felt drawstring bag, which you can see in my first review.

This month I chose Chocolat Mat by Masaki Matsushima because I love chocolate, and apparently I wanted to smell like it.  I prefer warm scents that err on the sweet side, so I figured this would be right up my alley.  The description Scentbird says that the heart notes are "lush cacao and dark chocolate," with coconut and musk base notes and a top note of rose.

I immediately spritzed it on my wrist and was disappointed by how light the scent was.  I could pick up notes of chocolate, but the entire perfume was very faint.  After five minutes I could hardly smell anything at all, no exaggeration.  This perfume originally debuted in 1994 and I know they lose potency as time goes on, so that may be why it's so weakly scented.  Or it could just be like that regardless.  Either way, I was bummed that this wasn't stronger.  I probably won't even bother to use it because the scent fades so quickly.

Bottom Line: Even though this month's perfume was a bit of a disappointment, I'm still excited to get more shipments from Scentbird!  Next month I've selected Lady Million by Paco Rabanne, and I have a feeling I'm going to love it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Love With Food Tasting Box Review

I feel like I say this every month, but February's Love With Food box is my most favorite one yet!  I really liked a good amount of the items this month, and they featured a few of my favorite brands.

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

The theme is, appropriately, Mardi Gras, though I felt that most of the snacks included mostly could be appropriate for any region.  The themes don't matter as much to me, though; what I'm really interested in is getting some good snacks!

Love With Food has three box options:
  • Tasting Box: $10/month, 8+ snacks per month
  • Deluxe Box: $17/month, 16-20 snacks per month
  • Gluten Free Box: $24.50/month, 8-12 snacks per month
    • Get 50% off your first Gluten Free box with coupon code GFSAS
All boxes have free shipping to addresses within the U.S. and its territories.  They also donate one meal to a hungry child for each Tasting Box purchase, and two meals per box for the Deluxe and Gluten Free boxes.

I took this photo with my iPhone because I wanted to eat them right away and didn't want to wait to have good natural lighting the next day, so the quality isn't as great.  Anyway....
  • Snikiddy Baked Mac n' Cheese Puffs - I love Snikiddy!  They have fantastic snacks that have less bad stuff in them than regular chips.  These puffs are one of my favorites because they're perfectly cheesy.
  • Boulder Canyon Olive Oil Kettle Chips - Kettle chips are also one of my favorite snacks.  I thought these would taste more like olive oil, but they were basically just "plain" chips.  I liked them a lot because I do love the crunch of kettle chips.
  • Monbana Traditional Hot Chocolate - I'm actually drinking this as I write this post, and it's very good!  It's just a basic hot chocolate, but it's nice and creamy.
  • Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning - This is the most obvious "Mardi Gras" product in the box.  It's MSG-free and vegan.  I'm going to use it with chicken this week.
  • Dilettante Toffee Crunch Trufflecremes - At first I thought these were going to have a hard toffee center, but it was actually a creamy chocolate filling with little bits of toffee (hence the "trufflecreme" name).  I loved them and I want more!
  • Dolcetto Lemon Wafer Bites - The first photo I took with these was blurry and then I ate them before taking a new photo, but they were a .7 oz package.  I ate them with my morning coffee and they were wonderful.  I loved how light and airy they were, and the lemon creme filling had the perfect amount of flavor.
  • Rise Bar Protein+ Almond Honey Bar - I've had other Rise Bars before that I enjoyed, but this one wasn't one of my favorites.  The flavor was okay, but I didn't care for the texture.  It was kind of grainy and sandy.
  • Divine Chocolate Milk Chocolate Mini Pieces - Divine Chocolate is one of my favorite chocolate brands.  They're fair-trade certified and the chocolate is so smooth and delicious!  I had a full-sized version of this bar in my cupboard when I got the box!
Bottom Line: Aside from the Rise Bar, I loved everything from this box!  I was very happy to see Snikiddy and Divine Chocolate, and I also was happy to be introduced to the other brands.  I am always happy with Love With Food's boxes, and I can't wait to see what they include next month!

  • Get 50% off your first Gluten-Free box! Click here and use coupon code GFSAS!

What do you think of Love With Food?  Have you tried any of these brands before?

Sunday Thoughts + Link Love

I almost wasn't going to do a "thoughts" post this week (I normally do them on Saturdays) because I didn't feel that I had anything to talk about.  But then I started watching the new sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and it got me thinking!

If you haven't heard of Fresh Off the Boat, it airs at 8pm EST on Tuesdays on ABC.  It's inspired by Eddie Huang's memoir of the same name, which is about his experiences growing up as a Taiwanese kid in Orlando, Florida.  His mom, Jessica (played by Constance Wu), is a borderline stereotypical Asian mom who stresses good grades and obedience, but there is a lot more to her than just that.  His dad, Louis (played by Randall Park), is the more gentle of the two and moved the family to Orlando after he started a cowboy-themed restaurant.

I had been meaning to catch this show, but it airs at the same time as Parks and Recreation, which takes precedence for me.  Luckily, it's available on Hulu Plus, so I started watching it this weekend.  I love it!  Constance Wu is hilarious as Jessica, and I can relate a lot to what's going on.  I'm Korean and was adopted at 5 months old by a white family, so I don't know what it's like to grow up in an Asian household, but I do know what it's like to be an Asian kid in a mostly white community.  In the pilot, Eddie gets made fun of by the popular kids because of the food his mom packed him ("Ying Ming's eating worms!"), and he ends up eating outside with the janitor.

Jessica with the neighborhood moms / Nicole Wilder, ABC
The character I relate to most, though, is Jessica.  She tries her best to fit in with the neighborhood moms, all of which are very clique-y and judgmental.  In the most recent episode I watched ("The Shunning"), Jessica makes a tofu dish to share with the women and they all pass it around, making passive-aggressive comments, and no one eats it.  They patronize her by saying something along the lines of, "But we appreciate that you took the time to cook it!"  This struck a chord with me because, as a kid, I went through a very similar experience.  Some of the popular girls lived in my neighborhood growing up, and they would occasionally invite me to hang out with them.  Of course, being a child who wanted to fit in and be "cool," I would always say yes.  Often they would do what a lot of kids do and make fun of me because my family didn't have as much money as theirs, or they'd make me feel like I didn't quite fit into their social circle.  And frankly, I didn't.  They kept me around to make themselves feel superior, just like the women in the show did to Jessica.

Now, I realize that this show is a sitcom and not everything needs to be analyzed in such an in-depth way, but what I love about it is that it brings the experiences of an Asian family to primetime, something that hasn't been around for a very long time (the last time an Asian-American sitcom was on TV was back in 1994, Margaret Cho's All American Girl).  These are situations that I can relate to, and I hope that TV audiences embrace this show.  It tackles race issues, but is still really funny.

Have you watched Fresh Off the Boat?  I'm curious to hear what you think of it!

Now, for some link love....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Devera Naturals Snow Flower Creme Review

Devera Naturals creates wonderful products for naturally beautiful skin.  I have been using their Snow Flower Creme and love how soft it makes my skin feel!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to See, Shop, Love! for review purposes.

The company was inspired by a meeting the founder, Linda, had with woman named Marilu.  Marilu and her grandchildren made their own natural skincare products based on recipes that were formulated by their Swiss ancestors.  They even infused botanicals from the family's garden into the recipes.  Marilu gave Linda some samples of their products and she was soon hooked on them!

The company is named after Linda's mother, Devera Rose, who passed away in 2004.  Shortly after, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In 2006, although she was still battling breast cancer, she and Marilu's family teamed up to bring Devera Naturals to the masses.  I'm so glad that she did!

I opted to try the Snow Flower Creme because I was intrigued by the name.  It contains edelweiss plant stem cells, which have been shown to decrease wrinkles by up to 15% in just 22 days.  The cream also contains goji berry extract, which helps to smooth, lift, and firm the skin.  You can view the rest of the ingredients in the photo above or at the product page.

I don't yet have to worry about wrinkles, but a little preventive care can't hurt!  Regardless of whether you are beginning to develop fine lines or not, this cream is suitable for anyone who is looking for a gentle moisturizer.  The texture is silky smooth, and the air pump dispenses just enough product to cover the face (two pumps are recommended if you want to apply it to your neck as well).  I can see this 1 fl oz bottle lasting me for a while.

Bottom Line: I am very impressed with this cream and am interested in trying more products from the Devera Naturals line!  I love that they use natural, botanical ingredients, and I also love the story behind how the company was founded.  If you're looking for an effective yet gentle moisturizer, I definitely recommend giving the Devera Naturals Snow Flower Creme a try!
What do you think of Devera Naturals?  Which of their products would you like to try?

Friday, February 20, 2015

February Beauty Box 5 Review

February is Beauty Box 5's birthday month, and they're turning three this year!  I always enjoy getting my boxes from them because they always have a good mix of products.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! for review purposes.

Beauty Box 5 is a beauty subscription that sends five deluxe samples and full-sized products to your door each month.  Boxes cost $12 and shipping is free to U.S. residences and an extra $3 to Canadian residences.  Items often include makeup, skincare, and beauty tools!

  • Freeman Beautiful Body Body Wash ($2.99 for 1 fl oz) - I'm not sure if everyone got the same scent, but mine is "Cucumber, Melon & Ginseng."  I'm a little bummed that it's in packet form because I won't use it all in one instance and I find that the packets are difficult to store, but maybe I'll squeeze the rest into a mini travel bottle or something.
  • Avon Big Color Eye Pencil ($3.49 for .056 oz - full-sized) - Avon is not a brand I usually purchase, so I've never used their eye crayons before.  Mine is in the shade "Sunkissed," which appears to be a gold/copper shimmer.  I do love me a good gold eyeshadow.
  • Absolute New York Absolute Love Lip Balm ($5.00 for .42 oz - full-sized) - I've been trying to trade for one of these for a while but was never able to get my hands on one, so I'm really glad it was included in this month's box!  I got the scent/flavor "Strawberry" and it smells amazing.  The bottom of the tin also says "Against Animal Testing," but they don't have an official PETA, Leaping Bunny, or Choose Cruelty Free logo.
  • Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel ($3.99 for .4 fl oz - full-sized) - Oy, another red nail polish!  I love nail polish so much, but I think I'm cursed to receive only reds and pinks (my least favorites) from subscription boxes!
  • Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in Vanilla Frosting ($22.50 for .04 oz - full-sized) - This is a pretty white shimmer that would work great as a highlighter along the brow and inner corners of the eyes!
Bottom Line: This box was great!  Four out of the five products were full-sized, and even though the body was was in a packet, it's still a pretty decent amount of product.  The total retail value of this box adds up to $37.97, not bad for a $12 price tag!

What do you think of Beauty Box 5?

Diptyque Feu de Bois: To Buy or Not To Buy?

I need your help!  If you are no stranger to the blogosphere, you probably know that bloggers love Diptyque candles.  A lot of the bloggers I regularly read (especially beauty bloggers) are always singing the praises of these candles.

As a candle junkie, I am interested in trying a Diptyque, but I'm not so sure I want to throw down the money for them.  If you're not familiar with the brand, their candles cost $60 for a Standard size (190 g, burn time of up to 60 hours) and $30 for the Mini (70 g, burn time of up to 30 hours).  As much as I love to shop and treat myself to things, even I am hesitating about plunking down that much cash for a candle.

But on the other hand, I have heard great things about these candles, especially the Feu de Bois.  I'm also interested in Pomander.  I'm hoping there are some people out there who own or have owned these candles that can give me some input!  I was thinking I'd at least try out a Mini, that way if I hate it at least I didn't spend $60 on it (but $30 is still a lot for 70 g).

Please leave me a comment if you've tried either of these scents, or if you've used any Diptyque candles in the past.  Are they worth the price?  Do they have good scent throw?  Are Feu de Bois and/or Pomander as wonderful as they sound (I really love fall/winter and spicy scents)?

Thanks so much for your input!  Feel free to share your other favorite Diptyque scents that you think I should try, too!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sample Society Mystery Box Review

I bought one or two Sample Society Beauty Boxes a while ago, but I ended up cancelling my subscription because I was accumulating too many samples.  The service wasn't bad, it just didn't blow me away so let it go.  From time to time they offer mystery boxes at discounted prices, though, so I decided to pick one up out of curiosity.

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

I bought a box of five samples for $10.  Sample Society boxes normally contain five samples but cost $15 a month.  You can still buy a mystery box here, they also have ones with 10 (for $18) and 15 (for $25) samples.  I almost bought the 10 sample box, but like I said, I already have a ton of samples so I settled on only five to satisfy my curiosity.

Here's what was inside:
  • PHYTO Phytonectar Ultra Nourishing Oil Treatment - This isn't for sale on the Beauty Bar site anymore, which is kind of weird to me.  Actually, I think it may have been discontinued because I can't find it for sale anywhere, so I have no idea what the retail value is.  You're supposed to apply it from roots to ends, leave it in for at least 15 minutes, then wash it out.  I probably won't use this because I'm not a fan of having to hop back into the shower to wash something out.
  • IPKN Moist & Firm BB Cream SPF 45 ($8.75 for ~.10 mL) - I'm guessing on the size of this since it isn't listed on the bottle.  It's a BB cream that also says "brightening and wrinkle care" on it.  It's in the shade 02-Light, which is definitely going to be too light for me.  I don't use BB creams anyway, I need more coverage.
  • Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien ($.55 for 1.75 mL) - This is a bright, citrus scent and it isn't my style.  I prefer darker, warmer scents.  The notes include Sicilian lemon, Mandarin grapefruit, bergamot, and some others.  It's nice, but not sweet or warm enough for me.
  • Orlane Paris Hydro-Matifying Care ($7.12 for .11 oz) - I swapped for this once but don't remember much about it.  The actual sample tube is very small, so it's not enough for me to really judge how well it works with my skin (and I'll never spend $110 on a full-sized jar), but this sample is probably the most relevant to my needs out of the box.  It's for mixed/oily skins and is supposed to tighten pores.
  • elemental herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel ($19.42 for .5 fl oz) - I like this sample the best.  It's made "primarily of natural ingredients with minimal processing," according to the product page.  It purifies pores, exfoliates, and stimulates skin's metabolism.  The tube warns that it contains AHA, which may increase sun sensitivity, so I hope it isn't too harsh on my skin.
Bottom Line: Even though most of these samples were a bust, I'm still glad I bought this box.  I think mystery boxes can be fun, and I knew that there was a possibility that I wouldn't want or have a use for any of the samples.

Did you purchase a Sample Society mystery box?  What did you get in yours? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

February Birchbox Review

For February, Birchbox decided to not go with the usual love and romance theme and opted instead for a theme of Friendship.  I appreciated this diversion from the norm because, even though I'm in a relationship, I'm not into Valentine's Day.

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

Birchbox costs $10 a month with free shipping, but if you live in New York like I do it's going to cost you $10.80 because of state tax.  They recently started shipping to Canada as well.

My box this month was okay.  I wasn't jumping for joy over any of the samples, but I felt that it was a decent assortment.  I got a perfume sample this time, but I'm starting to come around to them more.  I still don't want more than six per year (you can choose this option in your user profile), but I've resigned myself to the fact that Birchbox isn't getting rid of them.  Plus, I've discovered a few that I really like because of them.

  • CLEAN Skin Eau de Parfum ($.96 for .03 fl oz) - "Clean" is the perfect way to describe this scent.  It's supposed mimic the scent of bare skin, but I know my bare skin has never smelled like this!  I do like it, though.  It has notes of lotus blossom, blue rose, honeydew, and white musk.  The base notes include amber wood and creamy vanilla, and those are the notes that really attract me to this perfume.  I wouldn't purchase a full-sized version, but I will use up this sample.
  • Jules and Esther Cucumber Eye Gel ($3.24 for .12 oz) - I like that this is 98% natural and 75% organic, and I have a like/dislike relationship with the texture.  It is very gel-y in texture, so much so that I feel like I'm dipping my finger into a pot of Jell-O.  It makes it kind of difficult to remove the right amount from the container, but it does make it very easy to dot along my eyes.  The skin around your eyes is incredibly delicate, so you don't want anything that will tug at it too much.  I don't mind this, but I probably wouldn't purchase a full-sized jar of it.
  • Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet ($2.93 for 3 mL) - I didn't even bother to try this because I already have too many skincare products.  Plus, this sample is way too small to really be able to tell whether it works with my skin or not.  It's a gel-cream derived from grapes that hydrates skin and reduces redness.  I do have issues with redness so I'm curious about the efficacy of this, but not enough to buy a full-sized version.
  • benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash ($8.00 for .1 oz) - benefit is not a brand I purchase, but there's been a lot of buzz about this new release so I decided to try it instead of posting it for swap.  If any of you didn't receive this but really wanted it, don't worry--you didn't miss anything.  It's a nice mascara, but it did nothing as far as curling for my short, straight lashes.  It was no different than any other mascara I've used before.  I would say this one isn't worth the money.
  • PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray ($4.90 for 1 fl oz) - I've been all about sea salt sprays lately, so when this was one of the options for sample selection I picked it right away.  I actually haven't tried it yet, but it's been getting good reviews on Birchbox.  It's also a Birchbox exclusive.  If this works well for me I will definitely purchase a full-sized bottle in the future; I think the price is pretty fair.
Bottom Line: Overall, this wasn't a bad box.  The approximate retail value for all of my samples was $20.03, which is a good deal for only $10.80.  I hope that the PARLOR spray works well for me, because that's the only product I would consider buying a full-sized version of, but I'll have fun using up the other samples.

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Vivicin Lip and Cold Sore Cream Review

If you've ever have a cold sore then you know how painful they can be.  I've had my fair share of them in the past, but luckily haven't had any in about a year.  Whether you currently suffer from cold sores or are cold-sore free and would like to stay that way, Vivicin is here to help!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes.

Vivicin is a 95% natural, clinically-tested cold sore cream that can help heal and prevent sores.  It contains nourishing botanicals and precious oils that rapidly heal and soothe existing cold sores.  Daily use helps promote healthy, cold-sore free lips.  It's free from parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, DEA, TEA, and gluten.  It's also free from irritants such as benzyl alcohol and behenyl alcohol.

Oils of argan, grape seed, avocado, sweet almond, jojoba, and olive fruit can all be found in Vivicin; as well as baptisia (wild indigo) extract, natrum muriaticum (table salt), and arnica (flowers from the daisy family) extract.

One tube of Vivicin contains .07 oz of product.  Although it seems small (I placed a quarter in the photo above for size comparison), a small amount of this product goes a long way.  I've found that this is usually the size of the tubes for cold sore products.

To heal a cold sore, apply Vivicin as soon as the first signs of an outbreak appear.  You should reapply it five times daily for 10 days, or until the cold sore has completely healed.  To keep you lips cold-sore free, Vivicin can be applied on a daily basis.  It's nourishing and hydrating formula helps lips stay healthy and moisturized.

As I said, I haven't had a cold sore in a while, so I've been using this more as a lip balm and daily treatment.  I apply just a small drop to my finger and then spread it onto my lips, and it lasts quite a while.  The texture is smooth and I appreciate how long-lasting the hydration is.  Unfortunately I can't report any experiences with how well it treats existing cold sores, but you can read more about cold sores and how Vivicin helps them at their FAQ page.

Bottom Line: I am impressed with how well Vivicin moisturizes my lips, and I trust that it will keep me cold-sore free.  Although I didn't have any existing cold sores to test it on, I think it would still be effective at treating them and would still recommend giving it a try!
  • Visit the Vivicin website to purchase and learn more.
    • Vivicin is offering free shipping to the 48 contiguous states on your first purchase (no coupon code required)!
  • Connect with them on Facebook and YouTube
Have you ever suffered from cold sores?  What do you think of Vivicin?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday Thoughts

Happy Valentine's Day!  I am one of those people who doesn't care about V-Day, but I know it's special to a lot of people so I try not to be very bah-humbug about it.  I do love the abundance of chocolate, though!

Pete and I didn't do anything special today.  We did end up going to Chili's for dinner (so romantic! haha), but that was more on a whim because we didn't feel like cooking.  Originally we were thinking of going to Olive Garden, but we called them and they had an hour wait and we weren't feeling all that patient.

I don't have too many thoughts or opinions to share today, but I did just get back from the mall and I got some pretty good deals.  I got my federal tax return already so I wanted to treat myself a little bit before I put the rest in my savings.  I've been wanting a pair of Muk Luks slippers for a while and I found a pair on clearance at JC Penney for only $5 and I also picked up a Vince Camuto perfume set (it has a .34 fl oz EDP purse spray, a 1.0 fl oz EDP, and a 2.5 fl oz lotion) for $25 at Burlington Coat Factory.  The JC Penney also has a Sephora inside so I picked up a NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation because I've heard really good things about it.  That ended up being the only thing I paid full price for.  I got it in Medium 1.5 Vallauris and it matches my skin tone pretty well.

My new Muk Luks.  They're fleece-lined and so comfortable!
I hope you all had a good Valentine's Day, or just a good Saturday if you're like me and you don't celebrate Valentine's!

Lastly, here are some links I'm loving from this past week:

IV Chic Hair Jewelry Review and Coupon

I wear my hair in a ponytail or bun most days because I don't really like the feeling of having hair on my shoulders or in my face.  That being said, sometimes it's difficult to dress up a ponytail for work, but I'm too lazy to be willing to give up my tied back hair for the office.  That's where IV Chic comes in: they have lots of fun hair jewelry to dress up any up-do!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes.

IV Chic's designs range from $10 to $38, and they offer free shipping on orders over $50.  I was impressed by their packaging; even though it's simple it's really cute.

Inside of the outer pillow pack was a little drawstring burlap bag with my jewelry inside.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting as far as packaging went, but I was surprised that it came in a bag like this.  It makes it much easier to store or take with you if you're traveling.

The design I chose was the Los Angeles bracelet, which can be found in the "City Chic" category on the IV Chic website.  I liked the spikes and I thought it was an interesting design, and I figured it would look good on my wrist as well as in my hair.

I tied my hair back into a ponytail with an elastic first and then placed the Los Angeles bracelet around it but, as you can see, it's a little bit larger than the circumference of my ponytail.  I then looped it around twice and got this result:

I think that this design would look best around a bun or topknot, since it's too big to fit around a standard ponytail.  It also still looks great as a regular bracelet, in case hair jewelry isn't your type of thing.  The design I chose is pretty loud in terms of color and design, but IV Chic has more subdued and simple designs as well, so I would recommend checking them out even if you haven't considered hair jewelry before, because I'm sure you could find something to fit your style.

Bottom Line: IV Chic is a fun and affordable way to dress up your hair!  I will definitely be using this as a bracelet and when I wear my hair in a bun.  I like that IV Chic has lots of different designs at varying price points, so they're accessible to everyone.
What do you think of IV Chic?  Have you ever worn hair jewelry?

Friday, February 13, 2015

February PopSugar Must Have Review

I feel like I get my PopSugar Must Have box a while after everyone else does, so you've probably already read a review of it somewhere else.  But that's okay, because you're still here and reading mine!  Plus, we all have different opinions about the items, and I enjoy reading what everyone thinks.

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

I purchased January's Must Have box after it originally shipped to subscribers because I really wanted the Keep Cup and PopSugar offered the boxes for 50% off to new subscribers.  I was originally just going to order a new Keep Cup Brew, but it would have cost $30 after shipping so, since it was cheaper to buy the box at half price, I bought the box!  I've said this before, but I've been thoroughly impressed by the Must Have boxes as of late, so I kept my fingers crossed that February's wouldn't disappoint.

It didn't!  I was anxiously trolling the blogosphere for spoilers (I am the most impatient person of all time) and when Liz at posted her review I was so excited!  I thought the box was very well curated and I couldn't wait to get mine.  Unfortunately, mine didn't even ship until after most bloggers already had theirs, but at least it came only two days after I got the shipping notice.

If you're new to PopSugar Must Have, it's a lifestyle box that costs $39.95 a month.  It's more expensive than some of the other boxes out there, but I think it has been very well worth the cost because their curation has been on point!

There were technically two beauty items this month and one extra.  I was glad that PopSugar included two natural brands, even though tarte is a little less natural than they advertise as (but still, better than nothing!).
  • Figs & Rouge 100% Natural Balm ($6.14 for .60 oz) - The varieties varied on this one, and I got the Pomegranate scent.  I don't think it really smells like pomegranate, but it's not unscented, either.  I think it actually smells more like beeswax (one of the main ingredients, so it isn't vegan) than anything else.  I'm not concerned, though, because scent is not that important to me when it comes to lip balms.  I prefer natural ones because they are generally more effective than petroleum-based ones, and I'm looking forward to using this one.  Oh, one last thing--as you can see from the photo above, some of the oils started to condense on my balm, but I just ran my finger over it and they were gone (this is a common occurrence with natural products).
  • tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush ($26 for .20 oz) - This is in the shade "True Love," which everyone received. It's described on tarte's website as being "watermelon" in color, which is accurate.  I've heard that this doesn't have the best pigmentation, but I'm willing to give it a try.
  • Sally Beauty FingerPaints Nail Color ($5.49 for .50 fl oz) - This was a bonus item and the shades included varied.  Mine is "Pink Imagination."  I feel like I only ever get pink or red nail polishes from subscriptions, and those are the two colors I do not want.  I posted this for swap because I just won't use it.
  • BaubleBar Mini Arrow Pendant Necklace ($32) - I can't find this on the BaubleBar site, but the info card says the suggested retail is $32, which sounds about right.  This was available in silver or gold, and I got the gold version.  It has little crystals on it as well.  This is cute, but not my style, so I posted it for swap.
  • U.S. Apothecary Rose Water Bubble Bath ($30 for 12 oz) - I love the packaging on this so much!  It's so cute and is perfect for Valentine's Day, but I won't be using it because I'm not a fan of floral scents (especially rose).  Strong florals give me a headache, and this is very highly scented.  I like that it's vegan and made with natural ingredients, though!
  • ACME Party Box Company Bamboo Heart Cutting Board & Cheese Knife ($32) - This was my favorite item in the box and is also a PopSugar exclusive!  I was just thinking that I didn't have anything like this for entertaining, and then I saw that it would be included in the box and was excited to have it.  I linked to a similar one on the ACME Party Box site that's only $24, in case you're interested in it and didn't get this box.
  • Chuao Chocolatier Ravishing Rocky Road Bar ($6 for 2.8 oz) - I don't have a photo of this because I ate it today and forgot to take a quality photo.  I LOVE Chuao's chocolates.  All of them!  Surprisingly, this bar was one of the few varieties I hadn't tried yet, and I loved it.  It has salted caramelized almonds and marshmallows and it's just absolutely phenomenal.  It kind of reminds me of a fancy s'more!  They're on sale for $4 on the Chuao site (click the product name to go to the site), so if they aren't available in a store near you I highly suggest ordering some.
Bottom Line: Even though I won't use every item in this box, I still thought it was great!  I don't expect to love every single thing every single time, but overall I want to be happy and feel that I got my money's worth.  The total retail value here adds up to $137.63, so that's definitely a win to me!

What do you think of this month's box?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February Pijon Box Review

I decided to give Pijon Box a try because I've seen reviews of their past boxes and always like the mix of items they included.  They also ran a promo back in either December or January where you could try your first box free if you paid $1.99 shipping, so of course I had to sign up.

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

Pijon Box was designed as a care package for college students, but it really could be a fun treat for anyone.  You can choose a women's, men's, or gender neutral box (this review is for the women's box).  Here are the pricing options:
  • 4 months for $115.96 (one-time payment, $27/month + $1.99 shipping per month)
  • 8 months for $215.92 (one-time payment, $25/month + $1.99 shipping per month)
  • Custom for $30.99/month ($29/month + $1.99 shipping)
Since this box was designed for college students, it ships from September to December for the fall semester and from February to May for the spring semester.  Pijon Box is open to shipping during the summer, just send them an email and let them know you're interested!

I love the idea of Pijon Box.  Getting packages from my parents while I was in school was always exciting, and I think Pijon Box does a good job of picking items that college kids will both want and need.  February's box was a little lacking compared to past ones I've seen, but since I only paid $1.99 for it I wasn't too disappointed (although I would have felt differently if this cost me $30.99).

  • Not Your Mother's Plump For Joy Thickening Hair Lifter ($5.99 for 8 fl oz) - I already have pretty thick hair but I was interested in trying this because I've been letting my hair air dry more often recently and I like to add a little product to keep it from looking too flat.  I liked this a lot; I applied it to damp hair and scrunched it and it left my hair looking wavy.
  • Color Club Nail Polish in Love Links and Nature's Way ($8.50 for .5 fl oz) - I took the price directly from the Color Club website, but I have never actually seen one of their polishes on sale for that high of a price.  Usually they cost more like $5.  Anyway, I like the Color Club brand quite a lot so I'm glad Pijon Box included them.  I posted these for swap because they're similar to colors I already have, but if I didn't have so many nail polishes already I would have been really excited to get these!
  • Vapur Reflex Foldable Water Bottle ($7.99) - I feel like I've seen a foldable water bottle in a previous Pijon Box, but I could be making that up.  These are always handy to have and are great for on-the-go.  It has a carabiner attachment so a student could easily clip it to their backpack.  I took this to the gym tonight and it wasn't the best for that because it doesn't hold a ton of water, but I'd definitely take it elsewhere.
  • Oatworks Fruit Smoothie in Pomegranate Blueberry ($2.99 for 12 fl oz) - I took the price for this from the Pijon Box site (you can buy all of the products in their store).  I've had this before from a different subscription box and I think I liked it.  I don't remember hating it, so that's good!  I like to take drinks like this to work to have for breakfast.
  • Revolution Tea Sample Pack ($2.99 for three teas) - This sample pack has Peach Mango Green Tea, Blackberry Jasmine Oolong Tea, and Raspberry Black Tea inside.  I like tea but I don't drink it daily, so I currently have quite a collection building up in my cabinet.  I had the Peach Mango one last night though and it was delicious!
Bottom Line: The overall retail value of this box adds up to $28.46, so it's just a little bit less than the $30.99 price tag for anyone who purchased this using the custom option.  Obviously if you purchased a 4- or 8-month subscription it's closer to the price you paid for the box.  I also think the value is relative, because although the foldable water bottle retails for $'s a water bottle.  Even so, I liked this box.  I think it's a great idea and I know I would have loved to have received one when I was in college.  Plus, if your parents are buying it for you, I guess the retail value doesn't really matter!