April Birchbox

About 6 months or so ago a friend turned me onto the magical world of Birchbox.  For $10 a month you get a variety of samples of beauty products – usually new ones but sometimes they are old favorites.  I love trying new products (I’m a product tester for Amazon) so this was straight up my alley!  The first couple months though I have to say they were ho-hum boxes.  A few good things but mostly meh.  After that though they started getting good and since then I haven’t been disappointed.  Last month’s “Teen Vogue” box was a definite hit with a twist band hair band, full size Essie nail polish, a sample of Kate Spade’s Twirl perfume, a beauty blender (I am already asking how I lived so long without one!) and more.

This month I think is another hit!  Each month has a theme of sorts and this month is “Natural Wonders.”

Here’s what the box looks like when you open it up from the postal box.

The box is simple but pretty and very sturdy.

When you upen it up you will find the card describing the month’s theme and a letter from the Birchbox team with the flipside telling you about your products.

I was taking these pictures as I opened the box so I was good and didn’t flip because I wanted to be surprised.

April Birchbox sample beauty products

All of the pretty pretty products!!!!

From L to R what the products are and the prices.

Pangea Organics Facial Scrub.  $32

Pangea Organics Eye Cream.  $55

Benta Berry G-1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser.  $16

Wonderstruck Taylor Swift.  $49.50 – $59.50

Pangea Organics Lip Balm.  $12

Weleda Pomegranate Firming Day Cream.  $33

I’m surprised that none of these products are crazy expensive.  Generally there is at least one product in each box that is pretty high end and makes you love to try it but then you love to hate it because you don’t want to buy it!  LOL.  I love being able to try a variety of face creams because my skin is sensitive and I have the craziest randomest allergies EVER so I never know what will make me break out in hives.  So far my running favorite moisturizer has been Fix Malibu The Works.  Amazing, amazing stuff.  I’ve been testing out some others but I may be going back to this as my go-to full size.

Since I literally just got this hours ago I haven’t tried all of the products but as a self confessed lip balm junkie I dove right into the one included and I have to give it a thumbs up!  I do like it, there isn’t much of a taste, the smell is divine and it seems to last pretty long.  No hives or blisters either which is a huge relief after my lips broke out in blisters after the Jouer Lip Enhancer which I was SO excited to try!  It felt amazing until the blisters :(.  I also have to say Wonderstruck smells amazing too.  It reminds me of another perfume though and I can’t place it!  It’s driving me mad!

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Books You Should Read | Outlander Series

I can’t recall when I finally picked up the Outlander series and began reading it, but I want to say in was 2000 or so. A friend whom is also an avid reader had told me about the series and it piqued my interest as I’ve always loved time travel novels.  I think it all goes back to my love affair with Christopher Pike so I’ve always loved anything with a touch of fantasy in it.  I remember going into Walden Bookstores and having a dickens of a time locating this novel because I was under the assumption it was a romance but it was filed with sci-fi.  I don’t miss those days of scouring book shelfs trying to find a novel (or waiting to get the next in a series ordered in to your store!).  Thank god for Amazon and Kindle.  I digress.  When I picked this book up (and the next 2 in the series) I was a bit intimidated by their immense size.  This is NOT a small book by any means.  I am a fairly fast reader but I even was a bit overwhelmed by the mass of this book.  However I quickly found out that the pace is so fast you never feel like this book is dragging.

Outlander is the first novel of the series and sets up the framework quite nicely but I also feel it could easily be a stand alone novel.  Her later novels in the series do leave you hanging a bit at the end but I’ve always loved how this novel finishes and doesn’t leave one completely in the dark.  The series is currently up to 7 books and the next will be released next year (which I am anxiously awaiting for as the last ending was a cliffhanger).  If you start this series, make sure you have time eked out in your reading schedule because I almost promise you that you will not want to stop at one.

This series follows Jamie, a Scottish Highlander from the 1700’s and Claire, a time traveler from the 1940’s.  I will try not to spoil too much for you (a HUGE pet peeve of mine when reading online reviews) but I will say there are a few other people that the story involves as the series progresses.  When someone told me what this book was about I kind of rolled my eyes thinking it’d be too over the top but I must say this is one of the best written fantasies I’ve ever read.  The time travel in this book is completely believable and makes sense in a way.  Since I love history, I also enjoy how Gabaldon intertwines history with Jamie and Claire.  It’s hard to describe but trust me when I say it’s well done and you’ll feel like you were there alongside them for much of the major events.

If you like Outlander, you also may want to check out Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John series which is a series of novels about a minor character from the Outlander series (none but The Scottish Prisoner involve Jamie but he is referenced here and there).  These novels are MUCH quicker reads than their Outlander brothers.  I also would recommend Sara Donati’s Into the Wilderness series as well.  There are a few minor characters that are in the Wilderness and Outlander novels and they have a lot of similar elements (I believe the authors are friends).  This series just wrapped up last year and I was so sad to see it go.  That being said, it’s one of my favorite endings of a series ever.

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