Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November Birchbox

This month's Birchbox theme was Give and included products from brands that give back.
Birchbox also included a way to pass along a treat to someone special.

My Birchbox contained Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector, 
Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Petite Cologne Absolue, Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray, stila all over shimmer liquid luminizer, Chuao Chocolatier Assorted ChocoPod, and a small gift sleeve.

Miracle Skin Transformer™ Vanish Instant Imperfection CorrectorBefore applying makeup, prep skin with this serum-infused primer, which has optical diffusers that mask imperfections. Full size, $58/1 oz

This has a really nice thick texture that is not at all greasy so it worked very well at evening out the texture of my skin.  It really made my make-up look flawless. I don't know how my skin would react to it over time, as the sample size didn't include much more than a single application.  

The sample size I received (pictured) is .1 oz.  Due to the price of the full size product, this sample is a $5.80 value.

 Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Petite Cologne Absolue - Thanks to spicy ginger and a touch of bergamot, this sexy new rose sent is more sophisticated than sweet.  Full Size, $75/30 ml

This smells much better than I expected.  I usually steer clear of rose scents as I always envision someone's nana wearing it, but this is bit more of a sophisticated scent.  I don't know if I would necessarily purchase it, but I didn't hate it.  

The sample I received (pictured) does not include the size, but I would guess it's about 1.5 ml. Given the price of the full size perfume, this sample is about a $3.75 value.

Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray - This light, non-sticky spray gives dry hair a voluminous, sexy, tousled look.  Spray from ends to roots for best results.  Full Size, $25/4 oz.

I have actually not used this yet.  I am excited to try a texturizing spray and holding out until I have somewhere special to go.  

I received a 1 oz sample (pictured) making this sample a $6.25 value.

stila all over shimmer liquid luminizer - Add a touch of this luminescent fluid to your cheekbones or decolletage, or mix with your foundation for an all -over glow.  Full Size, $20/set of 3

The kit includes 3 colors, I received bronze shimmer.  It was easy to apply and wasn't over the top.  It provided a nice sheen to my cheek bones and the color is perfect for my complexion.  

I received one tube of the trio (pictured).  Given the price of the trio, a single tube is valued at $6.67.

Chuao Chocolatier Assorted ChocoPod - These bite-sized artisanal treats are made with premium Venezuelan cacao and come in a range of unexpected flavors.  Full size, $7.95/7 pack

I received the potato chip pod.  It was tasty, but I was expecting more of a mix of sweet and salty.  I barely tasted the potato chip.   

I received one pod (pictured); a $1.14 value.

If I were to purchase the full sizes of all the products featured in my November Birchbox it would total $185.95.  Given the sizes of each of these samples, my November Birchbox  is a $23.60 value.

For more information on Birchbox, visit their website HERE.

Disclaimer: I purchased the Birchbox on my own and am not being compensated.  All the opinions expressed are my own.   

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Friday Purchases

As I mentioned last week, I went shopping on Black Friday.  (Check out my post on midnight shopping HERE) While I didn't do any Christmas shopping I picked up a couple of things for myself. 

My first stop was The Body Shop.  I needed Tea Tree Oil and since everything was 3 for $30 I grabbed a couple other things from the Tea Tree Line.  

Having blemish prone skin, Tea Tree Oil is a great spot treatment to dry out blemishes.  I also really like the cleansing wipes to remove make-up.  I usually only have to use one of these wipes to remove an entire face of make-up.

Since everything was 3 for $30 I figured I would try the Blemish Fade Night lotion.  I have only used this once so far so I can't say how well it works but according to The Body Shop it is supposed to improve the appearance of blemish-damaged skin, control oiliness and moisturize while you sleep with a light, moisturizing, non-oily lotion that sinks into the skin.

I also used my Love Your Body Rewards card and saved an addition 10% getting $40 worth 
of merchandise for $27.

While Sephora wasn't having huge sales, they had some $10 door-busters that I wanted to check out.  I ended up getting a couple things there.

The Josie Maran Bear Naked wipes duo was part of the $10 door-busters.  Then, I really wanted to try YSL's LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation, and had a $10 gift card from Viggle so I decided to splurge and buy it.

The Josie Maran Bear Naked wipes duo contains two full size products; Bear Naked Wipes and Bear Naked Nail Wipes.  The face wipes retail for $12, while the nail wipes retail for $9, making the duo over half off.  I have not yet tried either but use face wipes daily, and have been wanting a portable pack of nail wipes.  They would be great to remove chipped polish on the go.

There has been a lot of hype about the Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation and I have been wanting to try it since before it even came out; however the price is a little steep.  My sister was wearing it on Thanksgiving and her face just glowed and looked flawless so I was sold!  I went to Sephora knowing I was going to buy this.  I am in color Beige Dore 50.

While checking out, I was told that my VIB status was renewed for another year and that they were rolling out new cards for their VIBs.  Instead of the VIB sticker attached to your original VIB card, VIBSs will now have silver cards.  

The VIB Card comes in a small black cardboard package that also contains a coupon for 10% off your next purchase online or in store, a 45 minute makeover session and a black VIB Beauty Insider mirror (similar to the mirrors that come with gift cards)

Lastly, I went to Ulta just to look and get a brush head for my Clarisonic.  While there, I picked up a few things.

I really had no business buying lipgloss, but this these colors were so gorgeous and the entire set is only $25!  The LORAC Sweet Temptations Lip Gloss Collection contained 6 full size glosses; Candy Apple (warm red), Butterscotch (pale peach), Creme Bruele (light pink), Cotton Candy (Medium Pink), Frosted Gumdrop (Bright Pink) and Sugar Plum (Berry).  I ended up splitting this set with my sister and choose Candy Apple, Cotton Candy, and Frosted Gumdrop.

Batiste is my go to dry shampoo.  They stopped selling it at my local Sally Beauty Supply. Proud and True Brit is not as over powering a scent as some of the Batiste scents.

I really need a new BeautyBlender but as they are difficult to find in the store, I have not gotten around to ordering one on line.  This Soho Beauty Sponge was only $7.99 so I figured I would try it out.  It is a similar texture to the BeautyBlender but a bit more dense. 

Like the BeautyBlender, the Soho Sponge almost doubles in size when wet.  Because the sponge is more dense than the Beauty Blender, I did take a bit for it to really soak through.

The Soho Beauty Sponge is also about a third bigger than the BeautyBlender (on the right) when wet.  I'm also not sure how I am going to like the double points as I use the flatter end 
of the BeautyBlender to dab my make-up and blend into my skin.  However for $7.99, I'll make it work.  

Also not pictured, I picked up a Clarisonic Brush Head for Acne prone skin and a tooth brush.

Now that I got some me shopping out of the way, I can now focus on Christmas shopping!  Although I usually practice a one gift bought for someone, one gift bought for me mentality while Christmas shopping.  

Did you go out on Black Friday?  Comment or link your Black Friday shopping experience/haul below.

Disclaimer: All products listed were purchased  by me.  I am not being compensated for mention of any of the products listed in this post.  All the opinions expressed are my own.    

Monday, November 26, 2012

Birchbox Home

Birchbox recently released a limited edition Home box full of products for your kitchen, dining room, and beyond.  The box, packed with full size products, kicks off Birchbox's pop-up online Home store just in time for the holidays

The pop-up site includes brands such as  Jonathan Adler, Dean and DeLuca, Paperless Post, C. Wonder, Stonewall Kitchen and social product development company Quirky.

The limited edition box is a $140 value retailing for $58.  I had 400 rewards points that I redeemed, giving me $40 off the price of the box.  (If you are not familiar with the Birchbox rewards program, check out my post comparing Beauty Club Programs HERE)

This box is broken down into 5 categories (Prep, Season, Entertain, Make, and Play) with each of the 11 products fitting into one of categories.  The product card is packaged with separate cards for each category providing tips and information on the products and prepping, seasoning, entertaining, making and playing!

Prep: Birchbox Recipe Cards, Core Bamboo Paris Utensil Set, and Quirky Stem

Birchbox Recipe Cards - Whether your idea of cooking involves reheating leftovers or you’re famous for your seasonal creations, you’ll want to pick up a set of these Birchbox Recipe Cards. Each set includes 12 blank cards, perfect for jotting down your granny’s famous chicken soup recipe or stealing your roommate’s secret barbecue rub. They’re also a great gift for your favorite would-be Julia Child. (A $10 value)

Core Bamboo Paris Utensil Set Some things are meant to last forever: Love, cast iron skillets. Spatulas, not so much. If the last time you bought a new spatula was around the same time you bought Nirvana’s Nevermind, it’s time for an update. Try this pretty, practical set, which includes three bamboo-and-silicone spatulas. It comes in four city-inspired shades: Madrid, Rome, London, and Paris.  Each set includes three 12” bamboo-and-silicone spatulas—a classic spatula, classic spreader and mini spreader.  (A $15 value)

Quirky StemWhether you’re putting together a huge lobster feast or just brightening up a fresh salad, a little bit of citrus is always a welcome addition. But with the cutting and the squeezing—not to mention navigating pulp and seeds—things can get a little messy. Quirky’s Stem aims to fix all that. With this simple invention, you don’t need a knife, juicer, or even a firm grip to add an even spritz of citrus to dishes. (A $4.99 Value)

Season: Dean & Deluca Rosemary, and Sabaino & CoRoma Truffle and Sicilian Sea Salts

Dean & Deluca RosemaryBefore you start dreaming of nonna-style meatballs or indulgent ragu, you’ll need DEAN & DELUCA’s essential Italian spice set. This four-tin collection has everything you need for your favorite recipes. The airtight tins keep the spices free from light and moisture—and they look way sleeker than your usual plastic containers. ($15 for 4 tins)

Sabatino & Co Roma Truffle and Sicilian Sea Salt Unless you're a Rockefeller (or a Roc-A-Fella), you're not buying whole truffles to shave onto your pasta. Don’t fret: Sabatino & Co. Roma mixes Sicilian sea salt with dried truffles to give you that same savory flavor. Once these Umbrian truffles are dried, blitzed up, and combined with salt in an airtight container, the whole mix takes on their aroma. (A $20.50 Value)

Entertain: Antica Farmacista Prosecco Home Ambiance Fragrance, Birchbox Chalkboard Placecards, and Birchbox Cocktail Napkins.

Antica Farmacista Prosecco Home Ambiance FragranceWe still remember the day we discovered Antica Farmacista’s gorgeous diffusers and realized that the world of home scents extended beyond candles and eau d’ last night’s dinner. Now we’re completely hooked. With packaging inspired by antique apothecary bottles, the luxe fragrances look as good as they smell—a good thing, since we keep them on display in our living room, bedroom, and office cubicle. Each bottle is filled with concentrated fragrance that is diffused with the help of handsome white birch reeds. Prosecco is a crisp mixture of Satsuma citrus, passion fruit, and apricot, while Acqua channels the smell of a delicate sea breeze. For a richer blend, try Pomegranate, Currant & Blood Orange, which has deep berry notes, or wintery Noble Fir.  (A $25.00 Value)

 Birchbox Chalkboard PlacecardsThe next time you’re hosting a supper club or dinner party, plan out your seating arrangement in advance with these cute placecards. Each is made out of old-fashioned black chalkboard, making them both retro cool and reusable. Each 4-pack comes with a piece of white chalk to spell out your guest’s names. (A $15 value)

Birchbox Herringbone Cocktail NapkinsWhile we love a good novelty cocktail napkin (the punnier, the better), sometimes we’d like a more sophisticated option. Rather than go on a fruitless search for our napkins, we created these chic patterned ones. Each set includes ten black and white herringbone napkins that suit any type of decor. The simple design is stylish but understated, which means it won’t distract from your artisanal appetizers. The durable paper will stay intact through a few rounds of toasts. (A $5 value)

Make: PS-I Made This . . . DIY Kit and Paperless Post Greeting Cards

PS-I Made This . . . DIY Kit - Everything you need to create one of a kind fabric napkins using these MYdrap cotton napkin rolls, gifts tags, and more!  

Paperless Post Greeting Cards - Flat-printed cards to send a sweet note.  Also included is a promo to design your own stationery online.

Play: Chambre De Sucre Rainbow Sugar Crystals

Chambre De Sucre Rainbow Sugar CrystalsYour sugar bowl is in for a pleasant surprise. Imported from Japan, Chambre de Sucre’s hand-crafted sugars are both beautiful and delicious. They put the simple cube to shame with their whimsical shapes and colors: think fairytale rainbow crystals and fun pink spheres. Whether you use them for special entertaining or your morning coffee, they’ll elevate any occasion. (A $13.95 Value)
*When ordering the Limited Edition Birchbox Home you get to choose between the Chambre De Sucre Rainbow Sugar Crystals I choose, or Jonathan Adler Playing Cards

Whether you are looking for a hostess or home-warming gift, or want to treat yourself, the Limited Edition Birchbox Home is a great value for the money.  I am definately going to be keeping some of this items for myself and gifting others.  (I think the herbs and sea salt would make a great addition to a gift basket)  The entire set comes in a jazzed up giant birchbox, making for a great presentation for a gift or if you are like me and like to reuse boxes for storage.  

Disclaimer: I purchased the Birchbox on my own and am not being compensated.  While the purchase was discounted through the use of rewards points, the rewards program is available to all Birchbox customers.  All the opinions expressed are my own.   

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