Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Birchbox: November 2012

A little extra free-time on my hands this week means I've got time to play around with my beauty box samples and update my blog!

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.

November 2012, Box #20
November in America means Thanskgiving. Birchbox went along and made this month's box all about giving: giving thanks, giving back, and giving treats. Birchbox made a large donation to The Art of Elysium, a non-profit organization that allows actors/artists to dedicate time to children battling disease. This month we also received a handy gift guide, with all sorts of ideas for different people in our lives.

Information Cards:

ModelCoFibre Lashxtend Lengthening Mascara
Falsies without the fuss. This innovative mascara uses tiny lash-extending fibers to give you a lengthy fringe. Tip: Rotate the wand inside the bottle to pick up the fibers.
Full Size: unknown ($24.00)
Size Received: possibly full-size? ($24.00)
ModelCo is a company started by models and other individuals in the fashion industry that took it upon themselves to create products they felt weren't on the market. This mascara uses fibers to make your lashes longer and thicker. The ingredients have all kinds of polymers, waxes, and nylons. I'm sure it is similar to blinc, but the wax probably helps to produce even longer, thicker fibers. I did talk to a ModelCo rep who let me know that the product is not vegan, as it has lanolin wax (sheep wool wax), so I traded it for a tarte lipsurgence lip stain. I love my Blinc, so Im not too upset that I didn't get to try this out.
Cruelty-free! (product not vegan)

Lulu OrganicsLavender + Clay Sage Hair Powder
Revive second-day locks by working this organic dry shampoo into your roots. You'll get plenty of lift, but no residue.
Full Size: 4.0 oz ($30.00)
Size Received: 0.17 oz ($1.28)
For months, gals have been raving about Lulu Organics. They have a sample pack for sale on their website that I was always tempted to try out, luckily I got to try their lavender + clay sage hair powder. Ive been using baby powder and other dry shampoos for years and years. In college, there was no way I was going to waste 40 minutes of precious study time showering every minute my hair got a little funky. My biggest complaint with hair powders is that I always get residue on my clothes or my hair turns a big white. I found this stuff worked really nicely. Immediately I saw an improvement, it smelled great (and not like a baby's ass), and I was able to brush out the chalky-ness. A little goes a long way. I'd definitely be interested in buying the full-size. 4 oz would last years!

Miracle Skin TransformerVanish Instant Imperfection Corrector
Before applying makeup, prep skin with this serum-infused primer, which has optical diffusers that mask imperfections.
Full Size: 1 oz ($58.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($5.80)
This is a two-in-one product, half serum, half primer. It helps to improve skin tone, reduce dark spots, brightens skin, and smooths skin for a perfect makeup base. I haven't tried this out yet. Some people have been raving that this product has helped them with blemishes and large pores. I didn't like any of the Miracle Skin Transformer products Ive gotten in past Birchboxes, but you can't deny 150 positive reviews! It is a silica based primer, which are my favorite, because they make your skin silky smooth and even.

Atelier CologneRose Anonyme Petite Cologne Absolute
Thanks to spicy ginger and a touch of bergamot, this sexy new rose scent is more sophisticated than sweet.
Full Size: 1 oz ($75.00)
Size Received: 0.03 oz ? ($2.50)
I love getting perfumes in my Birchboxes, but I am so desperately happy that I got this. I've never had a stronger reaction to a perfume, ever. The included postcard's imagery paints a picture, plus the back states: "She turned the dial until the safe opened, revealing the diamond. She had stolen jewels before, but none compared with this one. She left a single rose and the scent of her perfume in its place for him to find. In a moment she’d be halfway around the world and he would be in pursuit. The chase began again…"
And then I opened up the vial and breathed the story in... Top notes of rich bergamot, ginger, and Turkish rose essence mark a very spicy, sultry true rose scent. As it melts into your skin more rose and incense from Somalia and velvet oud help to soften the spice and bring out more of that freshly cut rose. The base is of patchouli, papayrus, and benzoin. This mix of sweet, spicy, and mysterious makes me crazy. I desperately want the full-size. Desperately.

Chuao ChocolatierPotato Chip ChocoPod
These bite-sized artisanal treats are made with premium Venezuelan cacao and come in a range of unexpected flavors.
Full Size: 7 pods ($7.95)
Size Received: 1 pod ($1.14)
There has to be other Birchbox members that are allergic/don't eat milk! I gave this away, but thought it was a cute little product. I could see giving a pack of these as a little gift. The Chuao Chocolatier's make all sorts of quirky flavors. Like Maple Bacon, Spicy Maya, and Firecracker. It looks like some of the flavors may be vegan, but unfortunately the potato chip flavor is made with milk chocolate.
(Product not vegan)

CHROMATICgallerie: $15 off Coupon
I do love shoes and these are cute, but they are darn expensive shoes and all leather. The company has a great idea selling all different heel heights for each color they sell. You can really customize for the perfect shoe. 

Total value of my November 2012 Birchbox:$34.72 + coupon 
I enjoyed this box a lot. Even though the full-size, highest value product wasn't vegan I was able to trade it in for a lip stain that I really wanted, sounds like a good deal to me. Birchbox has it's ups and downs, but it is worth it when you find products you would never have sampled without it!

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Goodebox: October 2012

The new year brings resolutions, and one of mine is to be a better blogger. Here's to the road ahead!

What is Goodebox?
Goodebox is a monthly subscription service that delivers trial size healthy, eco-conscious, natural beauty and personal care products. Each month you will receive 6 or more products customized for you. The brands and products that Goodebox send out have been thoroughly evaluated upon the brand's use of non-toxic, natural ingredients that respect earth, animals, and humanity. The samples will range from make-up, skincare, body, fragrances, and some lifestyle and wellness products. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked are based on a very detailed, thorough survey that even lets you indicate color preferences, any allergies, vegan, sensitivities, etc. Goodebox costs $16 a month, but the value of your box will be way above!
Click here to join Goodebox.

October 2012, Curated by Todra Payne
The curator this month is Todra Payne, a celebrity makeup artist, that only uses green beauty. What's cool is she uses all the stellar non-toxic, natural products on celebrities and any project she is working on. She also manages, which is an educational website about natural and organic cosmetics. 

Information Cards:

Clairvoyant Beauty: Nourishing Meadowfoam Serum
An emergency serum for super stressed skin in need of an immediate detoxifying boost. Multiple fruit acids blend gently removes dead surface cells and goes deep to nourish developing cells for fast recovery and repair.
Full Size: 1 oz ($69.00)
Size Received: Full-size included! 1 oz ($69.00)
The first Goodebox featured Clairvoyant Beauty, which is where I fell in love with their products. I currently use their Depuffing Eye Gel and Cucumber Toner daily. This serum is made with meadowfoam oil, which is a floral plant oil that is rich in long chains of fatty acid, so it is great as a conditioning agent and emollient. It also is an anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants to bounce the skin back. It also has rose, aloe vera, and all sorts of fruits. I used it for the first time today and was pleasantly surprised. It seemed really thick, and foamed a bit when I spread it about my hands. But once I applied it (on cleansed/toned skin) it absorbed immediately and my skin felt great. It isnt too heavy, but it feels like it is working harder than my normal moisturizer. I can't believe we got a full-size and so excited that I love it!

Savvy Boheme: Summer in Spain Whipped Cocoa Butter
Exotic blend of organic cocoa and shea butters provide deep nourishment and ignites a sense of wanderlust. It'll take you away!
Full Size: 4 oz ($14.50)
Size Received: 1.0 oz ($3.63)
I wish you could all smell this stuff! Think of one of those chocolate oranges, packed into a cocoa butter. This whipped body butter uses cocoa butter, shea butter, and a mix of natural oils to moisturize your skin decadently. My skin has been so dry it is itching, so Ive been thankful to have this stuff. It almost feels like day old frosting when I first put it on my skin, but then it starts to melt and absorb. The minute I put it on my skin stops tingling and the moisture lasts all day. I actually thought about taking a lick of this stuff, it smells that good. Luckily the website has a warning... I'm glad Im not the only fool who thought about it. This would be a great gift!

Anatomy Naturals: Revitalizing Dead Sea Mud Mask
A refreshing, nutrient-dense, anti-aging treatment made with mineral rich Dead Sea Mud. Hydrates and purifies skin while healing acne, promoting circulation, rejuvenation skin & reducing wrinkles for smooth, youthful, radiant skin!
Full Size: 4 oz ($42.00)
Size Received: 0.5 oz?? ($5.25)
I have a terrible time making masks part of my weekly, even monthly ritual. I generally just throw on a mask once in a blue moon because Im bored and have no idea what to do.But unfortunately it will not be this product which contains yogurt powder. I thought I was supposed to only receive vegan products...
Cruelty-free! (not vegan!)

Sugared Beauty: Happy Face Foaming Scrub Cleanser
Happy Face is Sugared Beauty's best-selling all-in-one face cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer. The original formula is designed for sensitive skin!
Full Size: 2 oz ($10.00)
Size Received: 1 oz ($5.00)
I do not get how this is a best-seller! This cleanser almost looks like a body scrub, but even drier than a rock. I wish I had an ice pick in my shower, because I had to jab and jab to even get a quarter size. It did not foam for me, but instead made my face feel dirty and oily. It is a cleanser made from sugar and coconut and other oils. I like that it has such few ingredients but it just did not work for my skin type.

Eve Organics: Mineral Foundation in Light Neutral
Non-nanoparticle formulations are free of fillers, additives, irritants, dyes, talc & preservatives. Provides full coverage & full spectrum sun protection.
Full Size: 9 g ($26.95)
Size Received: .5 g ?? ($1.50)
I haven't yet get on the mineral foundation/concealer bandwagon. I've tried, but I just haven't mastered the application technique. I looked it up online and it is recommended to use a big kabuki brush and gently sweep from the outside in and then apply mineral concealer with a smaller brush. I may just try it because this foundation looks to be a good match for my skin.

Eve Organics: Mineral Blush in Bliss
A complimentary color for every complexion. Extremely concentrated pigments, so a little goes a long way.
Full Size: 3 g ($14.95)
Size Received: .5 g ?? ($2.49)
I do love myself some mineral blush! I think loose powder blushes apply nicer on my skin. More pigmented and a more even application. Bliss is a matte, warm pink. I love that it really seems like Goodebox listens to my survey, because Eve says that this blush is perfect for those with red undertones. It adds the perfect amount of flush for everyday wear. I really like the color!

Eve Organics: Mineral Setting Powder
A silky blend of the lightest minerals with a pinch of oil absorbing clay to provide a smooth, matte finished look.
Full Size: 5 g ($15.95)
Size Received: .5 g ?? ($1.60)
Living in such a humid city for two years made me fall in love with setting powders. This was the first product I tried from this month's box. The powder is considered to be an invisible setting powder, but I do believe it has some color. I'm not sure if it would look to light on someone with a really dark complexion. For me it did blend seamlessly with my makeup. It is perfect for setting my concealer so that it lasts all day. Im a bigger fan of mineral setting powders that add a little glow, but I still really like this.

Celtic Complexion: Calming Serum
A lightweight hydrating serum designed to reduce redness, inflammation, and congestion associated with acne, rosacea, sunburned, and stressed skin.
Full Size: 1 oz ($60.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ? ($6.00)
Celtic Complexion is a line of skincare products meant for those with very dry and sensitive skin. Jennifer Devlin created her products for her own personal use, but ended up marketing them to the public since they worked so well for her she didnt want to keep them a secret. I received a calming serum that contains essential oils and antioxidants that calm sensitive, fragile skin. Not only does it calm but it helps to repair the skin as well. I haven't tried it yet, but I do have very sensitive, red skin in the summer time. So this will be perfect for me before bedtime.

Total value of my October 2012 Goodebox:$94.47
The box itself was a great value! I felt like I got my moneys worth and I felt inclined to try out every product. Not all the products lived up to my hopes, but that is okay. The thing that really sucks is that somehow the Anatomy Naturals product slipped by as vegan. I contacted them and they apologized profusely and offered to mail me a vegan substitute. Let's just hope it doesn't happen again.

What do you think of my October Goodebox? What did you get in yours? Have you tried any of the products I received? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Music Friday: Meg Myers

Sometimes there is a song or artist that is just meant to hit your ears at that precise moment. Well that happened when I turned on Spotify Radio one night. One of the first songs that came on was Monster by Meg Myers.

Meg Myers, originally from Tennessee, moved to LA 5 years ago to pursue her music career. Her music is painfully raw and personal. Her newly released EP titled "Daughter In The Choir," features heartbreak that makes you feel the hatred and anger running in your own blood. I would explain her music style as a modern day angry Fiona Apple. Aka amazing!? Meg is still waiting tables in LA and feels a little overwhelmed by the attention her EP is getting. The attention is well deserved and I hope big things are in her future.

The lyrics for Monster, her first single, make you want to rip your own skin off. I hope you all enjoy and find a new favorite!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Birchbox: October 2012

Happy New Year! Catching up, slowly, but surely. 

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.

October 2012, Box #24
Fall is about transformation. From the trees to halloween costumes. So Birchbox put together a box that would help change up our beauty routines. It could be adding new products, trying new brands, or switching up your skincare regime.

Information Cards:

Harvey PrinceHello Eau de Parfum
Get a glass half full disposition with this optimistic blend of juicy Meyer lemon, white grapefruit, and pink plumeria. 
Full Size: 1.7 oz ($55.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($3.30)
Birchbox has a little love affair with Harvey Prince. This is the 3rd perfume Ive gotten to try. Hello is a light and fresh fruity (lemon, mandarin, and grapefruit), floral (forsythia and plumeria). Its nice, but not really my favorite. I wouldnt pay $55 for it, but its the kind of scent Id get from Bath and Body Works in a body spray. Once Hello settles on my skin, it just smells like I just showered.

Benta BerryG-1 Moisturizing Face Cream
Light but extremely nourishing, this all-natural French moisturizer regulates oil levels and keeps skin matte.
Full Size: 1.0 oz ($22.00)
Size Received: 0.2 oz ($4.40)
I received Benta Berry's cleanser back in my April Birchbox and loved it. A French, organic, cruelty-free company focused on young skin and simple skincare. I saw all the hype for this face cream on birchbox and makeuptalk and super excited. I tried it a few days ago and it applied thick as can be, did not absorb, and just sat on my skin. Once I started applying my makeup the cream rolled up into balls on my skin. Fail! One website said that your moisturizer balling up may mean you need to pat it on or applied too much. But I don't know. Maybe its not for me. Others love it and I already passed it along to someone who loves it.

Mox BotanicalsPomegranate & Fig Lip Butter
Made in Portland, this eco-chic balm revives lips with avocado oil and shea butter.
Full Size: 0.2 oz ($16.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz ($8.00)
I'm not much for lip balm pots. I hate getting my hands all greasy and much rather would use a stick. I mistakenly assumed that this product would be vegan. I mean Portland, Oregon is the mecca of vegans.  But alas, it is not. I got the reply back after I already tried and loved it. It applied silky smooth without being greasy, and the pomegranate smell is amazing. But it does contain lanolin (wool wax) and beeswax. I did ask if they planned on offering a vegan version and the rep said they will most likely offer vegan options in the future!
Cruelty-free! (product not vegan)

theBalmMary-Lou Manizer
Play up your best features with this three-in-one highlighter, shadow, and all-over shimmer.
Full Size: 8.4 g ($24.00)
Size Received: 1 g ($2.86)
Oh boy, oh boy. We all know that I love Mary-Lou Manizer! See my detailed review here. I think theBalm knocked it out of the park with this highlighter. It compliments multiple shades of skin, adds a natural glow, and is so pigmented that the product will last a lifetime. I have had this product almost a year and it looks like I've barely used it even though I use it every friggin day. I'll gladly take a mini version to travel with.

Luna ProteinChocolate Peanut Butter
We keep these yummy protein-packed bars on hand at all times.
Full Size: 15 bars ($14.95)
Size Received: 1 bar ($0.99)
I'm sort of tired of getting food products in my birchbox. Because almost every single one has dairy in it! So I've been having to give away all of my treats to friends. Not all Luna bars have dairy, so too bad that I just so happened to get one that isn't vegan.
Cruelty-free! (product not vegan)

Total value of my October 2012 Birchbox:$19.55
Some months you find new things you love, other times you get to sample things you already love. I can see why people are saying Birchbox is going downhill. But I'll still stick it out and see what the new year brings about.

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