Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nina Garcia Quarterly NG03 Review

Nina Garcia Quarterly #03 (NGQ03)

I can't tell you how excited I was to get this subscription!  Because I signed up too late to get the spring box, I had to wait allllll the way until the end of June to get the summer one!  This is the third box curated by designer and fashion expert Nina Garcia.  You may know her as one of the judges from the Bravo TV show, Project Runway, or because she is the creative director of Marie Claire.

The previous two boxes looked beyond amazing, so at $100 per quarter, I decided to go for it.  The price is a little steep, but I consoled myself with the fact that instead of paying $120+ for PSMH during the same time-frame, I could get this PLUS something else.  That something else was Fabfitfun, so I did go a little over budget with the two combined, but it was worth it.

First Look, Nina Garcia Quarterly #03

This box was packed perfectly.  There was a 6 page letter from Nina explaining why she chose the items she did, her own tissue paper individually wrapping each item, a bonus offer from Surya Brasil and a code for a free limited-edition Otterbox phone case ($50 retail value!).

I do not have a phone compatible with the Otterbox offer, so I gave it to a friend who does.  The brightly colored print is what the case itself will look like.  It was designed by Nina for Otterbox in the spirit of the 2014 World Cup held in Rio.

Print All Over Me Palm Tree Canvas Clutch

I think this was designed specially for this box.  I'm not sure, though.  It fits a bathing suit, small cover-up, a bottle of sunscreen, and a hair brush.  It's one of the bigger canvas bags I own, and it is great!  I love the palm tree print, the gold zipper, and how roomy it is.  I'm going to Florida for vacation in a few weeks, and I will definitely bring this with me.

Value, $20?

In my FFF review, I said this was the summer of canvas clutches... and I meant it!  There was ANOTHER one in the NGQ03 box.

Myrto Clutch by Koku

This retailed for about $110, but it is currently on sale.  It is a canvas zippered pouch, with a plexiglass shark and raffia fringe.  I immediately pulled off all the raffia and am MUCH happier with it.  I love the shark!  There were some other designs sent out, including a fish skeleton, but I am so glad I got this version.

Spenglish Muito Cool Hat

I didn't mention it, but this box had a Brazillian theme.  Muito means "very" in Portuguese, and there is a Brazillian flag behind the letters.  It is so far out of my comfort range, it's not even funny!

However, I am going to a white elephant party tomorrow (where you bring a quirky gift to yankee-swap that someone might love and others might hate) and I think it would be perfect!  Someone who loves soccer, the World Cup, Brasil, or hats might like this.

This is selling for $55 on the Spenglish site right now.  Woah.

Formula X for Sephora Nail Color in Push the Limits

I was pretty excited to see Sephora's new nail polish (Formula X) included in this box!  It is more expensive than Essie or OPI, so I haven't yet tried it out.  The color is a beautiful red-orange and is perfect for a summer pedi.  This went on so smoothly and evenly, and dried relatively quickly.  I am super happy with this polish, and it is among my favorites in my extensive collection!  I will definitely have to keep my eye out for sales on this stuff. 

Sephora Formula X, $10.50

Ok, so here things get a little weird.  Everyone was sent a little shoe.  There were a few different styles, and both left and right shoes were sent out.

Melissa Shoe Desk Ornament
This brand apparently started in Brazil? I may be wrong.  They make rubber, vegan shoes (like the jelly shoes of the 90s) that are scented like something vaguely fruity.  The shoe I got was designed by Zaha Hadid.  Eh.  It's a little shoe?  What am I going to do with it?

Value, $5?

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

To me, this is a combination of dry shampoo and hair spray.  It is weird.  I know people swear by it, but I wasn't really impressed.  Maybe if I give it another try, I will change my mind.

This travel size, 2.2 oz, sells for $21.50 (WHAT?!)

ck One Pure Color Lipstick by Calvin Klein in DollFace 

What is it about applying a fancy lipstick that makes you feel so grown up?  This looks classy with the two-toned case, and is a beautiful medium rose color that looks gorgeous when applied.  It stays put, glides on, and feels super hydrating.  There is a slight vanilla scent to it.  I love it!  

lipstick, $16

Wow, there sure are a lot of things in this box!

Keep on reviewing...

Surya Brasil Sapien Women Shave Gel

If for nothing else, this shaving gel makes the NGQ03 box worth it!  This smells like Smarties (the candy) and is the best shaving gel/cream/anything I've used, by far.  Even with a cheap 2-blade disposable Bic razor, my legs were perfectly smooth.  I will be so sad when I run out of this!  I can't tell you how awesome it is.

Value, about $20.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF 30 Sunscreen

This stuff smells so good!  Plus, it is SPF 30, and not one of their wimpy SPF 4 products.  Excellent.  This isn't the most luxurious sunscreen brand out there, but I can always use more, and it saves me from having to go to the store.

Value, ~$10

Red Flower Refreshing Hand and Face Towelette in Italian Blood Orange

I am saving this for my upcoming travels, but I'm sure it's nice.  I was laughing at the single packet included in this box!  A pack of 7 is only $5, and alongside all the super fancy items a single face towelette seems so out of place!


Nest Fragrances Grapefruit Votive Candle

There is a little etched pinstripe design in the glass votive holder, which I think is adorable.  The scent itself is amazing, and I am really happy with this variation!  Although, it did look like a number of equally delicious scents were sent out (Orange Blossom, Bamboo, Moss + Mint) and I probably would have been just as thrilled with any one of them.

Value $14.

Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator

Wow.  Just, wow.  How did I not know about this stuff?  This "Intesnse Hydrator" is really just a super-duper conditioner.  It made my hair so soft, shiny, and healthy-looking! I had like three days of spectacular hair after using this, which in the middle of a humid summer is really saying something.

At $16, I will definitely be re-purchasing this.  It is by far the best deep conditioner I've ever used!  I had the BEST SHOWER EVER using this and the shaving gel at the same time.  Wow.  I was like a new person.

Finally, we have the "big ticket" item.

Frends Ella In-Ear Headphones

These pretty little gold-accented headphones sell for $99.  Yes.  That is correct.  They come with a little case, and they have a mic so you can use them to make calls, and they have a life-time warranty.  But they are ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  For headphones.  Earbud headphones.  What?!  Maybe this is why my science is going so well lately.  I work with gold, and I've been wearing these in lab.  Maybe they have magical alchemic powers that give me control over the rest of the gold in my nearby surroundings.  Or maybe they just make me look fancy.  Same thing.


Whew! That was a lot of reviewing! All together, this box had a value of about $447.71.  That is absolutely bonkers.  I have to say, I am super impressed with this box!  Sure, there was a miss or two, but with so many home runs, it was worth it.

The Nina Garcia Quarterly box is $100 per quarter and ships next in September.  I already can't wait to see what is in #NGQ04!

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.

FabFitFun Summer 2014 Review

Fabfitfun Summer 2014

Yes, yes, I know this is a month late.  But, I figured that since it is a quarterly subscription, and the next one won't be out until September, posting it at the tail end of July is acceptable.

My life has been pretty chaotic this month! I think I mentioned it in the previous post, but in addition to moving, attending a week-long conference, and visiting my niece, my actual science work has been going REALLY well, so I've been putting in a lot of lab hours trying to push this project as far as I can before I have to start teaching again.

The upside to posting late reviews, is that I have had a chance to thoroughly test out all the products!

Fabfitfun Summer 2014

This was my second Fabfitfun VIP box, and I subscribed to this and the Nina Garcia quarterly to take the place of PopSugar Must Have.  I must say, looking at the boxes that have come out since I cancelled PSMH, I am very happy I put that $40/month toward something else!

Fabfitfun tries to send products from various categories- beauty, food, fitness, etc.

PopChips Sea Salt and Vinegar Potato Popped Chip Snack

I like Popchips.  I've received them before, and even those these arrived smushed (more on the smushed box in a moment) they were tasty.  I love me some salt and vinegar in the summer!  I'm not really a snacker, but if I've been working hard and sweating up a tsunami, I crave sour salty things.

One bag, approximately $1.30

Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil
Organic Sesame and Lemongrass Balancing Oil

I was pleased to see that this hair oil survived the arduous journey to my new house in MiddleOfNowhere, RI, safely.  I was also please to see that it is a full-sized product! I was not that pleased at all with the scent.  Normally, I love lemongrass scents, but there was something else in this (the sesame carrier oil, maybe?) that made me wrinkle my nose.  Fortunately, I already have a hair oil that I love (Orofluido).  I had a friend over for dinner and made her (yes, I totally forced her to) take a bunch of my extra products and samples home, and this was one of the things she went home with.  I haven't heard back if she likes it or not!

Full size, $13

It seems like the summer boxes across a lot of brands all included canvas clutches!  I'm not complaining, I have a million things in my purse but I justify having them all because everything is organized into 5 or 6 little pouches like this.  More variety just means I can rotate them more... or stuff more clutches into my bag....

Thursday Friday Away Mini Clutch in Jeweled, Turquoise

I probably would have chosen a different print from them, but this also isn't the worst variety that was sent out.  

$35, and they included a coupon for the site

Up next is one of the big-ticked spoiled items for this quarter.

Sonya Dakar NutraSphere Flash Facial

This is a facial treatment that applies exactly like white school glue would.  Seriously.  You spread it on clean, dry skin, and let it sit for a few minutes.  When you gently rub it off with water, it balls up just like Elmer's glue would.  They say that is your skin being exfoliated away, but it probably is just the dried product.  I am still convinced this is glue.  Whatever it is, it makes my face feel very nice and smooth after I use it.

This is full-sized and retails for about $95!  Woah. My face is so fancy.

Continuing the trend of Overpriced Spoiled Items That You Rub On Your Face...

Pur~lisse Pur~Protect Essential Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

I have finally embraced how pale I am, and so I have given up on trying to change that.  Therefore, I slather myself in sunscreen every morning.  This includes my face.  Normally, I use Supergoop, but that is more of a sunscreen than a face lotion.  This Pur~lisse has the benefit of being more of a face lotion, with a bonus of SPF.  It absorbs fast, has very little scent, and I can apply my makeup with minimal lag time.  It's pretty solid.  I wouldn't pay full price for it, though!  It's only 50 mL!

You can see my tube was banged up in transit and has some smudge marks on it from other things in the box.

Full size, $55.  Now my face is REALLY fancy.

Moving to the "fit" portion of this quarter...

Fabfitfun branded Water Infuser Bottle

These water bottles have been popping up in sub boxes all over the place in the last year!  It took until NOW for me to get one, though!  Everything here unscrews, so you can load fruits and whatever else into the middle portion, which has holes in it, to flavor your water.  The top screws onto the whole thing so the edge you drink from isn't exposed to the world.

I have really been enjoying this.  I have tried a number of combinations, but I think my favorite was raspberries, mint, cucumber, and lime.  I just put a wedge (or 2 berries, or 2 leaves) into the infuser part and add water.  It has definitely upped my fluid intake, which is always a good thing.

Estimated retail $15

Ok, so I lied when I said I had tried everything.  I did NOT try these Kisstixx lip balms.  Firstly, the package arrived totally open in my shipping box.  Secondly, I do NOT like chocolate, and I dislike chocolate flavorings even more.

Kisstixxs SPF 15 Lip Balms in Chocolate and Strawberry

The idea behind these is that you apply one flavor, your kissing partner applies the other, and then you kiss and make a nice combo flavor between the two of you.  Sure.  Ok.  It sounds like this would have been a cute idea if I were still a teenager, but alas, I have not been one for almost a decade.

I might use the strawberry one if I somehow lose all my currently open SPF chapsticks.  Until then, they will sit in my box of items to gift.  If I had gotten the pina colada/ strawberry daiquiri version, or the raspberry/lemonade version, I would have been a little more excited.  I could put one flavor on my top lip and the other on the bottom lip and smush.  But, that is not to be.

Full size (featured on the show, Shark Tank) $5.99

Oh, coral nail polish!  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Zoya Nail Polish in Maya

This is a nice summery color, and Zoya is a great brand.  The polish is on the sheer-er side, and I would almost call it a jelly... but not quite.  It is half-way between a cream and a jelly (a crelly).  It's pretty!  I like it a lot, and I'm glad they sent this nice tropical color.

Zoya polish, $8

There was a little bit of drama online because of the next three items.  FFF included them as "sponsored" items, so technically they shouldn't be included in the value of the box.  If they hadn't been included, everyone would have been happy.  Because they were, however, people tend to say it makes the box look like it is "cheaper" and "lower quality."  Whatevs.  "Free" stuff is free stuff.

Always Liners, Skintimate Shave Gel in Raspberry Rain, and Slim Fast Have Your Cake (Vanilla) Bar

Side note, that SlimFast bar wasn't that bad.  Melted from shipping, but not bad.

Fabfitfun Summer 2014

All together, this box had a value of $228.29.  More importantly, I like it way more than I thought I would when I peeked at the full box spoilers.

Fabfitfun VIP is $49.99 per season, but they usually have $5 off coupon codes floating around for your first month.  Many thanks to the person who signed up using my link! I got a few dollars off of this quarter's box, and I hope you liked it as much as I did!

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.