Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why I quit Birchbox

Every blog seems to love subscription services lately.  Who wouldn't?  We all love mail, and paying once a month to get a fun package that you don't quite expect but are highly anticipating- so fun!

After reading blog after blog about the wonder of birchbox ( ) about a year and a half ago I felt like I had to try it.  I signed up, waited on the waitlist for a while and got an email that my monthly subscription would be coming the next month.

Then came month after month of delayed packages and lost packaged.  I have a roommate and we both ordered it at the same time, and would get our shipping confirmations at the same time.  However, our packages would arrive three weeks to a month apart.  Two or three times the packages never arrived, and we had to call and get a second package shipped.  Their customer service department was sweet as can be, but this hassle wasn't worth the products I got.

I love makeup and trying new makeup, and am fine with perfume now and then.  But every month I would get a perfume sample, often the same Juicy Couture one I had received before.  These are the same perfume samples you can pick up for free if you go into Nordstrom and ask for them- so that was frustrating.  Additionally, you do not get "deluxe" samples, you get small packets of face wash and body cream, that often are good for half of one use and there is barely anything in the packet.  No thank you!  I wanted more out of my subscription service.

I started searching...

Bring in the ipsy glam bag !  This subscription service is only $10 a month ( same price as Birchbox) but offers deluxe samples, high-end makeup (think Nars orgasm blush, great quality mascara, actual bottles of lotions and hand creams- amazing things!).  Not only that- but each month in your package you get an adorable little cosmetic bag to tote your cute new things around.  They come packaged in these cute little cosmetic pouches, which are so useful for the pool, beach, or my bag for work!

The March glam bag was a precious anchor print and came with some amazing scores.  Unlike Birchbox, everyone gets the same thing- so you won't see a blog post where some famous blogger got high end cosmetics and you got last months things again (cough Birchbox!).  Shown above is March's glambag, where I received a pouch of to-go makeup removers- so useful!  Then there was a magnetic compact with some wonderful eyeshadows by GlamRX and a mirror, and a deluxe (key word here ladies...) spray bottle of organic hydrating mist for face or hair.  So fun and useful!  

What do you think?  Do you love your Birchbox?  Have you tried other subscription services?  

I also adore julep for a monthly nail polish and beauty supply fix, and am currently OBSESSED with pvBody or Ellie (their company just switched names)- a $50 a month designer workout clothing subscription where you can pick your clothes or have them pick an outfit. 

How do you feel about subscription services?  What's your favorite?

High Five for Friday

My first High Five for Friday Post!

1.  We live fifteen hours (at least!) from all of our family and friends back home, so care packages are always welcomed with open hearts and a sweet reminder of the wonderful people who love us and raise us.  My sweet Great Aunt Grace sent me the most darling package as she was cleaning out her house.  I worked at a Mexican restaurant in high school (bring on the chips and salsa addiction!) and she thought of me when she found a collection of hispanic-styled cooking supplies and shipped them to us for our new kitchen.  So sweet!
2.  Our closet completely came CRASHING down in the middle of the night.  But it's a high five because I did some major cleaning out, aka now I justified going on some major online shopping sprees and got more of my favorite shirts (urban outfitters daydreamer la - they are a DREAM to wear with anything.  Similar fabric and fit to those fabulous PIKO shirts everyone is talking about, at a fraction of the cost.  I seriously have multiples, in every color.  And 3 black, and 2 grey.  Not a problem at all...)

3.  After days on days of color-coordinated spreadsheets and address-checking from the West Coast to England, our wedding invitations are all DONE and MAILED OUT.  Check!

4.  I teach seventh grade science and my kids and I had a BLAST playing Connect Four on the smartboard as a review game of cell organelles.  Love when the kids actually connect with a lesson :) 

5.  Tonight for dinner Chris and I ordered in sushi and Chinese, and this was his fortune.  Perfect, because we got reminded that there are only 63 short days until our wedding - thus 64 short days until our Caribbean honeymoon cruise.  Take me away to warm sand beaches and a margarita, please!

What are your high fives for Friday?

Linked up with Lauren at From my Grey Desk for this high five for friday :)

Wedding and Marriage Planning

Planning a wedding from fifteen hours away has been the ideal circumstance for my fiancé and myself.

When we got engaged last June 4, one of the first things we talked about was how we did not want to jump right into wedding planning.  We wanted to really embrace this season, be happy and celebrate us for right now, and just have fun at this special time that we would never ever have again.  You really are only engaged to that special person one time, and that time is too often bogged down with stress over cake-tasting and dress-fittings, matching table-linens and candle colors, meeting with seventeen different florists to pick the perfect sized roses to accompany your arrangements.  We vowed not to do that.

We live in Memphis and are getting married in our hometown in Maryland, and so for a large part, most of that decision was made for us.  Honestly, my mom has called me an apathetic-zilla instead of a bride-zilla because I refuse to sweat the details of this wedding.  It will be beautiful, people will come, it will be an unforgettable celebration of sweet love.  Will it be a performance?  Holy smokes, no.  Will I be screaming at florists and caterers because some shade of yellow is just slightly off and the roses are the wrong size?  My word, I plan not to!

We intentionally planned very slowly, with the mindset that we knew what we wanted to happen and it would all work out.  We are getting married in my parents' church where we met as middle schoolers on a mission trip when I was 10 and Christopher was 12.  The ceremony will be at five in the afternoon, technically not black tie, but late enough in the day that the reception will be dark and dancing and drinking can ensue under sparkling lights and tulle.  The men ordered tan suits, I bought the third dress I tried on from a boutique in Maryland.  I don't have shoes yet- I will wear white and gold Jack Rogers or my cowboy boots and be comfortable and feel pretty.

We booked a caterer, ordered tents for my parents' property (we're doing the reception in their backyard) and bought our flowers from Costco (who knew- they have a wedding florist!  It runs about 1/4 of the cost of private florists and the arrangements are simple and gorgeous.  Exactly what we are going for.  Plain yellow roses.  Delightful!)

The honeymoon is booked, I bought my invitations from and they are to DIE for, and I handwrote all of them in one weekend infront of an endless SVU marathon on my couch.  Sent them out this Monday.

These are the invites we ordered, but all the writing was in navy blue embossed type, no odd swirly thing at the top? and then our envelopes had navy blue inserts.  But we did have the yellow around the outsides of the invites and reception cards/response cards.  All navy and yellow!

There is too much stress about wedding planning, and not nearly enough emphasis on marriage planning.  Christopher and I know we are getting married, and that the wedding will be a very important, special and magical day. But more important, special and magical will be our marriage.  We want to focus our efforts, prayers, concerns and energy on planning for that.  We are taking pre-marital counseling at a church here in Memphis, which is a prerequisite to get married in the Presbyterian church.  But it's been fascinating to answer the questions and have the honest conversations, to hear about one another's childhoods in a raw honest form.

More-so than premarital counseling, Chris and I moved in with each other and living together before marriage has been so good for our relationship.  I am so so glad that we did this before we got married. It has set up the most wonderful foundation for our marriage, and much more than wedding planning, I am so happy we are mutually focused on marriage planning.  We now know who hates folding laundry, who really struggles with early mornings, who needs to listen to music in the shower to calm down.  We understand who appreciates help with groceries, who needs to  be alone after work and what it looks like when one of us really just needs a hug.  We understand who listens to rock music when they're angry, who cleans as a way of dealing with stress.  We now know so much more about ourselves and one another than we ever did before.  We are marriage planning rather than wedding planning, and it is the best decision we could have made for our future success as husband and wife.

How did you plan for a marriage instead of just your wedding?
Any wedding planning advice?