2016 PopSugar Must Have CFDA Limited Edition Box Review

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Emmett loves when I get PopSugar boxes because they're the only boxes he can still fit into!  Isn't he the cutest?  He isn't a baby anymore -- he's almost nine months old -- but he's my most special bunny, so I always love it when he can be a box model.  It's adorable that he stood up to have his picture taken.

PopSugar Must Have is more of a lifestyle box than a beauty box, but they always contain at least one beauty product.  In addition to their monthly boxes, PopSugar puts out maybe six or so limited edition boxes each year.  The box I'm reviewing today is their second collaboration with the CFDA, Council of Fashion Designers of America.  50% of the profits from this box go to the CFDA to promote US fashion around the world.  I admit, this hardly seems like the most worthy of charities, but I liked the box, so I got it anyway.  Normally, the box sells for $225, but I guess they didn't sell enough of them, so PopSugar put them on sale at GiltCity for $165.  I used a coupon code to bring the price down to $140.  The GiltCity deal is no longer available, but you can buy the box at full price on PopSugar's website using the link at the top of this post.  

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Here's what I got in my PopSugar Must Have CFDA Limited Edition Box:

The 2016 PopSugar Must Have CFDA box was worth $725!  That's $500 over the regular price of the box and $585 more than I paid for it.  You can't beat the value of this box.  It's not cheap, but, if you like the products inside, it's more than worth it.  Last year's CFDA box was disastrous, so a lot of people were wary of getting the box this year.  The CFDA box last year was worth considerably less than the value PopSugar had promised and the products inside were very strange choices for a fashion box.  PopSugar actually allowed people to return the boxes for a refund.  Beauty boxes never do that, so that shows you how bad it was.  Fortunately, they really upped their game this year and put out a much better box.  They also released a number of spoilers ahead of time so people would know what they were getting into.  The CFDA boxes sold out within two hours last year and they still haven't sold out months later this year, so PopSugar did some serious damage with the previous box.  I saw this box and wanted it months ago, but I didn't want to spend $225 on it.  I couldn't pass it up for $140, though!

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The first product was also the first spoiler for this year's box, the lemlem Split Cover Up.  I cannot imagine spending $198 on this beach cover-up.  This has an uneven hem, as you can see above, and the stripes don't match up, but that's how it's supposed to be.  Liya Kebede, the designer behind lemlem, is an Ethiopian designer, which I thought was a little strange because this is a CFDA box and they promote fashion from the US.  I learned that Liya Kebede is originally from Ethiopia and makes her clothing there, but she currently lives in the US.  This is a one size product, but, as you might imagine, this is certainly not one size fits all (or even most).  I am 5'3'' and it is rather short on me, so it would be very short on a taller person.  It also wouldn't fit most plus size individuals.  I've heard that people who have written to PopSugar and told them that the cover-up doesn't fit them have had their cover-ups replaced with a bigger size, but I don't know if the replacements are the same cover-ups.  I wish they had included something that everyone could wear regardless of size or at least asked for size information when customers ordered the box.  I'm sure the spoiler for this item turned off a lot of potential purchasers who knew the cover-up wouldn't fit them.  This wouldn't normally be my style, but it's a beach cover-up, so I don't really care what it looks like.  I should note that this is supposed to be dry clean only.  Who dry cleans a beach cover-up?!   You could probably get away with gently hand washing it.  I certainly wouldn't put it through the washer as the fabric is very thin and delicate.

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The next product was the 3.1 Phillip Lim 10th Anniversary Limited Edition 31 Nano Second Pouch.  This was made exclusively for PopSugar.  It's made of high quality black leather and "Stop and Smell the Flowers" is printed in silver on the pouch.  It fit my iPhone 6s with an Otterbox Defender inside, but it was a bit of a tight fit.  I would still be able to put my keys, cards, or other small things inside the pouch with the phone, though.  This isn't really my style, but it is a nice pouch.  I think $195 is a little expensive for this product, but it is in line with Phillip Lim's prices.  My girlfriend's mom seemed to like it, so I gave it to her.

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Next up is the S'well Shadow Water Bottle, designed exclusively for PopSugar by Lizzie Fortunato.  I hate the design on the bottle, but it's high quality and works well, so I'll use it.  It's made of stainless steel and is supposed to keep liquids hot for twelve hours or cold for twenty-four hours.  It did keep the temperature of my drinks, but I didn't test it to see if it would maintain the temperature from twelve to twenty-four hours.  Has anyone tried it?  Does it really keep drinks hot or cold for that long?  Note that this is not dishwasher safe, so you'll have to wash this by hand.  

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Fragrance Gift Set, left to right: Silent St., Looking Glass, Hi-Fi, Drunk on Youth, Afloat, Rain Day, Something Wild, Ellipsis, Blackout, and 2am Kiss.

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Fragrance Gift Set, left to right: Silent St., Looking Glass, Hi-Fi, Drunk on Youth, Afloat, Rain Day, Something Wild, Ellipsis, Blackout, and 2am Kiss.

I absolutely love the Derek Lam 10 Crosby Fragrance Collection Gift Set!  This is available for $95 at Sephora if you want this set, but don't want to buy the whole box.  Derek Lam is a designer who has branched out into fragrance.  Each perfume was inspired by what Derek Lam had seen out his window at 10 Crosby St. in NYC.  These perfumes are all very different, so there should be something for everyone, but that also means that most people aren't going to love every scent.  

I'll give you a quick overview of the perfumes from left to right.  The first perfume, Silent St., is a white musk and is my favorite perfume of the bunch.  It was very long-lasting, but wasn't overly strong.  It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite perfumes, CLEAN Skin.  The next perfume was Looking Glass, which was a very floral scent.  It had notes of magnolia and tonka bean.  I liked it, but it was faint after a couple of hours.  Hi-Fi, a perfume with notes of peony and narcisse, had soft but pretty floral top notes.  As I wore the perfume longer and the mid and base notes came out, it got a little stronger and it was a gorgeous scent.  This is another one of my favorites.  Drunk in Love is an apple and honeysuckle perfume, so it had fruity top notes with a hint of floral.  I liked this more and more as I wore it.  Afloat, which Derek Lam describes as having mimosa and orris notes, had a sweet floral top that I didn't like much at all as sweet perfumes aren't for me.  As the day wore on, though, very clean and fresh smelling mid and base notes came out and I ended up loving the perfume.  Rain Day, a neroli and vetiver perfume, had top notes that were fresh and floral but there was a bit of greenness to it. I don't like green florals that much, but the base notes smelled floral but not green, so I liked it more after wearing it for a little while.  After Rain Day, we get into the spicier perfumes.  Something Wild is a perfume with notes of cedarwood and vanilla bean.  I thought I was going to hate this perfume as vanilla usually isn't for me, but this wasn't that bad.  The top notes were all spice; once the top notes were out of the way, warm vanilla mid notes came through, and then the perfume finished off with base notes that were both spicy and vanilla.  Vanilla isn't a scent I would think of as "Something Wild," but it ended up working.  Ellipsis is a sandalwood- and jasmine-based scent.  There was a lot of sandalwood in the top notes, strangely enough, but the mid notes were floral and extraordinarily sweet.  I couldn't handle the sweetness and had to take it off soon after putting it on.  Blackout is an osmanthus and chai scent, and it is very spicy, warm, and dark on the top notes.  It mellows out a bit over time, but this is a bold perfume.  I didn't love it, but I liked it more than I thought I would.  Finally, there was 2am Kiss, a salty wood and crystallized amber fragrance.  This was sweet and spicy in the top notes, but the sweetness worked for this perfume and didn't bother me.  Go light with this perfume as it is quite strong.  I don't think I'll be wearing 2am Kiss often, but it's a sexy scent and will be perfect for some occasions. 

I liked most of the perfumes and would wear all of them except Ellipsis again.  The sweetness in Ellipsis was just too much for me. 

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I also love the Illesteva Leonard Sunglasses in Horn.  Everyone got the Leonard style, but the colors and lens types (mirrored or regular) varied.  I was hoping for mirrored lenses, but I like the pair I got.  I was looking at the many Leonard variations on the Illesteva website and I would have been happy with most of them.  It seems like a lot of people got tortoiseshells; I haven't seen anyone else post pictures with the Horn color in their box.  These fit my face well and were very flattering on me.  The case is huge and sturdy and it also comes with a little bag to keep the glasses in.  At $177, these glasses are worth more than what I paid for the box, so this definitely made the box worth it for me.

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I had thought that PopSugar was sending out the Elizabeth and James dry shampoo in Nirvana Black only, so I was very happy to see Nirvana White in my box.  Nirvana White is one of my signature scents, so I love having a dry shampoo that smells like it.  The dry shampoo works well, doesn't leave a bunch of white powder in my hair, and smells just like the perfume.  The bottle is huge.  I wouldn't want to spend $28 on it, but I'm happy it came in my box and it'll definitely get some use.

I'm very happy with my PopSugar CFDA box!  The beach cover-up and the Phillip Lim pouch aren't really my style, but I'll wear the cover-up when I make it to the beach and Emily's mom will use the pouch.  I absolutely love the other products.  The Illesteva glasses and Derek Lam perfume collection are my two favorite items in the box, but I also like the Elizabeth and James dry shampoo and S'well bottle.  I hate the design of the bottle, but I love how it works, so I'm willing to ignore that.  I think PopSugar learned from last year's mistakes with this box and made a great box this year.  There was a great product mix and the products were really fun.  I wish that they hadn't included a cover-up that not everyone will be able to wear, but I'm happy to hear they are willing to send a replacement to those who it doesn't fit.  I highly recommend it and look forward to next year's box.