Monday, December 30, 2019

January 2020 Book of the Month Selections and Coupon

Picking out my Book of the Month is always my favorite way to start the month! The January 2020 selections are now live.

*Disclaimer: Post contains referral links.

Book of the Month costs $14.99 per month for a brand new, hardcover book. You can choose from one of five books that were selected by a panel of judges. Here are the selections for January:

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James:
Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd:
Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Tightrope by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn:
With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an "other America." The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof's old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation's drug epidemic. These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey:
Miranda Popkey's first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt—written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women—the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage—and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald:
Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.

For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:

1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.

Selections are active now and I chose The Sun Down Motel for my book! Which will you choose?
  • New subscribers: use my referral link to get your first book for only $5!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

December Bespoke Post: "Dim" Review and $20 Off Coupon

I've always been intrigued by Bespoke Post and I decided to sign up during their Black Friday sale. They're classified as a Men's subscription box, but they have great items for anyone, in my opinion.

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

Bespoke Post releases a selection of boxes each month containing a variety of lifestyle items. They'll choose a box based on your interests profile that you fill out when signing up, but you can change to a different box or skip a month if you're not interested in any of the selections.

Boxes cost $45 per month with $3.95 shipping to the contiguous U.S. and $10 to Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada. All orders over $75 get free shipping. They also pay all duties for Canadian addresses, so you won't owe anything extra when you get your box.

What I love about Bespoke Post is they have so many different box options with a ton of high quality items. I'd been considering getting some smart lights for my apartment and when I saw that Bespoke Post was having a Black Friday sale, I immediately snatched up their Dim box.

The box contains a Philips Hue Bridge and two White Ambiance bulbs. The Bridge itself retails for around $60, so the fact that I was able to get that and two bulbs for only $33 with the sale price was an amazing deal! It still would have been a great deal at the regular $45 box price, too.

I was a bit surprised when I opened the box that the packaging wasn't very fancy. I mean, everything was well-protected and nothing broke in transit, but I at least expected an info sheet or something with more information about the box, considering how classy Bespoke Post seems otherwise. Instead, the box contained only the items with some paper filler to protect them during transit.

I'm so glad I got this box! I thought smart lights were kind of unnecessary for the longest time, but then my brother got some (also Philips Hue) and I changed my mind. I especially like them because I live alone and can now control the lighting with my voice, since I hooked them up to my Google Home. I can also set them on timers or to turn on during random times throughout the day, which is added security that gives me peace of mind.

These specific White Ambiance bulbs can change from a yellow to white to slight blue hue with varying brightness. I like this because a bright, white/blue light is my favorite, but sometimes I set them to a dim yellow for when I'm taking a nap or reading. There are also pre-set colors available through the Hue phone app.
Bottom Line: I think Bespoke Post is a great deal. Even though it's targeted towards men, don't be afraid to check it out if you don't identify as male. I think a lot of the box options are unisex and I'm really excited to receive more!

Monday, December 23, 2019

November and December Shades Club Review and 50% Off Coupon

I mixed up my Shades Club reviews! I marked last month's as November, but it was actually my shipment for October. This month I'm posting November and December together because, due to holiday shipping craziness, I didn't get my November Shades until mid-December.

*Disclaimer: These boxes were purchased by See, Shop, Love! at a discounted rate in exchange for an honest review.

Shades Club sends a pair of stylish, high quality shades for men and women each month. You can choose Men's or Women's when you sign up. Their shades are manufactured in the same places as brands that sell at much higher price points, and in my opinion, they are just as great of quality (if not better)!

Here are their pricing options:
  • Monthly: $29 per month
  • Four Months: $112 every four months/$28 per month (one month free)
  • Six Months: $162 every six months/$27 per month (1.5 months free)
  • Yearly: $288 every 12 months/$24 per month (two months free)
Shipping is free to the U.S. with all subscription options. You can also buy individual pairs and accessories in the Shop.

I'm in love with the November shades! They're the Day-Trippers style in Fire Island. The warm tones of the mirrored lenses are absolutely gorgeous, and they pop especially well against the bold black frames. They're also branded with the Shades name/logo on the left lens, as you can see in the second photo above.

Each pair of shades will also come with a microfiber drawstring carrying case that doubles as a cleaning cloth.

The shades are also branded on the inside of the arms with the name of the style and color and a fun "Best Day Ever" message.

Shades Club also updated their packaging for November and December, which I really appreciate. Shades previously shipped in a box inside of a box, which is kind of wasteful, even if both were recyclable. Now they're packed in a sturdy cardboard box that's smaller in size.

The December Shades are called The Everyday in the Shades Club Blue color. They're a wayfarer shape with plastic frames in the same blue color as the frames. The color is really interesting for winter, not what I would expect, but surprisingly apropos. They remind me of icy winter weather.

These are also branded with the Shades logo on the lens and arms.
Bottom Line: The November and December Shades Club sunglasses are amazing! I love both of them for their bold colors and sturdy frames. They fit my face shape well and are excellent quality.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Subscription Alert: Fabulous You Box + Spoiler!

There's a brand new subscription box that has just launched Fabulous You!

Fabulous You is a new women's lifestyle box that was created by Bonny and Becky, two subscription box fanatics, best friends, entrepreneurs, wives, mothers, and cancer survivor warriors! They created the subscription to give women some well-deserved "me" time and build a community to uplift and unite all women to know how fabulous they are.

The inaugural box ships in February and they are taking subscriptions now. You'll receive a box packed with lifestyle products with a well-rounded selection. Proceeds from each quarterly box will support organizations dedicated to finding a cure for cancer, so not only will you get a box of goodies, you'll help give back, too!

The first spoiler for the February box is a two-piece set from Kendra Scott: Ever Silver Pendant Necklace in Slate Cats Eye and the Edie Silver Cuff Bracelet in Slate Cats Eye (value of $105)!

The second spoiler is a five-piece set from Margot Elena and Tokyomilk valued at $92! The items in the set are:
  • Tokyomilk Bar Soap in Yellow Flower
  • Light Handcreme in Transformation or Awaken Within
  • Parfum in Song D Minor or Le Petit
  • Lip Balm in Rosewater
  • Tote Back in Rock Star or Be Bold

If you sign up within the next three days (until 12/23) or until 1,000 boxes have been sold, whichever comes first, you can get your subscription at a discounted price!

You can sign up for this box now on the Fabulous You website! Look for a review here of the February box once that ships, too.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

December Gramma in a Box Review

The holidays are a great time to spend with family and share sweet treats, and Gramma in a Box makes it easy to do both!

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

Gramma in a Box sends a monthly supply of cookie and candy crafts that you can create and share with your loved ones. The founder, Terry, was inspired to create the subscription after her grandkids moved away and she wanted a way to stay in touch and treat them to home-baked goods.

Here are the pricing options:
  • Monthly: $20 per month (first box is only $10)
  • Three Months: $55 every three months (save $5)
  • Six Months: $110 every six months (save $10)
  • 12 Months: $220 every 12 months (save $20)
Shipping is free to the U.S. and taxes are included. If you want to cancel, do so by the 25th of the month. You can also try one box for $20 without a renewing subscription.

Each box will contain ingredients to make three crafts equaling 15 to 20 individual treats. The only things you will need to supply are household basics like a bowl and spoon.

The December box featured Christmas and winter-themed treats!

I did this crafts a little backwards this month. I created the third project, Holiday Cookies, first because I used the cookies to give to friends. The cookies are pre-baked by Terry, so it's advised that you create your crafts within a week of receiving your box for maximum freshness.

The cutout cookies were shaped like ornamets, trees, and snowflakes. The three icing colors were white, red, and green and there were various colored sprinkles. I also added some leftover mini M&Ms that I had for a little more color. The cookies are so good and everyone always loves when I share them!

Since I did the three crafts on different days, I didn't realize I hadn't taken pictures of the ingredients for the first and third projects prior to completing them, so I only have photos of the finished products.

The first craft was Hot Chocolate Buddies. First I melted the chocolate in the microwave, then dipped a candy cane end into the chocolate, pushed the candy cane into the marshmallow, then dipped the marshmallow in the chocolate and sprinkles. You can add these to your cup of hot chocolate for extra fun flavor, or just eat them individually like I did!

The second project was Crispy Peppermint Bites. It included the leftover melted chocolate from the first project, which I added crushed peppermint to. Then I added the chocolate mix onto each pretzel and topped with a candy and sprinkles.
Bottom Line: Gramma in a Box is always fun and creative and my family loves sharing the crafts! This is a really nice way to treat yourself and/or your loved ones to a care package of delicious treats.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Instylish Not Basic Eyeshadow Brush Set Review

Instylish is a new direct-to-consumer brand that offers affordable, high-quality beauty products including brush sets, lashes, and makeup.

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

Instylish brings high-grade beauty solutions with clean, animal-friendly ingredients. They aim to provide products that are versatile for all types of people, styles, and occasions.

The Not Basic Eyeshadow Brush Set retails for $15.99 and is on sale for $12.99 at the time of this post. It comes with a Small Angle Brush, Large Shader Brush, Eyeshadow Brush, and Eye Blending Brush. The brushes are made from synthetic fibers with soft, dense bristles that feel silky soft.

The brushes come in a black mesh zip case for easy transport, and the brushes themselves have a rose gold accent with white and gray bristles. I think this set is perfect for every day use and for travel!

The Small Angle Brush is the flat angled brush in the photo above that makes it easy to draw feathery strokes for filling in brows or any time you need a straight edge (lining the eyes, etc). It's great for applying eyeshadow to small spaces like beneath the brow arch and in the inner corners of the eyes.

The Large Shader Brush is for prepping lids and provided optimum eyeshadow base along the entire lid. You can also use it for contouring on the nose or applying blush and highlighter.

The Eyeshadow Brush is the dome-shaped brush that diffuses eyeshadow pigments for all types of looks. I like using this to add a pop of color to my looks.

The Eye Blending Brush is for expertly blending all eyeshadows together to create a smooth, seamless look. It softens harsh lines or edges and can also be used to do a lip contour or highlight the face.
Bottom Line: The Instylish Not Basic Brush Set is a great value and provides four excellent brushes. The bristles are super soft and great at picking up and depositing just the right amount of shadow for your looks!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

December Book of the Month Review and Coupon

Subscribing to Book of the Month again was one of the best choices I made this year! I love this subscription. It's always so much fun to pick out a brand new book each month.

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

Book of the Month was founded in 1926 and has been sharing great new reads with people ever since. The current iteration of the subscription allows you to choose from five new releases that are chosen by a panel of judges each month.

Your first box is $9.99 per month (keep reading to see how you can get your first box for only $5, though) and after that you'll be charged $14.99 per month for a book credit. You can skip any month and the credit will roll over to the next month. After 12 boxes you'll be a member of their BFF Club, which includes an extra credit during your birthday month and perks like a free tote bag with book pocket.

My selection for December was Long Bright River by Liz Moore, and I decided to add No Exit by Taylor Adams to my box. You can add on as many books as you want to your monthly shipment for $9.99 each.

Here's a synopsis for Long Bright River:
In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.

Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit--and her sister--before it's too late.

Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters' childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.

And for No Exit:
On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape. But who can she trust?
I decided to start No Exit first because it was shorter and it's excellent so far!
  • Visit Book of the Month to subscribe: first month is $9.99, no coupon needed
    • Use coupon code FAM5 to get your first book for only $5
Bottom Line: Book of the Month would make a great gift for anyone who loves to read. The selections are always excellent and you can't beat the price of $14.99 for a brand new hardcover book!

Friday, December 6, 2019

November MyBookBox Review

MyBookBox would make a great gift for the reader in your life, or as a treat for yourself! They send two hand-selected books plus a special gift each month.

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

MyBookBox sends specially selected books from the genres of your choice. They also include a special gift, such as a snack or reading-related wares. Here are the pricing options:
  • Monthly: $39.95 per month
  • Three Months: $110.85 ($36.95/month) every three months, plus free tote
  • One-time box: $39.95 
Shipping is free to U.S. addresses, including Hawaii, Alaska, and U.S. territories. Boxes are shipped media mail and take 3-7 days for contiguous U.S. and 12-16 days for HI, AK, and territories. Shipping to Canada is $19, Mexico for $26, and the rest of the world for $28. A delivery time for international shipping cannot be guaranteed.

All plans renew on the 28th of the month (for the three month option, your plan will renew on the 28th of every third month).

When you sign up for a subscription you'll be able to select from the following genres, and your preferences can be changed at any time:
  • Children 3-7
  • Children 8-12
  • Young Adult
  • Nonfiction
  • Mystery
  • Women's Fiction
This review is for the November Nonfiction and Mystery selections.

The Nonfiction book is The Crying Book by Heather Christle. It contains short snippets of information about crying: why we cry, crying related inventions, and personal stories from the author. This isn't the type of book I would pick up on my own, but I'm more than halfway through with it and it's very interesting. It took a little bit for me to get used to the way it was written (not all of the snippets flow into each other), but it contains a lot of information about crying and the human experience.

Each book also comes with a note from the author and a bookmark with more information about the title.

The Mystery book is The Last Thing She Told Me by Linda Green. The protagonist, Nicola, is told by her dying grandmother that there are"babies at the bottom of the garden." The novel centers around this secret and the painful family secrets Nicola unearths. I haven't started it yet but it sounds like a great mystery and family drama wrapped into one book.

The special gift for November is a pair of Winter Reading Socks from Out of Print. They are so cozy! The material is incredibly soft and the book design is cute and very appropriate for the box.
Bottom Line: I love MyBookBox! So far I've gotten nothing but fantastic selections from them and the special gifts are always a nice touch. This box is an excellent choice for book lovers.