April 2015 Birchbox Mad Med Edition Reveal and Review

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For this month’s Birchbox I once again went with the curated box.  I also did Birchbox Plus for the first time and added on items at a special rate.

The regular Birchboxes were designed by Rifle Paper Company and super gorgeous.  The Birchbox Plus items were also from Rifle.  I chose the tumbler and notebook pack for $20.

I opted for one of the special Mad Men inspired boxes this month.  I don’t watch Mad Men so I have no idea why these items would relate to the show, I just wanted to try some of the items and have been afraid lately of the regular boxes! Here is one of the Mad Men box options:

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Beauty Protector Hair Oil – I LOVE the scent of Beauty Protector but hair oil doesn’t really do much for me.  I find it works best if I use it at night and wash it out in the morning.  More like a treatment.   I have had this before and traded it and this one I will likely swap as well.

Whish Shave Cream – another item I have received before.  It’s such a small sample (the tube is far from full) but it smells nice (blueberry!) and would be good for an overnight bag, so I’ll likely keep this and maybe use it during my hospital say when I have my baby.

Liz Earle EyeBright Lotion – this is a watery liquid with a light scent, not your typical eye cream/lotion at all.  It says to use it to “soothe and refresh tired, puffy eyes.”  I swatched in onto the back of my hand and it does leave your skin feeling smooth adn more hydrated. This is another item that may come in handy as it gets harder to sleep and for after the baby comes.  A huge con for me though, is that it does contain parabens so I won’t buy it unless they reformulate it.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Eye Gel – this is an item I have wanted to try.  Why?  I don’t know.  My eyebrows aren’t really unruly, but I’ve heard good things.  Maybe they will look even better?  We shall see!

Cargo Blush in Los Cabos – I have a lot of blushes I haven’t even opened yet but I HAD to have t his one too.  It’s a darker peach color with some shimmer so it doesn’t look too good on my winter pale skin.  I think it should work great come summer though!

Overall I am happy with this month’s Birchbox.  I really do like the option of the curated boxes or the Pick Your Sample Choice.  It definitely helps me feel more like I am getting what I am paying for and keeps me looking forward to each months box.  Plus, the rewards system is awesome!

<3 Lolo

March Empties!

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I feel like this month of empties is sample sized…literally.  I only finished one full sized product, but was able to get a good idea if I liked the others or not because most were generous samples!

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Alterna Re-texturizing Protein Cream – I started this awhile ago in an attempt to smooth my hair after drying, but it didn’t work great for me.  Recently I used it a night as a leave-in and washed it out in the morning and that seemed to work better for me.  I wouldn’t buy this though.

NYX High Definition Photogenic Concealer – I’m not a selfie person, but I had been slacking in the concealer department (and I have dark circles!) so I decided to try this out.  I thought yellow was supposed to help camouflage dark circles but I could be wrong.  This was sheer.  I used a beige shade over this and then foundation over that….still had circles, so now I’m looking for a good full coverage concealer.

Urband Decay Primer Potions in Sin and Eden – I think I’ve written about these before.  I LOVE UD’s primers, but Sin is too shimmery for me and Eden freaks me out because it’s yellow-ish.  I prefer the original or the anti-aging.  I’m using up the Eden one now because once eye-shadow is over it, it’s not that bad, but Sin I’m passing along to my mom to try.

Laura Mercier Highlighter – this deluxe sample came from a Sample Society box after the revamp.  I loved it!  I would buy this again if I didn’t already have 5 other highlighters that all work well for me still to use up.  A little went a long way and the result was subtle but noticeable.

Kate Somerville Dilo Oil – I used this as my nighttime moisturizer.  I didn’t notice any great results but there wasn’t much so I probably didn’t get enough uses in to really judge.  I am a big fan of La Prairie’s Dry Oil for nighttime use.

Davines Oi Oil and All In One Milk Foils – I got 2-3 uses out of these.  I LOVE Davines and the Oi conditioner is my HG, but these I could take or leave as they didn’t seem to add any additional benefits.  I used pure organic coconut oil to smooth my hair after drying and I think a tiny tiny bit of that works better than the oil did for me.  I’m not really sure what the purpose of the milk was, but overall I would highly recommend trying Davines products that may suit you.

So hopefully this wraps up winter and we can all start breaking out our warm weather shades and products for next month!

<3 Lolo

PopSugar Special Edition Must Have – Resort 2015

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I have a weakness for special edition boxes.  I have stopped my monthly subscriptions to most of the boxes I love while pregnant to save money for baby needs and 3 months off of work this summer for maternity leave, but this was a special treat to myself with my tax refund :)

It seems to be more of a travel themed box which we will not be doing this summer because of the baby, but plan to pick back up on as soon as we are back in a routine and get our finances figured out etc.  My parents live in FL so if nothing else we will be venturing down there within the next year.

Enough babbling…onto the goods!

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Jane Iredale My Steppes Makeup Kit ($58.00) – this kit contains the PureGloss Lip Gloss in the shades Iced Mocha and Crabapple.  The PurePressed blush is in the shade Whisper and the So-Bronze Bronzing Powder is the shade So-Bronze 3.  I bought the box after this spoiler.  I have a ton of lip glosses and blushes and bronzers but I HAD to have this one too.  I like the bronzer isn’t too dark and the blush is a light peachy pink that works great for my skin tone in the summer.

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Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80) – this serum is supposed to even skin tone, fight cellular damage, stimulate collagen synthesis and optimize skins physiological activities of defense and cell regeneration.  Sounds impressive.  I found it interested it says it has a reservoir effect and will stay active for 72 hours and cannot be washed or rubbed off.  It also says you can add a few drops to your hair for extra shine and manageability.  The reviews on this product are really good!  I am looking forward to trying it soon!

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Stephanie Johnson Train Case ($60) – I don’t have anything like this.  When I travel I just throw stuff into ziplocks or small makeup bags etc.  So now I feel like I can upgrade to this and look a little more grown-up!  It’s a plastic-like exterior and interior which should keep it clean and nice looking!

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Lele Sadoughi Half Moon Pendant ($110) – this is a silver plated necklace with “reconstituted stone of howlite and marble.”  I honestly thought it was turquoise?  I think it is very summery and I like you can adjust the chain length.  I hope I am able to get some use out of it.

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Sloane Stationary Passport Holder ($48.00) – I’ve never traveled outside the country except to Mexico many years ago, so I have never needed a passport holder.  I hope to someday, but am undecided if I should hold onto this or sell/swap it.

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Jacobsen Salt Co. Cocktail Salt ($14.00) – $14 seems a bit much for pure sea salt.  I get why PopSugar threw this in the mix though.  I’m kinda glad there are no sweets, as I have gestational diabetes and it would be torture to look at and not be able to eat!  We also don’t drink at home often except for red wine and I’m on a very long hiatus from that right now as well.  Someone mentioned you can cook with it though, so that’s probably what this will end up being used for in our home.

The overall value of this box is amazing, although I think prices tend to be inflated.  For me personally, it was worth the $100 I paid.  I’ll definitely use everything except for maybe the passport holder.   Popsugar’s monthly boxes have looked so good lately too.  I’ve been really tempted to jump back in….we shall see!

<3 Lolo

March Birchbox Beauty Solutions Reveal and Review

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I went with the curated box again this month.  If I don’t like the pick your own sample and want even just one thing in the curated box, I tend to go that way.  This month Laura Geller sucked me in…here is what I got!

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Laura Geller Blush and Brighten in Pink Grapefruit – I’ve been eying these blushes for a while so I totally jumped at the opportunity to get one in my Birchbox.  This makes the whole box worth it to me even if nothing else works out.  I swatched it on the back of my hand and it looks more like a bronzer to me but I see pink swirled in there too so I am hoping more of that shows through when I use it.

derma-e Evenly Radiant Brightening Day Creme SPF 15 – I like this has very little scent.  It’s supposed to help dull complexions.  I’m hoping now that Spring is finally showing it’s face my dullness will be done for awhile, but we will see.

Dear Clark Volumizing Tonic – I definitely have fine flatter hair, but feel like volumizing sprays never do much so I’ve given up on them.  I’ll probably swap this.  I opening it to smell it and I didn’t care for that either.

Whish Body Butter in Almond – I love the smell of almond!   I do like these travel sized lotions too…for travel!  Or for when we are staying at my boyfriends an hour away, but those days are almost over as he will be moving in in April if all goes as planned with finishing my basement!

Supergoop! Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream – I think I had this before and traded it away, but I have since read some good things about it so I’ll add this to my collection and give it a go.  It’s tiny but I find a little eye cream goes a long way!

Overall I’m pretty happy with the whole box.  It’s a well rounded box even if the hair tonic isn’t for me.  As always looking forward to what Birchbox brings next month!

I also broke down and order the Popsugar Limited Edition resort 2015 box annnnnd as I type this and seriously contemplating ordering the Rachael Zoe  box!  It’s such a gamble but these $100 boxes are too tempting and I always love a few things from each!

<3 Lolo

February 2015 Empties!!

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My boyfriend is moving in soon and I wonder what he’ll think about me saving empty bottles of this and that to write about them once a month lol….I may just start snapping a picture and tossing things, rather than collecting them for one or two group photos.  Such a strange thing to worry about, I know…

For February a lot of products I used up were for dry skin and hair, and I am happy to say my hair has been looking better than usual and my facial skin hasn’t flaked up on my at all this winter!

Here is what I used up, but not everything I’ve been loving this winter (I may do a separate post later about all the items!):

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Catwalk by Tigi Your Highness Elevating Conditioner – any conditioner than doesn’t make my hair look worse is good with me.  I actually bought a second huge bottle of this and the matching shampoo, but thank to Birchbox, have found even better products for my hair so I am not sure I’ll be using this again afterall.

Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood – this came in a Popsugar Must Have Box and I loved it so much, I swapped for a second one.  It has a light scent and simply feels good on the skin.

Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil Shampoo – I have NO idea where I got just a shampoo sample of this, but I do know I LOVE it!  This made my fly always calmer without making my hair super flat.  Usually I don’t notice much difference between shampoos but since this rain out and I am trying out a different one, my hair just isn’t the same.  I’ll be hunting down more of this ASAP!

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion – I am huge fan of UD Primer Potions, just not of the shimmery version, which I had been using prior to this one.  The shimmery version changed the way my eyeshadow looked and it just didn’t seem to hold it as long.  The regular formula and this one work amazing for me!

Davines Oi Shampoo – I couldn’t tell if this shampoo actually made any difference for me, but again, it didn’t make my hair worse.

Davines Oi Conditioner – so far I have used the Oi condition and the Love and really do love both.   I ended up buying the full size of this one because the Love seemed to weight my hair down a bit and this one doesn’t.  Paired with the Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil, my hair looks the best it has in years!

Vichy Liftactiv Nuit – I used this in the evenings.  Vichy seems to be super moisturizing and I haven’t had any flakiness at all this winter.  Usually I will get itchy aroundmy eyebrows, as weird as that sounds!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal – this may be my winter go-to moisturizer! No dry skin.  No flakiness.  Smells and feels good.  I’m glad I have one more of these deluxe sample sizes to get me through March, then I’ll be switching to something a little lighter I think.

Skintimate Shave Gel – my favorite.  Nothing much else to say :)

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Primer – this was pretty good.  I still prefer Dermalogica’s primer but I would use this if I got it again in a subscription box or something along those lines.

Bain de Terre Color Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner – this was another so-so shampoo and conditioner for me.  After realizing how effective the Davines is for me, the other brands I’m using just don’t compare.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara – another disappointment.  I did use this for a couple weeks before throwing in the towel.  It just seems like these mascaras aren’t sticking to my lashes and with every company making crazy brushes I always end up with mascara in my eyeliner line (drives me CRAZY!) or on my eye lids.

NOT PICTURED:

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser – technically this is not “empty” but rather up-side-down in my shower in an attempt to get 2-3 more uses out of it.  A little goes a long way.  The smell doesn’t bother me like it did some in reviews I read.  My only complaint is that it doesn’t remove mascara well at all, but to be fair, it doesn’t claim to and actually says not to use near your eyes.  I just prefer a cleanser that does it all, but I’d use this again if I got more.  I’m curious to check out other things from this brand as well.

Gluten Free Valentines Day

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This year Valentine’s Day was spent at home….putting together a crib and dresser, building cardboard box forts, and cooking and baking up a storm, during a storm!  It was a great weekend and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.  My boyfriend and I are planning a dinner out one night in a couple weeks, not only for Valentine’s Day, but simply because our lives have been so hectic we just haven’t had a good date night in a while!  Thankfully we both love cooking, so even though we aren’t getting out much, we still indulge!

He’s 100% gluten free due to an allergy, but he’s not ever gone to be diagnosed with Celiac’s disease so we don’t call it that :)  Our dinner consisted of:

Beef Tenderloin

Coconut Shrimp (my own GF version that is super coco-nutty!)

Sweet Potato Fries

Fresh Green Beans

It was so good…but let’s be honest, dessert is always the best part!  I made my son Williams Sonoma Cupcakes with pink icing and Valentines sprinkles.  They were NOT gluten free, so to help us keep our energy up while he was on his sugar high, I made Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies substituting King Arther’s Gluten Free Flour Blend and adding in xanthan gum.  These were the best looking, best tasting, best consistency gluten free cookies I’ve had yet.  I had read some awesome reviews about King Arther’s and now I can say, there is no turning back.  It’s a bit pricier than some other gluten free flour blends but worth every penny!

<3 Lolo

February 2015 Birchbox Reveal and Review

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For this month’s Birchbox I decided to do the pick-your-sample and let them surprise me with the rest rather than pick the curated box.  I wasn’t thrilled about the sample choices this month, but I tend to jump as getting make-up remover because I don’t buy it, therefore, I’m terrible at removing my make-up at night.  BUT…if I have it, I’ll use it.  So needless to say, I chose the Marcelle Gentle Make-Up Remover.

Here is my full box breakdown:

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Marcelle Gentle Make-Up Remover (1.7mL $5.00) – this sample is 1/3 of the full size!  It also has great reviews and I KNOW it’ll work better than nothing or the cleanser I’m using now that doesn’t remove eye make-up very well at all.

BeeKind Body Lotion (30mL $1.88) – this has a strong lemon scent which I would normally hate but this one doesn’t smell as much like Pledge as most lemon scents.  It absorbed fairly well, but I still don’t think I’ll want to smell this for too long.

Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal Perfume  (0.05oz $1.44) – I only sprayed a tiny amount and this is just way too strong for me personally.

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser  (0.5oz $1.63) – this item upsets me.  Obviously Birchbox doesn’t look at these surveys we spend a ton of time filling out because even in my teenage years I didn’t really have an acne problem.  This isn’t even getting opened , hopefully I can swap it.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (FULL SIZE $16.00) – I was happy to see this item.  I have been wanting a liquid eyeliner in an everyday color so I’ll be experimenting with this ASAP for sure!

This wasn’t my favorite Birchbox, but I’ll use 2 of the 5 items happily and with these 5 reviews I now have enough points for $40 in the Birchbox store!  My favorite part of Birchbox is definitely the rewards system and I have found some new favorites over the months too!

<3 Lolo

January 2015 EMPTIES!!!

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Goodness it feels like forever since I have written about anything!  We have been so busy with work/school, getting the house ready for a new baby, and a boyfriend, his autistic brother and a dog to all move in soon!  Not to mention, spending our weekends trying to do fun things with my son – snowboarding this weekend!  Well, not me.  I’ll be the spectator, but am super excited for my son to get back at it this winter!

My busy life hasn’t kept me from using up a bunch of stuff though!  Here it is!

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Greenscape Organic Shea Butter Exfoliating Salt Scrub – I got this for a steal at TJ Maxx and it sounded like it would be everything I loved all rolled into once, but maybe I got an old batch?  It smeared on my skin, has no texture to exfoliate and would not rinse off.  I’m glad it’s gone.

Sachajuan Shiny Citrus Body Lotion – this worked really well for me.  The scent didn’t linger long so it doesn’t interfere with perfume if you wear it and kept my winter dry skin feeling soft all day.

Could 9 Miracle Repair Shampoo – this deluxe sample did not come with a conditioner sample.  I’m not one to really be able to judge a shampoo without it’s conditioning counterpart.  To me, this was just like any other shampoo.

Le Couvent des Minimes Gardener’s Hand Healer – works really well for dry skin and seemed to have an herbal scent.  I liked it well enough.

Fresh Life eau de parfum – I do love perfume samples.  I’m a rare one when it comes to that I think.  This was light and good for work.

Lancer Eye Contour Lifting Cream – Lancer’s popularity with celebs was something I just heard about recently.  Good thing or I would have expected miracles.  So while I didn’t notice a drastic change, I did notice that I wasn’t noticing the fine lines around my eyes quite so much.  I have a second bottle of this open now.

Jane Iredale Mascara – before I get into the next two mascaras I will have to admit I have a long loved favorite drug store mascara and nothing seems to compare to it so far, including this which doesn’t even come close.  I felt like nothing was coming off the brush…to the point I thought maybe it had dried up.  So I squeezed the tube (unique design I’ll admit), and about 90% was air, but a glob of mascara appeared.  I dipped the brush directly into the glob and was able to get more off of it but it didn’t do much for my lashes.  Total fail.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – I wanted to love this.  I love this brand and they put out the cutest stuff.  But again, totally a fail for me.  My lashes looked horrible, I ended up with mascara on my eye lids, and after a couple of days I gave up on this and threw it in the empties box.  I have several more samples left to try of different mascaras but really I just wanna break down and go buy my favorite – L’Oreal Carbon Black.

Some wins, some loses, some so-so’s.   A typical month I think.  I am really wishing winter would hurry up and get over it.  I’m longing for spring makeup and scents and some natural glow.  This dry skin and dullness is really sucking the pregnancy glow right out of me!  Next month I should be finishing up some things that were supposed to help  with that….we will see how it all works out then!

<3 Lolo

January 2015 Birchbox Relax & Recharge Review

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I can’t believe I got my Birchbox in 3 days flat this time!  And before I can even review my products on the website!  It was a nice surprise on this arctic day.

<3 Lolo

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I chose the Relax and Recharge box this time for two reason – first, I think I’ll get to review 6 products for points and second, I wanted to try most of the products.  Here is what was included:

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!  – I have actually tried this before and it doesn’t work for me, but most hair products don’t.  It is a generous 1oz size sample.

Perlier Intensive Nurturing Body Balm – I haven’t opened this but can smell a lovely lavender scent through the foil.  I love to use lavender scents at night time.  It is also a generous 1oz sample.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream – I’m going to look up some reviews on this again.  I think I remember reading before that this is pretty good stuff.  Swatched on my hand, it seems firming and has a strong scent. I just have SO many eye creams to work through!

When Travelmate Sheet Mask – I just love these.  They are easy to use and typically leave your skin feeling super hydrated afterwards.  I rarely have time for masks lately but hopefully things are slowing down I can try some new ones out soon!

Manna Kadar Liplocked Priming Gloss Stain – sounds like a glass that stains??  Looks like a pretty basic easy to wear shade.  It’s a tiny sample, but I like them because I get some kinda weird satisfaction out of using up an entire lip gloss!

BONUS!  Teapigs Tea Samples!  Who can refuse something named Teapigs?  I don’t think I can drink these teas until after my pregnancy though.

I’m always happy when my Birchbox samples are items I don’t want to swap away for other items.  With the exception of the hair mask, I’m keeping it ALL!  Yay! Looking forward to February!

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