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February and March Birchboxes

I’m a little late here… I got the February Birchbox just in time to pack it away and move, only now to re-discover. Whoops!

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February’s Birchbox was “Red Carpet Ready” themed in honor of film awards season. Mine included a mini Catwalk Your Highness Root Boost Spray, Dr. Jart BB cream, Couture La La fragrance, TheBalm Hot Mama!, and a Ghirardelli chocolate square with caramel filling.

First, the chocolate was a delicious and much needed snack while packing. Catwalk Your Highness did provide some root lift for me, but nothing more than light teasing would do. It might be better suited to very thin hair. The Dr. Jart BB cream was about 4 shades too dark but otherwise I thought the texture was nice. I love Hot Mama, which is a peachy coral blush with gold shimmer. It looks similar to NARS Orgasm in the pan but in reality is much less pink. I love these small blushes because they’re great for travel or a makeup bag in your purse.

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March’s box was “March Madness” themed in honor of the basketball series (I’m kind of sad with sports and honestly I wouldn’t have known that apart from all the guys at my office talking about their brackets non-stop). The box included Miss Jessie’s Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo and Creme de la Creme Conditioner, Sumita eyeliner in bright aqua, Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream, and a Madewell nail file.

Interestingly enough, the Madewell nail file was my favorite item in this box. I love the pattern and the quality of the file was great. We’ll see how it holds up after a few more uses. Otherwise I found the box pretty unremarkable. I’m apprehensive about applying anything “enzymatic” to my face from an unknown brand, I typically can’t use scented shaving creams, I see very little use for an aqua eyeliner in my life, and I’m pretty happy with my current haircare products. In other words, like the real March Madness, this Birchbox left me underwhelmed.

Hoping for a better surprise next month!

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January 2013 Birchbox

January 2013 Birchbox

This month’s Birchbox was themed around the new year and included a fold-out poster with self-improvement tips, which I mostly ignored (the other side of the poster was actually pretty cute! See below).

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Inside I had 5 samples, of which I have only actually tested 4, because I take forever to try new hair products.

  • Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo: see above shameful admission
  • Caudalie Vinexpert Radiance Day Cream SPF 15: this was nice but nothing stellar, I don’t normally wear day cream so this isn’t something I would purchase.
  • Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner: Eyeko used to have a similarly packaged eyeliner that I used and loved despite the dysfunctional packaging. Pleased to see that the packaging has been improved and the eyeliner is just as good, if not better. See original review here.
  • Aerie Shimmer Fragrance: I thought this was a tiny wrapped chocolate at first and was annoyed to see it was another fragrance sample. The most common complaint I hear about beauty sample boxes is that they contain too many fragrance samples and there’s basically no way to stop them. I wish someone would make this an option! Oh, and I wasn’t in love with the perfume, I thought it smelled mature in a bad way.
  • Deborah Lippmann the Stripper To Go: this single-serve packet contained a tiny finger mitt pre-soaked with polish remover. It did a great job of removing polish (as good or better than my beloved Zoya Remove+), but I was concerned about soaking my index finger with remover for several minutes while I worked on the other nails. Probably wouldn’t purchase, but it is a good product.

tips poster

front of poster

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Beauty Deals: January 21st, 2013

This Week's Sales & Deals

Monday

Laura Geller (H)

Tuesday

Freeze 24/7 (G)

Ballet Flats (G)

Christian
Louboutin (G)

Wednesday

Kate Spade Eyewear (R)

Thursday

Friday

Marc by
Marc Jacobs
Sunglasses (R)

G = Gilt   |   H = Hautelook   |   R = Ruelala   |   I = Ideeli   |   C = Coterie

Beauty.com

  • Coupon: $10 off $50 + free shipping through this link (expires 12/31)
  • GWP: Cynthia Rowley clutch filled with samples with $100 order through this link (while supplies last)
  • GWP: $100 Restaurant.com gift card with any $100 Clarisonic purchase through this link (expires 12/31)
  • New customers: $5 off $25 + free shipping through this link (expires 12/31)
  • Free shipping on $25+ orders, no code necessary

Bobbi Brown

  • Free shipping and 2 deluxe samples with any order and code PINKRED (expires 1/25)
  • Free gift wrap on all orders (select at checkout), no code necessary
  • Free shipping on $65+ orders, no code necessary

Clinique

  • Free shipping on all orders, no code necessary (expires 1/26)

DermStore

  • Coupon: 10% off with code REMINDER (expiration unknown)
  • Coupon: 20% off with code RFBOLK (expiration unknown)
  • Free shipping on all U.S. orders, no code necessary
  • Free 2nd day shipping with $100 purchase, no code necessary

Drugstore.com

  • 20% off everything in the green & natural department
  • Free shipping on $25 orders, no code necessary
  • Check out the instant coupons section for great deals

Molton Brown

  • Sale: up to 50% off in the year end sale
  • Free 1 oz mini with every order, no code necessary
  • Free US shipping with $75 order, no code necessary

NARS Cosmetics

  • Free shipping on all orders (expiration unknown)
  • Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary (expiration unknown)

Nordstrom

  • Free shipping and free returns on every order, no code necessary

Philosophy

  • Free shower gel trio with $40 purchase and code SHOWER3 (expires 1/25)
    • 6oz. Mimosa, Melon Daiquiri, and Margarita shower gels
  • Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary

Sephora

SkincareRx

  • Coupon: 20% off with code MUACOUPON20 (check for exclusions)
  • Free shipping on $49+ orders, no code necessary

Stila

  • Coupon: 20% off when you sign up for the newsletter
  • 3 free samples with every order
  • Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary

Ulta

  • Coupon: $3.50 off $10 purchase with code 75910 (usual exclusions; expires 1/26)
  • Free shipping on $25+ orders with code FREESHIP2013 (expires 1/19)
  • Free shipping on$50+ orders, no code necessary
  • Check out current special offers
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What’s in my December Birchbox?

December Birchbox

Despite several types of illness floating around (my poor baby nephew got the flu!), we managed to have Christmas as a family and I got some wonderful gifts. My sister got me a 6-month subscription to Birchbox! I’ve heard that this is the creme de la creme of sample subscription services so I’m very excited to see what comes along. Here’s what was in my first box:

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Amika Obliphica Nourishing Hair Mask

  • Haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, will report back when I do.

Color Club Put A Pin In It

  • This is gorgeous! It’s a slightly pinkish silver foil polish  that shines like a mirror. I haven’t tried this polish brand before so it was a great introduction – more pics tomorrow.

Harvey Prince Yogini

  • I’m pretty meh about fragrance in general so this didn’t really do anything for me.

theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer

  • This has been on my wishlist for a long time and I was so pleased to see it in my sample box! I’d never get through a full size, so this is perfect. It’s a beautiful metallic white gold highlighter that has plenty of sheen but no big glitter.

twistband hair tie

  • I’ve used this a few times and I like that it holds my hair without leaving a telltale bump. Downside is that it doesn’t grip as well as my regular hair ties and it tends to slip in my hair (which is very slippery on its own). Might work best on curly or coarse hair types.

tili bag (this was my ‘lifestyle extra’)

  • A plastic baggie with a very cute pattern… I’m sure I will find a use for it, but I would never purchase them on my own because they’re about $1 each. Target brand baggies work just fine for much less!

Birchbox lets you set preferences for which types of products you want to receive (I didn’t get to set mine this time because it was a surprise!) … I went and filled out my online profile with them so I think the next box will fit my preferences a little better. Still, there were at least 2 items I really loved in this box and that’s plenty to get excited about!

I’m all typed out so I’ll do a separate post about how Birchbox works later this week. Have a good one!

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For the pale ladies: BRTC Jasmine Water BB Cream

*taps mic* Hello? Anyone there?

Sorry for the lack of posts, life has dealt me a crazy hand of cards lately. I had a wonderful trip to Boston in October to meet my boyfriend’s extended family. Shortly after I returned my car was stolen from my apartment parking deck and I had a lovely adventure getting it recovered, repaired, and back on the road.

Full disclosure: I’ve also been playing a lot of WoW (share in the comments if you also play!) HOWEVER I have not forgotten about the blog and I hope you haven’t been too bored (somehow I think you survived).

So, back to the pretty. A few months ago I decided that my beloved Cover Girl foundation was just a tad too dark for me, and since it was already the lightest shade I would need to search for a new one. I wanted to try an Asian BB cream, so I poked around the internet and found some great reviews on Musings of a Muse. Based on her recommendations, I bought BRTC Jasmine Water BB cream on Ebay for $18.90 including shipping – I used this seller.

The package arrived a few days later and I got to testing. The cream itself is pale (MAC NW15 perhaps), has a slightly pinkish-grey undertone, and feels very thick/rich when applied. 1-2 minutes later the tone becomes more lifelike and the texture feels light – this is very common with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide products.

Let me tell you, I am in love with this stuff. I’m waiting for a second tube in the mail as I write. Here’s why:

  • Weightless medium coverage
  • Moisturizing without greasiness
  • Long-lasting
  • UVA/UVB protection (SPF 30 PA++)

The only con I can think of is ordering online, which means I need to plan ahead a bit. Otherwise I find the price to be reasonable (more than drugstore but less than high end foundations) and I love the product. I think my skin looks great and I’ve completely rid myself of nasty flakies I was suffering from before.

What have y’all been up to?

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Fight frizz with Tresemme Climate Control Mousse

It’s the height of summer, and where I live, that means wretched storms followed by extreme humidity. (If you think I’m kidding, check out this picture of my “backyard”. A 20 minute downpour made the pond rise about 12 inches). And with that humidity comes frizzy, unmanageable hair… until this year.

I tried Tresemme Climate Control Mousse ($3-5 at drugstores) on a whim and it turned out to be a great buy. I apply probably a baseball-sized amount (since mousse is mostly air) throughout damp hair and then blow dry/straighten as usual. This keeps my hair straight and frizz free for 2 or 3 days until I wash again. It also keeps my hair from developing kinks from sleeping funny or using hair ties.

The other thing I noticed is that it makes my hair feel a little more ‘grabby’, so it holds volume more easily. For my hair, which has a lot of slip, this is a great thing. If your hair already has a course texture, I’m not sure it would be. Despite the grabbiness (so technical), I don’t notice any tangling.

On top of all this, the bottle says it contains “UV blockers”. I’m not sure what this means since it doesn’t say ‘sunscreen’, nor is there any type of SPF listed. However I do know that protecting color-treated hair from the sun is important to make the color last longer, so hopefully this would provide a benefit for some women :)

Bottom Line

This product has the performance I want at a budget price, and it’s truly become a staple product for me.

Ingredients: Water, (Aqua, Eau), Isobutane, Propylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-4, Hydrofluorocarbon 152a, Polysorbate 20, Propane, Polyquaternium-11, Fragrance (Parfum), Vinyl Caprolactam/Vp/Dimethylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Silicone Quaternium-16, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polyquaternium-7, Undeceth-11, Butyloctanol, Undeceth-5, Linalool, Limonene, Citric Acid, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Amyl Cinnamal Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrolyzed Keratin.


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Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain Swatch Megapost!

I may have purchased a couple more Balm Stains over the past few weeks…

Revlon Balm Stain in Charm, Rendezvous, Romantic, Crush, Smitten, Sweetheart, and Honey

Charm, Rendezvous, Romantic, Crush, Smitten, Sweetheart, and Honey

Since the formula is so similar between the shades, I decided to do one big megapost of all the swatches and a general review of the formula. (The fact that I am swamped with work right now might have contributed to this decision.) Here goes!

Revlon Balm Stain in Charm, Rendezvous, Romantic

Charm, Rendezvous, Romantic

Revlon Balm Stain in Crush, Smitten, Sweetheart, and Honey

Crush, Smitten, Sweetheart, Honey

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Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Liner

Let’s start this story with a photo…

That right there is the eyeliner I’ve been using for almost a year. You see, I loved it, but the packaging pretty much refused to work on most occasions. Over the months I’ve pulled it open with everything from my teeth to actual pliers. I think when I got to the pliers I realized it was time to move on.

And I tried, I really did. I bought several similar liquid eyeliners, and all of them were miserable failures, more like a weak washable marker than the strong black felt-tip liner I was looking for.

And then I found it.

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Sponsored Post: Tresemme Split Remedy Haircare Review

Tresemme Split Remedy

Over the past couple of weeks I have most definitely become a Tresemme girl thanks to this new line and a few other favorite products. When I first received them, I was extremely skeptical based on what I learned in Can You Get Hooked On Lip Balm? last year. The bottles claim to reduce split ends by up to 80% in three uses and I immediately called shenanigans. There is nothing you can do to repair a split end because hair is dead. You can temporarily keep it stuck together with hair products, but you cannot heal it. The only real solution is to get a trim above where the hair is split and take better care of your tresses in the future!

Despite my initial concerns, I’m glad I gave the products a chance because—for the most part—I really like them.

Shampoo & Conditioner ($5.69 each)

The shampoo is exceedingly gentle and has not aggravated my dandruff-prone scalp the way most shampoos do. It feels very rich, and I love that I don’t have to worry about my hair being squeaky clean—a.k.a. shredded—after washing. The conditioner also feels very rich, yet it isn’t thick  like most deep conditioners. The closest texture I can think of is melted chocolate. It feels physically heavy while remaining a liquid. I liked this a lot, and I didn’t have any issues with it weighing my hair down.

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Blue Cross Cuticle Remover Review

Blue Cross Cuticle Remover

When I searched the internet this weekend for the best cuticle remover, one name kept popping up on blogs and forums: Blue Cross Cuticle Remover. I saw that it was available from Sally Beauty for $4.99 (it’s a dollar more without a Beauty Club card) and figured I didn’t have much to lose, so I dragged my boyfriend to Sally’s after we went to see Brave on Saturday morning (it was sooooooooooo good).

First, this bottle is massive. It’s 32oz and you will probably not get through it in a lifetime unless you run a salon. I love the value but I did find the bottle a little unwieldy.

Second, the product is amazing. it softened my cuticles perfectly and allowed me to scrape off the crud (sorry for that mental image) and push back my cuticles easily. I thought it was much better than the cuticle removers I’ve used before… from memory that’s Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover (blue gel), Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover (clear gel with green beads) and CND Cuticle Eraser.

I also thought the formula was surprisingly gentle considering how well it worked. My cuticles weren’t left dry at all, perhaps due to the lanolin in the formula, and I didn’t have any straggly bits of skin left behind.

Bottom Line

The best cuticle remover I’ve ever used, and the price is right! You can find it online or at Sally’s.

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