Sunday, August 31, 2014

Birchbox Man: September 2014

 So it's been a little while since I've reviewed Birchbox Man. This is usually because my fiance shows absolutely no restraint when his box arrives and is usually opening/using everything in it before I can get a picture! This time, I was with hi when he opened it and I demanded he keep everything in the box until I could snap some pictures! I get a LOT of subscriptions and fun stuff in the mail, so after trying lots of different men's subscriptions, we finally settled on Birchbox Man, and so far he's been loving it!

 This month, the theme was "Hit The Books" and the products were based around helping you keep your Fall wardrobe fresh, and getting yourself back into "work mode" after a long, fun Summer. This month, Birchbox Man teamed up with Bonobos, which is a men's clothing company that sells super fancy (read: expensive) stuff! Coolness!

Birchbox Man, like Birchbox, has 4+ products and lifestyle items geared towards a profile that you fill out when you sign up. While the women's box is $10 per month, BB Man is actually $20. However, the lifestyle items usually include electronics accessories, clothing and underwear etc. It's always more than worth the money, and my guy really loves it!

1. Field Notes: Mixed 3 Pack with Clic Pens
 One thing you should know about Jeff (my fiance), is that he loves to write stuff down. He's always coming up with crazy ideas for something to build, or a movie that he wants to make "one day." He's also really into rustic-looking stuff. he was SO happy to see these in his box, because he "was just looking for a little notebook to put in his pocket!" So this was a winner!

2. Bonobos Anchor Chief Pocket Square
 Every box this month had a Bonobos pocket square, however there were a few different choices in patterns and colors. These babies retail at $42 (which is crazy!) so this product alone is worth more than twice what we paid for the box. Some people who have already reviewed this box have said things like, "who the heck wears a pocket square? My husband would never wear this!" And then there's Jeff, who was grinning ear to ear and excitedly exclaiming how happy he was to get the anchor pattern. I mean, who does he think he is? A fancy-pants who wears bow ties and pocket squares?
Oh, wait. Yea, he's pretty dapper! He dresses better than I do! ;)

3. Gilchrist and Soames: London Collection Body Lotion
 This product has been in the women's Birchboxes, and I've received it in the past, so neither one of us was too excited to see it in the September box. It's honestly just a basic lotion. Nothing too special. Jeff doesn't really use lotion that often as he can never remember/be bothered with it. I'm actually not too keen on this product either, so it'll be going in the give-away pile.

4. Costume Natural: Homme Cologne
 Jeff is a cologne guy, so he always enjoys trying the ones that are sent in Birchbox Man. This one is citrus and spice with cinnamon and clove notes. It doesn't mention it on the card, but it definitely has a patchouli base. When Jeff first put it on, he was convinced that it smells "like pickles." No joke. I can't say I agreed with him, however. I actually love patchouli-based colognes, so I kept commenting on how great he smelled when we were at the coffee shop last night doing the weekly crossword. (Yep, we are THAT lame.) I think the scent is growing on him, although $120 for a full sized bottle is just insane!

5. SmartSkin Anti-Aging Eye Cream
While Jeff likes to use moisturizers, hair products and colognes, he's not really into the whole "men's skincare" kind of thing, no matter how much I tell him it's super important! I couldn't get him to use an eye cream if I paid him in kisses, so this is going in the give away pile as well. It's not a bad product (a full size retails at a whopping $125!) but it's just not something either one of us would use. 

Overall Thoughts
Out of the 5 products in the September Birchbox, Jeff will use and enjoy 3 of them. The 2 he wasn't into are things I can easily give away, and luckily the lifestyle items this month were a hit! This is one of the better boxes we've received since I signed him up 5 months ago, so I'm hoping this is a continuing trend, and we won't keep getting boxers! (Seriously, he's stocked with underwear thanks to Birchbox! LOL)
If you're interested in signing up for Birchbox Man, you can do so here.

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Memebox: OMG Box (#1)

 I honestly feel like I've waited forever for this box to arrive. I found myself saying "OMG!" a lot, not because of the box, but because my shipping didn't move for almost the entire month of August! My memeboxes usually take a week or two (tops) to get to me. This box shipped August 8th, and didn't arrive until the 27th. While it was painful to read everyone else's reviews and just have to wait around for mine to show up, I am so glad it's finally here!

(product info card tells you more information and how to use each product!)
 If you're new to Memebox, they are a website that sells Korean beauty products, but their most popular items are of course, the Memeboxes. These boxes are full of deluxe samples and full size Korean beauty products and are delivered to you all the way from Korea. Memebox has been kind enough to create a FAQs page that you can view HERE if you want more info on the boxes, as there are many to choose from!
This particular box is one of their special boxes, which are curated around a specific theme. While it's not a Superbox (a box that is guaranteed to contain all full size products) all 6 items just-so-happen to be full size! 
  Our O.M.G. Box will literally make you go “Huh?” “Hmmm…Cool!” because we’ve loaded this box up with weirdly awesome, yet effective beauty treasures that will work miracles for your hair, skin and body! If you’re a daring beauty enthusiast or beautyholic that is open to trying bizarre new trends, we dare you to take this beauty challenge!
The OMG box cost $29 plus $6.99 shipping.

 1. Ladykin: Aqua Exfoliator For Body 
(Full Size Product: $14)
 While I don't find this product to be very crazy/shocking, I think it's pretty dang cool! It's enriched with goodies like pineapple and papaya extracts, and it's basically a spray on exfoliator. After taking a shower and towel-drying, you simply spritz this stuff on dry spots then massage the area to "roll away" the dead skin cells and impurities from your skin! I get very dry skin in the Winter, which is fast approaching (UGH) so I am thrilled to have this on hand. I'm really excited to see how well it works!

2. Skinaz: Premium Vitablet
(Full Size Product: $46) 
 So because I'm a cheapskate, I counted to see how many of these tablets are in the cute little jar. There are 30, and the entire jar costs $46. That's $1.53 PER TABLET. Yikes. 
Anyway, These tablets are little powder cleansers rich with vitamin c and aroma oils. At the last stage of cleansing your skin, you simply fill the sink with warm water and drop one tablet in and wait for it to dissolve. Then you simply rinse your face with the water! This can also be used dissolved in water and put into a misting bottle as a facial or hair mist, as well as dissolved in the bathtub. I'm not sure how often I'll use these little guys, as I have a 13 step skincare routine as it is, but hey- what's one more?

3. Elizavecca: Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask
(Full Size Product: $46) 
 Just...just look at the little pig wearing a clay mask. I can't even take it. This could have been in the cute wishlist box! This mask is kind of neat, as it has pore care and cleansing functions. It's loaded with pomegranate and charcoal extracts as well as something interesting: carbonated water. Apparently it starts to bubble on your face once it's applied which helps penetrate clogged pores and clean them out! 
I find this mask interesting, because since it's also cleanses, it's suggested to use it on an un-cleansed, dry face. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the bubbles start to form, and then massage it in with wet hands before rinsing with warm water.
While this is again not a very weird or shocking product, it's something different that I don't already have, so I'm totally game!

4. Hope Girl: Night Out Diva Gloss in "Pink Drop"
(Full Size Product: $22) 
 I know a lot of people are really tired of seeing Hope Girl products in their Memeboxes, but honestly I really like their products overall. This lip gloss might be the exception, though. This lip gloss has two different shade gradated together, and also houses a mirror on the side of the tube, and a light up wand so you can reapply it anywhere, anytime. This might be a new and exciting thing for Koreans (maybe?) but I have seen these mirrored/light up glosses quite a few places before. I actually own one from Physician's Formula. It's more of a gimmick to me than anything. I would have been fine with this product if it actually looked nice, but as you can see from the swatch, the gradation is non-existent considering there is little to no pigment. On my skin, you can make out a slightly pink tone, but on my lips it just looks like a clear gloss.

5. SKINAZ: The Kissable 24 Hour Lip Tattoo
(Full Size Product: $18) 
 Before I start grumbling endlessly about getting yet another orange lip product in a Memebox, let's talk about what this actually is. This product is a tint that goes on very thick, almost like a glue. You let it sit on your lips for 10-15 minutes (yes, seriously) and then once it dries, you peel it off. Once it's removed, it leaves a tint on your lips that lasts up to 24 hours. 

First of all, this product isn't even orange, it's yellow. It looks like mustard, and smells like glue. Not pleasant. The fact that you have to leave it on your lips for 10 minutes is insanity, and the tint that it leaves behind looks like yellow highlighter. Granted, there were other shades that were available, but Memebox seems to think I love orange lips. I don't, Memebox. Not at all.

I have another lip tattoo product from the company skinfactory, and it's much different. It takes only a minute or two to dry, doesn't have a foul glue smell, and comes in really pretty pink and berry shades. I'll be doing a review on that one soon! (Spoiler: it's way better than this one!)

6. Pure Smile: 3-Step Bust Pack
(Full Size Product: $6) 
Haha, OK...if anything in this box is an "OMG!" kind of product, this would be it. We're all familiar with the typical sheet masks for the face, but now you can get them for your boobs, too! This is so ridiculous, but of course I will totally use it because I love weird stuff! This packet contains 3 different steps. There's a Gommage, which is massaged onto your bust, and helps remove any dead skin cells. Then you spread on the hydro-gel pack (the little heart-shaped stickies in the diagram above) and remove after 15 minutes. Finally, you apply a moisturizing cream. Weird? Yes. But that's what I was expecting from this box!

Overall Thoughts
The OMG box was $36 dollars shipped, which is $6 more than a typical Memebox. There were 6 full size products, at a total value of $152. While the value was excellent, and there are some neat products here, I really don't think there was anything "OMG" about this box. Other than the "boob mask," there didn't seem to be anything that I thought was too wild or crazy, and unfortunately that is how this box was advertised. I was expecting masks made out of bird poop (yes they exist) and other things like the cocoon peeling silk balls and snake venom serums etc. I think the most disappointing thing in this box was the Hope Girl lip gloss. This is not even something new or different, and it's not very good quality-wise either. I think if this was just a regular Memebox, it actually wouldn't be as disappointing as it was. But when you're expecting some really wild and out there things (you know Korean products get craaazy!) and this is what you end up with, you can't help but feel a little let down. I did order the OMG #2 box before I received this one, so I am hoping they step up their game a bit more and really go wild. Fingers crossed!

Have you Entered my Memebox Giveaway Yet? Check it out Here:
$5 off on entire order when you purchase 3 Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE3  
$8 off on entire order when you purchase 4 Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE4 
Free shipping on orders above $70 from Memeshop: FREESHIPPING

Shop through my Referral Link and save even more:

Spend $100+ through my referral link and automatically save $5 off your purchase!
Spend $150+ through my referral link and automatically save $10 off your purchase!
(you can combine these deals with the coupon codes above to save even more!)

Value Sets!
You can also save money and get upgrades on shipping when you bundle boxes together! Check out the Value Sets!

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fortune Cookie Soap Box: "Witch Please!" Fall 2014

 So this review is a little late, but I promise it's for a good reason! As some of my regular readers might know, I moved from RI to MA back in June. A huge reason for that was because we had neighbors that were absolute nightmares, and to top off their horrible existence, they were stealing my mail regularly. More on that in a minute.

The Fortune Cookie Soap website and the FCS Box have two different systems. When I changed my address on their main site, it unfortunately didn't change it in their FCS box database. Therefore, my Fall box made it's way right into the hands of my horrible RI neighbors. Joy.
I did get a replacement, however, and it finally arrived a few days ago. I sat out on my quiet porch and happily sniffed each and every item without being disturbed by people fighting and throwing each others belongings out the windows. (Yea they were delightful people.)
What is Fortune Cookie Soap Box?
Fortune Cookie Soap sells fresh, homemade bath and body products. While they started their business selling the fortune cookie-shaped soaps, they've continued to add all kinds of different goodies! Each season (4 boxes per year), FCS puts out a box that showcases their newest seasonal scents. The boxes normally include about 8 products/scents.
Each box costs $20, however they also contain a $10 gift card to use in their store on any purchase. Sweet! To make it even more fun, FCS hosts a "Launch Party" where they show all the new products and scents, do pop quizzes and giveaways, and usually give out a special coupon code that you can use along with your gift card! I participated in their Spring and Summer Launch parties, and they were a blast! FCS has a really loyal fan base, and everyone who works for the company seems to be really passionate about their products and what they do.
The Fall 2014 box is has a Wicked/Wizard of Oz theme, and is packed with some old favorites and some new products!

 1. "There's No Place Like Home" Fortune Cookie Soap
 Curled Macintosh apple peels lovingly kissed with a hint of cinnamon, allspice and clove.

If I could live inside this soap I would be a happy camper. Not only is it a gorgeous ruby red (like Dorothy's slippers!) but it smells like the perfect amount of apple and cinnamon mixed together. Even though the description says "hint" of cinnamon, I actually think it's the strongest scent in this soap. I never really end up using these soaps because they're just TOO cute, but they make a nice decoration in my bathroom!

2. "Roy G. Biv" OCD Hand Sanitizer
 A full spectrum of bright, citrus notes and florals against a cool, fall background. Dusky breezes and bonfires, wind-blown leaves and charred woods brightened by notes of lemon, mandarin, cotton blossom and soft vanilla

I actually love the Fortune Cookie Soap hand sanitizers. They're a great size, and the scents are always so unique. The only thing I notice is that they seem to last TOO long! I am currently still carrying the sanitizers from both the Spring and Summer boxes, and neither one is even half empty yet! While I get the idea of this scent is supposed to be something mixed with "somewhere over the rainbow" as well as the whole Fall theme, I think this scent misses the mark for me. All that talk of "dusky breezes and bonfires" falls flat when all I can smell is fruits and a hint of cotton blossom. While it's actually a nice scent, it doesn't scream "FALL" to me. It will most likely get used, but I was hoping for something more autumn-like!

3. "Flying Monkeys" Personal Space Air Freshener
 A fruity blend of peach, watermelon, neroli and jasmine with air and aquatic notes. The real star of this fragrance? Fresh, ripe Bananas!

Hmm. This one is interesting. While I was very happy to see an air freshener in the Fall box, this was the last scent I was hoping to try it in. This is yet again, not a very Fall-like scent to me. They claim the star of the scent is bananas, but I'm telling you, I can't detect a banana scent in the slightest. I spritzed this in my room to get a better idea of what it smells like airborne, and the neroli/jasmie/air notes are definitely the major stars in this scent. It's a fresh, clean scent that actually makes a nice air freshener in a bathroom or bedroom, but I don't smell the fruit scents that are supposed to be in it. Unfortunately, I was more hoping for a bakery-like scent or even a crisp fall leaves kind of scent that put me in the Autumn mood. This one is more of a spring or winter scent for me.

4. "Miss Popular" Bubble Bath Powder
 The most delectable sweet honey nectar, touches of star anise, star jasmine, sweet orange and blushing violet.

Sigh. I hate to complain about yet another scent, but here it comes: this isn't a Fall-like scent at all. It smells very floral, kind of like what you'd expect your grandma's bath powders to smell like. I appreciate the nod to Wicked's "Popular" in the name of this scent, but this was a total miss for me. To me, it just doesn't fit in a Fall line of scents in the slightest. I'll be putting it in the giveaway pile.

5. "Green is the new Black" Whipped Cream
 Sweet Pumpkin pie filling with the perfect touch of cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar, finished with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

*Throws confetti* FINALLY! A really good Fall scent! I love the FCS whipped creams, and this one smells like freshly made pumpkin pie. I don't like the taste of pumpkin pie, but I sure do love the smell of it! This is one of those things that just "smells like Fall" to me. There's no other way to describe it! Probably my favorite scent in the whole box.

By the way: There were 4 different scent options for the whipped cream in the boxes this month. They were all pumpkin-based scents, all varying slightly from one another. After reading the descriptions of each, I think I'm going to have to pick up some wax tarts in every scent!

 6. "Swankified" Walnut Facial Scrub
Bunches of ripe bananas mashed into sweet, sugary cake batter, topped with walnuts and baked to a golden brown.

The Summer box had a fantastic lemon drop scented microdermabrasion scrub, so I was very happy to see this new product in the Fall box: the walnut face scrub! I am not the biggest fan of banana scents, but this smells like freshly baked banana bread, which I DO like! I'm very excited to try this one out.

7. "Hair Flip" Hair Oil
 Strands of sweet hazelnut woven throughout rich, buttery vanilla cream.

Yes, this hair oil smells as good as the descriptions would have you think. If I didn't know better, I would drink this stuff! It smells SO good. I'm afraid if I put this oil in my hair that everyone will try to eat it! Seriously, if you like bakery scents, this stuff will make you feel like you've died and gone to heaven. Absolutely love this stuff, and I'm hoping it's effective on my hair as well! If not, at least I'll smell like a delicious treat! ^_^

8. "The Shiz" Perfume Oil
A woodland hike through damp balsam woods, with top notes of maple leaves blowing through new dawn blossom, laurel and sweet clove.

First of all, let us all collectively squee about the adorable little perfume vial! Sooo cute! 
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk scent. This is the only scent in the box that still says "Fall" to me, but isn't a bakery-like scent. I applied this as soon as I got it, just to see how it reacted to my skin. When I smelled my wrist, I definitely could see myself walking through the crispy leaves and picking apples while wearing this scent. It's got a very crisp and clean thing going, but there's still a deepness with the clove and balsam woods that make it a great scent for Autumn!

Overall Thoughts
Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies, and Fall is my favorite time of year. I was absolutely sure that this was going to be my favorite Fortune Cookie Soap box yet, and unfortunately, it might be my least favorite. Granted, I loved 5 out of the 8 scents. The others were actually not bad scents, just not what I expected in a Fall box. I will use all of the products except for the bubble bath powder, so I guess that works out to be a pretty successful box overall!
The great thing about these boxes, is that you're able to try the products, sniff all the scents, and then pick out your favorites. You can use the $10 gift card that comes in your box and purchase whatever combo you want! I'm thinking I'm going to pick up some wax melts as well as a few pumpkin-scented Fortune Cookie Soaps. I love seeing how they design each soap differently depending on the scent. I'm really looking forward to their launch party tonight so I can see all the goodies they have available! While this may not have been my favorite box I still love Fortune Cookie Soap, and continuously recommend this subscription. The next box will be Winter, and it will be my first Winter box since I started my subscription in Spring 2014, so I'm very excited to see what it will be like!

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jane Iredale City Lights Collection (Fall 2014)

 Fall is my absolute favorite season. I know I'm not alone in this opinion, but there is something so beautiful about Autumn in New England. The leaves are changing, the scarves come out of hibernation, and I start planning a day at the apple orchard so I can make homemade apple pie. One of the other things I look forward to is, of course, Fall makeup lines!

I review quite a bit of Jane Iredale products, but there's good reason!
1. Because the company started in my home state! (MA Pride!)
2. Because their products are unique!

What exactly makes them stand out?
Their products are non comedogenic, meaning your skin will be able to breathe and behave normally when wearing Jane Iredale products. No clogged pore for you!
Their products are safety, allergy, clinically, and dermatologist tested.
They make an effort to use only anti-irritant ingredients and natural preservatives. No parabens or phenoxyethanol!
 Jane Iredale is also cruelty free!

I think that Jane Iredale products are always "staples" in a collection. You could buy anything and most women could wear it, pull it off, and use it regularly in their makeup routine. While I'm a super adventurous type when it comes to makeup, my daily routine requires me to have fast-working, multi-tasking products that look natural. Not only does Jane Iredale cater to me, but to people like my mom, who don't really like to use too much makeup, but still want to look their best. 

Now that my rambling is complete, I'd LOVE to introduce you to some of the products in the new Fall 2014 line, "The City Lights Collection!"
Things always get more sophisticated in the fall, richer clothes, richer makeup and the events that go with them. Dinners in that new restaurant, a trip to see a Broadway play, maybe even an art opening (Picasso anyone?). This is why we called our new collection City Nights, a collection that speaks to the sophisticate in all of us – and is just perfect for a night on the town!
Not only is this palette slim and travel-friendly (hello big mirror!), it's absolutely gorgeous! While I admit I was wiping fingerprints off of it like crazy, the reflective rose-gold compact definitely makes a statement when it's pulled out of your makeup bag!

While each shade is subtle, they're all very beautifully pigmented and can be built up depending on how dramatic you want your look to be. I love shadows like this because they can work for such a wide variety of people! The shades are sized according to how they suggest one applies them. From left to right:
1. Mist- pearlescent cream shade that works great as a highlight for those of us looking for a smokier effect, or for an all-over-the-lid shade for those wanting a more natural look
2. Toast- A shimmering bronze shade with tiny flecks of silver micro glitter. A great "all over the lid" shade, or a shade that can be worked into the crease or placed above the iris along the base of the lid to give more definition.
3. Port- This comes off more "brown" in pictures, but it's a brownish-berry shade with very subtle pinkish/purple micro glitter. this is another great crease shade if you want to do a natural-looking smokey eye, and is actually quite a unique shade!

I absolutely love this palette, but mainly for how absolutely chic it is! I think most of us have comparable shades in our collection, but I have a deep love for small palettes that I can take with me on the go, and even more so when they have a large mirror for touch-ups. This is definitely a palette that makes you feel super luxurious when you're using it!

There was a time in my life (only a year or so ago!) that I avoided using gel liners, or pot liners in general. I felt like it was just an extra step that could be avoided by using a pencil. However I noticed that using a pot and a brush not only creates a super slick line, but pot liners also glide on much smoother and a brush gives much more precision to application. These jelly jar liners are no exception! You can apply these smooth, creamy liners with precision, or smudge them out for a smokey look. There are 4 shades available: purple, green, brown and black. Although the purple looks a lot brighter on the Jane Iredale site, it's actually more of a wine/plum shade with brown undertones. So if you're looking for a super bright purple, this might be a disappointment. I was actually happy to see a shade that is more "everyday" purple. I have green eyes, so a brown/plum liner really makes them pop! I wore this liner out last weekend and it held up through the night at a very crowded, sweaty pub, so it got an A+ in that regard!

When I first saw these glosses, I thought they would be squeeze-tubes. I was delighted to see that there's actually a wand with a doe-foot applicator inside! Yay! There are 18 different shades in this line, however "Kir Royale" is new for the Fall collection. This is a shimmery berry shade that looks fantastic on it's own, or on top of your favorite fall lipstick. On it's own, it has more of a slight hint of color with a little shimmer. It's sticky enough where it stays on your lips for a long time, but smooth enough where it doesn't feel uncomfortable on. It also has a very pleasant, subtle, fruity scent. I haven't dug out many of my Fall lipsticks yet (I have to get on that!) but I have a feeling this shade is going to look amazing over a wine/berry color lipstick!

Overall Thoughts
So what do you think of the Jane Iredale City Lights Collection? I love the fact that the colors and shades definitely remind me of Fall, but there's so much versatility here that you can really make a day look and a night look with the same products. As always, all 3 products perform beautifully, and last through the day with minimal to no touch-ups. (I did reapply the gloss after 3-4 hours, but that's a long time for a gloss in my book!) I'm really excited to incorporate these products in with the rest of my Fall makeup!
To see the entire Fall Collection, check out the Jane Iredale website.

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.