My best friend Lori’s birthday was the 16th, and I was trying to find the perfect gift for her this year – I’ve given her a lot of gift certificates lately, which are great, but if I can ever think of something more specific, I like to do that instead.  Lori writes the awesome blog Once Upon A Product, where she tells stories of life, love, and makeup (I did a guest post for her that you can check out here).  So I immediately thought of her when I heard about Birchbox, which is a company that sends you cool makeup and grooming samples every month.  You fill out an online profile with your skin/hair preferences, and then for $10 a month, you enjoy the surprise of getting a box full of  samples on your doorstep.  It sounded right up her alley.

I decided to test drive it first, just to see what kind of stuff they sent.  You can cancel at any time, so I figured if it was lousy, I was only out $10.  My first box arrived in September, and I really liked the things they sent me!  And that bright pink box showing up on a gloomy day was instant cheer.  Look:


The actual Birchbox is inside:

Birch box

And the REAL goodies are inside that:

Juicy Couture perfume, Ojon Finishing Spray, Lancome Hypnose mascara, and Dr. Jart's BB Cream

This month’s stash:  Juicy Couture perfume, Ojon Finishing Spray, Lancome Hypnose mascara, and Dr. Jart’s BB Cream

Sometimes they’ll even send you a full-size item, or special “lifestyle” items, like candy, teas, energy bars,  and other new treats to try.

The first box passed inspection, but I wanted to see a couple more, just to make sure they were consistently good.

It is now February, and I have received a total of six boxes.  All of them have been great, and I’ve used up several of the samples.  I showed one of the boxes to Lori, and she loved it.  Perfect!  I combined resources with my other besties Julie and Kristen, and we gifted Lori with a subscription.

Which means I can stop my subscription, right?  Because I was only test driving it for Lori, and mission accomplished, right?  Because I’m broke and already have more beauty products than I can handle, right?


I have to tell you, I am so bummed to cancel my subscription.  Yes, it makes sense to cancel it.  But I don’t want to do it.  Because in the midst of this stuff diet, that Birchbox showing up has been like my shopping methadone clinic.  It automatically gets charged to my credit card, so I feel like I haven’t actually shopped, but I still get my new stuff high.  And I LIKE my new stuff high.  The thought of losing it makes me anxious and sad.

But today, I canceled it.  Ten dollars a month may not seem like a lot of money, but in the course of a year, it’s $120 spent on things I don’t need – in fact, it’s specifically being spent on things I have vowed to stop buying because I already own too much of them.  I understand the purpose it was serving in my addiction, and I suppose it’s better than buying a $200 pair of shoes to get my fix, but ultimately, the compulsive behavior is exactly the same, and I can’t keep indulging that.

It helps to remember that I tried Birchbox because I wanted to do something nice for Lori – who is such an outstanding friend.  She makes me feel better about myself than a box of makeup ever could.  She knows all my flaws, and I have never once felt any judgement from her – just love and acceptance.  I don’t need a Birchbox.  I have her friendship, and that is lagom.


Lo & Me, NYE’s 2012