Monday, December 31, 2012

How to Set Goals

It's New Year's Eve! Where did the year go? This is going to be my last post of 2012 so I thought it would be fitting to talk about how to set goals for 2013. There are a lot of different ways to set goals and I have found this method generally this works for me but I understand that different things will work for different people.

Here are the basic steps I follow when setting goals for the new year:

1) Set your "big picture" objectives.

I typically have 2-3 main themes for the year so I have a general idea of what I want to focus on. This is my "vision" for the year. In 2012, my overarching themes were organization (mainly decluttering) and finances (mainly saving money).

2) Set a target number of goals.

I find that 8 to 10 goals is my sweet spot in terms of the number of goals I set for a calendar year. If I set more than that, I usually lose focus and end up accomplishing very little on my list.

3) Set goals using SMART criteria.

This is probably the most important step. Each of my goals must meet all of the SMART criteria.

SMART Criteria #1 - SPECIFIC
Set a goal that is clear and unambiguous. For example, instead of saying, "I want to save money next year," you could instead set a goal like, "I want to save $5,000 by December 31, 2013."

Set a goal that can be measured objectively at year end. Usually, if you set a goal that conforms to SMART Criteria #1, it will be sufficiently measurable. For example, it will be very easy to measure whether you have achieved the goal of saving $5,000 by the end of 2013.

Set a goal that is neither too easy nor too difficult to reach. I like to set goals that will require some effort but are not impossible to attain. For example, setting a goal to save $5,000 in 2013 is fine and dandy but if your annual income is $2,000, it is highly unlikely that you are going to reach your goal. Conversely, if you annual income is $100,000, your savings goal is likely going to be too easy to attain.

SMART Criteria #4 - RELEVANT
Set a goal that you actually want to achieve. This is basically the "so what" test. It is important to set a goal you care about and actually want to attain. I set most of my goals according to my "big picture" objectives but I typically have a few that fall outside my main themes - that's ok as long as the goals I'm setting are important to me.

SMART Criteria #5 - TIMELY
Set a goal with an end date. It is important to have an end date in mind when setting a goal so you can circle back and measure whether you have actually attained your goal. When setting goals for the new year, the end date would typically be the end of the calendar year, i.e., December 31, 2013.

That's basically it - the process I go through when setting goals is pretty simple but it does help me to be more focussed during the year. In the video, I don't talk about measuring my progress but that's also an important step for me. In 2012, I measured my progress monthly and I found that was a good way to try to stay on track (with the exception of my dreaded one new beauty product a month goal!). In 2013, I will be formally measuring my progress on a quarterly basis via a video and/or a blog post - behind the scenes, I hope to still measure my progress on a monthly basis.

I've already set my goals for 2013 and will be sharing them in a future blog post. Will you be setting any goals for the new year? What are some of the steps you go through when setting goals?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 2012 Beauty Box 5 - Unboxing and Review

Here is my review of the December Beauty Box 5. This is my second box and I am really impressed.

As noted last month, the samples are shipped in relatively small cardboard shipping box. There is no additional pretty box or makeup bag inside but the samples are contained in a small mesh drawstring bag. I am liking this minimalist approach.

Here is what i received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. MaskerAide Sheet Mask in Pre Party Prep

This is the 2nd time I've received a MaskerAide sheet mask in a beauty box (and there may soon be a 3rd time since MaskerAide was at the Glossy Party earlier this month) but I'm not complaining because I love these sheet masks. They are a little too pricy for me to justify purchasing on a regular basis so I definitely love receiving them in these beauty boxes.

Impressions: I've tried the Pre Party Prep mask before and I really like it. The mask is cooling on the skin and has a very light scent. The sheet mask is not too difficult to unfold and it covers the face nicely because there are cutouts to allow the mask to better conform to the contours of your face. While I like this mask a lot, I still prefer the Detox Diva sheet mask.

Full size & sample size // 1 mask // $4.99

2. Demeter Roll On Perfume Oil in Cherry Blossom

I don't really enjoy receiving fragrances in my beauty boxes but this time was different, perhaps because we received a roll on fragrance and I kind of like those (even though I never buy them). We received a fragrance by a company called Demeter, which is based in New York and focusses on simple, singular scents. The Demeter fragrance library apparently contains over 250 scents, which can be worn on their own or layered/mixed to create your own signature scent. There are some "unusual" scents like dirt and gin and tonic (my favourite cocktail so I'm curious as to what this fragrance would smell like). There is also a Hello Kitty scent that smells like apples!

Impressions: I received a perfume oil in cherry blossom and I really love the scent. It is a balanced mix of fruit and floral - it smells sweet and feminine. I find the scent does not last very long on me though - maybe 2 to 3 hours. I don't mind this too much since I can very easily take the little bottle with me and reapply during the day.

Full size & sample size // 8.8 mL // $10

3. Everyday Minerals Flat Top Brush

Everyday Minerals is a company that is based in New York. The make up brushes are handmade and feature a bamboo handle with synthetic brush fibers. This flat top brush is a really cute travel size and the bristles are incredibly soft. I found this brush had a strong chemical scent at first but it went away after washing.

Impressions: I used this product to apply the Ferro mineral blush from my December Topbox and I am really loving this brush!

Full size & sample size // 1 brush // $12.99

4. Jean Pierre Cosmetics Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Pads with Microbeads

Jean Pierre Cosmetics is also a company that is based in New York. The product offering is basically a line of makeup wipes and oil absorbing tissues. I always like receiving facial cleansing cloths because I find them so useful. I haven't tried these yet but I'll be bringing them with me on vacation at the end of January.

Full size & sample size // 16 pads // $1.99

5. OFRA 3D Loose Shadow in Diamond Glitz

OFRA Cosmetics was founded by Ofra Gaito, a CIDESCO Therapist and makeup artist. The company is based in Florida. We received the 3D loose shadow, which is a very generous sized eyeshadow with a beautiful iridescent quality to it. I received the shade diamond glitz, which is essentially a taupe that appears green/blue/aqua in certain lighting and at certain angles.

Impressions: I literally slapped on a little bit of this eyeshadow right before recording my review video and I am really happy with the texture and colour payoff of this product. It was a little bit difficult to shake some of the shadow through the sifter but eventually I got some out! A little of this shadow goes a long way so I'm sure I'll have this product for years to come. It is very pretty on the eyes and I can't wait to play around with this eyeshadow a little more.

Full size & sample size // 4 g // $19.90

Overall, I was beyond thrilled with the contents of the December Beauty Box 5. We got all full size products in this box! Some of you may know I subscribed to this service for a year so I am only paying $8.33 per box (including shipping), which I think is an absolute steal.

// Approximate value of the products in the December 2012 Beauty Box 5: $49.87 //

Are you subscribed to Beauty Box 5? If so, what do you think of this subscription service?

If you wish to join Beauty Box 5 through my invitation, I will earn a credit and send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: I paid for this subscription with my own money.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Julep Gold Glamour Mystery Clutch

I have a special unboxing to share today!

Since I skipped the December Julep box, I purchased the Gold Glamour Mystery Clutch during Julep's 12 Days of Gifting Sale. I received the box a little while ago but since the 12 Days of Gifting Sale had ended, I decided I would hold off on posting my review. I just noticed today that this offer was added to Julep's End of Year Sale so I thought I would post my review sooner rather than later in case anyone was thinking about picking this up. The mystery clutch is priced at $29.99 and includes a minimum of 3 nail polishes and 1 product.

The first thing I noticed when I received the box in the mail was that it was quite a bit larger than the regular Julep box. When I opened up the shipping box, I was blown away by the pretty gold sequins!

I had looked up the dimensions of the clutch before placing my order so I knew it would measure approximately 8" X 10". I wanted a clutch like this ever since I saw something similar on Wendy's Lookbook and in Anthropologie. I didn't want to pay $60 to $80 for a clutch so I was very happy to see this offer from Julep! Note: the price of the clutch as seen on Wendy's Lookbook has been reduced to $45.

The only thing that surprised me about this clutch was that it was rather pouffy (like a pillow). I thought it would be less padded and more sleek but now that I've used it a handful of times (har har), I don't mind the pouffiness. I think it makes the clutch easier to hold... especially when it is relatively empty. I also think the casual shape makes it more wearable in the daytime. The inside of the clutch is leopard print and has two little pockets (which I show in the above video).

Now onto the products that I received in this clutch!

1) Daylight Defense with SPF 30 // 89 mL
2) One Step Polish Remover Pad // 1 pad
3) Glow On Age Defying Hand Brightener // 30 mL
4) Silver Glitter Pot
5) Red Glitter Pot
6) Nail Polish in Nora // 8 mL
7) Nail Polish in Sharon // 8 mL
8) Nail Polish in Kathleen // 8 mL

Even though I already had Nora in my collection, I am very happy with this box overall - mostly because I am loving the sequined clutch so much. I actually didn't really care too much what was inside the bag - everything was just a bonus.

Will you be purchasing the gold mystery clutch? If not, did you pick up anything from any of the Julep sales? I admit, I did place a little order from the End of Year Sale... I picked up some accessories of all things. Everything was really inexpensive - I bought 3 pieces and they came to only $12 including shipping. I'm heard mixed reviews about the accessories so hopefully they will be to my liking.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 2012 Topbox - Unboxing and Review

Another disappointing box this month. Topbox has quickly fallen from its position as my favourite subscription service to being on the chopping block. This month, I received BOX-31.

Here is what I received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Goldwell Jelly Boost

This product is essentially a spray gel. The scent is quite nice and I've been wanting to try a spray gel. The back of the bottle indicates that this product is used "for creating instant body and texture for short hair styles" - I have long hair so I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this product but I was determined to find a use for it.

Impressions: I tried spraying a little of this gel on my roots to hopefully give me some root lift but it seemed to make my hair a little flatter than usual so it probably weighed it down. Now I am using this product to tame my flyaways. I spray 2-3 pumps into the palm of my hand and use my hands to smooth out all my crazy baby hairs. I'm going to see if my hubby wants to try this product as he uses hair gel on a regular basis.

full size // 150 mL // $18.95
sample size // 30 mL // approximate value of $3.79

2. Goldwell Sleek Perfection

This is essentially a heat protectant spray that is intended to be used when flat ironing your hair. I don't straighten my hair too often because I prefer wavy/curly hair on myself but I am hoping this will work even when curling my hair. I still haven't tried this product yet because I haven't heat styled my hair (I've been very lazy over the holidays) but I will definitely try it soon.

full size // 100 mL // $20.95
sample size // 20 mL // approximate value of $4.19

3. Pangea Organics Facial Cream with Nigerian Ginger, Sweet Lavender & Thyme

The first thing I noticed when I took out these packets was the small sample size. It took me a long time to get past this because Topbox has indicated several times that they were moving away from these types of foil samples. Now Topbox is saying that as long as a sample provides 2-3 uses, it will be considered a deluxe sample. I don't really agree with that. I typically classify a deluxe sample as providing 20% or more of the smallest available full size product. That being said, I do enjoy trying facial creams and I love the smell of lavender so I was hoping the sample would be to my liking. Pangea Cosmetics is based in Colorado.

Impressions: I thought this cream was decent. It is not my favourite but it did provide my skin with a reasonable amount of moisture overnight. While I do prefer a heavier cream in the winter, I think this one would be nice in the spring and summer. The scent is very strong but I did not find it unpleasant. I like that there is lavender in the cream as that provided me with a little aromatherapy when I went to bed. There was enough product for 2 uses from each of the packets.

full size // 30 mL // $16 (based on the smallest size available on the website)
sample size // 2 x 2 mL // approximately $2.13

4. Ferro Cosmetics Blush X3 Mineral Color in Suzie's Glow

This product is described as "a multi-use 100% mineral pigmented blush that adds long wearing color to cheeks, as well as lips, eyes and nails" and the shade we received is described as follows:

Created for and named after the founders Mom, who simply couldnt find a Blush to match her seasonal changing skin tone (and lipstick collection). A perfect marriage of warm and cool tones, Suzie's Glow is a perfect match for almost every woman, fair to dark, and everywhere in between. When in doubt, glow like Suzie does.

I generally like products that can be used for multiple purposes so I was pretty happy to try this product. The blush seemed to be packaged really sloppily though - it was a big mess when I opened it, with powder all around the lip of the little jar and in the threads of the container and the lid. I tried to save most of the product when I cleaned it up. It also would have been nice if a sifter were included to make this product more user friendly.

Impressions: I tried this product on my cheek and on my lips (see above video) and I really like it. The colour on my cheeks is really subtle and natural looking. On my lips, the shade is a really sweet, neutral, light pink. I mixed a tiny bit of the product in a clear lip gloss and applied it to my lips with a lip brush. At first, the product went on slightly goopy but once I rubbed my lips together, it settled in really nicely and no longer had a goopy appearance.

full size // 4 g // $17
sample size // 2 g (estimated) // approximately $8.50

As mentioned, I was disappointed with this month's Topbox. Being a holiday box, I thought there would have been something a little special about it - perhaps a bonus sample or even a small candy cane or something. The only indication that this was a holiday box was the red tube (which some subscribers did not receive) and red tissue. There was not even a note on the Topbox card wishing subscribers a happy holiday or thanking us for our business.

// Approximate value of the products in the December 2012 Topbox: $18.61 //

The January box is going to be what Topbox has dubbed the Privé box. This box will feature samples from a single brand. I am hoping this box will make up for a lacklustre December box. In future months, Topbox will periodically offer the option to subscribers to switch the regular Topbox to a Privé box - apparently, the brand and contents of the Privé box will be disclosed before subscribers make their choice.

What version of the Topbox did you receive this month? What did you think of the samples?

Note: I purchased this Topbox with my own money.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 2012 Glymm Bag - Unboxing and Review

UPDATE (April 2013): Please read my most recent post on Glymm before ordering from this company.

It's 2 a.m. and I'd like to try to sleep "early" today... so without any further fanfare, here is my review of the December Glymm bag.

I really like the gold embossed faux snakeskin makeup bag we received this month. I may use this as a little clutch one day. I'm contemplating removing the Glymm label on the front but I'm afraid it will leave visible holes.

Here is what I received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Suncoat Soy-Corn Based Natural Nail Polish Remover

I'm not sure why but I like receiving nail polish remover in these beauty boxes. I was planning to try this exact product but it was sold out on at the time and I soon forgot about it. I was pleased to receive this in my Glymm bag this month so I'd be able to try it without paying full price.

Impressions: I found this product didn't work very well when I tried to remove my mostly cream but slightly shimmery nail polish. After doing one nail, I switched to my Julep nail polish remover and that worked much, much better. I'm going to try it again when I wear a pure cream polish. The scent is supposed to be non-toxic but I found it very strong and quite unpleasant.

Update: I've now tried this product to remove a cream polish and it worked well; however, it took a lot longer. The good thing about this nail polish remover is that you only need to use one cotton pad once you've saturated the pad with the product - because the remover is oil based, it does not evaporate or dry up the way other nail polish removers do. Normally, it takes me 2-3 cotton pad to remove the polish from all 10 nails. I will continue to use this product to remove cream polishes but not sure I would purchase the full size.

Full size and sample size // 30 mL // $7.29

2. Glamorous Cosmetics 12 Shade Eyeshadow Palette in St. Tropez

I'm not sure how else to say this but this eyeshadow palette looks and feels cheap. It literally reminds me of something you could pick up for a buck or two in a bargain basement. When I did the close-up shots for my video, one of the shadows actually fell right out of the pan. The colours themselves didn't appeal to me either - they are mostly in the coral/pink family and those shades are not very flattering on my eyes.

Impressions: I've only used this palette once but I wasn't impressed. I used one of the coral shades as an all over base colour and it was fine but then I tried a couple of the purple shades, which were not very pigmented. I'm not quite sure what to do with this palette... maybe I'll break up the shadows in the pink/coral rows and mix them all together to make a loose blush.

Full size and sample size // 10 g // $6 (on sale)

3. Lashem False Lashes

I haven't worn false lashes in years! I think the last time was on my wedding day. I was pretty happy to receive these so I could give them a try. The lashes I have in my collection are old (basically from my clubbing days... so I should probably toss them) and I've long since run out of glue. I like the lashes I received because it says you don't even need glue for the first application. Maybe I will wear these on new year's eve but I'll probably cut them in half as I don't want to overdo it.

Full size and sample size // 1 set // $5

4. Lashem Measurable Difference Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum

A little while ago, I contemplated getting a prescription for Latisse so I could give it a try after hearing that someone actually had to stop using it because her lashes were getting too long! I eventually decided not to because I didn't think it'd be worth the hassle or the cost. Needless to say, I was pretty happy to receive this little vial of Lashem in my Glymm bag!

Impressions: I've only started using this product (and I haven't been consistently using it every night) but I thought I noticed a slight difference the other day. I'm not sure if it's just my imagination though so I'm going to try to actually consistently use it for 6 weeks straight before reporting back (maybe I'll notice a difference sooner as the website touts visible results in just 14 days). I'm not sure how much product we received as it is not marked but I'm going to estimate that the sample contains around 0.5 mL.

Full size // 3 mL // $70
Sample size // 0.5 mL (estimated) // approximately $11.67

5. RGB Nail Polish in Toast

I was so happy to receive this bonus nail polish in my Glymm bag this month! I've been meaning to try the RGB line of nail polishes and I was specifically interested in foundation nail shades so the colour was also right up my alley. I think this may be a discontinued shade, which is perhaps why we received it, but I didn't mind in the slightest because I think the shade is really pretty and chic.

Impressions: I'm wearing this nail polish in my review video. I think the colour looks nice on my skin tone and the application was a breeze. Two coats for reasonable opacity - there is still some VNL but I don't mind that. This is a shade I'd reach for over and over again so I am happy to have it in my collection.

Full size and sample size // 12 mL // $16

Overall, I was pretty happy with the Glymm bag this month. My favourite products were definitely the RGB nail polish and the Lashem serum. Did you receive a Glymm bag this month? If so, what did you think of the samples?

// Approximate value of the products in the December 2012 Glymm bag: $45.96 including my December bonus nail polish //

6. Coccolily Nail Polish in Nude Snow (November Bonus Nail Polish)

Although, I was reasonably happy with the December Glymm bag, I was disappointed when I initially opened the bag because the bonus nail polish from my November bag was still missing. I asked Glymm to send the missing nail polish immediately since it had now been missed for 2 consecutive months... to my surprise, they agreed! I received it just before the holidays. I love the Coccolily nail polish I received in my August Glymm bag so I am very excited to try this nude shade.

Full size and sample size // 15 mL // $13

Now that I'm a few months into the free nail polish promo, I can say that I am pretty happy with my choice to subscribe to Glymm for a full year. There have been little hiccups and I'm sure there will be more to come but I am really loving the bonus nail polishes that I've received thus far. I'm hoping we'll see a Butter London nail polish as a bonus one day!

I'm not sure if the nail polish promotion is still on but if you're interested, you can check out my previous blog post. If you wish to join Glymm through my invitation, I will earn 50 points and send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: I paid for this subscription with my own money.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Men's Limited Edition Holiday Topbox - 2012

Wow, I can't believe it's already Boxing Day! Where did 2012 go?

The rest of the week is going to be December beauty box catch-up week. I'm hoping to stay home for the most part, except for a smattering of errands and dinners here and there, as I came down with a cold the first day of my 10-day vacation (Murphy's Law!) and I can't seem to kick it. I'm hardly ever sick so I think my body is telling me I need to just stop for a bit.

First up in my December beauty box catch-up line-up is the Men's Limited Edition Holiday Topbox. This is going to be a short post because my hubby still has not tried any of the products. In fact, all the products are all still nestled comfortably in the Topbox. At this rate, I think I may have to try all the products myself. I will say that the CK fragrance is really nice... we both think so. :)

Here are the products that were included in the holiday Topbox:

1. Bread & Butter Skincare Natural Shave Gel // 90 mL // $11.67 (website shows 3 piece kit for $35)

2. Bread & Butter Skincare Face Moisturizer // 90 mL // $11.67 (website shows 3 piece kit for $35)

3. Calvin Klein Encounter Eau de Toilette // 15 mL // approximately $20.10

4. Fendrihan Ebony Stainless Steel Razor // 1 razor // approximately $20

5. Woody's Grooming Matte Hair Clay // 96 g // approximately $10

6. Aveda invati Exfoliating Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner // 2 x 10 mL // 2 x $1.35
Note: I did not like this product when I received it in my October Topbox.

7. The Laundress Crease Release // 60 mL // $8

There were some changes to the Topbox as certain products were "sold out" so there are some variations out there. Customers were able to preview the contents of this Topbox before purchasing and the website was updated as the contents of the Topbox changed. Overall, my husband was pretty happy with this Topbox... even before using any of the products!

The total price of this limited edition Topbox (including tax) was $45.20 and the total value of the products included in this particular box was approximately $84.14. There was no product card included in this Topbox. A few customers were not happy about that so Topbox indicated that future limited edition boxes would include one.

Did you or someone you know purchase one of these limited edition Topboxes? If so, what did you think of the products?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Just a quick post to wish a very merry Christmas to everyone who is celebrating today! My hubby and I got home not too long ago from having Christmas Eve dinner with my family. On Christmas Day, we'll sleeping in before spending the majority of the evening with his extended family. Our joke gifts have been wrapped for the traditional white elephant gift exchange. I'm excited!

Hope you have a happy and safe holiday filled with good company, many laughs, and delicious food. xx

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Punk'd Up Betty - by Pretty and Polished

Just a quick post today! A little while ago, I tried another polish from Pretty and Polished. This one is called Punk'd Up Betty.

Overall, I do like this polish; however, I think I will wear it as a glitter topcoat next time rather than trying to use it as a full coverage polish. I applied three coats in the above photo and there were still lots of gaps. It also became really thick, chunky, and 3D looking... which reminded me a little of caviar nails. That being said, I love that there is tons of glitter in this polish and I'm eager to play around with it some more.

To see all the polishes I purchased from Pretty and Polished, check out my recent haul.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 2012 Starbox - by Starlooks

HOORAY! I'm free! I have officially finished my last day of work before the holidays. My office is closed until January 2 so I have 10 glorious days off to catch up on sleep, record videos, update my blog, read a book, declutter & organize, shop, exercise (maybe), and set goals for 2013. I'm. So. Freaking. Excited.

The December Starbox arrived very early this month. Starlooks was planful enough to ship the box early so we would have it well before the holidays. The December box was a 15 shade eyeshadow palette, which Starlooks counts as 15 full-size products. A few subscribers were expecting this to be counted as one product so they were expecting 2-3 other products in the box. I suspected the December box would contain only the eyeshadow palette but I was surprised that there was no little holiday bonus (every other box has contained some sort of bonus). I was also surprised that there were no little crystals included.

The box this month was a matte red with gold/holographic logo. I like this box but mine was a little crushed so I will likely be recycling this. The only thing I didn't like about the packaging this month was that Starlooks included a ton of chunky confetti in the box. It was pretty but very very messy and got everywhere, including inside the eyeshadow palette. Fortunately, I had read a few reviews before receiving my Starbox so I opened mine above my kitchen sink. Even still, around 2 weeks later, I'm still finding confetti in random places in the condo!

The theme for the December box was Be the Light and the shades in the eyeshadow palette were basically sets of complimentary colours that were themed after Christmas tree lights. I like it! The colours are bright but I don't mind bright eyeshadows for a pop of colour. There are some amazing looks posted on the Starlooks Facebook page using this palette. This month's palette was also designed to work well with the prime look palette we received in our November Starbox.

1. 15 Shade Eyeshadow Palette // 15 x 1.8 g // $99

I've only used 2 of the eyeshadows in this palette (the matte purple shade and the lightest purple/pink shade). For the most part, the eyeshadows are reasonably pigmented; however, the matte shades did not have good pigmentation. I am excited to play with this palette over the holidays but I have to say that I probably have enough eyeshadow to last 10 lifetimes.

Here are the swatches:

I had a referral from Mini Munchkin (thank you!!) so I also received a clear Starlooks makeup bag (shipped separately from the box). I love clear makeup bags because I can use them to store my liquids and gels when travelling. Security doesn't give me a hassle when going through the x-ray and I don't have to transfer everything into a ziplock baggie. Yes, I'm pulling a face in the photo below but this was literally the best screenshot I could find.

The December edition of "Why, Marci!?" is not yet available but I will include it below when it has been posted.

For more information about the company, please check out my August Starbox review. The January theme hasn't been posted yet but I am hoping we will have a break from eyeshadows as I feel we have received a few too many in the last few boxes!

If you are interested in subscribing to Starbox, please mention ellesy or petitepearstyle when you sign up. I would really appreciate it and, as always, send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: Canadians who wish to subscribe to Starbox have to contact the company directly to get set up. I signed up by filling out the information on the contact form and a representative got back to me very quickly. I asked them to call me and I gave them my credit card information over the phone. I was recently notified by a Youtube viewer that shipping to Canada has changed to $4.50 - please contact Starlooks for a quote.

Note: I paid for the December Starbox with my own money.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

November 2012 Empties

Eeeps! I'm very late with my empties post this month. Maybe it's because I'm embarrassed by the low number of empties for November... but I'm definitely making up for it in December!

Here are the products I finished in November - in order of appearance in the video:

1. MaskerAide Beauty Rest'ore Sheet Mask

This mask was really cooling and had a nice light scent but I preferred the scent of the Detox Diva mask a little more. I still really enjoyed this mask but they are too expensive to add to my regular beauty regimen. A lot of my Youtube viewers and blog readers have recommended going to Pacific Mall or T&T and trying the 10 for $10 Korean face masks. I am definitely going to look for these over the holidays.

2. Balea Calming Face Mask and Deep Cleansing Face Mask

I find the Balea masks to be extremely painful. It is fine when I first put it on but then it burns like crazy! Eventually, the burning subsides but the feeling is so uncomfortable that I doubt I will ever repurchase these masks.

3. Algemarin Foam Bath

I used up two more of these foam bath packets in the month of November. I absolutely love this product and taking long bubble baths really helped me to relax as it has been mad stressful at work lately.

4. Sebastian Trilliance Shampoo and Conditioner

I received these samples in my October Glossybox and was reasonably happy with them. The foam from the shampoo was really soft and I also liked the scent of the conditioner a lot (I found it smelled a little different from the shampoo).

5. Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe

This product works wonders on my hair! It really seems to repair the damage to my hair and makes it feel soft and silky. I used this product once a week but not every week. I received this in my July Glymm bag and I was sad when I ran out. I will definitely purchase a full size of this product once I finish some of my many other hair products.

6. Be Fine Night Cream

Candice from Mirror Image sent me her night cream sample because she knew she wasn't going to use it and she had read how much I love it! I really enjoy this night cream but I have not purchased the full size yet - I am currently testing out another night cream that I also love. :)

7. Sampar Hydrating Fluid

I received two of these little samples in my July Topbox and I have finally used my second one! I thought this cream was ok. The scent is a little strong but it doesn't bother me. It is not something I would purchase because there are other products I like more and the price point is too high.

8. Jouviance Rejuvenating Anti-Aging Cream

This sample was included in my October Glossybox. I really enjoy receiving anti-aging creams in my beauty boxes as I would probably never buy any due to the price. I am not sure how anti-aging products work (or whether they actually do work) so I am not willing to invest the money in a full size product.

9. Shiseido BIO-PERFORMANCE Super Refining Essence

I received this little sample ages ago and I finally used it! I brought this little sample to Aruba with me and used it as a face cream for 3 nights in a row. I enjoyed it but didn't notice anything spectacular about the product so I will not be purchasing the full size.

10. Mereadesso Face and Neck Toning Gel

This was a product I received because Samantha from Nail Art Couture was kind enough to include me in her referral list with Luxebox. While I liked the cooling gel when I initially applied it to my face and neck, it didn't really absorb so I felt like I had a film on my skin. I also didn't like the scent - it was mild but really bothered me.

11. Consonant Organic Moisturizing Face Cream

I had a little travel size of the Consonant Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream for Dry Skin and really liked it. Thus, I had high hopes for this sample but unfortunately it didn't work for me due to the scent. These are unscented products but there is typically a natural nutty smell to the cream. I opened (and tried) three different samples... I'm not sure if the cream in these little sample packets had gone rancid but the first one smelled so bad that I wanted to wash it off immediately. I ended up tossing that sample plus another one that smelled the same. I was able to finish this one because it didn't smell that bad but the nutty scent I used to like so much now reminds me of something putrid. Ah the power of negative association. I was disappointed because I really like the Consonant line of products.

12. Cyberderm H2O Hydration

This product was ok but again the scent bothered me a little bit. There isn't a strong scent but maybe my nose is sensitive to some, ahem, natural smells after my experience with the Consonant samples. I received this sample in my July Glymm bag but I actually preferred this product when we received it in the syringe format in the October Glymm bag.

13. Nair Hair Removal Lotion

I've been using this product for years and years and years because it's easy. I use this every 3 to 6 months to take the wispies off my arms - usually before I go on vacation. I've tried waxing off the wispies but the hair is literally so fine that waxing doesn't work. I typically purchase the Nair Hair Removal Lotion for sensitive skin but note that I do not recommend this product for sensitive skin. It is very harsh and filled with chemicals.

14. Make Up For Ever HD Primer

This little primer sample was in the shade 0 Neutral. It had a consistency almost like a moisturizer, which was different from any other primers I've tried. I liked this primer but I prefer my Benefit POREfessional.

15. Lancome La Base Pro

This is a clear primer that I also liked but not as much as my regular primer.

16. Cover FX ClearPrep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment Gel

I wanted to love this primer but unfortunately it didn't really work for me. I found it sticky and not mattifying. My face also greases up a lot faster (and a lot more) when I use this product. I ended up finishing it but I really wanted to toss it when I was halfway through.

17. Sally Hansen Maximum Strength Nail Polish Remover

This product is ok but not as good as my Julep or my Paul & Joe nail polish removers (although I gotta say, the price is much much lower). It took me so long to finish this huge value size bottle!

18. Naked Princess Lip Gloss in Barely Cocoa

I loved the texture of this lip gloss - it felt very nice on the lips and is probably the least sticky lip gloss I have ever tried. The scent is ok and the colour was sheer but added a very pretty shine to my lips. The only thing I didn't like about this lip gloss (and it's a deal breaker) is that it is flavoured. That is basically the only reason I wouldn't purchase the full size.

19. Benefit They're Real Mascara

This sample was included in my September Topbox. I like this mascara a lot but I'm not sure I can justify the high price tag. I will probably stick to drug store mascara... that is, if I ever get through all my mascara samples!

Now that I've listed out all my November empties, I guess I went through a fair number of products this month... it's just that they were all tiny samples! I will have more full size products in my December empties.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 2012 SeasonsBox - Unboxing and Review

At long last, here is my review of the December 2012 SeasonsBox! This is a brand new subscription service that promises 3-5 full-size luxury products for your home, body, and spirit. The box ships out of Brampton, Ontario, Canada and is available to Canadian and U.S. residents.

I've been looking for a box that is not exclusively beauty products so I was pretty excited by SeasonsBox's concept. Based on the name of the box, I initially assumed that this would be a quarterly (or seasonal box). However, after exchanging a few e-mails with Agnes (the founder), I learned that, besides curating boxes themed with a particular season (i.e., winter, spring, summer fall), SeasonsBox will also be curating boxes themed with specific holidays (e.g., Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Halloween). The contents of every box are intended to stimulate your senses with the scents and flavours associated with a season or holiday.

SeasonsBox provides a preview of the products at the beginning of the month. Each box will also include a little surprise as a bonus. To access the preview, you can visit the SeasonsBox website or like the SeasonsBox Facebook page for updates.

// Price //

This box is on the higher end in terms of price. The reason is because SeasonsBox provides high quality, luxury, and full-size products (versus samples) with a focus on natural and responsible products. The products are also sourced from various places around the world and most of them are not available in commercial stores.

The price of a monthly subscription or a one-time purchase is $29.95 plus $4.95 shipping. The prices per box decrease if you purchase a subscription for multiple months (i.e., 3, 6, or 12 month). The current prices including shipping are as follows:

- Bill monthly for $34.90
- 3 months for $99.70
- 6 months for $174.50
- 12 months for $250 (note that this is an introductory offer - there was a pricing error on the website but SeasonsBox will be honouring the lower price until the end of January. The regular price for the 12 month subscription is $349.)
- One time purchase or gift for $34.90

Agnes confirmed to one of my Youtube viewers that you will be allowed to skip months under the 12 month subscription plan (you just have to send an e-mail noting which month you'd like to skip).

// December SeasonsBox //

Now that you know a little about the box, here is what I received in the December SeasonsBox (in order of appearance in the video):

The packaging is simple yet classy - a substantial sized unmarked box, tied with a red ribbon. Inside, the products are nestled in lots of red crinkle paper, which kept the goodies safe during shipping. I'm not sure what I was expecting but the quality really caught me by surprise. This box was an absolute pleasure to open.

Gaaah, look how nicely the products are laid out when you open the box! I think this would make a great gift as all the hard work is already done.

1. Bambu Earth Handmade Soap in Peppermint

4.5 ounces // $8

This product smells so deliciously minty! I detected a strong peppermint scent even before taking the tape off the outer shipping box and immediately thought that something had leaked or spilled inside the box. To my relief, all the products in the box were in perfect condition. There were various scents of soap sent out and I was very happy I received peppermint.

Bambu Earth is a line of responsible soap and skincare, founded in 2009 and based in Southern California. All products are made with sustainable, ethical, and local ingredients. The soaps in particular have a note on the back that they are handmade by Amber, the company's owner.

The ingredients in the peppermint soap are organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic sustainable palm oil, unrefined shea butter (fair trade), organic cocoa butter (fair trade), pink kaolin clay, red moroccan clay, and peppermint essential oil. The soap is wrapped in paper label can be planted to grow wild flowers!

2. Soak Essentials Bath Salts in Spiced Chai

5.5 ounces // $5

Soak Essentials is a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia that offers handmade bath products. I believe the Aches & Pains version of bath salts was included in some boxes but I'm glad I received the spicy chai scent... it smells exactly like chai tea. The directions advise using 1/4 cup of bath salts so there is enough product for 3 baths. The suggested soak time is 10 to 30 minutes and this product is not recommended for pregnant women.

I had a very relaxing soak with these bath salts! The product smells amazing in the package but oddly enough the scent almost completely disappeared once I put the salts in the bath water. I measured 1/4 cup but maybe I should have used more?

3. Tisano Original Cacao Tea

4 ounces // $14.95

Tisano is a cacao, tea, and chocolate company based in California. We received a chocolate "tea" that is made with 100% Venezuelan cacao (i.e., there are no actual tea leaves in this product). Only the outer shell of the cacao bean is used but cacao shells apparently absorb many of the nutrients from the cacao bean so they contain similar health properties. I thought their story about how they came about the idea to use the outer shell of the cacao bean was really interesting.

I have brewed this tea around 4-5 times and I absolutely love it. The tea has an amazing chocolate aroma. It has a very light, yet intense chocolate flavour... it's only light in the sense that it does not have the heavier, sometimes syrupy consistency of hot cocoa. I described this tea as tasting like a watered down hot chocolate but in the best possible way. I prefer drinking this tea with a little sugar but it is definitely palatable unsweetened.

4. Evergreen Lip Balm in Mint Truffle

0.25 ounces // $4

Evergreen is a company based in Upstate, New York and currently sells a variety of beauty products and candles on Etsy. The lip balm is packaged in a cute mini drawstring bag with an evergreen tree stamped on the front.

I received the lip balm in mint truffle, which was absolutely perfect for me! I love the scent of mint chocolate and the scent of this lip balm is literally mouthwatering. It smells SO good. The texture of this lip balm is very nice. It is moisturizing and feels light on the lips. Best of all, there is no flavour that I can detect - just a delectable scent.

5. Bath & Body Works PocketBac Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel in Winter Candy Apple

26 g // $3.50

This was our bonus sample and it was also previewed on the SeasonsBox website. I am not a frequent user of hand sanitizer but if I were to purchase one, it would be from Bath & Body Works. I've tried one in the past and it smelled incredible. The Winter Candy Apple scent is really nice and I'm glad we received the PocketBac size as I can easily throw it in my purse.

6. Bath & Body Works Mini Candle in Frosted Gingerbread

29 mL // $1.50

Our second bonus sample and another mouthwatering scent! I love Bath & Body Works candles. I usually buy the 3 wick candles but maybe I'll start buying the mini ones instead. Each mini candle burns for 10 to 15 hours and the price is so reasonable. I haven't burned this candle yet but I plan to very soon... so I can trick my husband into thinking I baked cookies. :)

// Summary //

Overall, I am very happy with the inaugural SeasonsBox. The total value was $36.95 so there was not a huge return compared to the monthly subscription or one-time box price; however, you are getting a lovely curated box that is packed full of goodies and shipped to your home. After watching my review, Agnes wanted to clarify that the value of the box each month will differ. The value will never be below $35 and some months will have a higher value (e.g., $50-$75). I appreciated the clarification and found Agnes to be very forthcoming and open to suggestions.

Since I will be cancelling Glossybox after the January box, I am thinking of subscribing to SeasonsBox for a year. At $250 for the year, the price of each SeasonsBox actually works out to be a little less than Glossybox. If you are still shopping for a Christmas gift and would like something in the $35 price range (including shipping & taxes), I highly recommend this box. I believe the order cutoff date for shipping before the holidays is December 18.

FTC: This box was sent to me for review purposes and I am sharing my honest opinion. I have never accepted money in exchange for a review.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Swap with sarahnicolebear

sarahnicolebear and I recently did a beauty stocking stuffer holiday swap. It was so much fun picking out products for her... and did I mention I totally lucked out with the amazing parcel she sent me!

This was only my second swap but I have been very lucky and happy with my swap buddies. While I love the fun of giving and receiving, my collection of products is getting a little crazy... so I think I will stick with my limit of up to 1 swap per season in 2013.

Here are all the wonderful products Sarah got me (in order of appearance in the video):

1) Jolly Holiday Soap. This little green & white soap smells nice and sweet! I love bar soaps because they are so useful. We're trying to finish up a sample piece of soap at the moment but once that's done, my new soap will be going straight into the soap dish.

2) Haribo Merry Snowmen Candies. My hubby and I are definitely going to enjoy these. I'm hoping we will be able to hold off until next weekend. It's so busy at work and at home right now that I feel like I'm eating everything so fast (stress eating). I'd rather wait until a little bit of the stress is alleviated so I can enjoy my new candies. :)

3) Slatkin & Co. Mini Candle in Caribbean Escape. I literally just lit this candle and it smells divine! The scent is described as "a sweet, tropical blend of melon, raspberry nectar and Italian lemon, infused with coconut milk". It is definitely a scent I would pick out myself.

4) Dog Nog - A Holiday Drink for Dogs! Lulu wouldn't eat her dinner this evening so I sprinkled a tiny bit of Dog Nog on top and it did the trick! She seemed to really like it so maybe we will use it tomorrow to make her a little drink/treat.

5) Penguin Wash Cloth. This is the cutest thing ever! I'm very excited to watch the wash cloth expand in water but the little penguin is so cute and compact, I want to keep it as is for just a little while longer haha.

6) Pier One Imports Paper Soap - in Vanilla. I've never seen this product before and I was totally fascinated by it. Basically, these are extremely thin pieces of hand soap. I am really really excited to try these.

7) Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Snow Bunny. I have been meaning to try this product so I was really happy Sarah included these in our swap. I'm planning to apply them next weekend (maybe even sooner) so I can have them on over Christmas. One of my Youtube viewers suggested adding a topcoat to make them last longer so that is exactly what I am going to do.

8) Essence Silky Touch Blush in Natural Beauty. I am really loving this blush!! It provides a very natural looking flush to my cheeks and the texture/pigmentation is excellent. The blush seems reasonably long lasting as well - I can't believe the price/performance ratio of Essence products.

9) Essence Stay All Day Long Lasting Eyeshadow in Glammy Goes To... The colour payoff of this cream eyeshadow is incredible. It's also such a pretty metallic taupe colour. I think it looks really pretty on the eyes and is true to its claim of lasting all day.

10) Quo by Orly Mini Nail Polishes. Sarah included 2 of these mini nail polishes and the colours are perfect for the holidays! One is a very pretty muted gold colour and the other is a super lovely raspberry/copper duo tone.

11) NYX Eyeshadow in Antique Gold. I love NYX products so I was happy to receive this eyeshadow. I haven't tried this product yet but I know I am going to get a lot of wear out of this over the holidays.

12) Revlon Colorburst Lip Gloss in Rose Gold. This is Sarah's favourite fall lip gloss and I absolutely love it too! I had never tried this lip gloss formulation... it feels great on the lips and is not sticky. The rose gold colour looks so good on my skin tone and I can safely say this is one of my favourite lip glosses in my collection.

13) Wet n Wild Lipstick in 907C Mauve Outta Here. I've never tried Wet n Wild lipsticks but I've heard such good things that I was very excited to receive this product. The colour is a flattering medium tone pink. The lipstick is a matte formulation... I was a little worried it would make my lips look really flaky (they are still pretty dry) but I was pleased to find that the lipstick looked great on. It was not drying and somehow hid the dryness in my lips.

14) Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Baby Pink. Another very pretty pink but totally different from the Wet n Wild lipstick. This is a lighter, cooler tone pink with a shiny finish. This one is so pretty on as well and very comfortable on the lips.

15) Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Palette. I have been eyeing and swatching this palette at Sephora and I was SO happy Sarah included this for me. I've used 2 of the shades already and they looked very pretty on my cheeks. There is a variety of finishes and both peachy and pinky tone blushes. You can use each of the shades individually or mix them to create a custom colour. The mirrored case is also amazing. LOVE!!

16) Galaxy Chocolate Bar. This chocolate bar has long since been gobbled up by me and my hubby. It was DELICIOUS! I will have to keep my eye out for these. :)

Sarah, thank you so much for the goodies - you completely spoiled me and this swap was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. I'm amazed that you were able to pick out products that worked so well with my skin tone and suited my tastes so well. I loved everything you sent me!

You can check out what I got Sarah in her unboxing video!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

November 2012 Beauty Box 5 - Unboxing and Review

I recently received my very first Beauty Box 5! I wasn't too interested in this subscription service when it was first introduced... but after seeing an improvement in the last few boxes (October box notwithstanding) and considering the recent price increase for Glossybox and Topbox, I decided to give it a try. It is the least expensive box out there - I subscribed for a full year for $100 so each box only works out to $8.33. That includes shipping and there is no tax since this company is based in the U.S... so let's see what I received in my first BB5!

The samples are shipped in relatively small cardboard shipping box. There is no additional pretty box or makeup bag inside but the samples are contained in a little mesh drawstring bag. I kind of like this minimalist approach as my Glossyboxes and Glymm makeup bags are getting a little out of control... plus I think the mesh bag will come in handy to store my crafting supplies.

Here is what i received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

I wasn't too happy at first to see a Cetaphil product because it is such a well known drug store brand. I say this because I subscribe to these beauty boxes mainly to gain exposure to brands I've never seen or tried.

Impressions: After I got over my initial split-second disappointment, I didn't mind this sample. I've actually never tried the Cetaphil moisturizer (only the cleanser) and the texture felt quite nice. I also liked that there was no scent. The sample size is small but the bottle is kind of cute and I'm sure the lotion will come in handy.

Full size // 250 mL // $10.69
Sample size // 29 mL // approximate value of $1.24

2. Global Goddess Shine Coconut Amla Revitalizing Hair Treatment

The packets tell us this product is the beauty secret of India so I am eager to try it since East Indian women have the most beautiful hair! Apparently you can also rub this product on your arms and shoulders to become "red carpet ready" but I think I will just use the sample for my hair.

This product contains coconut oil (nourishes), neem oil (soothes scalp), amla extract (rejuvenates), henna (adds volume and shine), grape seed oil (protects), and avocado Oil (moisturizes scalp).

I still haven't tried this product (it's buried behind a mountain of clothes... we are having our closets re-done tomorrow so we had to empty them out). I will try it this month and provide an update with my December empties.

Full size // 180 mL // $20.99
Sample size // 2 x 5 mL // approximate value of $1.17

3. Envie de Neuf Platinum Lineless Eye Mask

Envie de Neuf is a skin care brand based in California. This eye mask appears to be a "raccoon" type mask that extends over the bridge of your nose and under your eyes. This product is touted as an anti-aging eye mask and claims to result in younger looking eyes in just 15 minutes. Not sure about these claims but I am excited to try this mask and will definitely do so this month!

Full size & sample size // 1 mask // $3.50

4. Swagger Eyeshadow in Swagger

I have never heard of Swagger Cosmetics and I was very happy to learn that it is an independent handmade cosmetics company. The website describes this shade as a "gorgeous shimmery bright teal with bold teal sparkles" and I would say that description is very accurate. I normally gravitate towards neutral matte eyeshadow so this was definitely a departure; however, when I do wear colour on my eyes, I usually pick blue.

Impressions: The little pot of eyeshadow has a little sifter top so it's easy to tap a bit of the loose eyeshadow out and pick it up with a brush. For a loose eyeshadow, there was surprisingly little fallout. This shade provides a lovely pop of colour - I am wearing it in the above video. I can safely say I love the shade I received... even though it looks overly bright, bold, and glittery!

Full size & sample size // 5 g // $9.50

5. Model Co. Shine Ultra Lip Gloss in Strip Tease

I received this lip gloss in my October Glossybox but in the form of a lip stick / lip gloss duo. Since I already have this exact shade, I decided to give this lip gloss away via a flash giveaway on Youtube (the giveaway is now closed). I like this lip gloss a lot. There is very little pigmentation but there is a pretty shine and the gloss is comfortable on the lips and not sticky. The lip gloss smells like strawberries but there is no flavour.

Full size & sample size // 0.14 fl oz // $16

Overall, I am pretty impressed with my first Beauty Box 5. I think it was a great collection of little surprises for a very reasonable price.

// Approximate value of the products in the November 2012 Beauty Box 5: $31.41 //

Are you subscribed to Beauty Box 5? If so, what do you think of this subscription service?

If you wish to join Beauty Box 5 through my invitation, I will earn a credit and send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: I paid for this box.

2012 Goals // October and November Update

Eeeps! I totally forgot to do an October goals update blog post so I've combined October and November together. Next year, I am definitely going to do quarterly updates instead... it was getting difficult/tedious to keep up with monthly updates.

1. Photo-a-day project of hubby and me.
- I missed one day in October and one day in November.
- 97%.

2. 100 day 1 year thrifting challenge.
- I cheated a little bit in October and November... I bought a little bunny bag from ASOS and a few things from the Maison Martin Margiela sale at H&M. I haven't been thrifting at all!
- 50%.

3. Savings goal + rewards!
- I'm at around 67% as of November.

4. One new beauty product per month. 2 month beauty ban.
- My 2 month beauty ban was completed in September & October. I went crazy in November though so more bans will be in my future.
- 75%.

5. Drink one litre of water per day.
- I'm being very very bad with water.
- 0%

6. Figure out the mess that is my hair.
- I didn't learn any new styles in the month of October and November but I filmed a whole bunch of review/demonstration videos of the Nume 4 Play set. I still have to film an overview/intro so these videos probably won't be posted until late December or the new year.
- 75%.

7. Decorate, de-clutter & re-organize.
- We are getting our closets re-done this Friday!! We hired California Closets to design and install our new bedroom and hall closet so we've emptied them both out. I'm literally sitting in a huge mess right now! The closets are costing us a pretty penny so I'm hoping it will all be worth it.
- 80%.

8. Keep a better record of events.
- 100%.

Just one more month of updates! It will actually be a year-in-review type post. I am also hoping to record a video about how to set goals. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

November 2012 Glossybox Canada - Unboxing and Review

While I liked the November Glossybox, I have decided that I will be cancelling this subscription after my January anniversary box. It's great to receive Glossybox for 1 to 3 months at a time but it's a little too pricy for me to justify staying subscribed for a full year. That being said, I do think Glossybox would make a great gift because it is jam packed with a variety of generously sized beauty products.

This month, we received a special holiday themed box. Instead of the pink ribbon and black tissue, the contents were packaged with a red ribbon and holiday themed tissue. We also received a copy of GlossyMag - I liked that the magazine contains some Canadian content. A little candy cane was also tucked into the box.

Here is what i received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Nexxus Salon Hair Care Hydration Kit - Shampoo & Conditioner

I previously received this shampoo and conditioner as bonus samples in my August Topbox. I thought the products were ok but nothing special.

Shampoo: Travel size and sample size // 89 mL // $2.79
Conditioner: Travel size and sample size // 89 mL // $3.99

2. Curel Hand & Cuticle Therapy Cream

This was one of our bonus samples in the November Glossybox. Although Curel is a drug store brand, I really liked the Foot Therapy Cream from my May Glossybox so I was still happy to receive this generous full size product.

Impressions: I was expecting this hand cream to be very similar to the foot cream but it is actually completely different. The texture is a lot thinner and lighter than the foot cream, which is great... this hand cream absorbs very quickly and is not at all greasy. The scent is completely different from the foot cream, which I also like. I think this is a great hand cream at a very affordable price.

Full size and sample size // 100 mL // $3.99

3. Vitabath Fresh Citrus Twist Hand Cream

This brand has been around for over 55 years and I don't recall ever seeing it or hearing about it. This is why I love subscribing to beauty boxes... trying new brands is so much fun for me. :)

Impressions: This hand cream has a really lovely fruity, citrusy, fresh scent. Unfortunately, I found the cream to be very thick and heavy. It did not absorb quickly and left my hands feeling greasy. I'd probably use this cream on my hands (and maybe my feet) just before bed. When I was at the Glossy Party last week, I got to try a little of the Vitabath Original Spring Green Exfoliating Sugar Scrub... I wish I had received that product instead because I really enjoyed the scent and the effectiveness of the scrub.

Full size & sample size // 120 g // $15

4. Kryolan for Glossybox Blusher in Glossy Rosewood

Similar to the lipstick we received in our August Glossybox, this blush shade is exclusive to Glossybox!

Impressions: I am really loving this blush. It's a pretty, natural looking pink that gives my cheeks the perfect flush. It's quite pigmented and long lasting too. LOVE!

Full size & sample size // 2.5 g // $16.73

5. MNY by Maybelline My Gloss in Shade 185

MNY is a brand by Maybelline that is apparently targeted to a more young and daring market. With lip gloss shades like green and blue, I feel fortunate to have received a really pretty peachy/champagne tinted gloss - the website describes it as a warm beige. This brand is available in a few countries in Europe and I'm not sure if its appearance in Glossybox Canada is a sign that it will soon be available in the Canadian market?

Impressions: I really like this gloss. It provides a nice shine to the lips and is not sticky. It feels reasonably moisturizing. This gloss smells very sweet but has no flavour (yay!). I do, however, think the price point is a little high... for some reason, I thought this brand would be priced similarly to Essence Cosmetics.

Full size & sample size // 9 mL // $7.49

6. Nicole by OPI Nail Laquer in Kardashing Through the Snow

I haven't purchased any Nicole by OPI nail polishes lately because I can get the regular OPI line at a lower price... but I still really like the Nicole line of polishes. I always love receiving nail polish and this pretty glitter polish was a welcome addition to my collection.

Side note: The Glossy Party had a preview of the Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez collection that is coming out in January. I loved the peachy-pink shade called Selena but what was really exciting for me is that the nail polish had the big OPI brush attached to it. Nicole by OPI typically has a thinner brush, which I don't like as much.

Impressions: This nail polish looks like it contains small teal, green, red, and gold glitter suspended in a clear base. I haven't worn this yet but I think it would be perfect for the holidays.

Full size & sample size // 15 mL // $10.99

Overall, I am quite happy with this month's Glossybox. As I was typing out this blog post, I realized that this box essentially contained ALL full size products this month (since the Nexxus shampoo and conditioner are sold in travel sizes of 89 mL). I think that is amazing but I don't think it will be enough to persuade me to stay subscribed. Instead, I am going to stick to my plan of cancelling after I receive my January box. Again, there is great value in Glossybox but I don't think it is a year-round subscription for me. I may just subscribe for a few months here and there when I feel like treating myself.

We also received a loyalty card to Uber Beauty Products, which provides us with 50% off. I have never heard of this brand and I'm not sure if I will be making a purchase.

Note: it looks like Glossybox has been billing a little earlier - on the 5th of the month - something to keep in mind if you want to order a box after the spoilers are posted. :)

// Approximate value of the products in the November 2012 Glossybox: $61.01 //

Did you receive a Glossybox this month and, if so, what did you think of the contents?

If you wish to join Glossybox through my invitation, I will earn Glossydots and send heaps of good karma your way!

FTC: I paid for this box and nothing was sent to me for free.

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