Tag Archives: travel size

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?


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!



Birchbox – January 2013: Best Year Ever!


This month’s Birchbox theme:


Quite appropriate for a January 2013 box, don’t ya think?

BB Contents

Contents this month:

  • Harvey Prince Skinny Chic Fragrance
  • Deborah Lippmann – the Stripper to go – scented nail polish remover mitts
  • Color pHerfection Shampoo
  • theBalm costmetics Hot Mama – two-in-one blush and highlighter
  • My Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer

What I love about this month’s box? These are perfect travel sized items for my upcoming cruise in the Bahamas! This means that poor Birchbox won’t be getting my reviews until next month sometime. Why do I review the products? Because I earn points to get free ones, silly! 100 points = $10.

Recently, I used my points to buy:

And in case you are new to Birchbox, here is what I received in 2012.

December 2012 – All Wrapped Up

November 2012 – GIVE

October 2012 – goop

September 2012 – Fall Fashion

August 2012 – Beauty School – My First Box!

Please note: Not all boxes are alike. You fill out a profile so that they can tailor the box to you!

Here’s to the Best Year Ever!

What are your favorite travel items? Beauty or otherwise?