REVIEW: Beauty Box 5 February 2013

Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling program that delivers a box filled with 4-5 cosmetic samples to your door every month and is open to US and Canadian subscribers.

Cost: $12 per month, $30 quarterly, $99 annually

This month, the following was in my Beauty Box 5: 

Elizabeth Mott It's So Big Volumizing Mascara - $8.50
I was incredibly excited to get this item in my beauty box because I have been on a huge mascara kick lately. When I used this item I was surprised it claimed to be volumizing because I thought it gave a very natural look. It separates lashes effectively and held a curl well. 

Rockstar Nails Nail Polish & Caviar - $14.99
Nail caviar! Such an interesting look but the potential for a mess here is high. I must mention that the smell of the polish is very strong so it is advisable to use in a well-ventilated area. The polish itself only required one coat for full coverage but there were some streaking issues. To use: after letting the polish get a bit tacky for ten seconds, sprinkle on some of the caviar. Not sure how long or well the caviar will last but a top coat can't hurt.

John Freida Luxurious Volume Shampoo & Conditioner - $1.00
There were two samples of this John Freida shampoo and I must say I am impressed. It made my hair incredibly smooth and the product itself smelled great. In terms of volume there was no discernible difference so I'm not sold on that front, but its a shampoo, not a miracle worker haha. 

L.A. Fresh - Antibacterial Wipes - $2.49
Plain ol' antibacterial wipes. Not much to report on here but I will be keeping them in my desk for use later. Voucher - $10.00
I don't really consider vouchers or coupons an actual item in beauty boxes because I have to spend additional money to try the product. It was nice to get but I browsed the site and nothing there is really my style. 

Verdict: Another disappointing box this month because there were only four actual items. Additionally, the two last items I mentioned in this post were lacklustre. In general, I like the boxes but I really hope Beauty Box 5 steps up their game next month for Spring.  

ON THE MENU: Warm Mixed Berry Compote

There are few things better than lazy Sunday mornings and homemade waffles. This weekend my boyfriend and I decided to make something sweet to go along with our waffles and I had a chance to try out a simple, foolproof mixed berry compote recipe. Such a simple recipe that any girl can whip it up, but so yummy it will also impress guests. It pairs perfectly with waffles and can even be used as a topping for ice cream. 

Warm Mixed Berry Compote Recipe
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberry
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 pinch salt
1/8 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

In a medium saucepan pan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup water & 1/2 cup sugar & bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook 2 minutes, then add berries, lemon juice & salt. Return to boil, then add butter & swirl mixture around in the pan until butter melts. Note: Feel free to substitute frozen berries in place of fresh ones if desired. 


REVIEW: Beauty Box 5 January 2014

Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling program that delivers a box filled with 4-5 cosmetic samples to your door every month and is open to US and Canadian subscribers.

Cost: $12 per month, $30 quarterly, $99 annually

This month, the following was in my Beauty Box 5: 

Swissco Bath & Shower Exfoliating Gloves - $5.00
These shower gloves might seem like a not-so-exciting item, but they are very well made. I would say they are not too harsh on skin and provide the right level of exfoliation. 

H2O+ Spa Sea Lotus Body Wash - $2.00
This body wash is wonderful! Five stars. It smells fresh and light like the sea; its definitely a unisex scent. It softens skin and lathers very well. 

Jergens Daily Moisturizer - $1.00
A lot of people don't like getting items like this in beauty boxes because they are relatively inexpensive and Jergens is a readily available drugstore brand. Nothing to write home about here, but this lotion is the perfect travel size for keeping at your desk. There is no strong scent and it absorbs non-greasy and quickly.

Nubar Cuticle & Nail Oil - $5.00
Nifty little product that smelled like watermelon. It is a light oil that conditions both nails and cuticles. The product takes a bit of time to absorb but that is expected. 

Epic Blend Lip Balm in Hemp Coconut - $3.39
Epic Blend is a company based in Canada (yay!) that makes great lip balms. Not only was this item incredibly moisturizing and smelled great - their balms are organic, petroleum and gluten free, and not tested on animals. The hemp coconut flavour smelled delicious and wasn't overwhelming - according to their website they also have a chocolate rum variety. Count me in! 

That Awkward Moment Compact Mirror - $1.00
Not much to say about this promotional item but it is very convenient and slim. The funny thing is when I flipped open this mirror for the first time, the mirror came flying out! It was not glued in properly but nothing a little hot glue can't fix. It is a good anytime, back-up mirror to throw in your clutch.

Verdict: This months box was disappointing for me overall. None of the items were that exciting because they were all what I would consider 'everyday basics' and I usually like to see at least one beauty item in my boxes. It is nice that there were six items but this box was also on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of monetary value. Hoping for more excitement from next month's box! 

DEAR DIARY: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

2013 was an incredible year. I get goosebumps just thinking back on it, so I will keep this short and sweet. Jumping into 2014 with both feet!

"Write it in your heart that every day is the best day in the year"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson 


REVIEW: Beauty Box 5 December 2013

Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling program that delivers a box filled with 4-5 cosmetic samples to your door every month and is open to US and Canadian subscribers.

Cost: $12 per month, $30 quarterly, $99 annually

The theme this month is Naughty and Nice. Which makes sense, since it is the holiday season. Now, on to the products! This month, the following was in my Beauty Box 5: 

Every Beauty Foot Smoother - $5.00
I don't have very rough feet so I will probably end up passing this on to someone else. It seems like a well made item and I have always had a good experience with other products from this brand. 

NYX Love in Rio Eyeshadow Palette - $6.00
This is another item I will be passing on to someone else to enjoy. I have used other NYX products in the past and loved them, but I don't think I could pull off blue eyeshadow haha. According to the informational card included in the box, this palette is moderately pigmented, which will make this product versatile in that you could build the colour up or keep it natural. 

OFRA Lipgloss Plumper - $12.95
It's winter and this shade of lipgloss is absolutely perfect for the season. The colour is a deep, shiny, coppery plum shade and goes on moderately thick. The only complaint I might have is that it is a little too thick and feels a little heavy. 

Body Drench Hemp Moisturizing Day Lotion - $1.00
Hemp lotion! I am a big fan of hemp lotions so I was happy to see this in my box. The formula is thick and absorbs within a minute or so. 

Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer - $1.00
This gel moisturizer is incredibly light and smells great! Like cucumbers and mango. The gel formula spreads evenly and has a watery texture that sinks into your skin quite quickly. I think this would make a perfect facial moisturizer in the summer. 

Verdict: The first three items were full-sized and the last two were sample sizes, which means this box that I paid $8.25 for had a value of $25.95! Although the mix of products was not as varied as I had hoped (2 makeup, 2 moisturizers) they were all products that were new to me. And isn't that the point of getting beauty boxes, to try new products you otherwise wouldn't have? Overall, I found this particular box to be of good value. 


BEAUTY: Bath & Body Works Shea and Vitamin E Lotion

Bath & Body Works is one of those brands I've always meant to try. After hearing about their products from multiple people for the past year or so, I finally got around to it. With it being winter, I decided to stock up on their lotions!

From the ingredients list, it seems the formulation for all the lotions are exactly the same. It is the scent and colour of the lotion that changes. The majority of the scents have sweet overtones, which is quite nice. Moonlight Path is the exception in the four I tried; it has a fresh, powdery smell. There are so many different scents available that there is sure to be one that appeals to you. 

The lotion itself is very light and quick to absorb, which made me assume it wouldn't moisturize for very long. And in dry Canadian winters, its important to use something that is hydrating yet non-greasy. But I'm happy to say I was wrong! The lotion actually provides all the moisturization of heavier lotions (such as Palmer's) without the heavy feel. After about two weeks of use - I'm thinking I should try all the different scents. Overall, satisfied with the product and would recommend. What is your favourite, go-to lotion in the winter months? 


BEAUTY: Holiday Nails With Sparkle

The holidays are in full swing and that means free time is in short supply. But that doesn't mean we don't have time for a ten-minute manicure. Since it's the holiday season and that means lights, tinsel and sparkle - I went with a festive looking red over a base coat, and then topped it off with a glittery clear coat. 

I know lots of people skip putting on a base coat, but I think it is essential, especially if you wear a lot of dark coloured polishes. It prevents the nail colour from staining the nail, gives the polish something to grip to, and fills in any ridges or imperfections to help your manicure last as long as possible. I highly recommend the Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat. It's inexpensive and works perfectly. If you have any base coat recommendations, let me know!