Birchbox Review- January 2014


Birchbox arrived today, along with ipsy. Sooooo, let’s go in alphabetical order and do Birchbox first. Birchbox is a monthly box that includes three to five sample- and full-sized beauty items. It is $10 per month (get a free box when you sign up for a 12-month subscription) and the items are based on a questionnaire that you fill out, so not everybody gets the same items. They also do a men’s version for $20 per month. Here are the goods for January:


The first thing I loved was the cards. I love cute little stationary or hangable postcards like that. If I had an office right now, I would hang it in there, but since I am without, I will tuck it in my laptop bag. Super cheerful.  Lots of pink going on in up in there this month. Here are the details:


Camille Beckman Body Butter sample: Ok, so this stuff feels great and smells great, however, when it comes to body butter, this sample would not even cover one arm. It is a tiny sample. It is adorable, don’t get me wrong, and I like the product, but here in Colorado, we buy our moisturizers by the gallon, which lasts us about a week. I am putting this in the bag-o-beauty so that someone who has more normal skin can really get some use out of it.

Besame Cosmetics Lipstick sampler: I love the presentation of this sample. It is several lipstick colors on match-like sticks in a match-like box. So cute! I do not wear lipstick, and instead always go for gloss or balm, but this is creative and cute. They get an A for presentation.


Klorane Dry Shampoo with oat milk: I got this in the GlossyBox Net-a-Porter box in November, and it is good stuff. Dry shampoo is one of my favorite items to get in a boxes, and this one is quality. It smells nice and doesn’t leave your hair with a stiff feel.

Paula’s Choice RESIST BH9 for stubborn imperfections: This sample is so tiny, but apparently you only need a tiny bit. This is for use in diminishing scars, rosacea, and blemishes, among other things. It is to be used as an on-spot treatment, or you use a small amount over your entire face. I have a few imperfections that I would love to disappear, so I am going to give this a try.


Under Armour braided headband: This headband is super cute, and it looks like it might actually stay in my hair. Thus far, I have yet to have a no-slip headband for working out actually not slip. I might have a cone head or something, but as soon as I start running, those headbands find their way to the top of my head, where they sit like halos. I put this one on and bounced around a little and it didn’t budge. I will have to give it another test over three or four miles, but it looks like it might just be my new go-to headband. The full-size of this headband is actually a three-pack, which means I will lose them all within three weeks instead of one.

And just another shout-out for the cute Birchbox postcards. I really loved these and am looking for places to hang my favorites.

While I do not add values for samples, the links provided show the price of the full-sized items that are sampled. Even with all sample sizes this time and no full-sized items, I still felt like this box far exceeded the ten-dollar pricetag. Birchbox is always one of my favorite boxes and the new brands to try, as well as the fun lifestyle items are always on track.

As a side note, I ordered the Beauty Protector trio from Birchbox last week after sampling it and loving it in my December box. Well, today, I got the box that it was supposed to come in, but it was totally empty. The post office had plastered stickers on it saying it was unsealed and empty, but then they sent me the empty box anyway. So I called Birchbox, talked to a super nice rep, and they are resending me my stuff right away. They were so easy to deal with, and customer service like that is so important to me.  Just a side note!


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Birchbox Man Review- January 2014


The Birchbox Man January box shipped before December was even over, and we got it on the 31st. Woop! I am a big fan of this box, and it always ships early in the month. Birchbox Man is a monthly box that costs $20 per month and includes full- and sample-sized lifestyle and hygiene items for men. Cool men. There were great things in store for January. Here are the goods:


This box is all about the New Year, and contained some awesome gear. I don’t include prices for samples, but you can click on any of the hyperlinks for the price of the full-size items. Here are the details:


Reviver Dry Deodorant Swipes for clothes: These little wipes are supposed to be used to swipe across your clothes or hair to remove odors, such as those from a smoky bar. Not to throw my husband under the bus, but his gym clothes reek. I will try these on that, although, I have a feeling this is more for surface smells, not the ground in rankness that only men’s gym clothes can acquire. We shall see. I wonder if these work on the dog! (Kidding, these are not approved or meant for animal fur..although, maybe the rug where the dogs take their naps might be a candidate) This sample contains one reusable swipe.

Men Science Post-Shave Repair: I have never seen an aftershave in spray form, but this stuff is pretty legit. It is alcohol-free and it says it prevents redness and ingrown hairs, helps with razor burn and softens skin. It has tea-tree oil as an ingredient, and that is what it smells like; it is a fresh smell that I really like. My husband does not use aftershave much, so I will see if he gives this a go. If not, I will pass it on to a friend whose dude is more into it.


ERNEST Supplies Soap-Free Gel Face Wash: My husband just got a promotion that means he will be traveling quite a bit more, so samples like this face wash are great to just toss in his dopp bag so he doesn’t have to worry about repacking each time. This is an all-natural wash that helps to unclog pores and eliminate environmental damage.  It smells amazing, like lavender and sandalwood, maybe. The fact that it smells so good makes me want to make him use it at home instead of on the road so I can enjoy it, too. I guess the lovely ladies of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will have a nice-smelling guy to sniff soon. Not too close, ladies.

Sasquatch Soap in Gold Moss scent: My husband is usually fairly stoic about the contents of his boxes, but he had a genuinely excited reaction to this one. He got a giant bar of Sasquatch soap in his Bespoke Post Refresh box a couple months ago, and had just finished it. (I think it must go fairly quickly, but is only $6 for the full-size) This soap smells so manly and good and is such a great complement to his regular cologne. This is a product that we will be buying for sure unless we luck out and keep getting it in boxes; Mike loves this soap. It is currently out of stock on the Birchbox site, but I’m sure it will be back in stock soon.


Men In Cities Jump Rope: ($40) The lifestyle item this month is such a cool item for the new year. I have never seen my husband jump rope, so I am planning on stealing this. Jumping rope is awesome for burning calories and working up a sweat, and I can even do it in the privacy of my backyard where no one can see my, uh, backyard bouncing up and down.  Mohammad Ali has nothing on me. Solid wood handles and a PVC rope make for a great-quality jump rope that will last, and the link includes a video that will give you a quick tutorial if you’ve forgotten how to jump rope since the days when all the cool kids were doing it.

The jump rope alone was worth twice the $20 price tag of the box, and all of the items inside are legit. Birchbox Man continues to be one of my favorites because of all the useful, trendy, original things inside. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Birchbox Review December 2013


More crappy photos. You’re welcome.

The Birchbox December box arrived on Friday, but with all the bustle in having 50 people here on Saturday night, I am just now getting to this and a few other reviews. This was a great Birchbox, and I really liked all the items. Here are the goods:


I love the actual Birchbox boxes. They are always so cute, and make perfect little gift boxes. And these items made the box even better. Here are the details:


Hello by Harvey Prince perfume: (sample size): I actually thought this perfume smelled great. It is very different than my everyday scent, which is musky and spicy. This is flowery and citrusy, and I was surprised that I liked it so much. I will use this for special occasions.

Sheer Glo by Manna Kadar in Birchbox Love: (deluxe sample size) I mixed a little of this lotion with my foundation, and sure enough, it gives an extra bit of pearlescence. It smells fresh and did not feel heavy on my face. I can’t see using it anywhere besides my face and decolletage, like they suggest, but I like it, and I like that the color is exclusive to Birchbox.


Non-Aerosol Hairspray by Number 4: (deluxe sample) This is a botanical hairspray that is Earth-friendly. It smells good and doesn’t leave a crunch to your hair. Perfect for travel or to toss in your gym bag.

This other item is an advertisement for the Birchbox mobile app that includes a coupon code for 20% when you order through the app, but it also includes this cute little static sticker that sticks to the back of your phone. The cool thing about it is that the front of the sticker can be used to clean the screen of your smartphone. Smart. I stole my husband’s from his Birchbox Man box a couple weeks ago, and once he realized how cool it was, he called dibs on this one. It is a neat little freebie.


Organic Healing Balm by Honest Company: (purse size) I like the consistency of this lotion a lot. It smells nice and is made from good, organic ingredients. It says it is good for eczema, which I do not have, but I do have a weird issue on my ring finger where, four years in, my wedding and engagement rings have suddenly started trying to eat my finger (that is my own diagnosis, not a doctor’s). It’s not pretty, and I am desperate and will try anything to make it go away. I probably should go to the dermatologist, but instead, I would rather try all my different lotion samples on it like some kind of science project.

Twistband: I am kind of over Twistbands and have a bunch accumulated from subscription boxes. However, this one is so cute with its dots that I may just wear it. They don’t stay in my hair very well like they seem to for others, so I stick with my plain black Goody elastics that stay through any workout, but sometimes if I want add a little fanciness to my workout look, I put a Twistband on top of the elastic. This one is perfect for that.

I liked this Birchbox, although there were no full-size items in this particular box (there often are) I don;t really put prices on samples, but I definitely feel like this box exceeds its $10 price tag, and I will get use out of everything inside. I have been very happy with Birchbox.

Birchbox Review!

birchbox 2

I finally got my November 2013 Birchbox, my first, after being on the waiting list for a couple weeks. It came on Wednesday. It was a great little box, and I was excited to see it! Here are the goods:

birchbox 6

Birchbox is $10 a month and contains three to five sample and full-size beauty and lifestyle items. I got box number one for my first box, which is apparently pretty standard. I still need to check with my BFF to see what she got in hers. I gifted her a subscription for her birthday, and she got her box last week, too.  Here are the details:

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Beauty Protector Protect and Shampoo and Protect and Condition: (travel size samples, full size is $21.95 each) I am looking forward to trying these. I usually use volumizing shampoo and conditioner, but some protection is definitely in order for my chorine-ravaged hair, so these will go into my gym bag. They smell really great.


birchbox 7

Folle de Joie eau de parfum (sample) (full size is $98): I can usually take or leave perfume samples. While I am always game to try something for a day or two, I have worn the same fragrance for almost 20 years, and it is kind of part of my personality, so I don’t see switching any time in the near future. Still, I did try this, and it was nice and fresh and didn’t smell too flowery or sweet like I expected. I would be more apt to wear this in the summer than the winter.

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Chella Highlighter Pencil in Ivory Lace: ($18) This was the big item in the box and is full size. I am not totally sure about this one, but will give it a try. I have been going so minimal on makeup lately, but after I saw a few photos of myself next to my adorable friends at Thanksgiving, it made think I’d better step it up a little. I am no spring chicken, and could use some highlighting for sure.

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Ahmad Tea (samples of three flavors, full-size is 20 tea bags for $7): I like to get tea occasionally. Though I don’t drink it all the time, I go on tea kicks a couple times a year where I drink it all the time, and I definitely like trying new ones. Plus, I really could stand to give up some coffee.

This was a great box for my first Birchbox, and I am looking forward to the next one already. For $10, this was a great deal, and I am excited to try the new products.


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Thursday Thoughts Link-Up


So, I am linking up with Jen at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for the very first time. I have been following her blog for a few months as I was starting my own, and it is a lot of fun to read, both for her box reviews and for everyday feel-good fun. She is also a Target bargain genius. So, here goes, my first Thursday Thoughts.

Speaking of big changes, I am also in a huge transition, having all but decided that I will try my hand at being a stay-at-home mom for a couple years. After getting laid off, the job market has been terrible for writers and I miss my boy. I am waiting to find out about one possible job the first week in December. If that does not pan out, then we are taking D out of school (we’ve kept him in thus far because they have an 18 month waiting list), and my life is going to totally change. I never thought of myself as a stay-at-home mom, but I am excited and, ok, kinda scared because I think it is way harder than going to the office. What the heck am I going to DO to entertain him all day? I’d better get crafty. But seriously, I got this.

I had dinner and drinks with my BFF last night to celebrate her birthday and promotion. I got her a Birchbox subscription for her birthday and she was also excited to get a gift bag of leftover subscription box schwag that I gave her just because. She is just one of the greatest people in the world, and we always have such a good time and awesome conversations. Wish we could spend more time together.

So, after I wrote about D’s first traumatic headwound on Mommy Mondays this week, he got ANOTHER one at school on Tuesday. Cut his lip up pretty good falling over a big tractor on the playground. Holy crap! I can’t take this. He looks like he was in a fight:

danny head

Mama, quit interrupting my terrorizing to take pictures!

And as soon as he came home with his second cut, he was at it again trying to climb up on top of a big box of diapers; I caught him just as he was about to fall, and he LAUGHED.  Seriously, how did I end up with a future X-Games competitor as a child? I blame his dad.

So when I started this blog, it was over at Blogger, which is where I used to have a writing blog a long time ago. I had been away from blogging for awhile, and what I found out is that Google kind of ruined Blogger. So I migrated to WordPress this week and am having fun learning it. So much better.

It is super snowy and icy here today, so Mike is working from home. I am finishing some freelance work and some schoolwork, then going to do some chores. What I want to do is snuggle up with a coffee and watch a movie, but duty calls. At least I have some candles going and, while my husband is on constant conference calls, it is nice to have company while we both work away.

I think I have some good boxes coming today, so look for reviews later!

Happy Thursday!  And thanks, Jen, this was fun!

Birchbox Snow Day Review


 So, I was a little late to the game ordering the Birchbox Snow Day special edition box, but I just couldn’t resist all the cute stuff that will make such great gifts. For me and for others. This box was $39, and since I am not getting my Sparaj until December, it fit into the budget in that spot. Perfect.  Here are the goods:


The Birchbox Snow Day box came packaged in adorable snow-patterned box and was filled with the most cozy array of spoil-yourself, stay-inside gear. I seriously wanted to climb inside this box, it was just so cozy to open.  Here are the details:


Askinosie Chocolate Single Origin Cocoa Powder: We are big Askinosie chocolate lovers around here, and I pick up the bars on a regular basis at our neighborhood gourmet shop. I bet this hot chocolate is legit!

Three Tarts Gourmet Marshmallows in Cinnamon: Yes, these will go perfectly with the hot chocolate. I think I will save both of these items to make for me and my husband on Christmas Eve night while we are Santa-ing for D. Mike is a hot chocolate freak, and the marshmallows might just send him over the edge. Maybe we’ll even throw a little booze in there. You never know with us; we’re kinda wild like that.

Jonathan Adler Fireplace Matches: So these are going to get used soon. The packaging is gorgeous, and I love long matches anyway, but we have a fireplace that is 100 years old and in questionable service, so we don’t really use it. What I do instead is fill it with candles (I get the inexpensive six-packs from IKEA) and we light them for special occasions, including the special occasion that we both happen to be sitting down with a glass of wine and the baby is sleeping. It gives the illusion of a fire in the fireplace without all the wood and mess. So, anyway, these matches are perfect for lighting all of the candles in one swoop instead of burning my fingers on a hot Bic lighter.  Also, not sure why I didn’t photograph the matches with the candle, but my odd methods are simply part of my charm.


(sorry for crappy photo…I’m getting better with my new too-fancy-for-me camera, but it is a process)

(MALIN+GOETZ) Votive in Cannabis: So, I was kind of wary about receiving a candle with a Cannabis scent, but honestly, it does not really smell like I thought it would. I would definitely consider this a manly scented candle, which are not my personal flavor to burn, but it still smells fresh and woody and clean. I think this one would make a nice gift.

Chantecaille Flower Infused Cleansing Milk and Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask: Man do I need a mask so bad. I sometimes look at my face in the mirror and am shocked to see my mother staring right back at me.  This mask promises to give my face a dose of pure calm. I wonder if they have a version for your whole life instead of just your face.  The Cleansing Milk will probably get tossed in my swim bag, as it is always nice to have something good to wash my face with instead of the “face wash” at the gym. I put it in quotes, because I am almost positive that the face wash and body wash are interchangeable in the giant dispensers in the gym showers. This would be a nice change for my tortured skin. No wonder I look 20 years older than I am sometimes.

L’OCCITANE Shea Butter Hand Cream: I have this and use it already (though Keihl’s is my go-to hand cream) and this deluxe sample size is perfect for my purse. My hands will be thankful.


Mox Botanicals Matcha and Clementine Body Soak: This smells really nice, and I love the packaging. This sample will most likely end up in the Bag-o-Beauty, simply because I do not take baths. It’s not that I don’t want to take baths, in fact I actually long for it sometimes, but then I remember that I am over six feet tall and that we live in a house with bathtubs that are not even remotely large enough for a tall person to take a bath. So, if we end up moving to California, I am searching for a house with one of those giant jacuzzi tubs, and then I will use this, if not, my friends can fight it out for it on our lake trip this summer.

S.W. Basics Organic Lip Balm: This lip balm feels great and has a very different, but nice smell.  I like it, and it will be part of my vast collection immediately.


These were my two favorite items in the box.

Happy Socks Combed Cotton Crew Socks: I love wearing funky socks like this with clogs in the winter. I am always wearing athletic socks, and I love to change it up a little bit with some cool ones. These are bright pink and burgandy tiger stripes. I feel cooler already.

Scrabble Birchbox Edition Mini Game: This is so cute. I love Scrabble, and how fun it is it to have this tiny little portable size. The board folds up small, and the letters are super small. Adorable. I don’t know how functional this board would be for like super-competitive Scrabble players, but just for messing around on a mountain trip? Definitely.

All told, the Birchbox Snow Day box had a great value, and I love almost everything in it. They also included really cute cards explaining how to have different kinds of Snow Days. Sold. this Colorado girl can most definitely get behind an awesome snow day.  This box is still available here.

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