February 2017 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog

SLIDER

Welcome

What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and those "aha!" moments. All with a hint of sarcasm, a dash of truth and bold European wit. Thanks for following along!

NEWSLETTER

2.28.2017

Baby Blues


I've been feeling sort of out of it lately. Because I've promised to stay honest on this blog and document my journey through motherhood, I thought I'd write about how I'm feeling right now -- even if it isn't about a postpartum joy.

Am I depressed? No. 
Am I feeling a little lonely and kind of sad? Yes.

Here's the deal... 

I am the first person in my close circle of friends to get married, and now have a baby. The people I used to turn to for support normally have no idea what I'm feeling or what I'm going through and it's just not the same anymore. They're still my friends and I think the world of them, but I feel kind of lost, out of place, and just not myself. I hate feeling this way. 

First, let me be c r y s t a l c l e a r -- I love being a mom and I love my son. I wouldn't trade him or motherhood for anything. That little boy is so precious. His big eyes, his sweet smile and his need for his momma makes everything worth it... even when he is screaming at the top of his lungs and I have no idea what to do -- I adore that little boy.

Second, I do have some support. I have my mother and she's been wonderful, but it's one thing to bond over you baby with your mom and it's another type of thing to bond over children with people your age.

I have my husband who has been great -- he's the best dad to our son and it overjoys me when we are all together, but when he goes to work, I am often left feeling lonely and slightly lost.

The thing is -- I am usually a happy person, so why I feel so out of place is super frustrating to me. I want to be content and I am. It's just that momming is super hard some days and I am left completely exhausted after 12+ hours of non stop baby duty. Not having a girlfriend I can go have a coffee with and talk about the joys and perils of motherhood every once in awhile is just depressing to me.

I will say that Instagram has been a somewhat of a help with easing some of these yucky feelings.
There are a few great mamas that I've been able to connect with, but the ability and opportunity to leave my house and talk to someone who is in the same boats escapes me at the moment -- leaving me to deal with this bumpy road alone for now.

Which leads me to my one source of solace -- Jesus. 
One of my new year resolutions was to spend more time doing devotionals and I'll admit I haven't been doing my best with that one (with quite a few of them actually), but still, He is gracious and reminds me of His steadfast love through the loving gazes my baby bestows on me when I feel out of it. For that alone, I am forever grateful.

I guess walking this path alone is another way to lead me back to Him.
I started this blog post feeling sorry for myself and am finishing it enlightened by Grace. He works in the most wonderful of ways -- it makes my heart happy.

How did you deal with becoming a first time mom? What was your support system?
I'd love to hear your story!




2 comments

2.24.2017

Unboxing | EcoTools VoxBox



It's time for an unboxing post! I got this complimentary box from Influenster last week and it was filled with products! 

I started Influenster last month and have been pretty active on there -- I've already written about 240 reviews. I really love it because you can give your honest opinion all while seeing other perspectives on products and brands! It's also nice that they reward you with a voxbox -- a box filled with complimentary products of brands that they want you to try and then go review on their site and share on social media. The more reviews you write, the more eligible you become to get that free voxbox. 

I also love the fact that you can ask and answer questions about products, compile lists in your profile as well as unlock badges. The badges are organized by category -- for example, I just unlocked the Beauty Queen badge because I reviewed a bunch of my favorite make up products! 

Influenster is a lot of fun, I highly recommend making a profile and writing reviews because who doesn't like sharing their opinion and periodically getting rewarded for it?!






The VoxBox had 4 things inside of it, all by the brand EcoTools
 
1. Full Powder Brush
2.  6 Piece Starter Collection
3. Perfecting Blender Duo
4. Make-Up Brush Cleansing Cloths




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Here's what I thought of each product: 




1. The Full Powder Brush. My first impression of the brush is that it is super soft! I find this brush to be really good for setting and baking your face. I use a translucent loose mineral powder to set my face and this brush does the job quite nicely because of it's size. The brush itself is dense enough to pick up product really well, but at the same time it's fluffy enough to sheer out the product if you'd like to. I also love that this brush is very thick sturdy while the handle is still comfortable to hold and work with.


 

2. 6 Piece Starter Collection. The brushes are super soft on the skin and I haven't experienced any shedding, so that's a plus! It's a really great set to put in your purse and have it for touch ups in case of emergencies! Two of the brushes seem interchangeable to me because they are practically the same size, but that's okay.







3. Perfecting Blender Duo. This was my favorite part of the voxbox! I really love these blenders. They are a little firmer than some beauty blenders on the market, but if you wet them and then apply your makeup -- they are super soft. It's great that they come in two different sizes, but I'm hoping they will eventually sell the bigger blender on it's own in a two pack because it's my favorite of the two.







4. Make-Up Brush Cleansing Cloths. These cloths are meant to wipe your brushes after you use them. Overall, I like them and I think that they're good for a quick surface clean, but they shouldn't replace your weekly deep clean of brushes. You have to rub the brush on the cloth for awhile until product actually comes off the brush. They're nice to have for a quick clean, but I don't think I'll be purchasing or using them very often.




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This voxbox was really fun to try out and overall I felt like the products they sent me were pretty useful! Thank you to Influenster for the free EcoTools. Up until this box, I had seen EcoTools in the store, but never used their products. I'll be looking to their products next time I'm in need of a beauty tool!


 Note & Disclaimer 
the rate given in this blog post is my personal & honest opinion. 
again, I received all these products from Influenster for FREE.



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2.21.2017

6 Things I Was Told Not To Do As A New Mom That I Did Anyway


When you first have a baby, it seems like everyone and their mother has some advice for you. Somethings you hear are good, somethings are absurd, and other things seem pointless. If I've learned anything is that when you're given advice, you owe the person a chance to tell you how they think things should be done (out of politeness, of course), but you don't always have to take the advice to heart and follow it (that's the nice part). Here are several things I was told that I threw out the window:


[ 1. ] Don't Co-Sleep. Everyone I talked to (minus a few young moms) told me not to do this. The doctor, my mother, my mother-in-law, all the nurses in the hospital, the pamphlets they gave me to read and the video they made me watch before they let me go home all said not to, but guess what? I did it anyway. I know they they tell you not to do it -- for safety reasons, but let's be honest... It's so much easier to co-sleep especially when the little one wants to feed several times a night. I found that I was much more rested during the day if I co-slept, so against everyone's advice, I did it and was super happy with my choice. From my personal experience, I found that my maternal instinct was a lot stronger than I expected. Every time my man whimpered, I shot up like a mama bear ready to pounce at any sign of danger. There hasn't been a time where I rolled on him or hurt him unconsciously. Instead, it's been snuggles, cuddles, and lost of rest.

[ 2. ] Don't Use A PacifierI was told time and time again that giving him a pacifier would cause "nipple" confusion and that it would get in the way of breastfeeding. Because my milk didn't come in, my son had a really hard time and was constantly crying. In the hospital, they showed my husband that sticking your pinky in the baby's mouth, so he can suck on it is a way of soothing a little one -- I found it absurd that you can use your pinky, but not a pacifier, so when I got home, one of the first things I did was utilize a soothie! I have no regrets about it either. My babe is breastfeeding just fine and loves to chew on his pacifier especially now that his gums are itchy from teething.


[ 3. ] You Shouldn't Be Supplementing With Formula. I think this is the one thing that made me the most upset. My milk didn't come in and while I was staying in the hospital, the nurses wouldn't give me anything to soothe the little guy. I had to stay two days in the hospital because of a bacteria I had during my pregnancy, so during that time, Felix was screaming non-stop because he was hungry and frustrated that he wasn't getting any milk -- it got to the point where he would even refuse to latch because he knew it wasn't going to get him any milk. I was tired and sore, so having a restless starving baby was not helping me in the slightest. The only person who urged me to supplement was my mom and on her slight suggestion I leaped at the opportunity to feed my son! I supplemented up until I had enough milk to satisfy the little man and it was a super smooth process. We went from bottle to breast like champs! Sometimes, I try to give him formula when we're out and I can't nurse and he hates it, so I'd say supplementing at the beginning was just fine.

[ 4. ] Stop Holding The Baby All Day & When He's Sleeping. I found people telling me this to be stressful and annoying. First of all, I am a first time mom and all I wanted to do was snuggle with my little one! I held him all the time primarily because I was exhausted and didn't want to get up to put him in his bassinet if I had to pick him back up again in 30 minutes, but also because I popped out a little human and I couldn't get enough of him. He was the sweetest, most precious baby I had ever laid eyes on him, so if I wanted to hold him, I was going to hold him! The nay-sayers all warned that he'd get used to it and that I was grooming a spoiled baby, but in my eyes, he's a baby and he gets all the snuggles and cuddles he wants!


[ 5. ] You Should Be Swaddling Him -- All The Time. Okay, so I actually wanted to do this, but my son was not having it. I'd swaddle him so many times and before I knew it, somehow, those cute little fingers would come to the surface. I don't know how he did it, but he'd escape the swaddle no matter how tight I wrapped him, so eventually I gave up. I now just loosely swaddle him for warmth, giving his little legs and arms space to move and groove the way they want to.


[ 6. ] Don't Drink Coffee, Eat Onions/Garlic & Spicy Foods When Breastfeeding. This one was a frustrating one because when I was pregnant, I couldn't eat all the food I wanted because of heartburn. So, naturally I was excited to get to eat whatever I wanted when they little one came out. Imagine my shock when I sat at the table and my mother told me I couldn't have some of my favorite things. I was supposed to watch what I ate because some things might make the milk taste bad. I tried to abide by the rules, but ended up caving. Luckily, my little man didn't seem to suffer and I got back to eating all the goodies I had missed during my pregnancy!


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 As a new mom, the role is overwhelming and sometimes the helpful advice people dish to you only makes things worse. If I have any advice for you sweet mama, it's that you've made it this far, you know what you're doing, so don't take anything to heart and don't feel pressured to do things you want to do. You've got this! 

2 comments

2.17.2017

Review | Physician's Formula Eyelash Extension Kit


My next review is on Physician's Formula Eyelash Extension Kit! I bought this on a whim during one of my "go to the store and carefully browse the make up section" part of my trip. I stumbled upon the Physician's Formula make up section right about as I was about to leave the store. And yes, it's true -- I go to the store, and if they have a make up/beauty section, I take my time and slowly walk through the isles and carefully look at products and contemplate if I want to buy them. It can take hours at times and the people working there come and ask me if I am finding everything alright more times than I can count, but I like to take my time.
Anyways....... I've wanted to try Physician's Formula products ever since I was in high school, but since I wasn't really allowed to wear make up, I just stayed away. When I started wearing make up in my early college days, I stuck to Neutrogena and CoverGirl products because I wasn't really using anything other than face wash and foundation. So, naturally, I when I stumbled across the Physician's Formula section in a store, I was intrigued. When it comes to eye lash extensions or "falsies," I tend to stay away. I've tried them on twice and find them super inconvenient  --
A full fake eyelash is SO heavy. I don't know how you ladies do it! Kudos to the ladies who wear those babies because it's rough. I wore them for a total of five minutes and my eyelids were exhausted. I had single falsies on for my wedding day and I loved the way they looked and how they felt, but I would never wear them on a daily basis because it takes forever to put on and take off (ouch!). After those two eyelash experiences, I came to the realization that I'm more of a mascara and nothing else kinda girl. Which makes getting a full lash effect hard.
& then I stumbled upon  Physician's Formula Eyelash Extension Kit! The Eyelash Extension Kit comes with a mascara wand and an extension wand. To be 100% honest, I wasn't really crazy about the mascara wand when I first saw it and when I tried it, those feelings were only strengthened. I find that the tip of the wand is super clumpy and when applying and it makes your eyelashes stick together. I tried wiping the wand with a tissue and then going at it again, but it seems that the only way I can fix the problem is by using another mascara. The mascara wand is a 1.5/5 for me. I really wanted to love it, but I felt like it was just useless.
The extension wand reminds me of a cat because it looks "furry" (that's the best way I can describe it). It leaves behind little black hairs during application, so I recommend paying attention to your face because if you're not careful, you can walk out our your house with little sheds of black hair on your cheeks, lower eyelid and pretty much all over. (I did that a few days ago and it was so embarrassing...) This wand literally sheds like a FURRY CAT. With that being said, I feel as the extension wand gives you a lengthier full eyelash look and it's so simple and easy -- not to mention how fast it can be applied. The extension wand is a 3.5/5 mainly because of the little furry droppings that are left on your face.
All in all, the kit gets a 3/5. I love the fact that I don't have to get falsies to get a FULL eyelash look, but the fact that I am constant paranoid that I have little fur babies under my eyes really is disheartening. If the mascara wand wasn't completely useless and the extension wand used a formula that would make the extensions only stick to my eyelash instead of making a mess, it get a 5/5.
In all honesty, I probably will not buy the kit again just because of the mascara wand. I paid about 15$ and for that price and the size of the wands, I expected them to really amaze me and it didn't fully come through for me.
&&& that's a wrap! I hope you've found this information helpful! What is your favorite way to lengthen your lashes? Let me know in the comments below!
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Buy Online at:
Ulta: $14.99
Walmart: $12.97
Amazon: $11.04

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2.14.2017

Husband Appreciation Post

It's Valentines Day!  
I hope you're having a great day and being showered with lots of love. 
My husband and I don't really do Valentine's Day.
We have this "everyday is a day I'll show you my love" type of attitude,
which means we usually don't make a very big deal out of February 14th.
Last year was our first valentine's day as a married couple, 
so I framed some wedding pictures for him
This year, I'm dedicating an entire post to the man of my dreams,
and taking this opportunity to brag on my man.
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He usually checks up on my blog from time to time, 
so I hope that when he stumbles upon this post, 
he is pleasantly surprised.
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10 Things I Love About My Husband:


[ 1. ] His Constant Desire To Put God First. I find this to be one of my favorite things about him because he's fulfilling his biblical role as the head of the house and that in itself makes me a very happy wife. I have also found it to be very grounding and humbling when he speaks about thanking God for everything. When life gets busy, it's good to have someone remind you that God is in control. It's great to see the man of your dreams fulfilling his God given purpose and not abusing his role.

[ 2. ] His Kind and Caring Heart. Ladies, to have someone be there for you with a tender heart is probably the sweetest thing you'll ever experience. Some of the sweetest moments in marriage are when you see your significant other go out of their way to do the littlest of things. An example of this would be when I was enduring the last few months of my pregnancy, it became extremely difficult to get dressed as I was huge and struggling to bend. Because I consider myself extremely independent, when it came time to tie my shoes or put socks on, I'd rather struggle than ask for help. Whenever my sweet husband saw my struggle, he'd quickly run over and insist on helping me. I found that to be the most adorable thing even though it was just a small gesture. The way he cares for me makes my heart melt, but more than that is the fact that he's not afraid to show that he cares -- he really does go above and beyond. swoon.


[ 3. ] His Voice. One of my favorite things is listening to my husband speak. Whether he's talking to me about his day or explaining something -- his voice is so soothing. I don't know what it is, but I've always just loved listening to him speak!

[ 4. ] The Way He Loves Our Son. One of the greatest things after having a baby is watching your husband love on the little human you created. I love seeing Felix's face light up at the sight of daddy and I love it so much more when I see my husband reciprocating that same excitement.

[ 5. ] How He Loves Me At My Worst. I'll admit, I'm an imperfect human -- I can be stubborn, difficult and unreasonable at times. Even so, my husband loves me anyway and that's a really great feeling. Knowing that your significant other will love you at all times, no matter the season or trial you're enduring gives such security and brings about a trust that is truly wonderful!


[ 6. ] That I Can Count On Him For Everything. I find that this is something came with time, but once it arrived, it was a wonderful realization. We went through a miscarriage before I got pregnant with Felix and that forced us to lean on each other as we dealt with the grief and aftermath of losing our first baby. It was during those very moments of undergoing troubled waters that I saw the man I marry become a pillar I could lean on, a support system that was there for me no matter the circumstance, at my darkest hour with my ugliest cry.


[ 7. ] His Infectious Smile. My husband has the prettiest pearly whites you've ever seen. He is a super smiley person which rubs off on you -- whether you want it to or not.

[ 8. ] His Sense of Humor. This a love/hate relationship type of thing because while I love joking around with him, sometimes I find that I can get irritated (it's just a wife thing right? getting cranky at always being teased by your husband...). However, at the end of the day, we always manage to laugh together and at each other and I love how easy going he is. No one can make me laugh like this man can.

[ 9. ] His Determination to Provide for His Family. There's nothing more attractive than a handsome man going through everything necessary to make sure his family is provided for! Whether it means taking on two jobs or volunteering to watch the baby so I can get a few extra hours of sleep -- my husband is willing to do it all. I'm very thankful for him, his determination, and his attitude about helping out around the house even though he works!

[ 10. ] That He Chose Me. I've had many people tell me how lucky I am to have him as a husband and I cannot contest that. I am extremely blessed to have him as my husband -- to get to spend this earthly life with him and by his side is probably one of my favorite things about this life. I truly have found the one who my soul loves and am one very happy lady because of it.

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I decided to stop at 10 because this post could go on and on, 
but you get the point I'm trying to make:
I adore my husband.
---
Florin, 
if you're reading this:
I hope you know how much I love you.
Felix and I are blessed by your presence each day. 
 We wouldn't trade you for anyone.
ever. 



2 comments

2.10.2017

Monthly Favorites | February


I know it's a little early in the month, but considering Valentine's Day is coming up soon, 
I thought maybe I'd post this a bit earlier -- 
just in case some of you were thinking about purchasing these products!

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Item #1: Mario Badescu Rose Water.
If you've read my Mario Badescu review on his drying lotion (read it HERE.), you know that I love his products! The rose water is no different. I usually use this as a setting spray for my make up and it works wonderfully. My mother got this as a gift once and she told me that she uses this spray on her face after a shower at night to moisturize! I'm also pretty big on sprays not having a weird chemical smell, but this stuff smells roses which is a big plus! I own both sizes: 8 ounce bottle sits on my make up deck and the 4 ounce bottle is in my purse -- just in case I need to freshen up!

Buy Online: 
Amazon



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 Item #2: The Blushed Nudes by Maybelline New York.
I grabbed this this eye shadow palette at Target because I thought the colors were so pretty. The colors seemed very me -- they matched my style of a soft barely there shimmery look, so naturally I was extremely excited to try it. When I first used it, I didn't really like it because the pigmentation was very light, some hardly visible.  If you want to get the most out of this palette, use M.A.C. Fix+ spray on your brush to dampen a bit and then go to the eye shadow tray. These colors are to gorgeous not to use up! 

Buy Online:



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 Item #3: Tommy Hilfiger Woman Perfume・Flower・
My husband got me this perfume last spring while we were shopping at some premium outlets and it's been one of my go to scents ever since. I just got rid of that tedious flower because I found the bottle to be much better without it. The perfume is called "Flower" and is a soft floral scent. Do note that Flower is a series of perfumes and the one I have is Violet. Like most scents I own, it's very subtle, but still noticeable. I really like the fact this scent isn't super sweet like most floral scents, but a gentle milder smell. 

Buy Online: 
Unfortunately, only the Flower Rose perfume by Tommy Hilfiger can be purchased online when shopping in the United States.



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Item #4: Sparkly Barrettes 
One of my favorite things to do is style my hair. I've noticed that bobby pins are plain and sometimes, I want a little more sparkle to the style -- and that's where the barrettes come in. I find barrettes to be such classic pieces that never go out of style -- they really are such timeless accessories. Whether I pin my hair in an up do, to the side, or sport a half up/half down hairstyle, dressing it up with a barrette makes me feel that much more classier and dressed up.

Buy Online: 




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Item #5: DW Home Lavender Candle 
I know what you're thinking -- another lavender candle, Marta? And the answer is yes, another one. I'm such a candle person and I can never have too many. There is a candle in every room of my house! Anyway, I found this candle at Marshalls and it smells so good! I bought all three on the shelf for about 5$ each when normally they retail about 12$ - 20$ for one, so I couldn't pass this up! They smell amazing!



Buy Online:
I couldn't find these online, sorry. 😔





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Item #6: trèStiQue's Lip Crayon & Highlight Stick
This little duo is my favorite. I received these trèStiQue products through the ipsy point system and I absolutely love them. The lip crayon is in the color Florence Fig and the highlight (which is multi-purpose) is the shade Maldives Luminescent. They're great tools for any look whether you're going for a glowy night look or a simple day look! 

Buy Online: 




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&
that's all I have for you for this month's monthly favorites, 
what items have you been loving? 
I'd love to hear from you, so comment down below!
don't forget to come back next month to see more items 
that I've been loving!

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2.07.2017

Quote of the Month | February


It's February already!
I feel as if January flew by in a blink of an eye. 
It was truly a wonderful month. 

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I found this month's quote on Pinterest, and I felt it really speak to me. There was no author attributed to the quote, so credit cannot be given. I know that February is a month of love especially because of Valentine's Day being right around the corner, so you were probably waiting for a relationship or marriage quote -- that's not happening today, but nevertheless, I think this quote does promote love: self love. 

Truth is we all have some dead flowers in our life -- maybe our physical garden is in need of a little tender love and care, but what about our spiritual garden or the state of some of our relationships/friendships? As humans we hunger for relationship and community and sometimes it's hard for us to let go of people because we invested so much time and effort in them.

like plants, humans tend to wither -- relationships strain, people have fallouts and sometimes, true colors are shown. I've experienced each of these cases and along the way I've learned that sometimes the best thing to do is to let go. People grow apart and sometimes, not matter how much you water and tend to a relationship, it just dies. 

so let it.
if a plant is dead, if a relationship has fallen out, sometimes there is nothing you can do.
stop watering dead plants. 
and start looking forward to the spring where new blossoms arrive! 

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I hope you all have a lovely February.
I can't wait to see what new blessings this month brings. 



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2.03.2017

7 Subscription Boxes I've Tried


In my 50 facts About Me post, 
I mentioned that I went through a subscription box phase.
& I promised to write a post on all the boxes I've tried, 
so this is me making good on my promise.
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Subscription boxes are small boxes that are filled with goodies whether it be food, makeup, clothes, or anything else that you can think of. These boxes are shipped to you either monthly or seasonally. 
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Here are the 7 boxes I've tried and my thoughts about if they're worth it or not. 
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⇉ click the title of each subscription to be directed to their official page & learn more about their subscription plans 
ipsy [$10 a month]
this was my first subscription box ever, so naturally, I was very excited for it. ipsy is a little makeup bag that comes to your door with four to five beauty samples in it. After you receive a bag (or as ipsy would call it a "glam bag"), you go online to their website and rate the items you received  The idea being that the more items you rate, the better they can cater to your makeup style when sending you future samples. As an extra incentive, the reviews rack up points that you could redeem later on full size beauty products. At first I really liked this subscription, but the excitement wore off when they kept sending me samples of colors that I hated like purples, greens, and bright reds -- even though I was an avid reviewer. I was also annoyed that they never sent me a palette or something big, like the products they advertised in the emails they sent me for each month. I always happened to get really small samples which made me feel like I wasn't getting my money's worth. I would check the hashtags on Instagram every once in awhile and I saw quite a few people get really cute palettes and colors, but they just weren't coming my way.. so that made it even more disappointing. I ended up subscribing to ipsy for a whole year because it was cheaper in the long run (you get a free bag if you subscribe yearly), but I started to getting annoyed with it by month five. I finally decided it was time to canceled it around month eight -- thinking they'll refund me the remaining four months, but instead, I received the remaining four bags in my subscription period and then the bags stopped coming. Another thing I really disliked was the actual bag they sent each month. I know that's something that everyone loves about ipsy, but I just felt like a hoarder when I stuffed yet another little bag (that I found practically useless) in my drawer. I kept the first bag and opted to give the bags to my mom and little sister who surprisingly found good uses for them, but if I am going to be honest, I really would have preferred a cardboard box that I could recycle. I will say that through ipsy, I found my favorite exfoliator and the glam bag did expose me to a few products that I really loved using, so even though I canceled my subscription, it wasn't all bad -- I just wanted bigger products. 
{Rating: 6/10}

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e.l.f play beautifully box [$19.99 every 8 weeks]: 
I actually really loved this subscription. The e.l.f. play beautifully box is a cardboard box filled with only e.l.f products -- which is nice because the packaging and aesthetic is always on point! The brand e.l.f stands for eyes, lips, face and they are known to be a really affordable makeup line. It's an added bonus that this makeup brand happens to be infused with minerals, is vegan and cruelty free! I used to always pick up e.l.f. brushes at Target because they were always so affordable and sturdy, so when I saw an advertisement for this box, I thought why not try it? I received 11 items in the play beautifully box and I used every single one! I was so excited to get my second box, so when eight weeks rolled around, I anxiously ran to my mailbox to see if it came. Sadly, it never did. I saw that they had charged me for the box, so after a week of the "estimated shipping date," I contacted customer service who kindly responded saying that they never even sent my box because of some server/technical issues they were having and asked me to be patient -- which I was for another three weeks. I ended up contacting them again, to ask if they sent my box yet and they told me they were still having issues. I decided cancel my subscription right then and there asking for a refund because I was fed up with waiting. They gave me my refund and that was the end of my relationship with the e.l.f play beautifully box. The box itself was great, but the the shipping issue really just made being subscribed seem pointless.
{Rating: 5/10}

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Walmart Beauty Box [$5 every spring, summer, fall and winter]:
I heard about this box when I was browsing YouTube on day and I wanted to try it out. $5 four times a year seemed like a reasonable price to pay for beauty samples right? Wrong. I know I only paid $5 for a box, but I was extremely disappointed with this subscription -- I ended up canceling it after receiving the 3rd one. I think the only actual "beauty" products I received was a Burt's Bee's red lipstick which I didn't even like and a CoverGirl mascara I already owned. Most of the box is composed of packets of shampoo and conditioner, little lotions that are good to place in your purse for a few applications here and there, little Dove travel samples you can get at your local 99 cent store, and really tiny packet samples of the more expensive stuff like eye cream or mineral bath soaks. The little packet samples are frustrating because they are good for one use only and I never am convinced a product truly works after just one use! I need to see how it makes me feel after several times using it. The beauty box also tosses in a few coupons that I never used. I just felt like the box was pointless because I never stumbled upon a product that I loved or wanted to go out and buy. 
{Rating: 2/10}

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BoxyCharm [$21 a month]:
BoxyCharm is a makeup subscription that I absolutely love. You receive 4 to 5 full sized products in each box and sometimes they throw in a bonus product! The boxes usually have a retail value of $100+ and you're paying less than a fourth of that -- what a bargain! Each box I've gotten thus far has had some type of palette in them whether it be a Z-Palette with a few trays inside, an eyeshadow palette or a bronzer highlighter duo. Thanks to BoxyCharm, I don't even buy make up anymore. I just wait for the box to be shipped to my house and then I cater my look based on the products I receive. All the products you get are either by established brands or makeup brands that are emerging in the beauty realm, so you get the best of both worlds. Another thing I love about BoxyCharm is that even if you receive some products you may never use, they are always going to be full size which makes it super easy to give away or regift. (I've always felt super awkward giving away small samples as a gift..) I also like that everyone usually gets the same thing each month, so if you want to watch someone unbox it online, you know that you're getting the same products they are. I've been subscribed to BoxyCharm for 6 months so far and as each month comes, I am always left thinking that the latest box is my favorite box! I don't plan on unsubscribing any time soon, and I would definitely recommend BoxyCharm to anyone and everyone who is thinking about subscribing!
{Rating 10/10}

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GlossyBox [$21 month]:
GlossyBox is a subscription box that claims to be filled with 4 to 5 "luxury" beauty products. When I subscribed to this box, I enrolled in the 12 month plan because it saved me $42 dollars which meant that I'd get two boxes for free. I was pretty intrigued by the idea of "luxury items," but at the end of my subscription period, I was found myself being glad that it was finally over. While GlossyBox exposed me to a few brands that I ended up loving, I had a few mishaps during my time with them. For starters, I received a box with only three things inside, and if it wasn't for the information card they send you with each box, I wouldn't have known something was missing. The item that was missing happened to be the prettiest eye shadow and when I contacted customer service, they told me it was out of stock. To make up for it, they sent me a list of products that they had in stock, and had me choose one that I'd like which they sent to me in the next box. Another issue I had was that they sent me a few damaged items. I received a nude lipstick that fell out of the tube the moment I opened it, an eye shadow stick that had the cap jammed on so tight which made it impossible to open and unusable and a lip/cheek stick that had the bottom fall off durning application. I didn't even bother contacting customer service again. Instead, I canceled my subscription and patiently waited for my current period to be over. I will say that each month, you get this pretty blush pink colored box (unless it's a special edition box) that is sturdy and reusable. I used them as boxes for Christmas presents last year! BUT that is probably one of the only upsides to the box. Many of the products inside the box can be kind of a disappointment. I honestly wish I had done a bit more research because they don't really live up to their "luxury" advertisement. For $21 a month, I expected all products sent to me to be full sized, but quickly noted that many of them were just samples. I was so excited about this box at first, but that excitement quickly dwindled down.
{Rating: 4/10}

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FabFitFun [$49.99 per seasonal box]:
FabFitFun is a seasonal lifestyle box which means you only get four boxes per year. FabFitFun is probably the biggest subscription box I've ever gotten in the mail, averaging about 7 to 8 items in each box. The items can range from beauty, fitness, fashion, to home decor. If you buy the box every season, you pay $49.99 per box, but the retail value of each box is $200+ and it really ends up being a great deal. Because the boxes are seasonal, I subscribed to a whole year for $179.99 -- making your first box half off! So far, I've been loving this subscription because it truly becomes an experience! fabfitfun has a magazine online that has all kinds of cool articles about the items they send in the boxes, and a many other things ranging from health, beauty, home, fashion and much more! They also have such a sweet little community that allows you to chat with other FabFitFun members! People share their excitement for the boxes, suspicions and requests for items they might receive and the staff of FabFitFun sometimes ask for member opinions about certain items and ideas on the community boards. Another neat features are select and add-on items. Select items are like a sneak peak into your box where you can choose certain elements about those products. For example, in a fall box, they sent everyone a blanket and they gave you the option to select the color you wanted or you could have chosen the surprise option! I find the select option so much fun because they cater to your preference with some items and surprise you with others! Add-Ons are items that you can add to your box from the fabfitfun shop -- at a discounted price. Items on the shop are usually seasonal, but I've also spotted items from past boxes as well! It's a great way to stock up on items you love without paying full retail price! They also sell "Editor's Pick" boxes which is a contemplation of all of the boxes of the year -- giving you some of the community's favorites items all in one box. You can pay a little extra if you like the element of surprise and add a mystery bundle to your seasonal box!  This subscription is so much fun and the creators are always adding fun new things that end up making everything about their boxes unique. FabFitFun was a subscription that I was hesitant about at first, but it is also one that I will be renewing when my period is up!
{Rating: 10/10}

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BlessBox [$29.99 a month]:
BlessBox is a box I've just subscribed too -- or rather a subscription box that my husband gifted to me for my birthday this year. I stumbled upon BlessBox on Instagram and they launched their first box (ever) in December of 2016. I mentioned that it looked super cute to my husband and he took note! This month's box (pictured above) will be my first box, so my initial reaction to this box is that I looooove it! I really like that it incorporates beauty, style, home and make up. I cannot wait to see what else it BlessBox has in store! 
{Rate: 10/10}

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RECAP:


Out of seven boxes, I currently am still subscribed to three: BoxyCharm, fabfitfun, and BlessBox. The subscription box phase has slowly dwindled down, and now I am just enjoying the products I've accumulated. I think subscription boxes are a lot of fun, but sometimes you're left feeling like you're not getting your money's worth, so I'd suggest to do some research before you subscribe for the yearly ones! What subscriptions have you tried and loved? Which ones did you end up canceling? I'd love to hear about your experiences!





 Note & Disclaimer 
the rates given in this blog post are my personal opinion. 
there was no compensation given to me for writing these reviews.
the reviews are not meant to offend, encourage, or discourage anyone 
from subscribing to any of the subscriptions listed in this post. 
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