Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Birchbox Review

Birchbox teamed up with Rifle Paper Co. last April to create some really beautiful box designs, and they did it again this year! I love these boxes.

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

I actually ended up receiving the same design that I had picked out when I made a Build Your Own Birchbox last month (read that review here). They had three total designs in the store.

My box was pretty good this month. I didn't love all of the samples, but it there was a decent variety and I'll use most of the items.

  • Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask - Since I heat style and now have highlights in my hair I like to use a deep condition mask once a week. I ended up swapping this one, though, because I already have a ton of masks and mask samples to use up.
  • Malin+Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer -  I really liked this moisturizer and I wish it came in something other than a foil packet. It was really smooth and felt lightweight on my skin. A full-sized bottle is $46 for about four ounces, so I unfortunately (probably) won't end up buying any more of this.
  • Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser - This is a nice little cleanser. I started using it but then stopped because the size is perfect for travel, and I want to save it for when I go back to NYC in June.
  • amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner - I use amika's dry shampoo and I really like it, but I had never heard of dry conditioner before. It's exactly what it sounds like: a dry spray that you apply to your strands to condition them on days you don't wash with regular shampoo and conditioner. I tried it and didn't really notice much of a difference in my hair, so I wouldn't buy a full-sized bottle of this.
  • RMS Beauty The Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes - I like RMS Beauty as a whole, but I hated these wipes. I use makeup wipes daily to remove my makeup after work but before I want to do my full nightly skincare routine, and I want them to leave my skin feeling fresh and clean. These are made with coconut oil, and while I know it's good for your skin, it left me feeling even oilier than when I had started. These are probably better for someone with very dry skin.
  • Au Naturale Cosmetics Trio - I chose this as my sample choice because I like the Au Naturale brand. The sample is very tiny and honestly kind of useless, but it has a lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush in it. The packaging is cute and easy to take with you, so I'll probably throw this in my gym bag for very basic touch ups.
Bottom Line: Nothing in this box really stood out to me as something I loved, but I enjoyed the Malin+Goetz products and the amika conditioner. Hopefully next month will be a little bit more exciting.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Julep - New 5 Piece Gift Set with Subscription!

Now is a great time to subscribe to Julep! They're offering a FREE Cue in the Color 5 Piece Beauty Gift, valued at $78, when you subscribe! This is even available for one-month subscriptions.

*Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate links.

5 pc beauty gift FREE when you join Julep

Julep is known for their nail polish, but each month they also send color cosmetics, skincare, and more! You'll get the extra 5-piece set when you pay for your first month. The subscription costs $24.99 per month for all full-sized items.

To redeem the gift set, enter code COLORLOVE at check out. Then, on May 20th, log into Julep and select the products you want in your first subscription box. The 5-piece set includes:
  • One nectar pink lip crayon
  • One fuschia creme polish
  • One mint creme polish
  • One electric violet polish
  • One electric teal eye pencil
Head over to Julep now to subscribe and grab your free gift!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Glitter Garden Farm Wax Melt of the Month Review

I have an obsession with buying candles and other home scent products, so I especially enjoy scent of the month subscriptions. The Wax Melt of the Month subscription from Glitter Garden Farm sends new scents right to you for a incredibly affordable price!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Glitter Garden Farm is a small family business operating out of a micro farm in Tennessee. They've been offering hand-poured wax tarts and candles for a while but noticed an increase in requests for these products after moving to an online market on Etsy.

The Wax Melt of the Month subscription costs $3.99 per month. They also have three months available for $10.78 and six months for $21.55. Each month they'll send a new, inviting scent in the form of a soy blend wax melt.

Since the subscriptions are purchased through Etsy, recurring billing is a little different than other subscription services. You'll receive a letter from Glitter Garden Farm with your last box letting you know it's time to renew. They're very flexible with renewals, so even if you want to wait a week or two before renewing you can do that! You won't be automatically billed for a new duration when your initial subscription period ends. The reason they don't use a service like CrateJoy yet is because they don't yet move enough volume to cover the cost of those types of platforms.

I received two full-sized wax melts in the Country Garden scent and four smaller squares in Lullaby (blue), Hugs (red), Sweet Berry (purple), and an unnamed green square. I think the green one may be their Green Tea scent. Here's a description of each, from the Glitter Garden Farm Etsy shop:
  • Country Garden - It's like walking through a charming country garden. The soft grass and clover beneath your feet, birds fluttering nearby and every flower is in bloom. Country Garden is fresh green clover, snapdragon, ivy, rose petals and carnations.
  • Hugs - Like a Spring breeze hugging your skin to blow Winter away. Hugs is a blend of delicate flowers, jasmine and a touch of lemon leaf.
  • Lullaby - Soothing and relaxing. Lullaby has a heavy scent of baby powder with notes of lavender and cedar wood.
  • Sweet Berry - Sweet and ripe blackberries, tart raspberries in a bowl of sweet cream with a dash of warm vanilla. Sweet berries is a charming dessert in wax tart form.
  • Green Tea - A soothing hot cup of green tea infused with lemongrass and fresh herbs. This is a comforting scent that's sure to be an every day melt!
There were no instructions included with my shipment, but the website says to cut each large wax melt into four squares and use one square at a time in an electric wax warmer.

My favorite scent in the bunch is Sweet Berry! All of the waxes have a good scent throw and smell exactly how I would expect them to based on their descriptions. 
Bottom Line: I think the Glitter Garden Farm Wax Melt of the Month subscription is a steal at only $3.99 per month! You'll save even more if you subscribe for a duration of three- or six-months. All of the scents I received were lovely and I'm looking forward to using them all in the future.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sente Redness Control Complex Review

A lot of people tell me I have beautiful skin, but I tell them it's because of makeup! Granted, I don't have any major issues with acne or anything like that, but my main complaint about the appearance of my skin is that I have these patches of redness that just don't want to go away. I tried the Sente Redness Control Complex for a month, hoping that it would be my magic cure!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Sente has collaborated with leading scientists to develop skincare products proven to be safe and effective for anyone seeking healthy skin. They use rigorous clinical studies to drive product innovation and development of their products.

Their HSA Technology uses heparan sulfate, a "master molecule for age management," according to the Sente website, in a low molecular weight formation. HSA is essential for skin hydration and rejuvenation. It also diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin tone and texture.

The Redness Control Complex specifically works to balance red skin with minor irritation to create a smooth and even complexion. I was so excited to try this because nothing I had used prior ever worked to really balance out my skin tone.

I used the Redness Control Complex for a month and was very happy with the results after the first two weeks. The product comes in a one ounce bottle with an airtight pump dispenser. I used a pea-sized amount after washing my face and applying toner, since I was only putting this on my cheeks. The consistency is that of your average facial moisturizer -- a white cream that spreads evenly and doesn't feel heavy on the skin. The instructions advise to use sunscreen after applying this during the day.

As I said, after using this for two weeks my redness was almost gone! I couldn't believe that this was actually working, simply because nothing had worked before. I continued to use it for the full month, though, since I like to try out skincare for that long to see how it really works with my skin. Unfortunately, after a month I felt like my redness had returned. I'm not really sure why; maybe it had something to do with the other skincare products I was using in conjunction with this. I suspect it had something to do with the SPF moisturizer I was using, because it was different than the one I was using prior to using the Redness Control Complex.

Here are my before and after photos. I'm embarrassed to have these shots of my face, sans makeup, online, but I figured it was important to show you the results! As you can see, I have clear red patches on my cheeks and also a bit on my nose in the "before" shots. Now that I look at these side by side, the redness is still there in the "after" shots, but it looks less prominent.
  • The Redness Control Complex is not listed on the Sente website, but you can browse their other products at their website. It's also available at select physicians' offices.
  • Connect with Sente on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Bottom Line: I think that the Sente Redness Control Complex has improved the look of my skin. While my redness isn't completely gone, I have only been using this for a month, so I will continue to use it to see if it continues to reduce my issues.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April Batterbox Review and Coupon

I have a confession to make: I used to hate baking. I love to cook, but baking was always too precise and I felt like I never had the time to bake anything from scratch. But then I was introduced to Batterbox, which made baking fun and easy!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review. Post contains affiliate links.

Batterbox is a new subscription that sends everything you need to make themed treats each month! It was started by two best friends, Robin and Candace. Robin realized how expensive it was to buy all the ingredients and tools needed for one cake and wanted to make baking more cost efficient. She enlisted her taste tester, Candace, and launched Batterbox to do just that!

Subscriptions are available in one-, three-, six-, and 12-month renewing periods and are priced as follows:
  • One month for $29.99/month
  • Three months for $85.00 every three months ($28.33/month)
  • Six months for $162.00 every six months ($27.00/month)
  • 12 months for $299.98 every 12 months ($24.99/month)

Each month's box will contain everything you need to make a dessert with a crafty theme. March's box was centered around Spring and April's had an April showers theme. They're great for everyone, and also would be a really fun activity to do with children (definitely with adult supervision, though).

You can see all of the items that were in the box in the first photo in this post. As you can see, everything is perfectly portioned! I love that. It is expensive to buy all of the ingredients and tools, and this is so much easier since everything is pre-measured and ready to go.

The box also contained a three page print out with the instructions and colorful photos. And index card with a list of the exact ingredients provided and what you needed to supply (and the instructions again) was also included. The only ingredients I needed to have were butter, three eggs, and milk.

So what was April's treat? Confetti Vanilla Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream! I had so much fun making these! The process was super easy and I loved not having to worry about measure out (most of) the ingredients. The cupcakes were also way more creative than anything I've ever baked before. The photo above shows the candy melt umbrellas that ended up being the finishing touch.

Normally when I bake I buy a mix in a box and don't get too fancy. For these cupcakes I mixed up the batter from the ingredients provided, but then separated it and added blue food coloring to some for the bottom "puddles" of the cupcakes. Then blue sprinkles were added to the remaining non-colored batter for "rain drops." So creative!

Bake 'em up for 18-20 minutes at 350°F, and you've got yourself some really beautiful cupcakes! I would have never thought to add food coloring or sprinkles to batter, but now I'm going to experiment with all different colors for future cupcakes and cakes!

One thing I want to note is that these would be so much easier to make if you have a stand or handheld mixer. I have neither, so everything got mixed by hand. It wasn't difficult by any means (meaning the batter wasn't took thick or anything), it was just labor-intensive.

I also made the almond buttercream frosting myself with the ingredients in the box, which I had never done before. The recipe called for shortening to mix with the butter, but it said if you didn't have any you could just whip the butter alone, which I did. I don't know what it would have tasted like with the shortening, but it still tasted delicious without (butter, powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract). The instructions said to use the included piping bag to make clouds out of frosting, but as you can see, I failed miserably at that. I decided to just do a normal circular icing pattern for the rest of the cupcakes.

I had also never used a piping bag before, and wow, does it make such a difference! Normally I would just smooth on icing with a knife and it never ended up looking smooth. I'm going to invest in a reusable piping bag, I think.

Also, aren't these cupcakes beautiful?! I just love the vibrant blue color! I added a lot of food coloring because I like a bright blue, but you could have added more or less if you wanted, the box came with a generous portion of coloring.

The umbrellas were the final touch! I placed this one on wrong--well, not as instructed. I was supposed to put them in upright, with the handle going into the cupcake, but I think they look cute with it lying on top, too.

Now, the most important detail: how did they taste? AMAZING! So good. So good that I ate four of them immediately. FOUR! I couldn't help it. I was so excited to have made them myself, and also, I just really like cupcakes.

I had so much fun with Batterbox and I loved how creative the cupcakes ended up being! I can't wait to share what's left of them with my family. Here's a list of everything that was in the box, so you can get an idea of what to expect in future boxes:

For the cupcakes:

  • Cupcake mix (all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt in one package)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of sprinkles
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the buttercream
  • 2 and 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp almond extract
And, as I said before, all I needed to supply was 8 tbsp butter (1 stick), 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk for the cupcakes; and 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), 1/4 cup shortening (optional), and 3 tbsp milk or cream for the buttercream.
Bottom Line: I think Batterbox is amazing! Making the cupcakes was fun, easy, and delicious. This box turned a former baking-hater into a lover! I can't wait to see what they have in store for future boxes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Beardsmen Spirit Beard Shampoo Review

I sat at my computer, staring at my screen, for a good five minutes trying to think up a witty way to start this review. I clearly couldn't come up with anything. It's not because the product I'm reviewing isn't exciting or interesting, but it's just different than what I normally try. The Beardsmen Spirit Beard Shampoo is for men with big, bushy beards, and I am a lady with no facial hair!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

I've actually reviewed one other Beardsmen Spirit product before, their Beard Oil. Well, my boyfriend at the time reviewed it and I wrote it up. I am now single and I told Beardsmen Spirit that I didn't have a bearded guy in my life to try the product, but I'd still give my honest impressions of the product, and they were okay with that.

This shampoo is formulated specifically for beard hair and is made with natural essential oils. The scent is "Bold Forest," which is a combination of eucalyptus, cedar, and pinewood. I love the scent! It smells exactly what I think of when I think of how a forest should smell.

As you can see from the ingredients list above, there are natural plant oils that treat your skin and beard hair and leave a subtle scent. The shampoo is designed specifically for beard hair. Shampoo made for the hair on your head can strip your beard and facial skin of natural oils and may even leave a waxy feeling afterwards. This shampoo will leave your beard feeling clean and soft to the touch, and also rids it of any itchy feelings or flakes.

Like I said, I couldn't completely and accurately review this because I am sans beard, but I can say that it's a white liquid with a low viscosity (it isn't goopy or sticky). I used it on my hands and it had a slight lather and felt silky smooth. I'd imagine it would lather better against beard hair. I didn't want to try using it on my head hair because that's not what it's made for.

Another nice thing about this beard shampoo is that it comes in a 8.45 fl oz bottle, which is twice the size of most other competing brands. Since you only need a small amount each use, this could definitely last a long time!
Bottom Line: I think the Beardsmen Spirit Beard Shampoo is a great value and would be great for keeping your beard in pristine condition. It has a great scent, is made with natural oils, and the bottle will last you a long time!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Build Your Own Birchbox Review

I went to New York City last weekend for the FDNY v. NYPD Ice Hockey Heroes game at Madison Square Garden (which was so much fun, by the way), and while I was down there I had two other main objectives: buy as many tubs of Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow cookie mix as I could from Milk Bar, and hit up the Birchbox store.

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

The last time I was at the Birchbox store in Soho was December of 2014 (read all about it here) so I was really excited to go back and see what new products they had. If you've never been to the store and have the opportunity to go, then you should definitely go! They have tons of full-sized products available, a salon, and a Birchbox Man section. I didn't shop the full-sized products because I didn't need anything, but I made a beeline for the Build Your Own Birchbox section.

How does it work? Exactly as it sounds. For $15 you can choose five samples from hair care, cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, and...I don't remember the last category. There are big bins of samples though, and you choose one from each category.

The store associate was assisting another customer and there were a few others browsing the section, but I got to work right away because I already knew the drill. They had more samples to choose from this time around so it was hard for me to choose just one from each category!
  • St. Tropez Gradual Tan Moisturizer - I didn't know what this was when I grabbed it. I thought it was just a facial moisturizer but it's also a tanning product. I'm not sure whether I'll use it or not because I don't use any other tanning products and I don't want my face to end up darker than the rest of my body.
  • Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color - I grabbed this as soon as I saw it! I love Oribe products and I wanted to get their "for Beautiful Color" line after I got highlights, but they're expensive and I just couldn't justify spending that much on shampoo and conditioner. I used this for the first time tonight and it left my hair feeling wonderfully soft and smooth.
  • Raw Spirit Desert Blush - This smells so amazing! It was the only perfume sample to choose from that I hadn't already tried and I'm so glad I picked it up. It's a floral with notes of Australian Boronia, ylang ylang, osmanthus, jasmine petals, and violets. It's also spicy, with Australian sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk. I don't usually like florals, but the warm spicy notes in this make it perfect.
  • Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil - I love using skincare oils. This moisturizes and tones while also combating clogged pores. It absorbs quickly and doesn't make my skin feel too heavy after applying it.
  • Laqa & Co Cheeky Lip in Mixtape - I couldn't find this exact product on the Birchbox site, but it's a bright red chunky pencil that, I'm assuming based on the name, can be used on your lips or cheeks. I'm going to stick to using this on my lips.
Raw Spirit Desert Blush perfume

Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil

Laqa & Co Cheeky Lip in Mixtape
Bottom Line: Sure, a Build Your Own Birchbox costs $5 more than a regular Birchbox, but it's fun! I like being able to choose my own samples and they had a great selection this time. I'm not sure how often they update it, but probably once every few months at the most. The whole store is a lot of fun to shop, so even if you aren't interested in a Build Your Own, I still recommend giving them a visit!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April Target Beauty Box Review

I've only gotten one other Target Beauty Box before (read that review here) because they usually sell out lightning fast, and by the time I would get around to checking they were long gone. I snagged this month's, though, and I'm glad I did!

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

Target Beauty Boxes come out once a month and must be purchased on a monthly basis--this is not a renewing subscription. Boxes usually cost $5 or $7, and this one cost $7 (shipping is free). It's currently sold out, but you can purchase the individual products featured here.

As you could probably guess since it is from Target, the boxes contain lower-end brands that you can find at stores like Target and other drug stores. That being said, Target has some really great brands for sale so I still think this box is a great deal! Each box also comes with a $3 off coupon on a beauty purchase of $15 or more.

  • Laneige Water Bank Soothing Mask - I love that Target carries Laneige now! I want to work more Korean skincare products into my routine and having such a great brand easily accessible at Target is a huge plus. This mask has a "gel-whipped formula," according to the info card, and offers extra hydration and a smooth finish.
  • Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation - I'm assuming that the same shade was sent with every box, which was "Classic Ivory." This definitely is not going to match my skin color. It's just a tiny sample anyway, though, so I'm not too upset about not being able to use it.
  • Marlowe No. 022 Body Butter - I lost my L'Occitane hand cream somewhere in NYC last weekend so I needed a replacement, and this one is perfect! Even though it's a body butter I'm going to use it as a hand cream only because I love thick creams for the scaly skin I get on my hands (I know, so cute, right?). This is also specially formulated for sensitive skin.
  • Pantene AIRspray Hair Spray - This is a new hairspray that's made without alcohol or ethanol.
  • COVERGIRL Colorlicious Lipstick - I got the shade 375 - Coquette Orchid, which is a subtle mauve shade. It's infused with shea butter and provides lasting color. I haven't swatched it yet, but the shade is really pretty.
  • CeraVe Healing Ointment - This is also perfect for my dry hands. The skin around my knuckles gets so cracked and dry, and this soothes chafed and cracked skin without feeling greasy. It absorbed pretty quickly into my skin and left it feeling so soothed.
  • Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport SPF 30 Lotion - A travel-sized sunscreen is always good to have. This one is oil-free and sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
  • Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes - I've used these before and I like them a lot. I'll throw this sample pack into my gym bag,
CeraVe Healing Ointment

COVERGIRL Colorlicious Lipstick

COVERGIRL Colorlicious Lipstick

Bottom Line: I think this box was excellent for only $7! I think the Laneige mask, Marlowe body butter, and the CeraVe are my favorite products. I wish that it was easier to get one of these boxes, but hopefully I can snag one for May, too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April Beauty Box 5 Review

April's Beauty Box 5 is themed "Hydration Vacation" and has a good mix of skincare and color cosmetics. I'm always impressed by the variety of products that BB5 sends and this month was no different.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Beauty Box 5 costs $12 per month and ships to the U.S. and Canada. Shipping to U.S. is free and $3 for Canada. Each box will have five (sometimes six!) deluxe samples and full-sized products that can range from skincare to hair care to color cosmetics, and more!

Three out of the five products this month were full-sized and I think all of them are great for travel. I just got back from NYC and could have used the body wash, but I'm going again in June so I'll be able to put these all to good use then!
  • Chella Passionate Pink Moisturizing Lip Pencil ($18, full-sized) - I've gotten a few other Chella products from subscription boxes before and they've been great. This is a highly-pigmented red/pink pencil that I think could easily be used to blend onto your cheeks as well.
  • Soapbox Sea Minerals Body Wash ($.60 for 2 fl oz) - This has aloe vera, shea butter, and sea minerals to soothe and cleanse skin. Soapbox also donates one bar of soap to someone in need for each full-sized bottle purchased.
  • Global Beauty Care Green Tea Makeup Remover Wipes ($1.99 for 30 wipes, full-sized) - I use makeup remover wipes daily to take off my makeup after work so I'm always happy to get a new package. These also hydrate and help fight wrinkles.
  • Jelly Pong Pong Paradise Pigments ($19.95, full-sized) - I love the name "Jelly Pong Pong" and I've seen their products popping up in a lot of boxes lately. I received the shade Fig Jam, which is a bright fuschia/pink. This can be used on your lips and cheeks.
  • Maskeraide All Eyes On Me Hydrating Eye Gels ($4.89 for two gels) - These are listed in Canadian dollars on their website with a retail of $25 CAD, so converted to USD that's $19.57 for a full-sized box of four pairs of eye gels. Anyway, I love using eye gels to relax after a long day. These help de-puff your under eye area and also brighten, hydrate, and firm your skin. 
Bottom Line: This month's box had an approximate total retail value of $45.43. I really like the Maskeraide eye gels and the Chella lip pencil! All of these products are great to take with you on vacation and I'll be doing just that.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Scentbird Now Available A La Carte!

Scentbird is a great subscription for any perfume lover, but if you don't want to commit to a renewing subscription you can now purchase individual bottles without subscribing!

*Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate links.

I loved being subscribed to Scentbird (I had to cancel due to budget) and I got a lot of great perfumes from them -- you can read all of my reviews here.

The new A La Carte option allows customers to purchase individual 8 mL/.27 oz spritzers of perfume and cologne without committing to a monthly subscription. Each bottle costs $16.95 and will ship within 48 hours of your purchase. These bottles have enough perfume to last for a 30 day supply, but I've had mine for months because I rotate through perfumes.

I think this is a great way to try out new perfumes and I will definitely be purchasing some a la carte! Scentbird has more than 450 perfumes to choose from, so there is something for everyone. Browse all of them by clicking here!