Friday, October 11, 2013

POPSUGAR Must Have {October 2013 Box Review}

It feels like I just got the September box last week!  But my October box arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I was more than happy to pop it open and dig through my must have goodies.  The theme of this month's box is Breast Cancer Awareness and getting back into the kitchen for holiday cooking preparation.  Seems pretty interesting yes?

So first...a couple updates on last month's box:

1)  I'm still loving the scent of the diffuser and it is still keeping our guest bathroom smelling lovely.  Yeah for that!
2)  I haven't used the DIY book and I plan to gift it to a friend soon.  There's just no way I'll be able to sit down long enough and make something.  Maybe my friend will make one of the fun little items for me?!
3)  As for the item I ordered from Shoptiques?  I got it a few days after my post, tried it on, and quickly ripped it off!  It was hideous and the material was so very thin. Not worth the $36 at all...and I just sent the refund package back today.  I don't think I'll be exchanging it for anything as I went to the site today to see what they have and I just can't stand any of their more inexpensive items.  They have simple tops that I could get at my favorite stores like JCPenneys or Kohls for a better price and better fit.  Sorry Shoptiques!  It's just not my digs.

First Look

The Lowdown

Cost:  $35 a month (you get a discount if you subscribe for multiple months at once)...they are raising their price to $39.95 after November's box.  But you can order several months at a time now and get them at the $35 price.  No word on why they are raising the price yet, except that they want to continue giving us the best must have products out there.

Coupon:  Use REFER5 to get $5 off of your first box!

Sign up now to get the November box, which is not sold out quite yet.  But if it is, you can sign up to get on the wait list and wait for December.

The products:  Think lifestyle must have products for women procured by editors and celebrity varies from month to month and usually includes beauty, fashion, home, fitness, health and more.

Definitely add POPSUGAR Must Have to your wishlists or subscription services, because it is a unique box that is a ton of fun to open up.  FYI, my box weighed 3.7 pounds this month!  I love that I get to enjoy items outside of the makeup and beauty realm that I have been getting in my Ipsy.  

The Goods

The Can't Cook Book:  Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified by Jessica Seinfeld - valued at $11.99

The first thing I look for in a cook book (when I do actually buy one...such as The Pioneer Woman) is if it has pictures for the recipes.  I know I know, I sound like a little kid or something.  But I like being able to see what the actual dish looks like so I can decide if it is something I might like.  I'm super weird with textures of foods I eat (AKA can't stand hummus, tapioca pudding, or pulp in my OJ). This cookbook does not disappoint with the pictures! Every single recipe has a photograph or multiple photographs (there are a few pages that have fold-outs...see below picture).  Some recipes or tips have video QR Code links you can scan and that lead you to YouTube to see tutorials.  Heck yes!

While I haven't made anything from the book yet, my husband and I picked one recipe we both thought looked extra tasty to add to our weekly menu this week.  We chose Skillet-Roasted Potatoes & Chicken on pages 68 and 69.  I'll let you know in my November review if it turned out well enough to keep rotating it through out our menu.  

I also really really like the section called, "Quickies" (see below) that include even simpler breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snack type foods.  There are several I've spotted that I want to try, but I bought ingredients to make the English Muffin with Peanut Butter, Banana, & Coconut breakfast.  But I also plan to try Avocado Toast, Tomato & Ricotta on Toast, Rice Cake with Cucumbers & Salsa, and Cottage Cheese-Stuffed Avocado with Hot Sauce.  Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, gooooooood!  

Also included are typical sections like tools needed, preparation, etc.  But what I do really like about this cookbook are the several pages containing "How-to" tips (with photographs!) on how to do certain techniques that a lot of people don't know how to get through the correct way.  This includes how to slice an onion, how to use fresh garlic, how to use herbs, etc.  

So far, I'm pretty darn impressed with this cookbook that I most likely never would have bought or picked up.  I may even buy this for my bestie (Hi Beth!) since I know she feels just like Jessica does on the cover of this book.  

The Wet Brush - valued at $14

First off, it is incredibly nice to know that the brush in my box also allowed for a donation towards the fight against breast cancer!  

Okay, so I have very short hair and the last time I used a hair brush to actually brush my hair was about10 years ago.  No really!!  My hair doesn't get tangled and the conditioner I use keeps it from getting tangled.  But, I was incredibly intrigued by the idea of this.  I used it this morning after washing my hair and it went through it like butter.  It's lightweight as well, so I also know it will be easy to use when I am styling my hair.  This brush works well on all hair styles and is meant for use straight out of the shower.  The bristles are made to eliminate tugging, tearing, pulling, and ripping.  

They sell the brushes in different colors and purposes as well.  When I visited the site, I saw there is one meant for use with dry shampoo to create shine.  Anyone who has used dry shampoo knows how dull it makes one's hair look.  I actually wish I would have received that version since I use dry shampoo frequently!

Jane Tran Bobby Pins - valued at approximately $19.50

Again, as a short haired gal, I don't necessarily need bobby pins unless I use them in the morning or at night to keep my hair out of my face while I get ready.  

But, I do find the shape and design of these will hold back my hair very very well.  I like the darker colors with the slight sheen they have so if I do decide to use them for a simple updo, they will add some pizazz to my hair instead of the typical brown or black bobby pins I have hiding in a drawer somewhere.  

Not a fan!  These shadows are not very pigmented and need to be put over a white base first.  As I swatched them on my arm, it took me 4-6 swipes to get them to show up and somewhat match the color you see in the palette.  Hmph.  

I am a liquid liner lover...but in a felt tip pen form.  Now, I did use this liner this morning and it wasn't too terribly difficult, but I don't like having to re-dip the brush as I'm working on my eyes.  So, that's a downside.  But, you can see that the brush allows for a thicker or thinner lines as well as a darker brown or a lighter brown.  Since I'm a bit spastic, it will take some practice, but I do love the formula of this one.  When I went to remove it off of my arm, it almost peeled off more than smudged or rubbed off.  I can see that translating into long lasting liner on the lid.  

Julep for POPSUGAR Duo - valued at $32

Julep is a nail-polish brand mostly known for their Maven subscriptions.  I've never wanted their polishes just because of the high price tag.  So, it was quite a lovely treat to find two bottles in my box this month.  Granted, I already have a Butter London navy or sapphire polish, but I'm willing to give this one a go since I've never used a Julep polish.  

We also received a Julep's polymer top coat that dries in 5 minutes.  I'm a big fan of my Out The Door top coat, but I'll give this one a shot and see if the $18 price tag equals an insanely good top coat or not. 

From the site:  100% of proceeds benefit Breast Cancer Awareness. The gorjana Bali Bead Bracelet features braided cord and small Bali beads creating an almost studded appearance. Stack this bracelet with our classic charm bracelets for a more refined combination.

What a sweet item to include!  Not only did the inclusion of the bracelet in my box allow a donation on my part, but the color itself was also chosen to represent breast cancer awareness.  It is a super bright pink that adds a really nice pop of color and I love the way the beads look like studs.

The only downsides?  It is a little small and I don't how it would fit average-sized wrists.  My wrists have always been tiny, so for once it's nice to have a bracelet that isn't too big on me.  I had to get my husband to put it on for me.  The button and loop closure are very hard to maneuver with one hand. But I do quite love the little hanging gg charm and gold button.

StitchFix giftcard - valued at $20

I am way more excited about this than the Shoptiques giftcard!  This is a new site that gives you a style fix.  You complete a style profile (takes about 10 minutes) and personal stylists find 5 items that match your likes and wants.  Next, you schedule a stitch fix for a $20 styling fee and they send you a box of items that you are allowed to try on!  That $20 applies towards anything you keep.  They even send you a style card to show you how to style items you receive.  You have 3 days to decide on what you want to keep or return.  Anything you don't want, you return using a pre-paid mailing bag.  Login to your account to pay for any of the items you want to keep.  If you keep all 5 of your items, you get 25% off the total.  

Here is what part of the style profile quiz looks like:  

I had to select whether I loved or liked all or some of the items or whether I basically hated them.  There were about 6 of these groups of clothing pieces and each one matched a sort of style (preppy, classic, trendy, etc.)
You even get to list how much you are willing to spend on the different clothing items.  For me, I chose to get the most inexpensive in all categories.  This isn't something I want to spend a lot of money on if I choose to do it outside of this one time the gift card paid for.  

But, this is NOT a subscription service.  You can choose when and how often you want to get a Stitch Fix!  I think this could end up being a super neat treat for myself for a birthday or celebration.  I think it would also be very fun to give as a gift to have a stylist choose items for you and try them on in the comfort of your own home!  How cool is this...I mean really?!!!  

I already signed up for my first Stitch Fix for mid-November when they had some openings.  I was able to use my $20 giftcard to pay for the styling fee.  Don't worry...there will be a blog post and pictures of what I am sent, what I end up keeping, and how I liked the service itself.  I can't wait!!

I saw this as soon as I opened my box!  My husband looked at me and wondered what was wrong with me as I screeched at the site of sprinkles.  LOL.

These Crispycakes are handmade and definitely put a smile on my face.  It was like an adult rice crispy treat!

Do you see how HUGE this thing is?!  Look at it in comparison to my hand.  It was seriously almost 2 inches thick too.  I ended up sharing half of it with my husband for dessert last night.  He scarfed his half down while I ended up only eating half of my half.  I wrapped the other part in cellophane and had it for dessert tonight and it was just as fresh and soft as it was yesterday.  

This flavor was so so.  There wasn't much flavor to it, except for the marshmallow and the chocolate sprinkles.  The marshmallow vs. crispies ratio was a little off too.  But.  I am not going to lie.  I want to try some of the other more gourmet varieties they carry.  Some of the other flavors I would order in a heartbeat? chocolate chip, creamy caramel and marshmallow fluff, pretzel surprise, cocoa crispies and chocolate fluff, and cookies and cream.  They also sell gift boxes that come with a couple different flavors all gift-wrapped and pretty.  Could be a fun and unique Valentine's gift or birthday gift for a friend?  I noticed they also have some special varieties for baby showers.

Final Verdict

I paid $35 for the October box and got $165 worth of items from POPSUGAR Must Have!  The bracelet itself paid for the box....that little itty bitty tiny thing!

All in all, I liked 7 out of the 9 items in this box (and we shall see how the Stitch Fix styling goes).  So, the verdict for October is 4 out of 5 stars.  Here's hoping the November box has some really great fall-inspired items.

What do you think of this month's box?  
Which item is your favorite or a must-have?  
Did you get a POPSUGAR Must Have box too...if so, did you schedule your Stitch Fix yet?