Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Diptyque Sample Sale in NYC This Week!

I am super excited to announce the upcoming sample sale for the luxe French candle, perfume, and soap maker Diptyque! This is sure to be an extremely popular sale. So, if you are looking for a particular scent, I suggest you get there right at the opening of the sale. However, if you're just looking to pick up various gifts, I imagine you'll still be able to get some great items on the later days.

Here are all the details:

Diptyque Paris Sample Sale

February 26th-28th, 2014
225 Fifth Avenue 
(btwn. 26th/27th Streets)

Wednesday | 10am-6pm
Thursday | 11am-8pm
Friday | 9am-3pm

Credit cards only. All sales final.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Julep Maven "Boho Glam" Intro Box ~ February 2014

At the suggestion of a fellow beauty enthusiast at Birchbox's event with Gala Gonzalez earlier this month, I decided to check out the Julep Maven subscription box. I'd never used any Julep polishes before, so I really didn't know what to expect. However, Julep Maven boxes are really risk-free. They will send you your first box for FREE - you just pay $4.34 for shipping + tax. After that, you can cancel your subscription at any time or pay $20/month to continue to receive your boxes. So, there's really not much to lose by giving it a try.

I took the beauty profile test and was actually quite surprised to be selected for the Boho Glam box. I would normally describe my style as a what they Call Classic With A Twist combined with Bombshell and It Girl. Which Maven Style Profile do you think best describes you?

My Maven Style Profile says it is supposed to come with 2 limited edition nail colors and 1 full-size beauty product in each box. Some of the other profiles just include 3 nail colors or 2 full-size beauty products. You always have the option to change your Style Profile for future boxes and to preview the products that will be in the different Style Profiles for that month. I don't think you have the same flexibility for the Intro Box though.

The two polishes I got were Michelle, a midnight blue / dark navy, and Aisha, a deep raspberry color. They are both fairly similar to two Butter London polishes I own, Royal Navy and Queen Vic. So, they were definitely my taste! I think they are both great colors for fall/winter. I recently got a manicure so I haven't had the chance to use the Julep polishes yet. But, from what I've seen they look like very high quality. They retail for $14 each so the value of the 2 polishes is already greater than the box's normal cost of $20.

The beauty product included in my box was pretty great too! It's a nail & cuticle serum pen with a soft brush tip - a $28 value. I can't wait to start using that. It sounds like it will soften the skin and help make my at-home manicures a little more luxurious. They also included two Julep branded buffer / pumice blocks as an added bonus! To top it all off, I got a special voucher for 50% off my next purchase at julep.com

I have to admit, I did not choose to continue my subscription. It's not that I didn't totally LOVE the box, but more because I don't usually spend $20/month on nail polish. I would definitely buy something from Julep again and plan to use the 50% off code that was included. With Julep, you can actually purchase the previous months' Maven Boxes individually. So, that might be the best option if you're very particular about your nail colors. Interested in checking it out for yourself? Shop Julep here

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Addendum: 2/28/14 Unlike Birchbox, Glossybox, Sample Society, PopSugar Must Have Box, and most other subscription boxes you cannot unsubscribe from Julep Maven through your online account. Instead, you have to call their customer service number. When unsubscribing, make sure that you receive the confirmation e-mail during or right after your call. If you have not, call back right away. Otherwise you will continue to receive and be billed for future boxes.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Best Presidents' Day Weekend Sale

Amrita Singh: Statement Necklace Sale. Select styles $40 or $100. Also - 40% off everything with code "PRESIDENTS2014". HERE

ASOS: Extra 15% off final clearance items with code "LONGHAUL". HERE

Banana Republic: Extra 40% off all sale items. Use code "BRWEEKEND". HERE

Charm & Chain: Up to 60% off select styles. Prices as marked. HERE

C.Wonder: Extra 50% off sale items. Automatically applied in cart. HERE

GILT City: $10 off $50 with code "MYCITY10", $20 off $80 with code "MYCITY20", and $25 off $100 with code "MYCITY25". HERE

Gorjana & Griffin: 25% off everything with code "WHITEHOUSE". HERE

Gretchen Scott Designs: 80% off select styles. Prices as marked. HERE

J.Crew: Extra 50% off all Final Sale items. Use code "EXTRA50". HERE

J.Crew Factory: 40-60% off everything. Prices as marked. Free shipping with code "HAPPYDAY". HERE

Jonathan Adler: $50 off $250, $100 off $500, $200 off $1000, $500 off $2500. Use code "PREZDAY". HERE

LivingSocial: 20% off everything with code "2014PRESDAY". HERE

Macys: Extra 20% off + Free Shipping $99+. Use code "press". HERE

Neiman Marcus Last Call: Extra 35% off everything. HERE

Old Navy: 30% off everything with code "DEAL". HERE

Sole Society: 25% off select styles. Prices as marked. HERE

Tory Burch: Extra 25% off all sale items. Use code "SALE25". HERE

Trina Turk: $50 off your purchase of $150 or more with code "HEART50". HERE

Victoria's Secret: 20% off a single item with code "ITEM20". HERE

Check this space - I'll continue to post more sales throughout the weekend!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Alice + Olivia F/W 2014 at New York Fashion Week

On Monday night I had the pleasure of attending the Alice + Olivia F/W 2014 Presentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The presentation was held at the McKittrick Hotel, which was the perfect venue for the twists and turns of the show's enchanting theme. Models dressed as fairy-tale characters like Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty while showing off the latest collection in an atmosphere that can only be described as a dreamy wonderland. I loved all of the embellishments in this collection, especially the embroidered and jeweled pieces. Overall, the look was very bohemian chic. The apparel collection was accompanied by some fabulous hosiery from the latest Alice + Olivia for Pretty Polly collection - a true essential in plunging temperatures!

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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.

Gorgeous, Free Valentine's Day E-Cards from Iomoi

Want to send your loved ones an adorable e-card like the one above? It's easy peasy and FREE! Head on over to the website of one of my absolute fave home accessories & stationery companies, iomoi, and design your own!

Just click HERE.

Happy Hearts Day, my loves!

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Birchbox "Step and Repeat" February 2014 Review

This week I received my third Birchbox in this subscription. So far, I have yet to be disappointed! As compared to the December and January boxes, I did feel like this one filled a few more "needs" than "wants". However, after 2 or 3 boxes, how many random niche beauty products will you use repeatedly? So, I think having a box full of completely practical items is a good way to round out my growing Birchbox sample collection. I've taken a look at a few other bloggers' reviews and so far - yet again - it seems that the contents of my box were pretty unique!

This month's box was a collaboration with Us Weekly. While I didn't see too much influence in the product selection, I think they definitely contributed a lot to the great content on the Birchbox website and YouTube accounts this month.

My box contained: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara (Full-size, $18), Bain de Terre Passion Flower Color Preserving Shampoo (Full-size, $12), Bain de Terre Passion Flower Color Preserving Conditioner (Full-size, $13.50), Harvey Prince Hello (Full-size, $55), and Juara Candlenut Body Creme (Full-size, $35)

The 100% Pure mascara is a great size to bring along for quick touch-ups. Because of the brush shape, it's great as a lengthening mascara but does not curl your lashes too much on its own. The first thing I noticed was the scent. Who's ever heard of scented mascara? I think most smell a bit like paint actually...This one has a sweet, fruity smell. That's probably because of the natural ingredients, which are great for those with sensitive skin too!

I have to admit, I wasn't overly excited to receive two "hotel shampoo" bottles in my box, counting as 2 of the 5 products. However, on my last business trip I was thinking about how badly I needed color-safe shampoo and conditioner. The hotels never have them and it's nearly impossible to find them in a TSA-approved size. So, I was actually delighted to see that these were color preserving products made especially for color-treated hair -- with one of my favorite ingredients, argan oil! I will definitely use up both of these bottles pretty quickly.

I've head of Juara before and I know it's a brand with a great reputation. I haven't tried anything from them before. Of all the products I received, I think I was initially the least excited about this one because I already have so many body lotions. However, since the package is realistically designed for just a single use, I know I'll give it a quick try one day in this dry, cold weather.

The last sample I received was a vial of the "Hello" fragrance by Harvey Prince. I'd seen a lot of bloggers receive this scent in past Birchboxes. It does seem like there are a few products like this that come in cycles and eventually everyone will receive them. That being said, I was really impressed with scent! So, I can understand why they'd include it. My initial thoughts were that it was a perfect cross between citrus fruits and a powdery floral scent. Sure enough, I was right! It smells exactly as described on the packaging - a mix of meyer lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, forsythia, and plumeria. It's a really feminine scent that's perfect for spring (or to help beat those winter blues!).

This month was the first month I didn't receive a Lifestyle Extra. That made me kind of sad since I love getting a little gourmet treat, home product, or accessory. Those are often my favorites. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed for next time because I am definitely continuing this subscription!

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Diptyque is on HauteLook Today for Up to 50% OFF!

Famed French candle, soap, and fragrance maker Diptyque is on HauteLook today at amazing discount prices! You can get one of their simply luxurious candles at up to 50% OFF. They also have a good selection of soaps and perfumes. Hurry - these items are sure to sell out fast! 

Shop the sale HERE.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Popsugar Must Have Box February 2014 Review

I have been insanely excited to try the Popsugar Must Have Box for months now. From everything I've seen, it looked like the subscription box that included the coolest products! I love how it's usually a mix of home, beauty, and gourmet food products. I've even been keeping a Pinterest board of all my favorite products I've seen bloggers post from Must Have Boxes! 

Despite my enthusiasm, I had a lot of difficulty justifying the $40 + tax to buy a mystery box of items. So, when I saw a discount code for 50% off on MySubscriptionAddiction, I decided to finally give it a try.

I found this product to be a severe disappointment. What is so special about a bag of heart shaped red hots? They are not gourmet or unique in any way. They're basically what some people would call "penny candy" or "pic n' mix". The smallest order you can place on Sugarwish is for a box that contains 4 bags of candy (1/4 lb each) for $25. So, this sample was 1/4 of a box. I suppose the start-up is a nice idea. However, I think it would be much nicer if they offered something more unique to send to your friends or loved ones. They also included a 20% off voucher for a future purchase. Personally, I don't think I will use it. Value: $6.25

I had never heard of this brand before and do not typically shop for face serums. So, I was not overly excited about this product. I looked up the brand and it is not available anywhere except on Nourish Organic's website. I tried it on part of my face and the texture felt extremely oily. The apricot + rosehip fragrance sounded like it would be nice but it actually smells more like an artificial citrus + vanilla sort of scent. Not at all what I expected. It may have some great effects on my skin, but I do not think I would ever purchase it at the retail value. Value: $23.99.

At the highest value, it is pretty clear that this jewelry roll is meant to be the highlight of the box. I love Gorjana, so I was pretty excited to see the brand included in my box. Unfortunately, I did not find this jewelry roll to be of the same quality as their jewelry. It is made of a very cheap feeling polyurethane with a plain cotton lining. There are not any special hooks or snaps to hold jewelry in place inside the roll. It just consists of 3 zipper pockets sort of like a pencil case might have. The pockets are each pretty flat so I think they could only hold 1 necklace each or a couple pairs of earrings. I don't know who would purchase this at the full price, as I don't think I could get $20 for it on Ebay. Regardless, I'll probably use it for some short trips. Value: $45

There was also a Gorjana Griffin Voucher for $25 off any purchase included in the box. The offer cannot be combined with any discount codes, applied to shipping/tax, or used on sale merchandise. Since Gorjana has sales all the time, this voucher might actually encourage you to spend more money than you would if you just purchased something in a regular sale. I see it works on some of the $35 rings though, so I might use it for something like that.

This exact product is not currently available at any online retailer, even at ModelCo's own shop. There is just a trio set with a mascara priced at $49. I typically like subscription boxes because they introduce me to a new product I can then order/buy somewhere if I really love it. So, I was pretty disappointed to see that they included a product that isn't available for purchase anywhere, unless I pay $49 for the whole set. It really is just a sample.

I have received a ModelCo Lip Gloss (without the lipstick) before in a similar color in a Birchbox. Although I don't know much about the brand and it is virtually impossible to find anywhere except the brand's site and Amazon, I actually really like the lip gloss I already have. It's one of the best I've tried. It adds a lot of moisture and shine to my lips. So, I think I'll really like this product too. The lipstick part does look a little dark / brownish though. Value: Unknown - $17?

I have never heard much about NCLA. So, I was not overly excited about this nail polish. I have purchased cheaper boxes like Sample Society and Glossybox and received nail polishes by better known brands like Butter London and Zoya. However, it looks like it will be a high quality polish too. In my opinion the color I received is quite off-putting. It is a very deep blood red that looks kind of goth to be honest. I think when I put it on my nails it will look almost black. It's really not for me and I think I will probably give it to someone else who would actually wear it. Value: $16.

This candle smells absolutely lovely. I adore the Peony scent. It is so feminine and smells like a solid perfume. However, the travel candle is quite small at 2 oz. You can tell by the comparison to the nail polish bottle in the above photo. For a brand that isn't as well known as something like Illume, and that is only available on the brand's own site and Amazon, I would have thought that Popsugar would send us a full size candle. Value: $11.

This product was described as a "Special Extra". So, I understand that it is supposed to be viewed as sort of a freebie add-on. However, I think the Dial product is a total miss for the Popsugar audience. I think most subscribers would agree that they purchase these boxes to treat themselves with luxurious products from well established or hip new brands. I don't think this audience would expect or particularly appreciate a drugstore brand product in this box. I also hadn't seen any drugstore brand featured in a Popsugar Must Have Box before so this was really unprecedented and unexpected. Value: estimated at $2.97.

The Verdict: Having seen the amazing brands and products included in previous Must Have Boxes, I'm not going to lie to you...I was severely disappointed with this box. I thought it would be a special way to treat myself for Valentine's Day. Previous boxes had included some of my favorite brands like: May Designs, Lulu Frost, Rifle Paper Co, Fatty Sundays, Land's End, Illume, Baublebar, and House of Harlow. Many have even included books that I would have loved to receive.

I've already seen several reviews from others who were equally disappointed with this box. In the end, I definitely got my $20 + tax worth. The items in the box had a retail value equating close to $122.25 + the vouchers. However, I'm not sure that's $20 I would have spent on these items. Definitely not $40. I certainly wasn't convinced to keep my subscription going for next month at the full price. I think I will continue to discover new and creative gift ideas through Must Have Box reviews; however, it would take a lot of work to convince me to spend $40+tax on another one. I'd rather save the money by not subscribing and purchase the products I like from the reviews on my own - at full price. In the end, I think I would save money by doing that. This was also much more of a beauty focused box than a home/gift focused box - 4 out of the 7 products were beauty products. Since I already subscribe to Birchbox, I was not looking for another beauty box this month and was really looking forward to something different. 

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50% OFF Everything at The Balm - 1 Hour Only!

Tomorrow, Friday, February 7th for one hour only, The Balm will be offering everything on their website at 50% OFF! The sale will take place from 12-1pm for each US time zone. There will be  standard shipping fee of $4.95 for each order. Half of the proceeds will benefit Indexed Tuition, helping Bay Area children in grades K-8!

As you may know from my Birchbox Local review, I have become quite the huge fan of The Balm cosmetics. Many of the products can be used for multiple purposes AND they are available in so many different types of stores. You can find them anywhere from Duane Reade Pharmacy to Nordstrom! My favorite products are Mary-Lou Manizer (reg. $24) for eyes, The Balm Girls in Foxxy Pout (reg. $17) & Pump Your Pucker in Water My Melon (reg. $15) for lips, and Time Balm Primer for face (reg. $30).

Update: Because of high traffic to the website and server issues, The Balm has announced on their Facebook page that the sale will be for 24 hours rather than just 1 hour! Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Baublebar Sample Sale ~ Next Week in NYC!

Baublebar, one of my fave sites for affordable jewels that make a statement, is having its Winter Sample Sale next week in NYC.

They'll have jewelry at amazing prices - starting at just $10! To check out my gorgeous finds from their last sample sale (including photos & pricing), click here.

Here are all the details:

Tuesday, February 11th | 10am-8pm
Wednesday, February 12th | 10am-8pm

230 Fifth Avenue at 27th Street, 12th Floor

Happy Bargain {Bauble} Hunting!

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