Tag Archives: conditioner

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?!


March Birchbox, Too Much Shampoo & Cuties


On Wednesday, this month’s Birchbox arrived. Here are the contents:


Included: Nick Chavez Bevery Hills Color-Saver Sulfate Free Shampoo & Paraben-Free Conditioner, Assorted Caldrea Body Lotions, MAKE Alabaster Eye Shadow and Face Primer, emery board

I forgot just how much I love Caldrea products! I especially love it when up-scale restaurants carry Caldrea hand soap in their restrooms. A little bit of luxury. Ahhh… But first I need a little normalcy round these parts. I feel coherent enough to go back to work {or maybe that’s just the drugs talking}, but get exhausted {doing nothing} throughout the day. I’m going to use the Caldrea lotions post-shower to uplift me a little with the aromas.

And how I wish I would have received the Nick Chavez conditioner in the larger bottle and the shampoo as the bonus sample! Why is it that I’m always out of conditioner and have so much leftover shampoo? I think it’s one of those mysterious laws – like missing socks in the dryer.

And you just *know* the MAKE products are going to end up in my travel bag.

While I’m cooped up in the house, not feeling completely myself quite yet, it’s nice to have a beauty box arrive to make me feel more so.


And now to my Food Journal from yesterday:

I think I figured out what is going on here with food right now. When I go to work, I have my meals for the day planned out {for the most part}. I bring just the amount I need. Being in the house all day, even though I have stocked up on healthy foods, I have more freedom to choose. I can pick anything available and I can go back for more. With this in mind, on Wednesday night, I planned my meals for Thursday. Let’s see how I did.


I got out of bed a little before 9am. I didn’t nap at all the day before (which I had been doing with these meds) and I went to bed late. I am going to need to get back on schedule to get up at 6:30am for work!

I had one container left of my fruit and yogurt combo that I’ve been eating. I decided to add some granola to it.

Blackberries, blueberries, Greek Yogurt, 1/4 tsp sugar with an ounce of Ola! No Nut Vanilla Granola

Blackberries, blueberries, greek yogurt, 1/4 tsp sugar with an ounce of Ola! No Nut Vanilla Granola

Then I made a cup of T-Box Revolution Açaí Green Tea. It smelled wonderful! However, I felt liked it needed a little something to sweeten it just a bit, so I gave my honey bear a bath:

Honey Bear in the Bath

It loosened him up a bit so that I could add a teaspoon of honey sweetness to my tea. I am going to attempt to drink tea more often. I loved Katie’s recent testimonial that tea reminds her that she’s already eaten and there is no need to think about more food at the moment. Plus, I forgot how comforting tea can be!


Since I got up and ate breakfast later, I really tried to wait for hunger cues to have my morning snack. I lasted a little over two hours.

An apple with 1.5 Tbsp Biscoff Spread. Although Biscoff Spread does not have any healthy properties as do nut butters {it’s basically a spreadable cookie!}, it’s a special treat to enjoy in moderation.

I followed it with some Charleston Breakfast Tea that my Foodie Penpal sent me last month. In went a teaspoon of honey as well.


I enjoyed a larger version of the spinach salad I had the day before, which included spinach, clementine, cucumber, scallions, blue cheese crumbles and drizzled reduced balsamic vinegar. Only my cucumber had gone bad, so I subbed a bit of green bell pepper. I paired that with a hard boiled egg and some cottage cheese for protein. And put an extra clementine on the side.


I’ve learned that I must always add green onions/scallions to my cottage cheese! This is one of my best salads. I may post it on the blog as a recipe soon.

Instead of my normal Dove Dark Chocolate Square, I decided to try the Chocolate Covered Wasabi Peas that came in my Love with Food box this week. With 190 calories, this 1.4 oz package had to be worth it! I’ll share my thoughts tomorrow when I recap my LWF box for Subscription Box Saturday.

Then I finished with a cup of green tea with a teaspoon of honey.


I snacked on another Love with Food item – a 1.25 ounce bag of Mary’s Gone Crackers. {More on them tomorrow,too!} These crackers made me crave cheese, so I broke out two Mini-Babybel cheeses.


Leftover Santa Fe Chicken over spinach That’s what I originally had planned. However, by the time dinner came around, I wanted something more substantial. Okay, so there is substance to that dish with the black beans and all, but I guess I wanted something different. Leftovers just weren’t cutting it for dinner. So I made this instead:


Scrambled eggs with onion, green pepper & cheese, bagel thin with low-fat cream cheese and side salad with greens, carrots, sunflower seeds & blue cheese dressing

After dinner, I had one of my Dove Almond Dark Chocolates.

But then I had four more. So much for never eating more than three in a day.

So I immediately made some Market Spice Tea. It’s the most flavorful kind and the only one that I feel never needs any sweetener. My friend Jen’s mom sent some over to me!


Later in the evening I felt like I still wanted more food and kept thinking about making my favorite popcorn combo. But I thought I had eaten quite a lot during the day. To be sure, I popped everything into my Lose It! app on my iPhone. It’s been so long since I’d done that and I don’t know if I am at the point where I can trust myself not tracking. Sure enough, I was already over on calories with a total of approximately 1870.

So I opted to make another cup of tea instead. But for some reason, I opened the fridge and saw our bowl of clementines.

Cuties Bowl

Cuties are approximately 30 calories each, so I knew eating one would be a nice sweet, healthy treat that wouldn’t set me back. But, look! Rob had just restocked the Cuties. And the new ones were much larger!

Growing Clementines

It was then that I decided that I’d have to try one of each just to compare! The verdict? The smaller ones were slightly sweeter. But they both peeled easily, were without seeds and were highly enjoyable. Why the difference? Per the Cuties website:

CUTIES® are actually two varieties of mandarins: Clementine mandarins, available November through January; and W. Murcott mandarins, available February through April. CUTIES® have several distinct characteristics that make them the perfect anytime, anywhere snack. Unlike other mandarins or oranges, they are seedless, super sweet, easy to peel and kid-sized — only a select few make it to CUTIES®’ high standards.

Market Spice Tea & Cuties

Market Spice Tea & Cuties

Now, planning for Friday food is going to be a little more challenging. It’s an “off” Friday for Rob, which means he will be home and meals will be a little more spontaneous.

Do you like fruit in/on your salad?

If so, what are your favorites?

Do you have a favorite salad?

Recipe sharing encouraged!