Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Ah Thursday, we meet again. This is the last Thursday before September and all the children go back to school. I'm kind of ready for cooler weather too, or at least less "oh my god the whole state is on fire!" As per my usual I'm linking up with Jen of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts Link Up.

So first off, my last injection didn't go as planned. Thanks to some screw ups that weren't my fault I didn't get it till Tuesday, which put me several days behind schedule. So now instead of having a whole weekend to rest and recover I've spent all my recovery time at work. I feel like something that has been run over at this point, I'll write more about it next week, but for right now I'm not happy and I'm looking into getting a patient advocate to help make sure nothing like this happens again.

Putting up another Tutorial Tuesday was so nice, I've really missed doing them. I originally stopped because I was going to move them to YouTube and with all that has been going on YouTube is on the bottom of my list right now. Should I bring Tutorial Tuesdays back? I got so many compliments on my DIY colored bobby pins, and they were all amazed when I said it was nail polish on a bobby pin. Stuff like this has huge payoff with just a little bit of work, which is how I like my projects.

I don't know how well you can tell, but the above photo is a car in my pond. A very drunk neighbor jumped a curb, went down a hill, managed to avoid all the trees and ended up stuck in my very deep pond. Nobody was hurt minus the island in the pond, but the whole thing was crazy. They had to get a tow truck to get the car out, and I'm assuming the driver was arrested. If you've never heard a car crashing into a body of water let me tell you it was a terrifying noise. And my downstairs neighbor is beyond lucky they got stuck, otherwise they'd have gone straight through to her bedroom. Don't drink and drive, okay?

The picture is terrible, but that is a broken finger tip taken the night it happened. Today it is a super dark purple and super swollen, but I don't want to take the splint back off so I can take a picture. This has not been my week, that's for sure, At least it's just the tip and not a lower knuckle, makes it easier to manage. Oh and for those curious, I didn't break it, someone else smashed it. Someone who owes me a giant slurpee now. Cherry flavored. Because I know you read my blog. That I typed with a broken finger.

September is Birchbox's 5 year anniversary and my 1 year anniversary. I'm getting two boxes again, which is awesome, and I think an anniversary gift as well. I'll have to do another 6 month look back at my Birchboxes and do a final review after the 12th box arrives. Speaking of Birchbox, someone asked me how many samples I have sitting around from all of these boxes so I looked back and totalled things up. Out of the 59 items I've received in Birchboxes (not counting CEW or individual orders) I've given away 5 items, thrown away 1, and finished up 36 items! Wow! That's some serious progress! Basically I haven't finished any full sized makeup item from them and the stuff from July and August. Good to see that I'm actually using up the stuff I get, I hate wasting money.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 2015 Birchbox

You'd think by the 4th box this month I'd be tired of Birchbox, but I'm still super excited when  ever I open my mailbox and there's a box waiting for me. There's just something fun about getting a surprise box of beauty goodies every month that I really love. For those who don't know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription box company that delivers 4-5 deluxe or full sized beauty products to your door for the low price of $10. Some months are great, some suck, but no matter what I love Birchbox and wont be quitting any time soon. Even if this was a terrible box. Which it was.

The design on the box was really fun this month, this might be in my top five favorite box designs for sure. What screams summer more than a swimming pool? I really like these fun box designs and I hope it continues past this year.

I received 5 items this month, which is pretty typical for my boxes. There was only one makeup item, which was a little disappointing, but three skincare items and a hair care item, which is always nice. I go through hair stuff so quickly, though I think by the end of September I'll be completely bald so I may need to change my profile a bit. And if you read my Guest Editor box review you probably see a repeat in the form of a self tanner. So already I'm not happy with my box, but let's dig in and see what I think.

I'm not really going to talk about the tanning lotion since I talk about it here, but I will again say it is a neat item for someone who isn't already extremely tanned.

Oribe is one of those high end hair care lines that I've always wanted to try, but I'm waaaay to broke to try. So getting a beach spray, something I'm obsessed with, from them in my Birchbox this month was like hitting the hair jackpot. This is an aerosol beach spray, which I haven't used before, but I felt like it gave my hair some interesting texture. Would I call them beach waves? No, but this was a great texturing spray instead. I might try this on hair that was braided to see if I can get some great waves. Would I buy a full sized of this? No, Oribe is pretty well outside of my budget and it didn't wow me enough to make an exception for.

I've gotten a product from Balance Me before, in my very first Birchbox I believe. They're a pretty well rated company, so I was happy to try something else from their line. And an acne spot treatment product is right up my alley, my skin is being so weird right now that I can use all the help I can get. I've admittedly only used this once, so I can't tell you about the long term use benefits, but I was happy with how my skin looked the next day and my lovely forehead acne was about half the size it had been the night before, and they were totally gone by the next day. Since this is a spot treatment my tube will last me for a while, but I won't be buying a full size again because of the price.

The Balm is another one of those high end makeup brands that's been on my wish list forever but I'm way to broke to commit to trying. That's one of the things I love about Birchbox, I get to try these items that are normally way outside of my budget. Now that being said, I do want my samples to be of a usable size.

This is the Beach Babe bronzer and the pan is the size of a small eyeshadow pan. Makes it pretty hard to actually use as a bronzer. This is just a pet peeve of mine, like the lipsticks with half an inch of product or the BB creams with 2 days worth of product in it. Just give me a decent sized, usable sample, its not that hard of a concept.

The color isn't bad at all, but because of the size I'm having a hard time using it. I'm half tempted to transfer it to a bigger pan, but I'll probably just use it as a crease color. I won't be buying a full sized because I'm not sure if I'd like it as a bronzer.

And lastly we have the item that made me physically ill. Facial wash is something I don't have a lot of, so I was really excited to get a pretty good sized bottle of an usual one. This is Shea Terra's Rose Hips Black Soap and it is suppose to deep clean your pores and help remove dead skin from your face. First, it's a nasty brown thick liquid, like cheap molasses. You have to put it on your face and leave it for about 5 minutes before you massage it then rinse it. Which would be gross but fine if it didn't smell like stale cigarette smoke. The smell was so strong it literally made me sick to my stomach. And on top of that it dried my face out so bad it took days to heal. I have never hated a product as much as I hate this, it literally went straight into the trash. And you guys should know by now I hate wasting products, so for me to throw away a full bottle is a big deal. Disgusting, awful product.

So out of 5 items, none of them were a clear winner. One went straight to the trash, one is a repeat I can't use, one is so tiny I can barely use it, and two were ok but not worth the price tag at all. I'm really disappointed with this box, the curation felt off and I don't think anybody at Birchbox has ever used that soap. This might be my least favorite box, I'm so glad I got three other boxes this month or I'd be seriously pissed. Was your box this month better than mine?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Else Can I Do With Nail Polish?

Most people would label me as super creative and artistic, but what I really am is super cheap. If I can make it myself cheaper I'm going to figure out how to do it. I'm not paying $20 for something I can make for $5. One of the things I like to do is find new uses for things I already have, and I currently have a ton of nail polish. Obviously you can paint your finger nails and toe nails with it, but are there other things you can do with it? Of course! And I'm going to talk about a few of my favorite uses for nail polish outside of the mani/pedi box.

DIY Colored Bobby Pins

If you follow fashion or hair style blogs, you may have seen that making designs in your hair with colored bobby pins has been all the rage this summer. But have you seen the price of colored bobby pins?!? Ridiculous. I can buy a big pack of plain ones at the Dollar Store and whip up some custom colored ones from the comfort of my home for just a few pennies.

Step one is to place the bobby pins you want to color on a piece of thin cardboard or an index card. This allows me to pick them up and tilt them to get every spot and also prevents the polish from accidentally gluing it shut. I only paint the flat side since that's the only side that will show if I'm actually wearing them.

Now just take your selected polish and paint away! I found that cream finishes work best opacity wise, but obviously you can do whatever you want. I did some pastel creams to go with a specific dress I'm planning on wearing this weekend for a work event. But why stop at one color? Why not do stripes, or add some glitter polish for an extra sparkle or two? The options are limitless!

Color Coding Your Keys

I have three keys for work that look exactly the same, which means everyday I stand there trying to open a door and I never pick the correct key first. By color coding my keys I just have to grab the X colored one and tada! An opened door without the frustration.

I recommend giving your keys a quick cleaning, then lay them out on a piece of paper to catch any nail polish drips.

Then paint away. I did two oats on these, I may do a third on the orange. Wait for it to dry in between each coat, then flip over and repeat on the other side. And just like with the bobby pins you can do stripes, glitter, shapes, whatever you want. Just make sure you only do the part you hold onto, otherwise the polish may interfere with the locking mechanism.

No More Green Fingers

We all have that piece of costume jewelry we love but never wear because it turns our skin green. A quick coat or two of clear polish will seal the piece and you'll be able to wear your bling wherever you want now.

Turn Old Jewelry New Again

Do you have some chain jewelry that you'd like to wear but they are just so dated? Use nail polish to give them a brightly colored makeover. 

What unusual ways do you like to use nail polish? And do you miss Tutorial Tuesdays as much as I do? Let me know what you think down below in the comments.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

With Grape Power Comes Grape Responsibilities

*I received this product free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own*

Before we get into this review, can we just take a minute to marvel at the clever pun of a title I came up with? I'm pretty proud of that one and I hope at least ten of you cringed when you read it. Anyways, you aren't here to read about my obsession with terrible puns (or are you?), you came here to see what product I'm reviewing now. As I've talked about ad nauseum by now, my health is in the toilet. Between the health problems I already have and the fun of being on chemotherapy I'm not exactly the healthiest or hardiest person on the planet right now. I'm trying to take vitamins and eat really well lately, but I wanted to try and do something more to help my health. If you are into nutrition then you probably know certain types of food are rich in antioxidants, like pomegranates. Grapes are also high in antioxidants, but I'm pretty sure my digestive system would never forgive me for eating a ton of grapes right now, and grape juice has a TON of sugar in it. Wine is an appealing alternative, but thanks to one of my medications I'm an alcohol free blogger right now. Since those options were out, I went with a quicker and simpler option: grape concentration supplements.

They make everything in pill form, which is awesome for those on the go, those who don't like certain food groups, or those like me who can't keep a meal down half the time. These Muscadine supplements are made from the skins of the muscadine grape, which is well know for being full of good for you antioxidants and vitamins. The pills are 50% muscadine skin (for the vitamins) and 50% muscadine seeds (for the antioxidants), giving them a powerful punch. And they are 100% made in the USA, so you know you aren't getting some weird "vitamin" made in a sketchy factory overseas.

I've been taking these off and on for the last month, just depending on how well I'm keeping food down. I've noticed my skin and nails are looking pretty good, minus what the chemo is doing to them. And I feel like my immune system has been propped up and I actually avoided all the plagues going around my work for the last month. The only things I don't like about these are the size and the weird after taste/burps you get for about an hour after taking them. They are a pretty big pill, which might be intimidating for people who don't take tank sized medicine on a regular basis. And I'd worry about choking on one if I was sick and my throat was swollen. But over all I liked these and will continue to take them until the bottle is done. At $29.99 they're a little pricey for me right now, and my medicine budget needs to go towards the medicine that I can't live without (almost literally is some cases).

NYX Eyebrow Gel

If your eyes are the windows to your soul, does that make your eyebrows the frame? Well groomed and filled eyebrows can really bring your look up a notch and bring it all together. And since my eyebrows started falling out (thanks Lupron), what I fill my brows in with has before much more important to me than usual. I need something that looks natural, applies easily, lasts throughout the day, and is affordable. Has NYX made a product that is the answer to my prayers? Let's find out.

The NYX Eyebrow Gel is a creamy gel based eyebrow product designed to fill in your brows and keep them looking great throughout the day. It comes in several different shades, ranging from blond to almost black, though I don't remember seeing anything red tinged when I bought mine. I have pretty dark brows and darker brown hair, so the shade Brunette was the perfect shade for me. It comes in a little squeeze tube, and while the 0.34 oz tube seems tiny I found that a little goes a loooong ways and I doubt I'll finish it before it goes bad. I can easily do both brows with a drop the size of a grain of rice and still have some left over. Since it's a creamy gel you'll need to apply it with a brush, I find a small angled brush the easiest to use.

Once this product sets it SETS and will have to be scrubbed off at the end of the day. I've worn this in 100 degree weather to go teach Taekwondo all day and not had it fade at all. I'm pretty sure I could swim the English Channel and my brows would still look good. This lasts 10x better than anything else I've ever tried, I'm so impressed. These are $6.99 at Ulta, which I think is a pretty reasonable price. Add in how often NYX products are on sale and you can get this for just a few dollars. I got mine during a buy one get one 50% off sale with some other items, which is actually the sale going on right now (as of this writing) at Ulta. I'm elevating this to Holy Grail status and will only be using this from now on.

Friday, August 21, 2015

CEW Mass Appeal Birchbox

While the CEW Prestige Box was awesome, let's be honest and admit that I'm a broke beauty blogger and never spend that much money on items, even if I love them. The second CEW box that Birchbox released is the Mass Appeal box, which is more of your everyday items, also known as things in most people's budgets. This box was $15 and contained 6 items, a few of which were full sized. The value here is great and for the most part was full of fantastic products. Let's dig into it and see what I got shall we?

So this box didn't have the fancy paper confetti like the other box did, but as you can see was basically stuffed to the gills. I'm really impressed with the value of this box, how does Birchbox do this?

As you probably guessed the first item is a full sized mascara by Rimmel London. I actually just opened another mascara like two days before this arrived so I haven't tried it yet. But look at that interesting brush shape? Gimmick or wonder brush? I'll do a full post on this when I try it I promise.

Another full sized item! I use to adore Olay, not really sure why I quit using their stuff. Course that was back in the day when they were Oil of Olay and really only had a few items. Now they seem to have a bit of everything, which is great! This is a dark circle erasing eye cream, which is something I think most people could use.

I love the swirls inside of it, reminds me of the T-Virus from Resident Evil. The swirls are a shimmery cream, so if you put it on in the morning it helps reflect light and hide your dark circles while the rest of the product works to diminish them. I've been using it for about a week now and I'm pretty impressed with how well it works. I haven't been sleeping well at all but you've never know it looking at my face. Because you only need a little bit this will last for a while, but I wouldn't be against buying another one for sure.

A Korean Beauty item! Laneige is apparently a well known brand in the kbeauty circles, but this is my first time owning something from them. Since it's summer right now I haven't tried this, but come winter I will be all over it. A sleeping mask is a mask you leave on over night and wipe off or wash off in the morning. This one in particular is to help moisturize your skin and leave it looking plump. Perfect for dry Oregon winters.

Lip crayon! And a full sized one at that, this box just keeps getting better and better! Burt's Bees is another brand I use to love and quit using for some reason, so I was pretty excited to get to try one of their new to me makeup items. Like the Nudestix from the Prestige box this is a nice neutral color that's perfect for low makeup days and work. I find it a bit drying so I won't pick up any of the other colors, but I don't hate it and will continue to use it.

Another skincare item that I believe is full sized, or is at least a giant sample if it isn't (but I'm pretty sure it's a full sized item). Simple is a skincare line that specializes in better for your skin items without nasty chemicals, parabens, and fragrances. I've used some of their stuff in the past before and they're a decent brand. This is a gel moisturizer, which is my favorite kind to use in the mornings so my face doesn't get greasy.

This is described as ultra light and good for sensitive skin. I've been using it for about a week now and I think it's a great introduction to gel moisturizers but if you use them already like I do you may be a bit underwhelmed. I'll stick with my hyaluronic gels for now, but this is perfect to take with me on vacations since it's a plastic bottle and not glass.

And lastly we have an item that's been causing quite a bit of a ruckus in the beauty blogger world. These are full of terrible for your skin ingredients, so to give it a gentle skin label was upsetting for a lot of people. Some have experienced burning and redness when using them. I've used 3 or 4 or them and I have to tell you, they suck. Not only are they 25% smaller than the Kirkland brand wipes I adore, they drag on your skin when you use them, making them super uncomfortable to actually use. And the smell. You remember the cheap bubble mix you loved as a kid? These smell exactly like that. Not exactly something I want against my face. And they do a terrible job actually cleaning your makeup off. Really disappointed with Cetaphil and Birchbox for including such an awful item.

So 5 out of 6 items were great, which I think is pretty good odds. And for $15 this box was a great buy, I'm so glad I picked it up. Do any of these items look like something you'd want to pick up? Or did you get this box as well? Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

It's Thursday! I came home and crashed hard last night so I hope you'll excuse the slightly later than usual Thursday blog post. And as per my usual I am linking up with Jen of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her weekly Thursday Thoughts Link Up.

First, I know this is the first post this week. I'm not feeling well combined with an extra busy week at work and a whole bunch of bad stuff happening at once has left me burned out and I needed a break from something. Unfortunately I can't take any time of from work right now and obviously I can't a vacation from being a mom and being sick so this blog was the only thing I could step away from. Hopefully things will get back on track and I'll get back up to the page view count I use to have, but I'm going to just call August a wash and make a commitment to September being 10x better. Speaking of my health, I get my next injection tomorrow, which is a bit scary. I've had the worst headache all week which I think is because I'm at the end of my last injection. A little worried about the side effects I've experienced getting worst, but I'll slug through it I guess.

I'm a nail polish addict, I can totally admit to that and I'm ok with it. My bank account may not like it, but I'm ok with it. I sorted my polish into a new storage system the other day and found these three polishes that were so old they had separated and gotten chunky. If I had to guess I'd say those are almost ten years old. Why is makeup and nail polish so hard to throw away? Like, these are obviously bad and I hadn't used them in forever, so why didn't I toss them last time I sorted through my collection? I even did a post on the expiration dates of makeup, and yet I know I have eyeshadow that's way past my recommended toss date. Anybody have a theory?

Speaking of finishing up and throwing makeup away, I'm making pretty decent progress on this month's project pan. I finished the Maybelline BB cream, the cc cream I replaced it with (deluxe sample so don't be to impressed), and I've made some really good progress on that giant ELF palette. It's been crazy hot here lately so I haven't been wearing a ton of makeup, so the progress I've made is great. I don't think I'll finish either of the lipsticks this month or actually use up a full eyeshadow, but the eye brow pencil has lots of use on it and will be tossed at the end of the month. The Eyeko eye liner is still going strong, I'm super impressed. I figured a liquid liner would be dead by now, but nope, still awesome.

I still have my CEW mass appeal and regular Birchbox to review, those will go up tomorrow and Saturday for sure. I should also be getting some goodies in the mail soon so stay posted for those on my Instagram account. And we will be getting back into Mani Mondays and maybe a Tutorial Tuesday (man I miss those) next week as well.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

CEW Prestige Box, Bringing Some Fancy to My Routine

As a budget beauty blogger I rarely review the more luxury brands that are out there. So when Birchbox released this years CEW boxes I of course snatched them up as fast as I could. For those unfamiliar, CEW is the Cosmetic Executive Women Insider' Choice Awards, so basically the best products for a given category. This box is all the prestige headliners, so the luxury brands and high end products we all drool over but can't always afford. The actual box was $18, which I think is a fair price for the items that I received. Let's dig into my goodies shall we?

This box came with those paper string confetti to help keep everything secure, which was a nice and fancy touch I thought. My son promptly ran off with them to who know where, so one point for Birchbox already I guess. There are seven items in this box, though one of them is a foil bonus sample I think. But 6 items is still a great box, and almost everything was a great size. If this was my regular Birchbox I'd be the happiest beauty blogger out there.

First up is an item I've been dying to try since it was first released, Benefit's new push up liner. I'm a major winged eyeliner fan so this product appealed to me in that sense. Now I'm sure some of you have done some online dating where you see the perfect person online but when you meet in person they are so awful you're afraid they want to make a person suit out of you. That's my opinion of this product.

First, it was tiny. Like I've had pretzel sticks bigger than this. And instead of being a click or twist up you have to squeeze the product up through the rubber tip, which has to be the worst way EVER to get an eyeliner product out. And to ass insult to injury once you did manage to get the product warmed up enough to squish it out, there's only enough to use it for two days. Two clumpy, thick, messy days. I'm beginning to think Benefit just hates doing deluxe sized samples and gives you the shittiest, smallest ones they can legally make. At this point I am so done with Benefit I will never buy one of their products EVER, thanks to how awful all the minis that I've tried are. So good job there product marketing team.

I was actually surprised to see Coola in this box, I don't really consider them a prestige brand at all. I prefer Supergoop to them, and had hated the only Coola product I had tried in the past. This is just their regular sunscreen, nothing really special about it. It did smell nice, sort of mangoesque I guess. And I didn't get sunburned while wearing it, but I found it a bit greasy feeling for my taste, so I'll stick with my Supergoop next time I need to buy sunscreen.

I apparently only took product still in boxes pictures for some reason, but this is a decent sized glass phial of a Marula facial oil. I've started really loving face oils lately (thanks Jouer!) so I was super excited to try this one out. It has an unusual smell that I can't quite describe, but I like it. My only problem is the opening to the bottle is super small so getting even a drop out is frustrating. I'm going to have my husband pop the lid thingy off of it for me so I can continue to use this oil, but first impression is that I like it. And for those going "why would I want to put oil on my face", this puts good oil and moisture back into your skin, which makes it not produce the bad oil we all know and loathe.

You probably can't see the label on this since it's black on black, but this is a lip and cheek crayon by NudeStix. Now Nudestix is one of those new to me brands I've been super curious about, so this is one of the reasons I got the box. Again, for some stupid reason I only did the bare minimum for pictures but this is an actual wooden pencil (like a giant color pencil) and the shade is exactly like the color shown on the outside. I was worried it would be really drying but it is nice and creamy and I never noticed any drying of my lips. The shade on me at least was a nice neutral nude color, perfect to wear to work or on days I want just really simple makeup. It is a jumbo sized pencil so I'll need to pick up a new sharpener for it. But I'm super pleased with it and would be comfortable investing in another product from this company.

I'm sure most of you have heard of GlamGlow by now, but if now it is an overpriced mud mask that has taken the beauty world by storm. I say overpriced because an actual jar is $69 for 1.7 ounces! Is that not ridiculous? So this sample right here more than paid for the box. I actually haven't tried this yet, my skin is reacting strangely to the chemo so I'm being very careful with how much new stuff I test out at a time. I tried a itsy bitsy sample of their new foaming cleanser a few months ago and I wasn't impressed at all, so I'm expecting this to be like every other mud mask I've tried.

The foil bonus sample was one of GlamGlow's other mud masks, and again I haven't tried it yet but I doubt it will wow me enough to justify a $69 price tag.

My last item came all gift wrapped, which was exciting! It was like a present from Birchbox to me....that I paid for. Ok, that sounded better in my head. I let the kiddo open it because I'm awesome like that (and I can't resist the puppy dog eyes).

This is actually a super cool product. It is a hair perfume/shine spray/frizz fighting spray by Fekkai, a high end hair care company. I've tried some of their shampoo and conditioners and was never impressed, but this item has totally won me over. It is Creme Vanilla and it smells amazing! I've used it almost every single day since it arrived. I do notice less frizz than normal this time of year, but I don't know if my hair is shinier than usual. It looks like there are two other scents as well, a citrus mint one and a rose one as well. I really like this and I know it's not a necessity and who really needs hair perfume but I like it and may buy the set of them and then feel guilty forever because of it. While my hair smells pretty.

While this wasn't a complete hit with me, I did really enjoy the box and I loved getting to try all these fancy and expensive products out. Will I purchase any of them? No (well...maybe the hair perfume), but half the fun of subscription boxes like Birchbox is getting to try things I would never buy for myself. If you got this box what was your favorite item in it?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nicole Richie Guest Collaborator August 2015 Birchbox

August is the month for Birchbox, with not only the regular Birchbox, but a killer guest box and two CEW boxes debuting as well. As a subscriber I had the option to get a regular Birchbox AND buy the guest collaborator box for an additional $10, which I of course did. I really wanted to try some of the products in the guest box and $10 was a steal (that I used points on, so I actually paid $0), so I opted in. That box shipped before August even started if I remember correctly, I know I received it like a week or so ago after the standard 7ish days of shipping. Let's dig into this box shall we?

First, it was a pretty box for sure this month, though it felt more spring than end of summer to me. Nicole Richie has some new reality show going on, Candidly Nicole if I remember correctly, so obviously using Birchbox to help advertise her show was a smart move. Am I going to watch the show? No, I'm pretty specific in what I watch when I do actually watch TV (Netflix for life), so nothing about the show appeals to me. But I do think she has a great sense of style now and am excited to see what she picked.

Since this was a guest collaborator box I already knew what I was getting, though supposedly there were different colors for the nail polish. This box has two skin care items, a hair care item, a makeup item, and one nail polish. I like mixes like this, I have so much makeup right now that a skin care or hair care heavy box is more in line with what I want.  Nothing was full sized, which is always a bummer, but at first look everything is a good size. And let's be honest, the smaller sized items are easier to travel with and actually finish up. I've got a 4 day trip coming up soon so I'm really looking at travel sized items since luggage space will be tiny.

First up is one of the items that sold me on the box. I love Dr Brandt products and I love facial exfoliants, so a microdermabrasion from Dr Brandt is a match made in heaven for me. Since a little goes a long way with products like this I'll get at least a month of use out of this, which is fabulous. I've used it twice already and I love the fresh citrus scent and it feels great on my face. If you like the Vasanti microdermabrasion you'll like this for sure. And if you are on a budget like I am, check your local Marshall's. I've seen lots of Dr Brandt items there for $10-$15 off, which is a great savings.

This is a hair smoothing cream to use when you blow dry your hair, which would be great for most people but I almost never blow dry my hair. Especially right now with the chemo making my hair fall out I really don't want to do anything damaging to it. So I haven't tested this out and I may actually pass this on to a friend who does blow dry often.

This was the other item that convinced me that I needed to get this box. Laqa & Co has been on my list to try for the last year, they make a ton of awesome lip crayons, which is one of my favorite lip products. SO when they released a line of cheek and lip crayons AND one was in this box I was ecstatic. For some reason I did not take any swatch pictures but it was actually really close to the color of the container.

I will admit nothing makes me crankier than when a company gives me a big package with a teenie amount of product in it. Either give me an amount proportionate to the case or shrink the packaging. That crankiness aside I really liked this as a cheek color. It gave me a great flushed look, applied smoothly, blended well, and seemed to last. I didn't like it as a lip color, but I've been battling some chapped lips so I really should give it another try once I've won that battle. I will probably get the complete set of all 3 colors since I love the ease of this product.

My picture does not do this polish justice, it is such a pretty new penny color with like teenie tiny silver micro glitter in it. I did my nails, my toes, my spawn's toes, and have lent it out to a friend already. It's one of the new OPI Venice colors, which the whole line is gorgeous to be honest. I will so be picking up the rest of the line once OPI goes on sale at Ulta. And how cute is that tiny little bottle? So adorable! And my first polish in a subscription box! According to my husband I don't "need" any more polish, but come one. You all know I need more.

This is another new product, this time by St Tropez. They are a tanning product company and this is their new in shower tanning lotion, which is such a neat concept. The only problem is I'm super tan normally so I really have no need for a bottle of self tanner. But the in shower bit is so cool, I may save this for winter when I get a wee bit paler. Or I'll pass it onto a pale friend in need.

Overall I thought this was a great box with a really nice mix of products. Most people would be able to use all of the products, which makes it a nice safe box to send to people. I liked everything I got, even if it is something I can't use right now like the tanning lotion and the hair cream. The Dr Brandt and the OPI polish are my total faves from the box, and I do like the Laqa cheek crayon, so I feel like I got my $10 out of the box for sure. If you got this box what did you think of it?