Nina Garcia Quarterly Co. Summer Box Review NGQ03

 

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

PopSugar Must Have Review- January 2014

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PopSugar Must Have got here this week, along with a bunch more that will be reviewed in the next few days as I get caught up from a busy school and work week. PopSugar is always one of my favorites, and I thought January’s box was pretty cool. Here are the goods:

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It was a heavy box! But then I saw the book, and whenever there is a book, it tends to weigh a little more. Here are the details:

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The Juice Generation book by Eric Helms: ($16) Ok, so I don’t really juice, although I probably should. It does have smoothie recipes, too, which is more up my alley, and I have to admit, it did pique my interest about getting a juicer. I don’t love to get books in the boxes that are for me or my husband, (kid books are awesome) mostly because we both use e-readers and had to get rid of our roomful of books to turn it into a roomful of baby a couple years ago. Still, I am flipping through this, noting some great recipes, and then may pass it on to a friend.

Pipsnacks Pipcorn mini popcorn in White Truffle: ($6) Popcorn is my absolute favorite food. I would eat it twice a day, everyday if at all possible. This stuff is really good, and I liked the smaller kernels and the small company vibe. I will buy this when I see it in the store for sure. Delicious.

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Revlon by Marchesa nail files: ($3.49) Cool. Nail files will always get used around here. Sometimes it is to hack away at my sad runner’s toenails rather than to demurely file away at my mani while gossiping on the phone, but still, they have a home here.

Jack and Lucy tech gloves: ($18?) I cannot find these online, so I am guessing at the price. These are super soft and cute, but I almost never wear gloves. And when I do, it is because it is the rare day where it dips well below zero, in which case I throw on my ski mittens. These will make a great gift for a friend who is much smarter than I about how to dress for the weather.

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Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask: ($40) We have been getting a lot of Malin + Goetz stuff in boxes lately, and I cannot complain. This brand is great, and I am looking forward to doing a good mask to get some of the skin toxins out. My BFF and I have a shopping/dinner/hotel night this weekend, so maybe I’ll bring this along and we can detox and drink wine in hour hotel suite.

Rifle Paper Company Cities Desk Calendar: ($16) Love. I have fallen hard for Rifle Paper Co, and this calendar does not disappoint. I love to travel and love these little artsy renderings of each city. If all goes well next week, I might even have an office to put it in soon!

All told, this PopSugar Must Have box had a value of around $100, a great deal for the $39 price tag. PopSugar Must Have continues to be in my top three consistently each month, even if this particular one did not knock my socks off. The value is always good, and I like getting things from a lot of different categories in one box.

This post contains referral links.

Citrus Lane Review- January 2014

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I managed to not get a main box photo of Citrus Lane for January, so this is their cute little logo. Citrus Lane is a box geared towards moms and kids, and is curated based on your child’s age and gender. For us, that means we get a box for a 21-22 month old boy this month. Citrus Lane is $25 per month and usually contains three or four items for your child, as well as a mommy item on occasion. Here are the goods:

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I was excited to peek inside, and everything looked really cool, including a new Skip Hop item. Here are the details:

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Skip Hop Lunchie in Zebra: ($14) We are already the proud owners of a penguin Lunchie from Skip Hop, and D uses it everyday. This will either make a nice spare or a great gift. We love Skip Hop around here. There was alos a 20% off coupon code for Skip Hop items. I think we might just use that for a backpack here pretty soon.

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Peter Rabbit Organics pouch in pear and apple: ($1.50) The only pouches I buy anymore are the veggie ones because it is the only way to get something green into my child. So, when we get the fruitier ones in boxes, he gets excited. This one is gone already.

Mommy’s Bliss Kid’s upset Tummy and Nausea Relief: ($9) Ok, where was this at the holidays when our kid was such a disaster?  This will be nice to have on hand, though I hope it is a long time before we need it. Mommy’s Bliss  all-herbal products contain all-natural ingredients and are gluten free, and vegan.

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Plan Toys Shape Sorter: ($15) So this thing is a pretty cool toy in that it is interactive, but still all one piece. It’s a perfect car seat toy because there are no little pieces to fall down. D played with this for a few minutes in his seat, then got frustrated until I showed him how to do it. Then he was happy to play with it for quite a while. I’m not sure how long he will be into it, but it is a cool item for now.

All told, the January Citrus Lane box had a value of around $39 for the $25 price tag. Not a crazy huge value, but I did like the items, and they will either get used or make nice gifts. You can always use the code BLOGSAVE to save 50% off of your first box. Citrus Lane is one of the first kids boxes I have tried, and it is fairly consistent in that I always like it, but it rarely knocks my socks off. This month’s box met that criteria.

Bulu Box Review- January 2014

 bulu5So, I tried Bulu Box on a whim as a new one for January, mostly because of a deal they are still running. They are offering 50% off any subscription length with the code BULUGAN669, so I got a one-year subscription for $55, plus, they have a point system for doing reviews which allows you to get additional discounts if you order products, so, to me, it seemed like a great deal.  Less than $5 per box, plus lots of great discounts that can equal the price, practically a free box! Bulu Box offers a choice between the regular Bulu Box with health, wellness and nutrition samples, or their weight-loss box, which includes some of the same, but then adds some weight-loss specific items. I chose the weight-loss box. Here are the goods:

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The box had a lot of fun items in it, including healthy snacks, drinks and supplements. Here are the details:

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Tapaz 2 Go Snack: ($3)This is a to-go box with lentil crackers and hummus. It looks delicious, but I will probably throw it in my husband’s lunch one day instead of eating it myself. He is a hummus nut. These run about $18 for a 6-pack, so that is not cheap, but with Bulu points from reviewing products, I could see ordering these at a discount.

Body Glove Surge Energy gel pouch: ($2) This is something that I would throw in my pocket for a long run, and I am always up for trying natural energy supplements. I find the ones with all the chemicals to be frightening. When I saw the name Body Glove, I immediately thought of the surf clothes that I HAD to have when I was about 10 (here in Colorado, where, alas, there is no surfing) Everyone wore Body glove t-shirts back in the 80’s. And this is actually the same company. In addition to surf and outdoor gear, they have now branched out into all natural energy. That is some staying power, for sure.

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Body360 Nutritionals Burn 360: This is a fat-burning, metabolism helping supplement. I have to admit that this is not really my thing, and I probably won’t use it. I just don’t believe in anything that can help you burn fat unless that thing is getting your butt to the gym. I am kind of anti-pill when it comes to weight loss. I am more in the eat less, do more, no gimmick camp. This is an interesting supplement, though, for those so inclined, containing Acai. If you purchase the full-size version, it comes with a free download of a detox program.

HELPS Organic R and R tea: I like getting tea in my boxes, and right now I have a terrible cold, so I may just have this one before bed tonight. It says it contains lemon balm and passionflower to “ease you into a peaceful sleep” Just what I need.

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The Body Glove Surge snuck into another photo by mistake.

Smarty Pants All-in-One Adult Weight Management Gummy Vitamins: I am definitely a gummy vitamin person. I can never seem to force myself to take vitamins regularly unless they come in “candy” form. And so that is what I use. These look pretty legit, and I am going to try them for the next three days in place of my regular gummy vitamin. These contain fiber and Omega 3, something you don’t always get in a lot of the drugstore vitamins.

All told, Bulu Box had a great value for the $4.60 per box that I paid with my one-year subscription. In addition, there are a lot of cool supplements I want to try, and the points system they offer (similar to Birchbox) lets you accrue points quickly enough that it will take a big chunk out of the price of buying things through their shop. I am excited about what the next year of Bulu Box has to bring me.

This post contains referral links.

Sparaj Box Review- January 2014

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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!