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Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings


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Overdue Review – BIRCHBOX: December 2012

Hi loves!

So, I had been wavering on whether or not to post these latest two monthly subscription reviews, considering they are about a month and a half later than I would have normally posted them (sorry!) due to my whole January/February semi-hiatus state, but I said what the hell, product reviews are product reviews and they might still help someone out.

December: Overall B-.

ArtsyArchitette Birchbox December 2012

THE GOODS

Rent the Runway Discount Card – $50

One of the bonus items in the December box, which I had no use for. Sure it was worth $50, but if I remember correctly – as I have apparently lost the card someone in my bedroom – it was $50 off of $125 or $175 purchase. I don’t have that kind of money to spend on, admittedly gorgeous, clothing and accessories that I don’t even get to keep.

I can see this site being handy for special occasions, occasions worth the money to look like you just walked off the red carpet, but otherwise its just not practical for someone on my budget to rent.

Fresh Citron de Vigne Eau de Parfum – 7.5 ml Sample Vile

Fresh is definitely the word with this fragrance. It is lovely and fairly light, perfect for Spring in my mind.

Being inspired by France’s Champagne region, it has top notes of: Neroli, Bitter Orange, and Pink Grapefruit, with heart notes of: Jasmine, Pinot Noir, and Lemongrass, and base notes of: Cedarwood, White Sandalwood, and Birch Tree Leaves.

I would say the notes that hit me the most are the Pinot Noir and Lemongrass, followed by the woods.

Full Size Value: $80.00 (100 ml), $38.00 (30 ml)

Sampar Ultra Hydrating Fluid – 15 ml Sample

This is a beautiful moisturizer! Sampar, a Parisian brand – and the French are known for their skin care, is a new one to me, but I was seriously happy getting this sample.

It actually feels like a moisturizer-serum hybrid on your skin and it performs well under make-up. It sinks into your skin beautifully, leaving it gorgeous and plumped up with moisture, and not greasy whatsoever. It smells like floral water.

The only downfalls I could see are that it does not contain an SPF and the high price tag. Considering it is a moisturizer, and I usually apply two layers – once, let it sink in well, then apply a second layer and let that sink in (then possibly followed by make-up), and based on the sample size I received, I would probably guess I would go through the $71 full size in about a month to a month and a half. That’s a lot of money on moisturizer!

I’m a little bummed that I fell in love with this pricey product.

Full Size Value: $71.00 (50 ml/ 1.7 fl oz)

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment – 45 ml Sample

Okay, I need to be completely fair to this sample. I did try it, and still have some left, but honestly didn’t notice much of a difference, but maybe I wasn’t the best person to judge.

I don’t use heat on my hair 98% of the year, don’t color my hair, don’t do any other chemical treatments, and haven’t exposed my hair to chlorine in many many months.

What I can say is that my hair is very long, curly, and because of those two things and everyday exposure it does have some natural occurring damage and some frizziness. The 12 Benefits treatment felt like a liquid leave-in conditioner type product and does smell quite nice.

Here is what they say it helps with:  Seal hair color + Smooth frizz + Repair damage + Prevent split ends + Moisturize dry hair + Strengthen fragile hair + Prevent flat iron damage + Prevent chlorine, wind & sun damage + Add shine, softness and a silky finish + Protect hair from blow-drying + Improve detangling & manageability + Keep hair youthful 

Full Size Value: $19.00 (6 oz)

theBalm cosmetics Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One– 1 g Sample Tin

I am definitely becoming a fan of theBalm powder products and this one doesn’t disappoint.

I would describe it as a multidimensional blush, with three color layers, a golden highlighter layer, a pink layer, and a peach layer, and when they combine on your skin it creates a flattering flush of color.

Full Size Value: $20.00 (7 g)

Emily’s Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookie – Single 

It was chocolate! It was a peppermint dark chocolate covered fortune cookie, complete with Santa fortune inside.

Full Size Value: $5.99 (6 pack)

ArtsyArchitette Birchbox December 20122


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Influenster Review: Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal +

Hi loves!

So, I received this as part of my Influenster Holiday VoxBox, which you can read more about here.

ArtsyArchitette Influenster holiday voxbox 20123

Quaker Real Medley’s Oatmeal + in “Apple Walnut”

What can I really say about this, it’s oatmeal! If you like oatmeal, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

It is that nice balance between plain and hearty, but the best part is it is packaged perfectly for travel or simply on-the-go, with no need for a separate bowl/cup.

My only complaints: They suggest too much water for my liking in the directions and then the flavor, it was missing just a little something – a little extra spice perhaps, to make it perfect.

Final Verdict: I’d buy it! In fact, if I didn’t have a giant tub of oatmeal already, I would probably add this to my grocery list.


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Holiday VoxBox 2012

Hi loves!

Got another Influenster VoxBox full of complimentary goodies to review for you…

ArtsyArchitette Influenster holiday voxbox 2012

The Holiday VoxBox Goods

  1. Montagne Jeunesse Face Masque in “Clean Up Mud”
  2. Goody QuikStyle Brush – Half Round Styler
  3. Quaker Real Medley’s Oatmeal + in “Apple Walnut”
  4. Sole Society $25Voucher
  5. Kiss Nail Dress
  6. NYC Liquid Lipshine in “Nude York City”
  7. EBOOST Natural Energy Supplement in “Pink Lemonade”

Montagne Jeunesse Face Masque in “Clean Up Mud”

Okay, so I have normally been a fan of MJ masques, I have been sent and bought quite a few before, but this one was awful for me!

MJ masques come in somewhat “single use” packages, but personally you can easily get 2, possibly even 3 uses out of a single package.

So immediately upon slicing open the package, I was hit with a strong Vicks-like scent, which made me wary to begin with, plus this masque is geared toward blemish-prone skin, but nonetheless I tested it out. For reference, I have fairly normal skin, with usually only seasonal dryness/oiliness and a few acne spot here and there on occasion.

This is a clay masque, with Aloe Vera & Willow, among other ingredients. Considering it is a deep cleansing mud masque, which tend to be drying, I naturally followed up with a good moisturizer, but even with that this masque sucked the life out my skin!!

Seriously, immediately after I rinsed the masque off, my skin was feeling dry – parched – taut – and just plain sad. I knew this was geared towards blemish-prone skin, but damn! I had to do some serious damage control after this one.

Final Verdict: Sorry, MJ, but unless your suffering with an oil slick and some serious blemish-ridden skin, skip this one.

Goody QuikStyle Brush – Half Round Styler

Read my quick review on this brush here.

Quaker Real Medley’s Oatmeal + in “Apple Walnut”

Read my quick foodie review on this one here.

Sole Society $25 Voucher

Okay, shoes!! What girl doesn’t love shoes? Now, 80% of the time I would choose NOT to purchase shoes online – I’m always concerned with how they fit, considering I have flat feet.

Well, I was still excited, especially because this wasn’t a typical subscriber/account “club” where you are obligated to purchase or roped into a monthly type thing. Sole Society releases new shoes (usually daily from what I have gathered), they are exclusive designs, seem to be made with good materials, seem to be well made in general and are available for members only.

Unfortunately though, I didn’t get around to using my voucher. Why?

It was only good for a month, and when you’re on a budget sometimes you just can’t swing a shoe purchase. The shoes start at $49 and go up from there, plus tax and shipping, I just couldn’t afford to do it. 

I’m still considering buying from them, as they do have some cute – lust-worthy designs, though they seem to change often – so who knows if the pair I love today, will be there tomorrow.

Final Verdict: Check them out if your curious, and your budget allows, otherwise pass – unless you enjoy online window shopping.

Kiss Nail Dress

Okay, I’ll be short on this one – I just did NOT care for them. They felt like heavy duty stickers (not nail polish) on my nails and honestly I just was waiting the days to get them off. You actually feel the heavy layer over your nails and to remove them – yank them off slowly.

Final Verdict: Just not my style.

NYC Liquid Lipshine in “Nude York City”

I feel like I have been sent this exact lipgloss half a dozen times, maybe I have, but either way – if you’re on a tight strictly drugstore budget, then perhaps give this one a try.

Sheer, with some shimmer. Applies non-sticky, but does go tacky. Smells like candy.

Final Verdict: Good in a pinch and if you’re on a budget, but not one I would choose over my go to MAC Cremesheens.

EBOOST Natural Energy Supplement in “Pink Lemonade” 

Bleh. This one is no better than the “orange” flavored EBOOST I have been sent many time over.

Final Verdict: Pass.

Well, that sums up everything for the Holiday VoxBox 🙂


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Influenster Cosmo VoxBox 2012

Happy Monday and Yay for another Influenster VoxBox!!

I believe this makes box number six for me, plus I have two more VoxBoxes of complimentary products to review this month 🙂 If you have not heard of Influenster before, you can read up on it here.

So I received the Cosmo VoxBox in early December full of items a “modern girl needs” and I have to say that this box definitely had some great things!

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Cosmo Voxbox 2012

The Cosmo VoxBox Goods

1. Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape Chocolates

2. Bath & Body Works “Forever Red” Perfume

3. Venus Embrace Razor & Cartridge

4. Venus & Olay Razor Refill

5. Pilot “FriXion” Pens

ArtsyArchitette Influenster Cosmo Voxbox 20122

Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape Chocolates

Mmmm… these were sooooo good! Milk chocolate with almond bits and a hint of sea salt. I’m sold! If you are a milk chocolate lover, a fan of Ghirardelli in general, or just needing something a little different for your chocolate fix – definitely check these out.

Final Verdict: A great buy, at $2.79 – $4.35 a pack, to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Bath & Body Works “Forever Red” Eau de Parfume

A slightly sweet fragrance, with a bit of floral and just a tiny hint of vanilla spice. Forever Red is described as B&BW most luxurious fragrance and it definitely is a luxurious (and pricey) one for B&BW, but it is a sweet luxury.  It is a gorgeous scent – in moderation, at least for me.

I apply just a spray or two and I love it; but too much and the fragrance is too overwhelming for me, and ultimately causes a mild headache. The mist, as opposed to the perfume here, may be easier on the senses.

It is a blend of pomegranate, osmanthus (floral) and vanilla rum. So, if you like semi-sweet and floral fragrances, and have no qualms with vanilla, I would say stop by a B&BW and give this one a test – you may fall in love.

Final Verdict: Beautiful in strict moderation.

Venus Embrace Razor & Cartridge

Okay, so I’ll take this one in two parts. First, the actual razor handle is awesome! Fits and feels great in your hand with a gel cushioned handle and it attaches the the razor cartridge at the base – making for a very flexible and easy shaving experience.

Attaching at the base of the razor cartirdge, as opposed to the middle – as many are, lets the razor move over curves, bumps, knees, etc., very easy.

Also, something really awesome is that the handle fits any Venus blade cartridge refills – so if you don’t like the one you originally received with the razor, you can try out another without having to buy the whole thing!

As for the Venus Embrace blade cartridge, it is a very good razor. It has five blades that are extremely close together, making it quite effective on the first pass. It has a “ribbon of moisture” around the blade head, basically that is just a fancy  way of saying the regular moisture strip has just been extended around most of the razor blade head.

Like, most moisture strips, it is really only effective for the first shave.

Final Verdict: One of the best razors I have used and if you are in the market for a new razor, I would recommend trying out a Venus non-disposable razor.

Venus & Olay Razor Refill

Okay, so I was initially quite skeptical about this one, but this Venus & Olay refill really surprised me. I loved it!

It looks a little funny, with the “moisture bars” looking like gummy, floppy tongue tabs hanging off the razor blade head; but once in the shower, they turn to super slick flexible bars that have a really nice sensation on your skin and keep your skin slick throughout the entire shave.

I do think it is important to say that they do not claim or state to not use shave cream/gel, but in my limited experience with it – you can skip the cream/gel with this one, if you want to.

Also, I have read some reviews of people getting angry that the bars didn’t last more than 3 or 4 shaves, but honestly, you really shouldn’t be keeping disposable razor blade refills (or full disposable razors) for an extensive period of time anyway. It can be very unsanitary and poor for your skin. Maybe these were some very hairy ladies, or maybe they were using it everyday or stored it improperly (it should be common sense but, this razor should not be stored in the shower – due to the water activated moisture bars – if you allow it to get wet regularly when not using it – you really are just washing your money down the drain). 

So far I used it once and it hardly made a dent in the moisture bars.

I’m so glad they included a coupon in my VoxBox, because I am definitely wanting to purchase these refills!

Final Verdict: Definitely recommend trying it out, but the refills are a little pricey!

Pilot “FriXion” Pens

For an artist, doodler, and constant note-taker, these are great to have! They have good strong pigments, but are easily erasable if needed.

They have a grey, rubber nub on the end of the pen – not an eraser that dwindles down with every use, that lets you “erase” the ink with a little friction.

Final Verdict: Great for artists, moms, students and anyone in a business that is constantly putting a pen to paper.

Well, that sums up everything for the Cosmo VoxBox 🙂