Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goodies Co. Guests Can Now Shop Its Online Store

Goodies Co. - the $7 food subscription service that delivers 5-8 new foods monthly - has just opened its online store to guests users. Until now, only its subscribers could buy the full-size treats featured in the Taster's Box. Now everyone can get a hold of these treats by checking-out as a guest. Shipping is always $5. They have a Valentine's Day Gift Box featured that is full of chocolates and looks quite delicious.

Goodies Co. Valentine's Day Gift Box

I'm in line to receive my first Goodies Taster's Box in February, so I am yet to comment on the goodies from personal experience. However, based on some of the reviews of boxes from January and December, I am really excited for the opportunity to buy some of the items online. I find the way the items are reviewed - across taste, uniqueness, packaging and overall criteria - useful. Also, there are quite a few reviews already which seems to be a good indication of popularity and overall quality of the foods offered. Can't wait to get my February Taster's Box!

Are you a Goodies Co. subscriber? If not, would be buying some of the treats in their online store?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My-type-of Deal: Calypso St. Barth Sale: Extra 50% Off

I was so excited to find the notification from Calypso St. Barth in my inbox this morning. They are offering an extra 50% off sale items - both online and in stores.
The brand: If you are not familiar, Calypso St. Barth is a "luxury lifestyle brand, inspired by culture travel & the arts" that has grown to an international recognition since opening its first store in St. Barth back in 1992. 

Why I like it: I was first introduced to the brand through its collaboration for a limited-edition collection with Target in 2011. I bought a couple of pieces and I really liked them. I found the cuts, texture and overall vacation-y appeal different and unique. Since then, I started following the Calypso's regular collections. While I do love many of the items, the regular price tag is a bit hefty for me to justify. However, I usually score beautiful pieces through their sales. Here are some of the ones I am considering now (each under $40):

1. Raisa Silk Dress, $39.50 after discount
2. Adelle Knit Top, $24.50 after discount (I really like the subtle sparkle in this one)
3. Josefa Mini Skirt, $24.50 after discount 
4. Tess Flower Sandals, by Chocolat Blue, $39.50 after discount

Take a look, maybe you will find something for your next trip.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Sub Box Alternative? - Swaggable Lets You Try Products for Free

The company: Swaggable, a company that lets you test products free and share your experience via reviews with Facebook friends, started in beta in early 2012. It has received some press in Mashable, Forbes, etc.

The products: The products run across multiple categories – cosmetics & beauty, snacks, kids’ products, health & wellness, beverages, etc. In terms of the brands, there are some I am already familiar with, such as Pangea Organics and Nature’s Gate (I currently use their Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense Shampoo and I really like it) and others I have never heard of before, such as Purity Cosmetics.
Some of my "WANTS ITEMS" on Swaggable
How it works: Once you sign up, you browse across the categories and identify the products that interest you by putting them in your “Wants” list. You look through reviews, spread the word among your friends and wait for Swaggable to invite you to try products – always shipped free.

My initial verdict: Based on some of the reviews I’ve read, it seems that there are products I’d definitely like – such as this Fennel Grapefruit and Orange Lip Balm by PangeaOrganics or this Hemp Hearts by Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. I like this idea of “social marketing” where the idea is to connect consumers directly with marketers, let them try products and then share their opinions with their friends. If the this model gains popularity, I see Swaggable almost as a competitor to some of the monthly subscription services out there (those where offered brands would overlap) – as you will get to try some of the products for free… Now, I will have to wait and see how the model actually works before I can make my final verdict; more to come.

Have you heard of Swaggable? Are you interested? What do you think of the whole model?

$20 Off Healthy Surprise Snacks Box via Plum District

Plum District is offering $20 off any monthly subscription to Healthy Surprise - a subscription service that sends you a box of new healthy full-size snacks delivered to your door every month. I personally haven't tried them, but based on the information on their website, there are three box options: Starter Box, Healthy Box and Large Box:

Healthy Surprise Subscription Box Options - Stater, Healthy and Large

If I were to use the $20 off coupon, I could get the Starter Box almost at 50% off. If it looks like something you'd want to try, you can get the $20 off coupon by registering at Plum District. If you are not familiar with the site, it is provides daily offers "By Moms For Moms - a community of moms sharing deals from local and national merchants for other moms to enjoy."

Do you subscribe to Healthy Surprise or any other food / snacks subscription service? If so, what are your thoughts in terms of value, snack choice, convenience? If not, are you willing to give them a try?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Best Body Oil - basq Resilient Body Oil Review

How I Found It: basq CALM Resilient Body Oil is a product I was introduced to last year through one of my past subscriptions (*). At the time, I was in the middle of my pregnancy and was looking for a skincare product to help moisturize, tone and protect my expanding belly against stretch marks. I have heard of basq products and was thrilled to find a bottle of their CALM Lavender Pear Resilient Body Oil in my box.

basq Resilient Body Oil - CALM, Trio and REVIVE
What It Promised: The description said that the “resilient body oil base blends some of the finest oils available for full body toning and stretch mark care” and that “nothing nourishes skin like Essential Fatty Acid rich oils Hazelnut, Sunflower and Sweet Almond Oil provide intense skin cell nourishment with Essential Fatty Acids and naturally occurring Vitamins that protect skin from damage.” In addition, I found the scent of “French grown lavender with a hint of pear for a soft and soothing aroma” just heavenly – not overpowering, but subtle and relaxing.

What It Did for Me: I tried it and since then, this oil has become part of my daily skincare routine. Even now, when I’m no longer pregnant, this product is one of my must have’s. I have tried other body oils before but found most of them to be too oily. Not this one – it quickly absorbs into the skin, making it feel toned and moisturized; and I have been using it throughout the seasons, not just in cold weather. I have no stretch marks and while I can’t credit exclusively this product for that fact (as I didn’t have any with my first child either), I do believe it helped. That and the fact that my skin feels and looks better; and the Lavender Pear scent is just so relaxing, sweet and intricate at the same time; I am almost addicted to it. For a person who is not a big fan of lavender scented products, as I find that many tend to be too overpowering, I think that the lavender has found its perfect match in basq CALM Lavender Pear Body Oil.

Once I ran out of my first bottle, I bought the Resilient Body Oil Trio set (a better value) that, in addition to the CALM scent, also includes the REVIVE (Grapefruit Citrus) and the FRESH (Eucalyptus Spa) scents. While CALM still remains my favorite, I like both REVIVE and FRESH (more uplifting and refreshing) and use the different bottles depending on time of the day and my mood.

basq was started by two moms to create “gentle, effective products that splurge on beauty and deliver on results”, and has gained some great reviews, awards and celeb popularity in the last year. If interested, you can learn more about the company here.

Have you heard of and tried any of basq products? Are you a fan of body oils and if so, I'd love to hear about your favorites?

(* – a mom & baby box offered by Glossybox for a few months in 2012, has since then suspended service)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Graze Healthy Snack Review - 1st Box is Almost Here!

My 1st Graze Healthy Snack box is packed and on its way! If you are not familiar with the new food sub, you can read more here.
What I find really neat is that Graze posted a picture of the snacks in this week's box in my account. Take a look below: 

A preview of my 1st Graze Healthy Snack Box

I actually like the fact that they give you the heads-up as to what's coming. As for the choice of snacks, Graze got a good mix based on my ratings:
  • two snacks that I "love": Habas Tapas and Pear Tatin snacks
  • one snack that I "like": Super Berry Detox
  • one snack that I would "try": Lemon and Poppy Cake with an Afternoon Infusion (I would probably end up "loving" this one - not sure why I left it as a "try" as I really enjoy poppy lemon cake)
As for the actual quality and taste of the snacks, I will write more once I get the box - hopefully in the next couple of days. More to come!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Food Sub Alert - Graze Healthy Snack Box USA Launch

Graze – a weekly snack subscription box – has already been operating in the UK for the last four years. Today, Graze launches its service into the US.

In short – Graze is a snack delivery service that sends a box of four nutritious snacks delivered to your door for free every week (yes, unlike most subs out there, this is a weekly one). There are more than 90 snacks on their website to choose from, ranging across nine different categories – dip & dippers, savory snacks, healthy treats, super seeds and more. The company says that it is focused on delivering healthy portion-controlled high-variety snacks.

You can sign up for two different types of boxes – the nibble box that offers the maximum variety of snacks or the light box that offers low calorie snacking and over 50 varieties to choose from. 

Once you sign up, you can rate each of the snacks on their website so that you can have a say of what goes into your boxes. There are four ratings, including a “trash” one that, if choosen for certain foods, translates into you never getting those. Also, you can make changes or cancellations for the following week’s box if you let the company know before 02:00 EST on Friday.

I just signed up for the light box and rated the snacks – there are a bunch that I loved and I am looking forward to getting my first box next week. That is my first food subscription box and I am hoping to love it.

If you want to sign up, it is currently by invite only. Graze states that in that way they “can concentrate on making sure every box is perfect”. You can use my invitation code 4DCWNCR to sign up and get your first box for free or you can use this link instead link.

Have you heard of Graze before? Are you going to subscribe? What other food subs do you get?

I Am Loving... CHOBANI Bite

I have been eating yoghurt ever since I was a kid and I’ve always loved the thick strained variety. Here it’s called Greek-style yoghurt but where I grew up, they just call it strained yoghurt. My mom and grandmother used to strain our own...

In any case, my family and I have been eating the regular CHOBANI kind for the last three or four years (my research shows that the company came on the market in 2007 and is now the #1 Greek-style yoghurt in America). While most fat-free foods and yoghurts don’t taste good to me, I really like the non-fat CHOBANI – we always have it in the fridge and use it in:
I have been also enjoying other Chobani varieties, like the Vanilla Chocolate Chunk blend that – for any yoghurt-chocolate combo lovers like me (I used to blend yoghurt and Nuttella for a quick treat) – offers the perfect blend; but more on that in another post.

Today, I'm writing about CHOBANI’s most recent addition that I discovered about two weeks ago in my local Target – CHOBANI Bite. What a treat! It comes in a pack of four 3.5 oz. 100-calory mini containers, in four blended flavors:
  • Coffee with Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Raspberry with Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Fig with Orange Zest
  • Caramel with Pineapple Chunks
I have tried only the first two varieties and I am almost addicted to the Coffee/ Dark Chocolate one. For any coffee and dark chocolate lovers out there, I believe this is a must-try and (almost) guilt-free! What I like specifically:
  • The coffee flavor is not overpowering
  • There are enough dark chocolate chips to satisfy my chocolate-craving
  • The yoghurt does not taste odd (it actually tastes delicious) in combination with the other flavors (like some dessert varieties out there – sorry, I could never like cheesecake-flavored yoghurt)
I am dying to try the Fig / Orange combination (I am a huge fan of both fruit individually) but the store did not have any. On that note, currently I can only find these CHOBANI “Bites” in Target, and not in my local Whole Foods or Star Market. Hopefully, the other stores start offering those soon, too. Oh, and I do like the raspberry / chocolate blend, so I'm expecting to have a true "battle of the bites" once I get my hands on the two varieties I haven't tried yet.

Finally, it does not hurt that these “bites”, in addition to being delicious, are cholesterol- and gluten-free, have live cultures and provide a good doze of your daily protein needs. Yes – I know it sounds like advertising but it’s not – I am just trying to justify my second third coffee-dark chocolate-yoghurt “bite”!

Do you like Greek-style yoghurt? What are your favorite brand / kind / variety? What flavor combinations do you like / crave?

Disclosure: I have not been asked / paid to do this review by Chobani and I am in no way associated with the company. This review is based on my own opinion and use of the product.