Saturday, March 23, 2013

Birchbox March 2013

I know what you're saying - "Homey, I thought you unsubscribed to Birchbox." And I did... but then I saw that they were offering a great box for April and I wanted it - so I signed up for the April box. Or so I thought. 

You see, homegirl's timing is never very good, and so instead of signing up in enough time for April, it turns out I made the March cutoff as well. Uh... yay?

March's them is March Madness. I know. Not very original. Here's what I got this month:

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream: This is supposed to improve skin tone. Will it? I doubt it. However, I love Juice Beauty products and will continue to use it until it's empty. Who knows? I might just end up looking like a million bucks. (Hey! A girl can dream, can't she?)
Retail price: $39 for 1.7 oz.

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Color-Saver Sulfate-Free Shampoo: Here we go again: a shampoo without the accompanying conditioner - which you know is this girl's big complaint. I won't know how well a product works if I can't use it with its partner. However, this product does not contain alcohol, so I will use it on my color-treated hair to see how it does. 
Retail price: $22 for 8 fl. oz.

Stella Cadente Miss Me Discrete? Eau de Toilette: Oh boy, was I excited to see a fragrance sample in my box - it was the first thing I opened up. Imagine my displeasure when I found the fragrance sample to be EMPTY! What? No good stuff? Birchbox punked me! 
Retail price: $49 for 30 ml

Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator: This is an exfoliating cleanser, and it smells pretty darn good. It contains papaya enzymes to brighten up dull skin. While not an exciting product, I do enjoy trying to new cleansers, so this is a win in my book.
Retail price: $34 for 4.23 oz.

Beauty Extra: Emery Board by Madewell - Kind of cute - but I don't use these little papery kinds of emery boards. This is one area in which I'm faithful - I always buy Revlon Emeryl Files - I don't stray. However, I knew a French girl who swore by the kind of emery boards this Madewell board is made from - she said any other kind was harsh on nails. Maybe so... but I love my Revlon Emeryl File!
Retail price: $5.00

Nitpicks: I was actually a little angry when I discovered my fragrance sample was empty. I wrote Birchbox, and they had no samples left to send me - so they credited my account with 100 points. That was really nice - and it's one thing I've always said about Birchbox: they have great customer service. 

Lasting Impression: The customer service, of course! The items in the box were not that exciting - but the nice email I received from BB's customer service rep put a smile on my face.

Ipsy March 2013

This particular Ipsy bag might not have been my favorite so far - however, that is not to say that it wasn't good. It simply didn't excite me as much as the others - yet.... it still gave me a case of the happies.

The theme was Great Escape - and it was filled with travel sized products to take on a trip to... somewhere. Here is what was inside my jaunty sailor print make-up bag:

LA Fresh - Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes: I love these makeup remover wipes - I visit my dad at least once a month, and they're great to take along with me. They fit in my make-up bag, and do a fabulous job of removing all the make-up I have left on my face after a good night's sleep. 
Retail price: 1.99 for 8 wipes

Juice Beauty - Hydrating Mist: I absolutely love Juice Beauty products. That said, although I was excited to try this, it's not really my thing. I don't spray this type of thing on my face - if I did, my makeup would drip and make me look like I was in a zombie movie. However, I discovered something kind of cool - it is a great little thing to have at hand when I'm having a hot flash. I sprayed some of this on the back of my neck when I was mid-flash, and it helped to cool me off.
Retail price: $22 for 6.75 oz.

GlamRx Mini Freestyle Palette: I gotta admit, this was the least exciting thing in the bag for me - and yet, it is a much loved product by others. I wasn't sure what its purpose was - after investigating (i.e. using Google), I discovered it is a container to put eye shadows, bronzer, etc. in. This was an Ipsy exclusive, so it can't be bought (although apparently Zpallete is similar).

Yaby - Eyeshadow Refill in Seashell & Azalea Petal: I have TWO items to put inside my GlamRx Palette. These colors are nice - although very similar to the Coastal Scent eyeshadow colors I received last month.
Retail price: $3.99 for 3 grams (sample received is not full size - even though it might look like that in the picture)

Nitpicks: First, once again I did not receive tracking information. I emailed Ipsy, and to their credit, they got back to me within 24 hours with a tracking notice. The bag itself is kind of blah - but then again, I sincerely doubt I will keep any of these makeup bags. I usually put them in my donation bag every month. Still, the bag itself went along with the theme (somewhat), and it didn't smell bad like last month's bag did.

Lasting impression: Blerg. This bag wasn't exciting - but I guess they all won't be. However, I was impressed with customer service, and I look forward to next month's bag.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Eco-Emi February 2013

First things first: I love Eco-Emi. I really, truly do. And so it pains me to write my first "meh" review of one of their boxes.

Now had this been a regular box, I might not have been disappointed. But it was their anniversary box - and I expected great things. Not necessarily full sizes... but I did expect a lot of the cool items that has made Eco-Emi what it is today - a unique, eco-friendly, and much coveted monthly subscription box.

The box was also late, and there was some sort of screw up and tracking notices did not go out. I can forgive the lateness: they were hit with a snow storm. And things DO get screwed up once in a while - Mercury is in Retrograde after all - still, those two issues PLUS the underwhelming anniversary box really lent this month a blah flavor.

Without further ado, here is the box:

Serenity Vegan Hair Gel by ily: I haven't tried this yet, but it's supposed to be good for both curly and straight hair. I don't need to use it here in Nevada - the air is dry, so my hair doesn't get frizzy. But I will use it when I go to the Bay Area, which wreaks havoc on my hair. This stuff smells like Jello (that's not necessarily a bad thing!).
Retail price: $16 for 8 oz.

Exfoliate foaming vegan cleanser by Suki: It's a small sample, and I'll use it - but it's not exciting. However, it does smell good - well, like Jello. (Strange how the hair gel and the cleanser smell almost exactly alike, yet are from two different companies.)
Retail price: $32.95 for 4 oz.

Berry Red lip gloss by Purely You Minerals: The one thing in this box that got me excited. It's a nice color that I think wold look good on a majority of women. It's kind of gooey, though, and messy to put on (it came in a pot, but the retail product comes in a wand with an applicator). It tastes like peppermint and contains botanical essential oils and vitamin E.
Retail price: $7.99

Pumpkin Spice Bars by Athena Bars: This is a repeat item - kind of. They sent a blueberry flavor in November. Personally I didn't think it tasted very good, but apparently it was so popular that they repeated the item with a different flavor to for us to try. I'm hoping this one is better - and I do tend to like pumpkin-flavored goodies.
Retail price: $22.68 for 12 bars

Key Lime and Mint Gum by Vitacare: This is another repeat item in a different flavor. Last March, I received the Pomegranate Gum. Personally it wasn't my thing: the flavor didn't last long, and as soon as the flavor went away, my mouth felt dry. 
Retail price: $1.99 for a 12-piece packet

Collagen & Almond enriching moisturizing lotion by Aubrey: What is it with people? Can't they captailize their products anymore? But I digress... this is - say it with me now - A LITTLE FOIL PACKET. And you know how homey hates those. 
Retail price: $9.99 for 12 oz

Peppermint Spice Lip Balm by Moody Sisters: This is the third Moody Sisters product I've received. I love that Eco-Emi supports their etsy shop. I also wish that Eco-Emi would find some other etsy products to promote. Don't get me wrong: I love Moody Sisters. It would be nice, however, to try something new from a different company.
Retail price: $3.95

The Amazing Trio packet of grass. Okay. It wasn't really a packet of grass... it's a "whole food drink powder" and it's raw and gluten free. It's also kind of nasty - and it seems like the "good for you" grass products always are. But it IS full of nutrients that are good for your health, so suck up a little nasty to feel good.
Retail price: $21.99 for 15 packets

Nitpicks: As I mentioned before, an anniversary box evokes excitement and surprise - this box had very little - if any - surprise. Repeat products. Repeat companies. Additionally, there was not even one item that could be classified in the "wow" department.

Lasting Impression: This particular box was packed up beautifully. All the products were contained in a lovely silver tin with a see-through top. Eco-Emi really does put care into their packaging, and it shows.

Despite this less than stellar review, I still love Eco-Emi. I do hope they can get through this slump and revisit their roots - which is what an anniversary is about. I want to challenge them to remember to keep surprising their subscribers with new and innovative green products - to seek out new companies and new products. Happy Anniversary, Eco-Emi - may you have many more.

Ipsy February 2013

Ipsy is doing everything it can to win my heart… and let me tell you, it’s working. This month’s Ipsy bag was nothing but fun for me to receive. The theme was “Get Red Carpet Ready” and it was chock-full of cosmetics – one of my favorite things to receive! Here’s what was inside:


POP Beauty Mascara: You know, way back when I used to be sick of getting little mascara samples – WTF was wrong with me? Now I love getting them. They really are all different. This one separates my lashes like none other before it. Admittedly, it doesn’t do much to make my lashes look longer – but I love the non-clumpy separation it delivers.

Retail price: $18.50 for 0.25 oz  (The sample size included in this bag is worth $12.58)


The Lash Card: Birchbox handed these out awhile back – I didn’t get one then. And, I didn’t use this one, either… but I will. I’m curious to see if it does what it claims it will: “making it easy to get those hard-to-reach lashes.” I don’t know about you, but I have the darndest time with my corner lashes. I am curious to see if these lash cards will make a difference.

Retail price: $6.99 for a pack of 10. (Sample of four cards worth $2.80.)


Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer: Let me say, finding this product in my bag gave me a major case of the happies. I have seen it at Target, and wanted to try it – but this product is too rich for homey’s wallet. I admit: I still haven’t tried it, mostly because I’m currently using up a Smashbox primer sample (which I love!). Still, I was quite tickled to receive a product that was on my wish list.

Retail price: $29 for 30ml (Sample size is worth $14.50.)


Coastal Scents Shadow Palette Sample Quad: The name Coastal Scents evokes a fragrance, not an eye shadow. Unfortunate name aside, these shadows are LOVELY shades – and all within my color palette. I got another case of the happies when I saw this in my bag!

Retail price: $1.99 per 1 inch metal pan (must buy containers separately)


MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner: This has become my favorite eye liner to date. It doesn’t flake during the day, and it also doesn’t aggravate my eyeliner sensitivity problem (certain eyeliners tend to make my eyes water during the day). I know I shouldn’t do this, but often I fall asleep with my eye make-up still on. Surprisingly this looks as good in the morning after a sound sleep as it did when I went to bed.

Retail price: $35 for .18 oz


Nitpicks: The MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner did not have a label on it – so it took some investigating to figure out what it was. Because of the color, I assumed it was an eyeliner… but it would have been nice if the product came with a label. Additionally, the product needs an applicator brush. Thankfully I had one, but if I didn’t, I would have had to go out and buy one just to sample the product.


Lasting Impressions: This bag was everything I ever hoped a Birchbox sub box would be –and more. The value of the items in this box came to at least $64. While I know it’s not always going to be the case, this particular bag contained products that I either have already used or will use – there was not one dud in this bag. Ipsy made me one very happy girl this month!