Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Bestowed Review and Coupon

Alice at Bestowed told me that October's box was her favorite yet, and I can see why!  This month's theme was "Non-GMO," and as an avid supporter of non-GMO foods, I emphatically agree with her that this is the best box I've experienced, too.

For $19 a month (or $209 a year), Bestowed will deliver a box of health-conscious snacks to your door.  I've sampled two other boxes and they've all been packed with a great variety of foods!  Like I said, I especially loved this box because all of the foods were non-GMO.  If you're not familiar with what GMOs are, you can read more about them here.  Now, on to the snacks!

  • Nature's Path Love Crunch Dark Chocolate Macaroon Granola - This was my favorite item in the box!  My friend introduced me to this granola a month or two ago and we both have been hooked on it ever since.  This flavor was new to me, though, so I was so excited to try it.  It didn't disappoint!  This stuff is just so delicious--perfectly sweet, crunchy, and absolutely delightful.  The Bestowed brochure states that it's available at Whole Foods, but I can state for a fact that it's also available at Wegmans stores (the greatest grocery stores on Earth).
  • Way Better Snacks Simply Beyond Black Bean Tortilla Chips - Way Better Snacks is another brand I was familiar with, but this flavor was new to me.  I've loved all of the other chips by them that I've tried, and these were no exception.  I love that they're incredibly flavorful and crisp.  You would think that Black Bean would just be kind of flavorless, but these were salty and wonderful!
  • Gnu Foods FiberLove Cinnamon Raisin Bar - I haven't tried this bar yet, but I've mentioned before that I like to take them to work for on-the-go breakfasts, so that's most likely what will happen to this one.  I don't love raisins, but I do love cinnamon, so I'm willing to look past them and give this a shot.  I'm sure it'll be delicious.
  • UNREAL Peanut Butter Cups: The Double Ones - I've had UNREAL candies before and they are fantastic.  These Peanut Butter Cups were new to me, and I loved them.  These taste even better than that "other" brand, and they're "unjunked:" no hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, GMOs, or artificial colors and flavors.

  • The Good Bean Smoky Chili & Lime Chickpea Snacks - These little guys were the snack I was most intrigued by.  I was enticed by the flavor name, since I love all things smokey and spicy.  I also like chickpeas, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with these.  I thoroughly enjoyed them and they were a great alternative to a greasy bag of mass-market chips.  The flavor is a good balance of chili and lime, and the chickpeas had a great crunch.
  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 Plant Based Protein Supplement - I don't use protein supplements (my workouts are never really that hardcore), so I'm going to pass this along to my brother.  It contains all 10 essential amino acids to offer more sustained energy throughout the day.
  • Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix - I received the flavor "Peach Bash," and it sounds really yummy.  I haven't eaten it yet, but based on the ingredients, I'm sure I'll like it.  I might mix it into my yogurt, or maybe I'll eat it on its own; I'm not quite sure yet.  This is nut-free and full of tangy fruits and crunchy seeds.
  • Ultima Replenisher - I've sampled this before and I remember it having a great flavor.  It contains eight essential electrolytes to replenish the body during or after a workout.  This type of supplement is more my style, since when I work out I do a lot of cardio.  I'll definitely mix this up after my next session.

Bottom Line: I can't even express how much I loved the October Non-GMO Bestowed box!  Every single item was amazing.  I got to sample some new favorites from brands I had heard of before, as well as learning about some new ones.  This service is a fantastic and affordable way to learn about new health brands, so I highly recommend it!  Use coupon code HELLOTEN103 and receive your first box for only $10!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bestowed.  I received no monetary compensation.

More photos after the "read more!"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Graze Box Review

I haven't posted a Graze review in a while, but I've loved all of my boxes so far.  This one that I'm reviewing now is my fifth.  I have no excuse for not reviewing the others other than that I was lazy about it!

I subscribe to the nibblebox option and it costs me $5 per shipment.  You can choose to have them sent as often as every week, or once a month.  Right now I'm receiving monthly shipments.  Each box contains healthier options for snacking, and the nibblebox opens up a wider variety of foods (90 total) you could get.  The other option is the lightbox, which has 50 foods that are all between 50-150 calories.

My first snack was the Korai Chutney, which I was actually talking about with a friend that I had referred to Graze.  She said it was her favorite thus far, but I only just liked it.  It was definitely tasty, but I've had other snacks that I liked better.  It consisted of spiced tomato chutney and baked curry bites.  The chutney itself was spicy/sweet, but a little bit too sweet for my tastes.  The curry bites were much better than the chutney, in my opinion (they were nice and crunchy and had a good dose of flavor).

Next was the Honeycomb Crunch, made up of milk chocolate coated honeycomb, almonds, and raisins. I was interested in trying this mostly because of the chocolate element, and it turned out to be okay.  I'm not the biggest fan of almonds; I'll eat them but I prefer them to be coated with something.  This mixture had an equal ratio of all of the parts, so even though I wouldn't have eaten plain almonds on my own, it all tasted good when eaten together.

My favorite snack in this shipment was the Fruit and Seed Flapjack, a rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits.  I tried the Honeycomb Flapjack in my first box and I absolutely loved it.  This variety was much less sweet but still very delicious.  The flapjacks are basically soft granola bars, and they're lightly sweetened.  I liked the tartness of the fruit in this one.

My last snack was simply called Florentine.  It was a mixture of dark chocolate buttons, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries.  I think Graze wanted to send me as many chocolate snacks as they could before they became unavailable again (all three of these are only available in the fall), and I'm not complaining.  Much like the Honeycomb Crunch, I found this to be a great mixture when eaten all together.  It was hard for me not to just eat the dark chocolate buttons by themselves, but they definitely were even better when paired with the crunch of the seeds and the tart, chewy cranberries.

Bottom Line: I love food and these Graze snacks are delicious and I don't feel guilty eating them.  I like to take them with me to work for when I get hungry in between breakfast and lunch, since they're easily portable and have good nutrition (as opposed to a bag of chips, which might satisfy cravings but it won't help you feel satiated).  I highly recommend Graze, and I have four invite codes available for anyone who is interested!  You'll get your first box for free, too.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October Phone Case of the Month Review

I signed up to try Phone Case of the Month when I found a promo code that would allow you to get your first case for only $5.  I had heard of this service and had seen other reviews, but I wasn't sold on it because I'm not the type to change my phone case often.  But the cases I had seen that other people received were fun, so I figured, why not?

Phone Case of the Month will send you a specially made phone case for $10 a month (currently they are only producing cases for iPhones, so if you have an Android phone or otherwise, you're out of luck).  Each case is gender-neutral and is made solely by Phone Case of the Month, so it's not like they're just sending you random cases they buy from wholesalers.  You can't choose which design you receive, but I think that's the fun part.  I was really excited to see what my first case would look like!

The case I received for October is not exactly my style, but I'm still using it because it's really nice quality.  I'm assuming that the words are lyrics to a song or a poem.  The cases are made from polycarbonate and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and are solid but soft to the touch, which I learned is thanks to a silicone coating.  These cases are definitely worth $10 to me, and I would guess that if I found a similar case in stores it would cost somewhere around $20-$25.  Even though this design isn't favorite, I'm not discouraged.  I'll stay subscribed for a month or two more to see what else they send me.

A few other quick details about Phone Case of the Month:

  • Shipping within the U.S. is included in the $10 charge, and international shipping is $5 more
  • Although they are only making iPhone cases at the moment, there are plans to expand to other phone types.  If you really want a case made for a certain phone, they encourage you to get in touch with them at
  • Visit Phone Case of the Month to learn more!

Friday, October 18, 2013

October FAIR Treasure Review

To my surprise, I received an October FAIR Treasure box in the mail!  I have really enjoyed all of the boxes I've gotten from them, and I'm excited to share this shipment with you.

FAIR Treasure is a monthly subscription service that delivers fair-trade certified goods.  They include lots of information about the people and organizations behind the items, which is something I truly appreciate and enjoy.  The boxes cost $30 per month, and you can pre-pay $90 for three months (the 3 month option includes free shipping).  It may seem pricey, but I think it's well worth the cost!

My first item is the Ceramic Owl Topper by Jallpa Nina Artisan Group.  I love owls and all things bird, so I was really happy to receive this!  The Jallpa Nina Artisan group was founded in Lima, Peru in 1988, and they specialize in hand-made, high-temperature stoneware and porcelain.  Their designs are inspired by their Inca heritage and the textures and colors of nature, both of which are apparent in this topper.  The organization offers its workers healthy working conditions, high-quality tools, and assistance in product design, training to learn new techniques, and quality control training.  I'm not quite sure what I'll use this owl in just yet, but I can see it being a great decoration with a potted plant.

My second item is the Marquet Open Weave Scarf by Ton Fai Group.  I also love scarves, so this box was spot-on for my interests.  I think this scarf is beautiful--I love the colors, and the fabric is soft yet sturdy.  This scarf was made by Khun Baukum Yupkaew, whom everyone calls "Grandma Kum."  The informational card provided states that Grandma Kum owns her land and home and doesn't need to work, but she continues to in order to save money for her grandchildren and to help provide a bright future for them.  She is a member of the Ton Fai Group in Thailand, made up of fruit and rice farmers who have been weaving for 15 years as a second source of income between planting seasons.  This local business allows the weavers to stay close to home while working their second job, as opposed to needed to seek work away in larger cities.  The card also states:

"Grandma Kum would really like to say thank you to all her customers who give her the opportunity to still work with the Ton Fai Group.  She puts her heart into the quality of her work and is very proud of her weaving."

Bottom Line: The personal stories and anecdotes included with my FAIR Treasure items make them all the more special to me.  I thoroughly enjoy this subscription and highly recommend it to all, especially people who are looking for an easy way to contribute to fair trade organizations!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FAIR Treasure.  I received no monetary compensation.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recharge With Live Love Spa!

Going on a spa retreat is a luxury that most people dream of or look forward to for months, and something I have yet to try for myself.  I often treat myself to massages, but a full-on spa experience is something I hope to treat myself to in the near future.  Finding that perfect retreat to begin with can be challenging.  Planning destination or resort spa vacations takes time and effort, but it all more than pays off in the end.  Live Love Spa is a great resource for finding the perfect fit for you!

Live Love Spa offers insider tips and covers spa events, spa brands, products and more.  There are many high-quality facilities out there, but there are also many spas that offer limited services, use old equipment, or exaggerate how much of a resort or destination spa they are.  Utilizing Live Love Spa will ensure that you're getting all of the information about possible spas.

Red Mountain Resort in Utah

Finding the perfect spa location is one of the most important factors when it comes to deciding where to book your stay.  A spa vacation should be a satisfying sensory experience, and if you don't choose a location that excites you, you'll probably have trouble fully enjoying your stay.  Many people find a particular type of setting, like the mountains or the ocean, more relaxing than others, so make sure you're being true to your preferences.  My ideal spa experience would include a lot of natural surroundings, where I could hear the birds and look out to lots of green.

Alchemie Spa in California
Many people go to spas to mentally recharge and take a break from real life.  Choosing a retreat spa isn't something that you should do hastily; retreat experiences are a rare splurge for most people, so you really want to get everything that you can out of your visit.  It will be much easier to do that if you think about what you want and make a real effort to find out which destinations can offer all of that.  Be sure to check out Live Love Spa for much more information about planning your perfect spa vacation!

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for which I received monetary compensation.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wantable Makeup Box Review

When I was offered the chance to review the Wantable Makeup Box I jumped at it because it's been on my list of boxes to try.  I'm so glad I said yes, because this box turned out to be one of the most well-curated ones I've ever tried, and I found that four out of the five brands featured are cruelty-free (I could not find a definitive answer for JAPONESQUE).

Wantable offers a variety of different boxes; currently their offerings include Makeup, Accessories, Intimates, and a limited edition Halloween box.  The Makeup box costs $36 a month, or $40 for a one-time purchase.  They promise 4 to 5 full-sized products that are hand-picked to match your needs and interests.  I didn't realize that Wantable subscriptions were based off of a user profile, but I was glad to learn that they are because I like having some sort of input on what types of products I'm going to receive.

The best part about filling out my Wantable profile is that I could choose which products I definitely did not want to receive (brows, eyeliner, highlighter, and bronzer), but would have the option to go back and change this if I ever changed my mind.

The first products in my box were by Lise Watier.  I received an Ombre Souffle Supreme eyeshadow in "Tartan Magique", along with a bonus sample of Sunrise Peach and Verte Enchante.  At first I was worried that the Tartan Magique shade would be too pigmented for me, but it comes off as a light, silvery-blue with buildable color.  When I first went to use it I was expecting a harder surface, but was surprised to see that it really is souffle-like in texture.

I was most excited to receive this Michael Marcus Nail Polish in "Paint the Town Red" for two reasons.  First, I love nail polish.  Second, the Michael Marcus brand is commonly found on Little Black Bag, but I hadn't chosen to try any of their polishes because I couldn't find a decent amount of reviews for it.  Turns out that their polishes have a fantastic formula!  This one was opaque in two coats and went on very smoothly.  I wish I had received a shade other than red, but at least now I know that other shades are well worth the purchase.

Another aspect of the Wantable Makeup Box that I liked was that I could opt to receive tools as well as cosmetics.  They sent me a JAPONESQUE Travel Smudger Brush, which is perfect for me because I don't currently have one (I know, I keep meaning to round out my brush collection, but I just haven't).  This stubby little brush is perfect for smudging.

The Cailyn Cosmetics Eye Primer was another perfect pick for me because I'm almost out of my current eyeshadow primer.  I was just about to buy a replacement, so I'm glad that I didn't!  This one glides on smoothly and kept my eyeshadow in place all day on my oily lids.  It's a good sized pot, so I think this will last me quite a while.

The final product I received in my box was the Manna Kadar Glossware in the shade "Lip Candy."  When I opened this up I was really happy with the shade because it looked like the perfect pink for my warm skin tones.  Upon application I wish it was just a bit less frosty, but it's still flattering and has a smooth texture.  It doesn't feel sticky, which is really important to me when it comes to lip glosses.

Bottom Line: I think this Wantable Makeup Box was perfectly suited for me, and I love their thorough user profile options.  The box is a bit pricier than some other options out there, but I think it's worth it because you receive all full-sized products instead of just samples and foil packets.  Plus, the total retail value of my box was $87.50, which is much more than the box's price tag!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

September Pretty Box Mini Review

Pretty Box is a subscription service that I've always wanted to try but never have because it was a little bit more expensive than what I'm used to paying for boxes.  The full-sized box is $50 a month, but their new Mini Box is only $15!  When they announced that this box was going to make it's debut I signed up right away.

Pretty Box Mini contains 4 to 6 sample-sized, handmade items.  I found that the assortment in their debut box was nicely varied and well worth the $15.  What I liked most about this box was that I could sign up for only one shipment, which I did, so that I wouldn't have to worry about going back in and cancelling if I decided that it wasn't for me.  I think that option is attractive to a lot of people, especially with a box that's on the newer side.  Here is what was inside:

  • Goldleaf Soap by Amelia Bath and Body - I love handmade soaps.  This one has a light scent and is made in the cold-process fashion.
  • Finishing Veil Mineral Powder from Willow Tree - I haven't tried this because I haven't had good luck with powders like this in the past.  My skin is tan/yellow, and even the most "translucent" of powders usually just looks terrible on me.
  • Chalkboard Stickers from Sprinkled Joy - I think these are so cute and a great idea!  I'm going to save them and use them to label jars to hold toiletries when I move into my own place.
  • Fashion Hair Tie form Chou Chou Beauxtique - I wish these hair ties held my hair in place better, but I've found that my hair is just too thick for them (the hold isn't tight enough).  This is still cute and re-giftable, though.
  • Lotus Dead Sea Bath Salt - I also received these bath salts, but they weren't described on the information card that came with the box.  I don't take baths now, but I'll save these for possible future use.

Bottom Line: I think the Pretty Box Mini is a much more affordable Pretty Box option, and their debut box was certainly impressive.  I will probably buy more boxes in the future when the mood strikes, but for now I won't be subscribing on a monthly-delivery basis.  You can learn more about both Pretty Boxes by clicking here.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

For more photos of my items, please click the "read more."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sock Panda Review

I first learned of Sock Panda through the blogosphere, and when offered a coupon for a free trial I figured it would be fun to see what they had to offer.  Sock Panda, which was founded in 2011, sends you a package of fun socks each month for $11 per pair (this charge includes tax and shipping).

Sock Panda gives you the option of choosing Bold or Cool socks, or both.  I decided to try one pair of each since I only had to pay shipping on them (this bundle cost me $6 total).  I was really happy with the shipment, and I thought that the pink panda socks were especially adorable.  I'm not sure which one is which, but I assume that the Bold socks are the ones with the dog on them and the Cool ones are the pandas.

I also really liked the Sock Panda packaging.  The mailer is cute and colorful, just like the socks.  Shipping was super fast, especially considering I'm in New York and the socks ship from Venice, California.  I actually received these back in September so I can't remember exactly how fast it was, but I don't think it was more than three or four days.

The panda socks are by Greenology and are made from organic cotton, which I thought was really great and right up my alley.  The dog socks, by Davco New York, aren't quite my style, but the material they're made from is incredibly soft.  You don't get to choose which patterns you'll receive, but I think that's the fun of this subscription.

Ultimately, I cancelled after this first shipment.  Sock Panda falls into the category of "I really want to stay subscribed because it's fun, but I can't justify spending the money on it."  These socks are cute, but the only place I would wear them is around the house and I don't really need a monthly shipment of them.  I think this would definitely be a fun subscription to gift to someone, though!

Bottom Line: If you're into crazy socks, Sock Panda is a unique subscription service that definitely delivers on their promise.  I wish I had more opportunities to wear them, because I think it would be a lot of fun to see what patterns they'd send!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Petit Vour Review

Sorry for posting this unboxing so late!  September's Petit Vour box was another good one.  I've enjoyed this box quite a bit so far, and this one had another great variety of items.  If you're unfamiliar with Petit Vour, they're a beauty subscription that sends only cruelty-free and vegan products to you for $15 a month.

The total value of this box was $37.60, so more than double of what I paid for it.  While the items add up to a substantial value, two of them were foil samples and the nail polish was worth $16 on its own.  I really liked all of the items included, but something about this box did leave me wanting something more.

  • Arbonne Lip Polish Sample Set ($12.20) - I'm not a fan of these lip glosses.  They included six different colors to try, which was nice for variety's sake, but the informational card states that they "deliver superior shine without the stickiness," and I disagree.  I found these to be incredibly sticky.  I would still be interested in trying them out of a tube and not a packet, though.
  • LVX 5-Free Nail Lacquer ($16) - This item had the highest value in the box.  I received the shade "Dark Matter," which is a gray creme that reminds me of Zoya's Noot.  It's an appropriate color for fall, but I would have preferred something with a little more flair.
  • The Excellent Tea Company Superb Black Tea ($.90) - I haven't tried this tea yet, but I'm sure I'll like it because I haven't yet had a tea I didn't enjoy.  This one is an African Black Tea that's from Rwanda and fair-trade certified.
  • Neuma NeuSmooth Shampoo and Conditioner ($1.50) - Neuma is one of my favorite hair care brands so I was really happy to receive these to try.  The sample includes a shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner.  So far I've used the shampoo and conditioner and my hair felt so soft and moisturized after!
  • Pura Botanica Natural Soap Bar ($7.00) - I love soaps and this one is the perfect for me!  The scent is Chai Vanilla and it smells delicious.  I love spicy scents like chai, and I liked that the scent on this was very subtle.

Bottom Line: While I sometimes wish Petit Vour included more items of lower value as opposed to four or five with a higher value, I continue to appreciate the fact that they send only cruelty-free products.  This box is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking to convert to using only cruelty-free beauty!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.