Birchbox, Modern Mermaid Limited Edition Box and Surprise Package from Proctor and Gamble

I don’t know about anyone else, but has this week just been extra stressful? Perhaps having near continual rain and getting a bad haircut has added to the situation. There were some bright spots however. My mail man was extra busy! On Tuesday, the 23rd, I received my Birchbox for June. Immediately on opening the outer box, I knew there had been a mishap. A very strong citrusy odor that was quite pleasant was permeating the air of my kitchen. Upon opening the box, I discovered it was a Davines shampoo sample that was half full. There was no safety seal on the product what so ever. I also received a body lotion from Gilchrist and Soames, that did not have a safety seal as well, and that cap was loose also. None of that spilled however. Fortunately, the fragrance sample from Catherine Malandrino was protected by a foil wrapper . I also received more Davines samples , a hair oil and a conditioner, both in foil packages. An other item that was not damaged was a small quad of eyeshadows from the Coastal Scents One palette. They were contained in a cardboard box . The last item was a Caudalie skin serum and that came in a small tube. Yes, everything was a sticky mess, but all is useable. For the heck of it, I contacted Birchbox by email and they gave me 100 points to spend in their shop (equivalent of 10.00) and are giving me my July box for free. I am thinking I was not the first one to complain about this for the month of June. I have not sampled any of the products other than smelling the fragrance and it is marvelous. A perfect blend of fruity and floral. Image.Image

I also received on Tuesday, the limited edition Modern Mermaid collection. As I write this , it is still available in the store for 44.00. I used some Birchbox points and a 20 percent off code and scored with this puppy. The box contents are valued at around 120.00. Image

Included in this box are the following : A Coola Liplux Spf 30 lipbalm, that smells exactly like Smarties candies and is very moisturizing. A Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat  from Anastasia that makes any mascara you have on become waterproof. A set of three Ruffian polishes in the shades of Sahara, Endless Summer, and Blue Lagoon. These are really nice polishes, one coat coverage, smooth and not streaky at all. I think they named them after Brooke Shields movies! Lol! Next up was a very decent sized travel spray of the Atelier Cedrat Envirant Cologne Absolue. This smells amazing! Hints of lime, juniper and mint, although I do smell grapefruit in there I swear. It is very long lasting and the perfect summer scent. I also received a Captain Blankenship Mermaid Mane Sea Salt spray. It is infused with organic rose oil and that is exactly the scent I got. I am interested in playing with this one a bit more, our humidity has been so high, that products are not doing what they normally do on my naturally curly hair. Yes, there is more!!! I received what I am calling the Cadillac of all eyeliner pencils. The Vasanti Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil in Electric Navy. It is a rich navy blue, but what makes it so unique is that at the end where the product is, there is a built in sharpener. At the other end, there is a smudger. This retails for 18.00 and personally, I think all eyeliners should be made this way! The last little product that ties in the whole mermaid theme of the box is an adorable little compact from Stephanie Johnson. It has a snap closure, a mirror on one side and has iradescent scales that color change from turquoise to purple. So very cute, made for Birchbox and is already a staple in my handbag, at least for the summer season. I am really happy with this box and I think in the future I am going to save all my Birchbox points for these limited edition boxes. The value is just unbelievable!

The last thing I received this week was a complete surprise to me. I think maybe 4-5 years ago, I may have signed up for free samples and coupons for Proctor and Gamble , but never received anything. Voila! On Wednesday, this box showed up with two decent samples of body wash. One was for Herbal Essences Body Burst, a lovely citrus scent and the other an Olay unscented for sensitive skin body wash. It also came with a major booklet of coupons. Image

All in all, it was a great week for things arriving in my mailbox if nothing else, and I have a wonderful selection of products to play with. I can’t wait to see what comes this next week. I know I have a Vox Box somewhere out there and I am due to receive the new Benefit They’re Real eyeliner.

Hope you all are keeping your mailmen busy and are having a wonderful summer so far!

Ciao for now!

First Love With Food Box with mini review

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This past week I received my first Love With Food box in the mail. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is a 10.00 a month subscription box, and you can get your first one to try out for only 2.00.( see more below).  They also have a deluxe sized box for 17.99 that has double the snacks, and would be great if you had a few children, so each could get their own package to try.

This box is however , not just for children, but for anyone who likes snacks that are organic, all natural, gluten free with no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. Many are also GMO ( Genetically modified organism ) free. They also have a give back to the community program much like the Tom’s shoe brand. For every box sold, a meal is donated to a food bank or shelter. There is a map on their website that shows the amount of money donated in each community by state and tells what organization received the donation.

Like other subscription boxes, you can get points for writing reviews and also for submitting recipes. You also are allowed to shop on the website with free shipping and most things up to 25 percent off. This month’s box theme was “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.

Everything I received in my box was a product and brand name that was new to me. Everything was fresh tasting  and really delicious. I received 8 items, one of them being a vegan gumball! Lol! I really did enjoy it and look forward to getting more boxes in the future.

If you would like to try your very first box for only 2.00 , here is a link to sign up. http://lovewithfood.com/invite?m=r&ref=MRy 

You can cancel at any time easily, even after just trying the first box.

Ciao for now!

Lilac cream cheese spread with variations.

I know this is a little bit of a different post for me, but did you know that certain flowers are edible and make a delightful spring treat?

Here is my recipe with a variation.

Ingredients:

1 package of cream cheese or neufchatel, softened to room temperature ,1 cup of lilac petals,3 tablespoons of honey ,  2 tablespoons of edible rose water, 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

 

Variation: You may substitute the rose water and use the following : only 1/4 cup of lilac petals, 1/4 cup of Marigold petals, and 1/2 cup of rose petals.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is to pull off the lilac petals from their stems. It seems easier if you pull from a bunch at a time. Sometimes there will be a little green cone shaped tip left behind, which is easily pulled off.   If using the variation, you can just break the rose petals and marigold petals into pieces by hand.

 

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the cream cheese, honey, lemon zest and the lilac petals. After all looks mixed thoroughly add the rose water and stir gently once again.

 

Cover mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing the mixture of flavors to blend . Serve on top of crackers, or as a celery spread.

See pictures below :

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Ipsy Glambag June 2014

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I received my Ipsy June 2014 bag this past Thursday, but things have been so hectic I have not had the time until now to really check it out. The theme this month is “Pretty in Paradise”. I styled the photo as they did in their sneak previews with what I had around the house.

The bag this month was designed by Rebecca Minkoff. Very cute tropical design that I noticed she used in her current line of fashions on her website. Every time Ipsy releases its sneak peeks, I decide in my mind what would be the one thing I would not want out of each one. Haha! This month I got two of those items.

I will describe the items going from left to right from the above picture.

The first is a Shimmer Eyeliner (brand name). The larger black part is actually the wand which seemed kind of deceptive. I really do love the color and was hoping for this one in my bag. I first swatched it on the back on my hand and tried to remove it within a minute or two, it was not going anywhere. I also tried it on my eyes, and while it really does look very pretty, the wand itself is prickly and a bit painful to apply. Touch-ups would have to be done very quickly as this thing dries very fast and stays put.

The second item I received was on my “imagined” list of products that I did not want or had no use for. It is a brown Ofra Universal Eyebrow pencil. I have very full brows and never overpluck, so I am going to use this as a brown eyeliner I decided. I tried it on my upper lash line and it was very smooth. It appears to be a full size product.

Number 3 on my list was also something that was on the “unwish” list. Dove Pure Care Dry Oil. This one contains African macadamia oil. It is not a very large sample, but it says to use only 4-6 drops. I have not had good luck with hair oils, esp. ones containing Argan oil. They make my hair look dull , greasy and limp. I will give this one a try though, perhaps this formulation, being a dry oil will not have the same results.

The fourth item I received was a Nyx Butter Gloss in the shade of Creme Brulee. It is almost a nude pink shade. Initially it feels a tiny bit sticky on the lips, but seems nice and moisturizing. Believe it or not, even though I know this is a popular item, I have never tried it before. There is no where up here to buy Nyx products at the moment. I was happy for any shade other than an orange or a coral, having received two lip products from Birchbox in those shades already in the past two months.

The final product is the one I am most excited about actually. It is Skinn by Dimitri James. It is an Olive and Enzyme Cleanser. It claims to be a “rich balm make-up remover and deep cleaning mask”. It states on the back of the packaging: ” Rich in olive polyphenols, orange oil and high tech enzymes, this extraordinary, gentle cleanser melts off make-up, dirt and grime as it digests dead cellular debris and eye make-up. It also doubles as as wrinkle-softening mask.” To use as a mask you are supposed to leave it on for 5-10 minutes. I am going to try this product as soon as I am done writing, and see if it can really take off that aqua eyeliner that appears to be tattooed onto my skin.

Overall, not a bad bag, I did my reviews on the website, and since it is only my second bag, I have read that they start customizing them more based on how you review products. This one arrived in only six days, which was amazing. Last month it took eight days and I was in shock at the speed of that shipping time. The bag is 10.00 a month and there is a waiting list, but if you use a code and go through their little steps you can get off that waiting list immediately.

In case anyone is interested, here is my code:

http://www.ipsy.com/r/aaia

Ciao for now! If you subscribe to Ipsy, did you get any of the same items this month?

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Green smoke E Cig discount code and mini review

Green smoke E Cig discount code and mini review

Since this was sent in my email today. I thought  I would include the discount code sent to me. Green Smoke helped me quit a long time tobacco habit and is rated one of the top E cig. companies on the market. Their customer service is the finest of any online company I have ever dealt with.. I have been purchasing from them since late October of last year. They have 5 levels of nicotine including zero. Cute sparkle cases and pretty batteries. They also give you points for every purchase. Another bonus is that they have a recycling program. For every 80 cartomizers you save up, you just email them and they send you a mailing label to ship them back for free. They give you 25 points for this , which is enough to redeem for a 5 pack of cartomizers. All of their shipping is free, at least in the United States, and they can get my order to me from Miami, Florida to Alaska within 5 days or less. The flavors are very nice as well. Just thought I would throw this out there in case anyone was interested.

Here is a coupon code for 10 dollars off any order of 50 dollars or more.

http://greensmoke.refr.cc/CCZ6BQD

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April and May finds become Summer must haves!

I was originally going to make this next blog just about the products I have found in the months of April and May that really stood out to me, but I realized the things I have chosen will be items that really speak of summer to me.

April was my birthday month, so with some birthday gift money, I went into our little Sally’s Beauty Supply Store and did a little damage there. I originally just went in to purchase some replacement eye make-up brushes but walked out with some new favorite items.

I think I have found my Holy Grail of facial cleansers. Image This product is from Beyond Belief and contains Alpha and Beta Hydroxy, Green Tea and fruit botanicals. It is also pore refining. The cost was a mere 5.99.  You just have to wet your face lightly, and a palm of your hand and pump two little pumps of product. Rub hands together and apply to your face with your hands. It has a delightfully fresh scent and honestly removes every trace of makeup , even stubborn water-proof mascara. No need to use a makeup remover wipe beforehand. It leaves my skin feeling soft and not dried out one single bit. The only thing I found, was that if I use a Vitamin C treatment or retinol treatment product afterwards, it is best to wait 10-15 minutes after washing face, to avoid any stinging. I will repurchase this again after I run out obviously. 5 oz of product for such an inexpensive price . I have been using this for over a month now and am not even down to the 3/4 mark of the bottle.

My next product is one of the prettiest nail polishes I have seen in a long time. I am a huge fan of all things rose gold and the color of this glittery polish comes pretty darn close to the shade of a piece of real rose gold jewelry. It took three coats to get full coverage on my nails, but as I was applying it , I thought it would look lovely  with just a light coat over a pink, white or other neutral shade. It could also really pop over a shade of any of the light blues or aquas that are hot right now. I do not remember the price , but the shade is “Glamping”. It will be fun to see what other combinations I can make with this one all summer long. It is also very chip resistant and there is no glitter fall out whatsoever.  Image

My last new favorite from Sally’s is this foot scrub. Image I have been using the Freeman products for years, and they did an okay job on my calloused feet, but were getting more pricey and harder to find. This one is an amazing improvement over the Freeman’s any day of the week, my heels have never looked better and I have seen a significant improvement in my feet over the last two months. They are now sandal worthy! I just use a small amount with a pumice stone. It is a 7 oz tube and I believe it cost less actually than what I was paying for the Freeman scrub. I highly recommend this one to anyone who desires their feet to look beautiful in the summertime. Thank you Sally Beauty Supply for actually putting a store in our town!!!

My very last favorite from April is a fragrance. I have always been fond of several of Elizabeth Arden fragrances, but I was looking for something new. As of April and May, none of our stores were carrying any of the brand’s fragrances, not even Walmart. I did a little hunting on E-bay and found this incredible company based in California that buys in bulk from the manufacturers and sells at enormous discounts. They are called Perfume_Empire1. I checked them out, they are a totally legit company. I purchased the Mediterranean by Elizabeth Arden for around 20.00. The size is 3.3 oz.. On the Elizabeth Arden website this retails for 57.50. It is described as ” Celebrating sunshine, clear blue skies and a warm ocean breeze, sensual florals combine with creamy woods to reflect the whispering waters and rich textures of the Mediterranean.”  It is just perfect, is what I call it. Perfect fragrance for spring and summer, day or night, and it is long lasting. I would best describe it as a citrusy- floral. Am I making up hyphenated words or just words in general now? Don’t know, don’t care. I am just happy to have found such a perfect new fragrance for myself and at an awesome price!!! Image

 

Now onto the month of May. Every year it seems, there is a shoe that I just have to have. I obsess over them until I get them, and I do mean obsess. Normally within the course of a week, I go from wearing snow boots to sandals. It has been a strange spring, so I needed a light and summery slip- on shoe. Well, thanks to Famous Footware, I found myself the perfect pair of Bobs. They are made by Skechers but are pretty much the same thing as Toms in that they donate a pair of shoes to a needy child for each pair that is purchased. Just a little less pricey. These are the ones I decided on. I do wear a lot of solids in general and I thought these would match just about any top I had on. They may look a little wild, but they really are more muted than the photo shows. Very comfortable and the perfect transition shoe for me. Image My shoe obsession is over for now.  Wonder what it will be next year! ( Last year, it was a pair of Steven by Steve Madden, sparkling blue smoking loafers).

Next on the list for May is a BB cream. I am sure most of you have tried several and perhaps already have a favorite. I did my research, read a ton of articles and watched plenty of Youtube videos and decided on this one. Pond’s Luminous Finish BB Cream. The only shade they had was medium, which normally I thought would be too dark for my skin, but it works . It feels nice, covers up any redness, has medium coverage I would say,and can and will replace my foundation for the summer for the most part. A little concealer is all that is needed to go with it. Sorry for my messy fingerprints on the mirrored cap. Great drugstore find, and there are a lot of 2 dollar off coupons online, so snag one of those and get it for well under 10 dollars. Oh, it also contains SPF 15, so I can avoid putting the sunscreen on as well. ImageOkay… only two more items to go.

I have found the absolutely most perfect palette to go with my coloring, that also happens to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. ImageImage This is from City Color cosmetics. The shadows are so lush and the bronzers/blushes just marvelous. Top quality all of it. The lid is a heavy duty mirror as well. These eyeshadows stay on all day and into the night, and I found very little problem of creasing even without an eyeshadow primer or anything on my eye area including moisturizer. All the products in this palette have just the right amount of shimmer and can easily go from day to evening. The best thing was the price. 9.99. Amazing!!!!  The only beef I have with this company is that their shipping to Alaska is very high. 9.99. That seems to be the standard. I was about to go back and purchase a few lip glosses that I know were a lot lighter in packaging and the shipping was the same. Right after I placed my order I shot them an email and told them that I forgot to apply the 15 percent off code and was wondering if it could be applied still. I finally received an email from them today and they actually refunded my credit card the 15 percent discount. I thought that was very cool! I would love to order more products from this company since the quality is top notch and the prices cannot be beat, but I just am not fond of a standard shipping fee like that. I do however think this palette was worth 20.00 and then some,  so the shipping did not bother me one bit for this one item. They are based in California.

Last on my list is something that I just got last Thursday. Honesty time. I have never been able to use a traditional curling iron. I have owned a few, but never could get them to work. Even though my hair does have a lot of natural curl and wave, it does not like to hold any curl that is put in it. I just started seeing these curling wands, the cone shaped devices, and thought, dang! I can do that! So, I purchased for around 20.00 this one. Image I played with it for a bit after getting it that night. Very simple to use, and with sectioning my hair off into small sections, I was able to achieve curls effortlessly. I like the fact that it has a little clamp to hold onto so that you do not burn yourself. I know many of the models come with a glove for that purpose. It is called the Revlon 2 in 1.  I still have to do a little more reading in the instruction booklet, but I think I just opened up a new world of possibilities for styling my hair with this one purchase! Yay! to beachy waves and ringlets. It has tourmaline and ceramic technology. Yes, I was a good girl and did buy a heat protectant spray to use that same evening.

So…. these are my April and May finds that are going to make my summer a lot better and more beautiful! Have you tried any of the above??? If so , let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Ciao for now!!!!

Debbie