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Thinking Inside the Box: April Birch Box

The third box for the Round Two Trials is the beloved Birch Box. I don’t have any experience with the service, but I did subscribe to Ipsy, which is similar, for a while.  I’d recently read some great reviews by various other bloggers, specifically how much the boxes have improved since they began partnering up with other companies to design the box of the month, so I figured I’d give it a go.

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What I Got:

  • Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream (Lavendar) – I am a little torn when it comes to this product. It worked great, probably the best shave cream I’ve ever used, but I didn’t like it. My legs were the “silky smooth” we all wish for, but the smell was a little overpowering and I had to rinse the tub after I was done because the cream left little clumps all over the bottom of the tub. Which was a little gross.
  • English Laundry Notting Hill Perfume – Out of all the items in my April box, this was my favorite. I have been on the search for a new, more sophisticated fragrance for the last few months. I found a serious contender a couple of months ago, but after using up the sample, I found out the bottle was $100. This one is only a little better at $70, but hey 30 bucks, right? I think what appealed to me most about the overall fragrance was the balance of scents. It was floral without being powdery or matronly, the citrus notes kept things clean and sharp, and the vanilla added a pleasing warmth. Even better, you only need a drop or two to keep you smelling nice all day.
  • Acure Organics Pore Minimizing Face Scrub – I have been blessed with good skin. A bit of occasional dryness or redness, but all and all not much to complain about. I didn’t even bother to try this.
  • Au Naturale Cosmetic Trio (Lovely) – While this sample pack was pretty cute, it wasn’t the easiest to use. The lipstick and blush were solidly okay, even if they weren’t my first choice for colors, and the ivory shimmer was really pretty with some of the colors from my Naked pallet. Not something I will go out and buy, but I liked trying them out and I was happy that I had the chance to.
  • Oi Shampoo & Conditioner – Again with the scent! Like the shave cream, this shampoo was way too strong for me. I could see it working for someone who only has to wash their hair ever few days, since the scent would mellow, but I have to wash mine everyday. The conditioner was better, and I used the entire packet, but it wasn’t amazing enough for me to run out and buy a bottle.
  • Oi All in One Milk – Another product I didn’t try. My hair is super fine, and one of the reasons I have to wash it everyday is that it gets oily very easily. I know from experience that I absolutely cannot use leave in conditioners.

I hate to say it, but for this month, the most exciting thing about my Birch Box was the actual box. I really liked the design from Rifle Paper Co, and I’ll probably use it to store something in. There were a few things I was excited to try, but it definitely sucked that there were two samples that were essentially useless.


Thinking Inside the Box: PopSugar Must Have Mini

As you all read, I was having a very hard time saying goodbye to my PopSugar Must Have subscription. A little silly, but those wonderful boxes were my absolute favorite part of Round One of the subscription box trials. Literally the day after I canceled my subscription, I received an email from the company notifying me that they would be releasing a mini box starting in April. At half the price of the original, it would have fewer items, but they would still be held to the same PopSugar standard.  It was the perfect way to soften the blow, so I decided to include the mini in the Round Two review.ps1 ps2 ps3 ps4 ps8 ps5 ps7.

What I Got:

  • Farmacy Strawberry Basil Lip Balm – I am a EOS junkie so I wasn’t necessarily that excited to unbox a lip balm; I mean I already have like 10 of those little balls hidden around my house and office. But this one had special oils and was herb infused, so I decided to remain open minded and give it a try. Summation – meh, the flavor is interesting, and the consistency is nice. My biggest complaint is that I have to use my finger to apply it, which is one of my bigger beauty pet peeves.
  • Greenmarket Purveying Co Candle in White Melon – this little sucker is powerful! I put in on the bookshelf in the living room, and 15 minutes later I could smell it down the hallway in the kitchen. I was impressed that it reached that far, and also that did so without the scent in the living room being overwhelming. The White Melon fragrance is very summery, but not one of the ones Andy and I usually reach for, so I think we may give the Apple Cardamom a try next.

I think this is well worth the $20. Do I wish there were more items? Of course I do, but the quality of the products is very high, and I like that they have a theme for each box the way the larger boxes do. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with.


Thinking Inside the Box: March PopSugar Must Have Box

It was such a happy/sad day when I got my March PopSugar Must Have Box in the mail. Happy because I was completely stoked to see what I got and sad because it was the last box of my three month trial. Let’s dive in.

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What I got:

  • Goodie Girl Cookies(Toffee Chaos) – I’d looked at these in the store before, but having any snack type food around the house this time of year is super dangerous. Once we opened the bag, they lasted maybe a day and a half? Completely  delicious, rich toffee, melty chocolate chips and a crisp cookie snap that practically begged for a glass of milk or a steaming hot beverage. I will buy these again, and I be trying all the other Goodie Girl flavors.
  • Govino Carafe & Glass – I saw this in someone’s guest room and I’ve been wanting one of my own for a while now. It felt a little like Christmas morning when I saw it in the box. I am sitting there cross legged on the floor excitedly waving the box back and forth at Andy, and he just kind of glanced up and murmured something about it being “cool”. Figuring he just didn’t understand the importance of this amazing moment, I took the box over to him and explained why he too should be excited. He gave me an “aww, you’re cute” smile and reiterated his beliefs in its “coolness”. *Sigh* Some people just don’t get it.
  • Hello Pure Mint Toothpaste – I thought it was a little strange to get toothpaste in a subscription box, but I tried this out for a few days, and it worked really well. The taste and texture were nice, and my teeth were noticeably whiter. Unfortunately, I can’t use it long term; I have sensitive teeth, to the point of needing a special toothpaste. I will, however, tuck this into our travel case.
  • Pixi Block of Beauty – I’m  always down to try new make up, but I won’t really use this set the way it was intended to be used. Two of the colors are for contouring, and while I am sure my face could benefit from some masterful brushwork, I am vampire-like pale and everything I’ve tried is much too dark. Also with being so pale, I flush easily, which nixes any need for blush. I have, however, been using the entire pallet as eyeshadow, and I really like it. I wouldn’t have purchased it for myself, but I am glad I got a chance to try it.
  • Nanette Nanette Lapore Rose Gold Watch – a really beautiful piece. Feminine, understated, and classy, it is a wonderful addition to any woman’s wardrobe. Any woman who wears watches, that is, which I don’t. Since I can’t give this piece the proper appreciation, it will soon be finding its way to someone who can give it the love it deserves.
  • Miss Ivy Pearl 5 Tassel Necklace – once again, very pretty, but not me. I tried it on anyway and immediately two of the cats were like, ” Hey mommy, can with play with the toy on your necks?” Yep, not intended for me.
  • My Lola $10 Coupon – Of all of the subscription services I am interested in try, one for monthly personal items is not currently on the list. I am okay running to the store to buy my own.

The Verdict:

If you are going to try subscription boxes, this is the one to try. Great variety of products, amazing deals, and even the items that weren’t quite “me” were things any number of people in my life would love to have. I honestly considered keeping this subscription going, but the deal was three months and then on to something new. So I am going to very reluctantly say goodbye for now. I will however, soon be reviewing the newest PopSugar box, the PopSugar Must Have Mini.


Thinking Inside the Box: February Love with Food

I had a disproportionately negative reaction when I opened this months’ box. It had been a long day, I was nursing a headache, and I was so excited to see what the February food box would bring. No doubt some magical Valentine-themed wonderfulness, right? NOPE! I open the box, and the first three things I see are trail mix with raisins, dried cherries and grape lollipops. Three things that I very strongly dislike. I hate, hate, HATE raisins and most dehydrated fruits for that matter. Who ever thought “Wow, these juicy delicious grapes are awesome; you know what would make them more awesome? Putting them out in the sun until they shrivel up into gummy brown morsels”. Probably the same idiot who was like “Hey, lets use raisins instead of chocolate chips.” In the words of Matt Bellassai, “Raisins are chocolate chips that gave up on life.” Anyway, I threw everything back into the box and set it on the corner of the counter where it sat for a week and a half before I could look at it again. On round two of the unboxing, I approached this box with the support of my husband who agreed to eat any of the things that I deemed too gross to try.

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What I got:

Boardwalk Kettle Corn Pop Chips: LOVE! I would keep these on top of my fridge, in my work desk drawer, in the glove compartment of my car; you get the idea. They were the perfect blend of crispy corn, salty and sweet, and I was sad that I 1) had to share with Andy and 2) the box only came with one snack-sized bag.

Baron Chocolatier Milk Chocolate Truffles: A solid “meh”. Better than your average Hershey Chocolate Bar, but not as good as Lindor or Godiva. The chocolate lacked some of the richness I expect from a good milk chocolate, but it did have a fruity sweetness that was much better than the straight up sugary sweet of some other brands. I wouldn’t buy these for myself, but I’d eat them if someone gave them to me as a gift.

Stellar Strawberry Non-Dairy Fruit & Veggie Blend: So gross. Mad props for sneaking veggies into kids food, but the strawberry flavor used to mask the other flavors was really off putting. Natural strawberries taste good; why would you make a healthy snack that tasted like a cheap jello pop?

Liddabit Sweets Sea Salt Caramels – very caramel-y, but lacking in the salt. As in, I didn’t get any. I’d try them again though; it is possible that I just got a batch that missed the salting.

Power Up Trail Mix – Andy quickly claimed this since he knew I wasn’t wild about the inclusion of the raisins. He liked that this was a very low sodium trail mix, and he’d finished the sample bag in a few short minutes.

All Natural Montmorency Cherries – This was a big “nope” for both Andy and myself. He doesn’t care for cherries, and I don’t like dehydrated fruit. I could see these being good for baking, though.

Googly Grape Organic Lollipops – Fun name aside, I knew going in that I wasn’t going to like these. I, hand to God, was eating a grape lollipop when I found out Santa wasn’t real, and I haven’t liked them since. I can still remember sitting in my mom’s Toyota on our way back from a Christmas Eve party and asking her if what the big kids had told me was true. Traumatic childhood experience aside, these taste like grape soda, and they are organic so there’s that.

Choco Liege Wafel – these made my inner fat-kid so happy. They’re like the adult version of those chocolate-dipped Sweet Sixteen mini donuts we used to buy from the store when I was little. I gave Andy a little bite, but I shamelessly consumed the rest. #sorrynotsorry

Overall, I did suck it up and try everything for the sake of an honest review, but this wasn’t the box for me.