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 Ipsy Glam Bag Plus for July 2022

That’s right my darlings, it is time to unbox my IPSY Glam Bag Plus for July 2022. This subscription was $28 but this month there was a $1.99 fee added to it. With taxes my cost for this subscription is $32.91. I actually don’t mind the additional charge, however there has been quite a lot of overlap from the IPSY and BoxyCharm (mostly because IPSY bought Boxy) and I have been trying to figure out how to deal with it as far as my personal subscription list goes.

While I love subscriptions, I do pay for these myself and I really don’t need subscriptions that repeat products. For me a lot of the fun of subscriptions is trying something new. So for me, I plan to keep the quarterly Glam Bag X and skip the months between. The Glam Bag X comes in August so it won’t look like much of a change, but I will be skipping IPSY in September and October (then getting X in November and Skipping December). In December I always sit down and decide what subscriptions are going with me into the new year and which I am leaving behind. I am hoping that by going to quarterly I will skip some of the repeat products. In addition, I can put the money i would have spent on the IPSY Plus into trying out other subscriptions. This is the plan and we’ll see how it goes.

But first, there is the July IPSY Plus. Are you ready to see what was in this month’s bag?

First there are the two items that IPSY chose for me. The first of these is the Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45. It is basically a sun screen for oily skin. It does make the pores bur out a bit and looks great under makeup. I have actually used this before. I find it an interesting product.

While I am a bit more oily in the summer time than the rest of the year, I can only wear this sunscreen a few days out of the week. I am simply not as oily as it wants me to be. If you have oily/or acne prone skin then this is a fantastic product. For me, I can wear it if I know I am going to be sweating, but I can’t wear it that often or it will dry out my skin. It is a great product, I am just not it’s target audience and I will be passing it on to a friend. which I am okay with.

The second item IPSY chose for me was the Skylar Coconut Grove rollerball Perfume. I like roller balls for perfume actually and Skylar is a nice brand. I am a bit hit or miss with their scents. Some I really like others I really don’t, but they are a quality scent. I actually want to try out their Scent Club because they seem to feature scents there that sound like ones I would like. This roller ball is the size of the ones that come in their scent club and I think it is a really good size. (Plus i like actually seeing the size in person before signing up.)I am always happy to try it and since I long ago figured out that the perfumes I don’t like, my mother loves and visa versa I have someone I can pass it onto if it doesn’t work out for me. I am happy to give it a try.

Now we get into the items I actually chose. This month my selections were not good. And thins is actually one of the reasons I will be skipping some months. Most of the choices were simply for items I have either had in IPSY or in Boxy. If nothing else, I am hoping that skipping a few months will allow the selections to become more varied. There was essentially one item in each category that I wanted to try. there was one foul up this month, which I will cover first and then get into the rest.

You may notice that there is pictured the Soleil Mini Heat brush in the picture. Yeah, this was not my choice. I chose the LUCE facial Cleansing tool. I contacted IPSY and they are sending out the correct item to me so hopefully it won’t be a problem. It was just a minor moment of disappointment. I actually have this tool. I’ve tried it twice and really need to sit down and figure out if I am using it wrongly, if it is designed for different hair than mine or if it is just a useless bit of kit. I have long hair that is kind of thick. I suspect that it may work better on finer/thinner hair of a shorter length. It is a tool I will be testing more of and This particular one will be staying in the package and be passed on. If you have actually used this tool and have any thoughts, feel free to send them to me. It is one of those tools that make me feel very inept.

But moving on, my second selection was a trio of MOTD eyeshadow brushes. I like their brushes in general.. They are soft and tend to last a while. In all honesty though, I really do like the handles and that was why I chose them. Well that and it was the non repeat item in the category. I think they are very pretty and I am hoping that having a new trio of brushes will encourage me to go through my brushes and purge some of the ones that have really seen the end of their days. I have been putting it off for a while and I do have some that really need to go.

And finally there is a makeup item this month. It is a Bronzer from Kim Chi Beauty. I love the powder we had from the brand and I am looking forward to trying out the bronzer. It comes in a plastic heart with a mirror inside. I like that the compact opens and closes easily. I ran my finger across the powder and it is buttery soft and it looks like it will be a good shade match for me so I am looking forward to giving it a try.

To be honest, this was a pretty good month for my where IPSY was concerned. Yes there was the mix up, but it will hopefully be remedied. The Murad doesn’t match my profile but it is a good product that I can easily pass on to someone else. Everything else I am pleased to have a chance to try. My main problem at this point are the repeats and lack of choice. Last month nearly everything was a repeat from Boxy Charm. As IPSY tends to introduce new products with the Glam Bag X I am hoping my decision to skip out on the months between will help remedy some of that overlap. At least that is the hope.

I know that next month’s Glam Bag X Creator is Alicia Keys so I am looking forward to seeing what arrives with that bag. I’m guessing there will be at least one item from the Keys Soulcare line. As I have tried a few items and really like them. I am quite pleased with the choice and hope to try something new. After all trying new things is my favorite part of subscription boxes.



Unboxing the July 2022 BoxyCharm Premium

Once again my Boxy Charm Premium snuck in without a whisper of a tracking code. I don’t know why by Boxy Charm seems to have stopped sending me tracking codes. This is the fourth month in a row this has happened. However as my box usually arrives around the time that Choice opens up, it is pretty easy to expect it. Anyway, I have the Boxycharm Premium subscription. I worked my way through all of the subscription levels trying to find the one that most often brought me more items I wanted and I ended up with premium. The official price is $39.99 and with taxes it comes to about $43 each month.

I feel that I do get my money’s worth with this box, although some months are better than others. With the Boxy/IPSY buy out, there are more overlap with products which is why I am making changes to my subscription. For now I am going to be keeping this box but only getting the IPSY quarterly X box (skipping the month’s between) and see if that works out for me. That is the plan for now. Everything might change in December when I do my subscription line up for the year, but for now that is where i landed.

So shall we see what is in this month’s Boxy?

Let’s start with the two items I chose. My choice for this month’s box was interesting. The first item I chose was the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue (retail $37). It is a tinted moisturizer. I love bareMinerals. Their bounce and blur blush is one of my favorites and I adore their Mineralist lipsticks. With face products (blush aside) I have only tried powdered product from them before. So I am looking forward to trying out a cream product. I have to admit that once I saw the bareMinerals on the choice list I didn’t really look at anything else so I don’t really know what it was up against.

Interestingly enough I had the opposite reaction to the second choice. Nothing on that tier really inspired me. I ended up choosing the Stone Street Soaphouse Geranimo Body Cream (retail $32) because I had never tried anything from the brand and it seemed like the best of the lot.

Nothing against it, but I am awash in body creams right now. I opened it to see and t was really floral. It is geranium-tastic in scent. I think my use of it is going to depend on how floral that ascent stays when applied to the skin. If the scent dies back and the cream performs well I’ll be happy to use it, but it was far more strongly scented than I thought it would be. That will be an interesting trial.

I have to admit, the third item I took out of the box didn’t thrill me, although it did start to interest me the more I looked at it . It is the Luxie makeup Sponge set (retail $40). I’m not a big fan of getting makeup sponges in subscriptions. I use them, but they aren’t a tool I use a lot. There are some products I need them for, but most of my products I don’t need them, so the ones I have last a long time.

Plus I tend to be specific in the ones I like. I like the ones with at least one flat edge as I find them to be the most useful with the way I apply my makeup. I do love Luxie Brushes though and I have never tried the sponges so I’ll try them. One feels like a regular makeup sponge. The one I find interesting it the other one that appears to have some sort of textured almost rubberized surface to it. That is the one I find interesting and the one I will look into.

The next item was a Lunar Beauty Eyeshadow Palette called Nude Prism ($48). I can’t remember if I have ever tried Lunar Beauty before. I think I might have but I’ll have to double check to be certain. I am really hoping it performs well because these shades are right up my alley.

It is something that if I like I can see myself getting a lot of use from. I knw it isn’t that exciting, but while I love the look of a lot of the brighter colors in the pans, I don’t tend to wear a lot of the brighter shades. I tend to dress more for meetings then dinner out with friends. I have a weakness for bronze shades though and there are three in this palette calling to me. It will be fun to play around with

There is one hair care Item this month; a shampoo and conditioner set. It is from Outre ($66 for the set). It is a repair and hydrate set incused with CBD. I remember trying an Outre hair mask a while back and liking it but I have not tried their shampoo and conditioner. I am always up for trying a new shampoo and conditioner.

And I do love when they are paired. In the summertime i tend to go with Argan oil and other repair type blends while in the winter I go for more volume and thickness inducing products (Like the Grow Gorgeous Intense set– The link will take you to the full collection if you are interested.) In the summer there is so much humidity in the air that thickening shampoos would just turn my hair into some sort of armor plated bouffant. As these are repairing I should be able to use them during the warmer months.

And finally we come to the last item in the box. I left it because I know I am just going to laugh at the retail value. It is an Avant product and their prices are always listed as so high it makes me giggle. The products are always good. For example their lip balm is one of the best that I have tried. it is also a $78 lip balm which is beyond the realm of laughable. I like getting Avant in subscription boxes and on sale in places like the Boxy Charm Pop up, but the retail prices are just so crazy.

With that intro, this month I received the Avant Skincare Blue Volcanic Stone Purifying and Antioxidant Cleansing Gel. (retail $110). It is a 100 ml sized tube. I am sure it will be a good cleanser, Avant’s products usually are good. I am also sure i would never pay more than a hundred dollars for a cleanser. I am looking forward to trying it out though.

All in all I have to say I am pleased with this month’s box. I love that there was a bareMinerals product and I am looking forward to trying out the Lunar Beauty Palette and the shampoo. I am interested by the textured makeup sponge and if the geranium can be tamed then the body cream will be good as well. I also know that once I open the Avant Cleanser the blue color and the reference to volcanos is going to have me thinking Blue Hawaii and humming various Elvis tunes as I wash my face. But there are certainly worse things. Over all Boxy Charm Premium was a pretty good box for me this month.



Unboxing the July 2022 Look Fantastic Box

That’s right, the subscription boxes keep coming. It is that time. There will be a bit of a break after this as the rest ship a bit later. This month’s Look Fantastic is called the Sunshine Edit. And I have to tell you right off the bat, as soon as I opened it a lovely summery scent wafted up from under the tissue paper. But before we get to that, a few of the basics. This is a $19 per month subscription but you can lower the cost by subscribing for longer. I have an annual membership but still pay monthly. My fee is $16 per box. while some months are always going to be better than others, I have never regretted keeping this subscription or going to annual. It is always worth the $19 but feels like a steal at $16.

So what is inside this month’s box?

I’ll admit the first thing I went for when I peeled back the tissue paper was the item that smelled so lovely. It is the Foamie Papaya Body Bar. It is a Papaya and Oat Milk bar of soap that has a ribbon on it to hang in your shower. I love the scent of papaya.

Oddly I love the smell more than I like the taste. The taste is a bit strong for me and ends up tasting a little on the perfume side. But I love the scent and am thrilled to have it in soap form. I also love that it has oat milk in it. My baby doll gets skin irritations from his allergies and oat milk based soaps really help him with taming that so this will be well used and possibly fought over.

The second item I took out of the box is the spoiler from last month as well as the only makeup item in this month’s box. It is it BY Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder. It is a travel sized powder. I am perfectly fine with the size since I don’t know much about the brand. I am glad they send something from By Terry that wasn’t the rose oil lip gloss which I’ve gotten a couple of times in boxes. (it’s the only thing I’ve tried from them. That was a very intense rose. I have seen this powder in the Dermstore and really wanted to try it out but was worried everything the brand had would come with that overly intense rose scent. I am happy this doesn’t smell like rose. I did open the powder. It is very finely milled and sent up a dust cloud when opened. It will be interesting to see how it performs.

Item number three was the Minetan After Sun Gel. I am actually really pleased by this. I thought Minetan only did sun-less tanning products. It is nice to know they have an after sun gel. It is something that soothes skin after too much sun and cools sunburns. As one of it’s chief ingredients is Aloe Vera which I use to treat sunburns, I have high hopes this will be good. I have worked hard not to get sunburns this year, but post sun soothing is always handy to have around, even without the burn.

A full sized Scalp Scrub from Umberto Giannini was in the box this month. I have never heard of Umberto Giannini before as a brand, but I do love scalp scrubs. I recently finished the Christophe Robin Sea Salt scalp scrub and will soon be restocking. I’ve bought that several times and will buy it again. It will be nice to try a different scalp scrub though. This one has pictures of pineapples on the front so perhaps it will be more tropical and fit well with the papaya soap.

Next, we have the Mio Future Proof Body Butter. Which I can’t lie did make me tear up a little. I received a tube of their shower gel in a subscription box a few years back and not only did I like it, but as my brother was looking for a new body wash and loved the scent of oranges I ordered a tube for him and have added it to his Christmas stocking each year since since he really liked it. I have not tried their body butter but look forward to giving it a go even though at the moment I am starting to get a stockpile of body butters. At least this one is travel sized and can be used up fairly quickly. Soon we will see if it is as good as their body wash.

The last Item in my box this month was an either or product. You could either receive a Cetaphil Gentle skin Cleanser or a Beauty Pro Clay Sheet mask. I got the Clay sheet mask and I am pretty happy about it actually. I know, I’m not the biggest fan of sheet masks, but I have used a couple of clay sheet masks and I enjoyed them a lot. So I am hoping this is a good one. And yes they are basically peel off clay masks. And you know how I love clay masks.

If you are interested in getting this box and are a new subscriber then you can get your first box for just $16 (use code HELLO) They almost always have a discount code each month posted on the page so if you decide that this box isn’t for you but then a few month’s later see one that is more your style you can usually find the code there. Right now their on line store is also having a 25% of sale with code LFSALE. Oh and the spoiler for next month is the Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense which is described as a super charged Hyaluronic acid serum. and I am all for hyaluronic acid. Plus while August will be brutal heat wise here, soon after we may head into cooler temps and then I will need the extra moisture products. So it will be nice to have something like that on hand.

And that my darlings was my July Look Fantastic box and for me this month was pretty fantastic.



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.

Unboxing the Bookishly Vintage and Coffee for July 2022

I have recently been reviewing all of my subscriptions and looking at the ones I want to keep moving forwards and possibly some others to replace them. I love subscription boxes and services. I know that I spend more time talking about the beauty ones than anything else, but I am finding myself drawn more to non-beauty subscriptions.

And occasionally I poke around on Cratejoy just to see what is available. I recently came across this Bookishly one and as coffee and books are two of my favorite things, I thought it might be fun to give it a try. There are several different types for this service. There is this one which is listed as the Vintage and coffee, there is a coffee and classics and there is a sci fi/fantasy and coffee as well.

I believe you can choose tea instead of coffee if you are so inclined.

I can be somewhat picky about my sci fi and fantasy and at this point I have a rather large classics collection, so I decided to try out the vintage one. The subscription is a UK based one and I believe it is run through a small book shop. In the title I marked this as the July subscription, but it may actually be the June one. The first order of the subscription ships out within 2 hours according to the site, and the following ones ship out the 20th of the month. The subscription charges to your account on the 8th of the month. I did put this as the July post because I suspect that the one that is mailed out on the 20th won’t reach me until the beginning of August. I could be wrong, and if so then we will have two July postings for Bookishly as I already know I will be keeping it for a few months at the very least. As for cost, the cost o0n the site is listed in pounds (as is natural for a UK subscription) when all is said and done with the international fees ($0.81) and everything (Shipping flat $3 fee) the cost to me was $17.12.

And what did I get for my subscription cost?

Well I received a small bag of coffee and a paperback book. The coffee is PerkuLatte Coffee Co and the variety I received this time was Colombian Cauca Piendama. It was roasted on the 5th of May according to the bag and has flavor notes of cacao, caramel and apple. There were enough grounds in the bag for two separate pots of coffee. (I used a 10 cup French press and I tend to like my coffee strong, if you are doing your own comparison). I have to say I did notices some chocolaty notes with a hint of caramel-y sweetness to tone down some of cacao’s bitter notes. I can’t say I noticed any apple notes. But otherwise the description was pretty good. The coffee was quite good as well.

I took down one of my fancy coffee cups for the brew. I know this is the sort of cup that is usually doctored with a bit of brandy (and for the second pot I did add a little bit of cognac for a Sunday afternoon treat. But even without the alcohol that cup just feels good in the hand so I needed little encouragement to use it. (And really why should tea have all the pretty china?)

As for the book. The one I received was Graham Greene’s The Lawless Roads. Greene wrote both thrillers, novels and some serious works that I read is school. I think the Third man is one a more people are familiar with. I have read The quiet American and The Ministry of Fear. The Ministry of Fear is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it actually. I had not heard of The Lawless Roads, but I do like the author so I am looking for ward to it. I already started the intro and his writing is so easy to fall into. It is definitely from a different era though.

And hence well into the vintage category (Green lived from 1904-1991 in case you were wondering). I also love that the book was wrapped up in paper like a little present. It made it feel just that much more special.

book wrapped up

So I am well pleased with both the coffee and the book. The book is about Travels in Mexico and the coffee is Columbian. I don’t know if there is any thought to the pairing of the two or if that is incidental. I do know I enjoy both. The book clearly wouldn’t be the same for everyone, but I can say that the book is in good condition, no markings and no torn bits. It has some age to it, but it is not worn out. As I often think the same of myself i am fine with that.

There is a small paper bookmark that also came with the book. I don’t know if that is standard, So I’ll have to see about that moving forward. It is just a thick paper book mark with a Madam Bovary quote on it – “I feel torn to pieces by a rage of love.” As I read the book I’ll see if it relates to the book or if it is just random, but as I am only on the introduction, that too will wait.

I am well pleased with this Bookishly subscription. I know it is my first one, but I love the thought of getting a surprise book once a month. Something i may not have picked up on my own or may not have even come across. I know there is always the possibility that I will get something that I don’t really feel like reading, but I do read a wide variety of books and topics and even if I don’t like the book, I have a bag of coffee with two full pots worth of grounds inside ad my local library takes donations for their annual book sale. So it can never be all bad. I am already looking forward to what gets sent on the 20th. And to be honest, anticipation of a subscription is almost as much fun as getting the subscription. It has been a while since I have anticipated a subscription this much. Which is yet another reason for me to revise my subscriptions list. But for now, this is one I think I will keep around for a while.

Shop Mystery and Escape Room Subscription Boxes on Cratejoy

Unboxing the June 2022 GlossyBox

Coming in just under the wire is the June Glossy Box. I can’t lie, this box caused me great angst this month. Normally this is one of my favorite boxes and any time i have had to e-mail customer service they have been great. This month was a little different. Around June 20th I realized my Glossy Box had not come in so I sent a note to their customer service asking when boxes would be shipped.

I received a message stating that orders charged by the 5th and ship by the 12th. The entire message made it feel like I was at fault for not sending an e-mail on the 12th to ask if the box had been shipped. I was a little irked, but I probably should have checked on the box sooner and at least now I know when i should check. I sent a message back saying that I had not been charged and had not received a shipping notice. I received a much more polite return e-mail telling me that June’s boxes sold out and that my subscription would start with the July box.

I pointed out that I had been a member for several years and it wasn’t a new subscription. They again told me that June’s box was sold out and that my subscription would start with July.. The same day, my account was charged for June, I received a tracking e-mail and two days later the box was on my doorstep. It is the June box but there were some substitutions. So now that we’ve settled ourselves with customer service, let’s look at the June Box. First lets take a look at the items covered in the pamphlet that came in the box.

Item number one is a deluxe Mini of the Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing paste. I have never tried this product before but as I have more or less loved every Christophe Robin product I’ve tried, I am really looking forward to trying it out. I just finished up one of the sea salt scalp scrubs from the brand and will be ordering it. (The Skinstore routinely has both Christophe Robin and Grow Gorgeous (another fave hair care brand) sales so I am waiting for the next one to stock up – Their Fourth of July sale has begun so you might want to check it out if you are looking into stocking your own skincare). I did open the jar though and took a sniff. It is very Rose scented. I’m not sure how that will play out in my hair, but those with rose scented issues beware. It will be interesting to see how much scent stays in the hair from the paste.

The second item listed in the brochure that was in my box was the Pixi by Petra Peach Honey Blush Duo. It is a deluxe mini and according to the pamphlet…”sweep on the peachy pink and follow with a dusting of the golden highlighter. I suspect the peachy pink may end up being a bit light for me but I am willing to give it a try. While I have tried a few makeup products from the brand when I purchase form them I almost always purchase toners. The makeup I have received in subscription boxes and tends to be very hit or miss for me. They do make excellent toners though.

The third item listed in the pamphlet is a full sized body cream from Not Pot. It is the Banana OG Hemp body cream. It has a big fragrance free label on the side. It may be the most well sealed body lotion I have ever received. The entire tube was sheathed in plastic and it had an interior foil cap. Whoever sent this out was determined that it would not leak in transit. And it didn’t. When I finally released it and took a sniff I have to agree, there is zero fragrance. The label lists banana extract as well as sativa oil in case you are wondering why both banana and hemp are in the body cream’s name. I am kind of glad thee is no CBD scent, but at the same time I am a little disappointed that there isn’t a banana scent. I think it would be a nice summery scent that was different from the typical watermelon and coconut. But unscented is fine too.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The remaining two products in the box are not the same ones in the pamphlet. However the two items that are listed in the pamphlet I have received before. So I don’t know if the substitution was made because someone is keeping track or because they simply ran out of products. The two listed in the pamphlet are Comfort Zone’s ReNight Cream and Balance Me’s BHA exfoliating concentrate.

The two remaining products I received are the Astaxanthin Collagen All in One Gel from DHC and the Julep Love your Bare Face Hydrating Bamboo Water Cleansing Wipes. Interestingly enough I have received this gel moisturizer and a different type of Julep cleansing wipes from Look Fantastic. The DHC Moisturizer is nice. It is full size and has a water cream texture to it. It is actually really good for summer wear. I also like the burnt orange Ombre of the jar. It is a good product and I don’t mind having it appear again.

I’m never going to be thrilled by cleansing wipes showing up because I have taken them out of my routine. I do like the ease of using them, I just dislike the waste. Julep does make great wipes though. They moisturize the skin while removing dirt and makeup from your face. They are really good it is just a category of product that i specifically gave up using not because I really wanted to but because it was the right thing to do. Since they are here I will use them but i really wish subscription boxes wouldn’t send them.

For me this was a frustrating box. I was annoyed by customer service, more because it felt like they were giving me standard answers without actually reading the question I was asking and I do like when the items match the pamphlet. when they don’t it feels a little more last minute and like leftovers instead of a box someone thoughtfully put together. Whether it is true or not, I like believing that someone thought about the contents in at least a cursory way. I am happy with my substitutions though and am looking forward to trying them out. This month just felt harder than it had to be. Maybe I just felt it more this month because I so often really like Glossy Box and look forward to it. Or because I really needed June to be drama free for my own piece of mind. Either way I will still enjoy the products and I will hope that whatever the internal issues were this month they re resolved and won’t carry over to July.