Inspiration Recreation

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bare Bliss Box - April 2015

I received my first Bare Bliss Box this weekBare Bliss box features natural, organic, vegan, and toxin free makeup and skincare products each month.  Since it is a natural box, I decided to give them a try.  Here are the brands featured in this month's box:

Cost of Box:  $19.99 per month (free shipping)
Impressions:   I like the variety of products included in this box but I can't say that I was wowed by the samples.  I'm not crazy about the scent of the lavender soap or the facial cleanser but I will try them to see how they work.  I do like pomegranate products so I plan to use the body lotion as well, but most likely just as a hand lotion to keep in my purse.  I'm quite intrigued by the teeth whitening powder which is black like ash or charcoal.  It is a small sample so I will probably just sprinkle a little bit on to my regular toothpaste to make it last a little longer.  I plan to trade the cream eye shadow or give it away.  Overall, I like that all the products are natural and I plan to try everything but the eyeshadow.  I do not know the full value of the box because the eyeshadow and teeth whitener samples were not listed with a size.  However, I do think the box value is at least the cost of the box.  The cleanser, soap, and lotion samples alone have a value of $13.15. 

I was a little underwhelmed by this box and I think it's because I don't really like the scents of the products and the teeth whitener sample is a bit small.  This doesn't appear to be a very high retail value box but I plan to continue my subscription for at least another month just in case this was an off month for Bare Bliss.  As far as natural care boxes go, Kloverbox has become the standard by which I hold all other natural boxes.  So if next month's Bare Bliss box isn't better, I will most likely cancel.
Shipping:  This box shipped to me via USPS.  I did not receive any tracking number or email notification when the box shipped.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

LOFT Review

Last week I ordered a few things from the LOFT during one of their friends and family sales.  I purchased the following items at 40% off:

Striped Linen Flutter Shell X-Small ($29.70)
Triangle Sheer Sweater Small ($35.70)
Striped V-Neck Tee Small ($11.70)
All for under $140, I think I made a pretty good haul.  I am pleased with the fit and the quality of the pieces for the price I paid.  I love stripes and blue which you can definitely tell judging by this order!  The triangles sweater is an attempt to add patterns other than stripes to my wardrobe.  The triangles are definitely a bold pattern for me but I like the airy pointelle fabric of this sweater.  This should be great as a transitional spring piece with a tank underneath.  I like the loose fit and breathable linen fabric of the flutter shell but I will probably have the flutter sleeves removed.  Details like that just make my arms and shoulders look bigger; plus I don't like the baby-doll look of it.  I haven't been a fan of deconstructed style jeans in the past but this year I wanted to give them a try.  And I am surprised by how much I like these jeans.  They do not look too ratty and the straight leg allows me to mimic the boyfriend jean look without looking baggy by cuffing the hems.  The Loft modern cut jeans are straight through the hip which also gives the look of skinny jeans in the hip area on my figure, which I prefer.  The sleeveless mixed media tee is very light and comfortable.  I like the drape of the fabric but I imagine the other lighter colors this tee was offered in have to be see-through (especially the panels on the shoulder/across the back) because even this darker blue color is slightly on the sheer side.  But the thin fabric will be good for the hot summer months.   The striped V-neck tee is another good basic.  The striped pouch is larger than I expected it to be but I like that it is large enough to be used as a clutch.  Of course I like the stripes and the leather-like pull on the pouch but I do wish it had a little more structure.  The bracelet set is not great quality and I would never have paid the $20 full price for them but they are still cute costume jewelry that is understated enough for my taste.  Overall, I am happy with my order and plan to keep everything.  I will get a lot of wear out of these pieces, so I think this order was a good deal!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Goodebox - Spring 2015 Bonus Box

Goodebox recently offered a mystery bonus box with samples from the brands that have been featured in their past monthly subscription boxes.  They promised 15 items with a value of $25 or more.  I was a little hesitant about purchasing this box at first because it was a truly random box, meaning it was not going to be assembled or customized with regard to beauty profile preferences like the regular monthly box is.  I knew there was a risk of getting makeup items but I figured if I got a few good skincare items, it would be worth it.  Here's what I got in my bonus box:

Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder  (10 g)

Zosimos Botanicals Raspberry and Honey Facial Mask (size unknown)
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream SPF 30 - Warm Glow (two 0.17 oz tubes)
Unik Age-Defying Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid (two 0.34 fl oz tubes)
Josh Rosebrook Deep Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner (size unknown)
Jillian Wright Gentle Peptide Cleanser & Cranberry Pomegranate Congested Skin Cleanser with Salicylic Acid (size unknown)
Everyone Bubble Bath Yoga (1.5 fl oz)
Hue Nail Polish in Ka'ahumanu (0.5 fl oz)
Blissoma Scentless Solid Natural Deodorant (0.15 oz)
Seventh Generation Hydrating with Jojoba Natural Skin Serum (size unknown)
Vapour Organic Beauty Eye Color
MSC Soy Candle Scent 003 (size unknown)

Cost of Box:  $25 (free shipping)
Impressions:  I liked the variety of the products in this bonus box.  And they did include at least 15 samples as promised, however I didn't like that there were exact duplicates of 2 of the samples.   I plan to try everything except the Juice Beauty CC cream, eye shadow, nail polish, and natural deodorant.  I don't use makeup or nail polish.  The natural deodorant does not smell good and is dry/crumbly so I can't imagine trying to use it.  I will most likely toss it and the eye shadow in the trash.  I will try to trade the nail polish.  I'm not in love with the smell of the yoga bubble bath but I may try to use it anyway.  The item I'm most excited about is the Tatcha rice enzyme powder.  I've been wanting to try this for a long time so I'm really excited to get this.  I'm also really looking forward to trying the raspberry and honey facial mask, night cream, and serum.  I am not sure of the exact value of this box because many of the samples were not listed with a size for me to calculate value but it does not look like a high value sample box.  I'm guessing that the value is no more than the $25 I paid.  I like to get boxes with a retail value higher than what I paid, especially when I don't use all the samples, so I'm not overjoyed with this box.  But I am glad that I finally get to try the Tatcha rice powder without having to shell out $65 for the full size container.  I'm interested to see what other's got in their mystery box. 

Since they called this the Spring Bonus Box, I'm assuming they release one every season.  At $25 for 15 samples, a bonus box is a pretty good cost per sample deal compared to paying the $19 monthly subscription for 5 samples.  And since you don't have to be a monthly subscriber to buy the bonus box, it's a good way to try Goodebox out without committing to a subscription.  The advantage of the monthly box, however, is that there is some customization based on your beauty profile.  Although this box included some useful/practical items for me, I wasn't really excited with the box overall.  But this is no big surprise since it was a bonus box made up of left-over samples that they are essentially just trying to get rid of.  I doubt I will buy a mystery bonus box from Goodebox in the future but I am still looking forward to their next regular monthly subscription box. 

Trust Fall #3 from Book People

I like to read so I'm excited to discover another book club subscription box.  Trust Fall is a quarterly book club from Book People bookstore based in Austin, Texas.  Each quarter they send a signed first edition book along with extra gifts and maybe a second book.   One feature I found really cool about Trust Fall is that if you're not satisfied with your subscription box, you can return it for a full refund and actually keep the extra gifts as a thank you for trying them out!  Here is what was included in this quarter's box (Trust Fall #3, released March 2015):

Letters from Book People and Scribner Publishing about the box and featured books:
Interview with featured author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
Featured Book:  Barefoot Dogs: Stories by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho (signed by the author)
Synopsis from Amazon:
On an unremarkable night, José Victoriano Arteaga—the head of a thriving Mexico City family—vanishes on his way home from work. The Arteagas find few answers; the full truth of what happened to Arteaga is lost to the shadows of Mexico’s vast and desperate underworld, a place of rampant violence and kidnappings, and government corruption. But soon packages arrive to the family house, offering horrifying clues.

Fear, guilt, and the prospect of financial ruination fracture the once-proud family and scatter them across the globe, yet delicate threads still hold them together: in a swimming pool in Palo Alto, Arteaga’s young grandson struggles to make sense of the grief that has hobbled his family; in Mexico City, Arteaga’s mistress alternates between rage and heartbreak as she waits, in growing panic, for her lover’s return; in Austin, the Arteagas’ housekeeper tries to piece together a second life in an alienating and demeaning new land; in Madrid, Arteaga’s son takes his ailing dog through the hot and unforgiving streets, in search of his father’s ghost.
Advance Reader Copy:  War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson & Gavin Kovite
Synopsis from Amazon:
On a summer night, in the arty enclave of Capitol Hill, Seattle, best friends Mickey Montauk and Halifax Corderoy throw one last blowout party before their lives part ways. At twenty-three, they had planned to move together to Boston for graduate school, but global events have intervened: Montauk has just learned that his National Guard unit will deploy to Baghdad at the end of the summer. In the confusion of this altered future, Corderoy is faced with a moral dilemma: his girlfriend Mani has just been evicted and he must decide whether or not to abandon her when she needs him most. He turns to Montauk for help. His decision that night, and its harrowing outcome, sets in motion a year that will transform all three of them.

Months later, Corderoy and Montauk grapple with their new identities as each deals with his own muted disappointment. In Boston, Corderoy finds himself unable to play the game of intellectual one-upmanship with the ease and grace of his new roommate Tricia, a Harvard graduate student and budding human rights activist. Half a world away, in Baghdad, Montauk struggles to lead his platoon safely through an increasingly violent and irrational war. As their lives move further away from their shared dream, Corderoy and Montauk keep in touch with one another by editing a Wikipedia article about themselves: smart and funny updates that morph and deepen throughout the year, culminating in a document that is both devastatingly tragic and profoundly poetic.
Extras:  Texas County Fair Field Notes notebooks and Book People coozie
Cost of Box:  $39.95 (plus $1 shipping)
Impressions:  This box was released at the end of March but I did not subscribe until mid-April.  I'm looking forward to reading both of the book selections included in this box.  At only 138 pages, Barefoot Dogs should be a quick read.  The advance reader copy of War of the Encyclopaedists makes this box special.  This book will be released for sale on May 19, 2015.  I am a notebook junkie so I'm always happy to get more!  The bright colors of these Field notebooks should make them easy to keep track of.  I don't care for the Book People coozie and feel like it was an odd choice for a box filler.  Because of the signed book and advance reader copy, it is a little difficult to put an exact value on this box but here is some information to give you an idea of pricing through other sources:
I am pleased with the book selections and feel the box was worth the cost.  And I like that this box ships quarterly (approximately ever 3 months) which means I have plenty of time to read both books before the next shipment arrives.  I'm considering purchasing an annual subscription ($140 for 4 boxes total).  The ability to cancel and get a refund if I'm not satisfied with the subscription, in addition to saving $20 a year, is a nice incentive to getting a pre-paid annual subscription.  Trust Fall has a similar box format and price point to Indiespensable but ships less often.  I like both book club boxes so far and plan to keep both, especially since Trust Fall is only a quarterly box.

A note on shipping:  I was not provided with a tracking number for this order but I was sent an email on the date it was packed and shipped to notify me my order was on it's way.  It was delivered by my USPS mail carrier about a week and a half after I ordered.

*As of the published date of this blog post, Trust Fall #2 and #3 boxes were still available for purchase.