Wednesday, March 28, 2012

LUXE BOX: March 2012

hi all!
so it is nearing the end of March and i (as well as plenty of others) have not received our Glossyboxes yet. i heard that the Alberta ones were shipped on Monday so hopefully i will get it by this Friday! 
i did receive a box Monday and it was the Luxe Box! finally! as i was walking to my community mailbox, i realized that i usually find them on my doorstep so i ran back. it was not there so i proceeded to the mailbox once again. oddly enough, it was in my mailbox but the Canada Post shipping notification did not state "Do Not Safe Drop". 
it also happens to be Loose Button's first birthday and as a special gift, they used a seeded card that can also be used to grow a plant. you pretty much put the card in some soil and water it. i have no idea what kind of plant it would become. very neat idea!

the March edition contains:

1) Vera Wang Lovestruck - seeing that it was a longer perfume box, i was expecting a rollerball but it is just a bigger vial. i find that this made it even more difficult to use. it was inevitable that while attempting to open it, i will get the perfume all over my fingers. i do like the perfume though - it is a floral scent that is not overpowering.
size: 4 mL
retail value: $54 (50 mL)

2) Cargo Eye Shadow Single in "Sardinia" - actually, it wasn't a single - it was a duo. and there was no color labelled anywhere so i had to Google it (which didn't work) and use Google Images. apparently it is a part of the Spring 2012 collection which may be why it was so difficult to find more information about this product. by the way, does anyone know why Sephora stopped carrying Cargo products on their website? 

anyway, i wore it today without eyeshadow primer and after 13 hours, it still prevails! less so of the pink but still impressive since i have monolids. it goes on silky and is very pigmented. i really like the color - it's definitely something i'd wear everyday. i went digging in my box of eyeshadows since i recall getting a similar color combination from Clinique. the one on the left is my swatch from Cargo's "Sardinia" and the one on the right is Clinique's "104 Strawberry Fudge". 
size: 3 g (full size!)
retail value: $16

3) OPI Top Coat - it seems that the one i got was a tad different from other people's in that mine says "RapiDry". i don't mind! i tend to smudge my nails really quickly so this helps. it's funny how i mentioned the desire for nail polish in these beauty boxes last month and ta da! Topbox, Glymm and now Loose Button all send nail polish. maybe Glossybox too? 
-- update April 2, 2012 - since using this top coat six days ago, my nails still have not chipped! there are some edges visible due to daily wear but this is the longest that a nail color has lasted for me. they still look good but i'm getting a little tired of the color, haha. first time that's happened! -- 
size: 3.75 mL
retail value: $15 (15 mL)

4) CHI Silk Fusion - i wasn't entirely sure how to use this product so i searched online. many people suggested using it when your hair is damp. my hair immediately felt softer with just a tiny amount of this clear liquid. it reminds me of another product i own - Biosilk's Silk Therapy. on the sample it says "for hair & skin" but i do not know how one would use it for the skin... do you just rub it in for silky hands? 
size: 15 mL
retail value: $33 (180 mL)

overall, this month's box is pretty good. the products may seem small, but i really like my eyeshadow - which was reserved through Loose Button's "First in Line" program by the way! we were sent an email notification ahead of time (which is new) and so i was online once the program opened. and of course, the server crashes. i probably was able to get through around 20 minutes later. i guess i wasn't helping the situation by having two different browsers opened and refreshing constantly. :) (i also tried on my iPhone...)
i will also make use of all the other products. i do not have many nail polish top coats so yay. i'm a little tired of receiving perfume samples but at least i haven't gotten this one yet (it is a larger sample AND a contender for an important perfume award). as for the CHI product, i will continue to use it to see the long-term benefits many people have been gushing about.

happy birthday Loose Button!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

GLYMM BOX: March 2012

honestly, i have not been wowed by Glymm as of late, nevertheless i was antsy waiting for the box to arrive. partly because it arrived in Calgary early Friday but Canada Post chose not to deliver it and i had to wait all weekend! the weekend can feel super long in these instances, haha. it arrived today (well yesterday now that i posted it) - this time i had to go to my community mailbox to get it rather than find it on my doorstep. guess they have had enough issues with missing boxes? anyway, it is the smart thing to do.

removing the lid, i find the Glymm ribbon around the March 2012 edition card "Spring Fling". the lower pic is what it looks like when i remove the front card. the second card is an offer for a free Hydrafull lip gloss from Anastasia Beverly Hills with the purchase of any other 2 products. Anastasia products range between $16 and $85 on the Glymm website.

this month's samples include:

1) Anastasia Beverly Hills Hydrafull Gloss in "Sorbet" - well since we got a promo card, it is definitely nice to try the product out first. this is the tiniest sample of lip gloss i've ever received. at least i know i will be able to use this one completely since i have been getting a ton of lip products in my boxes. 

the applicator is different than usual - it is a paddle applicator. the only other time i've encountered this is when i bought my sister the tokidoki Prisma Lip Gloss. i took two pictures, hopefully you can see the paddle more when i applied the product. "Sorbet" is a nice coral pink but once i apply it, it just gives me a hint of color and some shine. it does not feel really sticky except when i tried to wash it off my hand after swatching it.

this product has apparently been clinically tested and is cruelty free! i never trust these test results unless i know specifics such as how many participants there were - "87% reported the lip gloss provides long lasting moisture" but 87% of say, 10 people, would not be very significant (okay i know you can't have 8.7 people but i am just giving an example!).
size: 1.0 mL
retail value: $27 (2.2 mL)

2) M. Asam Magic Fini - looking at the bottle, i had no idea what it was. according to other bloggers, this is a BB cream. there has been a huge BB cream craze, and this is the first time i've received one in a box. i already have one that my friend ordered from overseas which i really like already and i am glad that i can branch out and try this one too. as you can see in the picture, the color seems a little dark. it would've been nice if this had a safety seal on it or something. 

i don't know how to describe the smell, but the texture is similar to mousse. after putting it on my face, there was a noticeable reduction in redness and my skin felt very smooth. i've only used it once but so far, i'm a fan!
size: 5 mL
retail value: $38 (30 mL)

3) NuMe Feather Hair Extensions - i don't know what the name of this color is but to me it is an unattractive yellow-green. i already knew these were going to be in the box but i was hoping for at least a color i can MAYBE pull off like blue or purple (i have brown-black hair). but what to do with this one? i read someone suggested wearing them for St. Patrick's Day but that's a little too late now. a plus is that these are cruelty free and are made from real human hair. it also came with 5 micro rings. this sample was definitely a fun idea but risky for Glymm too since it would not be appealing to all age groups. but then again, you can't please everybody!
size: 3 feathers (full size!)
retail value: $25

4) Ocean Nail Polish in "80 White Opal" - so Glymm has also decided to answer my call for nail polish and kudos for that, but i probably got the most boring color out there! "White Opal" is not "vibrant, pastel and intense" like it says on the card. it dried pretty quickly but is it just me or does the nail polish smell seem to be stronger with this brand?

i decided to swatch this on my sister's hand since i already had nail polish on (she also has nicer nails than me). she has 2 coats of "White Opal" on her thumb, pointer and middle finger. i didn't do her last two fingers so i can show you how there is no color except for a bluish sheen. i have no idea if i will be using this color; possibly over another nail polish?
size: 15 mL (full size!)
retail value: $12

5) *bonus* Lise Watier Flash Lift Radiance Vial - oddly, this was not even listed on the card. guess they threw this in last minute. it is recommended that we use it in the morning to erase signs of fatigue so i have not used it just yet. the vial is a teeny tiny sample too. guess it is only for one use?
size: 1 vial (1 mL)
retail value: $27 (7 vials)     - according to the Lise Watier website 

so i am happy with my Glymm box this month. not a fan of the color i got for the feather extensions or the nail polish but i like everything else. i especially enjoyed the Magic Fini. if you are interested in finding out more about Glymm, click here.

as of today, i have not received any shipping notification from Loose Button or Glossybox. not sure what is going on there. Glossybox was sent out so early last month but they changed their policy recently so perhaps that was only a one-time thing?
i also wanted to note that i finally finished a book i started months ago - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. it was a hard book for me to get through since it was written in the 1800s - the language and style of writing were really different. there was also a lot of French - i had to type in paragraphs of French into Google Translate! i picked this edition up at a thrift store because i loved how it looked, well old, and i loved the gold lining on the side of the pages.

i can now finally watch the movie, HOORAY! (yes, i wanted to read the book first - i figured it must be good since there have been like 6 film adaptations). i think i will be starting on the Hunger Games trilogy (pressure from my sister) since the movie is coming out soon anyway!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TOPBOX: March 2012

eeeeeee! it's here!!!!!!
it was actually delivered yesterday but i couldn't open it til today. Topbox had this thing on Facebook where they tried to get people to refrain from posting about their boxes before a certain date but i was very anxious and had to peek at some comments. i just read the comments (didn't look at the actual products received) and many people were very happy. and so i was even more excited to open this box - and honestly, i was not disappointed!

upon opening this box, there is a little note saying that there is a bonus sample to the usual 4! the lower frame shows what it looks like at first glance (after the tissue paper). (oh yeah, i have new bed sheets! lol).

YES! Topbox has finally answered the call for nail polish!! i know people would've preferred higher-end nail polish brands, but i was just happy receiving nail polish! and they are in such cute little bottles! ok ok i will hold off talking about these for a bit...
the list of samples is different from previously - it is a card with the products listed back to back instead of a card.

samples of the month:
1) Make Up For Ever Sens' Eyes - this is an eye makeup remover that is safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. it is a light blue-green color and does not have a scent. i haven't had a chance to use this yet since i was so eager to post about this box and today was also a makeup-free day - which is not common at all. since i do wear makeup regularly, i will definitely make use of this! i am happy with the size too!
size: 25 mL
retail value: $28 (100 mL)

2) Redken Color Extend - yes this sounds familiar because it was in last month's Luxe Box! however the packaging is slighly different. click here to see the post. on the one i just received, it says "new: interlock protein network" where as last month's said "new: fade resist complex". i don't really understand what either means but okay, great - more hair samples geared towards colored hair... there were also 2 packets of these.
size: 10 mL each x 4 = 40 mL
retail value: shampoo $15 (300 mL); conditioner $17 (250 mL)

3) mark. Gloss Gorgeous Stay On Lip Stain  in "Frilly FrouFrou" - this comes personalized according to the customer. mine is a sheer peachy pink color.

i've seen magazine ads for mark. but since you can only order through Avon, i thought that was a bit of a hassle. so i am glad to be able to try their products (2 in this month's box!). the applicator is a brush and product comes out after about 30 clicks on this pen-like lip stain. i am not a fan of this because i have already accidentally clicked it twice while trying to put the lid back on. wasting product :( as for staying power, it has lasted me the last two hours i've worn it. it doesn't feel too sticky and feels pretty smooth on my lips.
size: 1.5 g (full-size!)
retail value: $12

4) mark. Nailed It Trend Mini Nail Lacquers in "Violet Daze" and "Tickled Pink" - okay, so again YAY for nail polishes! "Violet Daze" is a sparkly deep purple while "Tickled Pink" is a very light baby pink. i like both of these colors but more so the pink - i've been wanting a nice light pink.

i'm not sure why my phone makes "Violet Daze" seem more blue than it is! i apologize!! "Violet Daze" took 2 coats and "Tickled Pink" took 3 coats. excuse the imperfections - either i am extra clumsy since i wanted them to look good for pictures or that it takes a while to dry and i can't help smudging. there is a huge dent on my pointer finger while wearing the purple color.

application was alright, to be honest, i am not very good at painting my nails. or maintaining my cuticles either. i am a little lost on nail care actually. so again, sorry for the horrid pictures. i just wanted to give you some quick swatches.
just a note on "Violet Daze" - when you take it off, it leaves a slightly bluish tinge.
size: 2.7 mL each x 2 = 5.4 mL (full-size! as in these nail polishes are intended to be sold in mini versions)
retail value: $8

5) Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes (bonus) - this product comes from the UK and has 7 sheets. 7!! instead of a lousy one-use only sample previously received from another box. will update you on this once i use it :) it appears to have all the benefits of the MUFE one mentioned earlier. i am glad that it is non-oily! i wonder if the MUFE one is greasy...
size: 7 wipes
retail value: $10.99 (25 wipes)

i am quite happy with this box! i can make use of everything here so definitely great value. it was also nice that there was a variety of items in this box. no hand creams and no perfume samples! quick delivery too! i am happy happy happy.

expecting my Glymm box soon! stay tuned.

Friday, March 09, 2012

LOVE: Le Château - BC 89 Heels

hey everyone!
it feels like it's been foreverrrrrrrrr since i've blogged. and it feels like it's been so long since i've gotten a subscription box - why does it seem extra long this month?? but i did my shipping notification that my Topbox is on it's way today! not much longer then.. i hope!
so i just have a few pictures of some heels i picked up at a Le Château outlet two days ago. i have no idea what they are called cause the box they gave me the wrong box and i can't find them on their website. all i know is that style is called BC 89. i also do not know the original price of the shoes. there is an orange sticker on the bottom of one that says $49.99 but i got them for $19.99. 

i hesitated at first, since i already have a ton of black heels. but these were different! (have i said that before??)
the decision was finalized once another lady came up to tell me that she thought they looked good.

they are suede and have some PVC material on the back and lining around the laces. the PVC is slightly uncomfortable on the inside so i'd wear them with some invisible socks.
i like how it sort of has an "office"-y look. i find that they look better when i wear tights rather than just bare feet so i'd pair them with a dress and tights. what do you think?
thanks for reading! :) 
ps. i am very happy that my previous post on the report card has been useful to many of you!
pps. i reached 1000 pageviews on march 5, 2012. hooray!!!!!! i can't believe it's gone up that much! very exciting. when i first started this, i had no idea if anyone would be interested in my blog. my sister even decided to become my first follower cause she had doubts. thanks again everybody!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

REPORT CARD: Topbox, Glymm & Loose Button

hi everyone! HAPPY LEAP YEAR!! once every four years... i was scrambling to finish this on time so that i could publish this on Feb 29 - i wasn't done on time so i cheated and just clicked "publish" early anyway. hehe.

anyway, since i have now collected 3 boxes from each company, i decided to do a quarterly "report card". i thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the products received as well as shipping times. i hope this gives everyone an idea of what each company is like and help you find one that suits your needs best. for more information on each one, i'll include links at the bottom of the post or you can also look under "Links & More" on the right.

too bad i couldn't make a super pretty table on this - i had to turn to Excel instead. please click on the pictures to see the tables in detail - i list what kind of product it is as well as if it is full-sized or personalized. if there is a number after the item, it means that i got that many of the same sample. an "S" after the product means that it was a sample that was only intended for a single-use (or for very limited use, like shampoo and conditioner samples that are not in a bottle).
quick recap: i signed up for all 3 services on November 7, 2011 (so my first box was in December).

Topbox:   
* sold out but will have more in March - you can join their email notification list today OR enter to win a 3-month subscription here
* Cost: $10.50/month including tax
* Beauty Profile? Yes
* Referral program? Yes - for every friend you invite, you get one box free (up to a limit of 6); invite through email only
* Buy full-sized products online? No - but Topbox will suggest a place where you can

according to their website, Topbox sends out 4 samples every month:

this has actually been pretty consistent with Topbox. in February, i counted 5 but i guess Topbox agreed that the YSL Touche Éclat sample was way too small to be considered one.
notice how much hand creme we have been getting?? but it's gonna be all good now since Topbox has promised that there will be none in the next box! another type of product i have received a lot of is perfume samples - but funnily enough, none of them are from Topbox!

another thing with Topbox is that they hold a number of giveaways - usually around holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day. when you complete surveys, you are entered into a draw to win some full-size products in your next box. that's pretty awesome!

Glymm & Glymm Box:
* Cost: $10.50/month including tax
* Beauty Profile? Yes
* Referral program? Yes - you earn Glymm Points in their Loyalty Rewards program (also by completing surveys, etc). you use Glymm Points to get a discount when purchasing a product. note that you cannot redeem them for free boxes.
* Buy full-sized products online? Yes - from their Beauty Boutique

Glymm strives to send out 4-5 samples in each box:

it appears that Glymm has been sticking to their word EXCEPT i was very generous in counting a couple of these products as samples at all since they were definitely not "deluxe-sized" (re: blush papier from February 2012 box or cleansing cloth from January 2012).

Loose Button & Luxe Box:
* sold out but join their waitlist to be notified
* Cost: $12.60/ month including tax
* Beauty Profile? Yes
* Referral program? Yes - refer 3 friends, get 1 box free
* Buy full-sized products online? No - but the company will direct you somewhere else

like Glymm, Loose Button states that they will deliver 4-5 samples per month:

so far, it's 4. with the fragrances, even though they were different samples, i counted them together. i didn't feel right counting it separately because then for January's box, there would've been 9 samples?
also it's interesting to note that Loose Button has the most "bonus" items. both Glymm and Loose Button included some form of candy in their December boxes but it has not happened again since then.

Loose Button also has a "First in Line" program that began in December (they did not use it for February though). with this program, they send out an email allowing you to reserve a product in your next box. so far, you are allowed to choose from 2-4 products and they give you around 2-3 days to do so. however, there is a reservation limit and people are quick! they have some really good products for you to choose from but i have not been successful in reserving a product yet :(

in the far right, i included a "Total" column. so the number of products received from each company over the last three months is fairly the same (12-13). Topbox and Glymm tie with the number of full-sized products they included in their boxes while Luxe Box has only offered half the amount. and lastly, Topbox is clearly the winner when it comes to customization. so far, they have included 3 items that were personalized for each customer. all three companies have a "Beauty Profile" for you to complete, but it seems like Topbox is the only one making use of your answers.

i broke down the number of products into product types. here you can see how many makeup-related samples i got and how many of them were fragrances, etc etc. Loose Button appears to have the most variety of samples (5 categories). Glymm is pretty much concentrated on makeup and skin care. Topbox focuses on these two the most, but also offers some hair care samples.

after taking a look at the samples received, i decided to turn to shipping times. if it seems unclear, the numbers represent the date in that month. for instance, for Loose Button in December, they stated that they were shipping the boxes on the week of the 12th. later on, they were more specific with the dates: December 12th to 16th. according to Canada Post, Loose Button actually shipped them out on December 16th and it was expected to arrive on the 22nd. in fact, it was early and i got it on the 20th. the little * besides some dates under "expected" indicates that the date had to be updated (usually because Canada Post received the package after cut-off times).

just so you know, Topbox ships from Toronto/Mississauga, ON; Glymm from Montreal/Brossard, QC; Loose Button from Mississauga, ON. Topbox is the first one i receive every single month. and it is interesting to note that they are the only company that has specifically requested Canada Post to not safe drop. i think this means do not leave them outside the customer's house? because i always find Luxe Boxes and Glymm boxes on my porch somewhere, but Topbox arrives in the community mail box.

both Glymm and Loose Button have sent out emails apologizing for delays. according to my analysis, it looks like Topbox's delivery date is becoming later and later in the month - hopefully this trend does not continue!

as for Glossybox, i will be getting that soon i hope! i signed up back on January 25 but they had already sold out of the February box. anyways, they expect to ship it out the beginning of March ($15.00/month including tax and shipping).

looking for a conclusion? well well well. i have not decided to unsubscribe from any of these services just yet. i think i will decide once i get my March boxes. as much as i love receiving these, i do not have the funds to sustain subscriptions to 4 companies for a long period of time. and besides, if i keep receiving products i do not like/can't use, then it is much better for me to save it and spend it on something i actually like. so far, i am loving the sizes of the samples from Topbox. the samples also tend to be from luxury brands too such as Principessa and YSL. Glymm has given me Burt's Bees and Sula products twice now, both of which wouldn't be considered luxury. so if i were to pick one company to stick with for sure, it would be Topbox right now.

sorry if that was a lot of reading to go through. i hope it wasn't too confusing!! if it was, just drop me a comment and i will gladly answer your questions. i just want to give you as much information about these companies as i can. if you wanted to see what products i was referring to specifically, please feel free to go through my other blog posts. i include pictures and some of them have reviews as well.

for more information:
Topbox
Glymm / Glymm Box
Loose Button / Luxe Box
Glossybox

thanks for reading! please let me know if there is anything you suggest i change/add in my report card :)
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