Friday, November 1, 2013

Sick Day

Thing I do when I'm sick:

Drink fancy coffee from my Keurig out of various Disney mugs.

Snuggle up with fat, fuzzy kitties.

Watch the entire series of The Office....on marathon. 

Eat random food off of a tray.  Everything tastes better on a tray, right?  

My random quick lunch today has: Butternut Squash soup, Go Veggie! Cheddar Cheese grilled cheese sandwich (on wheat), Gingerale, Chinese crunchy noodles and Indian spiced roasted Chick Peas (an odd but yum combination) and Lucy's vegan chocolate chip cookies.  

Lots of this came from a vegan swap which I'll be updating you with later in the week but I want to highlight that these cookies are made of garbanzo bean flour and THEY. ARE. DELICOUS. Vegan, gluten, nut and dairy free and SO YUM.

And now I must return to Scranton, PA. I hope everyone is having a good Friday and the rest of you aren't sickies like me!! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vegan Champorado

Well everyone knows how much I LOVE rice. I could literally eat it everyday and not get tired of it. There are so many kinds and so much you can do with it. I recently found this dessert online and thought I'd give it a go with some leftover rice I had planned to make sushi with. It's super easy and really delicious. You'll want to make sure you're using a sticky, short grained rice for this, or it just won't be as tasty! I also used some of the vegan chocolate chips from my Vegan Swap Box for the chocolate. :) There are a lot of variations on this so feel free to put your own twist on this basic recipe.

You'll need:
  • 6 ounces vegan bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup short-grain sweet rice, also known as sticky rice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • vanilla almond milk (or your favorite kind)

**My rice was cooked so I didn't include instructions on how to do it! But make sure you're using cooked rice. :)**

So here's what to do:
Create a double boiler by filling a pot with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over the pot. (Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.) Stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.Add the sugar and melted chocolate to the rice, whisk to combine, and return to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until the pudding has cooled slightly but is still warm, about 45 minutes. You can then refrigerate it to eat later (for up to three days!) or serve it. You can drizzle the almond milk over the top when you serve. 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Battle of the Boxes

Many of you are probably familiar with the idea of Beauty Boxes. Nail polish lovers can choose from Julep, Scratch, and The Nail Art Society for monthly deliveries of polish, snack lovers can choose Graze boxes, Nature boxes, even Vegan Cuts boxes. For lovers of all things cosmetic the choices are nearly endless. There are Ipsy, Beauty Box 5, Blissmo, Beauty Army and loads more. But how do you choose a box? Are they even worth it? Which ones offer the best benefits?  Well today I'm going to break down four beauty boxes for you to help you decide!  The beauty boxes I'm comparing range various prices, options and lifestyles and each box is the August 2013 edition. we go.

We'll start with the Birch Box because it's the cheapest option on my list.  Birch Box runs you $10 a month and offers four beauty samples and a "surprise" item in each box.  Here's the August box:

Yay nail polish! I was actually quite disappointed with this months box. Only two of the samples are really 'deluxe' and sunscreen is kind of a throwaway this late in the year.  The polish has a value of about $5 and the hair oil about .36 despite it's deluxe size. So...the box wasn't very valuable. I did also get a 20% off coupon code but it's for Anne Taylor so let's face it, that's going in the trash.

Pros: I really like that Birch Box ships early in the month because that means I get August's box IN August.  I also really love the price point because it works out to .33 a day. It's basically two coffee's.  I have had some REALLY stellar boxes. I also really love the point system. Each month you can review your items for points and then you can spend the points like cash in the Birch Box store. I've gotten quite a few items for free that way.

 The Birch Box point system has changed. While you still earn points for reviews, the reviews now must be at least 20 words long and be approved by someone before points are issued. Not so in love anymore. 

Cons: Birch Box is VERY hit or miss. Some boxes, like this one, are just junk. Others are really great but there's no guarantee what you'll get. Sometimes the free gift is really silly too; more than once I've gotten a hair rubber. I also don't love their customization which asks you a lot of random questions instead of just being forthright.

So now let's move on to the Eco Emi box.  Eco Emi is $15 a month and, as the name suggests, it's an eco friendly box filled with five to ten samples of natural, organic, green, eco-friendly, cruelty free, vegan, vegetarian or Fair Trade products.. Here's my box for August:

As you can see it's filled with a whole range of items. I've even gotten laundry soap in them! This box has a value of $12.50.  Last month had a value of $25 so these really do even out and more often than not I LOVE the box and am more than happy with the cost. This box alone has cookies, walnut butter, green tea leaves, eyeshadow, soap, some super cute wooden utensils, nail polish and some samples of lotion and body oil.

Pros: If you're vegetarian or into Eco Friendly things then this is an excellent way to try out new things. Sometimes those items can be a little more pricey so it's nice to be able to try before investing. I love that I get a lot of different things like snacks and hair care and makeup; it's fun to be able to try out lots of things. I also think the price point is spot on. There are always at least 7 or 8 items in my boxes and often more.

Cons: There is zero customization. Each box is the same every month so there's no tailoring it to your wants/needs. I get a lot of eye shadows and chap sticks. They're all different and I always need those things but sometimes it's a bit much. These also ship at the end of the month so for example, August's box arrived this month around the 29th.

Next up we have the $21 Glossy Box subscription. 

So I actually cancelled my Glossy Box subscription this month and went back to Birch Box. It was meant to be for the points cause there's something that I want to buy from their shop. BUT I just learned that they have all sorts of requirements now for reviews so it's sort of a waste. I'm really kicking myself and will probably join up again before this posts!  This box is epic. It has a value of close to $70! Everything in this box was full sized and I'm really excited about the red lip pencil. The fact spray is great in the summer and with curly, thick hair I can always use masks. The nail polish is a little "meh" (all of them will be reviewed later this week!) but the face powder is amazing. I also got a little jean Guess bag in this box as an extra.

Pros: Boxes nearly always have a high value and I've never had one that didn't contain at least one full sized item. I've gotten several Tarte lip sticks as well as a few nail polishes and eye liners. But on the other hand, I've also gotten a lot of things I'll never use like gel blushes and hair sprays. HOWEVER, you'll always have that with a box subscription.

Cons: While the value outweighs the cost nearly always, $21 is a little pricey for some.  There is customization but it's fairly minimal and the Glossy Dots they offer are basically useless. 

And finally we come to a new brand of box called Wantables. Wantables runs you $36 a month and you choose whether you'd like an accessory box or a beauty box. I chose beauty:

So here's my Wantables box. This box had a lot of brands I hadn't heard of before BUT that said, they definitely lived up to their price point!! There is an eye shadow quad, two lip glosses, a NAIL POLISH (Hello!!) and a little sample of body oil. The value of this box is around $80. VERY fair for a $36 price point. These boxes really vary because of the full customization Wantables offers so I've seen boxes with very diverse contents. They also appear to work with indie makers as I saw a few boxes with Rainbow Honey polishes. 

Pros: The value is indisputable and the items are also high quality.  You can choose between accessories (and jewelry) or cosmetics. The box came in a timely manner. This is the MOST customizable box I've come across. They not only ask you what cosmetics you like but then they break them down further by asking about specifics. I chose nail polish and was then asked if I liked colors or neutrals, shimmers or sheers, cremes or glitters, etc.  My box is VERY suited to the choices I made.

Cons: They are a bit of a reach for some people at $36 a month. BUT all my cosmetics are full sized and high priced items so if you already spend a lot on makeup it could be a great deal for you. I don't believe they have a rewards program either.

All in all Glossy Box and Eco Emi will continue to be my choices. But in the future I may definitely jump on board the Wantables train. I really loved that my box was MY box. No two are the same and it's really made up just for me. If I used more makeup on a regular basis it would definitely be worth the money. My Birch Box is going to the wayside again! Which box is your favorite?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Zoo Rat Adventures: Volume I

So it's no secret that I've been at the zoo a lot recently.  In fact, I've been there just about every weekend since May.  I hadn't really noticed til the third or fourth time I went but....the zoo seriously brings out the funniest people.  Having been there so many times I've learned quite a bit about the animals. Cheetah's can't jump very far. Sea Lions have ears while Seals do not. White Lions are not actually white, they just have lighter manes and bodies. Penguin babies are the same size as the adults to keep them from being picked off by predators. These things are perhaps not your most basic knowledge. But there's a difference between knowing specifics about the animals and just being...well...silly to put it nicely.  
Like this incident at the Columbus Zoo.  I'm standing next to the Aye Aye exhibit when two brothers run up to the glass, the first excitedly shouting "What is it?! What is it?!" His brother, obviously the genius of the bunch pointedly tells him "It's a nocturnal chicken. Duh." Duh indeed.  This little guy is the AyeAye:

And if the Nocturnal Chicken exists I've yet to see one. Now listen, I know zoo rats like me know all about the crazy different animals. In fact, I can even tell you the names of most of them and I don't mean White Handed Gibbon or Red Crowned Crane.  I mean as in Bobby the Sifaka and John the African Lion.  But let's face it...while most of you might not know the difference between a Potto and a Grey Lemur (ours are housed together and as our Grey Lemur is an expert at hiding they're almost always mistaken for one another) I'd hope MOST of you can tell the difference between basic animals.

Here's a more recent incident:

These gorgeous guys are White Lions. In the past two weeks I've been to the zoo twice and both times this exhibit illicited silly conversations.  The first when a woman pointed excitedly at them while saying to her family "Look ya'll!! Them lions got manes this week!!"  Yes, indeed male lions do have manes.  But come during the week and sometimes they have out the two female lions instead which is undoubtedly what had been the case on her last family visit.  I can assure you most definitely that those female lions did not magically "grow manes".  Then today yet another fabulously silly conversation took place next to me.  The scene: same as usual, both of our male White Lions sleeping in the sunny spot on their deck. A woman and her husband approach and the rest is what followed...
"Look at these!!"
"Wow! Are those lions or tigers?"
"I don't know, it's hard to tell when they're laying down."
"Yeah it is."
"Looks like they've got manes though. So..."

Ladies and gentleman....I give you one lion and one tiger:

Clearly not mistakable no matter the species nor position. But hey, a cat is a cat right? What about this gem that came up while I was visiting the Ocelots today:

"Whoa!! Look!!"
"What is it?!"
"It's a baby leprechaun!!"
"NO! It's a baby CHEETAH."

No boys, that's an Ocelot. But kudos to the second one for at least recognizing that it's a cat and not a small, magical, human-like creature with a pot of gold.

The kids are funny but understandably mislead. But then, their parents don't help.  At the Komodo Dragon exhibit a child asked his mother why it wasn't breathing fire. Rather than give him the correct answer, that Komodo Dragon's aren't THAT kind of dragon, she offered "He's too small to breathe fire yet. He will when he gets bigger."  Thanks for always being honest, mom.  

*Sigh* I guess the animals aren't the ONLY reason to go to the zoo!!! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Adventures in Crafting: The Knitting Edition

Knitting is not like riding a bike.  If you stop doing it for any period of time, you WILL forget how. And you'll end up with a mess that looks something like this:

Sometime around fall of last year I decided that knitting would be a fun thing to do.  My mother does it as though she's a machine.  I kid you not, she can literally knit you a blanket in a day.  And everything she makes with it is so stretchy and soft and knitty. :)  So I enlisted her help in teaching me.  Everything went great until she left.  And I stopped knitting.  Five minutes later when I returned to continue my progress it literally looked like a mass of confusing strings and sticks and I had no idea what to put where.  So at work the next day I implored her to show me what I was doing wrong (it was backward).  And...then I got busy as things do and I put my 'scarf' to the side for awhile.  Cut to yesterday.  With my husband working all day and it being entirely too hot to be outside...I had little to keep me occupied.  I painted my nails (of course), made a few plushies...

Even made some scented paper.  Yeah. Paper. Because the only thing greater than paper is MORE paper. And after all that I decided to try to finish my scarf.  Bad idea.  I thought I had the gist of it...and then I thought maybe I'll just look online and it will jog my memory as to how this is done.  Worse idea.  I mean, have you SEEN the tutorials online for knitting? It's no wonder people buy machines for this.  It's like a whole other language.  So...I did what any sane person would, I didn't throw the whole thing in the trash and just buy a stupid scarf. Though, logically, it would have been less trying.  I called my mom.  And this time I'm not so much as going to the restroom til this scarf is finished.  I WILL remember how to knit. (for at least a few more months :P)

Bee x

Side note: My mother is the queen of all crafts. I'm convinced there is literally nothing she can't do.  So if you're not blessed with a wonderfully crafty mom like mine, you might ask a crafty friend for help. (Or you can borrow my mom. Just remember to return her)

June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Mask

If you know me at all then you know I'm obsessed with face masks.  I'm not sure what it is about them that entices me.  But it's probably the fact that most are a quick fix for your skin.  The issue with me and masks is that I have somewhat sensitive skin and a lot of them either A) don't work, or B) make my skin worse.  I got this particular mask recently and I am LOVING it.  I put it second in line to my most favorite mask of all time, Organics Japanese Matcha Tea and Mask. This one is by June Jacobs Spa Collection and it's called the Papaya Purifying Enzyme Mask.  It's supposed to get rid of dead skin cells and combat free radicals and aging while making the skin soft.  What it does for anti-aging or free radicals I can't vouch for.  But what it does do is make your skin feel AH-MAY-ZING.  And it takes literally NO time at all.  Another plus?  You really don't need much to make a huge difference.  The mask works sort of like a lotion for your face. You put a tiny amount on your fingers and massage it INTO your skin.  This is different from most masks which are layered on top of the skin.  The second thing I noticed about it was that it smells awesome.  I'm sure its supposed to smell like papaya and perhaps it does (I have NO idea what a papaya smells like) but it seems to have hints of almond and vanilla and it feels tropical and light.  You leave the mask on for three  to ten minutes.  At first it feels moisturizing and light but after about five minutes I started to feel a little it might feel to spread chap stick all over your skin.  So I left it for about that long and then lightly buffed it off with warm water and a washcloth.  And....voila! Amazing skin.  My skin felt soft, moisturized and clean.  The directions say to use it twice a week but I use it about once a week and I think it makes a HUGE difference in my skin. Especially now that the weather is changing and my skin is getting dry.  I definitely recommended trying it out if you have dry skin, need a quick mask (anyone can squeeze in three minutes right?), or have sensitive skin and need something gentle on the skin.

You can purchase this directly from the June Jacobs website here.  3.8oz retails for $62.  I use mine once a week and I estimate that .5oz lasts about two months. So I'm thinking you could get almost a year out of one jar.  Not too bad for the price.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The cowardly lion...

 This is John. John is the new lion at the Cincinnati Zoo. He's 2 1/2 and he just got a brand spankin new exhibit in the Africa section which was newly opened this June. He was scared to come out though, understandably. So the first time I went to see him...well...I didn't. Ever the proactive bunch, the zookeepers had put up brown paper around his exhibit for everyone to write words of encouragement:

So everyone did. And pretty soon....John found his courage...

He's cute, no? But here's the thing: since John's been hanging out in his yard with all his new found pride...I haven't been able to go to the zoo. :( So I've yet to see him in all his glory. I made plans to go next Saturday and then this morning....THIS happened:

*sigh* I'm coming John. I promise. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Zoo Rat

So this past May my local zoo had a bunch of advertisements for Zoo Babies.  For those of you who might not know what this means, it means...babies. LOTS of babies. Cute, fuzzy, snuggly (sometimes) baby animals and let's face it, who can really resist that? Not me. It's been awhile since I've been to the zoo...probably about two years if not more so I was excited at the prospect of going back. First I made a point of visiting another zoo, which is about two hours drive from me.  I'm glad I did because our zoo is a SUPER SUPER awesome lacks one important thing:

Kangaroos.  Well, really almost any Australian animal. Yes ladies and gentlemen, our zoo is devoid of cute outback creatures like wallaby's and dingos and wallaroos. Not even a Koala to be seen. :(  That said, two non-local zoo trips later and I'm not entirely sad about it anymore because what it lacks in Australia it makes up for in...well just about everything else. Like this:

Baby Pallas cats. SO CUTE. And this:

Our baby giraffe, Lulu. Did you know there are nine subspecies of giraffe? We only have one sadly, the Massai Giraffe. Also these:

That's a baby skunk in the upper right corner! And baby flamingo in the lower left. Cuteness overload. And more importantly, THIS:

This is our traveling rhino. So named because there are five...FIVE rhino exhibits in our zoo. Yet somehow there is only ever ONE rhino on display. Somedays it's the Indian Rhino and other days maybe the Black Rhino or the Sumatran Rhino...but only ever one. I'm convinced they simply shuffle him from exhibit to exhibit. A clever ploy to keep us on our toes. I've even gone to the zoo in the rain. Like....serious RAIN

And the snow, but no pics of that just yet! It's official guys...I'm a zoo rat. And I like it...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Doritos Chicken

So the other night I was hungry but lacking on ideas and since I'm going to be on vacation in a week I haven't really bought much in the way of groceries lately.  We literally NEVER have crisps in the house and I can't remember the last time I even ate a Dorito but since we attended a Fourth of July party at my sisters recently (pics soon!), we have a bit of junk food on hand. Since I had some veggie chicken cutlets and about a quarter bag of cheese Dorito's* I thought I'd do some simple breading. Recipe below!!

***DISCLAIMER: Nacho Cheese flavoured Doritos are made with Romano cheese which is not strictly vegetarian. If you are a STRICT vegetarian who avoids rennet you will want to choose a different flavour. I used them because I had them but would generally avoid them.***

You'll need:
One box your choice of vegetarian chicken (I like Quorn Naked Cutlets)
1 egg (you could use a vegan sub like soy milk but my Doritos weren't vegan so I didn't bother)
1/4c flour
1t salt
1/4c crushed Doritos

What to do:

Preheat your oven according to box instructions. I used Quorn Naked cutlets so I preheated to 350.  Mix the salt and flour and then dredge the cutlets through it. Then through the egg and last roll in the crushed Dorito mix. Bake them on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 15 minutes, turning them once. Eat and enjoy!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vegan Corndogs

Well summer is officially here!  After a few weeks of ninety degree heat it's pretty much irrefutable at this point!  Over the weekend I went to the zoo with a friend and on the way we spotted this! The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.  This is actually my second spotting of the Weinermobile and neither time I was able to go inside. Lame I know. But it reminds me that the fair is quickly approaching and that got me thinking of fair food which got me craving a corn dog.  Normally I stay away from pre-made veggie treats.  I do like Quorn 'meat' products and use them here and again but you really have to watch for soy based items and many of them are no better for you than any standard frozen boxed fare.  Since I didn't have any premade corn dogs on hand, but  I DID have some LightLife Smart Dogs, I decided to try to wing it for myself!

They came out fairly well!  One thing I didn't anticipate was how deep the oil would need to be. You can fry them by rolling them in oil apparently but let's face it, someone as klutzy as myself should not be attempting that! So I had to tilt my oil a bit. You could probably fry them without a stick or just use oil deep enough to accommodate your dog! I also did not have any actual corn dog sticks but I used bamboo skewers left over from summer barbeques last year!  They're sort of long but worked like a charm!  Here's the recipe!

For the batter:
1/2c yellow cornmeal
1/2c flour (plus a little extra to roll dogs in)
1/8t salt
1/2c sugar
2t baking powder
1 flax seed egg* (or the equivalent of one egg in your choice of substitute)
1/2c unsweetened, organic soy milk

In addition:
One package LightLife Smart Dogs (or 8 vegan dogs of your choice)
Oil for deep frying
8 Skewers 

*Flax seed egg can be made by pulsing flax seeds in a coffee grinder until fine. Add 1T flax seed to 3T water and let sit a few minutes until it thickens

How to make the corn dogs:

Preheat the oil.  Mix the batter ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Skewer the hot dogs and roll them lightly in flour. Then batter them and fry for about 2 minutes or until crispy and brown. 

Eat and enjoy!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

American Girl Doll Day...

Well today was a very special day for my niece. Sometime back in May she received her first ever American Girl Doll, and today, for a treat, my sister, mother and I went up to the new American Doll store and had lunch and got her some little toys for her doll.  If you're not familiar with the dolls, they're basically a line of dolls which is meant to represent all types of girls from toddlers all the way through puberty. You can literally customise your doll to look exactly like your little girl, right down to wheel chairs, glasses, hearing aids and even what they like to do.  There wasn't one that my niece was really into so they got her Saige who is the special doll this year.  She's only available from January to December 2013.  She looks like this:

Saige is into horses and art.  She also supposedly has auburn hair which I take some issue with (looks brown to me) but anyway. We took my niece along with Saige to the store today and to get some lunch.

Our lunch reservation got messed up but luckily the nice people at the store fit us in.  This was our table setting. SO MUCH PINK. But really cute.  The box you see on the top left is filled with little questions like 
"What is your earliest childhood memory?" 
"What would you like to be famous for?"
which you ask your table mates while you wait for your food.  They sell this little game as a keyring in the store.  We had fun going around the table asking all the questions.  

 Everything here is so cute and girly!! I got the tomato soup and grilled cheese.  It's at the top left in this picture. It also came with some fruit. Notice the little star shaped crouton which matches the star logo (also featured on the menu and napkin ring).  For dessert I had some kind of flowerpot mousse. It even had a little flower and two tiny cookies!! The bottom right here is a view of part of the restaurant. Still very pink and girly! One really cute thing is that Saige got her own little chair and food and cup!  The associates were also super duper nice and friendly. 

Cute, right?
All in all it was a fun but tiring day!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Wishful Green Thumb...

This little plant is a cutting from a Hoya my aunt has.  It came from her grandmothers plant and in like, 1987 she got her own piece to start growing.  At some point two summers ago, while we were visiting her, the Hoya she was growing actually bloomed.  This is what it looks like:

Sweet, right?  I've never actually seen/heard of a Hoya until this happened.  It's a flower, yeah but it's not like one of those fancy girly flowers with sweet scents and fluffy petals floating in the wind.  It's  waxy and sturdy and each variety has its own, unique scent. It's also a quite temperamental plant, which I like cause let's face it, all of us are a little difficult at times, no? It might bloom the first year, or maybe after two or three. It needs lots of light, but indirect.  You can't repot it or trim the dead blooms or you risk it NEVER blooming. I'm not great at plants.  I'm great at forgetting about them, killing them, and subjecting them to endless kitty torture.  Most plants do not last in my house so while I REALLY wanted one of these for myself I was reluctant to take one. Who wants to be the person who kills the family plant? Not me.  Still, my curiosity overrode my fear and I got a clipping from my mom.  Above is the plant when I first got it.  And one month later...

It grew! It grew about an inch!  I don't actually play with this thing cause I'm like, terrified it will die.  So here's what I do...I leave it outside in indirect sun when it's warm and in the winter months I put it in a high window where the kitties can't nom it.  When it's dry (or more likely, when I remember) I water it. Just until no more water will soak rapidly into the dirt.  It's pretty low maintenance really. I've read lots of blogs which say I should be feeding the little guy all sorts of plant foods but really, I don't have the time or inclination for that and he seems to be doing fine on his own.  No blooms yet but hey, maybe he's a slow one!  So cut to now, a year after I first obtained my little plant AND...

Be proud you guys! Not only is he still ALIVE (always a plus) but he's grown a WHOLE NEW STEM. Woo!! I don't think it's anywhere near the blooming stage but the fact that it even still exists and hasn't like, shriveled and died is a near miracle in itself.  I couldn't be more proud!  I will definitely update this as time goes on but for confidence is building. Maybe in a few years I'll be able to handle those pesky African Violets! ;)

Bee xx

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox

By now I'm sure you're all familiar with Influenster.  If not, it's a website which basically rewards you for reviewing products by...sending you free stuff!!  Something I LOVE about Influenster is that the boxes are really amazing and they're totally free.  Yes, free.  You don't have to give out tons of your personal information or take a million surveys or anything special really for them. All you have to do is review products you already love and you get a chance to review new products which you may or may not love! So this month I received a Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox.  The kitties of course came around to investigate! 

Here's what it looked like when I opened it.  I'm so excited for this one because it isn't all beauty products so I can try out lots of new things!  You can also see here that Influenster doesn't mess around. These are full sized items not little sample packets. There are a few things in here which I've been really wanting to try for awhile but haven't gotten around to! Win!  So let's break it down by item!!

This is Vaseline Spray and Go lotion and Dickinson's Witch Hazel towelettes.  The Vaseline I was SO SO excited for. I keep seeing commercials for it and I'm super curious! If you're on Vine, you can catch a little video of me testing it out soon! It smells really good but it's not an overpowering scent.  It's fresh and clean.  I was concerned about the grease factor but it's not lying, it doesn't have a greasy finish.  It's actually REALLY easy to use. You just spray it on like suncream and then rub it in. It absorbs really quickly. I was also worried that a spray wouldn't moisturize very effectively but it feels like lotion. It's light but you feel moisturized but not greasy.  It's not a fine mist like I expected but more like a suncream spray.  It does need to be rubbed in you can't just spray and go.  I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of it is.  I feel like lotion is just as convenient but maybe for places that are hard to reach?

The Dickinson's towelettes are a hit/miss for me.  I LOVE that they are individually packaged so you can use them without worrying that the rest of the pack will dry out. You can also throw them in your bag on the go.  BUT they smell just awful.  Like vinegar or something. I'm sure they probably smell like witch hazel but I haven't used any in ages so it's hard to say!  They did a great job cleaning my face without over-drying but you can't use them to remove eye makeup and the smell is enough to turn me off to them. :(

Colgate Optic White products!  I actually needed a new toothbrush so this is perfect timing.  I prefer natural toothpastes but I'm curious to see how this one works! Haven't tested them out yet but hubby says the toothpaste is tasty!  I'll definitely update when I've had a chance to fully try these!

I did a seriously in-depth review of the Nectresse packets on this blog already so I won't go into that one! But I got a 40 pack of them and they will be getting put to use!  The last item was this Belvita pack of four breakfast cookies.  These are REALLY tasty and I was worried they wouldn't be. They smell and taste just like a honey Teddy Graham.  I ate them for breakfast this morning and they actually were pretty filling.  They kept me full until around lunch time.  I don't know how I feel about the cost of them but if you're already buying breakfast this will probably be no worse and potentially better on your budget. $3.69 will net you a five day supply!:)

Did you get a Sugar 'n Spice box? What was your favorite part?

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Glossy Box: January 2013

Well I'm obviously a little behind on this!! This is from January! But in my defense I didn't receive this Glossybox until mid-February so I'm a LITTLE less behind. :P  When it came, Aoife of course had to investigate it. She was very excited to get into this one for some reason!

The packaging on these is very nice! The box is still cardboard, like my Birchboxes but it's a heavy cardboard and it's covered in plastic-y material.  This is great for wow factor but essentially it's useless. I can't really ship in the box because it's unnecessarily heavy although I could use them for gifts to others later I suppose.  I did feel it added value to the box but I also don't like throwing my money away on packaging so it's a negligible point. Also like my Birchbox it had a little card inside outlining what was in the box and everything was neatly wrapped up with tissue paper.

And now for the inside!  The important stuff, right?  I was actually pretty impressed with this box.  When I joined Birchbox I got an "introductory box" which was basically a box crammed full of awesome to make you excited about joining. There is no introductory Glossybox. Just whatever is up for the month.  This box was the Man Repeller Box so named for it's collaboration with, you guessed it, The Man Repeller!  It had THREE full sized items in it and most of the box was pretty stellar. So here's the breakdown!

1. Le Metier De Beaute Replenishing Daily Solution – 3 mL Value $19.23
Still haven't tried this one but I keep meaning to.  Supposedly it nourishes, moisturizes AND detoxifies and for the had better!!

2. Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum – 5 mL – Value $5.95
Another one I haven't tried yet.  What does it do? Well it's supposed to tone and hydrate while minimizing the appearance of pores and controlling shine. It is also proven to provide 24-hour antioxidant protection. I'm actually excited to try this out because my face gets pretty shiny during the day. 

3. Estee Lauder Sumptuous Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara – .1 oz Value $9.25
This one is another I haven't tried. Bad me. I hate to open mascara's when I have others in use though. It just gives them the chance to go bad. My go-to mascara of the moment is Buxom brand. I've tried literally HUNDREDS of them.  So here's hoping it's awesome enough to beat that one.

4. Sebastian Professional Potion No. 9 – 1.7 oz Value $6.33
I actually tried this almost immediately. It smells super yummy and clean and it did a decent job controlling my frizz. I think it's meant for shorter hair though and I don't see myself buying it after my sample is gone.

5. OPI Liquid Sand Nail Lacquer in Can’t Let Go – FULL SIZE! Value $9
I actually already had this one!! I didn't love it but it was my favorite of the Mariah Carey Liquid Sand colors. It was nice to get a polish too, because I'm a polish lover!!

6. Tarte Glamazon Pure Performance 12 Hour Lipstick – FULL SIZE! Value $26

This was our favorite part of the box! I am OBSESSED with red lipstick lately. I have tons of them but none in this particular shade. I love that it's bright but still totally wearable.  I also loved how smoothly it went on. Even though it felt silky on my lips it still lasts for hours so it's definitely a win!

 Looks pretty good, no?


 Our least favorite part of the box. 
7. Narciso Rodriguez for her Eau de Toilette Spray – 1 mL Value $1.44
Have I mentioned lately how I hate perfume samples?! Grrr...I have SO SO SO many. But...I'll let them slide on this one because the rest of the box made up for it.  I won't wear this scent though. It's not really very me and it smells kind of old. :/

Well there you have it. Were you impressed with the Glossybox or did you prefer the Birchbox?