Benefit Cosmetics Bus. Beep! Beep!

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The first two weeks of the month are always slow for boxes, but there are a bunch on their way already, so many fun reviews are coming, including Happy Mommy, NatureBox, Birchbox, a new one called Panty by Post, and lots, lots more!

In the meantime, I thought I would share this little item I saw at the Oakland airport on our way home around the new year. It is a Benefit cosmetics vending machine. It was right there across from our gate, and I kept staring at it, waiting for my moment to leave my son with my husband so I could go explore. When Mike got back and took over toddler duty, I picked up my wallet and told him I was taking it “just in case” to which my husband smiled and shook his head. What? I love me some cool makeup.

I actually did not buy anything; I really don’t buy makeup anymore except for a few essentials (Sephora CC cream, Elizabeth Mott Mascara, and Makeup Forever eyeliner) because of all the stuff I get in the mail to play with, including lots of fun Benefit stuff. But still, this thing was cool, and in my pre-box days, I would have dropped a pretty penny out of the sheer desire to entertain myself at the gate. Since Benefit is a San Francisco company, I imagine these are sprinkled throughout all the Northern California airports.  So cool! Have you ever seen makeup vending machines before?

Mommy Mondays- Initiation

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Feeling a bit better.

Because I am a writer by trade and by brain, I have chosen Monday as the day that I will take a short break from reviewing subscription boxes and talking parties and stuff to write a bit about life as a mom, toddlerhood, family stuff, life stuff, basically anything I feel like doing a little babbling about. If you just want box reviews, feel free to keep scrolling, they are down there!

*In addition, this post contains mentions of toddler bodily functions and the related wrath.

In our lives as parents, my husband and I have been extremely lucky on so many fronts, and I do not take that for granted. We have a healthy, sweet boy who will be two in April. And while I would never trade his general healthiness for any amount of sleep, we were lucky on that front, too. He has been a great sleeper most of his life, sleeping through the night beginning around eight weeks old, and, besides the occasional week here and there where a cold or upset tummy would wake him up, he has generally logged 11 straight hours a night. I have watched friends who struggled with colicky kids or kids who just aren’t good sleepers, and I felt genuinely bad for them, while in the same breath feeling so thankful for my solid eight hours every single night.  What I didn’t realize is that I am now completely spoiled.

Enter the holiday hell of 2013. We left our home in Colorado to spend six days with my husband’s parents in the Bay area on Christmas afternoon. We got to their house after D’s bedtime on Christmas night, and he fell fast asleep in his travel crib right away, leaving us to sit upstairs having a glass of wine and settling in. We went to bed a couple of hours later.

We woke up around 1am California time to our son making unfamiliar noises. We both jumped up, and Mike scooped him out of his crib. Our baby had vomited. Not something he does often, but hey, we’d been on a plane and he’d had juice for the first time ever (a small, watered-down bribe on the flight). It was surely just a one-time thing.

Over the next few days, he would throw up about a gazillion times. Oh, and he would also poop his pants approximately a million times in various explosive manners. He would cover both of us in things we never expected to be covered in, including one incident that involved me getting in the shower partially clothed at midnight, a veritable double baptism that I consider to have fully initiated me into real parenthood. Throughout and because of all of these violent excretions, D woke up no less than five times a night. Every single night. We were away from our home, all three of us exhausted and sharing a bedroom that was now semi-rancid, sleeping on a futon, no diaper pail or changing table in sight. I do not remember being that tired when our son was a newborn; I couldn’t possibly have been. I shed many tears on that trip for various reasons, but mostly because I was broken by worry, running on absolute empty, and not even slightly in control.

Following a flight where we took turns holding our ticking time bomb of a toddler while he slept peacefully, we arrived home incident-free.  We entered our house, greeted our dogs, perused a few holiday cards, and then watched and listened as our sweet, blue-eyed son filled his diaper and the leg of his pajamas and then walked directly to his changing table to request some new clothing and possibly a once-over with a power washer. We laughed at his perfect timing and felt so much relief at avoiding an airplane horror, and then we suffered again all night as he woke up every single hour.

His stomach bug ran its course, and he had one healthy morning and afternoon explosion-free. But that night he again woke up several times, this time with a steadier digestive system, but plagued with high fevers. The next day, the pediatrician told us to wait it out. That was five days ago, and our first night of more than five hours’ sleep was last night. He slept well, woke up at five ready to play, and seemed totally fine.

Then today, before I even knew what was happening, he was running a temperature of 103. I called the doctor, and she said to keep waiting it out.

I guess I’m not sure why I’m revealing all of this. Maybe it is to explain why I have been a little MIA for the past two weeks. Maybe it is to seek a little sympathy from the other moms out there (because seriously, holy hell). Maybe it is just to get it out of my system and try to sort out what to be insanely worried about versus what’s totally normal for a toddler with a virus. All I know is that there have been times throughout the last two years, including during my late pregnancy, when I have become acutely aware of why so many people (used to?) have children in their 20s instead of their late 30s, and this is one of those times. I’m tired and worried. I’m completely worn out, annoyed with the doctors who don’t seem to realize that my particular child is the most important center of the universe, and sore from constantly lugging around the sickly 26-pounder who normally insists on walking. But mostly, I am something I didn’t realize I was and apparently have been this entire time, and that is a real mom. Shit got real, (literally) but, even unemployed,  slightly chubbier than my fighting weight, and covered in baby vomit shrapnel, I’m still the luckiest person in the world. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slam this glass of wi–Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Bluum Box Review December 2013

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Bluum box arrived yesterday just as I was taking inventory of everything D is getting for Christmas. This box saved me a last minute trip to the store for the last couple stocking stuffers, plus provided a couple other gifts and snacks, too. It was a great box!  Here are the goods:

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Bluum Box is a monthly box for kids and moms that is curated based on your child’s age and gender. We have a 21 month old son, and this box was right up his alley this month. Bluum box is $24.95 per month if you opt for the month-to-month option and less if you do multiple months at a time. You can get 50% off of your first month by using this link. Our first Bluum Box last month had some items that felt like they were for a baby a little younger than D, but this month, it was right on target.  Here are the details:

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Baby Einstein Look, Listen and Discover book and song player: ($14) D will love this. He is super into music and books right now and has just started sitting down with books and “reading” on his own. He is going to have a great time with both parts.

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Plantlife Ramie Frog bath cloth/toy: ($4.50) This is so perfect for our bath-loving guy, and for some reason, it has never occurred to me to get anything like this. I can’t wait until we get to use this for the first tub after our Christmas trip. D is going to have a blast with it.

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Green Eats Feeding Spoons 8-Pack: ($5.58) These are along the lines of take-and-toss sippy cups. You can wash them, but you can also just toss them away (or lose them, as we are more prone to around here) without too much sadness. We will be taking a few of these with us when we fly out of town on Wednesday. Perfect timing on this one, and no worries about losing our good toddler spoons.

 

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Peter Rabbit Organics Squeezies: ($3 for both) Our child will not eat a vegetable unless it comes in pouch form. I have tried everything, and this is the only way to get anything green in his tummy. So we buy pouches of spinach and broccoli on a fairly regular basis. These are great pouches, everything is organic, and D liked the bunny. These two are already gone, but I grabbed a few more when we were at REI this weekend. I like that this one is kale. Hard to get kale in anything else baby-related, and I like giving my guy some super foods besides blueberries (which he would eat a pound of if I let him)

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar: ($1) This was one of the mom items in the box, but it will probably go to the child anyway. I like stuff like this, but so does D, and I like snacks that I can grab for him and throw in my purse.

Bonne Maman Preserves mini: ($0.69) This will probably come out of the drawer at some point during the summer for a picnic. We already use this brand and have the big jar in the fridge, although it is more a baby item, too, because it is one of the ingredients of PB &J.

All told, the December Bluum Box had a value of around $29 for the $25 price tag. I usually expect a bigger value than that for the kid boxes, but I did discover some new brands I like, and there were things in there that D is just going to love. I also love the email they send outlining everything in your box. They send it right after it is delivered so you are still surprised. The “mom items” this month are not really what I would call mom items; I think most moms I know would give both of these things to their kids just like I will, and to me, that is not a real mom item. Come on, spoil me a little; give me some lipgloss or something I will not immediately pass on to the toddler at my feet who is saying, “mine? this mine?” over and over again.  That being said, I do like Bluum Box and am excited to see what is next!

 

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ipsy Review December 2013 Glam Bag

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ipsy came yesterday, and I love me some ipsy! Ipsy Glam Bag is a monthly subscription that includes three to five sample- and full-sized beauty products. It always comes in a cute little makeup bag and has a theme. Not everyone gets the same items; the products are chosen based on a questionnaire you fill out, so many of the items are based on your own style. The theme for the December ipsy Glam Bag was Celebration. Here are the goods:

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I loved this month’s bag. It is a shiny little black number that looks like patent leather. What was on the inside was pretty cool, too.  Here are the details:

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Nicka K New York Nail Color in Classic Taupe: ($4.99)This is a new nail polish brand to me, but I love the color. Nicka K nail color is free of all the nasty nail polish chemicals and comes in a super cool bottle. Love it.

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Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in Naturally Bare: ($7.50) When you buy from Pop Beauty, their eye shadow palettes come in a set of ten for $24, so this price is an estimate based on that. These are great colors, totally what I wear on a daily basis. I have gotten a bunch of great natural shadow palettes lately. It will definitely be a long time before I need to purchase eye shadow. These can be used wet or dry.

NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Celene: ($4.00) Ok, the Celene color is a pale gold, and I am not really sure what to do with that color. I really don’t wear lipstick and am more of a gloss/balm girl, but I can be talked into a swipe of a nice, natural pink lipstick every so often. The pale gold is another story, though. I would be more likely to put this color on my eyes than my lips.

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The One Stick by Be a Bombshell in Girl Crush: ($16) I totally love this color, and this kind of thing is really useful to throw in your purse to use to freshen up on the fly. It can be used on eyelids, lips or cheeks, so if need a little color on the go, this could be your saving grace. The natural pink of the Girl Crush color is something I will totally use on lips and cheeks. I will have to try it on the ol’ eyelids and see what it looks like.

Andrea Strip Lashes: ($3.99) There have been a lot of false lashes in boxes lately, and they are just not my thing. I will throw these in our Halloween box and surely they will get used as part of a costume at some point. Extra points if it is my husband that ends up wearing them.

All told, the December ipsy Glam Bag had a value of around $36 for the $10 price tag. That is a great value, and while a couple of the items are not quite my thing, I really liked others. I also love that there are so many full-sized items. Ipsy always delivers.

 

 

PopSugar Must Have Review December 2013

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The PopSugar Must Have December Box has received a lot of mixed reviews thus far, with some people seeming pretty unhappy with it. While it wasn’t necessarily my favorite PopSugar Must Have box, I actually thought everything was pretty nice, and even the stuff I didn’t initially love, I realized I would get use out of. Here are the goods:

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This box was full of holiday cheer and everything was pretty fun. Here are the details:

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Govino Go Anywhere Champagne Flutes: ($12.95) This is a set of four disposable champagne flutes from Govino. While I understand why some people weren’t happy with them being plastic and disposable, I think we will get use out of them, but I think it will be during the summer. We take picnics to jazz in the park a lot of summer Sundays, and these are perfect. I can’t really see using them more than once like they say you can, but we shall see. I didn’t think these were amazing, but we will use them.

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Whoa, snack-city for this PopSugar box.

CC Made Caramel Corn: This is a great size to add to a gift basket, which is probably what I will do with it. After the peppermint pretzel incident from the Special Edition Box, I need to lay off the snacks for a bit.

Ghiradelli Squares: (2 packs) ($4.25 each) These were fine, and I actually put them out at our cocktail party, so I got use out of them right away. The Pumpkin Spice flavor is to die for. These were listed on the information card as an extra, although I thought it was a little weird that there were two packages of them. Chocolate is good, and so I accept these and will do my best to give most of them away.

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Mixt Studio Holiday Gifting Set: ($9) This is a package of three different kinds of wrapping paper with string and tags to finish the packages. I think this is super handy and pretty, and I will be wrapping a few presents with it this week. i thought this was a cool addition for the holidays.

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NCLA Peppermint Lane Nail Wraps: ($16) Nail wraps are not my thing, but I already know who is getting these as a gift. We are doing a small-gift gift exchange with my husband’s family, and I am going to put together a little nail set for Mike’s brother’s girlfriend. These will be perfect to add to that.

Modelco Fibre Lashxtend Black Mascara: ($20) I have a ton of mascara, and as I have mentioned a million times, am currently totally hooked on It’s So Big mascara by Elizabeth Mott. This will go in the makeup box for gifting or putting into the Bag-o-Beauty for girls’ trip. I’m sure those classy ladies will throw down to see who gets a full size mascara out of there.

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Lulu Frost for PopSugar bracelet: ($110) This was another item in the box that had a lot of mixed reviews. I really like it and will wear it. While I would not pay $110 for it retail, I think it is edgy and pretty at the same time and am excited to wear it. Lulu Frost items are typically pretty spendy, so I think  that is part of what they figure into the price. I like that it is a special edition for PopSugar, and I like the antique coloring to the gold chain. This was my favorite thing in the box.

All told, this PopSugar Must Have box had a value of around $180 for the $39.95 pricetag. I liked the holiday cheer, loved the bracelet, and thought it was pretty good, though not my favorite PopSugar box. Looking forward to what they have in store for 2014.  You can always get $5 off of your first PopSugar Box by using the promo code REFER5.

Birchbox Review December 2013

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.