Friday, July 20, 2018

July Degustabox Review and 50% Off Coupon

July is the perfect time for summer cookouts, and Degustabox has everything you'll need this month for a great picnic or party!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Degustabox is a food and snack subscription that sends full-sized products for only $19.99 per month! Shipping is free to the U.S. Each month you'll receive nine to 14 items, and they can be anything from cookies to chips to sauces, and more.

July's box had 12 products from eight brands. There's always a good mix of old favorites and new brands/products for me to try and the box is a great supplement to grocery shopping. Plus, it's a much better value than buying each item individually at the store.

Here's what was inside for July:
  • Loacker Cookies ($1.29 each) - Boxes contained either Lemon or Cocoa and Milk cookies, and as you can see I received the latter. I love wafer cookies, and these had crispy chocolate wafers with a creamy filling.
  • Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise ($4.99) - I'm always happy to see Sir Kensington's in Degustaboxes because they have great quality products. I've been using this mayo on everything: fried chicken, turkey sandwiches, and as a dip for other snacks. It tastes great and is non-GMO and made with certified humane free-range eggs.
  • CHOMPS Original Turkey Sticks ($1.99) - These have 10g of protein per stick and are made with 100% free-range turkey with no sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, nitrates/nitrties, antibiotics, hormones, MSG, or artificial preservatives/coloring. What it does have is great turkey flavor!
  • Wise Cheez Doodles ($.50 each) - I love Cheez Doodles! These are the extra cheesy variety and they really do have a ton of cheese flavor.
  •  Goetze's Candy Co Chocolate Caramel Creams ($2.48) - If you've never had Goetze's caramels, they're a creamy, chewy candy that doesn't melt in heat. They're a fifth generation company and the candies are free from nuts and trans fats. I love the creme center in these.
  • Aiya Matcha ($17.80) - This box has individual packets of Aiya's Matcha Zen Cafe Blend with culinary grade matcha and pure cane sugar. They're perfect for matcha lattes and smoothies.
  • Uncle Dougie's Sweet N' Snappy Small Batch Barbecue Sauce ($5.99) - This is the item of the month and is an American Royal World Series of Barbecue winner. It's a Kansas City-style barbecue sauce with a sweet and snappy zing. I can't wait to use it on ribs!
  • Lee Kum Kee Plum Sauce ($3.98) - This plum sauce is made from Chinese plums, ginger, and chili. I love sweet heat, so this sauce will be great on stir fry.
The info sheet that lists all of the products also had a recipe for Uncle Dougie's Gluten Free Sweet N' Spicy Bison Balls on the back.
  • Visit Degustabox to subscribe
    • Use coupon code CJOFFER18 for 50% off your first box (only $9.99)!
Bottom Line: Degustabox is such a fun subscription and I love trying all of the snacks and foods each month! I still can't get over what a great value it is. The approximate retail value this month was $41.81!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Studio Selection Skincare by Dollar General Review

Dollar General recently launched their Studio Selection line of skincare. They've reimagined beauty care at affordable price points, making an every day indulgence accessible to all.

*Disclaimer: These products were sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

You may be thinking that Dollar General and skincare don't really go together, and to be honest, I never would have considered the store for my skincare needs prior to learning about their Studio Selection line. It's not that I looked down at the possibility, just that I think of Dollar General more for household items like toiletries and other goods.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Studio Selection line has a large range of products, from shampoo and conditioner to Apricot Scrubs (browse all of the items by clicking the link in the first paragraph or at the end of this post). Unlike other dollar stores you may know, not every products is $1, but nothing is priced higher than $5.

The first thing I do when I get home from work or any other place where I've worn makeup out is take it off, immediately! I love wearing makeup, but I love wiping it off and letting my skin breathe after a long day, especially in the summer heat. the All-in-One Micellar Cleasing Water is great for this, as it gently refreshes and hydrates skin while removing makeup. It's dermatologist tested and has no alcohol, parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

This worked as well as other micellar waters I've used from higher priced brands, and at only $4 for 13.5 oz it's an absolute steal! It was gentle but effective at removing my makeup and felt light so cooling and refreshing on my skin.

There's also a few different face wipes in the Studio Selection line and I tried the Sensitive Skin Makeup Removing Facial Towelettes. The remove impurities and dissolve dirt and oil with pro-vitamin B5. They quickly removed my makeup, including stubborn mascara, while not irritating my skin. They cost $3.50 for a pack of 25 wipes.
  • Visit the Dollar General website to view the Studio Selection line and purchase
Bottom Line: I'm very impressed by the Studio Selection line from Dollar General! I'm a firm believer in not having to spend a lot on quality skincare products like these, and the Studio Selection All-in-One Micellar Cleansing Water and Sensitive Skin Makeup Removing Facial Towelettes were just as effective as higher priced brands I've tried. I highly recommend giving the Studio Selection products a try!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July Gramma in a Box Review

Gramma in a Box is a great subscription for adults and kids alike that sends cookie and candy crafts straight from Gramma each month! July's box was all about Independence Day.

*Dislaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Terry, the founder of Gramma in a Box, was inspired to create the subscription after three of her grandchildren moved away. She wanted to be able to send them a little love each month and to open the experience up to everyone!

Gramma in a Box contains three crafts using cookies and candies that are centered around a monthly theme. The box contains homemade cookies, so you won't have to bake any yourself. But be sure to create the crafts by the date on the box, since the cookies are freshly baked!

Here are the pricing options:
  • Monthly: $20 per month
  • Three Months: $55 every three months (save $5)
  • Six Months: $110 every six months (save $10)
  • 12 Months: $220 every 12 months (save $20)
Shipping is free to the U.S. and taxes are included. If you want to cancel, do so by the 25th of the month.

Here's everything that was included for July. No surprise that it was full of red, white, and blue for the 4th of July.

The first project was Sparkler Dipped Cookies and it involved heating up chocolate discs in the microwave, dipping the cookies in, and then adding sprinkles (if you choose). I love how easy all of the crafts are; they're simple enough for kids of all ages with parent supervision but are still fun and delicious.

The second craft was Golden Bites. I love these! They're going to be my new easy dessert to make for any potlucks in the future. There were enough supplies for six cups, and all you had to do was layer a pretzel, chocolate, and peanuts in the little paper cups. They're the perfect mix of salty and sweet.

The third and final project was the Patriotic Cookies! Each box will have the homemade cookies as the third project, and they are neatly and carefully packaged. I've received two boxes so far and have not had any issues with any of the cookies--or any of the other ingredients, for that matter--breaking in transit.

There were lots of fun shapes and sizes this month. The blank circles and stars made a nice canvas for some creative decorating.

I was running out of ideas for my final cookie, so I did an A for Captain America.
Bottom Line: Gramma in a Box is such a great box! I love that all of the crafts are easy to do and taste delicious. This is great for parents and grandparents to share with young kids, but also for teens and even adults who want to treat themselves to homemade cookies from Gramma.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Be RAD Cosmetics Faux Mink Lashes Review

I have short little eyelashes that stick straight out, thanks to my Korean heritage. I've always wanted long, voluminous lashes, but couldn't find falsies that fit my budget and looked natural. Thankfully the Be RAD Cosmetics Faux Mink Lashes perfectly do both!

*Disclaimer: These products were sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Be RAD Cosmetics creates all natural, unique, and effective solutions for everyday cosmetic challenges. They're cruelty-free and mindful of not using any unnecessary chemicals in their products.

Founder and CEO Andrea Farah came up with their signature Lash Adhesive Remover after going through five different pairs of lashes in three months. She wanted to stop wasting money and resources and came up with the product to extend the life of false eyelashes.

I received four sets of faux mink eyelashes to try, as well as the Natural Eyelash Adhesive Remover kit. The kit is only $25 and contains a bottle of Wash and Rinse that can be used to remove the glue from the lashes and allow you to use them again and again.

The Wash and Rinse are made with a patent-pending formula that's plant-based and free of harsh toxins and chemicals. It has essential oils and is vegan and paraben-free. It is for use on the faux lashes only (not meant for use with lash extensions).

This set is such a great idea and was so easy to use! Just spray the Wash on the lashes and let sit for 2-3 minutes, then peel of the adhesive with tweezers. I actually found it was easier to kind of rub the adhesive with my fingertip, getting it to ball up, and then peel that off with the tweezers. Then apply the Rinse, let sit for five seconds, and pat dry. My lashes were then all set for future use!

Be RAD Cosmetics has four different Faux Mink Eyelashes ($20 each) great for day or night. They're 100% vegan and cruelty-free. I've never used real mink lashes (and wouldn't anyway) so I don't know exactly what they look and feel like, but I can say that these were lush and soft and looked great!

As you can see, all of the lashes are strips. I've had difficulty applying strips in the past, but I think it was because I was using a low quality product. These had a sturdy base and it was much easier to align them with my natural lash line. I still had to finagle them a bit with tweezers to get them to set, but they didn't fall all over the place or wiggle around the way others I've used have done.

Here I am wearing the Boss Babe All Day lashes. I love the length and curl, and that they're appropriate for daytime wear. I would wear these to work or out and about. They're also a great set for people who are new to lashes, since they aren't the most dramatic but will still give you a nice full look.

Here are the Shimmy All Night lashes. I love them! I had a little bit of difficulty applying them because I put a little bit too much glue on the base, but I think you can still see how big and full they are. I absolutely love these for a dramatic look for going out. I mean, you could definitely wear any of the Be RAD Cosmetics lashes at any time, but if you aren't as daring for your every day look, these are perfect for a night out.
Bottom Line: I love how high quality the Be RAD Cosmetics Faux Mink Lashes are while still being really affordable. The value greatly increases with the Eyelash Adhesive Remover, too, since you can wash and re-wear the lashes multiple times. I definitely recommend all of their products to anyone looking to up their lash game!

Monday, July 2, 2018

24 Hours in Toronto Guide

I know this isn't a travel blog, but I recently spent a weekend in Toronto and wanted to share what I did. It was my first time visiting the city and there's so much to do, so I figured I'd throw together a quick guide for anyone looking for things to do.

I drove up to Toronto from Rochester, NY on June 9th and stayed one night in an Airbnb. This was my first time going to Toronto, using Airbnb, and crossing the border with my passport. I'd been to Canada a lot when I was a kid, but back then the passport wasn't required. Plus, this was my first time going alone.

I have to be honest, I love solo travel, but I was a little nervous about driving there on my own. I'm a control freak and not knowing the roads or what the traffic would be like freaked me out a little bit! Plus, I knew I wanted to cross at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and my GPS was taking me a weird route to it. It ended up being no big deal though, because once you're headed towards the bridge you can't miss the crossing. I stopped at the Duty Free shop before heading to the crossing (also impossible to miss--it has DUTY FREE written in big red lettering on the front of the building) and exchanged my U.S. dollars for Canadian. It's a great time to go up there, since our dollar is worth a little bit more!

The crossing was fine heading into Canada. The Canadian border patrol agent was really friendly and just asked where I was coming from, where I was going, and why. It didn't take long to pass through since I was traveling pretty early (left at 8 AM, got to the border at around 930). Once I was in Canada, it was about another hour and a half to Toronto.

I drove directly to my Airbnb, which was in the Dufferin Grove neighborhood. I couldn't check in until 3 PM and I arrived at around 11, but the parking was on the street and I wanted to secure a good spot. I planned on leaving my car there the entire weekend and then just using Uber or public transportation to get around the city.

Parking was no problem; I found a spot right away. It was a few houses down from my Airbnb, but not a big deal, and something I'm used to with city street parking. Tip: Toronto does not have free street parking in a lot of their neighborhoods, so you'll have to buy a temporary parking pass. You can do so on the City of Toronto website here, and the prices aren't too bad. I think it came out to about $16 USD for a 48 hour permit.

The Dufferin Grove neighborhood was great and I highly recommend the area! The houses are close together but they're cute, and the whole vibe is very fresh and youthful. I booked that specific area because it was about 15 minutes walking distance from Comedy Bar, but more on that later.

After parking, I walked to the Walmart that was about two blocks away because I desperately needed to use the restroom (or should I say washroom, since it's Canada?). I also picked up a water bottle and a pack of M&Ms because I wanted to break some of the bigger bills I got at the duty free exchange.

I bought a ticket to the Toronto Blue Jays game versus the Baltimore Orioles, which started at 130 PM, and I planned on getting an Uber to the game. I ended up taking a taxi because there were a bunch of them waiting outside of the Walmart and it was just more convenient. The ride cost about $16 CAD.

It was Junior Jays day at the game, so there were lots of family activities around the entire concourse outside. It was actually a great way to kill time before the game, so I walked around a little bit (that's what was going on with the giant blow-up Blue Jay a few photos up).

I'm a Cubs fan, but I don't know any baseball fan who doesn't enjoy catching a game at as many major league parks as possible. I was excited to check the Rogers Centre off of my list, plus it was kind of relaxing to just enjoy a game and not really care about the outcome. I had a pretty good seat about 30 rows up from the first baseline, but I ended up moving up even further into the shade because it got a little warm. I ended up leaving in the fifth inning because I wasn't invested, but I had fun checking out a new park.

The Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is right across the street from the Rogers Centre, so I stopped in because my brother said it was pretty cool. I usually love aquariums, but I have to be honest and say that this was not my favorite. It was smaller than I expected and geared more towards kids. I understand that most attractions like this are family-friendly, but this one was really more decorated and designed for kids.

The coolest part of the aquarium is the tunnel; it's a big glass tunnel that you can either walk through or ride a slow moving walkway under. There were sharks and rays, which were really interesting, but the rest of the fish were kind of...underwhelming to me.

I had one other main objective while in Toronto: go to Milk Bar and get Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow cookie mix! If you're not familiar, Momofuku Milk Bar is a bakery based in NYC that makes the most amazing cookie mix in the world. I hadn't been able to pick any up the last time I was in New York, so I planned on buying a whole bunch of them in the Toronto store.

Unfortunately, the store was out of the Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow mix, but I got some B'Day Truffles instead. I also wanted to try their famous cereal milk soft serve. Sadly, it wasn't that great. It tasted kind of chemical-y to me and the crunchies were not as crunchy as I would have liked. I much prefer their cookies.

Although I didn't get my cookie mix, I did enjoy walking around the city. It's very bright, if that makes sense. I just felt a lot of positive energy throughout. Side note, apparently no one in Toronto jaywalks, unlike in New York!

I didn't end up going up the CN Tower, but at least I took a picture of it! Also, all of these photos were taken in the Entertainment District.

I took an Uber back to my Airbnb and finally checked in around 5 PM. It was about a 15 minute ride and cost $12 USD (not including tip). The Uber was cheaper than the taxi, so I would recommend using Uber if you need to get around. I didn't use any of their public transportation, but Toronto also has a subway and bus system. My Uber driver said they aren't great or reliable, though.

I wasn't sure how to go about checking into my Airbnb, but the day before I messaged my host and she let me know that there would be a key available and I could let myself in. I felt a little strange going in, kind of just because it was always in the back of my mind that I was in someone else's home. I rented an entire apartment and it was only $86 for one night. The place was really cute and was perfect for my short stay.

I hung out in the Airbnb for a little while, showered, and then headed out for dinner. I walked through Dufferin Grove Park (pictured above) and it was so cute! It's a smaller park, but plenty of people were out and about playing volleyball or hanging out with their kids. It's a lovely space to just sit and read a book or relax.

I loved the architecture and greenery throughout the neighborhoods I walked through. I walked about a mile to The Dock Ellis, which I wanted to visit based on the name alone. For non-baseball people. Dock Ellis was a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates (among a few other teams, but I know him most as a Pirate) who allegedly pitched a no-hitter on LSD. So, yeah, I was interested to see what this bar was about.

See? I wasn't joking about the LSD. This was painted on one of the doors next to the bathrooms. I was too shy to try to go in, because I'd be so embarrassed if it was like, a closet and people were in there or something. I don't know. It just seemed like something I shouldn't test!

The bar was super chill and definitely my type of space. There weren't a lot of people inside, but some were at the bar and a few others were playing pool in the back. I took a table at the front by myself and ordered the Fried Chicken Sandwich Korean Style (kimchi, sweet soy, chilies, scallions, and sesame seeds) with a side of fries. It was THE BEST friend chicken sandwich I have ever had! Every flavor blended together so perfectly. I will head back to Toronto just for this sandwich! I also watched some of the Mets game while eating.

The main reason I visited was to catch a show at Comedy Bar. I didn't take any photos at the venue because, long story short, I had a frustrating incident before heading to the show and was a little worked up when I got there. Nothing that a drink at the bar didn't fix. Plus, I chatted up a really fun local woman before the show started, so the stress from earlier melted away pretty quickly!

Comedy Bar is small (check out the photos at their Yelp page to see what I mean). The bar area is a decent size, but the actual stage for the performances is not big. There were two rows of tables with three seats to a table and a small aisle up the center, and  maybe six or seven tables in the row? I don't quite remember. The show was sold out, so if you're going there and want to get a front row seat to a popular show, get there early. Doors were at 1030 PM for an 11 PM show and it didn't take long for a line to form. Since I got there early and was hanging at the bar I was able to get a second row seat.

The show was a lot of fun and the atmosphere was great. I'd never been to a stand up show before so it was an interesting experience. I also rarely stay out past 9 PM on the weekends!

I was going to spend more time on Sunday walking around, but I was honestly pretty wiped out from a busy Saturday and figured I'd head back home Sunday morning instead. I wanted to beat traffic and hopefully have a shorter wait at the border, since I knew getting back into the U.S. was usually a little bit more involved than going into Canada (I was right--I got randomly selected to have my car searched).

Bottom Line: I had a great time during my first visit to Toronto and will definitely go back for another trip. The people were really friendly and the city had a lot to offer. Next time I think I'll just plan on walking around and not really buy tickets to any specific event or show, that way I can kind of go where the wind takes me. I want to check out the Distillery District and Kensington Market next!