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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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sugar & Spice ~ The Valentines Day Edit

Girlfriends, you may want to share this post with your special someone! All my single ladies? Treat yo'self! These sassy and sophisticated finds will make you feel like the Queen of Hearts all year 'round.

Now, gimme some sugar!

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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.

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