27 September 2012

random // subscription boxes: Glossybox and Love♥Club

Has anyone tried out those monthly subscription boxes?  You know, the ones you sign up for and pay a totally reasonable fee, and in return you get a super cute little box full of surprise goodies each month?

This was a new adventure for me in August.  I signed up for both LoveClub and Glossybox just to try them out, and I ended up with lots of fun trial and full-size products to play with.

First up is Glossybox.  Each month, Glossybox curates a box of five travel-sized beauty products for subscribers to experience.  A month-to-month subscription is $21 (shipping is free) and if you purchase multiple months at a time, you get a discount (for example, a three-month subscription is $60).

Each month, Glossybox focuses on a particular beauty theme; August's theme was "Pure Luxury."  Past themes have included "Beauty Around the World," "Summer Simplicity," and "Fall Forward."  The products arrived at my door in sophisticated, lovely pink-and-black packaging with a mini-magazine and a greeting from the Glossybox folks.

My August Glossybox included, as promised, five trial-sized items (though I think the lip color, nail polish, and moisturizer would be considered full size).  The products included were Illamasqua nail varnish in Purity (a really lovely peach creme), Touch in Sol Feel Like Honey moisturizer and makeup base, Biolage ExquisiteOil hair replenishing treatment, Ole Henriksen Anti-Aging Truth Serum, and Ellis Faas Creamy Lips lip color in Chocolate Caramel. 

The Glossybox website also enables you to view the products included in each month's box so that once you receive your goodies, you can pop onto the website to learn more about the products you've received (and click to buy full sizes or additional products, if you like).  They even have "how the heck do I use this?" videos (my words, not theirs) and coupons for discounts on the full-sized versions of the products.  You can also see the brands that have been included in past boxes.

By my calculations, and considering that the nail polish, lip color, and moisturizer were all full size (and Ole Henriksen was only slightly smaller than full size), the products in my Glossybox were worth $93.  For a $21 subscription?  Kind of a big deal.

I also must praise Glossybox for their customer service; my first Ellis Faas lip color wasn't working (it's one of those tubes where you have to twist the bottom to release the color).  I twisted forEVER and nothing was happening.  When I mentioned this to Glossybox, they sent me a replacement immediately.  Yay!

Small disclaimer: I received my first Glossybox in August as a complimentary gift, but I have already ordered myself a new one for October (and paid for it myself).  I'm excited to see what they come up with for mid-autumn beauty picks.  :)  This is a great way to try new luxury products to see if you like them and if they are worth your hard-earned cash (which some of them definitely are!).

Next up is LoveClub, produced by Heather over at Just Love.ly Things.  I love Heather's accessories so when I saw that Love♥Club included a handmade item from her shop, I jumped on board.

Love♥Club provides an assortment of accessories, beauty products, paper goods, and other items from a handful of independent and handmade businesses.  Packages ship on the 15th of the month and include three or four items, plus some discount cards to other shops.

Also in August (like Glossybox), my Love♥Club box arrived full of miniature goodies.  I felt like there was more to look at than I expected, but the products tended to be more sample-sized than my Glossybox loot (which is totally fine, just worth mentioning!).

The products enclosed included a totally rad glittery headband from Just Love.ly Things, a couple of hair ties from Knotieties (I wanted to try these anyway so this was definitely a pleasant surprise!), a pocket-sized notebook from Jotters and Journals, chevron nail decals from Nailed It, a sample of Avojuice Skin Quenchers lotion by OPI, paper tags from Fawn and Flora (Heather's other shop, co-owned by Dana of The Wonder Forest), and a hoopla of coupons and redemption codes for freebies from the likes of Mandipity, Acute Deigns, and Neon & Nude, among others (phew, that was a lot of name-dropping!).

Yay for goodies!  I intend to use a few of the coupon codes I received in my Love♥Club box (which I need to do soon because some of them expire in September!).  And at a super-affordable $12 per month (including shipping to the U.S. or Canada) with at least $20 worth of product, I'd say it's a pretty sweet deal, too!

Oh, and I did buy my Love♥Club box on my own.  For the record.  :)

Do you have any monthly subscriptions?  Maybe Umba Box (handmade, like Love♥Club) or Birchbox (fancy brands, like Glossybox)?  Neither of which I have tried, but I'm intrigued.  What are your thoughts?

26 September 2012

weddings // A Charming Occasion

I have a treat for you today, loves!  Joelle Duff over at Something Charming is not only a rad blogger friend, but she is also a fellow Southern California-based wedding professional.  She runs A Charming Occasion, a boutique wedding planning and design company, and has some mad calligraphy skills, too!

I am especially excited to feature Joelle on the blog today because I think she and I would really hit it off in "real" life -- she's a fan of all things pretty (perusing her Pinterest boards can take up hours of my time), listens to Taylor Swift (which I'm doing right this very moment), and (duh) she loves weddings!

Even though it's not something she wants to do for the rest of her life, I'm a little jealous that Joelle has had the advantage of working in technology in addition to her wedding planner experience; she says that working as a technical writer for a software development company "has really given [her] a different approach to wedding planning and blogging."

The lovely Joelle (and a sample of her amazing calligraphy!)

"I feel really fortunate that I've been able to do things like create a website and update my blog without help from an outside source," Joelle told me, "something I attribute to working in the technology industry.  It's not my lifelong career, but I do feel thankful that I've been able to build my company intentionally and with a strong base without struggling for money. So far I haven't had to sacrifice my business or my blog because of my job. I know that it will be time to move on when I do have to choose between the job and my business."

I also asked Joelle about the first wedding she ever planned, and she told me about her best friend who decided she wanted to do a surprise wedding!  "From the moment she called me and said, 'I think I want a surprise wedding,' I knew it was going to be fun!"  Joelle said.  "She was on a budget, but that just meant we needed to be creative with our ideas. We have pretty similar style, and it was so much fun to work with someone I care about so much. It was also my first attempt at floral design, which was definitely interesting!"

"I have two favorite moments during a wedding," Joelle told me when I asked. "When the bride walks down the aisle, and at the end of the night, when the bride and groom come to me to tell me what an amazing night they had!" (Confession: that's my favorite part, too -- when the bride and groom say "thank you"!  It's awesome to know you've done a good job!)

I also had to ask Joelle about her adorable Chihuahua and Italian greyhound mix, Olive.  I've spotted Olive on Joelle's Instagram feed, and this is another reason I know Joelle and I would be friends: a love of adorable doggie faces.  And the feeling that our dogs are our children.  :)

"We rescued Olive from an amazing rescue agency in Southern California called Zoe's Friends. We decided that we wanted to adopt a dog, and just went around to different Petsmart and Petco stores one Saturday morning, looking at all the dogs. We didn't really want to settle, and we were about to give up for the day when little Olive (her name was Lacy at the time) caught our eye. We knew she was the one for us when my husband picked her up and she laid her head on his shoulder! We've been completely in love ever since!"

 Sweet little Olive!

And, of course, my random favorite question I like to ask all guests to the Anna Delores blog: what's in your refrigerator right now?  "I doubt you want to know," Joelle laughed. "Leftover pulled pork, lots of ginger ale (I have a ginger ale obsession right now), and quite a few bars of chocolate."  No judgment here, Joelle -- sounds like my fridge, too!

Check out Joelle's fantastic blog, and her Etsy shop of calligraphy, while you're at it!  And if you're planning a Southern California wedding, be sure to contact Joelle for day-of coordination, consulting, or full-blown planning services!

Joelle's blog | Joelle's website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Etsy

25 September 2012

life // week in review: Instagram

My week can be summed up in a few words:  

iPhone 5.

I FINALLY finished editing the remainder of Alex's boudoir images, and not a moment too soon: on Thursday, I drove to Bakersfield for another boudoir session with Vanessa, who is getting married this weekend and wanted to take some photographs to give to her soon-to-be-husband on their wedding day!  We took some great shots (see another one here).

My iPhone 5 arrived on Friday afternoon.  I left the front door and back door open (screen doors still closed so the dogs wouldn't escape!) and sat on the edge of my computer chair all morning waiting for the FedEx truck to pull up to the curb.  I even left Starbucks without coffee because I saw a FedEx truck driving in the direction of my house and I didn't want to miss him (turned out MY FedEx delivery came about three hours later, haha!).

I also have to insert some commentary here about Apple: I think it's very, very strange that the Apple Store didn't have ANY iPhone 5 accessories.  NONE.  I'd seen a few on the Verizon website when I pre-ordered my iPhone, so I just assumed that if Verizon had them, Apple would, too.  Nope.  Zuma and I visited the Apple Store in Pasadena on Friday (I felt a little smug walking past the long line of people with my new iPhone already in hand.  I know, I'm a jerk).  Anyway, they really didn't have anything for the iPhone 5!  No screen protectors, cases, nada.  My mom and I went to the Verizon store on Sunday and picked up two cases, screen protectors, and a car charger for the new iPhone.  I'm genuinely perplexed that Verizon would have these accessories but Apple does not.  With so much hype around the new iPhone, why wouldn't Apple also capitalize on the opportunity to sell the swag that goes with it?  I myself have sold eight iPhone 5 cases on Etsy in the past week.  If someone knows why Apple didn't have accessories available as quickly as Verizon, please let me know!  Like I said -- genuinely perplexed.

Anyway, here's the rest of my week according to Instagram:

1. Iced coffee at Panera to get me through a work-filled Monday
2. Got TWO flat tires en route to pick up my parents at LAX last weekend. The plate that I (and 6 other drivers) hit put a hole in the RIM!
3. Editing boudoir photos
4. Uglydolls at Toys "R" Us
5. Boo shows off her chompers (and her underbite)
6. Dogfish Head's seasonal (and kinda hard to find) Punkin Ale, taken with my new fisheye iPhone lens from Photojojo
 7. The wait is over: my new iPhone 5 arrived via FedEx on Friday!
8.  More boudoir editing, just in time for this bride to gift the images to her groom this weekend
9. Thou shalt not covet... unless we're talking about Seychelles boots
10."Marbled" nail polish (not so much, but still a pretty color)

P.S. LAST DAY left to enter this giveaway from The Pleated Poppy!

24 September 2012

lacquered up // pencil skirt

Happy Monday!  (Cue round of groans.)

Mani Monday makes this most dreaded day of the week a little easier, right?

This week I tried "Pencil Skirt" by Anise, a polish free of the terrible three: formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP.  It's a cream matte shade of gorgeous gray, only slightly on the blue-based side.  It looks much bluer in this Instagram shot than it does it real life (plus I used the Amaro filter in Instagram, which wasn't the smartest move in downplaying the shade's bluish undertones).

A wee bit basic and boring this week, but I did really like the color and it wore pretty well.  It'll be a nice alternative to the times I want something darker and neutral but might not want to go basic black.

P.S. there's totally still time to win THIS sexy giveaway!

22 September 2012

photography // a saturday snapshot.

This is what I spend a good part of the day editing yesterday (when I wasn't eyes-glued to my new iPhone).  Just wanted to share a peek at this boudoir session.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far!

21 September 2012

life // four things Friday

I have some high, high hopes for this lovely Friday: I'm editing a new boudoir photo shoot (Vanessa is so lovely and I LOVE the images we snapped of her in the almond orchards!), my new iPhone 5 is arriving sometime before 3:00 p.m. (thanks, Apple + FedEx!), and I get to go shopping at Jigsaw London thanks to Tammy at LA&B!  Woo hoo!

Here's what else I'm loving this week...

1. This gorgeous wedding color inspiration -- such a pretty, feminine, grown-up shade of purple called aubergine -- brought to my attention by Lover.ly:

2. The other reason this Friday is so delightful is that I'll be getting a first draft of my new logo from the lovely and amazingly talented Minna So.  She posted some of her brainstorming on Instagram and I'm so excited and anxious (in a good way!) to see what she comes up with!

3. This book, which I've been "reading" (which means I'm listening to it via audiobook in my car).  Apparently it's supposed to be targeted toward young adults (?) but I would've never guessed.  The subject matter and level of writing is perfectly adult.  And the subject matter is enthralling and certainly original.  It's a thinker.  And despite the word "miracles" in the title, it's not a religious novel... click the image to be taken to the NPR book review:

4. Last but certainly not least, remember to check out the wonderful giveaways still going on through next week!  The Anna Delores blog has teamed up with The Pleated Poppy to give one lucky winner a $25 shop credit (plus you can score 15% off!), and Courtney over at Baxtron{Life} is hosting an amazing blogiversary giveaway!  I wish you good luck in both giveaways!

Happy Friday, friends!

19 September 2012

wear // ruffled scarf

ruffled scarf c/o the pleated poppy 
striped t-shirt: express (summer 2011) 
sweet n' low jeans: lucky brand denim
yellow loafers: betsey johnson (years ago!)
wood filigree earrings: handmade by me! no joke!

I cannot WAIT for it to cool down enough that I get to wear scarves every day!  I love scarves.  LOVE them.  Seriously.

Last night, it cooled down enough in Los Angeles that I could wear a scarf without dying of heat stroke.  Scarves are never really necessary in Southern California anyway, but I can't resist the amazing cuteness of this one by The Pleated Poppy!

Speaking of The Pleated Poppy, have you entered the giveaway yet?!  A scarf just like this one (or anything else in Lindsey's shop!) could be yours with help from a $25 shop credit!  Enter to win here.  NOW!  Please.  :)

P.S. did you catch sight of sweet puppy girl Boo in that first photo?  She was so curious as to why we were taking photos and was super jealous she didn't get to be involved.  Here she is getting in on the fashion shoot action:

18 September 2012

Happy Blogiversary & Birthday to Courtney!

Today I'm helping Courtney of Baxtron{Life} celebrate her first blogiversary as well as her birthday!  She's hosting a big 'ol giveaway; go visit her blog OR you can enter via Rafflecopter below.

(And don't forget about the Anna Delores final blogiversary giveaway, which ends today, and The Pleated Poppy giveaway!)

Good luck and enjoy!

Giveaway Ends 9/29 at 12:01AM! 

Winners will be notified via e-mail within 72 hours of end of giveaway and have 48 hours to claim prize before new winner will be chosen!  

Entrants that qualify for the Free Ad Space on BaxtronLife will receive an Email with instructions for submitting ad within 30 days of giveaway end (due to the high amount of entries expected, verification of each entry for qualification could take a while!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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