Unboxed: Summer Walmart Beauty Box + Final Birchbox

Walmart Beauty Box – Summer

I’m seriously obsessed with this Walmart Beauty Box thing. Even though I cancelled my Birchbox subscription, I don’t even feel guilty replacing it with this, since it’s only $5 once per season!

imageSample #1: Coconut Nail Art by Incoco Nail Polish Strips in ‘Double Dare’
My opinion went back and forth on these. It took me a few tries to figure out how to put them on the right way, and it was harder than I thought. Filing the edge off wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped, but the strip stayed on my nail until I peeled it off a week later! I wasn’t a huge fan of the design, but I’ll definitely look into them another time.imageSample #2: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer in ‘Fair to Medium’
Want to hear a funny story? I’ve used this stuff before and loved it, but for whatever reason, I completely forgot to wash my hands after using a little bit of it to massage Daniel’s shoulders. I woke up the next morning and my hands were slightly bronze…I knew why immediately. *facepalm* image
Sample #3: Goody SlideProof Spiky Soft Touch Hair Elastics
I was really disappointed by these. My hair is relatively thick, so my hair elastics have to be warhorses. These were an unfortunate combination of “too small to go around three times” and “got stuck in my hair while pulling it out.” The GOOD news is, I found the most perfect hair ties of allllllll time at Walmart a week or so ago..!!! I’ll post about them sometime. They are life-changing.
imageSample #4: Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Diamond Color & Radiance Shampoo and Conditioner combo (link to shampoo)
I’ve created a mini mental contest with myself. Anytime I get shampoo AND conditioner samples together from the same brand, I’m going to use them together to see if I like anything better than MONAT. That’s the only reason I would stop using it – if I found something I liked better! And so far, I’ve found nothing. My hair definitely felt silky soft when I used this brand, but in a fake kind of way, not in a clean kind of way. My hair actually just stopped detoxing from using these two times…two weeks ago. *thumbs down* Using MONAT again felt like a huge relief.image
Sample #5: Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup in ‘Medium’
The first time I used this, I laughed out loud at how dark the makeup looked when I squeezed some into my hand! Surprisingly, it blended pretty well into my skin. It was still a little dark for my taste though – I think a “Fair” color would be better than “Medium.”image
Sample #6: Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Clean Mint Fluoride Anticavity Toothpaste
This was a welcome change from my usual disgusting-but-awesome toothpaste as far as taste goes, but it just didn’t whiten my teeth the way my favorite kind does! I always love getting samples of stuff I use every day though – anything to save a little money. ;)image
Sample #7: NIVEA® In-Shower Cocoa Butter Body Lotion
Not really impressed with this stuff. I was disappointed, to be honest, because I thought this would save me step after getting out of the shower! It felt like it melted off my skin as soon as I rubbed it on, and rinsing the rest of it off seemed to defeat the purpose of using it at all, even though that’s how you’re supposed to use it. I was also terrified of falling down; it made the tub really slippery. When I got out and dried off, my skin didn’t feel any more moisturized than it did before I got in.image

All in all, I consider this box a win! I’ve looked at half of these things in the store before (or similar ones) and wondered whether or not to try them. And now, I know! I can’t wait to see what’s in my fall and winter boxes.

Final Birchbox – July

Sample #1: Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big Volumizing Mascara
This mascara doesn’t live up to my personal favorite (Mally Beauty), but it was still a good option! I put multiple coats on and my eyelashes didn’t feel heavy or caked in mascara. I might use this on days that I want a touch of makeup but not full eyes.image
Sample #2: dr. brandt® PoreDermabrasion
Haven’t gotten around to using this, but I’ve loved everything I’ve tried from dr. brandt! Although I don’t really struggle with noticeable pores, so I’m not sure how much I’ll actually get out of this..? We’ll see.image
Sample #3: Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches with Soothing Cornflower
I liked these! Inside the package were ‘patches’ that went under my eyes. They were almost like stickers with a squishy foam outer side. I used them after a particularly long day, and they felt wonderful – soothing is an accurate description! I’ll definitely order a full size of these sometime soon.image
Samples #4, 5, & 6: Living proof.® No Frizz Shampoo, Conditioner, & Nourishing Styling Cream
Yet again, another hair product trio that left me disappointed. Of all brands, I was sure that this one might make me reconsider MONAT, after all the amazing things I’ve heard about it. But NOPE. My hair felt soft, but it wasn’t as shiny as it is when I use MONAT, and I couldn’t get it to blowdry as smoothly either. It smelled good though!image

Somehow, I forgot to take a picture of that little bottle on the bottom! It’s called Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil, and I actually really, really like it. It smells DIVINE, and I love the dewy glow it gives my skin without making it look or feel greasy. So far, I’ve used it on my face and on my arms when my skin felt dry. My only complaint is that it takes some work to get a decent amount of oil out of the rollerball, but the full size has a button that helps push the oil through. Overall, big fan!

Goodbye, Birchbox – at least for now. :) From this point, I’ll probably share my Walmart Beauty Boxes via Facebook Live, so if you want those updates, head over to Facebook and add me as a friend!

Guess Who’s a CPA??


Most of you probably already know from my social media posts, but for those of you who haven’t already heard – Daniel did it! He did it!!! He passed his final CPA exam, and now he can officially put letters at the end of his name. To say ‘I’m relieved’ is an understatement, as is saying ‘I’m proud of him.’ I’ve been mentally planning a party to celebrate his new title for months, and now I finally get to throw it!

 The last few years have been hard for both of us, and I’m really glad this season is over. The whole process was obviously much harder for Daniel than it was for me, but it was an intense learning experience for me too. More than anything else, I found out how much I rely on my emotions, and how much I let them control my decision-making and trust in God. For example, I remember having a ‘good’ feeling when Daniel took his first test, and he passed. And I had the same ‘good’ feeling when he took the second test, and he passed that one too! But when he took the third test, I had that ‘good’ feeling about it and he didn’t pass. I was baffled. I felt like God had tricked me. How could I have the same ‘feeling’ but not get the same result? Did I not pray enough about it? Where did things go wrong?

He took the third test a second time, and the week leading up to finding out his results was…yeah. We spent several days feeling nervous and acting like we weren’t. Scores are usually posted around midnight or 1:00 am the day they are released, but for whatever reason, these weren’t posted until 8:15 am the next morning. Hashtag worst night ever. I lost count of the number of times we woke up. Daniel would stir, reach over to check his phone, and then roll back over and stare at the ceiling. Multiple times, I thought, “Oh no…he didn’t pass and he doesn’t want to tell me.” Neither of us slept at all. Around 6:00 in the morning, I started to panic a little. My heart felt like it was about to beat out of my chest, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t coax my exhausted-yet-frantic brain into slowing down. I was paralyzed by the fear that he didn’t pass and would have to take this horrible, awful exam for a third. freaking. time.

As Daniel got ready for work, I buried myself under the covers and tried not to completely fall apart. He came over to kiss me goodbye, and as he walked down the stairs to leave, I pulled the blanket back over my head, feeling ridiculous for being more stressed out than he was. He’s the one that took the test!, I thought. Why am I the one who’s turning into a basket case?

I knew there was only one thing that would truly take my mind off of everything. I sat up, pulled my bible out from underneath the mess on my nightstand, and held it in my lap. Leaning back against the headboard, I closed my eyes and breathed out the only sentence my mind could form: “Lord…I need you.”

I couldn’t tell you what I read. I don’t remember what verses or even what book, but whatever it was, it made me cry. I kept reading, soaking up every word for the next five minutes until my phone rang.

It was Daniel.

My heart stopped. “…Hello?” Moment of truth.

As soon as I heard the words “Babe, I passed!!” come through the phone with more excitement than I’ve probably ever heard him use, all the air went out of me. I dissolved into instant, uncontrollable, relieved tears. We hung up and I put both hands over my face, thanking God over and over for such a well-timed blessing. It was as if two hundred pounds had been lifted off of my back.

That’s the closest encounter I’ve ever had with anxiety, and I have a feeling what I experienced was only a taste of the real thing. For those of you who struggle and live with it on a daily basis…SO much kudos to you. I can’t imagine how hard it is, and I have committed to pray more than ever for my friends who carry that constant burden.

You want to know the weirdest thing? After all of that, I wasn’t even the slightest bit panicked about his fourth and final exam. I was nervous for him, of course, but the anxiety and fear that had clouded my mind for months was gone. I knew he would pass. He had several months to do it, but I had complete faith that regardless of how long it took, he would do it. And he did it on the first try. I can’t even put into words the overwhelming relief and release we both felt when he got his final set of passing scores. ALL glory to the Lord for Daniel’s unwavering work ethic, for our marriage staying healthy, for my sanity still being intact. :)

I’ve said this several times before, but Daniel is incredibly diligent and the hardest worker, and he deserves this win. After filling every spare second of free time with studying and test prep, I can only imagine how happy he is compared with how happy I am. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who prayed for us, encouraged us, and cheered him on when he wanted to quit most, and praise God for this victory!

Do you know anyone studying for the CPA right now, or any other difficult exams? Email me their names and addresses – I’d love to send them (and their spouse, if applicable!) an encouraging letter. Send them to lahendricks12@gmail.com. Cheers!