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16 Game of Thrones Characters Who Are Giving You Major Deja Vu

Earlier this week, the Content Team was nerding out over the latest Game of Thrones episode (not to mention the new Hunger Games sneak peek). As we recounted the action-packed GOT, I mentioned that Theon Greyjoy’s savior was none other than Iwan Rheon from the cult British series, Misfits. (For the uninitiated, think Skins meets Heroes—and yes, you should watch it.)

This led to a morning filled with frequent “Did you know she was in…?” and “No way!” as many of us recalled other roles where we’d seen these actors before. Naturally we couldn’t let these important discoveries go undocumented. Read on to find out why your favorite GOT character is giving you deja vu and get ready for a few nostalgia-inducing, pretty awesome surprises.

(Photo: HBO; ITV)

Actress: Rose Leslie
Game of Thrones character: Ygritte, Wildling Soldier in Mance Rayder’s Army
Where you saw her before: Gwen Dawson from Downton Abbey

Leslie played shy, yet driven Gwen—our favorite maid-turned-typist. It looks like she carried over the same fiery streak for her sword-wielding role as Ygritte, Jon Snow’s sassy love interest.

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6 Seasonal Cocktails That Are Perfect For a Warm Day

The weather is starting to really warm up, and I’m eager to lay out on my roof and enjoy a drink or two with friends. And while I love a nice glass of Pinot Noir or a simple whisky ginger, sometimes I want something a little fresher to get into the spirit of spring. So I’m scoping out my local produce stands, picking up a few of my favorite seasonal ingredients, and getting inspired with these six fruity cocktails.

Strawberry Mint Julep from The Forest Feast

A twist on the classic derby drink, this cocktail is made just a little sweeter with the addition of some fresh strawberry simple syrup. 

Lillet Rose Spring Cocktail from Martha Stewart

I love the pastel peach color of this cocktail. If you don’t know where to find edible blossoms, talk to the producers at your local farmer’s market to find pesticide-free flowers that are safe for consumption.  

Spring Sangria from Eat Drink Love

This is definitely a recipe to share with a few friends. Toss together some white wine, Sprite, pineapple juice, and several citrus slices, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect spring sangria.  

Blood Orange 75 from Scout.

Definitely plan ahead for this dark citrus cocktail. The blood orange takes 30 minutes to properly steep, so consider preparing the simple syrup early and storing it in the fridge until you’re ready to break out the gin.

Pimm’s Cup from me!

There are a lot of Pimm’s Cup recipes out there, but I’m partial to an easy and extrafruity mix that I think many of you will also love. This English staple takes me from the first sign of spring all the way through September. 

Rhubarb Mojito from Not Without Salt

I’ve been eagerly awaiting rhubarb season just to try this drink myself. Mint, rhubarb, fresh lime juice, and rum? Yes please.

—Bre

Looking for something filling to go with your cocktail? Try one of these 6 delicious spring recipes

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Dove’s New Ad Campaign: Photoshop Trick or Reality Treat?

Dove is back with another installment of its decade-long “Campaign for Real Beauty,” which aims to inspire confidence in women when discussing beauty.

While Dove’s previous efforts (commercials like “Evolution,” “Onslaught,” and “Amy”) were directed at consumers to convince them to rethink their perceptions of beauty, this one targets those who create the ads.

The beauty brand built a Photoshop action, which is a downloadable file that can apply a certain look to an image in one click. This action file, which promised to add a skin-glowing effect to images, was released online in forums where art directors and other photo retouchers would stumble upon it and hopefully download it. In reality though, the action would revert the Photoshopped image to its original state with the tagline, “Don’t manipulate our perceptions of real beauty." 

What do you guys think? Is Dove making a good point about the beauty industry by targeting photo retouchers?

—Bre

Photoshop has been the center of controversy for many years. Find out more about this great debate here.

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How Would You Describe Yourself?

Dove is back with another inspiring addition to their Real Beauty campaign. Unlike their last video, this one directly challenges real women to rethink their perceptions surrounding beauty—specifically, how they perceive their own beauty. Several women were selected to sit for a forensic sketch artist while hidden behind a curtain, and then described themselves to the artist who drew as they spoke. Afterwards, a person who had briefly met the original subject came in and described each woman as they saw her. 

It’s surprising to see how much the final two sketches differed. Each stranger-described image appeared friendlier, softer, and more open than the original—and often the women were in awe of the disparity between what they thought and what an objective viewer saw.

We’ve all fallen prey to the bad habit of selling ourselves short. Who hasn’t told someone about their less-than-awesome eyes, nose, chin, you name it, only to hear that it’s their friend’s favorite defining feature? At the very least, we’re glad that Dove’s video is a positive reminder to pause and consider that perhaps we’re all great exactly as we are.

—Bre

Want to see more of Dove’s recent Real Beauty campaign? Here’s how they tricked photo retouchers into reversing all of their work on models’ bodies.

Presenting the Latest Baked Good Trend: The Cronut

Our sweet tooth went into overdrive at just the thought of this new sugary creation. Last Friday, Soho-based bakery Dominique Ansel released this hybrid croissant-donut—aka “the cronut"—and New Yorkers literally ate it up (35 minutes after the bakery opened cronut inventory was sold out!). Obviously, now the Interwebz is blowing up about this baked good development, and we’re seriously considering getting up early tomorrow morning just to taste one.

And it seems that we’re not the only ones: someone highly dedicated to this flaky treat has made a support website called cronut.org for people to share the love or grieve about missing the last one in the shop.

What do you guys think about the cronut? Is it here to stay or another passing dessert trend (à la the cupcake)?

——————————————

UPDATE: I couldn’t resist. I hurried down to Dominique Ansel Bakery this morning at 7:45am and found myself in line with about 15 other people (and a TV crew for that matter) eagerly awaiting the chance to try the much-raved about cronut. At 8am, the bakery opened its doors and I snatched up a few to share with my co-workers. When I left around 8:15, the bakery only had 3 left and many cronut-hopefuls went home empty handed. If you’re looking to try one, arrive early! Also keep in mind that they have a limit of 6 cronuts per customer.

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So what did it taste like? Very rich. It also had a sweet vanilla bean cream in the middle of its crisp and flaky layers, which was a nice surprise. I’m not sure I could eat a whole one, but I definitely enjoyed it. My verdict: cronuts are worth the hype. (Although, at $5 each, I won’t be buying one every day.) 

—Bre

(Top photo: @socked)

How to Make a DIY Fresh Flower Crown

From weddings to music festivals, flower crowns are everywhere these days. They’re the ultimate spring accessory and make even the rainiest of days that much brighter. Best of all, they’re totally easy to make yourself.

I do have to admit that before this project, I’d never actually made a flower crown before. But with plenty of them floating around on Tumblr and Pinterest, I’d gotten enough of an idea to be able to craft this one from scratch. So I know you can do it too!

Here are the items you’ll need to make your own flower crown:

  • 4–5 different fresh flowers, greens, etc.
  • Heavy gauge floral wire
  • Green floral tape
  • Scissors or wire cutters

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6 Recipes to Round Out Your Spring Menu

By the looks of all the floral prints (guys and gals) in the Birchbox offices, spring is definitely here. We’re pleased as punch, since that means our local farmer’s market is in full swing. Whether you’re an afternoon meanderer or one of the dedicated few stocking up at dawn, the markets are bursting with seasonal faves. Need inspiration? We’ve got ideas for how to use spring’s marquee ingredients—no ho-hum salads here.

Avocado Asparagus Tartine from 101 Cookbooks

We’ll start things off extra fresh with this tartine that came highly recommended from resident food lover, Mollie. Combining avocado, asparagus, and arugula, it’s the epitome of spring.

Asparagus Tart with Pine Nuts and Capers from The Forest Feast

This tart is a personal favorite of mine and is incredibly easy to whip up for a light meal after a long day. And don’t worry—if capers aren’t your thing (guilty!), you can skip them without diminishing this warm, flaky dish.

New Potatoes with Dill Butter from Bon Appétit

Mashed potatoes may rule the menu in the fall, but spring deserves something a little lighter—like these dill-laced new potatoes. Pair with smoked salmon for a fresh Scandinavian meal.

Spring Risotto of Asparagus, Peas, & Ramps from Food52

There is no such thing as too much asparagus when it comes to spring cooking! Avoid the urge to simply roast and instead opt for a market-inspired risotto that also brings in (the often underutilized) ramps and peas.

Rhubarb-Ginger Jam from Savuer

We can’t resist a good jam recipe and the spicy ginger makes a great addition to this otherwise sweet spread. Double the recipe to keep your pantry well-stocked through next season. 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble from smitten kitchen 

Strawberry and rhubarb is a classic for a reason. The tartness of the rhubarb is balanced by the extra sweet and juicy strawberries, and this well-formed combination comes together perfectly in a buttery crumble. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

– Bre

Want more seasonal cooking tips? Check out our 5 ways to make the most of this season’s freshest ingredients

How Many Swipes Are in a Tube of Lipstick?: Beauty Hacks
Welcome to Beauty Hacks, a new column dedicated to examining beauty through an unexpected (slightly nerdy) lens. Why deny our techie roots and long-abiding love of all things science? From breaking down how long a lipstick tube really lasts to getting to the bottom of the so-called golden ratio, we’re taking a data-based approach. We can’t wait to see what we uncover.

Considering how many red, pink, orange, purple, and nude lipsticks we own, it’s a surprise that it’s taken us this long to ask ourselves: how many swipes are really in a tube of lipstick? (After all, we’ve never forgotten the classic Tootsie Pop commercial.) To kick off our Beauty Hacks series, we decided to tackle this age-old question.

First step: design a (mostly) scientific experiment that would allow us to accurately measure the swipes. After copious online researching, we discovered that the average length of the female lip is 50mm (more on that below). We grabbed several large pieces of white butcher paper and swiped four different cream lipsticks from two drugstore brands in 50mm increments (we used a ruler for accuracy) to see how long it took to get to the bottom of a tube.

The results surprised us. Think you might know the answer? Take a guess, mentally log your number and read on to find out the results!

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A Cautionary Tale of Curling Irons and Burnt Hair

This totally gasp-inducing video of a young lady burning her hair off with a curling iron made its rounds in our offices this morning, and our editors were universally shocked. We’ve all casually wrapped our strands around a hot iron plenty of times before, and none of us could imagine what it’d feel like to lose an entire section of hair. Yikes!

We were especially surprised because as far as we could tell, this young beauty guru’s technique was spot on. (Heat up curling iron, take small section of hair and wrap, leave for a few seconds to let the curl set.) From what we can see in the video, the fault didn’t lie with her, but instead with the overly-hot rod that she was using. Our recommendation to ensure that you don’t accidentally singe your locks? Invest in high-quality tools that maintain heat at a safe temperature. 

Have you ever accidentally lost some of your locks in a battle with a heated tool? 

—Bre

For a hair tutorial with a happier ending, check out our video on using a clipless curling iron to score perfect waves.

The Bold Lipstick That Anyone Can Rock

Bright lipstick can feel like one of the most daunting beauty products. Not only does it draw extra attention to your face, but one false swipe or unflattering color choice and it seems like your whole look is ruined. That potential for beauty disaster is enough to keep even the most adventurous of makeup lovers (myself included) away from bold lips.

Somehow Laqa & Co. must have heard our lipstick woes when they partnered with us to develop this duo of easy-to-use Lil’ Lip fat lip pencils. These twist-up, mini pencils glide on effortlessly and provide a bright punch of color that amazingly looks great on everyone. And soon you’ll be able to try them for yourselves because some of you will be receiving one of these pencils in your June Birchbox!

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OMG – Watch The New Sneak Peek for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Now!

As you probably know by now, we are huge Hunger Games fans here at Birchbox, and we can’t stop watching the new sneak peek for Catching Fire that debuted last night at the MTV Movie Awards. Katniss! Uprisings! Effie’s makeup! Prim’s dutch braid!

This may just be a teaser for the upcoming full-length trailer, but that hasn’t stopped us from playing it on repeat and making silly predictions for Katniss’s evolving plait, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s creepiness, and the epic competition between Peeta and Gale. 

Unfortunately, Catching Fire doesn’t come out until November 22. But the upside is that you have plenty of time to re-read the book and debate how the movie will portray the—ahem—very special 75th annual Games.

—Bre

While you eagerly await the premiere, perfect your Katniss style with our Hunger Games-inspired Dutch braid tutorial.

H&M Admits: "The Models We've Had Have Been Too Skinny"

Plus-size model Jennie Runk in H&M’s latest swimwear campaign

The conversation around body diversity has been a long-standing debate in the fashion world, but it seems that chatter is coming to a head. From blogger Gabi Gregg’s fatkini to the first realistic plus-size dress form, the way we think about fashion is shifting and now big brands are getting involved. In a new interview with Metro, H&M’s CEO, Karl-Johan Persson, has promised that the Swedish retailer will be more diverse in their advertising and to “not give the impression that girls have to look a particular way.” 

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Color-Changing Polish is all the Hotness For Spring

I’m a self-confessed nail polish addict: My instagram is full of shots featuring my latest designs, and I’ve been known to use random household items to create nail art in a pinch (stray stud earrings are great stand-ins for toothpicks). Lately, I’ve moved beyond your average cream polishes into textured or effect formulas. Magnetic, liquid sand, holographic – I want them all! The newest addition to my ever-growing collection? Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish

After seeing the aptly named Poppy and Peony both indoors and out (check out the GIFs below), I’m definitely putting them to regular use this spring. We could even end up being nail twins because some of you will receive a bottle in your April Birchbox! 

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Pets + Birchbox = Adorableness!

We love pets, and they seem to love Birchboxes—a recipe for ridiculously cute pictures, no? It makes our day to see fuzzy friends who are just as excited about Birchbox as we are—and we can’t be the only ones. Just look (and ‘awww’) at these subscribers’ Birchbox-lovin’ friends:

1. Carter B. sent this photo of his English bulldog to our team last week. How cute is that little bow tie?

2. We love seeing your upcycled Birchboxes—and so far the prize for most unexpected way to use it goes to Jodi F. A few weeks ago, she wrote “Right now I am using my boxes to incubate Sebastopol goose eggs. I needed something sturdy to hold the eggs during their month long incubation.” Last week, she updated us with this (amazing) photo of one of her goslings. 

3. @raefaye: “What an amazing #birchbox month! I got a beautiful #cat in mine. #delilah @birchboxuk” We didn’t see that one in the sneak peek!

4. Devon F. shared this photo of her curious black lab on our Facebook: “Been with Birchbox for over a year, love my monthly surprise in the mail! And my pup, Lucy, does too!”

5. Rebecca K. isn’t the only one excited about her latest Birchbox. “My cat, Blossom, was happy for this month’s arrival!”

6. @nolacml: “Porkchop loves #birchbox too #frenchbulldog" 

7. @jorance: ”it seems ellie likes my april birchbox too! #april #birchbox #cute #cat #beauty #makeup #aw"

8. @betheebee: “Tilly isn’t quite as excited as I am about my very first #birchbox!”

9. Subscriber Sierra H. is one lucky lady: "My favorite time of the month; a special delivery by the cutest cat in the world — helped by the best Birchbox gifting boyfriend in the world!“

Have a pic of a Birchbox-loving pet to share? Share your photo on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #PetsofBirchbox or upload a pic on our FB page! We’ll add them to our #PetsofBirchbox Facebook album here!

—Bre

Now that you’ve snapped your pet pic, upcycle your Birchbox with these three easy DIYs.

The Resemblance Between Miss Korea Contestants Causes A Stir

These 10 women have a lot more in common than just being finalists for the Miss Korea 2013 pageant. After their images went viral—first showing up on a Japanese blog, then Reddit, then Jezebel where we first spotted it—we couldn’t help but be curious about the claims that these women all look alike due to plastic surgery. 

Whether or not you believe that this is the case, there’s no doubt that plastic surgery rates are rising around the world: According to The Economist, over 14 million procedures were performed in 2011 alone. South Korea remains a popular plastic surgery destination—every year, “medical tourists” visit Seoul from countries like China, Singapore, and the U.S. to go under the knife. On the flip side, many Korean actresses and singers admit to having work done (double eyelid procedures and nose jobs are two of the most popular surgeries for Asians). This opens the door for a more serious discussion about plastic surgery: At what point does it move beyond becoming a better version of yourself to starting to look like everyone else?

—Bre

(Photo: Jezebel)

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What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

In the last year, we’ve been following the growing discussion surrounding Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and the original debate that seemed to kick it all off—whether women can truly have it all. (Funny enough, the discussion has become such a hot topic that now it’s actually come full circle: in this month’s issue of Esquire, men are also wondering if they too can achieve that highly coveted work-life balance.)

When we came across this new video from Lean In it sparked conversation again in our office. The video questions why fewer women see themselves as leaders, and asks us to consider what we (as women) would do if we weren’t afraid? How would we lead? It’s a worthwhile question for everyone to consider.

With that in mind, we asked a few of our staffers to anonymously tell us what they would do if they weren’t afraid. Here’s what they had to say:

I honestly aspire to live up to the the Beyonce lyric (lifted from the song Ego) ‘You don’t have to call into work 'cus you the boss.’ Deep, deep, DEEP down I’ve always wanted to have my own business—even though I have no idea what that business would be! ”

If I had the chutzpah, I would sign up for singing lessons and learn how to properly use my pipes. I’d finish by doing a solo performance at a bar or nightclub for all of my friends.

“I’d quit my job to make documentaries.”

If I were braver, I’d accept the initial investment that was offered to me and focus on my own start-up.”

“I’d write a script for a super-smart, Nora Ephron-style romantic comedy.”

“I’d stop trying to be an expert at everything, quit wasting time, and just do all of the things I’ve dreamed of doing: work for myself, write a book, move to a different city (or country), travel more, become a yoga teacher—nothing is out of reach!”

Now it’s your turn—what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

—Bre

Gisele Bündchen's Tongue-In-Cheek Spa Day Photo Shoot for Vogue Italia

We’re all too familiar with the extreme measures some celebrities take to stay young and beautiful, and Vogue Italia has taken a tongue-in-cheek look at some of today’s beauty rituals. Together with supermodel Gisele Bündchen and photographer Steven Miesel, the cover and feature photo story for July’s health and beauty issue showcases some of this year’s most buzzed about beauty treatments—from the typical pedicure to mud baths to the (slightly creepy) “vampire” facial.

And while it may seem like Gisele is enjoying the perks of an increasingly common high-end beauty routine, the photos seem to be gently poking fun at these new rituals given the supermodel’s past comments about being “real and raw." 

What do you guys think? Would you ever consider getting some of the more unexpected treatments in this shoot, like cupping or a blood facial?

—Bre

Gisele may have received a mock Vampire Facial courtesy of makeup artist Pat McGrath, but Kim Kardashian actually tried the strange treatment herself.

(photo: Vogue Italia

Nail Art Trend Alert: The Statement Toe

If the past year in nail art has taught us anything, it’s that the accent nail is a must. Whether covered in bold and textured polishes or glue-on studs, shinning the spotlight on one finger is a fresh fun look. But with all the buzz surrounding manicures, we seem to have missed an opportunity to bring our feet in on the fun.

This sandal season, all that is going to change. For summer, make your pedi wow-worthy by embracing the hottest new trend: the statement toe.

– Bre

Brighten up a traditional French manicure with this colorful twist.

The Veronica Mars Kickstarter Project Raises $2 Million—In Just One Day?!

Kristen Bell as teen detective Veronica Mars.

After being cancelled in 2007, Veronica Mars, the cult-classic teen drama about a sharp-tongued high school detective starring Kristen Bell, is back! No, not as a series, but a movie.

Yesterday, the show’s creator, Rob Thomas, and Bell announced plans for a Kickstarter campaign to fund the film via crowdsourcing. Thomas had made attempts in the past to create a full-length feature following the show’s abrupt ending while in its third season, but the production company Warner Bros. wasn’t convinced. Now, five years after the show was pulled off the air, Thomas, Bell and a few other cast members have decided to take matters into their own (and fans’) hands.

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The Great Miley Cyrus Hair Transformation

Miley has been on the top of everyone’s minds lately, with her recent split from fiancé Liam Hemsworth and her new music video with Snoop Dog (err...Lion).  All of the Miley news got us to thinking about her many hair transformations and after doing a little digging, we thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane. From long brown waves to a seriously short buzz cut, here’s a comprehensive Miley hairstyle retrospective: 

Radio Disney Totally 10 Birthday Concert
July 22, 2006

Can you believe this was only 7 years ago? Little Miley was just getting her  start as Hannah Montana and often wore her blonde wig out and about. 

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