January Birchbox: Tone it Up

In the last couple months, I have discovered that being on Birchbox’s email list also means you have a certain say about your upcoming Birchbox! How, you may ask? There’s one of two ways!

  1. Sample choice – Birchbox picks several different samples for you to choose from, and you can select one of these samples to guarantee it in your upcoming box.
  2. Special boxes – Birchbox will arrange a one-time themed box with specific samples that you can pick to replace your randomly-curated box.

In January, they actually offered two different special boxes: the Relax & Recharge box, or the Tone it Up box. While I typically enjoy the surprise of not knowing what I’m getting each month, I found the listed samples in the Tone it Up box were exactly right for me!

January Birchbox: Tone it Up – Gym Bag Essentials

IMG_1204 IMG_1205 IMG_1206Whish Body Butter in Lavender

This sample almost single-handedly sold me on the entire box. I received Whish’s body butter in pomegranate in one of my very first Birchboxes after subscribing last year, and it is one of my favorite samples to date. I purchased the full-size of pomegranate not long after. It smells amazing, without being overly sweet. It’s also not greasy, which is one of my most disliked qualities in a lotion/body-butter. The lilac has been just as promising, with its silky-smooth formula and universally-flattering scent.

IMG_1207Coola Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion

This was another winning product. I first got this sample in one of my CEW insider boxes, and I swear by it. I used it after two separate severe burns–one after my half-marathon and one in Cancun. I immediately noticed a cooling feeling, and an immediate relief from the pain, even better than aloe vera. The formula has a slight bit of tackiness to it, and the smell is similar to citronella in my opinion, but if you can overlook these qualities (or if you like citronella like me haha), it is definitely worth the hype. The price tag is a bit hefty at $32, so I guess it just depends on how quickly you need relief from sun-exposure!

IMG_1208Aqua Reveal Satin Bright Soft Water Peel

Unfortunately, I have not tried this product yet. But I am always curious to try new face treatments!

IMG_1210Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Make this number 1,345,864 of dry shampoo samples I have to go through. I haven’t found one I don’t like yet, and am currently finishing up my Amika sample! This particular dry shampoo took Allure’s best of beauty award, so it’ll probably hit the fast lane and be the next one I try πŸ™‚

IMG_1213Coastal Scents Revealed Palette Sampler

As the proud owner of the Revealed I and Revealed II palettes, this is a sample I don’t need. Helloooo giveaway πŸ™‚

If you are interested in signing up for Birchbox, please click HERE. If you are already signed up, what was your favorite sample from January?!

XO Ali

September Subscriptions: Ipsy, Sunset 45, & Vegan Cuts

Ipsy: Street Style

IMG_9622This is my very first Ipsy bag, and I have to admit, my first impression was not great. It took SO long for it to get here. My friends were excitedly posting about their bags the week before I even got a shipping notification for mine. When I saw the sparkly pink packaging at my doorstep on Saturday, I was elated it was finally here! But the bag inside looked rough. As you can see from the picture, it was a mess. There were dents and tears in the fabric of the studded bag, and creases all over the place. Not a great first impression of such a raved-about beauty subscription.

Anyways, let’s move on to the contents of the bag–AWESOME! I received:

  • Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Make A Mauve – this is my favorite item in the box so far; I was worried the color was going to be too dark, but one brush of the stick on my cheek and a little rubbing does wonders for adding color! My cheeks look flushed without it looking clown-like, and I found it lasts much longer than traditional powdered blushes.
  • Nourish Organic Mositurizing Cream Face Cleanser – this is a gel-type cleanser that gently foams as you rub it into your skin. The smell is alright, but it leaves skin feeling soft and clean, and the sample size should last me a longggg time.
  • Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish in Red Red Wine – this color goes on a beautiful blood-red color, that looks different to me in various light settings. Although it goes on smoothly, two coats is needed to evenly distribute the color. Did I mention it’s vegan-friendly?! Yes!
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask – this conditioning mask was nothing special. I put it on my hair after shampooing with my Redken, and left it on for about 4 minutes. I didn’t feel it conditions nearly as much as a regular conditioner, as my hair was really knotted and difficult to brush through (and pulled out a lot of hair) while styling.
  • Be A Bombshell Smooth Criminal Powder – have not sampled yet.

Sunset 45: Classic Lines


I was pretty happy with my Sunset 45 box this month, though I’m still not sure it’s worth $35. I am having a hard time actually cancelling because I like most of what they send me, I just don’t think it’s always worth $35…decisions, decisions. September’s theme was “Classic Lines:”

  • Gold bar necklace – this necklace is my favorite piece in the box. It’s simple and understated, the perfect piece to add when you’re going for classic luxury.
  • Gold bangles – I’m kind of “meh” about bangles, because they are usually too uncomfortable for me to wear all day. They usually don’t stay on my wrists very well, and the constant jangling of them going up and down when I move my arm drives me crazy. I do like that these are a bit thicker than other bangles I’ve tried, so you can wear one or all 7!
  • Absolute New York Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Black – this liner is fantastic. Because it’s gel, it glides so effortlessly across the skin, but be sure to let it dry before testing its waterproof capabilities. Gels can smudge easily when first applied.
  • Absolute New York Nail Art Paint in Black and White – have not experimented with these yet, but I like the long skinny tubes. Feels more luxurious that way πŸ˜‰
  • Gold crystal-chain necklace – this necklace is pretty long so you can wear it as is, or double it up!

Vegan Cuts: End of Summer Snacking

IMG_1814This is my second experience with a food box subscription, and my first time with Vegan Cuts.Β  This box included a bunch of warm-weather treats:

  • Somersault Snack Co. nut-free sunflower nuggets
  • Snikiddy vegetable chips
  • UB Super meal replacement powder (shake)
  • Surf Sweets organic watermelon ring candies – yum! Just like the ones in the gas station, but organic!
  • Ziggy Marley Organics sea salt and pepper hemp seeds – what does a hemp seed taste like?
  • Chic-a-Peas falafel chickpeas – sadly not as good as I hoped, and I’m a falafel junkie.
  • Smooze ice pop – I love these pops. I got on in my Love With Food box and it was so delicious! I don’t know if I liked this flavor as much, but the brand is definitely worth checking out!
  • Pur-Absorb Iron water packets – I am afraid to try these, haha. Just like multivitamins, I can’t stomach iron-laced items, because I think iron tastes like blood. I know that’s a weird thing to say, but surely there is someone out there that has had a bloody nose and knows what I mean! Blegh!
  • Neat meat-replacement mix – I was very skeptical. You just add eggs and water and cook it on a stove-top like you would ground beef (which I’ve never done in my life…even when I wasn’t a vegetarian). But. it. was. DELICIOUS. We made it with tacos. I can’t stand vegetarian products that taste too much like meat (like veggie “sausage” patties) because it freaks me out, but this had all the zesty flavoring of a taco mix with just some vegetable protein holding it together. It was so good, but the cheapest I can find it is 6/$30. Yikes!
  • Beanfield bean and rice ranch-flavored chips

I had a hard time getting everything to sit (and stay put) while I took photos, so I’m sorry about the poor quality of the photo. As far as the subscription box goes, it’s another check-mark on my list of boxes I wanted to try. At $19/month, this will be the only Vegan Cuts snack box I try, as I just can’t see the price value of food boxes. They do have a beauty box I’m itching to get my hands on though, so maybe that will be in a future review. I love me some new beauty products (but I really don’t need anymore!).

What subscription boxes do you get?!

XO Ali

Birchbox Madness

This month it has been raining Birchbox at my doorstep, which isn’t the worse problem in the world (except that it’s not exactly free haha). Following the heels of the CEW Awards, Birchbox released two special edition boxes featuring some of the year’s most raved-about products at an absolutely terrific value! I had to snatch them both up before they were sold out. You can also get $5 off if you buy them both at the same time!

2014 Mass Appeal Box ($15)

IMG_1727The mass appeals box is full of products that you can find at your local drugstore:

  • Dove Go Fresh Body Wash in Blue Fig & Orange Blossom – I’ve used this body wash about 10 times already and it is still half-full. I normally use Dove’s body wash in the shower so the only difference was really the scent. It’s got a sweet clean smell to it, but I can’t really pick out orange (nor do I know what fig smells like).
  • Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer w/ SPF 15 – I tried this on my face and shoulders last week on a practice run and it works as well as any other sunscreens.
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara – I am a mascara snob, I really have a hard time finding one I like, but this one was alright in my book (which is better than the negative rating I give 75% of mascaras I try!). It lengthened my lashes without clumping, but I’ve got an irresistible love for my D&G Passion Eyes mascara, which is still my #1.
  • Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips – this stuff is amazing! I bought the original lip therapy a few years ago and forgot about it when I ran out. Now, they make this pink tinted one, which is amazing at hydrating and protecting lips from the elements.
  • Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip Gloss in Spring Splendor – I have not tried this yet, but if it’s worth reviewing, you will see it on a monthly favorites list πŸ™‚
  • TRESemme Keratin Smooth Keratin Infusing Serum – I use a lot of TRESemme’s heat protecting products, so even though I haven’t tried this one yet, I have high expectations that it will be just as good.

2014 Prestige Headliners ($18)

IMG_1746The Prestige Headliners Box is full of luxury-oriented items:

  • Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme – can we just talk about the amazing smell of this hair product for a second? It is pure bliss–a refreshing parfum scent which makes the hair feel silky and look shiny.
  • Josie Maran Cosmetics 100% Pure Argan Oil Light – confession: I have not tried any oils on my face yet. I know it is supposed to be really healthy for skin. From what I’ve been told by friends, it is best to apply and let sit a short time before you wash your face, to keep your skin from drying out (though you can really use it at any time).
  • 100% Pure Creamy Nail Polish (my color was in Velveteen) – colors will vary in this box. Mine was a soft mauvey-nude color which goes on much lighter than it photographed in the above picture. I put on two coats and it went on very smooth and evenly.
  • Philosophy Miracle Worker Overnight – I haven’t tried this moisturizer yet, which is surprising since I use the Purity facewash by Philosophy. Regardless, this is a cult favorite and my expectations are high πŸ™‚
  • COOLA Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion – unfortunately, I had to use this yesterday do to an intense sunburn from my half-marathon. Fortunately, however, this stuff works! I put it on multiple times throughout the day (mostly because of how burnt my skin was), and it was cooling and not-sticky. My sunburn felt much better this morning after applying an additional slab of it before bed last night.
  • Extras: Pocket Mirror & Toe Separators

August 2014 Birchbox

IMG_1866Signing back up for Birchbox was completely worth it. I don’t know if it’s because they consider me a “new” subscriber or what, but they have completely stepped up their game compared to prior boxes. Three of my last four boxes prior to canceling had foil packets of shampoo and conditioner or bodywash. Because I resubscribed mid-month, they sent me August’s and September’s box about 2 days apart.

  • Neil George Shampoo & Neil George Conditioner – I give this a “meh” rating. It really wasn’t anything that special, but I’m astounded by the sample size! It’s clear in color and reminds me of a Paul Mitchell clean smell. I wouldn’t pay for it.
  • Paula’s Choice Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum – I’ve been applying this serum around my eyes and my cheek-smile lines. I haven’t noticed a huge difference yet, but it’s easy enough to apply. It twists up into a press-and-squirt bottle, which unfortunately makes it hard to control the amount it squeezes out and I always have way more than I need. It’s very oil-based, so may not be the greatest for oily-skin types.
  • Laura Gellar Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow in Silver Sands – wahhh this was an awesome surprise. I got a beautiful silver color that glides on effortlessly. It doesn’t take much to apply, so this “sample” will last me a longgg time. Make sure to put an eyeshadow base-coat on first to keep from sweating off the cream!
  • Whish CC Body Cream in Coconut – adore this brand. Hate the smell. Not a fan of coconut-smell at all, so this will likely be given away. I got the body lotion in “Pomegranate” in one of my first Birchboxes, and I literally squeezed every last drop out before I threw it away. So so so good.

September 2014 Birchbox


Note: I haven’t tried any of my September products so far.

  • Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
  • Harvey Prince Ageless Liquid Loofa
  • Temptu S/B Highlighter
  • Macadamia Professional Flawless Cleansing Conditioner (huge sample!)
  • Pixi by Petra Lip Balm inΒ Honey Nectar

If you would like to subscribe to Birchbox, I would LOVE it if you could use my referral link! πŸ™‚ You can subscribe HERE

August Subscription Boxes

They’re here! The best part about coming back from vacation was that little pile of boxes patiently waiting at my doorstep to be fawned over. Since I canceled Birchbox last month (a decision I’ve since regretted…more on that below), I only have 3 subscriptions currently: Sunset 45, BarkBox, and I sampled LoveWithFood this month for only $2. What did I think about what I got? Keep reading to find out πŸ™‚

Sunset 45 Little Luxuries Box

August’s theme was Into the Woods. After a disappointing month last month, I was weighing my decision to keep it or cancel on this month’s box. I’m happy to say that I really loved it! Despite how much I love it, for $35/month, I’m not sure I can keep up with a love-hate relationship…not when there’s other boxes out there I want to sample. I’ll be “allowed” to buy my own accessories again in just a few weeks, and I know they’ll be ones I love (and probably at less cost). I’m going to wait until after September’s box to confirm this decision. There were five pieces in this collection:

  • “Leafcutter” bracelet ($26) – easily my favorite piece in the collection! The pretty emerald green set against the gold leaves makes it really pop out and elegantly define an outfit.
  • MIENN fragrance oil no. 54 rollerball ($15) – my second favorite item. “The no. 54 is a delicate musk with sweet floral top notes.” I was put off by the description at first, because I am not at all a musk-type girl. However, it’s got a sweet, subdued aroma that to me, is almost pheromone-like. MIENN is a Korean fragrance company.
  • “Autumn Feather” necklace ($24) – a super cute silver collar-necklace perfect for date night. I like that it is unique, but not a statement piece. I will be able to get more wear out of it this way.
  • “Apoidea” statement ring ($30) – I LOVE the actual statement portion of the ring, but I think I may deconstruct it and use it as a pendant on a necklace instead. It is a little too big on my hand.
  • Earrings (bonus) – I’m suprised how much I like these rhinestone earrings. The rhinestone portion has subtle pink undertones that show off when they catch the light. I don’t think I would have liked the rhinestones in the earrings if they didn’t have that pink hue.


I ruv Barkbox, seriously. When you love your four-legged friend as much as I do, all you want to do is shower them with new toys and treats. Okay, it’s probably a little more for me than him, but we have found some great healthy treats, and he loves the new toys every month! But the best part is that Barkbox donates 10% of the proceeds from every box to a dog in need. Paws up!

IMG_1628This month’s box had a nautical theme. It includes the following items:

  • Jax and Bones Nautical Wheel Rope Toy
  • Feel Good Treat Co. Seafood Chowder
  • Wadoba Fetch
  • Grandma Bowser’s Cheddar Biscuits

I won’t be opening the treats until he’s finished his other couple packs, but I do want to comment on the Wadoba Fetch ball. It’s pretty cool, it’s made so that when you throw it, it will skid-jump across the water and float. It’s meant to be a catch-and-retrieve toy, not a chew toy, and I’m excited to try it out with Yoshi once we break his fear of water…

Love With Food Tasting Box

I’ve been doing a little research on some food subscription boxes, and decided to try this Love With Food Tasting Box because I found a code where you could get your first box for free, just pay $2 shipping. They have 3 types of boxes: the Tasting Box ($10/mo), the Deluxe Box ($17/mo), and the Gluten-Free Box ($25/mo). What attracted me to the company was that all their snacks are either all-natural, organic, GMO-free, gluten-free or free of artificial ingredients. In addition, for every box you buy, they donate one meal to a hungry child in America.

This month’s theme was Fun at the County Fair and came with:

  • Back to Nature crispy cheddar crackers
  • Salty Road caramel apple salt water taffies (2)
  • Skeeter Snacks nut-free cinnamon graham crackers
  • Covered Bridge steak spice seasoned potato chips
  • Smooze! pineapple and coconut fruit ice
  • 180 Snacks nutty rice bites with blueberries
  • YumEarth lollipops (2)
  • Love With Food kettle sweet peanuts

I don’t really know what I was expecting for $10, but I immediately knew this was a box I wouldn’t continue with. The snacks have so far been delicious, but they’re such a small amount it leaves you kind of unsatisfied. I just can’t justify paying $10 for what was received. Don’t let me dissuade you, however, as you can get your first box for free by clicking this link:

Love With Food - Snack Smart. Do Good.

I am trying the Vegan Cuts snack box next πŸ™‚

In addition, after just one month off, I have decided to renew my Birchbox subscription. Ironically, when you sign up, they send you the current months box as well, so technically I didn’t really take any time off. I was so disappointed when I saw some incredible August boxes…I’m really hoping I get one that’s just as good! I also ordered the two limited edition CEW Insiders boxes. Those reviews will be up after they get delivered!

What are your subscription addictions? Are there any new ones out there that you’re interested in trying? Let me know in the comments below!