Friday, April 25, 2014

socialbliss style box april 2014

hi everyone!

i am SO sorry that it has been so long since i updated.  a couple weeks ago, i was in the middle of a blog post about healthy eating, and my laptop froze.  when i turned it off and turned it back on, it started back up in.. (dun dun dun) recovery mode.  *gasp*  i tried to stay calm, hoping it was just a fluke, but i had that cold pit in the bottom of my stomach where you just know that something really bad has happened.  sure enough, my hard drive had taken its final gasping breath.  two miserable, computer-less weeks and a few hundred dollars later, and i'm back!  cue the applause, eh?

i have gotten a bunch of new boxes to share with you in the past few weeks, and i am going to post that healthy eating post in the new few days as well, along with an update on my health and life while i was away.  but first thing is first -- the box i have been waiting for came in the mail two days ago, and i just cannot hold my excitement in any longer, so i have to share this with you!  it's the socialbliss april style box.

the socialbliss style box is a monthly beauty/fashion box that aims to improve your style by introducing you to new, up-and-coming brands and products.  the cost is $39.95 per month ($35 if you sign up for 3 months at a time) plus a $7.95 shipping fee.  each box contains 3-6 products and is guaranteed to have a value of at least $100.  sign up for your own style box here.  :)

okay, so i have heard nothing but absolutely glowing reviews about this box.  not just glowing, exhilarating.  like, oh my god, this is the best box in the world reviews.  knowing how much i love beauty&fashion boxes, i had to give it a try.  i tend to stay away from the more pricey boxes (anything above about $25 is too much for me, except for fabfitfun because that is only four times a year), but since everyone seems to freak out about how great this one is, i sucked it up and thought that i would splurge on it for one month and take the chance.  and hooooooo boy, am i glad i did!

a few days before they started shipping, socialbliss revealed what the box for april was.  in general, i don't like surprises.  they make me sweaty and anxious, and it's not a pretty sight.  but, i figured, this is just a beauty box, not something that actually affects the outcome of my life or world peace or something, so i didn't look.  i deleted the email, thinking i could stay above it all.

but i forgot about this thing called the internet.  how it ruins anonymity these days.  how scrolling through my instagram feed, usually a simple and innocent act, turned into me seeing exactly what would be in my box -- multiple times.  blergghhh.  so, yes, i did end up seeing what would be in my box before i actually got it.  but let me tell you -- it did not make it any less glorious.  let's get down to the reveal, shall we?

this was on the outside of the shipping box, which i thought was an awesome touch.

what a great thing to be greeted with when you open up the box, no?!  a confident booster and a great way to set the tone for the box.  i love things like that in boxes that make you feel good about yourself.  the packing was simple but colorful and tied with a nice ribbon.

another great reminder!  this was the front of the product description card.  packaging really does make so much difference!

okay, first product.
girls night out nail art kit by stella  (retail value $7)

i think that this is a great alternative to a beauty box instead of the standard nail polish or nail stickers.  i haven't ever seen anything like this in a beauty box before, so i think they're great.  it's a great variety in shapes -- hearts, moons, stars, circles, teardrops, flowers, squares  -- and there are a ton of each shape, so you will get a lot of applications out of the package.  it comes with a little stick for putting them on your nails and directions as well.  i love nail art, so i'm really looking forward to using these.  a great addition to the box!

touch of sparkle cubic zirconia earrings  (retail value $50)

i would never have picked these earrings out for myself because they just aren't really my style, but i actually love them.  they are glamorous but have just the right amount of edge that i can see myself wearing them with a dressy tee for a casual dinner and also to a fancier event.  i love the shape of them, how the dangles are behind the circle, and that they're aren't super sparkly (i am possibly the only girl in the world that despises sparkly diamond jewelry).  and, despite them being cubic zirconia, they don't look cheaply made, like some CZ pieces do.  they look very high quality and like they will last a long time.  i am pleasantly surprised by these, but very happy to add them to my collection!

the little black compact  (retail value $5)

i'm a sucker for anything flower and enamel lately -- i just bought some bobby pins with grey enamel flowers on them.  i don't know what it is but they just have this retro, cool girly vibe that i'm really into.  anyway, this cute compact is a sweet addition to this box and perfect for the mascara that is included below!  this will definitely be finding itself as a permanent fixture in my bag :)

better than sex mascara by too faced  (retail value $15)

see what i mean with the compact?  a perfect fit!  i have heard great things about this mascara but never tried it myself.  i flit around to different mascaras all the time, so i am sure that i will like this one as well.  this is a strange size for a mascara.. i don't know if it's a trial size or not, but it's too short to be a full size (unless they're really that small) and too big to be a sample size.  weird.  anyway, i am looking forward to seeing what this bad boy can do!

socialite's night out bag by izzy & ali  (retail value $129)

yes, you read that right.  retail value = $129.  for the bag alone. 

let me preface this review by saying that i own probably about 20 handbags at any given time.  i like colorful bags that are fairly smallish in size, and i'm fairly hard on my bags.  i put a ton of crap in them, leave them everywhere, and generally abuse them.  because of this, i usually buy purses on the clearance rack at target, tj maxx, jc penney, or anywhere that sells decent purses at pretty cheap prices.  my most expensive purse is a $60 vera bradley purse that i rarely use because i hyperventilate when i think about getting it dirty or lost.  even then, my boyfriend bought it for me, so i didn't technically spend my own personal money.

so needless to say, when i saw that this bag alone was valued at $129, came in its own dust jacket, with the chains wrapped in plastic.... i peed a little. 

it's gorgeous.  stunning.  beautiful.  amazing.  i am in love with it.  it's a box-shaped medium-sized handbag with a chain strap.  the metal hardware on the front flips horizontal so the flap can come open.  the inside has a zipper pocket and is decently roomy inside.  it's a lovely grey with a greenish undertone.  i saw other colors that people got -- black, yellow, navy blue -- but this was the color i had hoped for.  it's very neutral and will match the most things, i think.  i love it.  part of me wants to put it back in it's dust jacket and put it in glass and just stare lovingly at it and part of me wants to wear it with everything.  including my pajamas.

did i mention i love it?

overall, everyone was right about their gushing reviews of this box.  i just got it two days ago and i'm already itching to get the next one.  the total value of the box was $206, which is a craaazy good deal since with the shipping, it was only $48 that i paid.  the only thing i was disappointed about was that some people got two pairs of earrings -- the cubic zirconias and another gold, cutout tiered pair as well.  i was bummed because i was actually looking forward to those.  they are cute and very much my style, so i was looking forward to wearing them this summer.  i guess only some boxes got those? i don't know how that works so i am curious to know how they choose which boxes got the extra pair and which didn't, but besides that i really loved my box.  you can sign up for your own by checking it out here.

how about you?  did any of you order the style box as well?  i would love to hear which selections you got and how you felt about them!  leave me a message in the comments! :)

expect a few more posts from me this week while i try to catch up on my blogging and boxes.  hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

a day at the dog park.

i was feeling pretty good when i woke up this morning, and it was beautiful weather outside!  the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and it was almost 60 -- a delight for new york in april.  so my boyfriend and i decided to take the dogs over to the dog park and hang out for a while.

i have had zoe (my min pin/pug mix) since she was a baby, so she is very well socialized and has a friendly temperament.  she gets along with every human and dog she comes across and is especially fond of babies and small humans (maybe because they are more her size).  she rarely if ever barks at people or dogs, and i don't ever have to worry about having a problem with her at the dog park.  i let her loose in the small dog area -- though she would prefer to be in with the big dogs, because she is convinced she is the size of a labrador! -- and off she goes, running up to everyone to say hi, and running in circles around the penned area.  she is going to be six this year, but you would never guess it by seeing her at the park.  she runs at full speed around and around and around, towards you and then zooming away at the last minute, only to come up behind you and flop down on her back, panting and begging for a belly rub.  she's so adorable and is exhausted by the time we leave.

our other dog, hendrix (the jack russell), is not the same at all.  we adopted him two years ago from a local rescue and he was abused before we got him.  we think he was about two years old when we got him, making him around four, and he isn't your typical jack russell.  he does have the hyperactivity at times and he definitely has the tracking/chasing skills, but for the most part he is a pretty chill, happy-go-lucky little guy.  he blended extremely well with our family and we had no issues with the two dogs bonding.  it was like they had been together all along, and now they are inseparable.  however, we don't know the exact circumstances surrounding his abuse, but because of the way he acts around certain things, we have been able to guess that he was left confined in small spaces for extended amounts of time and that he was allowed to be bullied by other, larger dogs.  because of that, he is pretty scared of other dogs.  he started out being really scared of other people too, but we worked with him and were able to break him of that pretty quickly, and he will now go up to almost anybody with his tail wagging, and lick their hand and say hi without much prompting.  but, we still can't get him to like other dogs that much, no matter what we do.  we take him to the dog park as often as we can tolerate, but we know that it's stressful for him because he gets so upset, and it's not really fair for other people who take their dogs there that do play nice, so it's a difficult situation.  either way, he loves the hiking time afterwards so it ends up being a win-win for zoe to play with the other dogs and for hendrix to enjoy the long hikes and things to sniff afterwards.

we went on some new trails this time and i found some cool things to photograph.  we didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked, and i can't wait to go back the next time the weather is nice again.

i hope you all had a great weekend too!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

julep april 2014 maven box review

hi everyone!

i am so excited to share with you today my review of the april julep maven box!  their new products this month were a blush and bronzer, but i chose to get just the entire nail polish collection and boy, am i glad i did.  this collection has to be their most beautiful collection yet!!  it is absolutely stunning, and i was so thrilled when i pulled them out of the box.

for those of you that aren't familiar, julep is a 4-free nail polish & beauty box that lets you pick what you receive each month based on a quiz you take when you sign up.  there are four different options that you can pick from, with the three of the options including 2 nail polishes and one beauty product (ie. this month was the blush), and one option being 3 nail polishes, all for $19.99 per month (free shipping, score!).  you always have the option of upgrading to the entire nail polish collection, or various other upgrade options, and each month a secret store is available where select nail colors are available at super discounted prices (usually starting at $3).  you also rack up points to use towards purchases, and always get discounted pricing on products when you are a maven.  check it out here if you're interested in more info!

onto the review...

this month they introduced the vivid collection.  when i got the options for my box, i just couldn't decide on which polish to pick because i thought they were all so gorgeous, so i upgraded to the full collection and got them all, nine polishes in total, and didn't get the blush because i have a lot of blushes anyway.

i love that they always include a little card with an inspirational message! it always makes me smile :)

even pulling them out of the box, i was stunned by the vibrant colors!

first up is bailey.  this is described as a 'hyped cobalt sheer'.  this is a very vibrant dark, bright blue (if that makes sense).  it is always hard to find a good blue that is both dark but also maintains the brightness on the nail that it shows in the bottle.  this does that.  it is a lot more sheer than i expected, but the buildable color allows it be dark without it losing its brightness.  application was easy and it is actually really cool looking with just one thin coat -- the spotty, sheer color looks marbled.  this color is so pretty!

next is flora, an 'exotic dragonfruit with blue shimmer.'  this is the polish i was most excited about in the box, and the most disappointed with on the nail.  in the box, it is gorgeous.  as you can see, it does have quite a blue shimmer, and the picture doesn't even do it justice with how strong the shimmer is.  it is beautiful.  i was so excited to get it on, but when i did, the shimmer all but disappeared.  :(  i painted all my nails with a white base coat in order to let the neons really pop, and this color took a good four coats to get mostly solid, and even then, some spots were still patchy and a little see-through.  

this is caitlin, a 'shocking hibiscus with gold shimmer.'  this is the typical hot pink neon in most summer collections, and it definitely holds its own.  it's difficult to spot much of the gold shimmer unless you really squint for it, and out of the bottle, it's even less visible.  in my opinion, neon pinks have a tendency to be pretty watery and hard to get opaque, even over a white base, but this was opaque after one thick coat.  very pretty, even without the shimmer.

next up is mariska, a 'juicy tangerine shimmer.'  this looks more like a creme to me in the bottle, even though the description says shimmer.  i didn't see much shimmer on the nail, either, but it had a flawless application.  one easy coat and it dried beautifully.  it seemed to dry into a matte finish, which i actually really liked for the look i was working with, but it usually indicates that it's a matte finish and i didn't see anything about that.  either way, this color is flawless.  another great one in the collection!

this stunner is kayla, an 'electric iris sheer with violet sheen.'  ah, the inevitable color-shifting blurple.  i adore this color!!  it is unbelievably stunning in the bottle and just as gorgeous on the nail.  it took about four coats to get to the color shown in the bottle (it started off as a hazy periwinkle with one coat over my white base) but it is simply beautiful.  the middle picture shows the pinkish purple tilt to it, and the bottom shows the more bluish tint it takes on, depending on the angle.  this might be my favorite polish from the collection.  it's such a great shade for spring, and i love how it changes colors in the light and is so versatile.  i will definitely be using this one a lot.

this bad boy is tatum (fitting name, eh?), a 'neon chartreuse chrome.'  this color is actually more bright on the nail than it photographed in the bottle, but the shade is still the same, and i really like it.  i'm not big on green polish in general, but the chrome makes it spring-y and cool.  one thick coat and it was opaque.  i'm still not sold on this green because i don't really like green polishes much in general (they remind me of gangrene haha) but i really like it under the emerald in the saran wrap design i made.  i can see myself using it in a lot of designs, but i'm not sure that i will wear it on its own.  either way, it's a really pretty color and i didn't have any problems with it.

this bright, lovely hue is sunny, an 'overexposed yellow chrome.'  i am very picky on yellow polishes, but this is definitely going down as my favorite yellow polish.  it's not too dainty, and not too chalky or milky, either.  the overexposed chrome part of it refers to an almost frosted look that is really cool and make application a dream.  one coat and i was done.  i did a second coat to make it even more saturated, but it didn't even change the hue that much.  i'm pretty pale but it doesn't look bad with my complexion, so it seems like a good tone to complement many skin tones as well.  this will definitely be a re-purchase for me, and one i will be wearing a lot this summer!

this is phoebe, a 'vibrant jungle metallic,' and the most pain in the ass polish to photograph!! even these pictures don't do the color justice.  the ones on the julep website don't even reflect the color i got in my box, so i don't know.  the color i got is an emerald teal color, super gorgeously pretty.  i just could not get the color translated to the picture, no matter how many pictures i took.  very frustrating. however, on the nail it was gooooorrgeous, just like in the bottom!  the jungle description is so accurate -- it reminds me of the amazon or something like that.  this will definitely be gracing my nails and toes frequently this summer.  i am so in love with this color!!

and last but not least, we've got maren, an 'electric bubblegum sheer with blue sheen.'  this was a color i ended up liking a lot that i didn't think i would.  however, it was not what i expected.  it was definitely not as sheer as i had thought, or maybe it was because i had a white base on.  one thick coat made it fairly opaque.  the bubblegum description is spot-on, it's very girly and neon, perfect for summer.  unfortunately, this one also lost a lot of the blue sheen it had in the bottle once it got on the nail.  i am hoping that maybe a full set of nails of the polish will look differently, but with the design i did, the sheens were all but gone.  bummer.  :(  it was still gorgeous and another color that will be in heavy rotation this spring and summer!

instead of doing complete swatches for each color, i decided to do a fun manicure including all the colors.  there were so many great combinations that instead of only five designs for both hands,  i wanted to do one design for each finger.  i chose fun geometric and dotted designs that were fun and bright for summer.  nothing fancy, but i think they are fun and colorful.  i really love how the starburst, saran wrapped nail, and the blue and purple dotted nails came out.

what do you think?  which style did you pick this month, or did you get the full collection?  which polish is your favorite?  i would love to hear from you!  leave a comment letting me know what you think!  if you're interested in signing up to receive a julep box every month, check it out here.

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