Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Treats: Frozen Nescafé Frappe

It's been a while since I've posted about my favorite treats, but today it's time for one of my absolute favorite, quick and perfect-for-summer-weather (or almost summer) recipes: I love Chilled Nescafé Frappe! Take a look:
If you like coffee and specifically, frozen or chilled coffee drinks and if you haven't tried a Frappe yet, you are definitely missing out. It is the classic perfect warm weather, afternoon coffee drink and it's super easy and quick to make, not to mention delicious. I've always made it with regular low-fat milk but since my discovery of almond milk, I now make my almond milk frappe and, if at all possible, I like it even more. It has a mild nutty flavor and it is healthier. Here's the recipe:

  • 1.5 tsp Nescafé or your favorite instant coffee
  • 1.5 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup almond or regular low-fat milk
  • 1/2 chilled water
  • Ice, if needed (you can add a few ice cubes if you'd like)
  1. Mix the Nescafé and sugar in a tall glass
  2. Add one to two tbs cold water
  3. Stir well with a milk frother to make thick foam
  4. Add the almond milk and the chilled water
  5. Add a few ice cubes, if you like to make the Frappe ice-cold
  6. Add a straw and enjoy
What is you favorite chilled coffee drink?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Goodies Box May 2013 Review + Instant Subscription Promo Code

My Goodies Co. box arrived more than a week ago, but it's taken me some time to get to it - wanted to try as many of the items before posting the review. Take a look at what I received this month:
The box was quite heavy when I picked it up and once I opened it, it was obvious why. There was a full-size bottle of coconut water inside. Here are more details about all the goodies:

Zico - Coconut Water
I am a huge fan of coconut - chips, shredded, in cookies or granola bars - however, for some reason I do not like coconut water. I've tried different brands to maybe "find" one I like, but to no avail. This Zico water was not different.

Beanitos - Chipotle BBQ Chips
I'm always excited to receive chips samples in my subs and I like black beans chips. This specific flavor, however, was too spicy for my taste. Their website shows some other flavors that I'd have preferred and that do seem yummy.

Numi - Organic Moroccan Mint
I like tea - mostly for winter and fall - and I've tried Numi before. This goes to my 'tea collection'.
Bronco Bob's - Mango Chipotle Sauce
I've taken an individual picture of this as it turned out to be my favorite item in the box. I like moderately spicy fruit sauces - this has a great kick to it without being too spicy. I loved it on crackers with my favorite truffle cheese. Absolutely yummy!

Sour Power Straws - Pink Lemonade and Blue Raspberry
I've never heard of this brand before so I was curious to try these. These are sugarcoated sour gummy straws. While I enjoy an occasional Haribo once in a while, I guess I'm just not a fan of the sour variety and neither is my daughter, so I was indifferent to these. I really liked the packaging though...

California Olive Ranch - Olive Oil
I'd definitely try those for my next salad. We are fans of olive oil and like trying different varieties.

Super Seedz - Sea Salt
These shelled pumpkin seeds were delicious! I love pumpkin seeds and this specific brand had them just right - shelled, crisp, not overly salty. I can definitely see myself buying more of those!

Wholly Guacamole Coupon + Clip
A coupon for one Wholly Quacamole dip + a clip has also been included in this month's box. I love this - my family loves guacamole and I haven't tried this specific brand before (as I typically make my own at home), so this is definitely a winner.

Overall, I liked this month's Goodies box. The Bronco Bob's Mango Chipotle Sauce and the Super Seedz Pumpkin Seeds were my favorite items in the box - really delicious. While the list of my not-so-favorite items is longer, I am still not disappointed because I discovered some new great-tasting goodies. And, at $7 / month, this is one of the highest cost-to-value boxes I'm subscribed to.

Now, you can sign up for your own Goodies Co. box without the wait list by using code SKIPTHELINE.

What did you think of this month's Goodies Box?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

POPSUGAR Must Have May Box Review

Although I already knew what was rumored to be in the May POPSUGAR Must Have box, I couldn't open it fast enough when it showed up at my door a couple of days ago. I really like my POPSUGAR Must Have boxes and while this one is not my top favorite, it certainly is a great box. Take a look at all these goodies:

This month's POPSUGAR Must Have theme is around getting ready for summer, for parties at home or outside - quite appropriate I thought. Here are the details of everything included:

PopSugar Logo Reusable Bag (~$1)
This was the first item that popped up when I opened the box. While on the smaller side, this bag is definitely going to be used. I always carry a reusable bag in my handbag, just in case.

Must Have Beauty:

Pacifica Color Quench Lip Tint ($9.84)
I'm always (like ALWAYS) excited to get lip balms, so I was very pleased with this Pacifica Lip Tint. I got the Guava Berry color. I like Pacifica products, but I've never tried their lip products before. After wearing it for the last couple of days, I can say it feels great and the color is the perfect combination of sheer and tint, very natural - definitely a winner.

Must Have Fashion:
Kooringal Giselle Mid Brim Hat ($27.99)
This was one of the items I wasn't too sure about - I already have hats for the summer and I prefer light colors for a beach hat. However, I am surprised at how elegant and comfy this hat is. The wire on the brim makes it work. I received the graphite color.

Must Have Fashion:
$30 Charm & Chain Gift Card
Charm and Chain is an online jewelry store, offering pieces from more than 50 jewelry designers.  This is a $30 gift card off any purchase and that I thought was really neat - no minimum purchases requirements, etc. I'm still deciding if I want to choose something for myself or keep the card for a gift. 

Must Have Entertainment:
Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk to Myself Cards ($13.45)
I do like getting books and the like in my boxes. These are conversation cards about 50 interesting, to say the least, topics you can discuss with your friends. 

Must Have Beauty:

The Original BeautyBlender Set ($21.99)
The set includes the beauty-blender and the blender-cleanser. I don't have a BeautyBlender  but obviously everyone is raving about it - its unique shape and texture helps you apply make up with a breeze. POPSUGAR sent out an email with a video showing how to use that beauty must have. This was the second item that I wasn't overly excited about receiving but after doing a bit more research, I think I might actually like this tool a lot.

Must Have Food:

The Modern Cocktail Modern Margarita Set (~$8)
Though I haven't heard of this brand before, I think the idea of portioned pre-made girly cocktails that also include the rimming crystals in the pack is great and very convenient. I like the packaging, too. I do think having those chilled for a girls night in would be fun. 

Special Extra: Must Have Food:

Way Better Snacks ($3.45)
I got the Sweet Potato variety and I was pretty sure I would like it as I like anything sweet potato. These chips were really tasty and healthy, as well.

My verdict: I am definitely pleased with this month's POPSUGAR Must Have box. The total value of the box came to $115.75 which is great given the $35 paid for it. I liked the variety of the items and the fact I got to try some new brands. My favorite "must have's" this month are the Pacifica Lip Tint and the Charm & Chain Gift card.

If you want to learn more and sign up for POPSUGAR Must Have Box, you can do so through my invitation here. Use coupon code REFER5 to get $5 off your first box. Thank you!

What did you think of May's PopSugar box? Which item did you like the most?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Love With Food May 2013 Review

One of my most favorite subs is my Love with Food box and this month, it was one of the best! Here is more information on the box, if you are not familiar with it:

The Box: Love with Food 
Get a box of gourmet food shipped to you monthly, with new flavors curated with a different theme every month.  Price: $12 / month ($10 + $2 / shipping)  Highlights: *gourmet food; *shop full-size products at a discount; *meal donated with every box; *earn credit points from reviews; 
Current Coupon: Use code FBGIFT to get your first box for free (just pay $2 shipping)
I received my May box just two days before Mother's Day and very appropriately so, because it was themed all around Mother's Day - specifically Mother's Day Breakfast Breakfast. Take a look:

The box, as usual, was full to the brim - eight items to be exact, all meant for a wonderful breakfast for mom. I really enjoyed the theme and the selection of the items - there was a variety of items - sweet, savory, food and drink. Here are the details:

Great Full Cookie from the Cookie Department, Inc.
This is a vegan sweet potato wellness cookie. I'm always excited to try healthier cookies - I liked the texture and taste of this one. The one thing I woudl change is to make it less sweet - brown sugar was its first ingredient and it was a bit too sweet for my taste, especially for a morning cookie. 

Strawberry Preserves from Bonne Maman
One of my favorite brands, I buy these preserves on a regular basis. I've received this in another food sub, so this was definitely a great addition to my jam selection. Besides, my daughter loves to play with the little jars in her own pretend kitchen, once the jam is eaten.

Hand Drip Single-Origin Coffee from Caffe Borsa
I've never heard of or used hand drip coffee, so I'm curious to see how this works. I love my morning coffee, so I'm always happy to try new flavors and varieties. 

Original Cajun Seasoning from "Slap Ya Mama"
I received two packets of the original blend. I might try this seasoning next time I prepare one of my breakfast omelets.

Tomato Crunch from Snapz Crisps
I like sun-dried tomatoes, but I've never received them in a bag. These are said to be gentle dried to a crisp texture, "making them a tasty addition to breakfast sandwiches". 

Authentic Almond Biscotti from Biscotti Bari
Inspired by the famous Italian cookie, this features locally-sourced ingredients. I had mine just this morning and I really liked it - it was crispy and not overly sweet, just perfect with my hazelnut coffee.
Latte Candy from Bali's Best
I've tried some similar coffee-flavored candy from my local Whole Foods before, so I immediately opened one of the two samples. This one had a creamy milk center and tasted just like a latte. What's not to like!

Mystery Item: Mrs. May's Almond Coconut Dry Slow-Roasted Snack
The information card invited us to go online and find more about this month's secret item. I love slow-roasted nuts and this snack was really tasty, especially with the addition of the coconut. 

My verdict: I truly enjoyed this month's Love with Food. It was perfectly themed for the occasion and well executed, with great variety. Of the items I tried so far, my favorite were Mrs. May's Almond Coconut Snack and the Latte Candy from Bali's Best.

Did you get your Love with Food? What did you think of this month's box?

Friday, May 10, 2013


As you might know, I love my PopSugar Must Have boxes and, as always, I have been impatiently waiting for someone to get their box. Thanks to the ladies at Makeuptalk, we already have spoilers for the May box. Take a look at what's said to be included:

The value of the box comes to almost $125 which is great, given the $35 paid for it. Although I always like my boxes better when I see everything in person, even now I think this is a great box. I'll post my 'official' review once I receive my box - can't wait! 
If you want to learn more about PopSugar Must Have Box and sign up through my referral link, use code REFER5 for $5 off your fist box here. Thank you!

What do you think based on these spoilers? Do you like this box?

Subscription Boxes Coupon Codes & New Subs (Bonjour Jolie, etc.): May 2013

Hello everyone! It is May in full bloom and there are some great new subscription boxes and new coupon codes worth sharing. Here is the list:

Subscription Box Promo & Coupon Codes:
  • PopSugar Must Have Box: Rare 50% off code for past subscribers. Use code TAKE50 to get 50% off your box (expires May 11, 2013)
  • Fancy Box: Use code 20OFF16 for $20 off. There's a Jennifer Love Hewett Fancy box that I'm very tempted to order. 
  • Hello Flo: Use code ADDICTION to save $10 off your first time-of-month box (regularly $14-$16  / month)
  • Citrus Lane: Get 50% off your first box with code FIRSTBOX. Regular price is $25 / month.
New Subscription Boxes & Codes:
  • Bonjour Jolie: A brand new Time-of-Month box, started by a mom-daughter team that has been receiving some rave reviews since their 'official' opening May 1st. With the motto "Pamper Your Period", this box offers something more than you typical time-of-month box - it is designed exclusively for women to be pampered during their period. Each box contains feminine products, specialty bath and body items, gift and fine chocolates. Bonjour Jolie is definitely different than other time-of-month boxes  - it positions itself with a more unique time-of-month / pampering proposition and based on some of the reviews, the concept seems to be very well executed. Tempted? I know I am... You can get your box for $16 / month + S&H.
  • Ambition Box: A new beauty subscription box, Ambition Box was started by two sisters and it is "for anyone who loves beauty and health products and has Ambition for life". Cost is $15 / month.
  • A Poir Toi: A new gourmet subscription service, A Poir Toi (means: a present for you) offer personalized, high-end, healthier, gourmet gift boxes with a French touch. The cost if $58 / month - definitely a bit on the pricey side, but the items look delicious.
Overall impressions & trends: The trend of expansion in the subscription eCommerce space didn't disappoint this month either. Since there is a box for almost anything imaginable out there already, it seems that new entrants bet on differentiation as a way to become successful. In addition to some of the niche boxes that opened in April, differentiating your subscription service in a market that seems to become already saturated might be exactly what these new entrants need to gain popularity and ultimate success. Of course, the concept needs to be flawlessly executed and consistent, as well.  Of the new bunch this month, I'm definitely intrigued by Bonjour Jolie as they seem to be off to a great start. 

Do you know of any new subs this month? What is the company that caught your attention and why?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Treasures: Last-minute Mother's Day Gifts & Offers

With Mother's Day on May 12th, there are a number of great offers still available that would make any mom - any woman really - feel appreciated. So, take a look at these 'treasures' and treat your mom, your girlfriend or yourself with something special: because of Mother's Day or 'just because':
  • Total Beauty Collection Revlon Edition for $15: A $30 value collection of four full size Revlon products, includes free shipping. I have a Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter and I really like it - smooth, makes lips supple, with a touch of color
  • Burt's Bees Coupon + Offers:
    You can get free shipping + $5 OFF $25 with code SPRING13. There are some other great deals in Burt's Bees Outlet section, if you'd like to stock up and use the coupon (though many of these seem to be sold out...). A couple of offers worth mentioning:
    • Burt's Bees Body Butter & Balm for $6: Regularly $13, the set includes one full-sized body butter and a matching flavored lip balm. It comes in Pomegranate or Honey flavors. I'm a fan of Burt's Bees lip products but haven't tried their body butter yet - this seems like the perfect opportunity!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thursday Treats: Beets, Cucumber & Parmesan Salad

I know it's already Friday and I usually post my Thursday Treats ... well, on Thursdays... However, I'm making an exception this week - the fresh healthy spring salad is well worth it! I improvise a lot with salads and one of my favorites this week is what I'm calling Beets, Cucumber & Parmesan Salad. Take a look:

I love beets - they are delicious - raw or cooked - and rich in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. When steamed, they are the perfect companion to more crunchy vegetables such as cucumbers and peppers. Here is my simple easy recipe: 

Ingredients (for 2-3 portions):
  • 3-4 steamed & peeled baby beets (I like the Trader Joe's kind)
  • 2-3 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 1/2 red, orange or yellow pepper (I used orange) 
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste
  • fresh dill
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil
  • 1-2 tbs of vinegar
  1. Cut the beets in small pieces
  2. Wash and cut the rest of the vegetables - I prefer to peel the cucumbers
  3. Mix together
  4. Add fresh chopped dill to the mixture and salt to taste
  5. Add the olive oil and vinegar (or substitute vinegar with squeezed lemon) and mix well 
  6. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese
Enjoy immediately - I had mine with fish and it was just perfect!

What are your favorite spring salads?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

FabKids April Review: Ready for Summer Set + Free Outfit Offer

Both my girl and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 5-piece Ready for Summer Set from FabKids ever since we selected it about 10 days ago. It showed up at out door yesterday, exactly one week after the order had shipped - not bad given the coast-to-coast distance. Since I liked my first FabKids box so much, I was really looking forward to see this second package in person. It did not disappoint; more than that - we loved every single piece. Take a look at the box and its contents:

The contents: The Ready for Summer Set included five pieces and it was a great deal since I got it for $39.95 - the regular price of a single outfit. This specific set has sold out quickly, but FabKids still has some style sets on sale for the same price, if you are interested. Here are more details on the pieces: 
  • Sparkle Hearts Tank - this top is so much prettier in person, with all the colorful sparkly hearts that are also very well executed (e.g. "not prickle-y" as my girl pointed out); held up great after washing. This is my daughter's favorite piece - she paired it with leggings over a short sleeve tee and wore it to school the very next day.
  • Two FabKids Striped Tanks - one in pink and one in blue - great basic pieces, these are cute and versatile. Also, I like their longer length since they'll look great with both skirts and leggings.
  • Striped Knit Skirt - my favorite piece in the box, this sky-blue skort is light and twirly, and smartly done with the attached shorts.
  • FabKids Knit Shortie - a quality basic piece, this pretty pink shortie would be perfect for my girl all summer long. I like the sparkly little star embellishment in the corner: I think those little touches make basic pieces like this one just a little extra special and so fun to wear. 
  • Bonus: My box also included a bonus - a 50% off coupon for a Bluum subscription.
My verdict: As with my first FabKids box, I really liked this second one - perhaps even a bit more since it was such a great deal. While I already knew the design & look of the pieces, I was still impressed with their quality and feel. I like the fact that the cotton of the tank tops and the shorts is of medium weight, perhaps more on the thick side but very soft. It feels like they would wear well, similar to both of the pieces from my daughter's first FabKids outfit. They washed very well, without losing shape, softness or color. The blue skort is definitely my favorite piece in this box: its lighter, breezier cotton fabric makes it perfect for summer.  

I would definitely buy more outfits & style sets from FabKids in the future - maybe not every month since I have the option to skip, but certainly when my daugher needs clothes seasonally or for an occasion. 

Free Outfit Offer: If you want to learn more about FabKids and try it, you can do so here. Plus, for a limited time, if you sign up for FabKids and order your first outfit, you'll get your second one FREE, no code required. That comes to less than $20 per outfit. Plus, you can skip a month and if you are not completely satisfied with the outfit you receive, you can return it for free within 30 days.

What do you think of this FabKids set? Are you a subscriber? What are some of your favorite kid clothing boxes?