popsugar must have – subscription box review

I’ve recently become quite obsessed with subscription boxes — a recent fad with a multitude of categories. If you’re not looking to possibly become obsessed as well, you should probably stop reading this. ;)

It seems that there’s a subscription box for everything these days! I had heard of POPSUGAR Must Have’s monthly subscription service before and, admittedly, I did try it about a year ago and was not too impressed. I immediately cancelled, not giving them another opportunity to impress me. On a whim, I decided to try it out again and was disappointed in myself for not giving them a second chance to begin with. From looking at past boxes over the last half year, they’ve definitely found their groove.

I’ve always enjoyed POPSUGAR’s articles and their fitness app has a lot of buzz for good reason. So, when I discovered that there’s was a little box curated by the POPSUGAR editors, my ears perked up. The Must Have box is hand-selected, full-size! (very important — not samples!) items in fashion, home, fitness, food, and beauty. It’s all about giving you little perks for your own lifestyle — a little gift to yourself each month. What’s lovely about the Must Have box, as well, is that you’re able to cancel at any time (and you will want to do so if you do not want to be automatically charged next month). There’s a monthly charge each month of $39.95, but the value of the box is always far beyond that. Some people feel that the “auto charge” feature is a scam, but I find that you just need to understand how it works — if you don’t realize it’s an “auto charge” feature by a certain date each month, of course you’re going to be surprised to see a credit card charge on your account. Always read the FAQs before ordering any product. :)

If you’re interested in learning more about POPSUGAR Must Have, click here (disclaimer: this is a referral link that will get me a little credit — you certainly do not need to use it if you would prefer not to). If you would like $5 off your first box, enter code REFER5 at checkout.

Here’s a review of all the products featured for May 2014! Each box always has a general theme — a holiday or special event. This month, it was all about getting ready for summer.

Tone It Up One Day Fat BlastValue: $10

This is something that I’m looking forward to trying, although I’m not usually into fitness DVDs. It’s something I should be into, but I’ve never quite caught onto them. Regardless, I’ve read that the two ladies featured in the DVD are a lot of fun on a television show that they have, so that could definitely provide some entertainment and not be entirely mind-numbing. Note to self: you need to workout more. A lot more.

Zing Anything Citrus ZingerValue: $17

I had heard about the Citrus Zinger before and very nearly purchased one in the past. However, as a lot of Amazon reviews state, the Citrus Zinger is apparently very prone to leaking. I was prepared for it to potentially leak, so I put it in the fridge overnight with a towel underneath it and did the same when transporting it to the office in my car. It leaked a tiny bit, but not enough to warrant complaining. However, when I got to my desk and opened it to drink it, it just started to leak uncontrollably. After receiving my own in this box, I did find out that the leaking is most certainly user error (to a degree). I say “to a degree” because The Citrus Zinger is a little misleading because the official graphic on the printout that comes with it (and is all over their web site) shows half of an orange inverted in the fruit container. An average person would think: “Cool! I can do that. Awesome. Time to stuff it with fruit.” However, you can’t. You need to fill the Citrus Zinger with no more than 1 inch full with fruit. Just be mindful of the amount of fruit you’re using and you really shouldn’t have any trouble.

Obessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nail Lacquer in Pool BoyValue: $10

I’m not someone that’s really “into” nail polish and never thought I’d wear a color that’s so… bright and blue. But, I love it! I’ve also found it to be a fairly strong brand, with no chipping in scenarios that other nail polishes would have. I’m definitely keeping this — and I’m very surprised I’m saying that. It’s why I love this subscription box so much — it gets you to try new things. :)

Kerry Cassill Eye MaskValue: $24

Again, this is a product that I’d normally not use. But, after a round of quite severe weather last evening, I used it to stop me from waking up from flashes of lightning. No visible crimp in my hair after waking up, either (my original concern). Again, I’m surprised to say that I think I’ll be using this more often than I’d ever thought now! This was also exclusively-printed for POPSUGAR, so no one who didn’t receive this box can purchase the same pattern.

Smell Bent St. Tropez DispenserValue: $45

There’s always a “big ticket” item in each box — something that exceeds $45. This time, it was this lovely scent by Smell Bent that reminds me of a day at the pool. “With notes of jasmine, fresh coconut, aloe vera, and vintage musk.” It’s definitely potent, though, so you only need a spritz or two. I’m surprised that they picked a scent for their higher priced item, but I think they chose something that’s fairly mild definitely reminiscent of the season.

Hi, I’m Skinny Sticks in Multi-Grain Sweet OnionValue: $4

These taste really good — so good that I could eat the entire bag. I’m a little sad, because I’ve never seen the brand around before. It would be nice if I could find these at my local supermarket!

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If you’re interested in learning more about the plethora of subscription box options, I’d highly recommend the very-addicting (WARNING: ADDICTING!) site My Subscription Addiction. The author provides honest reviews about all of the million boxes that she subscribes to.


skincare lessons from a near albino

I’m one of those people who ignite in sunlight and who bruise like a peach. I’ve never had a sun-kissed tan, nor have I ever been able to carelessly prance around in a pair of jean shorts without wanting to hide the uneven skin tone speckled across my legs. For most of my life, I’ve experimented with different “hypoallergenic” products. But, I always wanted to be like one of the girls who could walk into a Bath and Body Works and pick out some frilly scent and lather it across my body. Oh, to smell like calla lilies and juniper blossoms!

After what amounted to an expensive trial and error session over the years, I finally bit the bullet and committed to seeing a dermatologist. With the help of shaving with a single-blade razor and special lotion, my legs are finally on their way to healing from all of the ridiculous allergenic flare-ups over the years. My largest and most naive mistake was assuming that the collection of shaving creams that boldly claim to be for sensitive skin were the only options available. Did you know that aloe can be a troubling issue for many with temperamental skin?

Skincare ideas for sensitive (or not so sensitive) skin:

For the past half a year, I’ve committed to using pure olive oil soap on my body during showers and nothing more. This is due to the fact that I was too stubborn to visit a dermatologist and couldn’t figure out what was causing my skin to break out in little bumps or have odd pigmentation. I was determined to figure it out myself! I purchase my soap in bulk from Black Kettle Soap Company (pictured), but I’m sure it can be found a plethora of places.

In the past, I’ve bought unscented, plain sugar scrub from an Etsy seller who has unfortunately disappeared into the shadows with wonderful results, but then tried purchasing the same item elsewhere and my skin rumbled and rolled as if I had lit it on fire. So, trial and error with any company that you choose!

I spent sevvvvveral years as a cheerleader for Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. I mistakenly thought it took care of all of my problems, until I tried CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser per my doctor’s recommendations of my overall skin condition. The difference this cleanser made in how vibrant my face looked was fabulous!

However, beware: it’s an enigma to find, at least from my experience. It was nowhere to be found at Target, Wal-mart, or HyVee. Walgreens was my savior albeit it costing a bit more than I assumed it would. Advice? Find a manufacture’s coupon online! Learn more about the cleanser here.

I made the rounds with facial moisturizers, as well. I still want L’Oreal Paris’ skincare line to work for me because Andie MacDowell tells me it should. But, let’s get realistic: I’m terribly jealous of anyone that can walk into a department store and slather anything and everything on your skin. I despise you. You are a lucky exception to the norm. A friend from Europe couldn’t stop talking to me about a skincare line called Simple (who called themselves the “Sensitive Skin Experts”).

“Okay, whatever!” was my immediate reaction. Because, really, anyone that claims to be an expert in sensitive skin clearly needs to find a new marketing approach because there’s no way that’s possible. I (snobbishly) dismissed her confessions and didn’t think another minute about Simple until their company broke into the States. I had noticed an advertisement for them on television and in a magazine, but didn’t come face-to-face with The Liar until I was snooping through shelves at Target. “Oooookay, whatever” I thought, and sent my European friend a photograph of my purchase: Simple Hydrating Light Moisturizer. It’s now a ritual every night and morning. So, to my friend: sorry! To Simple: your marketing experts are bloody brilliant.

Finally, the tool that supervises the job: the Clarisonic Mia. If you haven’t heard of Clarisonic by now, congratulations for successfully avoiding most of the Internet. While I don’t have any experience with other cleansing brushes on the market (although I did read 86,413 reviews!), it’s important to note that general scrubba-dubbing with a washcloth isn’t enough.

My suggestion? Splurge on this. There’s several different versions available with neat little add-ons and brush levels. I chose the Mia because 1) I had a coupon code for a percentage off, 2) it satisfied my basic need of cleansing with a timer, 3) it came with a sensitive brush head, and 4) it’s fun. The Mia comes in a variety of colors. Mine is, as shown — the limited edition island coral.