Friday, April 27, 2012

Favorite Music Friday: Greg Laswell

One of my favorite singer's new CD was released this week!! Oh Greg Laswell, I have missed you!

My ears first heard the sweet bliss that is Greg Laswell when I was watching an overly emotional episode of Grey's Anatomy. I watched the first two seasons of Grey's Anatomy within a 48-hour marathon during my freshmen year of college. By the season finale, which was emotional on its own, I was crying as if a family member had died. Grey's Anatomy still gets me. It tugs at me in all the right ways. I can't watch it with anybody or I feel foolish that I'm in the corner sniffling. 

I don't remember what episode the first Greg Laswell song was on, but I can imagine hearing that voice made the episode even more of a sob fest. Greg Laswell is a singer song-writer from San Diego who released his first solo work after he parted ways with his band. The CD Good Movie received many local awards and landed him a record deal. His sophomore album Through Toledo was written after his divorce from his first wife (as of 2011 he is married to Ingrid Michaelson). All the songs came from the sudden pain and heartbreak that he felt when he was hit with the news. It features one of my favorite songs 'Sing, Theresa Says.' Although I have to say my FAVORITE album is Three Flights from Alto Nido, there isn't a song I could not listen to for hours on repeat. He says that all of his songs are pretty much autobiographical, and sometimes he shoots himself in the foot for a song. 

Greg Laswell has a very laid-back and subdued voice. Think scruffy, soft harmonies muddled with his deep, sweet voice. He has songs that will make you want to drown yourself in your own sorrows, others that make you want to move forward and up, and some that make you want to bask in the sunlight. 

Landline is 5th album released this week. It does not disappoint. What is great is that so many amazing artsits are featured. Sia, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, Redux, and Elizabeth Ziman. I haven't heard of the last two, but the songs are great. You can definitely tell that his music is happier, but what I love is that he hasn't lost his sound. Some musicians whose music is defined by their emotions completely change styles in a heartbeat (cough Sia cough) and they lose me. I guess I don't like such drastic change with my music and Landline does not disappoint.

The first single is 'Come Back Down' featuring Sara Bareilles and it is already one of my all-time favorites. Sara and Greg really compliment each other so well. The lyrics are humbling. We all need to come back down to earth and stop dragging and wallowing. We are alive! Such an amazing song. I hope you love it as much as I do! Plus a mega bonus, if you like the song it is currently iTunes' free single of the week! Download it for free here.

He is going to be on tour all summer. I've yet to see him live, but I'm hoping to get some of my friends together to see him when he comes to DC.

Enjoy the music and your friday! I know I will! I'll either be passed out or having a few too many drinks. By 6pm Friday I will have submitted and presented my graduate thesis!!! JOY!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Conscious Box: April 2012

The nice folks over at Conscious Box offered to send me the April box for free! How awesome is that? There was a few problems with shipping, apparently this month Conscious Box tried out Fedex Smartpost for the first time and boy was it awful! All was going well until it got to a city an hour away from house. From the time it left that city it took 6 more days to get to me! Conscious Box has officially decided that they will not be working with Fedex again and will switch back to their old shipping method.

Dont know what Conscious Box is? Conscious Box is a monthly lifestyle subscription service that delivers a box filled with pure and sustainable products from eco-friendly, ethical companies. Each month you receive a large assortment of samples from companies that are working to make a happier, healthier planet. Each business is chosen because of their commitment to bettering the world through sustainability and ethical practices. Expect some yummy edibles (not always vegan), cleaning supplies, household items (candles, seeds, etc), beauty, skincare, and much much more. Conscous box costs $19 a month and your box will always be valued above!
Click here to join Conscious Box.

April 2012 Earth Day

This month's box was all about Earth Day! I mix of products that Mother Earth would be proud of. A great theme, but I'm assuming every month is full of eco products. I loved that there was so much variety. A little beauty, a little cleaning, some edibles, and others. I couldn't believe that they were able to fit all of this in the box! It was like Christmas taking out each and every product. I do think that they could improve the product info card. The bold product name sometimes would be the brand name and the product, sometimes just the product and sometimes just the brand. Also the description sometimes wouldnt say anything about the actual product we received, just a general advertisement for the brand.

I think it was insane how much paper was in the box. It may have been printed on eco-friendly paper but it was completely unnecessary. A lot of the papers seen in the photo below were advertisements for products I didn't even receive... Plus, from Conscious Box alone I received a Welcome card, a card letting me know my Gift subscription ended, the earth photo that was the cover of my box, the info card, and a card letting me know how to celebrate Earth Day. Way too much. I think the info card and the one theme card is all that is necessary.

Information Cards:

Bare Body Soaps: Organic Soap in Oatmeal
Vegan, certified organic, and only made with the purest, most natural ingredients, Bare Body Soaps promises only the highest quality cleansing for your skin. As they  say "We care for what's bare."
Full Size: 4 oz ($5.00)
Size Received: 0.4 oz ($0.50)
Soaps have never been my thing. I hate bar soap and couldn't believe my eyes when I learned about body wash. I hate that soap grime feeling after you wash with soap. I want to feel smooth and soft, thank you very much. Either way, this company is certified vegan, cruelty-free, and only uses organic oils. They have a ton of lovely flavors; I received plain ol oatmeal which is a nice neutral scent. I already put it into use in my bathroom and will use it until its gone. It left my hands smelling nice. I did still feel that soapy feeling afterwards, but not terrible, I think Im not crazy hyper-sensitive to it.

Climb On!Intensive Skin Repair Bar
Summer sports can take a toll on your skin; drying it out, shredding it, and leaving you feeling rough and scaly. Here's the cure you need - non-toxic, biodegradable, and made with organic Shea butter, unrefined beeswax, and pure essential oils.
Full Size: 1 oz ($10.25)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($1.03)
This product is used to moisturize and repair damage skin. Think cuts, scrapes, blisters, sunburn, chaffing, cracked cuticles, etc. It is formulated with essential oils (and beeswax, for  those who care) and has antibacterial, antiseptic, analgesic, and antiviral properties. I received a bar sample, but it seems almost unusable. I can't rub it to get any product on my hand. I tried taking the bar out and rubbing it directly on my skin, but that didnt work well. I asked a few people what the consistency of their bar and they said soft butter. But I think they may have received the creme. Apparently you need to rub the bar directly onto your skin. Oops. I feel bad since I contacted Conscious Box and asked about the consistency, and they said they'd send me a replacement. My cuticles are a mess right now and I did notice that my torn skin healed quickly over night, but my hands get covered in the stuff whenever I use it. I like my Rosebud Salve better. At least when I get it on my hands I can wipe the leftover on my lips. And if there is a product that doesn't use beeswax that works just as well I'll be more likely to buy it.

Sparklehearts: Rainbow Soft ConditionerLove your body just as much as you love the Earth! Environmentally friendly, never tested on animals, and packaged in 100% recycled material, Sparklehearts' natural beauty products are the perfect addition to any bathroom!
Full Size: 10 oz ($9.99)
Size Received: 0.2 oz ($0.20)
The packaging is adorable and helped me realize that this company is geared toward girls. But what is great is that they only uses natural ingredients, never tests on animals, certified vegan, and is eco friendly. They have body lotions, body wash, deoderant, shampoo, conditioner, and hair detangler. I use only a pea-sized amount of conditioner in the shower so this sample will actually last me a week, hah. The conditioner is formulated with shea butter jojoba, and wheat proteins for healthy, shiny hair. I'm excited to try this out. Although Im not sure I'd buy it on my own. Maybe if I was buying a gift for a little girl, this would be a cute gift.

Juice BeautyGreen Apple Peel Sensitive
When it comes to day-to-day skin care, Juice Beauty is the organic solution you need. Made with the purest ingredients, Juice Beauty is your source for complete personal care - from cleansers and toners to moisturizers and make ups!
Full Size: 2 oz ($39.00)
Size Received: 0.25 oz ($4.89)
I first have to comment on 'make ups,' lol! A guy must hace written the description sheet. This is probably the product that I'm most excited about. Birchbox loves Juice Beauty. I've only tried their Blemish Clearing Serum, although it didn't work well for me, I love that this company uses organic, natural ingredients. The company is obviously committed to sustainability and providing clean, safe products. Plus, they are cruelty-free and all products will be vegan by mid-2012 (they do use sustainably sourced honey and beeswax in the lip products). This peel helps to exfoliate the skin, reducing breakouts, discolorations, and fine lines. It is packed with vitamins and antioxidants from algae, green apple, white grape, and lemon to make your skin smooth and glowing. Plus, I received the sensitive version which seems to have more aloe and does not contain lactic acid or willow bark. Glad I got the sensitive version since their lactic acid is still currently sourced from milk proteins. I'm excited to try this out and hopefully it'll help my stressed skin.

Lauren Brookes Cosmetics: ColourFusion Lip Glaze in Guava (Supplied by Natural Joy Beauty)Natural Joy Beauty is the perfect online store for the eco-aware lover of beauty. With their careful research into the ingredients of every product they sell, you're sure to feel good about what you're putting on your skin!
Full Size: .07 oz ($8.00)
Size Received: sample size ($0.99)
This lip glaze is a more pigmented version of the Lauren Brookes lip gloss. I personally think it is more of a lip cream. I received a very pretty color called guava. The site explains it as a very soft, neutral mauve. It definitely is darker in the pot than I normally ever have tried, but on it is a very nice neutral dark color that really looks nice. I generally don't wear fancy lip colors, but this has just enough color that I'd feel comfortable wearing every day. I absolutely adore the formula, it made my lips so smooth and soft. It glided on like butter. It also has a really nice lemon-y fragrance. This product does have beeswax for anyone who does not use beeswax. I may have to take a look at the Lauren Brookes website to see what other products she offers.

Oogie's Gourmet PopcornKettle Corn
As summer cruises around the corner, it's time to rediscover the season's favorite snacks. Oogie's offers a perfect match for a summer blockbuster or day in the sun - a health-inspired popcorn that's GMO-free.
Full Size: 3 oz ($1.49)
Size Received: Full-Size! 3 oz ($1.49)
Boo, these guys have a natural flavor that is made of milk. I gave them to my roommate, but she never let me know how they were. Someone said they taste just like Cracker Jack (which is vegan). I took a look at the website and they have one vegan offering, Spicy Chipotle and Lime, which isn't really a flavor I would look for in popcorn.

ClandestinoBanana Bar with Dark Chocolate
Whether you're catching waves or taking that morning jog, these chocolate covered banans will give you a boost of clean energy. These power-packed snacks have no additives, and are full of potassium to help muscle contraction and prevent cramping.
Full Size: 1 bar ($1.30)
Size Received: Full-Size! 1 bar ($1.30)
There was a bit of contrevesy with this product. Many people, including myself, received bars that had already passed their 'best by' date. Since my family works in food and I know that the best by date really is more for the retailer and not the consumer. It is still safe to eat food that is past its best by date. Either way Clandestino bars were formulated for surfers, to provide an extra boost of energy. I don't think the bars are too high in energy/vitamins though. This to me is a treat, not an energy boost. I chomped down on this bad boy and loved every bite. It almost had the consistency of a marshmellow Moon Pie, but bananas. It was sweet and chewy and chocolatey. And at 109 calories not a bad treat. I would buy these again to put in my lunches.

Cloud 9 Raw ChocolateRaw Chocolate in Original Flavor
Finding the best chocolate is tough, but for a mouth-watering option look no further! Made with 100% organic and vegan ingredients - from the bean to the coconut nectar - this tasty treat doubles as an organic superfood supplement.
Full Size: 25g ($5.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 25g ($5.00)
Cloud 9 Raw Chocolate's was created by Jennifer Popken, a nutritionist who was inspired by chocolatiers while living in Switzerland. She wanted a more natural, healthier option so she made it! Raw chocolate has high levels of antioxidants that help fight the signs of aging, increase heart health, and defend against free radicals. Cloud 9 chocolates are made from raw organic chocolate beans, organic dehydrates fruits, nuts, seeds, dates, among other organic ingredients. There are 4 different flavors, but I received the original, plain one. I generally don't have a taste for very natural chocolates, and this is no exception. It is a bit too raw for my taste. If you like cocoa nibs you'll like this. I do appreciate the dates that add a sweetness, but it still finishes out too strong. I could only eat a teensy bite at a time. 

Natural Health InternationalThe Original Himalayan Crystal Salt
Looking for a healthy alternative to table salt? With 84 trace minerals and a balanced ionic form for absorption, Himalayan Crystal Salt from Natural Health International is the perfect selection. Use it however you would use regular salt...but prepare to feel the difference!
Full Size: 2 lbs 2.35 oz ($29.50)
Size Received: 0.2 oz ($0.17)
I appreciate that Conscious Box has a complete pamphlet explaining what Himalayan Salt is. If they didn't, I'd just think it was pink, lush salt. But table salt is stripped of all natural elements during processing and it takes the body a ton of energy to break down the salt to get at any minerals. Meaning the body uses more resources than it gains. Sea Salt (which my family generally uses) contains more minerals, but the content varies from source to source. Plus, sea salts come from our oceans that are more and more polluted, meaning the sea salts may have oils, heavy metals, and other toxins hidden away. But Himalayan salt, which comes from a Salt Mine in Pakistan (near the Himalayas) contains 84 minerals in an almost exact ratio to what exists in our blood. The salt is in a form that is easily absorbed, meaning that the minerals can go straight into our cells. Uhh, after all that I sort of am unsure how I feel about this. Online I found a few sites saying that it has a very high fluoride count and that they could only detect 10 minerals. Probably not unsafe, but just gimmicky. Salt is salt and we need to use is sparingly. End of story. 

generationMeAll Natural Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
It's time to start living more sustainable, and generationMe has got the tools you need. Whether its truly eco-safe detergent or one-stop shopping for those reusable necessities, you'll find that simple concepts can lead to the most effective designs.
Full Size: 32 tbsp ($6.50)
Size Received: 2 tbsp ($0.41)
I just finished a graduate research thesis that involved determining which cleaning agent was the most invasive towards bloodstains. In other words, I have so much detergent, bleach, and OxiClean I don't know what to do with it. I really don't need anymore. But I'll always try out a product that is natural and earth friendly. The detergent is made of castile soap, oxidizing agent, baking soda, and citric acid. Very basic and very clean. It is gentle enough for a baby or someone with sensitive skin. This may be a great product to use to for hand washing my delicates.

Earth Friendly ProductsParsley Plus All Surface Cleaner
Cleaning your home should never mean dirtying the earth, but this is the sad reality for many cleaners that leave behind trails of toxic slew. Put an end to this with Earth Friendly Products, nixed of the ammonia, phosphates, and petrochemicals.
Full Size: 22 oz ($5.49)
Size Received: 4 oz ($1.00)
Im OCD about surfaces in the kitchen being clean. My room is a massive disaster, but I do not like the kitchen being dirty. It may be because as a vegan I always worry that someone dribbled bacon grease or mayonnaise all over the counter and didn't clean it up. Then if I put down a slice of toast I may end up getting sick because of the contamination, or at least severely grossed out. I used to use all natural all surface cleaners, but it is just easier to use Clorox Wipes. I'm on my last few wipes so instead of buying wasteful wipes I'll go ahead and use this. I absolutely love the Parsley smell, it so fresh and reminds me of my mom's herb garden. It did a darn good job cleaning up my dirty counter. I'm very happy and would definitely repurchase once this trial size runs out. I may even keep the trial sized container since I love that I can just keep it on my counter for quick access.

Planet IncDishwashing Soap
Celebrate the planet this month by cleaning smart! Planet's dish soap helps handwash those heavy loads of dishes without worry of the eco-impact of our dishwashing liquid. This is grease-cutting freshness you and Mother Earth can love!
Full Size: 25 oz ($4.69)
Size Received: 4 oz ($0.75)
This is a gentle and non-irritating formula that apparently does the job. It is certified biodegradable and is not tested on animals. What I do love is how short the ingredient list is. Just coconut oil based cleaner, salt, amine oxide, and baking soda. The formula is unscented and uncolored which will take some getting used to. I tend to smell my dishes to figure out if I cleaned well enough... Yeah I suck as dishwashing. But I mean it may look spick and span, but if I can still smell my garlic marinara I get grossed out. It has a lot of good reviews online so I'm excited, especially since it is so reasonable in price.

GlobNatural Paint in Berry Blue
The eco-friendly life doesn't have to be drab; especially when it comes to art supplies! Glob brings us botanically crafted paints made from plants - just add water! What imaginations will you paint into life?
Full Size: 6 packets ($12.00)
Size Received: 1 packet ($2.00)
This is a water-soluble paint mix that is made from natural fruit, vegetable, flower, or spice pigments. I don't really paint ever, but my sister does. Although, I'm pretty sure these paints are more meant for little kids.

Want a fun way to spread the joy of spring? Toss these seed-loaded clay balls around your neighborhood and watch flowers sprout! Made by people with developmental disabilities, Seedballz are great for both backyard gardners and urban eco-advocates.
Full Size: 16 balls ($6.00)
Size Received: 3 balls ($1.13)
These are actually super cute!! These are an all-natural mix of seeds, red clay, and soil humus. The clay protects the seeds from drying out or being taken by birds or insects. Watering them melts the clay, allowing the seeds to sprout with a little mini-environment of nutrients! I love that these are made by people with developmental disabilities and are used as a therapeutic and fun exercise. Made with love. They sent 3 random balls to try out so it will be fun trying to see what blooms! They sell flower mixes, herb mixes, basil, and mesclun. I'm going to buy a small pot and soil just so that I can plant these!

Team Green Nature Trading Cards
This non-profit's trading cards feature the beautiful photography of Carol Freeman, and are great way to discover the wonders of the world.
Eh. Maybe if you have a kid, but I don't get the point of this. My trading card was for the Common Buckeye Butterfly. It did teach me that the eyespots may be used to scare away predators and that it likes nectar from peppermint and other flowers. The underbelly of the butterfly is actually really pretty. So if trivia ever has a fact about the buckeye butterfly...

Groovy PlanetWorry Doll
Worried about the world? Whisper your concerns into this little worry doll to keep thoughts on brighter days! This is an example of how Groovy Planet takes your kids around the world with their monthly subscription packed full of fun and learning.
You may think I'm crazy since there is no worry doll, but it looks like mine didn't make it to the box! I used to get these dolls at craft fairs or at the New Orleans' French Market when I was younger. I have had high anxiety since a little girl and these guys always sparked my interest. Which is why like a dork I contacted Conscious Box and they are sending me a replacement...

Whew! And this is what I do instead of working on schoolwork. Blogging / Product Research is so calming for me!

Total Value of my April 2012 Conscious Box$20.86
I originally wasn't going to do the value of the box, but since I was thinking about the subscription I decided I better. I'm glad I took the time to figure it out because the boxes value is very low. You'd think the box would be at least $30-40 when you are paying $19. Have services like Birchbox spoiled me?
Either way I don't think it would have been worth $19 to find out about the awesome Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner, the yummy Clandestino Banana Bar, or SeedBallz (the three products I love). If Conscious Box cost $10-12 a month I'd be more likely to subscribe. But at $19 it is out of my budget and would leave me with too many products I would have no use for. 

I have to say their customer service is awesome. First offering me this box for free and second sending me replacement products. So if you have the extra money, this would be a great way to get a wide range of eco-friendly products. I may keep my eyes peeled for monthly reviews of Conscious Box and pick up a subscription if my budget widens. 

What did you think of my April Conscious Box? What was your favorite product? Do you subscribe to Conscious Box? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beauty Box 5: April 2012

After my buy one month get the second month free ended I decided to stick with BB5 to see if they kept moving forward and getting better....

Don't know what Beauty Box 5 is? 
Beauty Box 5 is a month beauty subscription service that delivers a cute Tiffany blue box of premium beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive  4-5 packet samples, deluxe samples, and a full-sized product. Brands are expected to vary from luxury high-end, department store brands, and anything in-between. The samples chosen are based off of a short profile, but it looks like the first few months all products will be the same. Beauty Box 5 costs $12 a month and your box will always be valued above!
Click here to join Beauty Box 5

April 2012
My box came super fast this time around. They finally got tracking numbers which I really appreciated. I just feel secure knowing where in the world my future belongings are. What I did notice is that before the boxes even shipped the Beauty Box 5 website had all the products that were going to be in the April boxes up. Some of them were even visibile in March. I guess it made it not very exciting when I was opening the box since I had a suspicion that these would be the brands I'd be seeing. Plus, when I realized that I was receiving mostly satchels and single use wipes I was really disappointed. Instead of moving forward, the company went backwards.

Information Card:

LA FreshWaterproof Makeup Remover
Say goodbye to the irritation of scrubbing off that waterproof mascara and those trendy lip stains.Full Size: 24 wipes ($9.99)
Size Received: 1 wipe ($0.42)
I received the full size wipes in my Sindulge box last month. Here I received a single, measly wipe? I actually have only use 2 wipes from that container because I found I feel the wipes are too greasy. My face has a slick oil feel after I wipe with these. They make work on getting make-up off, but I want to feel refreshed and completely clean when I use these wipes. I wouldn't use my eye makeup remover (which is greasy) on my skin too. What I do like about these wipes is that they are probably a third of the size of what most companies give. I think those giant wipes are so wasteful! How big is your face that you need that large a wipe? And like I said last month, the company uses only natural ingredients, is cruelty-free, and eco conscious.

SupergoopSunscreen Wipe SPF 30
For long-lasting, water-resistant SPF protection, gently wipe SPF 30+ Sunscreen Swipes evenly over your face and body before exposure to sun.Full Size: 10 wipes ($10.00)
Size Received: 1 wipe ($1.00)
Another singlet? I'm intrigued by the idea of a sunscreen wipe. I never remember to put on sunscreen, unless it is in my makeup (which I make sure it is). But there are many days that I don't realize that I'll be outside and exposed to all the harmful rays of the sun. Even a few days ago I had to do a project outside and ended up with red skin. I have to start protecting my skin if I don't want it to look 50 by the time I'm 30! The wipe is formulated with all natural ingredients, no parabens, and is fragrance free. I love when a company clearly states that their products are plant based! It makes my life easier. I'll be sticking this guy in my purse and using it on a sunny day! It just would have been nice to have gotten more than one wipe.

Makeup GeekEyeshadow Refill Pan in Shimma Shimma
All of the pigment for half of the price, Makeup Geek eye shadow pans will blow your makeup mind!Full Size: 1 refill pan ($5.99)
Size Received: Full-size! 1 refill pan ($5.99)
This is the only product in my box that Im excited for. They promised to always have a full-size product in the box and they did deliver on that. Although I see the website also sells compact versions of these for just $2 more. It would have been nice if they came in a compact since now I'll just have a random pan floating around. Makeup Geek is a cruelty-free, budget conscious company that knows that we want pigmented, long-lasting color for less. I received Shimma Shimma which is a metallic champagne color. I thought it was an exact dupe for my theBalm Mary Lou-Minzer, but when I put them next to each other the Shimma Shimma was much more taupe-y (included a photo since its hard to explain). Adding primer made all the difference with this shade. Using it without primer it is perfect as a brow highlighter and with primer it is a great light, blushing champagne.

What I did notice after I applied it to my eyelids is that it May contain carmine! Again! Another eyeshadow that may have crushed bugs. Why oh why do we still use this ingredient when there are so many alternatives? Especially companies that say they are cruelty-free. I contacted MUG and within minutes they replied back confirming that Shimma Shimma is vegan! They let me know that Razzleberry, Duchesss, Unexpected, Unicorn, Cupcake, Mango Tango, Country Girl, and Manderine contain carmine and therefore unsafe for vegans. I did ask if there was any thought of using a different red dye and the girl forwarded my suggesting to the owner, Marlena. Seems like an awesome company! And I may need to try out some other colors!

Pur-lissePur-Protect SPF 30 Essential Daily Moisturizer
Powerful protection from the entire spectrum is yours, all in a lightweight, nourishing moisturizer.Full Size: 1.7oz ($55.00)
Size Received: 0.14oz ($4.53)
Yup, another little satchel. I received this same exact sample last month from MyGlam. The company may be great and all products are vegan and cruelty-free, but I really didn't like this moisturizer. As I stated last month, the moisturizer has lupine peptides that nourish the skin, blue lotus flower that detoxify, white tea to help destress and repair damage, soy protein to help skin retain moisture, and sea silk that reduce firm lines and firm. Plus, SPF 30. It felt so greasy and had a sunscreen like feeling on my skin. It did not absorb well at all for me. But I do have a very oily skin complex, so maybe this just isn't right for my skin type. I'll be passing this along hoping someone else will like this.

FreemanFacial Exfolating Scrub in Pink Grapefruit
This scrub gently resurfaces your skin, removing dead cells so your skin experiences healthy cell renewal.
Full Size: 5oz ($3.99)
Size Received: 0.5oz ($0.40)
I can't stay away from this brand. This is the second month in a row that BB5 has had Freeman travel-size masks. The masks just dont seem to do what they say or if they do poorly. But I always fall for pink grapefruit face products. I love how they smell and feel on my skin, so Im excited to try this one. The scrub is made from natural fruit extracts and natural oils which I like, plus it has aloe to help soothe my sensitive skin. The scrub will hopefully make my skin feel smoother and more radiant. This satchel is enough for 2-3 uses. 

Total Value of my April 2012 Beauty Box 5 Box$12.53
Really? I could have bought two Makeup Geek Eyeshadows on my own for the same price and been happier than this box. Instead of moving forward and continuing with the nice sized samples that were in last month's box, they moved backwards. I don't mind a few satchels, but every single sample was a satchel! At least they pulled through and still gave me my promised full-size item. I love the MUG eyeshadow and am excited to have learned about the company, but was it worth $12 to get the rest of the items that Im just meh about. No. I decided to cancel. I was so hesitant for some reason, but I was only half excited about any of the boxes that I received. I may sign up in the future if things change, but for now it isn't worth my money.

What did you think of my April Beauty Box 5? What did you get? Are you happy with the boxes? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Schick Hydro Silk Razor!

Yup. Free is always better!

Become a Schick Influencer and they will send you a free Hydro Silk Razor within 3-4 weeks! Just in time for smooth, summer legs!

Click here for your free razor!

(I think I only get to share this promo with 6 friends, so hurry!)

Favorite Music Friday: Baz Luhrmann

With only two weeks remaining in my academic career, I am feeling a roller coaster of emotions. I go from stressed to scared to happy to nervous all within a span of an hour. I don't think I'll be able to truly realize my accomplishment until I turn in my last final. I'm getting closer and closer, but I've still got a TON of work to do. Therefore, this week's post will be sweet and short...

This speech was originally written by Mary Schmich as a newspaper column in the Chicago Tribune in 1997. She described the essay as the commencement speech she would give if she was asked to give one. Baz Luhrmann, the director of Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and the upcoming The Great Gatsby, used the essay in its entirety for his album Something for Everybody. The spoken word essay, narrated by Lee Perry, is remixed with a song sang by Quindon Tarver from the movie Romeo + Juliet (it's the song during the amazing wedding scene!).

I can't even explain how inspirational this speech is to me. It reminds me of what is important in life, to stop stressing over the silly things, and to take a step back and realize my life is my own. Listen to the entire thing. You will feel your spirit pick up and feel an inner calmness and level headedness come upon you. Trust me.

Take care and happy friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you know that I've joined Bloglovin'.
One more way that you can stay up-to-date with the petites joies that are finding their way to me.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birchbox: April 2012

This month my box came an entire week and half later than it had been since Birchbox switched to UPS-MI! Even my tracking code would not work until a few days ago. I was getting a little impatient since I vowed not to peak at the website before my box came. I loved having my box be a complete surprise (okay, okay, I sort of half peaked, but I only saw two products before I closed the window). From now on I'm going to promise to myself to not peak. It makes it so much more fun and rewarding.

Don't know what Birchbox is?
Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers a little, heavenly box of premium beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive 4-5 samples (sometimes even full-sized products) and generally a goodie (energy booster, granola bar, etc). The samples range from make-up, polishes, skincare, body, hair, and fragrances. All from luxury, quality brands. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked for you are based on a survey you fill out letting the gals know your style and skin-type. Birchbox costs just $10 a month, and your box will always be valued way above!
Click here to join Birchbox.

April 2012, Box #20
Birchbox was inspired by the upcoming Earth Day (4/22) for April's box. The box is filled with fresh products that take inspiration from the world around. They state in the card that the products will get us excited to take on everything from garden parties to spring cleaning. I'm not entirely impressed with their interpretation of the theme. I wouldn't consider an alcohol based fragrance anywhere near being wholesome or environmentally friendly. But the other brands I received are committed to using natural products, environmentally friendly practices, and are cruelty-free. So they got it mostly right.

Information Cards:

WillaClear Face Moisturizer
This healing cream is made with aloe, mango extract, and eucalyptus to balance moisture levels without clogging your pores.
Full Size: 1.0oz ($11.50)
Size Received: 0.5oz ($5.75)
It was interesting to read that this small startup company had to deal with big bully, Procter & Gamble, suing them. PG sued Willa because their name is too similar to PG's own Wella line. Willa skincare was started by Christy Prunier when she and her daughter (Willa) realized there wasn't any natural skincare options for preteen girls. It seems only natural to call the skincare line Willa, luckily in October the two companies settled and they won the rights to keep the name! Apparently it cost Willa almost a million dollars in legal fees to keep the name. I applaud them for taking on the powerhouse and beating them at their own game!
Now to the sample!  All Willa products are free of all nasty chemicals and are cruelty-free. As already mentioned, the line was developed by girls for girls. But moms keep stealing the products for themselves, which is why Birchbox picked these products up! The first thing that I noticed about this moisturizer is that it has a serum-like, runny consistency. It truly does absorb on contact and doesn't make my face feel greasy at all. Aloe soothes irritated skin and reduces redness, eucalyptus balances out skin tone, and mango gives skin a shot of Vitamin C to help brighten and reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes. I absolutely loved this moisturizer. I used 3 pumps of it for my entire face and it really did dry in seconds. After a long day my skin is still hydrated and I noticed that my redness has stayed away all day. The fact that this moisturizer is only $11.50 makes it an amazing contender for a summer moisturizer. Adore!

Benta Berry: G-1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser
Overhaul your skin with this Parisian brand's creamy exfoliator, which has finely ground apricot seeds to sweep away dead cells.
Full Size: 1.0oz ($16.00)
Size Received: 0.1oz ($1.60)
Benta Berry is a French natural and cruelty-free skincare company that also focuses on young skin (12-24 years). When I saw apricots in the description I was expecting St Ive's thick, heavy formula with giant amounts of ground up apricot. But as advertised the apricot seeds are VERY finely ground. You can still feel and see them, but just barely. The liquid is nice and liquidy rather than thick which I like in a cleanser. It has burdock, jasmine, and mandarine to help control oil and purify skin. The exfoliant supposedly has a mattifying effect which is awesome. During the humid, summers, I can't have enough products that help keep my face shine-free! I absolutely adore the fragrance too, it smells like blueberries and clean flowers. I wish I had a lotion in this scent! I'll use this tomorrow and see how it works. The sample is probably enough for just two uses.

Taylor Swift: Wonderstruck
The pop-country songstress' scent is as catchy as her lyrics. We think it's worthy of a standing gig in our vanity.
Full Size: 3.4oz ($59.50)
Size Received: 0.04oz ($0.70)
This perfume reminds me a lot of Viva la Juicy. It may be because they are both sparkling fruity-florals with base notes of amber and musk. Wonderstruck's top notes are raspberry, dewberry, green tea, freesia, and apple blossom. The raspberry makes this note special and the others make it sparking and fresh. It mellows out pretty quickly to the middle notes of vanilla, white hibiscus, and honeysuckle. And at the base is amber, musk, peach, and sandalwood. The peach is actually a really nice addition, it calms the musk and amber down a notch. It is a nice fragrance.  But I don't think it is anything special. I can see a younger girl loving this perfume. It is very youthful. But I don't see myself ever buying this for myself especially since the parent company (Elizabeth Arden) still tests on animals.

Alima Pure: Organic Nourishing Lipbalm in Rhubarb
Both wholesome and chic, this tinted balm is made with plant butters and delivers a natural flush of color. 
Full Size: 0.07oz ($7.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.07oz ($7.00)
My March Goodebox introduced me to this company and I've already purchased a full-size of their mineral bronzer. I love the philosophy of the company: they are certified safe and natural, are cruelty-free, and have many programs set up to help the environment. All of their products are vegan, except the lipbalms do have beeswax. We all know that I do use bee products when they are from companies like Alima that ensure the safety of the colonies. The size of the lipbalm head is similar to Softlips, very teeny. I need to apply it a few times over my lips to get full coverage. But the lipbalm itself is amazing. Rhubarb is a sweet, pink blush color that just adds a pop of color to my lips with a gorgeous sheen. Plus it has sweet almond oil to reduce fine lines and peppermint oil that leaves a refreshing tingle. The product reminds me of my beloved Alba's TerraTint Lipbalm in Bloom which also has SPF 8. TerraTints has better pigmentation and is cheaper, but Alima's formula has a more even application. Either way a great addition to my box!

Le Palais des Thés: Tea Bags in Thé des Alizés and Thé du Hammam
Little known fact: the French take teatime just as seriously as their coffee breaks - as evidenced by these sophisticated Parisian green tea blends.
Full Size: 20 bags ($12.50)
Size Received: 2 bags($1.25)
I love tea and currently have a sore throat, so this is the best lifestyle extra for me! The Thé des Alizés makes me want to drool. It is a green tea blend laced with white peach, watermelon, and kiwi. Does that not sound divine!? The Thé du Hammam is a Chinese green tea with rose petals, green dates, and orange flower water. I'm not sure I'll like this one as much, but it may still be delicious. The teas can be served hot or cold and have a small amount of caffeine. I've now tried both of them and let me tell you they are delicious. Although I would recommend using smaller coffee cups. I used them with my giant Amy's and they were very diluted, no matter how long I steeped. But I can imagine they would be packed full of the flavors if only an 8oz serving. The price is a bit steep for 20 bags but they may be nice to have as a luxurious treat.

Total value of my April 2012 box:$16.30
Not the best valued box I've received from Birchbox, but not terrible. As long as I like the products I received I'm okay with a lower value. And I have to say I am satisfied, there are a ton of great products that are AFFORDABLE! To me that beats out having a box worth a ton of money. I love that two of my products are geared toward younger skin and our troubles. Plus all of the beauty brands (aside from the fragrance) are from natural, cruelty-free brands. I don't get why the fragrance is considered earthy/natural when it comes from a company whose parent tests on animals and uses so many chemicals. It would have been nice to see a fragrance from say Pacifica or Lavanila. 

What do you think of my April Birchbox? How does my box compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join

Monday, April 16, 2012


Friends. Im sorry to say that the next three weeks I will be posting very sparsely. I'm finishing up the last few weeks of my graduate school career. My last weeks of school...ever! They will be quite trying though. Over 66% of ALL of my assignments this semester have not been turned in. I have 10 massive assignments/papers/projects/labs to complete. Im living and breathing science!

I swear once I take my last final on May 9th I will return here with full force. I have so many new products and reviews to share with you!

Until then I'll just be posting my subscription boxes as they come and Favorite Music Friday picks.

Like my facebook page or follow me on Google Friends so that you will be the first to know when new posts are up!

Good luck to all the other students out there! We will make it through! And don't forget to breathe and enjoy the spring weather!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

MyGlam: April 2012

Before I received my April bag I decided to cancel MyGlam. I found out that the MyGlam representative that assured me that the crease brush from the MyGlam March bag was synthetic. After someone mentioned I should do a flame test (burning animal hair has a distinct smell and will singe, whereas synthetic will smell like plastic and ball up), and it has the exact characteristics as animal hair. Im quite horrified as I not only used the brush, but I told everyone here that the brush was synthetic. I update the older post to reflect correctly. This month MyGlam has clearly labeled their brushes as one being synthetic and the other being from pony hair. But I am not spending my hard earned money on a company that does not value me and my concerns. Goodbye MyGlam...

Don't know what MyGlam is? MyGlam is a once a month beauty subscription service that delivers premium beauty samples to your door. The creator of MyGlam, Michelle Phan, is a YouTube beauty expert that wants to share her favorite items with the world. The bags are delivered in the cutest reusable beauty bags. Once you join you will take a beauty/preference quiz that will help the girls choose the best products for you. The products range from beauty, skincare, hair, body, nails, and more. Every month you should also expect to receive full-sized products. MyGlam costs $10 a month, and your bag will always be valued above!
Click here to join MyGlam.

April 2012, Girls Night Out
This month MyGlam revealed EVERY single product in the bag the week before they shipped. Most of the previews were so obvious that even if you wanted to avoid them, you couldnt. We all sort of hoped that there would be more products in the bag than they showed but no such luck.

This month the theme was Girl's Night Out. On facebook they had said the month would be filled with glamorous products. I'm not sure if they delivered. Honestly it is one of their better bags, but they have yet to wow me like Beauty Army or Birchbox has.

Information Card:

DermStoreLip Quench
Using a blend of nourishing oils, this treatment softens and smooths lips. 
Full Size: 0.21oz ($12.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.21oz ($12.00)
This lip gloss is formulated with Maxi-Lip to give thin, dry lips a fuller, smoother hydrated appearance. Looking at the ingredients I was a bit worried since there are so many ingredients that look iffy. But most of these ingredients are always synthetic or plant based. The ones that may possibly be an animal source are: Ceramide-3, Tribehenin, and Propylparaben. It does have beeswax if that concerns you. I will contact DermStore to ensure that they are plant-based. Most companies seem to use synthetic versions of these ingredients, but it is better to be safe and sound. Although in the mean time I did try this out (Im not perfect!). It really is thick but that means you only need a little. It's pink in color, but sheer on your lips. I found that it lasted for hours and hours. It wasn't overly sticky and added just a slight sheen. I have to say Im not the biggest fan of the fragrance, it smells chemically and the taste gets stuck in my mouth. I wasn't too excited about this product since Im receiving it as a free gift for my purchase on the DermStore website (used my $25 off coupon from MyGlam). Seems fishy that we got it the same month that it is a gift with purchase.
What I did just notice is that MyGlam is offering $15 off your purchase of $30 or more on using the promo code: April15. I've purchased now twice from them and have not been happier. On top of free products: speedy, free shipping; a wide range of products; free samples in the box; and I got a free magazine subscription both times I purchased (Health for me and Better Homes and Garden for my aunt).

All-Belle: False Lashes in Red Wedding A2822
Accentuate your eyes for any occassion with these gorgeous faux lashes.
Full Size: 1 pair of lashes ($8.50)
Size Received: Full-size! 1 pair of lashes ($8.50)
Having never, ever worn false lashes Im curious about these. The pair that I received are the most natural looking of the pairs that MyGlam has posted on their website. I'm happy about that. I already have pretty full lashes, but who knows maybe these will make me look extra special. I plan on trying these out a few days before graduation and if I like how they look I'll wear them to my ceremony. It is odd to me that the lashes vary in length, but I won't know what that looks like until I try them on. These did come with a bottle of lash glue, which is great since Id be less inclined to try them if I had to buy glue. My only issue is that the entire box is written in what I think is Chinese! That is real helpful... MyGlam should have included a translation card. What if the box tells me important allergen information!? I'd have no idea. I'll have to look up a tutorial to help me apply these. 

Urban Decay24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Junkie
Create your unique eye look with these creamy glide on pencils in the latest colors. Built to last 24/7.
Full Size: 0.04oz ($19.00)
Size Received:0.03oz ($14.25)
We all know I love me some Urban Decay!! I haven't tried their eye pencils yet, but based on how much I love the shadow pencil I knew this was going to be love at first sight. I was pleasantly surprised that I received Junkie. Actually, beyond ecstatic, it was the color I wanted to receive! Junkie is not available for full-size purchase, but is available in a trave-size set of 5 colors (Electric). Junkie is a blue/green with tons of sparkle. The sparkles are pinkish and silver. The color is perfect for my eyes that range from blue to grey to green depending on what I am wearing. It definitely brings out the green in my eyes. Plus, just like the shadow pencil this glides on so easily and lasts all day long without a smudge! I adore this pencil already! I like that I can wear it any old day and with any shadow color. Definitely the best product I've received ever from MyGlam.

MyGlam: All-Over Eyeshadow Brush and Eyeliner Brush
Handpicked by Michelle, enjoy two additional signature pink brushes to ad to your exclusive myglam collection. 
The brushes that caused me to cancel. On the MyGlam website there is more information about the brushes and it clearly states that the all-over eyeshadow brush is made from pony hair. The angled eyeliner brush is synthetic and made from nylon. Someone had posted on makeuptalk that they thought the crease brush was made of animal hair as well and I informed them what the MyGlam rep told me. That's when someone mentioned to me about the flame test, which the crease brush failed. The crease brush is from an animal source. I was so upset that the representative misinformed me. I've been using it all month thinking it was cruelty-free. At this point I feel guilty throwing out a brush that an animal may have died for. So instead I hope one of my close friends will take both the crease and all-over eyeshadow brush off my hands. 

That being said before I use the nylon brush, Im going to take it to the lab to look at it under a microscope. The fibers are too well packed in to pluck one out for a flame test. I'll be at the lab all day tomorrow working on a ton of schoolwork, so this will be a fun break from looking at fibers. I'll report back with the results. And maybe Ill get a chance to take a photo of what I see :) The brush it self is nice and soft, it is sturdy, and seems like it will be a great brush. Let's just hope it doesn't have scales!

Total Value of my April MyGlam bag$34.75 + (brushes)
I'm fine with the value, but I think it is cheap of MyGlam to have 2 brushes in one bag. Whole-sale brushes are obviously easily to obtain than an actual brand name sample. It would have been nice to get at least one more sample. Although to be fair, the products we did get this month were good sized. MyGlam may have gotten better (this is my favorite bag), I don't think they deserve my money. I plan on writing to MyGlam to inform them of their mistake and hope that in the future they will properly educate their staff on the ingredients and source of their products. If MyGlam continues to move in a better direction I may decide to resubscribe, but for the time being I do not regret my decision at all.

What do you think of the April MyGlam? Have you canceled? Let me know in the comments below! If you dont get MyGlam and are interested, click here to join!
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