Friday, July 18, 2014

Birchbox "Power Up" July 2014

I received my July Birchbox a few days ago, since I had already peeked at my account, I knew what I was getting so it wasn't AS exciting to open it, so it sat on my counter for a few days. For those of you that don't now, Birchbox is a monthly subscription (cancel/pause any time) where you get a monthly box, delivered to your front door, of 4-6 high-end beauty and lifestyle samples from top brands. The best part, it's only $10/month! (and free shipping!) 

Birchbox is always delivered in a nice (usually pink, but this month it was blue) box and within the packaging; there is always a nice little box with all the goodies. The theme this month was "Power Up" and was a collaboration with Women's Health magazine and the information card talked about the box having samples to energize your routine plus a booklet of "12 bite-sized challenges" to help you Power Up!

On the information card, Birchbox always explains each item and the value for the full size (I post the value for the sample size received - which is sometimes a full size item).  Here is what I got this month:

suki exfoliate foaming cleanser (~$1.65 for 6g / 0.2 oz sample) -  I always like trying out new exfoliators and this one is "all-natural" so that must make it better, right? And I JUST finished my other exfoliator up in the shower, so this came at the perfect time!

LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil ($18.00 for full size .07 oz sample) - this is supposed to be less like a gloss and more like a moisturizer that provides shine. According to the Birchbox website, there are 3 color options, but mine looks more coral than nude, so I dug a little deeper after some of the comments/reviews mentioned coral, and on the actual LAQA & Co. website they sell a coral color called "Bee Knees" so I'm assuming that is what I received since the actual item doesn't state the color - looks like when you buy it normally it comes in a box which I assume would have the color listed. This is a full sized product even though it appears travel size. 

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion (~$2.88 for 30 ml sample) - my skin has been SO dry lately, and I'm not a "put lotion on every day type of person" but I think this pregnancy is sucking the moisture out of my skin so this will be perfect to throw in my purse so I have some lotion handy when I'm out and about and my skin is looking super dry. This is a natural and organic product as well.

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (~$3.75 for 1 pair sample) - well I'm actually wearing these as I type. I feel like I look really run down lately (getting over fighting a nasty cold + pregnancy = rough looking) and I definitely love the way these feel while applied, nice and cool! Hopefully I'll actually notice some reduced puffiness and returned natural glow once I take them off!

Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask (~$6.49 total for two .05 oz samples) - seems odd they would give two of the sample samples, but since they are on the smaller size, maybe thats why, not even sure one tub will be enough for my whole head of thick hair. The instructions say to apply to wet hair and leave on for up to 20 minutes and then rinse out, I wish it would specify if it should be used after conditioner or in lieu of conditioner? Some of us "not so girly girly girls" aka ME have never used a "hair mask" before so I have no idea. 

In addition to the products this month, they included a post card for a FREE one-year subscription to Women's Health Magazine ($9.99 value). Personally, I never have time to read magazines except when I'm getting a pedicure so I won't be getting this as the magazines will just end up in the recycling bin. They are also offering a refund for anyone who chooses that option and sends the required information which pretty much pays for your month of Birchbox. if you choose to go that route. 

Total Estimated Value of Box: ~$32.77 (not including shipping or the Women's Health Magazine Subscription)
Total Cost of Box: $10.00 (Free Shipping)

Overall Impression: Pretty happy with the overall contents other than the lip pencil as I'm more of a chapstick or sheer gloss type of person so the coral color wasn't quite me but the rest of the items were great, and always a great value!

If you are interested in signing up for Birchbox, use my referral link. If you review each product monthly you also get credit money in the Birchbox shop. If you review each product each month (assuming there are 5) that equals $5 so the box itself pretty much costs $5 which is a great deal!

My box was "Birchbox 51" - if you click here and then change the last number you can see the different variations of boxes that were sent out, looks like there were 67 different variations this month.

Which box did you get this month? Did you like it?

Disclosure: This post contains referral links! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

eShakti Piper Dress Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by eShakti to see if I'd be interested in writing a product review. This was the first time I've received a request like this, and I had never heard of eShakti before but I knew I'd be interested. 

eShakti describes themselves as the only online women's fashion apparel company offering size 0-36W & Custom clothing. I found their website very easy to navigate and loved the selections the offered. The idea that they have such a wide range of sizes and styles on everything was refreshing. I liked how every item could be customized to a specific length and if applicable, sleeve style. How many times have you saw an item online or in stores and said "Oh that'd be perfect if only it wasn't so short, or if only it had thicker sleeve?" I know I've gone through that on several occasions. It appears eShakti  caters to that specifically, and not just for the "model-thin" girls either. 

The item I selected was the Piper Dress, in Ultramarine. I ordered a size M-8, and put in my height of 5'2". Even though I was offered the custom styling, I decided to go with the standard as I really liked the dress as shown (knee length and sleeveless). This would be perfect for work with a cardigan (after the baby weight is loss). 

Since i'm pregnant and clearly not a regular size 8 (ha, I'm not even a maternity size 8 at this point #ilovefood), I can't exactly try the dress on to see how it fits, however, based on the way it looks and from holding it up next to another size 8 dress I own, it looks to be true to size. 

The dress shipped very quickly, via DHL, directly from India. Inside the DHL envelope, the dress was in a cardboard box and then within the box, it was wrapped in a nicely sealed plastic bag. The dress itself had a very lightweight feel and seemed more "woven poplin" than "spandex",  even though the description says exactly that, I was just expecting it to be more spandex-y based on the picture, although I'm glad it's not since more spandex-y will be harder to fit into nicely with my post-preggo body! I also like that they have a snap-close on the v-neck as sometimes on the lower cut dresses, they show a little too much cleavage. It also have the bra strap clasps on the shoulders which I love as I hate when my bra straps slide down my shoulders! 

definitely needs a good iron though!

I can't say I would have paid $74.95 for this dress as I don't spend that much on ANY of my clothes, but it does appear they offer lots of specials which would make them more competitive/affordable.  Also, the fact that they go up to much larger sizes is helpful as I know many plus-size women have difficulty finding stylish clothes to fit their body shapes.

Currently, their website says Buy 2, Get 1 Free plus  you can get a $25 credit for signing up. They do charge shipping based on the cost of the items (cost before promotions are applied), but I wouldn't be surprised to see them eventually run a free-shipping type promotion as most online retailers offer those from time to time. 

 eShakti can be found at or on FacebookPinterest & Twitter.

Disclosure: I received this item in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received, all opinions are my own.