Monday, June 30, 2014

June 2014 "Away We Go" Birchbox Review

I have to admit, I didn't really think about whether or not I would continue my Birchbox subscription this month. I'd been fairly pleased with the last few months and/or been able to exchange my samples with other subscribers for things I really love. I was going on a business trip and knew I wouldn't receive my box until I got home. Nevertheless, I decided to chance it. The result - I was very pleased with this month's box! I got a box of excellent value full of products that I could really use.  I was so convinced, that I've now decided to take the plunge and get an annual subscription (read: lots of future Birchbox reviews to come)!

My box contained: Catherine Melandrino Fragrance (Full-size, $110), Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo/Conditioner/OI All in One Milk (Full-size $24-28), LAQA & Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour (Full-size $18), Paula's Choice RESIST Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol (Full-size $27), and Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (Full-size $34).

This lip color is just...WOW! It's not at all what I expected. I have some similar looking lip crayon type products from brands like Pop Beauty but found them to be a bit cakey in texture, going on a bit rough and clumping up. This lip color glides on amazingly smoothly. I really like the color - which is a bit loud I'll admit. It's the good kind of loud and its intensity can be adjusted based on the number of layers you apply. I can't wait to try this product in other shades. It's by far one of my favorite Birchbox samples of all time and seems to be incredibly underrated in other reviews. I'm obsessed!

I haven't tried any of these products yet, but I was immediately blown away by the generous shampoo sample. It's a size that is still TSA approved and could be taken on a fairly lengthy business trip. It also has really well designed packaging for multiple use. I look forward to taking all 3 of these products on my next trip!

My skin's pretty sensitive and prone to redness. So, I'm not sure how I feel about this cleanser being compared to "microdermabrasion". If it produces the same effects in a gentle way, then I'm all in! I think to be safe I'd just use it 1-2 times per week rather than the suggested 3-5. I like that it contains natural ingredients like Papaya and Aloe.

I really like that this product contains Retinol and that it is a deep moisturizer. I have very dry skin and am certainly interested in keeping a youthful and clear complexion. I haven't used it yet but I like that it comes in the same type of dispenser as a lot of really luxurious moisturizers. The texture doesn't seem overly pasty/thick which I usually attribute with moisturizers for really dry skin, but we shall see!

I was pretty excited to receive this perfume. I could smell the lovely scent from the minute I picked up the envelope. It's got a sweet yet mature scent that I can only describe in one word...nectar! It's great for spring and summer wear - just watch out, those honey bees might be after you!

I like that this month's theme was "Away We Go" because I love taking all my Birchbox samples with me when I travel. The shampoo/conditioner samples are always especially handy. This month's box also had a little quiz to figure out where you should travel next with some cute little fact cards on various JetBlue destinations. I took the quiz and got Portland, ME. That's not a big surprise considering my love for the sea and lobster rolls. Which destination did you get?

Bon Voyage!

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Score 2 FREE Birchboxes - Today Only!

Today is the *LAST* day for an amazing promo that Birchbox is running. Have you subscribed to more than just a couple Birchboxes lately on a month-by-month basis? Chances are you're paying about $10+tax each month.

Love them so far? Feel like there's less risk now that sample trading sites like exist? Then, why not commit?

With the code "YEARLY99" you can upgrade to an annual subscription (12 Birchboxes) for right around $100 - a little over $8/box all-in. That's the same as 2 FREE BOXES + you'll get 99 points to use in the Birchbox shop. Those points add up to nearly $10 - which can be increased as you review the products you receive in your Birchboxes throughout the year. What's not to love about saving over $30 and guaranteeing you have some awesome beauty treats in your mailbox each month?!?

Check out my Birchbox reviews to decide if a subscription's right for you. Enter "Birchbox review" in the search bar on the right.

To sign up or upgrade, go to and use the promo code "YEARLY99" at checkout.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Bergdorf Goodman for Glossybox May 2014 Review

So, you may have noticed it has been quite some time since I last reviewed a Glossybox (June 2013). There was a period in which I ordered several in a row. However, I paused my subscription when I felt like I had enough new products to try out at once.

I was really excited to pay a little extra to try out their limited edition "Best of Britain" themed box during that time period, but never received the email to purchase it because I was no longer officially a subscriber. So, I was a little miffed. However, I decided to give them a try again when I saw that they were doing a collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman. Their collaborative boxes are always the best ones and the box included a $25 gift certificate to BG - so what's there to lose?

My box contained: Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Skin Primer (Full Size 1.7 oz, $45), ReVive Intensite Volumizing Eye Serum (Full Size .5 oz, $350), Alterna Caviar CC Cream (Full Size 2.5 oz, $25), Lancer Lift Serum Intense (Full Size .85 oz, $275), Aerin Beauty Rose Hand & Body Cream (Full Size 4.2 oz, $40), and Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Cream (Full Size 2 oz, $400).

Overall I am really pleased with this box. It is absolutely amazing value! I would have never been able to try most of these extremely pricey products if it weren't for Glossybox. The sample sizes are very  generous. The only thing that annoyed me a bit was how long the box took to arrive. I ordered it as soon as I heard about it on May 2nd. It ended up arriving on May 31st, just barely coming in before June. I kept watching my account to see the progress and it seemed stuck on "Packed" for several weeks without being shipped. In fact, it didn't say it was "Shipped" until it had already arrived.

I was most excited about the Aerin hand & body cream. It was the only brand I'd heard of before and I was hoping it would be one of the 6 items in my box. I've wanted to test out the Aerin perfumes for a while, so this is the next best thing! The sample is .5 fluid ounces which makes it one of the smallest samples in the box. However, it's a great size to stash in your purse and will certainly last me a few weeks at least. The texture is surprisingly thick, which I really like. It feels like it deeply moisturizes. The scent is absolutely superb. I love all things Rose. This has a nice light botanical scent rather than some more overpowering rose scents.

Weighing in at .85 fl oz, the Alterna Caviar CC Cream is one of the largest samples in the box. It's also the only sample in the box that has a full size version with a price tag low enough to completely cover with your $25 gift card. At first glance, I thought it was a CC face cream, but I did wonder when Alterna started making skincare since they're really known for hair. Then, I saw the tagline "Leave-in Hair Protector". How cool! It certainly makes sense that the same features you look for in a CC cream for your face could apply to your hair. The bottle says it perfects hair in the following 10 ways: moisture, shine, smoothness, softness, UV protection, manageability, strength, anti-breakage, heat protection, and light hold. What more could a girl want? I haven't tried it yet but I look forward to it!

I'm really intrigued by the exotic nature of the Sulwhasoo cream. It's formulate with Red Pine and Korean Herbs. I don't use a lot of anti-aging skincare products yet, but it's never too early to start. I've also heard that Korean skincare products are some of the best out there. The smell is a little unusual - strong hints of pine - but not unpleasant. The full size version of this product has the highest retail value of everything in this box at $400. So, I will definitely use the .16 fluid ounces sparingly and will take my time to enjoy it.

The Lancer Lift Serum is another anti-aging product with a high price tag. I think it's particularly interesting that it uses  plant stem-cell compounds to firm and lift the skin. I like the hand pump style bottle, but it feels like there's a lot of air in it. So, I also plan on using this one sparingly.

I know that I've seen the Napoleon Perdis name around before but I really don't know anything about the brand. Lately I've become a big fan of primers. I think that they enhance your foundation and make-up and make it go the extra mile. I'm excited to try this one. At .5 fluid ounces, it's nearly 1/3 of the full size. Despite it being one of the less expensive items in the box, that makes this sample worth almost $15 and the box was only $21. That gives you just a tiny idea of the extraordinary value of the box this month.

Finally, I received the ReVive Eye Serum. This is again a heavy-hitter, coming in at $350 for a full size bottle! Now, this is something I can really use. It diminishes the look of dark circles and under-eye bags. I like how the bottle says "Targeted Skin Filler" - it sounds so dramatic. I'm excited to see if the effect lives up to the tagline. Again, it's a hand pump bottle so I worry I might use it too quickly. I'll save this one for weeks when I'm really stressed / lacking in sleep.

Of course, as promised, there was a $25 Bergdorf Goodman promotional gift card enclosed. Each card has its own gift and CIN number. As if all these ultra-luxurious samples weren't enough, the $25 card definitely sells the box.

There are so many great ways to spend the gift voucher at Bergdorf Goodman. Since the expiration date's coming up (June 15th), I felt like it would be a bit of a trek to make it to the store. So, I was excited to see that they offer free shipping and free returns for most items on their website. Here are a few I've been contemplating:

Which items did YOU receive in your BG Glossybox?
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