Friday, July 24, 2015

Gettin' Hitched with #IDoVoxBox

Laaadies!...

Especially you soon-to-be brides: Influenster is thinking of you. Peak wedding season will be ending soon, but my wedding's not until September so I was super excited to be chosen for the Influenster #IDoVoxBox curated with brides-to-be in mind.

If you've never heard of Influenster, it's an online review community where you review products to unlock "badges" and connect your social media networks to increase your Impact score. The higher your score and activity level, the greater your chances of receiving a specific product or maybe even a free VoxBox containing several full-sized items for review. 

As I mentioned, I was one of the lucky ladies who received an #IDoVoxBox. When it arrived on my doorstep I admit, I was kind of underwhelmed. The box was pretty tiny compared to my past VoxBoxes. It was barely the size of a baseball cap. In Birchbox terms that's a wonderful size, but VoxBox tends to send high-value boxes loaded with tons of stuff (that might be why they're pretty hard to come by).
And this is where I learned never to judge a book by its cover because looks can be deceiving. When I opened the box I was greeted by a ton of stuff ready to pop out of there.
I counted seven things crammed into that tiny box!
I don't remember ever getting an info card in a VoxBox but it was definitely appreciated.

Indeed Labs Nanoblur (1oz full size tube: $19.99) - I've never heard of this brand before, but Indeed Labs specializes in skincare solutions. Like other silicone-based primers, Nanoblur fills in fine lines and wrinkles to make your skin appear younger. Thankfully I haven't developed much in the way of fine lines on my face yet, but that means I can't show you folks a before/after comparison. But I can try to demonstrate on the tiny lines on my wrist, like so:
Nanoblur blurs fine lines and wrinkles! #nanoblurred
Okay, so that's surely not the best pic or even the best example for that matter, but the takeaway message is that yes, it did blur my fine lines. But as far as making pores appear smaller? - no. Nothing can fill in my crater pores.

Neutrogena Hand Cream (2oz full size value: $3.99) - "A little dab will do it." That's what my kindergarten teacher taught me when using glue during arts & crafts and it's kind of become my rule for everything else. Toothpaste, gels, serums, oils. Less is more. That's also the thought behind this hand cream. All you need is #justadab so this 2oz tube should last at least 200 applications. I can't even remember the last time I counted to 200.

UrgentRx Fast Powder - Ache & Pain Relief To-Go (single pouch value: $1.39) - This box arrived at the perfect time because I went a little too hard on leg day at the gym and could barely walk. UrgentRx makes powders that you dump onto your tongue for quick relief of heartburn, indigestion, allergy, etc...no water needed. One pouch is one dose, and this particular variety contains a whopping 650mg of aspirin. That's a lot, considering one Bayer Extra Strength caplet contains 500mg.
But on to the important stuff: what does powdered aspirin taste like? Well, bitter. I expected that (have you ever tried a crushed tablet?...ugh). But the lemon-lime flavor dulled the bitterness quite a bit. And whatever you do, don't sniff this stuff. It stinks. Next important question: did it work? For me, no. Not at all. But I was reading reviews on this stuff and evidently everyone else swears it works wonders.
If you do decide to give this a shot, I would definitely recommend taking it with a glass of water (or lemon-lime Gatorade!)  if you have one handy. It'll hopefully dull some of the bitterness, plus it'll dilute the aspirin so that it doesn't hit your stomach with 650mg of concentrated drug. NSAIDs like aspirin have a wicked tendency to mess up the mucus lining of the stomach with chronic use and interfere with bicarbonate production, both which protect the stomach from acid overkill. In other words, too much NSAIDs = lesions/ulcers in the stomach lining. Yes, this means you also shouldn't take this daily if you can help it.

CoverGirl Outlast Lipstick - Fireball (3.4g full size value: $9.80) - Long-lasting lipstick to survive sips of champagne, lots of smooches, and tons of delicious food on the big day. This looks coral in real life and red in pictures, though I have no idea what it looks like on. I'm still hesitant about wearing coral, though it is a nice color. I've never tried the Outlast line so I have no idea how long wearing these things are. Will it really survive me gnawing on some ribs? Because that's just what I plan to do at my wedding. I don't care how busy I'll be, I'm gonna make time for food. We chose our venue for their buffet and by no means am I missing out on it. Lipstick, do your thing and last.

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Luminous Foundation (1oz full size value: $11.30) - This foundation is designed to make you look radiant with its light-reflecting particles. I used to go gaga over luminous-everything until I realized that even just a little bit will make me look too shiny and oily. AND make my big ol' pores stand out. Since then I've only bought mattifying foundation and it's been fine. I was going to pass this along when I saw the word luminous but realized I didn't have any liquid foundation. Since my mineral makeup just magnifies my pores I decided to try this liquid foundation even though it's not mattifying, and I was pleasantly surprised. Although you can see the mica in the bottle if you look closely, once it's on your skin you don't see it at all. Medium beige is a perfect match for me and it didn't make me look shiny. I think I could get used to this!
You can't see the mica particles once it's outside the bottle

Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars - Dark Chocolate Almond with Coconut (single bar value: $4.99) - I've always known Skinnygirl as the girl on the bottles of hard liquor. I guess now she eats to supplement her alcohol diet. If you like chewy granola bars you'll like this. I've never tried Skinnygirl before (alcohol or food) because honestly all the nutrition bar brands taste the same to me so I've always just stuck with Quaker Chewy bars since it's the cheapest. That said, this particular flavor was yummy. It didn't look that way, though. It sort of looked like a mushed up melted mess:
The inside of the bar didn't look much better --
Fortunately, I'm not a picky chocolate eater and taste is more important to me than presentation. And just as I expected, it tastes just like Quaker's chocolate chip granola bars mixed with Almond Joy. Do I like it? Of course. Would I spend $5 for one bar? Definitely not.

Sahale Snacks Grab & Go - Berry Macaroon (single pack value: $1.52) - I might just be out of the loop, but I've never heard of Sahale Snacks before. They specialize in trail mix-type snacks and nut bars too. I received the Berry Macaroon variety in here and...I have mixed feelings about it. It might just be because I'm not the biggest coconut fan ever. This is a rather salty mix of cashews and almonds and lots of toasted coconut balanced with the sweetness of dried blueberries and apples. I like the sweet, not so much the salty. But saltiness is to be expected in nut mixes, isn't it? I do think the $1.52 price tag is a helluva lot more reasonable than a $4.99 Skinnygirl bar, and on my wedding day I think I'd be more likely to grab a pack of nutty mix than risk smearing Skinnygirl chocolate on my white dress.


So that, my friends, is the #IDoVoxBox. A tiny little box loaded with over $50 worth of products to sample - all for FREE! And my favorite part is that these are affordable items that I can probably find at Target or any drugstore. I'm pretty impressed with the Nanoblur and CoverGirl foundation and would consider replacing my current primer and foundation with these. The Skinnygirl bar tastes so good and I would definitely purchase a box of em if they weren't so darn expensive :( The only thing I'm disappointed in is the UrgentRX pain reliever. I'm willing to give it another try though, so I'll be picking up a packet if I see it around. Looking at these items I'm not sure why it was called #IDoVoxBox since it didn't really have anything specific for brides. I would have been just as happy to receive one even if I wasn't tying the knot. Oh well, at least the info card tried to make it wedding-related.

If you like to voice your reviews and are interested in qualifying for a VoxBox, send me your email address and I'll send you an Influenster invite (fyi, it'll boost my score a bit. Or if you want to sign up directly through Influenster you can do that too...I promise I won't be offended). It's a bit harder to qualify for campaigns than with other product-testing sites, but the products and VoxBoxes themselves are pretty fantastic!

Note: I received the #IDoVoxBox for free from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BarkBox: It's a Circus! - July 2015 + Get A Free Box!


What: BarkBox is a subscription box for dogs filled with 4-6 treat, toy, and hygiene items. Boxes are curated according to your dog's size. This review is for a medium-dog box.
When: Ships monthly on the 15th
Cost: $18-$29 per month depending on the length of your subscription
Fun Fact: 10% of proceeds from each BarkBox goes to rescue groups!

My guess is if you're reading this you're probably (a)familiar with subscription boxes, or (b)have a dog. And if you enjoy themes and are kind of crazy when it comes to spoiling your dog, BarkBox is the box for you and your BFFF (like a BFF but with fur). Lots of people like taking pics of their boxes, and dog boxes are no exception. I always get jealous of those pics with a dog posing proudly and cutely beside their box. This is what happens when I try it:
Well I tried at least. I hope your dog is a fan of the big top because July's box is all about the CIRCUS. Sometimes I think my dogs belong in one. Not because of some awe-inspiring talent but mostly because of their looks. I mean, have you ever seen a more disproportionate breed than a corgi? Huge ears, tiny legs, long body, crazy long tongue. What a riot. Unfortunately, we don't have circus acts coming around here much, so this month we're relying on BarkBox to bring it on over.
July Barkbox info card
BarkMade Chicken Biscuits (5oz value: $8) - Isn't this container so cute?! These heart-shaped biscuits are actually made by Healthy Dogma and are completely organic. They only contain 5 ingredients (or 6? I can't remember...it's in the kitchen and I'm currently buried under a pile of papers at the moment). Technically I could eat one, and I usually would for review purposes, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. But the dogs approve and Pebbles goes gaga over it. But in all fairness she goes gaga over any treat. That includes geckos.

Feel Good Treat Company Trail Blazin' Beef Bitz (4oz value: $8) - These totally caught me by surprise. I was expecting a meaty jerky treat. Or maybe something freeze-dried. But these are little baked square puffs. Like Cheez-Its without the cheez. And there's only four ingredients in here - beef liver, oat flour, olive oil, and oregano. I shall sample this along with the chicken biscuits when I get the chance, though it definitely doesn't sound yummy to me. However, the dogs disagree. Good dogs. Eat up. Handmade in Canada.

Butcher's Block Beef Knee Cap (Value: $3) - I don't even have to wonder whether the dogs will like this. They'll love it, no question. I gotta admit, it does smell pretty tasty through the wrapping. Macho used to go apesh*t for these saucy bones, but lately he's been more into pizzles and things he can actually consume. But Pebbles will continue gnawing long after the meat is gone. Then the next time I'll just give her the naked bone and she goes at it again. Of course, that one has to be under constant supervision because she'll splinter and eat the whole friggin' thing if she could figure out how, but I love that she's so easily amused.

Encore! Fire Hose (Value: $15) - Yay, my request for tough toys has been fulfilled! Each month when BarkBox sends out their survey I mention that the toys are incredibly cute albeit unsuitable for my dastardly pups. Pebbles will decapitate a plush toy in less than 5 minutes and Macho has this weird tendency to turn all the heads inside out once Pebbles finishes unstuffing them. This is the first durable toy we've gotten since the rope toy in September's cheerleader box (they still play tug of war with that rope every single day). I love canvas and rope type toys because it takes a little longer for Pebbles to destroy it. She does, eventually, and I'm left picking up fibers all day, but it's worth it for the time being. The only reason that cheerleader rope is still here is because Pebbles doesn't get alone time with it; once they're done playing tug of war it's on to fetch and then dinnertime. It looks like this fire hose has double stitching; I hope it holds up to my tiny terror.

BarkMade Eugene the Circus Elephant (Value: $11) - This is a pretty pricey elephant, especially since it won't last 10 minutes in my house. Unless I put it up on a shelf with all the other cute-but-fragile BarkBox plushies we've gotten. It squeaks and has crinkly ears - that means both dogs will automatically love it. But what I love most about this toy is the warning: "Supervised play only- don't leave a pup alone with an elephant." Because size difference.

Okay, so this box wasn't as theme-oriented as others have been, but it was still cute. The treats are almost gone (and it's only been 6 days!) and I'm planning on bringing out the fire hose later on today. Sadly (or happily?), the elephant won't be able to meet Pebble's jaws. Don't leave a pup alone with an elephant. Because pup will destroy elephant, apparently. I wonder what next month's theme will be...back to school maybe? My dogs can definitely use some schooling. I would love to teach Pebbles some manners. She would totally fail the CGC test with flying colors right now.

See anything you like? All these and more can be purchased from the Barkshop. And if you like what you see there, come join the fun and spoil love your BFFF by getting a BarkBox for as low as $18/month -- plus get a free box tacked on to your subscription just for using my link! Much thanks if you use it!

Note: Post contains referral links. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ipsy Unboxing - July 2015


What: Ipsy Glam Bags contain 5 deluxe samples and full sized beauty products (mostly makeup) in an exclusive makeup bag.
When: Glam Bags ship monthly on the 10th
Cost: $10/month
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for monthly bonus items.


Another month, another Ipsy Glam Bag! I've been a subscriber for just over a year now and I can see why so many people compare Ipsy to Birchbox. Some months are good, some months are blah. Last month's bag was one of my favorites so far and since balance is the key to life, I wasn't expecting a stellar bag for July. Aaand was I correct? Well....

Teeez Cosmetics Read My Lips Lipstick - Killing Me Softly (2g full size? value: $22.00) - I'm starting with the only thing I'm gonna hold onto. In fact, I was going to swap this too since it looks like a pretty deep pink in the tube and I prefer lighter pinks and nudes, but when I had pulled off the cap to take a peek it accidentally nicked the lipstick. Nobody likes getting damaged goods so I decided to keep it. Plus it smells yummy. A bit like candy. As I guessed, it is a bit too dark for my liking, but I think I can live with it. It's supposed to have a satin matte finish but it looks mostly matte to me. Here's a single layer swatch:
Avene Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser (25ml travel size value: $2.50) - I got this previously in a Birchbox but never got around to trying it. Supposedly it contains water from French thermal springs. It's intended for those with oily or acne prone skin. I've been getting lots of breakouts lately so maybe I should finally use it. Hah, I guess I'm keeping two things this month! Oh, and the back of the bottle says "Free Sample." Doh!

Harvey Prince Organics Jor'el Parker Eau de Parfum - Classico (aka Sincerely) (8.8ml mini roller value: $21) - Wowww this is a huge size to give in a sub box. Especially if you're not totally into the scent as is my case. This is a rollerball so it'll get used up quicker than say, a perfume oil, but it's still a lot. It smells like the fragrance department in Macy's. Strong and sophisticated and floral. Unfortunately, I'm a fun and fruity kind of gal. FYI, here are the notes in this perfume: Indonesian clove bud, Australian sandalwood, Moroccan rose, French bergamot, Indian tuberose, Japanese orange flower, Lebanese cedarwood, Turkish cyclamen, and South African freesia. It's like a trip around the world in one whiff.

City Color HD Powder (4g purse size - $3.40) - Man, with all these powders I'm getting I think I'm set for life! I honestly don't use finishing powders very often because I'm not a blending pro and people will scream "GHOST!" when they see me. (I do love my setting powder though, because it's tinted and I can do a horrible job and still look like a human.) I didn't take off the protective seal so I'm sorry you don't get an up close and personal look of the HD powder itself, but since it's pure silica it looks exactly like any other finishing powder you've seen on the market. White. Fine. And you best not sneeze in it (unless you really don't mind the ghost look).

Ofra Eyeshadow & Highlighter - Bliss (single pot value: $6) - Straight from Ofra's "Diamonds are Forever" collection, Bliss is a shimmery shadow that makes your eyes shine bright like a diamond. I already have a champagne shimmer similar to this one and I'm not into eyeshadows enough to collect similar colors, so I think I may have to find a new home for this one. What Would Rihanna Do?

July's goodies came in a very vibrant makeup bag that kinda reminds me of the 80s. I'm a child of the 80s and I love the music, shows, and movies, buuut not so much the fashion (except scrunchies and t-shirt clips!) or the bright colors.

So it's another semi-bust for Ipsy. A successful month for me is when I decide to keep over half of the things. With a year of Ipsy under my belt and almost two years for Birchbox, I think I've liked more of the stuff that came in my Birchboxes, even after a whole lot of profile-tweaking. But you do get a better value with Ipsy (this month's bag was over $50!). Anyway, if you want to get started on your own Ipsy glam bag subscription, click here to get on the wait list. You won't be charged for your first bag until you get off (it usually takes several weeks, but you can skip the wait by posting to Facebook and having a friend subscribe from your link). Who knows, you might get your profile right the first time and find exactly what you've been looking for!

Note: Post contains referral links. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Smile Bright with Crest Pro-Health HD! :D

When was the last time you went to the dentist? Did your doc comment on your teeth? Mines usually doesn't say much unless there's a problem, but I'm always a bit self-conscious about how yellow my teeth are. I don't smoke, but I do drink lots of tea and it's done a number on my pearly (off-)whites. I've tried whitening strips and toothpastes in the past and none of them have made a noticeable difference on my smile. Then BzzAgent reached out to me with a brand new teeth cleaning and whitening toothpaste called Crest Pro-Health HD Daily Two-Step system. I grew up with Crest so of course I was game.
But first, BzzWho are they? BzzAgent is a company that uses utilizes social media to spread the word about up and coming products. Companies who want feedback on their new products reach out to BzzAgent, which in turn passes on those products (for free!) to you and me to test and review in the form of a BzzCampaign. You complete each BzzCampaign by fulfilling social media requirements via Facebook, Instagram, etc to raise your BzzScore. The higher your score, the greater your chances of qualifying for more missions.

As I mentioned, I used Crest toothpaste all the time as a kid. As in I didn't know any other brand existed until high school. In fact, I was using Crest when I accepted this mission. And it wasn't just any Crest toothpaste - I was already using the Pro-Health line, just not in HD: 
I was already using Crest Pro Health toothpaste before this mission. Already got one foot in the door!

BUT! Just because a tangerine is a fruit doesn't make it the same as an orange so you bet I wanted to try this baby out. 

THE KIT
When I first caught a glimpse of the product itself, I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit overwhelmed. Growing up I've always been the lazy one in the house. It was hard enough remembering to brush my teeth twice a day, and now I have to use TWO tubes each time?! *grumble grumble* Sloth status fo sho. 
But I hate my yellowed teeth more than a little extra work so I gave it a go. Crest claims that your mouth will be 6x healthier and your teeth will be 6x whiter in one week. I wanted to test that second claim sooo badly.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
I think this might be the first 2-step toothpaste system from Crest. It's definitely a first for me.
Step 1: fluoride toothpaste
Step 1 is a toothpaste that deep cleans teeth and strips away plaque with stannous fluoride. You brush for one minute then spit but don't wash. From this point on I wasn't able to keep the toothpaste from dripping out of my mouth (ooh so graphic!) so be sure you stay over a sink throughout Step 2.
Step 2: the whitening gel
Step 2 is a clear gel that whitens and polishes teeth with the help of hydrogen peroxide and silica. It tastes a bit more...bitter?..than regular toothpaste and I'm still getting used to the taste after almost a month. You brush with this for another minute before spitting and rinsing.

The whole process itself wasn't as life-changing as I expected. I didn't waste a significant portion of the day cleaning my teeth. And no, I didn't have to miss a whole episode of Big Bang Theory just so I could brush my teeth. I tell you, I don't know where I get these bogus irrational ideas from.

THE VERDICT
For the sake of reviews, I sucked it up and snapped a before/after pic of my mouth to share with you. Excuse the uneven teeth; I haven't worn my retainers since I took off my braces 18 years ago.
Boy, if my orthodontist could see me now...yikes.
I don't know about you, but I can sort of see a teeny tiny subtle difference after one week of using the Crest Pro-Health HD system. Of course it could be lighting or just wishful thinking. You can see that the toothpaste didn't remove all of the plaque build-up near the gums (not that I want everybody examining the photo of my mouth or anything), but I didn't expect it to anyway. Nothing can compare to a professional dental cleaning. I've been using this toothpaste for a month now and since I see my teeth everyday I can't tell if they're any whiter. I really wish I continued taking pictures every week for comparison. It's still a bit yellow by the gums but I really don't think that's going anywhere anytime soon.

So my overall opinion? Sure, I recommend giving Crest Pro-Health HD a shot. It isolates the cleaning vs polishing steps so that you can get one done before starting the other. You wouldn't simultaneously wash and style your hair, would you? If you're wondering why not just buy whitestrips?, my answer is that it's a matter of personal preference. Don't quote me on this, but I feel like Pro-Health HD will give you a "natural" effect whereas whitestrips give a BAM! in yo face bright white effect. Think of it as soft lighting vs cool lighting. They both look great, but it's a matter of what effect you're going for.

Note: I received the Crest Pro Health HD Daily Two-Step toothpaste system complimentary from BzzAgent for testing purposes. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Walmart Beauty Box Unboxing - Summer 2015

Believe it or not, the Walmart Beauty Box seasonal sub is one that I really look forward to. If you've been following me long enough you'll know that I'm rather thrifty and prefer beauty products that can do a decent job with my wallet in mind. Ninety percent of the time I won't even take a second look at a $50 bottle of shampoo no matter how good it makes my hair smell. Walmart carries affordable beauty. I like affordable beauty. I'm fairly certain I'll never find a $50 shampoo in here and that's why I'm excited to dig in!


 What: Walmart Beauty Box contains samples of beauty products from major drugstore brands
When: Ships once a season (March, June, September, and December)
Cost: The box itself is free, but there is a flat $5 shipping fee

St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub (1oz travel size value: $0.60) - Facial scrubs are probably my favorite skincare product. I love the feeling of those tiny beads sloughing off all the dead skin. These particular scrubbing beads are on the abrasive side so I don't know if it'd be the best choice for sensitive skin. But it does smell citrus and lovely. I think this is what was making the entire box smell good. Lately there have been talks about making it state law to ban the sale of any product with plastic microbeads because they pollute the ocean (where the beads would eventually end up after passing through wastewater treatment) and harm marine life. I'm torn. I do like the fishies, but I also like the scrubbies. But they do make dissolving microbeads, don't they?...maybe we can all be happy :)

Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Nourishing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (1.7oz travel size value: $0.70) - I generally don't care for shampoo samples, especially if there's no conditioner to go along with it. BUT! This one's a conditioning shampoo. Meaning it's mostly a shampoo but with some hydrating properties but you'll still probably have to use a dedicated conditioner along with it. Amirite? I have yet to encounter an all-in-one that leaves my hair feeling soft. At least this one's a nice size for travel...if I traveled much. I don't have a huge problem with dandruff but I do get it occasionally. However, I feel like you need more than just a couple uses from a little bottle to know if it actually works...aaand a quick look at the bottom tells me this particular sample expired two months ago in May. *pffff*

Dove Go Fresh Nutrium Moisture Revitalize Body Wash - Mandarin & Tiare Flower scent (1.8oz travel size value: $0.50) - Whew, that was a mouthful. These items have really long names. I got this same thing in the Spring box and I love the scent. Citrus with a hint of floral in just the right proportions. It lathers very well so you don't need more than a quarter size. Well I don't but then again I'm all of 5' tall. 

Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme (0.84oz travel size value: $0.50) - Nivea is known for their fantastic moisturizing products. For some reason the seal on my container was already partially open. *skeptical face* This cream has a powdery scent that would probably end up giving me a headache after a few minutes. I'd pass it on to C who has more dry skin than I do, but he's also more sensitive to scented products and avoids them as much as humanly possible. On the bright side, it absorbs pretty quickly even if you don't have thirsty skin. I'll probably use it on my legs. If anything, my shins get dry. Not my elbows, not my knees, but my shins. Wth, right?

NYC Liquid Lipshine Lip Gloss - Fashion Ave Fuchsia (0.24oz full size value: $2) - I normally like pink lip glosses, but I think fucshia might be pushing it. I tend to go for sheer or pale pinks, maaaybe with a hint of coral. I tried to get on the bold pink bandwagon, but each time it comes out looking way too bright even with a single layer and overall just doesn't look right on me. I kind of feel like I'd be betraying myself by giving away a pink gloss, but alas, it must be done. I hope somebody else will get tons of use out of it.

Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen SPF 70 (0.5oz sample value: $0.80) - The first thing I noticed about this sunscreen is the SPF rating - 70!! The highest I've ever seen. After 50 the added protection is minimal so you don't really need to go much higher than that. SPF ratings form a logarithmic curve - SPF15 blocks about 94% of UVB radiation, SPF30 about 97%, SPF50 about 98%...you get the idea. I'm guessing SPF70 blocks just under 99% UVB. But the crazy high SPF isn't a deal breaker - this sunscreen contains oxybenzone which defends against UVA radiation as well (the one that causes wrinkles). Actually, most sunscreens nowadays are broad spectrum which is a good thing. You just don't necessarily need it in SPF 70.

One Direction Fragrance sample - You & I - Alright, I do like "That's What Makes You Beautiful," but that's about all I know about One Direction. I'm far from a fan girl. I don't know any of their other songs. Heck, I don't even know how many people are in there. Six? Five? So I definitely had no idea they had their own fragrance. And it's a flowery one. It's citrus-flowery instead of powder-flowery so I guess it could be worse, but it's still a bit much for me. This is a light, playful scent that's entirely appropriate for spring or summer. I'm catching a splash of grapefruit over a hodgepodge of flowers. In fact, if the scent were toned down a bit I think I'd actually like it.

There was also a sample of Jergens 3-day tanning lotion system. Why three days? So that your fake tan is not so obvious, of course! We gradually trick people into thinking we have a nice tan because if people could tell we cheated we'll get teased. Well I would anyway. These are pretty generous foils so you can probably cover your extremities with it...well, maybe minus a leg. And for once there wasn't a plethora of coupons. There was one folded card of coupons, but that was it. Buuut they expired before I even got my box. :( Booo.

If you want to explore affordable drugstore brands, sign up here to get a free box shipped to your doorstep at the beginning of each season. I'm pretty sure they still have Summer boxes available but I don't know for how much longer so pick one up if you're interested! If there's a baby in your near future, there's also a Baby Box catered to your pregnancy stage (1st, 2nd, 3rd trimester). If you decide to pick up a Baby Box let me know how you like it!

Note: All opinions contained within this post are my own.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Birchbox Review - June 2015


What: Birchbox contains 4-6 samples of high-end beauty and lifestyle products
When: Ships on the 10th of each month
Cost: $10/month or $110/year upfront
Fun fact: Birchbox has an awesome points system where you can review products or make purchases from the Birchbox shop to earn points. Every 100 points gets you $10 credit in the BB shop.


Sorry I've been MIA for a few weeks. Would you believe me if I told you I got abducted by Gru's minions? Well I kinda did in a way - C and I went to see The Minions movie! We haven't seen a movie on opening weekend for as long as we knew each other. Wowza. 

Anywho, I'm gonna breeze through this review so that I can listen to my swearing minion from my happy meal over and over again. Birchbox came unbelievably late this month. So late that I got it in the wrong month. *cry cry* It finally arrived after 4th of July weekend. I didn't pick a box customization because I was okay with any of the choices except the Supergoop sunscreen because I have about a gazillion sunscreens.

Aaand as luck would have it, I got the Supergoop. Oh well. Wanna know what else I got? Read on...

When I shook the box before opening it (because I'm a kid) there were lots of smallish-sounding stuff making lots of noise, but that's expected with Birchbox.

Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser (0.5oz value: $5)- I'm gonna start with the most intriguing and probably the only thing I can honestly say I'm glad to see in this box. Have you ever noticed that there's charcoal in your water filter? Have you used charcoal to clean up a solvent spill? Why charcoal? It's because activated carbon/charcoal is excellent at absorbing chemical impurities. It neutralizes acidity and exfoliates with maple extract. Bonus: you can also use it as a shaving cream or body wash. The only downside for me is the scent - it smells pretty medicinal/aftershave-y.

Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream (5ml value: $4) - I remember getting this in my very first Birchbox almost two years ago. The way I see it, if it's gonna be on my face all day, I better be able to tolerate the scent. This, however, smelled too much like sunscreen for me to like it. I still don't like the sunscreen smell so I think I have to pass this along to someone who isn't as whiny as yours truly.

Supergoop! Everyday SPF50 with Cellular Response Technology (10ml value: $1) - More sunscreen! I guess that makes sense since it is summer and all. But we have four open bottles at the moment and none are anywhere near empty. That's how my boyfriend functions - if he can't find an open bottle of something within 10 seconds he goes and opens a new one without even thinking to look in a different drawer. Plus I have about 10 travel size tubes of sunscreen that he won't touch because he thinks they're too girly. Pffft. Thou shall also be passed along to a more deserving individual.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner - Mulberry (0.8g value: $7) - I like eyeliners. I like mulberries. But not combined, not on my eyes. This is a deep metallic purple that I'd imagine would look beautiful with light pink or silver. I just got over my fear of purple nail polish...I'm still working on accepting purple everything else, so I can't handle this just yet. Baby steps.

Sienna Naturals Moisturizing Leave-in Conditioner (1oz travel size value: $2) - I've always been scared of leave-in conditioners because my hair loves to get greasy every chance it gets. Even if I keep hair products far from the roots I always manage to end up with oil city on my scalp. I used this as a semi leave-in conditioner and washed it off after about 10 minutes. The expected result was moisturized hair as a result of the baobab oil, coconut oil and shea butter trifecta. The actual result was unnoticeable aside from the overpowering scent radiating from my head all day. I don't get it, it smelled yummy in the tube, but all day my hair smelled like plants. Lots of plants. But the name does have naturals in it, what did I expect?

L. Erickson Narrow Grab and Go Pony Bands (single band value: $2) - These are elastic hair ties with a plastic bead containing the crimped ends in lieu of a metal band. I haven't bought a hair band with metal since the 6th grade because they were frowned upon in judo tournaments. I guess plastic is a little better since you won't cut yourself on the metal edge; unfortunately, anything rigid is isn't allowed in competition so a long time ago I discovered the completely elastic bands. Not the ones with the glued seam because those still snap (and hurt like hell when they do), but if you go to any Japanese/Asian goods store you'll find long lengths of elastic (hair gum, they call it) that you can cut and tie yourself. No seams, no hard surfaces - just a knot. I wear a ponytail about 80% of the time and I've been using the same exact elastic for the past 2 years. I luv it.

So out of the six things in June's Birchbox, I'll probably end up using only the charcoal cleanser. And I guess the leave-in conditioner because I opened it already. It's not that everything in here was bad, because it wasn't, it's just that I have way too many moisturizers and eye liners stockpiled in my house. Maybe this is a sign to put beauty subs on hold until I can make a dent in my collection of a million samples? Hmm...we'll see. In the meantime, if you want to subscribe to Birchbox, you can do so here. Happy discovering!

Note: Post contains referral links. All opinions contained within this post are my own.