Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Gifting 2014 - Limited Edition Vanity Affair Birchbox

There was a time when I would get really excited for the sets of minis that I'd find around the holidays at stores like Sephora and ULTA. In my early days of delving into high end beauty products these sets were often a great way to get to try new products without having to dole out a ton of cash. Over the years I've noticed, though, that there isn't a whole ton of variation in brands or products with these sets. Yes, everyone loves NARS Orgasm blush. Stila Kitten is a classic. These things have hype for good reason, but when you've been around the beauty block more than once, it kind of gets boring.

And then, there was Birchbox. I could go on and on about all the reasons why I love this company (amazing customer service, a fabulous rewards program...) but one of my most favorite things they do is curate Limited Edition boxes that I can get excited over. They're always an incredible value, and never fail to introduce me to trendy, up-and-coming and super luxe brands. There are quite a few wonderful looking LE boxes in the Birchbox Holiday shop this year, but I absolutely had to get my hands on Vanity Affair. With over $300 of amazing things tucked inside, this box makes one incredible gift to yourself or a special someone.

One of the first things I noticed when this box arrived on my doorstep is that this sucker is heavy! It's quite literally jam packed with so many luxurious things that it feels like you got your money's worth even before you take off the lid. The box itself is beautiful - white with gold detailing and of course the Birchbox logo. It's honestly too pretty to just throw away, so I may need to find a way to repurpose it. Inside the special touches continue, with festive crinkles, and of course the ever handy product card. Here's what each box contains:

Infused with shea butter and rose wax, this celeb favorite instantly softens dry lips. Doubles as a cuticle salve!

Full Size, 10 g ($60)
Sample Size, 3 g ($18)

I've heard many a beauty blogger rave about the cult favorite, however, I've never been willing to shell out $60 for the full-sized jar to see whether or not it lives up to the hype. It does smell lovely - like freshly cut roses, and has a nice moisturizing texture. However, I don't think I was as wowed by this as I expected to be. I was hoping for something that felt incredibly rich and hydrating, but I think this is maybe only a notch above your standard lip balm. Of course I'll continue to use up everything in this incredibly adorable jar, but I don't think I'll be investing in the full size when it's gone.

This pinky gloss hydrates lips and provides up to six hours of megawatt shine.

Full Size, 0.26 oz ($34)

Chantecaille is a super luxe, France meets New York line of cosmetics and skincare. I've actually tried a few of their skincare products before from another LE Birchbox, but not any of their color cosmetics. I will admit, I've decided to hold off on trying this gloss for now, because I've got a million already opened, and I'd like to keep it fresh a little while longer. I think this cheery pink will be an amazing color for springtime.

These namesake luxe lacquers from celeb nail artist Jin Soon Choi are five-free and dry to a superglossy, long-wearing finish.

Full Size, 0.37 oz ($18)

The nail polish addict in me is very much happy to see these additions. I don't think I've ever owned a designer polish before, so these will definitely be the most expensive ones in my collection. Birchbox also couldn't have chosen two more classic, wearable colors. I can't wait to try them out, although I might have a hard time deciding which to paint on first!

Real rose petals are suspended in skin-softening oils for your most luxurious soak ever.

Full Size, 100 ml ($55)
Sample Size, 30 ml ($16.50)

As the bath queen, I am more than excited for this oil. It smells like a garden in bloom, which certainly is a pleasant thing to imagine at the moment, with everything looking sort of dead and dreary outside. The floating rose petals are such a luxurious touch, and will certainly bring that spa-like feel to my bathtub. I only wish the bottle was bigger so I could get more uses out of it!

A Birchbox exclusive, this mix of shimmery and matte shades lets you create a layered and sophisticated eye look.

Full Size, 8 0.1 oz shadows ($40)

Normally I'm a little leery of blue hues for the eyes, because they so often toe the line from classy to trashy. However, I've played around with this palette a bit and I really do love it! There are 8 shades total - 3 matte, 4 satin, and one glitter. The warm copper and nude tones are a perfect balance to the cool toned blue, purple and gray hues. The darker colors are also pigmented enough to work well as liners, which are a fun change of pace from your standard black. Another thing to note is that each pan in this palette is the same size as a full-sized MAKE eyeshadow (0.1 oz), making the total value of this palette alone $200 if you were to buy each shade individually!

Adorned with 24-karat gold, this porcelain jar deserves prime vanity real estate.

3.5" high x 3" wide ($22)

I recently took to reorganizing my dresser, so I've been on the lookout for pretty ways to organize my makeup and perfumes. This porcelain vessel is absolutely beautiful, and is currently housing all of my perfume samples. The geometric design is so sheek and sophisticated, and I think the gold and turquoise combination is gorgeous.

This just-launched spray strenghtens hair and maximizes fullness for glam volume. Spritz onto dry strands, tousle, and go.

Full Size, 4.5 oz ($25)
Sample Size, 1.8 oz ($10)

My hair always needs help in the volume department, which is why the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray has been on my wish list forever. I'm thinking this spray is a very similar type of product, so I was really excited to get my hands on it! Dream Big adds a sort of grit or texture to the hair that helps you to build up some volume and get that sexy, messy, tousled kind of look. It's not crunchy or stiff, but it definitely makes your hair less silky feeling (i.e. a little less pleasant to brush through), since the strands more easily stick together. If you're someone like me with ridiculously straight hair that has a very slippery feel, I think this product would also be awesome to spritz in your hair before doing any kind of braid or updo. I often struggle with my hair sliding out of place, or bobby pins not staying put, and I think this spray would give my hair more grip while still remaining flexible.

Just a pea-sized amount of this nourishing leave-in treatment smooths away frizz for effortlessly sleek, polished strands.

Full Size, 150 ($45)
Sample Size, 30 ml ($13.60)

Since I've grown my hair out long, leave in conditioner has become a staple in my morning routine. This cream is rich and leaves your hair feeling silky soft without weighing it down. It also smells quite lovely!

Proudly display your favorite potions and trinkets in this fold-out tray - use the gold snaps to take with you on-the-go. A Birchbox exclusive!


I think this might be the one thing I was least impressed with in this box. The concept is cute - a snap together tray that is perfect for travel. I think perhaps the gold fabric it was made out of, while intending to feel luxe, seemed kind of chintzy. I also certainly wouldn't spend $30 to buy this on its own. For now its going to help me to store extra product that I have inside of my dresser, but it isn't getting the prime real estate on top.

Both a mask and a daily serum, this formula fades dark spots and plumps fine lines for youthful, radiant skin.

Full Size, 30 ml ($105)
Sample Size, 10 ml ($35)

I've been trying to expand my skincare regimen to include serums and treatment products, as I've generally been pretty lazy about what I throw on my face each night. This tiny tube contains a potent blend of plant extracts that fight signs of aging like hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. I'm not so worried about the wrinkles yet myself (although the closer 30 looms this might be changing), but I'm hoping this will help to fade some of the sun damage and acne scaring on my face.

This dual-purpose, all-natural color delivers a rosy flush to cheeks and lips.

Full Size, 0.15 oz ($35)

You've gotta love multitaskers. Products that double for lips and cheeks are wonderful for lazy days and for travel, when you want to minimize the number of products you have on hand. This Lip & Cheek Tint is 100% natural and offers a sheer wash of a pretty, cool toned pink. As for it being volumizing, I'm not really sure that I see it. The formula claims to fill fine lines and plump skin for a youthful glow. I wouldn't say I noticed a visible difference in how full my cheeks look. It does, however, have a dewy finish that certainly classifies as healthy and radiant. It also has a hint of minty fragrance, which, while not so necessary when using this as a blush, is pleasant when you're wearing this on your lips.

Zesty citrus notes mingle with lush florals like violet and black jasmine in this romantic scent.

Full Size, 1.7 oz ($68)
Sample Size, 0.5 oz ($22.67)

I adore TOCCA fragrances. From the absolutely gorgeous bottle design, to the exquisite range of scents, it's pretty hard not to fall in love with at least one of them. Margaux has a warm, spicy, sexy kind of allure to it. It's definitely a little more mature and sophisticated, and has a night-time feel. Its the kind of scent I'd want to wear when snuggled up by the fire on a winter evening.

Birchbox definitely knocked it out of the park with this box! There are so many wonderful products to play with, and the vessel and tray are the perfect finishing touches on the vanity theme. While the $98 price tag may seem a little hefty, when you consider that you're getting $312.77 of product, it's really quite a steal (and truly, since the eyeshadow palette is worth $200, you could theoretically say the value is $472.77). If you're a Birchbox subscriber you can also easily put your well earned points towards this product to get it even cheaper. I personally was able to use a 20% off coupon code and my points to get this whole box for $50! Basically, amazing.

Are you a fan of Birchbox's Limited Edition boxes? Which one has been your favorite so far?