Monday, March 23, 2015

Walmart Beauty Box Spring 2015 Review



I'm always surprised when I see the Walmart charge pop up on my credit card statement each quarter. The Walmart Beauty Box is the most subtle subscription box there is. I signed up once on their website and that was it. They have no e-mail newsletter, they don't send you any e-mail notifications when a new box is about to ship, and they don't send a receipt when they've charged your card. Nevertheless, this is my third box and so far I've found that each one is worth every penny of the $5 they charge (which includes tax and shipping). You can also see my reviews of the last two boxes, Fall (HERE) and Winter (HERE).


Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara (full size, $7.97)

I haven't tried this mascara yet because I just bought the new Benefit Roller Lash Mascara. However, this may be a nice cheap alternative for daily use. The package says that the product contains a "grow-lash complex" that makes lashes look up to 126% longer in 30 days with a micro-fiber formula. My lashes are already pretty long but the faux lashes look is very in right now and you can always go longer. I think the trick is to make lashes look longer and perfectly curled. Given the shape of the mascara brush (completely flat, no curve), I wonder if this one is able to accomplish both or if you absolutely need to use an eyelash curler too. Regardless, I'm intrigued by the claim and am interested in seeing the growth effects.


Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser (full size, $7.47)

This product claims to boost softness, evenness, and radiance without ever over-drying skin. It contains antioxidant white tea and moisturizing vitamin e. This product has a pleasant, natural herbal-like scent and comes out as a smooth clear liquid without any exfoliant particles. So, it would be ideal for sensitive skin. It works up into a nice white lather so it is easy to see when you've covered your entire face. When I first washed it off, my skin felt a little tightened/firm, but as it dried it became more relaxed and very soft. I wouldn't say it made my skin feel more moisturized though. However, it didn't make it feel any more dry either.


Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Omega Repair & Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner (full size, $6.97 each)

Admittedly I haven't used either of these samples yet. I really love getting high quality shampoo and conditioner samples because they are perfect for packing on business trips. A lot of hotels do offer their own complimentary free shampoo and conditioner minis, but they are fairly standard and there's no guarantee they're especially good for your hair type. So, I love bringing samples like these along too. I like the scent of these products. It seems like they have notes of cherry or almond. They contain pearl essence, protein, and keratin. Not to mention they were developed with Claudia Schiffer. Supermodel hair? Why not?! I love that these products focus on repairing and hydrating damaged hair. I have color-treated hair and I think this should help tackle a lot of the problems women with my hair type face. I look forward to trying these out when I head to Dallas for a trip next month!



The packaging describes the scent as "tears of Belladonna, crushed hear of Tiger Orchidea, with a black veil of Incense, pulverized Apricot, and the combinative essences of Saffron and Honey Drops". It is made by the Haus Laboratories in Paris and has an innovative technology - it is black in the bottle but becomes invisible when airborne. To me, the scent smells quite peppery and full with some notes of orchid. It definitely seems like a Fall/Winter scent. So, I think this would have been better suited for one of the previous boxes, especially since the Fall one had a much lighter scent more fit for Spring (Nicki Minaj Pink Friday).



This sample is the Mandarin & Tiare Flower scent. However, it doesn't look like that particular scent is available on the Walmart website at the moment. It has a very soothing citrus smell that is softened by the Tiare flower element, which smells a bit like Vanilla. The body wash is extremely rich and generates a moisturizing lather, just like I've come to expect from all Dove products. Since I have very dry skin I really appreciate this brand. All of the products are affordable and very effective for people with my skin type.


Foil packets from:

Nivea Nourishing In-Shower Body Lotion (full size, $5.92)
I haven't tried this one yet because I'm saving it for my next business trip. It is a very generous size for a foil packet (.31 fl. oz). I love all other Nivea products I've tried. Like Dove, Nivea also has fantastic products for people with dry skin problems. The products also tend to be fairly odorless or at least have a very neutral scent, which is nice for daily use. This included a coupon for $1.00 OFF any one 13.5 fl.oz. In-Shower Body Lotion.

Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream (full size, $11.50)
This cream has a relaxing sort of Chamomile type scent and goes on quite thick. It contains Hyaluronic Acid like the Neutrogena Water Boost Hydro Gel I reviewed last week, so it should definitely help lock in moisture. The product also contains essential oil, Hydroxy Acid, and rare plant extracts. It claims to intensely hydrate, reduce signs of tired looking skin, and reduce wrinkles over time. This sample included a coupon for $2.00 OFF any Garner moisturizer.

I used this product right after trying the Neutrogena facial cleanser that was in this box and my cheeks got very red/irritated and warm. I don't know if that was a reaction to this product, the facial cleanser, or the combination of them. Since this was just a foil packet sample, I'm afraid I won't be able to try it again to find out. The reaction ended up being bad enough that I actually had to wash this cream off my face. It looked almost like I'd used a microdermabrasion face peel. My skin isn't particularly sensitive and I rarely have any negative reactions to skin care or cosmetic products, so this was a little bit surprising. I'll want to do some more investigating to figure out which product caused the irritation and what ingredient it may have been.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation (full size, $5.94)
This product comes in 16 shades. The one I received is Ivory, which is a little bit darker and warmer than what I would typically buy. I think my shade's more likely Porcelain or Natural Ivory. This was the first sample I tried from this box and I was very impressed. It really evens out your skin tone and hides imperfections, giving your complexion the airbrushed effect and minimizing the appearance of pores. It did seem to breathe unlike other products I've tried around this price point with similar claims. 

My only complaint is that it had no moisturizing features. In fact, it felt like it may have even dried out my skin a little bit. However, I did like the Matte look which might not be as easy to achieve with strong moisturizers. I see that the Fit Me collection comes in three lines: Matte + Poreless (for Normal to Oily skin), Dewy + Smooth (for Normal to Dry Skin), and Shine-Free + Balance for all skin types. So, it seems like the Dewy + Smooth collection is geared more towards my skin type, but I did still like the Matte + Poreless collection very much - maybe I can combine a little from each with a Beauty Blender? At this price, why not get both?! This sample card included a coupon for $2.00 OFF on Fit Me or any Maybelline face product.


Bonus coupons from: Covergirl + Olay ($2.00 OFF any 1 Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Foundation Product), L'Oreal ($2.00 OFF any L'oreal Paris Cosmetic Product Purchase), Schwarzkopf ($2.00 OFF any 1 Essence Ultime Hair Car or Styling Product, only at Walmart), another from Schwarzkopf ($3.00 OFF any 1 Color Ultime or Keratin Color Hair Coloring Product, only at Walmart), and an ad for Maybelline's new The Blushed Nudes palette that is available for pre-sale at Walmart starting 3/29/15.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Birchbox "Creativity" March 2015 Review



I was so excited after last month's late arrival that this month's box arrived promptly on the 10th of the month. I mean, Birchbox, how long can you keep us waiting in suspense?! Actually this month was the first time I didn't leave it up to surprise. Birchbox sent out a link in advance to take a sneak peek at your box's contents before it arrived - so I caved. I was actually quite pleased, so I knew I had something to look forward to!

This month's curated box wasn't so exciting to me so again I opted for the pick-1-sample option. So far, that strategy has worked out really well for me - even better than any of the curated boxes. I've found that both boxes that I used this strategy on had higher values or better brands than most of the others I've received. This month's sample choice selection for me was the "It's a 10" Miracle Leave-in Product. It wasn't new to me. I've purchased it before - but I knew that it was a really good product and it's quite expensive.


My box contained: It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product (Full-size, $18), Elite Therapeutics Rosemary Eucalyptus Body Creme (Full-size, $19), Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (Full-size, $25.50), Jelly Pong Pong GLOW GETTER Highlighter (Full-size, $14), and Reloxin Lift Revitalizing Facial Masque Treatment (Set of 10, $110).



I've used this product a number of times before because my hair stylist highly recommends it. I know it doesn't come cheap at $18/bottle. I was excited to see that this sample is 2 oz which is 1/2 the size of the full-sized product. That's a $9 value in a Birchbox I paid $10 for (less actually since I have an annual subscription). I find this product is most effective when used on damp hair. Every time I use this product it detangles my hair and leaves it very soft, smooth, and shiny. It also has a really nice smell - I've gotten several compliments after I've used it. I really cannot say enough nice things about this spray. I've tried a lot of alternatives because even the full-size bottles are fairly small and pretty pricey, but I have yet to find another product that is quite as effective as this one. Some will come close, but this one is really tops.


Elite Therapeutics Rosemary Eucalyptus Body Creme

I've tried this creme a couple times now, but only on my hands. The first time I tried it was after cooking and washing my hands with kitchen soap, so admittedly my hands were probably unusually dry and irritated. I noticed that time that the creme didn't keep my hands moisturized for very long.  The second time I tried it was a little bit better. I like the idea of a rosemary eucalyptus scent but this smells a little more like lavender and soap. I like that the product has 70% certified organic ingredients, is paraben and cruelty free, and is physician formulated. However, there are so many other body cremes / lotions out on the market and I really didn't care too much for the scent of this one. It also seemed to me to be pretty overpriced for something that is really average.


Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

If you decide to purchase a full-size version of this product, be sure to keep the muslin cloth from this sample. The cloth alone is worth something ($7.50 for a set of 2). I've wanted to try popular British brand Liz Earle's products for a while and was so pleased to finally get this product in my box. It's a two step process - first you massage the cleanser onto your face in a circular motion from the center outwards, then you clean it off with hot water using the enclosed muslin cloth and add a final splash of cool water. The cloth is really great quality and will last you many, many uses if cleaned and cared for properly. All you have to do is throw it in the wash every 2-3 uses and let it air dry. 


I have to say after the very first use I fell in love with this product. This is one of those cleansers with all natural ingredients that really is very clearly composed of what's on the label - rosemary, chamomile, cocoa butter, and eucalyptus essential oil. The scent is so lovely - so soothing and distinctly eucalyptus. The texture is very smooth but deeply penetrating like a good moisturizer. It exfoliates but it doesn't have any rough particles that irritate sensitive skin. I loved the tingling cool sensation my skin had when I first took off the product. It felt so invigorating! As a result, my skin looked very firm, even-toned, and felt softer than it ever had before. It also looked delightfully healthy and well hydrated - a challenge for my very dry skin. I had already taken my make-up off so I'm afraid I can't judge it on its make-up removing capabilities yet, but it does claim to remove even the toughest mascaras. I absolutely love this cleanser and despite its high price, I might just save up my Birchbox points and treat myself to this and other Liz Earle products. I was simply blown away by the immediate and unique effects of this product on my skin type.


Jelly Pong Pong GLOW GETTER Highlighter

I have to admit that this is the one product I saw in my box preview that I knew just wasn't for me. I have very fair skin so any product like this is extremely noticeable and unnatural looking. The only real highlighter I use is Benefit's Watt's Up because it's pretty subtle, sort of like a shimmery concealer. I only use that under my eyes though, to hide dark circles and generally look more energized. I read some fellow subscribers' reviews of the Jelly Pong Pong product, all of which said this has a super glittery effect. Since, I'm in my late 20s, that's not exactly the look I usually go for anymore. I know there were a lot of other subscribers who were really excited about this product and disappointed they didn't get it in their boxes, so perhaps I'll make someone's day with a swap!



These 2 samples are full-sized masques which means the Reloxin product alone is worth $20 (the accompanying literature says $22)! That's twice the price of this month's entire Birchbox. What amazing value! I haven't used them yet because I want to save them for days when I feel like I really need them. I'm hoping they'll hide some of the light lines in my forehead and any signs of fatigue on my face. The effects are supposed to last up to 24 hours and be a risk-free alternative to Botox.





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Disclaimer: I am currently employed by UK Trade & Investment. However, all written content and opinions expressed on this blog (including and especially those regarding British brands) are my own. This is a personal blog that is in no way affiliated with my place of employment. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Review



Great minds think alike - a huge thank you to both Allure Magazine and Vogue Magazine for both sending me samples of Neutrogena's latest product, the Hydro Boost Water Gel

This product is gentle and light like a gel, but hydrates like a thick cream. The key ingredient is purified Hyaluronic Acid which is naturally found in skin. It moisturizes up to 1,000 times its weight in water.

There are a lot of things I like about this product. I have extremely dry skin so I'm definitely the target customer for it. I have used Nivea Cream and Cetaphil products that are safe for both face and body quite a bit. While those pack a strong burst of moisture, they are extremely thick. It can sometimes feel like you're putting a paste on your face. Although they don't leave any greasy residue, the thickness does sometimes make it feel like your pores could be blocked or your skin might not breathe as well with it on your face. 

Lately, I've been trying to take the "less is more" approach. This Neutrogena product by contrast is smooth and quickly absorbent. It felt like a nice fresh base to put on my face before applying makeup and I really felt like it actually helped my skin breathe rather than inhibit it. It is oil-free and non-comedogenic (doesn't clog pores). It does not have any noticeable scent and is very sensitive, suitable for all skin types. I did find that I had to use a decent amount of the product to get the full coverage I wanted on my face though. So, when you might only use 1 nickel-sized amount of Nivea Cream you would instead use a 2 nickel-sized amount of this product. I also found the results of the Neutrogena product to be more long-lasting than moisturizing creams I've used before. On the day after applying the product my skin still felt very moisturized, smooth, and supple!


This is a sponsored post. I received one full-size (1.7 oz) sample of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel from Allure Magazine and another from Vogue Magazine. These samples were provided to me for review purposes.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Birchbox "Friendship" February 2015 Review



February's review is coming to you a little late because I was in Europe the last couple weeks (some fun posts to come on that!). My box didn't arrive until after February 12th this month - so, a little later than usual regardless. For once, the box selection was easy. I really wasn't wild about the curated box this time, so I just went with the picking a single item option and selected something very practical, the Marcelle eye make-up remover. This worked out really well for me this time because I ended up getting make-up from two of my favorite brands (Benefit and theBalm). I also really like all the Juicy perfumes I've tried before, so I had no reason to doubt this new one would be pleasant too.



My box contained: Benefit Roller Lash (Full-size, $24), Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal (Full-size, $72), Marcelle Gentle Make-up Remover for Sensitive Eyes (Full-size, $15), theBalm Cosmetics Read My Lips Lip Gloss in BAM! (Full-size, $15), and Toni & Guy Classic Shine Gloss Serum (Full-size, $15).



Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Mascara

I actually ended up trying out a sample of this mascara before I got back from Europe, because it came free with the purchase of my ELLE UK Magazine. This is a really wonderful mascara. It's so easy to apply and you definitely don't need to use more than two coats. I'm already a huge fan of They're Real, but this one gives more of a lighter natural look that still makes your eyes pop. It doesn't clump. Instead it makes every individual lash show and it curls really nicely. I've actually already ordered the full size because I had a 25% discount for the Birchbox shop after my 16th box and enough Birchbox points saved to get it for free.



Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal Perfume

This perfume has a really invigorating citrus scent that still has the femininity of the other Juicy scents but less of the powdery floral notes the others do. This is definitely a great scent for fall/winter because it is quite full and glamorous. I'm not sure I like it as well as the original, Viva La Juicy, or Couture La La scents, but it is a fun way to mix it up once in a while.



Marcelle Gentle Make-up Remover for Sensitive Eyes

I really haven't had any experience with the Marcelle brand outside of a couple samples from Birchbox. However, it seems like a pretty high quality brand with good ingredients. This gentle, hypoallergenic make-up remover takes off the toughest of eye make-up - even Benefit They're Real Mascara and Push-Up Liner! I have to admit, I'm a bit lazy so I usually just go for the make-up remover wipes, but this is a good option when my skin's looking a little sensitive and blotchy.



theBalm Cosmetics Read My Lips Lip Gloss in BAM!

As any regular readers of my blog would know, I'm a huge fan of theBalm Cosmetics! I have to admit, I have about a bajillion lip glosses right now, so I certainly didn't need another. However, this one's pretty great. I'm really impressed with the sample size. This one would likely last me nearly 3-4 weeks at least if I used it every day. The gloss is infused with ginseng, and provides a powerful punch of shine and a rich color. It has a pretty sweet smell (like strawberry frozen fruit ice pops!) and keeps my lips feeling moisturized. I'm not completely sold because I got a beautiful set of mini Nars glosses for Christmas, but I am still a firm believer in theBalm's brand and have yet to find a single product they offer that disappoints.



Toni & Guy Classic Shine Gloss Serum

Admittedly, I was least excited about the Toni & Guy product. I'm definitely on a hair product kick because my hair gets really dry and tangled in the cold winter weather. However, Toni & Guy isn't as much of a "luxury" brand as many of the other ones I've received through Birchbox - although it is very easily accessible at Target stores. I have to say I'm glad I gave this product a chance though. It has such a vibrant scent - reminds me of cardamom and anise seeds. The texture is nice, similar to a lot of other hair treatment oils. I found that I had to use quite a bit of product to really view any results, but it is nice to know that there is a more affordable hair serum out there vs. a lot of Toni & Guy's significantly more expensive competitors. I'm not so sure the results were as striking as they've been with the more expensive versions but it is noticeable and at this price point, it may be just what you're looking for!



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Disclaimer: I am currently employed by UK Trade & Investment. However, all written content and opinions expressed on this blog (including and especially those regarding British brands) are my own. This is a personal blog that is in no way affiliated with my place of employment. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Evian Facial Spray Giveaway


If you liked my evian® Brumisateur®  Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray review in January, then you will love this competition! Enter below to get TWO of your own 5oz sprays - a prize package worth $25. The contest closes on 16 March 2015 and 20 winners will be randomly selected by evian®.



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This is a sponsored post. evian® provided me with a 5 oz spray for review purposes via Brandbacker.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Glossybox January 2015 Review



After the fabulous December 2014 Glossybox, I knew January would be have a tough act to follow. I've also stocked up on so many beauty products over the last year through subscription boxes and Black Friday sales that I knew I didn't need any more. So, I decided to cancel Glossybox after December. I must have made a mistake and cancelled a day or two too late because even though my account showed I cancelled, I was still charged for one final box - the January Glossybox.

Under normal circumstances I would be really upset, would call up the customer service line, and would try to get a refund / get the box returned. However, I was actually really pleasantly surprised by this box and to be honest the December box was such an incredible deal that the $20 or so for this box didn't really feel like a big commitment.


Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum (Full-size 1fl.oz., $80)

I was really excited to see this product include because I'd wanted to try it out for a long time. I have a number of other Skin & Co products I actually found at TK Maxx in Brighton, England for a significant discount. However, I very seldom see discounted Skin & Co products anywhere in the USA. This item also rarely comes up for swaps on eDivv and when it does the swappers always ask for a lot more than I feel like it's worth. This Italian serum is made from truffle mushrooms and works to brighten and firm skin, fade dine lines, soften rough patches, and leaves behind moist, smooth skin. It has sort of an almond-like scent (don't expect it to smell like your truffle ravioli!) and really does calm your complexion and leave your skin baby soft. You do have to use a decent amount of the product to cover your face and neck, so I know this .17 fl.oz. sample won't last long!


Kueshi Revitalizing Face Toner (Full-size 6.76 fl.oz, $13.30)

This Spanish brand was completely new to me when I received this box. The sample included actually is the full size product! I like the calming ingredients - aloe vera, chamomile, and calendula. This one also does a good job and calming your complexion and fighting blotchiness/redness. It is good for all skin types because it controls shine in oily skin and softens dry spots. It has a sweet fruity-floral scent that sort of reminds me of my favorite Vitamin Water flavor, Dragonfruit.


Vichy Purete Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser (Full-size 6.7 fl.oz., $19.50)

I've definitely seen the Vichy brand around a lot, both on travels to Paris and in my local CVS, but I've never tried it before. This 1 fl.oz. sample doesn't seem like an overly generous sample size for Glossybox, especially since the full size isn't all that expensive. I do really like that the product is multifunctional since I travel a lot for work and am always on the go. This cleanser also works as a toner and make-up remover. You can also use it for all three purposes without water, so it's perfect for the airplane! It doesn't really have much of a scent - perhaps a subtle milk and honey one? I think I'll have to use it a few more times to decide what my final verdict is on it, but so far it seems to do the trick for travel but might not be as high-powered of a make-up remover as what I'd usually use at home.


Lollipops Eye Pencil in Goodbye Moon (Full-size .02 oz, $17.70)

Lollipops is also a new brand to me. It appears to be a French brand but the product is made in Italy. I like that this pencil replenishes itself by rotating the bottom rather than requiring a pencil sharpener. It also glides on very smoothly. I did find the black to be a bit translucent though and I had to apply several layers to achieve the opaque look I usually like from an eyeliner. The color is long-lasting and is enriched with vitamin E which is nice and gentle on the eyelids.


Tarte Undercover Lover Bamboo Concealer Brush (Full-size, $20)

Aside from the Skin & Co product, I was also pretty excited to see this brush. I own a few other Tarte brushes that I've purchased during the Tarte Friends & Family Sale and that I've gotten for free in a cosmetics bundle from QVC.com. They are some of the best quality brushes around and the only ones I use (aside from that fabulous Matis one I received in my French Box). I don't have a concealer brush and was excited to receive this one because the size and shape is extremely useful. Overall, this rounded out the box nicely and alone paid for the cost of the entire box!


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Monday, February 9, 2015

Try The World "Paris Box" Review



I purchased my first Try The World box during their Black Friday promotion. That deal offered the "Holiday Box" + 1 Regular Box (the "Paris Box") for just $40. That's half off the regular price. I was really intrigued by the idea of trying out a gourmet food subscription box after trying so many beauty ones. My beauty product collection's getting a little saturated, but you can always use new food items!

You may wonder why I'm posting about a box I ordered in November in February. Well, it's a long story...Try the World is a relatively new box and it turns out the massive orders they received during Black Friday absolutely overwhelmed them. I ended up receiving the "Holiday Box" right before Christmas, but didn't get the "Paris Box" until late January. After weeks and weeks of trying to reach out to Try the World via email and phone, I finally got my "Paris Box" and was also awarded one $30 and one $10 gift certificate to their store as an apology. I'm still not sure I want to continue with the subscription - $40 is really steep! Regardless, I really liked the contents of this box.


Maison D'Armorine Salted Butter Caramels, 50g
Retail: $19.95 for 200g (7.05oz)

I'm not a big caramel person but these seem like the best of the best. They're made with Breton butter and fleur de sell from Brittany. I love that the brand has a rich history and that the product is produced by a cooperative of local artisans. There were 6 caramels in my sample box and I have to say it was hard to limit myself to just one! They are so rich and smooth - not as sticky and chewy as other caramels. You can definitely taste the luxurious sea salt flavor too. 


Charles Antona Minna Organic Jam in Black Cherry & Thyme, 110g
Retail:$6.95 for 250g (8.8oz)

I have yet to try this item but I am a huge fan of French jams and preserves. I like the unique combination of black cherry and thyme - that's something I've never seen before! This brand is from Corsica and is 100% natural. I think I need to go out and buy some freshly baked croissants to enjoy with this one.


Flagrants Desirs Dark Chocolate Bar with Raspberry, 100g
Retail: $4 for 100g (3.5oz)

This seriously dark chocolate bar contains 72% cocoa. The brand only uses real cocoa butter rather than the vegetable fats some brands that mass produce chocolates use. I have not heard of this brand before but the contents and packaging look impressive. I also like the large 3.5oz size! I have a family member who is a huge dark chocolate fan, so admittedly I haven't tried this one yet. I plan to give it as a gift (if it will last that long!).


Domaine des Vignes Whole Grain Mustard, 200g
Retail: ? does not appear to be sold online in the US yet

This must be a full size jar at 7 oz. The mustard looks like 100% whole grains up close which I think is fantastic - I love a spicy mustard! The brand uses vinegar produced from its own grapes as a base for all its mustards. I haven't tried this yet because I'm still working on the last mustard I purchased, but I was pretty excited to receive it. Mustard is something you always need in your fridge and it usually has a very long shelf life. I look forward to bring this out with my next fancy charcuterie plate.


Le Palais des Thes Fine Tea Bags in Fleur de Geisha, The des Lords, & The des Sables
Retail: $13 for 20 sachets

I was pretty excited to see these tea bags included. For starters, I love tea! My family has English roots so that's pretty much a given. However, I've just recently started to explore some nicer and more unusual teas. I found a Palais des Thes box of cold brew iced tea sachets on the clearance shelf at HomeGoods recently and absolutely fell in love with them. So, I'm excited to give the brand another try! The Fleur de Geisha is a Japanese cherry blossom green tea. The The des Lords is an Earl Grey black tea with bergamot. Finally, the des Sables is a green tea with notes of rose and various fruits. I think the The des Lords will be my favorite since I love a good Earl Grey, but I'm excited to try all three!


Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur de Sel, 125g
Retail: $11.95 for 125g (4.4oz)

Like the mustard and the chocolate bar, this appears to be another full size product. The packaging is absolutely beautiful. This would make a lovely hostess gift. I did try this one out - albeit unceremoniously on some freshly cooked edamame. The crystals are incredibly lovely and flavorful. Just a little bit goes a long way, so I imagine this pot will last me a while. The brand harvests this natural sea salt by hand using centuries-old methods. Who knew salt could be so labor intensive? This is such a nice little luxury, potentially my favorite item in the box!


Francois Doucet Pates de Fruits de Provence in Raspberry and Apricot
Retail: ~$22.50 for 32 bars

Each box comes with an extra bonus surprise item. Mine were these 2 pates de fruits bars. I actually really love these and buy them from time to time when I see them in specialty shops. The last time I was in Paris I had a look at them in Fauchon but didn't end up buying them because I couldn't justify the price. I was excited to see that this brand is quite reasonable. I'll definitely look out for it next time I'm abroad. It looks like I could really stock up since they have a very long shelf life - they don't expire for over a year! I'm saving these as a special treat for a tough day because they're not easy to find. It looks like they're currently only available online through the brand's website and you have to pay in euros.

Verdict: Overall this was a pretty great box. I have a particular affinity for French culture and food so I'd probably be more excited about this box than a lot of other ones Try the World might offer (check out my review of French Box if you love French products too!). Again, the $40 price tag also concerns me. If you add up everything I got, keeping in mind I didn't know the prices of some things, maybe this was around a $50 box in value? That's not really what I'd call significant savings. Regardless, I got this box during the holiday deal so I did basically get it for half the price and I will use everything in it. So, overall I'm extremely pleased! Better late than never.


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