Birchbox : {March}

IMG_4167I’m not gonna lie I did not like my March Birchbox which is why I didn’t write about it at first.  Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad…I just didn’t fully realize how Birchbox worked.  I thought you give them your preferences on products and they give you samples based off those products.  While this is mostly true, they don’t have unlimited samples to choose from every month….they have certain ones every month and send out the ones that best fit your preferences.  So you just might get ones you don’t really like because they don’t have any better ones to give you that month.  Does that make sense?

I found this out by writing a complaint to Birchbox about my March box contents.  Something they also pointed out (which I didn’t know before) is that I can review the products I received in my box online.  These reviews help them to know more about me and my preferences for samples and also allows me to earn points that can be used to purchase full sizes of the products.

What did I learn?:

I am not always going to get what I want from my Birchbox and I should start reviewing my products asap! (which I have started doing)

What did I get that I didn’t like:

Tea and Chocolate.  (I don’t drink caffeine, I don’t like fruit with my chocolate, and I signed up for Birchbox for beauty products)

Not sure what Birchbox is?  See my original post here.

OR want to join Birchbox click here: Sweetly Lemon Birchbox Invite

Now for the products:

IMG_4165Air Repair Rescue Balm

This all-natural salve repairs dry, cracked skin anywhere on the body. 

My Review:  This is a pretty straight forward product…very similar to Aquaphor.  I wore it on my lips and it did a great job moisturizing…but no different than other similar products.  I say save your money and invest in Aquaphor….which I am clearly in love with.

IMG_4168COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face

Organic tinted moisturizer with lasting sun protection that evens tone and masks flaws.

My Review:  MY FAVE ITEM IN THE BOX!  I religiously wear SPF daily but I hate the greasy feeling…especially because I have combo (normal/oily) skin and it can cause break-outs.  This mouse/cream is a tinted SPF and moisturizer that doesn’t dry you out but is not greasy at all..it almost feels chalky but then when it’s on your face it is moisturizing and mattifying at the same time.

IMG_4164Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper

This water-based, weightless styling lotion keeps curls shiny, defined, and frizz-free. 

My Review:  This product surprised me.  I thought it would be gel-like or greasy but it is very watery and goes on easy without any stickiness or greasiness.  I have wavy hair that I usually wear straight, but I have been using this after the shower, then letting my hair dry naturally and then adding curls with my curling iron and it works great.  It keeps the frizz under control that can happen when I let my hair dry naturally.

IMG_4158Vasanti Cosmetics “BrightenUp!” Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

This customer fave mimics effects of microdermabrasion for a bright and smooth complexion.

My Review:  I LOVE THIS!  I am a sucker for good exfoliating cleansers/scrubs and this one is up there.  It feels just like a microdermabrasion.  I am def buying the full size when I run out of my usual exfoliator.

Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches

Handpicked blend of organic tea leaves, dried fruits, and spices in a biodegradable pouch.

 My Review:  I don’t drink caffeine so I gave them away at work, but the chamomile caffeine free was delish.

 Ghirardelli Cherry Tango Square

A deep blend of dark chocolate, tangy cherry, and satisfying almond crunch.

My Review:  I am not into fruit and chocolate so I gave it to my brother.

 

Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

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Hands down my favorite dessert is Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownies, topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge.  But a close second is Haagen Daz Sea Salt Caramel Gelato.
So when it was time to plan my dessert dish for the wine party I started googling salted caramel brownies to combine my two sweet loves!  I came across a salted caramel brownie bites recipe and was inspired!  I made just a few changes to the recipe and they came out exactly how I wanted…and yes I have some left over from the party in the fridge and can’t stop snacking on them.
I have included the recipe with my changes, enjoy!
*Makes approximately 4 dozen brownie bites
Ingredients: 

Brownies:

  • 2 boxes of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
  • A dime size piece of soft caramel for each brownie bite  (You will most likely have to cut your caramels)

*Feel free to add white chocolate chips (Which I did) or nuts if you want to add a different flavor
Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 20 caramels
  • 2 T. heavy cream
  • 
2 c. powdered sugar (Have some extra just incase you need to adjust the consistency)
  • Kosher sea salt
  • One Box of Cream Cheese

Directions:

Brownies:
  • Preheat oven to 325. Mix brownie batter as directed and add in any extra ingredients you desire.
  • Grease mini-cupcake pan, and fill cups 1/3 full with batter. Place a caramel in each, and fill the rest of the way with batter. Be sure to cover caramel but dont push caramel to the bottom of the pan or it will stick when cooking.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, let cool, and gently remove from pan. (THIS IS KEY! Do not cook longer or they get very hard after cooling, and be VERY careful when removing from the pan and make sure they are cool.  Sometimes the caramel cooks to the bottom and sticks. This makes it  hard to get them out.  I have found twisting them as I pull them out of the pan helps release the caramel.)

Frosting:

  • Melt the caramel with the heavy cream by microwaving for 30 seconds increments and stirring in between.  When you take it out of the microwave, the cream and caramel will be separated in the bow.  You just  need to vigorously mix it until it is combined and smooth.   Then allow it to cool in the fridge for about 25 minutes.
  • Whip the butter  and cream cheese for about 30 seconds on med-high speed, until fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and then the melted caramel, reserving just a little to top the brownies. Beat until fluffy.  (You may need to add more powdered sugar if the consistency isn’t quite right for piping.
  • Add  the salt, a 1/4 to a 1/2 t. at a time, mixing and then tasting after each addition to make sure you don’t add too much.
  • Use a pastry bag to pipe a little of the frosting in a swirl on top of each cooled brownie. Top with a hint of a drizzle of the reserved caramel, and another little dash of sea salt. Of course I had to add gold sugar crystals.   (If you need to make more caramel drizzle for the brownies the cream is key!  If you do not add cream the caramel will be too chewy when eating).

*You can make these ahead of time and store in the refrigerator  just make sure to give them about an hour to defrost before serving to ensure the caramel inside the brownie is not too chewy or hard from cooling.

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(Originally inspired by freshlyminted.com)