Finish This…

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I’m linking up today for the Finish This… hosted by  LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31).  Basically, they provide the prompts and I have to finish the sentences.  This week’s prompts are all about clothes and this was tough because I don’t think I have a defined “style”.

1. I like wearing
anything that makes me feel pretty.  Right now my favorties are a maxi skirt and a dolman sleeve top, both from Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix Avah Chevron Top

Stitch Fix Avah Chevron Top

2. My most memorable style was
casual.  I don’t think I’ve ever really had a “style”, but I guess I dress sort of preppy, especially for work.

3. I dress to impress by
doing my hair and makeup.  Nothing drives me crazier than messy ponytails/buns at the office.  I love cute up-dos but they gym style ones are a total pet peeve.

4. The best style tip I ever received
always wear a dark bra under a black shirt :)

5. Three wardrobe staples in my closet
are a denim jacket, cute shoes, statement necklaces.

6. Three words that describe my style
professional (week day), casual (weekend), comfortable

~Elizabeth

August 2014 Birchbox Man Review

Birchbox Man is $20 a month (less if you pay for the year at once) and includes lifestyle and grooming items.

My husband received his August Birchbox Man last week.  The lifestyle item (non-grooming) can really make or break the month for us, and I had peeked at the account and saw that the lifestyle item was one that we would not be using.

He received:

First Look Birchbox Man August 2014

First Look Birchbox Man August 2014

The August Birchbox Man theme was Summer Camp.

First Peek

First Peek

Everything was packaged great and I was excited to see what we would think of the grooming items since I knew that the lifestyle item was not his style.

Mt Sapola Body Lotion

Mt Sapola Body Lotion

Mt Sapola Body Lotion: $24.00 full size/$1.92 sample value

This is supposed to be a Man’s lotion.  I’m glad that we got the Lemongrass scent and not Oriental Wood.  My husband doesn’t always use the lotions so I like when I can steal them.  :)  This doesn’t feel greasy and the scent is not overpowering.

Baxter of California Facial Scrub

Baxter of California Facial Scrub

Baxter of California Facial Scrub: $17.00 full size/$4.25 sample value

This facial scrub uses walnut shell powder.  It’s not too harsh and it’s a creamy consistency with an earthy smell.  This was a new brand to both of us which is part of what I love about subscription boxes.

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash: $26.00 full size/$2.44 sample value

I was worried because there were Ursa Major products in the Men’s Limited Edition box, but luckily they were different Ursa Major products.  There was no size listed on this sample, so I had to estimate the value based upon other samples we have that are a similar size.  This smells like mint which reminds me of an Origins face wash I used to use.  The smell always makes me feel like it’s very cleansing.

Bison Made Double Wrap Bracelet

Bison Made Double Wrap Bracelet

Image courtesy of Birchbox.com

Image courtesy of Birchbox.com

Bison Made Double Wrap Bracelet: $40.00

Hmmm….. Not sure what to say about this.  My husband would not wear a bracelet and I don’t personally know many guys who would.  I like it, it’s great quality, but I would have liked the choice for the men’s lifestyle item since that’s the bulk of the value of the box.  You can cut the length of this yourself, so you are guaranteed that it will fit well.  But again, not our style.

English Laundry Pomade

English Laundry Pomade

English Laundry Pomade: $25.00 full size/$6.25 sample value

Another product without a size printed on it, so I estimated again.  I love the smell of this and it doesn’t make hair sticky or overly shiny.

There were 5 products this month including the dud of a lifestyle item.  The lifestyle item was worth double the cost of the box, but the total value of products was $54.86.  The box cost us about $18 (because it’s a prepaid year) and we will earn $5 back for reviewing the products.  Removing the lifestyle item, the box had a value to us of $14.86 which is low.  I’m hoping that they will soon roll out the choice of lifestyle items for the men’s box since that really makes or breaks the experience.

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Citrus Lane July 2014 Review

Citrus Lane is a monthly box of goodies delivered to your door for your little one birth – age 5 and start at $29 (and decrease if you prepay).  We purchase our box for our youngest daughter who is 25 months.  Box contents are not themed but are different depending on age and gender.

Lately the Citrus Lane boxes have been a great value and we’ve used all the products that come in the box which makes the value even greater to me.

First Look

First Look

Citrus Lane boxes come with an information card, but I forgot to take a picture of it this month.

First Look

First Look

The box was full which I always like to see.  I know that has nothing to do with the value, but seeing a full box always makes me happier when I open it.

Plan Toys Camera

Plan Toys Camera

Plan Toys Camera: $13.52

For July we were given the choice between the Plan Toys Camera and the Plan Toys Cell Phone.  I feel like the choices were a little young for a 26 month old.  The camera is fun, the lens is actually a kaleidoscope so the girls have fun playing with it in the car.  But, I wish that we were given some of the choices for the older kids this month.

Plum Organics Mighty 4

Plum Organics Mighty 4

Plum Organics Mighty 4: $1.50

This contains blueberries, greek yogurt, chia and sweet potato.  Ava ate it up so it must have been good.  While the snacks don’t add a huge monetary value to the box, they always get eaten.

Aqueduck Faucet Extender

Aqueduck Faucet Extender

Aqueduck Faucet Extender: $9.73

I had seen some spoilers for this box and was really hoping we would get one of these.  It’s the type of item that I wouldn’t go buy for my house, but now that we have it I wonder how we have gone so long without it.  It allows little ones to reach the water at the faucet without having to be picked up each time.  It also works great for my girls who like to have their hair washed in the sink.

Pur-lisse Sunscreen

Pur-lisse Sunscreen

Pur-lisse SPF 30 Sunscreen: $8.00

I like pur-lisse products but I haven’t used this one before.  This is a great size to keep in my bag for those times that I realize I should have put sunscreen on me or the girls but didn’t.

Ooga Silicone Placemat

Ooga Silicone Placemat

Ooga Silicone Placemat: $12.00

This placemat is about 13″x9″ and since it’s silicone it won’t slip and it rolls up relatively small for my bag.  It doesn’t stick to the table, so it doesn’t keep little ones from pulling it up, but I’ve found even the ones that stick will get pulled up by a kid who wants to.  Ava loves the animals on this and spends quite a while pointing to each animal and saying their name.

Final Thoughts: Subscriptions start at $29 a month, I paid about $15 for this box and received $44.75 worth of products.  I liked that this box didn’t contain a coupon code and included another item instead.  Nothing wowed me this month, if we had gotten one of the toys for the older kids I probably would have been happier.  But, the value was great and all items will be used a lot.

To learn more about Citrus Lane or to sign up (don’t forget to use code SAVEHALF to get your first box for 50% off), click  here.

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

I’m again linking up with Jennifer at Mom’s Got Mail for her Friday Fave Five blog hop.  Here are my five favorite things this week:

Favorite for Beauty:

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain: I have this in Valentine and Sugar and love both colors.  It’s a combination of a lip gloss and a stain.  Stains usually make my lips feel dry, but I love how long they last.  This lasts a long time, isn’t sticky like some glosses are, and is shiny.  I think when my samples are done I’ll be cashing in some Birchbox points for the trio.

Favorite Hair:

Honest Company Conditioning Detangler

Honest Company Conditioning Detangler

Honest Company Conditioning Detangler: We LOVE this stuff!  It’s pricier than other detanglers that you can buy but a little goes a long way.  It smells like a creamsicle and really detangles the girls’ hair without leaving it weighted down or greasy.  You can now get this at Target and Buy Buy Baby which makes me so happy (if only they sold the hand soaps there…)

Favorite for Kids:

Aqueduck Extender

Aqueduck Extender

Aqueduck Faucet Extender:We got this in our July Citrus Lane box and love it.  It’s the type of item that I would never buy myself, but now that I have it, I love it.  It attaches to any faucet and makes it easier for little kids to reach the water to wash their hands.

Favorite Organization:

Erin Condren FUNctional Family System

Erin Condren FUNctional Family System

Erin Condren FUNctional Family System:  We’ve had this for a few months now and I still love it!  I love being having one place to write down dinner ideas, a to do list, groceries and what we have coming up.  It’s definitely kept us on track.

Favorite Food:

Dang Coconut Chips

Dang Coconut Chips

Dang Coconut Chips:  I finally tried these last week and LOVE them.  If you like coconut, you’ll like these.  They could be a little dangerous to have around, but I like that the bags are two servings so if I go crazy and eat the whole bag, I at least haven’t eaten an entire day of calories :).

Thanks for checking out my favorites this week!

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links. 

Thursday Thoughts

TTGood-copyI’m again linking up with Jennifer at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts link-up.

~ This is my first full work week this month!  It’s been a rough week for everyone.  All of a sudden, caffeine is having a huge effect on my body.  More than one cup and I’m up until 1 am.  This. Is. Not. Good.

~ Now that we are back to a routine, time to get eating under control.  Everything has been on the go lately, now it’s time to focus before we get back into the school routine (I can’t believe how fast summer is going).

~ The girls are in a complete summer mode which I am loving.  We went swimming last night, we spent a couple of days at the beach last weekend and they are just loving being outside.

Beach Babies

Beach Babies

~ Ava’s speech is going so well.  She’s adding new words each day which is how it should be!  Even though she’s still behind age level, we can have little “conversations” and she has words to use to ask for what she wants.  I’m hoping that in the next couple of months she’ll be closer to age level.

~ My Citrus Lane review for July will be going up today.  Otherwise, not too many reviews this week.

What’s on your mind this week?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

I’m again linking up with Jennifer at Mom’s Got Mail for her Friday Fave Five blog hop.  Here are my five favorite things this week:

Favorite for Sale:

Target Clearance - Outdoor Toys

Target Clearance – Outdoor Toys

The Target 90% off sale is what I live for each season :)  I stock up on crafts for the girls, small gifts and snacks.  To check out how I’ve done in the past, check out my reviews for Summer 2014, Easter 2014, Valentine’s 2014, Christmas 2013 and Halloween 2013.

Favorite Nails:

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat and Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat and Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat

The Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat is amazing!  My nail polish isn’t lasting longer, but my nails are looking stronger and the areas where they have split don’t show.

Favorite for Kids:

Gymboree Hooded Rain Coat

Gymboree Hooded Rain Coat

Gymboree Girls Hooded Rain Coat: I had Gymbucks to use (for every $50 spent, I could save $25) and I only wanted to buy fall/winter items.  I had been loving this coat – it’s a cotton raincoat that had a hood.  Every year we have something in the fall where Ella is wearing a dress and I realize she doesn’t have a coat, but by that point all of the winter coats are out.  At $46.95 I wasn’t buying the coat, but it was marked down to $35.21, then I paid half that price.  For $18 it was well worth it!

Favorite Storage:

Lego Storage Tray

Lego Storage Tray

Lego Storage Tray: I picked these up on Amazon for $15.  I’ve read they are available other places cheaper, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Ella had a lot of little Lego Friends sets and they were everywhere.  I bought these because they fit in a Sterilite 3 drawer box that we already had.  Ella sorted all her Legos by color and has a lot more fun sitting and building now that everything is in one place and she can see what she has.

Favorite Food:

Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

This is absolutely horrible when you look at the nutrition.  But, it’s really yummy!  I buy Starbucks probably once every three months (or when Mom is buying :)) but I got this a couple weeks ago and it was so good. Thanks for checking out my favorites this week! ~Elizabeth This post contains referral links. 

Birchbox Ace Pack Review

This year, Birchbox rolled out a new program called Birchbox Aces.  You do not need to be a subscriber to be an Ace, but to qualify you need to earn 500 Birchbox points (you earn 1 point for each $1 you spend and 10 points for each product you review  from your monthly Birchbox).  Both my husband’s box and my box are under the same account so we rack up points quickly.

Aces earn free 2 day shipping on orders over $100, concierge service, exclusive shop offers and random perks.  One of their newest perks is the Ace Pack.  It’s FREE for Aces with any $75+ order of full size product in the Birchbox shop.  The promise is of three deluxe samples (there is no guarantee of it being a minimum dollar amount).  I recently placed an  order and added the Ace Pack to see what it would include.    You can also add a mystery sample pack to your order with the Ace Pack.

The Products:

Birchbox Ace Pack

Birchbox Ace Pack

DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum: $85.00 full size/$25.00 sample value

I think this is the most expensive sample I have ever received from Birchbox.  This is supposed to reduce wrinkles and improve the appearance of the skin.  The sample size was .5 oz so I should hopefully see a difference in using this.

Jurlique Purely Bright Radiance Serum: $58.00 full size/$9.28 sample value

This is supposed to increase collagen, improve skin tone and brighten skin.  I’ve liked the other Jurlique products I’ve received, so I’m excited to try this.

Color Club Art Duo Pen (white): $10.00 FULL SIZE

This nail polish has a marker tip and a skinny brush.  I’m excited to try this for doing polka dots or stripes on my toes or on the girls’ nails.  Out of the three colors available, I’m really happy I got this one.

Overall, I am very happy with the Ace Pack.  When it first arrived, I was a little disappointed because the samples looked small, but they are products I would never buy full price because they are so expensive.  The total value of my sample pack was $44.28!!! 

Did you get an Ace Pack?  What did you receive?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Thursday Thoughts

 

TTGood-copyI’m again linking up with Jennifer at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts link-up.

~ I had gotten a gift certificate from my husband for a massage at Elements Massage for my birthday.  Since we are home this week, I decided to use it yesterday.  I know people get massages often, but I have to say I find it so hard to relax.  When they tell me to empty my mind, it just makes me think about everything I could be doing.  I did love it for getting the knots out of my shoulders and neck and my muscles felt looser, but I don’t know that I felt more relaxed after going.

Elements Massage

Elements Massage

~ Did anyone see the girl on American Ninja Warrior?  Oh.  My.  God.  AMAZING!

I love how strong she is!

~ Being home, I thought I would get so much done.  The house would be clean and I’d finally start cleaning out the attic.  But, instead I’ve played with the girls and we’ve gone to the zoo, the park, Target and we are planning a trip to the aquarium and another carousel and beach visit.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get the house clean :)

~ I’ve been on vacation so I’ve been able to catch up with some reviews from last week that I didn’t get done.  Birchbox, Julep,  and Fabletics went on the blog yesterday.  And, I went to five Targets yesterday.  My review of the 90% off sale at the first two is here.

What’s on your mind this week?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

 

July 2014 Birchbox Review

Birchbox ships 4-6 beauty and lifestyle items to your door each month for only $10 a month. Plus, Birchbox lets you review your items (a short multiple choice questionnaire) for 10 points per item. Each 10 points is equal to $1 in the Birchbox shop. So, this month I paid $10 for my box and received 5 items so I earned back $5 in products. I love the Birchbox shop because they sell a mixture of high end and lower end items. Plus, they have add-ons like the Mystery Sample Packs (check out my reviews here and here) and some great gifts with purchase (when in stock).

This month Birchbox let you choose one item that would be in your box.  You could choose between nail polish or Cynthia Rowley lip gloss.  Of course, I went with the lip gloss.  I think in the future I will let Birchbox choose for me because I liked this box but didn’t love it.  By choosing the lip gloss (they were offering the nail polish as their suggestion for me) I think I changed the box that I was to receive.

The July Birchbox was a collaboration between Birchbox and Women’s Health.  All subscribers could choose a free subscription to Women’s Health (valued at $10) or a $10 credit.

Inside Box

Inside Box

Information Card

Information Card

The July theme is Power Up and includes products to boost your routine and confidence.

The Products:

Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil

Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil

Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil: $13.00 FULL SIZE!

I love when I receive a full size product that exceeds the cost of the box!!!  And it’s even better when I really like the product.  I’ve been using Benefit’s Give Me Brow because I have very light brows that basically disappear in summer.  But, that was running out so this was good timing.  This is a universal pencil, it’s darker with the more you put on.  It took a little getting used to at first so that I didn’t apply it too dark, but I do like this.  I think the Benefit products last longer, but I’ll use this for now.

 

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Naobay Body Radiance Lotion

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion: $24.00 full size/$2.88 sample value

This is a mostly organic body lotion that has a citrus smell.  I like it but don’t think I love it enough for full price.  But, it will get used.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3 Minute Peel

Real Chemistry Luminous 3 Minute Peel

Real Chemistry Luminous 3 Minute Peel: $48.00 full price/ $4.80 sample value

This was one of the products promoted for this month, and I was excited to try it.  But, I felt that it was too rough on my face.  The directions say “Suitable for all skin types, this pH-neutral protein peel gently exfoliates delicate skin without the use of harsh acids or abrasives. The unique gel binds to dead skin cells on the face, neck, and décolleté, forming solids that can be easily washed away with water.”  I followed the instructions but it stuck to my cheeks (and my skin wasn’t in horrible condition).  My cheeks still felt raw the next day.  I did use the rest on my hands and felt that it worked great on them without any rawness from the exfoliation.

100% Pure Gingerade Shower Gel

100% Pure Gingerade Shower Gel

100% Pure Gingerade Shower Gel: $15.00 full size/$.11 sample value

This is a natural shower gel with a mild scent.  Nothing amazing about this but nothing I didn’t like either (except the foil packets).  I had to triple check my math on this but for a natural product, it’s very affordable.  The full size bottle is $15.00 for 390 mL and I got 4 mL total!

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain in Valentine: $20.00 full price/$10.00 sample value

I got the Sugar lip gloss in last month’s replacement box and love it so when I could choose between the nail polish and this lip gloss this month, I knew I had to go for the lip gloss.  I love the color, it’s lighter on than in the tube and it’s not sticky – plus it lasts for a long time.

When I started writing this review, I was thinking this wasn’t one of my favorite Birchboxes.  The box was $10, I received $5 in Birchbox points for reviewing my products, so in the end the box cost me $5.  Even without the points, the sample value was $30.79 – still much greater than the initial cost of the box (and that doesn’t include the $10 Women’s Health subscription or credit if  you don’t take it!).  At a total value of $40.79 this is the most valuable Birchbox I’ve ever received.

To learn more about Birchbox or to sign up, click here.

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Julep Maven July 2014 Review

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Julep Poolside Collection

The Julep Maven program is $25 per month and you can customize your box to choose your nail polish colors and beauty products.   Mavens who subscribed prior to June 2014 are grandfathered in at $19 per month but cannot customize their box.  July’s theme was the Poolside Collection and while I loved the colors I wish I had remembered that I don’t like crème finish on my polishes.  It looks pretty but I find it harder to do on my own nails.

Julep used to arrive quickly but nail polish is not supposed to be sent via air so they had to ground ship this month which meant boxes took longer to arrive.  They did send out an email letting everyone know and also added extra Jules (rewards points) for the delay.

All polishes are Julep brand and are $14 full price/$11.20 for Mavens.

For July I chose the Classic with a twist box and three add-ons.

IMG_3371

Julep Bare Body Milk

Bare Body Milk: $24.00/$19.20 Maven Pricing

The beauty item this month was Julep Bare Body Milk.  I usually avoid Julep‘s beauty products but needed more lotion.  To me this smells like bubble gum.  It’s not thick or greasy at all.  I think in general that Julep‘s beauty products are overpriced, but I only paid $19 for the lotion and two nail polishes.

Kelsey and Vicki - Julep July Poolside Collection

Kelsey and Vicki – Julep July Poolside Collection

Kelsey and Vicki: $14.00 each/$11.20 Maven pricing

Kelsey is described as a powder peach crème and it looks a lot more peach than my picture.

Vicki is described as a flamingo pink crème and I loved the color.  It looked like watermelon sherbet to me.  But, the formula was odd.  It was thick and clumpy.

I just realized when I was looking up the color descriptions for this review that this collection features breathable nail polish.  I’ll have to try out Kelsey to see if it has the same odd formula that Vicki had.

 

Free Gift - Julep Maven

Free Gift – Julep Maven

For adding on three add-ons this month, Julep sent two free nail polishes.  These were duplicates for me (from January I think) so I will be gifting them.

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat and Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat and Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat

Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat: $18.00/$14.40 Maven Price

I LOVE this base coat.  I was never a huge fan of the Oxygen Nail Treatment, but this is amazing. You could wear it own its own (it makes nails matte looking) but it creates a very smooth finish for the polish

Freedom Polymer Top Coat: $18.00/$14.40 Maven Price

I thought the add-on I was getting had the Oxygen Performance Top Coat but I didn’t read the description carefully.  I do really like the Freedom Polymer Top Coat.  It dries my nails completely in a couple of minutes but it doesn’t keep them from chipping anymore than other top coats do.

Julep Cuticle Pusher

Julep Cuticle Pusher

Julep Cuticle Pusher: $14.00/$11.20 Maven pricing

Another LOVE this month.  I was shocked (not sure why) that this is metal and not plastic.  It’s a different design than most cuticle pushers I use and I really liked it.  It’s nice and heavy so it sits well in my hand.

Julep Clean Slate

Julep Clean Slate

Clean Slate Polish Corrector Pen: $10.00/$8.00 Maven pricing

I really like the Clean Slate nail polish remover and added this on for touch ups.  I like that it came with three replacement tips.  I haven’t used it yet, but since it uses the same nail polish remover that I already love, I’m sure I’ll love it.

Julep Cleanup Tool

Julep Cleanup Tool

Julep Cleanup Tool : estimated $10.00/$8.00 Maven

I can’t find this tool for sale on its own, but it is part of the Well Manicured Kit.  Like the cuticle pusher, it is metal and is nice and heavy.  This is for cleaning up under nails and cleaning nail polish off of skin.  I have used this every time I’ve done my nails since I received this box and love how it works.

I paid $45 for the box and add-ons (I applied Jules to bring the cost down) and received $150 worth of full price merchandise ($120.00 Maven pricing).  I certainly would not have spent $150 on all of the items, but for 10 items I paid approximately $4.50 per item and am very happy with that.  I don’t love that one of my polishes has an odd texture but I extremely happy with the tools.

Did you opt-in for a Julep box this month?  Interested in finding out more or becoming a Maven, check out the links.  And, if you want to join, be sure to use the code FREEBOX to get your first box free (you pay shipping).  This will enroll you into the Maven program, so you will be charged each month or have to call and cancel after receiving your first box.

Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.