Unboxing the September 2022 Look Fantastic Box

Look Fantastic is a $19 per month beauty box based in the UK. With an annual subscription you can shave a few dollars off the price and still pay on a monthly basis instead of paying for the entire year at once. This is what I do. I have had this subscription for several years now and while some months in a subscription box are always better than others, I have never been disappointed by this box. They also have an annual advent calendar which always sells out fast. For subscribers the calendar is on sale now and for non subscribers it will go on sale October 1st. It sells out every year. Usually I miss it but this year I actually jumped on it when it was up for pre release so I will be getting that this year.

I like to only get one advent calendar for myself each year. Occasionally I will cave and get a second smaller one. But the issue is there are so many really great ones out there that i often debate which one I want to pick up and then find the Look Fantastic one has sold out. This year i decided to just go ahead with it because the spoilers looked good so I made the decision early.

But that won’t come until November. However soon they will be available for all so if you are thinking about it, those are the dates.

But back to this month’s box. Recently Look Fantastic has been playing around with the layout of the brochure they put in the box. They have always had articles about various topics. They actually have one about Collagen this month that I am looking forward to reading. They articles break down popular ingredients and other skincare and beauty themed issues. The articles on skincare topics are fantastic if you are just getting into skincare and trying to get a handle on a very large and complex range of products and ingredients. And as September is Skincare Awareness month it is all about skincare. Which I like.

However they don’t really break out the products in the pamphlet any more which I’m not too crazy about. they have one page showing what was in the box with the one variation item and that’s it. No info about them. Which I sort of miss. They do have the spoiler for the October box though and it is very exciting, well at least to me. In the October box you will receive either a Ritual of Sakura candle (25 g) or The Ritual of Sakura room spray (50 mL) The Sakura line is Rituals cherry blossom scent and I loved the body wash from that line and am looking forward to either the candle or the room spray. Actually after trying out the body wash I thought about buying the room spray simply because how fantastic the bathroom smelled after my shower. I would be happy with either one actually.

This Month’s Look Fantastic I was looking forward to mostly because of the spoiler from last month too actually. It was the Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic. It is a toner from a clean skincare brand. It is 100 mL so it is a travel size (the full size is 250 mL). It is a good sized broduct and basically you use it like a toner. I have used it before and really enjoyed it. I am thrilled to have another bottle here.

The next two items are a set of shampoo and conditioner. The set does count as two of the items in the box but i am okay with that as I would rather have the paired set of shampoo and conditioner. Especially since it is a brand I have not heard of before. It is Bleach London and it is the Reincarnation Shampoo and conditioner set. They are 75 mL each so that is plenty for several washes and will give me a good idea of how the product performs. It is an nourishing and restoring set and as we edge into cooler months my hair will need more nourishing products. (the central heat tends to dry my hair out a bit over the winter) so for me this is a good product to try as we head into the fall.

Next we have an eye mask set from Elemis. These are the Pro Collagen Hydra Gel Eye masks to be specific. I love Elemis and have tried loads of products from them. I don’t think I have actually tried out any of their eye masks. Which is strange when I think about it as I really love Eye masks. So I look forward to giving this a go.

The next item is also a very timely product. It is the Nail HQ cuticle oil. This was actually the one variation in the box. If you didn’t get this one then you would have gotten the Solar Oil nail and Cuticle oil from Essentials. I’ve never tried either brand but they are both full size and they both are the same size. I’m sure there are some differences, but I don’t know what they are. I am happy to have a cuticle oil in right now. The gardening season is coming to an end and no matter how much i wear my gloves my hands always get dried out and messed up a bit by the time the garden is ready for winter. During the summer I tend to forget the oil and just use heavy duty hand lotion. I went to get my cuticle oil left over from last year this weekend and found I didn’t secure the lid tightly enough and it leaked out slowly over the summer and I needed a new one. So for me this is extra fab.

And finally we have the Disciple Dreamy Skin Retinyl Night Oil. It is a small bottle but with oils it really only takes a few drops. According to the label it reduces pigmentation, lines and pore size. If it does even half of that i will be thrilled with it. It is also listed as vegan and cruelty free which I like as well. I’m guessing retinyl is some how related to retinol. I’m not sure and will look into it prior to trying it on my skin. I’ll have to look into that and get back to you. Retinyl wasn’t one of the ingredients broken down in the pamphlet.

And so that was my look fantastic box. It was a mix of products from brands I know and love as well as a few new surprises to try out. It was skincare heavy, but Look Fantastic does tend to be skincare heavy in general and as it is a skincare awareness month box, I wouldn’t expect it to be anything but skincare heavy. Personally I love trying out new skincare and finding what works for my skin, not just in terms of products but in terms of ingredients. So I am very pleased with this month’s box and am actually looking forward to trying everything in it.



Unboxing the August 2022 Look Fantastic Box

My August Look Fantastic Box has arrived. Oh and before I forget Look Fantastic is having a 25% off Labor Day sale. They have a really good on-line store that I tend to use a lot when shopping. Also their waitlist for the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar just opened up. Signing up to the waitlist doesn’t obligate you to buy it just sends you information about release dates. They always sell out fast so if you are interested in this one getting on the waitlist to find out when sales starts really helps out.

But back to the August box. This is one of those boxes that I always find interesting. It is a UK based subscription box that costs $19 per month (you can get it for less with an annual subscription, which I have. So my price is $16 and I never regret getting the box for that price). what I like about this box is that many of the samples are from UK brands and often I find products I didn’t know about.

Oddly I have had the best luck with hair care products from this box. I was introduced to both Christophe Robin and Percy & Reed through this box and both have become standard brands for me with products that I use and reorder. (The Christophe Robin Sea Salt Scrub and the Percy & Reed Wonder Balm – which is actually on sale on the Look Fantastic Site and where I tend to pick it up – are two of my always stock products now. I highly recommend both.)

love that color

This month there are two hair care products in the box. One a shampoo and the other a conditioner. The Shampoo was actually last month’s spoiler product. It is the Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo. A few Months back we received a styling Cream from this brand. It is a full sized styling cream so I have not tried it yet as I am trying to clear out some of my sample sized hair care products at the moment. This is a deluxe sample sized shampoo, though so it might be tested sooner rather than later. It is a brand I hadn’t heard of prior to receiving it in this box so I am glad I have both products to try out. It lets me get a better feel for the brand.

the foil packet and the trial size I already owned

The conditioner is a foil packet. It is another brand I have really only tried through Look Fantastic as well, Philip Kingsley. I absolutely adore their Bond Builder (the ends of my hair will often get a little dry and not so fab looking and just a little bit on the ends worked wonders). This Foil packet is for the Elasticiser. It is a deep conditioning treatment. I have this same product in a deluxe sized tube. The tube contains half of the amount of product as the foil packet. (40 mL as opposed to 20) As the tube will have about two uses worth of product in it,. I am not upset about the packet at all. I may put it in an empty container just so I don’t have to try and fiddle with the foil pack with wet hands, but i am excited to try out the deep conditioning treatment. Plus thus far I have liked everything I have tried from the Philip Kingsley Brand. They seem to work reliably well with my hair.

In this month’s box is a Jade Green Gua Sha from Glov. I have quite a few of these in various materials from a multitude of subscription boxes. This one is pretty and feels both good and substantial in the hand. With Gua Sha’s they seem like a strange little tool, but they actually do some good work. The trick is that you have to use it consistently to see any results. I will generally use them for a couple of weeks and then I’ll start slacking off or forgetting and all the previous effort will go down the drain. There is a relaxing ritual to it if you can get in the habit. Do I need another one? no. Will I pass this on to someone else? Probably. But it is a nice quality tool to get in the subscription box so i am not mad at it.

The next item is also a skincare item and it is the Allies of Skin 35% Vitamin C Perfecting Serum. (As this is a serum that retails for$139 it more than pays for the box, currently this is on sale at Lovely Skin for 20% off if you are interested). I think I might have tried something from the brand before, at least the name has a familiar ring to it. I do like vitamin c serums and I love that it is in a glass bottle with a pump. Vitamin c tends to loose efficacy the longer it is exposed to both sun and air so the pump means i am not opening and closing the bottle all of the time. And the solid orange color of the glass bottle protects it from sunlight. I look forward to giving this a try. especially as it is a full sized item.

The last two items are makeup items. this does tend to be a skin and hair care heavy subscription but there is usually one make up item in each box. Or at least that is how the past few boxes have been. this one has two. The first is a full sixed Eyeko Double Act Shadow Stick in Cookies and Cream.

I actually got this exact same stick in an Allure Box a while ago (March 2022) and it is fantastic. One is a bronzy shimmer and one is a more silvery shimmer and it is really great to pear with an all matte palette or even a single matte. I tend to use it with my single shadows. I’ll grab a single matte shadow for a quick look and pair it with this shadow stick. The swatches are from the stick I already have in use. As this one is a repeat I will be passing it on. It is a really great product though and one I really like.

and finally I have The Balm Meet Matte Hughes Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Honest. It is a trial size and it is a little on the pink side for me, but i am still thrilled with it. I have several palettes from The Balm and I love their shadow formula.

For a long time Their Bahama Mama Bronzer was my go to as well. I have however never tried out any of their lippies. and you know how much I love finding new lip products. So even though it is a little pinker of a shade than I prefer I will be trying it out and seeing how I like the formula.

And that was my Look Fantastic Box for August. The products I like and it was certainly worth what i paid for it. My only issue is the booklet that comes with it. It is a 19 page booklet. Two of the pages are details about products. This month they gave descriptions about thee of the products, one of which I did not receive. one of the pages is about next month’s spoiler. It is the Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, which i am quite excited for. The rest of the pamphlet has good information. There is a spread about using the Gua Sha and lots of good ingredient information. I just wish they had broken out more of the products in the box. Even if there are variations, the booklet is large enough to break out more of the items.

As far as complaints go though, that is a small one. This month featured brands and products I am looking forward to trying out so over all I am happy about what I received, even if I have to look up the items elsewhere.

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Unboxing the August 2022 Birchbox

My August Birch Box has arrived. This box of sample and deluxe sample items is $15 per month ($16.46 with tax) and both your customization and your payment window are based on when you sign up. I signed up Mid-month in July so in August I was charged on the 16th and was able to customize my box that same day. I think the window for customization lasts for about three days. I am on the month to month plan since I am not certain how long i wanted to keep this box (i have had an off and on thing with Birch box for years). If you subscribe for a longer period, your subscription cost will be less.

The number of items in your box vary because it is fully customizable. You receive times for items. Birch box recommends items but you can remove them and replace them with other items in the list. last month there was a full sized item you could replace your items with but this time there wasn’t. Sometimes a sample will be worth one tile or if it is deluxe maybe two. I think the full size replaces all five items. So the number of items will vary and the choices are all yours to make. They do send one surprise item each month so I was able to choose four of my five items this month. For me, one of the items I chose was from Ouai and the surprise Item was also from Ouai.

Over the years I have tried several of their hair products and I really liked them. They tend to be a bit pricey so they aren’t my go -to hair care items since there are less expensive ones that I like just as much. But I do like them and am happy to have two samples, especially a they are two items I have not tried before. The item I chose from Ouai was the body cleanser in the scent Melrose Place. As I had not tried anything other than Hair products from them, I thought it would make a nice change.

The surprise item that BirchBox sent was the Ouai Detox shampoo. I haven’t actually tried their shampoos. I usually end up with leave in conditioners and masks from the brand so I am thrilled to try out a a shampoo. I am actually looking forward to trying both.

The next item I have tried before and love. I actually have a full size of this so I don’t mind having a sample as well to slip into my travel kit. It is the Byroe Bitter Greens Toning Essence. It is a good toner, but it works best as an essence. It really opens the skin up so that you are ready for additional skincare. I really liked this when I used it before and I think it is one of the best products the brand has to offer. Their other items are okay, but this is their rockstar.

This was a hair heavy month for Birchbox and the next item I have is the Luseta Biotin and Collagen Hair mask. I have tried the shampoo and conditioner from this Biotin and Collagen line and really liked it so I am excited about this hair mask. Plus I have been working really hard to clear out a lot of the hair mask and product samples so it will be nice to compare it to the others I am rotating through.

And Finally there is one makeup item in my box this month. It is the Milk Makeup Rise Mascara. I enjoy Milk Makeup Products and I really liked their Kush Mascara. I have not tried their Rise mascara so it will be interesting to see how this one compares to the one I already love.

And that was my Birchbox this month. Do I think it was worth the $15? Yes I do actually. I have several products that I really want to try out and one that I am ready know I love. I do wish that one was a little bit bigger. But that is always the case when I get samples of products I like. This one is large enough that it will work in my travel case. And as I am getting ready to pack my travel case, it is quite timely indeed. This was a good month for Birch Box and I am happy to keep it another month.

La Roche-Posay- ACD

Unboxing the Beekman 1802 Summer Subscription Box

As you know I love skin care so it was really only a matter of time before I went for an entire skincare subscription box. I am also beginning to look more at quarterly boxes. I actually find this an interesting box for me to subscribe to. A long time ago I picked up a book called Candy Everybody wants by Josh Kilmer Purcell and then I liked it enough that when I saw I am not myself these days I picked that up. (both great books by the way, I really enjoyed them). When I picked up the second book a friend of mine said, ‘wait isn’t that one of the Fabulous Beekman Boys?” And thus I was introduced to the show. It was hard to catch so I never managed to catch all of the episodes and would at some point really like to circle back and watch them again.

box closure detail, and yes, that is a goat on the snap

I enjoyed the show and it was with great delight to find years later the Goat farm took off (the site has a goat cam you can actually watch if you’d like). And that they now have a subscription. Aside from general nostalgia I like the look of the skincare and I like the transparency of their ingredients lists and that all of their products are good for sensitive skin. They are leaping bunny approved as well. This is my first box from Beekman 1802 so I am bound to be a bit wordy on this one.

The box is $65 per quarter and this is the Summer Box. The Summer Box Comes out in July so I am a little slow out of the gate. The autumn box releases in November, or at least i will get it in November. They charge you the same time as you sign up, so I signed up on August 4th so I will be charged November 4th for the Autumn box. The fee is a flat $65. No handling fees no extra shipping fees. Just $65. All of the products come from the brand Beekman 1802.

While I like that it is a brand box and I think they do have a wide enough array of products that there shouldn’t be a lot of repetition, this will be something that i am going to keep an eye on. I am hoping that they will rotate products and it will feel fresh each quarter instead of the same old things. As I have only tried their soap before I am actually looking forwards to trying out more from the brand. I will also be looking at how much (or little) I enjoy the products as well as if I find the $65 per quarter worth it.

So This quarter there was an item that was outside of the box which is why I think the mailing box was a little large. So let’s look at that first.

the item out side of the box was a package of Pure disposable facial cleansing wipes. While I am not a big fan of these because of the waste, they are useful and I really like that it is a 100 count package. That’s a lot of wipes. I will try them out, but I am really hoping it isn’t an item sent often. The problem isn’t that I don’t like wipes, I do. I really do actually, they are quite convenient. I just don’t want to get back into the habit of using them again now that I have sort of broken myself of it.

Now on to the box. The box itself is sturdy reusable cardboard. The lid is fastened down with an actual snap and lifts up (it has a paper hinge at the back). I don’t know if it is because so many of the subscription boxes just seem to toss items into a box or what but I have to say when I opened this I was momentarily stunned by the neatly placed array of products. I mean just look at it. It looks nice and neat and opening it I had to remember it was a subscription box and not a gift box that I ordered or that was given to me. It looks like a gift box you would get as a present and quite honestly it felt special opening it.

it feels more like a gift box than a subscription box

I honestly had the flickering thought of “wait, it’s not my birthday…”

which is a great feeling for a subscription box. There are several items for the body as well s for the face. Inside the box there are seven items (only one doesn’t look full size, which I think might be why the cleansing wipes were added. So there are a total of eight items in the box and only one looks not to be full size. I am ninety percent certain the box was supposed to have seven items.

The first item out of the box is the one I have used a version of before, it is the soap. I have used their regular Goat’s milk soap and loved it. This bar is the Goat Milk Body Soap with CBD. It is a large 9 oz (255 g) bar of soap. There is a light scent to it. My nose is mostly still stopped up so very little smell is actually making it through, but my babydoll claims it just smells like soap. which for him means something akin to Ivory or Dove unscented. So I am guessing there is no lingering CBD scent. The proof will be in the washing so I’ll find out in the bath, although I fully expect this bar of soap to be appropriated. Like Oat Milk, Goat’s milk is good for my baby’s skin as he has sensitive skin prone to allergic reactions. So at least one of us will get a lot of use out of it.

The second Bath item is the Sunshine Scrub which is a body exfoliant. I love body exfoliants (well I love most exfoliants actually) and I just finished up a jar so I am happy to see this. I actually prefer the product in a tube as with the jars I always end up getting water in them. The only catch is that some times the tubes will log up and be hard to use. It will be interesting to see how this works as a product and to test the packaging.

The third body item is called the Pure Goat Milk Body Serum. I’ll admit I had to read through the product information to figure it out. What it boils down to is that this is a clear body oil for use right after the shower in place of body lotion. I have actually been enjoying body oils lately. In the summer they are much lighter. I really like that this is in a pump top glass bottle. Not only is the glass bottle beautiful but some of my other oils are open top bottles and I really wish they had a pump. This does so as soon as my current bottle is finished I will be rolling this in for a try.

The other four items are for the face. The first is the Milk Primer. I know I was a little makeup excited as well, but it isn’t that sort of primer. from what i can find on the packaging it is a sunscreen that you apply with your skin care. It is SPF 35 (I prefer 50) so I will still add an extra layer of sunscreen before I leave the house, but I don’t mind having that extra layer automatically applied a part of my skin care.

There are two full sized Boosters, which are essentially serums, in this box. The first is the Collagen Booster and the second is the Smooth Booster. I’ll be looking more into the details once I start to use them (which won’t be until I finish my current skincare serum trial). Both are items that I can use in my skin care though. One boosts collagen production and firms the skin while the other is a BHA resurfacing serum (smooth Booster).

These Boosters can either be used alone or added to a moisturizer to boost the moisturizer. I think this is why there is a travel sized version of their moisturizer in the box. It is the Bloom Cream. It is 15 mL and I am pretty sure it is here so you can play with the intensity f the two serums.

Both boxes say that the serums are more intense if you don’t mix them. since everything in the box is more or less targeted to sensitive skin, it makes sense to have the Bloom Cream and to be honest I am never mad about trying a new moisturizer in a smaller size before thinking about committing to a full sized one.

So that was my first Quarterly Box from Beekman 1802. Was it worth the $65? Absolutely. It is full of products that I will use and that I am looking forward to trying out. The subscription felt like a gift when it arrived. It really felt like care was taken in putting it together and it felt special. It was a beautiful presentation and I have to say all of the bottles look and feel super lux. I can not wait to start trying out these products. A few I will rotate in quickly while others will have to wait until I finish out existing products, but I am actually very excited about getting to try out so many items from a single brand and I have to say, I am already looking forwards to November’s box from Beekman 1802.

Unboxing the July Bookishly Subscription

This is my second month receiving this Bookishly subscription and I have to say it is rapidly becoming one of my more anticipated subscriptions. Bookishly is, as the name implies, a book based subscription. They are based in the UK. There are different types of subscriptions, I signed up for the vintage book and coffee. they do have classics, science fiction, fantasy and various crime/mystery options. You can also choose tea instead of coffee. I have to admit I was curious about what books they would choose for vintage. So that is the subscription i went with. The subscription charges on the first of the month and ships out on the 20th. My package arrived on the 28th.

Each month I get a book, with a bookmark and a bag of coffee with two pots worth of grounds inside. At least it is two pots the way I make coffee. The company for the coffee is PerkuLatte Coffee Co. That is the same as last month. The type of coffee is different. This month we have a Guatemala El Boqueron with flavor notes of Blueberry, Cranberry and rose. I have not tried this particular type yet but it sounds interesting. I very much enjoyed the last one as it was good quality coffee. I like that they put the roasted date on the bag as well.

Shall we go on to the book?

I love that the book itself comes wrapped like a present. It somehow makes this subscription just a little bit ore fun to open. This month’s book is The Sea and the Jungle a travel and Adventure Book by HM Tomlinson. I have to admit, I have never heard of the book or the author (which is one of the reasons I wanted to try out the subscription, to bring books I might not find on my own to me).

According to Goodreads…

wrapped up on arrival

Considered a masterpiece of travel literature for nearly a century, The Sea and the Jungle is a wise and witty book of firsts: ostensibly a lighthearted story of a Londoner’s first ocean voyage, it is also a carefully crafted journalistic account of the first successful ascent of the Amazon River and its tributary, the Madeira, by an English steamer. First published in 1912, The Sea and the Jungle remains one of the most popular accounts of a traveler’s experience in Amazonia. As Peter Matthiessen observed fifty years later, ” The Sea and the Jungle is one of the few level-headed works in the literature of this region. . . . accurate and difficult to improve upon.”

Goodreads

I am looking forward to curling up in my reading chair and reading. One of the reasons that I wanted to try pout this subscription was because a lot of my book choices have become stale. I find myself looking at the same books and same authors. Part of that is the situation. While my local library has gone through phases of being open and closed, most of the books I’ve taken out have come from their electronic lending library. Which is fine, but whenever I get in a rut with books, at the library I tend to just pick an aisle and wander slowly looking for something interesting that I’ve never checked out before.

an older book but in perfect condition

I have found some of my favorite authors and books this way. The library system does have recommendations but their recommendations rely on running an algorithm based on what you have checked out from their system before or are based on what books are popular in the area. If you base it on an algorithm then I just get more of the books like the ones I’ve already read. If you base it on what everyone else is reading then I just realize that my tastes tend to differ from many of my neighbors. At least according to the computerized system.

So for me this is a really good way to try out something completely random and from a different country entirely. I found this subscription by poking randomly around on Cratejoy and I am really glad I did. I also like that it reaches me at the end of the month. It lets me sit and read the book and about the time i have finished and am ready for a new one, the subscription arrives again. So for August it looks like I will be exploring the Amazon with Bookishly and sipping on Guatemala El Boqueron while I do. I’ll have to let you know how the blueberry, cranberry and Rose notes work out for me.

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self care gifts

It’s the return of Birchbox

I know, it was the subscription that both fascinated and irritated me all at the same time. I had Birchbox when it was one of the only subscriptions out there and when the tiny samples became too much, I let it go. Then they said they changed and offered a good deal so I gave them another year. At the end of the year, I canceled. There were many issues, however one of the things I liked is that I often did have samples that were different from the items I received in other boxes. even if the samples were small, it was nice to give them a try. I often found out about things I hadn’t known about before. However one of their issues is that they would offer selections that would be sold out before I was allowed to log in and I would often get repeats.

However Birchbox is under new ownership and the system has been revamped. After subscribing you are taken to your box. each item selected has a tile and they have one mystery item. The mystery item is one they select. I think that you can make the entire box a mystery box if you don’t want to know what is inside. Otherwise each of the items is a tile. You can go with what they selected or you can remove it from the box and go to their list of available items. You can then use your tiles to select from the offered items. Some items on the list are worth one tile, others two. There was one full sized item on the list that I think took four tiles. I am on the month to month plan as I test it so my box is $15 per month.

Because of this, you have a lot of freedom in your selection. The number of the products will vary and while you can accept their selection, you are not stuck with the one box that didn’t sell out. There is no information about the products in the box, but there is a QVC code to scan for more information or you can just go to your account and it lists the items you received with all of the details, plus ordering information if you want them in the full size. So what was in my July Box?

The first item is a mystery item. It is the Gentle Facial buffer from So Eco. I have had one of these before and I really liked it. It is a sustainable and ethically sourced reusable facial buffer. I love that it is a minor exfoliation, but not as much as using an actual exfoliating product would be. I did notice that they do stain though. On my last one I accidentally got some mascara and a little lipstick on them and the stains remained. I was testing a makeup remover that just didn’t make the cut. I tended to wash it by putting it in a mesh bag and putting it in the washing machine with my reusable cotton rounds. It worked well and the buffer lasted a really long time (over a year before it was worn to the point of needing to be let go). Just remember it stains and it is a great tool to have around.

The second item was the one item Birchbox suggested for me. I kept it because I was surprised by it. It is the Wander Beauty All inclusive shampoo and body wash. I did not realize Wander beauty made shampoo or body wash. I will be poking around their site to find out more. There is 55mL worth of product inside which is enough to get a feel for it. It smells of lavender which is nice. I am curious to see if it does prove to be more of a body wash or a shampoo. either way i am intrigued. I am also it is a large enough sample to test out and at least see if it is worth trying in the full size.

One of the items I chose is also for the bath it is the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower oil. It is an oil that can either be added to the bath, or put on the skin before you shower and then rinsed off. Bath oils are not something new to me, there are several I like.

Body oils that you apply after your shower instead of body lotion are likewise not a new to me idea. I don’t think I have ever had an oil that I apply before the shower and rinse off. That was what interested me and why I chose it for my box this month. As a bath oil I don’t think it would last long, but applied directly to the skin I should be able to get a few uses out of it and give it a try. I am honestly quite excited by this.

Next we have the one makeup item I chose. The selections this month were heavily skincare, hair and body. I’m not sure if that will be a trend going forward, we shall see. This was in the box and I couldn’t resist adding it. It is the No Poreblem Primer from Touch in Sol. I have this in the full size and I do love it. I chose this specifically to add to a travel bag. Even if I am not wearing makeup I tend to put on primer, powder and mascara and this is a primer that works well for that as well as with makeup, so i am thrilled to have a sample size I can throw into my travel kit.

And finally this month i chose a hair product. It is the Amika Dream Routine Overnight Hydration treatment. I have actually tried this before and really liked it. It is great for mid winter when a combination of cold weather, less humidity and the drying of the central heating system have dried out my hair. I know a lot of people have drying issues in the summer, but for me that is a winter issue, so I will take this, and put it aside for use in the winter when my hair really needs it.

And so that was my July Birchbox. The subscription takes the day you subscribed as your starting day and the day moving forward where you will be billed. I signed up on July 16th so I will make my selections mid month and will more than likely receive this at the end of the month. I am okay with that actually. Most of my subscriptions arrive at the beginning or middle of the month. I kind of like having one that arrives later as an end of the month treat.

For me this was a good box and definitely worth the cost of the subscription. I got to choose the items so they are all ones I will use. There was a good selection during my time of choice and there were new to me products as well as familiar favorites. It will be interesting to see how thing progress moving forward but for now, I really like this box and am looking forward to the next one. Perhaps it is time for Birch Box to return.



Unboxing the Summer Fab Fit Fun Box for 2022

Fab Fit Fun is a subscription box I have been eyeing for a while. When the Summer box went on 40% off I figured I’d give it a try and then see how I liked it. The full price of the box is $49.99 but it is a quarterly box. If you have a seasonal membership Which I went with since I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it) then you get to choose four of your six items during customization.

If you go with an annual subscription then they let you customize all six. I can see the lure of being able to customize all of the items in the box but personally I like a little bit of a surprise. One of the reasons I wanted to try this out was because it isn’t just skincare and makeup. There are makeup and skincare items, but thee are other items too. While this is the Summer box, they have just released spoilers for the Fall box. Since I signed up for the Fall Box so late I don’t think it is actually available, but I figured it would be nice to have this as reference.

So let’s look at the choice items first. My first choice item was a pink vegan leather bucket purse from the brand Samara. I don’t know the brand, but the bag itself is well made. Most of my bags are either a larger style or a small clutch type purse so this does actually fit a gap in my purse collection. I like the length of the strap. It has a simple push closure with a metal bit that goes through the hole in the bag. I suspect that over time this will widen but for now it works well. As most of my purses are also either in bright colors or dark ones, the pastel is also something I don’t have so it is nice to have something a little different.

The next item I chose from the options was a set of three prep bowls from Pier 1. They are ceramic and in nice muted tones. They are the perfect size to fit in the palm of my hands and the flutes along the side fit my fingers well so they are easy to grip without slipping. Since we go out to eat maybe once a month I do a lot of cooking so I know these are going to be put to good use.

The third item that I chose was the New Balance Ab Exercise Wheel. Oddly enough I have been trying to incorporate more ab workouts in my routine and I was looking at a similar wheel to add to my collection of workout tools. Plus I have a weakness for exercise tools. Some I end up loving, others are just a waste of space, but I never know which category it will be until I start using it.

So I was very happy to add it into the box. It came together very quickly and seems quite sturdy. I will be giving it a full trial to see if it is a piece of kit worth keeping around or something that will just collect dust, but am am happy with the selection.

The fourth item I selected was a makeup item. It is the Illamasqua Gel Sculpt stick. I really like Illamasqua Highlighters and I adore their gel blusher, but I have never tried out their gel contour stick so that’s nice. I was surprise by how dark looking the stick was so i tried it on my arm. It applies much lighter and blended out well It also smells really good which i didn’t expect. I think it will be an interesting product to try out.

The other two items were chosen for me The first of these is the AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer. It is for normal to dry skin. My mother uses this moisturizer and swears by it. She absolutely adores it. But she also has drier skin than I do. I may just pass this along to her since for me it might be okay, but for her i know it will be a hit. I love the fact that the squeeze tube top has a plastic seal around it so that there was no problem in shipping.

The final item also came in a tube and has a plastic seal around the lid. It however will not be passed anywhere. It is tie Replenishing Moisture CC Cream from Alterna. It is from their Caviar line of hair care products. I used the shampoo and conditioner set from this line a while back and loved it. I think I might have tried a small sample of this leave in conditioner before but I am not entirely certain. However since I loved the shampoo and regular conditioner from the line I am thrilled to be able to try out the leave in conditioner.

There was a magazine that came with the box. it has QR codes to scan for more information about the products and perhaps as I start using them I will. Beyond this there isn’t much printed in the magazine about the items. I think this might be because of the number of variations you can choose and the fact that some people can customize their entire box. I get that, but it would have been nice if they had just a sentence or two about each item that you could get. There is a a nice skincare guide along with summer self care and there were a couple of recipes. One of them is for oven baked Coconut shrimp. I make coconut shrimp every once in a while but I tend to fry them rather than bake. I might give the baked version a try.

One thing I really like is that they have a fitness tracker in the magazine with a link to a printable version. While I use the My Fitness Pall App I really like a piece of paper where I can just check things off. It makes me feel like I am accomplishing more if I can put a check mark or draw a line through something when it is complete. The app record is nice too, but there is just something I find deeply satisfying about marking things off with a pen.

So that my darlings was my first Fab Fit Fun Box. As I said I decided at the end of the season to sign up so I suspect a lot of items had run out by the time I logged in. Fall will be my first box as a seasonal subscriber. It will be interesting to see if they stick to their posted shipping deadlines and what the choice categories look like. I enjoyed the Summer box, but I also got it for 40% off. It was certainly worth the discounted price. Because of it though I am going to keep the membership for at least another quarter and reserve judgement on the value until the next box. As the selection for the fall box is in mid August, there isn’t terribly long to wait. i just have to remember to take notes during choice. But I am happy with this first Fab Fit Fun Box.



Unboxing the Vinyl Post subscription

As you know I have been looking into several different subscription services lately as I shake up my personal subscription list and this is one that caught my eye. Most of my records tend to be classical in nature. Part of that is I like listening to acoustic music when I am working. If the song has lyrics I just start listening to the lyrics and sometimes stopping my work to analyze them. And when I am writing I find it slightly distracting. Some of the records I picked up randomly and some I inherited from my grandfather. I enjoy listening to records actually.

Not exclusively of course as that would take up way more space than I have to afford my musical collection.

When I saw this Vinyl Post Postcard Single subscription I thought it was really interesting. It also reminded me of the single records that my Dad showed me he collected from magazines a long time ago. All told this subscription was $7.99/ month. For that price you get an envelope mailed to you that is the size of a Christmas card. Inside is a plastic storage bag including three items. One item is a post card, with a link to download music, The second is in information card with some basics about the musician and song lyrics to the enclosed single on the back. There is also a link to hear more from the band. The third is a post cared sized record of the single from the musician. In this case Glitter Party’s Endlessly (which from the info seems less like a band and is listed as “a solo recording project of Sam Cohen).

The record containing the single feels a bit like a photo paper that has been laminated. It is thinner than a record but when I pit it on my turntable it played well. The hole in the center was a little tight so I was concerned it would rip going on, but it didn’t. And the tightness as well as the size helped keep it on the turn table as it played. I am very glad it came with the plastic sheath in which to store the single ‘record’ as I suspect that given the thinness of the imprint and paper a single scratch would pretty much destroy it. In the sheath I’m sure it will be perfectly safe.

I love the concept of this and I enjoy supporting emerging artists in pretty much any field. I actually enjoy the thought of getting a new song mailed to me every month and I could easily see myself building a pile of these songs with my regular record collection. The downside of this subscription is that it is just the general indie artist category. I think that everyone is sent the same song each month. And not all songs are going to appeal to all people.

I found this song to be okay. I may listen to it again, I may not. I didn’t really love it or really want to seek out more about the musician and his other works. But who knows, next month they may send a song I absolutely love. I think that this is going to be a very subjective subscription. And the length of time I keep the Vinyl Post Single Subscription is going to depend on the frequency of which I like the songs. But I absolutely love the idea of this subscription and thought it was a fun one to try out. It also looked like an interesting way to find more songs that i might not have run across on my own. If you are into music, this might be something you might want to give a try.

Oh if you are looking at trying something new, Cratejoy is having a Christmas in July sale. you can get 30% off a lot of subscriptions with the code JOLLY30. It’s one of those places I love poking around just to see what sort of subscriptions I can find.

Unboxing The Underclub for July 2022

We have reached the second full week of the month and subscription boxes are starting to arrive. The first to arrive is The Underclub. I love this subscription for its size inclusivity, they go from XS to 4X I believe. There is also no upcharge for larger garments. All of their sizes are the same. It is also the same in the store too. You don’t have to go off to some small dark corner or their on-line store where a few items marked plus sized live, often with an extra charge for the size increase. Nope, the whole website features everything in every size.

I also love the underwear and the quality of it.

I am on the Underclub’s one pair per month plan for $15. They have different tiers where you can receive more pairs and possibly even a bralette. For me one pair is plenty. I love having pretty underwear. I know that may sound a bit strange to say. But I have started loving it more as I have been working out more.

inside the package the underwear is contained in a small bag.

Here’s the thing, when I wear pretty underwear I feel confident and pretty. It doesn’t matter what else is going on. It is an instant confidence boost. It doesn’t require anyone else to see it. I know it and it makes me feel good. It always has. when working out, it is best to wear plain cotton undergarments that have few if any embellishments. when lace becomes sweat soaked it can turn into sand paper really fast. There is exfoliation and then there is lace burn around the legs of your bikini underwear. Not fun, recommend avoiding.

Also there is the extra laundering of workout underwear. I put it on to work out. I finish the work out and it, along with my other work out clothes, go into the laundry, a fresh pair of underwear going on with the rest of the post shower clothing. So work out underwear needs to take a beating.

There is something magical about coming out of a post work out shower and putting on a nice, lacy pair of underwear. It feels like a reward for putting in the effort. As silly as that sounds, it is my daily reward to myself. and when you are doing long haul weight loss those little rewards come in very handy.

But lets look at this month’s pair. The photos wash out the color a little bit but this pair is a light blue lace. They are bikini style and have a scalloped lace edge. I love the look of a scalloped lace edge. I have to admit it.

As always I inspected the pants when they arrived, looking for loose strings and missed stitches. There were none, I then sent them through the wash and inspected again. Still no problems. These are very well constructed garments. This pair has an added cut out detail in the back. For some reason the last few pairs I’ve received have had this. I’m guessing it is a popular design. I have to admit I like it more for practicality than looks (although it does look nice). Some of my lacier underwear can be hard at first to tell which is front and which is back. These you can tell the difference blindfolded.

And while i don’t take my shower blindfolded sometimes I don’t have my contacts in while in the shower so orientation by touch can be somewhat important. (Because a lot of my exercise is outside sometimes sweat mixed with sunscreen can cloud up my contacts, so I take them out for cleaning or replacement before the shower, in case you ae wondering).

I really like this pair and all told The Underclub is one of my favorite subscriptions. The garments always fit perfectly and they feel good to wear. I have never had a pair that wasn’t worth the subscription fee, and July’s is no exception.

The Daily: July 6th, 2022

hello my darlings. Today is going to be a little different. Normally i just chat about what I am doing, both life wise and fitness wise and about the random happenings of my world. Then I list my makeup. Today I just went with Primer, powder and lip balm. (Tatcha Liquid silk Primer, Tatcha Silk powder, and Avant Hyaluronic Lip Balm– which I so did not want to like because it is really over priced but actually love. I won’t ever be able to convince myself to repurchase it because it is so overpriced, but i will use every last drop of it while I have it).

I’ve just been in and out of the house so much that I didn’t really feel like putting much makeup on. Plus my Tatcha package came in so I couldn’t resist. I’ll post a pick below even though it isn’t very exciting. I love the three products though and am looking forward to using them again.

To be honest the primer is mostly because my ice cream cake extra sugar intake of my birthday has caused breakouts so the primer takes out the red and the powder dusts off the shine, and the balm is just good lip health. we had storms all last night which oddly didn’t dip the temperatures. It just increased the humidity. We are sitting at +90% humidity. If we get a little more we will get rain, but it doesn’t look like it is going up so we just get misery.

What I did want to talk about today was subscription boxes, because I am sort of changing things. When IPSY choice came around this month i realized I didn’t have the same sense of anticipation that I usually have. I still have it for the quarterly Glam Bag X months, but not for the IPSY Plus. And then each choice category only held one item I would like to try.

Admittedly I really liked each item i chose, but I still found the entire thing somewhat annoying, So what I am going to do is Get my IPSY plus this month and the Glam Bag X in August and then skip September and October and then get the Glam Bag X in November. I want to see if only having the quarterly bag increases my excitement for IPSY again or if I need to just let the subscription go.

I figured since i was already thinking about changing things now instead of waiting until the end of the year, I would go ahead and take a peek at what Allure had in store. I saw the spoilers for the box and realized the only items that really excited me were only in the new subscribers box. I know, the new subscribers perks were what drew me back to the box as well. The month i signed up they had both Sunday Riley eye cream (fabulous) and Sunscreen (really nice with no sunscreen scent, but does need to warm to skin temp before it absorbs all the way in with no white – great from there though). Then I looked at the boxes I received since then and I wasn’t as enthused. So I cancelled. They were able to get my cancelation in before the July box shipped so instead of July being my last box, I won’t be getting a July box.

I think because I was so excited about my Bookishly subscription that I realized how my excitement had dimmed for some of the other subscriptions. I also realized that because I have products to go through I often put off buying products that I like because I don’t want the products I haven’t tried to go to waste. I think eliminating Allure because it no longer excited me and limiting my IPSY to Quarterly will help. I am keeping Boxy for now. I am also sticking with Glossy Box and Look Fantastic because they still excite me, but I will be monitoring them to see if I still like them as their annual renewals come around. (Spring for me).

But you know I love subscription boxes so I will be trying others. Some will be skincare/makeup based, for example I am getting a Roccabox this month to see if it is something I want to add and because Fab Fit Fun had a 40% off their summer box I went ahead and ordered it. (plus they had this Ab exercise tool that I really wanted to try.)

While I adore the beauty boxes, I think I may lean into some of the more life style themed boxes for a bit as well. Not only are they new boxes to try (and I love trying new things) but having non beauty centric subscriptions will let me use up some of my stockpiled products, clearing them out and letting me decide what i really like. I will also get to use more of my makeup products rotating the ones I really like in more often.

I will also be trying more services coming up, like the Yogaworks subscription and the paid Myfitnesspal subscription.

In addition I will feel less guilty about buying things I just want to try out. With purchases I will often see something I wouldn’t mind trying, but then I tell myself, let’s see what comes in this month’s subscription box before I go and purchase anything. Or I will try something from a brand that is new to me in a subscription box (which is my favorite part about subscription boxes) and think, I need to try more from this brand, but then I don’t simply because I have other products to use.

In a few months I may find I miss the subscription boxes and go back. I may find others I like better and let go of my existing subscriptions completely. I may switch to more lifestyle boxes or find décor items piling up. Things are in a state of flux right now in my personal subscription line up. I am going to be trying out new subscriptions of various kinds and seeing what really excites me and what I need to let go of so that i can enjoy what really excites me. I know a lot of people are looking to change up their own subscriptions so perhaps one of the subscriptions I try will excite you or let you know it isn’t one you need to try. Either way, I hope my shake up will be beneficial. Or at the very least fun to watch.

I know this isn’t the normal daily post, but it has been on my mind for a while and it is nice to just get my thoughts out. But now my darlings it is back to work for me. Have a great rest of your day.

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