Saturday Review: 3B, May 2015

The Products:
Skinfood False Lashes ($5.50)
TonyMoly LovelyEyebrow Pencil ($5)
Etude House Baking Powder BB Deep Cleansing Foam ($1.50)
TonyMoly Tangerine Whitening Hand Cream ($12)

Total Cost: $12
Total Value: $24

I’ve been on the waiting list for the 3b Beauty Beyond Borders monthly box for a few months now and was thrilled to finally get my first bag of goodies. I was particularly interested in 3b to replace the whole left in my life by Memebox (since they changed up their style, the boxes just aren’t made for me anymore).

From the 3b website: “Each box contains a collection of deluxe samples that are new or popular in Asia but hard to get your hands on. The products will change each month, and you’ll get to try new skincare, haircare, nailcare, and cosmetic products. Sample products range from go-to brands such as Lioele, Etude House and Skinfood to high-end premium brands like SK-II, Kanebo, and Sulwhasoo. Don’t worry about not being able to read Japanese or Korean – we’ve got you covered with English translations of descriptions in each box.”

Verdict: I love the products, although I don’t agree they are particularly hard to get your hands on. I couldn’t walk into a store locally and pick up one of these, but could easily get them online. In English and everything. That being said, this is a perfect monthly sub for me and it will be hanging around for sure. Yay!

Saturday Review: Birchbox, May 2015

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream ($7.50)
This one has been showing up in Birchboxes for a while now and I guess it was my turn. I’m always happy to see moisturizers and always happy to see Benefit products, so this in a win-win for me. Plus, the little jar is cute. I like my skincare to be cute.

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum ($9)
I do not like the way this smells. It is that grandma-rose-kind-of-scent that only works well in small doses in a hand cream. Not on my face, for sure. So, I would never buy this, but I do intend to finish the sample. It goes on smooth and I like the texture.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment ($10)
This is the sample I picked. I don’t think I’ve ever received a Macadamia product in any of my boxes before and I am a fan of the brand.

Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Palette ($1.50)
These little Coastal Scents sample palettes are just so-so for me. I don’t really get excited about them, but they are great to travel with. The four colors can make all sorts of looks and cut down on what I have to pack. This particular sample is actually with me in Dallas right now.

Harvey Prince Sea Salt Texturizing Mist ($1.50)
This was another one of the products you could pick this month. Unfortunately, my hair + sea salt texturizing anything = disaster. This will be going up for trade. I was thrilled that this wasn’t another Harvey Prince perfume though. So there is that.

Total Cost: $10
Total Worth: $29.50

Overall – a solid box, but nothing to brag about. As always, if you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link. Signing up for the first time? Subscribe today with the coupon code BB50OFF and save 50% (Hurry! This one expires May 24).

Birchbox! February 2015

IMG_0028Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser ($1.60)
Love, love, love Juice Beauty. Their green apple sensitive peel is one of my favorite products. I will try this one for sure.

theBalm Cosmetics Read My Lips Lip Gloss ($4)
Another gloss. Nice size, nice color. Nothing special.

Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash ($2.50)
Between recent awesome hotel stays and beauty boxes, I have way too many tubes of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. This smells nice, but it will be probably be included in a batch headed to the local shelter. I need to clear things out.

Beautyblender and Mini Solid Cleanser ($20)
A very nice item to find in a monthly box. I have a Beauty Blend and I like it. I so rarely use foundation though and it doesn’t get much use (it seems a little overkill for my bb cream). I might put this one up for trade.

BeeKind Conditioner ($2)
This sample didn’t list the ounces it contains, so I’m guessing on the value.

Total Cost: ($10)
Total Value: $30.10

A good, solid box; I’m pleased. As always, if you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link. Signing up for the first time? Use the coupon code RUNWAY15 to get the Rent the Runway “Its All In The Details” guest editor box as your first month.

Birchbox is in the House!

You know I love my Birchbox. Let’s jump right into this and take a lot at what I got this month.
Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion ($3.80)
I do not need anymore lotion. This one is going in the stash, I have so many lotion samples that I’m going to have to start traveling more just to use them all up. A lot of my samples like this end up going to my daughter’s friends during sleepovers. They love this kind of stuff.

Sweet Science Invisible Daily Tint SPF 35 ($4.50)
This is a tiny sample, but the product gets good reviews so I’m not going to complain too much until I try it. Still, I can’t promise I won’t just completely lose this little disc in my sample collection.

Katherine Cosmetics Everyday Eyeliner ($26)
Brown, full-size. I was very happy to see this in the box even if it just a regular old beauty project. I was especially thrilled to see it in brown – I rarely get anything other than black in these kinds of sample services. It’s also one of the roll-up, non-sharpening deals; those are my favorite liners. I haven’t tired it yet however, so I can’t comment on quality.

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser ($2.75)
Always good to add a cleanser to my stash. I just opened a new bottle though, so it will be a while before I try this one out. Good sample size.

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask ($11)
I tried this and I’m not quite sold. It was fine, but I didn’t get the refreshing feeling I get some some of my favorite masks (like the inexpensive cult favorite Queen Helene) or the clean and renewed feeling I get from some of my other favorites. I’ll use the rest of the sample, but that is about it.

TOCCA Crema da Mano – Hand Cream in Cleopatra ($5)
This is the sample I picked from the January choice. Interestingly, it wasn’t actually included in my box and isn’t available to review for points (actually, my birchbox came in a larger box this month with the Tocca wrapped separately. Was this sample choice always an add-on or did this happen because I’ve already received this sample. I got it in one of my early boxes and love it so much I eventually bought a full-size bottle. I don’t carry that one around with me though and when this popped up in the sample choice, I gladly selected it. So, I received six products, but can only review five. Anyone else end up with something like this happening?

Total Cost: $10
Total Value: $53.05

Awesome value this month, even though the products are sort of run-of-the-mill.

As always, if you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link. Use coupon code bbstore100 to get 100 points when you subscribe. (That is worth $10 in the shop. Expires 1/31.)

Saturday Review: Serum Round-Up

serumI regularly sing the praises of serums. Adding this one little step to my skincare routine drastically improved the condition of my skin. I’ve realized that – for my skin, at least – it doesn’t seem to matter as much what kind of serum, as long as I’m using one. This works out well because beauty boxes just love to send you samples of these types of products. Today I’m going to tell you about a few samples I’ve worked my way through in recent months. I won’t be commenting on the effectiveness of the serums (I’ve already explained that my skin seems to have two settings – serum or no serum), but will concentrate on smell, feel, etc.

Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10
I’m a fan of Vichy products, but don’t buy them often because of the price. A full size bottle costs $53. I used a small sample of this serum for approximately two weeks. It smelled nice – Vichy seems to favor warmer scents that can be a turn-off if you prefer unscented products. The smell dissipated quickly though, leaving only smooth skin. The serum had a good texture and spread easily.
Would I use it again? Yes.
Would I buy it? If I had coupons/reward points, probably.

Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum
I’m a fan of Murad products too and use one of their night creams, but their price-point is even more discouraging. A full size bottle of this serum will set you back $78. Yikes! This serum had an inoffensive, mild-to-nonexistent scent and spread nicely over the skin. I didn’t have to wait for it to dry or soak in before I applied my moisturizer.
Would I use it again? Yes.
Would I buy it? No, I can’t justify that price.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet Serum
I received a sample bottle of this in a box from Influenster. Yikes on the regular price again – this one is $60. The capsules in the bottle are pretty; I don’t consider that important in a serum, but it is a nice bonus. It smells nice and easily spreads on the skin. In the light, the serum looks glittery in your hands (don’t worry! That goes away immediately upon rubbing it in.). In dim light however, this serum looks like semen. I mean, really like semen.
Would I use it again? Sure.
Would I buy it? No.

AHAVA Dead Sea Osmoter Concentrate
$60 again. Why are serums so pricey? I had a small sample of this serum that lasted me approximately 1 1/2 weeks. Honestly, I did not like it. I didn’t like the smell. I didn’t like the brown-tinged color. I didn’t like how it felt thick and coated my skin. I didn’t like the slick residue it left on my fingers. This one is a total miss for me overall.
Would I use it again? No.
Would I buy it? No.

Influenster Frosty VoxBox

If you are here for the photos, you are in the wrong place; this is the best I can do.
If you are here for the photos, you are in the wrong place; this is the best I can do.

By now, you should all know how much I love getting free stuff from places like Influenster and BzzAgent. I will do any number of tasks (and do them honestly too!) if a company promises to keep sending me more free stuff or gives me a realistic opportunity to win free stuff.

For today’s special edition Saturday review, I’m going to blog about the products I received in my Influenster Frosty VoxBox because 1) it is a task that may get me more boxes in the future and 2) it means I get to share my free stuff with all of you. I’m not doing as much Influenster since they changed their website – I find it somewhat difficult to navigate the new setup – but I was happy to find out I was getting this box. And even happier when I started to see content spoilers online.

So, what did it include?

Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
I love love love getting basic products like this. Plus, this is full size and that is all kinds of amazing. Rimmel is my favorite drugstore brand and I’m sure this will be a quality product.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
Ditto to the above comments. This arrived at the right time; I’m down to one black eyeliner.

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color
I’ve tried this lipstick before and know I like it. My last tube (also free) was bring pink though and I never wore it. I love the updated ’90s look of this sugar plum color. Very me.

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea
Yay, decaf! This sounds delicious and I’m happy to try it. I had to resit opening it up when I first got the box – doing a taste test is one of the possible tasks to get Influenster points and I plan to do it.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect ADVANCED
I don’t know if this sample is big enough for me to really make have an educated opinion about the project. I do like Boots products (although I recently had a bad experience with another of their serums), so I’ll probably use it anyway.

McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme
Okay, I admit that I don’t really understand what thyme is doing in this box. I’m going to assume it is kind of along a holiday cooking theme. Not complaining though! I’m happy to use this. Or, actually, let my husband use this.

Fruit Vines Bites Cherry
This is absolutely the time of year I do NOT need any more candy or sweets around the house. I do think I will take this bag to work though to help with the after-holiday hangover when it is difficult to get anything done and little fruity sugar bursts help immensely.

EcoTools Sleek + Shine
I don’t brush my hair (seriously), so this one is going straight to the daughter who has super long hair and is always loosing hairbrushes.

That is the Frosty VoxBox. Stay tuned for some reviews of these products in the coming weeks.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Birchbox, December 2014


Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream ($1.28)
This sample is tiny. I’ll probably keep it in my purse for chapped lips – I don’t see how there could be enough to make a difference on any sizable section of your skin.

Hayadi Relief Hair Mask ($2.64)
Even if I won’t use this, my husband will use it for his hipster beard. I’m kind of partial to the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! mask when I do decide to do a deep treatment, but I’m willing to give this one a try.

BORGHESE Superiore State-of-the-Art Mascara ($6.50)
Mascara, always good. I don’t even remember the last time I had to purchase a full tube of mascara. I’ve heard good things about this one. We’ll see.

Miracle Skin Transformer Miracle Revival Mud ($2.45)
Yes, it is a foil sample. It’s cool though, as masks are pretty perfect for foil samples. It really only takes one use to see if you are going to like it or not. I’ll add this to my stash. I have a big bag ‘o masks.

SeaRX Anti-Wrinkle Facial Lift Treatment Serum ($1.40)
The day I started using a serum as part of my regular routine, the heavens opened up and the skincare angels blessed me. I’m always happy to see a serum in a beauty box [stay tuned for a serum round-up review in January] – I’ve discovered that it really doesn’t matter what kind of serum I use, as long as I use one. I have no problem going through these samples. The sample size is pretty standard, so I’m pleased.

RUSK® Texture Spray ($3.38)
Mine came missing it’s lid, but it clearly hasn’t been sprayed so I won’t worry about it. I use some sort of texturing product on my hair every day (when I bother to style it, at least). Never tried this one, so I’ll be anxious to see if it works for me.

Total spent: $10
Total value: $17.65

Not the highest value box, but I really like it. Its nothing spectacular, but all of the products are good to add to my stash and use when I need them.

As always, if you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link.

Right now (until 12/23) you can get 70 extra points on purchases $30+ with the code TENFREE. That means you end up with at least 100 points. That equals $10 to spend in the Birchbox store.

Gifts for Your Minecrafter

Minecrafter? Minecraftian? Player of Minecraft?

My daughter and her friends love Minecraft. In fact, I think she would be most happy if I put her in her a room with a computer, a few snacks, and no one else to bother her while she played all day long. As this is such a huge interest of hers, we have gifted several Minecraft-related things to her over the years and I have some suggestions for those of you out there looking for similar gifts.

FYI: These are not affiliate links – just random. And the photographs come from the website I’ve linked to.

51QkrbkFlSL._SL500_AA300_Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection
You can buy these handbooks separately or this in snazzy new set. Know your audience though – my daughter is just as happy to look up tutorials and hacks on YouTube than to open one of her guides. In fact, she will watch someone randomly playing Minecraft while she plays Minecraft. Meta Minecraft.

f499_minecraft_foam_sword_pickaxeFoam Weapons
The Minecraft home décor is not complete without a collection of less-than-deadly, pixelated weapons on hand. These are foam, but are not soft. Plus- they are sturdy. Minus- it would hurt if you got whacked with one. We own the regular iron sword and it was a big hit when it came in the mail. I think these are pretty pricey for what you are ordering, but you can catch sales often.

My kid plays Minecraft on her computer and likes to park herself down right in the living room while we are trying to watch some evening television. I’m thrilled to have her with us instead of hiding in her room, as almost-teenagers are prone to want to do, so a good pair of headphones is the perfect accessory. This pair is high quality, but won’t break the bank at $60. They come recommended by the tacky techie husband. Plus, you can use them with your Xbox One or PS4 with a $15 attachment.

f04f_minecraft_masksCardboard Creeper or Steve Mask
You should buy this for three reasons: 1) Your kid will look hilarious trying to walk around with it on. So will the adult you talk into putting it on. 2) You have a go-to, last-minute Halloween costume. 3) You might be able to put it on the dog for a few minutes and it will be totally worth it.

f056_creeper_plushCreeper Plushie with Sound
This thing makes the standard Creeper hiss/boom sound and is much bigger than it looks. Keep your friend close and your enemies closer, right? Now you can sleep with a Creeper right next to your head. Plus, you have a great sound effect to engage before you do something destructive.

81Mhf0RMW2L._SL1500_Minecraft Lego Sets
My family tells me a young Minecrafter would appreciate one of these sets. I don’t get it – you are already building in the game, why do you need to build in real life too? Probably a good way to get your kid out from in front of their gaming system or computer though. Is anyone else always surprised by how expensive Legos are?

Looking for something a little more unique? Hit up Etsy where you can find hand-painted Creeper shoes, Christmas ornaments, and all manner of personalized clothing.

Special Saturday Tacky Husband Review: Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices

My wife brought home a box of Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices. I’ve never met a Sara Lee pound cake that I didn’t like. It’s a good blank canvas for frozen fruit, whipped cream, chocolate, ice cream, etc. I’ve been eating Sara Lee pound cake for as long as I can remember. My parents always had it around the house along with frozen strawberries and Cool-Whip (I would appreciate this more as an adult than I did as a 10 year-old). This is the first time I’ve had it pre-sliced however. There was no noticeable difference in flavor from the typical loaf, though eating it with Cool-Whip and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, it’s difficult to tell one way or another.

Pre-sliced cake seems like an unnecessary product. I get the point that the slices of cake are measured by weight and constitute a single serving. This is great if you are in the mood for a small slice of cake. I am not, however, the type of person to eat a small slice of cake. Don’t judge; It’s just how I am. So unwrapping two slices, I was made aware of the amount of cake I was about to consume. More so than if I had just lopped off a hunk from the usual loaf.
Lastly, each piece is individually wrapped. Each small piece in its own clear plastic pouch. While plastic can be recycled, it seems like this would generate more unnecessary waste that would, in most cases, end up in a landfill.

I would eat this again, but I’d probably just buy a normal loaf and do the slicing myself. I like to pretend I’m not that lazy…

Disclaimer: I received this product free through BzzAgent for review purposes. Opinions are my own. . . or my husband’s own.]

Saturday Review: Birchbox Edition

This month I pre-selected the Buzzfeed Holiday Hacks box. The surprise is one of my favorite parts of Birchbox, but sometimes beauty product strategy is more important. I decided to pick this box for three main reasons: 1) I can never have enough sheet masks in my stash. Seriously one of my favorite products. 2) I just opened the last mascara in my possession. I’m always happy to use a sample to delay a full-size purchase. 3) I have – maybe – one day left in my dry shampoo. I only use it once a week or so and really hate buying a big bottle. Sample sizes are great.

So, lets see what I got.
Green Leaf Votive Candle in Silver Spruce ($2)
This smells wonderful. I kind of expected it to be in the glass jar (not sure why though), so I was slightly disappointed to see one single votive.
Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24Hr Mascara ($14.40)
I haven’t opened this yet, so I can’t comment on its quality or staying power. This was one of the reasons I picked the box though. It is already safety stashed away until I need it.
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($6.75)
This smells good and seems to work well. I’m not a dry shampoo expert – it never seems to work quite as well for me as other people – so take my opinion for what it is worth.
Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips ($2.90)
This one I’m passing on to the daughter who constantly battles chapped lips in the winter. I’ll report back if it sucks.
Dr. Jart Pore Minimalist Mask ($7.50)
Love sheet masks. Love, love, love them. This one smells nice and sticks to your face well (we don’t want one that slides off and becomes awkward!). It left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturized. Small pores? Who knows.

Total cost: $10
Total worth: $33.55

I was too lazy to calculate my own values this time and instead used the numbers from MySubscriptionAddiction.

Overall, I really happy with the box. Best curated box yet.

If you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link.