Saturday, October 12, 2013

Birchbox October 2013 Review

If Birchbox didn't have such a great point system, I'd have dropped it a long time ago.  However, there is something to be said for $10 per month for samples and getting back about $5 per month in store credit for reviewing the products.

October 2013

I peeked at my box when they were posted yesterday, and I was even more underwhelmed when it finally showed up.

Birchbox October 2013: Beauty Buzz

First up, this box's only really excellent item: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant.

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfolient

This is supposed to be gentle enough for even sensitive skin, and it smells like lemonade.  Winning! I have no complaints about this, I use a facial exfoliator once or twice per week and am glad to have a new one to try.  I just hope I don't fall in love with this, the price is pretty steep!

Full size is $78 for 2 oz of product, making the 0.25 oz sample worth $9.75.

Next is yet ANOTHER giant foil packet from Miss Jessie's.  This time they sent me Pillow Soft Curls, which is described as a lotion, not a gel or creme.  Previously, I have tried Jelly Soft Curls (gel: NASTY) and the Stretch Curl Creme (creme: INEFFECTIVE), and I am hopefully through most of this product line.  I don't want any more samples from them.  (Hint, hint, Birchbox.)

Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls

The reviews say this smells like fabric softener, and based upon the other MJ products I've tried, I assume it will be absolutely overpowering and will not fade all day.

Full size is $22 for 8.5 fl.oz.  This 1 oz sample is worth $2.59.

The "Birchbox Find" this month is a ChapStick Hydration Lock in Vanilla Creme.  Birchbox Finds are items that you can pick up for cheap somewhere like CVS or Target.  I don't really have a problem getting them in BB, especially since they are things I'd normally drop a couple bucks on.  This just saves me a trip!

ChapStick Hydration Lock

I'm not going to open this right away, since I have 4 kajillion open lip balms, but I'll use it when I run out of my Noya balm from my August Ipsy bag.  That one really ended up growing on me and I keep it next to my bed for night-time and first-thing-in-the-morning.  Hopefully I like this Chapstick just as much, because they don't have to be ordered online.

This is full-sized and sells for about $2.99 at drugstores.  I'm sure you can find sales or coupons, though.

I then went to open the little cardboard package that contained the rest of my items, and pulled out my lip gloss... and a hand full of eyeshadow.

Oh look, my lip gloss has a brown shimmery disease

Yeah.  I wiped off the outside of the gloss and soldiered on, all in the name of blog reviews.  You're welcome!

Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuchsia. 

Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuchsia

This gloss looks brighter in the tube than it does on my lips, but it is decent.  

Me wearing Flowering Fuchsia Aqua Lacquer
It's not really this bright, that's the lighting

It's not sticky at all, and the mint gives a little bit of tingle.  The applicator, though, is weird.  The company describes it as "spatuala-like" and I think that is appropriate.  It is like the doe-foot applicator, just without the fuzzy part, just the plastic underneath.  It makes for a strange application of the gloss.  Also, the flowers on the tube and the packaging in general make it seem like it's mostly marketed towards 15 year old girls.  It seems a little young, is all.

Weird Applicator
This is full-sized, 10 mL, and sells for $14 on Birchbox.

Last, but not least, is the offending eyeshadow quad from Coastal Scents.  

Coastal Scents Eyeshadow Sample Quad in set #34
Clockwise, from top left: Boca Mocha, Golden Sienna, Pinehurst, Burnished Brunette.

Upon extracting it from the powder in the bottom of the cardboard package, I found that two out of the four colors were smashed into powder.  Of course, they were the two colors I'd actually use in this sample, that's just my luck.  I emailed BB about this, asking them if they could at least send me a new one, but I don't expect to hear back until after the holiday weekend. 

:( Poor eyeshadow!

Left to right: Golden Sienna, Pinehurst, Burnished Brunette, Boca Mocha
One swipe with my finger, no primer
There is 2g worth of eyeshadow in here, and on the Coastal Scents site they sell 1.5g individual shadows for $1.95, giving this quad a value of $2.60.

Total Value: $31.93

All together, I'm not very excited about this box.  The microdermabrasion scrub will definitely get used after I run out of my Michael Todd Jojoba and Charcoal scrub (again, from the August Ipsy!), and I'll get around to using the chapstick at some point.  I am not sure if I am willing to try out the curl lotion- I've hated every Miss Jessie's product I've tried and I don't want to inflict another bad hair day upon myself.  The smashed eyeshadows and teenage girl lip gloss didn't help matters.  At least I got 50 points ($5) for reviews!

Birchbox costs $10 per month and they send you between 4 and 6 sample (and rarely, full-sized) items.  You can review each item for 10 points, and every 100 points gives you $10 credit to use in their online store.  If you want to sign up, you can use my link here.  This will give me 50 points and endless joy.

No special consideration or compensation was received for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own. All items mentioned within were paid for by me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Popsugar Neiman Marcus Special Edition Box Announced!

Popsugar has announced they will be partnering up with Ken Downing, the fashion director of Neiman Marcus in a new special edition box.  This will be a one-time purchase, and based on previous boxes, will cost about $100 and have a total value of around $350.

Are you going to buy?

The regular PopSugar costs are increasing on the 4th of November to $39.95 per month. If you sign up before then, you can lock in the current pricing for 3,6, or 12 month subscriptions (about $32 per month) here.  If you use my referral link, I will earn free boxes for every so many people who join.


I don't think those codes will work on this special edition box, though.

No special consideration or compensation was received for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own. All items mentioned within were paid for by me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

PopSugar Must Have Review October 2013

I can never seem to avoid spoilers for my boxes!  Try as I might, I always cave and click those spoiler links...

However, having the actual box in my hands is very different from seeing pictures online.

October 2013 Popsugar Must Have

This month, PopSugar did a Halloween/Breast Cancer Awareness theme.

First item is The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Aboslutely Terrified! by Jessica Seinfeld.  This is because, "the holidays are coming and you should cook for people,"... according to PS.

The Can't Cook Book

I love to cook.  I usually just wing it, but some of the things in this book look tasty.  I'm not sure if I'll keep this or not.  Nothing really compares to my kitchen bible: The New Best Recipe from America's Test Kitchen.  Now that is a cookbook.

This is my cookbook metric.
Photo from Amazon

The Can't Cook Book sells for about $17 on Amazon, but has a cover price of $27.99.

Next up, NYX Cosmetics Liquid Liner and Shadow Palette.. to look sexy this season.  Damn it, I try to look sexy every season.  Thanks, PS.

NYX Liquid Brown Eyeliner

The liner is from their "Collection Chocolat√©" and is a non-sparkly medium brown liner.  The included brush isn't bad; if you are careful you can get a very, very thin line.  Liquid liners aren't my thing, though.  I'll see if I know anyone who wants this.

NYX Smokey Palette

Also from NYX is their Smokey Shadow Palette, with 6 eyeshadows and a useless sponge applicator.

NYX Swatches, 1

I was impressed by these shadows, they have decent pigmentation even without a primer (for the most part).  I did a quick eye look with my crappy brushes (my good ones are in the car so I can do my makeup in the parking lot at work...) and it didn't turn out that bad.  I think I will definitely need to use a primer if I want it to look good and stay longer than 2 minutes.

NYX Swatches 2: Note the very sparkly shadow on the extreme left

2 minute smokey eye on my face

Liner, $6.
Palette, $7.

NYX seems to be all over my subscription boxes lately!

Gorjana Charity Bali Bead Bracelet.

TIny Gorjana Bali Bracelet

The little insert PS sends says that this color is special, for PopSugar's signature pink color, and that all proceeds from their retail site will go to a charity called Breast Cancer Connections.

Bali Bracelet next to my Alex & Ani

This is cute and dainty.  I like it, but not enough to want to pay $45 for it... even IF all of that cost will go to charity.

Bracelet, $45.

Next up is a familiar item, that was to give you a festive season-appropriate mani:
Julep 4-Free Nail Color in Coco and Freedom Polymer Top Coat.

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat and Julep Coco

I lucked out because I do not have this color, I like the color they sent, and I wanted to try the polymer top coat but did not want to pay what Julep charges.

Coco is an oxblood creme and goes on very smoothly in two coats.  This is an amazing fall color.  It's vampy, yet wearable, and doesn't wash me out like dark colors sometimes do.  The deep red does a great job of warming up my dead-looking hands.

Julep Coco with Freedom Polymer Top Coat over it.
I'm too lazy to clean up my nails right now.  Sorry not sorry, my couch is comfy.

The Freedom Polymer Top Coat is supposed to give a gel-like finish in 5 minutes without a UV lamp.

Coco, $14
Freedom Top Coat, $18.

If you want to sign up to be a Julep Maven ($19.99 per month, first box for free using code FREEBOX), you can do so by using my link here.  I'll get some points for referring you, and you will get Maven pricing (20% off site-wide), access to mystery boxes, and some quality polish.  You can skip a box or cancel at any time, as well as change style profiles to get whatever box you want that month.

Continuing the beauty trend (Halloween updos?), and the trend of sub boxes sending me bobby pins:

Jane Tran Thin Metallic Bobby Pins

Jane Tran Thin Metallic Bobby Pin Set.  2 sparkly green, 2 sparkly blue, and 2 sparkly gray pins (set D on their website).  These are cute, but I'm afraid they would be like all the other novelty bobby pins I've gotten recently and just rip out my hair.  These are going in the giveaway pile so one of my fine-haired friends can enjoy them.

Bobby Pins, $12.

To tie into the breast cancer awareness theme, PS sent "The Wet Brush" in a hot pink color. The company will donate 25% of its sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  This brush is supposed to allow you to break the cardinal rule of hair and brush it while it is wet.  The bristles do feel very thin and flexible to me.  I'll test it out after I shower tonight.

The Wet Brush

The Wet Brush, $14.  Also: Not only does this company make "the wet brush", they also sell little brushes they have deemed, "the squirts".  Yeah....

The Halloween theme continues with a more obvious item:

The Crispery Halloween Crispycake.

Giant hunk of marshmallow and crispy rice cereal.

This is a HUGE rice krispy treat with orange and black sprinkles on top. YUM.  Thanks!  I'll devour this once my nails dry.  I will share it though, because that much marshmallow would make me sick.  Also, their website tells you to share it because these things are big.  Seriously.  Diabetic comas await those who attempt to eat an entire crispycake in one sitting.

Crispycake, $3.95

Finally, PS included a $20 gift card (essentially, a waived styling fee) to Stitch Fix.

Blurry Stitch Fix Gift Card

Stitch Fix is a styling service that has you fill out a very detailed profile and sends you "fixes" of clothing and accessories that they think will fit you and that you will love.  You can let your stylist know what you liked and didn't, and what you would like to see more of.  There is a $20 styling fee per fix, that will get deducted from the price of an item if you buy something from them.  You get three days to evaluate everything before sending it back in a pre-paid bag.  If you buy everything they sent in that fix, you get 20% off of everything.

I think this is a great concept.  It's like Golden Tote, except you don't have to buy things before deciding if you like them or not!  I asked them to keep my prices low, and to send preppy casual items.  I'll be sure to put a review up when I get my items!

You can sign up using my link here, and I will get some credit to spend on their fixes.

Total Value (not counting stitch fix, and with a low book price): $136.95

Not bad.  I'll actually use some of this stuff this month!

PopSugar costs are increasing on the 4th of November to $39.95 per month. If you sign up before then, you can lock in the current pricing for 3,6, or 12 month subscriptions (about $32 per month) here.  If you use my referral link, I will earn free boxes for every so many people who join.

HOWEVER: even though they are increasing their prices, I still think that PS is a great deal.  You get full-sized (or very deluxe-sized) items each month.  The quality is almost always excellent, and the value always exceeds the amount paid for the box.  Even if you don't like something, they make great gifts.

No special consideration or compensation was received for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own. All items mentioned within were paid for by me. This post contains referral links to Julep, Stitchfix, and Popsugar.  See above for details. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Week in Nails, October 6

Julep Hoch from the Trina Turk Fall 2012 Collection.  Grayish teal creme.
Accent Nail China Glaze Deviantly Daring.  Green/teal duochrome.

Shades of Teal

In person this was a subtle accent nail.  I liked it.  I wore this for 1 day.

My October Julep Maven box came, so I tried out my new polishes (Cleopatra, black, and Valerie, green).

Julep Colors

Then, I decided to add Essie Luxe Effects in Shine of the Times over everything.  I wore this for like 4 days and got a lot of complements on it.

Perfect for October!

Naked nails for a day :( and then I bit them all off because life is stressful at the moment.

Nailtini in Mai Tai from Ipsy. 2 days.

This polish lasts a long time without chipping!

No special consideration or compensation was received for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own. All items mentioned within were paid for by me.