Today, I stop slacking… (October Birchbox 2013)

Happy Sunday! Fall weather is in the air and it makes me oh so happy. Itinerary for today: The National Zoo (yay! re-opened and time revisit the pandas) with a high school friend + Sushi with two awesome people.

I got my birchbox a while ago, but I’ve been slacking a bit, sorry! I also misplaced the card, so I’m clueless as to what the theme was for this month’s box. But here it is, the last box of my one-year subscription! I’ve had a fun year with birchbox, but decided it was time to quit. In fact, at this point, Jarkie is not subscribed to a single subscription box service! My wallet/bank account is sure happy now. I might do a “best of…” subscription box post in the near future, but for now, here’s the box.

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Chapstick Hydration Lock ($2.99)
Light vanilla scent.

Bain de Terre macadamia oil nourishing conditioner (1.7 oz / $1.70)
Also light scent. 🙂

POP Beauty Acqua Lacquer in Splashing Scarlet (FULL SIZE 0.34 oz / $14.00)
The splashing scarlet is a bit too bold for me, so expect a giveaway coming up soon 🙂

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And to my favorite product from this month’s box –

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (1 oz/ $6.51) + Mulsin Cloth (1 cloth/ $3.00)
Excited to give this a try.

There were some months where I just did not care for my birchbox, however, I’m happy to say I ended my subscription on a good note. The value of this month’s box came to $28.20, which is not too bad. Did you enjoy your box? How will you spend this lazy Sunday? Hope you have a lovely day!

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Today, I drink lots of hot chocolate & enjoy my NewBeauty TestTube Sept/Aug 2013…

My NewBeauty TestTube came on my birthday! What a lovely “Experiment with Beauty” birthday surprise! 🙂 Since tests and applications are starting to slow down, I have much more time to just enjoy this 20-something life, which sadly but also lovingly means gorging on delicious food (pizza?), sipping on coffee/teas/hot chocolate, lying in bed, watching TV, etc. Speaking of which, Downton Abbey came out overseas. I shall watch tonight along with my cup of hot chocolate. Markie found this article about the health benefits of hot chocolate (let’s keep away Alzheimer’s & Dementia!). I guess I can’t complain. Of course, the addition time given to me also means finding new/discovering old hobbies (drawing/painting) and spending quality time with dear friends 🙂

NewBeauty TestTube
Cost: $29.95 + S&H (~$38.00)
See my previous reviews HERE.

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The box has gone through some changes along with that came new packing! The overall design is so pretty! And the tube is now recyclable and reusable! I love it. I always felt a bit guilty having to throw away the previous tubes. I am still thinking of ways to use this tube.

I was excited to receive an additional AmorePacific color control cushion compact and two hair products! 🙂 Much needed!

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion (0.14 oz / $8) 
I first discovered this product in a previous Glossybox… I love that it protects, hydrates and provides coverage… the perfect on-to-go product to keep in your bag. It’s interesting in the sense that the makeup is liquid-ish but in a sponge so that you can control how much of it gets applied onto the puff. The puff is what is used to apply make-up to face. Wonderful coverage! 🙂

BioSilk Silk Therapy (2.26 oz / $10.01)
This product contains silk, wheat and soy proteins and smells wonderful! It isn’t too heavy and leaves my hair feeling so smooth!

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin (2 oz / $10) 
I first experimented with It’s a 10 product .. actually from a previous testtube. I finished that bottle last week, so I’m excited to get this one. 🙂 Smells good and works!

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Powder Brush (Full size: $48) 
It’s a large plush powder brush. I don’t wear make-up that often… but it seems so awesome that I’m going to have to give it a try… maybe with my bareminerals powder that I’ve been meaning to use. Apparently delivers a flawless airbrush application every time! 🙂

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (0.25 oz/ $2.97)
I’ve actually received way too many of these deluxe samples that I’ve lost count. However, I keep managing to give them away, so this time, I will TRY it. I’ve heard good things about them. Have any of you tried them?

La Roche-Posay Mela-D Deep Cleansing Brightening Foaming Cream (0.5 oz / $9) 
Brightens with gentle exfoliation. Smells good… I wouldn’t say it’s too foaming, but I think it’ll be go wonderfully with my foaming net. Formulated with 0.1% micro-exfoliating Lipo-Hydroxy Acid (LHA).

Mally Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner (Full size: $15) 
This is a really pretty eyeliner. Light blue-ish with almost a light green tiny. I don’t think I’ll use this much… so expect in a future giveaway 🙂

Extra samples 🙂 I am in somewhat of a rush, so I won’t calculate the value of these bonus products! I’m sad that my dr brandt collagen booster doesn’t work. I’m a bit lazy to try to contact customer service. Should I contact? Bleh. Lazy me. Hahaha.

The total value of this box came to OVER $102.98. Aside from the eyeliner, I’ll be able to use every single product (and I’m looking forward to it). This was a wonderful box for me. What did you think of it? I’m currently stuck in between deciding whether to keep Blush Beauty or NewBeauty mystery box :\ I need to cut back on spending to just one box. Any suggestions? Advice? Comments? 

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Today, I am glad it’s Friday! (Blush Beauty Mystery Box September 2013)

Looks like I’m going to be the fifth wheel tonight at Jaleo DC. Might as well start hashtagging things as #foreveralone… or as I joking mentioned to the Arkies, my ONE TRUE LOVE or OTP or #onetruepairing is with food 🙂 NEVER BE ASHAMED of your interests and loves. Speaking of interests and loves, my Blush mystery box came! 🙂 🙂 I have to leave in about 30 minutes, so I’ll keep this short-ish! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Blush and this month is no exception! But let me just say that ONE of the products I received made the entire box worth it to me!

Blush Mystery Box 
The Box: Full, deluxe and travel size products worth at least $100 + a free gift
Cost: $24.95 (monthly subscription)/ $34.95 (one time subscription)
See my previous reviews HERE

***Coupon: If you’d like to try blush out but are not willing to subscribe, send an email to todaycommai@gmail.com and I’ll send you a referral link for a $10.00 off a one-time subscription (or it’s really off any $30 product at DermStore, blush or HairEnvy) 

A preview of the beauty box. Something feels bulky inside the bag. What could it be??!?!?!!!!

Racinne Deluxe Travel Set (Valued at $70.56)
MY EYES WENT @_@ when I pulled this bulky kit out of the mystery bag. This set consists of the Ultimate Youth Power Cream (.34 oz), Serum  (.34 oz), Mask  (1.07 oz), and Neck Emulsion  (.34 oz). This line uses Korean ginseng callus extracts and active antioxidant ingredients to reduce the signs of aging.

Amlactin Triple Action Alpha-hydroxy Therapy Foot Cream (3 oz / $10)
Basic foot cream. It has kind of a light, fresh wood scent (maybe that’s not the right description). But it’s light and not overpowering.

LVX Nail Lacquer in Midori (.5 oz /$16.00)
I am always amazed when nail polish costs more than $10.00! This is a “muted neon green” that is very spring/summer season.

Pop Pouty Pop Crayon in fuchsia flirt (Value $4.16 ??)
Very pink. Crayon.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo (0.10 oz / $0.83)
I love dry shampoo. I also love ALTERNA. I also have disgusting/aging hair that is slowly being fixed thanks to these subscription boxes. 🙂 This will definitely go to use (though it is a tiny sample).

Brad Biophotonic Skin Care Ultra Peel (0.25 oz / $25.73)
Oh my goodness. The full size (1.7 oz) product is $175! This product better work! It contains kojic acid, licorice and bearberry extract to treat brown spots and give you a more even skin tone.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel (0.085 oz / $6.67)
Uses a hydrating, flake-free formula that keeps your eyebrows in place.

These were my free samples – VICHY Liftactiv (0.05 oz / $4.46) and Airbrush Eye Cream (which I’ve gotten twice before).

Final Thoughts. The value of this box came to $133.95. Overall, I think some of the previous boxes have been better. However, I was so happy to see the Racinne Deluxe Travel Set in this box! I will use most of the items, and it was a good variety… though I think som eof the other samples had to be smaller to accommodate the anti-aging kit. Anyways, hope you enjoy yours if you get this, too! Did you receive the same products? 🙂 

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Today, I tell my story … (Birchbox September 2013 Review)

Heritage. That is the theme for the September 2013 Birchbox. I usually don’t pay much attention to their themes, since I feel like the products don’t really match the theme. However, it’s their three year anniversary, so I decided to read the card a little more this month.

The best part about beauty? … It’s the stories…. every[one has their] own fascinating history…
                                                           –Birchbox, September 2013

Having to write a lot about myself lately (anyone else working on applications of any kind? school? work? etc?), I’ve touched upon the subject of my past experiences, my stories, and my heritage. I’ve never really stopped to think about myself so much. My name was inspired by a Chinese proverb that literally means “when you drink water, remember its source” (yin shui si yuan). One can think of this as the quality of the water depends on the source. The character is also part of the name of a village in China my family is from. The other part of my name was inspired by a proverb that literally means “brocade-like future” (jin xiu qian cheng). As the theme of silk has been interwoven into this saying, it means glorious or bright future. If you put the two together, it means I will [hopefully haha] have a bright future, but no matter what, I will stop and remember my beginnings and where I come from (my source). How neat is that? 🙂 So with my applications and my birchbox, I’m taking some time to think about my past, my family, my culture and my heritage.  Texas, Stockholm, China (all of it), Kentucky, India (specifically Udaipur…), …. DC… and now what’s next? [I’ll be able to tell you in about EIGHT months.] What about you? What exciting stories do you carry with you? 

The pretty box! I haven’t been too impressed with Birchbox lately, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this box.

Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray (3.38 oz / $10.80)
I have really enjoyed all the Davines products that Birchbox has let me try. I’ve also learned to become fond of sea salt sprays. They give me such a nice added shape/volume/texture that allows me to forgo blowdrying my hair. I just spray this onto my damp hair, put into a messy bun and let it dry on my drive to work. In addition, it has a really nice dessert like (is it cinnamon?) scent!

Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara (0.39 oz / $20.00) – FULL SIZE!!!
I don’t wear mascara. And it’s such a great value for a birchbox! I’m sorry I can’t really say much about this other than.. it seems to get good reviews. Expect this in a future giveaway 🙂

[Beauty Extra] VOESH New York Green Tea Pedicure Masque (0.7 fl oz / $1.65)
This is part of a 3-step treatment. I have never heard of a mask for the feet but I love masks & I’m quite intrigued as the feet is probably the part of my body that I forget to take care of (in terms of moisturizing and such)… It’s suppose to soften the feet with grape seed extract and green tea!

COOLA Tinted Matte SPF for Face (0.10 oz / $2.11)
This seems like a 1 (maybe 2)-time use sample… Mineral-based tinted moisturizer with a matte finish. 

RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in Hedge Fund (0.17 oz / $10.00) – FULL SIZE!!!! – PHOTO BELOW
At first, I felt this shade was a not-so-flattering shade of green (if you get where I’m going). But now that I’m wearing it, I kind of love it; it’s got such a nice shine. I’m assuming the hedge fund refers to the “money green” metallic feel? One coat is all that’s needed. Goes on smoothly and evenly and is quick to dry. I love the shape of the bottle cap; it allows me to have a nice and steady grip while painting the nails. Yay!

Final Thoughts? Wow, Birchbox! Thanks for making me happy this month! I use Birchbox more as a way to introduce me to products rather than to get a good deal of full-size products for a good value. But all the samples in this box were decently sized, so I’m a happy gal (even if I can’t use the mascara). The total value of the box came to $44.56 (I might have calculated the sea salt spray incorrectly… the photo for full size bottle and the description on the website didn’t match so I had trouble there… if that’s the case, the value for this box is even higher). I thought this was a nice box as it contained products for my hair, eyes (make-up), skin (feet/lower legs & face), and nails! Great variety and good value this month! What did you get in your box this month? We’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂 

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Today, I am loving Cool Britannia!! (Glossybox Best of Britain Limited Edition Review)

Downton Abbey is coming back to the UK on September 22! I vowed to never watch it again after how Season 3 ended, but I just can’t seem to keep away from it. Chelsea FC is an English football club. We love the royal family (and the royal baby is adorbs). Not to mention, I believe my current crush is English (hahahaha or I just have a really bad sense of such things and he just has a Southern accent… um, not the same thing? … uh… right). Do you see a trend? We/I kind of love cool Britannia! Glossybox does too… I was so excited to receive my Glossybox Best of Britain (Limited Edition) today! 🙂

If you’re unfamiliar with Glossybox, it’s a subscription box (it’s about $20 a month depending on your subscription plan). I recently opted out because I wanted to cut back on my spending… I did enjoy Glossybox when I had it (check out my previous boxes here). I’ve also purchased their Mother’s Day Limited Edition box which I enjoyed. I’m even happier with my Best of Britain box!

Glossybox has the cutest packaging!

Each box comes with a Glossybox Union Jack accessory bag, a small bag that is great for traveling. I have too many random bags, so expect this in a future giveaway 🙂

Steamcream All-in-One Natural Moisturizer for Face Body & Hands (2.65 oz / $19.50)
This is probably one of my favorite products in this box. The light scent is perfect, giving it a very “natural” and “handmade” feel. It’s got a very light, whipped texture (sour cream?) that I love! I’ll be using it for my dry elbows and knees as fall and winter coming in.

Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream (2.1 fl oz / $26.00)
EXCITED. I’ve been using my MOR luxury hand cream from my previous Blush box a little too quickly… so this will be a perfect replacement. This one’s got Vitamin E, shea butter, and English honey to soothe your hands. I just used some and it’s oh so light, delightful, smells wonderful… and the best part is that it absorbs very easily.

Batiste Dry Shampoo blush (1.6 fl oz / $2.30)
I recently purchased the full-size version of this on my TJ Maxx haul. Love it! I use it daily to give my hair a nice texture/body/shape/shine. It smells nice & has a nice cooling effect when you spray it on… this is a perfect travel-size version!

HD Brows Grow Baby Grow ($45.60)
Eh… I think this is the last of my concerns. If anything, my eyebrows are too bushy and need to STOP growing. Thus, I can’t comment on this product. But if this is something you want to try, do keep an “eye” out… as it’ll probably appear in a future giveaway 🙂

MeMeMe Cosmetics Beat the Blues Skin Illuminator in Pearl Pink (0.41 fl oz / $8.30) 
I’m EXCITED, again. Now when I stay up too late watching shows/dramas or getting stressed out by work/studies/apps, I can fight the dullness of my skin with this illuminator. Iridescent is the key word here!

Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Top Coat (0.33 fl oz / $18.20) 
That is some expensive Top Coat. They say it’s got 45-second dry-time formula, which is true. Dried really quickly! Gives your nail polish a little (tiny bit) of added shine! I can’t comment on chipping since I just applied it tonight.

NailGirls London WHITE#1 (0.33 fl oz / $12.90)
Um… I’ve never tried white nail polish. According to Glossybox’s description, it’s this season’s trend. I guess it can look alright… but I don’t think it’s work-place appropriate. It would good for my coworkers to NOT think that I just applied a ton of white-out from the supplies closet onto my nails. LOL. But it’ll be good for a french look 🙂

Helen É Lasting Lip Colour in Raspberry (0.12 oz / $12.20)
I love the creaminess to this lipstick. It goes on so smoothly and nicely… and the color is very vibrant. However, raspberry is a bit too dark for me. But I’ll hold onto it… and maybe if I need to have a more mature or brooding look, I can make use of this shade.

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Final Thoughts? The value of the box came to $145, which definitely covers what I paid for it ($40). However, personally, this box is worth $100 (since I won’t be using the HD brows)… but that’s still a great value! I really loved that the box covered skincare, makeup, nail care, and hair care. A really great Limited Edition box. I’m really glad I was able to grab one of these 🙂 Did you get this box? Have you gotten previous Glossybox Limited Edition Boxes? What are you thoughts? Would love to hear them 🙂

Until next time~ (my birchbox also came tonight… so next time probably means another review tomorrow hehe). Good night~!

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Today, I finally get to rest with my August blush Mystery Beauty Box (2013)…

Wow… What a full week it has been! I had a good friend in town. In addition, a couple of awesome friends just recently moved here, so I’ve been partaking in some sort of social activity every day from Wednesday to today. Wooo, I’m worn out! Some highlights, a lot of FOOD (sushi sushi, POPEYES, Shake Shack, sushi!, gelato, …. JUMBO PIZZA SLICE)… and just fun activities.

I received my blush Mystery Beauty Box yesterday and am happy to rest it with now.

Blush Mystery Box 
The Box: Full, deluxe and travel size products worth at least $100 + a free gift
Cost: $24.95 (monthly subscription)/ $34.95 (one time subscription)
See my previous reviews HERE

***Coupon: If you’d like to try blush out but are not willing to subscribe, send an email to todaycommai@gmail.com and I’ll send you a referral link for a $10.00 off a one-time subscription (or it’s really off any $30 product at DermStore, blush or HairEnvy) 

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Weeee. A quick look at this month’s bag

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Looks like the theme this time was gardenia! Which is my favorite scent!!!!!

Philip B. Maui Wowie Beach Mist (5.07 oz)  $22.00 value
Full size!! Do these beach sprays actually work? I’ll give it a try… Blush had a Philip B product (hairspray) in the last box. I hope they’ll change it up a little more next time

MOR Emporium Hand Cream – Snow Gardenia (3.3 oz) $20.00
This is from the black collection… the packaging itself makes it look like a luxurious hand cream. I love the smell of gardenia and I’ve been looking for a hand cream, so I’m so happy to have received this! What’s in it? Shea, Cocoa Butter, Glycerin, Sesame Seed Oil, Allantoin, Irish Moss, Vitamins A&E all to hydrate and moisturize the skin! 😀 It’s also free of parabens, mineral oil and synthetic dyes, if that’s something you’re interesting in. It’s such a light scent that feels so wonderful… I can’t stop using it!

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PIXI Beauty Endless Silky Eye Pen – No. 5 Deep Plum (0.04 oz) $15.00
I’ve seen great reviews about this Eye Pen, so I’m excited! (see picture below for close-up of pen tip) It’s waterproof and glides on easily! Also, I’ve never ventured past using black liner, so I’m excited to try it out in Deep Plum. I took a look and some of the other colors they have seem fun, too!  My only question is, how do you sharpen such a pencil? 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat (0.11 oz) $12.15
This is a deluxe sample… you use it on top of your mascara to add shine and make your mascara waterproof. I don’t use mascara so I’ll be putting this in a future giveaway (STAY TUNED~!!!!!!)…. I checked out reviews on Sephora and seems like most people really love this product … so good thing is that it works!

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Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant (0.5 oz) $5.71
**Shoutout to dearest Charkie! This is apparently a Hungarian skincare product 🙂 I was also so excited to receive this daily use rice-based exfoliant (see picture below for texture). It’s in a loose-powder form … and you can just use a little with some water on your face. It’s lovely!

Coola SPF 30 Face Classic Sunscreen – Cucumber (0.23 oz) $4.32
I received this product in my May birchbox (see review here) – so it’s nice to have another one 🙂

Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Lip Gloss – Hush (0.36 oz) $20.00
Another organic lip gloss from blush beauty! It’s a nude-pink tinted gloss… looks nice. I’ll probably be gifting this one, however, since I have too much lip gloss at the moment.

Carita Paris Masque Biologique – Biological Face Mask (0.5 oz) $26.47
Oh my gosh. This is one expensive product… the full size mask (1.7 oz) is $90.00! I love masks… and this one seems to be help brighten, enhance and renew tired, dull and aging skin. Unfortunately, I would never purchase this product at full price… but that is the reason why I love subscription boxes! I love trying different products… that I could never really afford at their original price!

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**Closeups of the Pixi Eye Pen and the Eminence Dermafoliant

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**Free sample – I am not sure why I got two… but it’s a good thing. I already got the Dremu Airbrush Eye Refining Treatment (.10 oz/ $9.06) sample in a previous box (SEE HERE) , so I’m glad to have also gotten a Alchimie Forever Rejuvenating Eye Balm (0.068 oz/$9.38). 🙂

Wow! I love Blush beauty box! I wasn’t so happy with my last one… but this one made up for last months! I will continue to stick with blush … it’s actually one of the few subscriptions I’ve kept! This month, I received $125.65 worth of products (with the samples includes, the value comes to $144.09!!)… I’d say that’s a pretty great value for the $24.95 that I paid.  Did you get this month’s box? Did you like it? What was your favorite product? Would love to hear your alls thoughts! 🙂

Have a great Sunday and I hope you have a good week!

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Today, I am enjoying new music and new samples (Birchbox August 2013)…

Allo! My Birchbox arrived yesterday. I’ve noticed that I’ve started to become less and less enthusiastic when it comes to opening my Birchbox. I must be spoiled from my boxes (Allure box, Blush, NewBeauty) that give me lots of full-size goodies that these little samples just don’t really do much for me.

But if you’re looking for an introductory subscription box, this is still one of the best ones to try out, IMHO.

And actually, the more I think about this Birchbox, the more content I am feeling 🙂 It was a good value box (valued at $29.29), all the products are products that I would use…. and all were pretty decently sized this time. Okay, happy gal! 😀 What did you receive in your box? Did you like it? 

August 2013 – BIRCHBOX

  • EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Conditioner (2 oz / $5.88) – I received this product in my TotalBeauty mystery collection… it’s a perfect travel size conditioner. I’ll definitely be using it!
  • derma e Hydrating Mist (2 oz/ $13.50) – FULL SIZE! – FULL SIZE products make me happy! This is a very light and refreshing mist. My face felt a little smoother after spraying it on… dunno if that’s a psychological thing….
  • stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick (.03 oz / $6.60) – The color is too bright for me… so I’ll most likely gift it or add it into a future giveaway (we’ll definitely be having one soon :D)
  • whish Exfoliating Body Wash (0.75 oz/ $2.75) – I used this last night … it smells good, has fine beads… my only complaint is that it’s a bit runny, so I feel like you might end up losing a lot of the wash.
  • whish Deodorant Swipes (1 wipe/ $0.53) Interesting concept… This would be perfect to keep in my bag in case I ever forget deodorant O_O hahaha

And as for new music, Lily & Madeleine are coming out with an album in October! Charkie first introduced me to them and I LOVE THEM. Here ya go… a preview for their new album!

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