Saturday, October 26, 2013

Birchbox Review - October 2013

My second Birchbox finally came in the other day. It only took 13 days to arrive here this month. I say only because last month's box took 20 days. I think I should just learn to accept the fact that Birchbox will take a while to arrive. My Barkbox subscription also ships from NY but only took two days to go cross-country. Oh well, I guess that's the difference between air vs ground transport.

For $10/month, Birchbox will send you a box of samples to try based on your beauty profile. Since I'm pretty low maintenance, I like products that are easy to use and that can be used on an as-needed basis. Of course you would think half the fun is being surprised when the box comes in and seeing if any of the items are to your liking, but like last month, my curiosity got the best of me and I jumped online to see what I would be getting. I must say I'm rather pleased with this month's samples:

theBalm Stainiac in Beauty Queen
This lip and cheek stain is supposed to brighten up your face a bit to give you that bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed look. It seems like it took a lot of this tint to make even the slightest change in color on my cheeks. Maybe I'll try it on my lips one day, but so far I'm not sold.

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment
I have lots of hair, which means lots of split ends and lots of frizz, especially in this humid weather we've been getting. This spray smells great and is supposed to help with the above hair problems as well as moisturize and protect it from weather, styling, and chlorine damage. I spritzed some on last night and haven't noticed any difference yet, but it's only been one day so we'll see.

Karuna Clarifying Treatment Mask
Ok, I've used shiso in my food before, but I never thought it could be used for skincare! Valued at $7 a pop, this mask is to be applied weekly to keep your complexion clear and healthy. Not sure if I'd be willing to pay a dollar a day to do the same thing that plain ol' face wash and moisturizer can do for pennies a day (yeah I'm cheap), but I'll have to try this out before forming any real opinion.

DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
Something tells me the value of this month's box is through the roof. At $85 for the full size version, this serum works to minimize pores and fight the lines of aging using amino peptides. It smells great and goes on greater. It feels very smooth and light on my face. The only way I know I have it on is because the awesome scent is still lingering on my hand.

ChapStick Hydration Lock in Vanilla Creme
This is a Birchbox Find, which is a mass-market product that Birchbox thinks is awesome and will benefit all of its subscribers. Of course, this is in addition to, not in place of, regular Birchbox items. It's been a while since I've used ChapStick, but with winter right around the corner, now is the perfect time to try out a product that claims to lock in moisture for 8 hours. And the vanilla creme scent is just plain awesome. It actually smells yummy enough to make me crave some cream-flavored candy right now. We'll see if this ChapStick will hold true to its claim. So far so good...the true test will be at lunchtime!

Overall I'm impressed with this month's items. I haven't looked up the value yet, but it seems really high and I'm in love with the products' scents! So far I've been very pleased with the quality of products from Birchbox. Glad I signed up!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Barkbox Review - October 2013

October 2013 Barkbox

I love looking forward to the middle of each month because that means Macho's Barkbox is on its way. I love how quickly it ships here. This month was no exception - it traveled from NY to HI in two days! The fastest yet. Pretty darn good for free shipping!! This is our third Barkbox and I have never had any gripes whatsoever. Aside from the awesome shipping, the products are always high quality. What makes me like Barkbox even more is that they acknowledge every post on their Facebook page. How's that for making customers feel important? On top of that, this month we received our Barkbox one day before Macho's birthday - an excellent birthday present if you ask me.

Barkbox is a monthly dog subscription service that comes packed with toys, treats, and doggie lifestyle necessities based on your pup's size. I am currently on the six month plan which comes out to $19/month. So far the value of each box has been way over what I paid for it, and they are usually items which I don't see in the local pet store.

Fruitables Halloween Share Pack
I love that Barkbox included a Halloween themed item in this month's box. This pack contains 8 small bags of Fruitables dog treats in 4 flavors - Pumpkin & Blueberry, Pumpkin & Apple, Apple Bacon, and Grilled Bison. Sir Fluffybutt is currently finishing up a bag of Pumpkin & Blueberry that he received in his first box, and he's loved every single one of the Fuitables flavors he's tried, so I'm sure these will be a hit.

Baker's Best Autumn Harvest Dog Treats
The main ingredient in this one is goat liver. Never heard of goat liver dog treats before so this should be interesting. The pup loves liver in general though, so my guess is he'll scarf this one down with no hesitation.

American Dog Toys Fetch & Glow jr. Ball
This is a fun concept because this ball floats AND glows in the dark. Macho loves tennis balls, and six months ago he would've instantly accepted this as one of his top toys. But this past Easter we introduced him to squeaky tennis balls and now he refuses to play with any non-squeaking ball. (He still plays with them long after the squeaker is broken -- I think he just likes that the ball is squishy when he chomps down on it) He'll still fetch this ball, but he'll lose interest after one toss and move on to the other toy he received this month...

West Paw Designs Bumi
TWO toys this month? Say whaat?! Yup, spoiled Mr. Fluffypants received two toys this month. I wasn't sure if he'd like this one since it lacks the three things he likes most in a toy: 1) a squeaker; 2) crinkly paper; and 3) plush fibers he can pluck off with his mouth. But to my surprise, this is his new go-to toy during playtime. Bumi is a tug of war toy and Macho is a tug of war fanatic. Perfect! Even when we're not playing with him, he still manages to entertain himself with his Bumi:

Macho loves his new Bumi

Etta Says! Crunchy Rabbit Chew
Maybe I don't hit up a large enough variety of pet stores, but like the goat treats, I've never heard of rabbit treats before. I'm a little hesitant to give this to him, but for a silly reason, really. We like to tease Macho that he looks like a rabbit with his large ears, fluffy butt, and nub of a tail, so a part of me feels like he would be eating his own kind. I know, how silly of me, but I guess I have to come to terms with my irrationalities before giving this to him.

We really liked this month's Barkbox. I'm all for trying new things, and goat and rabbit treats are definitely new for me. After all, that's what this subscription service is for - to try new things that you normally wouldn't think of buying. If you're interested in subscribing to Barkbox, please use my link to get $5 off your first subscription and Barkbox will also give Macho a free month. It's a win-win situation!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Birchbox Review - September 2013

I've been hearing lots of good stuff about Birchbox so I finally decided to see what the hype was all about. For $10/month, Birchbox will send you a box of surprise skin/haircare products right to your door. Most of the products are sample sized so you can try before you buy. I love the idea of not knowing what's in a box beforehand, but I also have close to zero willpower when it comes to resisting curiosity. I won't go out of my way to look for spoilers online, but if I see a review you can bet I'm gonna read it. And so was the situation this month. Shipping wasn't in my favor and I couldn't resist taking a peek at this month's goodies.

Shipping...boy, oh boy. I've never been so obsessed with shipping time until this month. Normally packages take 5-7 days to reach me from the east coast, but for some reason this month's Birchbox took 20 days! That's just about THREE WEEKS!! I emailed Customer Support thinking it got lost in the mail, and they told me their boxes are classified as "hazardous" and therefore ship via ground/boat. They also told me that if I don't receive it in time to get points for reviews or to receive free shipping on any of the month's products, that I can just explain the situation to them and they will manually apply the points/promos. Glad it didn't come to that this month, but I reeeally hope I won't have to wait three weeks every month just to get my box. :(

Now on to September's goodies. First things first. I pretty much fell off the beauty care bandwagon years ago. I'm generally low maintenance and don't use styling or beauty products, so I signed up for Birchbox in hopes that it will get me back on board. At least a little bit.

September's info card

Beauty Protector Shampoo & Conditioner
First up is something I can at least say I'm very familiar with (yay!) - shampoo and conditioner. This paraben-free duo smells yummy. Most shampoos and conditioners that I've tried work for about a week then my hair goes back to being oily, dry, and frizzy all at the same time. I'm excited to try this out, and if I like what I see, I might consider puchasing the full-size version.

Update 10/7/13: I don't know if it's pure coincidence or not, but a day after I started using the shampoo and conditioner, my scalp started itching. It doesn't feel dry though, so maybe it's some kind of other reaction to something in the product? I hope not, because I have the full sized version of both of these coming my way! (I was so thrilled with the scent and texture of the product that I went ahead and purchased them without thinking) I've switched back to my normal shampoo/conditioner for now, so I guess I'll find out soon.

Dr. Jart+ BB Cream
Okay, so I've heard lots about beauty balms, but this noob has never gotten around to trying one. Maybe I lack the drive to add something to my non-existent beauty regimen, or maybe I'm cheap (that's probably it), but hey, isn't that the whole reason why I'm getting this box in the first place? Living way out here where it's pretty sunny year-round, I could use a little SPF in my life. And besides, I'd much rather use one product that does the job of 3 or 4.

Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips
Say what??! Supposedly this was originally intended for nursing moms, but it can also be used as a lip gloss and lip balm. Lately I've been lucky and haven't had any battles with chapped skin, but good to know I've got something for it just in case.

Update 10/7/13: If you have chapped or sensitive lips, I highly recommend this product. A little goes a long way with this lip balm - all I needed was a dot smaller than the size of a pinhead. This sample sized tube might actually be enough to last me several months. Also, it doesn't have a nasty taste if you should happen to lick your lips. Actually, it has no taste at all. Great product!

Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt
This full-size Birchbox Exclusive was included in each box this month. The one I got, Fox Hunt, is sort of a bright and shimmery red-orange hue from Ruffian's Crowdsourced Collection. I'm not one to wear vibrant colors, so while I do think the color itself is nice, I don't think I'll be putting it on my nails.

After seeing this month's Birchbox, I'm excited enough to give it another go. Each box is tailored to a person's beauty profile, so some might get an awesome box one month while others get a so-so one, but overall the value is supposed to even out over time. Let's see what next month has in store!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Smiley360 Mission - Tapbooty

I just got my first Smiley360 mission! Smiley360 is a word-of-mouth company (free to sign up!) which sends you free samples or offers to try out and review in order to earn smiles. The more smiles you get, the better your chances of receiving more offers!
My first mission is to review Tapbooty. Tapbooty is a collection of social games you play to win gift cards from companies such as Amazon and Starbucks. I downloaded the free app onto my phone and the first game was Name That Friend - you're given a bunch of trivial information about a Facebook friend followed by thumbnails of several profiles. Let me be the first to say that I totally sucked at this game. And I thought I knew my friends well!
If you'd like to try Tapbooty for yourself to earn a few extra bucks, click here to sign up!