Tuesday, February 23, 2016

3B Box Review - February 2016

What: The 3B Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty samples from Korea, Japan, or Taiwan
When: Ships during the first week of each month
Cost: $12 per month (free shipping!)

Now that it's February (almost March!!) and I've long since given up on my new year's resolutions, I'll be the first to admit that I'm still broke (save money? what an absurd resolution) and I'm still obsessively checking my mailbox (so much for nixing online shopping). Thankfully there are ways to still get goodies in the mail while keeping the dent in your wallet to a minimum, and 3B Box is one of those ways. Buying skincare overseas can cost a pretty penny and the folks at 3B know that, so each month they send you a box full of Asian beauty products for one low price.

FYI: I actually received this box a couple of weeks ago but I've been so busy that I still haven't tried anything in here so this will be more of an unboxing than a review.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream (5g value: $2) - When you think of 'steam cream' it makes sense to picture something that warms up when you apply it to open up your pores. But no. It simply refers to the manufacturing process - steam is introduced to the product to help the mixing of oil- and water-based ingredients. Or something like that. This cream contains snail secretion filtrate which you probably know is great for achieving soft supple skin. It also has bee venom (more specifically melittin) which tricks your body into thinking its been stung so that it produces elastin and collagen, both which are great for younger-looking skin. I've been using the essence from the Snail Bee line for a while and love it because it's the only snail mucin-containing thing that doesn't leave my face feeling sticky. Same goes for this cream - no stickiness AND it's unscented. Double yay!

Etude House Look At My Eyes Cafe Eyeshadow - BR401 (2g value: $4.60) - For some reason I've been getting lots of bronze makeup lately. The Cafe line is supposed to be matte colors but it looks like this one edges on metallic. According to this review I found online it's more gold than brown and has yellow undertones so it's probably better suited for warmer skin tones. I'll probably end up gifting this because I don't use gold or bronze shadow nearly enough to justify keeping so many around :(

Lioele Eyelash Curler (Value: $3.50) - This curler is cute because it's pink (when the heck did I start liking pink??!) and comes with two replacement pads. You should be changing the pad every six months so these should last you about a year and a half. There was a time when I thought all curlers were created equal and was becoming increasingly frustrated that every one I tried pinched the corners of my eyelids and left me with zero curl. Then I did some research and found out that the reason why they weren't working was because the the curve was too pronounced so the pads weren't even grabbing my lashes while the ends were grabbing my skin. In other words I have flat eyes (as is the case with many monolids); I needed something with a flatter arch. After some searching I found the Shiseido one to be my HG curler. Actually, even that one is a little too curvy for my eyes but it's one of the flattest ones out there and works the best for my eye shape. This Lioele one has a bit more of an arch but isn't too bad either, and it's perfect for smaller eyes. I think I may give this a go!
Side by side of Lioele and Shiseido lash curlers.
Sorry I don't have one with a high arch to compare; it went in the trash the
moment I bought my Shiseido :)

Leaders Step Solution Pore-Scaling Black Aqua Mask (Value: $3) - Oooh I love charcoal masks. This one's made with volcanic ash and charcoal which draw out impurities from deep within pores. Plus it's pretty cool to say that you had part of a volcano on your face. This mask also contains sugar maple extract which is a source of AHAs = exfoliation :)

This was another fun month of 3B! There's always something I like, and sometimes (like this month) I'm pretty thrilled with the majority of the items. I love that the Snail Bee cream doesn't leave my face greasy or sticky, and I think I'll be purchasing a full size soon. Next up is probably the charcoal mask - I fell off of the mask wagon for a bit but I think it's time to jump back on; my stash is growing so quickly! I think there's still a wait list for this box and the sooner you get on, the sooner you can get off of it! 

Note: All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Post does not contain any referral links.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Barkbox Review - February 2016 + Free Box Code!

What: BarkBox is a subscription box for dogs filled with 4-6 treat, toy, and sometimes hygiene items. Boxes are curated according to your dog's size. There are also variations for dogs with allergies and for tough chewers. Just send BarkBox an email to let them know your situation and they'll mark your account. For reference, this review is for a heavy chewer medium-dog box.
When: Ships monthly on the 15th
Cost: $18-$29 per month depending on the length of your subscription (plus $5 shipping per box outside the contiguous 48 states)
Fun Fact: 10% of proceeds from each BarkBox goes to rescue groups! Check out their BarkGood program to get involved.

When I first got my corgis, they were brats (and still are!). Then I spoiled them with a box of doggy goodies and for some reason now they think they are entitled to one day each month dedicated to all things furry, fluffy, smiley, and smelly (I'm really horrible at bathing my dogs regularly. sorrynotsorry). We call this monthly recurrence BarkBox Day. On a side note, I think the folks at BarkBox dip the boxes in bacon grease before sending them out because my dogs will make a beeline for their BarkBox (and only their Barkbox) the moment I put it on the table. Too bad for them they're barely a foot tall and can't reach it.

One thing I love about BarkBox are their fun themes. I was so sure that February would be something Valentine's-related but nope, it's all about the Lunar New Year, which I guess makes sense because the boxes don't even ship until about the 15th. It's the year of the monkey and I'm so tempted to send a box over to my friend who has a dog named Monkey (but knowing her, she probably already gets a BarkBox for him). According to Barkbox though, it's the year of the Dog. As every year should be, amirite? Now on to the fun stuff!

Freenie's Fan (Value: $13) - A rope toy - just what I needed! This is a crinkly, squeaky rope toy made by the folks at Bark & Co. My dogs think tug of war is the game of champions and will stop at nothing to see who the day's winner will be. Spoiler alrert: it's always Macho. But in Pebbles' defense it's because she always lets go so that she can poop in the corner of the yard. Must be the adrenaline...? Anywho, this should give them a good week of tug of war.

Stretchy the Serpentine (Value: $13) - When you think of Chinese folklore, you often picture dragons. They symbolize strength and power and are overall pretty awesome mythological creatures. (I'm sure komodo dragons are equally as awesome too) Ever wondered why everything is red during Chinese New Year (like these toys)? Red represents happiness and good fortune. I should paint my dogs red. Stretchy has a stretchy (duh), crinkly plush exterior, but once the pups chew through that there's a spiky ball in his head for added fun. The ball's about the size of a tennis ball so it should be large enough for the dogs to gnaw on. Or possibly play tug of war with. You'd be amazed at the smallest things they'll find to play tug of war - such as the cardboard "B" from their BarkBox. I guess that's what happens when you run out of rope toys and the dogs get desperate...anything becomes amusing. They're like that kid who enjoys playing with foil. I was that kid. I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, eh?

Plato Small Bites Roasted Duck Treats (4oz value: $7) - Meaty training treats are Macho's best friend. Pebbles is like the jealous third wheel that tries to break up the friendship by trying to snatch his share of treats in midair. I don't remember exactly where I was going with this analogy but the bottom line is that no matter what Pebbles does to separate Macho from his meaty treats he will always love them. I'm fairly certain if he was stuck on an abandoned island and had to choose between the treats or Pebbles he'd choose the treats in a heartbeat.

Butcher's Block Trachea Chew (Value: $7) - I guess I'm lucky because my dogs will eat anything I put in front of their face. I mean anything. It's easier to get them to eat their greens than it is to get my own husband to eat his. Also, if you put medicine on a spoon and make lip smacking sounds they will be convinced that meds are yummy treats (the dogs, not my husband). A few months ago I gave the dogs some beef trachea that I received in a variety pack of chews and they went nuts over it. Since then I'll buy it by the bag and they get one if they're extra good. Little do they know it's loaded with chondroitin and glucosamine which supposedly relieves joint pain, something Macho's been having on and off for the past several months.

Healthy Dogma Chicken Kung Pow Barkers Treats (5oz value: $8) - I have to say that Healthy Dogma has the cutest treat packaging. It's always in a carton or cup decorated with cute doggy pictures. This one's a takeout carton with a doggy getting his lion dance on. These are biscuit type treats which Macho may not choose over Pebbles, but he'll still appreciate every bite (okay I lied, he'd choose these over Pebbles too. I don't blame him, she's such a bratty sister). Plus these are gluten free.

I think BarkBox was spot on with the Chinese New Year theme. The treats are always a hit, but I've also been loving the toys we've been getting ever since I opted for the heavy chewer option. I'm still not sure if we're actually getting different toys than the "regular" box though; something tells me BarkBox just upped the durability of the toys in all their medium- and large-dog boxes. Although they don't last THAT long, the toys we've been getting will at survive a couple of play sessions before being ripped to shreds, a vast improvement over the previous plushies we've gotten.

To get your own BarkBox, use referral code DOGSYAY to start a subscription for as low as $18/month -- plus get a free box tacked on to your subscription just for using my code! There's no expiration date and this offer is open to all new subscribers. Enjoy! :)

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ipsy Review - January 2016

What: Ipsy Glam Bag contains 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 (free shipping)
Fun Extra: You can review your products each month to earn ipsyPoints which can be redeemed for bonus items.

Sorry this post didn't make it by January; it actually came in a couple of days before the month ended but I've been buried under piles of work having way too much fun enjoying the new year. Ipsy is a fun subscription that keeps me guessing. Some months will be duds but there are other times, like last month, when a bag puts me over the moon. It's always fun to see what kind of new goodies come in an Ipsy glam bag. January's theme is All Eyes On You which I'm guessing means we'll be receiving mostly eye stuff. Let's find out...

Beau Gachis Paris Smudge Brush (Value: $12) - Something I always welcome are all types of makeup brushes. Why, I have no clue. I've accumulated quite a collection over the years and have backups for my backups but I'm still happy whenever one appears in a subscription box. The bristles in this one are a little looser than what I'd prefer in a smudge brush but I think it'll work fine as a regular eye shadow brush.

Mr. Write (Now) Eyeliner Pencil - Jac (0.28g FULL SIZE! value; $17) - I'll be honest. I've never used bronze eyeliner before. I'm pretty conservative when it comes to makeup so I'm hesitant to step outside of my comfort zone. That means my collection is full of blacks, dark blues, and dark browns. But if you think about it, isn't bronze like a shiny brown? Yeah, let's go with that. I like browns. Maybe I'll finally try something new.

J. Cat Blinkle Shimmer Shadow - Tangerine Light (2.5g FULL SIZE! value: $5) - Bronze eyeliner and now bronze shadow. I wouldn't call this color tangerine or light, but according to some reviews I've read it sounds like a very pretty color that compliments a variety of skin tones. I've also read that there's minimal fallout even without a primer. Good news for me because eyelid primer is one thing I never remember to use :-/

Pur-lisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Eye Adore Serum (0.24oz sample value: $31) - Holy eyeballs, Batman. This is one expensive serum. My serums hail from the aisles of Target where a $20 bill can get you a whole tub of anti-aging goodness. I guess those dollar signs are due to Lotus Lupine 5, Pur-lisse's exclusive proprietary peptide complex that fights wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness while keeping skin firm. Still, you can probably get similar results for way cheaper elsewhere.

Hanalei Sugar Lip Scrub (5ml sample value: $4.50) - Yay, this lip scrub is made in Hawaii! I always jump for joy when I see a product from my home state because it makes me feel like I'll have unlimited access to it without having to wait for shipping. Not to mention paying air rates since you can't truly "ground" ship to HI unless you're okay with waiting a month for the slow boat method. This scrub uses Maui sugar crystals and kukui nut oil to exfoliate and soften lips. In fact, all of Hanalei's products contain kukui oil, which is an excellent moisturizer and is used to treat many types of skin conditions.

So everything in the bag was somewhat promising, but the makeup bag itself is...loud. It has lots of bold colors and is a rather happy-looking bag, but when it comes to makeup pouches I prefer solid, boring colors. Black. Gray. Beige. It's probably because my makeup bags often double as first aid/time-of-the-month bags and who wants to draw attention to their band-aids and tampons? Not me. But now that I think about it, I have so many Ipsy bags in my closet that they really don't need to pull double duty anymore. Hm.

Thank you, Ipsy, for sticking to the theme this month! All except one item had to do with the eyes which is fitting for an "All Eyes On You" deal. This is also probably the highest valued glam bag I've ever received thanks to the eye serum which I most likely won't use because I already have a gazillion of those but can't remember to use a single one (yes, I'm pretty bad when it comes to eye care). But even without the serum I can still get bronze eyes and smooth lips. Fun!

Click here to get your own Ipsy glam bag for just $10 a month. It's one of the most affordable beauty subscriptions out there and the value always exceeds the cost. Like I said, bags may be hit or miss but lately I've been getting some great stuff and I'm definitely keeping this one going! 

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