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): 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. 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.
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:
OMG, it’s Buzzfeed Life, Happy Holiday Hacks. It came with the usual product card.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
Close up of my Tribble. It’s fuzzy and weird, but it could be worse I guess.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Here’s all the items together! I can’t wait to throw a party with these.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!