All posts tagged VIVA LA FRANCE


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?


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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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???


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):



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.


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


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


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:


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

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!!!


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.



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.

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!!!



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!

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.

Twitter: @GetFrenchBox
Instagram: FrenchBox_Official
Pinterest: FrenchBox_Official



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!


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!!!