Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorites For 2014

I've had this blog since 2011, but I think this year was the year that I had the most fun with it.  A full-time job and higher income meant I had more money to try new subscriptions and other products, even though that also meant I sometimes had less time to devote to blogging.  I've always wanted to keep this blog strictly as a hobby, and I have no intention of changing that for 2015.  In regards to the year ahead, I just want to keep trying new things and having fun with it!

Like I said, I got to try a lot of new subscriptions this year, and most of them were really great!  There were a few not-so-great experiences (actually, I can only think of one off of the top of my head), but that's bound to happen.  Read ahead for my favorite subscriptions and products from this year!

Favorite Makeup Product - Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
Okay, this was technically released in 2013, but I got it as a gift for my birthday on December 28th and I posted the review in January of 2014.  I am the biggest fan of neutral eyeshadows, and my friend Linze picked out the perfect gift when she gave this to me!  It has more shimmers than mattes, but I prefer shimmery shadows so I don't mind the imbalance.  Too Faced is my favorite cosmetics brand overall because they're cruelty-free, and they didn't disappoint with this palette!

Favorite Subscription Service (Overall) - Birchbox
I think Birchbox is the most-well known of all of the beauty subscriptions (and maybe of ALL subscriptions, period), but I'm choosing it as my favorite for this year because I think it's the only one I stayed subscribed to for the entire year.  When I first joined back in 2012 I took a few breaks from it because the products weren't too exciting.  I signed back up in June of 2013 and have stayed ever since.  They really improved their user profile, and since then I've had great luck with my boxes.  Also, you can't beat the $10 price.  I guess it's kind of fitting that I ended the year by visiting their standalone store in NYC!

Favorite Beauty Subscription - BoxyCharm
I only purchased two BoxyCharm boxes this year, but I kept up on the reviews from other blogs and was consistently impressed by what they included.  I like this subscription because they send all full-sized products for a reasonable price of $21 per month.  They featured a lot of great brands, too, like tarte, ncLA, and Tarina Tarantino.

Favorite Snack/Food Subscription - Love With Food
There's a lot to love about Love With Food: they're affordable ($10 a month), they feature only natural and organic foods, and they donate a meal to a child in need for every box purchased!  I bought a three-month subscription from Rue La La, but I've enjoyed it so much thus far that I'm definitely going to stay subscribed once my initial three months are over.

Favorite Green/Eco-Friendly Subscription - Vegan Cuts
Vegan Cuts offers two great subscriptions, and I was lucky to try both this year.  They have a Snack Box and a Beauty Box.  I'm not sure which one I prefer more, it's hard to choose because they're both fantastic!  I love that they make vegan and cruelty-free products accessible to everyone, and that they feature so many great brands.  I was especially excited to receive a full-sized LUSH soap in the box above (November's Beauty Box).

Favorite Geek/Gamer Subscription - Arcade Block
Geek and gamer boxes definitely increased in popularity this year!  I tried a few, but when my boyfriend subscribed to Arcade Block in October we both liked it quite a bit.  It's a little bit more expensive than some others because it ships from Canada and we're in the U.S., but it's worth it (especially for Pete) because it features all video game products.

Favorite New Subscription - Harry Shum, Jr. and My Subscription Addiction Quarterly Co.
I tried Quarterly for the first time ever this year when Harry Shum, Jr. became a curator and I thought his first box was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, that was his one and only box.  Luckily, Liz from My Subscription Addiction launched her own box around the same time, so I signed up to receive her second shipment.  I was bummed that I missed the first one, but it was my own fault for not subscribing.  I'm glad to be a subscriber now, though!

Favorite Box (Overall) - PopSugar Must Have Special Edition Holiday For Her
I. LOVED. THIS. BOX!  I never would have thought that I would spend $100 on a subscription box, but the reviews for this one were so great that I had to have it.  I have no buyer's remorse!  Everything inside was so wonderful and well worth the price tag.  I think this is the best curated box I've ever received!  It was also a great deal because I used a coupon code that allowed me to get the December PopSugar Must Have box for free.

So there they are, my favorite things from 2014.  I'd love to hear what your favorite boxes and purchases were, feel free to tell me in the comments!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Little Twig and Eco Me Review

Little Twig and Eco Me are two wonderful green brands that I've recently discovered.  Little Twig boasts a great line of natural body and skincare products for the whole family, and Eco Me provides wonderful natural cleaning solutions.  When they asked me if I was interested in sampling their products, I said yes right away because I love sharing companies like these!

Little Twig's products are developed with the advice of pediatricians and real-life parents to ensure that they are creating the best and most effective product for your little ones (and for you, too!).  They provide families with products for a safe, natural bath time experience utilizing the most effective organic and botanical ingredients.  They're also PETA-certified as cruelty-free!

I received the Calming Lavender Baby Wash and Baby Lotion to try.  I love lavender for bath and shower time because it's so soothing, which also makes it the perfect scent for babies.  It helps promote relaxation, so using it during baby's bath time right before bed helps to encourage a good night's sleep.  The Baby Wash is made with an organic blend of essential oils and mild foam, with a formula of skin-softening vitamin E that's gentle enough for newborns.  It's also free from phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and parabens.  The Baby Lotion nourishes dry and troubled skin with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and tea tree oil.  It is also free from phthalates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances, as well as mineral oils, nuts, soy, and wheat ingredients.

I loved using both of these products!  Even though they're targeted towards children, there's no reason why an adult can't use them as well.  I love that their formulas are so gentle while also being incredibly effective.  The lavender scent was so nice to breathe in during my showers, and it was even more comforting to apply the lotion before bed, too.  I think this set would be great for everyone, and if lavender isn't your thing, Little Twig has plenty more scents to choose from (plus an unscented line)!

Eco Me is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, meaning they have no animal testing or bi-products during any stage of the product's creation (as you can see in the photo above).  They were founded in 2006 with the goal of removing unnecessary harmful chemicals from the home.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that the air in our homes is three to seven times more chemically polluted than the outdoor air, and the average home contains as many as 25 pounds of toxic cleaning products.  With Eco Me, you can effectively clean your home without having to worry about releasing pollutants into the air.

I received their Dish Soap in Lemon Fresh, which is naturally-sudsing and made with glycerin and natural plant extracts.  It's free from dyes, colorants, harsh preservatives, and sulfates.  What it does contain is natural ingredients and plant essential oils, and the bottle is PET#1 BPA-free.  Other ingredients include water, coconut-derived soap (a natural surfactant), sodium lauroyl lactylate (a natural, food-grade emulsifier), caprylyl capryl glucoside (a plant-based solubilizer), radish root for antimicrobial benefits, potassium sorbate (a food-grade preservative), and cymbopogon flexuosus oil (lemongrass oil).  This works incredibly well to clean up grease and other messes and has a great lemon scent.  It lathers up just as well as a non-natural soap, but it's so much better for you and your household because it's free from all of those bad chemicals that other cleaners have.

Bottom Line: If you're looking to green up your routine, adding Little Twig and Eco Me to your lineup of skincare and household cleaners is a great way to do so!  I loved all of the products I tried and would highly recommend them based on their efficacy and their ingredients.

*Disclaimer: Press samples received for review purposes.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

December Vegan Cuts Snack Box Review

This month Vegan Cuts was kind enough to send me both their Beauty Box and Snack Box to review.  Both were great (you can read my review of the Beauty Box here)!  The December Snack Box features picks from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of

Since I got both of their boxes, Vegan Cuts packed them in the same box.  If you purchase one or the other you'll receive different packaging (and probably a smaller box).  The Snack Box costs $19.95 per month for 7-10 snacks with free shipping within the U.S. and to APO addresses.  Shipping to Canada and Mexico is an extra $8, and $15 to any other country.

Vegan Cuts does a great job of selecting a variety of snacks, all of which are vegan (obviously), with a lot of gluten-free options as well.  This month's box feature 10 different brands, with 12 individual items if you count the three individual hard candies.

  • Nutiva O'Coconut Hemp & Chia (~$.89) - I am not a fan of coconut so I didn't try this, but it's made with lightly-sweetened organic coconut flakes.  It's also non-GMO and fair trade, and one snack has only 60 calories.
  • Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips in Pico de Gallo (~$6.65) - I love Beanfields chips!  Prior to receiving this box I hadn't tried their Pico de Gallo flavor but it ended up being just as delicious as the other varieties I'd tried.  They were slightly spicy and packed with flavor.  These are non-GMO, corn-free, and all-natural.
  • Naturade Vegan Smart All-in-One Nutritional Shake in Chai (~$2.32) - I really wanted to like this because I love chai, but I didn't care for it.  I've never really liked any vegan shakes, the texture is just kind of weird and the flavor is just different than what I'm used to.  This is naturally-flavored and has five plant-based proteins.
  • Sjaak's Organic Chocolate Eli's Earth Bars Treasure Bar ($2.29) - I've tried Eli's Earth Bars before but I can't remember if it was this specific flavor.  I remember loving whatever one I tried though, so I bet this is just as good.  It's made with peanut butter, caramel, and a dairy-free "melk" chocolate.  It's spelled as "melk" on purpose, but I'm not sure why.
  • Snack Out Loud Foods Crunchy Bean Snack in Tomato Basil (~$2.67) - This isn't listed on the info card, but I'm glad I got it.  The Tomato Basil flavor sounds really good!  This is gluten-, nut-, and GMO-free.
  • Bare Snacks Crunchy Coconut Chips (~$2.91) - More coconut.  Even though I don't like coconut, these are probably still great for anyone who does like it.  It's non-GMO and gluten-free, and the chips are "toasted to perfection."
  • Parma! Garlicky Green (value unknown) - I'd have to guess too much on the size of this serving to calculate the value, but a full-sized bottle costs around $5.  I've tried this before and it's really good!  It's a vegan parmesan "cheese" that has Omega 3s, B vitamins, protein, and trace minerals.
  • Torie & Howard All Natural Candies (~$.50) - I love these candies!  I've had the Blood Orange & Honey flavor before, but these two were new to me (I got D'Anjou Pear & Cinnamon and Pomegranate & Nectarine).  Torie & Howard flavors their candies with fruits and colors them with vegetables.
  • Earnest Eats Hot & Fit Cereal Mayan Blend (~$6.65) - This superfood cereal is made with cocoa, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and cashews.  I haven't tried it yet but the ingredients sound delicious!  All of their varieties are gluten-free, too.
  • TruJoy Sweets Candy Cane (~$.40) - My candy cane broke in three pieces, but that didn't stop me from eating it.  I've always preferred organic candy canes to the mainstream brands because I think they taste a lot better.  TruJoy uses all-natural peppermint to flavor their candy canes and also donates 1% of all of their sales to environmental causes.
Bottom Line: December's Vegan Cuts Snack Box was full of great holiday snacks!  I liked that they included things for breakfast, snacks, and on-the-go.  I'm always impressed by how wonderfully curated their boxes are.

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Vegan Cuts. Press samples received for review purposes.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday Thoughts: NYC Edition + SoHo Birchbox Store

I'm in New York City right now until tomorrow (my boyfriend and I have been here since early yesterday) and I'm having a ton of fun exploring.  I've been once before, but it was in 8th grade for a school trip so of course I couldn't really do much other than what was on our itinerary.  I've wanted to come back for a long time, and I'm finally here!

Our hotel is in Midtown right near Times Square.  Our plane landed at 7:30 in the morning and we got to the hotel around 8:00, but we couldn't check in until at least noon.  It's true what they say about Times Square: it's the worst.  It was nice to have all of the stores so close in this instance, since it gave us something to do while we waited to check in, but otherwise it is just too crowded and hectic.  We went to the M&Ms and Hershey's stores, Toys 'R Us, and a few other random places.  Shake Shack was high on my list of restaurants to try, so we went there for lunch.  Above is a picture of the line.  We actually didn't have to wait long at all, it just looked like there were more people because the line section inside of the restaurant is really short.

We ordered two Smoke Shacks and cheese fries to go.  It was packed inside, and even if we had wanted to eat there we would have had to stand.  I did not want to do that.  Our hotel was only a few blocks away, so we took it back and ate it in the little lounge/bar area.  I thought it was really good, but not phenomenal.  I'm glad I tried it after hearing so many things about it, but overall I wouldn't say it blew me away.

Here's another picture of my burger: bacon, cheese, and cherry peppers.  The peppers provided just enough spice!

We finished eating around 12:30 pm but the room still wasn't ready.  The people at the desk had said that they might have something ready for us, but it turned out that people weren't checking out so they hadn't been able to clean many of the rooms yet.  We had been sitting and relaxing in the lounge area for a bit, so we decided to walk around some more.  We finally were able to get into the room at 2:00.

One of the other places I knew I had to go to was the Birchbox shop in SoHo.  It was just a quick 10-12 minute ride on the C train from our hotel.  I'm glad we went to SoHo; the shopping is so much better than what's in Times Square (and it's less crowded).  They had a ton of high-end shops, most of which I couldn't even afford, but it was fun to look around.  We could also see the new World Trade Center building all lit up (the sun had since set) and it looked beautiful.

The Birchbox store is amazing!  If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend that you do so.  They have tons of full-sized products plus a "Build Your Own Birchbox" section and a salon downstairs.  I loved the interior--it was super bright and colorful, and all of the displays were beautifully arranged.

I was with my boyfriend and I told him I wouldn't make him stay in the store for too long, but he didn't mind because he knew that I really wanted to shop there.  They also have a men's section in the store, so there were some things he could look at.  I didn't really need much from the full-sized products, but it was fun to look around.

I definitely wanted to build my own box.  They had men's and women's options, both cost $15 for five samples.  I assumed I'd be able to pick from a wide variety of samples, and while that was kind of true, it was more set up so that you chose one sample from a few available in each category: hair, skincare, makeup, fragrance, and body.  Since I've been a subscriber for so long (about two and a half years) I had gotten a lot of the options already, but they still had items I either hadn't tried or wanted more of.

I ended up picking up the following: Juice Beauty Blemsing Clearing Cleanser, Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine, stila lip glaze in Raspberry Sorbet (full-sized!), Whish Shave Cream, and a tinted Klorane dry shampoo.  They also gave me the option of getting a Chuao Chocolate or one other sample (I think it was a skincare item?  I can't quite remember), but obviously I chose the chocolate!  The other sample in the photo above is a Skin Transformer Face Spotlight, which I was able to get because I purchased a full-sized item.

The blue box is what my build your own box was packaged in.  My boyfriend picked out the Sasquatch Pine Tar soap for himself, which smells so wonderful (just like a pine tree), and I got a full-sized bottle of the amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo for myself.  I actually got a sample of the amika in either my most recent Birchbox or the month before, and I liked it so much that I wanted a full-sized bottle.  I could have gotten all of these items from their online shop as well, but purchasing them in-person meant no shipping costs.  I also got points on my account like I would if I had purchased them online, plus I got 70 extra for spending more than $30!

We ended the night by going to dinner at Mercato, a little Italian restaurant a block away from the hotel that I found using the Flavour app.  I'm so glad I had that app; it came in really handy because the place we had originally planned on eating at was booked solid.  We went to Mercato at around 7:00 pm and didn't even have to wait for a table!  I can't believe that it wasn't busier, because the food was to die for.  We got the Polpette Con Crostini (meatballs) for an appetizer and I ordered the Spaghetti Fatti in Casa al Pomodoro Fresco (spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic).  It was so good!  It reminded me of the Tag Pic Pac at Carrabba's, except authentic.  My boyfriend got the Lasagna Tradizionale and it was probably the best lasagna I've ever had in my life.  It was made with bechamel and a traditional meat ragu and it was just so creamy and delicious!  I don't have any photos to share of the dinner because I didn't bring my phone, but you can find some on their yelp page.  I 100% recommend Mercato!

I know this post was kind of photo-heavy, but I took a bunch of pictures in the Birchbox shop that I wanted to share.  Here are the rest of them:

I hope you're all enjoying your weekends!  I'd love to hear what you're up to, feel free to leave a comment.  Also, let me know if you've ever shopped at the Birchbox shop and what you thought of it!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December PopSugar Must Have Review and Coupon

The last time I purchased a PopSugar Must Have box I was not thrilled with it.  I think it's a nice subscription, but it is a bit more expensive and the contents of the boxes are always hit-or-miss for me.  When I saw the reviews for this year's December box, though, I really liked everything that was inside.  I finally decided to buy one when they offered a free December box with a Special Edition Holiday For Her purchase (read my review of that here).

Must Have boxes cost $39.95 per month, shipping included, and contain a mixture of lifestyle items.  Currently they only ship within the United States.  Tracking is super slow for me, since the boxes ship from California and I live in New York.  This box took about a week to get to me, but it was well worth the wait!

  • SPUN by Subtle Luxury Speckled Metallic Scarf ($62) - I love this scarf so much!  It's my favorite item in the box and was the main reason why I wanted to purchase it.  I can never have too many scarves, and I like this one because it's a lighter material that's good for winter and spring/summer.  Plus, the gold-flecked design is beautiful for Christmas and New Year's!
  • Sparklepop Sydney Necklace ($42) - This necklace is 100% my style; I love long necklaces.  This one is definitely sparkly, but I like to wear pieces like this with plainer tops.  This will get a lot of use.
  • Canvas Dauville Platinum Bowl ($29) - When I took this out of its box I noticed that the inside was a little bit dirty (you can see the smears in the photo above), which was kind of weird since it's supposed to be brand-new, but it didn't bother me a whole lot.  I just rinsed it out.  I'm using it as a decorative bowl to store my rings and other small jewelry on my dresser.
  • Knot & Bow Parcel Tags ($4) - These were a good addition to the box because of the holidays, but I didn't end up using them because my presents were already wrapped after I got the box.  I'll have plenty of opportunities in the future to use them, with birthdays and that sort of thing.
  • Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Bordeaux ($24) - The color of this is just a little too dark for me, so I posted it for swap.  It has a staining pigment that ensures long wear, just like the name says.
  • Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Mix in Vanilla Bean ($14.95) - This is my second favorite item in the box because I love cupcakes!  I've never gotten anything from Williams-Sonoma before, although I love looking through the store, so I'm excited to see if these taste as good as everything in the store looks.

Here's a side view of the Canvas Dauville bowl.  The texture is kind of grainy, but it provides a good contrast to the shiny interior.
Bottom Line: I loved this box just as much as I loved the Special Edition  Holiday For Her, so I'm so glad I was able to get them in a bundle.  Even if I had purchased this on its own I still would have been happy, considering the retail value is $175.95!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Post contains referral links.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December Vegan Cuts Beauty Box Review

The Vegan Cuts Beauty Box is one of the best beauty subscriptions out there in my opinion.  I love it because they feature only cruelty-free brands and always have a good variety of deluxe samples and full-sized products.

Vegan Cuts has two subscriptions: the Beauty Box and the Snack Box (review for that one coming soon).  Since I received both boxes this month they shipped them together in one box and packaged the beauty items inside of a pink drawstring bag.

The Beauty Box costs $19.95 a month with free shipping within the U.S. and the APO addresses.  They ship anywhere in the world, though, with $8 shipping to Canada and Mexico and $15 to anywhere else.  Each box features four to seven cruelty-free beauty and skincare items that are mostly organic and natural as well.

December's box featured four beauty items and one accessory.  Only four of the beauty products are pictured above because I dropped one of them as I was taking it out of the bag and the container shattered on the floor.  I'll post a photo below of what it looked like after I broke it.
  • Delizioso Skincare Cream Blush in Outrageous ($18 for .17 oz, full-sized) - The packaging on this is so cute!  You can't tell from the photo, but there's a floral pattern on the little box.  The blush itself is a pretty pink color that blends well and I think would look nice on most skin tones.  It's 100% natural, made with certified organic ingredients, and is vegan.  You can see what the actual blush looks like here.
  • bellapierre Cosmetics Nail Color in English Red ($15 for .5 fl oz, full-sized) - bellapierre's nail polishes are three-free and provide great durability.  I love nail polishes, but red is the one color that I do not want any more of.  This will make a great gift or swap, though.
  • 21 Drops Essential Oil Therapy in Focus (~$2.18 for .02 fl oz) - I enjoy aromatherapy oils quite a bit, and this one promotes clarity and concentration.  It contains the 100% natural essential oils of frankincense to induce clarity, peppermint to stimulate the mind, and rosemary to reduce fogginess.  The ingredients are then blended with 100% organic jojoba oil.  My nose picks up on the peppermint oil the most, and overall it has a great scent.
  • North Coast Organics Spray Lotion (value unknown) - This is the product I broke.  The full-sized product retails for $10, but I can't find it anywhere online to get the size and calculate the value of the sample.  I didn't even get to try this before I broke it, so I can't really comment on it, but I was looking forward to using it!
  • Landeva Organics Hair and Body Oil (~$1.30 for .17 fl oz) - This isn't listed on the info card, so I'm not sure if everyone got one or not.  It's argan-oil based and smells really nice, I think it's citrus-y.
  • Vegan Cuts Nail File - It's always nice to have an extra on hand!  I should have flipped it over for the photo; it says "Vegan Cuts" on the other side.
My broken spray lotion (it shattered at the bottom and the liquid plopped out).
Bottom Line: This box had an overall value of $36.48, including the Landeva oil and not including the North Coast Organics Spray Lotion.  Even if the Landeva oil wasn't supposed to be there, I'm sure that the value is still well worth the $19.95 price!  My favorite item this month was the Delizioso Skincare blush.

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Vegan Cuts. Press samples received for review purposes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

OraMD Breath Review and Giveaway

Who likes bad breath?  No one.  It's one of those things we all have to deal with but don't want to talk about.  I know my breath is not the freshest in the morning, and even though I brush my teeth and floss regularly, a little help with combating halitosis is more than welcome!  Breath by OraMD is a fast and easy way to make bad breath disappear.

Breath is a 100% natural spray that kills bad breath and leaves behind a fresh, clean feeling.  The ingredients are clinically proven to kill periodontal bacteria, and it is free from chemicals, sugar, alcohol, and other additives.  One spray is all it takes to eliminate bad breath, and each bottle contains about 60 sprays.

In the photo above you can see that the ingredients list is nice and short: it contains only 100% pure botanical oils of almond, spearmint, and peppermint.  I appreciate that the ingredients are natural, because no one wants to spray chemicals into their mouth.

When the instructions say one spray is all you need, they aren't kidding!  This is incredibly strong, and it does have a very strong flavor.  I used this once in the morning after brushing my teeth and immediately noted the flavor.  It doesn't taste bad, but it also doesn't taste minty-sweet.  It has a very strong spearmint and peppermint flavor due to the botanical oils.  If you can handle a strong mint flavor, I think you'll really enjoy this.

If you'd like to try a bottle of Breath, you can do so for free!  For a limited time, the manufacturers of OraMD Breath (Trusted Health Products) will send one free bottle to my readers, as long as you are willing to pay a nominal shipping and handling fee.  Click here to get your free bottle!
Bottom Line: Breath does exactly what it promises to do.  I was very impressed by its efficacy and would recommend it to anyone who wants a portable way to extinguish bad breath.

Trusted Health Products was also generous enough to offer three bottles for a giveaway.  The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia who are aged 18+ and ends on December 31, 2014 at 12 am EST.  See the Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter form for full details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This post is sponsored by Trusted Health Products. Press sample received for review purposes.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December Love With Food Review

I bought a voucher off of zulily for a three-month subscription to Love With Food and I'm so glad I did!  I had tried their boxes previously and really enjoyed them, but at the time I couldn't afford to stay subscribed.  Now I'll definitely renew once my initial three months are over because their boxes are always packed with awesome snacks!

I'm subscribed to the Tasting Box, which costs $10 a month and has around eight items.  There's also a Deluxe Box with 16-20 items that costs $17 a month, and the Gluten-Free box has 8-12 items and costs $24.50 a month.  For each box purchased, Love With Food donates a meal to a child in need.

December's theme is "Taste the Season."  There were eight products inside, all which were great holiday treats.  As always, Love With Food included a great mix of snacks, from salty to sweet.

  • Oogies Gourmet Kettle Corn - I've had Oogies before and I love it so much!  The Kettle Corn flavor is delicious and crunchy.  I could eat a huge bag of this in one sitting.
  • Hannah Max Cookie Chips in Original - I can't even begin to describe how amazing these cookies were.  I really can't!  They were perfectly crispy, and the flavor was just out of this world.  They were buttery, sweet, and just melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  I'm definitely buying more.
  • Liddabit Sweets Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels - I love salted caramel and these candies had a great salty/sweet flavor.  I liked that they were soft and chewy.  They have a bunch of other flavors on their website that I'd love to try, like Apple Cider!
  • Olympos Pitted Green Olives With Herbs - Olives gross me out, bigtime.  I don't like the way they smell and I don't like their texture, either.  Luckily everyone else in my family loves them, so I passed this packet off to them.
  • Honey Acres Chocolate Honey Mints - More candy!  I wasn't sure how the honey and mint flavor was going to go over, but I liked it a lot.  They tasted more like mint than honey, so I'm thinking the honey just acts as a natural sweetener.  I also like that they only have three ingredients: raw honey, dark unsweetened chocolate, and natural peppermint oil.
  • Bali's Best Espresso Candies - I had no doubts that I would love these hard candies because I am an espresso-addict.  They tasted delicious and had a shot of espresso at the center!
  • Next By Nature Dark Chocolate Coconut - I haven't tried this yet because I don't really like coconut.  I don't mind the flavor as much as the texture.  Maybe since these are coated in chocolate it won't be so bad.  I like that they're gluten-free and have no additives or preservatives.
  • Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread - Mmm, I love using spreads like this on toast for breakfast!  This one is made with certified-organic ingredients and no GMOs, chemicals, or artificial flavors.  The ingredients include dark chocolate from the Antillean Islands, Italian hazelnuts, and Bourbon vanilla extract.
Bottom Line: This month's box was on the sweeter side, and while I do prefer salty snacks, the sweet ones here were so good that I didn't mind.  I still think this box is well worth the $10, especially since they donate a meal to a hungry child with each one sold.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Post contains referral links.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PopSugar Must Have Special Edition Holiday For Her Review

I've never spent $100 on a subscription box before, and I honestly never thought I would, but the PopSugar Must Have Special Edition Holiday box was so amazing that I finally decided to treat myself (that, and because I got a promotion at work so I had a little bit more money to spend).

This box is still available, as is the "For Him" edition.  Both cost $100 and shipping is included in the charge.  There was an extra $8 charge for me and I'm assuming that's tax for living in New York state.  If you order now it won't arrive in time for Christmas, but I still think it's a great gift to treat yourself with (or someone else, if they don't mind getting their present a bit late).  Mine took five business days to get to me and was delivered via FedEx Smart Post.  Boxes are delivered via USPS for states other than New York and California.

The box itself is a nice, sturdy black box, and inside the items were individually wrapped with black tissues paper.  It was fun to unwrap each one and added to the feeling that it was a Christmas gift.

The box featured eight full-sized items, and I loved every single one of them!  As I said, I had no intention of buying this box, but after I saw some reviews for it I just really wanted it.  I also used a coupon code (it's expired now, or else I would have shared it with you) that allowed me to get the December box for free with this one.

  • Illume Gilded Amberleaf Metallic Knob Tin ($23.50) - I think this is my favorite item in the box, even though it's hard to pick a favorite.  I love candles and this one has such a beautiful container.  It also smells amazing, with notes of mandarin, vetiver, vanilla, and tobacco.  It's sweet but not too much so, and creamy, and just wonderful.  I love it!
  • Loeffler Randall Envelope Clutch ($70) - The info card says that PopSugar "loved working on this with Loeffler Randall," so I don't know if that means that it was made specifically for this box or not.  I am not a clutch person, but I actually like this one a lot!  It's a good size, 8.5" by 5.5."  I hate big, clunky clutches.  I'm glad to have this nice and dainty one in my collection for future events.
  • Turkish-T Diamond Throw ($65) - This is a PopSugar exclusive item and it's probably tied with the Illume candle as my favorite item in the box!  I love blankets so much, and I've heard great things about the Turkish-T brand.  I like this because it's beautiful and not too heavy, but still appropriate for winter.  It's also cool that it was only available through this box.
  • RMS Beauty Living Luminizer and Brightening Brush ($38 and $12) - I actually have one of these already so I posted it up for swap, but it's an excellent highlighter.  RMS Beauty is a great organic brand, too.  I like the brush a lot and will put it to good use.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($22) - I've been wanting to try ExfoliKate for a while so I was really excited to receive this!  I've seen so many rave reviews about it so obviously I wanted to try it out for myself.  I've used it once and it does work nicely, but so far it doesn't seem any better than other exfoliators I've tried.  I'm willing to give it more of a chance, though.
  • Habit Cosmetics Nail Polish in 21 Nefertiti ($18) - I love this nail polish!  It's so beautiful and a great shade for winter (see an Instagram photo I posted of it here).  I also think the bottle itself is really pretty.  It costs more than what I'm used to paying for a nail polish, but the formula is good and I would consider buying more shades.
  • Droga Chocolates Money on Honey ($7.95) - Salted caramel is one of my most favorite flavor combinations in the entire world.  I can't say that these are life-changing (I expect expensive chocolates to be really amazing), but they do taste good.  When I saw the brand name it made me raise an eyebrow because "droga" is the Spanish word for "drugs."  If that's the meaning of the name, though, it's appropriate because chocolate is the best drug.
Here are some more photos of the products:

The inside of the Loeffler Randall clutch
The RMS Beauty Living Luminizer
Bottom Line: I'm so glad I got this box!  I really like all of the items and I think it was well worth the price, considering the combined retail value is $256.45.  The Turkish-T throw is also an exclusive item, which is another plus.  If you have extra money to spend and want to treat yourself or someone else, I recommend this box!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.  Post contains referral links.