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Birchbox February 2013 Review

February 25, 2013

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips- Must admit that I was a little freaked out by the name, but the balm really works to hydrate your lips.  It lasts a long time, too.  It's nice that it's in a tube as opposed to a tiny pot.  The tube makes it a lot more convenient for dispensing the product and you can avoid getting lip balm under your finger nail this way.  I usually wear this balm when I'm lounging around the house (really I'm doing homework, but the term lounging sounds preferable, no?) because I like to wear colored lipsticks/stains/balms when I'm out in public.

Color Club Nail Polish in Wild Cactus- I love the color and this is what is currently on my toes right now. :)  When applying I only put on one coat and that was enough, so this bottle is going to last longer than I expected it to.  I've heard that these nail polishes last a long time, but I cannot attest to that myself since I only used the product two days ago.  (So far my pedicure is still looking great, but after 2 days I would hope so!!)

Skin & Co. Roma Cleansing Body Gel- When I opened my box and saw this brand, I had to roll my eyes a little because inside the November Glossybox there was a coupon code from Skin & Co. that offered free samples of their products.  I went to the Skin & Co. website, entered my code, and even got a confirmation e-mail saying that I would receive the samples soon, but they never sent them!  Apparently no one else got them either.  I don't think companies should promise free samples and then not deliver on them. I sent an e-mail inquiring about the samples, but got no response and decided to leave it at that.  I haven't tried this product yet, but even if it's gold I don't think I could ever bring myself to buy anything from this company because I think they're shady. 

TwistBand Thick Headband- I LOVE this headband.  I wore it all night at work and only had to take it out and re-do it once.  I have tons of really thick hair that is always getting in my face, so I usually wear bobby pins, cute hair clips, or headbands.  I own headbands, but they are all really thick ones, so I like that this one is thin (even though it's is called a Thick Headband).  I'm happy I got the black one because it'll go with everything.  This headband was also comfortable to wear.  Some headbands are too tight so much so that they start to give me headaches, but this one was perfect.  I loved it so much that I went ahead and used my $10.00 Birchbox credit from writing reviews and put it towards buying the whole set of these headbands.

Ghiradelli Milk & Caramel Square- A nice, tasty extra.

Total Value of the Box=  $13.01
 Here's the value of the products individually:
Nipple balm for lips-$2.90
Skin & Co Body Gel- $2.80
Nail polish- $3.73
Headband- $3.16
Ghiradelli chocolate- $0.42

Overall: I know that the value of the box isn't worth much more than the $10.00 I paid for it, but I'm still satisfied with its contents.  It helped me discover the TwistBand headbands, which I'll probably be wearing pretty often.  I had never tried Color Club nail polish before, so it'll be nice to compare it to other brands and to see if it really lasts longer as many have claimed.  So far I haven't been disappointed by Birchbox--I hope it stays that way!  Birchbox sent me an e-mail asking me to fill out my beauty profile, but I don't think I am because I've been happy with what I've received from them so far.

Victoria's Secret So Sexy Nourish Healthy & Hydrated Moisture Mask

February 22, 2013
The other day I received a $10 reward card to Victoria's Secret, so I headed over to try to find some Brilliant Love with Diamond Dust body wash.  I ended up getting this in a gift exchange and wanted to pick up some more because I really like the scent, which is "blushing peony and blackberry" according to the bottle.  They didn't have any at the store I went to, so I tried to figure out what else I was going to put my $10's towards.

I noticed that the store I went to now had products from the Victoria's Secret Haircare line in stock, so I decided to go for the So Sexy Nourish Healthy & Hydrated Moisture Mask.  I bought some because lately I feel like regular conditioners are not doing the trick on my hair. 

A bottle retails for $14.00, so I got it for $4.00.  I tested it out and I have to say that my hair felt smoother and was way less frizzy than it usually is.  The product promises to quench "dry, thirsty hair with soothing moisture" and to create "healthy, shiny, easy-to-manage hair."  I would definitely agree with the easy-to-manage part.  I also thought this product was heavily scented when applying even though it is described as a "light, fresh fragrance" that conditions with "Hibiscus and Rosemary Extracts."  Maybe they mean that your hair will have a light, fresh fragrance after using the product, but there is no way I would consider the actual product itself as having a "light" fragrance.  I didn't mind the scent, but just wanted to give a heads up in case you are sensitive to that sort of thing.  I used this mask for two days in a row; however, I want to try to limit it to a once a week thing because my hair felt like it was heavier than usual on the second day.  The impression that I have is that masks are meant for weekly not daily use, but since it worked so well the first time, I just wanted those same results extended...can you blame me?

This is only the 2nd hair mask I have ever tried, and the first time I used one was when my hair was very damaged.  Now my hair is in much better shape, so it's hard to compare the two products.  Do you use a hair mask?  If so, what kind and how often do you use it? 

Pop Sugar Must Have February 2013

February 19, 2013
This box had a Valentine's Day theme.  The contents:

Brokedown Wrap-This is intended for use in place of a bathrobe.  I'm really annoyed with this item because I will never be able to use it.  It is SUPER SHORT, so it doesn't cover my parts!  I suspected it would not fit me when people who are only 5'2" were saying how they thought it was too short.  At 6'0" tall, it doesn't cover anything that it should!!  I guess I just think it's really stupid to put an item in the box that is supposed to be "one size fits all" when clearly one size doesn't fit all.  I know that others also had issues saying it wasn't big enough to go around them or that it was too big, and I think a lot of people will be unable to use this item.   I'm trying to think of who I could even give this robe to, but my family members are tall and most of my friends are, too!  I do have a couple of friends that it might fit, so hopefully they can at least get some joy out of using this robe.  (Just disappointed because this was my Christmas present from my sister!) Also, why does the picture of the wrap have a nice ribbon on it when no one (to my knowledge) received a wrap with a ribbon?  Not that big of a deal, but just an observation.

Hanky Panky Thong-Oh my, I feel weird reviewing underwear!  I haven't worn them yet (feel like that is already too much info), but they look like they are of decent quality.  This was another "one size fits all" item, which I'm sure Pop Sugar has gotten a lot of crap over because how are a size 2 and a size 22 both supposed to fit into this same pair of Hanky Pankys?  I don't think they can, so again, this is another case where one size fits all does not fit everyone.  I tried them on over my pants and they fit me, but my friend who ordered this box isn't so lucky.  She is giving me her pair, but I feel bad that she also can't have her own to enjoy!  I am happy with this item, but I could see why others might not be.

Mariebelle New York's Tresor Box- I guess there were 3 or 4 possible flavors you could receive and I got them in Cacao, which I was my top pick.  They were very tasty, and I liked how small the pieces were.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain-I like this item A LOT,  but I'm partial to lip gloss/lipstick/lip balm.  Even though others have said they don't consider this a new and exciting item because it's been out for awhile already, I didn't know of it.  The shade I got is called "romantic," and it goes well with my complexion.  I've already worn it two times and it did last a long time, though not as long as the Tarte Lipstick I just got in my Man Repeller box from Glossybox.  I would consider buying this item in other colors.

Safe Haven book and "The Journey" song download- I have heard all of Nicholas Sparks' books are "the same" or "very predictable."  I love reading, but wouldn't have chosen this book.  I'm still going to read it once more of my coursework is out of the way this semester.  I will give it a chance, and even though it wouldn't be my #1 pick of a book to get, I'm still glad I got one.  :)  As for the song download, I just use Spotify and listen to songs on my computer.  I guess I would download the song if I still used my I-Pod, but I just haven't been using it lately.  By lately I mean for the past 2 years!

Connoisseurs Quick Jewelry Cleanser-Most of my jewelry is silver, not gold because I didn't even start liking gold until about 2 years ago!  Basically, I don't have a lot of jewelry to clean with this.  Not saying I don't have a lot of jewelry, but it says it's for "diamonds, gemstones, gold, and platinum jewelry."  Maybe I could give it to my mom?  It's just going to sit here if I keep it.

Conversation Hearts-This item doesn't add much value to the box, but it was okay as an extra.  I'm indifferent about this because they're so cheap.  I didn't get my box til after Valentine's Day, either.  It's not that big of a deal, but I feel that a Valentine's Day themed box should arrive on or before the actual holiday.

Coupon Code for free Zoya nail polish with any Hanky Panky purchase (min. $20 purchase)- This code does work on all Hanky Panky sale items and can be combined with the 15% off coupon. 

Coupon Code for 15% off of Hanky Panky Bare Collection- Not going to use this, but thought about it. 

Coupon Code for 30% off of any Brokedown purchase- Not going to use this!

Overall-  I liked this box better than January's box, but I am still bothered that I can't use the wrap, and that sucks because I really would have liked to have used it.  It's a bummer that the big-ticket item is worthless to me, but oh well... ya win some ya lose some.  Also, I don't really care about the conversation hearts or jewelry cleaner.  Those were just blah items to me.  Thank goodness I thought the rest of the items in the box were good.  I just hope that in the future they will just give us a coupon code to use so we can get an item that fits properly instead of having people stuck with items that just don't fit them. 

I don't know if I'm going to ask for the March and April boxes for my birthday or not.  I do like going on boards like Make Up Talk and seeing what everyone else has to say about the boxes/looking at spoilers, etc.  It makes the experience so much more fun & the anticipation really gets to you!  At this time, I would consider telling my family/friends to get me future boxes for as birthday gifts, but I am not willing to sign up for them myself because $35 is a lot of money to me right now.

Quik Style Paddle Brush by Sam Goody

February 16, 2013
I was interested in this brush right when it first came out because it claimed to remove excess water "by 30 percent" so that your hair gets dryer faster.  Seeing as how my hair is extremely thick and considering that when I let my hair air dry it is still damp at night, I thought I would try out this brush because I needed all the help I could get!  In between the regular bristles are microfiber bristles which are intended to soak up the water as you brush your hair.

What I LikeAbout This Brush: Since the microfiber bristles go up pretty high, the actual bristles that de-tangle your hair when you brush are partly covered.  This made it way easier to brush through my wet hair.  It didn't hurt as much as in comparison to regular brushes, and when I did have some knots they were easier to get out with this brush.

What I Dislike About This Brush: Do I think using this brush "reduced water by 30% to dry faster" like the product claims it should have?  No, I don't.  I didn't really notice any difference in drying time, and when I think about that it makes sense.  It's not like I'm sitting there brushing my hair over and over.  As soon as a section gets de-tangled after one or two brushes, I move on.  Of course I'm not going to sit there brushing through my hair again and again after all the knots are out when I could be using a hair dryer. 

Am I Happy With this Brush? Even though there is no/very minimal drying time difference when using this brush, I am happy with it because of how easy it is to get through my hair.  I recommend it if you have thick hair or hair that gets a lot of tangles.  The bonus for me is that my other brush snapped in half, so it definitely was not a waste of money since I had to buy a new brush regardless.

Do you own this brush?  What do you think of it?

Glossybox January 2013 The Man Repeller Review

February 12, 2013
Even though this box was supposed arrive in January, I, along with many others did not receive the box until February.  I get that stuff happens, but let this just be an indication of the level of the company's customer service, which I heard is pretty much non-existent.  There are horror stories being posted on their Facebook page on a regular basis, and they are nearly impossible to get ahold of--this I know from experience!  With that being said, despite its late arrival, I LOVED the contents of this box.

Instead of the usual pink colored box, this month's was in silver since the blogger The Man Repeller curated it.

Not everyone will receive the same exact items--there are some different variations that got sent out.  One of the main reasons why I'm so happy with the box is because I got the Tarte Lipstick in Fierce which retails for $26 and that is more than the cost of the whole box.  Not everyone got this item, so I was lucky in the sense that I wanted this more than the other items they were giving out like the blush, for example.  I've already worn the lipstick once and gotten some compliments, and I couldn't believe how long it stayed on!  Usually my lipstick disappears after a few hours, but I worked for 7.5 hours and it was still pretty bright.  I actually had to wash it off my lips before I went to bed, and I've never had to do that before because lipsticks usually just wear off on their own.  I might ask for a Tarte lipstick in a different shade for my birthday. This was hands down my favorite item in the box.

As for the mascara, I do like the brand Estee Lauder, but I'm just not that big of a mascara person.  I will use this product, but mascara is not something I feel I have to wear every day.  At least it is basic so I know I will at least get some use out of it.

Concerning the Le Metier de Beaute daily solution, I haven't actually tried it yet, but I'm excited to try it out even though I would never buy the full sized product since it costs $225.  On one hand, I like that I have the chance to sample this product since I could never justify buying on my own, but on the other hand, I don't like knowing that the first sample will be my last.

The Opi "Can't Let Go" liquid sand nail polish is also really nice.  I just wish I could wear nail polish to work!!  Oh well, at least I have my toe nails to paint for now.

Normally I would be underwhelmed by a perfume sample, but since the other contents of the box were so generous, I'm just going to consider the Narciso Rodriguez eau de toilette spray an "extra" and be happy with it.  I also appreciate that this sample sprays instead of just coming with a top that you have to pull on and off when applying.

I'm looking forward to trying the Sebastian Potion 9 because it says that the product is supposed to make your hair have a "silky touchable look."  I sometimes have frizz problems, especially when it's raining, so I'm hoping this will help with that.  The 50 mL of product will be enough for me to try it out several times.

The last item is Fresh's Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum and claims to control shine and make your pores smaller.  Who doesn't want that?

 I guess I'm so satisfied with this box because I will truly use every single item in it.  I wish The Man Repeller could just start her own beauty subscription service because this selection blew most of the past Glossyboxes out of the water.  This cute little note doesn't hurt, either!

What is your favorite item from the January box?

South African Children's Literature Course

February 10, 2013
So, I will be going to South Africa for 3 weeks in the middle of May through a program offered at my university.  It is an optional trip offered to those who are the South African Children's Literature class.  I am super pumped to go.  We will definitely be in the Cape Town area, and later my friend and I will perhaps be traveling to Johannesburg.

Here are the books were are reading for the course:

My future travel buddy and I:

New Cookie Addiction!

February 8, 2013
The other day I was doing some homework at a friend's house when he offered me one of these:

They were just on a plate, so I didn't know what brand they were.  When I bit into one, I turned and looked at my friend in shock, commenting on their sheer deliciousness.  He just kind of giggled at me and he knew they were amazing.  If you are a fan of Girl Scout Cookies in Thin Mint, you've got to try these!!

My Winter Essentials

February 5, 2013
As much as I like using tiny scented lotions from Victoria's Secret or from Bath and Body Works on my hands, in the winter they just aren't cutting it for my dry skin.  I would apply lotions like these, and within 15 minutes I would have to reapply to moisturize the dry patches on my skin.  I knew I had to make a change and put those mini lotions away until the spring because they just weren't working.

I decided to try out some hand creams by L'Occitane En Provence to see if they would do the trick.  Since I had never tried this brand before and didn't know which scent I would like, I opted for three mini tubes in order to test out more scents rather than just be stuck with one that I might not like.  The box came with the scents: Rose Petals, mango flower, and date bouquet.

I have to say that these work SO WELL.  I hardly ever have to re-apply and a small amount of these lotions is very long-lasting!  Sometimes I don't even need to put more on even after washing my hands, and the 30 mL tubes (.1 oz) are very convenient sizes for toting around in my purse.  

Below are some more of my favorite products that really help me get through the winter:

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream- This is called a cream, but I think it should be called a foot treatment because it doesn't really absorb right away.  You couldn't just apply it and expect to walk around barefoot--you'd be leaving a sticky trail of footprints wherever you went.  Instead, I recommend applying it and putting on socks, which some may prefer to do overnight.  I really noticed a difference and my skin felt a lot softer after using this product. 

Estee Lauder Day Wear- I got a free sample of this and became hooked.  I don't want to use anything else to moisturize my face with...ever!  It's not too greasy, but when applied my skin doesn't have the dry/"tight" feel to it.  It works nicely on my combination skin.

Shea Body Butter from The Body Shop- This really works to hydrate my skin and the smell is mild, so it's versatile in the sense that I can either choose to wear/not wear perfume with this body butter.  Some body butters are so heavily scented that to add in a perfume can be too overpowering or the combination of the two different flavors might not complement each other.

Sugar Lip Polish and Sugar Berry Lip Treatment from Fresh- My lips felt so smooth after using the lip polish, and the lip treatment does not contain harsh chemicals, but does have an SPF of 15.  I love the tube of the Lip Treatment--it's made out of metal, so it won't easily crack like plastic lipstick tubes can.  You also have to screw/unscrew the lipstick to the cap, which ensures that the cap won't fall off.  Lastly, I love that it's tinted so that your lips can get the benefits of a treatment with a pop of color.  Just a warning, this product is pricey at $22.50 for only the lip treatment.  I got a deal on this and did not pay the full retail price--while I am in love with these products, I don't think I could bring myself to pay that much for them.  I would definitely re-purchase them, but only with some sort of deal or discount!  

Here are a couple more winter essentials that my sister and friend swear by: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing LotionAveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream, and Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme.

What are your favorite winter products?  
*There are some affiliate links for which I will receive a small amount of money (at no extra cost to you) if you click on some of the links in this post, but all opinions are my own.