Some friends and family whom I only see a few times a year frequently apologize when they give me my birthday present in, oh say, September (my birthday is in February). There is no need for this - it's fun to receive late presents! I'm not expecting it then.
Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream
This was an interesting product for me to review because I never use shave cream. Ever. It is too awkward and messy and I'm usually in too big of a hurry. The last time I used shave cream was when I started shaving at about 11. Nineteen years later...
The first thing that really struck me was how thick the foam was. It was really thick, like the shaving cream B uses on his face. I liked that because it didn't run down my leg the minute two drops of water splashed on it. It stayed on nicely while I was shaving. I also really liked the light, not-too-strong raspberry scent - very fresh and clean without being sickening.
As for the shave itself, it did about the same job as I usually do without shaving cream (ie, not a closer or smoother shave), but it was very soothing and I didn't have any nicks or scratches, which are common when you're as accident prone as me.
The verdict: This will never be an every day product for me simply because of the extra time involved (I'm not what you'd call a morning person), but I definitely like it and would keep it around for weekend dates or special events...like a wedding. If you don't have a shave cream you love, definitely give this one a try.
EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge
I was a little scared by this when I first got it out of my VowVoxBox because it was very, very hard. I couldn't imagine possibly this to wash my face...or any part of my body except maybe my heels. However, I was pleased to learn it softened immensely upon getting it wet. This sponge is handmade with Konjac vegetable fibers and is supposed to provide a deeper clean.
I used it as part of my regular shower routine with my Vasanti Detox face cleanser. I really enjoyed the texture of it - it's a great uber-gentle exfoliation without drying out my sensitive skin. It felt like it cleansed my face better than just using my fingers, which is always a good thing. Who wants to be dirty?
The verdict: This one is a keeper. It's super-easy to use and I like the slight, natural exfoliation it gave to my skin. Win.
Tide to Go pen
What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? It is the klutzy girl's best friend, and heaven knows I'm the queen of the klutzy girls. If there is something to spill, dribble, drop, or dump on myself, rest assured I'll do it. Wearing a white dress to dinner is just asking for a lap full of spaghetti sauce; wearing a cream-colored skirt to work virtually assures a coffee stain. You get the idea.
These pens are great because they give you on-the-spot treatment for your mishaps. It would just be too easy to spill on yourself at home, where there's detergent and a washing machine. No, when I spill it's usually out somewhere. I love knowing I have this handy to keep from permanently staining my clothes. I also love how it's a very gentle formula - it has not once harmed any of my clothes by using it, and that's really important to me.
The verdict: Seeing as how I already had one of these floating around my purse and another in the bathroom cabinet at home before I even received my VowVoxBox, I definitely keep these on hand and will continue to do so. Thanks for the extra! Now, if only Tide could create a product to keep this klutzy girl from tripping over her own feet, running into walls, and falling off her bike...
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure
The first thing I noticed about this nail polish was not its claims for a complete salon manicure, but instead its color. They called it "Barracuda." I call it "Carolina Blue," the color of my alma mater and also the color my bridesmaids wore in my wedding. I'm sure the color they sent was randomly picked, but really, it felt heaven-sent from the beginning. Influenster and Sally Hansen picked the right Tar Heel.
Unfortunately, that's where the love affair ended. Maybe it's because this is a matte color (versus something sparkly), but it looked very streaky. I had a hard time making the coverage look full and even. I thought the tapered brush shape might help in smoothing the color evenly, but it didn't seem to be any different than my regular nail polishes. A second coat helped a little, but not a ton. Also, after two days of wearing it on my toes, it's already started to chip, and in my experience polish on toes lasts longer. This nail polish what I was most excited about when I received my VowVoxBox, but it turned out to be the product I was most disappointed in. Ah, such is life.
The verdict: A nice try, but formula-wise I think I'll be sticking with my Julep and Essie polishes. As for the color, go Heels!
Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream
My initial reaction to this is, "I love the scent!" It reminds me of something - maybe my mother? My grandmother(s)? I can't pinpoint it exactly, but I like it. You wouldn't think that's such a big deal, but frankly, if I'm going to be putting something on my face it better be something that smells good.
I've been using it for nearly a week, and I can't really tell any difference in the luminosity of my face. However, I can't really tell a difference using most products - so long as I cleanse and moisturize my face daily, it tends to look the same (hormonal flare-ups aside). I can't imagine there is ANY cream out there that would deliver a truly flawless complexion or show drastic results. Pretty sure that's what Photoshop is for.
The verdict: I like it and I'll continue to use this sample jar, but I don't know if I would go out of my way to purchase this on its own.
Riley and Gray
This was the hardest to review, because I just don't need a wedding website right now (or ever again, God willing). I was also immediately predisposed to dislike this because it costs money. Call me a practical wedding planner - there are plenty of things I was willing to spend money on for our wedding, but a wedding website wasn't one of them. Riley and Gray costs $35 for a monthly payment or $240 for a year - given my eight-month engagement, I would've spent $280. If my brother and his fiancee had used this from the beginning of their engagement, in December of 2011 (they're getting married in October), they would have spent a whopping $720 - for a wedding website. That is good money that could be spent on a beautiful dress...or booze! Keep it in perspective, people.
However, I will say that one of the nice features is that it has mobile and tablet versions, which is good for brides on the go. The layouts and graphic designs are pretty, and my graphic designer bestie would certainly bless them, but I don't think they're worth the cost. I also am not a fan of the website RSVP feature. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my card stock invitations and reply cards sent through the good ol' USPS. These websites are pretty if you just have a ton of money you're dying to waste on your wedding, but for the average, cost-conscious bride, this seems overkill.
The verdict: Maybe it's just because I don't actually need a wedding website anymore, or maybe it's because I'm a strict budgeter, but I wasn't thrilled by this. My www.mywedding.com site was just fine for our purposes.