January Popsugar MustHave Box Will Keep You Clean & Organized


Popsugar Must Have, $40+tax/month, lifestyle products
Promo: $5 off your first box with code MUSTHAVE5
I paid $23.5 + tax, as part of an annual subscription
Box retail value: $97 
My value: $ 78
Canceling subscription: Painless, through website.

Popsugar Must Have is a monthly box that includes six items plus a small extra. There is usually a piece of jewelry or another accessory, a make-up or beauty item, an edible treat and three other lifestyle items.  The items follow a general theme, though one vague enough to include mostly anything.  They are often from small design houses and it’s a great way to be introduced to items you might never see otherwise, or pay full price for.  There isn’t much consistency between boxes, so they can very much be hit or miss.  They are usually a good value, though sometimes they include items which are purposely overpriced. The box often includes coupons, though I don’t usually use them.

popsugar mh jan

The theme of January’s box was “Renewal, Organization, Detox, New Year, Healthy Habits” – basically, a theme per item.  It had a variety of items to help you renew and re-organize.  While I wasn’t super excited about anything in particular, I did end up using all but one item so I was quite happy with the box.  It had a total retail value of.

This is what I got:

IMG_2019Pehr Designs Pebble Speck Bin, $40

This is a rather large cotton bin. It has a 13″ diameter, and it’s a foot high.  It’s large enough to hold a couple of throws or a whole bunch of scarfs. It’s pretty sturdy though not terribly so, so you won’t want to put anything terribly heavy in it.  I’m happy to have this one and I wouldn’t mind swapping for others.

Pehr, the company that makes it, what started in 2010 by two life-long friends and it features “classically simple yet modern home accessories” that are designed in Canada and are “responsibly” made in India.
IMG_2014Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class to the Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, $19

Japanese “decluttering guru” Marie Kondo has a huge following of people.  I’m not one of them. Even if I wanted to be one, I live with three other people, including one that will not throw anything away, no matter who inconsequential and useless it is.  So I could read the book and feel even more frustrated at the messiness in my life, or I could try to swap it. I’m going for the latter.
IMG_2016Blue Sky Day Designer Blue Casebound 2016 Weekly/Monthly 5 x 8 Planner, $16

This planner matches in color the jewelry box we got in the last Popsugar MH box.  It’s not my favorite color, but my daughter loves it.  Still, she already had a planner so I kept this one.  I’m not really a planner person, but I’m making the effort to use it.  Many people complained that they shouldn’t have sent the planner in the middle of January, as most people have bough one by then – and I think they have a point.

I do like how this planner is organized, it has a month at a glance with a small squares for major activities, and then pages for each week, with spaces for activities and to/do lists for each day.   Not that I have used these features yet.

It was designed in collaboration with Whitney English, a planner designer.

Patchology FlashMasque Trio, $20

I love sheet masks! These are face masks made of paper or cloth that are soaked on facial serum.  You put them on your face and go around your business, while looking like a mummy. Most masks say you should keep them for 20 minutes, these one say 5, but I don’t think it really makes a difference.

I like these masks, but I can’t say I like them 7 times more than the $1 masks I get at the dollar store.

Not Soap, Radio Bath & Shower Gel Sampler, $7

These are 5 1-oz samples of shower gel/bubble bath by the Not Soap, Radio company.  They each have an inspirational name (e.g. “calm”, “luck”), and they smell nicely.  I prefer to use soap in the shower, so I gave these to my daughters.

Note that while Popsugar MH and No Soap, Radio list this set as having a retail value of $22, you can buy a set with 7 2-oz bottles for $20, so I think the “real” retail value of this is set is just $7.  I really hate it when Popsugar MH tries to inflate the value of the items it includes!

IMG_2011Project 7 Sugar Free Gum in Summer Snow, .55 oz, $2

My kids absolutely loved this gum and they want me to get them more. Project 7 makes them in a number of other intriguing flavors, like birthday cake and kettle corn.  They are supposed for sale at Target and some supermarkets.
ChapStick Total Hydration in Soothing Vanilla, $3

This was the extra item in the box (the extras tend to be items that companies pay to have included).  I gave it to my daughter who was very pleased with it. She didn’t think it tasted particularly of vanilla, but she liked the natural formula and how hydrating it was.  She’d like me to get her more of these.

Birchbox’s January Welcome Box Disappoints


Birchbox: beauty samples, $10/month
Promo: 5BOXGIFT to get your first box for $5+tax
I paid: $0 (see below)
Box retail value: $35

Canceling: painless, through website

Birchbox is a monthly subscription which sends you five beauty samples every month,  generally a mixture of skin/haircare and makeup.  It comes in a cute little box that you can reuse.  You can review each sample and receive 10 points and exchange 100 points for $10 off products sold in their online store, including gift subscriptions to their box. When you subscribe, you can fill out a questionnaire telling Birchbox what type of products interest you, though you may still get products you don’t care for.  Lately, Birchbox has allowed subscribers to choose between a curated box that has known samples and a mystery box, with a choice of selecting one sample from a limited array, while supplies last.


I usually use the points I accumulate from reviewing items to buy myself gift subscriptions. This box was the first box of a new 3-month subscription. That meant that instead of getting the January box, I got a “welcome box” with assorted items, both from new and past boxes.  Unfortunately, this time around only one item worked for me.  While this box had a total value of $35.5 , much higher than last month’s, my own value was $4. On the plus side, I did complain to customer service about getting two substandard boxes in a row, and they gave me 100-points to make up for it.  Birchbox’s customer service is great.

This is what I got:


Eyeko Fat Liquid Liner, full size: 3.5 g. $16

It’s made in China, need I say more?

IMG_1994Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm, 3 ml, $3.5

This is a pretty small sample, less than 1/5 the regular size, but it’s just as well as the balm is 100% lanolin and it’ s made in China.  Lanolin can be very good for chapped nipples, but I can think of many things I rather put on my lips that the oil from sheep’s wool.

IMG_1990Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum – Medium to Coarse hair, .5 oz, $9

This is supposed to make your hair shinier, softer and more manageable.  Alas, I have fine hair and neither of my daughters wants any more hair products, so this is up for swap. It’ s made in Israel.


Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence Eau de Parfum, 2 ml vial, $3

This is a basic oriental floral. If you like that type of perfume, this one seems to have a nice balance of sharpness and softness and smell both feminine and feminist at the same time.  I don’t personally like this type of perfumes, however.

Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Green Tea, 15 ml, $4

This cream is very moisturizing but not as quickly absorbing as  I would like – on the other hand, hopefully this means it’ll leave my hands moisturized for longer.  I like how light it is and sort of like the scent, which is more citric than green tea.  It’s made in the USA

January’s Glossybox is full of useful samples


Glossybox: beauty products, $21/month
Promo: save 20% your first box by clicking on link above (limited time promo)
I paid: $9
Box retail value: $40

Glossybox is a monthly subscription which sends you five beauty items every month,  generally a mixture of skin care and makeup and of full size and travel sizes. They started in Europe so they often send out European brands that are new in America.

Glossybox’s regular price is $21 a month, but it’s a good idea to be in the look for special offers. I got a year subscription through a Gilt deal and I ended up paying just $9 a box, an amazing value.


Items come in a very pretty, sturdy box that can be easily reused (just put a sticker to cover the brand name).  In January we got the regular pink box, though some months they have special designs. The presentation inside the box is also first class.
Beware that shipping of boxes can be erratic.  I got this during the third week of January, but I didn’t get my December box until the end of the month.

Glossybox also allows you to fill out surveys on the items you’ve gotten in exchange for “glossydots” which you can then exchange for a box, though it’ll take  you many months to save enough dots for that to happen.


I was fairly happy with this month’s box.  I got two makeup items, two skin care items and a hair item that I’ll actually use.  Alas, only one item (a cheap lip crayon) was full size.  The box had a total value of around $40, which is not great if you paid full size and you don’t like all the items. Still, I was happy with four of them and paid less, so I was quite happy with it.   This is what I got:

MeMeMe Lip Glide in Playful Peach, full size, $12.50

This lip crayon gets pretty good reviews. It’s supposed to have a lot of tint and last all day. Alas, the color is just not me. It would probably look good on my girls, and it can be used as a lip primer (really?), but I’ll probably try to swap it. I like that it’s made in Poland – what else is?.
Royal Apothic Cream Creme in Cutting Garden, 1.25 oz sample, $4.5

I have a feeling that this body cream is all style and no substance, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to try it. I love that it comes in a metal tube and in a box. The price is ridiculous, of course. It comes sealed so I won’t actually open it until I’m ready to use it. Made in the USA.


Emite Makeup Diamond Heart Base Primer, 15 ml sample, $12

For a reason I don’t quite understand, primer is super expensive.  But since my daughter started wearing it, she cannot do without it!  Fortunately, it seems to be primer season for subscription boxes so I get to stock up.  I couldn’t find much about this primer other than the fact that it has a soft peach color which blends away and that the tube is very full.  It’s a little under half the size of the full size one.   It was developed in Sweden but made in Italy, ’cause salaries must be much lower down there.


417 Foot Nourishing Cream in Ocean, 1.7 oz sample, $9

I’ve been getting quite a few foot creams lately, but I’m not complaining. I know that I will use them.  I’m not as good in moisturizing my feet as I should be, but it makes such a difference when I do! This one is made in Israel.  It has a light fruity, beachy smell.  The sample is half the size of the full size.


Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse Gentle Clarifying Treatment, 2 oz sample, $1.

This is a product that you use in the shower after the conditioner. It supposedly helps get rid of build up and restore PhBalance.  The 2 oz bottle has just 2 applications, so this is all in all an expensive product in a per-use basis.  I don’t think I have much in the way of product buildup, but I’ll be happy to try it. It doesn’t say where it’s made, but I’m not as particular with products I put on my hair and wash off.

January’s Beauty Fix is fit for an American Girl doll


Beauty Fix, $25+tax/month, beauty products
Promo: First box, $12.50+tax, no promo needed
I paid $12.50+tax
Box retail value: $
Cancelling subscription: by calling or doing online chat with customer service, no explanation needed

Beauty Fix is a monthly beauty subscription box from DermStore, an online beauty store and offshoot of Target which specializes in upscale brands. Their monthly boxes include an assortment of beauty products, though there is an emphasis on skin care. Boxes have around 8-9 products, a mixture of full size, deluxe samples and foils/tiny samples.  One thing I appreciate about Beauty Fix is that they seldom include products made in China.

Until July 2015 Beauty Fix was my favorite subscription, as it included 2-3 expensive full size products and had box values approaching $150.  However, once they started offering the first box of the subscription at $12.50, they downgraded the boxes significantly.  The full size products included now are cheaper, smalerl and not very popular and they include many more tiny samples than before.


This box, however, went against the trend.  I had unsubscribed after the last box – and I will unsubscribe before the next one as Beauty Fix does not release full spoilers prior to billing, but I would have liked this box even at the full price.


This box came with two full size products, three travel size ones and three samples.  It had a total value of 102, including one item on sale.  Howevre, I wasn’t thrilled with all the items. This is what I got:

IMG_1970Danielle Creations Chrome Mini Mirror, $15

This is a darling little mirror, but it has very limited real world applications. It’s a little too heavy to hold in one hand while using the other to apply makeup. However, it does have a magnifying mirror on one side, so it is useful for plucking your eyebrows, if you don’t have another one around.  This mirror was my primary reason for buying the box – it is the perfect size for my daughter’s American Girl dolls.  It’s very sturdy and seems well made.


Medicell Labs Hydrating Calming Facial Mist, 1 oz, $14

Last summer I was totally into getting facial mists. But it’s winter, I’m not hot and I don’t really feel the need to spray herbal water on my face.  Still, I’m sure this will be a nice product to use come summer.  It’s made in USA.

Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Luminizing Primer, full size: 1 oz, $32 (on sale for $19)

Yay, another primer!  I tried this on and it’s very light and easy to apply. It definitely added a glow to my skin, though it didn’t show up much once I put on BB cream.  Still, my daughter did remark at how flawless my complexion It has a vinyl, plasticky smell that I didn’t really like, but it didn’t last too long. It’s made in Canada.


DS Laboratories Revita LT High-Performance Hair Stimulating Shampoo, travel size: 3.4 oz, $19

This shampoo is supposed to help women with blond hair keep their hair.  It gets fairly good reviews but I don’t have blond hair so I’ll be swapping this.  Made in USA.

IMG_1972Karuna Age-Defying Hand Mask, 1 mask, $9.50

I love sheet masks and bootie foot masks, so I’m sure I’ll love this glove-hand mask just as much.  It does seem like a very expensive mask, but the gloves are made of cloth (though I’m not sure what sort of cloth).  They’re made in Korea.

IMG_1976Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots, 12-count sample, $6

This is a very cool idea. These are little patches with a mixture of sallicylic acid, tea tree oil and hyaluronic acid which you stick on your pimple as it appears.  Together, the three chemicals should help heal it quickly.  They are meant to be used overnight.  I’m sure you could accomplish the same thing with pimple treatment and a bandaid, but this seems very convenient (and you can take it with you if you go on overnight trips). We’ll have to wait until one of my daughters starts to develop a pimple to see if it really works. Made in Korea.

ARCONA MagiWhite Ice Hydrate,  10 ml sample, $12

This is an extremely expensive hydrator. I haven’t tried it, as I think I’ll swap it, but I read that it’s a light, quickly absorbed, gel and you are best off using it under a moisturizing cream.  It sounds like a Korean essence.  In any case, if I don’t swap it first, I’m sure I’ll use it.  It’s made in the USA.

IMG_1977June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque, 15 ml sample, $7.5

This is an “exfoliating mask”, you leave it on for 3 to 10 minutes and then wash it off.  I’ll keep it and try it when I’m done with the products I’m using now.  It’s made in the USA.