Monday, January 21, 2013

Influenster Palmolive Box...

Well joining Influenster has turned out to be a pretty sweet deal! In case you missed my last blog post on this, Influenster is a free site which allows you to review new products and occasionally sends you products to try and review yourself.  The last box I received was a Cosmo VoxBox.  It was actually pretty cool, it had a pen in it which I LOVED and ended up buying more of (erasable GEL people! ERASABLE!!), a razor I had one of already but now have new blades for (SWEET) and more fun stuff.  This time around, I was selected for a brand box.  The brand? Palmolive.  Two things that make me really happy about this box:
One: Colgate-Palmolive is on PETA's working for a regulatory change list.  This means that they do not test on animals except where the law requires it.  So this is a product I could actually potentially buy.
Two: My dishwasher is a POS and I really needed some dish soap!

There are three scents in the box: Lime Basil (smells like a margarita!), Lemon Thyme (gave this to my mom!), and Ginger White Tea, which is my personal favorite.  The smell is great but better still is the bottles! They're slim and pretty and actually look like much more expensive soap than they are.   So how do they work? we go....

Look at all those fluffy bubbles!! I'll start by saying that these are concentrated so you can use about half as much as you would normally.  I did an entire round of dishes in this sink and when I finished the water still looked fresh and there were still bubbles.  My dishes were clean, sparkly and shiny.  The soap didn't dry my hands but it also didn't make them feel super moisturized.   The smell of these is subtle but it lasts and it's fresh and clean. Overall...I think I like these a lot.  I've tried lots of dish soaps and most of them (that WORK) are drying to my hands or they don't clean well so this was a pleasant surprise!  Influenster also sent me some coupons for these which I've distributed amongst my friends!  I can't wait to see how they like them. :)

Have you tried the new Palmolive soaps? Do you love them?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Birchbox: January 2013

Our Birchbox is here!  Normally I get super excited about these but this month has been really disappointing for me.  I haven't kept up with these the way I should but over the past year I've received quite a few disappointing boxes from Birchbox. At first I was excited to be getting new things to try but over time the value seemed to just diminish.  This box is a prime example. I can't find where it says this either but the website used to say you got FIVE samples. Now you get four and a "bonus". Nine times out of ten my bonus has been a Luna bar or something equally silly. Anyway here we go....

The first thing I do with my Birchbox when I get it is throw it in the floor. Lol...I make myself go through all the mail first and in the beginning, Aoife would knock it off the table and she and Eoghan would proceed to try to open it.  Now she's well trained to sit beside it (as above) and wait. Although she does get impatient sometimes! Just look at her face today! Then, we open it together...

Aoife gets to poke her head in first. EĆ³ghan only comes out for the gauze bags and Birchbox has never, or rarely sent me one of those.  If there's anything sparkly inside Aoife will nick it for herself.  Today she was pretty unimpressed.

Nope. Nothing exciting. I was pretty disappointed in this one too, like I said. This box costs me $10 a month. Here's the breakdown for this month:

Harvey Prince Skinny Chic perfume sample: This is one of those samples that makes me shake my head. First of all, perfume samples are free at almost all major department stores. Second of all, they send me one EVERY month. I have so many now I could start a business with them. Third of all, I'm one of those people who has a signature scent.  I have one I love and wear everyday. I have one I wear for special occasions and I have one I wear if I need a pick me up or just to mix things up. I don't need a million of these suckers.  A full size version of this scent retails for $55 (50mL) that means 1mL is about $1.10.  I want to rank this as a free value but I suppose technically it's not.

Value: $1.10

LASHEM Lash Gel Serum: When I first saw this on my box I was stoked. Then I realized I wasn't getting the mascara, rather, I was getting a serum to grow longer lashes. If you follow this at all you know my lashes are obnoxiously long and thick. This stuff is my worst nightmare! It also says you can use it on brows but I can't imagine wanting thicker or longer brows. So it's kind of a wash. There is no size listed but a full size version is $69.99 for 3.5mL. That's right guys....19.99 PER OUNCE. Redic. Anyway I'm guesstimating value on this at $9.99. 

Value: 9.99

No. 4 Clarifying Shampoo: Promises to deep clean without stripping moisture. Haven't used this yet but the smell reminds me vaguely of dryer sheets. It's very clean and fresh. Clarifying shampoo makes me nervous since I have curly hair which is fairly dry but I'll give it a go. The sample is 1.75oz. The retail is $32 for 250mL.

Value: 6.76

The Balm Hot Mama! All in one blush and shadow: This I'm actually excited for.  I won't use it as a shadow since the color is so peachy but as a blush it's perfect. I like that it's small so I can throw it in my bag for on the go touch ups.  The full sized version is $20.00. 

Value: $2.83

Then we come to my "bonus" item. It's two sample envelopes of 

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream: I've used this brands cleanser before and really liked it. Not enough to replace my regular Origins cleanser, but it works well without stripping my skin.  I'm sort of non plussed by these though because I feel like with a moisturizer or face cream you really need to use it for a week or so to see if you like it. There's enough here for maybe a few days.

Not including the "bonus" the value of the box LOOKS good at around $21. Here's the issue I have. One, although the perfume has an accepted my book, it's a freebie. I can get it for free anywhere I go so that makes it free regardless. Two: there are two items in this box that I can't use, the bonus isn't enough sample to make me want to buy it and the shampoo is a maybe. So when you consider that only two items even slightly appeal to me...that makes the box a fail. Half the box value is tied up in an item that I'll never even use.  My bigger problem with them is that they don't seem to listen. I've repeatedly asked to please not get perfume. I've changed my profile to try to avoid it. To no avail. Also, my profile clearly states that I like nail polish yet this month when a polish was up for grabs, I didn't get it. Nor did I get any of the 20 OTHER items I'd have loved which are all in other boxes this month. So...Aoife and I have given up on Birchbox for awhile. We've moved on to Glossybox.  We'll be reviewing that one as soon as it arrives!!

Do you get a Birchbox? Did you love it this month?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bento of the week: American Style

It's time for another bento box!! This week I went with an American style box since I hadn't done a grocery run a while and didn't have much on hand.  I don't normally eat a lot of processed foods and I'm in the process of going vegan (slowly!) so this box was kind of a treat for me!  Anyway inside I had some mini grilled cheese on nut bread, a salad with cranberries and almonds and a raspberry vinagrette and some yellow tomato soup. I also had this nut mix on hand that I threw on the side. It's made up of cashews, almonds, peanuts, multi-grain noodles and peas tossed in an Indian spice. Yum. :)  I didn't have a long enough day this week to get a lunch (again) so if I had to take this in for a lunch I might have chosen a different sandwich since the grilled cheese wouldn't stay warm. I used my Hello Kitty box again.  I'm going to do a post later about some of the boxes I have.  They can be pretty expensive online and while I'd LOVE to buy a legit one from somewhere, for the moment most of what I'm using is repurposed. My Hello Kitty box is the only one which is actually meant for bento and I picked it up for $.49 at a thrift store. It's fairly small though so I usually have to pack other containers on the side. For the kawaii sandwiches I used a bread cutter I got a 

I assembled the grilled cheese and then cut them before grilling. I love the kitty shapes on this! :)  Have a happy week.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Aoife Cleans Up

Well loves, it's January again. That can only mean one's time to clean house!  Aoife and I got to looking at cleaning out my beauty supplies today and...well...THIS was our reaction!  We spent most of last week and the week before cleaning out my nail polish drawers and this week we moved on to other things.  Today we finally made our way around to my sample box.  It's grown considerably since the last time I peeked in.

Just look at all that stuff!  This is probably representative of about a fourth of what I really have. I get so many things each month and it just really adds up when I don't get around to using them.  December was a busy month and I didn't have time to use much. Then I also have duplicates and things I don't like or want's overwhelming.  I told Aoife we'd move on to cleaning out her stash instead and...well...

She didn't love that plan.  So....we're going to let you help us!! We're having a small giveaway of samples!  The winner of the giveaway will receive 15-20 samples from our stash.  These samples are mostly high end brands and have never been used. You can enter to win below and on January 28th, Aoife will choose between 15 and 20 samples out of the box for you.  I can't garantee what you'll get BUT I can promise you that we won't give you more than 2 perfume samples or more than one of the same thing. You can view a list of some of the included brands below (some of the samples may be edible).  Thanks for your help and best of luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Possible brands include: Seaweed & Co, Comodynes, Marrakesh, Sparkle Hearts, bareMinerals, Make Up Forever, Sephora, Per-fekt, Concieved by Nature, Crystal Essence, Jergens, Ole Henriksen, Show Stoppers, Rodial, Eco-dent, SenCha, Kiss Nail, Blissoma, Tallulah Jane, Keratase, Josie Maran, Biore, Alterna, Benefit, Clean Happens, Too Faced, 100% Pure, LUSH, Alba, Bobbi Brown, Organic Indulgences, Peter Thomas Roth, Pixi, Clarins, Fundamental Earth, Arcona, Phyto, L'Occtaine, Clean Well, Blum Naturals, Metropolis Soap, Zen, Aura Cacia, Stila, Biao, Fresh, Bull Dog, F-A-B, Julep. Better Botanicals, Derma Doctor, Lady Gaga, L.A.M.B., Taylor Swift, MCMC, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Diesel, Hello Kitty, Kate Walsh, Juicy Couture, Blvgari, Lady Million, DKNY, Aquolina, Yogini and more...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bento of the week: Gyoza and Ramen

Easy Bento for this week because I'm super tired and sick.  It was super yummy though and made with things I already had on hand. Here's the spread:

There is a shiitake mushroom ramen broth, undon noodles, tonkatsu 'chicken', veggie gyoza and then some dipping sauce for the gyoza.  Most of this came from pre-made packs. I don't usually do that but like I said I'm sick and it was easy. The gyoza was a frozen pack.  I just cooked it in some water and it was ready to go.  Undon noodles were boiled in salted water for six minutes and then rinsed and drained. The tonkatsu 'chicken' is made from Gardien brand vegetarian chicken strips.  The broth is a ramen pack by XOYO brand. It's the soba ramen blend and I added the broth of the soaked shiiatke mushrooms, some shoyu and rice vinegar and a splash of chili oil for heat. Then I made the gyoza sauce from shoyu, rice vinegar and chili oil as well.  I used my Hello Kitty box to house the noodles, tonkatsu and gyoza. If I'd been working today I'd have fit the sauce in too and then put the broth in a separate container to combine at lunch time. But since I'm's a pic of the soup combined:

Yum. :)  Easy, satisfying bento for the day.