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.

Jamberry Nails Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review Jamberry Nails*, custom nail wraps that come in hundreds of gorgeous patterns. Jamberry also does a subscription service called Stylebox that sends you at least $30 worth of Jamberry products for $25. I was sent one set of nail wraps, with instructions for application.


I couldn’t find the picture I took of the wraps, but here is one from another blog. Basic instructions were to cut the wraps in half, choose the one that fit your nail the best, peel it off and heat with a blow dryer for about 3 seconds, then apply using a nail stick or cuticle pusher, then blow dry again to set. I got the hang of it pretty easily, but it still took more than half an hour to apply these.

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Finished product! The designs are so cute, and I love that they are all different but still match each other. It makes me look very trendy 🙂 The downside of the wraps is that while you can adjust the length, there’s no way to adjust the width, and all of them were too narrow for my nails. (And I don’t have large fingers!) It’s most obvious on the thumb, but in Jamberry’s defense I didn’t get that one centered great. There were also a couple bubbles on the edge of my finger that I couldn’t get smoothed out, but I’m sure I’d get better with practice.

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Here’s another view. Another point against these is that because I have longer nails, I use them for quite a few things, and the edges of the wraps started peeling up pretty much instantly. I’m on my fourth day of application right now and they’re in pretty bad shape, I doubt they’ll last a week. My regular polish rarely lasts a week, either, but I can do touchups there if I want to (I rarely want to).

So basically Jamberry nails are cute and fun if you don’t mind the application process and the lack of size options. Check out more patterns here.

*This post contains affiliate links, and Jamberry Nails were sent to me with the expectation that I would provide an honest review.

Gamefly Free Trial Review

So back when I got my Loot Crate, it came with a code for a free one-month trial of Gamefly. Now, anyone can get a free trial, but what makes this a deal is that normally you only get to try the one-disc deal, and the code was for two discs at a time. My trial just ended and I definitely feel like I need to talk about my experience.

For those who don’t know, Gamefly is a service that lets you rent DVDs or video games in the mail, for a monthly fee. Any kind of game, and a reasonably large selection of DVDs. (They mostly have more recent titles.) On the two-disc trial you could have two games or DVDs out at once, and when you mailed one back they would send you the next one on your list, so they recommend having a long list in case something isn’t available right away.

However, I had a terrible experience with Gamefly, and I’ll tell you why. Shipping time! It took almost two weeks for ONE GAME to go from them to me (where I kept it for less than a day) and then back to them, so they would ship the next item. If you ever wanted to play something longer before sending it back, you’d never get another game. Gamefly charges $22.95 for their two-disc system, and $15.95 for one disc at a time. In the entire month (and I used every day of my trial) I was able to get four games total, and that was only by keeping them for a day or two at most. So for the one disc I would have been able to get two games total, which means it would have cost me almost $8 a game. That is absolutely outrageous.

The first two games I ordered were Zelda: Ocarina of Time for my 3DS (the only console I have) and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’ve been wanting to try out some 3DS games (right now I only have Pokemon) and also really like Wes Anderson movies.

Just as I expected, The Grand Budapest Hotel and quirky and sweet, with some really funny moments and some really sad ones. Wes Anderson is known for his movies that don’t have much of a plot, but just ramble from scene to scene, and while this one has more than most, don’t go in expecting a thriller or anything. I definitely recommend this for people who like independent films.

Then Gamefly finally sent me my next two games. (I actually reported The Grand Budapest Hotel missing, it took so long to arrive, so they sent me a second one that didn’t count toward my two-disc total.) They were Lego: Marvel Super Heroes and the movie Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I realized that I was not going to have time to send these two back and get two more. My month was almost up (if you don’t cancel by the day before, they’ll charge you, but they do give you seven days to get your final games back to them).

I heard a lot of people say they didn’t like Blended, but I thought it was so cute and funny. I loved the African vacation they went on, the scenery was amazing. There were also some really sentimental moments in it. This is Sandler and Barrymore’s third film together, after The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. I own both of those and now I think I’m going to buy this one.

So Gamefly is a service with a cool concept, and if I could rent the game on Monday, have it by Wednesday, and have it back by Friday it would be worth it, but right now the shipping is way too slow for Gamefly to be worth my while. Just so you know I’m not exaggerating, my rental history says The Grand Budapest Hotel was sent October 20 and returned November 4, and Blended was sent November 6 and returned November 20. I kept both of these DVDs one and two days, respectively, before putting them right back in the mail.

Galactic Loot Crate Review

So, I know I’m a little behind on this review but since people haven’t gotten this month’s Loot Crate (their next theme is Fear) I think I’m still OK posting about September’s. This was one of my “try-once-and-then-cancel” subscription boxes because it’s not something I can justify spending money on every month, but I had a coupon for $3 off (this month use code REV3 for 20% off, which is about $3 for a one-month sub). September’s theme was Galactic:

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Now, I was told that this month would feature items from Star Wars, Star Trek and Firefly. I love Star Wars, I’m absolutely obsessed with Firefly, and I’ve seen all the new Star Trek movies even if I haven’t seen the Original Series or Next Generation, so I figured I’d be OK. Then, to my dismay Loot Crate announced that they would ALSO be including stuff from Alien. I’ve never seen that movie, or had any desire to see it. I paid for Firefly swag and I wanted Firefly swag! Upon getting my box, I discovered they really only included one thing from each franchise, plus a few small extras.

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This was my Alien item – an action figure of Ripley. Luckily, I got Sigourney Weaver who I do like, as opposed to the gross Alien or a character I don’t care about. She redeemed my Alien extra.

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Star Trek was only mildly redeemable. I got a collectible “Tribble,” which I’ve never heard of because again I’ve only seen the new movies. All it is is an orange puff ball (apparently in the series it’s a poisonous thing from another planet that’s a villain in some episodes).

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Close up of my Tribble. It’s fuzzy and weird, but it could be worse I guess.

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On to my favorite item of the box! A Pop Funko Mystery Mini of Mal Reynolds, the main character of Firefly (played by Nathan Fillion, who I’m also obsessed with). This is so cute and, at a $9.99 value, almost pays for the whole box.

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The Star Wars item they included was a poster of Han Solo trapped in carbonite. Man, if you’re gonna give me a poster of Harrison Ford, couldn’t it have at least been him looking all cute or something, instead of weird and creepy in carbonite? This item was a wash.

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My small extras for this month was Firefly money (I never really saw what their money looked like, so I guess I just have to take Loot Crate’s word for it that this is it), an Asteroid video game magnet, Pop Rocks which my roommate immediately took because I think they’re gross, and a Loot Crate magazine going over all the items.

There you have it. Not the worst subscription box in the world, but definitely not one I would pay for more than once. If you’re interested, they cost $19.37 per month after shipping, and you can subscribe here. What did you think of this box? Do you have Loot Crate? Let me know in the comments!

Things happening in the Birchbox world

It’s time for another update on Birchbox. They recently released a new set of Birchbox sneak peeks, this time by picking three Birchbox users and telling us exactly what they’re getting their boxes. I loved this idea, and I had fun seeing all the products. Here are the videos:

My favorite products from these videos are:

The Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo because I totally need a good dry shampoo

The nügg Beauty Soothing Face Mask because it looks so fun

The hello. Breath Spray trio because this is a really cute idea as long as I get a good flavor

And the derma e Hydrating Mist with Hyaluronic Acid because I love the pick-me-up a good face mist provides.

Besides the sneak peeks, Birchbox has an awesome new free product in the Bonus Shop, Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” which is the Book Club book of the month and free if you spend $35 and use code “Mindy” at checkout. I actually won a copy thanks to Birchbloggers, so I’ll be reading and reviewing this soon!

Lastly, Birchbox just put out two absolutely adorable clothing pieces, including this Ombre Long Sleeve Sweatshirt, which is going for $29 (hello, next points purchase!). I am seriously in love with the ombre, the heather gray fabric and hopefully this feels as soft and comfy as it looks! (The other new product is the Birchbox NYC Burnout V-Neck T-shirt, for $20, which is cute but not as swoon-worthy as the sweatshirt.)