Sunday, April 14, 2013

FabFitFun VIP Box - Inaugural (1st) Box Spring 2013 Reviews and pictures

By this time, I am sure that anyone reading this has seen at least one other review on FabFitFun's VIP box sponsored by Giuliana Rancic.  The company promises high-end, full sized, and hand-picked favorites that are on trend (think Red carpet).  Before I get into the review, I would just like to state that I am pretty thrifty (aka cheap) and do not run out and try new products or services on a whim.   I research the company and take time (meaning obsess) with finding reviews on the products or service.  This time I did not listen to my gut, which told me to wait until the summer box after the initial box launch so that I could properly assess the products given out, reviews, and customer service.  Okay, on to the subscribing process.

Sign ups for the subscription began early March, around the 6th or 7th I believe.  There was also a $10 off code off the the first subscription price.  The subscription is quarterly, which is 4 boxes a year at 49.99.  Definitely not something I budget for, especially since these types of boxes are all about "surprise," so while there may be hints, the reveal does not come until the first person gets their box.   I waited, debating on whether to get it or not. Then I saw the boxes that were sent out to several bloggers to leak pictures out for advertising.  Their boxes looked awesome.  Definitely the $120 value advertised for the first box and each included the same items: 1 Jewelmint necklace, 1 Go Smile, 1 Josie Maran magic marker lip stain, a deluxe sample of Jouer lip gloss, an exclusive Zoya nail polish, Butter London polish, and Think Thin bar.  I decided to take the plunge about 2 days before the cut off when they brought back the $10 off code, making the first box $39.99.  The one item that was revealed was Moroccan oil treatment, which I have heard wonderful things about. I rationalized everything else in the box was free, especially with my $10 off code.

And then I waited.  And waited.  No shipping notice, no email telling me when I might expect my first box.  So I checked their Facebook page..daily to find answers as well as Makeup Talk where thankfully I found out that anyone who ordered before the 15th of April would ship by xx date and those who ordered up until the 20th would ship out by April 1st.  Great!  At least I know the money taken out the same day was actually going to get me my order. The unanswered email I had sent out days before made me quite nervous. 

So April 1st came and went with no shipping notification.  I decided to try again and email FFF concerning the status.  This time Frank answered my email very promptly (within 2.5 hours of sending) with tracking and apologized for the lack of communication.  This made me feel better and once again was willing to give FFF a chance. 

Fast forward to my box:
Came packaged nicely and of course I was excited to find it!

Included a "welcome" letter congratulating subscribers for being an official VIP member.
And the contents...Keep in mind there were initially 10 different variations of this box, although all of the bloggers who were sent a box to review were the same box, with no indication that subscribers may or may not get all or substitutions of the products seen of the blogs.  Later, due to there being a back order FFF ended up sending out 12-13 variations.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones:
I was actually quite relieved.  The only thing I was "missing" from the initial blogger box, as it's called is the Go Smile, a tooth whiting pen that I was looking forward to trying.

I was a little surprised not to see the Zoya is the exclusive FabFitFun hot pink color everyone else received prior.  I received Rory, a pinkish-purple with silver undertones.  I won't complain - I love Zoya and luckily don't have this color.  This is from their 2012 line.  The Butter London color I received is Rosie Lee.  I've never tried Butter London, so I am happy to try this.

Zoya retails for $8.  Butter London retails for $16.

Moroccan oil treatment for the hair.  This was the bait to dangle everyone in lol.  It is great bait though.  Retails at $43 and makes your hair feel soft and silky.  I tried it yesterday and the claims are correct.  Thankfully you only need a little because I think I will purchase this when I am out! 

This is about the size of my pinkie finger.  Very cute but a good moisturizing gloss as well.

No comment about this one.  I was expecting it but gave it to my mother to try.  I strongly dislike diet type bars.

Instead of the Go Smile, an additional Jewelmint piece was given. These are not my style, that is as nicely as I can put it.  To be blunt, these earrings look cheaply made and I can not believe that they sold for $29.99 to anyone.  The "stones" are a plastic material and the posts do not look hypo-allergenic, which I hope they are, but the quality of the metal just is not there IMO.

I was actually happy to see this rather than the star necklace found in the bloggers boxes and in comparison to other rings, earrings, and necklaces that were sent out.  I would actually wanted one last year and wear this one..IF it was not missing a rhinestone in the center of the necklace.  Not happy.
Josie Maran lip magic marker and stain.  This was the next most sought after item, apparently, retailing at $21.  I have not tried this yet. 
So in all, I definitely got my money's worth.  Double in fact.  Doing quick adding, I'm at $88 for just the Moroccan oil, Josie Maran lip stain, and 2 polishes.  That's not including the deluxe sample of the Jouer, Think Thin bar, or two Jewelmint pieces, which I have no idea of what the going rate is for the jewelry because they are from 2 years ago.  FFF did offer a $10 credit towards the next box to some people with damage jewelry, suggesting $10 is the appropriate value.

So how do I feel about the service?  Unfortunately, not a good or even an okay first impression.  I do like my box but will not continue or recommend.  I had to rely too much on other people on forums to get my information, rather than from FFF.  I emailed them requesting a replacement for my damaged necklace 4 days ago with no response yet.  The first time I emailed them I also never received a response.  Their website does not have an account settings option to go to to view or cancel your account or get shipping information, which is why so many people had to write them about their status.  Maybe I am being a bit too harsh, but I feel there are so many subscription services out now that people who start one should know better and be better able to handle issues.  But lesson learned for me, I will absolutely hesitant before subscribing to a new company to see their reviews first. 

ETA: FFF did make good and offered me my next box for $25..half price due to the mising rhinestone in my necklace.  After thinking about it for a few days, I accepted and they actually cam eback with an additional option to pick out another Jewelmint item from the website (not outdated!).  I thanked them for their willingness to satisfy the situation and decided to accept the original offer for half price off the next box.

Ipsy Review with pics April 2013

This month's theme was Pretty in Pink,  and pink it was!  Although the color of the bag was a nice change, I wish it was a color other than white for a make-up bag..I see it getting dirty after the first day of use.  The quality of the bag was also a great improvement over last month's bag, although it was super cute.  However, apparently some people are waiting until next month to receive their actually April make-up bag because the quality fell off somewhere during the production.  I do love the gesture to maintain their standards, although I was not one of the ones affected.

April 2013 Ipsy bag - pretty in pink features white make-up bag with fuchsia trim and zipper

Inside of make-up bag

I have to say, this is my favorite bag since I've been subscribed (November 2012); probably because this is the first time they've had actual blush (not blush or highlight paper). Blush is probably my favorite make-up product besides nail polish..And hey! This bag has both!
There was several variations to this bag: Mica Beauty Shimmer Powder in Earth (2 g-deluxe sized), Healthy Sexy Hair soy renewal  (.85 oz), Sation nail lacquer in Love at First Byte (.5 fl oz-full sized), and Be a Bombshell blush in Beach Please

Described as "an intense bright pink matte" blush.  Subscribers received Be a Bombshell blush in Beach Please (above) or Sweet Cheeks. 

Left side is blended out, right side is swatched..very build-able, and not so scary once on!
Other variations included a duo eyeshadow by Two Cosmetics (full sized instead of the deluxe Shimmer by Mica Beauty, Healthy Sexy Hair Powder play, Sation nail lacquer in  Corset whatever, and as stated before, Be a Bombshell blush in Sweet Cheeks.  Approximate retail value for my bag excluding the actual make-up bag itself:

$11.96 Mica (Full size of 2.5g is $14.95)
$16.00 Be a Bombshell Blush (Full size)
$5.00 (Full size)
$4.42 (Full Size is $21.95 for 4.2 oz)

$ 37.38 Total for a $10 subscription...awesome value!!  Ipsy consistently has these $35+ values in their bags, whether they include 4 items or 5.  I think I've been happier with my last two bags that only had 4 items rather than receiving 5 items.  Of course, there  are others I hated last months bag.  What do you think about your bag?  If you aren't subscribed will you give it a go?  Comment below!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Free $15 Voucher for Bearfoot Books for completing survey!

The title says it all..Bearfoot Books is offering a $15 voucher to be used online to get a free book if you complete their survey by this Sunday, April 7th, 2013.  The survey only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete and they are looking for feedback on how they can improve their content and website.  Best part about the voucher is that if you get something less than the $15, it counts towards the $5 shipping charge.  How savvy :)

If you aren't familiar with their products, take a look at their site.  I highly recommend their books. 
They are colorful enough to keep N's interest (as interested as he gets right now, anyway) and the company has a great mission and are green! 

I learned about this company through my Citrus Lane subscription, who also passed along this survey offer to its fans. If you are interested in signing up for a subscription through Citrus Lane, you can check out through my referral link. Use code TAKEHALF for half off one month or a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription or use code BREAK10 for 10% off a 6 month subscription.

Click the link below and you should get the voucher within 3-5 business days via email as advertised.

Happy Surveying!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bzz Agent Report on Garnier BB Cream - Swatches and pics for Deep

Hello All :)

I received a free product last Friday..a new BB cream by Garnier.  It is advertised as a skin renew "miracle skin perfector" for combination to oily skin and has a SPF of 20.  I have to say, I love tinted moisturizers and BB creams.  As a not-so new month of a one year old, I don't have time or energy to put on foundation all the time.  These seem like so much less work to do every day before I go to work.  Plus thankfully, I don't need the full coverage that foundation provides.  This gives just enough coverage to even out my blemishes and make me look a bit more pulled together!

Before accepting this product, I searched on line to see if I could find a swatch of the Deep tone but this is a fairly new product and an even newer tone, so I could not find an accurate swatch, even on their site (sadness).  I wrestled for a few moments between Medium/Deep and Deep and decided on deep due to the model being of a lighter African-American complexion and the medium/deep swatches I found to appear way too light.  I am a NC-45 in MAC for reference. 

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that this was not an exact match.  It has just a bit too much of an "orange" undertone.  I do think I will be able to wear it later in the summer, as I will probably match it much better when I'm a bit darker.
 I decided to compare it to my Smashbox tinted moisturizer which is my go to on a daily basis.  (Sigh) I would have loved to trade in my $30 Smashbox for this $11.99 BB cream.
Of course the tinted moisurizer is a bit more sheer because BB creams provide a little more coverage, but you get the idea.
 I don't know if you can tell, but my Smashbox is swatched on the left, and the Garnier is on the right.

Both creams blended completely into the skin.  I love the formula on both.

So in all, I can not give a full review until late Spring when I am able to wear it a full day with out looking odd.  I may try to mix it with another cream to "lighten it up" enough to match me.  I will say however that I love the SPF 20 in the Garnier and the formula goes on smoothly and blends well.  Once  blended in, it does not look as off as I first thought, although it is not a perfect match.  I am a medium complexion, so I am a bit disappointed that the Deep tone will not work with most African-Americans, but other brands may work. This is why I have to pay a bit more money to find a cream that is more suited to me. For example, I tried the Maybelline BB cream last year and found the medium much too light and the medium/deep too dark, but they do have a few to choose from in different shades, so blending two together may work. That's a great thing about being able to select from different find out what works best for you!