Thursday, July 31, 2014

Skoshbox (August 2014)

This was a really fun box, even though there were a few times when I thought to myself, "Do the Japanese really eat this stuff?" Skoshbox is definitely a subscription service I will continue with.

Green Tea Oreo (Soft Oreo with Matcha Cream Filling) - Just like our Oreo cake-style cookies but with a creamier, slightly green tea flavored filling.

Sanko Zara Jiman Senbei (Rice Cracker with Granulated Sugar Topping) - As you bring this rice cracker to your mouth, your nose will become overwhelmed with the scent of... soy sauce?  Sure enough, read the ingredients... rice, sugar, soy sauce.  It was... not pleasant.

Teriyaki Burger Umaibo (Puffed Corn Stick, Teriyaki Burger Flavor) - Holy teriyaki burger!  I liked the texture, but it's going to be a while before I get that flavor out of my mouth.

Pocky Classic (Chocolate Cream Covered Biscuit Sticks) - These were delicious!  Sweet cookie sticks with a lovely melty chocolate covering.

Pokémon Ramune (Fizzy Cider Drink Flavored Candies, Pineapple) - Kind of reminded me of sweet tarts but not quite so sour.  They melt in your mouth.

Maison de Kukkia (Matcha Chocolate Cookie Sandwich) - A heavenly light, crisp cookie with a delightful soft cream inside.

Kasugai Apple Gummies (Juicy Apple Gummies) - Very tasty.

Sakura Mochi Chocolate (Cherry Blossom & Azuki Bean Choco with Mochi Filling) - This was a different twist on chocolate, and I enjoyed it very much until I figured out that I had no idea what mochi was.  It was kind of like an unflavored gummy in the middle of some lovely chocolate.

Caplico Cones (Waffle Cones with Ice Cream-ey Centers, Strawberry) - Pretty good, just what it says it is.

French Papiro (Hard Cookie Shell with Creamy Green Tea Filling) - Very tasty, like a sugar cone, filled with a wonderful sweet cream.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Treatsie (July 2014)

Treatsie is one of the best subscription boxes out there, no doubt.  If you like sweets, and a variety, and a lot of it, you need this box.  At $15 per box, plus $4.95 shipping, the value of the box is not much higher than the price ($20-$25 each month), but receiving this carefully curated box of candies from small artisan confectionaries makes up for the pricing.  This will be my only box, sadly, until my financial situation improves.  I've looked at prior months and they all look incredible and so different than anything else you can find.  Their shop, in which you can buy the candies individually, is ridiculously tempting.  I want one of everything.

I cannot say how much I loved this box.  Just a little shout-out to each company that contributed to this box:

*  Shotwell Candy Co.
*  Seattle Chocolates
*  Raley's Confectionary

I wasn't terribly impressed with the Shotwell Candy Co. "Old Fashioned" Cocktail Caramels.  They had a slight citrusy flavor that took away from the real caramel taste.  They were also crazy sweet.  I know caramel is supposed to be sweet since it is basically SUGAR, but I've had much better.

I did find the Hand-Crushed Espresso Caramels very interesting though.  They had a salty flavor that offset the sweetness, and the chunks of espresso made for a delightful change in texture.

The husband stole my Seattle Chocolate Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar, but he was kind enough to give me a small chunk off of it, and it was delicious!  It was a very large, thick candy bar and was much creamier than most dark chocolate bars I've had.  Hands down, best I've ever had.

Upon waking up the next morning, I found half a candy bar waiting for me.  Once again the husband got to my Total Toffee Truffle Bar before I had the chance to try it.  But at least he was kind enough to leave me half this time instead of just a quarter.  It was delightful.  The toffee was not overwhelming like it is in a lot of toffee bars.

The Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar, most of which was also hijacked by the husband, was also perfect.  So creamy, I would easily compare the quality of these chocolate bars to that of Godiva, and that's not something I thought I could say about another confection.

At 2.5oz each, these are nice-sized candy bars.  I with certainty will be buying more of these and other flavored Seattle Chocolate bars.  Next time I shall hide them from the husband.

These Raley's Confectionary Treatsie Variety Mix were an absolute delight.  Mixing flavors such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, pomegranate, banana, root beer, blueberry, cherry, raspberry, watermelon, tutti-frutti, strawberry, mango and kiwi, you never know which flavor combination you're going to get with these handmade hard candies, but it doesn't matter because they are all delicious.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Love With Food (July 2014)

Love With Food helps you discover new organic or all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month.  This subscription membership starts as low as $10 per month.  Each month you will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on season themes.  For every box sold, they donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry.

Each month your Love With Food box will include a card detailing all of the products that have been chosen.

Apple Pecan Bar by 2 Degrees (1.6oz) was tasty and very nutritious.  It was moist and sweet and had great texture.  This particular bar contains brown rice sugar and flour, sunflower seeds, figs, almond butter, pecans, apples, etc.  They're all natural, gluten free, vegan, kosher, low sodium, and GMO Free (whatever GMO is... I'll have to look it up).

A great thing about 2 Degrees is that for every bar you buy, they give a meal to a hungry child.  So not only are you getting a delicious snack, you're also helping feed the hungry.  

Sea Salt Lentil Crackers by Mediterranean Snacks (0.75oz) were... edible.  Baked with protein rich lentils and naturally gluten free, the flavor on the outside was tasty, but the crackers themselves were bland, and the after taste wasn't great.  Also included is a $0.50 off coupon, which I seriously doubt I'll be using.  A little disappointing because I do love lentils.

Golden Lentils South Asian Snacks by Zouq (1oz) immediately restored my faith in the versatile lentil.  These sautéed wonders had a lovely texture somewhere between tiny crackers and sunflower seeds that you eat by the handful.  I could not get enough! 

Butter Crisp Love Minis by ginnybakes (1.25oz) tasted great, especially for being organic and gluten-free.  You could really taste the crispy, buttery sweetness.

Kids' Organic Mixed Berry Chews by Honey Stinger (0.8oz) were some of the best chewable children's gummies I've had.  They were very juicy and flavorable.

Dutch Cocoa by Somersaults (0.5oz) were... strange.  I wouldn't say bad, but I wouldn't find myself buying them.  Made with sunflower seeds, toasted grains and cocoa, they're a little dry and plain, but full of protein.

Chocolate Chip Fluff by Madyson's Marshmallows (size unknown) were absolutely amazing, and I hate marshmallows!  Soft but not overly puffy like most, these were not sticky sweet and the chocolate chips were the perfect touch.  These are definitely on my must-have list for sweet tooth cravings.

White Cheddar Puffs by Beanitos (0.7oz) are delicious.  Reminiscent of Cheetos' Puffs, the texture is crispy but softens immediately in the mouth.  However, the white cheddar flavor is far superior to whatever kind of cheese is used in Cheetos.  Naturally gluten and cholesterol free, they also have no preservatives or MSG, are certified Kosher and contain 3 grams of fiber.  I can certainly see these being a filling work time snack.  Also included is a $1.00 off coupon for a full-sized bag of chips or two bags of puffs.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ipsy (July 2014)

I'll just be honest.  This was my first ipsy Glam Bag, and I wasn't thrilled with it.  From their website it looks like they had a fantastic variety of items... Benefit's they're real! beyond mascara, Elizabeth Mott's Tints & Sass, Faith Aromatherapy body lotion, Sexy Hair products, several nail polishes (which I can never get enough of), including Nailtini's Mango Rita.  I did get one of the two bareMinerals eyeshadows, but that's the only thing I really would've picked for myself.

Levilin Jojoba Gel Cream (0.5oz) was definitely the better of the two skin creams I received.  Jojoba oil is similar to human skin oil, is known to restore the skin's natural luster and suppleness, and soften and hydrate dry skin.  Levilin claims to calm and soften skin, to be excellent after over-exposure to sun, and is suitable for use in "intimate areas".  I did notice a softer, silkier texture to my skin after application.

The pur~lisse (snore) has been showing up in subscriptions like weeds.  pur~lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 (0.5oz) has a unique peptide complex, Lotus Lupine 5 and Hydra-Shield Complex that offers full-spectrum sun protection in a light weight nourishing moisturizer to protect against premature aging caused by the sun.  I didn't notice any changes to my skin's texture, and it also has that strong smell of most other sunscreens.

Pixi Beauty Mini Tinted Brilliance Balm in Unique Pink (0.06oz) was okay... nothing to write home about.  The glossy gel balm protects and hydrates instantly.  After the balm wears off, lips are left tinted with a personalized hue depending on the pH level of your lips.  The twist-up crayon requires no sharpening.

bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow Broad Spectrum with SPF 15 in Divine Wine (0.03oz) was the only product I was truly excited to see in my Glam Bag.  I'm a big fan of bareMinerals products as they are made with some of the best, skin-friendly ingredients, and they look fantastic.  This is one of their newest products, and is called 5-in-1 because it 1) has 12-hour long-wearing color; 2) is a super-charged primer; 3) has powerful brightening benefits; 4) smoothes fine lines; and 5) protects with SPF.  It's available in 10 lovely, neutral shades.  I liked how creamy it went onto my skin, stayed fluid long enough for me to spread how I wanted it, and then within a minute dried to the consistency of a high quality moisturizer.  It also cleaned off easily.

The last item in my bag, and perhaps the most disappointing was the POP Beauty Sunkissed Bronzer in Secret Sunshine (0.25oz).  I don't have anything against POP Beauty products, but I filled out a beauty questionnaire when I signed up for ipsy, and I kinda feel like they must've not even looked at it.  I have fair, ghostly white skin.  I'm not even going to be able to try this product so I'll probably give it away.  It reports to give skin a soft honey beamed hue, with added Vitamin E.  I'm sure it's a lovely product so I have nothing bad to say about it.  I just sadly cannot pull off bronzers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beauty Box 5 (July 2014)

Beauty Box 5 is quickly becoming one of my favorite subscriptions.  One reason being that they don't produce as much waste for the sake of presentation.  They let the products speak for themselves.  I like that.

This particular box contained a lot of items I've seen showing up in others that I've researched, but lucky for me, I haven't received any yet so it's all new to me.

Beauty Box 5 comes complete with a card detailing all of the products included in the kit and their full-size prices.  Since there were three full-sized items this month, I figure the total value to be over $17, which is only slightly over the $12 price but they're all new products to me so I'm excited.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to review the two hair products on this post.  I'm conducting an experiment... but I will express my opinions in a future Random Products Review.  The shame is that I have really been hoping for a Miss Jessie's sample and now I have to wait to use it.  Without further ado, here's what I got:

1)  HASK Argan Oil from Morocco Intense Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment (1.75oz FULL-SIZED) - strengthens, restores and smooths dry, damaged hair.

2)  MISS JESSIE'S Multicultural Curls (1oz sample) - gives your curls uniformity and manageability while at the same time fights frizz and adds just the right amount of super soft hold.

3)  ANNA NATURALS Glowing Mama Walnut Face & Body Scrub (0.5oz sample) - Boasting a vegan formula, free of parabens, harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances, this is a delightful exfoliant.  The granules are the perfect size to get a good scrub, and the scent is scrumptious, smelling like a mixture of citrus and walnuts.  Something I would add to my regular routine.

4)  BODY DRENCH Candy Licious Lips (0.09oz FULL-SIZED) - infused with beeswax, coconut oil and Vitamin E, this red licorice flavored lip balm really does taste great.  And despite looking very bright, it gives a light, glossy tint to your lips.

5)  REVLON Bold Lacquer Mascara (0.24oz FULL-SIZED) plus a coupon for $1.00 off your next purchase - Please excuse the gigantic horror movie about-to-be-gruesomely-murdered expression.  I just wanted you to be able to see the actual before and after results.  Claiming to neither smudge nor flake, I was pleased with the results (with my normal not bulging eyes).  It didn't clump and it showed some definition in my eyelashes.  Not my favorite mascara ever (I was hoping to get the sample of It's So Big! Volumizing Mascara), but it will definitely get used for day-to-day wear.

Another lovely Beauty Box 5.  Looking forward to August's box... seems forever away!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Julep, 9... Shannon, 0 (or 23 perspectively)

Oh, Julep!  You sneaky little manipulators, you... offering me all these amazing deals.  I'm not even a Maven, only because I like picking from a larger selection when I order, but you guys keep reeling me in with these emails with offers I cannot refuse.

I say Julep, 9, because they've CONNED me (okay, that's a little dramatic) into placing 9 orders over the past couple of months.  But I've ended up with 23 different products, including the Glycolic Hand Scrub and the Glow On Hand Brightener, which I LURVE!  I'M A JULEP-AHOLIC!

First they say, enter code "MYFAVE" to buy one, get one free.  That's two polishes for $7 each.  Edith is a cherry blossom pink crème with holographic glitter.

Gotta be honest, I couldn't see any holographic glitter... instead the polish looks a little clumpy.  And it's more of a mauve-ish than cherry blossom.  But Julep has amazing customer service so I'm sure it will get sorted out.

My other choice was Tatum, a neon chartreuse chrome that I wanted during their last red marker sale, so I was very happy to get this one.  I haven't tried it yet, but through the bottle, it looks gorgeous and I have no doubt that I will love it.

Then surprise!  They're having a Happy 4th of July Sale... $10 polishes, PLUS secret code "BARBECUE" for 50% off.  Now you've got me with $5 polishes.

I wanted Aretha, the special March Birthstone Collection special edition multi-dimensional aquamarine glitter top coat.  I paired that with Rose, a juicy watermelon red crème.  As you can see from the photo on the right, I wouldn't call it a watermelon shade, but it is very lovely.  The two together made for a happy combo.  I also look forward to using Aretha over a white so the bluish glitter has its chance to shine through.

As if the fourth of July sale wasn't enough, they threw in a 7/7 Sale, in which several of the polishes on my wishlist were only $7 each, plus with a purchase over $15 I could use the code "POLISHPERK" for another free polish worth $14 also from my wishlist.
The polishes I chose were:

*  Clara, an opaque peach crème,
*  Lilou, a lemon chiffon crème,
*  Margaret, a light periwinkle crème, and
*  Tracy, a sparkly ocean blue sea salt

For the manicure picture above, from thumb to pinky, I went with pastel crème polishes, including Lilou, Clara, Edith (earlier in this post), Elisa (from a prior post), and Margaret.  I like it. :-)

All of my new polishes, left to right, Aretha, Clara,
Edith, Lilou, Margaret, Rose, Tatum and Tracy

Yes, I still have at least eight colors on my wishlist, with that number growing at an alarming rate (tee, hee).  But I'm certain that Julep will soon ambush me with another set of amazing promotions.  Until then, I'm going to have a great time mixing and matching all of these beautiful colors for some gorgeous manicures!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Memebox: Nakedbox #22

My first Memebox!  I was pretty stoked to find Memebox.  I'm subscribed to at least three (four?) other beauty boxes, and often, there are duplicates from one subscription to the next. But this one is amazing because you only order the boxes that interest you, and how exotic is it that they only send the most popular beauty products from Korea.  A little background:

"Memebox curates only the most trusted, best-loved Korean beauty products at everyday prices. An extremely competitive industry, Korean cosmetics are renowned for their unprecedented quality developed through cutting-edge technology.

"Gently guiding your discovery, Memebox believes in offering consumers the utmost freedom, steering away from the traditional subscription-based programs offered by most other sampling services. Order from Memebox only when you want to, as often as you want to. In addition to our box series, Memeshop carries full-sized products featured in previous Memeboxes, offering easy access to Korean cosmetic trends."
I chose for my first box the NakedBox #22 purely for the fact that I could see first what I was receiving.  I got a really great deal too.  I received ten Meme Points just for signing up.  Each Meme Point is worth $1, so immediately that's $10 to spend.  At $23 for the kit (plus $6.99 S+H), and using a $5 off coupon "MEMEBOXKiiP", I only spent $14.99.  And it seems that Memebox is always creating fantastic new boxes and offers many different promotions and bundles.

"Nakedbox #22 includes items perfect for traveling!  It will insure you bring all travel essentials in your pouch.  This box with all of its components revealed from the very beginning is dedicated to you girls out there who feel a bit shy or hesitant in trying out our beauty boxes."  

Included in this kit:

ELLEgirl I say Tint You Say Gloss (10ml FULL-SIZED) - Pucker up your lips with this beautiful tinted gloss.  It softens your lips with its hydrating formula and locks in moisture for smooth lips all day.

MAKEON Mermaid Waterproof Gel Pencil Liner Set (5 FULL-SIZED products) - Create captivating eyes in five different colors with first or second season of Mekeon's Mermaid Waterproof Gel Eyeliner.  Long-lasting, waterproof, and ultra smooth, this gel eyeliner makes lining your eyes like a pro easy.  For a smoky, dramatic look, it can also double as a softly spreadable eyeshadow.  The five shades are:  Party Tonight Pearl Black, Lovely Expresso Brown, Sexy Vampire Burgundi, Secret Princess Gold, and Look at Me Lovely Beige.

I really liked both of these products.  The lip gloss may be a little brighter than I would normally wear every day, but the texture was great, I loved how light it felt on my lips, and the color was a stunning cherry red.

The eyeliner colors were exciting.  They go on a little thick so I will probably save the darker colors for evenings out.  And boy, did they not want to wash off of my wrist.  I imagine they would be completely smudge-proof.

Dr. G Bling Bling Cream (45ml FULL-SIZED) - An all-in-one product that provides natural skin coverage, controls oil and provides a matte velvety finish.

MISE EN SCENCE Curling Essence (30ml deluxe sample) - Enriched with argan oil and cedar wood oil, this two-in-one hair essence provides deep nutrition and helps define your curls all at once.  It will instantly make your sagging curls bounce with luster and elasticity.

ILLI Green Tea Brightening Mask (20g FULL-SIZED) - This 100% cotton mask drenches the skin with green tea's fusion of vitamin, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids, while working to revitalize, comfort, and provide intense hydration.  It immediately replenishes dehydrated skin, leaving it refreshed and cool.

I had SO MUCH FUN scaring my husband and dogs with this mask! I got kicked out of the living room!!!  Then of course I had to send pictures to everyone I know!  Anyways, the product itself was really interesting.  It was a heavily saturated mask, kinda slimy.  Thank God the instructions were on the Memebox website because the package directions were completely in Korean.  It didn't dry on my face, but instead you remove it after 15-20 minutes and do not wipe off the mixture.  My face has felt dewy and fresh for hours.

I wasn't sure how I'd like the face cream.  Thought it might be more appropriate for the younger crowd, but I used some on the back of my hand and it blended flawlessly... nothing screamed "Bling Bling," so that was good.

I'm on the fence about the curling essence cream.  The timing is perfect because I'm going curly-haired for July, but it smelled like... nail polish remover.  If I decide to try it, I'll be sure to post about it in my random product reviews for July.

I enjoyed this box so much that I immediately ordered a Luckybox when it went on sale!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Freebies & Samples I Got in the Mail W/E 07-05-14

Ouidad Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream, Curl Recovery Curl Defining Styling Souffle, Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner, Moisture Lock Define & Shine Curl Styling Gel-Cream, and Tress Effects Styling Gel
This promotion has ended.

This promotion was an example of right place, right time.  Ouidad was offering free shipping and five samples with ANY purchase.  I was able to find a trial-sized (2oz) version of their Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask for only $14, and received generous 0.6oz samples of items I listed above, though I could've chosen from almost any of their amazing products.

Love 2 Love fragrance samples

*  Freesia & Violet Petals - A very fresh floral fragrance.

*  Orange Blossom & White Musk - Definitely a musk, but light and not too overwhelming with some floral notes.

Frizz Ease Expert Finish Polishing Serum & Secret Weapon Touch-Up Crème samples
This promotion has ended.

*  0.15oz Expert Finish Polishing Serum
*  0.15oz Secret Weapon Touch-Up Crème
*  $1.00 coupon towards any Frizz Ease hair care product

Color Secrets LashFix Eyelash Kits with Glue, 4-pack, in romantic
Promotion by referring a friend for $10 Groupon bucks.

Groupon has a lot of great beauty items.  I'd had my eye on these Color Secrets LashFix kits for a while, so when someone I referred to Groupon made a purchase, I was happy to spend my $10 on them.

The kit contains four pairs of false eyelashes and four bottles of lash adhesive.  The lashes are handmade from 100% human remy natural hair, have a flexible band for comfortable wear, and are reusable up to ten times.  That means I'll have forty tries to get it right!

Nexxus Color Assure Sulfate-Free System Samples from
This promotion has ended.

*  Primer (0.17oz)

*  Shampoo (0.3oz)
*  Conditioner (0.3oz)
*  Coupon for $5.00 off any full-sized Nexxus Color Assure product
These samples are way small, but I love the cute little bottles!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Random Product Reviews (June/July 2014)

I try a lot of new (to me) products every month, and thought maybe I'd share my insight on some of the best (and worst).  June was an AH-mazing month.  I found so many items that I fully intend to make a part of my regular beauty routine.

Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle Leave in Conditioner - I tried a little on a small section of my hair, and it did leave it feeling silky, not at all greasy like most that are spritzed on dry hair.  What I liked best though was the smell.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but as I walked past my husband, he said, "Mmm... you smell like cotton candy."

BIOselect Dictamelia Face Scrub - BIOselect products are for the most part organic, vegan, and gluten-free.  The olive pits contained in this creamy formula of the Face Scrub remove dead cells efficiently, wipe off sebum and cleanse pores, while Dictamelia, Sage water and Mallow extract sooth and protect skin, leaving it smooth and radiant.  I gotta be honest.  I could not get past the smell.  And since Momma said, I'm going to leave it at that.

***Coola Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face - It's very creamy and leaves a matte softness to your skin.  I was afraid of the tint because of my ivory coloring, but it didn't really make a difference.  Once again, I've found a new product that I will seriously continue to use.***

***Julep Glycolic Hand Scrub and Glow On Age Defying Hand Brightener - Wow!  I'm in love with this stuff.  There was a noticeable difference in the texture and softness of my hands.  Another must-have.  I will continue to buy these products as long as Julep keeps on making them.***

Loreal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair Extreme Reconstructing Shampoo, Conditioner, and Emergency Recovery Mask - The 0.34oz samples I received were a little small so I had to use some of my regular shampoo with the reconstructing shampoo, and I actually mixed the conditioner and recovering mask to coat all of my hair.  My hair felt great after using it!

Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara - I've tried a few mascaras this month, and this one is definitely my favorite.  My lashes looked fantastic.

***Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer and Refreshing Eye Cream - My face felt wonderful and soft after using these products.  BONUS!  The moisturizer smells like fresh tangerine.  I believe this will be my staple moisturizer from now on.***
***Real Purity LipstickCreamy and hydrating, Real Purity lipsticks are all natural, non-allergenic, rich with antioxidants, and available in over 25 colors.  My lips dry and peel easily, especially with the wrong lip product, but this was a rich, very moisturizing lipstick.  Although the color I sampled does not work well on me, I will DEFINITELY be purchasing from them in the future.  BONUS!  It does not taste bad like most lipsticks, nor does it have that plastic-y flavoring.***
***VitaBath Body Wash (Wild Red Cherry) - I can't get enough of this!  The body wash smells delicious!  Hands down, best wild cherry scented product I've ever used.***