September 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 an amazing 7 items so I earned back $7 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.

This month Birchbox is celebrating their anniversary and all boxes were supposed to be celebratory special boxes designed just for this month.  Isn’t it cute?

Anniversary Birchbox

The First Look:

So imagine my disappointment when I opened my outer box to see this:

The boring brown September Birchbox

The boring brown September Birchbox

The regular old brown Birchbox.

September Birchbox Information Card

September Birchbox Information Card

Apparently my box didn’t get the “Fresh Paint” memo and it arrived unpainted :)

First Look At The Products - September 2014 Birchbox

First Look At The Products – September 2014 Birchbox

Luckily, I opened it to see that it was a nice, full Birchbox and there was a really big sample in there!

The Products:

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Supreme Mascara

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Supreme Mascara

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Supreme Masacara: $25.00 full size/$14.63 sample value

I never seem to get mascara from Birchbox  so I was psyched to get this.  It doesn’t clump or smudge and provides good cover over my pale lashes without being too dark for my skin.

Davines Ol/Shampoo

Davines Ol/Shampoo

Davines Ol/Shampoo: $26.00 full size/$1.11 sample value

I don’t mind getting foil samples, and since these were “extra” with the conditioner sample, I really didn’t mind.  It’s supposed to add shine without weighing down hair.  So far I like it and may have to use points for a full size.

Davines Ol/Conditioner

Davines Ol/Conditioner

Davines Ol/Conditioner: $32.00 full size/$9.60 sample value

Now this is my size sample!  I’ll get plenty of uses out of this conditioner.  It smells great and doesn’t weigh my hair down, but it does control the frizz.  Plus, this protects against head damage and UV so I don’t have to use a thermal spray with a conditioner.

Davines Ol/Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion: $41.00 full size/$4.10 sample value

This was the other foil pack that came with choosing the conditioner as my sample for the month.  This is a lightweight oil that didn’t leave my hair feeling greasy or heavy.  I like it, but I don’t love it enough to spend $41.00 on the full size.

 

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate: $65.00 full size/$21.67 sample value

This is where I hit the Birchbox jackpot this month.  This was another of the four samples  you could choose from.  This works to strengthen skin against the elements and also protect it from signs of stress.  A little goes a long way and this sample is 1/3 the size of the full size bottle.

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter: $27.50 full size/$2.75 sample value

While I didn’t find anything special about this highlighter that would make me use it over some cheaper brands, I liked that it’s not glittery at all.

Yu-Be Moisturizing Cream

Yu-Be Moisturizing Cream

Yu-Be Moisturizing Cream: $16.00 full size/$1.28 sample value

This is a new to me brand from Japan that’s supposed to work on chapped lips, dry skin and cracked skin on your feet.  I tried it on my hands and it smelled STRONG!  I’m thinking I’ll try this on my feet at night.

The box was $10, I received $7 in Birchbox points for reviewing my products (two products wouldn’t let me complete the form for sampling them), so in the end the box cost me $2.  Even without the points, the sample value was $54.87 the highest value yet – and still much greater than the initial cost of the box.  Even though I didn’t get a pretty anniversary box, I am more than happy with the contents of my plain brown box.

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

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Thursday Thoughts

TTGood-copy

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

~ I can’t believe that it’s almost Ella’s 5th birthday!  Where did the time go?

Ella's First Day of Pre-K

Ella’s First Day of Pre-K

She is so “grown up” now, but between school, soccer and dance starting Saturday she is exhausted.

~ Anyone getting the Birchbox Fall Fete box or the new Kiwi Crates?  They both sound great but I’ll be skipping the Birchbox one because I don’t need any of the stuff coming in it.  I wish I needed a gift for someone though.  It’s a great looking box.

~ I am back at the gym after missing two weeks and am loving being back.  I wish I had more time to go.

~ Anyone have a bracelet cover for their fitbit?  I don’t like the way the plastic wristband looks for work and have been checking out etsy.  I especially love this one:

Fitbit Bracelet for Fitbit Flex - EMILY Gold and White Stone Fitbit Bracelet - FREE SHIPPING

FUNKtional Fitness Emily Bracelet on etsy

You can’t check your progress by tapping the fitbit while wearing it, but I use the app.  I love that their bracelets are something I would wear even if I wasn’t covering a fitbit.

~Fall TV is starting up – I am so excited for Biggest Loser (started last week), Top Chef Boston and Modern Family.  And I am of course excited to see if Derrick gets the $500,000 on Big Brother.

~ My September Birchbox review should be up today along with the September Citrus Lane.  Check back later to see  what we got and why I was so sad when I opened my Birchbox .

What’s on your mind this week?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

 

Finish This…

finishthis-linkupbutton

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.

I’m the type of person who:

plans everything.  I might not execute all of those plans, but I am constantly planning and making lists.  I have a cleaning checklist, a grocery list, a weekly menu, a to do list, plus my planner.  I am dangerous with lists.
My favorite joke or riddle is:

If you are American before you go into the bathroom and you are American when you leave the bathroom, what are you when you are in the bathroom?  European (You’re a peein’.  Get it? :) )

And this one shouldn’t make me laugh every time I see it, but it does:

I cannot stop laughing.

I think it makes me laugh because when I was a teen/20’s I thought I was SO heavy and always trying to lose 10 lbs.  In reality I was really skinny.  Oh, young me.  The things you thought you knew. :)
All that really matters is:

So Sweet

So Sweet

the health and safety of my family

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth

New Subscriptions from Kiwi Crate + Coupon Code

Eeeek!!!!  Kiwi Crate announced today that they are going to be offering three new brands to the Kiwi Crate family.  Ella has received Kiwi Crate for about 6 months and we love it.  Kiwi Crate is for ages 4-8 to celebrate creativity and curiosity with activities designed to help kids discover, explore and create.  You can read some of our reviews here and here.

Now, they are adding:

Doodle Crate (ages 9-14+): Inspire self-expression & confidence in young makers with new crafting techniques and materials.  Upcoming themes include colorblock candles and geometric pouches.

Doodle Crate

Doodle Crate

Koala Crate (ages 3-4): Explore developmentall appropriate, enriching projects with your preschooler.  Upcoming themes include color and transportation.

Koala Crate

Koala Crate

Tinker Crate (ages 9-14+): Promote creative problem-solving skills with STEM-based, at-home experiments and magazines.  Upcoming themes include motor and trebuchet.

Tinker Crate

Tinker Crate

Prices start at $16.95 for a month to month subscription and decrease with a 6 or 12 month subscription.  What do you think of these new offerings from Kiwi Crate?  I love that they are adding crates for older kids (there aren’t too many out there) and that they are still somewhat gender neutral.  I also love the look of the Koala Crate for my 2 year old.  She wants to do the Kiwi Crate projects with her sister, but she’s really too young for the sibling add-on to be worth it.  This could be just what she needs.  And the Tinker and Doodle Crates could be great Christmas presents for my nieces in Wisconsin.

Coupon: Using my Kiwi Crate referral link will save you $10 off any subscription.  In full disclosure, it will also earn me a $10 credit for Kiwi Crate.

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links

 

 

 

New Limited Edition Birchbox – Fall Fete and Coupon Code

Fall Fete

Fall Fete

Birchbox announced yesterday that they would  be launching a new limited edition box – Fall Fete!  This box is all about entertaining (no beauty products in this one).

The box is $48 (use code TAKEOFF20 to save 20%) and contains:

Birchbox Exclusive Printed Coasters: $10.00
Core Bamboo Classic or Square Salad Hands: $18.00
Core Kitchen Essential Silicone 4 Piece Pinch Bowl Set
(colors will vary; see similar here): $20.00
govino® ‘go anywhere’ decanter: $14.95
Greenleaf Room Spray — Apple Spice & Cinnamon: $9.00
Knot & Bow Party Confetti Bag: $10.00
Rifle Paper Company Dusty Rose Place Cards — Set of 8 cards: $7.00
Royal Rose Simple Syrup — Raspberry and Lavender-Lemon: ~$5.00? (the full size on the Birchbox website is 8 oz. for $11.00.  The picture shows something much smaller than 8 oz.)

Total value: $93.95

What do you think of the Fall Fete box?  I’m going to pass this time because these aren’t items that I need/would use, but I still think it’s a great box.  If you are interested in buying it, click here and don’t forget to add a mystery sample pack to your order and use coupon code TAKEOFF20 to save 20%.

~Elizabeth

Leslyn's Lovely Life

I’m linking up with Leslyn at Leslyn’s Lovely Life for her Mama Mondays link up.  I think I’m going to need to visit her blog more often because I can relate to so much of what she wrote today.  It’s the same things that I feel like I’m constantly struggling with.

  • We had a great weekend.  It  was supposed to be quiet and we weren’t going to do ANYTHING, but we ended up running around but we had a blast (which is why my 4 year old is super cranky this morning).
  • We went apple picking on Saturday and the girls loved it.  We didn’t go last year, so the only time Ava has been she was about 5 months old.  And last time Ella went she was not big enough to grab a lot of apples herself.
  • Brian Herbert's photo.

    Ella Grabbing The Really High Apples

    Brian Herbert's photo.

    Ava Picking Apples

     

  • The outlets are right near where we went apple picking so we hit those up (of course).  I got Ella a couple of shirts for school and a sweatshirt at Gymboree Outlet and we got both girls play sneakers at the Stride Rite Outlet.  We went to the Disney Store while we were there and Ella finally decided on a costume (she’s been changing her mind every time I ask).  She finally decided on Tinkerbell (which was one choice last year) and she is an adorable Tinkerbell.  Ava is going to be Little Miss Muffet.  They look adorable of course I love that their colors coordinate.

    Tinkerbell Ella and Little Miss Ava Muffet

    Tinkerbell Ella and Little Miss Ava Muffet

  • Yesterday I spent about 3 hours grocery shopping with Ella.  We went to Target, Trader Joe’s and Trucchi’s.  I kept asking her if she wanted to go home, but she didn’t want to.  I like shopping on the weekend but I need to find a way to simplify it so that I don’t spend half the day shopping.
  • We barely got anything done around the house, but I am so glad that Halloween costumes are done and that can get crossed off the list.  We did get the family room cleaned (like REALLY, REALLY clean) and I packed up their summer clothes and filled their bureaus to fall/winter clothes.  I think tonight I am going to make a list of everything we need to do in the next couple weeks so we can start prioritizing.  I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed lately and need to sit back and focus on what needs to be done.

Thanks for reading.

~Elizabeth

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

 I’m linking up with Ashley and Neely for their Sunday Social link up

1. Favorite Scent – vanilla.  I use the Bath and Body Works Wallflowers and I love anything with a vanilla scent.   There’s nothing better to me than coming in the house to that scent.
2. Favorite Food - ice cream.  I could eat it every day and not get tired of it.  And now with the apple and pumkin flavors coming out I am in trouble!

Peaceful Meadows Ice Cream

3. Favorite Sound - Disney music, especially the stuff you only hear in the parks.  We haven’t been in 8 years, but we used to go every year.  I just love going into the “Disney bubble” and leaving the real world behind.
4. Favorite Picture currently on your phone - this was hard.  I have 1,200 photos on there now (I really should clean them off!).  With that many pictures, this is the only one I have on there of the girls and me.  This was Mother’s Day weekend.  It’s not the best picture of the girls, but I love it!

My Girls

My Girls

5. Best memory of the year so far – this is tough!  I feel like this has been a great year.  There’s been so many wonderful things, but I think hearing Ava add more words has been what I will remember most about this year.  There’s no reason for her delayed speech, but now that she’s getting more confident it’s awesome to hear those new words.

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth

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:

Honest Conditioner

Honest Company Conditioner: I was on a search for a conditioner that was free of the “bad stuff” but would condition my hair without being too expensive.  Then I realized that I had it in my bathroom already.  I was using this for the girls’ hair and started using it on mine.  It has that great orange creamsicle scent that the detangling spray has.  I’m not sure if they sell it at Target, but since it’s about $10, it would be a better deal in the Honest Co. bundle.

Favorite Food:

Chocolate Deli Pop

I don’t buy this brand, but my husband’s work makes their own deli pop – it’s a popcorn cake drizzled in chocolate.  At around 50 calories each with a good amount of chocolate (and peanut butter!) on them, they are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Favorite for Kids:

Ella's First Day of Pre-K

Ella’s First Day of Pre-K

First Day of Pre-K: Ella had her first day of Pre-K (it’s three days a week, full days now).  I loved that she was so excited to go back to school and came home saying she had so much fun!  I hope she always loves to learn.

Favorite Organizing:

Chrome Laundry Sorter – Container Store

Chrome Laundry Sorter – Container Store.  We recently picked up the triple laundry sorter and a single.  We had a much more expensive laundry sorter in the laundry room that never got used.  We’ve put these in the closet outside our bathroom and now there’s no more dirty clothes on the floor :)  I got a pink bag for the girls’ clothes, a white for our whites, blue for darks and a green one for towels.  Only drawback…they hold so much that we can fill each bag with two loads of laundry so it’s easy to let it pile up.

Favorite for Fitness:

Fitbit Flex

I am new to the world of Fitbit (but I’ve been reading about them for years).  I’ve only been using it for two days and I can’t wait to see if it makes a difference.  I know it’s making me much more conscious of my activity and I’ve been tracking calories with it too.  I’ll update if I have some real numbers to report on weight loss.

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.

~ Ella started back at Preschool yesterday.  We went and met her teachers on Monday (she’s going full day) and got all the details about bringing her lunch.

Ella's First Day of Pre-K

Ella’s First Day of Pre-K

She said full day school was “super duper fun” and she is so excited to go back tomorrow (it’s three days a week).  I can’t believe how big she’s getting!

~ Ava has started to add a bunch of new words.  We were headed to Hull the other day and as soon as she saw the beach she started pointing and shouting “beach!”.  Not sure when she learned that one, but woo hoo!

~ We had such a busy weekend last weekend.  I am looking forward to a quiet weekend coming up.  There should a lot of cleaning and cleaning out going on.

Saturday we attended the Ice Festival at Paragon Carousel in Hull, MA.  It was awesome.  The girls loved meeting Anna and Elsa, and riding the carousel.  Unfortunately there were severe thunderstorms predicted so everything that should have been outside was moved into the carousel building, but the girls still had a great time (just crowded).

Anna!

Anna!

Elsa!

Elsa!

And Saturday morning was opening day of soccer.  Brian and I are coaching her instructional team and it was a great morning (very humid though).

Opening Day of Soccer

Opening Day of Soccer

~ I’ve broken down and finally started using a FitBit.  Any tips/tricks?  Today’s only the second day so I don’t have too many thoughts on it yet.

~ I posted a review of the Honest Company Shave Oil and my September Stitch Fix if you missed those earlier in the week.

What’s on your mind this week?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Finish This…

finishthis-linkupbutton

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.

I am serious about finding more balance in my life.  Either the house is clean and I don’t spend enough time playing with the girls or I play with the girls and the house is a mess, or, I go to the gym and get in shape but the house is a  mess.  I need to find a way to be less “all or nothing”.

I am most relaxed when I feel in control.  It probably sounds odd, but mentally I can relax best when I know what needs to get done and when it’s going to get done.

There’s no place like home.  Dorothy said it best, but there really is no place like home (or Target!).  I love when our crazy schedules allow us to just spend a day at home.  No clock watching, no making sure we cross everything off the list.  Just hanging out.

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth