beauty

Always, Always, Always The Bridesmaid #1

I have had the pleasure of being asked to participate in the bridal party of FOUR weddings in the last few years. One of these nuptial events already took place last year, but I have three coming up to look forward to! I am blessed with some truely awesome friends, and each wedding experience I get to be a part of is a new and exciting learning experience for me about friendship, event planning and of course: love.

I thought it would be fun to write a little series about the upcoming and past wedding celebrations I have been a part of as a bit of a ‘Bridesmaid Diary’ I can look back on, since these are such special and fleeting memories I never want to lose.

That being said, here are some photos from the first wedding I had the pleasure of being a part of: The wedding of Becky Sue Means & Matthew Means! These two tied the knot on May 26, 2013 and have since expanded their brood (which already includes 2 adorable fur babies) and are expecting a bundle of joy arriving in August 2014. 🙂

Here is a photo compilation of my experience in The Means Wedding festivities from start to finish, I can’t believe it has already been almost a year!

Flashback to Becky’s Birthday, right after she got engaged! She’s sporting her new bling and we’re all excited to celebrate. From left to right: Lisa, Myself, Becky & Stephanie

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Next item, Engagement Party!

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Becky, Lisa and I at the Engagement Party. Lisa and I accidentally matched and inadvertently accidentally both wore the wedding colors… funny how things work out. 🙂

Next up, Bridal Shower! We went with a CANDYLAND theme!

Shower Cake

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Panty Line

Shower Bridesmaids

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The bridal shower was a huge success and everyone had a great time. A few months later, it was time to get crazy in Vegas for the Bachelorette Party!

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We had a lovely suite at The Venitian and spent time by the pool during the day and went out for dancing and drinks at night. Vegas did Becky right that weekend LOL.

A few short weeks later it was time to get Becky down the aisle and in to wedded bliss. Here are some of the moments from that day…

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Hotel room bridesmaid fun!

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Dressing Becky

Getting Becky dressed…

Hotel Pose

More poses in the room.

Candid Hair

Candid Pose, Great Hair Shot

Check out my cool hair!

Bridesmaids Pre Ceremony

Posing before the processional.

Maid of Honor Walk

Walking in with the Best Man.

Candid Ceremony

Ceremony candid.

Walking In

Walking in the reception hall with the Best Man.

New Mr & Mrs

Greeting the new Mr. & Mrs. to the reception.

Toast

My Maid of Honor Speech!

Bouquet

Bouquet Toss: I wanted Lisa to get it!

Boogie 1

Getting our boogie on on the dance floor.

Boogie 2

Boogie 3 

Boogie 4

Bridesmaids Formal

Formal photos with the bridal party.

Formal Pose

MOH Pose MOH Stare

Becky and I having a moment, I love these shots!

Favors

Wedding favors

Food

They had Ruby’s cater the food, yum!

Flowers

The flowers.

Theme

Centerpieces and wedding theme.

Cake

Becky with the gorgeous cake maker (and my neighbor) Shelly!

Car Pose

Getting the Mr. & Mrs. ready to ride off in to the sunset.

PUG Feature

So much fun! We did the ‘Bridesmaids’ pose and got featured on Pinup Girl Clothing’s Instagram as their PUG Pinup of the Day!

For all those interested, the entire bridal party’s hair was done by Lissette Castaneda, the dress is here from Pinup Girl Clothing and my makeup was done by me. Becky’s makeup was done by the lovely and talented Christina Cofran!

I hope you all enjoyed these photos from the  Means’ Wedding! Like I mentioned before, I have two weddings coming up this summer I have the pleasure to serve in the bridal party of and another wedding next fall I will also be a bridesmaid in, so this is the first post of MANY wedding related blogs. 🙂

Always, always, ALWAYS the bridesmaid (never the bride) but that’s A OK in my book!

Thank you all for spending some time reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit Review

As may of you may know, I’m a bit of a “crazy coupon lady.” So when I come across a GREAT deal, especially on beauty products, I am all over it.

A while back I scored this Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit on one of my coupon runs for an absolute steal. The starter kit normally retails around $30-$40 at drug stores, but my braggable price was under $10. Scorrrrreee.

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(the box for “Shell We Dance,” looks MUCH more pink than actual strips)

Now I need to premise this post with the understanding that I am not a nail geek. Yes, I love it when my nails look feminine and polished, but I tend to spend more of my time on skincare and cosmetics and tend to ignore my claws until I find a moment of serious boredom or I have a special occasion I feel the need to be especially pampered for.

I used to be an acrylic nail FIEND, but my habit was tearing up my poor nails and the process was painful, time-consuming and expensive so I gave up my gorgeous acrylic manicures a few months back in hopes of finding a more affordable and less damaging option.

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(the contents of the package: Gel Strips, Nail Cleansing Pads, Nail Buffer, Gel Top Coat, LED Lamp & Instructions)

So when I was going through some old things the other day I came across these Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Starter Kits and figured I would give them a try. Maybe they would be the easy, lovely and affordable option I had been waiting for!

When I originally purchased the kits, I selected two colors: “Shell We Dance” and “Red My Lips.” The “Shell We Dance” color on the box looked to be a light, shell colored pink for those demure, conservative days while the “Red My Lips” showed a traditional vampy fire-engine red stunner shade.

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I was feeling girly so I reached for “Shell We Dance” to try out the kit  and unfortunately, was disappointed by the misleading color depiction on the box. The color is more of a transparent, skin-colored nude with none of the creamy pink tones I was looking for. I tried out one of the strips, saw how colorless and lackluster it was and decided to abandon the remainder of the strips in the shade and go straight for the big guns with “Red My Lips.”

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The instructions to the kit are pretty simple to follow, here’s a paraphrased version of what they say in the package:

#1. Prep: Start with clean, dry nails. Use the provided wooden stick to press back cuticles. Use the provided nail file to buff the nails to a desired shape. Use the provided nail cleanser pad to remove any excess dirt and oil. (This step is extremely important as it helps your manicure last longer.)

#2. Select & Apply Strip: Select best fitting strip for each nail. Remove clear plastic cover and peel strip from backing paper. Place strip against cuticle line and press strip to nail. Use warm hands for maximum flexibility and to help mold the strip to the nail. Gently stretch strip for a perfect fit and firmly smooth over entire nail. Run flat side of cuticle stick along edge of strip to firmly bond strip to nail.

#3. Shape: Smooth excess polish strip over nail edge, forming a crease around the edge of each nail. Gently file away excess from nail edge using provided file. This was the most difficult for me! I have short, broken nails so it was a little difficult to get the strip bent around the edge of all of my nails.

#4. Apply Gel Top Coat: Shake bottle of gel top coat vigorously and apply a thin coat to one nail (completely polish free edge of nail and remove any product from the skin prior to curing) and cure for 30 seconds with Mini LED Lamp. Complete this process before moving on to next nail.

#5. Cleanse & Finish: Once all nails are cured with the gel top coat, wipe all nails with nail cleanser pad to remove tacky residue; manicure is complete.

#6. Removal: Saturate a small piece of cotton the size of your nail with Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover (do not use an acetone free remover.) Place cotton over gel and wrap tightly with a small square of aluminum foil. Check first nail after 5 minutes; the gel should be lifted up off the nail and easy to push off with the cuticle stick. If necessary re-saturate cotton, re-wrap nail and check every 5 minutes. Gently push off gel with cuticle stick. Do not pull gel away from natural nail plate.

Pretty darn easy sounding RIGHT? Well the start to finish process took me about an hour and a half (including the color change fiasco) so it didn’t exactly save me the time it would take to hit up a nail salon. The color payoff was good with the red and the gel made my nails quite shiny, so I did approve of the final product.

2014-01-26 19.29.31 (freshly painted with gel top coat)

I don’t really know how I would say I 100% feel about this product. I did love that I could do this at home and get virtually the same effect of a gel manicure, but the strips were slightly too narrow for some of my apparently large nail beds so there were places that the red strip wouldn’t reach on application. The flip side of that argument is that the gel strips were EASY clean up and no mess was involved. No sloppy clean up on the skin and cuticles and no need for the anxiety of combating my shaky hands for nail perfection.

I wore these red nails for about a week with minimal chipping, so the resiliency of the product was good, but didn’t live up to the two week wear time boasted on the box. Yes, I am a bit hard on my nails and have been told many a time that my nail beds are a bit oilier than the norm, so that might have had something to do with it and I can’t fault Ms. Sally Hansen for those discrepancies.

2014-02-03 21.35.33 (my nails after 1 full week of wear)

All in all, I think the Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips have a place in my regimen, but definitely not as an every day option. They are a bit time consuming to put on, the start up package retail price without a large discount is high, the replacement gel strips without coupons or discounts are a bit steep, but the finished product is lovely for a special event or weekend getaway if you are looking for something as a quick solution.

The good news is, Sally Hansen comes out with great deals and coupons on this product all the time, not to mention they update their selection frequently and phase out older colors so next time I will be STOCKING UP on extra gel strips in fun colors and patterns for the special events coming up all year. With 4 weddings, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, baby showers and MY 25TH BIRTHDAY coming up, I’m sure to make good use out of these babies and save some dough on salon costs in the process.

I was a little so/so on this one, but I’ll give it a STRUT (under the right circumstances!) If you can find this Starter Kit on sale (don’t pay more than 15-20 bucks!) and can find the Gel Strips around 7 bucks, I say these are nice to have on hand for special events when you want a fool-proof, flawless manicure. Just remember, don’t expect more than a week of wear per mani.

Have you tried any at-home gel manicure supplies? Should I try another brand? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara Review

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This month, I graciously received the #RoseVoxBox from Influenster to try out and review! The box was packed to the brim with samples and goodies, one of which was a very generous FULL SIZED Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara. I love me some big, Bambi lashes, so I took gave it a shot and was flabbergasted by the amazing length this awesome formula packed on to my lashes.

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A picture is worth 1,000 words, right?

The beginning, with my stick-straight naked lashes!

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Curled my lashes and applied one coat of the Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara:

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It’s a start! 🙂 I noticed a bit of length and a nice separation of the lashes. Time for a second curling and coat!

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The photo above is my second curl and coat. The lashes stuck together a bit more, but you can notice a LOT more length from the first coat. One more should be perfection

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Hello, bright eyes! Three rounds of curling and coating the lashes made a HUGE difference! I look like my usual falsie-wearing self!

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A side by side comparison, from now to wow! My lashes look HUGE and FULL, no complaints here!

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I also like the wavy curve to the brush. It makes it really easy to reach the inside and outer corners of the lashes so nothing gets missed. I’ve never used a brush like this before, so it was fun to try something new!

Pictures tell no lies! The Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara pumps up the length and fans out the lashes to give a definite retro feel. I usually opt for a voluminous mascara but this one might just have me singing a different tune.

Overall, I would say this mascara experience was a STRUT. The product hit shelves November 2013, so go out and get you some!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day!

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Birchbox customer service is AMAZING

HOLY CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Had the best experience of my life this morning with Birchbox.

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I ordered 2 full sized products with Birchbox  last week using some points I had been saving up. The products arrived last night and when I opened my package this morning I was disappointed to see one of of the items was damaged. 🙁 After collecting myself, I noticed a card in the box with a customer service number on it so I didn’t fret too long.
I called their customer service and after a brief hold, they immediately offered to send out a new product for me, told me to keep the damaged item AND gave me 100 points ($10) in their shop as an apology for my shipment not arriving in perfect condition. I was floored.
Not two minutes later, I was also already sent an apology email and let me know that the replacement product order had been placed and will arrive shortly. Talk about a speedy recovery!
A+ for Birchbox
These guys really know how to keep their customers happy and I am NEVER going to cancel my subscription with them now. Take notice people, this is the customer service of the future. SO IMPRESSED.

If you too would like to join Birchbox, please use my referral code as I earn rewards for telling my awesome friends about their awesome service. Code here: http://birch.ly/18oBwrf

As if I really need to say it, but this experience was a breath of fresh air from Birchbox and I would definitely categorize it as a STRUT.

Have you ever had a customer service experience that WOW-ED you? Do you also think Birchbox is amazing? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, thank you all for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Ipsy July 2013

Back in May, I signed up for Ipsy after much indecisive contemplation throughout the few months prior. And damn was I glad I did, the May Glam Bag was ridiculously amazing. And lucky, lucky me… each Glam Bag following my subscription has been amazing as well 🙂

Basically Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service curated by Michelle Phan and a collection of other YouTube beauty gurus. For $10 a month, plus tax, a Glam Bag is delivered to your doorstep filled with 4-6 beauty items ranging from sample sized to full-size pieces, all sweetly packaged in an adorable makeup bag to store it all in. The products and bag all change monthly and are based on your individual needs as per the Ipsy style survey that is completed when you sign up for the service. Ipsy almost constantly has a wait list to subscribe, which is a bit of a pain, but it never seems to take more than a month or so to become a subscriber and when you do,  it is oh, so WORTH IT.

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The theme of this month’s Glam Bag was Beach Beauty and Ipsy hit the nail on the head with their product offerings for this beachy bag.

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The first item in my bag was the Coola Mineral Suscreen Tinted Moisturizer. The sample size is generous, the formula is creamy and the pigment is a good match for my skin tone with a slight yellow base. I’m a sunscreen NUT and have been experimenting with more natural products, so this item will be exciting to try out!

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I have never heard of this brand before, but the color is so sassy and bright, I am really looking forward to trying out this Nailtini laquer in the shade “Mai Tai.” Not going to get a mani with this one, but this is SO a poppin’ pedi color. Photos when it happens 🙂

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This item made my pink Glam Bag package SO FULL! The Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray smells like summer and has an awesome trigger spray delivery method which makes it so simple to mist my locks into beachy submission. I did an on camera trial of this product in my Ipsy unboxing video if you would like to see how it works on my hair.

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The next item in my Glam Bag is the California Collection sampler from BH Cosmetics. This mini pallet features one shadow shade from each of the California Collection pallets including ‘Hollywood’, a deep matte indigo, ‘San Francisco,’ a beautiful metallic rust (I’m thinking this is going to be a lovely crease color), and ‘Malibu,’ a vibrant glittery gold. I’m looking forward to trying all three in a summery, beachy look and will post it up as soon as I do.

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The last subscriber item in my Glam Bag this month was a full-sized Pouty Pop Crayon from Pop Beauty. The color is vibrant and goes on smoothly without leaving the lips creasy or over glossed. The best part about this crayon is NO SHARPENING necessary! 🙂 The crayon just twists up to deliver more color, a genius invention if I do say so myself.

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Thanks to a few of my friends signing up for Ipsy last month using my referral code, I was sent an addition bonus item! (THANK YOU BRITTNEY AND KIM!!) The bonus item was this nail laquer from the Nicole collection from OPI… how fitting 🙂 The color is a rich metallic purple which screams fall, so I’ll likely be stashing this gorgeous baby until the weather starts cooling down and I can rock it in the appropriate season.

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This is a quick snap of the bag all these products came in this month. Ipsy has been REALLY stepping it up with their bags lately. This month’s bag is a clear pink plastic barrel shape, a completely new and fresh look for the traditional makeup bag. Bravo, Ipsy 😀

So that’s a wrap on my Ipsy bag this month! I have been a subscriber for 3 months now and for my mere $10 investment, this is a heap of fun, useful items that I can’t wait to try!

If you would like to sign up for Ipsy, please click my referral link. The bags are great, the products are awesome, and the Ipster community is a great place to find fresh new ways to switch up your beauty routine.

Until next time, thank you all for reading my post and I hope you’re having an amazing day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

My unboxing of Ipsy July 2013!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB2F_scPBfw&w=420&h=315]

Birchbox July 2013 Unboxing & Review

My first beauty subscription box of the month arrived over the weekend… BIRCHBOX!

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Birchbox is a beauty-themed monthly subscription box service featuring both well-established and budding cosmetic and skincare brands, hair care items and occasional snack items which boasts an ambitious tagline, “Discover your next EVERYTHING.”

For a flat $10 monthly fee, Birchbox promises between 5-6 items, ranging from sample sized to full-size items to help aid the discovery of your new favorite erh… everything.  After you receive your items, you can review each piece on the Birchbox site to receive 10 points per review (10 points = $1) to accumulate and use in the Birchbox store. The review feature is probably what keeps me coming back for more, since each month has at least 5 pieces for review, which drops my box price to around $5 monthly in the grand scheme of things. 🙂

Each month also has a different theme, and Birchbox often links up with magazines and TV shows (like Woman’s Health Magazine and USA’s ‘Suits’) to help support their themes.

Now Birchbox and I; we go way back. At least, we go back longer than my other subscription services: Birchbox and I have been ‘going steady’ since November 2012. And since we have a history, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this monthly service. I have had both STRUTS and STUMBLES with Birchbox and lately I have been feeling like this box is a bit… dull? I have felt a little short-changed by Birchbox, especially since they have developed a rather loathsome habit lately which will be discussed a bit later in this review.

On to this month’s box: Birchbox July 2013 “Power Play” Unboxed

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Looks like a good amount of stuff right? Here’s what I received in this month’s “Power Play” themed box:

Let’s start with the most offensive items in the box: Kérastase’s Bain Chroma Riche shampoo & Kérastase’s Masque Chroma Riche Treat conditioner in the LOATHSOME foil packets.

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My deep seeded hatred for foil packets has been around since my first job as a wee lass working behind a makeup counter. Clients would always ask me, “Why do you give us such puny  samples in these foil packets, don’t you know we can’t get more than one use out of them? How are we supposed to know if we really like a product?” My response was always to shove more foil packets their way as a means of appeasement, but now as a seasoned cosmetic consumer, I get it. The only thing that irks me more than a foil packet sample is a foil packet sample for hair product. Let me explain…

1) Unless the foil packet is the size of a snack-sized Ziploc, it isn’t going to be enough product for even one full use in my hair. I MIGHT be able to squeeze one use out of these particular packets, but come on Birchbox, you know I have 18ish inch hair… I took your survey plenty of times! If you are going to send me something and ask for my feedback, please at least send me enough to formulate an actual opinion about whether or not I like it…

2) These samples have NO real value. I am a member of the P&G sampling program, where (upon request) they send me FREE foil packets just like these ones, just because they want me to try out the products from their brand. I know Birchbox is only $10 a month, but putting these in the box on a monthly basis makes the box look cheap and I want to feel like I am getting value.

Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again next month. Ok, rant over.

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The next item I pulled out of the box was a rather small (at least it wasn’t a foil packet!) sample of the BENTA BERRY G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream. I haven’t tried anything from this brand before, but as a first impression, I liked the texture of the cream and it didn’t have an off-putting aroma, so I will try it out and review it in a future post. The size looks like it is enough to get about 3 days use out of, so that should be enough to decide whether or not it is a strut or stumble.

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The next item in my box was teased in the Birchbox July Sneek Peek video: Birchbox Branded Hair Pins. These pins are cute and whimsical with the mint green pattern, so I can see myself getting some use out of them. I like it when companies send these little ‘surprise extras,’ since they give me a chance to try something new. Birchbox sent us a branded nail file a few months back as another “Beauty Extra” and it has come in handy as well. Would I have purchased printed pins like these on my own? Probably not. Will I give them a whirl? Certainly. They were a nice addition to the box and I have no harsh feelings toward Birchbox for shamelessly sending us branded product. 🙂

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When I saw another tube of product in my box, I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be just another face cream and to my surprise and delight, it wasn’t! This Pür Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 has me all kinds of excited to put it on my face. I have been looking for something a little lighter to wear on my face for the summer, and BB & CC creams are all the rage lately in cosmeticsland. The sample size is generous, so I will likely get a week’s use out of the tube and I will get a chance to really decide if I like it. The color also looks like it is on point and the texture didn’t feel the least bit greasy when I swatched the product, so Birchbox gets a high five for including this in my July box.

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Concluding this month’s Birchbox offerings was a FULL-SIZED ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in “Get Naked.” This is the hat trick that keeps me coming back for more with Birchbox, you never know what will be in your box! This sheer nude lipstick is both lovely and functional, two of my favorite things in a cosmetic item. It glides on smoothly, has a pleasant scent and the packaging is pretty darn cute to stash inside any makeup bag. I also really like the ‘keyhole’ top of the tube that allows you to see the color of the lipstick, great for upright storage in my makeup kit where this little buddy will probably end up someday. For now, I plan to wear this and experiment with nude for a while and I will post a further review up at a later date. 🙂

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So that wraps it up for my July 2013 Birchbox unboxing! Here is a breakdown of the approximate value of each of the items in the box:

Kérastase’s Bain Chroma Riche shampoo: Value $1.90

Kérastase’s Masque Chroma Riche Treat conditioner: Value $4.58

BENTA BERRY G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream: Value $3.67

Birchbox Branded Hair Pins: Value $1.67

ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in “Get Naked”: Value $8

Pür Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40: Value $7.60

Total Value: $27.42 ($20.94 if you don’t count the stupid foil packets)

I have to say, this month’s Birchbox was a little shaky at first, but I am going to have to say they pulled it out with a STRUT in the final inning. Yes, I think the foil packets are lame, but the CC cream, hair pins and full-sized lipstick gave me a satisfactory return on my meager investment in this month’s box so I will be continuing my monthly subscription. And since I received 6 products in this box versus the usual 5 we have to review, it drops my actual sample box price to a mere $4. (happy dance) Bravo Birchbox 🙂

If you would like to join me monthly with Birchbox, please use my referral link to sign up! I get points when people use my link, so if you like my reviews, please pay it forward lovelies 🙂 Shameless, I know.

If you’re already subscribed, I would love to hear what you got in your own box! Also looking for suggestions as to which items you all would like to see reviewed, so don’t be shy and leave me a comment. 🙂

Until next time, thank you all for reading my post and I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Unboxing video for Birchbox July 2013!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBX8sSS58eM&w=420&h=315]

SuperGoop! Why you smell so bad?

If you got a chance to check out my PopSugar Must Have Box unboxing video for July 2013, you got to see me lose my marbles about the Supergoop! Spf 30 Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum that came in the box. As promised, I wanted to share with you how I feel about the product past my first impressions and I feel the need to warn you all; it’s a doozy.

I love sunscreen, my favorite of late being the Josie Maran Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer SPF 40+. This product feels phenomenal and has yet to make me break out. It even protected me from a sunburn for a full Coachella weekend in the blazing desert sun. This product has been my ‘go to’ daily moisturizer and sunscreen for a good three months now and I really love it, but since the Supergoop! showed up in my PopSugar box this month I figured I would give it a whirl.

Here is the skinny on the Supergoop! Anti-Aging UV Damage Repair Complex:

  • Broad Spectrum SPF 30
  • Clinically Tested
  • Paraben Free
  • Fragrance Free ***
  • Oxybenzone Free
  • No Animal Testing
  • Gluten Free

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It all sounds great right? Unfortunately, this product was NOT a home run for me, which is quite the bummer.

I have to attribute the shortcomings of this product to two specific issues: the texture and the SCENT. To be fair, the texture is something I could live with, but the scent is nearly unbearable.

The texture is STICKY, which (in retrospect) may be appropriate for a product with the word ‘goop’ in it. I prefer a fluid-like texture to a thick moisturizer on my face, so perhaps someone who enjoys the latter would disagree with me that this is a misstep for this product. When I was swatching the Supergoop! I immediately noticed how sticky and stringy it was, which is a little unsettling to say the least.

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Kinda gross right? Maybe it is just me, I just get a little bit of the heebie jeebies when a moisturizer gets that stringy. But like I said, I could get past it if that was my only qualm with this product. The real issue is something that simply cannot be ignored; the stench.

My best description for what this moisturizer smells like would be a combination of body odor, rotting fruit and the byproduct of some sort of toxic chemicals in a lab if you mixed all three of those stenches together and left them in a dirty car parked in the 103 degree sun for about a week. I may be exaggerating a bit but I really find the scent ‘off-putting’ at the very least.

Maybe I am spoiled with the yummy, natural yet almost edible scent of my Josie moisturizer? I have worked for plenty of skincare brands in the past, and many of them didn’t have the best scents to their product, but for this Supergoop! item, maybe ‘fragrance-free’ wasn’t the smartest decision on their part.

In all, I did like the way the sunscreen settled in to my skin after I rubbed it in, and the odor disappeared very quickly after the product was absorbed in the skin, so I could use this product occasionally when I am out in the sun at the beach or the river or something. But as an every day moisturizer and sun protectant, I’m going to have to say no to Supergoop! on this one.

Here are the swatches of the product on my hand:

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Glad I didn’t have to shell out the $42 at Sephora to try this one out. I wouldn’t mind trying some other items from Supergoop! in the future, I just hope they get their heads together and figure the scent problem out.

For now, I am just going to have to write off the Supergoop! Spf 30 Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum as a STUMBLE

Have any of you every tried the Supergoop! Spf 30 Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum? Did I have unrealistic expectations for it? Please let me know! 🙂

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

PopSugar Must Have Box July 2013

I admit it. I have a problem.

I love monthly subscription services. Like, LOVE them.

And indisputably, Popsugar’s Monthly Must Have Box is by far my favorite. Why, you ask? Because it is like Christmas in my mailbox once a month! Allow me to briefly explain. 🙂

Popsugar’s Monthly Must Have Box is a monthly subscription service featuring a variety of products and brands to make most red blooded American females like myself squeek with delight. For $35 a month plus tax, over $100 worth of products are delivered to your doorstep, all packaged up in an adorable pink and white box. It may be a stretch, but I think PopSugar arrival day is my favorite day of the month.

The July 2013 PopSugar Must Have Box didn’t disappoint. Here’s the contents of the box, I’ll be sure to post reviews as I try out each of the products 🙂

When I came home from work, I got the biggest smile on my face seeing this:

(yes I have a lawn gnome collection. it’s a long story)

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I scurried inside and tore open the box to find the monthly information card which looks like this:

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I ravaged through the contents (video below) to find this awesome assortment of products!

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First off was the Mighty Leaf Iced Tea in Ginger Peach: Value $6.25. I’m not a huge fan of peach tea, but one of my girlfriends who also got this month’s box got a Calypso Mango Tea from Mighty Leaf and agreed to swap me a bag, so now I get to try two different kinds. Aren’t friends grand?

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The next piece I found in my box was a bit of a mystery at first, but I saw it was a PINK item so no matter what it was, I knew I was going to like it. Turns out it was a pink Trovolo King Cube Ice Tray: Value $8.50. I’m intrigued by the idea of extra large ice cubes. Nobody likes a watered down beverage, so these will be fun to use for entertaining or getting my drink on at home. I also am looking forward to freezing fruit or flowers in to the cubes to make them more festive for any upcoming company I may have over. (Thanks Pinterest!!!)

I also received a bag of HannahMax Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Chips: Value $2.50. I’m going to be honest, these are already GONE. Unfortunately, my bag was beyond smushed when I received it, so I didn’t get the whole ‘chip’ experience, it was more like a ‘shattered bits and crumbs’ experience with these, but they were delicious nevertheless and were promptly inhaled by my boyfriend and I. I would purchase them again if I can find them in stores, but I’m not sure exactly where to find them.

I was really excited to see that they included some nail polish in the box this month, the color I received was NCLA Polish in “As If”: Value $16. I have seen a lot of NCLA product floating around YouTubeLand and I am really eager to try the brand for myself. The color is an almost neon hue of a pastel purple, (yes I know those are two conflicting adjectives, just go with me on this one) which is probably my favorite color of all time. I am a huge pastel freak, probably because I am a SPRING baby, and I desperately need to get my nails and toes done this week so I am very excited to try this product.

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As soon as I saw the SuperGoop! in my box, I was both baffled and elated. I occasionally freelance in Sephora and I always see this brand there and have been eager to try it, so I’m very happy to have received in my box the Supergoop! Spf 30 Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum: Value $42. The packaging for this item was a bit strange, but once I moved past the misshapen box I got to the actual bottle which is FULL-SIZED and has an easy to use pump delivery system. I will definitely post a review on this as I go through it, since I am the ultimate white girl and I’m always on the hunt for a life-changing sunscreen.

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The last item in my box was a rather heavy felt bag from BaubleBar. I have seen BaubleBar’s pieces on the Ipsy site for referral rewards, but never have had a chance to check out their quality in person and after opening my piece this month, I was frankly blown away. The item I got in my box was a BaubleBar Dual Chain Rose Gold Necklace: Value $28 and it is HEAVY and gorgeous! I have never owned any rose gold accessories up until now, though I have always drooled for the hue. This necklace is chunky and beautiful and definitely a statement piece. The first time I wore it, I got a compliment from both the office receptionist AND my boss, before I even made it to my desk. Needless to say, PopSugar hit it out of the park with this piece and I am VERY impressed with BaubleBar as well.

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Here I am wearing the necklace 🙂

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So that’s it for my July 2013 PopSugar Must Have Box! I was very impressed with all the items I received and also very impressed with the value of the box, rounding out at about $103.25 worth of product for my mere $35 plus tax investment.

PopSugar has already sent out a teaser e-mail to subscribers about the August 2013 box and even revealed one of the items will be a necklace from Gorjana & Griffon, valued at $65. I have never seen a teaser for this box before, so this is a welcomed surprise. I (obviously) will be continuing my subscription and CAN’T WAIT to see the rest of the August 2013 box. If you would like to join me, I am attaching my own referral link as well as a coupon for $5 off your first box below.

Here is the $65 necklace in the August Box!

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To subscribe, here is my referral code: http://popsu.gr/dEiI

And a $5 off coupon: REFER5

Thank you all for checking out my post! Please ‘like’ and subscribe if you enjoyed this post and feel free to check out the whole unboxing in my video below!

Have a great day everyone 🙂

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole

Here is my unboxing video for PopSugar Must Have Box July 2013:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIEBcmOxWoo&w=420&h=315]

FTC: This post is not sponsored in any way. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and I am not being paid to do this review. PopSugar Must Have Box purchased by me.