Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birchbox Review: August, September & October

Oh hi there...sorry I totally abandoned this blog.  I'm honestly not sure where the time went!  Seems like just yesterday it was March!

Since I'm behind, I'm going to just do one catch-up post with my boxes from the last three months.  For anyone who isn't familiar, Birchbox is a monthly subscription box service.  It runs $10 (including shipping) and focuses on beauty - skincare, haircare, & make-up.  I've been subscribing since last September, I'm a big fan of it.  If you're interested in signing up, I would be grateful if you used my link as it gets me bonus points!

August was a pretty great month for me.  Birchbox has recently started doing a pick your sample program where you're able to choose one of about 4 samples they've pre-selected to appear in your box.  I didn't choose one this month because nothing really grabbed me.  Of course, I received one anyway - it'd be the Noir black eyeliner.  It's the only thing I wasn't excited to receive - I don't wear black eyeliner because it's a pretty harsh look on me.  I have to say though, I mentioned that I wasn't excited about it on Instagram and the company actually reached out to me to ask why - so props to Noir!  I was excited to try the Amika dry shampoo as I've recently discovered dry shampoos and I'm in love.  I can finally go a day without washing my hair and not have my hair be totally greasy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ipsy July 2014

Wrapping up my Monthly Subscription fun for the month of July is my Ipsy bag!  Spoiler: it's also the worst one this month...sad face. If you're not familiar with Ipsy, it's a beauty subscription that runs $10 and is sent out every month.  It's focus is less general beauty and more make-up focused.  You receive 4-5 samples each month (and sometimes full-sized items!)  They have a point system for reviews, but it's pretty hard to redeem points without referrals - it's a nice extra, but it's not a reason to sign up for Ipsy. They also send you a make-up bag every month.

This month, the bag was a neon pink, square, with a scalloped edge.  Someone called it a bright pink ravioli and it's pretty accurate.  Not my favorite.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rainbow Honey July 2014

I'm on a roll - 4 posts in 4 days!  (Okay, so I've set these all up on Saturday morning when I was being lazy...)  I decided to treat myself this month and buy a whole bunch of nail polish.  I bought some full sized polishes as well as a Mini Mystery Bag!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Birchbox July 2014 Review

Spoiler alert: my Birchbox this month was amazing.  Okay, now that's out of the way, back to business.  If you're not familiar, Birchbox is a beauty subscription box that arrives monthly.  For just $10/month you receive 4-5+ sample sized items to try that are tailored to you through your profile.  I've found some great things through Birchbox that I otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to try.  Birchbox also has a killer point reward system.  For all of your samples per month, you can review them for 10 points.  Every 100 points gets you $10 off in their store to buy full sized items (you'll also earn points with every purchase you make.)  I'm currently sitting at 385 points, they're burning a hole in my pocket!

Ta da!  Awesome box.  One of the things Birchbox did in July (that they've done again in August) is allow you to choose your own sample.  It was the first time they've done it, so there were a few hiccups in the process, but I got my top choice, so I was happy.  You could choose between 3 different Ruffian Nail Polish Colors or 2 different Cynthia Rowley Lip Stains.  I picked polish (to add to my growing collection) in Relic.  I'm on the search for the perfect silver color to go with my Eagles green for the start of Football Season!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Influenster Surf's Up VoxBox

A couple months ago I started participating on Influenster.  It's a free site, anyone can sign up.  The idea is that you do some product reviews, answer some survey questions, and then they'll send you a "VoxBox" to try new products that match your interests.  They do require that you connect your Social Media accounts and share the products on those platforms.  So these products I'm reviewing were free to me through this program.

They were calling this the "Surf's Up VoxBox." Full of products that are perfect for the Summer.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Graze Box Review - 7, 8, & 9

I've fallen a little behind on my Graze box reviews!  I got a new one before I even posted about my last 2.  Oops!  Let's take a look at the past three boxes.

If you're unfamiliar with Graze, it's a subscription box that comes either every other week or every week.  We get it every other week, which seems to be the right frequency for us to have a nice treat every now and then.  Boxes cost $6, if you use my referral link (above) you'll receive your first and fifth box free.  While true customization isn't possible, Graze does allow you to rank snacks.  Anything you mark as "trash" you will never be sent again (or for the first time.)  They also have a section where if you're allergic or sensitive to certain products, you can go and trash all snacks in that category, though they do specify that cross contamination is likely.

Starting from the top left, we received Seedsational, Raspberry Muffin (a repeat for us, Geoff loves it), Boston Baguette (breadsticks with BBQ dip) and lightly salted Popping Corn.  This box was a big win for us, we liked everything in it.  I really love their pop corn, it's a perfect size!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Birchbox Man Review July 2014

Geoff got his first Birchbox in June.  We were just going to do one month, but didn't cancel in time, whoops!  So he also received a box for July.  Turned out to be a pretty great box for him, so we're glad we missed a deadline.

The Men's version of Birchbox is pretty similar to the Women's version.  The biggest difference is the price - the Men's box runs $20 a month.  Each month the Men's box includes a higher dollar value "lifestyle" item which account for the price difference.  If you're unfamiliar with either version, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service.  When signing up, you take a quiz that sets up your profile.  The items they send you are based on this profile. (For example, if you are bald, you can mark it as such so they don't send you shampoo/conditioner.)  What I love about Birchbox is the point system.  You can earn points for purchases as well as for reviewing the items you receive each month, each review is worth 10 points and every 100 points earns you $10 in their shop!

For Geoff's box this month, starting in the upper left, there's Baxter of California Moisturizer.  Geoff really likes the facial scrub by Baxter of California from June's box, so this was a great item to receive.

Next is the Proraso After Shave Lotion.  Geoff had bought a different type of after shave product from Proraso recently, so he was happy to receive this to compare the two.  It has found a new home in our travel sized product collection, so I think he liked it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ipsy Review June 2014

Better late than never?  It's about time I do my Ipsy review now that it's officially July, right?

For anyone unfamiliar with Ipsy, it's a Monthly Beauty Subscription that runs $10/month.  They send 4-5 sample, deluxe, or full-size items each month.  Ipsy tends to be more make-up focused than Birchbox, so if you're only going to get one and you want make-up, Ipsy should be your choice.

Starting from left to right, per usual...first is the Laneige BB Cushion/BB Cream.  This is a Korean brand and Korean BB Creams are supposed to be the best on the market.  I have to say that this surprised me on how much I liked it.  The sample came with light, medium, & dark tones and the light was a perfect match for my skin.  I am now looking into other Korean brands for when I need to replace mine (I wasn't crazy about the cushion aspect of this.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Birchbox Man Review June 2014

I finally got Geoff to take the plunge into the Subscription Box fun.  He's decided to start trying a bunch of new stuff for a better shave.  Since Birchbox was offering the June Box for 50% off, he decided to give it a try.

Birchbox Man operates slightly different than the Woman's Box.  For starters, the Men's box runs $20/month.  You receive 4-5 samples based on a profile you set up (including whether or not you shave) including a lifestyle item that is a nicer, more expensive item.  It is normally shipped out by the 25th of the month prior.  You also still get points for reviewing the items you receive in your box.

Per usual, I'll start in the top left.  First up is Baxter of California Facial Scrub. It has walnut shells in it, which is interesting.  As I mentioned earlier, Geoff is really interested in shaving products, but he was happy to get the face scrub since he doesn't use anything like this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Birchbox Woman & Modern Mermaid Review, June 2014

This month I splurged when Birchbox released a Limited Edition Box that they called the Modern Mermaid. I'll review that before I get into this month's regularly scheduled box!

Every so often, Birchbox will release a Limited Edition Box.  These are more expensive than the monthly boxes, and curated around a theme.  This theme was "Modern Mermaid" or a Summer beach essential kit.  It was priced at $44, but with a discount code & saved points, I paid $15 for this box.  Which is a steal considering the value of the box is over $100. I mean really, it was awesome.

The packaging on this box was fantastic, right down to the outer box it came in.  They really nailed the presentation.  I'll start from the left and make my way to the right.  First, there's the Mermaid Mirror that is essentially a little compact mirror.  I haven't used it yet, but it's a cute little mirror.  I should bring it in and keep it on my desk at work so I don't have to run to the bathroom to re-apply my lip gloss.  Or maybe I'll gift it, I haven't decided yet.  Next in line is the Atelier Cologne.  I wasn't really looking forward to the perfume as I can't wear most perfumes as they're too strong and will give me a migraine.  I love the smell. It's light, so a spritz or two on my wrists is enough that I smell great, but doesn't give me a migraine.  It wound up being one of my favorite items in the box.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Graze Review, Boxes 5 & 6

Time for a new Graze review!  If you're not familiar with Graze, it's a snack subscription box that runs $6/box (includes shipping.)  You can get them either once a week or once every 2 weeks.  We're on the 2 week plan.  The snacks are healthy and individually portioned.  They're great for taking to work for a mid-morning snack or on the weekends for a quick snack.  It's set up so that you can rate snacks - anything you rate as "trash" you will never receive.

This was our 5th box, starting in the top left and working clockwise, we received the Apple & Cinnamon Flapjacks.  The flapjacks are my favorite thing to receive.  They are absolutely delicious and they make me wish I could buy full sized snacks from Graze (basically the only complaint I have.) Next is the Smoky Chipotle Dippers. These were all Geoff and he loved them.  Bottom right is the Tropical Daiquiri dried fruit mix.  One of the things in Graze snacks is flavor-infused raisins.  They are delicious and this one had lime raisins in it.  I love dried fruit, so this one is definitely a win for me! Finally in this box there's the Nature's Immunity Nuts.  It includes roasted unsalted cashews, brazil nuts and raw pistachio kernels.  We wound up trashing these - not because they were bad, but because there are other things we'd rather get.  This is a recurring theme with our boxes. The snacks we trash aren't bad, just not anything that excites us.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award

I was nominated for a Liebster Award by UnBoxing Beauty!    I feel very special!  It sounded fun, so I accepted it and am passing it on.  I’ve never heard of it, so this is all totally new to me!

The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award 
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
9. You cannot nominate the person who nominated you

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Post 100: A look back on moving to Florida

This is my 100th post on this little blog!  A little over 2 years ago we started our adventure of moving to Florida.  I'm amazed at how much things have changed in such a relatively short period of time.  I've been meaning to do this post now for about a year.  One of the biggest questions I'm asked is if I'm happy we moved to Florida and if I miss anything about New York.  Seems like if our 1 year (*cough* or two year) anniversary of the move isn't a good time to post, perhaps post 100 is the next best thing.  Spoiler alert: I still love that we moved and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ipsy May 2014 Review

Rounding out my Beauty Subscriptions this month is Ipsy!  My Glam Bag came on Friday the 16th, so it was a nice way to cap-off the week!

For anyone not familiar with Ipsy, it's a monthly beauty subscription that runs $10/month (including shipping.)  You get an assortment of 4-5 items and a make-up bag every month.  The items are chosen for you based on the profile you fill out when you sign up - you can change it at any time.  Ipsy has a point based reward system, but it's not nearly as lucrative as Birchbox's set-up (though the value per bag on Ipsy is usually better.)  Generally speaking, Ipsy tends to be more make-up heavy, whereas Birchbox tends to be more general beauty items.  This month was a bit of an anomaly for Ipsy with only one make-up item.  If you're interested in signing up, please use my referral link! Onto the bag contents!

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 2014 Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag

Before you ask, no, I didn't sign up for a new Subscription Box!  This one you're able to buy just one month at a time.

Rainbow Honey is a brand that was featured in April's Ipsy Bag.  With every item featured in an Ipsy Bag, there's a special offer that is posted.  Rainbow Honey was offering 25% off.  Their mystery bags come out once per month and you can choose the mini size for $10 + shipping (which is reasonable!) or the full-size for $25 per month.  You can either buy just one (like I did) or sign up for a true subscription.  I decided to purchase the mini bag since I love the idea of mini polishes!  I mean really, how often do you actually use an entire bottle of polish? I'd rather have lots of options!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Birchbox May 2014 Review

Birchbox time again!  I'm a little late in posting my review, I received the box on Monday.  I got a 7 item box this month, which was awesome, even if I'm not thrilled with all the items.

For May they were working with Kate Spade Saturday - the inside of this box is super cute!  You also received a coupon for $25 off a $75 purchase (which I won't be using, so if you want it, let me know!)  For anyone not familiar with Birchbox, it's a monthly beauty subscription box that costs $10/month (including shipping.) They promise to ship by the 10th of every month and it comes via USPS in the mailbox.  You fill out a beauty profile to indicate your likes, skin tone, hair type, etc. So in theory, every box is tailored to you.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Graze Review: Boxes 3 & 4

After our last Graze Box, Geoff and I decided to up from every month to every 2 weeks.  I'm so glad we did!  I love our tasty snacks!  Also good timing because they recently changed the options for receiving boxes to every 2 weeks or every week.  I think we're pretty good with every two weeks for now!  Since we've moved to every two weeks, I'll probably combine my reviews for every couple boxes.

If you haven't read my other Graze reviews, it's a subscription Box for natural and healthy snacks.  They're single-portioned and based on your preferences.  We left everything in our profile as "try" but you can mark things as "like" or "love" and you'll receive them more often, or "trash" them and never receive them again.  There is so much to try, so all of our "trash" items aren't even that we don't like them, it's that we'd be okay not getting them again and want to try other stuff.  If you'd like to try Graze, you can use my friend code to get your first and fifth box free (I will also get $1 off my next box!)

In this box we received (starting from top left and moving clockwise) Bonnie Oatbakes which are oat cookies that you can dip in an onion marmalade.  This was all Geoff, I'm not a huge onion fan.  It wasn't his favorite, so this one we marked trash - not bad, just not something we'd want again.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Influenster Review: Sargento Ultra Thin Cheese

Last month I received my Ipsy bag, Graze Box, and Influenster Vox Box on the same day!  It was a very exciting mail day.  Influenster is a social website where you can review products.  Occasionally, they'll also send out a "Vox Box" with items that companies are promoting.  I received this as part of their program (so free, I didn't pay anything for it.)

When I found out I got it, I thought I would just get a few coupons for some cheese.  Instead it came with a fantastic lunch box!  I love that it came with more than just some coupons - I will gladly advertise Sargento everytime I bring lunch with me to work.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Graze April 2014 Review

Along with my Ipsy bag on Monday, my Graze box came!

This is the one subscription box that Geoff has gotten on board with - probably more so than me! Graze is $6 per box and ships every 2 week or monthly.  We were on the monthly, but upgraded after this box to every 2 weeks.  They send 4 single-portioned snacks and after you try them you can rate things.  The higher the rating, the more times you'll see that product in your box.  You can also "trash" items you don't like and you'll never receive that item again.  I really like that system.  If you use my friendcode you can get your first and fifth month free.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ipsy April 2014 Review

Monday was a great mail day - I got three packages in the mail!  I also realized that I may have a small problem with ordering stuff online.  Anyway, one of those packages was from Ipsy!  It's only my second one, but I really love seeing that pink envelope in my mailbox.

For anyone unfamiliar with Ipsy (referral link), it's a monthly beauty subscription service similar to Birchbox.  The main focus for Ipsy is cosmetics, you receive 4-5 items plus a makeup bag every month for $10 (includes shipping.)  They promise to ship by mid-month, so this month arrived right on time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 2014 Birchbox Review

It's that time again!  My Birchbox arrived today!  It was kind of a surprise as when I checked this morning, the tracking info said it was just leaving Georgia.  When I got home from work, I saw this beauty in my mailbox!

In case you're unfamiliar with Birchbox (referral link) it's a monthly beauty subscription service.  It costs $10/month and each month they send you samples of different products to try.  The samples range from cosmetics to skincare to haircare to lifestyle items.  Usually there's 4-5 items in your box plus one lifestyle item.  One of the best things about Birchbox is that when you review your items every month you earn points (1 review = 10 points) and every 100 points you earn gets you $10 to spend in the Birchbox shop - a great way to buy your new discoveries or try something new!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 2014 Graze Review

I signed up for yet another Subscription box this month - before you say anything, yes, I have a problem and may need an intervention.  This one is different than the other ones I have though because it's FOOD!

Graze ships monthly or every 2 weeks.  So far, we just have the monthly subscription.  It runs $6 per box, including shipping.  The focus is on healthy snacks.  They have two options, either the NibbleBox or the Calorie Counter Box (all snacks in that box are 50-150 calories.)  They send you 4 random snacks, but you can rate them on their website and anything you mark "trash" you will never receive.  I was looking forward to this box since it's one that Geoff and I both can use!  Oh, and if you use my friend code, you'll get your first and fifth box free!  This first box was free for us, so I decided to try it - if we didn't like it, we'd cancel it before the next one.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 2014 Ipsy Review

When I got home on Friday, my first Ipsy Glam Bag was in the mail! I was very excited.  It was a nice way to end a rather stressful week.

Ipsy is fairly similar to Birchbox, but there are definitely differences.  It's a monthly subscription service that runs $10/month.  They promise to ship by mid-month, so I got my bag right on time.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 2014 Birchbox Review

Thursday was a pretty exciting day in our house.  Geoff came home from California and my Birchbox arrived!  My pictures are a little better this month, but I still need to work on them!

I got the tracking number on Tuesday and it said it was probably going to be delivered on the 10th or 11th (still good as the company promises to ship by the 10th!)  Then I saw the beautiful box in my mailbox on Thursday!  What a treat!

A quick review of Birchbox in case you've never heard of it... It's a $10 monthly subscription.  They send you samples of nice brands once per month.  You fill out a beauty profile and they send you products based on that.  You can see my February Box here.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise - Final Thoughts & Wrap Up

I thought I would do a separate post for my final thoughts on the cruise and hopefully answer some questions in the process.  Spoiler alert - I didn't love the cruise.  A lot of the things didn't affect our day to day enjoyment of the cruise, which is why I left it out of my daily recaps, but are certainly worth consideration.

Cabin: B
I loved the location of our cabin and the class of cabin.  The Cove Balcony was really nice. It was tucked away and felt private.  I loved being so close to the water.  Everything was clean and though I never actually saw the Steward, he did an excellent job (to clarify, I had no need to actually see him, we had no special requests.)

The not so great parts about the cabin?  The bed was not comfortable.  You could feel where the beds came together.  And oh the bathroom!  I hated the damn shower curtain.  Trying to shave my legs was a challenge every day.  And it was tiny. It was the exact same bathroom that's on the Legend, but I didn't love it then either!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise: Days 6, 7 & 8 - Sea Days & Debarkation

Since the majority of our Sea Days included a lot of being lazy, I decided to combine the end of our trip into one post.

Day 6 of our cruise involved sleeping in, reading in our cabin and out on the balcony, and then going to the Main Dining Room for Brunch.  We decided to go a little later on this day so we could try more of the lunch options.  Honestly, I thought they did a better job with Brunch than Dinner.  I got the mac & cheese (I'm sure this comes as a shock to no one) and Geoff got the Steak and Eggs.  Both options were really tasty.

Our next stop was to grab our books and head up to the Lido deck.  One of the things we liked on the ship was the Serenity Adults-only space.  We were able to find a shady spot to curl up a read for a bit.  It was crowded up there since it was a Sea Day, but there were still plenty of chairs available.

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 2014 Birchbox Review

Just for fun, I thought I would start putting up reviews of my Birchbox each month.  I like seeing what everyone else received, so why not!

If you're unfamiliar with Birchbox (referral link if you're interested) it's a monthly subscription service.  Once a month I receive a box with fun samples to try - usually 4-5 plus a lifestyle "extra."  It's $10 and includes shipping.  You set up a beauty profile and I really recommend playing with if you're not crazy about what you're getting.  It asks you about your hair, skin, what you love, your proficiency with beauty products, and what your style is.  My coworker also gets Birchbox and her box was completely different than mine except for one item.

I promise to take better pictures next month!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise: Day 5, St Martin

Our St Martin day started with a lot of confusion.  We booked a tour through Bernards Tours.  Our Tour was supposed to leave at 9am (Atlantic Time.)  Our ship docked at 8am (Eastern) and St Martin, through Daylight Savings Time, was now an hour ahead of ship's time.  We hurried to get off the ship and over to the tour desk, because I am nothing if not obsessed with being on time.  We checked in...and waited. For an hour.  Oh well.

We finally got going on our tour.  My goal was to go to Maho Beach and Marigot, the tour was surprisingly the most economical way to do both - so everything else we did was just fluff.

Our first stop was at the Iguana Farm.
The Iguana Farm was fun to see, but I would never go out of my way to stop here.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise: Day 4, St Thomas

This was our favorite stop on this cruise.  We woke up to an absolutely gorgeous day a little before we actually pulled into St Thomas.

I loved watching the waves break along the front of the ship. 
Before too long, we were nearing land.  Geoff and I went up to the Lido to watch us sail in.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise Day 3: Sea Day

Moving on to our first Sea Day...we did just about nothing.  And it was glorious.  We slept in a little bit (so you know, until 8.) We held off on breakfast long enough to check out the brunch in the Main Dining Rooms.  There was a bit of a line to get in but it moved fast enough - plus we were okay sitting with people.

We were seated with an older couple from the same town my parents live in here in Florida - small world!  I had the Eggs Benedict and Geoff had a cereal encrusted French Toast.  Mine was the winner - the cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios) tasted rather stale on Geoff's French Toast.