August Birchbox

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August’s Birchbox is a Beauty School theme since it’s back to school time!

What’s Inside

FusionBeauty LashFusion XL

-What it is: A mascara and lash conditioner in one that claims to give voluminous, healthy lashes.

-My thoughts: Ugh. I don’t like this mascara AT ALL. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to have dark, lush, thick lashes and this product does not do any of that for me. If you like extremely natural looking lashes this mascara may work for you but you can find better options for half the price at the drugstore.

Would I buy it: No

Full-size cost: $24

Shue Uemura Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo

-What it is: An oil-to-foam shampoo that cleanses without stripping hair of natural oils. For all hair types.

-My thoughts: My hair felt really soft after using and it smells so good. I was surprised at how clean my hair did feel after using this. The “oil” part of the product name made my wary. Even though my hair is dry, I like a good cleansing on my roots since I use a considerable amount of product and this did cleanse my hair well. For the price I wouldn’t purchase a full-sized bottle because I like what I’m currently using but this is a great product. If you have $55 to spend on shampoo this could be a great product for you.

Would I buy it: No

Full-size cost: $55

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream

-What it is: An all-purpose glycerin and camphor skin cream. Free of fragrance and dyes and gentle enough for infants. Perfect for treating chapped lips, cracked heels, dry spots on the face, etc. Cult product in Japan.

-My Thoughts: I really like this cream. It’s all-purpose use reminds me a bit of my beloved Rosebud Salve, although the texture is totally different. Yu-Be is thick and creamy and smells like menthol, but the scent goes away after applying. I put this on a few dry spots on my hands and it really soothed them.

Would I buy it: Yes

-Full-size cost: $16

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur perfume sample

-What it is: A modern perfume with notes of waterlily, mandarin and wild berries.

-My thoughts: This perfume is too sweet and fruity for my taste.

Would I buy it: No

Full-size cost: $70

Schick Hydro Silk Razor

What it is: A shaving razor with a water-activated moisturizing serum and 5 “curve-sensing” blades.

My Thoughts: I really like this razor. I still used shaving cream with it but it left my legs really soft and it gives a close shave without making you feel like you’re going to slice yourself.

Would I buy it: Yes

Cost: $11.49

What did you think of your August Birchbox?

July Birchbox

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July’s Birchbox is a Senses theme so it’s full of things for hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling.

What’s Inside

Boscia Green Tea Blotting Papers

-What it is: These are for oily skin. They absorb oil and are full of beneficial green tea extracts to leave your skin matte.

-My thoughts: My skin is bone dry so I wouldn’t put these on my skin ever, nor would they do anything if I did. I’ll give them to a friend with oily skin and I’m sure they will work wonderfully. Boscia is a fantastic skincare brand. I’m a little disappointed these were in my box considering we fill out a personalized form so they know our skin type.

Full-size cost: $10

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

-What it is: The product name pretty much says it all!

-My thoughts: Eyeko is a great brand. I received a full-sized liner, which was exciting! It gives a really precise, even line and is easier to use than most liquid liners I’ve used. Love it!

Full-size cost: $15

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

-What it is: A light-weight tinted moisturizer that gives a dewy finish.

-My Thoughts: This is very similar to my beloved Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer.  Similar, luxurious texture and luminizing finish.  I applied it with my BeautyBlender this morning and really liked it.

-Full-size cost: $38

Oscar de la Renta Live in Love perfume sample

-What it is: A feminine floral fragrance with hyacinth, orchid, sandalwood and cedar.

-My thoughts: This is a really girly, soft perfume that I like. Not sure I would pay for a full bottle but it’s a nice scent.

Full-size cost: $78

Larabar Uber on Cherry Cobbler

What it is: A snack bar packed with dried nuts, fruit and a touch of honey.

My Thoughts: I love Larabar and this was delicious. I love that her ingredients are so simple and natural. All her bars leave me feeling full and energetic.

Full-size cost: $27.95 for a 16-pack

Earbuds:

What it is: Earbuds for your iPhone, iPod, etc.

My Thoughts: I absolutely love the neon green and hot pink colors. These are so cute! The iPhone earbuds typically make my ears sore after wearing for a while and these don’t do that! They do slip out of my ears easier than the iPhone ones, though.

Cost: $10

What did you think of your July Birchbox?

June Birchbox

I recently joined Birchbox and will be blogging about each monthly shipment I receive.  Birchbox lets you sample the latest beauty and skincare products by delivering a box full of samples to your doorstep for only $10 a month!  You fill out a questionnaire upon signing up so each month your box is personalized to your preferences, skin tone, etc.  Each month also has a different theme and the items inside are associated with that theme.

They work with all the top brands like NARS, Khiel’s, Stila, Fresh, Essie and many more.  You can check out their list of brands here.  They also have a rewards system so that when you buy full-sized products from their site you accumulate points you can put toward items.

Birchbox has a waiting list so once you request a membership you wait until it’s your turn.  I waited about two weeks for my invitation.  Here is my review on the June Birchbox!

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June’s Birchbox is a Jet Set theme, so it’s full of items that are travel-friendly and serve multiple purposes.

What’s Inside

Juliette Has A Gun Not a Perfume perfume sample

-What it is:

A single-element fragrance by Romano Ricci. It’s made with Ambroxan, which is a synthetic substitute for grey amber and often used as a back note in perfumes. Juliette Has A Gun is described as “minimalist, elegant, pure.” It’s also allergen-free.

-My thoughts:

This is a very unique, clean, feminine scent. I like that it’s made with just one element. I’d imagine this would help minimize perfume-induced headaches, which I definitely get with some brands. I don’t see myself buying a full bottle but I do enjoy the fragrance.

Full-size cost: $85-$110

Melvita Rose Floral Water

-What it is:

A facial toner made primarily of water and organic rose petals. It’s meant to hydrate, refresh and tone skin. It’s made specifically for sensitive or prematurely aging skin.

-My thoughts:

I absolutely love facial mists and really like this one. My skin feels instantly refreshed and hydrated after a spritz of this and it has a very strong rose scent. They also make lavender and orange blossom floral waters. I would definitely purchase a full bottle of this product. I’d prefer it in lavender since I don’t love rose-scented things.

Full-size cost: $22

Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm

-What it is:

A 4-in-1 product that serves as a primer, moisturizer, anti-aging serum and sheer foundation all in one. It’s full of peptides to minimize appearance of wrinkles and antioxidants to protect against free radical damage.

-My Thoughts:

I’ve been really curious about beauty balms and was excited to try this.  I really like Stila products and this did not disappoint.  It provides a bit more coverage than the tinted moisturizer I typically use. It has a really luxurious feel as it goes on and it absorbs flawlessly into skin.  It has a nice, fresh scent to it as well.  I’m totally obsessed with my Laura Mercier but I would buy a full bottle of this product.  The only downside is it doesn’t have any SPF in it.  My fabulous beauty-blogging cousin gives more details on beauty balms here.

-Full-size cost: $38

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen

-What it is:

A 2-in-1 lip and cheek stain in a bright pinkish red shade. It has a gel consistency and it’s very long-wearing.

-My thoughts:

I’m a fan of the Benefit Benetint Rose stain and this gives similar color pay-off. The consistency is completely different, though. I like the gel consistency of this better. The Benefit stain gives a runny application and the gel formula of the Balm’s product makes application a breeze. Beauty Queen is described as a magenta-toned pink but I think it looks more red, like Benefit’s product. It makes lips look naturally but noticeably rosy.  It also gives a gorgeous natural-looking flush to the cheeks.  It doesn’t have a scent, which I also like. I would definitely purchase a full-sized tube of this. They make it in 2 other shades; Prom Queen-a rose pink, and Homecoming Queen-peach.

Full-size: cost $17

ModCloth Headband

What it is:

A retro-inspired headband with flexible metal wire.

My Thoughts:

I can honestly say I would not be caught dead in this headband. It’s just not my style at all. The one I received has a deer print on it, which I really don’t like, but the overall retro-style just isn’t me. It could look really cute on someone else with the right clothing.

Full-size cost:$14

Happy Things

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. I’m ready for a relaxing weekend and plan on staying out of the heat! Monday is the last day to enter my lip balm giveaway! If you haven’t entered yet, you can enter here. The winner will be announced on Tuesday!

Here are a few things that made me happy this week! All photos are from Instagram (Username: GourmetBeauty).

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{ My Maid of Honor speech from Devon‘s wedding, captured in a photo. I was so scared! }

20120621-141752.jpg{ Ice cold Corona Lights with lime & salt…great way to beat the heat }

20120621-141803.jpg{ Fresh cherries were my dessert most nights this week }

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{ My June Birchbox. Loving it! Details coming next week on the blog }

{ Breakfast for dinner after a hard kickboxing class, courtesy of Jon ❤ }

What are some things that brightened up your week?