The Happenings: April 2016

How have you guys been?  I am writing this at…5AM local time (Japan)–whenever I get here, I tend to wake up in the 4AM timeframe, no matter how late I go to sleep.  I am going to pretend that we’re at a nice cafe drinking coffee while I’m filling y’all in on the happenings–OH GOSH I just want some caffeine.

BUT ANYWAY I was also here last month–Okinawa though!  It takes about two hours to get there from mainland Japan (from Fukuoka, or three from Tokyo).  Coolest thing we saw while we were there was this HUGE aquarium (Okinawa Churami Aquarium) where there are WHALE SHARKS!  Osaka also has a whale shark but there were about 4 of them in this gigantic tank.  Do you see the little fishball making a slightly heart shape?  Awwww.

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May 2016 Birchbox: Out of Doors

OH BIRCHBOX, that was a good one.

Now, all jokes aside, this month’s theme is ‘Out of Doors’ which is for exactly as it sounds–outdoors with each box including some sort of SPF!

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This month, Birchbox sent me:

  • Vera Bradley – Vanilla Sea Salt Eau de Toilette
  • Goldfaden MD – Doctor’s Scrub
  • ModelCo – Lip Lacquer
  • Coola – Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer
  • Parlor by Jeff Chastain – Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray

We’re still a bit…off (see confirmation of custom pick):

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…but I think I’ll survive.  Its funny, the incorrect Coola product is still the same from the weird men’s preview I got last week.

But anyway–I love that there’s a good exfoliator with this. I always feel like a gentle scrub (carefully, not right after sun exposure) really helps my skin turnover and I’m glad they sent me that Coola product–I’ve gone through three or four tubes since my time with Birchbox!

The meh products for me are the lip lacquer and the vanilla perfume.  Not excited.

BUT that sea salt spray–yes!  I like that it’s moisturizing–sometimes, I feel like salt sprays make my hair a little too dry and crunch (like being near the ocean, for real).  I want the texture, scent, and look without having to go there.

Did you guys get anything good this month?  Can’t wait for summer!  Hope BB sends some more SPF products–I wouldn’t mind a gentle tanning formula also.  My stomach is SO PALE compared to my arms and legs.  D:

May 2016 Birchbox: ??? [Men’s Box?]

I peek at my boxes every month and this month’s box has no title.  I think it was in the customization screens but I don’t remember–I do remember that the majority of the sample picks were sunscreens or peels.  Let’s go with that: Sunscreens and Peels.

My pick was the Coola Classic Face Sport SPF50 White Tea Sunscreen because Coola products are AMAZING!!!  They don’t smell like sunscreen (I’m looking at you, SuperGoop) and the texture isn’t sunscreen-like either.

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  • ICNY Twill Ball Cap
  • Baxter of California Herbal Mint Toner
  • Coola Classic SPF 50 for Face (???)
  • Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
  • Balla for Men Powder

Okay what???  This must be wrong (the preview hasn’t been wrong before) because those are all men’s products.  Except maybe the Coola product because I guess that could be unisex.  Hmm.

  1. Twill Cap could be useful for the summer
  2. Mint Toner is a gentle toner that removes dirt and oil without overdrying
  3. Coola–thank goodness at least one Coola product but its not the one I asked for
  4. That Kiehl’s bottle says ‘For Men’ on it.  D:
  5. MEN’S DEODORANT POWDER

Maybe this is the world’s/Birchbox’s way of telling me that I have too many skincare and makeup samples for myself and I have to take care of B‘s skin more.  *sigh*  Lucky him–if these were all women’s products (or at least products with unisex/neutral scents), I’d be stoked.  I’ll update if something else shows up at my doorstop but it seems unlikely. D:

SCRATCH MMB: April 2016

Long Story Short: I am terrible at nail art and I am too impatient to do fancy gel manicures on myself.  So…I cheat.  I bake on a thin layer of clear gel (top and bottom coat) and then I apply nail wraps over them.  This process lasts significantly longer then if I were to apply the wrap over my natural nails and it’s cheaper/faster/more foolproof then the whole gel process that I go through.  I apply a regular top coat over the wrap and I’m done!  It mostly lasts about 2 weeks, even after being a little rough on my digits.

This all leads to….*drumroll*….the Scratch Monthly Mani Box!  YAY $10 a month and you get your pick of nail wraps, a bottle of fun polish, and a nail extra.  I’ve tried Scratch wraps before (I ordered straight from the shop) and I rather liked them–of the sticker-type wraps that I tried, these applied the easiest and the most evenly.  They were kind of thin but it made it EXTREMELY easy to file off the excess from the nail tips.  The other thing is that the sizes are rather big for my nails but the thinness makes it easy to pinch the excess off from the sides/bottom–I use an orange-wood stick to gently scrape it off and it works great.

BUT ANYWAY:

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Of April’s offerings, I picked ‘Thunder.’  I typically like designs with more transparency but this one is pretty interesting!  It kind of reminds me of a comic-book background or something.  Because 10 fingers with the same pattern can be a bit too much, I think I’ll layer a few nails with this and a few with perhaps a dark grey?  Or if I’m feeling particularly brave, I’ll do a bright yellow accent nail.  (Probably not).

What do you guys think of the design this month?  It’s not my favorite but I like it because it’ll force myself to try something…out of my comfort box.  I’m not really loving the shockingly pink shade of the nail polish but it’ll get some use with my toes (and perhaps a different pattern wrap?).  If anything–I kind of wish the nail polish that they sent coordinated with the wrap that you picked, or if they sent you more nail-care items like top/base coats or strengtheners.  I feel like that makes the most sense…unless with this shade, they were going for a big contrast?  (Probably not, again).  I do like that brush though–it’s pretty fine and I’d probably use it as an accent striper?  (Probably not, my right hand would look terrible.)

Walmart Beauty Box: Spring 2016

It’s only hitting me now that it’s April.  WHERE IS THE TIME GOING???  Oh well.  Changing seasons means it’s time to change up our skincare and/or makeup and Walmart just sent out a bunch of new products to try out.

  • Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Correct & Cover (Foil Swatch/Mini)
  • Neutrogena MoistureSmooth color stick in Almond Nude (FULL SIZE)
  • L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Glow Reneal Facial Oil (Paper Swatch/Mini)
  • L’Oreal Paris True Match Shade Match Card
  • Burt’s Bees BB Cream (Foil Packet)
  • Vera Wang Embrace (Mini Purse Spray)
  • Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (Travel Size)
  • Biore Baking Soda Pore Cleanser (Travel Size)
  • Curel Itch Defense Body Wash (Travel Size)
  • Colgate Optic White Express White Toothpaste (Travel Size)
  • CereVe Healing Ointment (Mini Sample)
  • John Frieda brilliant BRUNETTE Shampoo (Deluxe Size)

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The all-stars of this box for me are hands down, the John Frieda shampoo (thank you, Walmart, for sending me the correct hair color and skin tone samples.  I REALLY APPRECIATE THIS) and the Burt’s Bees BB Cream!  I am in love with the scents for both–the shampoo makes my hair look more…alive (I’m also in between ombre sessions right now) and the BB cream has light coverage without feeling greasy. The temperature is slowly starting to rise which means greasy = no go.

Walmart really hit it out of the park for me with this box–I mean, you can’t go wrong with $5 but YES I’m really excited about everything!  Also, the Walmart box is an auto quarterly sub, which is easier then Target’s monthly-check-the-website-before-it-sells-out model right now.  I think the Target box has pricier samples (more luxe) but on the other hand, Walmart provides drugstore level products that you can try.  As long as it works great, I don’t mind cheaper at all.