BirchBox Review!

After much persuasion and the January theme of Birchbox I decided to give it a try to $10/month including shipping how could I say no!  Rachel was more than thrilled that I finally gave in after using all of her favorite products for years.  This past January they had a special Korean skincare box that you could opt in to.  If you are unfamiliar Korean’s have developed new and exciting makeup and skincare more advanced than any products here in the US.  If you are looking for more information check out Glow Recipe (great online resource with step-by-step, and you can also purchase online).


The States are finally jumping on the bandwagon and it is becoming a bit more accessible here in the US.  I have seen a few products available on Target’s website and at Sephora.  There were 3 products that I’ve used so far.  This was a great way to try out a few great products before I purchased the full size versions.

RE:P – Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb

Retail – $41.00repThis was a traditional clay mask it cleansed my pores and exfoliated my skin.  Overall I liked the sample but I don’t think that that I will be ordered it in a full size, it wasn’t that much different than any other clay mask’s I’ve used.  I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

Goodal: Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling & Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam Packettes

Retail – $20.00-$40.00

There were different price points for the cleansing foams and the bubble peeling.  I really liked these products the cleansing foam was super creamy and the scent was super fresh and amazing.  It left my skin super moisturized and took off my makeup with no problem.  The bubble masking was super interesting, when you put it on it bubbled on your skin and tingled.  I used both of the products back to back my skin felt amazing afterwards.  This cleanser is something I will definitely be picking up in the future. Overall both of these products get a 5 out of 5 stars!


I am really excited to try out the rest of the products in my Birchbox!  I would highly recommend a subscription.


The Ultimate Stay-All-Day Lip Color

I have talked in the past about how grateful I am for my Birchbox subscription.  It has taught me so much about what beauty products do or do not work for me and my routine (and all with in comfort level).  My favorite benefit of the monthly subscription is that I get to try bold and bright colors that I could never afford to try otherwise.  I have transformed from “clear gloss girl” – to confidently styling bold purples, pinks, and reds!  I’ve- in fact – become so interested in new colors that this is my third lip product review!

With a wedding on the books and less than one year away – a “Stay All Day” product is the most important feature to me right now.  I want to know that photos at 2pm and photos at 10pm will have the same impact when it comes to my make up on my special day.

This months birchbox brought me THE one!  The one I might even use on my big day!  Its staying power is so strong- I think it will make it through 100 kisses, a few cocktails, and hours of smiles!

Stila Cosmetics is a brand worth knowing if you do not already.  And if you’re looking for a gem of a lipstick I suggest : Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.   My shade – “Bella.”   There are several other stunning colors:


Venezia, Bella, Amalfi, Rosa, and Como

I thought a gender reveal party was the best way to see what this stuff really had to offer.

I applied my first coat at 12:00 pm and snapped a photo 30 minutes later:



*NOTE; painting inside the lines is Crucial with this serious stuff!  Its going to STAY where ever you put it.

4 hours later, 2 beverages, a bottled water, and lots of talking and snacking later:



Although you can certainly see the wear in this comparison – you wouldn’t know a difference with out the side by side!

This stuff has a matte look.  I would not advise adding a gloss over top, because I think it would carry your stain to outside your lip line or on to your teeth.   After about five hours it did begin to dry slightly on the inner circle of my lips, but still no changes, cracking, or bleeding on my lip line!

The only reason it finally came off is after several beers, crabs, and old bay I had to clean my forearms, face, and everywhere else!

I believe the stila stay all day liquid lipstick would have kept its promise otherwise!

I highly recommend this gorgeous shade and true stay all day product.


Here’s to best friends and pink lips!


As you can see- no transfer on to my main man either!


Ps. Our attire was appropriate- Its a boy!  Congrats to the Drake family on their new addition!

Birchbox Limited Addition: Under the Sun box review!

I have mentioned in the past I am a loyal Birchbox subscriber since 2013.  I absolutely love the concept of monthly subscription clubs.  At $10.00 a month (or $110.00 for an annual subscription) you can receive 5 or more sample-to-full size products a month varying from mid-to high end beauty products.   From hair, make-up, nails, and body birchbox knows all the trends.  They also have a huge face on social media with posts and videos of inspiration and how-tos to guide you through the seasons, the trends, and the every day life of being a fashionable lady (or man!).

Outside of your monthly box you can shop at full price or with a points program for the products you loved, Birchbox (aka “BB”) exclusives, and limited addition boxes.  I have been storing points (10 points for every dollar spent at the stores and also points for every product review you do.  100 points = $10.00 off).  With almost 900 I have been scouring the store for the perfect free gift for myself.

It never fails that each summer the new summer limited addition box grabs my attention.   The Under the Sun box was no exception and PACKED full of products for only $55.00.   At a $143.00 value- I felt this box was well worth the the price point.  Here’s what I think ….



Chloe + Isabel Birchbox Exclusive Medina Convertible Pendant Necklace :



LOVE!  Its absolutely adorable and an appropriate length.  I received uncountable amounts of compliments in just day one of wear.  Convertible is cool- but I love the classic layered pendant look:  One turquoise stone and a row of sparkling crystals on a tarnished brass chain.  The idea of the Chloe and Isabel exclusive lines means not every girl on every corner will be wearing your new everyday chain.  Throw on with a plain tee or a boho look for Friday  night.   BONUS:  hypoallergenic and nickle-free for us ladies with easily bothered skin.

BAGGU® Standard Baggu Tote Bag (prints will vary)

baggu_standard_baggu_elephant_jade_900x900This was a very cool bonus.  Incredibly large and there is not a single color or pattern that I do not like.  It folds up into a tiny pouch which makes it convenient to toss into a clutch until you are ready to use it.  This will be nice for days that I go to the grocery store and forget my reusable bags.  At $9.00  I would say it would be hard for me to consider purchasing this outside of this box.  Maybe it would make for a nice gift?  It stands as a product I could live with out- but will use now that I have it!

Cynthia Rowley Beauty On the Go Multi Blush & Bronzer Duo


This is it!  This is the perfect summer makeup package.  Small enough to travel with, light enough for hot summer weather, and a adjustable colors.  In the summer I dont have the energy for the same make-up routines as I do in spring/fall/winter months.  It is hot, I will sweat, my pores will get full, my face will be sticky – nothing is worth it.  Two-six swipes:  Pink on your check bones, bronze underneath, and  a bit above my brows.  Quickly blend with a sponge or a cover-up brush.  DONE.   You can go dark or light.  But the lack of effort and the beautiful easy glow you receive makes this duo totally a must have.  All you need is a liner, quick swipe of mascara, and a gloss- and out the door you go.  They are small enough to pack along, in case you want to reapply.   I will consider buying this (if I ever actually run out, its a nice size product!).

Knockaround Premiums

knockaround_premiumsunglassesmatte_smoke_redsunset_900x900These were what really pushed me to go for the box.  They just look super cool, and very different from all the the classic style sunglasses I own.  I thought they would be perfect for a day at the pool etc.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t say they are as amazing as I expected.  They weight less than a penny and there is very little shade provided.  In fact I feel like the reflective lens actually were not reflective at all – they seemed to attract light in a way.  I am sad- although they are a cute enough accessory that I may still wear them when I am not in actually need of shaded views.

Laura Mercier Baked Eye Colour (shades will vary)

lauramercier_bakedeyeshadow_terracotta_900x900This shadow is nice.  Nice means I do not really want to pay $24.00 for a single color.  Also the color I received was not one of the three shown.  It was light and pretty, not at all metallic or glittery.  I have to say I have not tried the suggested “Wet Application.”  I have to give it more of a chance before I can say its not perfection. The truth is- I dont wear shadow on a regular basis and do not feel I am the best judge of must-have shadows.

ncLA Nail Lacquer in Bikinis and Martinis


This color is cute and fun for the summer.   It took 3 coats, it did not fill my natural ridges well, and even with 3 coats and a top coat it chipped relatively quickly.  If this were half the price I would say yes, yes, yes!  It is top dollar- and not comparable to the Essies and Julips in my current collection.

Sugarpova Flirty Candy


YUM!  I ate the entire bag in two sittings.  I would have eaten them all in one – but had to talk myself out of it.  If I see these on the shelf out in the world, I would snag them up.  Gummies happen to be my fav candy! PSST- no fat!?  RUN dont walk for a guilt free snacky.

Supergoop!® Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen with Olive Polyphenols SPF 40 – Travel Size


If you have never tried Supergoop products this is a company you need to get to know.  They have the friendliest products for face care.  I would say I have not met a supergoop product I did not like.  Your face is your FACE!  Hello, big deal.  You must wear sunscreen because you do not want to age or worse get cancer.  But you also hate the idea of another layer on your face, especially when heat is making you sticky or worse – sweaty!  This is the gem.   I forgot it was on as soon as I was done applying.  I felt safe to face a day of hiking and overlook views with out burning eyes, sunburns, or zits!  This one is the gem of the box for sure!

What are your summer MUST-HAVE products!?

Seeing Red!

Red everywhere. Red lips. Red hair. Red nails. Red accessories. It is everywhere- and I LOVE it. I was not always so confident in such an aggressive fashion statement. For many years I had been shy about bold expression. For a long time I found myself buying the same army green, grey, or navy clothing. Never did I veer away from clear lip gloss and nude-medium brown make up.

Ah- but behold: a reformed woman!

A couple of years back I gave in to the curiosity of the Beauty Box (sample box) subscription. The concept is to pay for a monthly subscription of beauty samples that will be sent directly to your home. There are many out on the market now; Birchbox, Ipsy, Julep Maven, and many more. Psst- click here for an article that helps you find the best box to help your beauty regimen. I chose Birchbox, and I am a die-hard fan. Birchbox is a very reasonable price per month or annual and it allows you to personalize a profile to ensure samples are relevant to your needs. Birchbox also has a point system that is a great way to counter the idea of paying for samples (which you can sometimes otherwise get free at beauty counters). Earning points through various activities amounts to $10 or more dollars off future purchases- once I got a high end face wash for $6.00 and free shipping! Score!

Because of Birchbox I am now a fearless woman of the beauty world. Birchbox has allowed me to creep from no eyeliner and clear lip gloss to winged eyes, bold red lips, and full and beautiful brows!


It is hard to try new trends when cosmetics are so pricey. The opportunity to test allows you to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with out guilt and disappointment. (Tip: When I find the few products that I am not in love with – I throw them in a jar in our guestroom with a ‘help yourself’ sign! Now if my guests forget their face wash, shampoo, or lotions there are plenty of small options for them to try themselves!)

{Bathroom Organization}: Repurpose a glass cookie jar to organize and store travel/sample sized toiletries in guest bathroom

Tip: When I find the few products that I am not in love with – I throw them in a jar in our guestroom

After learning what a sample can do, I started aggressively searching for samples. Ask at beauty counters or when online ordering. When preparing for my Olive Oyl Halloween costume I was in lust with the idea of a red lip to sauce it up. BUT NEVER WOULD I EVER wear a red lip. I hadn’t even moved past clears and sheers.

Popeye & Olive Oyl ❤

When recently buying a few staples at Sephora I got a Dior Rouge Baume sample pack. There among many pretty colors was the red of my dreams. Color ‘999’. It is the true red I dreamt of, not too dark, not too pink. It complimented my skin tone. Being a baume it goes on a bit more sheer than a true lip stick, but you can add layers to create the depth you prefer. It is also smooth and creamy like a friendly gloss.

This is the lip color for lip gloss wear-ers!

I quickly went to the nearest general retail store to by a cheap knock off. WRONG. Do not bother. Each red of each brand will vary in tones and shades and textures. Once you find the one you love- go get her (in fact, go get two!)  I ended up finding my tube at Nordstroms.

What do you think!?


Being new to lip color I learned quickly why there is a need for lip liner. Colors that are bright show the bleeding in the naturally imperfect line of our lips. When I inquired about the right way to pick a lip liner the beauty professional at Sephora advised me perfectly! She showed me a wax liner pencil. Specifically Make Up Forever brand. She understood quickly as I explained I had never worn such loud color before that a liner may add more drama than I desire. Liners intensify your chosen color even more. A clear wax pencil can go on first and act as a barrier. You can also use it as an ERASER for outside the lines after applying the color. What a blessing!
I now pair my lovely red lip with a fire engine red nail color called ‘Red My Lips!” SAVINGS ALERT:  if you have not already go by the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Starter Kit today! This saves money and time. Gel stays for a week or two depending on how much time you spend it water. Looks professional. The process is quick. LOVE it. Money well spent.  Saves me a fortune on avoiding salon manicures.
So my advise- if you see the girl in the red lip and just WISH you could pull it off – YOU CAN! Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try yet another sample!