October Birchbox Review!

Getting my Birchbox every month is one of my favorite things. I’ve had tons of people tell me I should try some others, like Ipsy, but I stick with my Birchbox. For me its not about getting full size items in the box (for subscription boxes like the Blush Box and the Spicy Subscription boxes, getting full size is important) but for beauty products I don’t need a ton of full size products. If you saw my medicine cabinet you would understand why. I have so many face washes and random hair oils/products that I can’t even use the samples I get fast enough! Not to mention my makeup bag is bursting with, well, everything.  I like the samples, because I can give them a go and if I really like them (Like the Curly Hair Solutions Serum) I can get a full size product. And if I hate it (some of the Dr. Brandt products I wasn’t a fan of) I can just toss them and not feel bad.

Trying new stuff out is the bomb.com! This month was one of those months when I got a sample that I will 100% be buying a full size of (as soon as I get another 100 Birchbox Points!) It was a good little box this month, I was impressed…I even liked the usual perfume sample I get and I didn’t get any eyeliner this time! I do not need any more eyeliner…for like a year, I’ve gotten so many full size eyeliners in my Birchboxes.

October’s box was a good mix of facial products ( I still haven’t used my Liz Earle hot face wash thingy….maybe I’ll do that tonight) and makeup. I now don’t need to buy mascara…which I was really needing to because my Makeup Forever Sample is about to run out.

Birchbox, October, Subscription Box

I also now have a slowly growing collection of empty boxes. But those babies are useful! Trays on trays my friends! Trays on Trays…

Curlisto, Dr. Lipp, Borghese, Folle de Joie, Power Lash, Birchbox, October

I need to take these pics in the daytime…and not sit in the dark while I edit them…Ignore! Ignore!

Model Co, Power Lash, Mascara, Birchbox

I was pleasantly surprised by this mascara. (I reaaaallllyy like my Makeup Forever sample that I got for my birthday from Sephora) But the Model Co Power Lash was nice! It didn’t go on clumpy which instantly gives it a gold star! Although I wouldn’t consider this a thickening mascara it really was great for length. I noticed it right away, my lashes really looked longer.  You’d probably have to coat a few times to get the volume of other mascaras but if length is your thing its a good option. Its priced at $20 and is a Birchbox Exclusive. It’s probably not something I would go out of my way to buy primarily because I don’t like spending $20 on mascara… but my sample suits me just fine! Get it here!

2014-10-19 10.40.35

I do not know why it is so difficult to find a mud mask around here! I went on a kick for awhile and I searched high and low and came up with nada. Thanks Birchbox for giving me my face mask fix. I love a mud mask (if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see I finally used last months Dr. Brandt Pore Refining mask…it was scary, and didn’t work). My skin always feels a lot cleaner and a little tighter. This Borghese Mud was great. It didn’t over dry my face, it was a quick mask and holy crap the sample is going to last me awhile. I used two dime size amounts to cover my face and this is at least a 3oz bottle. The 7oz bottle is $35 on Birchbox and I would probably consider buying it if I used masks regularly. You can get it here!

2014-10-19 10.41.05

I usually have a hate/hate relationship with the perfumes I get from Birchbox. I do not like fruity ones and quite a few I have received were almost sickly sweet smelling…definitely not my taste at all. This one by Joie wasn’t terrible. It’s a little stronger than I’m used to but it was more of a fresh citrus scent. I wouldn’t buy it for myself as I have my favorites but I’ll certainly use the sample because it is a nice scent. This one is a whopper and retails for $98. You can get it Here!

2014-10-19 10.41.40

Ahhhhhh the true gem in my box. The one thing I will buy. THIS IS AMAZING. I do not like chapstick (I have it in my office drawer when my lips are desperately dry, but I’m not a fan) But this was just downright moisturizing. I use it before bed (I feel like that is when I get the most benefit from it, as throughout the day I’m talking, eating, wiping my face and licking my lips. When I wake up my lips are all soft and feel like I just soaked them in lotion. Originally this was intended for breastfeeding mothers and their cracking, chaffing nipples (hence the name, nipple balm) but it works just perfectly for your lips. I can’t tell you how much I love this product! You can use it for more than just your lips! Dry cuticles? Go for it! Dry patches on your skin? Yep! Sunburn? Ok! You can even use it for diaper rash…talk about versatile! Its pricy for a balm at $14.50, but after using up the sample after just a few days, I’ll tell you its worth it! Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm

2014-10-19 10.42.08

Here’s my problem with hair masks. They usually require me to sit in the shower for an extra 3-5 minutes, just kinda standing there…waiting…and I really have no sense of time. I could be sitting in the shower thinking wow that was a quick one! Only to come out and relize I was in there for 15 minutes. So I could be leaving masks on my hair for a minute rather than 5. I even got one mask from a Birchbox that required it to sit on my head for…wait for it…20 minutes. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Of course that time they sent me an extra sample of that…it still sits on my shower window, waiting to be used. The Curlisto also requires you to rinse with cool water…uh no. There is no way I’m going to get in a nice hot shower, wait around for 5 minutes then switch it to cold water, when I live in Chicago…where its like…cold, already.  The masks are kind of a waste on me though because 9 times out of 10 I wear my hair back and 10 times out of 10 I dont wear it curly. Now that I’m growing my hair out (hey hey for 2 inches since June!) the longer my hair gets, the curls just get more pathetic. Its just easier to wear back or straight. So this Curlisto mask isn’t on my to try list quite yet, maybe when I get a night where I can relax in the tub? Has anyone tried it? Is it worth a shot? Eventually I will…these just take me a little longer to get to.  The Curlisto Mask is priced at $36 on Birchbox.com  you can get it here.

 

Do you get a subscription box? Do you prefer full size products or samples of things you have never tried before?

 

 

 

I was in no way compensated by Birchbox for this post, it is a review of the box I pay for each month, all opinions are my own.

How to be a Morning Person

Do you consider yourself a morning person? Or how about a night owl? Do you think you can evolve from a night owl to a morning person? Or can you be both?

wintery-sunrise-1445001-2-m

I find myself to be a little bit of both. I tend to lose track of time at night and find myself caught up in a book or a tv show till 11pm or later, then I have to wake up at no later than 6:30 to be on my way out the door by 7:15. I totally can get showered and ready to go in 45 minutes. In the morning I’m pretty efficient, I can multi-task and get myself out the door and to the train on time. But mornings are really when I’m most productive. It’s at 7am when I feel like I want to do all my dishes and clean the bathroom or snap photos of this or that for the blog. But when you get up with only 45 minutes to be out the door it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

So to combat my desire to be über productive in the morning, which also allows me to be incredibly lazy when I get home, I’m training myself to get up just a little bit earlier every day with an end goal of waking up at 5:30. Plenty of time to get a little blogging done, do some AM yoga, clean up dishes from the night before and maybe even blow dry my hair.

But waking up earlier is not easy. Especially when you’re all warm and cozy in your bed and it’s still dark out. It’s actually really, really hard. Dark = Sleep more right?  But if I want to work on my social media plan for the blog and get a few extra things done in the morning (especially yoga) I gotta get up earlier.

I scoured the internet to find some helpful suggestions on getting my booty up earlier. Here’s what I found (plus some of my own):

  • Go to bed earlier. Yeah totally lame, your friends will tease you when you go to bed at 9 but getting up earlier is much easier.
  • Turn your phone COMPLETELY off before you go to bed. Invest in an alarm clock instead. The light and distractions from your phone don’t help you fall asleep any easier! **This is one I need to do!**
  • Don’t hit Snooze. This one is super hard for me, and part of my training routine. I literally set like 10 alarms…one every 15 minutes. I sleepily hit snooze on the first 5 and usually wake up by the 6th, but hit snooze again till alarm 8…My goal is to sleep through the first 3 alarms and get up by Alarm 5.
  • Get up and get moving. I always feel more awake when I work out in the morning. Hence my desire to get up earlier to do so. But even just getting up to turn the lights on is helpful.yoga-118151-m
  • Open the blinds or invest in a sunlamp. This is a common suggestion (saw it both on Real Simple and Huff Post). They can be pricy but will help wake you up.
  • Create a routine in the morning. I do this the best I can. I wake up, I start a cup of coffee, put my contacts in and start a shower. Now that I’m wanting to add more to my routine I have to add more time. By the time I meet my goal my routine will be super productive!
  • Eat breakfast. I do eat breakfast, but its usually when I get to work. I will hopefully modify my morning routine to include a little breakfast before I head off to work.

Showering in the morning really helps me. I’ve tried to shower at night, but I’m a total night sweater and I have to shower in the morning. It usually wakes me up and gets me moving as well.

I’m really good at convincing myself that I have 15 extra minutes…which usually makes me late. But now that I am working towards getting up earlier, I’m working towards my goal in 15 minute increments. I usually get up at 6:30, but this week I’m getting up at 6:15, next week 6:00. I started adding my yoga in as my first change to the routine, it really helps me to wake up and get up a little earlier. Plus I still want to lose a few pounds/inches so it helps with that as well.

Working towards getting up at 5:30 in smaller amounts of time allows my body to adjust gradually. Even though it makes sense to just jolt your body into it by not hitting snooze. I know, for me, that’s not a reality. I’m less tired if I go slow.

Getting the boring stuff out of the way in the morning (like the dishes and tidying up the bathroom) makes me feel way less guilty about binge watching Blacklist or The Voice when I get home…

What do you to get yourself up in the morning?

Gilt City Warehouse Sale: Chicago. The best shopping day ever!

You better believe I was the first person there on Saturday for the Gilt Warehouse Sale in Chicago. I woke my ass up at 7:30am to be at the MCA warehouse by 8:30. I completely expected there to be at least 100 people there by then but I was the first one! (I actually got there at the same time as one other girl but still! We were first!!!) By 9am there were like 100 people in line.

I had a few goals in mind going into this sale…because I didn’t want to get distracted by pretty dresses I knew would be in abundance.

First Goal was to stay under $200…I then revised to $250. I was successful! I came in at $220. It definitely put me over my montly budget for October, but I think next month there’s only a few things I want to get and I can really get them for a discount. (woo hoo for coupons!)

Second Goal was to hit up the shoes first. I’m in desperate need of boots for fall. I legit have none. The pair I wore last year I literally wore them out and after such a harsh winter I needed new ones. So into the trash they went. I was successful on that front too! I found two pairs of boots! A pair of Maje caramel colored booties with fringe down the side and a pair of Corso Como Racine Boots in a dark chocolatey brown. Both were in great condition and insanely good prices. The Maje boots full retail were $435 (not sure how much the Gilt listed price was but I’m guessing around $150-$200) I got those babies for $59! The Corso Como boots full retail were $200 and  were listed at $69 plus an extra 20 percent off! So they ended up being around $56. I’m so excited about those Maje boots, they were really similar to another pair of boots I loved at Marshalls and I’ve been holding off on buying them, so glad I did!  I just have two pairs of boots I need a really warm pair of snow boots (who’s got suggestions for me! Think boots made for the South Pole!) and a pair of black knee high boots (which there are a pair at American Eagle that I like a lot and am waiting till November to buy)

corso como, racine boot, knee high boot, chocolate boot

Corso Como Racine Boot

Maje, Tan Bootie, Fringe, Fall boot, Ankle Boot

Maje Bootie

My third goal was to find some accessories. I have lots of jewelry but I’m bored by it and I want new things. I find myself wearing the same necklaces over and over again. And I have zero arm candy so that I was on the hunt for as well. But alas, the jewelry selection was slim. They did have a large table of jewelry from one company but nothing struck my fancy as I love lots of color when it comes to jewelry. And the Gilt selection consisted of Isabel Marant. Who is great designer (I love her shoes) but her jewelry wasn’t really my style.  So mission find cute jewelry was a fail.

I didn’t want to buy a bunch of clothes really. Maybe a jacket if I could find something fantastic. Which of course I found a Valentino Jacket which was beautiful but even on sale was priced at over $900….I did find a cute little collarless peplum blazer which I snagged. I wear a lot of navy but don’t really have any navy jackets. This was perfect. I was excited about it until I got back to the car and realized I didn’t even check the seams, which were ripped. Thank goodness my mom is an awesome seamstress and I snapped a few pics and she said she could fix it by taking it in (luckily there is plenty of room for that!) I really did drool over all the Zac Posen that was there…Zac Posen and Kate Spade would fill my closet it if I could buy anything and everything. I really adore Posen’s classic shapes and somewhat of a retro but super modern feel. Perfect for a woman who has lots of curves. The prices on the ZP dresses that were there were really reasonable…I saw one as low as $199, still crushed that it was out of my budget.

Purses were off limits! I seriously have way too many purses and next Summer I’m 100% going to have to part with a few. I could probably fill a carry-on with just my purses. I’ve really changed my mentality towards bags though in the last year or so. I’ve really made a straight forward effort to buy purses that are high quality and have the ability to get a lot of use. I love Kate Spade so I’ve invested in a few bags (I had to return a book clutch because it broke, so I traded in for a gorgeous hot coral shoulder bag) and I’ve taken advantage of the 70% off flash sales a few times. I was very tempted to buy a cute printed Kate Spade square bag at the sale (it was only $95!!!) but resisted, knowing that I wouldn’t have space in my suitcase next fall. But I did manage to come across a beautiful little red velvet wristlet…by who else but Zac Posen. For only $39 (the original tags were still on it too, full retail was $250)! And it fits my iphone! I don’t have a wristlet at all, but I decided I needed one. And this one. Because you know…Zac Posen. Its so purty.

Zac Posen, Velvet, Wristlet

Zac Posen Wristlet

My Gilt Warehouse Sale shopping excursion was 100% a success. And I am DEFINITELY going next time. I’m glad I did a little research about the sale prior to heading over.  Here are my tips if you’re going to a sale in the future!

  • Get the AM time slot and arrive early.
  • Hit up shoes first! I went to the shoes first because I knew that if there were boots they’d be the first to go since its summer. Boy was I right. There were only 4-5 pairs in my size and by the time I went through the shoes the second time towards the end, all the boots were gone.
  • Go through the rows a few times. People moved things around and I ended up finding things in the aisles each time I went through.
  • Best thing to do is if you see something, grab it and try it on, even if you’re not sure. Most likely if you pass it up it’ll be gone.
  • Don’t be afraid to get naked. The dressing rooms are communal, everyone shares a mirror and a rack.
  • Dont bring a lot of stuff with you. I didn’t wear a jacket and brought the smallest possible purse.
  • CHECK OVER EVERYTHING. I knew to do this before I went and I was so overwhelmed by everything that I completely forgot to check the jacket. I checked both pairs of boots and looked over my wristlet but didn’t with the jacket, only to find big holes along the seams. Everything in the sale is sold As-is, it may have damage, abnormalities or be dirty. But you really have to think about the damage. Ask yourself these questions:
    • Will I wear it often?
    • Is the damage repairable?
    • Is repairing it going to cost more than the item itself? For me, I go based on what the full retail value is, others go based on what they paid. If I buy a jacket on sale for $50 but full price it was $145, I can justify spending the money to repair it, especially if I know I’ll wear it alot. If it was $50 full price, I definitely can’t justifying spending the money on repairing it.
    • Is it a quality brand? Even high end brands have damage and abnormalities that need to be fixed. Whether it be from wear and tear or just a fluke. If its a higher end brand I say fix it, once repaired the item can last a long time! If its a cheap brand (say Zara, H&M, Topshop etc) I’d say pass on fixing it.
    • Is it a staple piece or trendy? If its trendy I’d say pass on repairing it. If its something thats timeless then definitely repair.

The Gilt Warehouse Sale doesn’t happen just in Chicago, there’s locations all over. Just check frequently on your local Gilt site and search for the Warehouse Sale to see when they held it last. Typically its in the spring and fall and they start selling tickets a month or two ahead of time. I learned last time not to wait to buy tickets as they sold out for the spring sale.

Did you check out the Gilt Warehouse Sale? How was it for you?