Allure Winter Beauty Box 2013 Review

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The Allure Beauty Box is an amazing valued box jam packed with full size beauty items shipping every season (4 boxes per year). This is my second Beauty Essentials box, my first box being this year’s Summer Essentials. These quarterly boxes feature beauty items relating to the season, including a booklet that lists and describes all items and where to find them online. The box doesn’t come wrapped all fancy or special like other subscriptions, but that is not the point of this beauty mega-box. Here is the first look inside the Holiday Essentials box this season —>

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This box only costed $39.99 (+ shipping) but was promised to have a value of at least $300!! {The total value is calculated at the end!}
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I will include the descriptions from the booklet within the review for better references into these wonderful beauty products! Make sure to also check out the links to the products to learn even more about the brands and items!

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Whats inside
1 • Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm
$5.99
Combining the lip-conditioning care of a balm with the shiny color of a gloss, {this new} balm drenches lips with 2x hydration. 
I received #300 – Apple A Day.

2 • L’Oréal Paris Extraordinaire by Colour Riche
$7.00
The new vision of liquid lipcolor for the most perfect lips. Richer color. Smoother lip surface. Magnified shine. 
I received #202 – Coral Encore. At first I thought this was a lipstick and I couldn’t even figure out how to open it.. haha then I realized it was like a gloss. This is a nice, bright color, and the applicator is pretty unique too, fits perfect for a liquid lip.

3 • Sally Hansen Triple Shine Nail Color
$4.99
Get ready for the shiniest nails ever! Water to workout, day in and day out, nothing will dull these nails. 
I received color # 220 – Flame On. This is a shiny, semi-sparkly pink color that is actually very cute on. The brush was AMAZING and made it SO SIMPLE to paint my nails! Seriously a great, great brush and makes me want to go out and buy all my favorite colors from this line.

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4 • Smile Sciences Teeth Whitening Pen
$78.00
Get up to 10 shades whiter with zero sensitivity with this made-in-the-USA, FDA-registered whitening pen. 
THIS PRODUCT!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! I could not have been more excited to see this in my box (I didn’t look at the spoiler of the box beforehand because I prefer everything to be a surprise!) and what a great surprise this was! This makes up for almost double the price of the box alone, and I have been looking into teeth whitening at home systems in the past, but have never wanted to spring for such an expensive item… now this way, I feel like I bought one for 50% off PLUS I got a ton of other products alongside with it FOR FREE. {hahaha} Can’t wait to see how this works!

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5 • Zoya PixieDust Nail Polish in Tomoko
$9.00
This unique, gorgeously textured, sparkling champagne-silver matte polish requires no base or topcoat. Big5Free formula. 
I ❤ this pixiedust formula! It’s great on it’s own and even better over a darker shade for a fancied up, super cute look! {Make sure to click the link to really see how gorgeous this color is!}

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6 • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
$6.99
This derm-recommended, naturally nourishing lotion absorbs quickly and is clinically proven to moisturize your skin for a full 24 hours.
This is SUCH an excellent moisturizing lotion!! My super dry skin is certainly in need of this product!
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7 • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
$14.29
This non-greasy, derm-recommended cream is excellent for anywhere that requires intensive moisturizing. 
Although this is essentially the same product as the one listed right above, we can never have too much lotion in this house! We were certainly in need with the dry, frigid weather and my skin and lips really starting to feel it. This is a scentless lotion, full of moisture and perfect for what it promises!
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8 • E.L.F. Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder
$3.00
Create a healthy glow with {this product} for just $3! 
^^ I’m not sure why all they did was advertise for this product instead of explain about it, but that’s okay… I’ve known this brand to be super cheap, so maybe it was making sure that everyone knew about all their low prices {I remember in college one time they had a sale where every single item they had was only $1…I thought I was hitting gold, although of course the quality isn’t too great}. I am in desperate need of a new blush right now, so this is perfect!

9 • Rimmel London Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
$4.49
This ultra smooth and creamy pencil glides on easily with instant color impact. Smudge-proof, waterproof, sweat-proof, heat-proof, humidity-proof and… scandal-proof! 
I received this pencil in #001 – Black. I’m very happy about this as I usually use a black eyeliner with my everyday look, so I can never have enough as I go through them so quickly. I especially love soft liner pencils like this one.

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10 • Rusk Deepshine Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo
$20.00
This dry shampoo instantly absorbs excess oil and odor, leaving a fresh, clean scent with no white residue. 
I’m always in need of a good dry shampoo, and this promises to leave no whiteness in the hair… hopefully that stays true, because I’m a lazy showerer so dry shampoo is usually necessary before work in the mornings haha. This smells very good too!

11 • Rusk Color Care Lock-In Treatment
$17.00
Offering maximum color protection from fade-out, this treatment helps extend the time between coloring. 
This leave in treatment smells SO DANG GOOD!! It helps your hair not fade, just a few spritzes after you shower and your color is being protected through the rest of your beauty routine. I use this type of product every day I shower, so I am always happy to have more, as the nice ones are usually not cheap.

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12 • Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Liquid Makeup
$12.99
This lightweight leg makeup gives you flawless=looking, irresistible, sexy legs in an instant! Now in trial size, ready for on-the-go beauty! 
I’ve never used leg makeup before or any of the airbrush leg products, but I really really like this! I am so happy to have gotten it because this is not something that I would have normally bought in stores. I received #02 – Medium, and it’s absolutely perfect! I can apply to legs AND arms, and it looks great and doesn’t smell too much like anything. This product is great for people that want that extra tan glow! : )

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13 • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Dry & Go Drops
$7.99
These fast-working drops dry any nail polish in 60 seconds! Grab a smooth, glossy mani without the wait! 
I have other drops like this and love them! They work great and it’s a nice addition to the normal nail routine, fun lil switch up and shortens the waiting time tremendously!

14 • Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
$5.99
Top it off with {this} and give your mani no-chip shine that lasts up to 10 days! 
This sounds like it’s almost turning your at home polish job into a gel set that will last even longer than usual.. and maybe even drying a little fast too! Sounds awesome!
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15 • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
$28.00
Banish dry skin, even eczema. {This creme} instantly improves hydration and delivers long-lasting moisture from head to toe. 
This is a very expensive creme, which makes me think that it {should} work fabulously. I know this is yet another mositurizing creme, but it’s never something that goes unneeded. Winter, summer, anytime… we use so much daily this is perfect! I’m happy to try even more fancy lotions!

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16 • Julep Vixen Polish Duo
$28.00 ($14/ per polish)
We believe beauty is about connection, not competition. Julep Maven creates 10 new runway-inspired nail colors and two socially innovative beauty products each month. 
The two colors in the duo I received were #141 (2013) Anisa Classic With A Twist & #69 (2013) Zelda Bombshell.

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17 • Neutrogena Crease Proof Eye Shadow
$8.49
An antioxidant-rich formula with light-reflecting pearls to instantly brighten eyes, while a built-in primer prevents creasing, fading, and smudging. 
I received this eye shadow in color #40 – Constant Copper.

18 • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer
$12.99
A lightweight formula with natural soy and optical modifiers to help even the look of skin for eight hours, with or without makeup. 
Always love a good primer : )

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19 • Neutrogena Pore Refining Daily Cleanser
$7.49
An alpha and beta hydroxy formula clinically proven to visibly smooth over uneven patches and tighten pores. 
Pssst… I have a secret….. I really only wash my face when I shower… I don’t do it like, every morning/night like in most people’s routines… I’ve never had problems with my skin so I hope I don’t have to pay for that anytime soon! haha. But I love having new face washes and switching it up to keep my skin feeling as fresh as possible! This one smells very fresh & perfectly clean too.

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20 • Not Your Mother’s Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler
$5.99
Infused with keratin protein, {this detangler} moisturizes your hair and separates tangles with ease.
This is one of my favorite items in the box because I have the crazy worst knotty hair in America and also I absolutely love NYM products! They are all super cheap and work amazingly well (sometimes better than things that cost 4x their price!).

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21 • NYX Love in Paris Eye Shadow Palette
$10.00
Highlight your eyes’ seductive glimmer with these brilliant, high-fashion palettes, featuring nine richly pigmented shades and a dual-ended applicator for easy, on-the-go touch-ups. 
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22 • One ‘N Only Brazilian Tech Keratin De-Frizz Wand
$8.79
Smooth untamed flyaways in an instant! Unique, convenient wand adds shine and keeps your hairstyle polished wherever you go. 
This is pretty cool because it’s supposed to be for on the go, making it super convenient when your hair is going crazy in the middle of the day at work or out.

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23 • Red Carpet Manicure Youth Crème
$14.99
Professional salon strength crème instantly delivers non-greasy hydration to even the driest of hands, nails, and cuticles. 
This is perfect for me because of the horrible way that I treat my cuticles… hopefully this will help me take care of them the right way!

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{There was a note included in the box that said that although Sation was unable to be included in the box, they added an extra gift instead, this was my “special surprise” gift}

24 • Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips French Mani
$12.99
I have used these before and absolutely love them! I am happy to have the traditional french manicure option as this look goes great with anything, anytime of the year! I received the strip color #007 French Twist.

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This was such an excellent box, with an amazing value of $335.45!

These boxes generally go live around 11am CST, and they sell out within about 20 minutes. You have to log on quickly and order one before they are all gone! I’m already getting excited for the spring box!

Sig3

POPSUGAR Must Have Box October 2013 Review

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The Box

POPSUGAR Must Have Box. This is one of my favorite boxes that I subscribe to because of all the full-sized products and the range of categories the items fall into. It’s basically like opening a surprise gift to myself! “POPSUGAR’s monthly favorites delivered to your door. Hand selected items in beauty, fashion, home, fitness, and food. Full sized products and premium items.”

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$35/month with free shipping!  The total value of these boxes is basically always over $100 so you definitely get your money’s worth! {UPDATE: The price of the boxes beginning in November will be $39.95. They are encouraging their active members to sign up for a 3, 6, or 12 month plan in order to lock in the $35 price for as long as they can. You can do this by signing up by November 4th}

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The box is always bursting full with amazing full size products, and I honestly love their little fold out notecards on why they picked each product and how it can be put to good use. They do a great job of explaining the items in this packet. The box also comes pretty nicely wrapped with the pink tissue paper and sticker everytime : )

IMG_3437 Whats inside

1 • The Can’t Cook Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified!
$27.99
This book is absolutely AMAZING! It came at such a perfect time for me when I’m doing some major cleaning and organizing in my house, I’m finally ready to take on some good cooking! I have my kitchen (pretty much) organizing and I’m ready! This book has beautiful step by step photos on every page, alongside the recipes and all the wonderful tips. The night I opened this box, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s just so good and wonderful to read with all the pictures and step by steps! Check out this book and her others here.
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2 • NYX Cosmetics Liquid Liner & Smokey Shadow Pallet
$6.00 + $7.00
Since I already unsubscribed (for now) to all my beauty subscriptions because I have so many little products and samples of every kind of piece of make-up I can imagine, I wasn’t TOO excited to receive even more make-up in this box. Unless it’s a really awesome brand or something that I’ve been excited about, I really don’t need anymore liquid liner (I basically use the same exact eyeliner every single day for the past 5 years), but this eyeshadow pallet does look pretty nice and I didn’t have most of the colors on the pallet. It helps create a great dramatic (or not too dramatic) smokey eye look. Check out NYX cosmetics here.

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3 • Gorjana Charity Bali Bead Bracelet
$45.00
This is a very delicate, adorable pink bracelet. 100% of the proceeds from each bracelet went to a charity, Breast Cancer Connections. I LOVE this bracelet and was SO EXCITED to wear it along side my usual 3 silver bracelets I wear daily… However, this bracelet is TINY. I know my wrists aren’t that big at all, and this barely fits around it, plus it’s hard (at least it was for me) to try and close this bracelet on your own wrist. I honestly really do still love this bracelet though. Check out the bracelet here.

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4 • Julep for Popsugar Duo Nail Polish
$28.00
I received “Freedom”, a polymer top coat, and #3108, “Coco” (it also says “It Girl” it smaller letters so I’m not sure if that’s maybe the collection it is in or completely vice versa). I am so happy I got these colors; ready to paint my nails with it any minute! : ) Check out the Julep site here.

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5 • Jane Tran Bobby Pins
$12.00
These aren’t my favorite item in the box, but they are certainly cute and I go through my fair share of bobby pins throughout the year! These are really cute for a messy do too. Check out other cute bobby pins like these here.

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6 • The Wet Brush
$14.00
This is one of my favorites in the box – or even ever! This is why I love subscription boxes… things that you never knew you would love (or in this case, actually really really need)! My hair tangles SO EASY it is so gross, and now with this I don’t mind when I quickly have to get ready when I get out of the shower when I’m running late for work. My hair is no longer a problem! This brush is amazing and perfect for a girl with long, easily tangled hair like me. Click here to check out the wet brush.

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7 • The Crispery Halloween Crispycake
$3.95
This was SO. DAMN. GOOD. nom nom nom!! Me and the bf both thought this delicious sweet rice cake was absolutely perfect. It was covered in decadent marshmallow and was so soft and chewy with just the right amount of slight crunch. I am honestly probably going to order more of these sometime very soon. I’m looking at some of the other adorable holiday cakes that they make and I am wanting to try this fabulous Christmas one! It’s full of peppermint and that amazing marshmallow! Check out the Halloween crispycake here.
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8 • Stich Fix
$20 off my purchase + a waived styling fee
I have been reading GREAT things about Stich Fix! It’s “a personal styling service to get handpicked fashion goodies delivered right to your door”. You basically complete a profile about your style, you then pick a date and they send you 5 clothing & accessory items that are hand-picked just for you. You get 3 days to decide if you want to keep (and buy) the item(s) that you got. If you keep anything, the $20 styling fee is automatically reduced off of one of the items, therefore, I’m pretty sure everyone’s styling fees are waived (well, just as long as they keep anything, and with the $20 they are giving me, I am bound to want to purchase something!)
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product value
Cook book: $27.99
Crispycake: $3.95
Wet brush: $14
Bobby pins: $12
Nail polish: $28
Bracelet: $45
Eyeliner: $6
Eyeshadow Pallet: $7
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TOTAL VALUE: $143.94
(this isn’t even including the $20 certificate for Stich Fix!!!!) 
* This box has SUCH a great value! Remember, I only paid $35 for it! I am SO HAPPY about the October must have box!
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all love & smiles,

Sig3

Julep Boho Glam Starter Box Review

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As I mentioned in a post before, I had a coupon code to use for the Julep monthly nail polish subscription service, making this $19.99 priced box only cost $0.01!!!! I was sooo excited, and it also arrived on my doorstep super quick, which is always a plus!

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Here’s what I got in my Boho Glam Starter Box!!! (basically FOR FREE!!)

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Julep Instant Warming Foot Scrub. I walk around all the time barefoot, inside AND outside, so sometimes I have a problem with rough, dry skin on the bottoms of my feet. This is a perfect product for me!!!! :] It’s also a pretty nice sized tube of product!

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They also threw in this little Hand Scrub sample, it’s nice, but kind of stinks because it’s so tiny and if I like it I won’t have any more. haha

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I LOVE the polish colors that I received in my box! Robin is a super pretty turquoise/blue, SO ME, and Stefani is a nice sparkly dark grey! Super cute!

Since this box was FREE to me, it makes it all that much better. I’m not going to continue on with my subscription, I just wanted to get a nice initial free box, but from other reviews I’ve read on the service, other girls seem to love it!! The coupon code I used was: JULEPVIP.

all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

Some Fantastical Things

8 things that got me excited lately (whether for the good or bad!)

(1) We took a little trip to Davenport this weekend, back to St. Ambrose, because Michael had a volleyball tourney he was playing in…. I tagged along because I love to watch him play…. BUT I ALSO LOVE AZTECA MY FAVORITE MEXICAN PLACE EVER!

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home of the delicious queso blanco, that I CANNOT find anywhere near here!

home of the delicious queso blanco, that I CANNOT find anywhere near here!

one of my favorite (super large) margs!!

one of my favorite (super large) margs!!

their endless chips & salsa is sooooo amazing

their endless chips & salsa is sooooo amazing

my favorite dish: spinach quesadilla!! even if it wasn't Lent, it's still my go-to dinner there!

my favorite dish: spinach quesadilla!! even if it wasn’t Lent, it’s still my go-to dinner there!

(2) I love watching Michael play volleyball because it makes him so happy and I also think he’s really good :] One day, (when I finally get another job) I can save up enough money to buy myself a pretty nice new camera so that my action shot pictures won’t look as crappy as these…. Oh well, they still make me smile.

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(3) I just joined a new subscription box service, Julep. They are a monthly nail polish box, BUT THE ONLY REASON I did it was because I found a free coupon code for new members, making your first box only cost $.01! That’s right, only 1 cent for a $19.99 box! The code is: JULEPVIP. I already wrote myself a note to go ahead and cancel it next month so they don’t charge my card. It looks like a very nice service, it’s just not one I would spend that much money on. But for almost free, why not!? I took the style quiz and they paired me with their “Boho Glam” look. They were actually spot on! Here is what I’ll be looking forward to in my box!

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(4) I made a terrible mistake. A disgustingly terribly gross nasty horrendous mistake. I was so excited when I found this box of mac and cheese at Target a while back, because I LOVE buffalo flavored anything…. little did I know that in tiny writing under “Buffalo” it said with Blue Cheese sauce. EW. I had been putting it to the side, always scared to try it because I loathe the nasty fart flavor of blue cheese in my mouth. I thought what the heck, I should just try it because maybe it isn’t as strong as I thought it would be. BOY WAS I WRONG. I took a couple of bites and my stomach was in knots, wondering what was this garbage that I just ingested. I DON’T KNOW HOW PEOPLE EAT THIS STUFF. Ewwwww.

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(5) I finally tried my first clay mask. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had an interview the next morning so I figured I could make my skin healthy and smooth the night before. It was fun feeling like a kid spreading legit clay all over my face, but I guess I was just dumb and didn’t realize that it hardens (and so quickly). I kinda got scared, but kept it on for the allotted amount and time… and OMG DID I LOVE IT! It made my skin as soft as a baby’s, and I will definitely be making this a weekly ritual! :]

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(6) I have a little obsession with the Eat This, Not That! series of books. Here are a couple of the ones I have, not pictured is the cook book one and the diet book, and I can’t wait to buy the 2013 one!! (This whole not having a job thing is REALLY cramping my shopping style!) If you haven’t ever bought a copy of these books, you’re really missing out! The food pictures are great and it’s super informative and inspiring! And fun! You can find them on half.com for only $0.75!!! What a steal!

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(7) My little guilty pleasure: frozen dinner meals. I love the “healthier” options too, ones that are acceptable in a public place like work, BUT there is something about the perfection of 5 chicken nuggets, corn, and mac and cheese that makes me SO HAPPY. And when they’re on sale for $0.88 I just can’t pass them up!

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(8) HOW PRECIOUS ARE MY ADORABLE KITTAAAYYSSSS???!!! Aria is getting soooo big!!

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all love & smiles :]

mary elyse