Tag Archives: free samples

Hi All!

I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend!

Thanks so much to all of you who signed up for the O.N.E. Skincare Giveaway – I really appreciate all of the liking, following and tweeting everyone did so thank you so much!!

Congratulations to our winner who was randomly selected, Sharon David!

Please email me ASAP with your mailing information so I can get your prize out to you!

If you didn’t win, fret not, I have more giveaways in the works soon so stay tuned! 😉

Have a Great Day!

Happy Saturday!

I hope you’re all having a nice weekend!

Last Summer, I had the lovely opportunity to try out this amazing all-in-one beauty product by O.N.E. Skincare and really enjoyed it quite a lot.

If this is news to you, O.N.E. Skincare was created by one woman in her kitchen with a mission to create the ultimate all-in-one beauty product. The formula is lovely and natural and includes nourishing ingredients such as sunflower, olive oil, vitamin E, and lavender. If you want to learn more about my experiences with this product, check out my original review for O.N.E. Skincare – here.

I did a giveaway back with that original review and I’m so happy that O.N.E. Skincare has offered to sponsor a giveaway again so that more readers have a chance to discover their lovely product!

This giveaway starts today and will end this Friday, March 8th, 2013, so Hurry & Sign Up While You Can!

Good Luck 🙂 

Click Here to Enter the Giveaway!

It seems that, in the blogging world, especially where beauty and fashion are concerned, everyone is chiming in with their thoughts on bloggers, blogger integrity and honesty, and of course, working with brands and companies. I’ve heard so much on this topic and a lot is fascinating and eye opening, some is annoying, and some is spot-on so I thought I’d chime in my thoughts on this tender topic as well.

Honesty & Passion

First off, I just want to say, and I think I’m not alone here, I started blogging because I love it and for no other reason. It’s true that I wanted to promote my skincare line that I sell on Etsy, but honestly, I realized about 3 minutes in that I love blogging about beauty more than I love creating it. It’s certainly harder to do than it looks. Also, I love to write and I love to share stories, products, experiences, and tips with people around the world. I love connecting with people who are different from me in order to share what we know and make the world a better place. I truly believe in that. I love doing product reviews, tips, DIY, and all that pertains to it because I find it fun. I love the world of health, beauty and fitness because these are things I’m passionate about and that I can share with others.

I want to make it known that I have no sponsorships, partnerships or paid anything on this blog as of this moment and that’s fine by me. As I said, I didn’t start this blog for payment. That being said, if the right person approached me, I’m not entirely opposed to it. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to do what they love? I think we can all agree that everyone wants that, but I personally want it on my own terms and those include not having to give up my honesty, integrity, and dignity in the process.

Lastly, before I go into tirades upon tirades about what I dislike, I just want to say I’ve worked with some amazing brands and companies alike. For every bad experience I’ve had working with a brand or company, I’ve had 5-10 great ones working with others. Some of my favorites include, but are not limited to – Naruko, Beauty Habit, Suti Skincare, Alpha-H, Living Nature, Karen Murrell, and Rainwater Botanicals.

Partnerships & Sponsorships

I think, for some bloggers, sponsorships and partnerships are an exciting prospect and, with the right company, perhaps they can really become something great, but for me personally, it would certainly have to be a company/brand that I really believe and trust in. Because, if it isn’t, I really want to avoid this one at all costs. I just feel that, as a blogger, I’d be giving up too much. I’d be giving up a whole lot of my own opinions and control over my own blog if I accepted this sort of agreement. A lot of times, this agreement includes a lot of benefits for the brands, little benefit for the bloggers and a lot less for ultimate readers, but that’s just my opinion.

Paid Blog Posts

One bad experience ruined this one for me. Recently, I was approached by a company (shall remain unnamed, but if you saw it, then you know) who wanted me to do a paid post. I took around a month deciding and then ultimately decided, yes, because I thought their site was in line with products I like and natural health which is something I enjoy promoting. I posted on their site and clearly stated it was sponsored. It was all downhill from there. They requested I take all notes of sponsorship off my post, claiming it would interfere with their SEO. While what I know about SEO is pretty minimal, I will say that even I know this is not true. Needless to say, I was obviously unwilling to remove wherein I stated the post was sponsored because I’m not willing to lie to readers about it and it’s a bad sign, in my opinion, if a brand wants you to or asks you to. If a brand or company is a reputable one, then I don’t think it should matter if it’s sponsored or not or if it’s stated as such. I think readers can denote for themselves whether a blogger or their post is authentic or not and whether the brand / company itself is as well. That being said, I really highly doubt there will be any paid posts on here in the future.

Guest Posts

I love guest posts from bloggers that I know and follow. Truly. I’ve gotten to know some really incredible bloggers by trading posts and sharing ideas. I really love it. What I don’t love is being emailed by companies asking to guest post on my site for free. Not that I demand compensation, but at the same time, why should they be able to moonlight on my blog for no reason at all? Personally, I wouldn’t allow it even if they offered payment because 1.) a lot of these sites have nothing to do with my blog topics anyway, 2.) I feel like guest posts from high traffic sites are their way of short changing bloggers and taking advantage of their readerships and 3.) there is just something not right about it.

There is just something totally false about letting a company guest post on your blog so that they can link back to their website and it just annoys the hell out of me because they always act like it’s some kind of “win-win” situation when they are the only party that gets something out of it. Sadly, they will try to convince you that you’re “freeing up your time and schedule” or something. In my honest opinion, this is a company or brand’s way of saying they don’t want to pay you so they pay their in-house staff to approach blogs in a ‘friendly’ manner and ask if they accept guest posts, as though they are just a peer blogger. I really despise the whole idea of this; it short changes bloggers everywhere and it gives good companies a bad name because of the ones that try to take advantage.

Product Reviews

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I do frequent product reviews. I get sent a lot of products for review, but I also buy my own products. Either way, my opinion is always honest. I know some people may not agree with that because they think free product will somehow guilt a blogger into always churning out a positive review, but I disagree with this. I don’t think bloggers are so easily coerced into writing crap reviews simply for some free goods. Don’t get me wrong, I love free product (seriously, who doesn’t?). It is one of the perks of being a beauty blogger that I get sent cool stuff to try and feature on my blog, but it doesn’t alter my opinion. I’ve done many reviews and they’re not all positive, however I received them. I always make sure to note how I received a product (whether I purchased it or if it was sent to me) and I test said product(s) as needed, but I do try to allot at least a month to do a thorough and creative testing. I hope this shows through in my review posts because it’s something I’ve tried very hard to maintain on this blog.

So, those are my thoughts on blogging and all the madness and I hope you won’t hate me for it. Instead, I hope you enlighten me with what I don’t know, encourage me to do better, learn from me a little, and I’ll gladly do the same.

Please also check out Hua Jing Li’s post on this topic – here or you can read more about fashion v. beauty bloggers according to Sara Zucker (which originally spurned my interest in posting on this topic) here.

Both further inspired me to post my thoughts on this topic and have made great points on the subject as well.

What are your thoughts on blogging, companies / brands, sponsorship and the like?

HABA Samples Giveaway Winner Announcement!

So awhile back, I did this post on HABA Skincare and then announced a giveaway.

Without any more delay, the winner is F00dVentures!


Please email me at storybookapothecary@gmail.com to claim your mini samples!

ONE Skincare Winners Announcement!

As promised, I am announcing 2 winners today who will be a sent free full size of the ONE Skincare Organic Olive Oil Nourishing Treatment that I reviewed – here. 

 Without further delay, congratulations to “Kristie” and “TP” !

Please shoot me an email at storybookapothecary@gmail.com with your mailing address asap!

Thanks & Stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon!

Also, the HABA giveaway is still going, so hurry and sign up – here! 

HURRY! Last Day to Enter ONE Skincare Giveaway!

That’s right!

Only 24 hours left until 2 lucky winners are chosen to receive a full sized Organic Olive Oil All-In-One Nourishing Treatment for Skin, Hair and Nails!

Hurry and Sign up! – HERE! 

Good Luck! ❤

An Incredible All-In-One Beauty Product: Olive Oil Nourishing Treatment by ONE Skincare + Your Chance to Win One!

I honestly don’t know how this product has gone so long without being raved about!

I feel so privileged to have been able to test this amazing oil out as it has hydrated my skin in such a small amount of time ( about a week and a half ) and it has so many endless uses!

Created by one woman in her kitchen searching for the ultimate beauty product, this product includes very simple, easy to pronounce ingredients such as olive oil, sunflower, vitamin E and lavender.

I was sent this product to review and I feel so grateful for it because it literally has helped my skin SO much.

First, I used it as a body oil with great hydrating results including a nice body glow, small dry patches have diminished and this in combination with Max Green Alchemy’s Skin Rescue Cream (See the Review for that – here! ) has saved me from a brutal sunburn that I got last week!

Aside from it’s uses as a sunburn treatment and body oil, it works well as a hair serum, preventing frizziness and moisturizing my super dry ends. I don’t think oilier scalps can handle using it directly on the scalp other than as a mask that is rinsed out after a time, but drier hair types suffering from damage and breakage will certainly benefit from this.

As a skin serum oil, I didn’t really enjoy it much. It was a bit too heavy on my reactive acne prone skin, but I think sensitive, dry, and combination to dry skin types will benefit from this a lot. I think that my skin will benefit from this in the winter time a lot more than summertime, which is in full swing here in Southern California.

That being said, this also worked great as a moisturizing hand and cuticle treatment and soothed my dry heels.

 I highly recommend this product to anyone who wants to simplify their beauty routine or desires an all-in-one product that is easy to travel with and has many, many uses.

It is definitely a green organic beauty product that includes easily recognizable ingredients that are effective, yet simple.

At $30 a bottle, this will last you a couple months and is well worth the money if you plan on using it for all that it is capable of – which is a lot by the way!

Check out this awesome product – here! 


And Now for Another Awesome Giveaway – Brought to You by ONE Skincare!

Enter for a Chance to Win a Full Size All In One Organic Olive Oil Nourishing Treatment!

I will be randomly selecting 2 winners from the entries!

PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is open to any of my subscribers anywhere in the world. Although I received these samples free from Naruko Skincare, I will be shipping them out at my own expense so please sign up! I am not rich, but I want to show my appreciation for your support and readership, and I promise you will enjoy these samples!

To Enter: 

  • Must be subscribed to this blog
  • Must follow me on Twitter @SApothecary and “Like” Storybook Apothecary on Facebook – here
  • Must “Like” ONE Skincare on Facebook
  • Must comment below letting me know you’ve done all the steps and why you want to win this treatment from ONE Skincare
2 Winners will be announced here on 6/20/12!
PLEASE NOTE: The 2 winners will be chosen on the aforementioned date; if any winner does not contact me within a week of the announcement, another will be chosen in their place as an alternative and they will forfeit their winnings.
Thanks to ONE Skincare for holding this giveaway and allowing 2 lucky readers the chance to try this incredible all in one product!

Get Luminescent Skin with HABA Skincare Products + Samples Giveaway!

I am super familiar with HABA Skincare as I’d tried their products several years ago and I recently had the pleasure of being sent some samples to test out and review for you all.

If you’re unfamiliar, HABA is a luxury Japanese skincare company that utilizes natural ingredients in order to give you the brightest, clearest and most beautiful complexion imaginable.

HABA stands for Health Aid, Beauty Aid, so their goal is ultimately to aid your beauty and your health by using natural ingredients in their products.

Firmly in the luxury skincare category, their products can be very pricey, but a few of them just might be worth the hefty price tag!

Fair Lady Vitamin C Serum

I have tried this before and loved it and the same holds true this time!

This serum feels as light as water, but as moisturizing as any cream without the heaviness on your skin.

It sinks right in an leaves no residue behind.

This serum is meant to brighten the skin, combat skin discoloration and give you the brightest complexion possible.

I really feel it does all this and more!

Given that it is a vitamin C serum, it’s no surprise then that I found it also helped to clear up my breakouts, improves discolorations and dullness, and clear my pores.

It definitely fits the bill and delivers in the whitening skincare category, so if you’re into whitening serums, this is a great one to try that is certainly worth the money to me!

Although it will cost you $68 USD, I really feel it is worth the investment given that a little bit goes a LONG way (I’ve been testing around 2 weeks now and still have more than 3/4 of the serum left in the bottle).

Check it out – here!

G Lotion Toner

I used this toner in routine with the Fair Lady Serum and found it to be just okay.

One great thing about this toner is that it “contains no parabens, flavors, mineral oils, synthesized tar colorings or petrochemical surfactants that can irritate the skin” so it’s certainly a more skin friendly formula and it was quite hydrating to the skin so if you battle dryness, you will probably enjoy this toner.

It feels light, similar to the vitamin C serum, but instead is a bit lighter than the serum and even more water as it’s a toner.

It worked well with this serum and the White Knight Oil Control so I really have no complaints.

I think it has some whitening qualities, though, so I think if you’re into that, you will like this toner as an addition to your whitening or brightening skin regimen.

Check it out – here!

Also, I used to love this toner much more when I had oilier skin a few years ago so if you’re interested in reading that review, check it out on my old blog – here!

White Knight Oil Control Lotion

 This is the last product I tried from HABA, the White Knight Oil Control Lotion.

This really does help to control oiliness in the T zone, calm and hydrate the skin and even works well as a primer for makeup.

It does feel as though it might have some silicone in the formula, but it’s dimethicone, which is said to be a moisturizing ingredient and is considered good to some, bad to others. It really depends on who you speak to. I don’t mind it as long as it doesn’t break me out, which this doesn’t. They also include tea tree oil in the formula so that’s great and the formula is so light so if you have super oily skin, this is a nice moisturizer to use that will not make you look oily or shiny and will help keep your makeup in place while clearing breakouts.

I think that since I am more in the combination skin area now, I get less from this one.

I LOVED this when I first tried it a few years ago back when I was still in the more oily adolescent skin type area, battling oiliness and breakouts, but I really have a more normal to combination type now so I see less results with this one.

Check out my old blog review on it – here!

If you have oily skin and breakouts with lots of oiliness, I think this will definitely be good to invest in!

Check it out – here!

Other products I have tried and loved from HABA include the Micro Cleansing, Deep Moisture Lotion, VC Toner Lotion and the Squa Powder Wash Cleanser (Read review for this on my old blog – here! ).

All in all, I really love HABA’s products. They include a lot of natural ingredients in their formulas and offer products that show results. Over the few weeks I used these products, I did see a difference in the tone of my skin, experienced less breakouts, and overall a smoother complexion. My only real qualm with this company is that the squalane they use is from shark liver, not vegetable, so it’s really an ethical issue at this point of not being cruelty free. If you’re not someone who is bothered by this or to whom it matters much, then power on and try these items because I really enjoyed them and they worked well.

 I think that some of these products may be better served on oilier skin types than mine or someone who is interested in whitening type skin care regimens, but the products still work well for someone trying to brighten skin discolorations, combat T zone oiliness or simply use a gentler skincare line.

Check out their site- here!

And onto the good stuff!

They sent me so many lovely and super generous skincare samples and, while I would love to hoard them all to myself, I definitely think they would be better served if shared with you all!

That being said, it’s mini giveaway time again!

One lucky winner will be given the chance to win some HABA Skincare samples!


Check out the Goods!

2 Deluxe Sized Samples Each of the Deep Moisture Lotion and the Micro Force Cleanser!

 Loads of Foil Samples of all the HABA Products including some of the products I reviewed!

PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is open to any of my subscribers anywhere in the world. Although I received these samples free from HABA Skincare, I will be shipping them out at my own expense so please sign up! I am not rich, but I want to show my appreciation for your support and readership, and I promise you will enjoy these samples!

To Enter: 

  • Must be subscribed to this blog
  • Must be following me on Twitter @SApothecary and Storybook Apothecary on Facebook
  • Must be following @HABA_US on Twitter and HABA USA on Facebook
  • Must Comment Below the product they are most excited to try!
 One Lucky Winner will be Announced Here on 6/28/12!

Have you ever used HABA Skincare before?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Disclaimer: I was NOT given compensation to write this blog post in any way other than the free samples that were sent to me from HABA Skincare to review. My opinions, thoughts and experiences with this product are my own.

Please Sign Up for My Giveaways!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Now, I know I write a lot of reviews because I go out of my way to seek out companies that I like so I can review samples from them or otherwise purchase their stuff out of pocket to test and review them here on this blog.

Other posts I do try to include are a lot of DIY because it’s something I love and think is tons of fun as well as healthy beauty food recipes because I believe beauty is from the inside out!

That being said, I do put a lot of effort into my posts and I hope that it reflects in the posts I do.

I recently started 2 mini giveaways – one for Naruko and one for Rainwater Botanicals.

Although I was sent the samples for free from each company, I will be shipping these out to the chosen winners at my own expense.

They are both available to any of my readers, anywhere in the world.

This is my way of showing appreciation for your support so please sign up for them!

Sign up for the Naruko Mini Giveaway – here!

(Ends June 9th, 2012)

Sign Up for the Rainwater Botanicals Mini Giveaway – here!

(Ends June 12th, 2012)

I hope you will all sign up for these mini giveaways for the chance at trying some product samples from some truly amazing natural skincare companies!

Thanks & Have a Nice Weekend!