Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Beauty Box Five

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Beauty Box Five
Received my first order of Beauty Box Five!

Beauty Box Five* is a monthly subscription service that delivers 4-5 samples right to your door! Samples can include makeup, skin care, fragrances, hair care, nail products, etc. You fill out a beauty profile so hopefully you don't receive anything you aren't interested in. The cost is $12 per month, but you can save a little money by subscribing quarterly ($30) or yearly ($100). If I like next month's box as much as this one, I'll upgrade my account to the quarterly subscription.

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first look
Am very pleased with this box! It has items I'll actually use, and the samples are a good size!

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The contents:

La Fresh nail polish remover wipes
Brazen Cosmetics eyeshadow in Type A
H2O+ Spa Sea Salt Body Wash 
H2O+ Eye Lift Concentrate
Tree Hut Moisturizing Lotion in Tropical Mango


I'm much happier with this box than with some of the others I've received, so fingers crossed that next month is just as good! Did you receive this box? If so, what did you think?


* referral link - if 5 people join BB5 using my link, I'll receive a free box!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Birchbox

AKA Terri

Excited to receive my first Birchbox this month, as I keep reading rave reviews! I think I suffer from The Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome, as I had a serious case of box envy when I compared my box to what other subscribers received. 

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info card
The box is packaged nicer than other boxes I've received, with the information card right on top of some pretty red tissue paper.

AKA Terri

According to the Birchbox website (and the info card), this was my March box. They take better pictures than I do. Here's what my box looked like under the tissue paper:

AKA Terri
first look
Shaving cream, moisture tint, and a little envelope were the first things I saw after opening the box.

AKA Terri
unboxed
Opened the little envelope to find blemish serum and a headband. Notice anything missing? The ginormous emery board wasn't in the box. That was the one thing that everyone received, but mine was missing. Very disappointed, as that's the one thing I'd be guaranteed to use. Emailed customer service and they said they would send me a replacement. Yea for customer service!

The contents:

twistband headband in silver - looks cheap and didn't hold all of my hair back while washing my face
Whish shave crave shaving cream - strong blueberry scent and left my skin feeling a little slimy. Think plain soap and water works better.
Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum - tried on a small blemish and it turned into a giant red cyst! yikes!
Youngblood Mineral Radiance Moisture Tint - not yet tried
Madewell for Birchbox emery board - missing from box, still haven't received a replacement

Overall, am not impressed with my box. I'm going to give them one more month since it's not that expensive, but will cancel if next month is also disappointing.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Julep Spring Mystery Box

Received my Julep Spring Mystery Box! 

Julep is a subscription service where you first take a style quiz, then receive a box with 2-3 awesome shades of nail polish every month! And if you don't like your profile pick that month, you can always try another style. You even have the option of skipping the month if nothing grabs your fancy. I like that option!

This was my second mystery box and the price went up from $19.99 to $24.99, so I had high expectations. Especially when I saw the size of the box! Sad to say that I was disappointed.

AKA Terri

This was the shipping box. It had a smaller black box inside. Larger than the usual Julep box, but apparently one of the smaller mystery boxes. :(

AKA Terri

I received mystery box version 1:

  • Julep one-step polish remover pad - curious to see if this works, as I haven't had much luck with polish remover pads in the past
  • Julep emery board - just received an emery board from another beauty box, but can always use another!
  • Julep daylight defense for hands & face - big disappointment, as I have no use for this
  • 3 twist ties - don't have much use for these either, so will probably give them away
  • 3 chocolate eggs - generic chocolate eggs, but they disappeared quickly!
  • Ashley nail polish (no listing) - a cool coppery orange that's my favorite of the three polishes
  • Camille nail polish (Classic With A Twist) - this was the shade in every box that was supposed to appeal to everyone, but I'm not a big fan of glitter polish and am still undecided if I'll even unwrap it
  • Lauren nail polish (Classic With A Twist) - a fun hot pink that will be great for summer!

Probably wouldn't have been as disappointed if they hadn't raised the price for this box. And I need to stay away from watching YouTube unboxings, as I saw that several people had received 10 (ten!) polishes in their box! Would have loved to receive that box!

Wonder if anyone else was disappointed with their Julep mystery box?


Friday, March 22, 2013

February Little Black Bag

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Little Black Bag  is a subscription service with a twist:  after you place your order, you can trade items with other buyers. And trading is half the fun! Received my $29.95 bag a few days ago that closed at the end of February, as shipping was crazy slow. I like that you choose your first item, then get 1-3 surprise items added to your bag that you can either keep or trade! I love surprises!


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Here is the box I received. Pretty big considering I only had four pairs of earrings! Guess LBB has never heard of shipping envelopes?


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Here are my goodies! Like I said, a pretty big box for four little pairs of earrings. *L*

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Kenneth Jay Lane Disk Drop earrings. Wanted to show the difference between the picture on the site and in real life. Pretty similar looking, and the earrings are nice & solid but not too heavy.


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Punch Multi Chain Bead Drop earrings. These are the earrings I opened my box with and although I traded them away at one point, I eventually traded back for them as I couldn't get them out of my head. Love the look of them, but they feel much too heavy. Was going to return them but with LBB's new return policy, decided to keep them instead. Thinking about cutting off the chains to remove some of the weight. Will change the overall look, but think they'll still look awesome!

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Love Nail Tree Basket Weave earrings. Thought these would be flexible, but they're solid and unmoving. Still a cool design and think these are on their way to becoming one of my favorites!

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By Philippe Protective Eye Hoop earrings. No matter how many pictures I took, I simply could not get a decent shot of these IRL. Saw these on someones unwrapping video and fell in love. Really like the whole evil eye theme. Tried to trade for the silver pair as I don't usually wear gold, but no luck. No matter, as these are cute enough that I'll wear them anyway! 


Because of the accidental cancellation of my original box (Hiccup with LBB), I had two experiences with trading on Little Black Bag and got most of it out of my system. Had planned on opening a new bag next month (so long as they had something I was interested in), but am going to hold off due to all of the changes that are taking place. It's all a little confusing, so am going to take a wait and see approach for now. Have been keeping an eye on some of the discussions going on about the new change, and I think it's going to be messy until they sort everything out....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Living in a construction zone

When watching House Hunters or Property Virgins (or any of the home buying shows on HGTV), I always get annoyed when the buyers turn down the perfect house because there is construction in the area. Are they serious? Why doesn't the host smack them upside the head and call them out on their stupidity? 

Yes, there is construction and it will be noisy for a few months, but then you'll have your Dream Home in a nice, new neighborhood! And an active construction site means the area is new or being revitalized, so property values can only go up! Can't get over some people's short-sightedness. But I digress...

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these were empty lots! now look at them!

We are currently living in a new neighborhood, surrounded by construction. I wake up most mornings to the sound of hammering, but that's because I like to sleep late. The crews are considerate and don't begin work before 8am during the week or 10am on weekends. These guys work hard, often staying until it gets dark and working most weekends! Bad weather means they can't work, so they seem to grab every second of decent weather and put it to good use. Have to say that I'm impressed!

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wood is constantly being delivered

Living in the midst of all this construction, we've gotten used to the sound of heavy trucks rolling by during the day. There is constant traffic, either cement trucks or big rigs delivering wood/sod/bricks/etc. We now know the company names of the plumbers, electricians, painters, and cleaning crews. And we see the pest control guy go by at least twice a week, as he's constantly signing up new clients as the neighborhood grows. Nice guy, but hope we don't see him again until the next treatment!

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roofing only takes a couple of days

While I knew that Ty Pennington could build a house in 7 days, I never realized how quickly a neighborhood could be completed. We drive by an empty lot one day, and two days later the foundation is in! Suddenly it's framed, the siding is up, and we're watching the cabinets being delivered. Pretty cool! 

So all in all, it's not that bad living in a construction zone. The sound of hammers does carry, but it's only during the day. And we know that construction isn't going to last forever. Not thrilled that the porto potty is practically on our front lawn, though it is convenient to have a dumpster next door in case something doesn't fit in the trashcan. ;)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Biore Acne Clearing Scrub

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Biore is a well known brand and since I've used and liked a few of their other products, I was excited to see that they have a new acne treatment! Still get occasional breakouts, so always on the lookout for new treatments. I decided to try it for one week before submitting my review to Amazon Vine.

Was a little unsure about how to use the product, as the directions are incredibly vague. Don't believe me? Take a look:

How to Use:  Wet face. Squeeze product into hands. Massage over entire face and neck. Rinse thoroughly with water.

That's it. Those are the entire directions on the bottle. I went to the Biore website to see how much product to use and how often, but no luck. Found the product description:

Product Description:  Biore Acne Scrub targets deep down dirt and oil that can cause blemishes without damaging skin's moisture barrier. With daily use, skin's condition will continually improve.

That's the only way I knew that this was a daily cleanser, but they don't make searching for info easy! 

The first time I used it, I squeezed out a quarter-sized dollop. Much too much! A dime-sized dollop seemed to work best. 

The first thing I noticed was the citrus fragrance. Reminded me of oranges, but wasn't too overpowering. The cleanser has a very granular feel to it, but didn't feel too rough on my face. It wasn't easy to thoroughly rinse off all of the little grainy bits, which didn't dissolve completely no matter how long I washed or how much water I used. And there was a slight burning sensation by the third day, and it left my face red. The redness soon went away, but think I'll switch from daily use to every 2-3 days.

The Good

Pleasing citrus scent
Face felt nice & smooth after only one use
No new breakouts during the week trial period

The Bad

Vague directions
Hard to thoroughly rinse off
Slight burning sensation
Redness

Verdict

While I didn't care for the slight burn, I was pleased with the overall results and will continue using this product. I'm going to switch from daily use to a few times a week and see if that gives my face enough time to heal between treatments and prevent the burn/redness. Overall, I liked it and will consider buying once this sample runs out.


Product received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Graze box #4

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Received my weekly boxes from graze.com! The box contains four healthy, nutritious snacks. I like that you can choose between a nibble box (all options) or a light box (low calorie snacks). At only $5 per week, it's a great deal! Love that you don't know what you're going to get! And it's nice that you can rate each snack as Trash (never send again), Like (send occasionally), or Love (send regularly). While the portions are single serve sizes, they're definitely large enough to share.

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This week I received:

  • Boston baguettes - this was a BBQ relish with tomato breadsticks. Sad to say that this one was a disappointment, as neither one of us cared for the relish. The breadsticks were a little dry on their own, so marked this one as Trash.
  • super berry detox - a mix of dried blueberries, green raisins, goji berries, and cranberries. This was just okay. We liked the dried blueberries and cranberries, but DH didn't like the green raisins and neither one of us liked the goji berries. Marked it Trash so we don't receive it again.
  • cookies & cream - an interesting mix of mini chocolate cookies, roasted hazelnuts, white chocolate buttons, and sunflower seeds. I was looking forward to this one as so many people have listed it as a favorite! The cookies were dry, but the white chocolate was good and I liked the hazelnuts. Most of the mix was plain sunflower seeds though, and neither one of us likes plain seeds. Couldn't finish them, so marked as Trash.
  • summer berry flapjack - At last! These are labeled as rustic rolled oat flapjack with berry-infused cranberries, and were my favorite snack in the box! The fruit tasted like Summer, and I love that the 3 little bars are so soft and chewy. Two thumbs up for this one, and I marked it Love so we'll get it again.

Another disappointing week as 3 of the 4 snacks weren't to our taste. Hoping that next week's box is better!

If anyone wants to give them a try, you can get your first box free by using my invitation code HL6RJNYD at graze.com. They will ask for a credit card, but if you don't like your first box, you can always cancel. It's a win-win!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Harajuku Love Fragrance - Not love at first smell...

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Harajuku Lovers Love Perfume by Gwen Stefani. 

Harajuku Lovers perfume has to win the award for some of the cutest bottles around, as I absolutely love the little girls! Never picked up a bottle as I was afraid I'd want to collect the whole set, but couldn't resist when I saw this one on sale at Marshalls. Thought it was time I tried it, as you couldn't beat the price!

According to the information I found online:  the top notes include sparkling bergamot, pink pomelo, peach, and bamboo leaf mist; the middle notes include water peony, living hydroponic lace rose, jasmine sambac, nectarine, creamy paperwhites, and egyptian jasmine; and the bottom notes include ylang ylang, vanilla orchid, sensual musk, and blonde wood.

Because of the bottle and the association with Gwen Stefani, I really wanted to like this scent. And I do. But unfortunately, the scent is just too light and doesn't last. Even when I reapply it, the scent soon fades. Very disappointing, and I'm glad now that I didn't pay full price or collect the whole set.

The Good

Cute bottle
Pleasing scent
Can be found on sale as several different retailers

The Bad

Scent is too light
Has no staying power

Verdict

Will finish the bottle, but will not buy again

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Graze box #3

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Am really enjoying my weekly boxes from graze.com! The box contains four healthy, nutritious snacks. I like that you can choose between a nibble box (all options) or a light box (low calorie snacks). At only $5 per week, it's a great deal! Love that you don't know what you're going to get! And it's nice that you can rate each snack as Trash (never send again), Like (send occasionally), or Love (send regularly). While the portions are single serve sizes, they're definitely large enough to share.

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I received:

  • dark rocky road - this was a nice selection of pecans, dark chocolate buttons, and dried cranberries. So far as I'm concerned, you can never go wrong with chocolate! And dark chocolate is good for you! The cranberries looked and tasted like regular raisins to me, just a different shade. And the pecans were regular pecan nuts. Marked this one as a Like!
  • salt and vinegar nut selection - pretty straightforward, these were almonds and peanuts with a salt and vinegar coating. I made DH try them first as I usually don't like salt & vinegar, then had to fight him for some of the peanuts! The flavoring isn't too strong, so marked this as a Like as well. 
  • fruity mango chutney - labeled as a fruity mango chutney with black pepper dippers, this is the first snack we couldn't finish. The dippers had too strong of a pepper taste for both of us, even with the chutney. Threw them away and marked as Trash.
  • tutti frutti - mostly raisins, this mix has dried pineapples, blueberry-infused cranberries, cherry-infused raisins, and green raisins. Neither one of us could really tell the difference between the raisin flavors, but they disappeared awfully fast! Another Like!

This was a much better box than last week, as we liked 3 out of 4 of the snacks! Love the healthy alternatives to the usual chips and pretzels, and may keep this subscription.

If anyone wants to give them a try, you can get your first box free by using my invitation code HL6RJNYD at graze.com. They will ask for a credit card, but if you don't like your first box, you can always cancel. It's a win-win!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hiccup with Little Black Bag

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After seeing so many YouTube videos and posts about Little Black Bag, I was excited to try it for myself! Sounded unique and fun, and I even wrote a post about my First Little Black Bag Experience.

My bag closed on 2/20, a Wednesday. Excited to receive my items, I kept checking the site to see if it had shipped yet. When the status still showed In Process and they hadn't charged my credit card by Monday, I sent a quick email to ask if there was a problem. I had been told by other buyers that they charge you as soon as your bag closes, so I was worried that maybe one of my items was on backorder or something.

Received a call Monday afternoon from LBB customer service. A very nice agent named Stephanie explained that when she tried to release my bag, she accidentally cancelled it instead. Yikes!

While she was on the phone, she had me open a new bag and she replaced two of the items with things that had been in my original bag. Unfortunately, the third item was no longer available and she asked me to take a quick look to see if there was anything else she could replace it with. While I was looking, she let me know that item 3 had come back in stock and asked if I still wanted it. Yes please! She even threw an extra item into my bag, I guess as an appeasement.

So now I had an open bag with my three original items and an extra! Decided to try my hand at trading again, but didn't do very well. Did exchange the bonus necklace Stephanie gave me for earrings I really liked, but wound up with four pair of earrings!

Not sure if it was because it was the end of the month and people were waiting for the March bags or if I'm just really bad at trading, but didn't have much luck. Kept getting lowball offers. I mean c'mon folks! Would anyone in their right mind trade a $30 pair of earrings for a candy bar? pfft!

Just received an email that my order has shipped, so am further along the process than I was earlier this week! Looking forward to receiving them and seeing how they'll look in real life. Four pairs of earrings for $29.95 isn't bad at all! Now if I can just resist opening another bag....