Friday, November 8, 2013

Birchbox November 2013 Review

Birchbox November 2013 Women's Box

I didn't even get a shipping notice for this month and my box arrived! Normally it doesn't come until well after they post online, so it's not a surprise.  This was!  Go me! Spoiler-free for the first time in months.

Birchbox November 2013: "More Good"

First item:
Eyeko Black Magic Mascara, 4 mL (0.13 fl.oz.)

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara

This is supposed to add curl and volume and has shea butter and keratin.  The brush seems very soft and full and is curved, so I think it will help keep lashes separated and more lush than some other mascaras I've used in the past.  The full size is 0.29 fl.oz. and sells for $24, making this sample worth $10.76.  I like the other Eyeko products I've tried, so I think I'll like this- especially if the brush works as well as I hope!

Next, I was sent Ayres Body Butter in Midnight Tango.

Ayres Body Butter in Midnight Tango

This smells like orange blossom and vanilla, a combination that reminds me of Valencia.  If I close my eyes, I am back there, walking down streets lined with blossoming orange trees.  Sigh.  The texture is rich and creamy, but not whipped like many body butters.  It's like the texture of a thin cookie icing, instead of the texture of the batter.  I wouldn't call it a body butter, but it is very nice.  

I appreciate the fact that they use high quality ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, and apricot kerneal oil.  They could have cheaped out and used mineral oil and water, but they didn't.

I was sent a 1 oz sample and the full size (6.75 oz) sells for $28, so mine is worth $4.15.

I had a dreaded fragrance sample this month, but I guess I can't complain, since this is only the third one I've gotten in 2013 (January, July, and November).  This one is Folle de Joie and smells citrusy and woodsy, and light on the floral.  I appreciate the lack of heavy florals, this is a scent I could see myself wearing this winter.  

Folle de Joie Perfume

At $98 for 3.4 fl.oz. it is about the same price as most other perfumes.  The 0.06 fl.oz. sample is worth $1.74.

I have two products from Wei: Pomegranate buffing beads and Golden Root purifying mud mask.

Wei Buffing Beads package

The pomegranate buffing beads are dry exfoliants that you mix with your favorite face wash to turn it into a scrub.  The ingredients include pomegranate peel and probably some kind of polymer microbead to scrub and polish.  Each packet is 0.5g and BB sent two.

I like this idea, even if it seems kind of wasteful.  I can imagine that if you really really like a particular face wash and have skin problems whenever you switch, this would be a way to incorporate an exfoliant into your routine without risking a reaction to a new product.  

20 packets sell for $20, so this is nice and easy math!  My sample is worth $2.

The second Wei product is a little pot of mud mask.  The full-size, $42, is 8 pots and a brush so that you can apply a nice even layer of product on your face.  Golden root, rhodiola rosea, is a type of succulent and has been used in many cultures as a natural anti-depressant.  I doubt rubbing it on your skin will help at all, but it's a nice thought.  

Wei Golden Root Face Mask

My single pod is worth about $4, assuming the brush would sell for about $10.  That seems pretty high to me!  I remember seeing that some people get more than one application out of a single pod, which would bring it into a more reasonable price-per-use territory.

The last item this month was a chocolate-covered pretzel that was sprinkled with toasted coconut from Fatty Sundays.  The other available flavors include smooth mint and toffee crunch.  I wish there was more of this!  I got one bite and my boyfriend got one bite and it was amazing.  So good!  I'm going to have to start dipping my chocolate-coated pretzels in toasted coconut for the holidays, because this combination of salty and sweet and nutty was incredible.

Heaven in pretzel form.  Buy these.  Seriously.

I want to order EVERYTHING from their website.  Like, now.  Mmmm.  They sell five full-sized dipped pretzel rods for $6.95.  There wasn't a weight on this package, but I'll estimate it was 1/8 the size of a full pretzel, making it worth about $0.17.  Doesn't matter; was delicious.

All together, this was a weird box.  I like everything, but I don't really love anything (besides the pretzel that is long gone and the wrapper that I've licked clean and may or may not be sniffing trying to get some kind of pretzel high).  I'm not big on face masks and I have quite a few to use up before I get to this one.  The lotion and perfume smell nice, but I'm not tempted to get a full size.  Same with the buffing beads- interesting concept, but not something I'll purchase.  I get a lot of face scrubs from my sub boxes!  The mascara sample is nice, but I have soooo many to use up.  This will be my next one, though!  The brush looks amazing.

November Birchbox Goodies

All together, this month's Birchbox had a value of $22.82.  Not the highest value, but definitely worth more than I paid.

Birchbox costs $10 a month, including shipping, and will send you 4-6 deluxe and full-sized items.  BB also gives you 10 points for each item that you review.  So, with 6 items, I will get 60 review points.  Every 100 points gets you $10 to spend in the Birchbox shop.  It's a really nice system, and one of the best reward systems out there for a sub box!  If you are interested in signing up, please use my link here.  I will get BB points if you use my link.  If you use code HOLIDAY100 and buy a 3, 6, or 12-month gift subscription, you will get an extra 100 points ($10) to spend!

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 a referral link; details are above.

Sephora Holiday Blitz Sample Bag

I recently purchased some holiday gifts on Sephora, and conveniently they were running a promotion where you could pick out a bag containing 8 samples with any $25 purchase.  This is still going on, use code BLITZ to get your free stuff!  I picked the Holly Jolly Nourishment set.  As said in the fine print, the samples did vary a bit from what was shown on the website.

Here is what I got:

The Bag

Prime Style Extender 0.33 fl.oz. from Living Proof. Full size (5oz) $20. Sample worth $1.33
I have a deluxe sample of this already, no need for me to open the foil packet.  I'll save it for a vacation or something.  It definitely helps my hair remain less greasy than without, especially if I straighten my hair and use some oils in it to make it shiny.

Living Proof samples

Living Proof frizz nourishing style cream. 1fl.oz.  Best value for the full size is 8 oz for $36. 1 oz worth $4.50.
I used this today before straightening my hair (but after my beauty protector spray) and I definitely did not have any frizz, even though it kind of sprinkled on and off today.

Too Faced Beauty Balm

Too Faced tinted beauty balm in nude glow. 1.5 fl.oz. retails for $34. Sample is 0.17 oz. approximate value $3.85.
This color is a little dark for me, especially in the winter. It has a light coverage and didn't cover up the scar on my hand.  

Buxom Lash Mascara

Buxom Lash mascara from Bare Escentuals. Full size $19 for 0.37 oz. sample 0.2 fl oz, worth about $10.27.
I think I've tried this before, but I can't be sure.  I think I remember liking the deepness of color and volumnizing properties.  I have so many mascara samples that I don't know when I'll get to this!  I won't have to buy mascara for years, even if I throw them out after 3 months of being open like you are supposed to!

Clean Perfume

Clean (original) eau de parfum. Sample 0.03 fl. oz. best deal $69 for 2.14 fl.oz. this makes the sample worth 0.97$
This smells just like Dove soap.  It smells clean.  It doesn't smell like a perfume, but that is a good thing to me.

Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment

Fresh Sugar Lip treatment in petal. Full size (0.15 oz) sells for $22.50. Sample 0.07 oz, worth $10.50.
I really like Sugar products, but they are so expensive for a tinted balm!  This is a nice color, smells like citrus, and even in 3 days of using it, has made a difference in the smoothness of my lips.  This product was the reason I picked this gift set, and it didn't disappoint.

Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Cream

Origins plantscription SPF 25 anti aging cream 15 mL. Full size 50 mL for $55. Sample worth $16.50. This is a very thick face cream, and I'm surprised Origins suggests using it in the morning.  I understand that it has a lot of sunscreens in it, and that is why, but it certainly is heavier than I like for a day cream.  It smells herbal in a good way.

Ren Hydra-Calm Cream

Ren hydra calm global protection day cream, 0.17 oz. Full size 1.7 oz for $45, sample worth $4.50.
This wasn't in the sample bag, but it wasn't one of the three free samples I chose to go with my order, so it may just be a stray that hopped a ride to my house! I'm not complaining ;)  I haven't opened the foil seal yet, so I don't have an opinion on it. 

Urban Decay b6 Prep Spray

Urban Decay B6 vitamin-infused complexion prep spray, 0.5 fl.oz.  Full szie $33 for 4 fl.oz, sample worth $4.13.
This is cornstarch in a spray bottle (plus some other fancy things that won't may any sort of difference).  It smelled much better than the other prep spray I've tried (I'm looking at you, Juice Beauty cat-pee-spray!), and the starch provided a nice smooth base for my makeup.  I would CERTAINLY not pay $33 for 4 fl.oz. of this product, though.  I could make my own for fractions of pennies!  Yeah yeah, there are other ingredients, so I'll throw in some aspirin and some aloe juice and call it even.  Same effect, much cheaper.

The samples are worth $56.55, not including the bag they came in.

Other samples I got with my order:

Evel Lom Package.  The cloth was folded up so neatly inside!

Eve Lon cleanser and one cloth. Cleanser $135 for 6.8 oz. cloths 3 for $22. One cloth and 0.17 oz worth $7.33 and $3.38, respectively and $10.71 total.
I love this! The cleanser has lanolin in it, which is one of my favorite ingredients ever.  The cloth isn't really a novel idea, but it works well in this system.  The cleanser smells like cloves and chamomile ("like ham tea" says my boyfriend.  HOT HAM WATER was my response.) and is amazing.  If it didn't cost so much, I would be all about this!  It really makes my skin smooth and soft.

Marc Jacobs Dot

Marc Jacobs Dot sample, 1.2 mL (0.04 fl.oz.).  I like Honey better, but Dot is nice, too.  It's more floral and less tropically fruity than honey.  Full size $92 for 3.4 fl.oz., sample worth $1.08.

Perricone MD Photo Plasma

Perricone MD Photo Plasma.  Antiaging SPF 30 face lotion.  59 mL sells for $69.  Sample is 2 mL, worth $2.34.

I also had 100 points, so I spent them on a Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara Sample.  The sample was 0.07 oz, and full-size is 0.22 oz for $28, making the sample worth $8.91.
This mascara  had a weird smell, but it made my lashes look fake!  I was amazed that one swipe could get me such a dramatic improvement- and I have long, dark lashes to begin with!  I couldn't get a good picture of my lashes, and my mascara is in my car at the moment so I don't have a picture of that either.  Sorry.

All together, I spent $70 on gifts (free shipping!) and got $70.68 worth of samples.  NOT BAD AT ALL.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

My First Water-Marble

First I used two coats of Julep Alexandra on all nails and let it dry. Next, I taped off all around my nails to make clean-up easier. 

Into a cup of water (stir first to break surface tension so the polish disperses) I dropped Essie Bordeaux, China Glaze Riveting, and Julep Charlie. For the first practice nails I also dropped in Julep Alexandra, to make it look like only parts of the nail were marbled. 

Starting off
Swirl the polish with a tooth pick until you get a pattern you like. Dip your nail into the patterned part of the polish that you like. With your finger still in the water, clear all of the excess polish away with a toothpick. 

Clean up and the final product

Pull your finger out of the water, remove the tape, and clean up any stray polish. Seal with a top coat and that's it!

Right Hand

Left Hand

This was easier than I expected, but it took a few tries for me to get the hang of it. I kept smudging the polish one way or another. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Week in Nails, November 3

Julep Cleopatra with China Glaze Marry a Millionaire on Tips
Matte Black and Sparkles, no top coat, for the 3 days leading up to Halloween.

NCLA Dracula's Bride Nail Wraps
Halloween: Dracula's Bride Nail Wraps.  Everyone asked if I did this myself, and were all disappointed when I said they were nail wraps.  I guess they have come to expect great things from me? 

Julep Aisha (berry) and Cynthia (microglitter)

The final two days of the week (my nails were naked today) I wore two of my November Julep polishes.  Aisha was on my thumb, pinky, and first finger, and Cynthia on my middle and ring.  I should have used a top coat over Cynthia at least, it is semi-matte and chipped pretty easily.