Sephora Play! March 2018

Another Sephora Play! has arrived, and it’s a little on the late side this month.  The theme is, “Festival of Beauty,” but again, a pretty nebulous theme that doesn’t actually make sense for any of the products in the box.  This is box variant #364 and it arrived yesterday, March 21, 2018.  I saw the spoilers and wasn’t too pleased with what was going to show up, but again, for $10, I guess I don’t have a lot of room to complain, but!  Then I saw the bag.  Sephora, you’re better than this.  There’s a great article here that goes into the detail on the use of the term, “Spirit Animal,” and it’s really awful that Sephora chose to use it on the bag this month.  It’s a shame, because I love the bag fabric, color, and ribbon, but the use of a culturally insensitive term like that really ruins it for me.  They could’ve easily said, “Beauty is my life,” or, “Beauty is my passion” instead of using a term that’s garnered some controversy.  Anyway, rant aside, on to the contents.

  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner – .016 oz / $22 – (Product is .008 oz, value of $11 by volume)  I know I have a sample of this that I’m already using, but it must be from a gift-with-purchase or something.  I could’ve sworn it came in another Sephora Play! box, but I guess not since I didn’t find it in the blog archives (I missed posting a few months, so maybe it was in one of those?).  Anyway!  Waterproof black eyeliner from a cruelty free company?  Yeah I can use that!
  • IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm – 5 oz / $29 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $2.90 by volume)  Well, sure, it’s paraben and sulfate free, but unfortunately the third and fourth ingredients are silicones, so it’s a hard pass for me.  If you’re using products without parabens and sulfates, then you’re not able to wash out the silicones in this product that build up on your hair, so it’s silly to be all “we’re good for curls!” when you’re not.  It’s also incredibly heavily perfumed and smells just awful to me.  I’ll stick to my natural hair products, thank you very much!
  • Supergoop Setting Mist – 3.4 oz / $28 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $4.11 by volume)  It’s got an SPF 50 rating, but it’s heavily alcohol based which is bad for dry skin, and it has peppermint and spearmint oil, so that pretty much makes it a nope for me (mints tend to irritate my skin, and they just smell awful to me – why would you want a face product to smell like toothpaste?!).  This goes traight to the trade/give-away pile.
  • Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm – 1 oz / $68 – (Product is .17 oz, value of $11.56 by volume)  It’s basically a moisturizer with a very, VERY subtle pearlescence.  It’s okay – nothing really amazing, definitely not $68 for an ounce amazing, plus it’s not cruelty free, so this wouldn’t end up in my skincare routine on the regular.
  • Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser – 5.07 oz / $26 – (Product is .68 oz, value of $3.49 by volume)  I haven’t yet tried this, but I love Korres products already.  Even though they started selling in mainland China, it’s only via internet sales, so they maintain their cruelty free status.  The cleanser smells light and fresh, and I love having these smaller sizes for travel.
  • Amika Soulfood Hair Mask – 2 oz / $12 – (Product is .7 oz, value of $4.20 by volume)  This is another product I haven’t tried yet since it’s going to be a single use foil packet tube.  Unfortunately, a quick glance at the ingredients means I won’t be trying this either since it contains silicones that don’t wash out without a shampoo containing SLS/ALS which I don’t use, so they just build up over time, and that’s no good.  It also contains Isopropyl alcohol (ie. Rubbing Alcohol) which is a heavy NO for dry and curly hair (SERIOUSLY?!).  I’d never EVER put rubbing alcohol on my hair and expect it to be nourished, so I can’t even believe it shows up in the ingredients here.  Hard pass.

The total value of this box comes to $37.26 which is pretty great for a cost of $10.60 per month including tax and shipping.  Unfortunately this box is mostly a miss for me since they included products that they thought were suited to my curly hair profile, but aren’t actually suitable for curly hair at all.  Super disappointing.  I will keep and use the eye liner, cleanser, and moisturizer which still make up for the cost of the box, but I’m bummed about the two hair products being absolute misses as well as the controversy over the bag.  Honestly, I’d be happy to go without the silly bag if we can get a full-sized product each month.  We’ll see what next month brings!

Dia & Co – March 2018

Well, I decided to give Dia & Co a try after Stitch Fix left me hanging yet again.  I won’t be posting that Stitch Fix delivery to the blog, but I did put it up on Instagram if you want to take a look.  It was a complete miss and I sent everything back, so it was a waste of $20 and I was incredibly disappointed.  Anyway!  Going through the process signing up for Dia & Co, I noticed that they asked a bunch more questions about fit and color/print preferences, so I’m hopeful that this will go better!  They also cater exclusively to plus sizes, so I have to imagine that they have a better sense of how plus size clothes work.  Simply adding a set number of inches to a straight size doesn’t make clothes fit a plus sized gal the right way, and I know Dia has a few brands on their list that I already love, so I feel like I might trust them more to get fit right.  First boxes tend to be a little bit of a gamble while the stylists get a feel for your personal style and fit, but the great thing about Dia & Co is that they let you upload pictures to show off how things from your box fit.  This is BRILLIANT for getting a better customization as time goes on.  My stylist, Rachael, sent along a note:

Welcome to the Dia & Co family!  We’re really excited to start this journey with you and build a wardrobe you’ll love to wear every day.  These Celebrity Pink skinny jeans have a three button closure which will bring a bit of retro style into all of your looks!  You can wear them out to dinner with the gorgeous Marybelle blouse and a pair of ankle boots for a fun and fabulous look.  As it starts to warm up, the Kut From The Kloth shorts will be a great piece to incorporate into your wardrobe, so wear them with the East Adeline tee and a pair of canvas shoes.  The City Chic dress will look stunning paired with t-strap heels and statement earrings.  Don’t forget to send us your feedback – we want to know what you like, what you don’t and and what styles you’re willing to try.  And most importantly, we want you to have fun with this!  xo, Rachael

Item: City Chic Lyra Dress
Paired With: Shoes and Shrug (mine)
City Chic is a brand I REALLY love and their clothes always tend to fit me well.  I think I made a slight judgement error when putting in my sizes online since I kind of run between two sizes depending on the manufacturer, so this came in a size too big.  City Chic also tends to be a bit generous with sizing, so usually I go a size down with them.  The color is GOREGOUS and the material is a Polyester/Elastane blend, so it has a little bit of stretch.  As Rachael suggested, I grabbed my favorite pair of t-strap heels, but I don’t really have statement earrings since I have all those curls that end up getting tangled around dangly earrings.  I was SO torn over this dress because it really is lovely and in the right size it would be a dream (Dia & Co offers free size exchanges), but I just don’t have enough occasion to wear really nice dresses like this.  I think if it had been done in a more casual cotton blend, I might have kept it.  I noticed there was a polka dot version available as well, and that might have been a better match.

Item: Celebrity Pink Vanderbilt Skinny Three Button High Rise Jeans
Paired With: Top (this box), boots (mine)
Item: Marybelle Bella Woven Blouse
Paired With: Jeans (this box), boots (mine)
Let’s start with the jeans!  They were the right length, but the high rise just didn’t work with my short torso.  They came within about 4 inches of my bra band line and since I carry most of my weight around my bottom, they kind of looked like mom jeans.  I’m not quite brave enough to post the photo of them with a shirt tucked into the jeans, so let’s just say it wasn’t flattering.  But, the length was spot on!
The top.  Oh man, I adore the star print – it’s so cute and unique and exactly what I want to see.  Unfortunately, bell sleeves?  Ehhhhh.  I did love the crochet detail at the sleeves and near the hem, but ruffly/frilly sort of things just aren’t very me.  If the same print was on a more plain t-shirt or v-neck top?  DEFINITELY would’ve kept it.  I also find that I push up sleeves a lot if I’m too warm, so sleeves I can’t push up are probably not going to be a winner with me.  Rachael suggested ankle boots, but my favorite pair of black boots worked well enough.  I don’t even own a pair of ankle boots really?  Or at least, I couldn’t think of another boot pair of shoes I own that would work here.. I tend to go for calf-height boots usually.

Item: Kut From The Kloth Mason Walking Short
Paired With: Navy top and shoes on left (mine) and top on right (this box)
Item: East Adeline Malia Short Sleeve Ruffle Peplum Tee
Paired With: Shorts (this box), shoes (mine)
In the photo on the left, the red shorts are from Kut From The Kloth, a brand I already know and love.  At first my mind went, Shorts?!  It’s going to blizzard the snot out of us tomorrow, are you daft?  But then I put them on and between the inseam length, the soft denim, the color, and relaxed fit, I had to keep them.  Granted, I may not be able to actually wear them until May or June, but it’s a staple sort of piece that doesn’t go out of style.  Plus, as you can see by the top I picked from my own closet, I have lots and lots of navy colored tops I can pair with it this summer.  We also have a trip to the boat in the Netherlands coming up in June, so these will DEFINITELY be coming along.  Rachael suggested canvas shoes, and I have these super cute pair of sailor themed mary janes that were kind of begging to be included here.  Just don’t mind my blindingly pale legs – it’s been winter for a long time, dude.
For the right photo, I paired the two pieces from the box as suggested by the stylist, and eeekk that top.  Again with the ruffles not being my style, but also that the ruffles add so much width and bulk to my shape, and putting a ruffle at the biggest point of my body (hiii my hips) is probably not a great idea.  Peplums and I just don’t get along.

So, final thoughts.  I did only keep one piece, the shorts, but hopefully the feedback on the returns will be taken into consideration for next time.  I ended up going back into my profile and changing my size one lower on tops and dresses to help get a better fit right out of the box.  I am kind of between the two sizes depending on how tops fit – if the fit is more fitted close to the body, I go to the higher size, but if the fit is looser/free, I end up going with the lower size.  I’m not sure if ruffles and frilly bits are just a thing for fashion this year, but I’m not into it at all, so getting two tops with ruffles was a miss.  My profile is set to edgy/casual/retro and both tops felt more Bohemian I think?  But again, first boxes with clothing boxes are a chance for the stylist to get a feel for the client’s preferences, so they don’t always wow right off the bat.  Dia & Co also does some neat collaborations with big name designers, so I’m excited to see who they work with in the future!  Anyway, I’m looking forward to my next box and hope that they review the feedback and really nail it next time.  In case you’re thinking about signing up and want to use my referral link, here it is!

Espionage Cosmetics Nexus January 2018

The first Espionage Cosmetics Nexus shipments of the year have arrived!  The theme was, “Court of Fairies” and up above is the regular Nexus shipment.  Espionage Cosmetics recently launched a new Literary Nexus shipment, so you know I signed up for both because BOOKS.  But first, Standard Nexus!

  • Faerie Lace – On the top, with the tagline, “Woven with Magic,” these wraps are indeed woven with glow in the dark magic!  They’re a black lace design with little faeries in the corners, and they’re clear so you can use a colored nail polish underneath.  They’re so pretty and subtly nerdy, I just love them!
  • Neverland Fairies – I think it’s pretty obvious this means Tinkerbell!  And it’s absolutely precisely Tinkerbell.  I mean, how can you have a theme about Fairies and not include Tinkerbell, right?!  And, all that glitter, just as I’d expect from both EC and a nail wrap featuring that famous gal.

So, this is the Nexus Literary shipment also from January with the same theme.  Rightfully so, they include a bookmark that goes with the theme.

  • Wedded to Hippolyta – On the top with a quote by Puck from A Midsummer Nights Dream, these Literary wraps are perrrrfect!  The text glows in the dark and I love how they mix in the text and artwork to create a full set of nail wraps.  Also, Shakespeare!  And a badass woman.  I wasn’t able to figure out what painting the non-text wraps came from, but it works with the text.
  • Peter and Wendy – “Made of Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust,” in another nod to Peter Pan, these wraps feature a silver foil accent with silver glittery stars.  I just love the color palette on these with the dark blues and silver.  Pure magic!

So, that wraps up January’s theme!  I absolutely love all four nail wraps between the regular Nexus and the Literary Nexus.  I’m pretty sure my next manicure is going to be Neverland Fairies because it feels more and more like spring and that huge dose of glitter content is just the happiness I need in my life right now.  In case you’re thinking about subscribing, check out the link below!

Goodbeing Winter Sale Box 2018

I usually jump on getting these Bonus boxes from Goodbeing since I’m not a regular subscriber but still like their cruelty-free model.  This box?  Not so great.  It claimed to contain between 8-13 items that have been included in member boxes over the past 18 months with a value of over $100.  I opted for the beauty box which was meant to contain a mix of makeup, haircare, and skincare products, and it arrived January 22, 2018.  *SIGH*  For starters, the Vapour gloss I received in the February 2016 box, the Juice Organics foil packets from April 2016, and the St. Tropica hair mask from September 2016.  But hey, at least I didn’t get yet another one of those seed bead bracelets!  The tally was 17 individual items, a total of 10 unique products, and a total value of $129.87, so it lived up to the value expectations, but some of the items are from so long ago and there are so many foil packets and duplicate items that I was left feeling kind of blah about this box.  Anyway, here’s the rundown of products – I won’t get into reviews since there are too many products to try all at once, but if you search back, you may find reviews since I’ve gotten half of these products in the past.  I doubt I’ll do another one of these boxes from Goodbeing if they’re still foisting off leftovers from two years ago that I already received from being a prior subscriber.  Super disappointing, Goodbeing.

  • Juice Organics Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner – Set of 2, 10 oz tubes / $24 – (2 foil packet sample sets, total volume of 1.36 oz, value of $1.63 by volume)
  • B True Beauty All Natural Eyelash Enhancer – 1 tube / $59 – (Product is full size)
  • Vapour Plumping Lip Gloss – .13 oz / $24 – (Product is full size)
  • Juice Organics Repairing Shampoo – 10 oz / $12 – (2 sample tubes at 1 oz each, value of $2.40 total)
  • Juice Organics Repairing Conditioner – 10 oz / $12 - (2 sample tubes at 1 oz each, value of $2.40 total)
  • Alima Eye Pencil – 1.14 g / $18 – (Product is full size, discontinued color Indigo)
  • St. Tropica Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask – 6 pack / $27 – (Single size, value of $4.50)
  • Kahina Brightening Serum – 30 mL / $72 – (1 packet at about 3 mL each, approx value of $7.20)
  • Borika Mandarin+Cacao Body Scrub – 8 oz / $18.95 – (2 oz package, value of $4.74)
  • Ursa Major Face Wipe – 20 wipes / $24 – (5 wipes, value of $6)