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Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings


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Wanderlust… BIRCHBOX: June 2013

 

 

 

 

Wanderlust lovelies… 

Birchbox’s June goodies were all about products, from near and far, to inspire or aid you on summer adventures.ArtsyArchitette Birchbox June 2013 Review

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First up, they included some oh so nifty and cute postcards (4), each with a different city (New York, London, Paris & Barcelona) and a suggested day trip planned out on the back featuring some of each cities well loved hot spots.

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Next, was a FULL SIZE Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Natural Lip & Cheek Stain in the Shade #8 Cheeky Kiss (sorry no swatch). The product itself is lovely, smooth, creamy, non-sticky, non-drying, barely glossy – more of a soft sheen than anything.

The color just wasn’t me at all though. “Cheeky Kiss” is a dusty rose, with slight cool beige/mauve undertones and just not a color I would have chosen lip wise, though I may use it for a cheek stain. Staying power is decent, though I haven’t tested it long enough cheek wise to judge on that. Full Size Value: $26.95 USD.

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Next, a 50 ml sample can of the Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. Okay, this stuff is pretty awesome, definitely one of the best dry shampoos I have ever come across (in the top three for sure).

While I don’t use dry shampoo very often, as I most often style my hair in a natural curly state and often don’t require a dry shampoo, I do still like to keep an eye out for a great product when I see one because dry shampoo does come in handy (for texture, different styles, travel, etc).

It is light, NOT cakey, NOT chalky, its scent it airy and natural, smells expectedly like grain/rice (think Aveeno-like) and brushes through beautifully. Full Size Value: $18 USD.

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Next up is a 7ml sample bottle of another Birchbox + Color Club collaboration for the Wanderlust Nail Lacquer Collection. I received the color “Reign in Spain” which I think is an awesome name and the shade definitely screams spring/summer travel to me – almost too loudly though.

Sorry for the lack of swatch on this one, my day job is hard on my hands and my manicures never survive more than a day or two. In the bottle the shade seems like a bright pink-coral, but once applied and out in the Texas sunshine – it was freaking neon coral! Too neon for a full manicure almost. However, I do like the Color Club formula, applies smoothly and opaque, without need for excessive coats. Full Size Value: $8 USD (four mini bottle collection).

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I also received another Twistband Hair Tie in a fabulous green and teal anchor print! These hair ties really are gentle on your hair and the prints they come in can really add a little touch of flair to my braid.

The only down fall to these Twistband hair ties is that of the 5 I have been sent, 3 have come untied – not good. Full Dize Value (for packs): $5 to $22 USD.

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Lastly, I received a standard sample vial of Oscar de la Renta’s “Something Blue” Eau de Parfum. It is a soft fragrance, but not powdery nor sweet. Citrus and floral, but slightly warm. Definitely a summer – and I don’t know if its the name that pushes my brain this way – but I keep thinking “summer wedding fragrance”. It’s a fragrance that wouldn’t be found too intrusive or abrupt, in my opinion. It could easily be an everyday fragrance. Full Size Value: $85 to $115  USD.

For those interested in the fine details:

Top notes: Italian bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli, Linden blossom
Heart notes: Stephanotis, Fleur de narcisse, Lily of the valley, Kiss of lychee
Base notes: Ambrette seeds, White musk, Ambergris, Cashmere woods, Bourbon vanilla

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There you have it! Overall, I think Birchbox got there Wanderlust message across… postcards, dual-use product, dry shampoo perfect for travel, summer holiday nails, a hair tie that a girl can easily sport as an accessory and an easy-going summer fragrance.

More of me and my thoughts soon…

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Champagne, Macarons and a Jo Malone Haul

Hey gorgeous!

Okay, so I was so wrapped up eating my macarons and sipping my champagne at Saks that I failed to snap some photos of the Jo Malone event they held recently. Complete with free samples, tasty snacks and booze, there was also a Jo Malone representative there explaining the newest collection, Sugar & Spice, along with all that JM offers, and the best blending combinations to pair the new fragrances with.

It was so much fun just indulging at bit with other JM lovers, and of course, splurging a little on a few new fragrances for Spring and Summer.

So, I thought I’d share my haul of JM goodies…

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul5

JM Haul + Free Bag with Saks Beauty Samples + Free JM goodies

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul3

Blue Agava & Cacao, Nectarine Blossom & Honey 

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul2

Redcurrant & Cream, Lemon Tart

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul4

Free JM goodies that came with my JM Haul

ArtsyArchitette Jo Malone Haul

Samples of every JM fragrance Saks offers

Oh and if you haven’t discovered Jo Malone yet, I’d definitely stop into the closest store/counter and give the brand a try. JM fragrances are unique and made to be layered, so you can really make the brand your own.

x Sam


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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 🙂


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Influenster: The Spring Beauty VoxBox

So last month I received the Influenster Spring Beauty VoxBox! A FREE box full of full size products to test, evaluate and possibly recommend. I was so excited! This was my 3rd Influenster VoxBox and this ain’t no Birchbox honey…

So first off, a bit more about Influenster:

What is an Influenster?
Community of trendsetters invited to share their lifestyles and show off their influence to qualify for personalized product shipments, special rewards and exclusive deals from the brands they love. Members love testing the latest products, giving insightful feedback, and spreading the word on their favorite finds!

REGISTER. UNLOCK BADGES. GAIN ACCESS. REVIEW. SHARE. 

Member Benefits

  • Get the inside scoop on the latest products and brands to hit the market
  • Receive invites and deals that are personalized to your lifestyle
  • Opportunity to earn free VoxBoxes that reward you for being influential
  • Give feedback that sways product development catered to your needs
  • Be the trusted voice for top products picks, tips and recommendations

and a bit more about VoxBoxes:

How Does It Work?

Qualify

  • Members selected based on badges, demographics and internal influence scores

Receive

  • Members who meet qualifications for a program receive official notification

Evaluate

  • Qualified members test products and give feedback on testing experiences

Recommend

  • Members spread the word for brands they enjoy and rate positively

Who gets a VoxBox?
Influensters are selected for themed shipments based on the badges they have unlocked and individual demographics, ensuring members receive products that match their lifestyles and interests. Members with high ‘Influenster scores’ – within the specific consumer groups we are targeting for that program – are prioritized, so make sure to connect and unlock as many Influence Badges as you can!

When am I getting a VoxBox?
All new shipment announcements are made on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so make sure to Like and Follow Influenster on social media to stay in the loop!
Note our programs are themed and designed to target various consumer groups throughout the year. When you meet the specific requirements for an upcoming VoxBox campaign, we send a program invitation a few weeks in advance so that you can officially confirm your participation. Please note: we do not ship to Hawaii or Alaska at this time.

So the Spring Beauty VoxBox came with 6 items, plus a bonus item – which was quite a bonus for a shoe loving girl!

So onto what I loved and hated about everything…

Sheer Cover Duo Concealer (shade: light-medium)

Value: $29.95 (one month supply 6 product kit + 3 bonus products)

LOVED:

  • Creamy
  • Non-drying
  • Duo concealer lets you mix your own perfect shade
  • Good for fading blemishes

HATED:

  • Only sold in supply kit with other products
  • Light coverage
  • Slides into lines and creases, even after setting with powder
  • Would avoid the under-eye area
VERDICT: PASS

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash

Value: $6.99 to $8.99

LOVED:

  • Light natural scent
  • Non-drying
  • Moisturizing
  • Doesn’t leave residue on your skin

HATED:

  • Had to use more product than expected, as it does not lather as well as others, as it is “soap-free”
VERDICT: RECOMMEND! 
ChapStick Lip Shield 365
Value: $1.89 to $2.39

LOVED:

  • SPF 50+
  • Smooth application
  • Smells like lemonade

HATED:

  • Leaves a sheer white tint on the lips
  • Tastes okay :/
VERDICT: PASS
Sally Hansen Salon Effects (style: Frock Star)
Value: $9.99

LOVED:

  • Easy to apply
  • Long-lasting
  • Wide range of styles
  • No waiting/drying time

HATED:

  • A bit pricey
VERDICT: BUY 🙂
Bath and Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist (scent: Sweet Pea)
Value: $14.00

LOVED:

  • Packaging
  • Scent
  • Light Mist
  • Good quality for the price

HATED:

  • Scent does not last all day, will need to re-mist throughout the day
VERDICT: BUY 🙂
SOYJOY Bar (flavor: Blueberry)
Value: $0.99 to $1.29

LOVED:

  • All natural
  • Healthy snack
  • Tastes quite good for a snack bar, and very good for a healthy soy bar

HATED:

  • Blueberry bar needed just a little extra spice
VERDICT: RECOMMEND!
BONUS: Dr. Scholl’s For Her Ball of Foot Cushions
Value: $5.74

LOVED:

  • Gel cushion
  • No glue = no damage to your shoe
  • Removable but doesn’t move
  • Cushions your toes in those sky highs!

HATED:

  • Toes can slip a little on the rubber
VERDICT: RECOMMEND!