Monday, April 30, 2012

SircleSamples.com

Have you signed up yet? I have three more (totally free) samples coming my way: a lip gloss, mineral eyeshadow, and Bring it Up reusable lift tape. The eyeshadow should be here any day, can't wait to review it! In case you missed it previously, I've already gotten two Napoleon Perdis lip glosses, a Stila lip stain pencil, and a mini Jouer lipgloss.

Right now they're still in Beta, and I am not sure you can sign up and get immediate access to the site. Still, definitely get on the wait list so you're first in line--so far this has been an AMAZING deal. I've gotten all of that free stuff without having to do much more than fill out a beauty profile, take a few very short surveys, and review the samples I've received. Very easy to earn points and I think the site will be great when it's out of beta.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April Beauty Army

This is long overdue, but here's my April Beauty Army box! If you aren't familiar with Beauty Army, it's a beauty subscription service that runs $12 a month. The best part? You choose your own samples! When you sign up you take a quiz, and from these answers you are given nine samples to select from. Each month you choose six, and you can take the quiz over as many times as you'd like to try and generate a different mix of products.

Admittedly, I always take the quiz about a million times trying to get exactly what I want. I love that they always show the size of each sample so you know just what you're getting. Other perks? The option to skip a month, and you can review products to earn discounts in their online store.

Here's what I chose for April:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Birchbox Product Reviews

I brought a few of my recent Birchbox products on a whirlwind trip to NYC this weekend.

Yes To™ Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes
I am typically a dedicated am and pm face-washer, but I had a feeling I'd be facing some late nights and wanted to be sure I at least had a lazy way to get my makeup off--getting in at 2 or 3 am after a few bars does not inspire me to stick with my beauty routine. I felt *super* grimy by the end of the day in the city and add in eating out, sitting in the gross airplane air, etc. and I was expecting some scary irritated skin by the time I got home. The towlettes themselves are a generous size, about twice the size of LA Fresh makeup removing ones. They're nice and soft, with a subtle pleasant smell, and do a good job of being just a smidge exfoliating when you rub your face in little circles. My eye makeup came off without much fuss, which is my biggest complaint with some other brands.

My face definitely needed a good once-over with my Clarisonic brush when I got home, but I had minimal blemishes develop over what should have been a nightmare trip complexion-wise. With the little portable bag the convenience factor can't be beat, and I'll be buying these to travel again.

Lulu Organics® Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder
Can I just say, LOVE? The last day of the trip everyone slept in and we had to rush to get out, so I didn't have time to take a shower. I am so glad I had this in my bag. I've been in the habit of using Oscar Blandi dry shampoo in a pinch and like what it does to my hair's smell and volume, but I don't always feel like it makes my hair look very clean. (Background: I've got fine, thick hair that gets oily quickly around my hairline and ears but stays pretty dry at the end. It's probably six inches longer than in my photo at present).

The package said to use a dime sized amount, but I ended up using a little more. This went nicely into my hair, no powdery looks, and the smell  was fresh and herbal without being overpowering. I'm not a fan of putting things into my hair that have a strong smell all day, but this faded into the background over the course of the morning. Compared to Oscar Blandi my hair looked much less greasy for a lot longer, including my bangs which are typically my biggest problem. I'll be picking up the full size for the summer!

Befine exfoliating cleanser: I always feel like I need a good scrub after travelling, and I gave this a shot last night. The exfoliating bits in it seemed a bit too jagged to use with my Clarisonic brush so I skipped that, but otherwise I enjoyed this. It isn't the most satisfying cleanser I've used (you know what I'm talking about--that good, smooth, tingly feeling!) but I did like that it didn't dry my skin out at all afterwords. I followed up with Befine's night moisturizer and woke up to refreshed looking skin.

In short, I love this service! Sign up for birchbox over here

Monday, April 16, 2012

April Conscious Box

Conscious Box promoted their April earth day box pretty heavily, and I signed up on an impulse. At $19.00 (incl. shipping) it is a bit more than my other subscriptions, but I figured it'd be a fun treat this month. This box was STUFFED full of awesome samples and coupons. 

                           

I couldn't actually get everything back in the box to take a good photo of it.


  • Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn: sooo good. My husband and I both really liked it.
  • Clandestino chocolate covered banana
  • Cloud 9 Raw Chocolate fudge (little packed top left)
  • The Original Himalayan Crystal Salt: this was a generous little packet of it (on the left side of the pamphlet) 

  • Planet Dishwashing Soap
  • Earth Friendly Products parsley plus cleaner
  • Glob Natural Paint lemon verbena (green and yellow package): this is such a neat idea! You mix it with water to make the paint. I'll have to think of a project to use it on. 
  • generationME laundry detergent
  • Groovy Planet: that's the teensy doll in the upper left. If you tell it your problems and put it under your pillow it'll take them away:)
  • SeedBallz: *love* these. I knew someone who made them and engaged in "guerrilla gardening" by tossing them in unplanted roadsides or lots. There's three in the ziplock packet, and they came in the little cloth bag.




  •  Climb On! Multi-purpose cream, smells awesome and I can never have enough little lotions
  • Juice Beauty peel. I LOVE this stuff. I got it in my first Birchbox and have been pining for it ever since. This is a very generous sample, big enough for multiple uses.
  • Bare Body Soaps (on the left): Conscious Box will toss a little extra in your box for posting on their facebook wall, and this was April's surprise. What a great little bonus!
  • Sparklehearts conditioner
  • Natural Joy Beauty (ColourFusion Lip Glaze): This is a nice sheer pink color.

In addition to all of the goodies, there were coupons for just about everything (and then some). This is a great subscription service, although I wish they had a referral or points program like many of the others do. This may be a keeper! 

April Birchbox

Another great month from Birchbox! This month's theme is "natural wonders," full of earthy and fresh products. I was not disappointed! Sorry for the low-light photos, I couldn't wait until tomorrow to share!



The tissue was light and dark green instead of the usual birchbox fuchsia, a nice touch.




This month's contents: 
  • Befine skincare sampler: I'm nuts about Befine's night moisturizer, which I got in one of my first boxes ever. I ordered it again in this month's Beauty Army box, too. The packaging on this is just lovely, and the sample sizes are generous. There's two single use packets of daily moisturizer with SPF 15 and three packets of exfoliating cleanser. Can't wait to try these out! 
  • Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder: this is the little brown package in the bottom right corner of the group shot. I've been loving dry shampoo, and hair powder seems like a neat alternative. I'm going to NYC for a long weekend, I think I'll bring this with me to try out.
  • Wonderstruck Taylor Swift: This is a nice, light fragrance. I'll wear the sample this summer. I have to say, I far prefer the more boutique fragrances birchbox puts in its boxes--Atelier, LIV GRN, etc.
  • Zoya in Bevin: This is not nearly as green as it looks in the photo; it's a not-quite-mint bluish green. The photo below is from Zoya's website. I'm a *huge* Zoya fan, and I'm always happy to get another mini polish in my box! 

  • Yes To Blueberries Brightening Facial Towlettes: I've been totally obsessed with anything brightening lately. The sample contains 8 towlettes--plenty for a good trial run. These may come to NYC with me, too!
If you aren't familiar, birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription service. The whole box is just $10 monthly and shipping is free. You can subscribe here




Friday, April 13, 2012

Mario Badescu Free Samples

Mario Badescu sent me these samples for free, and so far I've really enjoyed them. The enzyme cleansing gel is a great everyday moisturizer, I like the eye cream, and the special cucumber lotion smells *so* good. 


Want some too? Head over to their website and fill out a quick questionnaire. They'll recommend products that should be a good fit for your skin. Put your real email address on the form, and in a few days you should get an email asking if you'd like to try some samples! No credit card info or anything is necessary, so it's a great way to try out a new skincare line. Full-sized products are reasonably priced, so no worries if you totally fall in love with something either! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NYX and Revlon COLOR!

Like I said, I tried to be practical with my Ulta order. But NYX and Revlon were 40% off...how could I resist?


Cream Blush in Glow: I've actually never tried a cream blush before, and I have to say the pigmentation is *awesome.* The color is a nice dewy pink when it's blended. This retails for $5-7 and NYX is on sale pretty frequently, so I'll definitely be picking this up in some more colors. (swatch on right)

Lip Liner in Peekaboo Neutral, and Citrine: Peekaboo Neutral is a perfect match to a discontinued shade of clinique lipliner I have, and it's nice and matte. Citrine has more shimmer, and is maybe a bit warmer than it looks in the swatch. I think both will be very versatile. 



 

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipcolor in Coral Berry: This is a fabulous color. I have a similar orangey-coral-pink, but it's shimmery and too much for everyday wear. This isn't matte but it's not sparkly, and it goes on semi-sheer. Very pretty. 


Ulta Free Stephanie Johnson Makeup Bag

I am not an Ulta shopper. That's not meant to be snobby or anything, it's just one of those stores that I go into once in a while but it's never at the top of my list. But this promo? Made me a believer.

Last week Ulta was running a promo for a free Stephanie Johnson makeup bag full of ten deluxe samples when you spent $60.00.  Our household was about a week away from running completely out of shower gel, unscented lotion, and shampoo/conditioner so I figured it was a good time to make an order. I'll spare you pictures the boring stuff, but I was able to take advantage of a BOGO on Ulta shower gels and a BOGO 50% off on lotion along with my shampoo--toss in a $10 off $60 and free shipping and I got an awesome deal!




The bags themselves are pretty cute, typical GWP vinyl makeup bags. The 10 samples are awesome.

  • philosophy amazing grace shampoo, bath & shower gel 1 fl. oz.
  • DDF Amplifying Elixer 0.5 fl. oz.
  • DKNY pureDKNY body butter 1.7 fl. oz.
  • LORAC TANtalizer deep body bronzing illuminator .4 fl. oz.
  • boscia oil-free daily hydration .33 fl. oz.
  • smashbox O-Gloss intuitive lip gloss .10 fl. oz.
  • bareMinerals purely nourishing moisturizer .17 fl. oz.
  • Fekkai shampoo 2 fl. oz.
  • Murad Acne & Wrinkle Reducer .125 fl. oz.
  • Urban Decay lip junkie lipgloss .12 fl. oz.
I'm glad Ulta included some cosmetics. I'm most excited about the Urban Decay lipgloss. It's in Midnight Cowboy, which I've got in a lipliner already--it's an awesome shade. The O-gloss is a self-adjusting lip gloss...cool! The philosophy gel and DKNY lotion both smell great, too. Reviews will follow as I try things : )

Monday, April 9, 2012

First Samples from sirclesamples.com!

I was surprised to see two little packages from Sirclesamples.com waiting in my mail for me today! For those who haven't checked it out yet, Sircle Samples is a new website (still in Beta) where users can review products and take surveys in order to earn points to use in the sample shop. The website is still a little glitchy, as can be expected, but so far it seems very promising. I'm looking forward to seeing what else they have in store.

Here's what I got:

Grab Bag for Lips: I believe this was 600 points, and the description said I'd receive one or two surprise lip products. Who can resist a surprise!? Here's what came:


tarte LipSurgence natural lip tint in peaceful
mini jouer lip gloss (and yes, that's birchbox pink)

I'll admit I'm a little puzzled about the birchbox pink Jouer, especially since I've gotten both it and the tarte  lip tint in past birchboxes. Still--what a great surprise! I love and regularly use the little gloss, so I'm happy to have a second.The lip tint is $24.00 on tarte's website, so needless to say the grab bag far exceeded my expectations from a sample site.


Napoleon Perdis Siren lip gloss: I managed to grab these in two colors, tangerine/tangerine and nude/passion fruit. It's a nice gloss, if perhaps slightly sticky. The colors are both lovely--the orange is a little sparklier than shows up in the photo. Both taste good, too. I snagged these for 300 points each, but they're now showing up as 600 points on sirclesamples.com. They're full sized, so I'd say still very worth the points.

Needless to say, I can't wait to see Sircle Samples' official launch. For free samples these cannot be beat.






Saturday, April 7, 2012

Love with Food

Got another box today! I know it isn't beauty related, but since it's a subscription service I thought I'd share anyway!

Love with Food's Best Bite membership is another subscription service like the beauty ones we're all familiar with. I got this box free with a promo code, I'll post the code later if I can find it and it is still valid. For $14 a month you get a box of 5-6 snack sized foods to sample. Full-size products are available in their shop to purchase. Shipping is free, and for every box you purchase Love with Food donates a meal to fight childhood hunger...what a great premise, right? Here's what I got this month:



Organic Chocolate Fusions by The TeaRoom Chocolate Company
Honey Bunny Grahams by Annie's
Caramel-wrapped Pretzel Petites by Mom's Original
Oliovera Meyer Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Rich Basil + Raspberry Vinegar
Masala Chai Blend by Impra Tea
Hazelnut Chocolate Eggs by Ferrero


The olive oil looks fantastic and is my favorite thing in the box. I had a blood orange olive oil from Queen Creek Olive Mill that I absolutely loved, so I'm hoping this compares favorably to that. The tea infused chocolate is fun, too--I love lavender chocolate, and this has that same strong aromatic component to the taste. I'll let you know how the flavors are when I get a chance to try them all. For $14 this probably isn't a subscription I'll keep, but I'm certainly considering it. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in trying a subscription service for munchies.

Sign up here!


Reminder: Julep $.01

Julep is still running their promotion...use code PENNY at checkout and get your first Julep Maven box for $.01. The boxes ship free. Monthly subscriptions are typically $19.99! Check out my earlier post for more info about the Julep Maven program.

You'll select which style you want to try once you sign up, but here is an idea of what you can expect:

 American Beauty Intro Box
It Girl Intro Box

Friday, April 6, 2012

SircleSamples.com and Is That Odd

Apologies for the site being a little quiet, I haven't gotten anything in the mail for a little while. Here's what I've got on its way for this month, I'll review when it gets here:

Birchbox
Conscious Box
Love with Food (free trial)
Sindulge (free box)
Ulta Order

In the meantime, I came across two websites (one new, one new to me) where you can earn points to redeem for free samples. Is That Odd is sort of a social site where members create mini posts called "oddstracts." You can create, comment on, and vote on oddstracts to earn points. The site loads sort of slow, but it's a fun premise and the points add up far quicker than you might imagine. They've got a pretty nice assortment of samples, too.


Sircle Samples was created by the same people, but it has less of an emphasis on social interaction. There's tons of ways to earn points--for starters, you get 1,000 for completing your beauty profile! This site is still in Beta so there are still some glitches and there aren't many samples yet, but to put things in perspective I was able to score a few lip glosses (full size) at 300 points a piece. Not bad! I think Sircle Samples is only going to get better as they refine it, and I look forward to seeing what they put out in their sample shop.

UPDATE 4/9/12: My first samples landed! Review is over HERE!