Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Love with Food Tasting Box Review

This is just my second month subscribing to Love with Food's Tasting Box. The tasting box offers a box filled with goodies for just $12/month. When I opened the box, I found it packed with yummy and healthy snacks.


The first snack I opened were Sweet Potato popchips from Popchips. I wasn't sure if I would like these, but they were scrumptious! They were a great combo of sweet and salty. I will definitely be purchasing these for the house.


The next item in the tasting box was a bag of Sweet Corn Crunch from Sensible Foods. Again, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm willing to try new things, and I'm always looking for healthy treats for my kids. Plus, I'm from Iowa, so I figured they would be great:) I was right. They were sweet and crunchy, but not hard. My five year old liked them, but I'll have to keep trying with my almost right year old, even to try them. I know he'll like them though! Yum!


The next item, we haven't tried yet. It was a packet of Indian Spice Blend from Arora Creations. It says that the spices are for asparagus, okra, and string beans. We love green beans, and I'm always looking for ways to liven them up a bit. I'm anxious to give these spices a try, and will try some of the other varieties if it's a hit.


I always love it when my subscription boxes include teas or hot chocolates (I'm not a coffee lover-when I lived in Paris, the Parisians thought I was crazy). This box included Mighty Leaf Ginger Twist Tea. I've been a little under the weather, and this was perfect!


The next item, I will admit that I have passed along to my husband. It is Green & Black's Organic, Dark 70% Chocolate. I know dark chocolate has incredible health benefits, and that it is decadent, but I have never liked it. My husband said that it was rich, high quality and tasty. I'm sure that other Love with Food subscribers loved it as well!


The next little sweet was just my taste. It was a small square of Maple Fudge from Laura Secord. The company is from Canada, and the fudge is made with pure maple syrup. I'm pretty picky, and I adored this!


There was a shortbread in the box by Dancing Deer Baking Co. It was unexpected that the all butter shortbread was blended with rosemary and pink sea salt. It might sound unusual, but it was delicious. A wonderful combination of savory and sweet.


I love bars, especially for breakfast or a quick snack. There was an Almond, Apricot, and Yogurt Bar from Eat Natural. It was healthy and filling. I shared this with my youngest, and he loved it! I'll be purchasing more of these for sure. He and I aren't huge breakfast eaters, but I insist he have something. Otherwise he turns into the pre-k version of your worst nightmare.


I saved the best (in my mind) for last. It was a bag of Tuxedo Popcorn from Kukuruza Popcorn. Oh my goodness- this was a bag of delight. Carmel popcorn with a drizzle of milk chocolate and white chocolate. It could be my new obsession.


If you haven't tried Love with Food yet, I suggest giving the taste box a try. It is reasonably priced, and a way to try new treats! I'm so glad I did!







November Wantable Makeup Box Review

I tell everyone I know how much I love Wantable. I get the makeup box and the intimates box, and I'm never disappointed. They both have a questionnaire that can be changed so that you get what you want each month. The products are high end and full sized. If you are a monthly subscriber, they are $36/month, or you can purchase whenever you wish for $40. Either way, Wantable is a great value.
I'm always so excited when I get a text that my box is on it's way. I actually watch the tracking information so I know when it will arrive. So, when I see the white box with the W. in my mail, I'm never surprised, but I'm happy!! My November makeup box contained 5 items, and a deluxe sample.
The first item I received was a super pale pink nailpolish from Color Club. The color is officially named Pret-a-Pink. This is a perfect color for a manicure for me, as I like little to no color on my fingers, but colorful pedicures. This is delicate and pretty.
The next item in the box was a lip gloss by Bella Beauty. I'm not super familiar with the company, but I love the packaging, and the gloss is a terrific color and formula. The name is Mademoiselle, and it is a pinky-coral. It's not too sheer or too thick, but gives just the right amount of color and shine.
I received a second lip gloss in my November box, by 29 Cosmetics. This is a company that I really like, and their products feel terrific on. Their product base is grapeseed. This sheer formula is beautiful in a sheer brownish gold, French Oak. This looks great over lip color or alone.
The next item is a blush by Girlactik Beauty. It is a cream blush in Coral, and it gives a beautiful, natural flush to the cheeks. I'm pretty fair, so I like that this is buildable color.
There was also an eyeshadow in the November collection by Starlooks. I've tried a few things by them, but never their shadows. This came in Sparkling Ember, a wash of brownish-gold. I've used this as both a crease shade and as a liner, and I'm really happy with the saturation. It looks beautiful with the 29 Cosmetics lip gloss.
The last item in the box was a sample of Skiin Instant Skin Tightener & Line Filler. I have not tried this yet, but it claims to help the skin regain it's radiant and younger appearance. I'm anxious to give it a try, as I could use both!
If you are on the fence about Wantable, I would give it a try. I cannot recommend another subscription box more highly. Their boxes can also be returned if you aren't happy, so there is really no risk. A subscription would also make an incredible holiday gift.
To get going with Wantable, use my referral code: https://www.wantable.com/invite/us5dqFgowHo, and you'll start earning points for free products.





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November Ambition Box Review

I have been trying to order a variety of boxes to review lately. Most of my subscription boxes are pretty popular, so I like to try things a bit more unusual to review. Ambition Box is $15/month. They have a Facebook Page, and you sign up there. They then bill through PayPal. Ambition Box is a beauty box, and they are still fairly new.


The main item in my delivery was Beauty Treats Radiant Face Powder Pearls. They had a picture of these in the spoiler, but they were pink and bronze. I'm quite fair, so I was looking forward to the combination. The one I received is more bronze, but very pretty. I'll likely put these away until spring, when I have a chance for a bit of sun. These smell really good though, like roses, and I know I will use them.


The next item in my Ambition Box was a Demeter Salt Air Rollerball Perfume Oil. This came in another subscription box over the summer, and I didn't really care for it. I'm more of a fruity fragrance lover. This particular scent is very popular though, and I know lots of people who adore it. It is very fresh and clean smelling.


There were three makeup brushes by Abella brushes in my delivery. They are pink (yay), and there is a blush brush, an eyeshadow brush, and a lash/brow brush. While these are very cute, they're pretty low quality. I may put them in my little cosmetic bag that I have in my purse. These might be brushes that I would buy for a tween, who is just starting with a tiny bit of cosmetics.


There were three foil pouches of Olivella Hand Cream. I've never heard of the brand, but I love hand creams. These will be a great chance to try a new brand.


The last item in my box was a small packet of Show Stoppers Nude double stick tape. I don't have any like this, but I will be glad to give it a try on a couple of blouses that gap a bit.


I was a little surprised that there was no box for Ambition Box. "Ambition Pouch" doesn't really have the same ring to it though.

I ordered Ambition Box quite a while ago back in October, but because of various delays, I received it just this week. I actually was pretty upset by how long it took. I was promised several times that it had shipped the week prior, but wasn't given tracking information. Those of us who didn't receive their boxes were told we would receive an extra item, although I can't imagine what the extra item might have been. The box value didn't seem to meet the price to me. Once I filed a PayPal claim though, I was finally given tracking information (the package was shipped after I filed the claim).

I'm very sorry to say that personally, I cannot recommend Ambition Box. Other bloggers have said that previous boxes were pretty good, but honestly, I think there was a pretty good chance that had I not made a PayPal claim, I would have never received anything.

*Disclaimer- I purchased Ambition Box on my own, and with my own funds.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November Wantable Intimates Review

So, once again, my Wantable Intimates Box was fantastic. Wantable has subscribers complete a very comprehensive questionnaire, which helps the box be personalized for for the subscriber. I loved my October box so much that I left my settings exactly the same.

I have Pretty & Polished, Fun & Flirty, Loungewear, Tanks, Tights/Leggings, Panties, Socks, Bras, Neutrals and Brights all listed as Loves, which is pretty much most of the list. Under Likes, I have Hoisery and Camis, and under Dislikes, I have listed Accessories and Shapewear.


In my November box, I received five items, and again, I'm really pleased.

First, there was a pair of Betsey Johnson purple boyshorts. They're a little more sheer than I might normally pick out, but they're really cute, and have pink ribbons to tie on the sides.

Next, there were a pair of bikini panties from Whimsy by Luniare. These are SO adorable, and will be super comfortable. They are a mix of light blue and white patterns and textures. I'm in love with these!

I got another pair of Argoz Socks this month, and I really like them. They're purple argyle, and really soft. The dark purple is called Grape, and are a great color for Fall.

Last month, my box included a Coobie soft bra in hot pink, and this month there was the same bra, except in a Nude Leopard print. I don't mind at all receiving the same items in different colors/patterns, because I'm so happy with the items. The leopard print isn't crazy, but really soft and neutral. 

The last item in my Intimates box for November was a Bella & Canvas short sleeve tee in Amethyst Heather. This tee will be great with leggings, jeans, or pajama pants. It's soft and roomy, but not huge. Definitely a ladies' cut.

I'm really happy with this box. It might seem like there was a lot of purple, but with the different shades, patterns, and textures, with the soft leopard print added in, it's perfect.

If you're on the fence, I highly recommend subscribing to Wantable Intimates. It's $40 for a one time purchase, or $36 for a subscription. I can't wait for my next box!

To get started with a subscription with Wantable, use my referral link, and you'll start to earn points towards free products !

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Importance of Traditions

I am someone who believes strongly in the importance of traditions. At the age of 14, I left home and headed for Blair Academy. Blair is a boarding school in northwest New Jersey, and would be my home for the next 3 years. 


My older brother was already at Blair, and I had enviously listened to his stories for the past two years. One of the stories that intrigued me the most was that of Peddie Day. He talked about banners, skits, beenies, the arch, a bonfire, and football. When I was applying to schools, I applied to both Blair AND Peddie, and I interviewed at both schools during Peddie Week (or Blair Week, as they called it at Peddie). It was funny to me to be at Blair, where there were signs that said GO BUCS, or KILL PEDDIE, and then to see signs at Peddie that said BEAT BLAIR! 


In the end, obviously, I decided to go to Blair, where I would experience the whole thing that Fall. Basically, the Senior class makes many of the rules during Peddie Week. Two of the oldest traditions are that all underclassmen and new faculty would wear beenies the entire week. A fellow classmate recently found his in a box from his Blair Days (pictured below). The other major tradition was that only seniors were allowed to walk through the arch, a beautiful stone arch, under which students really had to go in order to get anywhere. At night, the arch was defended by Senior and Post-Grad boys, while underclassmen tried to get by them. It was all in good fun.



It was a week in which professors tried their hardest to keep us focused on our studies, and our coaches had to remind us that we would be playing Peddie in all Fall sports that Saturday. I played field hockey, although not terribly well.


On Friday night, there was a pep rally, and a bonfire that took a month to complete. Seniors stayed up at night to make sure students from Peddie didn't try to light it up during the week. All the teams did skits at the pep rally, I can still rember the field hockey teams' version of "Be True to Your School." 

After the pep rally, the entire school went out for the bonfire. This wasn't just any bonfire-it was huge, and generally burned for at least a day. Part of the tradition of Blair, is that all Seniors are given a torch, and they process together, each throwing their torch, and likely thinking about how they'd made it to senior year. It was a sight to see.



I believe that curfew was later that night, and the entire school, faculty, and alums enjoyed the festivities. There was hot chocolate and music. Whenever I head the song "Dream On" by Aerosmith, I am immediately taken back to the bonfire from my senior year. Many underclassmen burned their beenies, which is likely what happened to mine.


The next day, Blair and Peddie compete in all Fall sports, with the location changing each year. All games are over in time for everyone to watch the football game. The winning team gets a cup to keep for the year, named the Kelly-Potter Cup after the two Headmasters.

Pictured-Mr. Kelly in his letterman's jacket

Peddie Day, and it's traditions are what make Blair Academy a school that its students adore. You will remember it for the rest of your life. When you get together with friends later in life, Peddie Day will likely be a topic. I personally believe that it is this type of tradition that keeps alums very much engaged in a school.


As an educator, I have looked for these types of traditions at different prep schools, and I have failed. One girls' boarding school came close, with traditions that were meaningful and fun , but I have yet to find a tradition as deeply rooted as those at Blair. It is part of what makes Blair a community, and many of us believe strongly in that sense of community.


As parents, my husband and I hope that our boys will choose to attend Blair. M. didn't attend, but he loves Blair, and sees how important it is to me. We will never force them, but we will expose them to Blair much more as they get older. Perhaps starting a tradition of our own.

A closing note- this past weekend was Peddie Day, and Blair brought home the cup for the fourth year in a row. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bona Clara Party

Since I've become obsessed with subscription boxes and blogging about them, I've met so many great women. Everyone is so friendly and helpful.

Most recently, I had the unbelievable pleasure to meet Brandy. Brandy reviews subscription boxes, writes a popular blog, sells for two popular companies, is a mom, and oh yeah, she's in law school. Somehow, we discovered that we are sorority sisters. Of course, she went to MIT, and I went to the University of Arizona. I'm not putting my Wildcats down-I LOVED it there!

Anyhow, Brandy sells skincare for a brand new company called Bona Clara. Their products don't contain as many fillers, parabens, or chemicals as other skin care lines. I decided to have a virtual Bona Clara party, to help Brandy, but also because I REALLY want to try the eye cream. I don't really know too many people in Cleveland, so I invited other bloggers, subscription box addicts, and friends for our online chat. It was so much fun!

Bona Clara is super easy to figure out, as everything is divided by age group. It takes the guesswork out of deciding what you need. When I worked in the cosmetics industry, so many women would go back and forth, trying to decide what they needed.

Pictured-40's Cleanser


Unfortunately though, nobody bought anything. I was pretty bummed and a little embarassed. So...I'm hoping that any if my readers who are in need of a new regimen, or even an item here or there will log in and pick up what you need. There is a 30 day return policy, so if you don't like something, you can return it.
Pictured-30's holiday facial kit $25!!

All you need to do is log on to www.bonaclara.com/party/617
Brandy is even doing giveaways that are still up for grabs for anyone who makes a purchase. The party will "close" on Friday night. Check it out!!
Pictured-the eye cream that I'm lusting after!

Monday, November 4, 2013

September From the Lab Box Review

I'm going to start by saying that if I could choose a new profession, it would be to develop skincare and cosmetics. I'm fascinated by it all, and I'm always looking for the best eye creams and the best moisturizers. I definitely missed my calling.



From the Lab is a company based out of LA that introduces high end new skincare, hair care, and beauty products to members/consumers up to 19 months earlier than if they were to wait for them to hit the shelves. The cost is only $19.95/month. I love this box!


From the Lab is still a fairly new subscription box, and I'm waiting on my third box now. I think that it's important to review boxes and products that might be a little more unusual, because trust me, you won't have a hard time finding a review for Birchbox or Ipsy.


My first shipment From the Lab, was their 24-Hour Face Cream No. 578 +
Eye Cream No. 579
.




A moisturizer and an eye cream, which was exactly what I needed. I have very sensitive skin, and it's also very dry. Sounds lovely, right?  Because of my sensitivity, I have to be careful with what I use. I know I shouldn't, but I also like to brand jump, in order to try new things.

This duo is considered to be their purifying set. "Heavy metal deposits from environmental toxins accumulate on your skin, resulting in free radical damage and a prematurely aged complexion; yet it’s almost impossible to find a skincare product on the market today designed to combat the skin-ravaging effects of heavy metals" (From the Lab).

While that's all great, I was more concerned with how it felt on my face. I couldn't smell any perfumes. The cream was thick, but not greasy. It absorbed quickly, and left my skin moisturized, but not suffocating and itchy!! My face feels terrific. Winner.


The eye cream was much the same. My eyelids actually peel, and I have no idea why. Probably eczema, but totally embarrassing. This eye cream didn't burn or itch. It was moisturizing, but didn't leave my eyelids greasy. I'm excited to keep using this.



I am so excited that I found From the Lab. I can't wait to see what they'll be sending next, and I feel lucky to be able to test their products. I could end up finding a whole new regimen! From the Lab does allow it's members to purchase past products, which really pleases me. So far, this particular set is a huge win for me.

(www.fromthelab.com)

Friday, November 1, 2013

October Wantable Intimates Review

It's no surprise that I love Wantable's Makeup Box, so when they announced that they would be introducing an Intimates Box, I was really excited. I filled out the questionnaire, and anxiously waited for it to get here.

I couldn't wait to open the box, but when I did, I was so bummed. I couldn't request bras, because when I filled out the questionnaire, my size wasn't an option. So, I received two pieces of shape wear-so boring. There was also a cute pair of lace panties and a pair of argyle socks. Since this was my first Intimates shipment, I really wanted it to be great, so I returned the box for a refund, and went back to the questionnaire. 

I completely took off shape wear-I can go buy a pair of Spanx on my own. I was really happy to see that this time, there was a wider range of bra sizes. I ordered a second box to ship right away.


This time, the box was a great hit! Pink is my favorite color, so obviously I was excited to open this one! Included were a pair of black, white and pink sleep shorts, a hot pink bra, a pair of black and pink bikinis, and pink argyle socks. Yay!


I love comfy loungewear! I was so happy to see these adorable sleep shorts from Betsey Johnson. I know! Betsey Johnson! I'm one of those people who likes the fan going in the middle of Winter while I sleep, so I'll wear these now, even though it's getting colder out. 


I usually wear underwire bras, but when I tried this on, it was supportive and comfortable. This is a seamless bra from Coobie. I've never worn the brand before, but I'm happy to try new brands. I'm always searching for a great bra. Plus...it's pink, so it's automatically a win. 


How cute is this Gigi bikini? Yes, they're a little sheer, but they're adorable!! It's not like I run around the house in this kind of garb, but it's still nice to know that you have something pretty on! 


Of course I love these Cotton Candy socks from Argoz! They're so soft and comfy. I love wearing cute socks, and I will get a lot of wear out of these.

So, while I was really disappointed in the first box I received from Wantable Intimates, the second one was amazing! Definitely over the $36 that I pay for the monthly subscription. I can't wait to see what November brings!