Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Graze Box Review: Lightbox #4

This week has been a busy one for Graze snack boxes! My Graze Box #4 arrived in the mail yesterday - again, about a week later than expected but since box #3 also arrived later, it's totally fine. While it wasn't my favorite box so far, I liked box #4. Take a look:
I'm not sure if I've said that before but I really like Graze packaging and presentation - the box is compact, Eco-friendly and "oh so" cute! Now to the contents of this box: Fruity Mango Chutney, Banoffee Pie, Tropical Daiquiri and Apple Crumble.
Fruity Mango Chutney: includes mango chutney with black pepper dippers
I liked the mango chutney (a bit spicy) but I absolutely disliked the black pepper dippers because of... well, the black pepper. I don't like black pepper and in this snack, it was way too over-powering everything else. I actually dipped some crackers I had at home in the mango chutney and it was tasty. Unfortunately, because of the black pepper, that snack goes to my "trash" list.
Banoffee Pie: Banana, fudge, almonds & pecans
I liked this one - it's an interesting combination with the super-mini square fudge pieces (caramel-flavored). It is definitely on the sweeter side of the spectrum compared to other light Graze snacks.
Tropical Daiquiri: Green mango, lime raisins and pineapple
I really liked this one - tropical indeed, a bit zesty from the lime and also not sweet at all, since the dried fruit has no added sugar (love that!). It's a very refreshing snack - I tried it with my favorite Chobani yoghurt and it was yummy! 
Eleanor's Apple Crumble: Apple, raisins & cinnamon honey almonds
That was my favorite snack from this box. It's the perfect healthy dessert snack - the non-sweetened dried apples go very well with the naturally sweet raisins and honey almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy and chewy, Eleanor's Apple Crumble is forever on my "love" list!

My verdict: I continue to like Graze... a lot. While I do prefer to have more of my "like" and "love" snacks included in my boxes, I've found that I actually don't mind having the opportunity to "try" some new snacks and discover my taste for them... That seems to be part of Graze's philosophy and I think it's a good one - in that way, I have found some "snack gems" I absolutely loved when I initially thought I'd just want to try them.  
If you want to try Graze, it is currently by invitation only. You can sign up and get your first box for free with my invite code 4DCWNCRD (Graze has put a limit on the number of invites we can give out, but I believe I have one more left).

What did you think of the snacks in this Graze box? If you get Graze, what snacks would you recommend?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Graze Box Review: Lightbox # 3

My Graze Healthy Snacks Box #3 finally showed up yesterday - more than a week later. Since they had more initial sign-ups than expected, Graze has been working through some delivery issues, but they've been proactive and accommodating about the delays - that's at least my experience with them... Now to the box - this #3 Lightbox has probably been my least favorite so far - not that I didn't like it, it just wasn't as memorable as the previous two. Tale a look:
My Graze Lightbox included four snacks with less than 150 calories each. This week Graze sent me: Hot Cross Yum (yum! indeed), Olive & Rosemary Bruschetta, Date & Banana Loaf and Bounty Hunter (a couple of "tries", one "like" and one "love").
Hot Cross Yum: Orange raisins, sponge pieces & cinnamon honey almonds
This was my favorite snack from the box and of it, the orange raisins are seriously delicious. I love anything orange but have never had orange raisins before - very, very yummy. The Hot Cross Yum had the perfect level of sweetness and crunch, that's definitely one of my "love" snacks.
Olive & Rosemary Bruschetta: Olive croutons, rosemary & garlic cashews & tomato baguettes 
I initially had ranked this with a "like" but didn't like it that much, so I changed it to a "try". My favorite item were the cashews, the rest was just too salty and somewhat "artificial-tasting" to me.
Date & Banana Loaf: Dates, banana, yoghurt seeds & cinnamon raisins
I liked that though I had ranked it initially with a "love". It is yummy but I found the dates too sugary... and I do like dates, it's just that I would perhaps enjoy it just as Date & Banana Loaf...
Bounty Hunter: Belgian milk chocolate, coconut & cranberries
I liked this mix but it wasn't anything "special". I love coconut so that's always a winning ingredient for me, but I just prefer it with dark rather than milk chocolate (my little girl "took care" of the chocolate for me).

My verdict: I'm still loving Graze box. Although box #3 was not my favorite, I still enjoyed the goodies selectively. My Lightbox #4 is already on its way (yeah, my favorite Onion Marmalade / Oat Cakes are in there!).
If you want to try Graze, it is currently by invitation only. You can sign up and get your first box for free with my invite code 4DCWNCRD (Graze has put a limit on the number of invites we can give out, but I believe I have one more left).

For other monthly subscription boxes in many categories, check out my EXTENSIVE Subscription Boxes Directory!

What do you think of Graze? What is your favorite snack? If you receive other snack boxes, how does Graze compare?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Treats: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Yoghurt

Oatmeal raisin cookies are generally healthier compared to other cookies, but today I'm sharing an even healthier version as my Thursday Treats - Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Yoghurt (Chobani, of course!). I've made those last night with my girl (I've found baking as a great bonding experience - with my mom in the past and now, with my daughter) and they turned out delicious! Take a look:
Similar to last week's Thursday Treats, I have adapted this recipe from one of my favorite dessert cook books "Chocolate & Baking" but made changes for a healthier version, namely: used less flour, less sugar and used yoghurt instead of the egg. Also, I added chopped pecans for some extra crunch. Here is the recipe:

Products (for ~ 2 dozen small cookies)
  • 4 tbsp butter (softened or melted)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup yoghurt (I use Chobani Greek-style yoghurt, but any other plain variety would do)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 2 cups oats (I use quick oats)
  • 3/4 cups raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans 
  • vanilla to taste
Heat oven at 350F.

  1. Mix together the melted butter and the sugar until completely dissolved (the original recipe called for creaming together the softened butter and sugar; I've done it both ways and don't find any difference in the end product)
  2. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and mix well until combined
  3. Sift the flour, salt and soda into the butter-yoghurt mixture
  4. Add the oats, raisins and pecans and mix together thoroughly
  5. Place spoonfuls of the mixture about 2-3 inches apart (on greased cookie sheets) and flatten them a bit with a the back of a spoon
  6. Bake the cookies at 350 F for 15-18 minutes, depending on the oven (I like mine lightly browned)
Enjoy and store any left cookies (if at all) in an airtight container!

What are your favorite cookies? Are you going to give these a try?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Julep Maven Introduces Modern Beauty: a New Beauty Products Box

Last week, Julep made a BIG announcement regarding a new addition or change to one of its Julep Maven profiles. Starting in March, they are retiring their American Beauty style profile and introducing Modern Beauty box that will feature brand new beauty products instead of nail polish.

I personally think that's great news and a smart move for Julep. They've already been including quality beauty products in their nail polish monthly boxes but with this move, they are 'officially' entering the beauty subscription space. And with the ability to select the type of box you want to receive, it offers that flexibility that I believe many beauty box subscribers are looking for.

You can sign up to become Julep Maven and get your first box for just $0.01 with code PENNY.

What do you think? Are you going to give Julep's Modern Beauty Box a try in March?

Plum Steal: $15 For $30 Towards 'YES TO' All-Natural Skincare

If you are a fan of the 'Yes To' skin care products like I am, you'll love the deal that Plum District is offering today: $15 for $30 towards your 'Yes To' purchase: 
'Yes To' skin care products blend antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables with other natural ingredients to nourish and meet the needs of all skin types. They offer 6 unique collections, with 'Yes To Grapefruit' being their newest addition. I've been using the following 'Yes To' products for more than an year now:
I've been using these on a daily basis and I've been extremely satisfied with the results. My skin is sensitive and it's never been irritated by any of these products; just the opposite - they make my skin feel soft and moisturized.

If you are not familiar with Plum District, it is a daily deals site 'for moms. by moms', where Plum District! Local moms find businesses they love and share savings of 50 – 80% with the rest of us. It has great offers for restaurants, fitness, spas, classes, retail and more.

Are you going to say 'yes to' this deal? Have you tried / been using any of the 'Yes To' products?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Treasures: French-Inspired Finds for Under $15

Hello everyone! Today's Tuesday Treasures are French-inspired and each one under $15 - a book, a scarf, some art and a little something extra to bring that 'a la' french mood... just because it's still February and a little romance is never too much; and because I've found myself immersed in one of my favorite "activities": remembering some of my favorite travels and wishing for more...

Take a look at today's 'treasures':

1. Merona Polka Dot Scarf ($14.99 at Target) - The perfect spring accessory and "oh-so" French! I've recently re-discovered yellow, but this 100% cotton scarf from Merona is just gorgeous in either yellow or the hot pink.
2. 'Young Girl Reading' art print by Jean-Honore Fragonard ($7.99 for 9'x11' size) - Fragonard, a famous 18th century French painter, supposedly painted this portrait over the original canvas containing an image of a man... Whatever the story, I find this painting very relaxing and timeless; I'd gladly put the mini art print in a nice frame and display on my shelves for a pop of color.
3. Fragonard Perfumeur Solid Perfumes ($9 for one or $48 for a set of six) - These mini solids from the iconic French parfumeur that was established almost a century ago and named after the Grasse-born French painter above, are just adorable! I've had the chance to visit Fragonard's flagship store in Grasse a few years back and felt literally as a kid in a candy store; among other goodies, I picked a number of those mini solid perfumes (including the Paris lle d'Amour and Paris Éclat shown in the photo) and used as gifts for my nieces and ... well, myself. They smell amazing, last a long time and are compact so you can carry them along - an absolute favorite of mine!
4. "Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home" Cookbook by Kathryn Gordon ($10.89 at Amazon) - Well, I've never made macarons at home, but being one of my all-time favorite treats, I decided that I should put aside my intimidation and give making them a try.
5. "The Paris Wife" a Novel by Paula McLain ($8.75 at Amazon) - I've recently saw this book on a DailyCandy Best-Love-Stories list and decided to give it a try. It is "A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures the love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley."

I don't know about you, but that "treasure" list got me in the mood for another trip to France...

What about you? What are some of you favorite travel destinations?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"It's a Box World": Subscription Box Directory & Comparison List

I am finally ready to reveal my extensive Subscription Box Directory & Comparison List. Based on the amount of time it is taking me to research all the companies and collect the information to build that list, I could easily title it It’s a Box World. Indeed, it does feel that there is a subscription service for everything and anything you can actually put in a box. Rather than wait until I’m done with all subscriptions, I'm sharing what I've compiled so far from what's turning out to be a very long list – well, I organized it in a way that it's more than just a laundry list.

The “boxes” in this directory are segmented in twelve (12) major categories. If a box belongs to more than one category, I’ve classified it to the one that best reflects its major focus (e.g. True Beauty box is under Eco-friendly rather than under Beauty boxes). Then, for each subscription box, I have included the i) name / website, ii) short description, iii) the price and iv) some highlights. That last point is my attempt to differentiate, if at all possible, the given subscription box from the rest in the batch. It was important for me to include this observation because, when I was researching the “myriad” of boxes out there, I found myself putting down some short summary notes on each to help me remember it somehow. The highlights should be helpful if you are trying to compare a few subscription boxes within the same category. For example, I have compared some of the most popular Beauty Boxes to help me decide which one I should go with. You can take a look at it here. 

Today, I'm posting the first four categories (in bold below) that include about 60 subscription boxes. You can check them out on the  Subscription Boxes Directory page.
I’m working on the rest of the categories, so please check back soon.
  1. Lifestyle boxes (span multiple sub-categories: home, beauty, food, fashion, fitness & health, etc.)
  2. Home boxes (entertaining / decorating / arts & collectibles, stationary etc.)
  3. Beauty boxes (makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance)
  4. Mom, Baby & Kids boxes (includes mom-to-be, new mom, baby, kids’ crafts, kids’ clothing boxes)
  5. Fashion boxes (clothing, accessories)
  6. Food & Drink boxes (snacks, food-only, coffee, tea)
  7. Indie / Homemade boxes
  8. Crafts / Hobbies / DIY boxes
  9. Eco-friendly / Green / Health-conscious boxes (some span across categories)
  10. Men (span more than one category, e.g. fashion, beauty, clothing, but exclusively focused on men)
  11. Pets
  12. “Special” Category boxes: “Time-of-the-month”, “Adult”, Miscellaneous

Beauty Subscription Boxes Comparison

I've compared six of the most popular beauty subscription boxes based on the information in my Subscription Box Directory. In categorizing all the boxes, I have attempted to differentiate, if at all possible, the given box from the rest in the batch by including some"highlights" on each one. It was important for me to include this observation because, when I was researching the “myriad” of boxes out there, I found myself putting down short summary notes on each to help me remember it somehow.   

The highlights should be helpful if you are trying to compare a few subscription boxes within the same category – for example, I’m looking to subscribe to a Beauty Box (I know – it’s a miracle I’m still not subscribed to one! Maybe because I love my local Sephora too much...) and I built a quick comparison table of the most popular boxes to help me decide which one I should go with. Take a look:

So, I went with comparing 6 of what I believed to be the most popular (or most talked about) beauty subscription boxes on the market. Apart from Birchbox (one of the earliest entrants and currently, the biggest one on the market), it was very difficult for me to differentiate among what these beauty subscriptions had to offer simply by looking at the individual websites - they all sounded similar. I was interested in some specific comparisons, namely: 
  • price, 
  • what sub-categories were mostly covered, 
  • number and size of products delivered, 
  • if subscribers had a choice in product selection and 
  • any additional perks that the subscription offered. 
I also wanted to know how "popular" the beauty box is and I used the number of Facebook likes as a proxy to that... e.g. the more likes, the more popular the subscription service. While not 100% accurate, it does give me some indication of the size, popularity factor and also, of how long the company has been in business (e.g. a lower number of likes might be attributable to the fact that a company is newer on the market).

So, based on that comparison, I found that while all of the 6 beauty boxes "customize" your box based on your beauty profile, only one of those lets you choose the specific products to go into the box (Beauty Army). Also, since I dislike just getting and paying for foil packet samples (I already get those for free from Sephora), the size of the items was important to me. While four out of the six boxes say they deliver deluxe size samples, only two of those also deliver full-size products (Ipsy and The Look Bag), with just one specifying the number of full size products included (The Look Bag).

So, while now I still plan on checking some reviews and information on the individual beauty subscription services' websites, I'll only do it for the ones that I short-listed based on comparing them along those key highlights important to me.

How do you choose a new subscription box among the many that are available today? What do you compare them on - quick facts or simply "word-of-mouth" & friends' recommendations? What do you think of my comparison?

Friday, February 15, 2013

FabKids: New Spring Outfits + 50% Off First Outfit

Have you heard of FabKids?

It is a subscription service that - based on your girl's style and preference - sends you a complete designed-in-house outfit every month. Each outfit includes 3 pieces for $39.95. You can buy the outfit you love or skip the month altogether. Size available are ages 2 to 12 girls. 

With Creative Partner Christina Applegate on its team, FabKids has generated some positive buzz since its launch in August of last year. Then last month, the fashion subscription service JustFab acquired FabKids and, in the company's own words, this move promises to: bring more fashion outfits to choose from, launch FabKids boys and get faster shipping. It sounds like a good match to me, with JustFab getting access to the kid's subscription sector and FabKids benefiting from a more sophisticated, larger supply chain and distribution.

I have signed up for FabKids back when they launched and while I have waited to make my first purchase for my little fashionista (there are only that many subs you can buy at any given time), I've found their outfits truly stylish and different. Today, however, I have three perfect reasons to finally give FabKids a try:
  1. FabKids just released their brand new spring collection and it's really bright and happy
  2. They are offering 50% off your first outfit (that comes to less than $10 per piece)
  3. Spring is almost here! (that should be a good enough reason in itself, right)
Here's the Nautical Neon Outfit outfit I picked up for my budding fashionista: 

I love the style combination in this outfit - the playful girly-girl skirt looks adorable with the preppy-styled cardigan. And you can never have too many cardigans for spring! I also like the color combination - the predictable soft pink with the more subdued and elegant black-and-white stripes makes for a truly elegant ensemble. Oh, yes, and there is always a little extra present added to the outfit - in this case, a lovely neon yellow hair clip.

I can't wait to receive the pieces and for my girl to try them out!

If you want to try FabKids and get your first outfit at 50% off (that is less then $20 for the whole outfit), use code DOCTORS50 and learn more about signing up here

Do you subscribe to any kid clothing monthly boxes? What do you think of FabKids?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Heart Day: Berry-licious Chocolate Mini Muffins

Happy Heart Day, everyone!

In honor of Valentine's day and of my love for sweets, I'm starting a series called Thursday Treats - as the name implies, I'll be sharing some of my {not so} randomly tried and loved recipes. Today's Thursday Treat is Berry-licious Chocolate Mini Muffins:
I have made those more than a dozen times and love the result each time. I made a fresh batch yesterday to bring to my daughter's school as a Valentine's treat today. If you love chocolate and berries together, you'll most probably love these. I have borrowed the original chocolate muffin recipe from one of my favorite dessert cook books "Chocolate & Baking" and have adapted it to make it healthier and suit my taste, namely: lots of berries, a touch of cinnamon & vanilla and less sugar. Here is the recipe :

Products (for 24 mini muffins):
  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour; 
  • 1/3 cup white or brown sugar (I prefer less sugary berry muffins; the original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbs baking soda; 
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa; 
  • 1 egg; 
  • 1 & 1/3 cups 2% milk (when available, I substitute with Almond Milk - original or vanilla - it has 50% less calories and is delicious); 
  • 4 tbs butter (melted); 
  • cinnamon & vanilla to taste (I put 1 teaspoon of each); 
  • 1.5 cups berries (fresh or frozen: I use the organic frozen variety from Trader Joe's and if the mix contains strawberries, I cut them in small pieces)
  • food coloring, if desired (e.g. I added pink to half of my mixture for Valentine's Day)

(Heat oven to 350F) 

  1. Mix all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, soda, cocoa and cinnamon) together
  2. Mix wet ingredients (eggs, milk, butter and vanilla)
  3. Gently fold wet ingredients into the dry mix; no need to over-mix (the more you mix, the smoother the texture of the muffins - thus, proceed based on your liking)
  4. Add the berries to the mixture
  5. (optional) Add desired food coloring
  6. Spoon 3/4 cup-full into mini muffin tins
  7. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, depending on the oven
Enjoy with your loved ones!

Do you have a favorite muffin recipe? I would love if you'd share it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

POPSUGAR Must Have Box February 2013 Review

My February POPSUGAR Must Have Box was delivered at my door today. As you might have read, I already knew what was in this month's box but that did not spoil my excitement to get and see all the goodies in person.

This month's theme was all about Valentine's day and pampering, and PopSugar sent out the boxes earlier than usual with the idea, I'm assuming, that everyone can get theirs around Valentine's Day. I've been a fan of my Must Have boxes ever since October and this one didn't disappoint - although I might not have bought all of the items myself, I would gladly use every single one of them; and that, I believe, is part of the allure of lifestyle-type subscription boxes like this one. Also, that is the first non-food box that got my husband's attention - I think he got a bit more supportive of the whole subscription box craze after seeing some of the goodies included... So, I'm happy with PopSugar's special Valentine's treat. Here is a breakdown of what was included:

Must Have Fashion: 

Brokedoan Spa Wrap ($84) - mine is baby pink and "oh, so soft", I'll gladly use it for an extra less-ordinary after-bath laziness. 

A pair of Hanky Pankys ($20) - I received a yellow pair and while this is not a color I'd typically choose for myself, I don't mind it. The brand seems of high quality.
Also, included is a discount for a Hanky Panky purchase plus a coupon for a free Zoya nail polish.

Must Have Beauty: 
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain ($7.48) - I received the Romantic color. As I've said before, lip balms & glosses are among my most favorite products and I wouldn't mind receiving one in every single box. This lip balm stain is really nice, it goes on smooth and the color stays natural. Initially, I thought the Romantic color is a bit too red for my taste but when I put it on, it was just a few shades darker than my lips. I do like it and I'll be putting this in my purse.

Must Have Food: 

MarieBelle New York's Tresor Box ($12) - I got the Dark Chocolate flavor (love dark chocolate!) and they are yummy - little perfect crispy dark chocolate pearls that can be enjoyed just as they are or as a dessert / granola topping.

Extras this month: Conversation Hearts 1 oz. box (~$1) - cute and so appropriate for this time of the year. My daughter loves them!

Must Have Entertainment: 

Safe Haven Book and song download ($7.99) - I've heard about the movie and it does sound like something I'd enjoy. Besides, while I haven't read the book, The Notebook the movie is one of my all-time favorites - seriously, I know it's taste-specific but I just love everything about it. I'll see how Safe Haven the book goes. Also, since one of my resolutions is to read more books this year, this one comes in handy.

Must Have Home: 
Connoisseurs Quick Jewelry Cleanser ($7.92) - Useful to have at home, this cleanser works on gold, platinum and gemstones.

The total value of this month's box comes to ~$140 which is about four times more than the $35 monthly subscription - not bad at all!

If you want to sign up for POPSUGAR Must Have, you can do so with code REFER5 for $5 off your first delivery.

NEW: Check out my new Beauty Subscription Box Comparison post.

What do you think of February's POPSUGAR Must Have box?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Treasures - Last-Minute Valentine's Day Gifts For Under $20

Good morning everyone! It's time for my Tuesday Treasures - a series of posts featuring various "treasures" I find, spanning different categories - fashion, beauty, kids, home. To qualify as "treasures", the items need to be not only cute and stylish, but also a good deal. You can read my Tuesday Treasures Valentines Gifts Under $15 post here.

Today there's another round of last-minute Valentine's Day gifts - or just gift for any time of the year - each for under $20. I am seriously considering getting all of these - take a look:
1. Bodum Brazil Set, Coffee Maker and 2 Mugs ($20, was $40) - I love and use Bodum tea&coffee products in my home, and I've wanted a French press for some time now; I really like the red accent - will definitely be getting this!
2. Oneida Profile Flute, set of 4 ($14.95, was $50) - I absolutely adore these, so stylish! Also a bit on the smaller side which I actually like. I have Oneida glasses and they have held very well to everyday use. The products are expensive at regular prices, so a sale is not to be missed if you need to add drink ware to your collection.
3. Jurlique Rose Love Balm ($6.50) - I had the opportunity to try a set of Jurlique Rose products a couple of years back and have been a fan ever since - they really work. This little "treasure" is a natural salve that promises to "moisturize, soften and protect dry or chapped skin, infused with the natural scent of roses".
4. Prabal Gurung for Target Flower Drop Earnings ($14.99) - Another great designer has collaborated with Target for, what I believe, is a great collection. This pair of earnings is perfect for spring and summer, and is in my favorite color palette.  
5. Straiways Mini Skirt ($19.95, was $148) - One of my favorite stores, Anthropologie, has some great new pieces on sale, including this amazing skirt, at an even more amazing discount. I like the color and the cut, and the material will be perfect for summer.

What do you think of this week's Tuesday Treasures? Are you tempted by make some of these yours?

Monday, February 11, 2013

PopSugar Must Have February *SPOILER*

{NEW: I posted some PopSugar Must Have March *SPOILERS*, if you like to take a peek}
I love my PopSugar Must Have Box and every month, I'm impatiently waiting for it and, though I've tried to remain "spoiler-free", I always end up looking for spoilers to see what's coming my way. This month is no different. If you are unlike me and want to remain spoiler-free so that the contents of your box can be a surprise, you should stop reading this. But if you "simply cannot wait", then go on and take a peek.

I'm on the makeuptalk forum and one of the ladies has finally received her box and here is what is said to be in it. Please have in mind I do not have my box yet, so the actual contents may turn out to be somewhat different.

A snapshot of what is said / rumored to be included:

  1. A pair of Hanky Panky thongs
  2. Sweethearts Conversation Hearts candy box 
  3. MarieBelle Tresor box of chocolates 
  4. Brokedown Spa Wrap (this seems to be the same brand as the scarf in the September PopSugar Must Have box)
  5. Connoisseurs Jewelry Cleaner
  6. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain
  7. "Safe Haven" Book by Nicholas Sparks (plus song download)

    I can only say that this box does look really promising and it is in line with the Valentine's Day / Oscars / pampering theme. I can't wait to get mine so that I can get a first-hand look at the items. Besides, I've always liked everything much better when I see the contents of the box in person.

    What do you think of the PopSugar Must Have February Box Spoiler?

    Just In: Get a $50 JULEP.COM Gift Card for Just $25

    For Valentine's Day, Julep is offering yet another great treat (after the Mystery Box last week). Until February 14th, you can get a $50 gift card for half the price:

    So, go on and "double the love" - maybe a girlfriend is in need of some fresh spring colors and she hasn't tried Julep yet... Go here: & enter code LOVE at checkout. Happy shopping!

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    New Subcription Box - Show Your Feet Some Love with Foot Cardigan

    It seems like new subscription services are launching every day - for everything and everybody, every hobby, interest, accessory, or piece of clothing.

    The new sub box: I just learned about Foot Cardigan - a new (launched in October, 2012) subscription service that sends you one pair of  "delightfully unusual socks every single month". They invite you to "show your feet some love".
    Price: $9 / month + $2 shipping: $11 total

    Highlights: Judging by the information and pictures on their website, this subscription service seems to be really fun and promises to send some truly unusual pairs of socks, or as they put it "If variety is the spice of life, you’re about to dip your feet in wasabi." And more:
    "Foot Cardigan wants to make your feet fancy. Why wear boring black or white socks when there’s a whole world of podalic accessories at your fingertips, er… toetips? ... we’ll send you a new pair of fabulously bizarre socks." 

    Also, you do not get to choose the pair of socks but you are guaranteed to have an instant conversation starter with the one that you receive.  If you are not happy with it, well ... you are encouraged to make a "sock monster".

    There is already SockPanda that sends "cool socks monthly", but Foot Cardigan seems to be more targeted to male customers and seems to focus more on the truly unusual and bizarre, but still fabulous pairs of socks.

    Intrigued? Looking for that unusual and interesting gift for a friend, or just for yourself? Foot Cardigan might be the answer.

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Graze Healthy Snacks Box #2 Review

    My 2nd box from Graze – the new weekly healthy snack subscription – came in the mail yesterday! I already knew what I was getting since Graze sends you a preview of your box once it ships (which I find really neat) and I dug right in! 
    Similar to my 1st Graze box, this one included a personalized card with nutrition facts about the four snacks, as well as some handy mini “tickets” with my referral invite code to give out to friends (if you need one and want your 1st box free: 4DCWNCRD). This time the info on the card was titled “Every Graze snack has a healthy benefit” and focused on the healthy symbols on each of the snacks.
    While I really liked my Box #1, Box #2 tasted even better - across all four snacks. Here is what I received in my lightbox (there are two box options - the lightbox that includes snacks 50 – 150 calories each, or the regular nibblebox):

    Bonnie Wee Oatbakes: wholegrain oatbakes with caramelized onion marmalade
    I knew I would like this, but I actually “loved” it. What I loved specifically – the oatbakes were crispy but not salty (I don’t like crackers with too much sodium and try to avoid it in my diet) and the onion marmalade was just perfect – not over-powering onion flavor at all. That combination would be delicious with some aged cheddar cheese – maybe next time I’ll save my portion for a bit longer.

    Strawberry Milkshake: baby strawberries, banana and white chocolate buttons
    This was a good choice – the one thing I didn’t care much about were the white chocolate buttons (my daughter ate those) as I simply am not a fan of white chocolate, but I get the whole idea of the snack – if eaten together (the strawberry and white chocolate button), it really reminds you of strawberry milkshake. I personally would prefer to have just the dried fruit – the baby strawberries and banana chips were so moist, with a touch of sweetness.

    Toffee Apple: toffee sauce with granny smith apples
    I didn’t think I’ll love this as I’m usually not a big toffee fan, but this was so delicious. I liked the fact that the apples were not sweet and the toffee complemented that very nicely. And at less than 70 calories for the serving, I can’t complain. I changed my rating from “like” to “love”.

    Pina Colada: pineapple, coconut and mango
    This was fresh, tropical and lightly sweet. I am a fan of coconut and mango but what surprised me in this creation what the dried pineapple - I loved it more than I thought I would.  I'd gladly have more of that - even just the pineapple.
    My verdict: I’m liking Graze more and more as this box surpassed box #1. If I had to choose a favorite, it’d probably be the onion marmalade / oatbakes and toffee apple combos. I’m already looking forward to my Graze box #3 (the preview is already on!)
    If you want to try Graze, it is currently by invitation only. You can sign up and get your first box for free with my invite code 4DCWNCRD

    What do you think of these snacks? Are you tempted to try Graze for free? If you are a Graze subscriber already, what snacks would you recommend to try?

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    New Eco Beauty Subscription – True Beauty Box

    There is a new eco / natural beauty subscription service I learned of recently - True Beauty Box, offered by – a company that focuses on products that are safe and free from harmful ingredients. The True Beauty Box is brand new, having released its first box last month (January 2013). Here are the details based on the information on their website:

    By becoming a True Beauty subscriber, you will receive only the best all natural and cruelty-free full-size beauty products – from lines such as Lavera, Benecos, and True Natural – once a month, plus samples and a monthly surprise. Your True Beauty Box is individually curated to suit your beauty profile. Also, as a member of the True Beauty Box Program, you will enjoy exclusive sales and special member pricing of 15% off on They also offer flexibility regarding your beauty profile - you can take a quiz to determine your beauty profile or you can choose your profile yourself. The bottom line is the quality of of products you'll get, namely: there are no petroleum by-products, no synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives in any of the products you receive. There are three types of boxes to choose from:

    True Beauty Box – Veganista, $30 / month
    Receive 3 to 4 full size, all natural, paraben-free, cruelty-free and VEGAN products, plus a monthly goodie, and samples. There are over 200 beauty products that are vegan at

    True Beauty Box – Flirt, $30 / month
    Receive 3 to 4 full size, all natural makeup products each month, plus a monthly goodie, and samples. The included products will be from premium European organic brands like Lavera, Benecos.

    True Beauty Box – Indulge, $40 / month
    Get a mixture of 3 to 4 full size, all natural anti-ageing, bath, body, and cosmetic products each month, plus a monthly goodie, and samples. The products included will be from premium organic brands from around the world, like Lavera, True Natural, iLike, Benecos and Green People.

    Check out the True Beauty boxes from January here to see some of the products you can expect and also, the difference among the three types of boxes. I’m always on the lookout for paraben-free and organic beauty products. I would definitely be interested to try some of the brands in the True Beauty Box. 

    What about you - are you interested in this new eco beauty subscription or you already have enough "boxes"? Have you used some of these brands? Will you be getting your True Beauty Box or, if you are already subscribed, I'd be interested to hear your opinion.