THE FRENCH BOX

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THE FRENCH BOX: NOVEMBER UNBOXING ~ I LOVE PARIS (I TRULY DO) AND COUPON CODE!!!

Published November 21, 2014 by thebeholdingeye

After stalking the tracking information for my November The French Box, I woke up this morning wringing my hands in anticipation of its arrival and practically squealed when I saw the mail carrier walk past my office window with the distinctive pink box in her hands.

After carefully removing it from its outer shipping box, my little black heart skipped a beat.

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There it was, the November box…être encore , mon cœur!

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I carefully opened the lid to reveal the exquisitely wrapped contents…And this month’s frame-friendly postcard was on the top:

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Yes…Yes, indeed, Paris is always a good idea. Particularly when one is wasting away in a central California valley rural community. Le sigh.

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The theme for November is “Paris, I Love You.” Although I’ve never been there, I can say without hesitation that, yes, Paris, I love you. Or what I imagine you to be, somewhere between Utopia and Heaven.

Okay, let’s see what else is in this box of French wonders.

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I’m in love already and I haven’t even touched any of the products. I can practically SMELL the French awesomeness emanating from the box….Let’s check everything out!

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RETAIL VALUE: $43.50

Right off the proverbial bat, here we have a full-sized Pier Auge Radiant Mask for all skin types. “Wonderfully gentle, this treatment smooths the skin. Beautified skin regains all its natural radiance and is better protected against the signs of aging, stress and pollution.”

I applied a dab of this to my hand to try it out. Ooh la la. My hand feels soft and silky after just a few minutes. This is a mask that you apply, wait 10 minutes, and then rub in whatever remains atop the skin. J’adore. I’m already swooning.

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RETAIL VALUE: $6.00

I snatched this up and did a happy dance. COFFEE. REAL FRENCH ROAST COFFEE. Not the Starbucks version of French Roast or any other non-French-produced French Roast coffee, but coffee really and truly made in France. I’m an absolute coffee-holic. Iced, hot, cappy’d, latte’d, frappy’d, you name it. Even my favorite ice cream is coffee flavored. I’m thrilled with this and intend to enjoy it one perfect cup a day to make it last as long as possible. From Segafredo Cafe de Paris, “its rich, aromatic flavors will leave you craving for a little bit more French throughout the entire day…” Oh, it already has. Parfait!!!

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RETAIL VALUE: $12.00

I love the way little objets d’art are included in the French Box, and here we have an absolutely adorable hard-backed journal from Lido Accessories, complete with an elasticized bookmark. It’s almost too cute to use. They’ve also included a pamphlet from Lido describing their burlesque cabaret and it sounds amazing. One can make reservations for dinner and the show or drinks and the show. How I would love to attend for dinner and the show. Here’s a peek at the pamphlet:

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And what is this round, perfectly French item?

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RETAIL VALUE: $12.00.

Okay, this is seriously THE cutest compact I’ve ever seen. The Paris Pocket Mirror is distinctively French and the perfect size, it contains two mirrors, one in the top half and the other in the bottom. It’s beyond UH-DORABLE. This is definitely going straight into my purse and I’ll be whipping it out at every opportunity to show people how utterly awesome it is. These pictures don’t even do justice to its cuteness.

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RETAIL VALUE: $24.90 for full-sized 3.4-oz product

Here we have a sample vial of Leonard Eau de Parfum Signature and it smells DIVINE. I’ll be treasuring this little vial and using it for special occasions when I want my sense of smell to transport me directly to Paris. Ooh la la indeed.

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Oh my…Next up is another recipe card (last month’s box had a recipe card for a few menu ideas for utilizing the Herbs d’Provence contained in the box). This month’s recipe is for Croque Monsieur, which is an extremely delectable-looking sandwich that actually makes me want to throw my Subway Club sandwich sitting next to me off of my balcony. It looks amazing and anything that contains Gruyere cheese is going to be a home run with my cheese-loving self. Nice touch, French Box, Keep those recipes coming!

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RETAIL VALUE: $61.00 for full-sized 1-ounce product

The last item in this month’s box are 2 sample packets of Guerlain Foundation Parure de Lumiere. I’ve tried a few Guerlain products in the past (and loved them), but I’ve not tried this particular foundation. This one is moisturizing and contains light-diffusing ingredients as well as SPF 25. The active ingredient is Luminescent Water, a marine spring water that hydrates the skin and diffuses light at 360 degrees to create a radiant complexion. The color is conveniently the perfect shade for my skin (woot!). I can’t wait to give these a try. It’s medium coverage, which should also be perfect for me.

TOTAL RETAIL VALUE OF “I LOVE PARIS” BOX: $73.50 (not including a value for the adorable postcard, the sample Guerlain products, the recipe card, or the Leonard perfume).

Once again, I am completely blown away by The French Box. Just opening the box immediately allows me to escape the day-to-day banalities and be mentally transported to a faraway place I’ve only seen in my dreams. I find the curating of the box to be top notch and brings me such a nice variety of things to taste, see, smell, and feel. I’m definitely still carrying on my own personal love affair with the French Box.

If you’d like to check out the French Box, here are some links to help you get started (pssst, The French Box would be a PERFECT gift for any lovers of all things France on your holiday gift-giving list this year).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frenchbox
Website: https://getfrenchbox.com/ get a discount, enter this promo code when ordering: RRAMY8A4D8
Twitter: @GetFrenchBox
Instagram: FrenchBox_Official
Pinterest: FrenchBox_Official

VIVA LA FRANCE!!!

And I am now departing from my all-too-brief imaginary trip to Paris and back to my American apartment in central California. The struggle is real. Le sigh.

As always, feel free to follow me on the following social media:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Beholding-Eye/683364698413511
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebeholdingeye
Instagram: https://instagram.com/thebeholdingeye

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ALLURE SAMPLE SOCIETY NOVEMBER 2014 UNBOXING: REDEMPTION OR BANISHMENT?

Published November 14, 2014 by thebeholdingeye

I work from home as a medical language specialist and, as awesome as that sounds, being interrupted when I’m working (one would be amazed at how many people think working from home actually entails no work at all) normally irks me above all.

Unless, of course, it’s the UPS delivery man bearing gifts. Such as today, when the ringing doorbell rudely interrupted my work, only to find the UPS man ready to place my much-anticipated Allure Sample Society November box into my outstretched little hands. He’s forgiven. Immediately. For this type of interruption, I’m quick to forgive. Delivery people bearing packages are always a welcome interruption.

Now, you’ll remember my not-so-subtle snark last month regarding ponytail holders and, more specifically, L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner in a box touted to contain “high-end, luxury samples.” My first and almost last box. However, bearing in mind that all subscription boxes seem to have a “slump month,” I decided to give them another month, just to be fair.

So let’s see…Will November make up for that extremely lackluster October box?

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Yep, there it is, that familiar pretty little red box with ALLURE emblazoned on its top.

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I have to admit, I really am impressed with the descriptor pamphlet they send in each box. It’s really well done and the pictures are lovely, with great, easy-to-read descriptions of each product.

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Nice touch, Allure. Last month I was so taken aback by the sight of the L’Oreal products that I think the quality of this pamphlet escaped me.

Okay, now let’s see what we’ve got in store for November. High-end luxury samples…Or more Walmart travel aisle products? Let’s find out.

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Looks pretty awesome at first glance. Not a ponytail holder nor a drugstore product in sight.

Let’s dive in, looks like the proverbial coast (or the drugstore aisle, in this case) is clear.

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First up is a welcome addition to my hair care samples. By Alterna (a line full of awesomeness, by the way), this is a sample of their Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Omega+ Nourishing Oil. Allure gives it their seal of approval for medium to thick hair; apparently this does not play well with fine hair and flattens it (never a good look). Fortunately for the me, I possess very thick, naturally wavy hair…And I’m going to enjoy every last dropper-full of this pricey little gem.
RETAIL VALUE: $38/full sized product (this is a small sample vial).

Off to a very nice start, Allure…Let’s see if you can maintain that.

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The second item to jump into my skeptical little hands is a 1-ounce sample size of Malin + Goetz Bergamot Body Wash. I’ve heard great things about this line and I’ve never had the opportunity to try one of their products. Although small, this sample should last for 2-3 showers…And it smells amazing, like freshly-cut oranges on a Sunday morning.
RETAIL VALUE: $32 for full-sized 16-ounce product.

Two for two, Allure, doing great here…

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Next up, I spy with my mascara’d eyes a small sample tube of MD Solar Sciences MD Crème Mineral Beauty Balm. Lucky for me, my sample is in Light/Medium, which should be a perfect shade for me in fall and winter, and I’m really loving that it’s a BB crème that dries matte and has an SPF of 50. Allure professes that it falls short in coverage but makes up for it with its ability to blur imperfections and produce a matte finish even on oily complexions. Truth be told, I don’t need a lot of coverage and my skin is basically combination, not too oily but not too dry, either, so I’m thinking this could very well by my “holy grail” of BB crèmes. And blurring of imperfections is never a bad thing, right? Can’t wait to try this one out.
RETAIL VALUE: $39 for full-sized product.

We’re halfway through the box and I’m not disappointed yet. Let’s keep going.

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A trial vial of Calvin Klein’s new fragrance, Reveal. Okay, full disclosure: I adore Calvin Klein fragrances, so I know I’m going to be totally biased and love this one even before that first intoxicating spritz. And, yes, it smells lovely…Somewhere between clean, freshly-showered skin, powdery, and lightly peppery at the same time. I would definitely purchase this on my own.
RETAIL VALUE: $70 for full-sized bottle.

Allure, you’re now officially 4 for 4…Can you actually manage for a 5 for 5 with this box???

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Ah, yet another mascara sample from a subscription box. But you know what? I really love the Lorac line and I did want to try this mascara. I was somewhat disappointed with UD Perversion and the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye mascara didn’t float my boat, but I’m hoping this Lorac Cobra Mascara will be as fantastic as it sounds. I found the brush (which was thankfully glossy and shiny and jet black, no sign of it being a “dry” mascara) on this is really intriguing, and I definitely plan to try this one out tomorrow. Here are a couple of pictures of the brush (which probably suck because I’m definitely not a photographer but hopefully you’ll see what I mean):

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Hopefully the jet black against the red background make the unique-appearing shape of this brush stand out.
RETAIL VALUE: $20 for full-sized product (this is a pretty generous sample size)

And there we have it, the November Allure Sample Society box.

So, what’s the verdict? Did Allure redeem themselves from last month’s shenanigans with the L’Oreal and ponytail holders?

Why, yes…Yes, they did, and quite nicely. This is much more of what I was expecting from Allure Sample Society when I signed up. Not full-sized products, but samples of products for which a full-sized version might be out of my budget, samples of products I might not normally find on my own, or samples of products so spendy that I might be hesitant to purchase them without trying them. This box delivered just that.

Allure, I promise if you keep up this quality, I will refrain from referring to you as Sample Suck-ciety.

We’ll be signing back up for this box for December and give them another month or two to see if the quality of this box holds or if they revert back to drugstore product samples.

As of right now, I’m absolutely loving my Allure Sample Society November box and will enjoy trying every single product in here.

Allure, you have indeed redeemed yourself in my eyes (which admittedly are blurry from working but I assure you they’re loving these contents!).

If you’re as impressed with this month’s box as much as I was and would like to explore Allure Sample Society for yourself, here are a couple of links to get you started.

WEBSITE WITH REFERRAL LINK: http://www.beautybar.com (USE CODE SAMO3924 IF YOU’D LIKE TO USE ME AS A REFERRAL)
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/beautybar.com

As always, feel free to follow what I’m up to on the following social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Beholding-Eye/683364698413511
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBeholdingEye
Instagram: https://instagram.com/thebeholdingeye

Until next time, stay beautiful…And stay tuned! Next week brings The French Box, Wantables Intimates, Ipsy, Lip Monthly, Lip Factory, and possibly more. XoXo

WINTER NAIL SHADES AND WINTER BEAUTY SURVIVAL TIPS: NAUGHTY OR NICE?

Published November 14, 2014 by thebeholdingeye

Ahhhh, Thanksgiving is almost upon us and then we’ll be catapulted into the frigid Winter months in the blink of a masacara’d eye. I love the changing of the seasons and, as every fashionista knows, with each change of season comes new trends. What better way to incorporate some winter trends into your wardrobe than with a few new nail colors? Budget-friendly and lots of fun, too.

But, before we dive right into the glorious new nail shades, let’s take a look at what you can do to keep the skin and cuticles of your hands and feet at their twinkling best, whether you’re roasting chestnuts on an open fire or dashing through the snow in a 1-horse open sleigh.

First of all, I happened upon a product a few years ago that seriously forever changed my hand and foot care routine. It’s not glamorous, the name of it is a bit giggle-inducing, it’s perfectly affordable, and it is my winter skin savior.

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Feel free to giggle. Seriously. I giggled like a school girl the first time I saw it, but its claims were so amazing that I decided to purchase a small travel-sized tin.

Readily available at mass chains such as Walmart, Target, etc., or even at your local neighborhood pharmacy, Bag Balm will keep your hands and feet so amazingly hydrated and smooth that you’ll ditch those more expensive treatments and become a devotee as well. It has the consistency of Vaseline (a staple for some), yet I find the results are much more immediate. One night with Bag Balm and you’ll definitely be ready for Santa Claus coming to town.

Bag Balm can be purchased for well under $10 at pretty much anywhere you pick up your other beauty necessities.

Oh, and while you’re snapping up your Bag Balm, there are two more items you’ll want to grab to use in conjunction with it.

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Yep, plain white cotton socks in whatever style you prefer. Slather the Bag Balm on your feet (paying particular attention to the areas between your toes and your heels), and then slip a pair of these over your feet. They not only prevent the product from being transferred onto your bedding, they help the Bag Balm to penetrate through the dry skin of your feet even more intensely. It’s like a not-so-glamorous spa treatment for your feet.

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And while you’re there, grab a pair of plain white cotton gloves for your balm-drenched hands as well. Again, any kind or style that catches your pretty little eye. I like the idea of these disposable ones but reusable ones that can be laundered are an equally good choice. As with your feet, except using a smaller amount, slather Bag Balm over your hands and cuticles, apply the gloves, and let the magic happen while you’re sleeping. In the morning, remove the gloves, wash your hands (always using a mild soap, especially during winter months), and be amazed at the difference in how they feel…Hydrated and supple, without a spot of dryness in sight.

The Bag Balm treatment done 1-2 times a week on hands and feet will have your skin and cuticles hydrated and healthy-looking all through the harsh winter months. I even do it a couple of times per month in summer months, too, just to keep everything smooth and supple. In between Bag Balm treatments, nightly moisturizing with your usual hand and foot creams will be even more effective.

Now that we’ve covered the practical aspect of how to keep those fingers and toes sparing us from entrance onto the Island of Misfit Toys, let’s take a look at some UH-MAZING winter colors courtesy of our friends at Julep. What better way to showcase new colors than with soft, smooth and well-manicured hands and feet?

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Ilsa, Sawyer, and Joanne are most assuredly earning a place in my nail collection. Gorgeous shades and totally versatile, perfect for the office, home, or even a quick kiss under the mistletoe.

Also from our friends at Julep, here are some additional products to assist with winterizing your beauty routine for the upcoming months that you may wish to try incorporating into your regimen:

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Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, these are the perfect holiday treats for you…And also hit-of-the-party stocking stuffers for those fashionistas on your gift-giving list as well.

If you’d like to snap up a couple of those awesome new shades for winter or check out other winterizing beauty tools and products Julep offers, here’s a link to their page. Oh, and did I mention you do not have to subscribe to Julep to make purchases? Commitment-free shopping that won’t break the holiday budget!

JULEP POLISH COLLECTION: http://www.julep.com/shop/nail-polish.html

And, as always, feel free to follow me on the following social media. Later this week we’re expecting arrivals by Ipsy, Lip Factory, Lip Monthly, Sample Society, and possibly French Box (I’m already having palpitations just thinking about French Box…OOOH LA LA), so stay tuned for more!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Beholding-Eye/683364698413511
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBeholdingEye
Instagram: https://instagram.com/thebeholdingeye

Until next time, stay beautiful!!!

THE FRENCH BOX: HERE COMES NOVEMBER…AND A DISCOUNT CODE! Viva La France!!!

Published October 18, 2014 by thebeholdingeye

UPDATE: The November French Box is shipping out Monday. If you’d like to grab one “hot off the presses,” so to speak AND get a discount, enter this promo code when ordering: RRAMY8A4D8

I am beyond excited to see what French treasures the November box will hold but, for your oooh-la-la enjoyment, here’s a recap of the October box and all of its awesome jewels!

Today, IT arrived. My first French Box. A new subscription box that launched a month ago (which I unfortunately missed out on as I wasn’t aware of the existence of The French Box until it had already sold out). Below is the October subscription box, The Warmth of Provence. It is very French, very classy, and very tres chic.

Here is the package the mail carrier greeted me with this morning:

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THE FRENCH BOX. In all of its pink splendor, holding all things French. I admit, I stared in awe and wonder at it for a few minutes before actually tearing into it. It’s French. It could have been filled with frozen Ore Ida French fries and I’d have probably still be all atwitter over it.

Let’s get it out of the official shipping box and see what lies within, shall we?

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And there it is, in all of its French glory, too tempting to gaze upon any longer and begging to be ripped into. Let’s go…

Oooo la la, it’s contents are wrapped quite nicely! I feel almost guilty as I gently tug on the ends of the ribbon to untie it.

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And on top of the package are the following French lovelies:

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A lovely French postcard, suitable for framing. Which is exactly what I intend to do…collect these little objets d’art and frame them to hang on my office wall. This one, which features a casually chic French woman states, “In Provence, the sun rises twice a day: Once in the morning and after the afternoon nap.” Le sigh.

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Merci beaucoup! A descriptor leaflet explaining all of the products in English (which is a great idea since it appears all of the product labels are in French and I do not parlez-vu Francais well – if at all).

Now let’s look at the contents one exquisite item at a time. Unlike my usual gusto with which I tear into subscription boxes, this one is eliciting reverence from me and I’m more subdued. Ahhh, France…

And we’re off with a homerun right out of the box…With a cover illustration by the renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix, this is a lovely journal, filled with blank pages on which to jot down one’s thoughts. I’d have paid the cost of the box for just this single beautiful item.

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Next up is this sweet (literally) little packet of gems. From Couleur Calisson, it is a small package containing what is apparently a French treat, a mini “calisson.” Here is where I need to use a lifeline and call my friend Google to translate. “Calissons are a traditional French candy consisting of a smooth, pale yellow, homogeneous paste of candied fruit (especially melons and oranges) and ground almonds topped with a thin layer of royal icing.” Okay, so they not only LOOK delectable, they sound delectable as well.
RETAIL PRICE: $3.00.

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Gently putting aside my newly-discovered French candied treasure, the next item I pick up is by Atelier Cologne Colognes Absolues (pure perfume) in Santal Carmin. Turning back to my friend Google, I discovered the following about this company: “Atelier Cologne is the first Maison de Parfum dedicated entirely to Cologne, the legendary fragrance classic.” Smells divine and Mr. Beholding Eye will be delighted to use this fine French fragrance. Oooh la la indeed!
RETAIL PRICE: $3.00.

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Okay, now that the gentleman’s selection from the box is out of the way, let’s dive into what the French Box has included for the madam of the house.

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First up is this beautiful Matis powder brush, made of goat hair and amazingly soft against the skin. The descriptor card indicates it applies pressed and loose powder, bronzer, and mineral makeup effortlessly. I’ve no doubt that it does, but it’s almost too pretty to use. LOVE IT!!!
RETAIL PRICE: $15.50.

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Also for the lady of the house is this amazing Sothy’s Volume Care Mascara. I haven’t used this yet, but it appears quite glossy on its thick applicator brush. It’s Sothy’s and it’s French…Who am I kidding? I’m going to love it more than any mascara I’ve ever used, even if it leaves me with a set of eyes a raccoon would envy at the end of the night.
RETAIL PRICE: $28.00.

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Next up is a set of 4 Oshibori 100% cotton hand made tea towels infused with a lovely green tea scent. AMAZING. These will be tres chic the next time we have a couple of guests over for dinner for a touch of class.
RETAIL PRICE: $5.00.

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And what is that lovely smell coming from the box? Could it be this gorgeous pink-and-white swirled Durance Marseille soap sending up the delicate scent of fresh-cut roses? Oh my my…my heart is now almost officially stolen by French Box. Durance USA was also kind enough to give a 15% off coupon, no minimum, for purchases from its website. J’aime cela!!!
RETAIL PRICE: $7.90.

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The last item in this seemingly never-ending box of French finery is Le Panier Francais Provence French Herbs Mix, along with a recipe card containing 3 tres French recipes in which one might make use of these herbs.

And with this goes the last little bit of my French-loving heart. Beauty, elegance, scents, and now cooking? Yeah, I’m officially head over heels with The French Box!
RETAIL PRICE: $6.99.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m over-the-moon delighted with my first French Box. It’s such a lovely assortment of products for everyone to enjoy, each packaged and presented amazingly well. I scored my first box for $14 with a promotional code (retail value of the box is approximately $65), and I believe the box will be $24/month from here on out…which is fine by me. Hey, I’ll gladly work overtime to squeeze this box of awesomeness into the monthly budget…and to get those adorably charming and quirky postcards that are suitable for framing.

If you’d like to check out the French Box, here are some links to help you get started.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frenchbox
Website: https://getfrenchbox.com/
Twitter: @GetFrenchBox
Instagram: FrenchBox_Official
Pinterest: FrenchBox_Official

UPDATE: THE CODE TO GET YOUR FIRST FRENCH BOX FOR $14 IS STILL VALID, USE FIRSTBOX TO GRAB YOUR BOX FULL OF FRANCE!

VIVA LA FRANCE!!!

And back to my American apartment in central California, don’t forget to follow me on the following social media. Another sneak peek at the Big October Beauty Giveaway is coming up later tonight, and I know no one will want to miss that little reveal!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Beholding-Eye/683364698413511
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebeholdingeye
Instagram: https://instagram.com/thebeholdingeye

And if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet but want to, here’s the Rafflecopter link to get you started:

ENTER DRAWING HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time, stay beautiful…and go check out French Box!!!