August Birchbox Review

It’s that time again!  It feels like I’ve had my August box forever, but that’s probably because it came hot on the heels of my wayward July box.  August had some excellent samples, so let’s get to it!

August Birchbox

1.  R + Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (Full size:  $17-29):  As I’ve discussed before, dry shampoo is one of those things that I see the use for, but don’t personally use all that much.  This was a decent dry shampoo, but I preferred my previous sample, and would purchase that before this one.  It simply wasn’t the perfect dry shampoo for me, but I’m certain it is the perfect one for someone else.

2.  Supergoop! Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream SPF 37 (Full size:  $45):  When I read the description of this cream I was excited about what it promised, but was unsure it could really deliver.  Because you need so very little of this cream to coat your under-eye, this small sample lasted me a week.  I was happy to see that it really did depuff for me.  I think it also reduced my dark circles, but because I didn’t take pictures to compare, I can’t be sure it wasn’t just me wanting to love this product.  I would probably buy this product because it delivers and a little will go a long way.

3.  LAQA & Co Charm School Kit (Set of 3 $20):  This product was thick and creamy, and it was easy to apply.  However, my sample was an orange/coral sort of color and it just did NOT work on me.  It looked pretty terrible with my complexion.  The other colors might be better for me, but I wouldn’t purchase this since I know for a fact that one third of the set won’t be right for me.  However, I’d be willing to try out more products from this company, and if purchasing the colors individually was an option, I might consider it then as well.

4.  Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer (Full size:  $20):  I LOVED this product.  I was so excited to get another moisturizer to try out because of my very dry climate.  I really liked how my skin felt and looked after applying this product.  It really felt like a treat for my skin.  I will be purchasing this product.

5.  Curly Hair Solutions Silk Leave-in Conditioner (Full size:  $18):  This product alone made this box amazing.  I am always looking for great products for curly hair.  I hate crunchy hair, and I hate how my hair is often dry.  I tried out this leave-in on its own and with other products.  I was amazed how fabulous my hair looked when I just used the conditioner.  I will be buying this product, I’ve already recommended it to my family members, and I can see this becoming a staple in my hair routine.  I will even be checking out other products they produce because I loved this that much!

There you have it!  This was an AWESOME box!  Two products I can’t wait to purchase, one product I will probably get around to, a company that I’m interested in (even if the one product wasn’t my color).

Want to check out Birchbox yourself?  You too can get five samples a month for just $10 each month.  Follow my referral link, give it a try, and let me know what you think!


Planner Stickers

Recently I was on the lookout for a new planner, so I started researching my options.  I am very picky about what I want in a planner and it changes regularly.  I bought my last planner back in January, and thought it was a good fit for my new lifestyle.  However, after using it for 6 months, I decided there were some issues that made it less than perfect.  So I hunted.  During that hunt I watched  a lot of planner reviews on YouTube and read a lot of reviews on blogs.  Slowly I got sucked into the “planner community.”  I ended up purchasing my planner from May Designs, but I couldn’t stop thinking about everything I had seen and read.  I had to get into planners like all of those ladies were!

In order to fully immerse myself in the craziness that is the planner community, I have ordered some stickers.  The first stickers I ordered came in this week, and it was pretty exciting!  I ordered from Sweet Ava’s Paper, and was very happy.  First, some technical background.  I had ordered from two other shops, and was a little concerned that none of those had shipped yet.  So when I decided I wanted to also order from Sweet Ava’s, I messaged her to check whether or not items would arrive before I left on my trip to Indiana.  She was super easy to chat with, responded to my questions quickly, and totally delivered on her promise.  I ordered from her on Aug 17, and got the order on the 24th.  I ordered three items:  two theme sheets and a “grab bag.”  Let’s take a look!

First up are the specific sheets I ordered plus the small sample she sent me as well.

Sweet Ava Order Part 1

The image in the upper right corner is the sample set she sent.  It’s a nice combination of colors, and they are intended to be boarder stickers.  In the middle is Pink and Navy Coffee Cups.  I liked the color scheme of these cups as well as the cute little heart on the cup.  I plan on using these when I’m meeting up with people or when we have an event that we’re attending.  The bottom row is the Pumpkin Spice Everything set.  I plan on using this in the same way as the coffee cups, but during October and November aka Pumpkin Spice Season.

Next up is the grab bag.  Basically, this is a random set of 5 sheets that she throws together for you.  I thought that this would be a nice way to check out some of her other offerings.  The listing says that the order will add up to 5 full 8.5 x 11 pages, but it might not come as full pages.  You might end up with two half pages, for example, to make up one of the 5 pages.  My order ended up being 5 full sheets.

Sweet Ava Grab Bag 1

First up is this Thanksgiving set.  I like that most of the items on this sheet are non-specific Fall so I can use them anytime during the season.  That said, Thanksgiving isn’t one of my favorite holidays, and there’s no way I would use all of these stickers.  I like that it’s a large variety, but I also think I might be looking for a good home for some of these.  Luckily, I know a few people that might want to trade with me!  (Yes, I suckered some o my friends into the community too.)

Sweet Ava Samples 2 and 3

Samples 2 and 3 had less variety.  These sheets are a Laundry set and a Paw Print set.  I like the colors on the laundry set.  I’m a fan of how each part is one color with differing levels of fade.  I plan to use these to remind me when I need to wash sheets and towels.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with the hangers, though.  As for the paw prints, I plan on using them for when I need to schedule/drop off/pick up the dogs from the kennel, for vet appointments, and for heartworm and flea and tick reminders.  That said, I had already bought laundry and paw print sets from other shops.  However, those shops haven’t shipped yet, so I might see if I can drop or replace those items from my order.

Sweet Ava Sample 4

This is the “To _____” set.  There are 16 of the checklist boxes and 14 shopping cart stickers.  They’re fun, but they’re kind of huge (especially compared to the space in my planner.)  I’ll use them because I have them, but they aren’t something I would order again for myself.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with the shopping carts.  I guess I’ll put them on my Mondays since that’s when I grocery shop.

Sweet Ava Sample 5

This is the Hot Air Balloon Washi set.  These types of stickers are something I see often in videos, but hadn’t given a lot of thought to for myself.  I’m not sure which planner my set is specifically made for, but these are usually made to fit into a specific planner.  What’s kind of cool is that each of the patterns comes in a variety of sizes, so this sheet really has a ton of stickers on it.  I like the hot air balloon theme and think all of this is pretty cute.  I also think the colors on this sheet, in general, are great.

So that’s what just came in the mail.  Originally I made a video and was going to share that, but I was having difficulty getting it to edit.  I mostly just needed to cut off the end where I turned off the camera.  Oh well.  Better luck next time!

**A version of this post also appeared on my personal blog.

July Birchbox Review

My poor July Birchbox went through quite the ordeal to get to me.  It made it all the way to Flagstaff (a town about an hour away from me) before it was inexplicably sent to Massachusetts.  My box went from about 70 miles from me to 2500 miles from me.  SO STRANGE.  It took a bit, but customer service was super nice, and a replacement box was mailed out.  I’ve had my replacement for about a week now, so I’ve had a chance to try out everything, though not as much as I would have liked.

July Birchbox

  1. amika un.Done texture Spray (Full Size:  $24):  Last month I got the amika dry shampoo.  I like this brand because it’s meant for curly hair.  I’ve tried this spray about three times now.  It isn’t great for me on its own, but it works well at helping produce defined curls when I use it as part of a series of products in my hair.  It’s an aerosol, which I’m not a huge fan of because that usually means product gets everywhere.  Which it did.  In my mouth.  It doesn’t taste very good, and it was hard to get the taste out of my mouth.  Bottom line:  it’s a decent product, but not the right addition for me.
  2. stila look at me liquid lipstick trio (Set of 3, $20):  This product was my sample choice.  Basically we had 3 color options (bright pink, classic red, bright coral), and I went for the red because I’ve been dying to find a really red lip color.  This stain went on super smooth with lots of saturated color.  The finish is matte, and I was all about the bold red lips it gave me.  I did have a bit of color transfer onto glasses, but I think that’s more on me not using the product completely right than anything else.  I would totally buy this, but I’m just not sure about the other two colors.  I guess I’ll see if I like them if I follow through on the purchase.
  3. COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint (Full size:  $36):  SPF is very important to me because I have very fair skin that burns easily.  I don’t usually wear an SPF with a tint, but I’m not opposed to them either.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t the tinted SPF for me.  It felt gritty when I put it on, and the tint didn’t seem to do anything for me.  (It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good either.)  I can certainly see how this works for some people, but I am not those people.  This was a miss for me.
  4. Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (Full Size:  $34):  This face scrub was surprisingly deceptive.  It went on gritty and almost felt like a fine sandpaper on my skin, and I really needed to be aggressive with my rinsing to get it all off my face.  After my first use, I was positive I hated it.  However, I always try the products multiple times (unless I have an allergic reaction), and I found that each time I used this, I liked it more and more.  My face really did look glowing and smooth after every use.  I was all out of my Suki scrub, so I went ahead and ordered this along with the foaming face cleanser so I can alternate using them.  Would I buy this product?  Obviously.  I already did.
  5. Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow (Full size:  $27):  After my experience with my last BB cream (where I turned bright red), I was wary about giving this one a try.  However, I didn’t need to be so concerned because this one didn’t cause an allergic reaction.  It went on smoothly and did a decent job evening out my skin tone.  I tend to have some blotchy redness on my face, and this helped with that.  When combined with the BrightenUp!, I felt like my skin look picture ready.  Would I buy this?  Maybe.  I actually don’t care too much about the red splotches I sometimes have, but it’s nice to know I have options (besides foundation) to deal with that.

Overall, I’d say this month’s box was a HUGE success.  I haven’t been able to try everything as much as I’d normally have before writing my review, but the trajectory of my box was out of my control.  I found one product I bought, a lip stain I loved, and a BB cream I’m considering.  Wins all around!

Want to get your own monthly set of samples for just $10 a month?  Check out Birchbox with my referral link.

Final Darbysmart Box

This one has been sitting in my to-do pile for a while now.  I just kept putting it off because I was so sad that the subscription box wasn’t what I had hoped it would be.  I was also a little bit wary of this project because it’s one my husband had tried over a year ago as a gift for me, and he wasn’t all that successful.  Finally, though, I sat down and took the time to do it (which is actually very little time at all).  Here’s my review of my final Darbysmart subscription box.

Final Darbysmart Box



This box had two 1/4 inch pieces of plywood with holes drilled into the sides, a few print outs on paper, some leather cord for tying the two boards (and any interior pages) together, a foam brush, and the Modge Podge brand transfer medium.  The plywood was the same quality as what you get at the hardware store, and the picture sets were specific to Father’s Day since the craft was intended to be for that if you wished.  (You could print your own pictures for this also, but make sure to follow the directions and use the right type of printer.)


The process here is pretty straightforward and easy to follow.  You trim your paper to the size of your wood piece, slather the medium all over the picture (a nice heavy coat), stick the image onto the wood (image side down, of course), smooth it out, and leave it alone.  Depending on the humidity of where you are, you should leave it for 24-48 hours.  Even though I live in a very dry place, I didn’t want to take any chances, so I waited the full 48.  Once the waiting is done, you take a wet cloth and rub of the paper backing to reveal the picture beneath.  (This is a kind of messy process.)


I’m not sure if I didn’t do a good job with the initial sticking down, or if I was rubbing too hard, but the image started rubbing off too during the final step.  Once I realized what was happening, I tried very hard to stop the spread of the destroyed image.  It mostly seemed to happen around the edges.  When positioning the image, you only get one shot at it because it sticks like crazy to the wood, so a skewed image is also a potential problem.  Mine turned out a little off kilter, but I don’t think it’s terribly obvious.

Final Product

When it was done, I was annoyed by the final product because it wasn’t something I felt I could give to someone else.  It was too messed up and there’s no way to fix that once it happens.  I’m not against the project itself, but these are the same issues my husband had back when he tried it.  If you know of a way to keep this from happening, I’d be interested to hear.  I’m willing to give this project another try, but I need to do some trouble shooting before I’d consider it.

June Birchbox

How was everyone’s 4th of July?  Mine was fun!  We had guests, which doesn’t happen a whole lot since we live so far from our friends and family.  I wish I could also say that my June Birchbox was a lot of fun, but this month just wasn’t great for me.  Let’s discuss why.

June Birchbox

  1. Dr. Jart+ BB Night Beauty Balm (Full size:  $38):  I’ve never used a BB cream before, though I’ve read about them, and I was excited to give this a try.  Unfortunately, when I put this on, my face turned red and stayed red for several minutes, so I decided to wash it off.  It didn’t hurt, and the redness went away when I washed my face.  I’m not sure if something in this reacted to something else I had used, or if I had a reaction to something in the product itself, but this was one and done for me.  I didn’t bother trying it again.
  2. Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel  (Full size:  $48):  I had no idea what to expect with this product.  A peel is another thing I’ve never used before, but also something I had no real interest in trying.  I’m happy it came in my box, but I have no idea if this product does anything.  To use this peel, you apply it to a clean face, and massage it in until it starts to ball up under your fingers, then simply rinse.  It did do what it said, balling up, but I couldn’t tell a difference when I was done, so I wasn’t sure if I had basically applied rubber cement to my face and then used its gum-like qualities to help remove it.  (Obviously it wasn’t that thick or sticky, but you get the idea).  I didn’t notice any difference to my skin, even though it says you will have instantly softer, smoother, brighter skin.  Another bust for me.
  3. Supergoop Everyday SPF 50 with Cellular Response Technology  (Full size: $19-48):  I was very excited about this product.  I burn pretty easily, and I live in a place that is sunny most of the year.  A quality sunscreen is a must for me.  This was a highlight for this month’s box.  This went on light and wasn’t greasy, effectively dealing with my two biggest pet peeves about sunscreen.  I wore just this sun screen while spending around 2 hours of peak burn time outside.  I didn’t use a hat or anything else.  With how light the lotion was, I was concerned it just couldn’t hold up, but it absolutely did!  I wasn’t even pink when I got back inside.  It also says it is water resistant, but I didn’t really test that.  Will I buy this?  Probably.  But first I need to work my way through all the thick, greasy stuff I have sitting in my cabinets.
  4. Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo  (Full size:  $21):  Dry shampoo is something that sounded lovely for curly hair, but I had never heard of one that the directions didn’t direct you to brush it into your hair (a big fat NOPE for curly hair).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are now dry shampoos that are meant for curly hair that don’t look like there’s white powder resting on your hair and don’t require a brush to use properly.  I really enjoyed trying this out.  I can see a ton of benefits to using it, but I’m not sure that I would have a lot of use for it myself.  This is something I might have in my cabinet, but one can would last me a year or two simply because I don’t use it much.  I loved that one of the bonuses of using this shampoo was the added volume.  I’m a sucker for super big hair.
  5. Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner (Full size:  $11):  WOW.  My sample came in blue, and holy smokes was it blue!  This eyeliner packed a bright, colorful punch.  It was super easy to put on, and lasted all day.  My concern is that I just don’t know how to wear something this bright without looking like myself in high school when I started playing with make-up.  I really liked it, I just didn’t know how to utilize it.
  6. (NOT PICTURED) L. Erickson Barrow Grab & Go Ponytail Holder (Full size:  $12):  Also this month I got a ponytail holder.  While it is not discreet since it’s kind of bulky, it makes up for that with a firm, but not overly tight grip.  My ponytail stayed put all day, even as my thick hair and gravity tried to fight it.  It also doesn’t pull my hair when I take it out.  I don’t need a discreet ponytail holder, so this was actually perfect for me.  I would totally buy this.

Overall, I walked away with zero products I want RIGHT NOW. There’s the sunscreen that I’ll most likely eventually buy, and the dry shampoo that I don’t have a lot of need for now (though I could see my life changing and that shampoo being a much larger part of my needs).  Finally there was a hair tie I loved.  That’s it.  Everything else I wasn’t super excited about (though I will take any tutorial videos on wearing that blue eyeliner).  But, again, for $10 a month, it was super fun to try out all of these items.  Even when I have a box of things I’m not in love with, I still have fun trying them all out.  Think you’d like to try Birchbox?  Here’s my referral link.

Finally, I wanted to say that Birchbox has some AMAZING customer service.  I realized last month that I didn’t get my sample choice email, so I put in a help request asking what was up.  Birchbox has kept me informed while they work on why I didn’t get it, even if their email just says “still working on it” so I don’t go too long without information.  When July’s sample choice came and still no email, they gave me a call and did my choice over the phone.  A+ customer service.


May Birchbox Review

May was a good Birchbox month as far as my nose was concerned.  Everything this month smelled delightful.  While I was a bit annoyed to get yet another fragrance, everything else was so excellent I all but forgot about it.  If you want to check out my previous reviews, click here.

May Birchbox

  1. Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment (Full size $40):  Curly hair tends to be dry hair, so anything that can help moisturize is definitely worth checking out. This oil did the job, but I like my Beauty Protector oil better.  However, this trial size is absolutely going into my travel bag to use whenever I don’t want/need to travel with something full size.
  2. Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Body Lotion (Full size $15.95):  Like every other Beauty Protector product I’ve tried, this smelled AMAZING.  It was sweet without being candy like.  I wanted to eat it with a spoon.  Plus, the lotion is amazingly thick and creamy, and really nourishes without making you feel oily.  I’ve tested quite a few lotions I like now, but this one is probably top two.
  3. W3LL PEOPLE The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara (Full size $23.50):  I liked that this mascara was all natural and didn’t contain any dyes in it, but it was only a bit above the drug store options I usually select.  I think the wand was well designed, which helped keep my lashes separated, but I didn’t think it did much lengthening.  It was fun to try, but won’t be on my purchase list.
  4. Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume (Full size $90-120):  As I mention every time I get perfume, I’m not really a fragrance person.  I will say, though, that this had a great Spring or Summer scent that is fresh and bold.  If I was the type of person to buy perfume, I might give this one strong consideration.
  5. Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer (Full size $36):  This was probably my favorite product this month.  This moisturizer has a light, fresh scent that pairs well with my lemon face scrub.  It goes on easily, and doesn’t leave you feeling oily.  The entire time I used this product, I didn’t have any dry patches, and I also didn’t break out (which sometimes happens to me with moisturizers).  Also, I was able to layer this under foundation (which I rarely wear), and my face didn’t feel like it was caked in products, nor did it affect the application or coverage of my foundation.  I’ve been looking for a moisturizer for a while.  I think this is the one.  I’ll be buying this in full size.

There it is-another great Birchbox!  If you want to try it for yourself, here’s my referral code.  I’m in love with this monthly sample subscription, and I bet you will be too!

April Birchbox Review

When April’ box came I couldn’t stop looking at the box!  It was gorgeous!  So much so, I had to include a picture of it too this month!  The box was designed by Rifle Paper Co, which has some truly lovely items.  Enough about the packaging, let’s talk products!

April Birchbox

  1. Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush (Full Size:  $26):  My skin is naturally pretty pink, so blush isn’t something I normally wear.  However, when I am doing something more formal (like going to a wedding or an interview), I usually will put on blush.  This blush came in a color that was perfect for my skin tone.  The first time I put it on, it went on nice and light, which is important to me because I don’t need a lot to get the right amount of pink on my cheek.  The second time I might have been a little heavy handed.  However, it was easy to blend and remove a touch to make it right.  As for the waterproof aspect, well, I didn’t go swimming while wearing it, but I did splash my face with water to see what would happen, and it appeared to stay in place.  It did mostly wear off by the end of the day, though.  Would I buy this?  Maybe.  It’s hard for me to find blushes that are the right color for me, and this one was.  It would be a contender.  (But I sort of hope I get some other samples just to see if there’s something I like more.
  2. LAQA &Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil (Full Size  $20):  I really liked the concept of this pencil.  It was very smooth, and super easy to apply.  You could put on just a touch or layer it for a more vibrant color.  However, the color was all wrong for my face.  I tried it several times (thinking that different outfits or different types of light might affect the color).  No matter how I wore it, though, it was never right on me.  That said, eventually I layered it with the Cynthia Rowley lip stain I got a box or two ago, and that was a nice combination.  Bottom line?  I loved the product, hated the color.  I might consider this in a different shade.
  3. Whish Three Whishes Body Butter-Blueberry (Full Size:  $24):  On one hand, this product is super thick.  I’ve had Whish products in my box before and thought that they were great at hydrating.  However, the smell just doesn’t work for me AT ALL.  It smelled like blueberry candy-overly sugary and too sweet.  I made the mistake of using it on my legs after one shower, and got sick of it very quickly.  After than I used it once or twice in moderation so as not to be overwhelmed by the smell.  I just couldn’t get past that fragrance, though.  12 year old me would have loved this.  32 year old me?  Not so much.
  4. Beaver Professional Hydro Nutritive Moisturizing Shampoo and Repairing Conditioner (Full size:  $15/$16):  I’m reviewing these last two together because that’s how I used them.  I’ve gotten shampoo samples before, but never had a set.  I rather like that there was a set because I like to use products with their counterparts when possible.  I was able to get 3 washes out of the conditioner before I ran out, but 6 of from the shampoo, so I was able to try the shampoo solo as well.   (The samples were the same size, but I just need more conditioner for my hair.)  I felt like they did what they promised-my hair felt softer and healthier.  I have coarse, curly hair that tends to be dry, and both of these worked hard to help with that.  However, I need some other product to put on after the shower if I decide to switch to this shampoo/conditioner combo because it didn’t really work with my current product routine.  While soft, my curls didn’t define as well and ended up looking frizzy.  I probably wouldn’t purchase these unless I found that other product that would work with them (though I do like the idea of finding that other product).

All in all, another great month with my box.  As always, I love playing with new products and learning what I do and don’t love.  I’m getting kind of close to running out of my face wash, so I’m hoping to find something new to give a go in an upcoming box.

Does Birchbox sound like something you’re interested in?  Here’s my referral link.

Another DIY Box Review

Back in December, I took advantage of a sale that allowed me to get a 6 month subscription to the DarbySmart To DIY For Box.  You can read my previous reviews here (December, January, February).  Today I’m going to review both March and April together.

March and April DIY Boxes


The March box included materials to create….something with the yarn and plastic canvas.  On one hand, it’s nice because you can make whatever you want, but on the other hand, it’s a bit ambiguous.  Plus, the yarn is multi-color, so creating a design is a bit tricky.  You might notice that I don’t have a final product photo.  That’s because I don’t know what to do with it.  I’m thinking about mailing the whole set to my niece.

The April box came just a few days ago, and this was a cool idea, but just not for me.  It’s a set to make your own perfume.  Fun.  Except, I try to avoid perfume because too much of it aggravates my asthma.  Now, that’s not to say I won’t, on occasion, wear a little bit of it, but I do think the strong fumes associated with making one might be hard on me.  I think I will still try to make this and mail it off to someone else, but I will probably have to wear a mask while creating, and take my time with it.

Overall, I’m kind of done with these boxes.  I was very excited when I first started because it felt like  chance to try out some cool new crafts.  But now, I realize that out of the five boxes I’ve gotten, I only enjoyed one-the tea towels.  I only have one month remaining, but I currently have zero plans to renew this subscription.  I think I’ll stick to ordering a kit that I am actually interested in instead of taking this monthly chance.

March Birchbox Review

I am so excited to review my March Birchbox.  This month totally made me feel pampered.  While not everything was a hit (it never is), I did have a ton of fun trying out each product this month.  The theme for March was creativity, and this month certainly inspired me to renew my subscription since April is my last gift box!  Let’s check it out.

March Birchbox

  1. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (full size:  $25.50):  This facial cleanser is two steps.  First you take the product and massage it into your skin.  Then you take the muslin cloth, soak it in hot water, and gently wipe off the cleanser.  At first I was skeptical.  How is a muslin cloth any different from my washcloth?  But it actually was.  I felt like I was polishing or buffing my skin.  Almost a gentle exfoliation without a “grit” feeling.  I spent two week alternating this and my usual cleanser, and I honestly didn’t see that much of a difference.  However, I had fun sampling this.  The hot cloth made me think that this is why men enjoy a hot shave.
  2. Roloxin Lift Revitalizing Facial Masque Treatment (full size:  set of 10, $110):  HOLY SMOKES.  This is the most expensive sample I’ve been sent to date.  And, they sent me two treatments.  That alone made this month’s box feel amazingly worth the $10.  Basically, you massage the packet before opening it to “activate” the ingredients.  Then you apply the masque to a clean, damp face and let dry for 7-10 minutes.  Then you wash it off.  Honestly I didn’t want to try this at first because I felt like I should save it for a special occasion.  According to the material, it reduces the look of wrinkles and pores, and lasts up to 24 hours.  I didn’t want to waste it on a day when no one would see me!  But, eventually I used it, reasoning that I needed to try it out so I could review it.  Besides, there were two.  I could absolutely save the second one for that special occasion.  In the past, I’ve had some issues with some face masques.  One memorable time in high school, my face was lobster red for hours after using one because I was allergic to the mango extract in it (which I had no idea about prior to this).  So, I prepared to be disappointed and….I wasn’t.  Oh my gosh.  I felt like I looked like a touched up photo of myself.  My skin was radiant and smooth. However, at that price, I could never justify this.  I might, though, go in with others to purchase a set before, say, a wedding.
  3. Jelly Pong Pong GLOW GETTER Highlighter (full size:  $14):  I am so glad there is a card that comes every month that gives a rundown of each product because I totally thought this was nail polish when I first opened it.  The bottle looks like a polish sample, and it even has the same lid/brush thing going on.  But, this is not nail polish.  Nope.  It’s a highlighter meant to give a pearlescent shimmer wherever applied.  In the past, I’ve had some issues with these types of products due to my pale skin.  Usually there’s too much bronzer in them and the application is a bit too noticeable.  That was not the case with this, though.  It actually adds just a soft shimmer that I can see making for an excellent “dewy” look when layered with a soft pink blush.  The application, in my opinion, is still odd, but the product is decent.  Will I buy this?  Probably not, but mostly because this sample will last me forever.
  4. Elite Therapeutics Rosemary Eucalyptus Body Creme (full size:  $19):  This smells AMAZING.  I’ve used this MANY times since this box came, and each time I put it on, I feel like I am at a spa.  The creme is super thick and does a great job hydrating skin.  My March seemed extra dry, but this helped a lot.  Once my current lotion runs out, this is absolutely in the running to be the replacement.
  5. It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product (full size:  $18):  This is on of the few products I was actually familiar with prior to this sample.  That doesn’t normally happen for me.  I’ve seen my mom use this before.  I’ve got to say, that while this is a decent product, it really isn’t a 10 for me.  More like a 7.  I have other products I like more, so this one was a no for me.  However, I will keep using this sample until it runs out.

So that was March!  Another awesome Birchbox.  Think you want to try out Birchbox?  Use my referral code.  I can’t wait for my April box to get here!


February Darbysmart DIY Box

I am SO BEHIND on these boxes!  I feel like I never get to them until the next one is arriving at my doorstep.  So, here we are, end of March, and I am finally reviewing my February box.  To be fair, though, these boxes ship on the 17th and usually arrive at my door around the 23rd, so it really has been only a month.  Right?  Ugh, I’m trying to justify myself.  So sorry.

February Darbysmart Box


This month I got materials to take a platter like plate and add some stenciling to it.  The box contained the plate, two bottles of paint (turquoise and black), a foam brush, sticky stencils in the alphabet and some flower pattern, and some hot chocolate on a stick.  When I saw the hot chocolate, I was SUPER convinced that this was a food platter of some sort.  But when I went to the DIY directions, I found out it was actually meant to hold jewelry?  Odd.  Though, to be fair, I guess it can be whatever I want it to be.

Personally, I thought the flower and leaf patterns were ugly, so I stuck with the letters.  Since this project isn’t really the sort of thing I would keep, I decided to make it for my mother-in-law.  She had showed me something she wanted to make that was all about family, so I decided to put “friends” and “family” on the long sides of the platter and “fun” on the short sides.

The process was super simple.  Since the stencil letters were stick on, i just arranged them until I was happy with the placement, and then used the foam brush to apply the paint.  Once the paint was on, I removed the stencils and let dry.  I repeated this for each word.  (Dry time was only 3 or so minutes.)  When the brush went outside the stencil area, I used a Q-tip to clean up the errant paint, and that seemed to work pretty well.  Once all the lettering was done, into the oven it went.  30 minutes later I was done.

I think I would have enjoyed this project more if I had gotten the smaller, round dishes that were shown in the directions as those are something I might have kept and used.  I also wish the stencils had been a little more….interesting?  I’m not sure what the right word is here.  I guess I wish they had been more my style.  But, obviously they are someone’s style, so there’s that.

While everything was in the oven, I made my hot chocolate and drank it, thinking about how I now need to buy some bubble wrap so I can ship this to the MIL.  Was I excited about this project?  Not really.  I did like that this definitely felt like my money’s worth of product, though.