Double Feature! The Counter: Custom Built Burgers & Influenster Summer Beauty VoxBox

It’s been a little while since I have updated and I’ve finally made some time to do it. This one might be longer than usual because it will be a “double feature” to make up for lost time. Please excuse that they are completely unrelated topics, but typical postings nonetheless.

The Counter: Custom Built Burgers

Last Tuesday was actually my second time to eat at The Counter, which technically violates the rules of Tuesday Dinners, but I bought a Groupon knowing my mom and Billy had never been so it still counts. I know everyone probably has their go-to place when craving a good hamburger (for me it’s Whataburger) but let me tell you, The Counter isn’t just any old fast food burger joint. If you’re feeling creative and want a burger that’s gonna fit your mood, this is the place to go. They boast 312,120+ different burger combinations. Ridiculous, I know! The cool thing is they have all the typical burger toppings but they also offer many out of the box ingredients to spice up your burger style.
Although you do have a waiter, there are clipboards at your table so you can build your burger to order. Their options are almost endless!

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If you aren’t feeling so adventurous, no reason to fret, they offer Signature Burgers already built to order that are probably just as good. Since the menu offers so many options, I won’t go into detail about what we ordered but if you do try this place, I would definitely suggest using your creativity! The parmesan fries and the onion strings are must-order sides though.
Other items to note: 1) There is indoor, bar and patio seating. 2) They serve beers and wine (and maybe alcohol?). 3) The waitstaff was very friendly and helpful. 4) There is a parking garage or street parking.

Influenster Summer Beauty VoxBox

(Disclaimer: I received each of these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.)

As you know, based on some of my previous posts, I am signed up to receive a $10 BirchBox on a monthly basis. I am always super excited to get this small “gift” to myself in the mail each month because it’s fun to get new beauty products to test out. Well imagine my excitement when I got an email from Influenster.com saying that I qualified to participate in a similar program they were starting called VoxBox, cost-free?! I haven’t been a member of Influenster for more than a few months so it took me by surprise but I was like “SIGN ME UP!”

[Sidenote: For those of you who don’t know, Influenster is a website you can join, especially if you do any kind of blogging or are big into social media and sharing, where you can earn badges, share reviews and information about popular products and brands that you use and gain access based on your “influence” to deals that are personalized to your lifestyle.]

Before receiving the VoxBox, I was a little skeptical of the products that might be included, but upon its arrival I was very pleased to see that they didn’t skimp out on the samples and that all of the products were very usable for my day-to-day routine. BirchBox caters more to high-end beauty items which are sometimes out of my budget, so VoxBox was a nice change in that it allowed me to sample products I could pick up at Target or a local grocery or drugstore on my normal errand runs.

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So here is what the Summer VoxBox included:

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30. Typically when I opt for body sunscreen I go with Coppertone or Banana Boat, so I was interested to see how I would like this Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen. On first impression (before applying it), I thought the bottle was summery and feminine and it smelled really good — not the usual sunscreen smell. I think this was what I liked most about it. It works like any other lotion sunscreen and kept my skin feeling moisturized without being really greasy like most sunscreens. I will definitely be taking this with me to Puerto Rico this week!

Tampax and Always Radiant Collection. Although this isn’t a product everyone wants to hear about it, I actually really liked it and thought it was a very nifty idea. This came with a cute little wristlet to carry “lady items” in so you don’t have to tote your entire purse to the restroom during your workday or be walking down the hall with a tampon in your hand (awkward). I’ve restocked the bag and it fits nicely at the bottom of my purse for next month instead of taking up room in my side pocket where I keep my other daily makeup items.

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Sally Hansen Magnetic Nail Color. If you know me, you know I LOVE nail polish. This was definitely my favorite product included in the VoxBox. I had been wanting to try this new nail trend, but couldn’t convince myself to buy it or get it done at the salon, so I was excited to get a full-size bottle for free! The instructions on the back of the bottle are really simple and tell you to first apply a coat to all of your nails and then go back and apply a second coat to one finger at a time as you use the magnet. I honestly liked the color of the polish without even using the magnet, so that was the first plus and the polish seemed to dry pretty quickly, which was the second plus. After I was done my nails looked 3D and holographic, not to mention they had a tiger-ish feel to them *reow*. LOVE LOVE LOVE this product, props to Sally Hansen.

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Sally Hansen Nails and Cuticles Hand Creme. I used this product before my mini manicure with the magnetic nail polish, and to be completely honest, I didn’t think it was anything special. Sure it left my hands feeling moisturized, but so does the little tube of hand creme I already carry in my purse. So, not much to say here. Maybe I will like it better with repeated use?

Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy. I had seen commercials for this new brand, and am all for trying new products, but seeing as I already have half bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my shower, I didn’t have the need to go buy a new brand to try yet. This product smells really good, which is obviously a huge must have for something I wash my hair with. I only wash my hair every 3-4 days and use dry shampoo between washes, otherwise my hair gets too oily from washing it too often. But the downside to that is that my scalp can sometimes get dry and itchy. I enjoyed this combo because it left my hair feeling clean and soft and my scalp feeling hydrated enough so that between washes I didn’t have any problems with dry scalp. Once I run out of my current shampoo and conditioner, I’m not sure that I’ll switch to the full size product, but it is a viable option. For now though, I will also definitely be taking these samples with me on vacation.

Quaker Soft Baked Bar in Banana Nut Bread. I ate this right up as soon as I saw it was banana nut bread flavor, lol! It tasted yummy, chewy and not terribly sweet. I also felt like it was a little more substantial than the Quaker granola bars I normally buy for on the go. I read a few other reviews of this product that suggested putting it in the microwave for a few seconds, so on my next grocery run I will have to pick up a box of these for those mornings I don’t have time to make my smoothie or eat a bowl of cereal and try heating it up.

So that’s that! Overall, I would rate my first VoxBox a success! Influenster gave me some nice products to consider on future purchases. I really hope I get chosen for the next batch they send out!

Have you tried any of the above products? I would love to hear your take on them.

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June Birchbox for the Jetsetter

This month’s Birchbox theme was perfect for my two upcoming summer vacations so I’m just going to jump right into it:

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Comodynes Self-Tanning Intensive. This was the first time I have tried a tanning towelette and I say I’d give it a one thumb up. When I first pulled it out of the package I was surprised that it smelled pretty good and not like typical tanning products. I was also surprised that it was a white towelette and therefore went on clear. Initially, it felt like I was just wiping down with a baby wipe. A few hours later though, I noticed the tan beginning to appear and the tanning product smell emerging (I’ve decided it’s impossible to get away from that smell with any self-tanning product). I liked the tan the towelette gave but the only problem was that because it went on clear it was hard to tell whether or not it would streak. Overall it went on fairly evenly, but I noticed a few streaks on the underside of my arms. I’d use these for a trip, but for week to week tanning I will stick with my Body Drench Quick Tan lotion.

Eyeko Fat Eye Stick. My first try with this eye shadow I wasn’t too crazy about it because it seemed a bit dark for my day to day makeup. I usually use palettes of powder eye shadow so I honestly wasn’t sure how to use this creamy shadow. However, on Saturday night I decided to try it again before going out and now I really like it! Instead of spreading the color evenly on my whole lid like before, I used it as dark as it would go just as I typically apply my black eye liner and then dotted it and blended it in with some gold powder shadow lightly on the rest of my lid. It really brought out my eyes this way… Two thumbs up.

Likewise Facial Moisturizer + Sun Protectant SPF 50. This is perfect for traveling because my normal face cream with SPF is in a large container. It has the slight smell of sunscreen unlike my other face cream, but I actually enjoy the smell of sunscreen so it doesn’t bother me. It didn’t leave my face feeling oily after letting it dry before applying makeup either. Definitely an essential to have face cream with SPF, especially for my trips to the beach house on the Outer Banks and Puerto Rico this summer!

theBalm cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen. Despite trying this on two separate occasions on both my lips and cheeks, I just can’t seem to like it. This is a two-in-one lip and cheek gel stain. Although it does leave a nice color to both, it left my lips feeling dry and putting gel on my face just felt weird. I much prefer to stick with my powder blush and chapstick.

Lifestyle Extra: tili Bag. As silly and simple as this extra was, it’s totally useable for me! It will be great to put my toiletries in to go through airport security with my carry on. It’s so much cuter than a normal Ziploc bag too!

Man Extra: John Varvatos Star USA. I was super excited to get this man extra cologne in my box this month to share with the boyfriend. It’s described as a “blend of ginger, juniper berries and vetiver.” I’m interested to see how it smells once he tries it out, so I’ll update on this.

If you want to receive a Birchbox every month, click here to sign up!

May Gossip Girl Inspired Birchbox

After reading a few raving reviews and little persuasion from my best friend Chelsea, I decided to jump on the Birchbox bandwagon. Shortly after putting myself on the wait list, I received an email letting me know that I could sign up for this little monthly surprise. I registered a few days after May 1 so I wasn’t expecting to receive this month’s box.. But I did and I was so excited to try everything out!

For those of you who are not familiar with Birchbox, it’s basically a $10 monthly subscription, like you would get for a magazine, and they send you a small box with 4 sample beauty products by mid-month. You can even fill out your profile and they will send you products suited to your needs. This allows you to try out top brand products without paying top brand prices on a full size item just to find out it doesn’t work for you. If you do find a product you just can’t live without, you can buy it directly from the Birchbox website. Buying full size products, referring friends and giving product feedback earn you points towards purchases. It’s a small investment for a little gift to yourself in the mail each month. How can you lose?!

For the month of May, Birchbox teamed up with Gossip Girl to provide some chic samples. Here’s what I got:

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Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm. This 7mL sample will last me a while! You don’t need much and it goes a long way. This eye cream goes on like silk and doesn’t feel heavy. It rids of dark circles, lines and puffiness. Digging it.

Color Club Nail Polish in Disco Nap. I’m usually not a huge fan of gold but I immediately put two coats of this on and got compliments throughout the week! It’s a fun summer color for a weekend on the town, laying poolside or jazzing up your work wardrobe. A perfect metallic color to add to my nail polish collection!

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Dr. Jart + Waterfuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+. This was my favorite product of the bunch, mostly because it’s so practical. This acts as a moisturizer, sunscreen and tint. It gives you light coverage, perfect for the summer months, while softening and protecting your skin from the sun.

Ojon Volume Advance Volumizing Shampoo. I’m not sure how big of a difference this made for my hair because I couldn’t pair it with the conditioner and I don’t have limp hair in the first place, but, I will say that my hair did feel really clean after using it. It has sort of a tea tree scent to it but not as potent as typical tea tree smelling products.

Bonus: Gossip Girl themed XOXO Notecard and Envelope. This will be the perfect stationary for writing my little sister, since we have become pen pals over the last several months.

If you are interested in giving Birchbox a try, click here to sign up! I’ll get some points and then you can provide a similar link to your friends to spread the beauty love!

If you already receive Birchbox, let me know what products you got this month and how you liked them 🙂