Birchbox Man Review- January 2014

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Mommy Mondays: Holiday Ho-Hum

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! 

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The iconic Joni Mitchell

It’s funny how poor timing can make even your favorite things feel off. With Thanksgiving so late in November this year, everyone is getting ready for Christmas early, not just the retailers. Friends are posting Christmas tree photos on Facebook, people are already sending cards, and the stores, of course, are completely decked out for Christmas while the few Thanksgiving and harvest decorations have been cast aside into clearance bins. Even the radio station that plays all holiday music and nothing but holiday music from Thanksgiving until Christmas every year has started early. That particular radio station, in fact, was what clued me in to my less than stellar mood. My husband, knowing my propensity to get giddy over holiday music, stealthily switched the station and turned it on this weekend. But instead of being excited about it, I felt suddenly accosted. I asked him to switch it back.

I am normally a total holiday nerd, donning a Santa hat, sending out 200 cards, and begging to put up the tree as soon after Thanksgiving as my poor husband can stand. I love the decor and the cooking and the smells, and I love the shopping and the giving and the parties. And I love the general feeling of happiness and cheer about the snow and the cold, because, after all, who does not dream of a white Christmas? But I wasn’t ready this year. I don’t know if it is the fact that every part of our lives still feels as if it is hanging in the balance or that I feel so useless as I am figuring out my career transition without anything completely definitive to grasp on to. Or maybe it isn’t me, and everyone else with their damn holiday cheer and red and green decorations up BEFORE Halloween are the crazy ones.  Although, to be honest, it is usually me.

I sat wondering what was wrong with me for awhile this morning. D is sick again, so I was sitting in the car in the parking lot of the pediatrician (where they told me he does not have bronchitis again, but I KNOW he does because I KNOW my boy, and if the timing is as it has been the last few times, it will get really bad right on Thanksgiving) D was snoozing in his car seat, and we were a few minutes early, so I sat drinking coffee, staring at my sweet, sleepy boy, and wondering what the hell my problem was. And what occurred to me was that I didn’t go through that stage this year where Fall arrives and I spend a few days crazily missing my mom like I have every other year. My mom was the champion of holiday love and traditions and her joy for Thanksgiving and Christmas was completely contagious. Each year as October closes, I always end up spending a few days in introspective moping, missing her, lamenting her short life, feeling cheated, and then eventually getting on with it and whipping my bad self into holiday shape. Cookies need baking, presents need wrapping, and the cards need to be meticulously written. But I guess with a toddler and our whole lives in tumultuous uproar, I somehow forgot to mope this year, and then it snuck up on me. I never got it out of my system. I heard Joni Mitchell sing River too early and I wasn’t ready, and before I knew it I was in tears driving down the road. I smelled the pine and cinnamon too soon, and it made me sad instead of giddy. I thought about going to cut down our tree and just felt like getting it over with instead of loading the car with snacks and mittens and happy dogs and enough holiday CDs to get us up the mountain pass and back without ever repeating a song.

Maybe now that I realize what was going on in my stimulus-riddled brain, I can try to find my normal holiday spirit and get on with it and find my happy place. I can let myself be a little sad and then whip myself into shape. I can remember the lady who was the the best at holidays and try to emulate her instead of whining about how my son will never experience Grandma done exactly right. There are fifteen people headed my way on Thursday, and I am expected, as always, to reprise my role as the queen of happy holidays and all things traditional. That gives me three days to get my shit together.