Allergy Season Survival Kit

Allergy Season Survival Tools*Aaaahhhh- CHOO*  

Allergy season is upon us.  My allergies are much better since I went Gluten-Free, but I still get the sneezes during the high point of Spring.

When my nose starts to resemble a certain red-nosed reindeer…. (Red noses might be attractive on reindeer, but not so much on me)…. I have a couple of products that help return my skin to normal.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips  – This stuff is INSANE!  I got my first sample in a Birchbox eons ago and have been hooked ever since.  It is made from 100% medical grade Lanolin and can be used on noses, lips, cuticles, nipples (as the name implies)… whatever you’ve got that is dry and ouchie.  It is super thick and lasts…. even when you’re blowing your nose and breathing through your mouth… this stuff lasts! My eyes crossed a little at the idea of spending $15 on a lip balm, but it is so worth it.  Trust me!  Your EOS Lip Balm is great for everyday, but this stuff will get you through a cold or sinus/allergy season without your lips cracking.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator – I’ve had other face scrubs that I liked… but never anything like this.  Vasanti WORKS.  The scrubbie things are super fine and gentle… yes, you’re using this to scour off dead/dry skin, but it doesn’t hurt… or leave your face even more red and sore.  It is a gentle scrub that works really well. You can even use it three to five times a week.  When I’m blowing my nose like crazy and scrubbing my face off with tissues, I use this every other day or so.  Yes, my nose is still red, but I don’t have the dry, flaky skin.  Combine it with the Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips for ultra healing. It’s $35… yep…. but it lasts forever… seriously, you only use a tiny bit.  I received the 20g sample size in my Birchbox just before I got a cold this past winter and it lasted through my cold (using it every other day) and for another two weeks (2x weekly use).

I know that neither product is exactly cheap…. but they LAST and they WORK.  Seriously…. anything that can help you get through allergy & sinus season without looking like a certain red-nosed reindeer…. WORTH IT!

Ready to sign up for Birchbox and discover awesome products for yourself?  Please use my referral code: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/phoenixrize

Birchbox Review – March

IMG_2346 2Recently Birchbox has been offering special themed boxes.  If you’re a Birchbox Ace you get an earlier chance to select you box for the month. You can choose the themed box or choose one of the special sample choices.  If you choose the themed box you know what all the samples will be…. if you pick one of the sample choices you will only know what that one sample is and the rest of your box will be a surprise.  Do I want to be surprised,  or do I want to know?  And to make it even more difficult to choose…. now the boxes themselves are coming in different, pretty styles!  So many decisions!

For my March box I decided I wanted to be surprised.  I just chose the Beauty Protector Protect & Oil and let the rest of the box be a surprise.

Number 4™ Reconstructing Masque – I usually love Masques, but this one just didn’t impress me.  To begin with it came in one of those stupid plastic sample pooches… HATE!  How am I supposed to open the damn thing in the shower when my hands are wet?  Those pouches require scissors or teeth!  It worked okay on my hair, but wasn’t anything special.

Number 4™ Clarifying Shampoo – This shampoo was okay…. but not fabulous.  It made my hair feel very ‘fluffy.’  My hair is straight, it should just stay put and not be fluffy.  Combined with a heavier conditioner it was okay, but not with the Masque.

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil – I was excited about this sample.  I’ve been being lazy and washing my hair at night and letting it dry on its own instead of washing and blowdrying in the mornings.  Usually I can run a flat iron over it to iron out any weirdness (my hair is perfectly straight… except when it dries on its own and then it sticks up in weird ways).  I already have the Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle that I absolutely adore.  I spray that in my hair at night while it’s still wet.  In the mornings I put a few drops of the oil in my hands (which is hard because it doesn’t want to come out of this sample bottle in drops, it wants to pour!) and run my hands over the ends of my hair before using the flat iron.  I like it….. its not my favorite hair oil, but it works fine.

Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara – Another mascara…. sigh.  This one is okay.  It will rub off though.  I had a cold when I got this sample and apparently I squeeze my eyes shut really tight when I sneeze… and I looked like a raccoon! The Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Supreme Mascara from September’s box survived sneezing fits much better.

Harvey Prince Signature – This was a nice scent.  Not exactly my style… I like the Harvey Prince Hello or Ageless much better.

Jelly Pong Pong GLOW GETTER Highlighter – This stuff was just weird.  It came in a nail polish bottle… complete with the little brush and everything.  I thought it was nail polish… I was hesitant to put it on my face because it looked like nail polish. I wish it had been nail polish because I liked the color for my nails… but not my face.  It was thick and too glittery.

If you are considering joining Birchbox, please use my referral code: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/phoenixrize

Tea for Two

I love getting my Birchbox every month.  It’s just nice getting something fun in the mail… I wish people still wrote letters…. It seems silly to write a letter when you could txt or email faster, but….  Of course, Birchbox sends me makeup and other fun treats too.

Tea PigsLast month, along with some makeup and hair care treats, I got two samples of tea from Tea Pigs;  Liquorice & Mint and Dandelion.  I wasn’t at all impressed with Dandelion, but the Liquorice & Mint… OMG!  I’m not normally a fan of liquorice, but with the mint it was just perfect.  More than perfect…. I was hooked!

One of the perks of a Birchbox subscription is that you earn points each time you write a review of one of the items in your box. It’s possible to earn 50-70 points each month.  Ten points for each review and you earn a $10 credit for every 100 points.  You can save up your points and use them for anything in the Birchbox shop.

A box of Tea Pigs tea was only $10 in the Birchbox shop and I just so happened to have a $20 credit saved up… AND it was my Birchbox anniversary so they’d sent me a 25% off code…… and then the tea was OUT OF STOCK!!  I joined the waitlist and I tried to be patient.  I waited and waited WEEKS (maybe days….. but it was a LOT of days) and when I couldn’t take it anymore I headed to Tea Pigs to order direct (AND they offered a 20% off code for anyone that came from Birchbox… yay!).  And then I went a little berserk.   I was only going to order the Liquorice & Mint, but all the teas sounded so good.  Tea Pigs offers a two count sample pack of any of their teas ($2.50) ….. and I if I ordered over $50 I got free shipping…. and… well….. I went just a little berserk.  (Side note: If you’re looking for something cute to put in a gift basket, the samples come in these adorable little boxes!)

I ordered a mega pack of the Liquorice & Mint (it was cheeper that way… yeah… that’s it… cheeper) and a sample pack of each of the following teas.  Mom and I have been having a great time trying the new teas.  So far the Liquorice & Mint is still my favorite, but I would recommend any of the other other teas too.  I’ll add new reviews as we work our way through each tea.

chocolate flake tea – It was a nice, rich tea… there was a slight hint of Tea Pigschocolate flavor, though not nearly as much as I would have liked.

chilli chai – Yum!  A good chai tea flavor with a light taste of chilli.

rooibos crème caramel – I didn’t get any caramel taste.  The tea was very nice, but nothing special.

popcorn tea

spiced winter red tea – A nice hint of orange, cinnamon and cloves.

liquorice and mint – FAVORITE!

lemon and ginger

pure lemongrass tea

super fruit

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June Birchbox

June BirchboxHarvey Prince Hello – 50 ml – Okay,this I LOVED!  “Made with eco-friendly ingredients, this scent has all-day staying power. A top note of Meyer lemon captures the scent of fresh-squeezed lemonade, while Satsuma mandarin adds a double fruity note. Next up, summer forsythia and pink plumeria—traditionally found in Hawaiian leis—give the scent its heady floral layer.”

LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil – Another odd lip gloss color from Birchbox…. I’m not sure what I said in my profile to make them keep sending me weird colors.  The texture was nice… very smooth and silky with a bit of mint, so it tingles ever so slightly.  Just a weird color again.

Davines OI / All in One Milk – Damn, Birchbox!  I LOVED this leave-in type serum…. It made my hair so soft and smooth without weighing it down in the least… and it smelled so pretty… and it costs $28.  GACK!

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo – I loved the shampoo and conditioner from Davines too…. and they both cost $25 for 8oz…. evil, evil…. I may pay it though…. It really made my hair feel so nice…. maybe with my Birchbox points?

Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner

The Aloe Source Vitamin C Antioxidant Crème – Another nice face cream.  Birchbox must think I really need hydrating… I get a new cream every other month or so.  I’m not complaining!  I haven’t had to buy one since I signed up for Birchbox.  I haven’t gotten one that was much better or worse than any of the others.  This was nice.  The only reason I wouldn’t buy it is because I figure BB will send me a new one before I run out.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit – I wanted to like this.  It came in a pretty blue box and I’m a pushover for pretty boxes…. It also came with a little muslin polishing cloth which seemed kinda cool… I just didn’t like the cleanser at all.  It felt slimy and seemed to cling to my skin.  Not pleasant at all.

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May Birchbox

Birchbox - May

I wasn’t super crazy about anything in this month’s Birchbox.  I Liked the PIXI Beauty Shea Butter Lip Balm… It smells wonderful.  I got “Pixi Pink.”  It wasn’t the best shade for me… but in another color I would have loved it.

I hated the Nexxus trio.  The primer made my hair feel oily and the shampoo and conditioner just made my hair feel itchy and tangle.  I was also a bit annoyed with Birchbox for calling them three separate items when they came in one package.

I still haven’t tried the SPF… personally I think the SPF stuff is bad for you… I put it in my giveaway box.  I haven’t used the Marcelle Power Serum  yet either, but I’m just waiting until I have used up the last of the other lotion that I got from Birchbox.  The Breath Crystals are in my purse…. I’m waiting until I need em!
May Birchbox CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40

Marcelle New·Age 8 in 1 Power Serum

32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals with IsoVoxy – 30 Count

PIXI Beauty Shea Butter Lip Balm

Nexxus® Color Assure™ Pre-Wash Primer

Nexxus® Color Assure™ Vibrancy Retention Shampoo

Nexxus® Color Assure™ Vibrancy Retention Conditioner

Not my favorite Box ever, but I got a new lip balm (and heavens knows I can always use another one!)  Even though I didn’t find any favorites, I enjoyed trying out all the new products.

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral link: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/phoenixrize I’ll earn credits to use in the Birchbox store!

 

 

 

 

Birchbox Love

I was just scrolling through my Facebook and paused to read a few of the comments people had posted to Birchbox.  OMG!  People are hateful!  There were so many snotty comments… “I got nail polish last month,” “Another perfume sample?” “Tea?!”  Ummm…. people?

Have you noticed that people just want to be unhappy about something? I really want to ask they why they subscribed in the first place.  If you already know what products you like and hate all things new…. Well, Birchbox isn’t the service for you.  Personally, I think people just like to complain.  Me?  I LOVE Birchbox!  I can’t wait for my box to arrive each month.

If you haven’t heard of Birchbox before, it is a monthly subscription service that helps you find and try new beauty products.  Each month you receive a pink box in the mail filled with 4-5 products from up and coming and well known companies. Usually they are sample sizes (think travel sized…. enough for several uses) and some full sized products.  Lately Birchbox has been including an edible sample… tea, chocolate, granola bar.  The box costs $10 (shipping is included)… If you order a longer subscription the price drops a little.  I’ve been a subscriber for 16 months now…. I recently decided that I might as well get the year long subscription and save a little.  You can also earn points for reviewing the products to buy full sized products from Birchbox.com.

Birchbox

Here is where I differ from the “complainers”…. I don’t get upset when Birchbox sends me a product that I don’t like.   I sorta appreciate it.  I’m one of those people that likes makeup and beauty products, but doesn’t really know a lot about them… I guess I don’t read the right magazines or blogs?  Sometimes I’ll get it in my head to buy a product and then it won’t work like I expected and I’m stuck with a full sized product that I hate…. money and drawer space (’cause I won’t throw it away) wasted.  When Birchbox sends me a silver eyeliner pen I feel no guilt playing around with it…. but when I bought that $20 pot of gold eyeliner and the $10 eyeliner brush and discovered that it was clumpy and I had no skill with the brush…. Yeah, that one I still feel guilty about… every time I see it in the bottom of my make up drawer.  Best part?  I love the silver eyeliner pen!  In the same box I received a sample of KIND granola bars… and learned that I didn’t like them at all…. yay!  Now I don’t have 6 other KIND bars sitting around making me feel guilty.  I also learned that I don’t like Sea Salt Spray or Dry Shampoo…. but I discovered a leave-in conditioner and lip balm that I LOVE.  Sometimes I get a product that I like, but is out of my  price range, but usually the prices are pretty reasonable.  I have a certain perfume that I am saving up my Birchbox points to buy because it more than what I consider “reasonable” but I really like it…. so I’ll save my points for it.

I have several products that Birchbox introduced me to that I’ve since purchased (or will when the sample runs out).

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner  Silver!
Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips ( Never would have bought this on my own…. Love it!)
Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo & Conditioner 
BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Genre – 3.4oz (This one’s on my wish list) 
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle 
Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (I’ll buy this when my sample runs out)
ModelCo SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss
Folle de Joie eau de parfum (Wish List!) 

 That is eight products that I’ve bought or will buy…. that’s one item out of every 2 boxes that I liked enough to buy.  And that’s not to say that I didn’t like the other items in my box… but Birchbox will send me another similar item before long (like hand lotion… they send me a ton of hand lotion and one is pretty much the same as another to me).  I have a couple of black/brown eyeliners and several lipstick/gloss that I’ve used and liked, but not enough to buy.  So for me, Birchbox is also keeping me supplied in products that I need, but don’t have a favorite.

If you like beauty products and love trying new things give Birchbox a try, I doubt you will regret it.  Use my referrer link!  (Yes, I’ll earn points for having referred you.)     https://www.birchbox.com/invite/phoenixrize

June Birchbox

June’s Birchbox was pretty much a disappointment all around.  I’d been so excited when I saw the sneak previews on Facebook, but once I got to play with the items in the box I was disappointed.

I discovered Birchbox when I was playing around on Pinterest.  There was this cute hair tie that promised tug-free, dent-free ponytails.  Woo hoo!  Following the pin, I ended up on another blog that was talking about Birchbox and the treasures in her latest box.  I researched Birchbox a bit more and decided to give it a try.  After six months of boxes (more good than bad), I finally got the two items that had originally led me to join Birchbox to begin with: Nail Polish and this hair tie.

twistband Birchbox Nautical Hair Tie Collection – I got one hair tie…. the pink one with the sea horses… um… it’s all twisted up in my ponytail, so the design isn’t a big deal.  The twistband held pretty good and it really didn’t tug my hair.  It stretched out sooner than I’d expected, but I am pretty rough on them. I like them and I am happy I got one… I’m not paying $14 for 5 of them when I can buy 30 of those soft elastic bands for $3?? But I did like them enough that I went to Hobby Lobby and bought the elastic ribbon ($3) and made my own.  – $14

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – To be honest… I didn’t even use it.  It went right into the Drawer of Unexpected Presents… If I am going to wash my hair I am going to wash it… dry soap just seems kinda gross and like more work than just washing.  – $18

Furlesse Elevens – At first I thought this might be cool… then I realized it’s just fancy packing tape.  You just stick this thing to your head and… what?  It’s supposed to stop me from scrunching up my forehead for a while?  Not impressed.  My husband wanted to know if I knew I had tape stuck to my face.  – $19

Color Club® Wanderlust Collection – I’d been so excited to get nail polish… Nail Polish!  Can you ever have too many bottles of nail polish?!  No!  Wait… yes you can… if it is this stuff, one bottle is too many.  It was gunky.  One coat wasn’t enough.  It wasn’t just thin, thin is fine, it was streaky.  Two coats was gunky.  And the color!?  I like odd colors… this stuff was radioactive green.  blech! – $8

Youngblood Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder – This stuff could have been nice, but it was so hard to tell.  It came in a ridiculously tiny container and I had to shake it out into another container to use it at all.  It didn’t kill me, but I only got a use or two out of it, so I couldn’t say if it was really any better or any worse than any other powder.  – $40