1st Birchbox arrived today!

Howie and Birchbox #1 - fresh 'out the mailbox

I signed up for Birchbox around Jul 9th (see link to original post below) – I received my first Birchbox today! Isn’t it so exciting to get a package in the mail!?

 

 

My initial reaction – on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being NOT-SA-MUCH, 10 being AMAZING)…

  • Presentation – I give a 10 out of 10
    • I will admit, I thought the box would be larger (above is a pic of Howie modeling the size)…but since Birchbox mentions you will receive 4-5 samples per month, the relative box sizes makes sense
    • It was fun to open – there was a box within a box:

    • The outer wrapping had a cute design – upon reading the note inside, this month’s box is designed by Cynthia Rowley (apparently, she is an American fashion designer, her name sounds vaguely familiar)
    • The inside was lined with turquoise tissue paper, like a present!:
  • The contents – I give a 6 out of 10
    • 5 samples were included (pic below):
      • Redken Shine Brilliance ‘glistening mist’
      • KIND Fruit & Nut bar
      • Purity one-step facial cleanser
      • AHAVA mineral hand cream
      • Mini Zoya nail polish in Shay
  • I like the variety of the contents. Something for hair, nails, face, hands, and tummy!

To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll get much use out of these samples. I’m not big into hair spray let alone glistening mist, I’ve tried the Purity cleanser (it’s been around for a while), it wasn’t for me…I have 100 hand creams in my bathroom. I guess, I’ll fo-sho eat the granola bar…and the polish is cute.

Overall, I give box #1…a 7 out of 10…the presentation really carried this one. So, although, I’m not super psyched to try any of the contents…it was SO fun to open up and explore. Also, the notecard included with the contents helps shed light on what they are/why they are in there…apparently, they are some of Cynthia Rowley’s go-to products! (brings it all fulllll circle):

Birchbox also includes a small tag that encourages you to rate the products online…and it says ‘you’ll be thanked with loyalty points to buy your favorite full-size products.’ It’s cool that they’re collecting feedback, which will help compile even better boxes in the future…and even better that feedback helps bank points for full size products down the line. Another offer – free shipping all month on this box’s samples AND orders over $50. Some cool perks!

What do you think? @ $10 a month…not sure I can make the call yet. I’ll report back again when I receive my send Birchbox next month.

Splurge: eyelash extensions

Let me start by saying, I’m not an expert on these or really any beauty treatments/services. But I’ve tried eyelash extensions and recently got a solid review from a trusted friend and beauty resource.

What are eyelash extensions? 

  • Extensions are single strands of synthetic eyelashes that are curved to replicate a natural eyelash. They provide length and thickness to your own lashes and are available in varying lengths and thickness. They are applied to your individual eyelashes, one lash at a time. There is no need for mascara even though a water based mascara is fine to use. The result is thicker, longer, eye-opening eyelashes that are safe in the shower, while swimming, sleeping or exercising. (courtesy of lashoutpro.com)

I first tried eyelash extensions a few months ago. I went to a salon on Newbury St. (in Boston) and was offered ‘weekend’ lash extensions for $50. Weekend lashes are a few lashes placed on the outer corner of the eyes. Normally, the cost for weekend lashes is $100. A full set at this salon, which is considered a more ‘dramatic’ enhancement is $350, yowza. Half set lashes are also available for $250. Touch-up applications are offered for full/half sets for $50. I was offered the discount as one of the aestheticians was recently trained and wanted to show me how they work/would look. Application took about 45 minutes. For a full set it takes ~180 mins. It’s a tedious process, definitely takes skill! They are supposed to last 3-4 weeks.

The application was completely painless and quite relaxing as I laid on one of the massage tables with tranquil music playing in the background. I was so excited to see the results. I have thicker lashes naturally, so I was hoping this would be an added bonus, making me look more awake or detract from my dark circles. To be honest, I was not astounded with the results. The lashes were pretty, and I noticed them slightly, as a few were longer and stood taller than my natural lashes. After leaving the salon I was kind of bummed but I realized I didn’t get the full set, and I got to try them for pretty cheap (considering). Within the next few days I lost a couple lashes. I ended up going back to the salon because I felt like, discount or not, these babies were not lasting. The aesthetician gladly re-did the lashes. She was super nice and apologetic and she said she used a stronger adhesive this time around. The re-done lashes stayed on longer (~1.5 weeks). But after this experience, it didn’t feel like something I could keep up with or justify as an expense.

Now, that was my experience. I recently talked to my friend Kaitlyn about her experience, and I got to see the handy work. She loves her ‘new’ lashes…and I must say, they look amazing. They were done by Blink out of Hanover MA. Her application took 2 hours – she got a full set. The cost is $195 which includes a one week touch up. Kaitlyn has really long lashes naturally, so she wasn’t sure how they’d look. But…see for yourself:

She loves them because she doesn’t have to wear mascara. In the pictures she literally had one stroke of mascara on.

So gorgeous! Thank you, Kaitlyn for glamming up my blog! sorry boys, she’s spoken for 😉

So, the end scoop:

  • Eyelash extensions are definitely a splurge
  • Make sure you go to someone who’s well experienced, a referral from a friend is a good idea (holler @ Blink)!
  • If possible, give lash extensions a test drive before using them for a big event (i.e. wedding, honeymoon, trip to Vegas!), to make sure you like them first
  • Lash extensions can be a pretty enhancement! When done right, they have a natural yet flirtatious look
  • Be ready to kick back and relax, as the application takes some time
  • Lashes should last a couple of weeks, at least
  • Some people pay to get the full set put on, and then go back and get ‘touch up’ applications regularly to keep the lash extensions as a long term staple in their beauty routine
  • For me, I’d probably try lash extensions again. BUT, I’d save them (and my money) for a big event, and I’d go with a full set, to get the full effect. I’d also go with Blink, or someplace off of Newbury St. knowing that you can get a full set for a more reasonable price, and they do a great job

I’ll be reporting back on a less expensive (and more temporary) approach to lash extensions…’steal: fake eyelashes done by YOU’ stay tuned!

Have you had eyelash extensions? If so, please share your experience / referrals here!

CREDITS:

Kinda like wine of the month club, but for beauty products

For a $10 monthly membership fee, you can sign up for BIRCHBOX – which is a web-based company that offers by-mail high-end beauty product sampling.

You might be thinking…samples? Aren’t those typically FREE? Why would I pay?

Well:

  • If like to sample beauty products, picture a pretty box arriving at your doorstep each month, full of new mini products to try
  • Sample size means – if you don’t like it, you didn’t waste significant money on the full size version, or waste product
  • It comes to you, directly. Typically, you have to buy something at a store (or online) to get samples. Or, you have to ask at the beauty counter which sometimes leads to a long drawn out conversation about the weather. This saves you time!

The Birchbox Deal:

  • Birchbox keeps your card on file and you are debited $10 per month
  • Birchbox shipments go out around the 10th of each month
  • You can cancel anytime
  • Birchbox.com also sells full size brands, so if you love the sample, you can go on and buy the full size product off the site and have it sent to you

Birchbox lists a variety of brands on their site whose products you may receive each month:

  • Benefit
  • Keihls
  • Korres
  • Kerastase
  • Laura Mercier
  • NARS
  • Stila
  • Too Faced

to name a few…for a list of all brands – click here: http://www.birchbox.com/shop/brands/

Here’s the deal…I signed up for this today. I’ll report back shortly once I get my first box of goodies. I’ll let you know if the samples are worth it. Stay tuned!!!

Homepage if you wanna join: www.birchbox.com

**Just submitted my order – couple things to note:

  • It is $10 a month, then it had me calculate ‘shipping & taxes’ – initially, I was like  what?! more money? But thankfully, it calculated standard flat shipping at $0. Maybe if you live in a certain state/region you have to pay for shipping? Not sure. Thankfully, shipping to MA is $0
  • Below in italics is what is included in your monthly membership. Birchbox offers an annual membership, but I wanted to do monthly for now, so I can cancel anytime. Plus $10 a month is easier to swallow than $100+ upfront for an annual membership
  • Monthly Birchbox with 4-5 luxe beauty samples
  • Website filled with expert tips, tricks, and tutorials
  • $10 off full-size products for every 100 Birchbox points
  • Points for referring friends, buying products, and more

Anyone else ever joined this site??