Tag Archives: beauty

They All Arrived on One Day


Last Friday, these arrived at my doorstep:

photo 1Yes, all four subscription boxes arrived on the same day. Only I didn’t know it. I was hosting an Open House Wine Tasting and our first guest had to bring them in! Consequently, I actually waited until the next morning to open them. I was like a kid on Christmas morning!

So hear goes…. From Top to Bottom!

Love with Food

  • $10 + $2 shipping per month
  • Each box shipped = meal donated to a hungry child
  • Earn points for reviewing or referring toward product purchase

November’s {appropriate} Love with Food Box Theme:

There was a whole slew of coupons and inserts, as well as a recipe from Chef Ryan Scott:

And the contents:

November Love with Food Contents {clockwise from top left}:

  • Mighty Leaf Ginger Leaf Tea – Refreshing!
  • Arora Creations Indian Spice Blend – There is a recipe to make Indian-spiced green beans or asparagus. Can’t wait to try this!
  • Kukuruza Tuxedo Popcorn – Rob and I split this and we were in love {with the popcorn!}
  • Eat Natural Almond, Apricot and Yoghurt Bar
  • Laura Secord Maple Fudge – Reminded me of a caramel… sort of. YUM!
  • Dancing Deer Baking Co. Rosemary Sea Salt Shortbread – Rosemary may sound like a strange flavor for rosemary, but so hath one of my favorite desserts in all of the Twin Cities!
  • Sensible Foods Sweet Corn Crunch – I received this in what I believe was my very first Love with Food box. Loved it then, so I’m sure I will again!
  • Sweet Potato Popchips
  • And to the right… Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate {70%}Dark chocolate. Duh.



  • $10 per month (includes shipping)
  • Earn points for reviews and referrals toward product purchase.
  • Discounts on each month’s products for members.

November Contents

November Birchbox contents {clockwise from top left}:

  • Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil
  • Fatty Sundays Chocolate Covered Pretzel – Yummy Toasted Coconut. But a full-sized one one/container is about $32.
  • Beauty Protector Shampoo & Conditioner – samples sized, perfect for travel
  • Supergoop Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream – sample size

This month’s box = not that exciting.



  • $19 per month (includes shipping)
  • All products chosen by a Registered Dietician

November Bestowed box contents {clockwise, from top left}:

  • Nektar Honey Crystals – I’ve received these before and love that they make honey portable for tea.
  • Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers (full-size) – I’ve received these in other boxes, too, and love them. I love that Bestowed includes full-size products!
  • Perfect Fuel Chocolate
  • Wild Garden Hummus Dip – I’ve had this before and wasn’t a fan. I love hummus, but I’m just not thrilled with this stuff.
  • Eat Green Tea – Eat green tea?! Just sprinkle it on anything and get your green tea antioxidants. I liked it on my salad. They recommend it in smoothies.
  • Quest Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix – I really liked the flavors
  • Salba Smart Chia Boost
  • ZICO Chocolate Coconut Water
  • And to the right… LifeIce – I put this in the freezer and forgot about it until now!

Obviously, I haven’t had time to try everything. And I really didn’t want to, because it’s one of the best put-together boxes in my opinion, but I canceled Bestowed. *GASP!* I decided it’s way too many foods to keep trying. I’m sticking with LWF for now because it’s cheaper and I’ve racked up rewards. But that may change soon, too, just because Rob and I are talking about more clean eating. Otherwise, I think I actually prefer Bestowed… by a small margin! I’d highly recommend it.



  • $29/month (including shipping), as low as $19 per month if you pay up front.
  • Earn free boxes for referrals. Click my referral link for $5 off your first box.
Anxious Sham

Anxious dogs!

Last year we wrapped the December Bark Box for Sophie & Benny and opened it for them on Christmas. We are planning to do the same this year. But here’s November’s Box:

November BarkBox contents {clockwise from top left}:

  • Bocce’s Bakery Truffle Mac & Cheese Dog Treats
  • N-Bone – I’m glad there were two! They chewed on the chair together, as you can see above.
  • Happy Howie’s Turkey Sausage Treats
  • Etta Says Chew – Not pictured. I’m not sure why. These are Sophie’s favorite, so I’m trying to find a time when I can give it to her without making Sham jeaouls.
  • P.L.A.Y Zucchini Toy – Not pictured. Shamrock stole it immediately. Of course, it’s his new favorite. {Until the next new toy comes around!} I liked that there was a zucchini muffin recipe for dogs included! I may attempt those this weekend.


It’s not spring, but I’m doing a little spring cleaning! Today, I’m cleaning out my closet AND the office. All of this “stuff” sometimes makes me want to purge a few things. I’m actually looking forward to it.

What do you need to purge/organize this time of year?

Disclosure: I was not paid to review any products listed here and have purchased the boxes on my own. Referral links are imbeded in this post if you choose to try out a box.


Birchbox – October 2013 {and HelloFresh Winner!}


First off, let’s get to our winner of the HelloFresh Gift Card Giveaway!

Ashley from My Cats and I (Cooking) in Chi!

Congrats, Ashley!


And just a quick look at October’s Birchbox Contents {All of which I have yet to try!}:


October Birchbox: Beauty Buzz

So what is in that Tiffany-colored box?


Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (with Cloth)

And the rest of the contents:


October 2013 Birchbox contents:

  • Miss Jessie’s Original Pillow Soft Curls
  • Birchbox Find – Chapstick Hydration Lock (this was a bonus item!)
  • Folle de Joie fragrance sample
  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (with cloth)
  • POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer

Which item would you most like to try out of this box?



You Hit the Mark This Time, Birchbox!


My Birchbox arrived this week and I was smiling and giddy this month when I opened the package!

August Birchbox

August Birchbox Theme: Finishing School

Finishing School = “Zeroing in on the Details”

The Loot - August Birchbox

The Loot – August Birchbox

The Loot:

Miss Jessie’s Original Rapid Recovery Treatment & Super Sweetback Treatment – These are weekly nourishments for the hair. And they were meant for mine! For “naturally curly, kinky and wavy hair.”

Birchbox Bobby Pins – Cute and durable. Not your average black bobby pin. You can even go to Birchbox.com to find cute ways to wear them.

Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer – Do you know how LONG I’ve been asking Birchbox to send me a moisturizer sample because I’m in the market for a new one? YES!

Violet Oasis Organic Argan Oil – I already use Moroccan oil in my hair and love it. When I do, my husband says that my perfume smells nice. 😉 However, I didn’t even think about using this stuff on my skin. The Birchbox insert reads:

WHAT – Star Moroccan import that feeds skin and hair with vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

HOW – Smooth onto face, neck and body or work 1 – 2 drops through hair for shine and softness.

Party-Proof Lipstick – Dusk Till Dawn color – A shade a feel comfortable with. It feels nice, too.

Thank you, Birchbox! You really delivered this month.

What product , beauty or otherwise, do you feel like was MADE for you?


*I pay for my Birchbox subscription myself and receive no reward or compensation for my review. However, if you choose to join Birchbox, I will receive reward points when you use my referral link, if you so choose.

Beauty Box Battle


Subscription Box Saturday: Beauty Box Edition

Remember how I was trying to figure out which Beauty Box to keep last month? Well this month, my beauty boxes left me feeling completely…


This might have something to do with me. I’m not feeling so beautiful these days. So take my thoughts on these boxes with a grain of salt.


Birchbox – June 2013

Davines Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Oil – The shampoo is fine. The conditioner ended up in my travel kit for when I run out on the road and the oil reminds me of the Moroccan Oil that I already use (only not as nice smelling!)

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser – This was nice to have. It’s been a while since I’ve used a sugar scrub or exfoliant on my body.

Color Club Wanderlust Collection – Still need to fix the nails before I can use this polish. My toes are currently pedicured.

Oscar de la Renta Something Blue – This perfume is fine. Not exceptional or something I’d buy. Good to try, though.


And even though I was so excited last month when my first Beauty Army box arrived with these words:

ba2….I just wasn’t feeling it this month.

Nor was I feeling it with the stuff that I chose to go into my box.


Beauty Army – May (or June?) 2013

I’m not sure if I should call this box May or June because I get to choose my products around the 25th of the month and then it ships the following month.

Teas – They were some of the better choices for this month’s box. But I have not yet tried either. I was on a tea kick for a bit, but it’s been soooo hot lately. Maybe I should try them as iced tea.

Yes to Daily Pore Scrub – Went straight to my travel bag.

Cotz Face Sunscreen for Natural Skin Tones – I actually love how this feels on my face! Not greasy or oily. It actually gives my skin a better, more silky feel. I may consider buying this for the summer.

Therabreath Oral Rinse – In a word – Mouthwash.

Mini Kittour Travel Bottle – Have not used this yet, but it’s a good staple for my travel bag.


Right now, I’m debating if I should keep these boxes at all. But this is the first month I’ve felt that way, so we’ll see.

Do you ever feel ho-hum about things that usually get you excited?

How do you explain this?


Birchbox vs. Beauty Army


Subscription Box Saturday: Beauty Products Edition

Most of you who follow me know by now that I get a Birchbox every month. However, last month there was a new addition. And no, I’m not talking about Shamrock. 🙂

I learned of a Beauty Box where you can choose your samples. I thought I’d give it a shot. Here is my comparison.

First up is Birchbox which is just $10/month, including shipping. I get to try a out a lot of high end beauty products and earn points each month a box is shipped, each time I review a product and for each purchase outside of the box. Points can be redeemed for more product.

May 2013 Birchbox Contents

May 2013 Birchbox Contents

This month’s box included items that I will definitely use: Pilot Acroball Penamika Obliphica Nourishing Hair MaskSumita Color Contrast EyelinerCOOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for FaceMarvis ToothpasteIsaac Mizrahi FABULOUS Eau de Parfum Sample.

Truthfully, I haven’t tried any of these items out yet. Well, except for the pen. They were such perfect travel sizes that they went straight in my travel bag, so I’ll be able to try them out this girls’ weekend!

You can read about my other Birchboxes here:

April 2013 – Women’s Health

March 2013

Feb 2013 – Red Carpet Ready

January 2013 – Best Year Ever (and links to 2012 boxes)

Next up is my new box from Beauty Army. Beauty Army is $12/month, including shipping. First, you complete a profile. Then, each month, you pick from a selection of samples to try. You can choose up to six. If you don’t like your options, you can just go back and change your profile to reveal new items. You can do this as many times as you wish! Since you will not receive a box until you pick your samples, you can skip any month. With Beauty Army, you can earn badges for completing surveys, reviewing products, inviting friends to join and making purchases. An earned badge can get you a discount on full-size products and free boxes.

this is how my box arrived in the mail

This is the box I received in the mail.

Box inside a box

Box inside a Box: After stripping away the outer layer, this was the box inside. I love this box. It’s sturdy with a lid. It can serve many household purposes!

Even though I’m not a girl who is really in to pink, I love the army theme once the box is opened. And when I read, “Hello, Gorgeous!” I instantly smiled. I told Rob that is why I get these boxes… Because most women don’t get surprises nor told that they are gorgeous very often. 😉

felt empty.

And despite the fact I chose these samples, I sincerely did forget what I picked. So they were still surprises to me.

In fact, it wasn’t until writing this post that I realized that one of the items was not what I selected…


April 2013 Beauty Army contents


  • Mighty Leaf Chocolate Mint Truffle Tea – I was skeptical, but ended up adoring this tea!
  • Own Refining Moisture Night Cream – This was a tiny sample. It was kind of difficult to make an opinion of it.
  • Mark Scanda-Lash Mascara – This is the perfect travel size! I tried it out, liked it and threw it in my travel bag.
  • Nailuv Gel Polish This is the item I did not request. 😦 It requires a UV lamp to apply. I would have never picked it. Maybe they were out of the Nelson J Beverly Hills Argon Oil Non-Foaming Shampoo that I selected?
  • Immuno-Viva Sunset Tea – I’ve been on a tea kick lately…
  • GG Gatsby Raise Volume Conditioner – A one-time sample that went straight into my travel bag. This will help me with my shampoo to conditioner ratio dilemma.


In comparing these two boxes, there are pros and cons to both. I like the fact that you can choose your own samples with Beauty Army, so you get what you want, as long as I they send you what you selected! However, there is something to be said about the element of surprise with Birchbox. Still, with this first month of Beauty Army, the items seemed really small/one-time use samples, which seems silly for $12. But maybe that was just the case with the specific samples I chose. Birchbox usually combines a mixture of single and multi-use samples and will sometimes even throw in a full-sized product.

I don’t intend to receive two beauty boxes each month. We all know that I’ve got a serious addiction and get my fair share of subscription boxes every month! However, if there are some good samples out there in a particular month, I will continue with Beauty Army. I like the option to get what I want and skip when I don’t want anything. And I know that I will stick with Birchbox for a while yet.

How do you feel about surprises? Love ’em or Hate ’em?


Women’s Health Birchbox


I know it’s not my usual Subscription Box Saturday, but my Birchbox arrived in the mail today and I just couldn’t wait to share because it’s been one of my favorites ever!

For April 2013, Birchbox coordinated with Women’s Health magazine to put a box together with the theme “Tiny Tweaks, Big Results.” Remember, different boxes go out to different members, so here is what came in my box this month:

April 2013 Birchbox: Ting

Kusmi Teas, Oribe Shampoo & Conditioner for Beautiful Color (2 of each, sample size), Supergoop! Advanced SPF 40 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Lipstick, Skin&Co Roma Cleansing Sicilian Body Gel

I’m very excited to try all of these! But look carefully on top of the box. Birchbox members get a free one year subscription to Women’s Health Magazine! Score!

And while I’m loving this Birchbox to the max, I just have one request (okay two) of the folks over there…

Birchbox, I am in the market for a new moisturizer and a new mascara.

I don’t have one of either that I love and would appreciate sampling some to find a new favorite!

Can you please consider those in an upcoming box?

Why, thank you.

Off to put away my new items and pack that lovely tea with my lunch tomorrow!

What magazines do you subscribe to and why?


SBS: Books, Beauty & Bikinis


Subscription Box Saturday – Cravebox Edition

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Cravebox is one of my favorite subscription boxes because you don’t receive a box every month. Instead, you only pick the ones you want! There is a different theme going at any given time and you choose only the boxes that suit you. In addition, I’ve found that the retail of the items inside the box is more than what you pay for the box itself ($12 – $18). For a complete rundown on how this works, check out my original post on Cravebox.

Here are my two most recent boxes:

Book and Beauty – $12


Contents: John Frieda Deep Conditioner; Vaseline Total Moisture Lotion; Biore Sample Trio: Cleanser, Pore Unclogging Scrub & Nose Strip; Hardcover Book: Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold

One of the things I loved about one of my first Craveboxes (Dog Lovers II) was the surprise of receiving a book, which has become one of my favorite reads about dogs! So when a Cravebox for Book & Beauty popped up, I knew it wouldn’t disappoint, especially when it was described this way:

Some call them “guilty pleasures.” We prefer “well-earned necessities.” Cravebox brings you a romantic read that will whisk you away from the everyday. Add skin cleansers and care, and decadently rich moisture for body and hair. You deserve it!

I absolutely love the John Frieda Deep Conditioner. (And it helps solve my conditioner dilemma!) I tried the Biore Nose Strip and wasn’t too impressed. And since the Biore Cleanser and Scrub are one-use samples, you know that I’ve already thrown them into my travel toiletry kit!

I have not yet read the book just because I have so many in queue. But it’s smart of Cravebox and/or the author to include part one of a series! I will tell you that I loved the book so much in my Dog Lovers II box, that I sought out another book by that author. Genius. As for the Vaseline Total Moisture Lotion, I’ve learned from Comedian Bill Burr that as a Caucasian, I need to use it more. 😉

Bikini Ready – $13


Contents: Hardcover Book: The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy; $5 Gift Card towards the Gympact App; Sally Hansen Hair Remover Wax Strip Kit (and coupon for next purchase); Zone Perfect Chocolate Caramel Cluster Nutrition Bar; Weleda Sample Trio: Pomegranate Regenerating Body Lotion, Arnica Massage Oil, Birch Cellulite Oil; Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

Originally, I was not going to try this box. Having never worn a bikini in my life, I didn’t think it was for me. Remember, when a box is released, you don’t know what’s in it. You just get a description. And after reading this one, I changed my mind:

Don’t let those winter winds fool you. Spring is not far off, with summer sun just behind. That’s right: beach season is coming, and your bathing suit awaits. Why wait for warmer weather to get your “house” in order? This box gets you bikini ready starting with a fired up metabolism and ending at your perfectly polished nails. Indulgent body oils, smooth skin, a healthy treat, and a pact worth keeping round out the offerings found in the Bikini Ready Cravebox.

Again, I’m surprised by receiving another hardcover book! Alas, it’s not my sort of book. I’m not into fad diets. But I’m going to thumb through it anyway to see if I can pick up any good tidbits of information or recipes. All of the other items I will use and am looking forward to trying. The Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips aren’t really my style, though. Maybe I’ll give them a shot on my toes instead. We’ll see what “Fits All Nails” means!

Bikini Ready Salon Effects

But what intrigues me most in this box is the information and gift certificate on the Gympact App.  With this app, you can earn cash rewards for “hitting the gym, paid for by the non-exercisers.” You set your goal and the amount you will pay each time you miss a workout. Then you track said workouts and earn cash rewards. Hmmm… Has anyone tried this yet?


If either of these Craveboxes interest you, they may be available soon as Instant Boxes. Instant boxes are a few dollars more because the contents have now been revealed. If you decide to purchase one or any other Cravebox, feel free to include my username uncommonwine as your referral, if you’d like.

What books are YOU reading now?!