FabFitFun: The Canadian Experience

So many subscription boxes and only so much time (and space and cash flow – but you know …). This post is not about whether or not you should look into purchasing the Summer 2018 box (I mean the Fall 2018 box is already rolling out), but it IS about my thoughts with the service overall being a Canadian and having to spend more money to purchase, including shipping. FabFitFun is a quarterly subscription box that costs $49.99 USD a month.

Here is a bright and colorful shot of the box I received:

The previews for this box were what convinced me to get it. The Tarte Tartiest Pro Glow Highlight and Contour Palette was nearly worth the cost of the box (retails for $59 CAD)! And tbh I had been debating getting it at Winners (but I got the Park Ave Princess Bronzer and Contour Palette instead). I mean, a girl can never have too many contour palettes!

Also, the BRAND NEW Foreo Luna Fofo! A chance to get your hands on it before anyone else. It retails for $119 CAD at Sephora. I have a Clarisonic, but this is so much more travel friendly!

These two items alone make the Summer Box so worth it. But let’s break it down and see what I actually paid:

  1. I used a code for first time members that got me $10 USD off my box. However, like 30 seconds after making my purchase, I saw that there was a separate code for a free mystery bag add on, which (I’m sure) would have added more than a $10 value. Make sure to check all social accounts and Google for the current promos before jumping on board.
  2. Shipping for Canadians is $8 USD for the box. With shipping and my code, the total came to $47.99 USD ($49.99 + $8 – $10).
  3. This worked out to a total of $63.70 CAD with exchange and GST.

This was the cost for the “basic” month to month version of the FabFitFun subscription. This meant I did not get access to FULL customization of my box, and that I did not get priority shipping. However, being Canadian means our boxes ship out with the first shipment date anyways, so it didn’t really matter.

My options for customizing included a choice between a Summer & Rose Beach Towel in Pineapple or Palm OR Yumi Kim Makeup Train Case in Navy or Floral. I needed a new BIG beach towel for my summer patio recliners, so this was a no brainer for me. Second customization was a choice between Jaboneria Marianella Hawaiian Black Lava Body Caviar, Aromatherapy Associates De Stress Muscle Gel, or a ERTH TU Y YO Ring. The ring was stunning and I decided to use it as a midi ring!!

Every box also included:

  • COOLA Face Sport SPF White Tea Moisturizer
  • Pier Imports Marble Ring Dish
  • Foreo Luna Fofo
  • Giveasip Paper Straw with online link for free Metal Straw

The sunscreen is perfect for summer, and although I have a million facial sunscreens, another is always welcome. Besides, we have a trip booked to Arizona in the November so it will come in handy.

The marble ring dish is sooo cute and the neutral marble design will fit it all styles and decors. Mine is sitting on my bedside table and is the perfect place to put my engagement ring at night to keep it safe.

I totally give a sip! But I found out this was only available to Americans. Super disappointing! I almost wish they didn’t include it at all in the box for Canadians so we didn’t get excited about having a portable and reusable straw to throw in our handbags! Love the concept, just wish I could take part.

I was praying that I would receive any colour of the Luna Fofo other than yellow, and I got Fuchsia. Basically the BEST colour I could have picked! I love the subsequent app. It told me exactly what I thought, I have dry skin. I did the test again after my skin care routine and it totally registered that my skin was more hydrated. It did mention that I should drink more water though …

Other items included in my box:

  • Tarte Tartiest Pro Glow Highlight and Contour Palette
  • Magi Sports Loop Resistance Band
  • Orlando Pita Play Atmos Shield Hair Protectant Treatment Spray

I was disappointed with both of these items (not talking Tarte). And maybe that’s me being picky. But what did you expect? I have a million thera bands and resistance bands and I have a ton of hair products and deluxe samples!! Having fine hair means a little goes a LONG ass way. I would have loved any of the other options offered, but I got both of the ones I was hoping to NOT receive. I read the FabFitFun FAQs and found out that the beauty profiles do not effect what box you are given, or what products you receive. My items proved this, as I had skincare rated high and hair and fitness ranked low (I am a beauty junkie – remember?), and yet still received these options. I would have been happy with any of the other products!

Finally, I got the Tarte palette. Thank goodness this was what I recieved. The other option was the Tarte Tartiest Pro To Go Palette and Tarte Sex Kitten Liquid Liner. I was praying and hoping for the contour palette and the FabFitFun gods heard my screams calls. Seriously, if I got the other option, I think I would have cried and written this subscription service off for life.

FabFitFun has an option to do “add ons” for $10 USD. Unfortunately, the option to add on some of the items was not available in Canada (SURPRISE! … NOT). For example, US customers could add on the makeup case if they had picked to customize their box with the towel (and vice versa). This was not available when I customized (which was immediately after it was live).

Once you are a member you have access to the shop and “community”. I didn’t use either. The community contains videos and articles, along with ways to connect with other members. Not. My. Thing. Give me all the products.

Overall, this box was still worth it even though I got two products I was hoping to avoid. The other products I received were all A+ which made it easy to overlook this. And the ones I didn’t care for are still great products, so I can always gift them. I didn’t use the store or community, and I don’t see that changing. The add ons and straw were not applicable or available for Canadians so that was a little disheartening considering we pay MORE for the service. I also got $10 off which made a huge difference in convincing me to subscribe. In the end though, I cancelled my subscription. I can always reinstate in the future if needed. With this box I saw the full spoilers before signing up, and I would do that again if I was ever to get another box. They are on the pricey side of subscription boxes, however, this one far surpassed in value. The key is deciding if the products you actually like and use will be worth the cost. Remember, the beauty profiles have no influence or merit towards the contents of your box. If you were considering multiple months of subscription, buy a YEAR at a time (four boxes) to allow you FULL customization.

Double Take For Double Exposure

It seems all of my favorite beauty brands are clearing out some of their products (I see you, Urban Decay). I haven’t seen makeup turn over and new launches happen this quickly before. Gone are the days of permanent collections lasting decades. It seems like all of the cult favorite brands are constantly releasing new products and retiring old ones. The latest brand to MAYBE be retiring some favorites? Smashbox! It seems the Double Exposure Palette is being cleared out for $29 on smashbox.com! And $26 at Macy’s!! And yes that’s probably USD but that still works out to under $34 CAD. It’s still an amazing deal! Is it a sale or a clear out? I’m not sure, but is it really worth debating when you could be practically stealing it purchasing it instead?

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I did a haul/first impressions post back in March of 2015, ya foreeeeever ago. Well it’s safe to say that I have had plenty of opportunities since to play with this beauty. But let’s refresh your memory regarding my first post, because I love rereading my own ramblings …

I decided to take the Smashbox Double Exposure Palette home with me. The concept intrigued me, 14 eyeshadows that transform into 28?! How could that not wet my panties grab my curiosity? The palette itself is gorgeous. I don’t own anything like this. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals with occasional pops of color. This palette has a beautiful selection of colors and neutrals making it very versatile for creating a variety of looks. The palette also came with a mini Full Exposure Mascara and a double sided brush making it easy for travel. The palette itself is made from cardboard with a magnetic closure. You would definitely want it in a cosmetic bag during any intense travel as the top doesn’t click into place (being cardboard) but rather lays flat to close.

I love how the palette is divided into cool and warm shades by the white and black shadows in the middle. On the left, we have cool, purple toned shades, and on the right, we have warm pink/brown shades. There is a nice range of shimmer, satin, and matte shades. These 14 shades are supposed to “transform” when applied wet. To be completely honest, they don’t transform, they intensify. This is NOT unique to this palette. All good quality eyeshadow should get deeper/darker when applied with a wet brush. I actually feel like this palette works best when applied wet; the shadows become highly pigmented. When applied dry, the shadows are a bit more sheer and alot more product is needed to build them up. I also found that when applied dry, that blending made some shades appear muddy (I did not use a primer). I haven’t had time to fully play with this palette, that was just my first impression. I think using a primer and applying with a wet brush, will make a world of difference. I’m definitely not “wowed” by this palette, but I won’t make any further judgments until I have fully played around with it.

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The good. The bad. And the not so ugly. I still agree with all of my above points EXCEPT I have grown to really love this palette. The key to getting good color is to pack it on. Use a dense brush to apply and a fluffier brush to blend. If you don’t apply enough shadow the colors do still tend to blend muddy. However, when you apply with a heavy hand the results are stunning!!! These shadows definitely do their best work wet. I recommend applying with a wet brush and then “setting” them with a dry brush. Once I got this technique down, the shadows easily lasted hours. If you are someone who only likes a subtle eye look or a light dusting of shadow, this palette is not for you. This is a full effect, full effort type deal. To have the shadows blend well, you can’t be shy about taking it all off putting more on. Side note, always use a primer! I hadn’t used a primer in my first impression (because it was just that, a FIRST impression). When I did actually start using the palette and used a primer, I noticed a world of difference.

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Moral of the Story … this palette is only $26!! And for $26 it is worth every penny. It doesn’t seem that Ulta or Sephora is offering it for the sale price. And it doesn’t look like us Canadians have any access to an in-store sale (Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutique no longer has the product listed). But don’t bawl your pretty little Canadian eyes out just yet. We can get shipping from both Macy’s and Smashbox. Yay!!

Will you be picking one up?! 💄💄

3 am Battle: UD vs. UD

So ya. It’s 3am. But, I just had to tell you all about this crazy Urban Decay sale. You might have already heard, you might have already bought, but in case you haven’t, prepare for late night shopping (or early morning panic depending on when you read this). Both Sephora and Urban Decay are offering these deals!!!

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Both the Vice 4 and the Urban Spectrum palettes are on sale for only $45 CAD each!!! And ALL Revolution lipsticks are half price at $13 CAD each (these are also on sale at Shopper’s Drug Mart UD locations)!!!

I was soooooo tempted to pick up the Urban Spectrum palette around Christmas, but I held off. As soon as it went on sale though, I called my local Sephora and raced over to pick it up. And I’m soooo glad I did. The color variety is so wonderful. It has an amazing mix of crazy brights, as well as a few neutrals and browns to allow for a full range of day time and night time looks. The pigmentation is superb, exactly what I expect from Urban Decay. The wear time seems endless, I wash my makeup off long before it fades or creases. The pans are organized in trios. Each trio is perfectly cordinated to do a complete eye look. This takes all of the “guess work” out if you are new to colorful shadows. And as expected, they blend like a dream! Did I mention that each of the pans in this palette are equivalent to a full size single pan? That’s right. 15 FULL SIZE eyeshadows for $45!!! That’s a $330 CAD value!! Keep in mind all of these shadows are metallic/shimmer/glitter shadows. Personally, I love shimmery shadows (I secretly have a love/hate with mattes), but if you don’t, this palette might not be for you. The other thing I love about this palette, the box it comes in turns into a jewellery or trinket box. How smart!!!! The laser cut, jeweled box is so adorable, I love the idea of continuing to use it long after I’m done with the shadows. The lid does have a mirror in it and will stand on it’s own if needed. Note though, there is no brush with this palette. If you plan to travel with it, don’t forget to pack one!

The shades:
• Protest (golden forest green shimmer)
• Junkie (teal green shimmer)
• Deep End (bright teal shimmer)
• Madness (bright metallic blue shimmer w/blue micro-glitter)
• Evidence (deep navy blue shimmer)
• Prank (deep navy matte w/turquoise floating pearl)
• Omen (bright metallic purple w/blue shift)
• Flashback (bright deep purple w/pink sparkle)
• Voodoo (metallic purple shimmer w/iridescent purple micro-glitter)
• Flatline (metallic pale pink)
• Bordello (pale mauve shimmer w/gold micro-glitter)
• Backlash (bright pink w/orange floating pearl)
• Daybreak (soft bronze w/silver glitter)
• Burn (medium golden brown shimmer)
• West (deep metallic brown shimmer)

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Currently the Urban Spectrum palette is SOLD OUT online at Sephora (Canada, not sure about the US site). However, my local Sephora had quite a few in stock. They also have this palette on sale and in stock on Urban Decay’s website. They offer free shipping over $50 CAD and you get three (generous) samples with you order. You can look below to see what I got with my lipstick order. Be aware however, shipping took forever with UD. I ordered on April 23rd and didn’t get my order until May 13th!!

The other awesome palette on sale is the UD Vice 4. Unfortunately for me, I picked this palette up when it was full price. Fortunately for me, I redeemed some Shopper’s Drug Mart points and got it (and some other goodies) for free. This is my first Vice palette and it actually appealed to me because alot of the shades are different from anything I own. The palette contains 20 shadows with a total weight of 0.6 oz. That said, I feel like the colors are all over the place. You need to have a some what experienced hand to know how to coordinate these colors. UD said the palette was inspired by an “oil slick ([further] inspired by [their] vintage shade name Oil Slick) into a palette filled with rich, deep jewel tones”. When I keep this in mind and think of oil puddles in a parking lot, I can see where they are going with it!!!! Some shades were more pigmented than others, however, I found the quality of all the shadows to be high and easy to blend. The shades range from mattes to metallics to glitter. The Vice 4 comes with a brush and carry bag, and there is a huge mirror located on the lid; perfect for travelling or doing your makeup on the go. UD knocked it out of the park AGAIN with this packaging. The holographic-esque webbing definitely reminds me of the shine in an “oil slick”. It’s so beautiful to look at!!

The shades:
• Bones (oyster satin w/pearl)
• Grip (taupe matte w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Deadbeat (black satin w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Beat Down (deep metallic violet w/blue micro-glitter)
• Pandemonium (metallic plum w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Framed (light neutral matte-satin)
• Fast-Ball (metallic peachy pink w/pink micro-glitter)
• 1985 (metallic fuchsia w/fuchsia micro-glitter)
• Underhand (burgundy-brown satin)
• Harlot (metallic lavender)
• Discreet (soft dusty mauve matte)
• Grasshopper (metallic emerald w/green micro-glitter)
• C-Note (frosted green w/micro-glitter)
• Arctic (bright teal w/tonal sparkle)
• Robbery (deep metallic brown-gunmetal)
• Bitter (reddish brown matte)
• Flame (bright orange w/gold micro-glitter)
• Low (brown matte w/iridescent micro-glitter)
• Crowbar (black w/golden metallic pearl and micro-glitter)
• Delete (deep chestnut brown matte-satin)

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Last I checked this was still available on Sephora’s sale page. But again, if it’s gone, call your local store. Urban Decay’s website is also clearing it out!!

And last but not least, the Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks!! All three formulas, sheer, original, and matte, are HALF PRICE!! That’s $13 CAD. You can get your hands on them at Sephora, online at Urban Decay, or in store at Shopper’s Drug Mart. I picked up 2, 4, 6 shades. I ordered 4 through UD for free shipping and then swatched at Sephora and picked up a few more. Ooppppps. Although UD shipping took forever, the samples were awesome. All of the formulas preform differently so I would suggest swatching in store to find what you like best, even if you plan on ordering online!! I picked up Native, Streak, Matte After Dark, Obsessed, Cat Fight (not shown), and Turn On (not shown).

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There you have it dolls!! Happy shopping!! I’m off to bed. ♡♡

The Ultimate Sample Bag

The Sephora Gods have heard me!!! I feel like I’m screaming “FINALLY!” at the top of my lungs. What an awesome VIB Rouge perk!! And available FREE with any $35 CAD purchase! $35!!! Of course Rouge’s get free shipping so that makes this perk a no brainer. Obviously I jumped on this one the second I got the email.

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This Ultimate Sample Bag comes with three full size items. These items are all apart of the Sephora Collection, a Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in Magenta Luster, a Rose Eye Mask, and a Colorful 5 Eyeshadow Palette in N°10 Milk To Dark Chocolate. These three items alone have a value of $57 CAD!!!!! And that’s not all, you also get a super cute black makeup bag with 8 generous deluxe samples. Use code CANROUGE at checkout. Don’t forget to pick your 3 additonal free samples!!

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Each sample bag includes:

• SEPHORA COLLECTION Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in Magenta Luster (Full Size 0.14 oz)
• SEPHORA COLLECTION Rose Eye Mask- Ultra Moisturizing & Brightening (Full Size 0.21 oz)
• SEPHORA COLLECTION Colorful 5 Eyeshadow Palette in N°10 Milk To Dark Chocolate (Full Size 0.17 oz)
• tarte Cheek Stain in Flush (Deluxe Sample 0.17 oz)
• Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara (Deluxe Sample 0.1 oz)
• BECCA Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse (Deluxe Sample 0.27 oz)
• Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer in Chocolate (Deluxe Sample 0.08 oz)
• Prada Candy Kiss Discovery Kit Trilogy featuring Prada Candy Eau de Parfum (0.05 oz), Prada Candy Florale Eau de Toilette (0.05 oz), and Prada Candy L’Eau Eau de Toilette (0.05 oz)
• Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask (Deluxe Sample 0.5 oz)
• Fresh Crème Ancienne® Soft Cream (Deluxe Sample 0.2 oz)
• Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (Deluxe Sample 0.16 oz)

So what are you waiting for?? If you are still reading this you have already wasted too much time …

*UPDATE* Look at this beauty!!! Ahhhh!! Plus my 3 extra packet samples!! LOVE!!
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The bag is HUGE! Like massive!!! It has a mesh divider sewn into the middle. It can easily hold an entire weekends worth of toiletries. All the colors of the samples are totally my shades, a hot pink liquid lip, shimmery brown and nude eyeshadows, a flushed cheek, and my holy grail favs They’re Real and Too Faced Chocolate Soleil. TBH I would have paid to get a bag with these items! ♡♡♡

Happy Birthday From Sephora!

Sephora has released their highly anticipated FREE 2016 birthday gifts. This has thrilled some Beauty Insiders, but has disappointed all many VIB Rouge members.

This year, they are offering two different two-piece sets. One gift is from Fresh Beauty and includes mini versions of their Soy Face Cleanser and Rose Face Mask. The other gift is from Marc Jacobs Beauty and includes a mini Le Marc Lip Creme in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and a mini Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer.

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But cue the disappointment for VIB Rouge’s everywhere, because there is NO special Rouge birthday gift this year. No extra product. And yes, this has been confirmed by Sephora. I understand that these birthday gifts are FREE, but it’s kind of a giant slap in the face when you spend over $1000 a year to be apart of their elite level. Especially when you consider all of the other cuts they have recently made to the program (don’t even get me started on how every “exclusive gift” is available to VIB’s).

It’s always great having a birthday at the end of the year and getting to pick up the gift first!! So what did I pick?! Duh. Marc Jacobs. I can not pass on lipstick … ever. And I looooooove MJ’s highliners. I already have this color, but a back up is always a bonus!!

Which gift are you hoping to grab on your birthday?!?!

NYX @ SDM = OMG

A few of my favorite acronyms in the same sentence. OMG. Have you heard?!? NYX Cosmetics is coming to Shopper’s Drug Mart! Finally. I cried over Target’s tragic goodbye. I hunted down Ulta locations when I was on vacation. And I stalked London Drugs NYX displays hunting for LE items. But no more! Because my favorite store and favorite drugstore brand are making love becoming one.

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Rumor has it that Shopper’s did not renew their contract with Almay and instead will be carrying NYX Cosmetics in it’s place. I’m not complaining. Looks like SDM will also be carrying Joe Fresh cosmetic products in 2016.

With a rewards program like Optimum, I have a feeling I will soon be the proud owner of the entire NYX line. Are you as excited as I am?!?! I apologize in advance if you can’t get your hands on any because I’m pretty sure it will all be in my makeup bag.

Life Happens

Shit happens. Life happens. Sometimes it happens all at once. Sometimes it happens one after the other. Sometimes it feels like it will never stop. But the journey is just as important as the destination. Sometimes things happen that we can not control. Sometimes it’s about letting go of the control. That’s my struggle. CONTROL. Control of my life. Control of my body. Control of my finances. Control of my time. Control of my emotions. When I lose control, I feel like I lose my happiness.

Happiness is about letting each moment be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.

That’s my problem, What I think it should be. I have so many expectations, of myself. But when life happens and alters situations, I have incredible difficulty altering my expectations to reflect the situation. When did the pressure to have everything “perfect” get taken so personally? When did I allow “loss of control” to equal “vulnerable”?

Sometimes stressful times need to be held. “Held” in the sense that sometimes we rely on others to carry our emotional burden when we aren’t strong enough to hold it ourselves. I’m a holder. If there is even such a thing. Maybe it’s the psychologist in me, but the people closest to me tend to turn to me first when times get tough. I can handle it. I can be honest. I can be blunt. I genuinely want to help be their emotional support. Why is it that I can be realistic with others, but with myself I’m lacking self empathy? Why is it okay for everyone else to be human, but towards myself I show no compassion? Why can I carry others emotional burdens but never expect anyone to carry mine?

Moral of this rant? When I’m find myself climbing a never ending uphill battle, carrying so much that I can’t possibly carry anymore, I’m going to stop beating myself up over the fact that my arms are full … and just get a wagon.

US Obsessions

So I’m Canadian. And all shopaholic Canadians know that shopping in the United States means BIG deals. OK.  Maybe not AS amazing right now, given the current dollar situation. But it’s still pretty damn good even when you take the exchange into consideration. Last summer, however, felt like robbery. Our dollar was good, really, really good, and prices were cheap, really, really cheap.

This summer, I had to take it easy on my spending during all of our roadtrips to Montana. Sometimes, even with exchange, you can save money. But it’s important to pay attention and do the calculations quickly to make sure it isn’t smarter to just buy it at home.

Two things I can’t resist buying?? Lip Balm and Gum. Yep. Gum and Lip Balm. Why?! Because the US gets so many cool foods and drinks and limited edition cosmetics that we just don’t get at home.

Every time I go, I find new and glorious beauties. Last year, I fell in love with the Stride Sour Patch Kids line of chewing gum. The year before, Extra Desserts Gum won my tastebuds. This year I screamed with delight when I found the Sour Patch Watermelon Gum. Omg, talk about a taste-gasm.

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I’m always way over the top and insist on buying multiple packs to last me through the year. Plus they are so fun to give to my friends. I love that they are sugar free, but totally kick sweet cravings. I’m not lying when I say I have a box (a recycled sephora gift box) filled with fun American gum flavors. Is that weird?!

My other favorite, Lip Balm. A true addiction. Why does the US get all the cool limited edition lines?! Canadians can find them but we have to order them online and spend a small fortune. So I stock up. Why not?! They make great “Happy Day” gifts. “Here have a pack of gum and a Chapstick just because you’re so fucking adorable“. Basically.

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My most recent additions:
• Vaseline Creme Brulee
• EOS Lemon Drop SPF 15
• Chapstick MixStix in Strawberry Banana Smoothie & Raspberry Lemon Sorbet*
• Blistex Orange Mango Blast SPF 15
• Chapstick Tropical Paradise Collection in Mango Sunrise
• Chapstick Tropical Paradise Collection in Aloha Coconut
• Chapstick Cupcake Creations Collection in Cake Batter
• Vaseline Rosy Lips

The best things about stocking up on balms is that I’m fully prepared for the dry winter months!! I swear I searched for the Rosy Lips for over a year before I finally tracked it down (and in stock) at Target in Kalispell, MT. Nothing beats Vaseline when your lips are hella chapped. Adding yummy scents like Creme Brulee, or hints of color like Rosy Lips, just makes Vaseline feel like a legit lip treatment. Compared to the days of digging in the entire Vaseline tub, and getting it all over your hands, just for some lip relief.

Chapstick has really stepped up their game. Long gone are the days of Cherry Chapstick. Their new flavors are amazing. I’m loving the LE collections! And they are only $1 USD. ONE DOLLAR?!?!?!? Shut up. The MixStix are so yummy and I love having the option to wear the balms alone or mix them together for a different experience.

Do you have any products that you stock up on when sales are good?! Do you have an obsession?!!

* I have since found the Chapstick MixStix balms in Canada at Shopper’s Drug Mart. I picked up the Carmel Apple one to complete my collection! ♡

Fab AND Free

Ommmgggggg. Get ready to spend your pennies! Murale (Shopper’s Drug Mart’s upscale Beauty Boutique) is offering a FABULOUS free gift with all $125 CAD purchases. The offer is valid in stores and online until September 20th!

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You get a cute bag filled with 24 samples. And they are 24 amazing samples. I would use every single one! Will you be making a purchase?! Don’t forget to bring your Shopper’s card to get your Optimum points!! ♡

Why I Cancelled Birchbox Canada …

I haven’t talked about Birchbox Canada since April’s missing box mix up. I decided I needed to give Birchbox a minimum of three more months to really get a feel for their products, designs, and business in general. In the end, I decided to cancel. Would I go back? Possibly. Would I recommend them to others? Yes. So why did I cancel? I’ll drop it down low, break it down month by month. Grab your popcorn. This is going to be a long one …

May’s Cupcakes and Cashmere Box

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My box arrived in a complete mess. My Laqa & Co Lip Lube was smeared all over my products. I was able to clean and salvage 4 of the 5 items I was sent. I immediately contacted Birchbox Canada via email. They responded promptly and solved the issue by sending me a brand new box. I though this was unbelievable customer service!! They put a huge effort into making sure to fix the damaged items. Two weeks passed, and no replacement. I emailed them again to get a tracking number on the replacement. They apologized and said it hadn’t been sent out yet (It was now June) and for the inconvenience, they were paying for my July box. Again, amazing customer service. Mistakes happen, and I understand. I love a company that can own up to their mistakes and go above and beyond to make their customers happy and satisfied.

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My May replacement box finally arrived, only a few days before my June box. I got a couple of repeats between the two boxes, but that’s more than ok!!! I got a few different items too. Before we get into my products, I just want to comment on how CUTE these themed boxes are! I absolutely loving finding ways to reuse them.

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First Box
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Products I Received:
• Rusk Paste
• W3LL People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara
• Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush (not pictured, damaged)
• BeeKind Body Lotion
• Laqa & Co Lip Lube in Menatour

I loved everything in this box, except the fragrance (Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush). This was my 3rd Birchbox and already my 2nd fragrance. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m sensitive to fragrance. I’m picky with my scents. I’m not impressed by receiving samples of things I can get for free with any Sephora order. Birchbox claims to only send a maximum of 6 fragrances in a year, so far they have used up 33% of that promise … Plus, I hated this scent. I’m a citrus, fruity kind of girl. Floral, earthy scents are so NOT my thing. This was the item that was completely damaged for me. The effort to clean it was not worth it to me. Especially since the card it was in was a death trap of purple Menatour stain.

The Rusk Paste is great for taming flyaways in an updo. However, I feel this product would be a better fit for someone with a short hairstyle. It claims to “set” all styles. I have such fine, thin hair, that I found it extremely difficult to find a balance and not appear greasy.

The W3LL People mascara is an awesome all natural mascara. It’s so nice to have a product free of chemicals and dyes. Don’t expect this mascara to mimic the look of falsies!! It’s all natural and gives an “all natural” look. It made my blonde lashes pop and helped to define my eyes, but it didn’t give me extreme, night out worthy lashes. This mascara is perfect for a quick swipe and go, a minimalist look, or an all around easy, daily mascara. The mascara lasted through out the day, but on one day in particular I was out sunning and was wearing sunscreen. The oils in the sunscreen made the mascara smudge under my eyes. Not a huge deal for me, but this mascara will not hold up in any heat/humidity type of situation. I’d suspect the same would happen with oily skin, as sunscreened faces tend to mimic oily complexions.

The BeeKind Body Lotion was a pleasant surprise. I used the tube up almost immediately. It smelled like the most heavenly lemon zest oasis. It absorbed quickly. And it helps support the world’s bee population! My inital reaction was “another lotion …”. But I was quickly turned to “another Fanfuckingtastic lotion that I NEED in my life”. The end.

Last but not least, I finally received a Laqa & Co Lip Lube. I have watched these make the rounds in the subscription box world, but I somehow managed to miss getting them, every time. I received the shade Menatour, a gorgeous purple. I was super excited to get this shade because purple and blue are so hot right now! These pencils are convenient and perfect for on the go, no sharpener needed. They have a light minty scent and are “sheer”. I use the word “sheer” very lightly. I personally found AMAZING color payoff from this Lip Lube. They are glossy and moisturizing. I absolutely love the formula, they are so awesome for an easy no fuss lip without any color compromise. I totally recommend them. In fact, I bought FIVE full size Lip Lubes because I was so in love.

Second (Replacement) Box
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Products I Received:
• Rusk Paste
• W3LL People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara
• Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush
• Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer
• Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol

The Raw Spirit Fragrance Desert Blush is pictured above; this box arrived without any issues or problems. Even though the fragrance arrived without any mess, I still won’t be using it, duh. As for the other items, I’ll just be talking about the two different products that I received.

The Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer is so nice. It’s made with avacado and olive oils. You can use it on your face or even your body if you find yourself in need of extra moisture. I love how thick this cream is, but it doesn’t leave skin greasy. I brought this mini with me on my trip to Mexico to keep my sun parched skin extra happy.

I’m all about serums lately. I feel like I get so many more benefits out of my moisturizer if I use a serum first. I live in a ridiculously dry climate, and sometimes the most hydrating of moisturizers are still not enough for my skin. I was thrilled to receive the Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol. This is a great all around serum, providing anti aging benefits. It also claims to shrink the look of pores, however I don’t have large pores and didn’t really notice a difference. I would be interested to see if anyone did notice a difference??

Overall, May had a few issues but they were resolved and I got a few extra products out of it. Fair! The inital box I was sent was a good fit for me. I had an even mix of makeup versus other beauty products (excluding the fragrance). I was thrilled to finally receive a mini Laqa & Co Lip Lube, even though I had to clean it off of everything. My replacement box was great as a replacement, but I’m happy it wasn’t my inital box pick, too much skincare and not enough makeup for this blondie.

June’s Adventure Box

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I loved (LOVED) the three box designs for June. I loved the sayings and the ombre colors! I was secretly hoping for the “Say Yes” box, even though I loved them all. I’m not engaged yet, but when the day comes, I already know that this box will make an amazing keepsake box. I will save it for years to come, if need be, just to fill it with memories. I was also thrilled that this box arrived without a hitch. That is if you discount the fact that we were all promised a FULL SIZE Eyeko Fat Liquid Liner. A liner that I was very excited to receive. Disappointment arrived a few weeks before my box when I found out that Eyeko was stuck at the border due to “customs issues” and we wouldn’t be receiving it. Naturally, I had hoped Birchbox would send a different full size item, but they didn’t.

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They did send a “bonus” item, a stretchy headband. Although this was a nice addition, it didn’t make up for the Eyeko in my opinion.

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Products I Received:
• Beauty Protector Beauty Wash Body Cleanser
• Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Eyeshadow Quad in Desert Bloom
• PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray
• Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel
• Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
• Pura Vida Lace Headband with Charm

Another box with mainly skincare and haircare, and minimal makeup. The Beauty Protector Beauty Wash Body Cleanser came in a super cute white bottle with pink detail. I totally plan to refill this for use when travelling or at the gym. The body wash itself was sub par. It had a slightly sweet scent and did it’s job. I prefer frothy, foamy, sudsy glory. A rich lather and a strong yummy scent. I felt like the wash only semi preformed in those two categories. Yes, I was clean. But I didn’t get to play in mounds of foamy bubbles first.

I was thrilled to receive the Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Eyeshadow Quad in Desert Bloom. First, because I loved my Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer duo that I received in a past ipsy bag. I have wanted to try something else by this brand for a while now. And second, because I have been dying to try the so called “Naked” dupe Coastal Scents palettes. Now the Revealed 3, specifically, has not been compared as a “dupe” (1 & 2 were), but it would allow me to get an idea of the quality of the shadows. I love the colors included in this quad. Beautiful gold, brown, and burgundy/mauve shades. The quality is decent given the price point. But let’s be real, if the other palettes are a “dupe”, they are really just a budget friendly alternative. These by no means compare to the smooth, extremely pigmented, amazing quality of my Urban Decay babies. The Coastal Scents shadows were still nicely pigmented, went on easily and lasted through out the day. Would I buy the palette? No. I would save my cash for the next UD beauty. Would I recommend the palette to a budget conscious babe? Absolutely.

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PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray, Birchbox did you read my mind?!?! I wanted a Sea Salt Spray. Perfect for effortless beachy waves, and even more perfect for when you don’t want to fight with your hair over the heat and humidity of the summer months. The spray was exactly what I was looking for. A non drying product that turned me into a beachy sex goddess. A++++ Birchbox – a hair product that I’m super excited for!!

I’m so nervous to try the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel!! I have super sensitive skin and I’m worried about what this “peel” will do to it. It is acid free and claims to be gentle, but I’m still scared. Has anyone tried it??? I’m also curious if it will take my summer glow away, aka peel off my tan. I’m giving myself a few more months to work up the courage to try the peel. And if I still haven’t tried it, I’ll pass it on to a brave friend. I have a feeling the product will be wonderful and I don’t want it to go to waste.

Finally, I received Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels. These are sooooo refreshing. They are a must for DIY spa days. I feel that they would be AMAZING for relaxing after little sleep. Like on a Red Eye flight, or after pulling an all nighter due to university papers, too much tequila, or newborn babies … (hopefully not all at once). I feel like my eyes instantly looked refreshed and hydrated after use. Eyes are the first to show signs of stress and aging. All the more reason to give them a little extra special love and treatment.

As for my bonus item, the Pura Vida Lace Headband, it is actually super cute. I swear I have an odd shaped head, because headbands never stay on (except for the hard “U” shaped ones). I put the band on, even secure it with bobby pins, and it will just fly off. Legit, fly off. Like pop of the back of my head and hit whatever poor soul is checking out my ass walking behind me. But it was still soooo adorable, so I re gifted it!!

June’s box arrived without any issues, but it was met with extreme disappointment that I (we) wouldn’t be receiving the Eyeko. Overall, I feel meh about my box. I loved 3/5 products (3/6 if you count the headband), and that’s not a high enough ratio for me to be satisfied, especially when my other beauty subscriptions are knocking it out of the park.

July’s Best Health Box

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For the month of July, Birchbox teamed up with Best Health Magazine, even offering a subscription offer. Again, another super cute box design. I think the themed boxes are becoming one of my favorite Birchbox features. It’s a unique twist, exclusive to Birchbox.

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The Best Health Magazine offer was a discount on their subscription service. The promotion was an offer for a year of monthly magazines for $18.97 (45% off the cover price of $34.93). I was expecting a free issue or special deal. This was basically the deal card they include in the pages of the magazine. In other words, available to ANYONE simply by opening up the pages.

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Products I Received:
• Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo
• Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
• Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
• Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser
• Bain de Terre Argan Oil & Passion Flower Color Therapy Styling Oil

Right off the bat I thought I had a repeat item. Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo. A repeat after only 5 boxes?! No, it isn’t a repeat, but rather a different type of shampoo. I didn’t like the Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo I got in my March box. The smell was terrible. The shampoo was meh. I’m not overly thrilled to try another type by the same company. However, major points for the cute elephant on the front of the bottle.

Vasanti!! Yes I LOVE Vasanti. This is another item I have seen making the rounds in subscription boxes. I’m thrilled (beyond thrilled actually) that I received the Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator in my box. They are such an amazing Canadian brand! They have great makeup and skincare products. This scrub was just as phenomenal as I had hoped it would be. The micro crystals are so fine and smooth. They polish away dull and dry skin in no time. This scrub didn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all. It left my face looking and feeling fresh and healthy. The recommendation was to use it 3 to 5 times per week. But for sensitive, fair skin like mine, I wouldn’t use it more than twice a week tops.

A scrub and a cleanser this month. Another cleanser to blend into the mix of cleansers I have accumulated. This is a really nice cleanser though! Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser is, well, organic, surprise. It is also fine to use on sensitive skin and focuses on not striping the skin of its moisture. So so so important for me to find in a cleanser. This is the perfect size to take on a trip or in an overnight bag.

A product I know and love. A “Holy Grail” kind of product for me. Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara, my absolute favorite mascara. If I had to pick only one mascara to use for the rest of my life, it would be this one. I love the brush. It’s a plastic brush, but I absolutely love what it does for my lashes. Lifts, separates, volumizes, and lengthens. They really do look like falsies. I have read that people have a really hard time removing this mascara. I personally have never had that problem. A wet cotton pad and waterproof remover works wonders. Coconut oil or cold cream works well in a pinch.

My final item was a mini vial of Bain de Terre Argan Oil & Passion Flower Color Therapy Styling Oil. Another oil from another subscription box. This works to smooth flyaways and can be put into hair wet or dry. I prefer to style my hair by adding it wet. On static filled days I will rub a teeny TINY amount between my hands and quickly run through my dry styled hair. It’s a great product, but it’s a great one among many.

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This was and will be my final Birchbox. I love two of the products I got this month but the other three were just mediocre. It’s not that they were bad products, they just weren’t for me or the types of products I’m looking for in a subscription service.

Here is an overview of the things I found during my five months with Birchbox Canada. The good and the not so good.

The love mes:
• The price ($10 CAD + $4.95 CAD shipping) is in Canadian Dollars. Meaning the price is fixed. Right now with the low CAD to USD, it’s nice to know exactly what the charge will be every month.
• Birchbox has started making themed boxes. They are so cute and so nice to reuse for storage or gifting.
• All boxes come with a detailed card outlining the products with descriptions and full size prices.
• Birchbox has an amazing shop. They have great items available, and you get points for the money you spend. Every month the featured items from boxes ship for free. This is a great deal for Canadian members.
• The points system is one of the best programs available in a subscription service. 10 points for every review (5 items in a box!). 1 point for every $1 spent in the shop. 50 points for every referral. Every 100 points gets you $10 to use in the shop. It’s that easy. And you can use it on any full size product they offer (you can’t use it for your subscription service).
• They have amazing customer service. If there is a problem they will fix it for you. And not just fix it, they make up for the inconvenience. I always heard back in a timely manner. No email went unanswered. Cancelling your subscription is also super easy to do. Literally a click of a button.

The love me nots:
• A missing designer box, a box that was damaged and all over the contents inside, a promised Eyeko that never made it into our box … all of these things were an annoyance. Yes, they were resolved, but it’s easier when everything goes smoothly.
• Birchbox is much more geared to a wide selection of beauty products. Skincare, hair care, and at least one makeup item. I prefer makeup, so this is only a “love me not” because of my personal preferences. If I’m going to get more skincare type items, I prefer higher end brands, to brands I have never heard of. In Canada, finding these unique brands, and having them not cost a fortune to ship, can be pretty difficult.
• Although the shop has amazing products, and a phenomenal points program, there is a hidden fee when Canadians purchase over $20 CAD, an International Handling Fee. It can turn a cheap purchase into a splurge. However, if you save up your points and wait for something you like to be a featured monthly item, you can get a great deal and end up only paying the CAD handling fee. In addition, they sometimes have combo packs for featured products that allow you to get multiple products and save.
• Birchbox CA recently stopped operating a separate social media account. They have now merged with Birchbox’s sites. This can be confusing and frustrating to Canadian customers because not all of the options for US customers available to us. Like products offered or the ability to pick your samples.

Overall, I think Birchbox Canada is an amazing subscription service. Especially if you are looking for a wide range of beauty products and tools. I mean we can’t forget that EVERYBODY got a Beauty Blender. I would totally resubscribe for another amazing offer like that. You can also have faith giving your money to this company. They will make it right no matter what, and you can cancel at anytime with no issues.

So that, my beauty bitches, is why I would “say yes” to anyone who asks if they should try Birchbox CA. But it is also why this girly cancelled!! ♡♡