Thursday, February 27, 2014

Birchbox Review - February 2014




Hello friends! I may be a bit late to the Birchbox show, but in my defense I just received mine yesterday. Birchbox is subscription service where for $10 a month you receive high-end beauty samples to try before you buy. When you first sign up you fill out a profile that tells Birchbox what types of samples you do or do not want to receive, and I've found for the most part that they try to follow your preferences. Birchbox also has a really cool points system where you rack up points for purchases from the Birchbox shop and for reviewing products. These points can then be used for credit in the Birchbox shop.

February's Birchbox was curated by the editors at Us Weekly, the super popular entertainment magazine, in honor of the upcoming 86th Academy Awards. Throughout the month, they will be sharing helpful tips and tricks to give us all that star quality.

I guess the editors at Us Weekly weren't feeling the bright pink box.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner (Sample Value: $11.25)
 

This is currently on sale in the Birchbox shop as part of the Dr. Brandt Exclusive Camera-Ready Kit that comes with a full-size version of this item plus a microdermabrasion scrub, eye cream, wrinkle relaxer, mirror and makeup bag all for only $42.00 (based on my calculations it has a total value of over $70). It's a great deal, considering the full-size version of the pore refiner alone in the BB shop is $45.00. Any child can tell you that it's a better deal to save $3.00 and get waaay more product for your money. I almost want to get suckered in and buy the kit just because it's such a good deal, even though I know I most likely won't ever use most of the stuff. I'm actually super excited to try this out because my nose and cheeks have reeeally big pores that always trap oil and makes the rest of my face feel uberly oily.

Update 3/3/14: Ok, so I got suckered and bought the $42 kit using points I saved up. It arrived within 3 days (and that's including a weekend!). Why can't the monthly boxes have this kind of awesomely fast shipping??! I still don't know whether this actually reduces the visibility of my pores, but one thing is for sure - it goes on very light and within 5 minutes I forgot I had even applied it! It really does soak up oil though; it actually left my skin looking dry. Definitely make sure your skin is moisturized before applying this.


Agave Healing Oil Treatment (Sample Value: $1.20)


This hair oil is made from blue agave (yeah that's right, the same thing we get tequila from), which helps hydrate hair while increasing vibrancy and shine. I would've loved to have this stuff when my hair was long and dry at the ends, but I chopped it all off earlier this week and now it's all short and bouncy so I probably won't be needing it for a while. Although it's made for hair, it can also be used as a body oil.

Update 3/5/14: Well this certainly is an oil. You know that texture your hair takes on when you don't wash it for a couple days and it starts getting...crispy, near the roots? Like natural scalp oil, that's what this oil does. It's not very light, but it certainly does hydrate. Smells nice too.


OPI Sheer Tints Top Coat - in I Can Teal You Like Me (Sample Value: $2.25)


Okay, this is a horrible photograph. It looks like black in the picture, but in real life it looks dark blue. Then when you roll the bottle around you can see the teal they're talking about. Doesn't look like it here, but this is supposed to be a translucent top coat to lighten/darken your nail polish color. I'm a fan of sheer polish colors so I think I might just use this alone. I do love blue. Goes great with my 50 shades of blue jeans.

Update 3/5/14: Finally used this baby and I'm kind of on the fence about it. I tried it as a sheer polish alone. Doesn't work. It looks as if I dipped my nail in blue raspberry syrup and forgot to wash it off. Over a nail polish though, it could work depending on what color you're trying to enhance. I used it over an iridescent champagne pink and ended up with a sort of translucent powder blue hue that looks almost silver in the light. I have yet to try it over blue polish to see whether it makes it more intense. Also I'm not a huge fan of the texture. The polish seemed really sticky and thick and was very hard to apply evenly. Is it just me? Or was my bottle drying out or something?


Benefit Cosmetics Fakeup - in Light (Sample Value: $3.43)


Bags under your eyes from lack of sleep? Not to fret. Fake the bright eyed and bushy tailed look with Fakeup. The concealer-moisturizer combo hides dark circles while keeping skin hydrated for up to 6 hours. It comes in three shades - I received the lightest one and swatched it below on the left (unblended) and the right (blended). The fact that I could barely see it after blending tells me two things: 1) The lightest shade is perfect for me, and 2) I need to get out in the sun more.




Benefit Cosmetics Big Easy - in Light


This month's Beauty Extra is a one-use sample of a brand new product from Benefit. I didn't figure out a value for it because I'm pretty sure it's only a few cents' worth. Big Easy is a complexion perfector that is applied after moisturizing to smooth and balance skin. It comes in six shades and supposedly self adjusts to match your exact skin color. I thought it blended with my skin okay. It does go on very light; it starts off as a liquid but quickly takes on a powder texture. The Birchbox shop is currently having a presale event in which you can get an extra 35 BB points if you purchase this product by March 1st.


Overall I thought this month's box was not bad. Not the best, but it could have been a lot worse. It had a value of $18.13, and the highest valued item (Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner) is the one I'm most excited to try so I can't complain. Other pore minimizers didn't seem to work on my huge pores, so I wanna see what this guy can do. Also, with my rekindled interest in nail polish thanks to Birchbox, I can't wait to try the tinted top coat. I might apply it over polish once just to see what effect it's supposed to have, but I'm 90% sure I'll just continue to use this by itself. What'd you get in your Birchbox? If you'd like to get your own subscription, use my referral link to start receiving your very own samples!





Note: Post contains referral links. All opinions are 100% my own. I was not compensated in any way for this box.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Corgi Day at the Beach (And Overcoming Macho's Fear of the Water)

A few months ago I stumbled upon a Facebook page about corgis. Awesome. But you know what was more awesome? It was a page about corgis in my area! Whoohooo! Of course I had to jump on it and I found out that it was actually a new page created to bring together all the corgi owners on the island of Oahu. I suggested we hold a meet and greet for the corgis and whatdya know, everyone else was thinking the same thing and two weeks later we had our first monthly Corgi Club of Oahu Meet Up (I actually made a post about that but it somehow got deleted a few days later and I was too annoyed to type it all over again). We missed the next couple meet ups but were finally able to make this month's one. And how excited I was when I found out it would be at the beach!

C and I have taken Macho to the beach a number of times, and he loves playing in the sand but he HATES jumping in the water. He used to like it until one day we made the mistake of taking him during high tide while he was still a puppy. Then a big wave came and swept him off his stubby legs. He was on a leash so I knew he wasn't going anywhere, but as far as the poor guy was concerned he was meeting his doom. Ever since then he was scared to get anywhere within 5 feet of the ocean. We're talking about major resistance, pull-back action you-can't-even-carry-me-in-there kind of scared, complete with eyes filled with terror.

BEACH BEACH BEACH!! LET'S PLAY ON THE BEACH!
However, the beach we went to this past weekend was more or less just a sandbar jutting into the ocean so it was shallow with no waves. The pups piled into the back of the car (oh my gosh, a car full of barking corgis is INSANELY LOUD) and we watched with amusement as they tumbled out of the back once we got there.

Luckily it was low tide so part of the sandbar was exposed and we could just walk all the way out without any incident. Macho even made a few new friends. All big dogs. He thinks he's a big dog too so he tried to join in their games. He didn't even bother befriending the little dogs. What a snob.

Hello, fellow canine. Will you be my friend?

When we reached the end of the exposed part, Furbutt stopped dead in his tracks while C & I continued across the 3" deep water channel (1/4 of his height!) to the next exposed part of the sandbar. Not knowing what to do since he was off the leash in public ("what the hell Mom?!") and separated from us, he decided to slowly make his way across to us. *Yay! Praise, praise*




I am now halfway underwater. Darn you, stubby legs!
After walking around a bit, the pupster got used to getting his feet wet and decided to follow C & I as we ventured into 6" deep water. He wouldn't stay for long though. After a couple minutes he'd waddle back to land, and if we didn't follow he'd make his way back to us a little later. This went on for about 45 minutes.

Off in the distance one of the other corgis, Monkey, was swimming by himself. We called him over so that he could show Macho how to swim. To our surprise, Macho joined him right away and in no time they were following each other in the water.

Holy crap I'm swimming! Thanks Monkey!

Normal dogs interact with each other.
After he panicked from swimming too long (about a whole 30 seconds) Macho U-turned and made a beeline for the sandbar. Meanwhile, the other corgis were being normal dogs and chasing each other through the water. Unlike them, Fluffypants is antisocial. He rather watch what's going on and only bark when the action comes near him. He'd pretend to jump in then stop running after 2 yards and walk back to us. He's such a poser.
After two hours of corgi fun the pups had gotten all the excess energy out of their system and we called it a day. We took one last group photo with the dogs. Can you guess which one is Macho? Hint: He's the only one who didn't get the memo.

One of these is not like the others.
L-R: Macho, Basil, Yuki, Monkey, Lulu, Kuma, Kimchee
Photo: Corgi Club of Oahu
All the other corgis faced forward but Macho decided to show his good side to the camera. Silly guy. After that C & I took the stinky guy to Petco for a bath (cause he's spoiled...and I hate bathing him).

Where's the corgi?...

THERE HE IS!


What a great day! :)

It's a Corgi! It's a Cookie Cutter! It's a CORGI COOKIE CUTTER!!

Hi everybody! I want to share with you my newest baking addition. I was browsing online one day for corgi pictures and whaddya know, this little guy from Three Cheers for Corgis Etsy shop pops up.

OMG, IT'S A CORGI COOKIE CUTTER! 


Isn't that the cutest thing ever? Naturally, I had to get my hands on one. I mean, who doesn't like a super cute cartoonish corgi? The cutters I've seen before were kinda serious-looking with the puffy corgi chest and characteristic dog body shape. But every time I think of a corgi I picture a walking cylinder. Pretty much just like this one. I usually take a while to decide whether to follow through with an online purchase because it usually means I'll have to pay enormous shipping costs, but that was barely a thought when I decided to buy this. Yeah. That's how much I wanted to grab one. This little shop also sells mugs and window stickers, all with the lovable cartoon corgi design. Go support them; all proceeds go toward starting up a dog ranch to save shelter dogs from being put down. Great cause for dog lovers.

The cookie cutter itself is actually quite large; it's about 5" long from nose to butt. It also came with a recipe for sugar cookies with icing to make the adorable corgi pictured below. And it tells you how to create that characteristic corgi brown color using basic food coloring! Love it.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ThreeCheersForCorgis
Image source: Three Cheers for Corgis
I'm definitely trying this out as soon as I get the chance. If my cookie skills are up to par (I haven't baked cookies in forever) I'm sooo making doggie biscuits for the next corgi meet. Hopefully the pups don't see themselves as carnivores after eating them.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Baribox Review - February 2014




Baribox is a relatively new subscription box service dedicated to paper crafters. Items you might receive in your box include stickers, washi tape, stamps, embellishments, pretty much anything a paper crafter would use. Boxes cost $12.99 for the month-to-month plan and are a tad bit cheaper if you subscribe to the 3-, 6-, or 12-month plans (but not by much).

Recently they opened up their online shop. Since it just got up and running a few weeks ago, there aren't too many products in it yet but hopefully that will change in the near future. Maybe it's because the company is still new and trying to find their niche in the sub box world, but nonetheless I have a story to tell before I dive into February's review:

I signed up for Baribox in December and received my first box within a couple weeks. The value wasn't great (about $7 even though I paid over $12 for it) and all the items were from the same brand, but I figured I'd give them a chance since they are a new company and are still probably establishing their connections. So I waited till January to see if it'd improve. According to their website the boxes were supposed to ship on the 5th but I guess there were some problems because they didn't go out until the third week of January. Oh well, no biggie. February rolled around and I still hadn't received a tracking number, and their website said all January boxes had been shipped. Since I'd received my previous box within a week after it shipped, I grew concerned when I didn't receive this one after two weeks. Naturally, I shot them an email asking if I should be worried. (Btw, the Contact form on their site doesn't work. Nobody replied to my message until I sent an email to bariboxx@gmail.com, and then I received a reply within an hour even though it was like 11pm their time.) The customer service rep told me that they had experienced a huge boom in subscriptions the last couple of months and were having issues with outsourcing some of the business. She told me that while they missed me for the January box, they'd extend my subscription one month to make up for the missed month and that they'd include something "extra" in my next box. While I applaud their effort at making up for it, I don't know if I'd recommend starting a new subscription with them until they get everything figured out. I had also received a coupon code in my first box for 20% off a 3-month renewal. Since the rep was so nice about the whole ordeal I figured I'd go ahead and pay for another 3 months. The code was supposedly valid until Feb 15th, but I tried using it on the 14th and got an error message saying it was invalid. Oh well. I'm sure once everything settles down they can focus more on keeping track of their website and subscriber database and establishing relationships with more companies to increase the variety of products in the boxes.

But anyway, fast forward a week. I got an email with tracking info! Yippee! Like the last box I received, this one arrived within a week, really not too bad for a parcel going across the Pacific (they normally come by boat rather than air and that takes forever). First thing that caught my eye - the tape used to seal the box had an adorable dog pattern!

  




All the contents were neatly wrapped in cute pink polka dot tissue. I'm usually not a fan of polka dots, but for some reason this just works. This month's theme is all about love. The items in February's box can all be used to create love cards and notes for the special someone in your life. It's too bad that these boxes didn't ship out a wee bit earlier so I could use them for Valentine's, but that's okay. An I Love You card is good any time of the year.

February's info card: all about LOVE

Here's what I got in my box:




Amy Tangerine Acrylic Stamps (Value: $3.99)


I keep buying stamps because they're cute and I have the best intentions to use them, but I never do. I think it may be partly due to my laziness and how I don't want to clean all the stamps after using them. The other part is probably due to slim pickings in my ink pad collection. Nonetheless, this is a cute set


Queen & Co. Twinkle Flowers - in Light Pink (Value: $1.99)


These are probably my favorite thing in the box! I'm normally not a pink person, but the metallic sheen of these embellishments is so pretty! Plus they can be used on any type of project for any occasion. I'm definitely going to be using these on my next cardmaking adventure.


Doodle Hearts Washi Tape (Value: $3.50)


I recently started using washi tape on my cards and it's quickly growing on me. Initially I didn't understand what all the hype was about - after all it's just tape. And can't you just use Scotch tape to stick things together instead? Much cheaper. Then I saw the versatility of washi tape - it can be used on cards, gift wrapping, notebooks - pretty much anything you want to dress up. My collection is still puny, and I don't want to grow it too much or else I'll have to find a storage system for it. I try to buy designs that can fit any occasion, and these fun-looking doodle hearts are appropriate for anything from Valentine's Day to birthdays.


Doodlebug Doodle-pops Sweetheart Cardstock Sticker (Value: $1.49)


How cute is this?! I know I will definitely use this on a card project...perhaps Mother's Day? I like stickers, but I love layered accents. They just make cards so much more eye-popping. I decided to browse the Doodlebug Doodle-pops website to see what other designs they offer, AND I WANT TO BUY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! Here's a little sample of some of their designs:

Too cute!
Image Source: Beach Scrapbooks' Blog

You see why I want to get them all?? And they're all 3-D (some even with glitter or jewels) so that makes it even more appealing.


Life's Little Occasions Foil Alphabet Stickers - in Red (Value: $1.85)


I like using alphabet stickers on my cards because my penmanship sucks, but I really wish they'd give more of each letter - especially vowels + Y. Most sets only come with two of each letter, and when I want to make a card for someone whose name contains a Y, I have to buy two sets or else end up with:

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELODT!" and doctor up the T to make it look like a Y. Or:
"HAPPY VALENTINE'S DVY!" and doctor up the V to look like an A. Or:
"HAPPY VALENTINES DVY M3LODT!" And fix the 3 to look like an E and the T to look like a Y.

And my doctor skills aren't that great, so before you know it I have a Frankenstein card that looks just as horrible as my ugly penmanship in the first place. Oh well I guess that's how sticker companies make their money. And how I end up broke with 6 of the same sticker set with 6 Xs but no Ys.

Me and alphabet stickers have a love-hate relationship.


Me & My Big Ideas Mambi Sticks Chipboard Heart Stickers (Value: $3 ??)



I couldn't find these exact stickers online so I took a guess at its value, but these chipboard stickers are cute and very simple. I'm a fan of chipboard because it adds a semi-3D effect to your projects. They're also very sturdy so they don't rip in half if you're an amateur like me and you accidentally placed it down in the wrong place and have to pull it off the paper.


Studio G Pigment Ink Pad - in Gold (Value: $1.50)


I think this is the extra they put in my box since this is the only thing that doesn't have anything to do with hearts or red or pink. I don't have a gold ink pad, so this will be a welcome addition to my skimpy ink collection and a nice compliment to the silver Studio G ink pad I received in my December box.


Overall I think this box was a vast improvement over the last one I got in December. I received at least $14.32 worth of products (plus the chipboard stickers) which is more than the amount I paid for it, so I am satisfied that I got my money's worth this month. The items were also all from different brands so that added a nice variety. I hope this means Baribox has found its place among subscription boxes. I am pretty sure I can make use of everything, although it may take a while for me to get into the stamping groove. Looking forward to next month!





Note: All reviews are completely my own. I paid for this box with my own money and was not compensated in any way.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Best Valentine's Day Ever

Did you ever have one of those weeks that just dragged on because work was stressing you out, you had a fight with your significant other, you just couldn't find any time to relax, etc? That was me last week, mostly because C had been getting upset with me for messing up his plans. How so? Well...

About a month ago C asked what my plans were for Valentine's weekend. I told him I'd be coaching at the OIA Eastern Divisionals for high school wrestling on that Saturday. A bit dejected, he told me that he had taken advantage of a Valentine's weekend special and had already booked a room for the weekend at the nearby Disney Resort as a surprise. Feeling a little torn, I told him that if I had to miss one tournament, the Easterns would be it and I'd just have to let the head coach know that I wouldn't be making it. He insisted I go to the tournament and he'd just pay the hotel cancellation fee. I later suggested we just switch the reservation to Sun-Tues rather than the original Fri-Sun, but by then he said he already cancelled and the rooms were all booked through Tuesday anyway (President's Day weekend, I guess).

A couple weeks later out of the blue he says, "Since the hotel thing didn't work out, I wanted to surprise you instead with a one-day trip on Friday (Valentine's Day) to Mauna Kea." (This mountain is known for its spectacular sunsets from the summit, but the last time we made the trek up we were too late and missed it. Since then it's been on my bucket list) He continued: "I already booked a tour so we don't miss it this time. I meant to keep it a surprise, BUT...since it's on another island I was waiting for airfares to drop, but it keeps going up. So...umm...can I use your airline miles to book the flight?" We both had a good laugh at the thought of me helping to arrange my own Valentine's surprise, but I happily obliged because I'm an awesome girlfriend like that. ;) He assured me that we'd be back home Friday night so that I'd be able to make the tournament on Saturday. Since I'm pretty anal about planning and itineraries I went ahead and did a little research of my own and found out that the tour would get back after the last flight out. He insisted the tour company told him otherwise and got upset that I was getting all up in his business when this was supposed to be a surprise that he was planning. After a nasty spat, I went to bed and he came in a while later and said, "I don't think this trip is going to work out. Let's just forget about going. If you had just let me do all the planning I could've made it work out but noo, you can't even let me surprise you. The hotel surprise didn't work out and now this." I didn't get how I was the bad guy since I don't have control over the tournament schedule or the Mauna Kea tour timetable, and I definitely didn't get how it would've all worked out if I had let him do all the planning because obviously he didn't do enough research...

Personally I was dreading the big day because I knew he'd be reminded of how we should've been having fun at the resort or driving up a mountain. Then on Valentine's Day he gave me a card with a message he scribbled: "Look at meee. Look at me NOW." I looked up and he was holding his tablet with this picture on it:

 
2 week old corgi girl :)
Image Credit: Hawaii Corgi


Come to find out he had successfully hidden the ultimate surprise. The Disney Resort? It was a front. The Mauna Kea trip? Also a front. He basically just wanted to get me to pack a bag. Needing a flight though, that was real. You see, it turns out C had been in constant contact with the person we got Macho from and had purchased another corgi from him as a Valentine's Day surprise. The guy lives on the same island that Mauna Kea is on so we'd still need to fly there. Since the puppy wouldn't be old enough to be separated from her mom for a few more weeks, C had wanted to fly up on Valentine's Day just so we could see the whole litter playing together. Totally worth it if you ask me. 

PUPPIES!
Image Credit: Hawaii Corgi



Unfortunately, since I gave him such a hard time about the logistics of the fake Mauna Kea trip, he couldn't figure out a way to win that argument. Instead now we're just going to fly up to pick her up and hope the rest of the litter is still there. I just booked our flight today and am now waiting impatiently for the big day when we welcome another furball into our lives! Another round of housebreaking and training, here we come!

I'm 5 weeks old and cute!
Image Credit: Hawaii Corgi

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Barkbox Review - February 2014


Barkbox day is always a hit at my house because I get to watch the furball's box-opening adventures. I think he got the hang of it though; he opened this month's one with no problem, not even a tear in the cardboard:
I've mastered the art of opening boxes! Ha!

So what's Barkbox? It's a monthly subscription box for your dog filled with treats, toys, and sometimes hygienic products. The treats are high quality and usually soy, corn, or wheat free. Most are made in the US and are relatively healthy for your pup compared to some of the other stuff you might find in the big box pet stores. Boxes start at $29/month but the price decreases with a longer subscription. I signed up for the 6-month subscription ($19/month) for a medium dog. 

This month's box came to me as a total surprise. It shipped from NY but I received it in HI before I even got the email w/ tracking info! I've never experienced such great shipping service than from Barkbox (even with all the polar vortex chaos slowing mail transport on the East coast). February's theme was in celebration of Valentine's Day, and the box included toys and treats for your pup for while he snuggles up with you on the couch.




As soon as we opened the box we knew FurPaws was in for a treat. I mean, look at all those treats!


 
 


Complete Natural Nutrition Cheese Please Snacks (Value: $5.99)
 

This treat has just one ingredient: cheese. These make good training treats because each is only 3 calories, and this bag contains over 75 treats. Macho loooves cheese, so I know these will be given four paws up.


Loopies Stoggie Fetch Stick (Value: $9.95)

 

This toy is surprisingly heavy. I was expecting a flimsy stick of braided yarn but it's got to weigh at least 4 oz, perfect for something intended for a game of fetch. I haven't let the pup play with this yet, but he's got enough toys for now. The other week he discovered my secret stash of squeaky tennis balls and when I found him he was happily squeaking ALL of them.

Mom, I made you 3-D art!
I will wait until he starts breaking them one by one. Shouldn't take too long; he already broke the squeakers in two of the tennis balls last week. 


Superior Farms Lamb Dog Biscuits (Value: $9.99)

 

Perfect for Valentine's month, these biscuits are shaped like little hearts. They're grain- and gluten-free which makes them great for dogs with food sensitivities. The last time Macho had lamb was when he was a puppy. He didn't like it so I haven't bothered to get him lamb-flavored food ever since. But things change with time, so I guess I'll find out if his tastes changed as well.


Your Dog's Diner Mutt Meatballs (Value: $7.99)


I am SO excited to make these for the fluffball! I read about this in previous Barkboxes and was curious about how they'd turn out. Well I guess the folks at Barkbox read my mind because I can finally see for myself! Just add a pound of ground beef and an egg. One package makes about 40 meatballs so I will definitely end up freezing most of it for later, but...so excited!!


Barkworthies 6" Junior Bully Stick (Value: $3.15)

This is the third consecutive month we've gotten this stick in our box, but Macho doesn't seem to mind one bit. Just like the previous two months, this was the first thing he ran off with after opening the box. (That picture of him at the top of this post? Yeah, that's him nosing around for the source of the stinky smell) Stinky? Yes. These bully sticks are made of 100% beef bladder and aren't supposed to smell as much as pizzle sticks. It wasn't so bad the first time or even the second. But for some reason this stick made the entire box reek this month. Of course, Macho was all over it. I wonder if it's because my nose is now keen to the smell of beef bladder (last month I even bought him this in a 6 pack of 12" chews since he liked it so much). But regardless of my take on it, it's all natural and it's a hit with the furpup, and that's what really matters right?

This month's box had a total value of $37.07, excellent considering it's costing me just $19/month with the 6-month plan. I noticed there haven't been much hygiene/grooming products in recent Barkboxes. I wish they'd include these types of items more often, even if it's just dental chews. Mr. Fluffs is getting fat so I've been cutting down on his treat allowance. (Right now he has about four months' worth of treats stockpiled in the pantry) I'm happy with the toys he's been getting because he's been getting a lot of exercise time out of them. But it'd be nice to see poop bags or shampoo once in a while. (He received a liquid bandage spray in his September Barkbox and I thought that was a great thing to have on hand) But of course, receiving grooming products to a dog is analogous to toddlers receiving clothes for their birthday. Bo-ring!! But that's okay, Macho will soon have a sister to share with (sneak peek to an upcoming post)! If you would like to get your pup in on the Barkbox action, click on my link to get $5 off your first box!




Note: Post contains referral links. I was not compensated for this box in any way. Opinions in this post are completely my own.

VoxBox Review - J'Adore Box

VoxBox? What's that? Well, first here's a bit of background info. Several months ago I became really interested in consumer product testing and discovered some really cool sites that allow you to do just that, as long as you leave honest reviews on the goods. My response? No problemo! I signed up for a few, among them a site called Influenster. This site, along with others, relies on your personal influential score (based on reviews and activity) to determine whether you should receive more products. However, it differs from others in that rather than periodically receiving individual products to test, once in a while you qualify for an entire box worth of goodies to try out (yup you guessed it; a VoxBox!). Of course, this doesn't happen nearly as much as the other sites who send out individual products, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out I was getting a VoxBox when my score was still a measly 69 out of 100, despite my best efforts to put forth helpful reviews on products I had previously used.

After four months of trying, I was finally offered the J'Adore VoxBox. This box was free; all I had to do was review all of the products. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, the theme was centered around adoration and love (although I'm still figuring out what some of the products have to do with it). Below is a picture of what was included in the box:
 
J'Adore VoxBox


It's finally here. My first VoxBox!
The VoxBox had an info card describing each item and how to share about it on social media. It also stated the value of each item.

Info card. I know, it's a pretty blurry picture. Sorry!

Hershey's Kisses

 

Kisses. This was the most obvious connection to the J'Adore theme. And I'm not complaining. I love chocolate. I didn't receive chocolates for Valentine's Day (although I did receive something much better...I'll make a separate post about that), so thanks Influenster for these! The bag was slit open on an entire side and the chocolates were spilling out all over the box, but I have a feeling that's the look they were going for - loose chocolates (rather than the ever-romantic rose petals) adorning the VoxBox of love. Nice touch. And the empty bag? I think that was just included in there to show that I got an entire bag's worth. Sweet!

Update 3/5/14: Okay so after browsing some other blogs about the J'Adore VoxBox, I've come to find out that the package was supposed to be intact, after all. WHO'S BEEN MESSING WITH MY CANDY?!


Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes

 

I guess with a brand name like Kiss, you can't argue that it has nothing to do with j'adore. But I don't wear eyelash extensions. I don't even wear mascara. Heck, I don't even curl my lashes. Of course, VoxBox is not a personalized box so I'm not disappointed about getting these. It's something new I can try the next time I go out for a night on the town. Only one problem-- I rarely go out anymore. Except to Target...and drive thrus. Oh well. Maybe I'll just wear them around the house and scare the bf. Speaking of scare the bf...


Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask

This mask is used weekly to remove excess oils while also deeply cleansing your face. I've never tried a clay mask before. That is, until last night. I walked around the house while letting it do its thing and the look on my bf's (and my dog's) face was priceless. Think Mrs. Doubtfire's lemon meringue mask but gray. But it was the perfect opportunity to try something like this because my face has been unusually oily the past few days and a simple facewash regimen wasn't cutting it. It must have worked at least a little because today my face isn't as oily as it has been recently. Can't wait to scare my boys again next week!


John Freida Frizz Ease Flat Iron Spray

This heat-activated spray straightens hair for up to three days (or until the next time you wash it). A few spritzes and a round with the flat iron is all it's supposed to take for it to work. This is something I am really interested in trying because I have oober plenty hair and it tends to get frizzy, especially in this high humidity. Guess it's time to rouse my flat iron from its 5-year hiatus.


Red Rose Simply Indulgent Teas

 
I love flavored tea. I don't drink coffee, so tea is how I stay up during slow days at work. I've never heard of this brand before, but their flavors sound delicious. I received Creme Caramel and Lemon Chiffon in my box, but they also have Cinnamon Streusel and Peach Cobbler (mmm...yummy). If you're a Keurig type of person, they have single serve cups in Cinnamon Bun and Spiced Chai. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how the tea tastes. Normally my taste buds are blind as a bat when it comes to being able to tell the difference between flavored teas, but I can actually taste the caramel in the Creme Caramel. I haven't tried the Lemon Chiffon yet, but that should be fun. My VoxBox came with a $2.00 off coupon for a box of tea, and each packet has a $1.00 coupon. Cool! The only thing is I think these teas are only available from the manufacturer so there will probably be shipping fees. But I am interested in trying the other flavors, especially Peach Cobbler.


I am very happy with my J'Adore VoxBox. I haven't had a chance to sample everything just yet, but so far the items I did try fared well with me, and I'm super excited to see how the Frizz Ease works. This box has a value of over $20 according to the info card, all for absolutely free. Aside from the tea, I believe all of the items were full-sized too. Good job, Influenster!








Note: I received this box for free from Influenster. All opinions are completely my own.