Sunday, November 16, 2014

Target + TOMS Collection Launches Today!

The Target + TOMS collaboration launched today!

Prices range from just $12 - $48 and with each purchase, TOMS and Target are gifting shoes, a blanket, or meals to those in need. I'm loving all the wanderlust-inspiring travel sayings, arrow motifs, and cozy knits! 

Which items can you not wait to pick up?

Women's Apparel:

Women's Accessories:

For the Home:

Look good and do good - happy shopping!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

C.Wonder Friends & Family Sale - 30% Off!

C.Wonder Friends & Family Sale

30% OFF everything!

The discount will be reflecting in your shopping cart. 
This offer expires on 11/25/14 at 11:59 PST.
FREE Shipping on orders of $100 & up.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

16 Holiday Gift Ideas Under $100

One (Earrings) | Two (Calendar) | Three (Eye Gels) | Four (Nail Polish) | Five (Socks)
Six (Vase) | Seven (Candle) | Eight (Lotion) | Nine (Ring) | Ten (Wallet) | Eleven (Napkins)
Twelve (Boots) | Thirteen (Brush) | Fourteen (Conditioner) | Fifteen (Perfume) | Sixteen (Vest)

This season I'm really loving cheerful shades of green, blue, and gold - can you tell? These little luxuries are sure to win the heart of the grinchy-est of relatives, co-workers, and friends. They also make fantastic hostess gifts for all of your "Tacky Christmas Sweater Party" invitations. You won't break the bank and the recipient will know you put some thought into it. The wallet and vest can even be monogrammed! Who will you be treating this holiday season?

Get in the holiday spirit!

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Rebecca Minkoff NYC Sample Sale Starts Monday!

Rebecca Minkoff Sample Sale

Up to 75% OFF:
Ready-to-Wear, Handbags, Shoes, & Accessories

Monday 17th November | 11am-9pm
Tuesday 18th - Friday 21st November | 10am-8pm
Saturday 22nd November | 10am-5pm

260 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

Know before you go
Check out my review of the RM Spring 2013 sample sale HERE.   

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Buzzfeed Life for Birchbox November 2014 Review

Birchbox is now regularly giving its subscribers different options to select for their boxes each month.  This month the choice was the collaborative "Holiday Hacks" box with Buzzfeed Life or one of the following samples: Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive (got it in my Birchbox Customer Appreciation Day Box), Not Soap Radio Joy Inducing Body Wash (got it in my August 2014 box), amika Nourishing Mask (sounds nice!), and Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment Mask (cool story behind the product and high value!).  I ended up going for the Buzzfeed collab because although I was interested in the amika Mask, there was another amika product I knew I would definitely use in the collab box.  I also already had and loved the Dr. Lipp product, was eager to try the Dr. Jart+ product, and love candles - especially holiday ones. So, I thought all of that outweighed the benefits of going for just the amika or Royal Apothic masks.

My box contained: amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo (Full-size, $21), Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Mask (Full-size, $35), Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips (Full-size, $14.50), Greenleaf Signature Candle in Silver Spruce (Full-size, $17), and Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24hr Mascara (Full-size, $35.96)

Birchbox sells just one single mask for $7.50 so this Dr. Jart+ "sample" almost pays for the entire Birchbox itself.  I have only received tiny samples of Dr. Jart+ products before, so I haven't really been able to judge them properly until now. I had seen this mask in some other bloggers' boxes and was hoping I would get the opportunity to get one in one of mine. I was really pleased to get this and look forward to trying it out on a bad skin day. Through the package I can tell that the mask is going to be thick and luxurious.

Birchbox sells a 1 oz travel version for $9.00 and this sample is .75 oz, so another great value for a box that only costs subscribers $10 (or less with a discount code)!  I am a huge fan of dry shampoos - how else can you achieve that "just blow dried my hair" look at a social event right after a long day at work? Travel size dry shampoos can be hard to find and pricey - I've only occasionally found some by Batiste.  They're perfect to keep in your work bag for hair emergencies. I know for sure I will get a lot of use out of this one. I'm also excited to see how amika stacks up against high end dry shampoos like Serge Normant and then my fave Batiste, which is an incredible value for the money.

I previously did a review of the full-sized Dr. Lipp balm for the Birchblogger program in October 2013 and received a sample in my January 2014 Birchbox - so this is my third time receiving the product from Birchbox.  I actually really like the product so I'm happy to receive it. The samples are quite small (lots of air in the packaging), but the full size version will last you a long time.  I love how it doesn't take much of the product to fully moisturize your lips and the effect is incredibly powerful and long lasting. It doesn't wear off after eating or drinking like a lot of other lip balms.

I love candles way too much. I think they just instantly turn any space in your home into a fragrant and calm sanctuary.  So, I was definitely excited to see a candle sample included in this box.  It's not often that Birchbox includes hefty lifestyle or home fragrance samples.  I have to admit the Greenleaf brand is completely unknown to me so I don't know if I would initially have been able to justify the $17 price tag at all. However, it is a very nice smelling candle. The fragrance is strong so I think it would be quite noticeable when lit and long-lasting. From the "Silver Spruce" name it's exactly what you'd expect - a Christmas tree in a box! So perfect for the holidays, especially if your family uses an artificial tree that doesn't give off any scent. I'm not a big fan of plain votive candles like this.  That means I'll have to find a nice votive-sized holder for it or put it in my decorative lantern.  I definitely prefer small candles that come in their own decorative holders. However, it is a sample so I can't really complain! The full size ones do come in decorative glass jars.

I think this Mirenesse Mascara would really make the box if you are a big fan of this brand or looking to find a new luxe mascara. It has the highest retail value of any of the items in the box and appears to be very close to full size.  From the accompanying packaging it looks like this mascara aims to boost volume and add curl, which is definitely what I look for in a mascara. I'm pretty dedicated to the one I currently use which is more than $10 cheaper, but always happy to try something new.

Overall I was pretty pleased with this box.  It was good value and I got a mix of products I knew and loved, was eager to try, or that generally carried a price tag I wouldn't normally consider. Nothing was a surprise - I knew what I was getting when I selected the Buzzfeed collab option.  However, what I didn't know at the time of my selection was what some of the other products would be that Birchbox would feature in the boxes for subscribers who picked the single sample option.  I later found out they were including TheBalm's Cindy-Lou Manizer (which I just adore!) among other fab samples.  

Also, those that chose the Buzzfeed option were ineligible to receive any Lifestyle Extras this time, while other subscribers received some awesome snacks like Chuao Chocolates (I love!), Vosges Chocolates (always wanted to try!), Justin's Chocolate Almond Butter (sounds amazing!), or Dang Toasted Coconut Chips (sounds YUM). So, can't really say if I would have fared even better going for the Royal Apothic sample and risking it to see if the other products I got included any of these time for couldawouldashouldas!! The best part is, maybe I will just get some of those in the coming months too anyway!  

If you picked the 1 sample option which did you select and what else did you get? Let me know!
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

50% OFF at The Balm Cosmetics Tomorrow!

The Balm Cosmetics

50% OFF Flash Sale
2-Hour Sitewide
Pre-Veteran's Day Event

50% of proceeds will be donated to Veterans!

Friday, November 7th
10am to 12pm (PST)

Discount taken at checkout. US Shipping $5.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The French Box ~ October 2014 Box Review

A couple weeks ago I went on a trip to Paris for the first time since I was a little girl. So, although I did some fun things back then like go to The Louvre, climb the Eiffel Tower, and marvel at the sight of Versailles - I definitely still considered myself a total "City of Lights" novice some 13+ years later. Since my recent visit to the Caudalie boutique for a Birchbox event, I have to say that one of the things I was most excited about was exploring new French beauty brands. I also love French food so I was looking forward to that too - but who wouldn't? 

Given all this, I was thrilled to see a post online about a brand new subscription box called "The French Box" which sends you 6 unique home, beauty, fashion, or gourmet products from France each month. The box costs $24/month, but you can receive your first box for a special discounted price of $14 (like I did!) by using the code "firstbox" at checkout.

First, I have to show you this box's impeccable packaging. I just love the little Eiffel Tower with a  bow motif and the boxes are all very sturdy and high quality (just like Glossybox).  They're so nice that they'd be perfect for gifting, storage, or repurposing. In fact, I was thinking that ordering a one-off box would make a lovely hostess present sometime.

Each month seems to have a theme that incorporates a cute art print card and recipe sheet. This month's is "The Warmth of Provence" - how cozy for the oncoming fall season!

Matis Powder Brush (Full size: $15.50)
The first item in my box was the Matis kabuki brush. It is a full size product and it retails for $15.50. It is perfect for mineral makeup, loose powder, or blush. It's made of super soft goat hair and is far superior to any other brushes of its type I've found at that price point. A nice kabuki brush can easily put you out $30+ (even my decent Sonia Kashuk one from Target cost $12.99). It's hard to describe just how luxuriously soft to the touch this brush is - just lovely!

Couleur Calisson (Retail Price: $3.00)
I love that this box isn't just about beauty products. While I absolutely love them, I'm sure I have enough of them by now (if I have to be completely honest with myself!). So, I was excited to see a nice little sweet treat. I adore French macarons but they are so extremely sweet that I'm not overly tempted to have them all that frequently. I was exited to learn about this other delicacy - native to the South of France. It's got more of a Madeleine-like cake consistency. A box of 16 Calissons is nearly 16 euros on the Couleur Calisson website, so the $3 retail price estimate seems a little low to me actually. Judging by the flavors described on the site and the ingredients on the package, I think my 4-pack includes Chestnut, Prune, Lemon, and Raspberry. They're good until April 2015, in case you're "on a diet" right my house, these won't last long.

Durance Marseille Soap (Full-size, 3.5 oz: $7.90)
I was really excited to see something from Durance in my box. Although I did have some time on my trip to shop, I was mostly in Paris for work. So, although I saw quite a few Durance stores around, I never had the chance to go into one. This was like sending to my doorstep the luxe souvenir I never got to buy - just fabulous! I like that Durance is a well known brand in France that hasn't quite made its way here yet. That's exactly what I was looking to get out of my French Box. The soap also came with a promo card for 15% off any purchase on Durance's website. I received a 3.05 oz Triple Milled Marseille soap with Verbena essential oil. If it's not the full size, it sure is close to it! The front label says "3.05 oz" but the soap actually has "3.5oz" engraved in it. It has a nice invigorating lemony scent that doesn't smell too sweet or too much like cleaning products. Judging by the photo in the info card, it's entirely possible other subscribers received different scents.

Le Panier Francais Provence French Herbs Mix (Full-size, $6.99)
This is another full size item and it is absolutely giant. A 3.5 oz bag of Provence Herbs will last you a long time. This bag contains Basil, Savory, Rosemary, Thyme, and Marjoram.  I haven't opened it yet because I know I will make a mess but the Le Panier Francais product looks very fresh and I'm sure it smells delightful. If you're not much of a cook (like myself), this could be a great way to spruce up a very simple dish. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure 9 moms out of 10 would love to receive this as a little gift!

Oshibori Refreshing Towel (Retail Price: $5.00)
Now, this is a fun product! It's a set of three rolled Oshibori 100% cotton hand towels infused with green tea (2) and white tea (1) scents and one extra flat refreshing wet towel also with green tea scent. I just love anything with green tea and the taste and smell is just so calming. So, I'm looking forward to using these after a particularly stressful day. The cute little carrying case and insert were clearly made exclusively for French Box. These are high quality cotton towels, so they are re-usable, if you so desire. However, the packaging does describe them as "single-use" and they have an expiration date of 2/2016. To use, the package says you simply heat them in a 600 watt microwave for 10 seconds. I haven't opened mine yet but through the packaging they smell very soothing with a hint of some floral notes.

Atelier Cologne Postcard (Retail Price: $3.00)
This was the only brand in this month's French Box that I'd heard of before.  It's been featured a number of times in Birchboxes. I've also seen the full size Atelier Cologne bottles for sale in a number of US and UK department stores and they're very expensive - $195-265 on So, getting a sample is quite a treat, if you like the scent you receive. The scent I received in my box is Santal Carmin. The scents I do know vary this month among subscribers. Luckily, this is one I've never received in a Birchbox. Sephora describes this one as a "woody" scent with notes of sandalwood, white musk, vanilla, bergamot, saffron, and more. I agree with that description but think it is a much lighter and more feminine "woody" fragrance than most of its type. It's definitely a fall/winter scent but the vanilla and bergamot make it a bit more powdery and soft. 

The previous six products were the ones listed out on my info card. However, there were two additional sweet little surprises. One was the above notebook with a print made especially for French Box by famed French fashion designer Christian Lacroix. The picture is titled "L'Arlesienne" which I looked up and translates roughly to "The Girl from Arles", a short story set in Provence and written by Alphonse Daudet.  It was later turned into a play. A fun little fact on Wikipedia - "Arlesienne" is now used to describe a person who is prominently absent from a place or situation where they would be expected to show up, since the title character is never show in the play.

This is a thin, soft poster board cover book with French Box branding on the back - a real exclusive piece for subscribers! The cover's a bit flimsy so you have to be gentle with it. The pages inside are completely blank and there are about 20 of them. It would make a lovely sketch book on your next trip to France!

My other surprise extra was the Sothys Contour Concealer Base.  I hadn't heard of Sothys before, but I saw that it was also featured in September's box (the very first French Box), so it must be a favorite. In other subscribers' reviews I saw that they received different Sothys products in this month's box. I know one received a mascara. I looked up this product online and it appears to be worth at least $21 - it's full size. I don't currently own a high end concealer aside from my Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer which I use quite sparingly since it's very pricey too, so this is fantastic.

This month's receipt card included instructions to make three different Provencal Dips: Ancholade, Tapenade, and Aubergine Caviar. Those will definitely come in handy for a cocktail party some day. The decorative theme card for this month was also really endearing. It includes the Provencal proverb, "In Provence the sun rises twice a day once in the morning and after the afternoon nap".

Overall I have to say that I was just blown away by my very first French Box experience. This box packed some amazing value, taught me a bit about Provence history and culture, and provided a good variety of items across several categories. It's a bold statement, but I think this is my favorite subscription box to date. Period. 

I have to admit that $24/month is a really hefty price tag to me - not that the products aren't worth the price, just that it's a lot to spend every month for a little indulgence on top of all the other shopping I like to do. Plus, I think the products would just pile up if I ordered this one every month. However, I definitely plan to order this one again in the future, whenever I need a little pick-me-up or start feeling some major wanderlust. It's certainly a lot cheaper than a plane ticket. So, keep your eyes peeled for future reviews some time in the coming year.

Très Bien, French Box!

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