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.

Sparaj Box Review- January 2014

spa5

My second Sparaj box arrived today! This is a super interesting monthly box filled with products from all over Asia. This box is really different than other boxes in that I have almost never heard of any brands that they send and many of the actual products are kind of a mystery to me, as well. Sparaj is a new subscription company, and this is only about their fourth mailing. I had mixed feelings about the first box, but I liked this one a lot more. Since they do not auto-renew their subscriptions, I signed up for three months for $110. Or you can pay $40 per month.  The jury is still out for me whether I will renew after next month or not. Here are the goods:

spa4

A couple of cool things about Sparaj: the box always smells amazing and they always put all the gear in a cool branded bag. This month was a faux patent leather makeup bag that is a great size. Here are the details:

spa2

innisfree “It’s Real” Bija Mask: ($1.50) This is a sheet facial mask that promised to revive tired skin and give it a fresh glow. You wear this sheet mask for up to 20 minutes then remove and wash away. I am already planning on doing this next week while laying in bed with my Kindle while my husband is traveling.

Thaniya Organic Soy Wax Ceramic Candle: ($10?) I am estimating the price on this one because it is not on the site. It says this is an eight-hour candle, and the scent I got is either Jasmine or Frangipani. I can’t quite tell. It smells really nice, but I am not a floral person, so I will probably gift it. The ceramic is pretty, and is meant to be calming colors, and since the wax is organic soy, it burns at a low temperature and can be used as a massage oil when melted. The translation on the site is pretty amusing, but you get the gist.

spa1

KarmaKamet Herbal Inhaler: ($8?) I am guessing  at this price, too, as I cannot find this priced online. The KarmaKamet shop site is under construction as of now. The link I am providing is to another blog where she talks about the KarmaKamet store and the items she purchased there. That is really the only info I can find.  There are vague mentions of it here and there, but no prices and no real instructions. From what I understand, you just open the jar and inhale the scent through your nose to help relieve cold and flu symptoms.  I currently have cold symptoms, and I inhaled through my nose from the jar. I can’t say that I noticed anything life-changing, but it does smell healing, like eucalyptus and menthol. It is possible that I inhaled too tentatively. Am I doing this right? Does anyone know?

Thann Oriental Essence Aromatherapy Scrub: ($13.00)  This scrub is supposed to exfoliate and cleanse the skin, the way all good salt scrubs do. Sold. I typically use these scrubs more in the Spring and Summer, as my winter skin is so terrible that I hide it unless I am in the pool (which is another reason for my crappy skin) I may give this one a try early, though. It smells nice, and is a nice size. This brand is all over Amazon, and it looks like they have some really good stuff. I am excited to try it.

spa3

Sparaj bag. and…

KarmaKamet Aromatic Notebook: ($5?) So, at first I thought this was kind of strange, but it really grew on me. This is a little notebook with blank pages, but in the back is a little pocket that holds a scent sachet so that all the pages smell nice. I like the idea of giving someone a little note or writing down a memory only to find it years later and be able to remember the smell. I get kind of romantic notions like that every so often. This might have been my favorite item. Again, their site is still under construction, but the shop looks like a cool place to check out if you’re ever in Thailand. Wish I would have known about it when I was there a couple years ago.

The value of this box, although estimated, seems to be right around or slightly below the $40 per month price tag this month, although part of the draw of Sparaj is getting to try new products from Asia, so I don’t totally expect it to always be way over $40. This box is kind of a funny one for me. I like it, but I think the problem might just be that it is not quite “me”. In fact, I could see a couple of my more granola-esque yoga and massage therapist friends really liking it. They might be the recipients of some of the items, and I could see gifting this subscription to someone in that genre.  Still, I’m looking forward to seeing what my third month of Sparaj brings next month.

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!

Julep Maven Review- January 2014

julep1 Julep Maven Box was another one that was waiting for me when we returned from our holiday travels! They always ship super early in the month, or in this case, even before. Julep Maven is a monthly nail lacquer and beauty product box that is $19.95 per month. You can always get your first box free (just pay $4 shpping) with the code FREEBOX. Each box always includes two nail polish colors and a beauty item, as well as occasional bonus items. Julep lets you know what your choices for the month are before shipping, so you can always switch it up, or even upgrade to the full collection for an additional $30. Julep has the widest variety of colors I have ever seen along with fun topcoats and finishes. Here are the goods for January:

julep2

There was a little extra in there this month, and I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. Here are the details:

julep3

TA-DA! Quick Dry Drops: ($14) These will come in super handy! I am so impatient when it comes to letting my nails dry, especially when I am dying to put socks back on my freezing feet after I do my toes. These actually smell quite nice and promise to keep drying time to only a few minutes, as well as help your cuticles with Vitamin E.

Ummm… Little Orange Sponges: ($?) Ok, so I initially thought these were mini buffers, but they are not. Did anyone else get these?  What are they for? I can’t find them on the Julep site, but I am sure they are for something wonderful that I am now missing out on.

julep5

My polish colors this month were from the Boho Glam profile, which is the one I typically select. The colors are:

Hannah: ($14) A pale sage color with a creme finish. Pale greens are basically my favorite colors in the world. I am putting this on my toes pronto, even if I plan on keeping them under layers of socks and slippers until the snow melts.

Noelle: ($14) Julep describes this color as sandy beach silk with a glitter finish. I describe it as a lovely neutral with a twist. Gorgeous.

Overall, the value of the Julep January box was $42 dollars for the $19.95 price tag, plus the value of the mystery sponges. Not too shabby. Also, in every Julep box, there is always a little card with a fun quote or fact on it. This month’s is hanging on my bathroom mirror as my constant reminder:

julep4

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.