Thursday, May 29, 2014

May Bestowed Review and Coupon

Bestowed is a great food subscription service that I have reviewed before.  I'm always happy to review one of their boxes because they never disappoint!

May's box was created with the thought of spring renewal in mind.  Bestowed aims to send nutritious, delicious snacks and ingredients to help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle.  I am not the healthiest eater, so this box is perfect for me because it always introduces me to new snacks that taste great and are good replacements for the junk I would normally reach for!

  • Sneakz Organic Chocolate Milkshake - This product is the perfect example of a product that's right up my alley.  I hate vegetables.  Even though this drink is designed for children, I would purchase some for myself because it makes getting part of your daily serving of veggies a lot more enjoyable!  I haven't actually tried this yet, but I bet it will be delicious.
  • Nature's Earthly Choice Farrotto with Zucchini and Peas - I'm really excited to try this!  It's a blend of farro, zucchini, and peas that is easy to make (just add water and olive oil).  It'll be a great side dish for dinner.
  • Litehouse Instantly Fresh Basil - The herbs in Litehouse blends are freeze dried immediately after harvest in order to retain their natural flavors and aromas.  I am moving into my first apartment this weekend and will now have to do the cooking on my own, so this will come in handy for sure.
  • Rootology Breathe Free - These capsules are made up of a blend of 13 concentrated herbal extracts that work immediately to relieve multiple season allergy symptoms.  I'm really curious to see how well these work.
  • 479° Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn - I couldn't wait to tear into this bag of popcorn!  Actually, I didn't wait.  I quickly took some unboxing photos for this post and then I got right to eating this.  It tasted amazing and I will definitely be purchasing full-sized bags in the future!  It's non-GMO, gluten-free, and low in calories, and the brand name is derived from the temperature they found was the perfect one to pop their kernels at.
  • Earnest Eats Chewy Granola Bar - I'm always looking for healthier granola options because I like to take bars like this one to work for an easy breakfast.  This one is vegan and wheat-free with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
  • Ziggy Marley's Organic Hemp Rules - I think these are going to be really yummy.  I haven't tried them yet, but I anticipate using them as a substitute for my 3 pm bag of chips at work.  They're flavored with a Caribbean spice blend, so I know they won't disappoint.
  • Ziggy Marley's Coco'mon Coconut Oil - Now that I'll be cooking more I may cook with this, but prior to now I have been using coconut oil as a moisturizer for my hair.  This one is USDA certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
  • Eat Cleaner Wipe - I've used these before and they're really handy.  They're used to clean off fruits and veggies and work to remove pesticides and other contaminants that may carry bacteria.  They're 100% natural and also biodegradable.
  • - The May box also came with a coupon (not pictured) for three months' access to this site, which hosts hundreds of premium workout videos.  I can't wait to give it a try!
Bottom Line: This may be one of my most favorite Bestowed boxes yet.  I really like the added value of the coupon, and the 479° popcorn was definitely my favorite food item.  As always, they sent a great variety of foods that I can't wait to try!  If you're interested in giving them a try, use coupon code HELLOYUM34 to get your first box for only $10 (normally $19)!

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bestowed.  Post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Midnight Velvet Spring Review and Giveaway

If you have been following my blog for a while, you may have seen some of my past Midnight Velvet reviews (if you haven't, click here to do so).  Founded in 1987, they bring a fresh perspective to fashion, beauty, and home decor.

One item from Midnight Velvet's spring catalog that really caught my eye was the Geneva Thong by Yellow Box.  I loved the sparkle along the thong and the slight wedge (1"), and thought that it was the perfect sandal for the upcoming summer months!  The shoes are incredibly comfortable and add a fun flair to any outfit.  You could easily wear them to the beach with a summer dress, or dress them up for the office if your workplace is more on the business casual side like mine.

Here's a picture of me wearing the sandals.  Since you obviously can't see them in as much detail in this shot, I made sure to take an up-close photo as well.  They also have a very light snake-print detail along the sides of the strap, which I really like.  I got them in a size 6 and they fit perfectly.  Normally I wear a 5 1/2, so I would recommend buying these a half-size up if you're interested in them as I think they would be a bit too snug in a 5 1/2 (if that size existed).  They are available from size 6 to 11, with some half sizes.
Midnight Velvet has generously offered a $50 gift certificate to one of my winners!  If you'd like to enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This sweepstakes is open to U.S. residents aged 18+.  See bottom of Rafflecopter for full terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received this item free of charge from Midnight Velvet.  No monetary compensation was received or offered, nor was I under any obligation to write about this products.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair Skin & Nails Gummies Review #HairSkinNails

My experience with vitamin supplements is very limited.  I used to buy an adult gummy multivitamin supplement on a regular basis, but I kind of stopped taking them out of laziness (I know, it's pretty bad).  When I was contacted by Smiley360 to review the Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies, I figured it would be a good way for me to get back into the habit of taking a daily supplement.

I used these gummies for 30 days as part of the Nature's Bounty 30-day Hair, Skin and Nails Challenge.  You can sign up to take the challenge here, where they also have weekly contests to win spa treatments and other fun prizes.  The bottle contained 80 gummies total, with no milk/lactose, artificial flavors, soy, gluten, wheat, yeast, fish, or sodium.  The three main ingredients are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Biotin, which all work to strengthen hair and nails and keep skin looking great.

The gummies are about the size of a dime and gumdrop-shaped.  I took two once a day, but you could also take them twice a day if you wanted to.  I loved the flavor--they tasted like strawberry and were really yummy.  The instructions say to take them with a meal, which goes for all vitamin supplements (your body better absorbs the nutrients that way).  The nutrients help support natural beauty from within: Vitamin E contributes to skin health, Vitamin C is involved with collagen production, and biotin acts at the base of the nail and also promotes healthy hair.

Watch my quick video review below to see how these gummies worked for me.

Bottom Line: I would recommend the Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies to anyone who is looking to boost their beauty routine.  They're easy to take and taste great, and certainly won't hurt the appearance of your hair, skin, and nails!

*Disclaimer: I received a product to review as part of the Smiley360 Blogger Program.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Survive Monthly 3-Month Subscription Giveaway!

Survive Monthly is a brand-new subscription service that will be launching soon.  I'm excited to announce that they have offered a 3-month subscription to one of my readers to win!

Survive Monthly is so new that they haven't launched yet, but they promise to deliver "a curated collection of the most essential survival tools, guides, and supplies delivered to your door each month!"  Boxes will contain 7 to 10 items and cost $39.99 per month.

Sound good?  To enter to win a 3-month subscription, use the Rafflecopter form below!  This sweepstakes is open to U.S. residents aged 18+ only.  It begins on 24 May 2014 and ends at 12am EST on 31 May 2014.  Survive Monthly is responsible for shipping the winner their prize.  For full terms and conditions, please see the bottom of the Rafllecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*This post is sponsored by Survive Monthly.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Plated Review - Week of May 12th

I love food but I hate cooking, so I need any potential meals to be as easy to make as possible.  I'm going to be moving into my first apartment soon (yes, still living with the parents up until now, but it was because I was waiting for my boyfriend to finish grad school!), so I figure I should probably get used to making my own meals.  Plated is the perfect subscription for people like me: it's really fun and super easy!

So if you're unfamiliar, Plated is a weekly subscription service that sends you all the ingredients you need to make delicious dinners.  The menu changes weekly, and you only have to order when there's something on there that tickles your fancy.  They deliver to over 80% of the continental U.S. (according to their website), so there is a slight chance they might not be available in your area yet.  But if they do deliver to your city, I think it's definitely worth trying.  They send all of the ingredients to you, and there are minimal things you need to supply yourself (e.g. salt, pepper, olive oil).

The meals I chose are from the menu that ran the week of May 12th, and I purchased two plates of two different meals.  You can also choose to receive four plates of the same meal.  A monthly membership costs $10 a month and $12 a plate, or you can opt for the annual membership of $8 a month and $12 a plate.  You can also do a one-time purchase without subscribing, which will cost you $15 a plate.

My biggest concern with this box was whether or not the ingredients would be able to stay cool enough, since that week the temperatures were in the 80s (Fahrenheit) here.  I didn't need to worry, since the box was lined with a thick insulator and had two big ice packs inside that were still frozen when the box got to me.

All of the ingredients were neatly packed and labeled.  Most of the items were separated into two larger bags that had their respective meal labels on them, but the few that were outside of those bags had stickers on them that stated which recipe they were for.  The only thing I felt guilty about was throwing out the insulated packaging.  I wasn't sure if it was recyclable or not, and if it truly isn't then it is a little bit wasteful (especially if you're getting a box every week).

The two meals I selected were the Capellini with Spring Vegetables and the Fontina Stuffed Chicken.  The above photo is of the spring vegetables portion of the pasta dish.  I enjoyed both meals, but the Fontina Stuffed Chicken was definitely my favorite.

The Capellini with Spring Vegetables was incredibly easy to make, and looked so pretty once it was plated.  It did taste a bit bland to me--I would have preferred a stronger flavor in the sauce (it consisted of a little bit of oil, the vegetables, and some of the pasta water all simmered together), but the grated romano cheese added some more flavor.  When it comes to pasta I'm usually all about the cheese cheese cheese, so that's probably why this light dish seemed a little bit boring to me.

My boyfriend was house-sitting for my brother when I made the Fontina Stuffed Chicken, so I only have a photo from Instagram of the finished product because I made it with him over at my brother's house and I didn't take my camera.  Remember what I said about loving cheese?  This recipe certainly didn't disappoint in that regard.  I had never had fontina cheese prior to this, and I'm so glad I tried it because it was fantastic.  My food vocabulary is not the most eloquent, but it was a bit sharp but still seemed smooth at the same time.  The chicken crisped up so well with the cheese and it was very juicy because it still had the skin on.  The fingerling potatoes and spinach were a great-tasting side, too.
  • Visit Plated (using that link) to receive up to $30 off of your first box!
Bottom Line: I really like Plated and would definitely order more boxes in the future.  I don't think I'll order every week, but I do check the menu regularly and will order again when I see a meal I just can't pass up!

Be sure to check out the Share your Subscription Linky Party for more great May unboxings!

Share Your Subscription with Unpack the Box

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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Beautisol Exscrub Me? Review + Coupon

Beautisol is a cruelty-free company that offers quite the catalog of sunless self-tanning products.  Even if you aren't one to use self tanners, I still recommend that you check them out because they also offer a bunch of skincare products, like the Exscrub Me? Citrus Face Exfoliant.

I do a heavy-duty exfoliating routine once a week for my oily but sensitive skin.  By "heavy-duty" I mean that I like to use a thicker scrub, not necessarily that it's a harsh one.  The Beautisol Exscrub Me? Citrus Face Exfoliant perfectly serves my needs because it's gentle but it still gets the job done.  The paraben-free formula is made up of finer grains and larger, pink/red beads for a good, all-over scrub.  My skin felt very smooth after using this.

My favorite thing about the description on the back of the tube is the first sentence: "Got alligator face?"  Why, yes; I do.  Nothing feels better than exfoliating after a long week of skin building up.  I know some people are able to use a product like this more than once a week, but if I try to my skin just goes berserk and starts churning out even more oil.  Beautisol recommends using this twice a week or as needed.  It's meant to be used before their "Need I Glow More?" face self-tanner, but it's appropriate as a scrub on its own for all skin types.  The best thing about it (besides the fact that it's certified cruelty-free by PETA) is the scent!  It really does smell citrus-y and refreshing.
  • Use coupon code BOGO2014 for a "Buy One, Get One Free" deal at Beautisol!
Bottom Line: I loved using the Beautisol Exscrub Me? Citrus Face Exfoliant and I'll continue to use it as my weekly scrub.  It worked great and smelled even better, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to add an affordable yet luxurious experience to their skincare routine!

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Beautisol and iFabbo.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May Birchbox Review

I really liked my Birchbox this month.  I know I've said it a million times before, but this service is so much better than it was a year ago.  I'm consistently getting products that I will actually use and enjoy, so I'm so glad that they made those changes to the profile survey and seem to be matching products up pretty well for me.

This month's theme was "Freewheeling," and each box came with a $25 off of $75+ coupon to Kate Spade Saturday.  I took a look at their website and I didn't really see anything I liked--the designs really weren't my aesthetic.  But it's a fun addition, anyway.  I liked the variety of items I got this month, and will use all of them.

Birchbox has said that Beauty Protector is their best selling brand, and at first I didn't understand why.  I thought, hair care?  Really?  I would think that one of the more popular makeup brands, like stila, would be one of their best sellers.  But after trying a few Beauty Protector products, I totally get it!

  • Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo and Protect & Condition - My favorite thing about this brand is that all of their products smell amazing!  It smells like it has a vanilla base to me, and I love warm scents.  I also have the Protect & Oil, so I like that I can use the shampoo, conditioner, and oil all together now.  These are sulfate-free but still lather up pretty well, and they left my hair feeling very soft.  These two were launched exclusively with Birchbox, and I'll definitely be buying full-sized bottles when my samples run out.
  • Supergoop! Everyday SPF 30 with Cellular Response Technology - I've gotten a Supergoop! sunscreen from Birchbox once before and I still haven't used all of that sample up.  Now that warmer weather is here I'll be more conscious of using sunscreen on my face.  I wasn't terribly excited about this, but I know it's a practical item that I need so I wasn't upset to receive it.
  • LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Coral - I was excited to try this color because I love the way coral-colored cosmetics look on my skin, but when they say "sheer" they aren't kidding.  It gives me a good moisturizing feel, but the color is very close to the natural color of my lips so it just gives a glossy sheen.  It's still pretty nice, though.
  • 32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals with IsoVoxy - These packets were my lifestyle extra for the month.  They're basically pop rock-like crystals that freshen your breath.  I got the Lemon Mint and Spearmint flavors, and while they were fun to use, I didn't think they were that effective at freshening my breath.
Bottom Line: I liked my May Birchbox a lot.  My favorite items were the Beauty Protector shampoo and conditioner, with the LAQA & Co. lip pencil coming in at a close second.

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

Monday, May 12, 2014

Memebox $3 Off Coupon Code

If you haven't heard of Memebox, they're a beauty subscription service that sends a monthly package of cosmetics from Korea.  The company originated in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and is now headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

As a native-born Korean, I think Memebox is such a fun idea!  I haven't tried a box (yet), but they are high on my list of boxes to sample because all of the reviews I've seen for them have been wonderful.

Memebox has a few special offers to share:
  • Use coupon code GN3TCD to receive $3 off any order!
  • Use coupon code FREESHIPPING for free shipping on any orders over $70 from the Memeshop
  • Check out their weekly specials by clicking here: this week they're featuring up to 50% off of Recipe by Nature products, one of their most popular brands
I highly recommend browsing the Memeshop and/or signing up for Memebox, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!  I know I will be trying a Memebox very soon.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April Beauty Army Review

I got a three month subscription for Beauty Army from Rue La La for free (more details on how that happened in my March review), and my first box was decent.  I can't say the same for my April box.

I know I already said this in my last review, but the reason why I hadn't been interested in Beauty Army prior to the Rue La La sale was because I never liked the products they gave me to choose from.  You can choose six out of nine samples to make up your kit, but the variety was usually pretty terrible.  After a bit of refreshing for March I was able to get a decent selection, but April's was downright terrible.  I finally just shipped the box because I was tired of messing around with the selection survey and realized I wasn't going to get anything that good no matter what I did.

Normally this box would have cost me $12 and I would have been pretty annoyed if I had actually paid for it.  Three out of my six samples were hair treatments, and the other three are samples I would never want nor use.  I am really disappointed in this box and I definitely will not be renewing my subscription once my third month is over.

  • Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask in Rosemary Mint - This is the only product I've used so far and it smells nice but doesn't have great efficacy.  I've used a lot of other hair masks and argan treatments and usually my hair feels baby soft after.  My hair feels no different after using this mask, so I wouldn't recommend it.
  • Kate Somerville Anti-Aging/Discoloration CC Cream - I just picked this because there was nothing else to choose from.  It's a tiny foil packet.
  • Novex Brazilian Keratin Care Cream - Normally I would be excited about a keratin product, but this one looks like something you would pick up at the dollar store.  I can look past the cheap packaging in hopes that it will work well, but I was not happy that mine had leaked and had product all over the cap and the rest of my samples.
  • Burt's Bees Brightening Dark Spot Corrector - I have no need for this, but again, there was nothing else worthwhile to choose so I just picked it.
  • Cotz Face Sunscreen for Natural Skin Tone - Sunscreens are boring, but I picked this because I figured that it's something I at least needed.
  • Agave Healing Oil Treatment - This is another argan sample.  I hate when samples come in those types of packets because they're hard to store.  I hope that this will work well on my hair at least.
Bottom Line: This Beauty Army box was terrible.  Again, I'm just glad it didn't cost me anything because it would have been a waste of money.  I'm hoping that the Novex Keratin treatment works well, otherwise there was nothing in this box that I really cared for.  I really hope that my May products will be a lot better, but I won't hold my breath.

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Final Little Black Bags!

If you haven't heard, Little Black Bag is going out of business.  They say that they're "merging with Pose," but LBB as we know it will no longer exist after May 5th.  They've been holding crazy sales the past month or so, and I took full advantage and purchased two final bags.  This review is for two separate shipments, but it'll be my last LBB review ever!

My first bag consisted of six items and cost me $49.64.  Right after I closed that bag I opened another for $20.90 during the handbag sale, and that bag had a total of six items as well.  I was very happy with both shipments and was glad that I could go out on a good note with no missing, broken, or out of stock items.  I am very thankful that I never got the dreaded "out of stock" email from LBB that so many other users have had.  That's one of the main reasons why I'm not surprised LBB is going out of business -- they've been screwing up too many things for far too long!

Anyway, let's start with the jewelry and beauty items I got:
  • Bindy Multi Beaded Bracelet - I actually got the black/brown one with this shipment.  The crystal one was from a previous bag (not included in this review), but I forgot so I took a photo of both and included both in my video review.
  • Lydell NYC Triangle Bangle Set
  • Stephan & Co. Bar Pendant Necklace
  • Stephan & Co. Bee Earrings - These can be seen in a separate photo further down in the post
  • Madison Reed Shampoo and Conditioner - This was a beauty extra
Watch my video review to see the rest of the items and my full thoughts on all of them:

Bottom Line: It's probably better for me and my wallet that LBB is going out of business!  Now it'll be easier to show some restraint when it comes to purchasing handbags.

See more photos of my items after the "read more."

Friday, May 2, 2014

March Little Black Bag Review (Bag #2)

I ordered two Little Black Bags in March (the first of which I wrote about here), and I'm finally getting around to writing the review for the second one!

This bag cost me $55.90, and since trading was so bad I didn't end up with anything too great.  I liked the items, but there wasn't anything I was too crazy about.  My main item was the Olivia + Joy Carlyle Double Handle Satchel.  I put it offers on a bunch of different bags but no one was accepting, until finally I was able to get this one.  It's a cute bag, but I ended up selling it on eBay because I didn't love it and it was just taking up space.

As you can see, including the bag I only was able to get four items total.

  • all the rage Elephant Stone Necklace - This necklace was released on one of my final few days of trading and I never thought I'd be able to get it, but someone actually traded with me!  I love it.  It's so cute and goes well with a shirt I got from Golden Tote.
  • Archipelago Botanicals Paramour Candle - I wanted to try one of these candles because they'd been on the site for a while and I am a candle fanatic.  I was particularly interested in this one because I liked the scent notes (pomegranate, papaya, and mango), but it doesn't smell as nice as I was hoping.  It doesn't smell bad, it just smells really artificial.  Jo from The Little Dandy said that it kind of smelled like a bathroom air freshener in her review, and she's totally right!
  • Michael Marcus Eyeshadow in Seductive - Trading was really bad.  I like brown eyeshadows, but I wasn't excited to get this.  I haven't used it yet because I think I might try to swap it in the future (plus I already have a ton of neutral shadows and it would be pointless to open up another one).  A photo of what the color looks like is below.

Bottom Line: Overall, this wasn't the greatest Little Black Bag I've ever gotten.  I do really love the necklace, but everything else was just so-so.  I purchased two more bags after this one that were much better, and I'll be posting a review for those soon!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.