Category Archives: Birchbox

Last Word on Birchbox and a Haul

Birchbox haul

Birchbox haul

You may have noticed that I did not post my Birchbox review in December or January.  I did get boxes, but frankly they were both unimpressive and I was too bored to post about them.  I have canceled my subscription, but first I redeemed my loyalty points and placed one last order in the Birchbox shop.

I am so disappointed to see how much Birchbox has declined over the last six months.  I have been a subscriber for the last year and a half, and I used to love Birchbox.  Long time readers will remeber that I used to rave about the service, and I have enjoyed many of the products that I have received.  Unfortunately, Birchbox isn’t what it used to be, and the last six months have been box after box of uninteresting and, in some cases, substandard samples.  I lingered over the holidays to see if Birchbox would step it up for Christmas or for the New Years box but, alas, they did not.  So, finally, I have given up and canceled.

The only remaining virtue Birchbox has to offer is their loyalty points program and the subsequent discount in the Birchbox shop.  I’ve been banking my points over the last several months, and had $60 worth to redeem.  I managed to get all of the above items, $70 worth, for only $10 out of pocket.  Woohoo!  Here’s what I got:

  • Tea Forte Cucumber Mint Green Tea for Youth Recovery–  Tea Forte teas are supposed to be good for your skin.  I don’t know if that is true, but this Cucumber Mint green tea tastes fantastic.  I received a bag as a sample in one of my past Birchboxes and loved the flavor, so I wanted to get a whole box.
  • Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer–  I received a tiny sample of this lip treatment in a past box, put it in my purse, and promptly forgot about it.  As the weather has gotten colder, I pulled it out of my bag and started using it as an overnight lip treatment and love it.  My lips are so soft!  At $14 a tube, it’s more expensive than I would normally pay for a lip treatment, but with the Loyalty point discount it was totally worth it.  In fact, I love it so much that I picked up two tubes.  A little goes a long way, so they should last me a while.
  • Weleda Skin Food–  This was not something that I had sampled before, but I have heard some very good things about Weleda Skin food.  “This ultra-thick salve quickly hydrates parched skin without any greasy residue and keeps it moisturized and protected all day.  Organic sunflower seed has tons of essential fatty acids and vitamin E, which work to restore dry and damaged skin. Organic pansy and rosemary leaf are both natural antiseptics that help to soothe irritation, while calendula adds marathon hydration.
  • TheBalm Balm Jovi Rockstar Palette–  I have wanted this palette since the first time I laid eyes on it back in early September.  It’s freaking adorable!  I was going to show restraint and pass on it, but when Birchbox added it to the Birchbox shop, I knew I was going to spend my points on this one.  TheBalm eyeshadows are a great formula, and this palette has a great selection of shades in both matte and shimmer.  Also included are a blush, highlight, and two lip colors.  I’ll show you pictures and swatches in a separate post.

I am really pleased with my Birchbox haul, especially considering the low price tag.  As frustrated as I have been with Birchbox over the last several months, I am glad that I can end things on a positive note.  You won’t be seeing any more Birchbox posts on this blog.  It’s sad that a company with so much potential has really let their customers down and has let themselves slip so far.  Oh well, C’est la Vie.

November 2012 Birchbox


Birchbox for November 2012

The battle of the boxes (bags) continues between Birchbox and Ipsy (MyGlam).  I received my November Birchbox in a timely manner this month after two months of it being late.  I’m actually really shocked because I expected Sandy to have caused delays, but I received it over the weekend.

November’s theme is Giving: “Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday, and not just because of the obvious food reasons. We’re all so busy—with work, with friends, with mastering our makeup techniques—that we sometimes forget to stop and be mindful of how lucky we are. This month’s theme is “Give” and we’ve filled your Birchboxes with products from brands that give back and essentials that we are thankful for—plus a nifty way for you to pass along a treat to someone special.

  • Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder- regular price $30.00 for 4 oz; sample size 5 g, worth $1.35.  Revive second-day locks by working this organic dry shampoo into your roots.  You’ll get plenty of lift, but no residue.
  • ModelCo FIBRE LASHXTEND Lengthening Mascara- regular price $24.00 per tube (volume not specified); sample size looks to be a full sized tube, worth $24.00.  Falsies without the fuss.  This innovative mascara uses tiny lash-extending fibers to give you a lengthy fringe.  The tube comes with a cool little mirror on the back.
  • Mox Botanicals Pomegranate & Fig Lip Butter- regular price $16.00 for .2 oz; sample size .1 oz, worth $8.  This eco-chic balm in an exclusive flavor, revives lips with avocado oil and shea butter.
  • One Love Organics Aromatic Body Serum- regular price $39.00 for 90 ml; sample size 8 ml, worth $3.47.  Made with pumpkin seed and sea buckthorn oil, this fast-absorbing oil keeps skin supple and hydrated.  Bonus: it has aromatherapy benefits.
  • EXTRA: John Varvatos Artisan Fragrance- regular price $62.00 for 2.5 oz; sample size .05 oz, worth $1.24.  Give this extra sample to a lucky guy.  It’s a modern blend of energizing citrus and warm woods.

The grand total of my November Birchbox is worth $38.06, which is well over my $10 subscription fee (finally).  Though I’m not keenly interested in the samples that I got, at least I am glad that they are actually worth something this month.  If you’ve been following along, you know that the last several month’s worth of Birchboxes have been really bad.  I haven’t had a box worth more than $18.00 since July.  I hope that Birchbox has received a lot of complaints and is now going to start stepping it up.  I used to love Birchbox, and I’m sad to see that it has gone downhill so fast.  Hopefully Birchbox has heard their customers and will go back to the quality they used to have.

Tomorrow I will show you what I got from Ipsy (MyGlam) and we’ll see how it compares.  Last month, Ispy kicked Birchbox’s butt.  Will the same thing happen again this month?  We shall see.

October 2012 Birchbox


Birchbox October 2012

Yesterday I posted about my first My Glam bag, and now I want to show you October’s Birchbox so that you can compare the two.  This month subscribers were offered a choice to get the normal box, or a themed box.  I opted for the normal box, thinking that the Goop box wouldn’t suit me as well as the normal Birchbox.

October’s Birchbox theme is Transformation: “Since we were kids, October has meant one thing: costumes. (And candy, of course.) From princesses to Wonder Woman, we had quite the parade of getups. In honor of those days, we’re dedicating this month’s Birchbox to beauty changes both big and small.  Transformation doesn’t have to mean dying your hair blue or tossing out your entire closet. We’ve picked samples that you can use to shake up your routine.  Switch up your hairstyle, try a bolder lipstick shade, or go completely sans makeup one day. You’ll be surprised at how minor tweaks can make a big difference.

  • La Fresh Eco-Beauty Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover- regular price $9.99 for 20 packets; sample size 2 packets, worth $0.99.  Feel free to change up your mani daily.  These pads dissolve polish with a mix of botanicals and aloe vera.
  • Naked Princess Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss in Barely Nude– regular price $26 for .10 fl oz; sample size .008 fl oz, worth $2.08. Show off your (nearly) bare lips with this sheer gloss, which doubles as a subtle plumper.
  • theBalm cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer- regular price $24 for 8.5 g; sample size 1 g, worth $2.82. Play up your best features with this three-in-one highlighter, shadow, and all-over shimmer.
  • Willa Clear Face Moisturizer- regular price $11.50 for 1 fl oz; sample size .5 fl oz, worth $ 5.75.  This healing hydrator is made with aloe, mango extract, and eucalyptus to balance moisture levels without clogging your pores.
  • EXTRA: LUNA Fiber Chocolate Raspberry Bar- regular price $14.95 for 12; sample size 1 bar, worth $1.25.  We keep these yummy fiber-packed bars on hand at all times.

The grand total worth of my October Birchbox is $12.89, which is barely over my $10 subscription fee.  Honestly, I do really like all of the samples that I got this month.  I’ll use them all.  The real problem is the sample size.  Birchbox samples seem to be getting smaller and smaller, which brings their worth down.

Naked Princess Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss

Here is the Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss sample.  The packaging is similar to a perfume sample.  The actual gloss is a super tiny amount, and only fills about half the little tube.

Sample size comparison to a penny

Here is the lip gloss along with the tiny Mary-Lou Manizer next to a penny for size reference.  They are really very small samples.  When compared to this month’s My Glam bag, Birchbox seems a little ridiculous.  I really am leaning towards dropping Brchbox.  I’ll give it through the end of the year, but if Birchbox doesn’t step it up, I’m done.  When it comes to October’s winner in the battle between the box and the bag, Birchbox is the sad loser.  My Glam, now called Ipsy,  was the clear winner, and I’m so glad that I signed up.

Birchbox September 2012


September 2012 Birchbox

My Birchbox didn’t arrive this month until the 20th, so this is my first chance to post it.  I thought about ignoring it completely this month since you have probably seen other posts by now, and know what came in the Birchbox’s.  After such and epic fail last month, though, I wanted to follow up a bit.

I was so angry about last month’s Birchbox, that it took a long time to even try out any of the products.  Sadly, the best thing in the box was the perfume sample.  The card sample of Stila was not quite enough of the Beauty Balm or the foundation for a full face of makeup, so I had to supplement it with another foundation (though there was plenty of concealer).  I haven’t used the shave cream or the razor yet because I have a ton already.  I’m not going to re-hash why I was so upset, but I did email Birchbox to express my disappointment.  I found their response to be unsatisfactory.  This is the first time that I have gotten a response from Birchbox that left me as unhappy with them as I started.  Usually their CS dept. is great, but not in this case.  I have decided to stick it out with Birchbox until after the Holidays.  I plan to redeem my points when they have a good holiday deal.  Then I’ll make a decision.  I have now subscribed to MyGlam, so I’ll be getting my first bag in October.  If I end up liking it better, I may ditch Birchbox entirely.  That being said, September’s box was much better (hard not to be), though I wish it had gotten to me on time.  Oh, and I had a missing item, but more on that later.

September’s theme was fall fashion and in addition to the normal beauty samples, Birchbox included a Fall lookbook and a $25 off $75 coupon for Madewell.  The lookbook covers hair, nails, fragrance, and of course, makeup.  “September marks the starting line for the season’s fashion bonanza. We’ll leave the 900+ page fall fashion issues to Vogue, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of inspiration to share. We’ve put together a mini-mag filled with ten of our favorite fall trends.  Flip through and get inspired!  We have just the thing to jumpstart your autumn beauty collection: a custom Color Club nail polish inspired by the  Fall 2012 collections.  In addition to this exclusive shade, you’ll also find standout products that will set off a season’s worth of outfits.

  • BVLGARI Mon Jasmin Noir-regular price $47 for 0.85 fl oz or $83 for 50 ml; sample size 0.05 fl oz (1.5 ml), worth $2.63.  With waves of ripe fruit and a base of heady jasmine, this luxurious scent is the perfect accessory to fall outfits.
  • Color Club Birchbox Custom Polish in Put a Pin in It- regular price $8 for .5 fl oz; sample size .25 fl oz, worth $4. We teamed up with Color Club to create this custom shade, inspired by the fall 2012 collections.
  • Twistband Birchbox Custom Lace Hair Tie- regular price $14-22 for a set of 6-12; sample size 1 band, worth $2.82 Designers went gaga for lace this season and we don’t blame them.  Get on board with these ouch-free hair ties.
  • Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator- regular price $34 for 129 ml; sample size 20g, worth $5.27 This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten dull skin.
  • WEI to Go Sleep Over Kit- regular price $19 for 0.5 fl oz & 0.33 fl oz: sample size .02 fl oz & .1 fl oz, worth $ 2.75  Wash away dirt and debris with the camellia oil-infused cleanser, then perfect your skin with the moisturizing face tint.
  • EXTRA: The Brush Guard Brush Guard Variety Kit- regular price $5.50 for a set of 4; sample size 3 guards, worth $4.13  Slip these handy protectors over your makeup brushes to keep bristles in top-notch condition even when you’re on the go.  This item was missing.
  • EXTRA: Birchbox Digital Download Tristan Prettyman- download two of the singer/songwriter’s brand new tracks.

The total worth of my September Birchbox comes to $17.47.  I did not include the Brush Guards in my total because the sample was missing.  I emailed Birchbox and they apologized and said that they would send them to me.  We’ll see.  Overall, I’m happy with my box, especially if I get the brush guards that I’ve been meaning to buy already.  The perfume is a little more sophisticated than I typically wear, so I may end up giving it away.  I am excited to try the Vasanti and Wei products, though.  And I love the Color Club polish.  The shade is perfect.

Birchbox keychain

In addition to my box, I was also sent a leather keychain from Birchbox.  It is a thank you for being a subscriber.  I get the impression that it was only sent to long-time subs, but I could be wrong on that.  It’s cute, and it fits a lip balm, which is handy.  I like it.

August 2012 Birchbox FAIL


August 2012 Birchbox

After being a subscriber for a year, I can now present to you the worst Birchbox of all time.  I’m going to say it, Birchbox has let me and a lot of other subscribers down this month.  And from what I have read online, there are a lot of unhappy customers that they are going to have to deal with.  The above picture shows what I actually got in my Birchbox.  Below, is what I was supposed to get (minus the “extra” razor, which isn’t pictured).  See the difference?

August 2012 Birchbox

The little silver tube in the picture from Birchbox’s website is supposed to be my sample of Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer.  Instead of that little tube, I got this paper sample.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer sample card

I don’t want to turn this into a full-on rant, but I am not a happy camper.  The Stila sample card is NOT a deluxe or luxury sample.  I’m sorry, it’s just not.  This type of sample comes free in magazines.  I was actually really excited to try the Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer when I saw the image on the website saying I was getting it in my box.  However, I was so disappointed and, frankly, angry when I saw this pathetic little sample card.  I’ve seen many of the other August boxes, and there were several paper/foil sample packets sent out this month.  THESE ARE NOT DELUXE SAMPLES!  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can get one full face use out of my sample, but I’m not sure.  A deluxe sample should be enough for 2-3 uses at least.  I’ve never gotten a sample this small.  Even the very tiny Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint sample back in February was .07oz of product.  This card with .006oz is ridiculous and insulting to paying customers.

Also, there is such a huge disparity in the value of the boxes offered.  Some people are getting full sized (or at the least very large) Pixie products this month, and others are getting paper/foil packets that have no real value.  It’s not fair, and it is infuriating.  I understand and accept that I am not going to love every sample I get, or even like every box I get, but I should be able to count on getting deluxe samples as advertised.  (Sorry, that was pretty darn ranty.)

Okay, let’s get into this thing.  Here is what Birchbox has to say about their August box: “We all remember the excitement of back to school shopping and the thrill of stocking up on fresh notebooks and pens. This month, we’re helping you refill your beauty supply kit with must-try essentials and new products that will take you through the fall. Plus, we’ve put together plenty of fresh content to ensure that you ace every class.”  In keeping with the back to school theme, they sent a Beauty 101 fold-out pamphlet.

Beauty 101

Inside they highlight what various tools are for, how to read a label, tips to get a better shave, etc.  If I was a young girl or a beauty newb, this may come in handy, but I didn’t find it particularly useful.

  • Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur- regular price $70 for 2.5 fl oz; sample size 0.05 fl oz, worth $1.40.  This modern scent is a feminine blend of wild berries, mandarin, and waterlily.
  • Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm, Foundation & Concealer- regular price for the Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer (combo item) is $44 for 1 fl oz foundation and .07 g of concealer.  Regular price for the Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm is $38 for 45 ml; sample size 0.006 oz of both the Beauty balm and the Foundation, 0.003 oz of the concealer.  The sample is virtually worthless, around 30 or 40 cents, so I’m counting it as zero.  These multitasking favorites are your cheat sheet to flawless skin.
  • Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream in Pomegranate- regular price $20 for 150 ml; sample size 1 oz, worth approx $3.95.  The organic shea butter in this foam-free shaving cream softens skin as you shave.
  • Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream- regular price $16 for 1.25 oz; sample size .1 oz, worth $1.28.  This best-selling Japanese cream hydrates chapped lips, rough heels, and cracked hands.
  • EXTRA Schick Hydro Silk razor- regular price (Birchbox lists the price as $9.99 on their site, but they do not sell the razors directly.  They say to find them at your local drugstore.  Walmart has them listed as $7.94, so it depends on where you go and if you have a coupon.); sample size 1 razor.  The water-activated serum moisturizes skin while you shave, and the innovative oval-shaped design hugs tricky areas like knees and ankles.

The grand total value of my August 2012 Birchbox (not including the “extra”) is $6.63.  If you throw in the razor at the price Birchbox listed the total goes up to $16.62.  Frankly, in my opinion, this box was not worth my $10 subscription fee.  The only sample that I am interested in at all is the perfume sample because I love Juicy fragrances.  I already know that I love the original Viva la Juicy, so I’m sure that I’ll like this one.  I’ll use my other samples, but they don’t really interest me.  As you can probably tell, I’m pretty angry about the crappy Stila sample.  This month was an epic fail on Birchbox’s part.  The only redeeming quality is that I can get the points for giving my feedback on the samples.  I’m hoping to break 300 points this month, which is worth $30 in the Birchbox shop.  There is no way that I can recommend Birchbox to you based on the horrible samples offered this month, so all I can do is hope that they redeem themselves in some way.


July 2012 Birchbox


July 2012 Birchbox

It’s time once again for my monthly Birchbox post.  For those unfamiliar with Birchbox, it is a $10.00 a month subscription service that provides a selection of 4-5 luxury samples of anything from skincare to makeup, hair care, and beauty tools from well-known brands as well as emerging ones.  The contents of each month’s box is a surprise and some months are certainly better than others, but overall I’ve been really pleased with my subscription.  The best part of Birchbox is the loyalty points program where you can earn points that can later be redeemed for cash in the Birchbox Shop.  I’ve gotten major discounts off of NARS, Laura Gellar, and theBalm by redeeming my Birchbox points which, in my opinion, sets Birchbox ahead of some of the other subscription services available.  Last month, I was most excited to try the Dr. Jart + Premium Beauty Balm and it didn’t disappoint.  It was exactly what a BB Cream should  be, and I really liked it.  Hopefully the samples from this month will likewise impress me.

For July’s box, Birchbox teamed up with Glamour to produce a box that celebrates the five senses.  “During summer, everything is at its peak, from the steamy temperatures to the farmer’s market bounty. Is it any wonder that all our senses are in overdrive? It’s the perfect time to focus on the full immersion experience of your beauty routine—everything from the sound of the packaging as you tear into a new product to the feel of a deliciously gritty scrub on your skin. This month, we’ve teamed up with Glamour, to bring you a Birchbox that guarantees a multi-sensory experience.”

  • Alterna BAMBOO UV + Color Protection Fade-Proof Fluide- regular price $24 for 2.5 fl oz; sample size 0.25 fl oz, worth $2.40.  This finishing gloss prevents UV rays from fading color while organic bamboo extracts keep hair strong and soft.
  • Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Olive- regular price $15 for .07 oz; full size sample, worth $15.  Direct from London, these punchy color liners feature a pen-style applicator that’s truly goof-proof.
  • Harvey Prince Hello Fragrance- regular price $26 for 8.8 ml or $55 for 50 ml; sample size not listed, approx 1.75 ml, worth approx $3.55 (average between the two price points).  Get a glass half full disposition with this optimistic blend of juicy Meyer lemon, white grapefruit, and pink plumeria.
  • Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum- regular price $20 for 20 ml or $42 for 1.6 oz; sample size 2 packets 2ml each, worth $3.77 for both (average between the two price points).  Wear this award-winning brand’s silky SPF 30 serum under your makeup for a weightless UV shield.
  • EXTRA Tea Forte Minteas in Cocoa Mate- regular price $9.95 for 3 tins; sample size 1 tin, worth $3.32. Keep these refreshing, tea-infused mints on hand for quick pick-me-ups.
  • EXTRA Birchbox Exclusive Earbuds- no price listed, product not currently for sale.  We designed these neon headphones just for you.  Pair them with your best playlist.

The grand total worth of my July 2012 Birchbox is $28.04, plus whatever the earbuds are worth.  The Eyeko Skinny Liner, which I really like, makes this box worth my $10 subscription.  I think the earbuds are adorable, and the Harvey Prince sample of Hello smells wonderful.  However, I do feel like the last few months have been a little lackluster.  I wouldn’t say that they were bad boxes (like February, bleh), but with the possible exception of the Dr. jart BB Cream, there haven’t been any items that commanded my attention and really made me love Birchbox like there have been in previous months.  On the other hand, feedback on July’s box will bring me up to over 200 points, which is a free $20 to spend in the Birchbox shop, so I’m not complaining too much.  I do wish for a little more, though, and hope the August box is more exciting.

What came in your July 2012 Birchbox?  Let me know in the comments below.

June 2012 Birchbox


June 2012 Birchbox

My Birchbox this month was LATE.  I try to have these posts up a little earlier than this, but I just got the box on Saturday.  I know that most of you are familiar with Birchbox, but just in case, here is a run-down.  Birchbox is a $10.00 a month subscription service that provides a selection of 4-5 luxury samples of anything from skincare to makeup, hair care, and beauty tools from well-known brands as well as emerging ones.  The contents of each month’s box is a surprise and some months are certainly better than others, but overall I’ve been really pleased with my subscription.  The best part of Birchbox is the loyalty points program where you can earn points that can later be redeemed for cash in the Birchbox Shop.  I’ve gotten major discounts off of NARS, Laura Gellar, and theBalm by redeeming my Birchbox points which, in my opinion, sets Birchbox ahead of some of the other subscription services available.

Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment and Miracle Skin Transformer Body from May’s box

Before I dive into June’s Birchbox, I wanted to discuss a couple products that I got last month.  I got a couple comments asking me to share what I thought about the Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment and the Miracle Skin Transformer Body concealer thing.   I really liked the Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment.  It is very moisturizing and provides just a hint of color that is barely there.  It smells great, and feels good on the lips.  However, I do not think that It’s worth the money.  There are too many cheaper alternatives, and although I like it, it doesn’t stand out far enough above the rest to make it worth the splurge.  At least not for me.  But it is a nice product.  As far as the Miracle Skin Transformer goes, I loved the concept, but it fell a little flat.  I was pleased that it did not transfer onto clothes, and it felt fine, but the coverage was so light that it didn’t cover much.  You are supposed to be able to build coverage, but then it felt too thick.  I tried to cover both a bruise and a pinkish scar, but I was still able to see both through the makeup.  If you have a light imperfection to cover up, it may do the trick, but anything with any real pigmentation and you will still be able to see it.  It would work well to even out skin tone on the décolleté and shoulders, but I don’t feel that it is worth the bother for me.  Of course, I don’t usually wear strapless, so it isn’t a big deal for me.  Now, onto June’s box.

June’s theme is “Jet Set,” and here is what Birchbox has to say: “Blame the school calendar, but every June we still get giddy about dusting off our suitcases and planning an itinerary. Even when we can’t hop on a plane, train, or automobile, we get our fix in other ways—from transporting films to globe-trotting beauty products.  This month’s box is devoted to products that will indulge your inner jetsetter, from hardy formulas that can last throughout a long-haul flight to imported finds that we’ve picked up on our global adventures.”

  • Dr. Jart + Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45- regular price $39 for 1.5 fl oz; sample size 0.33 fl oz, worth $8.58.  “This four-in-one moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, and skin-perfecting tint is made with an innovative bio-peptide complex to boost collagen levels.
  • Joya Âmes Sœurs Parfum  A Scent of Soulmates– regular price $28 for 0.34 fl oz (roller ball); sample size 0.05 fl oz, worth $4.12.  “Star perfumer Fredrick Bouchardy designed this new scent, a blend of bright orange blossoms, smokey incense, and sweet musk.
  • Melvita Floral Water in Rose- regular price $22 for 6.76 oz; sample size 0.95 oz, worth $3.13.  “This organic mist works as a light toner and mid-day skin refresher.  We also love the delicate scent.
  • Oribe Shampoo & Conditioner for Beautiful Color- regular price (Shampoo) $36 for 8.5 fl oz; sample size 0.23 fl oz, worth $0.97; regular price (Conditioner) $39 for 6.8 fl oz; sample size 0.23 fl oz, worth $1.32.  “This ultra luxe duo doesn’t just stop hair color from fading; it also replenishes dehydrated strands and adds a glossy sheen.
  • theBalm Cosmetics Staniac in Beauty Queen- regular price $17 for 0.3 fl oz; sample size 0.04 fl oz, worth $2.27. “We’re crazy about this two-in-one lip and cheek stain; the sheer gel formula delivers a subtle, long-wearing flush.”
  • EXTRA BAND-AID Cynthia Rowley Dress Up Band-Aids- regular price $14 for a bundle of two 20ct boxes; sample size one 20ct box, worth $7.  “Be prepared for life’s little emergencies with these designer bandages.”

The grand total of June’s Birchbox adds up to $27.39.  Though this isn’t the biggest value box, it is still well over my $10 subscription fee.  I thought June’s box was a little hit and miss as far as products go.  I am not a fan of the perfume sample (though I do love that it’s a roller ball) and I probably won’t get much use out of the Melvita Floral Water.  I will probably use the band-aids and the Oribe Shampoo & Conditioner, but I can’t say that they excite me.  However I am really excited to try the Dr. Jart BB Cream and theBalm Staniac.  I am becoming a big fan of theBalm cosmetics, so any excuse to try more of their products is great by me.

Let me know in the comments below what samples you got in your June Birchbox, or if you want any more info on the samples that I received.  If you want to sign up for your own Birchbox subscription follow this link.


May 2012 Birchbox


Birchbox May 2012

It’s Birchbox time again, and this month Birchbox teamed up with “Gossip Girl” for samples inspired by the show.  First a quick rundown for those who don’t know about Birchbox.  Birchbox is a $10.00 a month subscription service that provides a selection of 4-5 luxury samples of anything from skincare to makeup, hair care, and beauty tools from well-known brands as well as emerging ones.  The contents of each month’s box is a surprise and some months are certainly better than others, but overall I’ve been really pleased with my subscription.  The best part of Birchbox is the loyalty points program where you can earn points that can later be redeemed for cash in the Birchbox Shop.  I’ve gotten major discounts off of NARS, Laura Gellar, and the Balm by redeeming my Birchbox points which sets Birchbox ahead of some of the other subscription services available.

As I said, May’s theme was inspired by “Gossip Girls” and here is what Birchbox had to say: “Of all our guilty pleasures, our weekly “Gossip Girl” date ranks pretty high. As proud New Yorkers, we love seeing our favorite spots on screen—plus we’re addicted to the plot intrigues and killer fashion and beauty looks. Just in time for the season finale Monday, May 14, at 8/7c on The CW, we’ve teamed up with “Gossip Girl” to bring you samples inspired by the series and Manhattan’s chicest events.  This collection has exactly what an uptown girl needs for summer. It’s time to break out the bright prints and chic sandals and head to—where else?—the Hamptons. Beach parties call for a fresh, natural look: think foundation-free skin and on-trend nails. And don’t forget—a good guest always follows up with a thank you note.

  • BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette Spray- regular price $64.00 for 1.33 oz, or $47.00 for 0.85 oz; sample size 0.05 oz, worth $2.58.  “Inspired by luminescent crystals, this elegant scent combines notes of lotus flowers, bamboo, and Nashi pear.”
  • Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15- regular price $22.50 for 0.15oz; sample size 0.08 oz, worth $12.00.  “This cult favorite has a subtle rosy hue, plus sugar extracts to exfoliate and smooth lips.”
  • Kiel’s Abyssine Cream- regular price $48.00 for 1.69 fl oz; sample size 0.25 fl oz, worth $7.10.  “A longtime bestseller, this anti-aging moisturizer uses microscopic Abyssine molecules to soften wrinkles and protect skin from free radical damage.”
  • Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20 in Glow- regular price $34.00 for 3.38 oz; sample size 0.5 oz, worth $5.03  “Don’t settle for anything but flawless skin- all over your body.  This tinted treatment erases blemishes and scars from arms, legs, and decollete.”
  • EXTRA Birchbox Notecards– regular price $10.00 for a set of 12; sample size 1 note card, worth $0.83.  “Text messages are no match for handwritten notes on fun, modern stationary.”

The grand total worth of my May box is $27.54.  I am not a “Gossip Girl” fan, and have no idea how these products relate to the show.  I’m not loving the blatant advertising going on.  That being said, I still really like the contents of my box.  The BVLGARI fragrance smells fantastic and I will totally use it.  I’ve been very curious about the Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment, but will never shell out the money for a full priced product.  I’m glad that I get to try it without paying $22.50 for lip treatment.  I’m really interested in trying the Miracle Skin Transformer because I have some scars and discoloration on my arms.  I wonder if it transfers to clothing.  I’m anxious to try it out.    I’m sure that I will enjoy the Kiel’s Abyssine Cream.  The notecard is an odd color to go with that bright pink envelope.  I like the color of the card, but it just looks bad with the envelope.  I’m sure I’ll use it, but it certainly is not my favorite extra.

I’d love to know what you got in your May Birchbox.  Did we get the same samples?  Let me know in the comments below.  If you want to sign up for your own Birchbox subscription follow this link.

How I got the Balm Nude ‘Tude Palette for Over 80% off


the Balm Nude 'Tude Palette

the Balm Nude 'Tude Palette (back)

The Balm Nude ‘Tude Palette retails for $36.00 and is available through a variety of locations, one of which is the Birchbox shop.  Back in December I posted about my first order from the Birchbox shop, where I purchased NARS and Laura Geller products at an incredible discount.  This is my second order.  Thanks to my loyalty points, I was able to get the Balm Nude ‘Tude palette for only $6.00, instead of the usual $36.00.  That’s not a typo, I really got it for 83% off retail price and you can too.

In case you don’t remember how it works, let’s talk about loyalty points for a sec.  When you first sign up for Birchbox, you will receive a certain number of points based on the length of subscription that you order, 1 month, 3 months, 12 months.  After that, you can earn more points by referring friends (50 for each person who signs up), and for giving feedback (10 points each) on the products that you receive in your box.  You also earn points for every dollar you spend in the store, $1 equals 1 point.  These points are redeemable when you order full sized products.  Every 100 points is worth $10 in the Birchbox store.  You can use as many points as you like at one time, so if you do not have much money to spend, you can save your points so that you can still order products without having to pay out of pocket.  For example, Birchbox offers Benefit High Beam for $26.  If I had chosen to do so, I could have used my 300 points on it and gotten High Beam for free.  Loyalty points are like currency in the Birchbox store, and you pay with them at check out.  It’s a very generous system, and earning points goes faster than you would think.

I chose to redeem my 300 points for $30.00 off the Balm Nude ‘Tude palette, knocking the regular price down to a measly $6.00 out-of-pocket.  Unlike my first order, there were no sales or special discounts going on so this isn’t time sensitive.  You too can get the exact same deal as I did as soon as you accumulate 300 loyalty points.  Shipping was a flat $5.00 for standars USPS, which is a pretty good rate, and standard shipping is free on all orders over $50.  I was very impressed by how quickly my order was processed and shipped to me.  I placed the order on the 17th, it shipped the 18th, and was in my hands by the 20th.

the Balm Nude 'Tude Palette

Here is  a look at what’s inside the palette.  I’ll do a full review with tons of photos later when I’ve had the chance to play around a bit.  Not bad for just $6.00, huh?  Fun samples aside, this  right here is the reason that I subscribe to Birchbox.  There are a lot of subscription services out there, but not many of them have the same type of system of rewards for just being a member.  I enjoy my Birchbox subscription, and I like the samples that I receive each month, but the loyalty points program is what really sells it for me and keeps me going with Birchbox month after month.  To sign up for your own Birchbox subscription, follow this link.

April 2012 Birchbox


Birchbox April 2012

My Birchbox got to me pretty early this month, which make me happy.  By now, I’m sure that you all know about Birchbox (since I’ve been doing these posts since August) but if not, Birchbox is a $10.00 a month subscription service that provides a selection of 4-5 luxury samples of anything from skincare to makeup, hair care, and beauty tools from well-known brands as well as emerging ones.  The contents of each month’s box is a surprise and some months are certainly better than others, but overall I’ve been pleased with my subscription.

April’s theme is “Natural Wonders” and here is what Birchbox had to say: “We’re not quite rugged (does backyard camping count?), but we love the great outdoors.  This month, we’re bringing things back down to earth with fresh products that take inspiration from the world around us.  You’ll find skincare packed with nourishing natural ingredients (they’re practically good enough to eat), healthy nail polish, and an optimistic new fragrance.  These wholesome picks will get you excited to take on everything from garden parties to spring cleaning.

  • Befine Skincare Sampler including the Gentle Cleanser and Daily Moisturizer w/ SPF 15- regular price (cleanser) $24.00 for 3.4 fl oz, (moisturizer) $25.00 for 1.7 oz; sample size is 2 samples of cleanser (0.34 fl oz each), worth $4.80, and 3 samples of moisturizer (0.34 fl oz each), worth $15.00 ($19.80 total for the sampler box).  “Revive dull skin with this gentle cleanser and moisturizer duo.  Both use rice extracts to restore skin’s natural barrier”.
  • WEI White Lotus Hydrating Face Treatment Pad- regular price $68.00 for 6 pads; sample size 1 pad, worth $11.33.  “This single-use face mask is soaked with a blend of Eastern botanicals and hyaluronic acid to give skin an instant boost.”
  • Wonderstruck Taylor Swift fragrance- regular price $59.50 for 3.4 fl oz, or $49.50 for 1.7 fl oz; sample size 0.04 fl oz, worth $0.93 (average of the two price points).  “The pop-country songstress’ scent is as catchy as her lyrics.  We think it’s worthy of a standing gig on our vanity”.
  • Zoya TRUE Spring Collection in Bevin- regular price $8.00 for 0.5 fl oz; sample size 0.25 fl oz, worth $4.00.  “Lighten up for spring with this fresh shade.  The non-toxic formula goes on opaque and lasts 50% longer than traditional polishes”.
  • EXTRA MicrodermaMitt Face Mitt- regular price $28.50 each ; I think this sample is full size, worth $28.50.  “This all-natural silk mitt gently exfoliates away dead skin cells and pore-clogging debris”.

The grand total worth of my box (minus the EXTRA) is $36.06.  If you add the MicrodermaMitt Face Mitt into the mix, the total gets bumped to $64.56, which is way more than the $10 subscription fee.  I’m very pleased with this month’s box.  I’ve used Befine products before (different ones) and really liked them, so I’m excited to try my skincare sampler, especially since there is so much to try.  I was actually thinking about getting a rollerball of Wonderstruck, so I’m happy to have the sample.  And I finally get to try a Zoya polish!  Bevin is a pretty blue, right up my alley.  I’ve heard many good things about WEI, so I am very interested in the mask.  I’m a little hesitant to try the face mitt, but that’s just because of my rosacea.  I’m hoping that my skin isn’t too sensitive for it, but I’m willing to try it at least once.  The April box may not be my favorite of all of the ones that I have received, but it is certainly near the top.  Way to go Birchbox!

I’d love to know what’s in your Birchbox (because they are all different), so leave me a comment and let me know.  If you got the same box that I did, tell me what you thought.  If you are interested in Birchbox and want to sign up, follow this link to