subscription boxes

November 2012 :: GlossyBox :: ‘Tis The Season To Be Glossy

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Alrighty. Posting this late and retrodating it so it will archive as a November post… It’s not entirely my fault though; I did receive my November 2012 GlossyBox several days into December… just sayin’.  Jumping right into it, since I’ve procrastinated enough recently:

Illamasqua – Lip & Eye Medium Pencil – RUMP – :: Full Size $20 :: I would’ve never picked out this beautiful periwinkle blue but I’ll be damned it isn’t gorgeous. Glides on beautifly. Covers nicely. I’m beginning to really love Illamasqua makeup. This is my second product of theirs, both from GlossyBox, and I think I will be making some purchases of my own in the near future.

I definitely have to post a better picture of this color because this shot doesn’t capture the beauty at all. It’s much darker. and brighter. and more purpley.

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Inoco – Nail Polish Applique :: Full Size $8 :: I haven’t tried these or even opened them. I’ll have to let you know how they work. These aren’t like drug store nail stickers, though. These appliques are 100% nail polish: base coat, color coat and top coat all in one. I like the color…

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Kryolan for GlossyBox – Blush – GLOSSY ROSEWOOD – :: Full Size $9 :: I love this blush! Having worked in theatre for over 10 years (and having many friends who do drag), I’ve come across Kryolan before but never really considered them for regular wear. I absolutely love this blush. It’s perfectly pigmented and last long. The color is perfect for my skin tone too! This is my favorite item in this month’s box! The Illamasqua liner was a very close second but this blush is amazing! And just like with the liner, this picture isn’t a very good depiction of this blusher. Must post a better pic… and a swatch… oooh.

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Arganics by NuMe Style – Argan Oil :: Full Size $59 (4oz) :: It’s nice. I won’t buy it again, I don’t believe. I am definitely a fan of Morocan and Argan oils since I have such dry hair but the beauty market is completely saturated with similar products that provide similar benefits in hair health; there’s really nothing that stands out about this one. Still very nice to have and use, though.

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Skin & Co. Roma – Truffle Serum: Hydo-tonig Day Face Serum :: Full Size $36 (1.01 oz) :: I, obviously, have not had prolonged use with this serum so I cannot attest to it’s anti aging effects and what not but I can say that it does feel very nice. It does make the skin feel a bit tight in order to “tone”. It wasn’t uncomfortable though.

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GlossyBox also threw in a $100 credit to NuMe (that I fully intend on using) and discounts for Skin & Co. I’ll take it!

Better late than never, right? With the holidays in full swing, I’ve been pretty swamped and the review posts have been piling up. I promise to get it together… eventually.

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

November 2012 :: Ipsy Glam Bag :: Party Perfect

My very first Ipsy Glam Bag!! I am so excited to post this just as I was so excited to receive these fantastic goodies. For the same monthly subscription fee as the-box-that-shall-not-be-named, Ipsy packs your delightful little cosmetics bag with true deluxe samples! I can’t wait, so let’s dive straight in!

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Dah-Dah-Dah-DAAAAHHH. My November 2012 Ipsy Bag! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the five products I received!

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Nailtini :: Nail Lacquer :: Millionaire – A full size bottle of nail polish? You sure know how to win this girl over, Ipsy! As my readers know, I am a complete nail polish junkie and this positively peppy glitter coat from Nailtini is perfect for fun, holiday nails. Gold and Teal flecks of glitter reflect pinks, blues, purples and of course GOLD. Covers really well with a substantial amount of glitter. If you are looking to add a hint of glitz, this is not your polish. The same makers have lines called Liptini and Eyetini as well and I’d love to give some of those products a try!

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The Balm Cosmetics :: Meet Matt(e) Eyeshadow :: Matt Batali – This is my first experience with any of the products from The Balm Cosmetics. First impression: I adore their kitschy, 50’s nostalgia inspired packaging. This line of matte eyeshadows has fun with their names and each color in the line is named “Matt ____”. Matt Batali is a dark, smokey, purpley-brown-grey… best way to describe the color… and I do love a nice smokey eye so I will use this baby up! The packaging is cute with a magnetic close hidden away in there somewhere so the sample snaps shut when you’re not using it.

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bareMinerals :: Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss :: Dare Devil – This isn’t my first experience with a Marvelous Moxie gloss. I’m actually a huge fan so receiving this is just awesome! This is a product that I would/have/will buy so I was thrilled when it was included in my November 2012 Ipsy bag. This color is Dare Devil and it is a beautiful, glossy, merlot-esque color, perfect for mine and many complexions.

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Starlet Cosmetics :: Intensen Eyeliner :: Chocolate – Apparently, this is NOT a full size sample. (Seems full size to me.) Its a chocolate brown pencil and I will put this to some real good use. When I use a pencil to line my lids, I usually opt for brown. (Liquids I usually use black and “fun” colors). Great for everyday wear. It applies smooth and stays put all day. I’d never heard of Starlet Cosmetics before but now that they are on my radar, I will certainly consider buying more of their pencils in the future.

This month, each Ipster received one of two other samples along with the above featured. They either received the Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel or the product I received:

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benefit :: They’re Real beyond mascara – a highly coveted item this month, I was very pleased to find this mascara sample tucked inside my Ipsy bag. Although, I would have been happy to receive the brow gel, when I received the email about the two choices, I was hoping to receive the mascara. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try the Chella brow gel in a future bag!

That was it. My very first Ipsy Bag! I can’t wait for my December bag! I am so pleased that I have cancelled my Birchbox subscription and signed up for Ipsy. I’m a very, VERY happy beauty subscriber. Way to hit it out of the park, Ipsy! And thanks to the other bloggers whose Ipsy review posts pushed me to sign up.

If you’d like to BECOME AN IPSY GLAM BAG SUBSCRIBER please use my referral link. (Ipsy is, in my opinion, the best subscription cosmetics service for the best value!)

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

November 2012 :: Birchbox #7

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Ugh. I’m not going to waste a lot of time on this post. I have better boxes with better goodies to review.

This is my absolute last and final Birchbox that I will ever receive. Since signing up in May, I have been disappointed every single month. In October, my disappointed reached it’s peak and I just couldn’t take it anymore. After being reached out to by the Birchbox Operations team, I found their lack of concern for their subscribers opinions absolutely disgusting. I also think they should have more pride in the crap their peddling instead of sending the shit samples and then blaming the lameness on the companies who provided the samples. With so many subscription beauty services saturating the market right now, Birchbox just doesn’t have the luxury of sitting back and sending out lackluster boxes. Just like me, other subscribers can, should and will move on to better services. (Ipsy is $10 a month as well and all their samples are cosmetics and truly deluxe). So here is what I found in my November 2012 Birchbox:

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Kerastase :: Chroma Sensitive Shampoo. :: Full Size $42 – Two, one-time-use samples of color safe shampoo by Kerastase. Haven’t used it and I won’t. (I use biolage products by Matrix and alternated with the Moroccan line of hair care.)  zero ♥s

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MCMC Fragrances :: Phoenix – Full Size: $45-$95 – This smells… and not good. The company is based out of Brooklyn though. American made by an American company… that’s nice. But I will not be buying this. zero ♥s

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ModelCo :: Fibre Lashxtend lengthening mascara :: Full Size: $24 – I like ModelCo products. I like that there is a mirror on the bottle for on-the-go touch ups. But, it’s a black mascara. I didn’t find any distinct difference between this mascara and other lengthening mascaras. I was happy with this sample though. It also seems to be a full size sample… I’ll have to investigate this further. ♥♥♥♥

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One Love Organics :: Aromatic Body Serum – Full Size: $39 – A decent sized sample and I really like the smell of this body oil. I prefer the feel of the body oil I received in my October GlossyBox but the scent of this one by One Love Organics is delicious. It says it’s made with pumpkin seed oil and maybe that’s what I’m smelling but it smells very citrusy and you all know I like my citrus smells! ♥♥♥

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EXTRA – Chuao Chocolateir :: HoneyComb – Full Size: (7 assorted) $7.95 – This was tasty. Small but delicious. Won’t be buying these in the future (at least not from Birchbox) and these “lifestyle extras” are part of the reason I’m leaving Birchbox. If you want to give me an extra, awesome, I’ll take it but don’t give me “extras” of shit that is non-cosmetic when you haven’t fulfilled the promise of 5 DELUXE beauty samples first. You can keep your chocolates, mints, headphones, tea bags, etc… I want beauty products! zero ♥s

November 2012 Birchbox total: 7♥s/20♥s (plus “extra”)

Also worth mentioning: Birchbox provided a chintzy little cardboard gift box to give one of your crappy samples to a friend for the holidays. A.) I wouldn’t gift any of the crap Birchbox has sent me. BC I, for one, don’t consider a one-time-use item a decent gift and B.) I can afford a real gift bag, Birchbox… keep your tacky shit.

Birchbox would be the perfect subscription beauty services for a freshman in high school (or younger). I feel that the overall Birchbox mentality is that of a tween anyway and the tiny products sent to be sampled would be great for a newbie.

… and that’s why I cancelled my Birchbox.

Thanks for reading! Keep coming back for my monthly GlossyBox US and Ipsy bag reviews!!!

Love, GK

November 2012 :: Julep Maven #4

Here it is. My final delivery as a Julep Maven. I have enjoyed my time as a Julep Maven but I have decided to cancel my subscription and pursue other cosmetics options. It’s not you, Julep, it’s me.

I hope you’ll check out my upcoming post reviewing all the polishes and other goodies I received from Julep since subscribing back in July. I’ll post that Julep review sometime in December but for now, let’s see what my November 2012 Julep Maven box brought to Ms. Ginger Kate, shall we?

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Always delivered on time and wrapped up all pretty. Julep really does a great job with their Julep Maven services. Their customer service team is also quite amazing.

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Although I was classified as an “It Girl” when I originally signed up to be a Julep Maven, I opted for the Bombshell Box this month. In the past I have swapped boxes as well. The ability to swap your intended box for another box each month is one of the features I liked most about being a Julep Maven. You also have the option of skipping a month or sending your box to a friend as a gift. All are great options for a subscription beauty box service.

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The first polish I received is a deep, glittery purple. The color is named, Trina. I love this color and purples are a big trend we are seeing throughout the fall and winter this year.

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Next up, Donna, a peacock blue. I love this color as well. In fact, I’d say that Trina and Donna are my two favorite colors tat I’ve received since becoming a Julep Maven.

Here’s a shot of both colors being put to good use:

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A little seasonal, peep-nail action going on… (my thumb on my left hand shows my glittery Nailtini polish that I received in my Nov 2012 Ipsy Galm bag! … I couldn’t wait to give that a try either!)

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My third product, this month, is Julep’s Pink Grapefruit Body Frosting. I don’t normally like receiving anything other than nail related products in my Julep Maven boxes, but this body frosting is fantastic! The smell is absolutely amazing!

As a bonus, Julep through in three of their nail polish remover pads. They’re pretty effective too! When I received my box I wanted to try on Donna and Trina right away and so I whipped out one of those pads, removed my polish and experimented with my new colors. I removed the polish from all ten nails very easily with only one pad. Sometime the nail polish remover pads end up spreading the polish all over my fingertips but not these.

So that’s that. My final Julep Maven box. Please check out my upcoming Julep Maven review of all that I have received whilst a Julep Maven. It may inspire you to become a Julep Maven yourself!

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

Bad Bad Birchbox Ops

*title of post should be sang to the tune of

“Bad, Bad Leory Brown.”

As you may or may not be aware, I was incredibly disappointed with the October Goop-partnered Birchbox. I wrote more than one post expressing this and naturally made my way to twitter with the news:

Not long after I took to twitter, posting my own tweet and commenting on others’ tweets about this month’s Birchbox, I received this tweet and was notified that BirchboxOps was now following me.

I was so impressed! I had been so annoyed and disappointed with Birchbox and when they reached out to me, I felt better. If they were reaching out to me about my dissatisfaction, not only does it mean that their customer service is aware of how their customers and subscribers feel about the service but also that they must want to try and make it up to me somehow. I felt so guilty about the nasty email I had typed up to send them.

I figured they were going to listen to my views on the October Birchbox, apologize for the monstrosity that was the Goop-Birchbox and maybe even try to give some sort of compensation (in the form of a bottle of essie or something.) I direct messaged them my email, as they requested, and after a few hours I received my first email from a staff member at Birchbox… It was all down hill from there. Not only did they not offer any form of compensation, their copy-and-pasted responses were so apparently generic it’s insulting.

Now, I doubt that very many people will take the time to fully read the entire email conversation I’m about to share with you all nor am I naive enough to think very many people will even car. However, I have done a little copying and pasting myself and have the back and forth emails posted below.

I wanted others to see a good example of how little the Birchbox Operations staff cares about the opinions of their subscribers. So little, in fact, that I was addressed by an entirely different name. If you’re at all interested, please feel free to read the back-and-forth below.

The main mission of this post is to address potential Birchbox subscribers. So, to anyone who is considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber: all I can suggest is that you look into the other subscription cosmetic sample boxes available. I’m currently a subscriber to GlossyBox and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my first box. My first box from GlossyBox had better products, larger “samples” and is most likely worth more (monetarily speaking) than all of the Birchboxes I have received combined. Another great service is Ipsy, previously MyGlam. I will be signing up for Ipsy, this week, immediately after cancelling my Birchbox subscription. I’m only waiting on my Birchbox order (the one I purchased and posted about in yesterdays post) to ship before I cancel.

Anyway, here’s the email conversation between myself and the Birchbox Operations team members. I don’t hold anything against the actual ladies who had the task of reading and replying to my messages, I do, however, have a problem with Birchbox’s protocol of dealing with these matters. Clearly, a disappointed subscriber is at the very bottom of their priorities. Unfortunately, providing quality, deluxe samples isn’t at the top.

The things that upset me most in the first response I got from Anastasia (as you can read) were:
  • Calling me by the wrong name; her name. -No explanation needed.
  • Explaining to me their definition of “deluxe-size samples” -I’m aware and none of the samples I received this month were “deluxe” by anyone’s definition.
  • Stating that of the products featured in the sneak peek, each subscriber would receive at least one -I didn’t receive any of the feature products.
  • Saying they will share my input with their brand partners. -So, they will use my opinion to get bigger, better samples from their “brand partner” FOR FREE and then give them away to paying subscribers, making their subscribers happy, who will obviously want to stay a subscriber, thus, making Birchbox more money yet they can’t throw me a product or two to thank me for my imput and dissatisfaction? BS.

Thanks for reading. And to those who continue reading from here, I thank you even more.

Love, GK

PS I’d love to hear any and all opinions and comments on this matter. Please feel free to contact me directly or to share your comments below (I always respond!) -Thanks again!

Sarah, Oct 19 03:08 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

Thanks for writing in. I’d love to hear your feedback on this month 😀

xGingerKate, Oct 22 11:15 am (EDT):

Good Morning, Sarah
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Thank you again for reaching out to
me about my dissatisfaction with my Birchbox for the month of October. I am
extremely upset and disappointed with the Goop partnered box I received
this month and based on the comments I’ve received on multiple blog posts I
have written about this box, others who received the same box (or similar)
are quite upset as well.

After opting to received one of the goop boxes, I checked out Facebook
posts, the sneak peek videos, etc and was thrilled at the products
featured. Unfortunately, when I saw the box I was due to receive, I came to
find that I would not be one of the lucky ones to received any of those
fabulous products. My dismal box contained:

– Lulu Organics Lavender hair powder
– Karuna Hydrating mask
– Naked Princess lip gloss
– Embryolisse 24hr Miracle Cream
– LUNA bar

Every one of these products was a one-time only sample with the
exception of the lip gloss which is absolutely tiny. When I signed up for
Birchbox, I was promised that I was to receive “premium samples” each
month. One-time use samples can be acquired from department stores or by
simply contacting companies individually; I pay for this subscription to
received more than a one-time use sample.

As it turns out, I received my very first GlossyBox on the same day I
received this month’s Birchbox. Whether I compare the two boxes as a whole
or individual products, GlossyBox was able to stand by their word and
provide me with luxe products for a little more than double my subscription
costs with you. I received 5 full size (or at least close to full size)
products from them and find that the extra $11 per month is more than worth
it (and my blog readers agree). I’ve also researched Ipsy and their boxes
(previously MyGlam) and the reviews I read on these boxes from other
bloggers leaves me impressed with their service as well.

I have been disappointed with your boxes in the past but there was
usually at least one product per box that made me feel not so stupid for
spending $10 on it. However, I don’t think I will continue my subscription
much longer after receiving this most recent box. It’s absolutely horrible. I
am promised 4 or 5 products each month and sometimes “extras” are provided
as well. Months when I receive 4 samples I can’t help but be a bit
disappointed but if the sizes of the samples are decent, the “extras” can
sometimes make up for this. This is far from the case this month. The four
minuscule samples packed and sent to me were supplemented by a LUNA bar…
thanks, but no thanks.

Not only have I read other blogger’s reviews of this month’s box but I
have also discussed with personal friends the items they received in their
box and I feel that everyone received a more worthwhile box than me and
those who received the same box as me. How can you give so many people a
box that includes a full bottle of essie amongst other products and give
others 5 one time use samples? Its not fair and it does not make any sense.

When I watched your sneak peeks and features, I was so excited at the
products featured.

– Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss
– Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
– DDF Wrinkle Resist Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
– Essie Nail Polish

Where are these fabulous products? I had anticipated receiving at least a
few of these products and I expected them to be more than one-time use
samples. Your company promises “deluxe” samples and your highly hyped
partnership with goop gave me the false hope that I would be receiving a
completely amazing box this month. These skimpy samples do not reflect very
well upon Goop.com either; they couldn’t afford to provide you with decent
sized samples to pass on to your subscribers?

I certainly hope something can be done about my huge let-down in
October. Otherwise, I don’t believe I will continue subscribing long enough
to receive my November box. However this plays out, I maintain an
obligation to keep my readers informed. I love beauty and fashion and I
love being able to review new products each month courtesy of your
subscription service. I also am proud to subscribe to what was really the
first major product subscription service in the states but now, I’m
beginning to look and feel like a fool for continuing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kate [Last Name]

Ginger-Kate.com

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:04 pm (EDT):

Hi Anastasia,

Thank you for writing in, and I am so sorry that you were not satisfied with your Birchbox delivery this month!

We definitely are aware of the fact that sample impression is important, and an appropriate amount of product is the only way to make a valid decision as to whether it’s a product you would like to purchase in the future or not.

While sample sizes do vary each month, it highly depends on what the brands provide us and feel is a deluxe-size sample. Deluxe-size means the sample gives you the opportunity to try the product on multiple occasions. Based on the brand’s opinion, the samples they produce coordinate to how much of the product they feel should be used in one use, three uses, and so on. While smaller samples are by no means the standards of what we want to send our subscribers, the product is one that we want to be able to share with our customers.

We post our Favorites video each month to highlight items that our members will be receiving. Everyone will receive at least one or two of the samples featured, but not all. They are also allotted by your Beauty Profile preferences. I recommend that you update your Beauty Profile in order to receive products more suited towards your tastes.

Once again, I apologize for your disappointment and we understand your concern completely. We are constantly trying to evolve as a brand and company, for this reason, customer feedback is extremely important to us and highly encouraged! I will be sure to pass this along to our Beauty Partnership Team, so that they are aware of how this sample was received.

In the meantime, if you have any other questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give us a call at: 877.487.7272 (9am-5pmEST| M-F).

xo Anastasia

Birchbox Operations Associate

xGingerKate: Dear Birchbox Representative #3,

MY name isn’t Anastasia. From what I can tell, YOUR name is Anastasia. Your keen observation skills and ability to address me by my own name are a perfect example of the level of care Birchbox gives to their subscribers/customers.

Allow me to respond to your most recent BS: So, a small pouch of moisturizer, a pouch that can not be resealed and a small package of dry shampoo, that also can not be resealed, are considered “deluxe”, multiple-use samples according to the company that produced them and you’ll stand by that?

This is absolutely laughable; you must realize this.

In a box of four samples: 2 products are tear-open, one-time-use packets, 1 product is a face mask to be used ONCE and the final product is a minuscule tube of lip gloss. The lip gloss is the ONLY product that I will (reluctantly) agree can be used multiple times. 4 horrible samples and then you throw in a LUNA bar as an extra… YAY! Excuse me while I jump for joy.

Thank you for your response but you really just wasted more of my time corresponding with you and gave more false hope that Birchbox would take responsibility for their service and at least attempt to make a recovery. I will be canceling my subscription following the delivery of the products I recently ordered off of your site. I will be giving my $10 a month to Ipsy/MyGlam from now on in addition to my GlossyBox subscription.

I’d thank you for your service over the last 7 months but it’s been horrible.The LEAST you could do is get my name right since you’ve been billing me for more than half a year. You reached out to me as if you were willing to/looking to make this wrong a right. Clearly you just wanted another opportunity to repeat the lofty description of your “deluxe” samples. Do you have a complaint response template that you simply copy and paste in your email responses as you see fit? I am completely aware that sample sizes vary each month but a box that consists of strictly one-time-use samples IS NOT what you promise, it IS NOT what you advertise and it is certainly NOT what I signed up to pay $10 a month to receive.

Sincerely,
(Not Anastasia,)
-Kate, Ginger-Kate.com

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:54 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

So sorry for the typo and your disappointment in my response. I am definitely passing your feedback along so that it will be heard by our brand partners.

Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

xGingerKate:  Thank you for your prompt response and apology, Anastasia. And no, I will require no further assistance from Birchbox.

-Kate
That’s it. Nothing overly interesting or exciting. I did think that it was worth sharing though. Again, if you’re considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber, reconsider. Check out other blogger’s reviews of Birchbox, GlossyBox, Ipsy/MyGlam and the other subscription sample boxes out there. Birchbox is a let-down monthly with their skimpy samples and then on top of that, they clearly don’t care very much about resolving any issues that their customers may be experiencing.
If you read through that crap, it is very much appreciated. Sincerely, thank you.
Love, GK