Category Archives: shopping

Testing Top Beauty Box Subscriptions: Ipsy, Glossy, Allure, & BirchBox

Last month I got a wild hair up my tush and decided I suddenly wanted to order a beauty box. I already receive FabFitFun and CAUSEBOX on a regular basis, so a beauty box was probably not a necessity. Come to think of it, the other two are not exactly necessities either, but I find the surprise to be a fun break from the more serious aspects of life.

I started with Ipsy and added Allure. A week later, I added Birchbox and Glossy Box. So now I have a problem and you can see just how easily things can spiral out of control. Joking aside, I ordered the four boxes because I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast a few of the top selling beauty boxes so that I may tell others which one seems to be most worthwhile.

The first to arrive was Birchbox with its tasseled sliding drawer box. Inside I found tips on usage as well as five deluxe sample products: Pai – All Day Hydration, Arrow – Nourishing Lip Oil, Oribe – Matte Waves Texture Lotion, Benefit – They’re Real! Mascara, Eyeko London – Brown Liner, and Nature Lab Tokyo – Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub. The brow liner works great, but is too dark for me. I would however recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good brow liner. I do like the mascara, but I have other mascaras that do nearly the same thing. I have yet to try the texture lotion and scalp scrub. The lip oil made my lips tingle, which could be due to the peppermint oil. I kind of liked it. I am a fan of the moisturizer by Pai. It made my skin feel soft and hydrated, but I won’t give up my regular lotion for it. This particular box is normally $15, but it cost me $10 plus tax. I received a $5 discount on my first-time order. There are several plans to choose from which range in cost depending on the number of months you would like to commit to. I am a commitment-phobe in everything but relationships, so I chose to do a single month in order to try it out. I am glad I chose one month because I ended up canceling. The box fell short for me. While the presentation was beautiful, the items were not all that exciting and I would not pay $16 on a regular basis for the underwhelming feeling I got when I opened up the drawer compartment. If you are interested in Birchbox, they do have a special running right now. You can get an entire year of boxes for only $94. Now that’s a steal.

The second box I would like to talk about is not actually a box, but a bag. Ipsy, though it was the first to be ordered, was the last to arrive. Each month Ipsy gives you a different makeup bag with five items which could be sample, deluxe, or full-size. You also receive information and tips for using each item. The bag costs $12 plus tax per month at the first level. You can upgrade to the Glam Bag Plus for $25 per month and receive five full-size items in a drawstring bag, or you can take it further and go with Glam Bag Ultimate which will get you twelve products of varying sizes in a deluxe bag for $50 per month. I went with the Glam Bag which for the month of September, was gold on one side and maroon on the other. Thank goodness it was not all gold. I do not think I could have handled that (I mean it genuinely). Inside the Ipsy Glam Bag I found: Sundays – Nail Polish No. 18, HEMPZ – Herbal Lip Balm, DEWYTREE – Clean Lab AC Dew Foam, Tarte – Big Ego Mascara, and Maelle – Pink Diamond Eyeshadow. I love the Hempz lip balm, it’s wonderful. I also love the eyeshadow. It’s gorgeous. I have not yet tried the dew foam, polish, or mascara, but I intend to in the near future. I did decide to cancel Ipsy because again, I was not overly excited about the bag, but Ipsy apparently wants to keep me because they offered me a second bag for free. I have to admit, the second bag drew me back in with two things. I am a Libra, and I like the “You’re Magic” quote with the gold moon and star zip handle on the bag, as well as the pistachio body butter by Pistache Skincare – it smells so tasty! Ipsy may have won me over for one more month, because I am now curious about what November will bring.

Box number three, dun, dun, duh! The Allure Beauty Box. This box has changed slightly since my order last month. The box I bought for September was $15 plus tax and came with a free gift for first-time purchasers, as well as seven beauty products. The box normally comes with five or more products worth $70+. Now the box has changed to $23/month and you receive six or more products valued at $100+. The items come neatly packaged in a white and silver Allure box with red tissue paper. This box was right up my alley. The contents included: Glam Up – Soothing Aloe Texture Refinement Sheet Mask, Elemis – Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, Waterl<ss – Dry Conditioner, NYX – Pro Contour Brush, La Roche-Posay – Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen in SPF 50, Wander Beauty – Unleashed Volume and Curl Mascara, Cleo Noir – Twist Up Eyeliner, and of course, the booklet with information and tips on each product. The freebie, Anastasia Beverly Hills – Moonchild Glow Kit Eyeshadow, was by far my favorite item in the box. The colors are fabulous and make me feel like a beauty queen. My second favorite item was the Waterl<ss dry conditioner. I love that this product is paraben and sulfate free. I find the smell pleasant and I am excited to take it with me on vacation. The rest of the products I have not yet tried, but look forward to testing out in the near future.

Box number four is my favorite. Glossy Box. The theme for September was spa, which set my little heart a twitter. I love, love, love the spa concept. This particular box is regularly $21, but I received a first month discount which brought the price down to $16 plus tax. This box has won out for certain. It arrived in this cute black and white shipping box. When I opened the box there was another box inside that happened to be just as pretty as the shipping box. It was pink with black lettering. Inside the pink box was a ribbon tying everything together. Untying the ribbon, I found a pamphlet which gave me tips and information on each product inside. Below the pamphlet was pink tissue paper stuck in place with a black Glossy Box logo sticker. Each product was laid neatly atop black crinkly paper pieces and let me tell you, this unboxing was one of the most exciting unboxings I have done in over a year. Inside the box I found a: Melusine Paris – Jade Roller, Daily Concepts – Daily Beauty Band, Codex Beauty – Bia Exfoliating Wash, Swell – Ultimate Protect & Renew Serum, Vitamasques – Ruby Sheet Mask, and Banila Co. – Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream. I love the pink headband; it is great for holding back your hair while doing facials. The exfoliating wash is gentle and left my face feeling clean and refreshed. I love my new jade roller, it will get plenty of use. I also love the Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream, which has royal jelly and yellow flower in it. The scent is light, but it feels wonderful on my face. I have not tried the protect & renew serum or the Vitamasque yet. My only negative toward this box is that it lists Rosen Skincare – Breakout Spot Treatment as an item in the box and not the Swell serum. Honestly, it’s not really a negative. I probably would not have used the spot treatment.

I had a blast checking out each of the chosen boxes. Of the four subscriptions, I am still receiving Ipsy and Glossy Box. My top favorite are the Glossy Box and Allure Beauty Box. I will most likely cancel Ipsy after another month because I do not feel like it’s worth the price in comparison to Glossy. I feel the same about Birchbox, which is why I canceled already. If I were to choose to keep only one, I would go with Glossy Box, hands down. Glossy has the best presentation and the feeling is simply magical when you go to open your monthly box, not to mention, the items feel the most substantial. Allure Beauty Box is not far behind, but I am not happy that they raised their price. That said, I enjoyed getting every one of them and I will probably use most of the products I received.

If you would like to checkout the boxes for yourself, please find their links below:

https://www.birchbox.com/

https://beautybox.allure.com/

https://www.ipsy.com/mdvwetnm

Receive 20% off your first Glossy Box: https://www.glossybox.com/referrals.list?applyCode=PATRICIA-R1XV

A Taste Of CAUSEBOX

Recently, by which I mean last summer, I found out about a new obsession. Well, maybe it’s not new to others, but it is to me. This particular obsession provides the buyer with an element of surprise while getting them products that they might not have typically found or bought on their own. The  obsession I refer to is that of buying subscription boxes. I never would have guessed how many different boxes exist, but I can tell you one thing for certain, I greatly enjoy telling people whenever I find a product I genuinely love.

Subscription boxes come in many different forms, but my favorites are those which provide a variety of lifestyle products, clothing and accessories, travel, or books. Yesterday I received the introductory box from CAUSEBOX, which can often be purchased for the discounted price of $24.95 and comes with nearly $150 worth of products.

The introductory box is a smaller version of their larger quarterly subscription box. This particular box comes with five popular items inside. Now, if you don’t know, CAUSEBOX’s mission statement is, “to bring sustainable and ethical products to everyone,” which I can definitely get behind. Each item they place inside their boxes lives up to their mission statement.

The items I received inside my introductory box are as follows: 1-17oz red S’well bottle, 1-October Jaipur natural vegan leather envelope clutch, 1-full-size DERMA E hydrating night cream, 1-Wyld French pink clay konjac sponge, and 1-Banded scrunchie 3-pack in yellow, white, and pink.

Each item inside the box has its own card with image, original price of the item, product description, and company information. For instance, the Banded scrunchie card informs the new product owner that each purchase will feed 3 meals to a child in need and that Banded has, “donated over 10.4 million meals to undernourished children to date.” I love their scrunchies even more with the new knowledge that they help feed children in need.

As of this moment, I have only tried out two of the products in the box. The scrunchies and the WYLD sponge. I love them. The sponge is quite soft and luxurious feeling. It is not rough on the skin at all and it boasts cleaner pores. I have decided to make it a part of my daily routine. The best part is, each sale helps with marine wildlife conservation. The scrunchies are soft and funky, and I’ve already told you they feed children, so they get a “yay!” from me.

I currently own a S’well bottle in 8oz, so I was happy to get one in 17oz because it’s perfect for plane rides because it keeps liquids cold for up to 24 hours and hot liquids warm for up to 12. The bottle is normally $35 dollars and it was the only product I knew to exist inside this box prior to ordering. The bottle alone made the purchase worthwhile. This was the only item that did not have a card with it. For anyone who does not know, S’well helps bring clean water to communities in need around the world.

I look forward to testing the DERMA E night cream. I am currently in search of a new product to help with keeping my skin looking it’s best. For those of you who do not know me, I do not look my age, but I am starting to see some fine lines and this product might be the winner. I will keep everyone posted ;o). On a side-note, these subscription boxes have helped me up my face preservation game. Previously I did not have a regular exfoliating, moisturizing, clarifying, etc., ritual, but I do now.

I have told you about my view on four of the products, now let me give you my feelings on the final item. The October Jaipur vegan leather envelope clutch in natural. It has a magnetic closure, credit cards slots, and a zipper pocket inside. The size is fairly decent and can definitely hold your phone, keys, and perhaps a couple of makeup items, which is great, but I feel due to its slippery sheen and size, I would probably be dropping it throughout the night. The clutch is the most expensive item in the box at $54. I have to be honest; I am not a big fan. I am going to give it a shot as a large wallet because I do not use clutch purses. I prefer, at the very least, a wrist strap. My other issue is that I simply do not find it to be attractive. I am not a huge fan of the color, but it does appear to be solid and I do appreciate that it is hand-stitched and ethically made.

If I were to purchase the quarterly subscription, the box would run me $54.95 per month and it would contain $250+ worth of products. The quarterly option is more expensive in the long-run than the annual option, which saves you $5 per box. The quarterly subscription does not allow you to customize any of your options, but the annual does. Both memberships allow you to participate in CAUSEBOX product sales at discounted prices. As of the current date, if you decide CAUSEBOX is not for you, you may cancel your subscription at any time.

My overall view of CAUSEBOX is that they are a wonderful company, but considering my distaste for the most expensive item inside the box, I am thinking about passing on the annual subscription. If you would like more information on CAUSEBOX or any of the products, please check out the links I have posted below.

Check me out on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tk_loves_this/

https://causebox.com

https://www.swell.com

https://global.octoberjaipur.com/

https://banded2gether.com/

https://dermae.com

https://www.wyldskincare.com/

Out Of The Woods & Into Your Heart

So, I will be the first to admit, I love wine. This past November we visited Cable, Wisconsin for a mini getaway for our five-year-anniversary. We researched the area to find some fun places to visit and I was quite pleased to find Out of the Woods Winery, which is located thirty minutes away in Hayward, Wisconsin. As a side note, I would like to apologize for how long it has taken me to write this post. I had surgery right after our visit and life has been a bit crazy.

Neal and I walked into this establishment looking for some good wine and we got so much more. We were first greeted by Dan, who is one of the owners, along with his father and brother. He took his place behind the bar and poured us our tastings. Not only does he have wine, but also cider. We chose to taste a mixture of 7 wines and ciders.

We tasted:

  • L1: Spring Lake Sauvignon – quite dry and not my favorite, but if you love dry white wine, this might be for you.
  • L2: Tiger Cat Riesling – Great flavor. The perfect combo of sweet and slightly dry. We decided to take this bottle home and put it aside for our anniversary next year.
  • D2: Noval Black Port – I loved this wine! It has a taste of dark chocolate covered cherries. It’s sweet but not too sweet. My husband wasn’t as into it as I was, so I didn’t buy a bottle, but will definitely go back for a glass next time we are in town.
  • C2: Nektar Zombie Killer – This cider has a prominent honey flavor and is the perfect mix of sweet and tart. It was my favorite cider.
  • C3: Rekorderling Strawberry Lime – This is their most popular cider. You can taste both strawberry and lime. It’s sweet but not in an overpowering way.
  • C5: Wyders Dry Pear – This cider has a very light flavor and is too light for me. Dan tells us that it’s great mixed with the Belgian Saison.
  • C6: The Cider Farm Belgian Saison – Tastes like black licorice. The flavor is soft, but on the metallic floral end. I am not a fan of floral flavors, so this doesn’t cut it for me.
  • C5 & C6: Wyders Dry Pear & The Cider Farm Belgian Saison – Definitely cut the wild flavor of the Saison, but isn’t something I would go out of my way for. Simply not my thing.

After we completed our tasting, Dan offered to let us try some items he was debating on carrying. We were delighted to give our thoughts.

Bonus Tasting:

  • Omme Gang Brewery: Rose Cider – Definitely dry and a little bitter, but it would make a nice refreshing gluten-free choice. I would drink it on a hot summer day. I say it’s a keeper.
  • Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha – Nice flavor. It’s sweet and unlike what I expected from a Kombucha. It would compete well with the ciders and it’s a healthy alternative.
  • SKOL Red (from Chateau St. Croix Winery) – This is a decent table wine, very flavorful. It smells like strawberries and has a tartness to it. I would definitely drink it if it was in stock.

Dan is charismatic, to say the least. He was able to explain each wine and cider. He told us the history of the winery. He explained how he keeps art displayed regularly throughout the winery because his late mother was an artist and a local farmer recommended hanging art. He told us, “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.”

As we tasted our way through the list of wines and ciders, we were able to listen to live music provided by John. He sings and plays acoustic as well as harmonica, each Saturday. He stayed longer than normal, simply because he felt like it. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. You can’t help but feel as if you have become part of the family. As I look out the window, I see Dan’s father and his brother Jess, stringing Christmas lights. We couldn’t have asked for a more memorable experience. Out of the Woods Winery has truly captured our hearts.

For more information on Out of the Woods Winery, please visit: https://www.outofthewoodswinery.com/

October Luxury Divas Box – Yes!

It’s month number two and I have received my Luxury Divas Box.  I am excited to say that I loved everything in this box and I am stoked that I decided to do a three month membership. The three month membership saves you five dollars per box, which brings the total down to thirty dollars per month.

This box came with the following: Red Luxury Divas slouchy hat, white fuzzy boot socks, a beautiful silver mesh bracelet, a pair of dangly caged crystal earrings, a black and purple crossbody bag, and a burgundy choker style top which fits great. I have no complaints. They also sent me a ten dollar gift certificate for the Luxury Divas site, because October is my birth month. I immediately went online and bought a beautiful ankle bracelet. I cannot wait until it comes. I plan to wear it in Las Vegas around the pool.

Here are the things I love about this company. They ship promptly. They take into consideration the colors you like and the type of style you wear. They give you a little something extra for your birthday. They write you a personalized note each month and they give you a sheet that tells you about each product and its value. I promptly emailed Marina, my curator, and told her how well she did. They also send you a little treat in each box, which was candy corn this month.

If you like accessories and you don’t want to break the bank on a monthly box subscription, I highly recommend Luxury Divas. The items fit well and I feel they are practical. I think you will find the experience refreshing. This is a company I feel good about. If you would like to see more images of the items from the October box, please visit my Facebook page. I will be posting images as soon as possible. https://www.facebook.com/starspiritadventures/

For more information, please visit: https://www.luxurydivas.com/

Adventures At Your Local Goodwill

Today I am doing a little shout out to the local Goodwill. This particular store is located in Savage, Minnesota and I happen to frequent it. While I do like the finer things in life, there are some things I have no problem buying secondhand, but at the same time, this store has tons of brand new items. I love Goodwill, because you never know what you will find.

I am sure that many people do not realize this, but Goodwill is one of the stores that Target sends their items to when they leave clearance. Frequently you can find brand new purses, hats, wallets, shoes, clothing, luggage, and other household goods that Target decided to no longer carry. I have bought quite a few brand new items including organic sunscreen, at this particular Goodwill. You can also find new sundresses, sunglasses, and toiletries, as well as gardening supplies, and some new bedding items, though not all of them will be from Target.

I like this location, because it is newer, and it is clean and organized. When I shop secondhand, the store has got to be clean and organized. If it is messy and does not feel clean, I will not have a desire to peruse the items, let alone buy anything. I give props to Goodwill; the stores they have recently opened have seemed to be much more organized than previously. I would recommend Goodwill, especially for holiday items that you may struggle to find in other stores.

For more information on Goodwill, please visit: http://www.goodwill.org/