It’s a Birchbox Showdown! June 2013

I always knew it would come down to this. The day when I knew that my envy of other Birchboxes would get the best of me.

Oh, I tried to fight it as long as I could. But I knew from the beginning that this would happen…

I registered for a second subscription to Birchbox! Mwha ha ha! (Cue the lightning flash, thunder and scary music)

Okay maybe it’s not that dramatic. But after seeing other unboxing videos as well as Birchbox’s own teaser videos, I would always get a serious case of Birchbox envy. “Oh, I would have loved to get that lipstick in my box!” or “Bummer, I could have used that SPF cream too!”

So I took matters into my own manicured hands and set up a second profile that had some slight modifications. Call it my alter ego or Alter-Birchbox. My second profile prefers no hair products and has a more classic taste in beauty products. The picture above shows the two boxes I received for June: the top one is for my original subscription while the bottom box shows what I got for my Alter-Birchbox profile.

June’s theme was Wanderlust and products were chosen that will be great to use for any summer adventures or getaways you have planned. Instead of describing each product I received (that would take forever) let me cover what I loved most and least in each box. Or as I call them- the Lovers and Leavers.

The Lovers
Juicy Couture Couture La La Fragrance
This fragrance sample in the 1st box features sparkling mandarin and white floral notes and is a perfect light scent for summer. I love, love, love the fact that this is a spray sample- I so hate those with the stoppers.

The Laundress Wash and Stain Bar
I know it may sound weird to be excited about a laundry product. Or more specifically a stain removal product. But I have been curious about The Laundress product line for years and this is my official introduction. As the name implies you rub the bar on any stains and wash your clothes as normal.

FABULOUS by Isaac Mizrahi
Yet another great fragrance, this one was included in my Alter-Birchbox. Like Couture La La, FABULOUS has mandarin notes, but it is also laced with vanilla and jasmine. A fabulous combination, pun intended! I seriously don’t know which fragrance I love more.

Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face
This year I am trying to be better about using SPF products, especially on my face and neck. I have been coveting the Coola moisturizer ever since I saw it in a teaser video a while back. What impressed me the most is the fragrance- a nice, fresh cucumber scent. It smells so nice! I also love that it goes on clear and doesn’t leave a white cast on the skin. Hooray!

The Leavers
Color Club Nail Lacquers in Meet Me In London and Mod in Manhattan
Birchbox included one of four polishes in all June boxes. I love how they named the colors after the four international cities where Birchbox has offices. But I totally didn’t love the actual colors. Meet Me In London arrived in my 1st June box. It looks like an innocent mint green in the bottle, but becomes a bright neon green when applied. I thought I’d like Mod in Manhattan better- it appeared more like a pale pink in the bottle. But when applied it is more like an off white. Again, a color that I do not like. However, I may play around with these colors. It is likely that I can do some creative nail art with these. Ooh, maybe even try an ombré effect. We shall see…

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Lipstick in Quick Kiss
I got the same shade of this Australian product in both boxes. Quick Kiss is described as a “daring orange” and I completely agree with that description! Orange and coral shades look terrible with the cool undertones of my skin color, so I will be sharing this product with two friends. On the flip side, the sample size was 4g while the full-size is listed as 3g on and retails for $26.55. So considering each Birchbox costs only $10 a month, this is a crazy good value! If only the shade worked for me. Oh well- you win some, you lose some. The rich and creamy texture definitely makes me want to check out other shades.

I am glad that I created an Alter-Birchbox profile and am already excited about what will be in our July boxes. Any guesses on the theme? Birchbox Man’s July box is inspired by the USA Network show SUITS. Which got me thinking: what TV show would you like to see inspire a women’s Birchbox?




Febreze Sleep Serenity Experience (Thanks Daily Candy!)

Holy cow- it has been one of those weeks. My Internet went out Monday, which left me scrambling over to my nearest Starbucks a few days to get wifi if only for a couple of hours. It is amazing how easy losing Internet access can make one feel like they are back in 1994. Seriously- how did we get work done without the Internet?

So all of that running around has left me more tired than normal. So tired. Like “I’m too tired to think so please use small words” kind of tired. All this made me very happy to get a surprise package in the mail today from Daily Candy.

Daily Candy emailed a Sleep Style Quiz last month and as one of the first quiz takers, I got the Febreze Sleep Serenity package.

Sleep Serenity is a new bedroom fragrance from Febreze designed for those moments when you need a bit of relaxation. Ah, relaxation sounds sooo good right now!
The package contained two products: Febreze Sleep Serenity Bedroom Mist and Febreze Bedside Diffuser, both in the fragrance Moonlit Lavender. The scent is a light, calming lavender and smells ah-mazing! 20130629-160917.jpg
I have used Febreze Air Effects for a few years, especially the scent Meadows & Rain. I find that the sprays do an amazing job sweeping away offensive odors, leaving behind a refreshing scent that is not overpowering. 20130629-160756.jpg
One spray of the Sleep Serenity spray and I was in love. Ahhhh! This is the perfect way to lull me into a Saturday afternoon nap. I can’t wait to try the bedside diffuser too. Other scents in the Sleep Serenity Collection include Quiet Jasmine and Warm Milk & Honey.

So (yawwwn), I think I will spray a bit more of the bedroom mist and cuddle down on the sofa for a nap. Man I’m sleepy. I don’t think the line is available in stores yet, but keep an eye out for it.

In the meantime, I think…I’ll just take… a little… nap. Zzzzzzzz…



Z Gallerie Facebook Giveaway

I love winning stuff! I mean, really who doesn’t. So I was tickled pink when I was selected as a daily winner in Z Gallerie’s 34th Anniversary Giveaway. Daily winners get a $100 Z Gallerie gift card and there is a grand prize of a $400 gift card.

Contest ends June 30, so you still have time to enter and win. Head over to Z Gallerie’s Facebook page for details and to complete the entry form. I’m already daydreaming about what I’m going to buy!

What would you buy with a $100 Z Gallerie gift card? Maybe an art piece for your office. Or a new vase to hold a gorgeous summer bouquet. Whatever you choose, it will be ah-mazing!

Good luck!



Subscription Boxes: Where Do We Go From Here?

We’re halfway through 2013 and I gotta tell you. This year seems to be the year subscription boxes have exploded on the scene.

I think this explosion has been a good thing. I love subscription boxes and the chance to sample new brands and products that I never would have discovered on my own. And to be honest, I’m dealing with a mild addiction to them. I’ve stopped myself at four subscriptions, but really want more. And more. And more! Reading the blog My Subscription Addiction doesn’t help either (love that site)!

But at times I wonder if we are reaching a saturation or tipping point with subscription boxes. It seems like there are boxes for almost everything. Beauty, shoes, pet supplies, baby products, clothes, organic food, bacon. Most of the boxes sound amazing. Some sound like duds. But there is a box for practically every niche market you can think of.

What happens when the market implodes? I say “when” because I can’t imagine most of the companies being around 10 years from now. At least not in their current forms. What if major manufacturers and suppliers decide it’s not in their best interest to work with these companies or decide that they want to create their own boxes instead (gasp!)? If that happens we could see the subscription numbers dwindle. We’re already seeing duplicates of samples showing up in multiple subscription boxes. Repetition can suck. If this increases, subscribers will start to choose the boxes they love the most and cancel the rest.

No matter how long this trend lasts, I am glad it is here. Let’s enjoy the boxes that are available to us and keep discovering new ones. From Birchbox to PopSugar. From Fancy to Wantable. I kind of want them all. I may need to devote a closet to store all of the awesomeness.



Influenster Summer VoxBox Review

Have you heard of Influenster? It is a community where members receive full-size products to sample and review. The best part- it is absolutely free! I first signed up in March and got my first box this week. So super excited!

The theme for the June box is Sunkissed and included four products to help you enjoy summer from head to toe. You can watch my review video above or continue reading my review summary below. I love options!

Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics
Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics (retails for $3.99 – $4.99)
This package of five ribbons would be great to have on hand whenever an impromptu ponytail is needed. Sadly, as one with short hair I will likely not use these. But I will be sharing these with one of my longer haired friends.

Sinful Shine with Gel Tech in BananAppeal
SinfulShine with Gel Tech (retails for $2.99)
This is a shade I would not normally purchase, so I will probably save it for a pedicure.

Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream (retails for $12.99)
I was excited to get this cream, but I received the shade Light-Medium which will not work for my skin tone. I will have to pass this on to someone else to use.

Dr. Scholl’s For Her High Heel Insoles (retails for $10.99)
I’m so glad I got this product to sample! There is an awesome pair of pink wedge shoes in my closet that will be perfect for these!

If you want to become a member of the Influenster Nation, click here to create your profile. Members do not receive boxes every month- it depends on how your profile matches upcoming boxes. But when you do get a box, it will include full-size products at no charge to you!

Speaking of which, I must fully disclose that as an Influenster member, I received these complimentary products so I can review and share my honest opinions. I’m already excited to see what I get in future boxes!



11 Ways Marketers Can Use Videos on Instagram

Yesterday Instagram updated its app so users can upload videos to their streams. Users can upload videos up to 15 seconds in length, more than twice the length of Vine’s 6-second videos.

A great feature, sure. But to many marketers the question will be, “Now what am I going to do with this?

While it is clear that videos offer a great opportunity to showcase a company’s products or services, some marketers may be stumped for ideas.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • A symphony, ballet or other performance company can share rehearsal footage
  • Restaurant showcasing daily specials
  • Model wearing an outfit or showing jewelry for a retail store
  • Bloggers and authors can use video to promote new articles and drive traffic back to a website
  • Yoga teachers can demonstrate poses and proper form
  • Local farmers can use video to announce what produce they are bringing to an upcoming farmers market
  • Charities can use video testimonials to show how donations are making a difference
  • Animal shelters can share pets that are available for adoption
  • Trivia contest! Ask a question by video- first correct answer wins prize
  • Invite customer testimonials via video, using a designated hashtag to accompany submissions
  • Resort or spa can use video to show a POV perspective of a property’s peaceful surroundings
  • Will you be trying Instagram’s new video feature? What brands and companies do you think will do well with the video option? I’m excited to see how restaurants, hotels, and fashion retailers use video on Instagram. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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