Nina Garcia Quarterly Co. Summer Box Review NGQ03

 

nina 2 nina 1

The Nina Garcia Quarterly Co. box arrived early last week, but as things are just getting back to normal around here, I am finally reviewing today!

The Nina Garcia Quarterly Co. Box is $100 per quarter and ships out each season. It is curated by Nina Garcia, Creative Director for Marie Claire and a fashion expert, and it contains fashion, beauty and lifestyle items that tend toward the luxury end of things. It is a newer subscription, and this is the third box. Here are the goods for NGQ03:

nina 4

SPENGLISH Ball Cap: $20?  Nina Garcia said she had this item made especially for the box as a celebration of the World Cup in Brazil.  Ok, So, I guess I am just not that into this Spenglish brand.  She included a Spenglish t-shirt in her last box, and I was pretty “meh” over it, so to get another item from the same brand was really disappointing.  This hat is not my style at all, but I am sure I can find someone who might like it. Into the gift pile it goes.

nina 10

Koku Pouch: $110  Here we go again with the canvas pouches.  This particular box contained TWO of them.  Come on. This particular pouch is from the Greek company Koku, that makes a lot of high-end pouch accessories. It is handmade in Greece, and there is raffia around the edges and then a plexiglass fish decoration on the side.  Am I the only one who thinks this looks like a kid’s craft project? I consider myself semi-fashionable, and I just can’t see the draw of this one. Especially for $110! I don’t think I could use this as a clutch. I will try to think of my trendiest friend and maybe she will want this.

Print All Over Me Palm Tree Clutch/Makeup Bag: $10? Seriously! I am the new queen of canvas makeup bags. This one is super cute, but I just have too many already. I could not find the exact design online, but the Print All Over me site has a lot of cool options.  Passing it on to my bestie’s daughter filled with some fun 10-year old appropriate makeup items.

nina 6

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF 30:  $10.50 This is one of those items that will always get used around our house, and  I like that it is a 30 that does not feel or smell like sunblock.  I have a major aversion to sunscreen, but I know I have to wear it, so whenever I find one that does not have that weird metallic, medicinal smell that most of them have, it makes me happy.  As far as this being a Nina Garcia type of item, it really isn’t.

Organic Shave Gel from Surya Brasil: $20 Now, this stuff I like.  This type of luxury, organic, new-discovery type of item is what I expect from this box. This stuff smells great and is already in my shower. It makes a great shave gel with nice results, and I love that it is organic.

nina 7

Joico K-PAK  Intense Hydrator Hair Treatment: $20 This one is another nice item, but do not think I will use it. As mentioned in another post, my hair is kind of a limp mess about half the time, and I find that a lot of hydrating treatments like this just make it worse.  It claims to make hair healthier, shinier, calmer and moisturized. I think I have a couple friends who would pine for this one.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray Purse size: $21.50 This is a score for sure. I am a die-hard Oribe girl, and whenever I can get their items in a box, it makes me happy.  The products are pricey, but this spray adds a ton of volume and makes your hair smell amazing all day. I use it daily, but it can also be used like a dry shampoo for second-day hair. This size will be perfect for my gym bag.

nina 9

 

Calvin Klein ck one Lipstick in Little Liar: $9 I always want to try red lipstick. Except for then I remember how I hate lipstick and how I look terrible in red. I guess my Gwen Stefani aspirations are just sad. This will make a nice addition to a gift for a girlfriend who is braver than I.

Formula X Nail Laquer in Push the Limits: $10.50 This brand is exclusive to Sephora. I just got a similar color in my Julep box (review coming this week!) so, I may try this one to try out a new brand and pass on the Julep one. It’s a really pretty summer red that will look great on my toes.

nina 5

Red Flower Refreshing Hand and Face Towelette in Italian Blood Orange:  $0.85  Stuff like this is great to toss in my gym bag.  I would have loved a whole box of these, which are $5 for a 7-pack.  It smells really nice and was quite refreshing.

Melissa Shoes Desk Ornament:  $5?  This is cute enough, I guess.  I’d rather have something that I can use, but this will look cute at my desk.  It smells like those flavored erasers I used to get in elementary school.  They never erased anything, but they smelled like rubber and fruit flavoring.

NEST Fragrances Candle in Almond Vanilla Orchid: $15 This smells lovely, and NEST is my favorite brand of candles.  They throw a great scent and burn really clean. I love getting NEST candles in boxes! I actually think this will be a great fall scent, so I am saving it for this year’s Favorite Things Party in October.

nina 11 nina 3

OtterBox Symmetry Phone Case Gift Card: $44.95  This was awesome.  No credit card required. Just use the code and pcik your design from the OtterBox Symmetry line, and your case is on its way. I thought at first that you had to select the Brazilian design featured, which was not really my thing. Instead, I got this cute one with blue flowers, and it is super sturdy. Plus, since OtterBox is located here in Colorado, I got it the next day.  Score!

nina 8

FRENDS In-ear Headphones: $99 These are very fancy with their gold décor, and they do almost look like jewelry. I am not sure how well they would hold up to a workout, which is really when I get in most of my headphone time.  I would hate to destroy a  hundred-dollar pair of earbuds by sweating them to death, as I have actually done to others. We shall see.

All told, the Nina Garcia Quarterly Co. Summer box had a great value. For the price of $100, there was over $400 of merchandise.  I have to say, and I had this feeling about the Fab Fit Fun VIP box for summer, too, it just didn’t feel as fancy and “curated” as the last couple boxes. However, I am excited about a couple new brands to try, am in love with my sturdy new phone case, and I am all about boxes with such a great value.  This time, my gift pile got a little bigger, too.  So, my friends got lucky!

Fab Fit Fun VIP Box Summer 2014 Review

fff9

Back to box reviews following a long hiatus! And we get to start with the Fab Fit Fun VIP summer box, which has, in the past, been one of my favorites. Fab Fit Fun is a box curated by Guiliana Rancic and is sent out quarterly. It is $49.99 per quarter and contains health, beauty and fitness lifestyle items. Let’s see what the summer box brought:

fff8fff7

Upon first look, there were a lot of items in there!

fff6

Sonya Dakar Flash Facial $95: So, while I was initially a little bummed that the crown jewel of the summer FFF box was a skincare product, that was before I gave it a try.  It made an immediate change in my skin, and it works like nothing else I have ever used.  You apply a thin coat to your clean, dry face and then let it sit for a minute, and then you rub it off in a circular motion and then rinse.  Let me tell you, the first time I used it, some nasty stuff came off of my skin.  It basically just melts the dead skin away, and I felt like I noticed a difference immediately.  It says to use everyday, but at a $95 price tag, I think I will maybe do it once a week or so.  Don’t want to get too spoiled.

Pur-lissle pur-protect SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer: $55 I wear an SPF moisturizer on my face everyday, so this is a score. I like their products, and as soon as I run out of my current moisturizer, I will switch to this one. I did try a little squirt, and the texture is nice, especially for it being a 30 SPF, and it has a clean, low-key smell.

fff4

Fab Fit Fun Water Infuser bottle: $15  So, I am really loving my Citrus Zinger bottle from last month’s PopSugar box, and I really don’t need two.  I will probably gift this one.  I like the way the chamber for fruit and stuff is down the middle, but I thought the opening was a little weird. The saying on the side says: “Grab life by the exercise balls.” Ummm, ok.

Zoya Nail Polish in “Cole”: $9 This is a great color, kind of like a Creamsicle, and I love Zoya polish for their Vegan (and pregnancy friendly….not that I am, but that is handy) ingredients.  I would totally wear this, except for that the applicator brush is completely jacked up.  even in the picture, you can see the brush against the side of the bottle inside.  It is un-useable.  I am bummed!  I will email FFF and see if they will replace, although that seems like a lot of work when I have about a million bottles of nail polish.  I have heard their service is great though.

fff3

Thursday Friday Mini Clutch/Makeup Bag: $35  Ok, so it seems like every single box over the past few months has had a canvas makeup bag.  I am on overload and will gift this one.  It is cute, although the pattern I got is totally not me. $35 seems like a lot to me to spend on a canvas bag that would not even come close to holding all my makeup for a trip. And I am not even that much of a makeup queen, but still, this thing is tiny.  I think my BFF might like it though.  The box also included a $30 coupon card for the Thursday Friday site, which ended up getting pictured below.

fff1

KISSTIXX Lip Balm in Sweet and Sour: $6 Apparently you are supposed to give one of these to your makeout partner and then keep one for yourself, creating come sort of taste sensation when you kiss.  Well, while that sounds lovely in theory, as the working parents of a two-year old, if we ever get time to make out, the forethought it takes to simultaneously apply lip balm prior to would probably send us over the edge.  However, lip balm is always a score for me, and these feel nice. I’m keeping them both for myself.

Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil: $25 This one is a dud for me.  I just refuse to put any kind of oil treatment in my hair because it is already so fine and oily that anything like this makes it look like I poured mayonnaise on my head.  I will pass this on to a friend who like hair oils.  It gets great reviews from other, non-greaseball, reviewers, though!

fff5fff2

These were some of the extra, sponsored items in this month’s box:

PopChips in BBQ: These were eaten almost immediately.  Everyone in the house loves these.

Skintimate Shave Gel sample: Nice for my swim bag or travel.

Always Xtra Protection Long Daily Liners: Not really my thing, but might make a nice addition to a post-pregancy/new baby gift basket

Slimfast Have Your Cake bar: Also not really my thing, just because of how many chemicals and junk SlimFast puts in their stuff.  Someone will eat it at some point, I’m sure.

All told, the Summer 2014 Fab Fit Fun VIP box had a value of around $250. It was not my favorite box from them, to be sure, but the facial is a great discovery. The value is there, but for some reason, this box just felt really thrown together to me and not “curated” like the Winter and Spring boxes I got the last couple times.  I will look forward to an improvement for their Fall box this year. That is my favorite time of year anyway.

Hair Today

Beetlejuice_Michael_Keaton

 

Julep is delayed this month, and so there are no boxes for the first few days of July. So now, you’re stuck with an anecdote from me.  This one is about my hair.

I know. Important, right?

After wearing my hair in a cute, short, pixie style for quite a while, I grew it out when I was pregnant a couple years ago because I thought that being able to put it in a ponytail as a new mom would be helpful.  And it was.  And has been. The added bonus is that my husband always comments on how much he likes my hair, as apparently most heterosexual men seem to have a thing for long hair over a  short-and-tight.  Lately, though, I am getting the itch to go back to my easy-breezy pixie again. Most of what is stopping me is that, one, I still have about 20 pounds of baby weight (um, how long do you get to call it baby weight and not just “weight”?) on me, which makes me feel that I cannot as easily pull off the short cut like I used to be able to. And two, the aforementioned husband and his aforementioned praise of the aforementioned long hair. In thinking about this decision, I have come up with a list of things that did not happen to me when I had short hair, but that regularly happen to me now.

When I had short hair I did  not:

  1.  Accidentally roll my hair up in my car window and then unwittingly yank a bunch of it out as I tried to open the door.
  2. Choke on my hair. On what is sadly becoming a fairly regular basis.  What IS that?!
  3. Apply lipgloss and then immediately have my hair plastered across my mouth upon walking outside into even the slightest breeze
  4. Have hair ALL over my bathroom and clothing and pillow and, well, everything.  I now shed worse than our elderly Australian Shepherd mix.
  5. Have the ability to swing my hair across my son’s face in a tickl-y way, which has made him squeal with laughter since he was tiny.
  6. Pay a kerbillion dollars to my stylist for getting my hair colored
  7. Spend a vast portion of my day as a slave to my blow-dryer, and then just give up and wear a ponytail, like, 75% of the time. Because of how it makes being a mom easier.  Even at the office.

However, with my long hair I do not:

  1. Get asked if I am a boy or a girl on a regular basis
  2. Look like a man while wearing a hat, helmet or any other sort of head-covering, such as a paper bag
  3. Wake up looking like Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice
  4. Attempt weekly to maim or kill my Dyson Animal by sucking up elastic ties from the carpet
  5. Have to buy said elastic ties 50 at a time every couple of months because I cannot keep track of those damn things. (note to self: check vacuum cleaner)
  6. Feel the need to wear full-face makeup and large earrings all the time to still feel like I look feminine
  7. Feel like my double chin is always on display.

So, that is my pro-con list.  What should I do?

ipsy Review- January 2014

ipsy2

Ipsy is here! The ipsy Glam Bag continues to be one of my favorite subscriptions, and at $10 a month, you can’t beat it. Ipsy is a monthly mailing that always includes a cute little makeup bag containing three to five full and sample-sized makeup and beauty items. This bag is always lots of fun! Here are the goods:

ipsy3

So many fun things in here this month. Plus, there is a postcard where you can fill out why you think that 2014 is your year, and then Instagram or Facebook it to enter a big giveaway. Here are the details:

ipsy4

Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Natural: Any time I get a nice, natural lip balm, I am a happy girl. Mica Beauty has a nice feel and takes a nice shine without looking goopy. I layer it over Chap-stick (like I do with almost anything I put on my lips) and it still lasts awhile.  Cute color, too! The full-size for this gloss is a whopping $30, but this sample is more than half the full size, so great deal!

Nicka K Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissues: 10 pack ($2.49) This is another one of those things that is always a keeper. I can put this in my gym bag and never have to worry about scaring people in the pool with my raccoon eyes. These are pre-moistened with a water-based cucumber solution, so they feel really nice on your skin and give it that fresh feeling that only cucumbers can give. The product information said these are made of “delicate spun lace” which kind of made me laugh. I feel like maybe I should be laying them out as doilies instead of washing off my makeup with them. Pretty fancy.

ipsy5

Sexy Hair Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner: travel size ($6.00) This stuff smells really nice, which is a must for a leave-in. It is formulated to help repair color-treated hair and add softness and manageability without over-proteinizing your hair. I am not sure what over-proteinizing is, but it sounds dangerous. The reviews for this spray are top-knotch, and I am ready to get in on it. Guess I should shower first.

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Pencil in Penny: Ipsy is the reason I totally fell in love with Elizabeth Mott mascara, and now she is making shadow-slash-eyeliners, so naturally, I am on it. This is a waterproof gel pencil, so the color lasts a long time. I got a copper color that I think will look great as a liner, but I probably wouldn’t use it all over the lid. This is very blendable, and I love the texture. Another awesome product from my the company that makes my hands-down favorite makeup item. I am excited.

leAipsy 1

Le Anni Eco 3-in-1 Revolution: This is a combination of toner, serum and moisturizer. I use the latter two everyday, but I don’t use a toner that often, Am I missing out?  I swiped a bit of this across my cheek and it had a little tingle to it. It is formulated to help tighten skin, fight breakouts and wrinkles, and reduce dark circles. This is handmade and all natural, plus it is gluten free. I like getting products from small, natural companies like this and am excited to use this for a few full applications.

While I do not provide values for samples, this month’s glam bag definitely exceeded its ten-dollar cost. I love all the items and am so excited to have a new Elizabeth Mott product to try. The little bag is cute this month, too, although I am working on quite the collection and need to start passing them on to friends. As always, subscribers get great coupons for the the full-sized items in their bags, as well. Another great ipsy!

Birchbox Review- January 2014

bb2

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:

bb4

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:

bb5

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.

bb6

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.

bb1

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!

 

This post contains referral links.

Birchbox Review December 2013

bb5

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:

bb4

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:

bb3

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.

bb1

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.

bb2

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 Man Review- December 2013

The Birchbox Man box got here yesterday, and it was another good one! My husband really digs this box. Birchbox Man is $20 per month and contains full- and sample-sized hygiene items as well as cool gadgets or lifestyle items.

The box was literally bursting at the seams:

birchboxman1

I love the Birchbox Man box so much because there are always great items in it, and this month was no exception. Here are the goods:

birchboxman6

The box smelled amazing when I opened it, and the thing that was taking up so much room is actually a canvas apron. More on that in the details:

birchboxman4

I can’t decide which of these items made the box smell so good.

English Laundry Notting Hill Cologne (sample): Um, this smells amazing. My husband is currently wearing Spice Bomb, but this could give it a run for its money. It smells woody and fresh and so manly.

Votivo Speakeasy Candle: (travel size): This candle was a bonus item and is supposed to smell like bourbon and rum, which I can kind of see, but it also smells smoky and leathery and I am excited to burn it. It is a tiny candle, though, so I will save it for a special occasion. My husband liked the smell a lot, but he is not one who would take a travel candle on a business trip, so I will be the boss of this particular candle.

birchboxman3

GO247 Face Scrub:  (deluxe sample size) After the Bespoke Refresh Box, and now this one, my husband has a lot of face wash. This one can go in his dopp kit for travel or into his gym bag for after bike rides. The instructions say that it should be used once or twice a week, so it is not a daily thing and will probably last him a long time.  This smells nice and is plant-based.

birchboxman2

American Crew Alternator Spray: This spray says it features hold, shine and all-day pliability. Mike is a wax/pomade guy, but he uses this brand a lot and will definitely give this a try.

PRORASO Shave Cream: I thought this was one of the coolest samples in the box. The old-school tube and the fact that is smells great won me over. PRORASO is imported from Italy and contains eucalyptus and menthol to refresh the skin. Another great travel bag item.

birchboxman5

Roosevelt Supply Apron ($28): This was a really cool and different lifestyle item this month. It is a canvas apron with cool leather detailing, including the neck strap. Mike is a great cook, but we may gift this to his dad who would use it in his wood shop. Very cool item.

The December Birchbox Man box had a great value, very cool samples, and all of it will get used. I really love this box and secretly wish they would upgrade the women’s box to $20 and include some cool gear like the apron. For now, I will just have to settle for Mike getting these cool surprises.

This post contains referral links.