Charm VoxBox Review

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Every so often I qualify to receive a box of samples to test and review, free of charge from Influenester.  I’m never disappointed by the boxes I receive because there is always at least one product I end up loving that I would have otherwise never heard of or would have been too reluctant to try.

 

This has to be my favorite VoxBox to date, though, as I loved most of the products.  It included two perfume samples from a Vera Wang collection, a shampoo and conditioner set from EVA NYC, and full-sized products from Mott’s, Wet n Wild, PEEPS, and McCormick.

Vera Wang Embrace

Vera Wang Embrace

Let me preface this review by stating that I am not a perfume kinda girl.  I’m more of a crunchy chica at heart and I’ve been using the same perfumed oils I bought back when I followed Phish before their hiatus in the early 2000’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve purchased different perfumes over the years, but I never quite found my signature scent.  So I stuck with the oils.  And lately I’ve been using Progressence Plus from Young Living (awesome by the way) and I haven’t had the patience to wait for its pleasant scent to wear off in order to apply perfume, oil or spray.

But that’s exactly what I did in order to try the samples of Embrace by Vera Wang.  And I’m so happy I did.  Rose Buds and Vanilla starts off a bit strong, but within minutes settles into what reminded me of a subtle bouquet of flowers.  It totally smells like spring, but without the nuisance of pollen-induced allergies.  Oh, but the Marigold and Gardenia is definitely my favorite.  It too, starts off a bit strong, but it’s never off putting.  As it reacted to my body temperature, it smelled like jasmine.  It wasn’t until I looked at the name of the sample that I noticed it was in fact gardenia I was smelling, not jasmine.  It reminded me of summers in Hawaii and spending time with my grandma.  If you like floral + spicy scents this is the perfect perfume for you.

Wet n Wild 1 Sep WonderGel

I am a mother of three boys which means I wash my hands.  A lot.  And throw in frequent washing of dishes and you can understand why I rarely put in the effort to keep my nails polished.  I tried gel polishes when they first hit the shelves of my local CVS, but I wasn’t too impressed.  The brand I tried started to chip along the tips of my nails within the first day, but took way too much effort to take off with nail polish remover.

Not so with this bottle, which is a 2016 Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner.  It lasted a whopping two days before starting to chip, but it came off with ease when I was ready to remove it.  I loved my experience so much that I bought a bottle of….  It came off just as effortlessly as the bottle from my Charm VoxBox, but it did leave a bit of a stain on my nails.  Not a deal breaker, though, because the stain faded fairly quickly.  I plan on buying a bottle in a summer coral before my next trip to the beach.

My only small complaint has nothing to do with the quality of the polishes, but the names Wet n Wild chooses to use for them.  While I’m sure the marketing department is just trying to be cheeky, the names can be a bit risque.

EVA NYC Clean It Up Shampoo and Therapy Session Hair Mask

EVA NYC Clean It Up Shampoo Therapy Session Hair Mask

I really wanted to like these products.  But as a curly girl, I just can’t give them the FFMS stamp of approval.  The Clean It Up Shampoo touts itself as being created for ALL hair types, but it’s simply too stringent for my thick and curly hair.  Thick hair, especially thick and curly hair, tends to be dry because it’s difficult for moisture to make its way down from the roots to the ends.  And one of the first ingredients listed is sodium laurel sulfate, which is great for getting hair super clean, but notorious for stripping away hair’s natural oils in the process.

At first glance the Therapy Session Hair Mask sounds like it would be curly girl friendly.  But a quick read of the ingredient list shows it’s full of silicones.  And while I’m sure you can find some site on the Interwebs in support of silicone-filled hair products, this curly girl has personally found my hair to be much healthier since I gave them up.

Final verdict: If you are looking to deep clean your hair and add shine, then this is a good option.  If you want to leave your hair’s natural oils in tact, look for a duo that’s sulfate and silicone free.

Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce Pouch

Mott's Unsweetened Applesauce

My boys love these – all three of them.  They make a great snack and after meal treat because they’re nutritious and aren’t too filling. So, when only one sample showed up in my VoxBox, I knew I had to keep it out of sight until I was able to buy more.  Fortunately for me, Publix had a BOGO sale on them and I bought several boxes.  A quick search of the Mott’s site shows they have several unsweetened options, so I’ll need to ask my local Publix to up their game and carry more than just the unsweetened apple flavor.

McCormic Organics Taco Mix

McCormick Organics Taco Seasoning Mix

I’ve been wanting to make tacos lately, but ever since we started exclusively eating grass fed beef, I can’t bring myself to use traditional, chemical-laden, taco mixes.  So you can imagine just how excited I was when I saw this packet in my VoxBox.  I used it in a post-Cinco de Mayo meal and the boys loved it.  My oldest said it was a little spicy, but not hot.  Which means it has all the right flavoring without the over the top heat.  And since the twins each wanted seconds this is a winner in my books.

PEEPS Delights

Peeps Delights Coconut Dipped Dark Chocolate

Oh. My. Sweet tooth.  Real talk, I hated PEEPS when I was growing up.  I thought they looked pretty in my Easter basket, but I never enjoyed them.  They were always more colorful than they were flavorful.  When I opened my VoxBox and saw the iconic PEEPS I figured I would put one in each of my boys’ Easter basket.  But as I picked up the package something caught my attention – COCONUT.  I love coconut.  And upon closer inspection I noticed the bottom of each PEEP was dipped in chocolate.  Say what?!?  So there was no way these were making it into any Easter basket.

I can’t speak for the other Delights flavors – blueberry, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate mousse, raspberry, milk chocolate, dark chocolate – but the coconut and chocolate made a perfect pairing.  A little too sweet for me, but yummy just the same.  And it’s been years since I put a PEEP in my mouth, so I have to ask, was the granulated sugar always so noticeable on one’s tongue?

My only real complaint about this particular flavor of PEEPS is that none of my local stores  carried them.  I could have ordered them online, but I just wasn’t willing to put that kind of effort into getting seasonal candy.

Charm VoxBox

Influenster Charm VoxBox

This really has to be my favorite box of products to test that Influenster has sent me to date.  If you’ve already tried any of these products, or do in the future, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Importance vs. Significance

My sister in ministry, Amia, tagged me in a photo she posted on Instagram.  It was a repost of a post that a friend of  Whitney English sent her (gotta love social media).  Whitney’s take on the picture was included in the repost.  I tried reposting the original image along with my thoughts, but the upload kept failing.

I wanted to curse IG for not letting me post but knew it was God telling me to get over my fear of blogging and just share my thoughts here.  For some reason I think that people expect less from the writing that accompanies pictures on Instagram than they do from a blog post.  Just whispers from the enemy.  I don’t remember what I wrote verbatim, but it was something like this…

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I want to leave a legacy of a life based on the characteristics of someone having significance.  God calls us to live in community.  With him and each other.  Real community can only be built when people care more about significance than importance.  But community building is hard.  It requires humility, vulnerability, and honesty.

Being humble involves admitting I don’t have all the answers, when I feel that I should have it all together at this point in my life.  {How frustrating is it that it is is always changing?}  Being vulnerable means I have to let my guard down, admitting how badly I want to be loved for who I am.  As difficult as those two are, I think that being honest is the hardest of them all.  Because when I lay it all on the line I may not be enough.

Here’s the thing.  While I desperately want to find and grow my tribe – you know, those women who just get you and are on a similar path as you are – I’m afraid of rubbing up against the people who are more concerned with their importance than significance. That fear tempts me to bypass humility, vulnerability, and honesty – specifically when it comes to social media.  Some days I’d like nothing more than to post photos that make it seem like I’ve arrived.

Because nothing will make me feel like I’m back in high school faster than when I follow God’s lead and I feel like I’m the only one. When I start to take the opinions of others too personally, God reminds me that He has set me apart, not aside. {I totally thought of that scene in Dirty Dancing “No one puts baby in the corner” as I typed that.  You too? Awesome.}

He reminds me to stop gauging my significance by my importance.  It’s super tempting to weigh my impact by follows, likes, and comments.  It can be so disappointing (if I let it) when I follow God’s prompting and pour my heart out only to hear crickets.  But my obedience in following His prompting is a reward in itself.  I need to remember that.

God put me in check recently about the whole fixation with follows, likes, and comments.  I was washing dishes and thinking about my Instagram account.  Very softly, free of condemnation, the Holy Spirit whispered “You don’t have followers.  I have followers.”  Ouch.  And when I thought I couldn’t feel any more convicted He said, “And why do you think you need thousands anyway?  I had tweleve.”  Double ouch.