Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Julep Truth & Dare Mystery Box 2014 Review

I ordered this box the first week of July and it finally found its way here! I'm thinking about throwing a little celebration in honor of its epic adventures at sea - because there's just no other way to justify it taking 21 days to reach me. I used to get my Julep polishes within a week and now my last three orders took 2+ weeks each and have made me a sad panda.


You may (or may not, since it was a while ago) remember that Julep had July Truth & Dare mystery boxes for sale. Each box had one revealed item and the rest was a mystery. I opted for the box with the Kajal liner because it sounded fun and because I'm starting to like pencil-type eyeliners more than gel types. It's just so much easier to work with.

Kajal Glider & Sharpener (Value: $22.00/$17.60 Maven)

I didn't check exactly what I'd be getting so I thought it was just going to be black. I didn't know this was double sided. Score! According to Julep, one is carbon black and the other is brown shimmer. It's hard to see the shimmer even in real life so I'll just call this brown.

Kajal glider swatch: brown "shimmer", carbon black
The color just glides right on and blends well. But since it blends so easily it's not smudgeproof. You can probably remove the liner with water alone. Definitely not ideal for lining your waterline. And I already broke the tip just by doing the swatch so it's really soft, which probably explains why the color is so easy to apply. It also came with a sharpener that I almost threw away because it was hiding at the bottom of the eyeliner box. So I apologize for the ugly last minute shot. Yay! I do need a new sharpener.

Angled Liner Brush (Value: $18.00/$14.40 Maven)

This brush has synthetic bristles perfect for creams, gels, or liquids. It's also angled for easy application. I use angled brushes with my gel eyeliner, but this particular one isn't as precise as the cheap Sephora one I'm using. On the bright side, the handle is weighted for easy balance during application.

Eye Sheen Liquid Eyeshadow - Warm Fig Shimmer (Value: $18.00/$14.40 Maven)

This cream shadow comes in four colors, and I would've liked any of them over this one. I guess it's kind of pinky burgundy, but it's also kind of purple, and I can't pull off purple. I would've passed it off as a swap, but there's so little product in there that it looks half used :(

There was an eyeshadow goblin in the box
Since I decided to suck it up and purple up, here's a swatch. It's most definitely shimmery. My limited camera phone photog skills don't do the photo much justice, but it's (thankfully) mostly brown, and only purple/burgundy when the light hits it at certain angles. Well...most angles, really. Now that I caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye it looks like a shiny bruise. Picture that. At least it blends nicely. But like the Kajal pencil, it washes off with just water. Also it kind of stinks; you can really smell the oils in there. Like Cray-Pas. Man I miss using those. They're like crayons on crack. Note to self: hit up the back to school sales this afternoon. While wearing my brown-turned-purple cream eyeshadow.

Julep Nail Polish (Value: $14.00 each/$11.20 Maven)

This was pretty much a pink polish box. I got three variations to add to my growing pink collection. I'm not complaining though, I love pink polishes even though I'm not normally a pink kind of person. I couldn't find any of these on the site, so please bear with my lame non-imaginative descriptions.

Venus (Bombshell) - pink and holographic glitter. This reminded me of Yumi, but pinker.
Lindy (It Girl) - bubblegum pink glitter bits. Kind of on the bright side, but I'm hoping it won't be as obvious layered over another polish.
Aphrodite (Classic With A Twist) - fuschia microglitter. So pretty. Now I wanna go and grow pink flowers so my garden can look as pretty as my nails.

I forgot I had also picked up a mystery add-on. Here's what I got:

Forget-Me-Not Seeds

Third time I'm getting these seeds. I'm still looking for someone to give my second packet. I planted like 15 of them and not a single one sprouted. Flower experts: do these need cooler temperatures to grow or something? It's 80-90 degrees year-round where I live so I'm starting to think I'm killing them before they can even get started.

Julep Nail Polish

Winona (Classic With A Twist) - buff greige creme. What's greige? Gray-beige? Like how I call blue-purple blurple? I honestly don't see anything buff or gray about it. Looks more like mocha to me. If C were here he'd call it brown. He has about 10 colors in his spectrum. I don't own any browns so I will be keeping this.
Lois (Boho Glam) - dusty rose frost. I actually got this in the Memorial Day mystery box. It's nice, but since I've never finished a bottle of polish, this will be given to someone who wants (needs?) it.
Mila (It Girl) - charcoal, multi-colored glitter. I have so many awesome, fun glitter polishes and this ones kind of...plain. I could definitely use it, but there are so many others in my collection that I'd rather use.

My favorite part of the mystery box was definitely the polishes. It did have the $100 value promised ($80 Maven), but I'm disappointed that the cream eyeshadow looked half empty. Not that I'll ever finish it, but if I had paid full price for it I would be more than a little upset. The Kajal glider isn't as durable and smudgeproof as I had hoped, and I'll probably end up with smeary racoon eyes and a broken pencil in the near future. The mystery add-on was kind of blah to me since I'll probably only be keeping one of the polishes. Good thing I used a code and got it for free!

I used code PERK1020 for this order, which gets you $10 off a purchase of $20If you want to receive brand new polishes every month, click here to become a Maven! Also, use FREEBOX to receive a free Welcome Box!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Guess What My Dog Did?

So yesterday my dog decided it'd be fun to eat slug/snail pellets.

I have a small amount that I store up high in a Ziploc bag, but when I went outside to water my plants I found the ripped up bag and pellets were scattered all around.

Womp womp.

Only one of them is agile enough to actually jump and get all four feet off the ground. The other one is just fat. Guess which one?

Although half of the baggie itself is missing (i.e, devoured and digested), it seems like most of the pellets were still there. I hope my dog was dumb enough to be intrigued by the bag itself and forget about what was inside.

So far no signs of vomiting or twitching from either of them, and they were corgi fighting like normal:

Why yes, that is a sock in the background. The furbutts think stink socks are the bomb diggity.

*sigh* For once I really hope they were dumb.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Birchbox Review - July 2014

July Birchbox, you're HERE! AT LAST!

Can I rant? Too bad, I'm gonna rant. Skip this paragraph if you dislike rants. I think I'm among the last to get a Birchbox every month. It kind of sucks when promos are over before you even get your box. I've reached out to them asking what the dealio is, hoping they'd say sorry and give me a whole busload of Birchbox points since that's what they seem to do, but instead all I got was "We ship by ground and sometimes it takes up to three weeks to reach Hawaii." Not even a sorry it takes so long :(  They said they have to ground ship because they send polishes and hairsprays, but so does Ipsy, and Ipsy reached me in less than a week. It isn't even a shipping company issue because shipping already sucked before they switched to Newgistics. I know companies warn us about extended shipping times out of the States, but historically I've always gotten my flammable goodies in a normal time frame, no matter where I buy them from. In fact, I even get full-size flammable Birchbox orders within a week. So why not sub boxes? Err. First world problems.

Alright, I'm done. On to this month's box with a happy face and high hopes. Because seriously, anything is better than last month's strongly scented fiasco.

Birchbox teamed up with Women's Health magazine for July and the theme is "Power Up." This month's boxes include beauty products to energize your beauty routine as well as a booklet of 12 Power Up challenges for getting the most out of everything you do. The box itself was very colorful and is probably my favorite Birchbox design to date because of its cuteness factor.

July Birchbox info card (click to enlarge)
Oh, and sorry for the horrible photos throughout this entire post. Normally I'm able to snap the photos with natural daylight, but there was none by the time I got home last night. So, shadowy artificial lighting pictures are what you will all get from me.

Each box included a free 1-year subscription to Women's Health magazine. If you don't want the mag, the card can be returned for a refund. The only magazines I'm really interested in are the cooking ones, but I just can't see myself going through the legwork just to get a $9.99 refund check, so I'll probably just redeem the subscription. Well played, Women's Health, well played.

Harvey Prince Singular Scentsations Imperial Gardenia Perfume (Approx. Sample Value: $5.00)

Believe it or not, the full size is only 8.8 ml so this is one expensive fragrance. Most perfumes have several notes in them that make them sorta complex. This one's got one: gardenia. I mentioned before that I like fruity/floral perfumes, but this is just too much. Don't get me wrong; I love the smell of gardenia. This just...didn't smell like the real thing. Very floral indeed, just not gardenia floral. To me anyway. Thanks for trying though, Harv.

LAQA & Co. Lip Lube Pencil - in Menatour aka Purple (Sample Value: $12.50)

When I think of Menatour I think of Minotaur, the half man-half bull of Greek mythology, and already I'm afraid of this color. This is a glossy, sheer lip pencil that moisturizes and smells minty. I've been seeing these popping up all over and I wanted to try it, but...Menatour purple? Has anyone ever tried it before? I do not match with purple anything, including purple nail polish.  If it's bold and/or looks more purple than pink, sorry..swap pile. Fun fact: I don't think I've ever said purple so many times in so few sentences. Purple.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel (Sample Value: $4.80)

Finally, something I can get excited about. This is the first facial peel I've received from Birchbox and I'm quite happy to get it. This 3-minute peel is actually a 3-min-30-second peel. You apply it to a clean face, wait 30 seconds, then massage it into your face for 3 minutes before rinsing it off along with the fun dead skin particles. Ever since I tried a foot peel I'm obsessed with dead skin removal. I have a peeling gel in my Sephora shopping cart right now and am thisclose to checkout. I'll wait to see how this one works first.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Moisturizer (Sample Value: $6.25)

Yay! Something else I can use! *smiley face* This organic moisturizer uses stem cells of apple buds, grape buds, and lemon bark to firm and smooth away fine lines and wrinkles with the help of Vitamin C. (Luckily) I can't speak about its effect on lines and wrinkles, but it is hydrating and not sticky (yippee!). It also smells very citrusy and reminds me of the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion exfoliant.

Ruffian Rapture Collection - Ambrosia (Full Size Value: $11.00)

Last month Birchbox allowed subscribers to choose what color nail polish or lip stain they wanted. I was getting a nail polish and chose Ambrosia, a metallic lavender, because I don't have any lavenders. The other choices were a metallic rose gold and a metallic platinum, both of which I already have similar colors. The formula is probably one of the best I've tried. It goes on smoothly with no issue regarding consistency and one coat is enough for opaque coverage. I was actually surprised how much I liked this color. I guess I lied; I do like purple nail polish, as long as it's pastel. Just no purple lipstick, please (LAQA, I'm talking about you). Here's a haphazard slathering I did of the Ambrosia. Basically all I want you to take away from this is that a single coat is true to color (we already know how horrible I am at painting my nails fingers).

Ruffian Nail Polish Remover Towelette (Value: $1.20)

A Birchbox bonus to go with the nail polish. This towelette is great for on-the-go polish removal in case you suddenly remember you forgot to take off your hot-pink-lime-green mani as you're waiting for your job interview. These are acetone-free wipes that smell like lilies. I have yet to find something that beats a good dousing with acetone to remove polish, so I'll give this a try. One wipe is enough for 10 nails, but I doubt that applies to glitter polish.

My much anticipated Birchbox actually turned out to be pretty good. It was a really high valued box at over $40 thanks to the PURPLE lip pencil that I won't be using. But other than that and the perfume, I am happy to say that I will gladly get use out of everything else. My favorite find is the face peel even if I haven't tried it yet because it sounds so fun. I'd like to see C's face when I tell him I'm peeling my face off. So in the end, I'm glad Birchbox has redeemed itself from last month's stinky box and I'm not as miffed about the 15-day delivery because I discovered that recently Julep's shipping has been crappier (17 days and counting!) so now I have somewhere else to aim my frustrations.

What did you get in your Birchbox this month? If you got the Real Chemistry Peel, what did you think of it? If you'd like to explore beauty products in hopes of finding a new favorite, use my link to start your subscription to Birchbox today!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Japan Finds

Every few months (ok, probably more often than that) I find myself in Marukai, a local wholesaler specializing in Japanese goods. They've got normal grocery stuff too, but usually I just go for the cool things you can't find in the supermarket. I wanted to share with you my favorite finds from my latest trip.

Homare Strawberry Nigori - If you're not familiar with sake (rice wine), it's a Japanese liquor made from rice in a brewing process similar to that of beer. So why's it called "rice wine"? My guess is because it's not hoppy like beer is and shares more properties with wine (aside from preparation)? Not totally sure. There are several varieties, but my favorite is nigori, which usually has an opaque appearance since it is unfiltered. I also find nigori to be sweeter than other sakes. And I like sweet. I'm also a sucker for anything strawberry-flavored, so when I saw this on the shelves I needed to get it. 

It's a pretty small bottle, about the size of dessert wines, but whatever-- who cares, it's strawberry! Sake generally runs about 20% ABV, but this one's only 7% so guess what I did? I ditched the ochoko (seriously, I'd need like 10 of those to start feeling happy) and poured the chilled wonder liquid into a wine glass. It has the same milky texture and consistency of other nigori, and I guess you can taste some alcohol, but you can REALLY taste the strawberries! And there's even some seeds still in there. I don't care that I paid the inflated $12 price tag for this tiny thing because it's that yummy. Think alcoholic strawberry smoothie. That about sums up this awesome find.

Hair Gum Hair Elastics - Sorry, I really don't know what brand this is, but if I had to choose one beauty product from Marukai that I would want unlimited quantities of for the rest of my life, it'd be these elastics. I stopped using rubberbands with the metal strip for two reasons: 1) they always snapped and gave my hand a good whipping, and 2) they were banned from judo tournaments when I was 8 years old due to the potential of the metal scratching opponents. I needed to find an alternative and these were my answer. This is the type of hair band that you cut and tie yourself so you can make it as big or as small as you want. You may have seen similar elastics in the drugstore, but most likely they were the thinner ones that are about 1/8" thick. I haven't seen this thick version since 1998 (yes, I've been looking since then) when the local drugstores decided to replace it with the cheaper, thinner, less durable version. 

THEN I stumbled upon these. They're really only about 1/16" thicker than the other ones, BUT THAT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!! I actually bought the pack on the right (in the above picture) about 5 months ago, and decided to pick up the one on the left during my last trip in case Marukai decided to play with my feelings and stop carrying them again. As I mentioned, I like these because they have no metal, and if they do break they don't snap like the other hair ties. The fabric covering keeps it from totally snapping, and you're left with a stretched-out band that still holds up until you get home. These thick ones are my favorite because they are far more durable and don't get stretched out every time you make your ponytail too tight. I do contact sports so I double up on the hair tie, but it's not necessary. The one you see in the picture has lasted me 5 months so far and no sign of any breakage whatsoever after countless wrestling and judo practices. Yes, I wash it so it's not that gross. If you're looking for a hair tie that's durable yet cheap (one pack is about $1.50), I suggest giving this a shot if you ever stumble upon it.

Nikkoh Strawberry & White Chocolate Panache - As I mentioned earlier, I love strawberry and sweets. So *gasp* another perfect gem nestled among the hundreds of unique Japanese merchandise! Every time I wander inside Marukai I make a beeline to the candy section. We all find ways to keep the little kid in all of us, don't we? This is how the little kid in me chooses to live on. The Japanese really seem to love their flavored chocolates, especially strawberry chocolate, so it's no wonder I always end up spending $20 on candy alone every time I visit this place.

The first thing I liked about this candy is that it looks exactly like the picture on the bag. Really, how often does that happen? And how cute are those checkered chocolate squares?! A layer of milk chocolate covered with another, more awesome, layer of a strawberry/white chocolate combo!! (which is apparently what gave rise to "panache") It's like sweet + sweeter dancing on your tongue for a blissful three seconds before you're left frowning with no more chocolate in your mouth. So you grab another one and get giddy all over again. :) If you're not a sweets fan then obviously you won't enjoy this. But if you are...OHMYGOSHTHISISSOAWESOME!!

Thank you for joining me in my latest Japan finds. I always have a blast when I visit Marukai, and if you have a store that carries Japanese goods in your area (or any foreign goods store, really), I highly recommend you walk in and take a look. You can find the cutest and sometimes most impractical stuff ever, but it's just so interesting that you have to take a second look. And more often than not you may end up buying something. So it's actually a very effective way to blow your hard-earned money as well. Go, prodigal status!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bulu Box Review - July 2014

Yesterday my second Bulu Box Weight Loss arrived in the mail! For the curious:

What: Bulu Box is a health, wellness, and (optional) weight loss subscription containing 4-5 premium samples. Two box curations: Regular and Weight Loss. This review is for the Weight Loss box.
When: Ships monthly on the 15th
Cost: $10/month (free shipping)
Extra tidbits: Earn points for purchasing Bulu Boxes/items in the shop, reviewing box items, and referring friends. Every 10 points counts as $1 credit in the Bulu Box shop

*I normally don't like to mess with my body's natural processes and don't regularly take any supplements (aside from the occasional Vitamin C). I prefer to improve my health by natural means such as change in diet/exercise/sleep, but in the interest of expanding my current perceptions of supplements, I will try to keep an open mind when forming opinions on these products.*

When I first opened the box I was a bit let down because everything was so...flat. And packet-y.

Oh well. On the bright side, I was able to give the contents a little dimension:

Let's see what these packets have to offer, shall we?

July 2014 info card (click to enlarge)

Helps Make It Easy Constipation Relief Organic Tea (2 sachets Sample Value: $0.55) - This is a dietary supplement in the form of herbal tea to help with constipation. Lemon, mint, and anise work together to relax the digestive system while senna acts as a laxative. I love tea but I'll save this for someone who can actually use it for its intended purpose.

Rutaesomn Sleep Aid (1 capsule Sample Value: $0.75) - I do have trouble sleeping but never considered taking a sleep aid because of the risk of it being habit-forming, and really I just didn't want to pay for something I didn't have to. Instead I nixed naps and spent time in the sun so I'd be drained by the time night rolls around. This pill contains rutaecarpine from the Evodia fruit, which expedites caffeine removal from your body to help you sleep. I don't drink coffee, but I do drink soda (I know, bad) and tea. I will have to try this and report back.

FitMiss Burn (2 capsules Sample Value: $0.85) - I've seen pretty high ratings for this on exercise websites, and while I would never go out and buy a bottle for myself, it was nice to get a sample in my box. This 6-step system curbs appetite, reduces water retention, and increases energy to result in rapid weight loss (breakdown of the 6-step system here). From reviews I read, the most obvious is its diuretic effect. Not sure how healthy that is. I've become obsessed with hydration while exercising ever since experiencing those dreaded dehydration headaches on my long runs. I'm not sure if one sample will make any noticeable difference, but I'll give it a shot. This is my first workout supplement ever, which is saying a lot because I (surprise!) actually work out fairly often and don't take anything (not even protein or gels).

...Whoa, there must be cayenne pepper in here or something, even though it's not written on the ingredient list...I just burped (sorry TMI) and got a rush of something burning when I exhaled. Well, a cayenne pepper metabolism boost would explain the weight loss claim.

Update 7/19/14: The most caffeine I take in is whatever's in a cup of black tea. Or soda. But definitely not coffee. So after taking FitMiss Burn I was jittery the entire afternoon. I didn't have my usual 2pm crash (hello, caffeine!). At the gym I definitely noticed an increase in stamina during running, but I felt absolutely horrible during lifting. I felt incredibly weak and unstable (maybe because I was still jittery?). Of course, it could just mean the FitMiss was wearing off or just total coincidence, but I don't think I'll be taking workout supplements any time soon. I'll stick to my carbs, thank you. 

Toniiq Premium Hangover Prevention (1 packet Sample Value: $4.00) - Anyone love a good drink or ten before going to bed? This hangover prevention system consists of three pills - you take two black pills before going to bed and one white one in the morning. How nice that it's color-coordinated for the inebriated (whoo, I can freestyle!). I probably won't be using this since my partying days are over. We live too far from our friends to make the trek just to hang out at a bar. And I'm sure it's just a formality, but I found it amusing that the warning says "If you are pregnant, breastfeeding......consult a physician before taking Toniiq." I would like to see which physician would approve of a pregnant or nursing mother getting drunk enough for a hangover.  Besides, I've found that if I do drink enough to get tipsy, two full glasses of water and two Advil does the trick. I haven't tried this remedy with puking-out-your-brains kind of drunk, though.

Update 7/23/14: Alright, so I decided to revisit my younger days and went out to happy hour with my friends since I was already in town and wouldn't have to fight 2 hours in traffic to meet them. By the time I left I had a nasty headache (for which, I must add, my wonderful fiance extended his normal cycling ride by 30 miles to meet me so he could drive me home, and that's why I love him). Since it was a weeknight and I had to get up at 4:30 the next morning, I put my faith in Toniiq. I ditched my normal Advil remedy and instead took two black pills and went to sleep feeling like shit. Four hours later I woke up COMPLETELY RECOVERED! I took the white pill only because the instructions said to, but I honestly felt 100% better. Whatever that lingzhi powder is, it worked. I was so sure I wasn't going to use the Toniiq that I didn't even do any research on it, and then by the time I reached for it I was way too tipsy to take in any useful information anyway. I guess I'll go do some research on it now that I'm clear-headed, but so far I think this stuff works wonders.

BSN Syntha-6 Isolate - Vanilla Ice Cream Flavor (1.3oz Sample Value: $1.60) - I'm no protein fanatic, but it feels like there's lot of powder in here for just one serving (btw, one serving of this contains 25g protein). This is a whey and casein protein matrix that comes in 12 flavors. Wow! Based on the reviews I've read this brand does a good job in the flavor department. I'm not a regular protein user, but I'll try this and see how much it aids in muscle recovery.

Update 7/19/14: No joke, this protein is seriously yummy. I only had one sample so I can't speak on behalf of its muscle repair/building effects, but I do know my muscles still hurt the same. And guys, please don't make a girl walk upstairs after leg day unless you want feet sweat in your dinner.

Yoga Journal Morning Noon & Night DVD Sampler - This was a bonus item in the box. It's a 20 minute yoga video to spice up your morning routine and give you clarity for the rest of the day. All of my friends who do yoga swear by its added energy benefits and incredible core strengthening exercises. I did want to learn yoga because everyone who's met me knows I could use a morning pick-me-up, but I've never gotten around to actually signing up for a class or buying a DVD. Now that one found its way into my box I'm one step closer to finally yoga-ing it! Now I just have to drag my butt out of bed earlier. As it is I wake up pretty early to go to work (is 4:30 a.m. early?)...waking up at 4:00 will be tough. Realistically speaking though, I probably won't end up using this particular DVD.

Promo cards - In addition to my flat samples were flat promo cards. These included:
  -$10 off coupon at Cory Vines (activewear). Use code BULU10
  -a free 2 month trial to MoveMeFit.com (cardio, strength training, pilates, yoga, dance, prenatal)
  -a free 2 week trial to FitFusion.com (strength training, pilates, yoga, dance, prenatal)

I calculated a $7.75 value for this box (I typically don't consider promo codes as adding value. Also, since the DVD was a bonus item I don't feel it should count toward the value of the box). Considering this box normally costs $10, I don't think this was a very good valued box. I snagged a promo to get a 3-month subscription at dirt cheap, but I still don't feel like I got my money's worth out of it. I can only see myself using the sleep aid, FitMiss, and the protein, which make up less than half the box's value. I think I speak for the majority of people when I say I don't particularly enjoy receiving foil packets in sub boxes. I understand that it's a sampler box, but I also feel that you need more than just one serving to really form an opinion about a product. So this month is meh for me.

Did you receive a Bulu Box? What did you think of the 2D-ness of the curation? If you're curious about what kind of supplements are out there and would like to subscribe to Bulu Box, use my link to discover health products that you never knew existed. Who knows, you might find something you love!

Note: Post contains referral links.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Barkbox #2 Review - July 2014 + Get 10% Off A New Subscription!


What: Barkbox is a subscription box for dogs filled with 4-6 treat, toy, and hygiene items. Boxes are curated according your dog's size. This review is for a small-sized dog box.
When: Ships monthly on the 15th
Cost: $19-$29 per month depending on the length of your subscription
Fun Fact: 10% of proceeds from each Barkbox goes to rescue groups!

This month I got two Barkboxes (see my review for the first one here) because I had to use a Groupon deal ($42.50 for a 3-month sub!) before it expired. And I realized that I'm spoiled by my original Barkbox account. I created a second account so I could redeem the Groupon, and while both boxes shipped out at the same time, I received that one in two days with Priority Mail while this one took five days. I know that's still pretty quick for travelling across the country and then the Pacific, but like I said, I'm spoiled. Also, I totally forgot that Barkbox now charges $5 shipping per box outside of the continental US, so I also got slapped with a $15 shipping charge for this 3-month sub. In the end I ended up paying more per box than I would've if I had just kept my original subscription. :(  Research fail.

That being said, I think I got a past box. The info card talks about spring and is the exact same one I got in my April box. I'm not upset though because the stuff in here is also suitable for summer and if I recall correctly, I think I got past items in my very first Barkbox on my original account. Plus this one's got different stuff than my April box since it's the small dog curation so it's no big deal.

JW Pet Treat Pod (Approx. Value: $6)

I've received JW toys before and I'm pretty sure this is supposed to come with a cardboard tag telling you what it is. Whether this is a secondhand toy or the tag was accidentally removed by a playful puppy at Barkbox HQ, I'm kinda hesitant about shoving this in my dogs' face just yet. I think I'll give this a good run through the dishwasher first. But this is a perfect toy for my pups; they love interactive treat toys.

Pupdate 7/18/14: Yup, it's a hit! I hid some training treats in a couple of the pods and Pebbles spent two hours straight trying to get at them. I was so impressed that my 6-month-old puppy had enough brains to figure it out. Older brother Macho taught her that dropping treat toys repeatedly usually does the trick, but when that didn't work she actually figured out how to hold the pods apart on her own. It's pretty tough even for me to hold them apart while stuffing it. I'm so proud of her!

Etta Says! Duck Meat Treats (Value: $10)

The furballs are huge fans of the Etta Says duck chew sticks so I think they'll enjoy these roasted treats as well. Grain-free and preservative-free! We've been getting a lot of duck treats lately so they might be a little ducked out right now. I'll save this for later.

Barkworthies 6" Bully Stick (Value: $3)

I kind of expected to get another bully stick in this box. It seems like the small dog box has one every month. This is made out of 100% beef bladder and is digestible unlike rawhide. I'm happy to get this because we got a large one in our other July box so now each dog can have their own.

Bistro Bites Chicken Livers (Value: $7)

Is it weird that I thought this smelled like chicken broth? I think I could've gotten away with eating it if I really wanted to - this treat is totally organic and contains just liver, garbanzo flour, buckwheat flour, and parsley. This box is a one month supply for dogs under 10 lbs. I guess when I signed up for a Small Dog box I forgot to take into account that most small dogs are actually 5 lbs kind of small. Pebbles looks tiny but she's a little over 15 lbs now and I have no idea where she's hiding all that weight. I don't know what's up with dogs and liver but my dogs seem to love the stuff so I'm sure they'll gladly accept this.

Mr. Barksmith's Cool Treats - Carrot Cake (Value: $2)

I received this in the pina colada flavor in my other July box. Like the bully stick, I'm so glad I got one of these so now each pup gets to enjoy this frozen treat on a hot day. Macho didn't seem to care for the carrot cake one from a previous Barkbox, so I think I'll give this to Pebbles. She eats anything and everything. Yesterday I caught her trying to eat my shadow. Not too bright that one.

This box had a value of about $28 which is great considering I only paid about $14 for it (okay, $19 w/ shipping, but a regular 3-month sub comes out to $24/month). But compared to other Barkboxes I've received the value is on the low end. I'm really happy with what came in it though, even if it is a past box. We will be using everything that we received. The only concern I have is with the "opened" JW pet toy. It's not a huge deal since I already knew what it was, but if I hadn't seen it before it wouldn't be very obvious that it's a treat stuffer toy without the tag (assuming I never ever read info cards). I think I'll be upgrading to a medium dog box for next month since Pebbles is growing so fast.

If you are an existing Barkbox subscriber, enter for a chance for your dog to be the star of the next Barkbox commercial! All you have to do is YouTube your dog opening July's box and submit it to Barkbox by 8/4.

Do you subscribe to Barkbox? Does getting two this month make me a crazy dog lady? If you want to start a subscription (or get a second one because you're a crazy dog person too), use my link to get 10% off!

Note: Post contains referral links. I paid for this box on my own using a Groupon deal and did not receive any compensation for this honest review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ipsy Review - July 2014

So I did it. After almost of year of reading about the Birchbox vs. Ipsy debate, I finally decided to see for myself. And here's my first Ipsy Glam Bag! Very pink and very shiny.

Here's a bit about Ipsy:
What: Ipsy Glam Bags contain 4-6 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month
Fun Extras: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints, which can be redeemed for monthly bonus items.

I resisted the urge to peek in my account to see what I'd be getting so this was a total surprise to me.

July Ipsy Glam Bag

Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray (1.7oz Sample Value: $6.65)

This came in a separate baggie which is probably a good thing because it leaked in transit and made the entire package smell beachy. This is a texturizing spray to give you that straight-from-the-beach sexy hair look. Growing up I've had my share of those days of beaching it on the weekends and my hair did not feel sexy afterwards. To me it was just a tangled, salty mess. I guess the experience wouldn't be so bad with a conditioning spray like this, but personally I prefer sleek hair. I'm just boring like that.

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 8 (1oz Sample Value: $1.50)

I haven't touched a tanning oil since ten years ago when I stopped being obsessed with trying to get a tan (I have the worst luck keeping a tan for more than a week). This one's oxybenzone- and paraben-free. That's good. No artificial fragrances. That's a plus. Unfortunately I don't see myself laying out in the sun anytime soon so I'm not sure when I'll use this. I know you're probably thinking, Seriously?! How can you live in Hawaii and not make time to lay on the beach? Believe me, it's possible. You know that tourist trap in your town that you've never visited because you figure there's always next week? Or year? It's like that. And then you end up neeever going. Maybe I'll invest in a lawn chair and lie in my backyard with a good book.

BareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow - Divine Wine (0.03oz Sample Value: $5.40)

This a teeny tiny sample about half the size of my thumb, but believe it or not this is 1/3 the full size. BUT do not be fooled by its looks. You don't need more than one swipe at a time. This product is highly pigmented (see swatch below) and smudgable (is that even a word?) for several seconds after application. After that it stays put. Like, really stays put. BareMinerals claims you can get 12 hours of wear out of a single application which is pretty substantial. But I don't doubt that. I'm a cream eyeshadow noob and only own one subtle peachy shade that doesn't show if you screw up, so I might have to practice a bit with this before wearing it outside of my house.

BareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Cream Eyeshadow in Divine Wine

Pop Beauty Sunkissed Bronzer - Secret Sunshine (0.25oz Full Size Value: $10.00)

This is such a pretty color and looks perfect for my skin tone. However, I have a gazillion bronzers already, and about 3 of them are opened. Since bronzer is not one of those things that I go through quickly, I probably won't get to this for another couple of years. I will have to put this up for swap for some other lucky girl out there.

Pixi Beauty Mini Tinted Brilliance Balm - Pretty Pink (1.8g Sample Value: $8.40)

This is another item I wish I could use but I already have so much of. I have about 5 opened lip balms and one of them is a coral tinted one. I really like this color, but I use tinted balm about twice a month so I'll never get around to using this one. Another reluctant swap item.

The Bag

This month's bag is hot pink with scalloped edges and felt lining. I'm not a fan of the color but I do like that it's a solid color. I'm not too much into crazy patterns and prints. Again, I'm boring like that.

July's bag was valued at $31.95 and contained four samples and one full sized product. I do think everything in here (including the bag) was very appropriate for the season; unfortunately, I don't think I'll be using most of them. I can only see myself using the BareMinerals cream eyeshadow and the bag itself. The rest may be swapped. But I do like the bronzer and lip balm; I just don't see myself using either of them anytime soon. Overall I wasn't too impressed with this bag. Hopefully I can get more use out of next month's items.

Did you receive an Ipsy bag? What kind of items did you get? If you'd like a chance to try makeup you never would've seen yourself spending $$$ on otherwise, use my link to sign up for an account. You almost always get an insanely high valued bag without the hefty price tag. Once you get an account you can skip the wait by posting to Facebook and having a friend subscribe from your link.

Note: Post contains referral links. I was not compensated for this review and this post reflects my honest opinion about the products.