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!

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.

 

October Birchbox Review

October Birchbox time! I had an average month this go-round. I liked the theme, Fanfare (all about books and movies and the things we’re obsessing over this fall) but Birchbox didn’t do as much with it as I would have hoped. For instance, Birchbox man’s box looked like a football (give the football fangirls some love too Birchbox!), but all the girls got was a card where you were supposed to write in the shows you’ve been watching nonstop.

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I went with my old standby, Friends, because I could seriously watch nothing but this show and be happy. The other ones I’m obsessing over right now, though, are Once Upon a Time, New Girl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gilmore Girls (out on Netflix!), Castle and Legend of Korra. New Girl hasn’t been great this season, though, all the characters are acting really slutty right now (the writers’ description for them, not mine) and I don’t like it. Anyway, on to my box:

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Ojon rare blend oil rejuvenating therapy – My two so-so items. The oil actually spilled as I was trying to get it off the paper card it comes with, but I saved it enough of it to use it. It makes my hair soft but I like other hair products I’ve gotten from Birchbox better.

suki exfoliate foaming cleanser – The exfoliating cleanser actually confused me as I was applying it. See, I originally thought it was a face cleanser, but when I started to put it on my face it felt so rough that I changed my mind and decided it was like a scrub for my hands. So I used it on my hands, only to read later that it actually was for my face and I was right the first time. The product itself doesn’t actually say, but I could still very well be the only person to mix this up. When I used it on my face it was rough, but didn’t hurt my skin at all, and it foamed up really nicely and left my face feeling very soft, so that was a plus.

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ModelCo Power Lash Mascara – This is actually the first mascara sample I’ve gotten from Birchbox, so I was excited for it. The brush is nice and big, and it went on really well and looked nice, so that was good. The only downside was the brush was a little too big for the container, and I had to kind of smush it back in there and then mascara got all over the rim. Hopefully the full size has a wider opening.

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Skin&Co Roma Brightening Face Serum – This face cream is yet another product for my nonexistent wrinkles (I’m not even late twenties, Birchbox!) but it does brighten my skin I think, so that’s nice. It’s a very light lotion, pretty liquid-y but it rubs in smoothly and cleanly.

Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Shower Gel – Good thing this stuff is called Wake Up, because it definitely does. The scent is really strong. I like it, though, so no complaints here and other than the scent it’s pretty much like every other shower gel. I’m glad I got to try this.

So there we have it. My Birchboxes have definitely started to follow a trend, but every once in a while I’ll get a standout product, and that’s what keeps me looking forward to the next box.

Limited Edition Birchbox Review – Fall Fete

So, I caved (you knew I would) and bought the Limited Edition Birchbox – Fall Fete. I went ahead and added that BB sweatshirt as well, and I could not be happier with my purchase.

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First off, it came in the cutest box (purple’s my favorite color, as I’m sure you know by now) and it’s big enough that I can totally repurpose it. The sweatshirt is really cute as well, and so soft! My only complaint is that it’s so thin that it’s really more like a long sleeve shirt than a sweatshirt (but it’s shaped like a sweatshirt) but I didn’t think the length was too short, like other Birchboxers have said.

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Here’s all the items together! I can’t wait to throw a party with these.

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Core Bamboo Classic Salad Hands (value $18) – So, I got the version of the salad hands that I didn’t want, but it turned out OK because they look much less like hands in real life. They’re so big that they make excellent salad tossers (all I’ve used before this is my fork haha) and overall are a good addition to my kitchen.

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Core Kitchen Essential Pinch Bowl Set (value $20) – Luckily, I totally got the version of these bowls that I wanted! The purple and blue are so cute. These are squishy bowls, and while they’re pretty small I think they’ll come in very handy for holding sauces or nuts or as measuring cups (they’re all 1/2 cup). Definitely a win.

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Birchbox Exclusive Printed Coasters (value $10) – These are so cute, and I love that they’re reversible so if you want to mix and match or just match you’re all set! (Also if you get a stain on one, just flip it over and it’s good as new!) These are made of heavy paper, so they won’t last forever but will definitely make through at least a few parties.

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Knot and Bow Party Confetti Bag (value $10) and Rifle Paper Co. Placecards (value $7) – I think of these as fun extras. I don’t really know whether I’ll use them or not because my parties tend to not be this fancy, but I think the confetti could make a really cute decoration around a centerpiece, and the placecards could be good for labelling dishes I bring elsewhere (what it is, if it has allergy-prone ingredients) so I’m glad they were included, even though they don’t really add to the value for me personally.

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Greenleaf Room Spray (value $9) – Ohmigosh I’m obsessed with this. It’s apple cinnamon scented, and I love it so much I spray it constantly, even when I’m not having company or anything. I just want my house to smell like this all the time. It’s really strong so I definitely don’t need a lot, and if you’re sensitive to scents I would recommend spraying it in a corner or somewhere you don’t go. The smell will still spread to the whole room.

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Royal Rose Simple Syrup (value $5.50 for two) – This was the only thing in the box not full-size, and I haven’t tried either yet because I’m saving them for a special occasion since I really don’t know how long they’ll last once I open them. The flavors are raspberry and lavender-lemon, and they both sound so yummy. I wish they had instructions for what you could add them to (I know tea, but that’s about it) as well as how much syrup to put per cup (I like my stuff sweet, but I don’t want to overdo it).

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Govino ‘go anywhere’ Decanter (value $14.95) – This is a really useful item for me. It’s a small pitcher if I want to use it like that, or I can put wine in it (it’s supposed to make even inexpensive wine taste better, which is good because that’s all I buy) or I can put water and fruit in it (haven’t tried that yet, any suggestions for recipes?). It’s shatter proof and has a thumb imprint for a handle, which actually works quite well. Now I just need those matching cocktail glasses and I’ll be set.

So this was such a fun box, I’m really glad I got it. It has also definitely cemented my obsession with limited edition boxes, so I think I’m going to be saving all my points for those now. (BB said they’d be putting out quite a few for winter, yay!) And even though it cost $42, between my points and 20% off coupon this and the sweatshirt only cost me $12, so I am totally on board for that!

September Birchbox Review

Well, after a slightly disappointing August BB, I was again excited by this month’s box. I’ve gotten very used to getting to pick a sample, and I hope Birchbox continues with it. They did continue to flatter us in their shipping labels (Mine said “You=Best”) and basically just keep showing me that they have the best customer service anywhere. Let’s take a look at my haul.

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I got seven(!) items this month, which is great for my review points.

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Davines OI/Shampoo –  This shampoo is such a nicely sized sample, and it makes my hair feel really, really clean. It’s a pretty strong smell, too, but I liked it. As a bonus, BB included foil packets of the Conditioner and All in One Milk, so that was totally cool.

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Pixi Lip Balm in Ripe Raspberry- This is my favorite item of the box. It’s full-size, for starters, which is amazing! And it’s technically a lip balm but there’s so much color it’s basically a lipstick. I love it, I’ve started wearing it daily.

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Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – This was my sample pick for the month. I’ve gotten the Liz Earle before, but I jumped at the chance to get a second one. The muslin cloth that comes included is amazing.

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Juicy Couture Viva La Juice Gold Couture – Juicy Couture makes really nice perfumes, and this is their newest. I really liked the way it smells, it’s very sweet and fun. I’ve been seeing commercials for this one and I love that I got to try it right at its release.

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint – I’m not sure if this is my fourth or fifth tinted sunscreen, but I’m not complaining. I got a pretty bad sunburn this past weekend, and it made me remember how important it is to have it on when you’re outside. The tinted sunscreen helps me skip a step in the morning, so that’s a win. This Jouer feels really nice on and has a good color.

 

Book Series – The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

So, this isn’t really a book review because I’ve actually read 15 of these bad boys, but I am going to talk about my general experience with the series. I’ve spent the past month and a half immersed in Jim Butcher’s world, and I’m not gonna lie it feels really weird to be done with it (although not completely done with it, because even though 15 books is already a huge amount, the author’s nowhere near done writing). Here’s a look at all 15 book covers:

Needless to say, I am now obsessed with the Dresden files, and plan on spending the time until he comes out with the next book reading all the short stories I can find that are set in the Dresdenverse. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about with any of this, here’s a summary of book one:

Storm Front Summary (courtesy of Goodreads): Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting. Magic. It can get a guy killed.

Thoughts: Throughout the 15 books, Harry works with a host of different awesome characters, from Special Investigations cop Karrin Murphy to Knight of the Sword Michael to an actual vampire, and he battles even worse villains, from werewolves to vampires to demons and ghouls to fallen angels. A lot of the common themes are that there’s always a mystery that Harry has to figure out in a certain time period, there’s always a lot of magic being thrown around and plenty of other action scenes, and Harry gets in life-threatening danger multiple times per book.

Some of my favorite parts of each book are how many pop culture references Harry makes. The books are set in present-day Chicago, the only difference is the existence of the supernatural. Harry loves Star Wars, and references everything from Aladdin to Monty Python to Terry Pratchett. Also, Harry’s major personality point is how sarcastic he is. He constantly has a quip, and he’ll mouth off to anyone from his best friend to a freaking god.

My favorite book in the series (I know, this could cause a ton of arguments, but here goes) is Death Masks. I couldn’t exactly tell you why, either, I just like that one the best. My favorite character, besides Dresden, though, is Molly Carpenter. But really, I think Jim Butcher does a better job than pretty much any author of introducing a ton of side characters and making you love every single one of them. Some complaints I do have about the series are that the overall storyline doesn’t seem to move very much, despite the passage of time. The first books are all very similar in terms of sequence of events, and while I was starting to get tired of that, I do like those better than the books after Changes. (Changes was a huge turning point for the series.) I could talk about the Dresden Files all day, but hopefully my rambling has intrigued you and now you’re going to go check them out! (Cause you totally should, they’re awesome.)