BirchBox Is It Worth It

Culture, Editorial, Fashion, Featured


Every month, there’s that one little thing I look forward to receiving in the mail. No it’s not my outstanding credit card bills or the reminder to visit the eye doctor. It’s my BirchBox; it’s my little sample-sized savior of beauty products to obsess over for the next few weeks. I’m notorious for being that girl in line who wonders off 1,000 times to look at the little goodies surrounding the registers. With BirchBox, it’s as if all of those fun-sized minis are being sent directly to me all for $10 a month. Every month and every box is different, which makes swapping products with my roommates BirchBox that much easier. From an assortment of 4-5 items such as hair products, makeup, perfumes, and skin care all the perfect size for a true test run of various products and brands. Conveniently, they sell all of the full size products on the website for each box you have received, which trust me you’ll find some great gems. My September box, which was BirchBox’s anniversary month contained, Dr. Jart + Black Charcoal Sheet Mask, Perlier Shea Lavender Body Balm, Pixi Butter Lip Balm, Davines Hair Oil, and Tocca Eau de Parfum, all packaged in an adorable kaleidoscope box. BirchBox has encouraged me to try products that I’ve never tried before. My first life changing experience with dry shampoo was all credit to a sample in my BirchBox. One thing’s for sure, my box never seems to let me down, and it won’t let you down either.

– Mackenzie Brown

Birch from Worthy Magazine on Vimeo.

Gala of Hope Worthy Cause

Culture, Editorial, News



Mia,5, and Madison,7, are two young girls fighting for their lives against Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Mia was diagnosed with SMA at 2 years old. After a year of countless doctor’s visits and unanswered questions, Mia’s mother decided that it was time to make a change. Madison has been fighting SMA since she was just 6 months old.  After the diagnosis, Madison’s mother knew that she needed to do her part to help save her daughter’s life.  The two mothers felt an internal responsibility to make a difference. Mothers and founders Fiorenna Fuentes and Jennifer Miller-Smith started the Gala of Hope out of desperation to save their daughter’s lives.


The Gala of Hope began in 2011 as an annual fundraising event.  After being informed by doctors that there was no cure for SMA, Fiorenna went home to comfort her daughter and began thinking of ways to rebuild hope. Jen was actively involved in many fundraisers and had a solid network background to give the Gala of Hope a strong foundation.  Their strong motivation, teamwork and love for their daughters has made the Gala of Hope the success it is today.


The best part about the Gala of Hope, the founders say, is bringing everyone together and seeing the end success.  Throughout the years, the Gala of Hope has raised over $450,000.  That number is expected to grow tremendously through this year’s event.  It is expected to be the largest event in the Gala of Hope history, hosting over 400 guests.


The 2014 Annual Gala of Hope will be held at Ferrari-Maserati of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, October 2, 2014, beginning at 7 p.m.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

The APPLE WATCH Explained



Yesterday, in the city of Cupertino California, Apple demoed it’s latest creation- The Apple Watch but it has left many in the tech world a bit confused.

The watch tethers to iPhones (5S,5C, 6 and 6 plus) to receive calls and messages, serve as a digital wallet (goodbye cash), play music, and monitor heart, pulse and steps taken through an elegant circular array of light-based sensors.

The new Apple Watch is segmented into bourgeois classes of affordability, from the low end stainless steel baseline of $349 to an ultra-lux high end- 18 karat gold option. The Apple Watch, Apple Sport and Apple Edition represent separate collections and all have their own families of interchangeable gorgeous bands for an unparalleled degree of customization.


Despite it’s premium design, many of the critics are skeptical about the device. How is it better than Apple’s smart-watch competitors? What does it do? Is Apple really charging $349 for a gimmicky device that simply displays notifications from your phone? Apple did answer these questions but they concealed the answers in developer-jargon for those that needed to know.


Tim Cook noted, that he uses his watch to control his Apple TV. Their software engineer pointed out that a development company is working on an app that controls smart locks, smart lighting systems and thermostats for the home with the watch. Cook and Co. meandered slowly through a garden of distractions obscuring the devices most important feature— it’s App Store!

The release of the watch’s SDK- software development kit means that “W” hotels worldwide will use the Apple Watch as a room key. Other hotels will follow suit.


If we just consider Apple’s -already done deals- we begin to see the watch’s potential. The next time you go to McDonalds, Starbucks, Whole Foods, A Restaurant through an Open Table reservation, or take a flight- your watch will be used to pay and guide the experience. Your bill for most services will likely be paid with Apple Pay (a service that manages your credit cards and cashless payments).

Tim Cook may have buried the lead but he made the potential of the watch as a control platform for other devices perfectly clear for those that know the parseltongue of developers. The Apple Watch is the perfect universal remote.

Tim Cook’s most important point was to note that the watch does so much, they didn’t have time to go over it all at the event.

So why not boast? Why not demo all of your tricks? Its because while the Apple Watch will be revolutionary it isn’t light years ahead of it’s competition. The Apple Watch won’t be ready until 2015 and Android Wear is just one software update away – and a few key partnerships behind- catching


MORE THAN THE IWATCH: What Is Apple Planning



The iWatch will debut on Tuesday, September 9th. As tech enthusiasts salivate over the possibility that the iWatch could usher in cashless payments at stores, and serve as a universal remote for home automation devices, unlocking doors, activating smart lighting systems, and turning on tv’s, they’ve lost sight of the one function we know the iWatch will be designed for: fitness!

Most smart-watches are poor fitness devices. They use pedometers that don’t accurately measure steps and heart rate monitors that loose contact with the skin or don’t work if your moving!


There are better ways to measure running distance and better ways to measure heart-rate. Fitness bands fail because they are trying to find one approach and one place on the body to measure disparate fitness tasks. The alternative has always been to strap ungainly wires to every part of the body- and strangely this is precisely what we believe Apple will propose. Apple will indeed propose strapping sensors to every part of your body! This won’t be as unpleasant or ugly as it may sound. We believe that developments in tech and fashion have made it possible for wearable fitness devices to measure your exercise activities without being cumbersome, inconvenient or unattractive. The iWatch will serve simply as a relay device that collects data and communicates with other wearables specifically designed for each fitness task.

The best examples of our prediction are ironically found in non-Apple products. Intel recently announced a smart-shirt. According to the New York Times, “The shirt comes with conductive fibers that can track your heart rate and will be able to deliver information to a smartphone.” Ralph Lauren has similarly developed smart compression tops. They have “conductive threads that allow it to sense breathing and heart rate” (


We imagine that Nike could develop sneakers with simple pressure sensors that measure “actual” steps and actual distance travelled. We imagine Nike running shoes that prevent shin splints and injuries by telling your iWatch when runners are accumulating too much pressure on their feet.

Apple may not be going into fashion as a manufacturer but we believe Apple wants to usher in the era of smart wearable clothing, and position the iWatch as the defacto communications hub. Imagine trendy weightlifting gloves that communicate via bluetooth, how much weight you’re lifting.

The applications for an iWatch that communicates with smart clothes goes beyond fitness. We imagine that EXISTING products like the Mimo baby romper, which measures breathing, body temperature and sleep patterns in toddlers while relaying that information via Bluetooth, could work with the iWatch in the future.


What we have come to believe is that the most powerful iWatch imaginable isn’t necessarily packed with sensors. It is in reality a rather simple communications device that speaks to home automation devices, store checkout counters through NFC or IBeacon and fitness wearables. The beauty of Apple’s device will be that any developer with virtually any product will be able to craft an interface that allows users to control a device with the iWatch. Smart stoves, smart clothes, smart guns, and smart cars alike will tap into the iWatch as a universal remote.




Today was a remarkable day in Technology. Tech enthusiasts gathered in Berlin at IFA- an expo for new products for presentations from some of the world’s most innovative tech companies. Samsung, Sony and Asus demoed their latest innovations, which ranged from new smartwatches to Virtual Reality headsets. Despite our misleading headline, the day was not remarkable as a result of the products we saw demoed, instead IFA was remarkable as a demonstration of Apple’s ability to dictate the pace of innovation and product release among the aforementioned companies.

Apple is scheduled to release it’s latest and greatest, September 9th and the fear that Apple’s potential announcement induced meant that most of the products demoed today were already disclosed. The companies were so fearful of releasing their own products so close to Apple and the deafening silence that they might receive as a result that almost all blew the wraps off of their products early. Despite their early disclosures the products were note-worthy (pun intended) as Samsung lead the announcements with its New Galaxy Note 4 and Note 4 Edge.


The Note 4 is a reasonable update to the pre-existing Note 3 cell phone but it was the Note 4 Edge that provoked a somewhat suspicious awe from the crowd. Samsung has been steadfast in it’s determination to find a usage for curved screens in just about every product category and the edge is the realization of that determination. It sports a curved screen that serves as a nearly separate display for notifications, newsfeeds and an array of different menus. The concept frees up precious real estate on the home screen and offers an interesting albeit unclear potential for developers. Samsung also took the wraps off of a fully functional watch/ phone. The Gear S is a smartwatch that does not, strictly speaking need a companion cell phone. Whereas all smartwatches to date merely receive forwarded notifications of emails or texts, the Gear S is a standalone phone. You can make calls from it, without a companion phone nearby. Samsung proposed the device as ideal for runners or those that don’t want to carry their phones with them.


The Gear S is rather large and somewhat bulky. It was mocked by many observers but we feel the device has promise. For those that don’t spend countless hours browsing on their phone or for those who “need” the use of their hands, this device could be ideal!

Lastly Samsung introduced the VR Headset in cooperation with virtual reality impresarios Oculus Rift. The device is a simple headset that has a slot for the Galaxy Note 4 cell phone which serves as the virtual reality screen. If this sounds odd, Virtual Reality headset maker Oculus Rift (purchased by Facebook) has utilized Samsung’s Note Screens for it’s own headsets. The device is the first mainstream, mobile, Virtual Reality headset for mass consumption.


Tech Giant Asus also released it’s first wearable, the ZenWatch. It is a luxurious device that purports to measure relaxation levels while displaying Google Notifications and running Android Wear- the designated operating system for most of the emerging smartwatches!


The Zenwatch is a physical step up from most of the Android Wear devices we’ve seen from LG and previously Samsung. It is also cheaper at $260!

Sony joined the fray releasing it’s Xperia Z3. The device is actually the 3rd in the line and was rushed in it’s development cycle as Sony played catchup with other manufacturers. However rushed the device is sleek and beautiful! The Z3 doubles as a playstation controller or second screen for the playstation through a remote play app. It is thinner then the iPhone 5S at .29 inches with a 5.2 inch display. The Z3 even comes in a compact variety which is a bit thicker at .34 inches with a 4.4 inch screen. Both are literally designed to take on the next generation of iPhones which are rumored to measure 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches.


Sony also released two smartwatches. The smartwatch 3 is the third iteration in their smartwatch line and runs Android Wear. The Smartband Talk is an e ink sports bracelet that also receives calls and emails. Both are actually rather stylish.



Despite some notable product launches, the entire world of tech is effectively in a “wait on Apple” posture as they await the release of the long rumored mythological iWatch and iPhone 6.