Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Love Beauty and Planet Review

Love Beauty and Planet is a new vegan bath and body line that focuses on creating products that are good for you and the planet. Spring is just around the corner, and their lovely scented products are perfect for ushering in the season!

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

Love Beauty and Planet has shampoos, conditioners, body washes, and hair and body treatments in six unique collections. They're packaged in 100% recycled bottles and the labels are made with a special adhesive to ensure that they separate cleanly from the bottle during the recycling process to help ensure the bottles are reused.

They also contribute $40 per ton of Greenhouse Gas emitted during the creation, manufacturing, and distribution of their products to a Carbon Tax Fund. This fund is used to support third party programs designed to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and landfill waste.

The Hope and Repair Shampoo and Conditioner are for damaged hair. They're infused with organic virgin coconut oil to help repair hair and prevent split ends, and ylang ylang flower oil for freshness. Both smell wonderful and are perfect for my hair. I have a lot of heat damage from straightening or curling mine almost every day, and my hair feels so much more hydrated after I use this shampoo and conditioner.

Here's a look at some of the things the shampoo and conditioner do and don't feature -- lots of good things here! I love that it is a plant-based, vegan cleanser that's cruelty free. If you're worried about it not lathering well, don't -- the shampoo made a good lather that easily rinsed out of my hair.

The Sugar and Rose Creamy Body Scrub is from the Peace and Glow collection. It's infused with ethically-sourced rose absolute from Bulgaria and has a beautiful scent. Usually rose (or floral products in general) makes me sneeze a lot, but this is a gentle perfume with a balance of red berries.

The scrub is gentle but effective. The little grains of sugar are not too harsh or abrasive, and the creamy base left my skin feeling soft and smooth.

Love Beauty and Planet's products are very affordable, with pricing starting at $8.99. I love the Hope and Repair Shampoo and Conditioner and the Sugar and Rose Creamy Body Scrub! All three smell great and worked really well.
Bottom Line: Love Beauty and Planet is a great line of ethically-sourced vegan products that are great for treating yourself to affordable luxury. They have some lovely scents for all types of hair and skin, and you can easily recycle the packaging when you're all done!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sano Naturals Skincare Review

Sano Naturals creates products for healthy, beautiful skin without any harmful ingredients. They use naturally-derived, organic ingredients whenever possible in their wonderful line!

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

Sano Naturals makes all of their products in the USA in a GMP-certified facility that is wind-powered. Their formulas are cruelty-free and 100% vegan. They believe that health and well-being should be reflected in the products you use on your skin.

One of their best selling products is the K-Beauty Sano Silk Mask! This all-in-one mask reduces the appearance of pores, fights signs of aging, and brightens your overall complexion. This one is actually made in Korea per their website.

The mask comes in the single-use packets pictured above with a brush for application. I applied a pretty decent amount and still had a lot left over, so this could be stretched out to two uses. The instructions say to leave it on for 10-15 minutes but no more than 20, so I left it on for 15. Normally I like to do other things while I have a mask on, but this one also instructed that you should limit facial movement as much as possible while it dries. I ended up doing a meditation session while I waited for this to dry and it was a great experience overall!

The mask feels cool on the skin upon application and as it dries. The overall sensation lent itself to a really relaxing experience. It dries tight on the skin, but not in an uncomfortable way. It washed off easily with warm water and left my skin feeling amazing: smooth, hydrated, and refreshed!

Another mask I tried and loved is the Charcoal Peel-Off Black Mask. The consistency is almost jelly-like, so I recommend using a brush to apply this as well. The instructions said to apply a layer about an inch thick and let it dry. I was skeptical because it looked like it applied pretty unevenly, but it was a breeze to remove. Everything peeled off easily without breaking apart into little tiny pieces. Any residue easily washed off with warm water.

I will say that anyone with sensitive skin should probably pass on this one. It's wonderfully exfoliating, but when you peel it off you will remove a lot of dead skin. It removes dirt and oil, too, but if you have sensitive skin and still want to try this I'd test it on a small patch first.

Sano Naturals also has a great line of creams. The Retinol Moisturizer is made with hyaluronic acid and 2.5% retinol to firm up skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, so it'll draw up moisture from your skin to keep it looking fresh and hydrated. Retinol is Vitamin A and it is great for fighting acne. The cream also has organic aloe, jojoba oil, and green tea to soften skin and improve circulation.

The cream is so soft and is in a UV protectant jar, which is essential for retinol products. It keeps the retinol from losing its potency. I applied this as a night cream and it has a thicker texture but felt light on my skin. Keep reading for the review of the retinol serum for more information on how retinols can react with the skin.

The Retinol Serum also has 2.5% retinol. It's not listed on the Sano Naturals website at the moment, though. Retinol helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles and is also great for acne treatment. Retinol is a non-prescription version of the stronger retinoid. I have used other retinol products in the past and they've caused me to break out even more, but I learned that this is totally normal and actually should be expected when first using a retinol product. It happens because the retinol is purging your skin from all of the bad stuff down deep and should only last for about a week. I used both the Retinol Serum and Retinol Cream and only experienced a very mild breakout that lasted three days. I have only been using these products for about three weeks, but the acne purge cleared up quickly.

Sano Naturals also has a Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Serum. The Hyaluronic Acid serum helps diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. As I said earlier, hyaluronic acid is great for keeping skin moisturized. It can also help reduce the appearance of pores. The serum also has organic aloe, witch hazel, jojoba oil, green tea, and Vitamin E. It absorbed quickly into my skin and is a great daily serum.

The Vitamin C Serum is made with 20% hyaluronic acid. It stimulates collagen production, provides UV protection, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It's a little bit thicker in texture, but it still applies easily and absorbs quickly. Using a Vitamin C serum in your skincare routine is also 20 times more effective than taking Vitamin C as an oral supplement.
Bottom Line: I really enjoyed using all of these Sano Natural products! The Charcoal Peel Off mask is definitely my favorite. The serums are a great and affordable way to add extra protection into your skincare routine. I think they have a great line of naturally based products that everyone should check out.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

March My Imagination Mail Review and Giveaways

My Imagination Mail is a new subscription box catered towards young children and their families. Boxes are packed with holiday-themed toys, crafts, and activities to engage your child's imagination and create lasting memories.

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

My Imagination Mail was created by Holly and Mike Roper. Holly is a former preschool teacher, and she and Mike both were all too aware of the struggle between balancing work and making memories with their children. They were inspired to create this box to help children all over make fond memories with their families centered around imaginative play and creative thinking!

My Imagination Mail has three subscription options:
  • Weekly Holiday Magic Postcards - $9.99 per month for a customized postcard with a personalized message delivered to your door each week.
  • Monthly Holiday Magic Box - $34.99 per month for a box with a personalized letter, seasonal toys, crafts, stickers, character activity calendar, collector's pin, and other holiday items
  • Complete Holiday Magic Experience - $39.98 per month (save $5/month) for the Monthly Holiday Magic Box AND the Weekly Holiday Magic Postcards
All prices include shipping to the continental U.S. They currently do not ship to P.O. boxes.

This is a review for the Holiday Magic Box.

I love the design of this box! The outer packaging is full of cute and colorful seasonal images. All of the items are carefully and snugly packaged inside. At the top of the box is an insert for a grown-up helper, along with the character calendar. This month's box features fun holidays for March and April.

This box is full of fun items! As I was unpackaging it I kept thinking, "wow, there's more!" There were so many items that I couldn't even fit them all back in the box when I was done, but that's mostly because I didn't pay attention to how they all fit in in the first place.

See what I mean? Lots of toys, treats, and games in the box. I would have absolutely loved unboxing something like this when I was a kid! The box is also pretty gender neutral, which is great for all kids.

Each month your child will receive a letter from a holiday character. This month's box features a lot of Easter themed items, so of course the letter is from Eddie the Easter Bunny! Click here to view the full-sized version of the letter.

I think this is such a cute and creative addition to the box. I'm sure kids will be excited to get their very own letter from the Easter Bunny, and if your kid is a little older it's something they can practice reading with you.

There are a lot of different characters and brands represented in the box. I love all of the bunny items, since rabbits are my favorite animal, but there's also things for St. Patrick's Day and general spring-themed items as well. You can see in the photo directly above that the Collector's Pin for this month is a white rabbit with a red bow tie (center of the photo).

I like the range of items here. There are simple games like the mini Dominoes, plus fun crafts like the felt poster and styrofoam planes and rabbit to put together. I also loved stickers when I was younger (and honestly, still do now) so the St. Patrick's Day and Easter/Spring stickers would have also been a huge hit with younger me!

One of the two main games is the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Jumbo Card Game. I know Hatchimals are huge right now, and this comes with an exclusive figure and a simple card game.

The biggest item in the box is the Egg Head Game. It has a small die and 12 plastic eggs. The rules are simple, as you can see above. It seems a little bit messy and definitely to be played outdoors, but my brothers and I would have loved something like this when we were kids!

The Grown-Up Helper insert lists all of the items in the box along with ideas on how to use them, such as using the Hatchimals game for family game night or using the foam stickers for cards and arts and crafts. There's also a reminder that some of the items have small pieces and everything is intended for ages 3+, and to have adult supervision during all activities.
Bottom Line: I think My Imagination Mail is wonderful! I would have loved receiving this box each month as a kid. It's full of colorful, fun activities with lovely personal touches like the character letter. I think this box is a great way to spend time with your kids and create memories.

My Imagination Mail has generously offered TWO giveaways for my readers!

The first one is simple: The first 100 people to leave their shipping information in the Rafflecopter widget below will be mailed a personalized postcard from the Easter Bunny! Postcards will be printed mid-March and mailed in time for Easter (April 1st). Enter your information in the Rafflecopter below and the first 100 addresses will be sent to My Imagination Mail. The postcard image is below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The second giveaway is for the April Complete Holiday Magic Experience: one Holiday Magic Box plus one month of postcards (four total). Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. This sweepstakes is open to continental U.S. residents aged 18+ and ends at 12:00 AM EST on February 25, 2018. My Imagination Mail will be sending the prize directly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 16, 2018

February Degustabox Review and 50% Off Coupon

The February Degustabox had everything you need to prepare for the Super Bowl. The game might be over now, but Degustabox delivers a great box of foods and snacks every month!

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

Degustabox costs $19.99 per month with free shipping to the U.S. Each box contains nine to 14 full-sized food and pantry items, from cookies, sauces, to cookies, and more!

You can earn Degusta Points by referring friends (50 points) and/or filling out product surveys (five points each) for the items in the box. You can then exchange these points for a free box.

February's box had 10 items that were great for hosting a Super Bowl party, or any party really, if you're not into football. Everything is always carefully packaged with recyclable bubble wrap protecting the products.

I really enjoyed the snacks in this month's box! Here's what was inside:
  • Boboli Thin Crust ($3.99) - No lie, the day I received this box I was craving pizza so I used this right away! This thin crust is 12" and perfect for creating your own pizza.
  • Lundberg Family Farms Aged White Cheddar Red Rice and Quinoa Tortilla Chips ($3.29) - These chips have a creamy white cheddar flavor and a hint of garlic. They have a great crunch and I like that they're made from rice and quinoa.
  •  Boboli Pizza Sauce ($2.75) - When I saw the pizza crust I thought hmm, I don't have any pizza sauce. But then I looked further and saw that Boboli and Degustabox took care of us this month and included a box with three packets of sauce. Perfect! I'm picky about my sauces but this one was really good, flavored with garlic and onion and Italian spices.
  • Tiger Tail Classic Mustard ($1.99) - This small batch mustard is crafted in Dyersburg, Tennessee. It has no preservatives and is made with quality ingredients. There was also a recipe card for a Super Cubano Sandwich using this mustard.
  • LUNA Bars ($1.39 for full sized) - I received three Lemon flavored bars. They're a great gluten-free snack and I like eating them for a quick breakfast. They have a crispy rice layer with a lemon creme frosting-like layer on top.
  •  The Spice Hunter Coriander Lime ($4.99) - This Coriander Lime Global Fusion rub is inspired by Thai cuisine and has a fragrant, citrusy flavor. I love experimenting with new spices but wasn't familiar with what to cook with coriander. Luckily there's a recipe card for Grilled Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple to use this with!
  • Goya Refried Black beans and Refried Pinto Beans ($1.39 and $1.09) - Beans are an essential part of my burritos and tacos and Goya always has good quality products. The other side of the product listing insert has a recipe for Warm Bean Dip that I think I'll try with these.
  • Sir Kensington's Spicy Ketchup ($4.99) - I have to admit that I really enjoy fancy ketchup. You know, the ones that are a little bit more expensive than the standard brands but are packed with so much more flavor? Sir Kensington's is great and has just a hint of spice.
  • Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa ($3.49) - This salsa has Rahr & Sons amber lager for a unique, bold flavor. It's great on its own as a dip, or as a marinade or chili base. The info card also had a recipe for Texas Tavern Salsa Chicken that I definitely want to cook with this!
Bottom Line: This Degustabox had a great theme. I'm all for party snacks and the products featured this month are great for entertaining! I especially love the Sir Kensington's ketchup and Boboli products.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Keeping Skin Nourished With Dove Beauty Bars

The Dove Beauty Bar is a classic cleanser that can be found in almost every household. The product has been around for more than 60 years, but to this day Dove is still unveiling new research and improvements to set the Beauty Bar apart from your average soap.

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

How many times do you wash your hands in a day? Probably more than you ever even think about. Plus add on regular showers, and that's a lot of cleansing to put your skin through. I'm sure you've heard the term "squeaky clean" -- that feeling where your skin is so clean that it's almost literally squeaky when you touch it.

While it may seem like being squeaky clean is the ideal, it's actually not great for your skin. Dove has unveiled new research that showed 85% of dermatologists reported that their patients were surprised to hear that the squeaky clean feeling means that your skin might be stripped of essential hydrating nutrients. 92% of dermatologists reported that ordinary soap can overly strip the skin, so if you're doing this multiple times a day that can lead to some irritated and painful skin!

I have pretty sensitive skin, especially in the winter, and I'm always looking for cleansers that don't overly dry my already chapped hands. The Dove Beauty Bars are different than ordinary soap because they replenish nutrients that are lost while washing. They contain natural skin lipids that deposit onto the skin, as well as 1/4 of their composition being made up of moisturizing cream.A mild cleanser, sodium lauroyl isethionate, cleanses the skin.

Dove Beauty Bars are the #1 dermatologist recommended bar. It cleans your skin without stripping away essential moisture and nutrients. I received three bars to try and I can say that they really do leave my hands feeling much less stripped than other soaps I've tried.

The White Bar is probably the one that most people are familiar with. It has a light floral scent and is embossed with the Dove logo, as are all of the varieties. I also like that it has an ergonomic bend to it, making it easier to hold onto and move around in your hands or across your body to create a lather.

The Beauty Bar is also available in Pink and Sensitive Skin (unscented). While all of them were gentle, the Sensitive Skin is obviously the best option if you're like me and are prone to overly dry or sensitive skin.

After I washed my hands with these soaps I definitely felt a difference. Usually after washing I immediately put on hand lotion to avoid that dry, itchy after wash feeling. I purposely didn't use any lotion after washing with these bars so I could judge how they really made my skin feel. While my skin didn't feel as soft as it would have if I had added more lotion, I can definitely say that I felt the effects of the lipids and moisturizers in the bar! My skin wasn't immediately overly flaky and cracked.
  • Visit Dove to learn more
Bottom Line: Dove Beauty Bars are a very affordable way to treat yourself to a small luxury. Instead of stripping your skin of essential moisture and oils that it needs, use these bars to efficiently clean your skin without leaving it feeling "squeaky clean!"

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sacred Mind and Body Therapeutic Relief Review

Sacred Mind and Body creates all-natural hemp oil products for a variety of needs. Their products are made with the finest high quality ingredients. I tried their Therapeutic Relief Balm and Lotion and had great results!

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

Sacred Mind and Body was founded on the belief that everyone should have access to high quality natural products to care for the body. Their products are not tested on animals and are FDA-evaluated and THC-free. Not only do their products promote soft skin, but they also help stimulate circulation, promote cellular regeneration, reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and ease toxins out of the body.

The Therapeutic Relief Lotion and Therapeutic Relief Balm definitely help relax sore muscles! Both relieve aches and pains and help restore motion from stiffness. They're safe for all skin types and help boost healing while reducing inflammation.

The Lotion is available in a 2 fl oz bottle and is a thinner consistency than the balm. It's made with violet leaf infused olive oil, natural hemp seed oil, beeswax, essential oils (myrrh, turmeric, ginger, frankincense), and Vitamin E. It has what I consider to be the standard pain relief lotion scent, minty and strong.

The Balm is a thicker consistency that I prefer, as it's easier to really rub it into the affected area. It still applies smoothly even though it's thicker than the lotion. It's available in a 3 oz jar and has similar ingredients to the lotion: violet leaf infused olive oil, castor oil, ginger root infused oil, meadowfoam sea oil, natural hemp oil, beeswax, essential oils (turmeric, chamomile, lavender, ginger, frankincense), and Vitamin E. The balm has a less intense scent and smells more like lavender/ginger than the lotion.

Both the lotion and balm are great for using before or after workouts or whenever you're feeling sore. I applied these to my neck and shoulders after the gym yesterday and they felt so good. The instructions say to wait 15-20 minutes to feel the effects, but I felt them after only a few minutes. Both give a nice cooling sensation that really helps relax the muscles.
Bottom Line: I'm a fan of the Sacred Mind and Body Therapeutic Lotion and Balm! Both worked really well to soothe my delayed-onset muscle soreness after working out. Both had equal strength relief, so whether you choose the lotion or balm is really up to which consistency and/or scent you prefer.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

PlateJoy $20 Off Coupon!

PlateJoy offers personalized meal plans that include recipes and grocery lists to make cooking easy and fun. They take the stress out of planning meals by providing flexible options for a variety of diets.

*Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate links.

Image courtesy of PlateJoy

PlateJoy's base plan does not send ingredients, but you can elect to have the optional ingredient delivery added to your plan if it's available in  your state. Learn more about how PlateJoy works at my introductory post here!

  • Now through February 20, 2018 you can get $20 off your PlateJoy membership with code COOKWYOU -- Click here to get started!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review

I live alone, so unless I cook something up for dinner...there's no dinner! I do enjoy cooking, but I'm not always great at coming up with meal ideas. Meal delivery services like Sun Basket have always interested me because they make it easy to put dinner on the table.

*Disclaimer: This box was purchased by See, Shop, Love!

I had a coupon for half off a box of Sun Basket so I decided to give them a try. Their menu looked great, so I signed up for the three meal/two portion plan. It ended up being around $35 with the coupon.

Sun Basket prides themselves on sending organic and sustainable ingredients in 100% recyclable and compostable packaging. They have lots of different meal plans available: Paleo, Lean and Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Mediterranean, and Family.

I really appreciate that Sun Basket's packaging is recyclable and compostable. I've tried other meal delivery kits in the past and my main complaint was that they were so wasteful -- tons of plastic and other packaging. I still recycled what I could from those kits, and Sun Basket still had a lot of packaging, but being able to recycle everything eased my mind a bit.

Each meal's ingredients are packed in separate paper bags. The meats, if you order any, are at the bottom of the box with a big ice pack. The ice pack was also fully recyclable and compostable.

Sun Basket sends a booklet with all  of the recipes for that week, as opposed to individual recipe cards like some other services do. I actually really enjoyed having each recipe, even if I didn't order it, because now I can cook them all in the future on my own. There's also a kid's game and an extra article about salt in the booklet.

My first meal, and favorite, was the Orzo bowls with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and pistou. It was a vegetarian meal, and although I eat meat, I wanted to try it because I love orzo and this looked really colorful (as you can see from all the veggies above).

This was really easy to cook and tasted amazing! It also came with goat cheese to sprinkle on top. The goat cheese was a delicious, tart contrast to the smooth pistou sauce. I learned that pisou is the French version of pesto, the difference being that it doesn't have pine nuts in it. Sun Basket included full pine nuts to add on top with the goat cheese. I'll definitely save this recipe and make it again soon!

Another favorite of mine is pork carnitas, so I knew I had to order the Pork carnitas tacos with avocado and cabbage slaw. The kits include everything you need, except for maybe staples like oil and salt and pepper. The ingredients for the tacos are pictured above.

The best thing about this recipe was that the carnitas were already cooked. I kind of put off making this because I assumed I'd have to slow cook the pork, but once I read the recipe I realized that it was pre-cooked and I just had to crisp it up on the stovetop. Nice and easy!

I also really enjoyed the cabbage slaw. It also had radishes and red onion for a great crunch against the tender meat.

I loved these tacos! The carnitas spice was fantastic and the meat crisped up easily. The recipe said to cut up chunks of avocado to garnish, but I smashed it up into guacamole instead. I have a different carnitas spice in my cupboard so this recipe will be made again in the future, too.

My last meal was the Char-siu pork with quick pickles. I love char siu, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this recipe as much.

The kit included baby broccoli, sichuan peppercorns, and garlic. I love anything with lots of garlic and heat, so I was excited to put them all together with the broccoli. I didn't care for the end result -- not a lot of flavor from the garlic or peppercorns transferred to the broccoli so it was just kind of bland.

The pork and "quick pickles" were also disappointing. The quick pickles were not pickles at all, but cabbage, sesame seeds, and carrots with a "quick pickling" sauce mixed in. I needed a lot more pickling sauce for this to be satisfying to me. It just tasted like cabbage.

Char siu is a Cantonese style of pork, basically a Chinese barbecue. The char siu I'm used to is really flavorful and nice and crispy. This was neither. I think it was mostly my fault, as I used all of the marinade on the meat and then rinsed out the dish I used to spread it on, when I was supposed to save some of the marinade to add to the pork before quick frying it again. It was cooked in the oven for 10 minutes then transferred to the fry pan to add a crispy sear, but I guess my stovetop just wasn't hot enough because this didn't really become crispy at all. The char siu sauce was delicious, but there wasn't enough of it on or in the meat to be worth it.
Bottom Line: I had a fun time cooking these Sun Basket recipes. I really enjoyed the orzo and tacos, and I might try the char siu again with a different cut of meat. I also appreciate that Sun Basket makes the packaging easily recyclable. That being said, I cancelled my subscription after this box because it's too expensive for me to stay subscribed in the long run. It comes out to about $75 a week, which is about what I spend on myself for groceries in two weeks. This would probably be great for a family or couple, but for me cooking alone it just isn't cost-effective.