Adventures in online shopping with Warby Parker

It’s been a while since we’ve made a post and it’s been even longer since I’ve gotten new glasses so I thought it would be a perfect post to get back into the blogging game.

As I went to Lenscrafters for my yearly eye appointment to get new contacts I discovered that my vision has changed; gotten a little worse. Just one more reminder that I’m getting older. Thanks Father Time. But of course with a new prescription comes the need for new frames! As you do, right? I decided that my current frames, a pair from Anne Klein in purple with a rectangle frame, looked a little too old for me (this mainly came about because after I bought them I noticed more grandmothers wearing them than 20 somethings). I never wore them out and only wore them right before bed and right when I woke up. I didn’t want anyone to see me in them if I could help it. So, being a twenty something year old female with the desire to be a little more fashion forward I’m looking for a new pair of frames. Perusing through the selection of frames at Lenscrafters I discovered, or confirmed really, that I have way more expensive taste than my budget can actually afford. So rather than settle for something that’s less than acceptably fashionable, I decided to venture into online frames shopping. Now, just know that I am and have always been rather skeptical of buying things online that aren’t of the book/movie/music genres. This is a BIG step for me. So here we go:

I talked to my boyfriend (who straight up said “I don’t like the frames you have. They stick too far out from the side of your head”) and a few other people to see what sorts of websites I should look into for my affordable fashion eyewear. Several companies popped up and at first I went with Coastal.com. I wasn’t super impressed with a lot of what I was seeing. There were two or three frames that I thought would do. The biggest plus side to Coastal was that they were having a promotion for “Your first pair free” which sounded good to me. Get a free pair of glasses, just pay $25 shipping. Ultimately painless if I didn’t like what I got because I figured I would have only lost out on shipping. But no, it couldn’t be quite so easy for me. Turns out that my eyes are so bad that the prescription lenses I needed fell outside of what they were offering for free. Well damn…

So the next website the ol’ Bf suggested was Warby Parker. Surprising that he knows way more about online stores for glasses when he doesn’t even need them, but then again he’s better at shopping in general than I am and I’m ashamed to admit has better fashion sense than I do.  But I digress; I immediately fell in love with what Warby Parker had to offer.

I probably spent a total of a month perusing through what all WP had to offer. I liked too many things and spent forever narrowing it down to just a couple. While going through this process I noticed that my co-blogger happened to post a picture of herself on facebook sporting new Warby Parker frames: Chamberlain. Clearly we’re more in tune with each other than we thought, looking at the same frames store at the same time without ever mentioning it to each other (keep in mind we’ve been living in two different states for over a year now – Impressive). It just confirmed that we’re meant to be soulmate besties forever. Seeing this, I immediately text said bestie and inquire of her specific frame and use it as an indicator for how different frames would look on me. Perfect! I settle on a pair of frames: Crane. I feel accomplished, happy, “Let’s do this!” but no, They’re sold out. Ugh!

I’m also an impatient person, I don’t want to wait for them to come back in stock. I go in search of a plan B. Well, now I really can’t choose so I give in and take part in Warby Parker’s free At Home Try On. It’s going to make me wait longer but at least I’ll actually know what I like. This turned out to be most helpful. You choose five frames that you’re interested in and in less than a week a box shows up at your door and you get to try on your picks and you have five days to make a decision. I however was super excited and made my decision within half an hour of opening the box. But before actually trying on any of the frames, before even opening the pretty black box with WARBY PARKER embroidered in silver on the top, the first thing I noticed was that there was a prepaid return label for me to send them back. Super convenient!

Now what I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for: Pictures!

At Home Try On Box Presentation
Warby Parker At Home Try On box

All Laid Out for Trying On
WP frames

Wiloughby in Striped Chestnut

Wiloughby Striped Chestnut

Welty in Plum MarblewoodWelty Plum Marblewood

Baxter in Pinot NoirBaxter Pinot Noir

Sims in Burgundy FadeSims Burgandy Fade

Pierce in GreystonePierce Grey Stone

Frames Laid Out In Order of PreferenceFrames in order of preference

The Winner: Welty in Plum MarblewoodThe winning frames

Now I realize that these are all very similar in style and color. It’s what made it so hard to choose a favorite online. In the end the decision came down to the weight of the frames on my face; Welty was definitely the lightest. How far down the bottom of the frame came down on my cheeks, where the top of the frames landed in relation to my eyebrows or lashes; Welty fell closer to my brows instead of right at my lashes. I hate when I can feel my eyelashes touching the top of the frames. Ultimately, Welty won because when wearing them I can look up, down, and side to side without the frame itself actually getting in the way of my line of sight. My current frames (the Anne Klein ones) fail in all those areas of critique.  Another big difference between Welty and all the other frames was the nose piece. There’s that little notch at the top that seemed to hold them higher up without me feeling like I had to keep pushing them up; which is probably what makes them sit higher/closer to my brow line.

With a final decision in mind I’m now prepared to order! One thing I found interesting with ordering from WP, you yourself cannot input your prescription. You must either upload a picture of your prescription with your Dr.’s information, have your Dr. call them, or there’s the option to let them know by email later, I assume with a picture once you’ve gotten one. Another thing that is asked for, even though it’s not easily apparent (I had to search through their FAQs the next day) is that you must have your pupillary distance (PD) specified on your prescription. If you don’t though, because I didn’t, you can figure it out on their site with their personal PD finder. It’s actually quite easy and once you’re done it’s all set up in an email format they’ve prepared for you that you can send it in later. So I suggest reading the FAQs before you fully order your glasses; I didn’t do it until the next morning because I still just felt like something wasn’t right about my order. Hopefully all is well now; I’m sure I’ll be contacted if not.

Everything about this process Warby Parker has made extremely fun and easy. I didn’t have the same experience with Coastal.com. I know that there are other sites that offer in home try ons as well. I’m just lucky that WP was my second stop and I was happy. They’ve honestly thought of everything! Their primary collection of frames are reasonably priced at $95 which include your lenses unless your prescription is so strong that it would require a thicker, heavier lens. In this case you have the option to choose a high index lens which allows for you to have a stronger prescription without the weight and thickness and this option is a $30 add-on. But still, with a total cost of $125 it’s way more affordable than the $200-$600 frames (without lenses) I was looking at in Lenscrafters.

I haven’t actually gotten my final glasses yet, I’ll have to do an update post when they get here, but so far I’m extremely comfortable and happy with the whole process. At this point I would definitely recommend that anyone else looking for new fashionable glasses at a more affordable rate should make Warby Parker their first stop shop!

October 2012 Birchbox Review

I’m completing my October 2012 Birchbox review a tad late, but I am finally getting all caught up on everything that has been neglected with my NYC move. This month Birchbox gave subscribers an option to get either the regular … Continue reading

September 2012 Birchbox Review

 

 

Is it just me or does it seem like Birchboxes come out later and later each month?! Then again, when you’re excitedly awaiting something it does tend to take awhile to arrive, so that could be a secondary explanation. In any case, the September 2012 Birchbox was not too bad! It was filled with great samples and…wait for it…not a perfume sample in sight!

In case you aren’t familiar with Birchbox, I’ll give you a little rundown. Each month a package arrives at your door. It contains about 4-5 samples of deluxe beauty products (skin care and make up) and a little something extra. The samples are usually generous and last for a few applications. If you love an item you can get onto Birchbox’s website and buy it. Each item you buy earns you some points, similar to how the Sephora rewards card works, and you can use them toward later purchases. I love samples, especially of beauty products that are on the pricier side, so if you do actually purchase something you have a good idea of whether or not you will be happy with it. Birchbox costs $10 a month or you can subscribe for the year for $110.

21 drops Focus Aromatherapy Blend
Sample Size: 2 mL, $8
Full size: 7.5 mL, $29

Birchbox says: Stay sharp with this mind-clearing blend of rosemary and peppermint essential oils. Apply to pulse points and breathe deep.

My thoughts: Aromatherapy has always been something I’ve been on the fence about…mostly due to my ridiculous allergies to the outside world. I was excited to see this sample in my Birchbox, though, because it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten something of the sort in a subscription box. Plus, I got the ‘Focus’ kind..how perfect! I really did like the scent, although I did not see a difference in my focusing. Perhaps my condition just surpasses the help aromatherapy can provide.  I doubt I would ever buy the full size product here,  but I still felt the item deserved a worthy review.

Rating: B+


Color Club in Status Update
Sample size: 7 mL, $4
Full size: 15 mL, $15

Birchbox says: We teamed up with Color Club to create this custom shade, inspired by the Fall 2012 collections.

My thoughts: When I saw that this month’s Birchbox would include a custom-made Color Club nail polish shade, I was super excited. I actually really love black nail polish (or dark gray, or whatever this shade actually is), but I am still on the fence with Color Club products themselves. Granted, I am not the most graceful individual, and have a hard time waiting for my nails to fully dry, but within 24 hours of using this nail polish I had a few nails chip. Plus, I was kind of hoping the color would be more on the gray side, like it appears to be from the bottle, but it dries as black. Eh, we’ll see.

RatingB

Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Treatment System
Sample size: 0.33 oz./0.1 oz., $0.20-$0.30
Full size: 13.5 oz/4.8 oz., $9.99-$14.99

Birchbox says: The fragrance equivalent to a wink, this fanciful scent layers fresh citrus and jasmine notes over a base of lavender and pumpkin.

My thoughts: I love Nexxus products. They’ve always done a good job for me, even if Birchbox sent out the smallest quality sample of all time with this product. 20 cents for a packet of shampoo? I’m sorry, but unless a shampoo costs $100 a full-size product, I don’t think a ‘deluxe sample’ translates to a one-application-packet of product. However, I can’t dock the actual product because the sample size was shitty.

Rating: A

twistband Birchbox Custom Lace Hair Tie
Sample size: 1 twistband, $2.25 
Full size: 6-12 twistbands, $14-$22

Birchbox says: Designers went gaga for lace this season and we don’t blame them. Get on board with these ouch-free hair ties.

My thoughts: I think these hair ties are cute, but every time I get one they start fraying after just a few uses! I really loved the lace ones that Birchbox sent out and kind of considered using some Birchbox points on ordering a pack of them, but I’m afraid they will just fall apart on me.

Rating: B
Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
Sample size: 20 mL, $5.75
Full size: 120 mL, $34

Birchbox says: This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten dull skin.

My thoughts: I’m always on a personal mission to find the best ‘brightening’ facial skin products, so I was super excited to see this cleanser/exfoliator in my Birchbox. It smells awesome and the sample size was impressive! I’ll definitely be able to use this for a week or more. So far, I think it has given my face a ‘brighter’ look, but I will have a better idea in a few days.

Rating: A

Lifestyle Extra
Mighty Leaf Tea Company Teas
Sample size: 3 teabags, $2
Full size: Pack of 15, $9.95

Birchbox says: Swap your afternoon latte for these yummy tea blends, made from natural, ethically sourced ingredients.

My thoughts: Food is not something I get overly excited about when I see it in my Birchbox, unless it has some kind of beautifying properties. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t even tried these yet, so I won’t say anything more about the product!

 

Overall, September’s Birchbox wasn’t my favorite, but not a total disappointment either. The total value of the box was $26.75, so value-wise it definitely surpasses the $10 monthly subscription fee, which is always a plus!

Want your own Birchbox? Go to http://www.birchbox.com?raf=s6h6z to sign up!

Note: I do not work for Birchbox or am affiliated with them in any way. By clicking on the link above, it works as a referral from me. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Birchbox.

August 2012 Birchbox Review

August 2012 Birchbox: Beauty School Supply Kit

Anything ‘back to school’ themed will always remind me of Billy Madison, because I am mature like that.

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school.

But the best part about getting a ‘back to school’ themed Birchbox this month? The fact that I, will in fact, not be going back to school because I am donedonedone!

I did like the contents of this month’s box, but it would still be hard to beat the love I had for July’s box. Read ahead to see what I got and what I thought!

In case you aren’t familiar with Birchbox, I’ll give you a little rundown. Each month a package arrives at your door. It contains about 4-5 samples of deluxe beauty products (skin care and make up) and a little something extra. The samples are usually generous and last for a few applications. If you love an item you can get onto Birchbox’s website and buy it. Each item you buy earns you some points, similar to how the Sephora rewards card works, and you can use them toward later purchases. I love samples, especially of beauty products that are on the pricier side, so if you do actually purchase something you have a good idea of whether or not you will be happy with it. Birchbox costs $10 a month or you can subscribe for the year for $110.

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur Perfume
Sample Size: .05 fl. oz., $8.75
Full size: 2.5 oz., $70

Birchbox says: This modern scent is a feminine blend of wild berries, mandarin, and waterlily.

My thoughts: I’m a big fan of Juicy scents. Their original formula has long been in my rotating arsenal of perfumes. While I did enjoy their Viva la Juicy La Fleur, I rarely love the ‘sequel’ more than the original. I have no doubt it’ll get used though, although by now I have so many perfume samples from Birchbox I don’t know what to do with myself.

Rating: A-

Miss Jessie’s Original Stretch Silkening Creme
Sample size: 2 fl. oz., $5.50
Full size: 8 fl. oz., $22

Birchbox says: Apply to soaking wet hair to loosen tight curls and add tons of shine.

My thoughts: Is there a spot on the Birchbox questionnaire where they ask you about your hair texture? I don’t know, but if there isn’t there should be! I know I’ve waxed on about my straight to curly to straight hair texture life, so until my hair inevitably goes curly again, I have little need for a curly hair product. I’ve still used it a few times and have noticed it has helped reduced weather-related frizzies and added some shine. So, even though I can’t attest to whether or not it helps loosen tight curls, I still think it is a quality product. Maybe I’ll have my mom take a try while I’m home and see if it works on her curls!
P.S.: When I initially snooped on the Birchbox website to see what I would be getting in this month’s box, I definitely thought this product was for stretch marks, based off the name. Hopefully I’m not the only one, because now I feel like a moron.

Rating: B

Pixi Beauty Lip & Line
Full size sample!
Full size: 0.051 oz., $18

Birchbox says: A double-sided wand featuring a waterproof liner and a creamy lipstick.

My thoughts: I would never dare argue about receiving a full-sized product, considering it substantially added to the value of the box. I’ve only tried this out once; I haven’t really had an opportunity to wear a lipstick of this shade yet this week. I’m not exactly sure how convinced I am that the lipstick portion of the product should be considered ‘creamy,’ but maybe my lips were just dry when I put it on? Who knows. Either way, yay for full-sizes!

Rating: B+

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream
Sample size: 0.1 oz., $2
Full size: 1.25 oz., $16

Birchbox says:Bestselling Japanese cream that hydrates chapped lips, rough heels, and cracked hands.

My thoughts: This was a teeny, tiny sample for a body cream. Typically the body cream samples come in a size that last for more than one application. This was more of the size of an eye cream sample, womp womp. Therefore, it is difficult to accurately evaluate it. The cream is quite thick. It also smells like Bengay…so I wouldn’t want to put this on for daytime wear.

Rating: C+

Schick Hydro Silk Razor
Full size: 1 razor, $9.99

My thoughts: Razors are such a pain in the butt, but since I hate having prickly legs, I am forced to deal with them until I am rich enough to get them laser hair removed. I thought this was a great extra for the box! Razors are pricey, so a quality non-disposable razor was a nice treat. Additionally, I find myself buying men’s razors a lot because most ladies razors only have 2 or 3 blades…and a 4 blade razor gives a much closer shave. No complaints here!

Birchbox Total Value: $44.25!

This month’s box had a great variety of products and worth quite a lot more than 10 dollars! Here’s my only thing, this month’s box came with a little brochure of ‘tips and tricks.’ Is it weird that I don’t like change and missed the simple card? Minor quips.

Want your own Birchbox? Go to http://www.birchbox.com?raf=s6h6z to sign up!

Note: I do not work for Birchbox or am affiliated with them in any way. By clicking on the link above, it works as a referral from me. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Birchbox.

Poor Little Rich Girls: Drugstore Makeup for Dramatic Eyes & Matte Faces

Edie Sedgwick, l’inspiration beauté du quotidien

As a poor recent-grad graduate student, I am always looking for a great deal on looking pretty, which is why I love drugstores. I adore high-end beauty products as much as the next girl, but I just can’t always afford to splurge on them. I buy dark eye makeup and matte foundation the most, in a feeble attempt to emulate Edie Sedgwick. So what if she had a [brief] trust fund? That doesn’t mean there aren’t perfectly good alternatives to the finer products in life! Here are some of my staples when it comes to eyes and bases.

CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, in Very Black

Whenever this mascara debuted (circa 2008?), I had to try it. Mascaras are weird for me. I have really long eyelashes, but I still like to add volume to my favorite asset. My first go at this one was rather magical. Each time I try to buy a new one, I am never as satisfied.

Revlon CoverStay Liquid Eyeliner, in Blackest Black

and

Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner Pencilin Charcoal

I have no problem saying that Revlon does a damn good job at makeup. I would venture to say that any purchase from Revlon that is a ‘ColorStay’ product is a good one. Eyeliner is my staple; I have been wearing eyeliner longer than I have been wearing mascara, which is probably not something I should admit (because doesn’t eyeliner look really weird without mascara, or is that just me?).

My rules, abridged: Liquid black eyeliner swept across the upper lash line, most likely in the cat eye fashion. As always, longer, thicker, and more dramatic for nighttime. Under eyeliner should never be liquid eyeliner, unless you want to go blind and bloodshot for an hour. Always pencil, but a soft pencil. Sometimes I go black for under eyes, most recently I have gone with grey (or, Charcoal) to lighten things up. Dot between lower eyelashes to make the illusion of one connected line. I utilize the under eyeliner day and night, but sometimes I go a little thicker with it at night. Just make sure you have Q-tips (secret weapon) to neaten everything up afterward. You want to look smoldering, but the line between smoldering and overindulgent mess is, unfortunately, a little too close.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation SPF 15 for Normal/Dry Skin

Foundations are the trickiest of them all. Most make up enthusiasts would say that foundation is the one part of your beauty routine that should be high-end. I don’t believe that. I also believe that choosing a brand of foundation is incredibly contingent upon your type of skin and the climate in which you live. Here in western PA, it is humid as all get out. I probably shouldn’t wear foundation right now, but I feel naked without it, and it has SPF, so I feel like I can justify its use. It, being Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Foundation. A god-send for different skin types, of all different shades. I use the formula for Normal/Dry Skin, although there is a Combination/Oily Skin, as well. It blends beautifully and covers up imperfections, without significantly dulling the skin (my biggest foundation pet peeve).

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder

When life requires a pressed powder finish. I (don’t shoot me, beauty super-evangelists) don’t really get how pressed powder could be good or bad. I don’t have  naturally oily skin, but sometimes it still happens, especially in the summer. Its hot! Yet, no matter what I try, it all makes me look the same…slightly cakey. You look perfect in photographs, but unrealistic in real life. I’m still torn on the healing powers of pressed powder, but I bought this Rimmel one for a few dollars at Walgreen’s when it was on sale. Plus, my co-blogger Christa digs it too, and her skin is lovely. So, it gets my endorsement.

Note: I do not work for Revlon, CoverGirl, or Rimmel, or am affiliated with them in any way. My thoughts are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the above listed companies. All photographs attributed to this individual post are the property of their respective companies.