Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Birchbox Review

Better late than never. I actually received the September Birchbox several weeks ago. Birchbox is a monthly subscription box for $10/month. There are generally harder to find brands, and a mix of sample sizes and deluxe sample sizes of products each month. While I would generally consider Birchbox to be a beauty box, there is also a lifestyle element to the boxes. In the past, there have been teas, chocolates, pens, jewelry trinkets, etc. 
Each Birchbox comes packaged in a plain brown cardboard box. There are Pinterest boards with ideas for how to use your boxes. I found a really cool one that turns them into a little set of drawers, which I may do to organize lipsticks.
September's theme was Heritage. The history of families, company histories, personal rituals, and definitely that of Birchbox on their three year anniversary.
The first item that I opened, I was really excited about, Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb Ultra Plush Lip Gloss. The color is a neutrally pink/beige, perfect for every day. I've loved Benefit since the 1990s, and the only place I could find their products was Saks Fifth Avenue in Phoenix.
Say Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes. These are a great way to take off your makeup in a hurry. They don't leave a residue, but leave your skin refreshed. I recently read an article by a magazine editor who went an entire month without washing her face before bed. Yuck! Even if it's with a cloth, wash your face! I even have my 7 year old son going through the motions. With all the antioxidants and grime that a 7 year old comes into contact with, it can't do any harm to have him pay a little attention to his face!
Beauty extra-Say Yes to Grapefruit CC Cream. There are two sample colors here (I'll likely need the lightest of the two). My skin can be dry, so I'll be happy to find a non-department store version for emergencies. I hope to never go without my Dr. Jart, but options are always good! I know the Say Yes! brand is very popular.
Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt. I've never heard of this brand before, but the container is cute, and the color great for fall. I'll be glad to do a pedicure in this great orangey color. The size is also perfect.
Finally, there was a packet of Mereadesso All-in-One Moisturizer. While this is only a packet, it's a pretty generous size. It also closes (genius), so it won't dry out in between uses. It's said that it acts as your anti aging day/night cream, serum, eye cream, toner and primer. I kind of like using my arsenal of products, but this would be a great product for travel. I'll definitely give it a try to see how it reacts with my skin before purchasing, which is one of the genius behind  subscription boxes-to try new things!

As I've said before, I've enjoyed Birchbox immensely. Great products with a nice variety. You also get 10 points per product that you review, and 100 points can be traded in for items in their boutique. They have great and unusual items, not just beauty products.

If you're not already a subscriber to Birchbox, I highly recommend it as an inexpensive gift to yourself or for someone you care about as the holidays approach.

*Disclaimer-I subscribe to this service myself, and I was in no way compensated for my review.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September Treatsie Review

Treatsie is a monthly subscription box that sends you candies and sweets from confectioners around the country. The cost is $15/month, and they really are like stumbling across these great little shops. I have been a member since their starting month. I think it's a great way to try new things.
I do like how the package is tightly sealed and shrink wrapped. They purposely did not send chocolate over the summer months. When you open your Treatsie box, there is a card, but not a whole lot of information regarding your sweets. The company wants its customers to go on the website to read about the confections.
The first company that was included in the box was Grey Ghost Bakery. As you can see, there were three different types of cookies included. Really, a little bit for every taste. The Molasses Spice were so good-really simple, but it reminded me that fall is upon us. They were very soft and fresh, delightful.
The next company included in the September box was Morning Glory Confections. They included Chai Tea and Cashew Artisan Brittle. Although I've never been a huge Chai Tea lover, I did enjoy the brittle. The tastes weren't overwhelmingly spicy. This was definitely a case where I might not have tried something, had it not been in the box, and I'm glad I did. It was crunchy and creamy, and yummy. Very technical-glad I'm not a food critic!
The next two packages were marshmallows. I think marshmallows might be a new trend, as they've been sent from different companies before. The first package was cinnamon and sugar. They were delicious, and I actually ate them right out of the little package. They weren't too sugary or too cinnamony. They would have been excellent in a cup of hot chocolate.
Finally, there was a package of vanilla and black pepper marshmallows. I'm a little adventurous, but not overly so. I'll have to look on the website to see if they have a serving recommendation for these.

Do you get Treatsie? What are your thoughts on September's box? I'm feeling a little up in the air on the subscription right now. Do you love the idea?

*Disclaimer-I subscribe to this box on my own, and I am in no way compensated for my review.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Probably the hottest way to sample...

I've been curious to try products from Besame Cosmetics for the last few months. They've had lip balm and cheek tint in recent Wantable boxes, but I really wanted to try their gorgeous lipsticks. I went on their website, (, and found a genius way to sample!

Lipstick sampler "matchbox" for $5! Each sampler has three samples of two colors. For $35, I was able to sample ALL of their colors! I know this may seem like a lot for samples, but for me, it was totally worth it. Besame Color Lipsticks are highly pigmented, and they are meant to remind us of Hollywood glamour. It can be hard to match the perfect red for each of us, so Besame has made it easy to try a few.

I'm very fair with a lot of pink in my skin, and I have blonde hair. So far, my faves are Besame Red (a blue based red), Cherry Red (great to blot, and to wear as a sheer tint-think cherry Popsicle stained lips) and surprisingly, I really like Champagne (a light, pearly golden shade). This wouldn't be a color that I would normally pick out.

Interested in a new color without the commitment? Check out Besame Cosmetics, and try a few!!

*Disclaimer-I purchased these products myself, and was in no way compensated for my review.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It All Began with a Swatch...

At some point, when you are getting to know someone, they will ask you how you met your spouse. M. and I began to fall in love because of a Swatch.

I grew up in Iowa. People always make fun of me, or roll their eyes when they hear this. No, I did not live on a farm. I don't know which side of the Crispix is the crunchiest, and I did not drive a tractor to school. It was actually a really great place to grow up.

Anyhow, M. was friends with my older brother, but I was just the little sister (only by 3 years) who was annoying. My parents took the whole group of boys to Chicago to see U2 in 1985, but I was shuffled off to a friend's house for the night.

My brother and sister were off at boarding school when I was in the 9th grade. I was applying, and knew that I would be leaving starting in 10th grade, and it didn't bother me at all. I loved my hometown, but I was ready for something new. So, I was in a large public high school, and everyone knew I was the sister of E. and R., and that I'd be going away to school in a year. My friends started to date older boys, which I know happens in high school.

Our campus was closed for 9th grade students, so we were stuck eating lunch in the cafeteria. Visions of every John Hughes movie come to my mind when I think of it. So, my friend and I decided to sneak off campus for lunch with her boyfriend and his friend. Of course, the friend ended up being M. We ended up at McDonalds, and I only had a lunch ticket to pay for lunch (my parents not knowing I would need anything else). I had to bum lunch money off of M. He still jokes about it today.

About a week later, I was scheduled to go to Switzerland with my parents to see my sister. I received a message that I should take the bus home, as my mom couldn't pick me up. The bus was worse than death. After it left the high school, it stopped at the elementary school to pick up kids. Desperate to find another ride home, I saw M. in the locker bay. I asked him for a ride home. Yay! No bus. While we drove, I told M. that we were headed to Switzerland the next morning. As I was getting out of the car, he said, "Have fun, bring me back a Swatch watch."

While touring the country, we spent a few days in Lucerne. It was a great city, one if my favorite European cities, actually. Before we left, I stopped into a Swatch boutique, and picked up a Swatch for M.

When we arrived home, I called M. I told him it was Andrea, and his answer was, "Andrea who?" I was so embarrassed, but told him who it was, and that I brought him a Swatch from Switzerland. "Cool, do you want to go see a movie?" M. said. 

And so, M. and I had our first date on Halloween, 1986. We went to see Crocadile Dundee. No, we did not stay together until we were adults, but we did date for about a month, and became great friends. We got back together when I was about 27, dating long distance, and eventually getting married in 2000. M. wore the dead Swatch to our wedding.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August Wantable Review

As usual, Wantable sent me an amazing box that I LOVED. They have the most complete questionnaire, so it makes sense that I love what they send. I think it's the most customizable of all the boxes. They generally send 6 products. They're well packaged, the receipt gives detailed product information, and there's always a nice thank you postcard.

The first product I opened was a loose blush by Whip Hand. I have never even heard of this line before, so I'm anxious to give it a try. The official name of the product is Cheek Flash, and the color is Wanting. It is a beautiful peach color. I'm fair, so I think the color will be good.

The next item was packaged in its own little pouch. Nice touch. It was a lip balm from Echo Vie "Ecological Life." It is an all natural company created by Susan Lee, a three time cancer survivor, with the products being "wholesome everyday products with great ingredients." My husband and I are obsessed with every lip balm out there. If you open pretty much any drawer in our house, you will find a lip balm of some sort. This balm contains peppermint oil, and you can definitely smell it right away. It's soothing and moisturizing. The balm looks a little bit pink, but it's so sheer that it's hard to tell if there is color or not. I've used it a few times, and I can definitely tell it's providing my lips with moisture.

The next item I opened was an eyeliner pencil by Au Naturale Cosmetics. The pencil is named Night, and it is black. I know that most people love a black eyeliner, but I'm just not a fan very often. I have recently been using a lighter color to line with, and a very thin line of black right on my lash line, so I will use this. The pencil seems very creamy, so I'll give it a try!

Next, I opened a Face Stockholm nail polish in #168. It's a purple-ish blue, and it's SO pretty. I like how it's not a pastel, and it will be great as the weather cools down. I'm thinking of the denim trend coming back (I'm not too sure if I can pull it off as easy as when I was in high school), and this is the perfect color. I might try it on my toes with a layer of a silvery glitter polish on top. I love Face Stockholm, too, so this is a great item to receive!

I was a little surprised to see an eye primer by Cailyn in my box, as there isn't a spot on the questionnaire for foundations, concealers, powders, primers, etc. I looked at the info sheet, and it said that its considered to be a "tool," like a brush or sharpener. Regardless, this will be great. I've been pleased with Cailyn products so far, and the color isn't too dark. If it will help my shadow stay put, I'll be happy. Even more so now, as I'm trying out contacts for like the 10th time, and it would be nice if my eye makeup stayed on during the day.

The last item I received was a fabulous lipstick by Michael Marcus. The color is Debbie, and is a bright, blue based red. I have a hard time with red lipsticks, like we all do. I definitely need a blue based color, or a "true red." If it has a yellow or orange base at all, it looks horrid on me. I've never used anything by Michael Marcus, and I'm anxious to try this. He was the curator of the box, and I really hope to get more of his products in the future.

Pretty great box for $36! If you're interested in trying out Wantable, their web address is They have both an accessory box and a cosmetics box, and you fill out preference questions for both. You can get a one time box ($40), or monthly for $36. I love it so far.

* Disclaimer-I purchased this box myself, and was in no way compensated for my review.