The Quarterly Good Office Box | Summer 2017 | Marie Mae Company

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First – a little background. Marie Mae Company sells socially conscious office and writing supplies. The company actually started a Business School which teaches classes and training for entrepreneurs each year – the inaugural Marie Mae Business School was in Rwanda. Each item you buy from this company provides one hour of training for someone. That’s incredible! I love how this company does more than just donate profits or money to a cause – they are making a tangible difference.

The Summer 2017 Quarterly Good Office Box is Marie Mae’s first foray into the subscription box world – it costs $49.95 and technically speaking, is not a subscription because you buy each one separately.

I signed up for their email list, and won a free box before they put them on sale. If you’re interested, you can buy one here. This was a giveaway, I was not given this box for review, but these are my honest opinions about it.

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Plain packaging, and the tissue paper is par for the course with subscription boxes nowadays. Also common is a booklet detailing the items included, but Marie Mae goes above and beyond here. The paper is stellar quality, with thick, glossy magazine pages, and the actual booklet not only lists the usual item details, it has a page giving you ideas for your new products, a page that discusses the Marie Mae Business School and more. Here are a few pictures:

Beautiful design!

The box includes:

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Ripple Coffee from Peru: $12.50 Retail Value

I love the packaging of this coffee, and medium roast is a blend most people can enjoy, but this is whole bean coffee so I haven’t opened mine yet because I will have to find a grinder somewhere first.

Coffee Scoop from Kenya: $12.00 Retail Value

This is my possibly my favorite item in the box, just for how unique it is! It’s hand carved from olive wood by artisans in Kenya, and the handle is bleached cow bone, carved to resemble the antlers of savanna antelopes. What a cool story! It also pairs so well with the coffee, making them feel like a higher value set.

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Notepad and To Do List Sticky Notes: $14.00 Retail Value

This is the most boring/possibly most useful product in the box. I actually love that the sticky notes have to do list checkboxes, because that’s most commonly what I use sticky notes for – now I have to learn how to write that small though!

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“Do Good” Print: $14.00 Retail Value

The RV on this feels a little inflated, considering it’s the words “Do good” printed on cardstock. The booklet suggests it would look great in a fun frame on your desk. I would probably pin this up on my cubicle’s bulletin board, but I save most of my frames for pictures.

Weekly Planner in Gray: $18.00 Retail Value

This planner includes a fitness tracker, gratitude journal and meal planner, and it has 26 weekly and notes pages. I love that this planner isn’t dated, so if you’re like me and sometimes go a few weeks between keeping organized, you can pick up right where you left off and not waste any pages! The planner is a good size, but thin and well-made. I’m excited to start using it.

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Spiral Notebook in Green: $28.00 Retail Value

This is the “hero item” of the box, and I cannot emphasize enough what high quality it is. On their site, Marie Mae sells a number of color options, but this box always contains the forest green notebook. The cover is extremely thick book cloth, with the words “Write with Purpose” in gold foil stamp, and the spirals are very sturdy. The size is 7.5″ x 9.5″, so it’s slightly smaller than a piece of notebook paper, and I love that. It feels like just the right size for me. I will definitely be bringing this to my work meetings.

Overall Retail Value: $98.50 

I feel like the box is a great value overall – you’re basically getting all these items for half price. I think Marie Mae really came out strong with this first box, and I am looking forward to seeing what the company has in store for future boxes! Interesting to note is that half of these items are for sale individually from Marie Mae, but they really don’t have a large product selection, so I’m not sure what direction they’ll go in once they run out of their products.

 

New Limited Edition Birchbox – “For the Bridal Party” Kit

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Birchbox has once again released a limited edition box without as much fanfare as they normally provide. This time it’s a wedding-themed box, but not for the bride! They collaborated with Style Me Pretty to release this “For the Bridal Party” Kit, and as someone who’s been a bridesmaid six times, I can attest to how sweet and thoughtful a gift this would be. It’s for sale here for $32.

At five items, there aren’t quite as many products in this box as there usually are in LE boxes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the cost.

This is the big-ticket item, a Dogeared Gold Bridal necklace. It’s a super cute sideways heart with a value of $64 on Dogeared’s site.

This candle probably feels the least “bridesmaid-esque” but maybe the scent will change my mind. It’s a Greenleaf candle in Cashmere Kiss, and similar Greenleaf tins have a value of $10.

Next up are two sample size items, Jelly Pong Glow Getter Highlighter and Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Tint. I’ve gotten both of these in my boxes, and I can tell you that the Jane Iredale is a VERY small sample, but I think these would be great for the actual wedding day.

The last item in the box is a May Designs custom bridesmaid card that you can personalize for whoever you gift this box to (or if it’s for yourself, keep it until you need an extra-special thank you card.

Birchbox is advertising a $92 value for this box, but like I said almost all of it is the necklace. They’re also offering a deal where if you purchase a gift subscription for someone, you can add this box for $29 ($3 off the regular price). This looks like a nice box that would definitely be appreciated by (sometimes) overworked bridesmaids!

Under the Sun Limited Edition Birchbox – First Impressions

As I’m sure you all know, I’m obsessed with Birchbox’s Limited Edition boxes. I’ve purchased the Modern Mermaid, Fall Fete and Home Sweet Homespun boxes and drooled over all the rest. Birchbox is expected to release its summertime box May 19, Under the Sun, and this one looks like tons of fun for those who just want to be outside. Take a look at the current Limited Edition offerings here.

Makeup’s up first with Cynthia Rowley’s Beauty on the Go Multi Blush & Bronzer duo. This is a cream-to-powder duo that’s perfect for travel. It also contains olive fruit oil to nourish your skin. This product looks great for a weekend vacay on the beach.

Value: $24

Laura Mercier’s Baked Eye Colour eye shadow is the next standout in this box. This shadow can be worn both dry and wet, and is smudge resistant for laying out at the pool (something I intend to be doing regularly this summer).

Value: $24

Another essential for pool-time is sunscreen. Supergoop Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen has you covered with SPF 40 and a lightweight, hypoallergenic formula. It also says that it doesn’t leave a white residue, which is my biggest pet peeve with lotion sunscreens and why I typically use the sprays.

Value: $11.67 (The box comes with a travel size)

Pack all your essentials (or, if you’re me, just your wet swimsuit and towel) into this nylon classic Baggu bag. It folds up into a tiny pouch and is basically a reusable shopping bag.

Value: $9

These Knockaround sunglasses are perfect for those of you like me who tend to lose or break their sunglasses, but still want to be trendy in the sun. These have a rounded square shape and I like the polarization on them as well.

Value: $14.60

NCLA Swim Club nail polish has the best summer shades, including Bikinis and Martinis, a pastel pink that will come in every box. I would love to get a couple more shades of this to mix and match for my fingers and toes.

Value: $16

The big ticket item for this box is definitely this Chloe + Isabel Exclusive Medina Convertible Pendant Necklace. Only found at Birchbox, it can be worn multiple ways and I know I love the turquoise color.

Value: $38

Last but not least is a fun summer candy, Sugarpova flirty. Gummy lips in rainbow colors are great for snacking on the beach.

Value: $5

And there you have it! The only thing I think this box is missing is a cute beach towel, but the total value of this box comes out to $143, and the box will retail at $55. Will you be grabbing one?

UPDATE: This box is now available for sale here. Grab one before they sell out!

Birchbox December Review

Whew! What a crazy month December was. I love the holidays but I get so busy during this time, and usually I spend a lot of it sick as well. Regardless, I got another Birchbox (every month, they just keep coming like magic haha), and thought I’d share my thoughts.

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Birchbox loves the holidays too! And they have continued their complimentary adjectives on the shipping labels.

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I love the decorative boxes so much more than the plain brown ones, I hope they keep it up (I already know January’s box looks super cute!)

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This month’s box came with a $10 coupon to Gap, but there were too many restrictions for my liking (you had to claim it to get your code before Dec. 30, and it was only good in-store, and there is no Gap anywhere near me). Still, it was a nice addition and I hope Birchbox continues collaborating with other companies like this.

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Now on to the good stuff! This was a five-item box for me, the standard.

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My PYS (pick your sample) for this month was the Vasanti Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil in Rose Gold. While that is one too many adjectives in the title for my liking, I have the full size of this in Electric Navy and love love love it! And the Rose Gold did not disappoint. It is such a gorgeous color, I often wear it by itself when I want more subtle makeup instead of eyeshadow. This is my fav item in the box, and what keeps my faithful to the PYS system.

I also got the Manna Kadar Lip Locked in the All of Me shade, and it’s a perfectly fine lip gloss but I don’t really like using the tiny samples of these, I lose them more often than not. It’s a great neutral shade to match my eyeliner, though.

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This is my most confusing product, even though I’m probably the only confused one. It’s Rusk Texture Spray, and it’s called a dry finishing spray and is supposed to add texture and volume, and smooth. I can’t figure out if this is a dry shampoo, a hairspray, a sea salt spray or something else entirely. (All right, I know it’s not a sea salt spray because it doesn’t contain sea salt, but it does do similar things to my hair.) It gets a B for effort, though, and I’m going to keep using it.

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Finally, my last two samples. I’ve seen tons of rave reviews about the Cuppa Cuppa tea mask, and while I think it helped my skin it burned some when I applied it. I haven’t used too many masks, but this one wasn’t my favorite. Also, while the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre sounds super fancy (I can’t even pronounce it), it left my skin feeling greasy and heavy.

So overall this was an average box but will continue to be worth it to me considering the points I get each month and the cute extras Birchbox is always doing. Check out my referral link if you’re interested in signing up!

One Direction Limited Edition Makeup Collection – Review

I received One Direction’s new makeup collection for review*. This was a well curated collection in my opinion, and I think it’s especially appropriate for teenage girls. Here are the three tins I received (there were five total, one for each band member): DSC_1128   To be honest, I was a little disappointed that each tin contained the same makeup. It would have been a better use of the limited edition collection to have different shades and palettes in each tin, so that you could then collect them all if you wanted. As it is I’m not sure why you’d want five identical makeup palettes. DSC_1129   Each palette came with six eye shadows, four lip glosses, an eye liner pencil, a lip gloss top coat and two nail varnishes, along with applicator brushes for the eye shadows and lip glosses. The eye shadows were my favorite part of the collection, I loved the shimmery shades they offer (silver, pink, mint, brown, purple and black). They match well with each other and are neutral enough to match almost any look I’d want. They eye shadow goes on easily, and while it didn’t last all day it still looked nice while it did. My favorite lip gloss was the brighter color, as these go on pretty sheer and I like to have a little color on my lips. If you layered them over a lipstick, though, it would look nice as well. The nail varnishes were also too sheer for my taste, and I’m not sure why you would want your lips to have glitter on them, which is what the lip gloss top coat is for, but hey, different strokes for different folks. Overall this was a very nice collection, and I definitely recommend it to someone looking for a cute Christmas present. *This complimentary product was sent to me via Brandbacker for the purposes of an honest review.

November Birchbox Review

For the November Birchbox, I ordered the curated box. Birchbox collaborated with Buzzfeed, and let subscribers know exactly what would be in the box beforehand. I really liked some of the items, so I reserved it, but then found out later that everyone who didn’t get the curated box would get a sample of chocolate, and honestly I felt a little gipped. Birchbox said they decided to either give everyone the bonus item for that month, or not do one. But way to wait until some users have picked already! Birchbox also partnered with (RED), an organization that helps fight AIDS, and so for ever user that posted a picture of the facts that came on their box, Birchbox would donate one dollar. But, again, my curated box did not come with AIDS facts, so I was unable to participate in this. Regardless, let’s check out my box this month:

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OMG, it’s Buzzfeed Life, Happy Holiday Hacks. It came with the usual product card.

 

DSC_1109I got some sweet samples, so let’s dive in.

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These two products are what made me pick the box. I have been wanting to try new dry shampoo for quite some time, and amika perk up dry shampoo comes highly recommended. I thought this dry shampoo smelled really nice and made my hair less greasy for sure, but I’m a little iffy on whether or not it added any volume. The sample size was a little small for me, but this should still last me a while if I use it sparingly.

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Here’s a close-up of my candle (I got a little picture happy this month). It’s the Greenleaf Candle in silver spruce, and has a very wintry scent, which I liked. The sample didn’t come in a nice votive like the full-size does, but I have plenty of those lying around and overall I’m very pleased with this.

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This was a very weird product, possibly the weirdest I’ve ever gotten in my Birchbox. It’s the Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Mask, but it’s not like any mask I’ve ever worn. Instead of being a cream or lotion you put on your face and let sit, it’s a fabric cutout soaked in the cleanser. I thought it made me look like a criminal. I took a picture, but I looked absolutely ridiculous so I’m not posting here unless y’all need to see what I’m talking about to believe me. It was a little big for me, which makes sense because they’d want it to fit everyone and I have a small face, and I feel like it cleansed my face. There was some tingling while I had it on, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. I got used to the fabric pretty quickly. So not a bad product, just not what I was expecting at all.

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Finally, I got Mirenesse iCurl mascara, which I love, it works well and I think it adds volume and curve to my lashes. And I got Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for lips. If I hadn’t just gotten that crazy mask I would have said this is the weirdest product Birchbox has sent me. I am not one of those girls that sees something called nipple balm for nursing mothers and thinks, “I should put that on my mouth.” I can see why it works, though, it was very thick and stayed on my lips for quite a while. It was too goopy and sticky for me, but if my lips were really chapped I would probably use it.

So if you hadn’t guessed, I will not be requesting any more curated boxes, I’ll stick with the surprises Birchbox sends me plus the one sample I get. I just don’t want to miss out on bonus items or collaborations with other organizations. This Buzzfeed box was still a success, though, and overall I’m happy with what I got.