January 19, 2012

The Little Pink Box... Birchbox review

So I came home the other day and saw this little pretty on top of the mail stack:

Popped it open and then saw this:

So what was inside??

My January Birchbox goodies!

1. Miracle Skin Transform Treat & Conceal Eye and Face- Funny thing is that just a  few months ago I bought the full-size version of this while doing some makeup shopping with my mom. This stuff isn't cheap, so its cool that it was included. While I like the coverage, I personally have seen an increase in breakouts since using this concealer. I'm not sure if it is definitely related to using the concealer or stress/hormone related, but I may lay off of it for a bit until I see my dermatologist.

2. Zoya nail polish in "Megan"- this is a winner! This polish is such a pretty shade of grayish lavender, perfect for winter or spring. It is hardcore, too, and I didn't see chips for almost a week. This was HUGE for me. Turns out, this polish is without some pretty nast chemicals, too! From the Birchbox website:

"Zoya pioneered the “Three Free” movement, creating colors without formaldehyde, tuolene, or dibutyl phthalate. Their shades are so safe that even pregnant women can wear them. Recently, they’ve taken it one step further by also removing camphor from their polishes. Best of all, their polishes last about 50 percent longer than other brands, which means you can sport a chip-free manicure for days and days."

3. Withcraft granola- This comes from Tom Colicchio (Top Chef) and includes fruit, nuts, and oats. I didn't care for this. They describe it as having a "toasty" flavor. Apparently "toasty" is just not for me!

4. HMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum- I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this was the most expensive sample they sent. Considering you only use a tiny bit each time you use it, and this was a nice-sized bottle, I think this was a definite score. The full-size bottle costs $80... absolutely more than I would ever spend! This serum is supposed to help with puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines. I don't have puffiness much, but I've always had an issue with dark circles. Call it a placebo affect if you want, but I think this stuff works! Plus, I'm totally too cheap to but any non-essential skin care (soap, moisturizer/sunblock, and acne cream is all I need!), so this seems very luxurious for me. :)

5. Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy perfume- Not much to say! Smells pretty good!

6. Birchbox magnet

So what is Birchbox? It's a monthly subscription service that sends you fun samples of high-end beauty products. These are not tiny samples, people. They're called "premium samples".  The cost is $10 and you can cancel anytime. I signed up because I wanted to try some new products but wanted to cut through the "crap" and get straight to the good stuff! When you sign up, you complete a survey that asks questions to assess what kind of products you would be interested in. As a subscriber, you get discounts on the full-size versions of whatever you tried that month.

Do I think it's worth it? YES! While this is only my first month as a Birchbox subscriber, I can already see that my little pink box every month will be the highlight of the day! It's fun to be surprised by what you get for $10. I really think this month's nail polish alone (which was almost a full-sized bottle) would be worth $10, and add in that eye serum and it would be WAY over $10. I can also see that occassionally I will get things that just do not interest me or aren't my color/style, so I can use them as little gifts or stocking stuffers for friends/family in the future.

Try it out and let me know what you think! I will try to remember to do a review of each month's box since some of my friends have expressed some interest. If you want to sign up, use THIS LINK and I will be able to score some points to use towards purchase discounts.

January 17, 2012

One thing that's always in my freezer

Once again, I've taken a little blogging vacay. Did you even notice? I'm going to pretend you did so I can feel special.

I did want to take a second to share with you a tip, one that you may or may not have ever heard about. Allow me to introduce you to my favorite Publix low-fat cottage cheese container:

Nope... there's no cottage cheese in there. If there was, you'd see a red container because I'm a loyal Breakstones cottage cheese fan. The rest of the cottage cheese out there is useless, in my humble opinion.

So what's in there??


Whenever I chop up vegetables, I will rinse of and save the peels, stalks, or leaves. This includes onions, carrots, broccoli, celery, etc. etc. I store these scraps in my handy plastic container and pop it in my freezer door next to my ungodly stockpile of frozen bananas.

These scraps make great, healthy snacks! Just kidding :) If I ever buy bone-in split chicken breasts and have already cut the meat off OR if I  have pulled all the meat off of one of those yummy deli rotisserie chickens, I just throw the following into my crock pot:

  • chicken bones with whatever meat is left on them (cooked or raw)
  • veggie scraps
  • water to cover
  • little salt and whatever herbs I want (usually stick with garlic, oregano, basil)
  • a splash of white vinegar (this helps draw the calcium out of the bones and into your stock)
Let it go on low while you're at work or cook on high for a few hours and badda bing badda boom, you've got yourself some practically FREE chicken stock! I love knowing that my stock is not filled to the brim with sodium and preservatives. I pretty much always have some of this homemade stock in my freezer. It's great for soups! Also, I use it in place of water when boiling rice, pasta, or quinoa to make it more flavorful.

And just as a reference, the bones/leftover meat from one rotisserie chicken (after using the meat for two meals) and one container worth of veggie scraps made 9 cups worth of stock. Oh, and if you freeze anything in a ziploc bag, be sure to freeze it flat. Makes for MUCH easier storage.

Tasty Tuesday

What I Whipped Up Wednesday