subscription boxes

Birchbox in the house!

There were some really great boxes this month. Mine was just okay. I’m not complaining though; I’ve had some good months recently. I didn’t pick any of the samples this month and just rolled the dice.
Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm ($4.46)
I wear Dr. Jart+ BB cream almost every day, so I’m always happy to see a sample in a box. I highly recommend Dr. Jart – all of the BB creams seem to just be great. And so much more than tinted moisturizer. This sample is tiny though. I’ve gotten larger samples from other boxes.

Mally Beauty High-Shine Liquid Lipstick Pens ($20)
This is a really awesome, full-size sample. This is the kind of thing people love to get in beauty boxes. I’m absolutely burnt-out on lip products though, so I’m not really interested. This will probably go up for trade or, if no one wants to trade, into my daughter’s stocking this Christmas.

dr. brandt® pores no more vacuum cleaner ($11.25)
I’m very interested in trying this one. You might see a feature Saturday review about this product.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream ($17.73)
I just opened a new eye cream at home, so I’ll have to save this one for a bit before trying. A good edition for my stash though and you just have to love those high-value samples.

Harvey Prince Petaly Noir ($0)
You should know by now that perfume samples are not my favorite. I can easily get them for free at many stores (seriously, Sephora will give you a sample of anything on their shelves); I don’t need them in beauty boxes. I don’t like the smell of this one either.

Total value: $53.44
Total cost: $10

Coupon Alert: Use coupon code BENEFITPACK when you sign up and get two bonus Benefit samples with your first box.

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

My Birchbox came in a larger box this month and I didn’t have any clue why until I opened it up. Turns out I splurged this month and purchased the add-on Lorean Hope mini-cuff. Very cute. Smaller than I expected though. I was afraid it wouldn’t look right on my plus-size wrist, but it is nice. I’m not disappointed.

Saturday Review: Wantable

Last month, Wantable offered a coupon to try one (or more) of their monthly boxes for $1 and I was lucky enough to catch the deal. Well, not quite. The massive spike in traffic to the site meant I was never able to order with the special code. A quick email to the company the following day however, and they honored their deal and gave me a new code. Amazing customer service!

A little about Wantable: they offer three separate monthly boxes – makeup, accessory, and intimates. On the plus side, the boxes are amazingly customizable. You take a little quiz for each box rating what you love, like, and hate. You won’t receive anything that you rate lowest and you can change your answers every month. You also have the ability to do some returns, but only of the entire box or the items of larger value. Awesome!

Here is one of the most amazing things about Wantable – you can skip a month or cancel just by clicking a button on the webpage. That is it. No phone calls. No justifications. No trying to get you to stay. Just click.

The down side, the boxes cost $36 each (monthly, or $40 for a one-time purchase). I don’t know about you, but that is out of my budget.

I selected to try the makeup and accessory boxes with my coupon (this plus-size gal didn’t want to deal with possibly weird-sized intimates). Here is what I ended up with:

This box is fine. The value is there and it fits the like/dislikes I selected on the quiz, but doesn’t have a lot of zing for me. All of the products were nicely packed and high quality. They shipped and arrived quickly. I would not regularly subscribe to this box because at a cost of $36, I really need to just love everything. I don’t see this box being very useful – even if you need to overhaul your makeup collection; it would probably be more cost effective to spend the money on your own choices.

This box is great! The chevron scarf is my new favorite and I wear it way too often. The necklace is also one of my favorites and I also wear it way too often. In a store, I probably wouldn’t have even paid attention to the necklace, so I’m thrilled to have discovered it. The bracelet is nice, but I traded it away (for a gold necklace similar to the one I received in this box). I like my bracelets to jangle and this one didn’t fit that requirement. The pashmina is gorgeous. I haven’t worn it yet due to the temperature boiling outside, but you can bet I’ll break it out when fall hits. I wouldn’t regularly subscribe to this box either – it just can’t overcome that $36 price tag – but would keep it in mind for a one-off splurge or coupon purchase. It would be really great for someone looking to mix-up their accessory game.

Overall – Great company. High quality products. Easy to skip a month and cancel. A little too pricey for a monthly subscription.

Saturday Review: Skinny Sticks

skinny sticksThese may be my new best friend.

I got a bag of Sweet Onion Hi I’m Skinny Sticks in a recent PopSugar box and loved them from the second I opened it up. The sweet onion flavor tastes like a cross between Funyuns and Sun Chips. They are all-natural, fluffy, light and made with whole grains. And you can’t beat only 120 calories per serving.

Did I mention the serving size is 34 sticks?! Oh yeah it is!

Unfortunately, no stores on my side of town carry Skinny Sticks yet. These are good enough to make a special trip for though. Plus, they have a cute name and great packaging.

Beauty Box Blowout

This is the beauty box posts to end all beauty box posts. Now, you are probably going to read this and think I’ve gone out of my mind with subscriptions. Not true! This month just happened to see a couple of one-off purchases and an oops. Any samples I won’t use get put in a “to-trade” box. There are lots of places online to trade your samples, but I like to use the swap system at mysubscriptionaddiction.com. I use my extra samples to gather up things I know I will use – samples of products I love, samples from beauty boxes that I received in the past, products from the Memeboxes that are sometimes hard to order, etc.

Let’s get started.

Want to sign up for your own Birchbox? Be a dear and use my referral link.
Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream ($3.25)
This is small than I expected.
Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette sampler ($0)
I don’t need this. I’ll be passing to one to someone else.
Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator ($5.70)
Harvey Prince – Hello ($0)

I have been wondering when I would get this sample. It has been rolling through the boxes for months now. I’m not a big fan of perfume samples in these boxes (since I could walk into Sephora and get a free sample of anything I want). Smells nice though.
LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil ($18)
I was kind of hoping for the crazy purple color.

Cost: $10
Total worth: $26.95

Kind of a bummer. Several of these items seem like the kind of thing you could walk into a store and pick up for free (hence the $0 value). I’m pretty blah about most of these products.

This is going to be my last Ipsy. I’ve enjoyed the subscription, but I’m not getting as much use out of it as I thought I would and the samples are just piling up. I’m sticking with just Birchbox for now.
Be A Bombshell Lash Out Mascara ($15.00)
This stuff kind of stinks. The company says it it because it doesn’t contain fragrance, but it is kind of eye-watering bad for me. Not sure what I’ll do with it.
Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray ($3.25)
No use for this. Swap!
NYX Butter Gloss ($5)
I love love love these glosses and already own several . . including this color. I’ll pass this one on to someone else. I’m a little put off by the lid being a slightly different color – my others don’t have that issue.
OFRA Universal Eyebrow Pencil ($13)
Always good to have. The color looks like it will work for me, but I haven’t tested it yet.!
Realtree for Her ($1.25)
This is a pretty generic perfume. Nothing special, but nice.

Cost: $10
Total worth: $37.50

Not a bad bag, but overall a miss for me.

Beauty Box 5
This was a bit of an oops. I tried a Beauty Box Five box last month for $5 – and hated it, incidentally – but forgot to cancel before being billed for the next box. This isn’t a sub I get regularly, but this box appears to be really nice. If they had sent this to me for the $5 box, I might have considered keeping it. As it stands though, cancelled (for real this time).

If you want to try a free introduction box (not the regular monthly box), use code FREE614. You will have to sign up for a plan and remember to cancel though, so proceed with caution.
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Nicka K Nail Color ($5)
Glam Natural Mascara ($14)

I wear mascara like a junior high kid, so I’m always happy to add more to the reserve stash.
Eslor Introductory Collection Calming Kit ($15)
Design Essentials Natural Curl Enhancing Mousse ($4)

No need for this one. I’ll either put it up for swap or pass it on to a curly girl.
Crown Brush Blending Brush ($10)
I love getting tools in these boxes!

Cost: $12
Total Worth: $48

Allure Sample Society
Sample Society is not one that I subscribe to or one that I have ever even tried actually. They recently had a flash sell to get rid of some old stock. I missed out on the 5 boxes for $25, so I settled for the next best deal of 4 boxes for $30 (also getting me free shipping). The box is regular $15 a month. I have to say, I really love the products in these boxes. When my yearly subscription to Birchbox runs out, I might consider switching to this one for a while.
Alterna 48-Hour Sustainable Volume Spray ($5)
Ahava Dead Sea Osmoter Concentrate ($10)
Phyto Ultra-repairing Mask ($10)
Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum ($15)
Murad Advanced Radiance Peal ($15)

Murad products are nearly always hits with my skin. I’m excited to try both of these products; they are new ones for me.
B. Kamins Nia-Stem Moisturizer ($36)
Cotz Face Natural Skin SPF 40 ($1.50)
Red Flower Italian Blood Orange Body Lotion ($5.50)
Jane Tran Hair Accessory Sampler ($3)

I was just staring at the hair accessories a few days ago trying to pick out some clips for my short hair. Happy to see these!
Hanskin Hydro Sheet Mask ($4)
Wooo! Sheet mask!
Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 ($4.20)
Jane Iredale Purelash Lash Conditioner ($4)
Korres Cherry Oil Lip Gloss ($5.60)

This is the only thing I’m putting up for swap out of this group. It is fine; I just don’t need more gloss.
Cellceuticals Extremely Gentle Cleanser ($11.60)
Ahava Purifying Mud Mask Deluxe Sample ($6)
Immunocologie Treatment Creme Venomax ($80!!!!!!!)
La Rocca Skincare Hibiscus Cream Cleanser with Aha ($2.10)
Exude Lipstick Creme ($29)
Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Mousse ($3.65)
Diptyque Eau De Toilette ($2)

Cost: $30 for all four boxes
Total worth: $253.15

Hautelook is a great website to score discount high-end goods – if you are buying enough to get free shipping. Unfortunately, the shipping is a little high to snap up too many deals. Occasionally they do beauty bags. Personally, I think they are too expensive. If you wait a couple of months though, they will usually list the bag again at a discounted price. That is how I ended up with this bag full of red lipstick and glosses.20140612_161104
Mirenesse Glossy Kiss ($26)
Laura Geller Italian Marble Lipstick ($18)
Lord & Berry Crayon Lipstick ($18)
NYX Retractable Lip Liner ($4.50)
Crown Brush Lip Brush ($7.25)
LORAC Lip Lustre Gloss ($15)
LA Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipe ($.50)
Swoon No More Lost Gloss ($15)

Cost: $15 (including shipping)
Total worth: $139.25 + the bag + the useless lipstick case

The winner? I guess there really isn’t a winner this month, as there are just too many boxes. Sample Society knocked it out of the park though – watch out Ipsy and Birchbox! If I had to pick just one to keep, I would probably choose the Sample Society box with the Murad products.