Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Checking In!

Hello to anyone who has been wondering where I went! I know I haven't posted on this blog in a long while, and here's why.

* All book related stuff was relegated to either Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (my book blog) or to Bookishly Delighted (my book club blog).

* I got a new physical journal, which I love writing in! Its tempting pages made me forget to type in here.

* I've been really busy with those ^^ blogs you see above.

* My job is currently still in limbo.

There have been good things that have happened though! I got back into product reviews. I've been cutting down on the subscription boxes I pay for, to see which ones are best for me. Plus I recently got an interview for the job I'd been hoping to get. So really? Good things are happening. I choose to focus on those and let everything else go.

I'll do my best to post in here more regularly. Even if it's just once or twice a month :).

*big hugs*

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Love With Food Subscription Box - May 2014

Ready to hear all about May's Love With Food box?

Although this month wasn't my favorite, there were definitely some gems in this box. I love that I have the chance to devour so many new tasty treats! Plus Love With Food has started including a spice or condiment in the box as well, which gives you the chance to incorporate your box into a meal!

What is Love With Food you ask? Here's a blurb straight from their website:
Love With Food helps you discover new organic, all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.

For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!

Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!
May's theme was DERBY DAYS, in celebration of the Kentucky Derby!

Once again, credit for photos goes to the Love with Food website :).

Honeybush Caramel, Southern Mint and Tropical Green Tea 
Package Size: 3 teabag sampler - Value: around $2.50

I loved that there was tea in this box again, and that it was a sampler pack! The Honeybush Caramel was perfectly sweet, and I loved it. The Southern Mint was okay, but I think it would have been better iced. I haven't tried the Tropical Green Tea yet, but it smells delicious!

Tarallino Snack by Terre Di Puglia
Package Size: 1.4 oz (2) - Value: $1.25

So these come directly from Italy, and I have to say they were pretty tasty! Apparently tarallos are big snacks in Italy, and these are the mini versions of them. Perfectly crispy little rounds, with a hint of olive oil and salt. I ate the first bag on it's own. The second bag, I paired with some cheese. Delicious! I'd buy these again if they weren't so hard to find.

Tropical Peach Drink Mix by Flavrz
Package Size: 1 oz (2) - Value: $2.25

I wasn't overly impressed with these. The concept is awesome! A flavored drink mix that's liquid, easy to carry, and doesn't contain any of that fake stuff. The problem is, it doesn't taste like it contains any of that delicious fake stuff. The flavor is really subtle and, even when I put it in a small water bottle, it wasn't that good. Maybe a different flavor would be better?

Sweet Potato Chips by One Potato, Two Potato
Package Size: 2 oz - Value: $.99

I only eat sweet potatoes when they are covered with marshmallows, lol. I can't lie. So I didn't actually eat these, and can't actually review them. Instead I gifted them away to someone that I knew would appreciate them more than me. One thing I am excited about though is that this isn't the company's only flavor! I absolutely must find their Sweet Onion chips. They sound delicious.

Sea Salt Caramels by Le Caramel
Package Size: 4 individually wrapped caramels - Value: ???

Honestly I don't care how much these are worth, they were DELICIOUS. I'm a Werther's girl. I love caramels so very much, especially the soft ones. These though? They've converted me to a Le Caramel girl! They are so soft, so sweet, and that perfect amount of salty to offset it all. They melt in your mouth! I need an entire bucket of these. I really, really do.

Key Lime Cookies by J&M
Package Size: 1.5 oz (2) - Value: $4.20

If I had to use one word to describe these cookies? It'd absolutely be decadent. Oh my, yes. If you love key lime, you'll love these delicious little bites of heaven! They have that perfect sweet/sour lime combo on the inside, with the sweetness of the powdered sugar outside to offset it all. I meant to save one of these bags to eat with tea, but gave up. They were just too GOOD.

Package Size: 1.5 oz (2) - Value: $3.00

Perfect granola. Seriously. Love With Food sent the Seriously Seedy kind and it was so darn good! This is the type of granola that clumps together just perfectly, so you can either eat it right out of the bag or throw it in some yogurt. I ate both of these bags pretty much before anything else came out of the box. SO GOOD, and gluten free!

Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and Italian Black Truffle Salt
Package Size: One packet each - Value: ???

Again, something I can't find the value of. These two spices are sitting up in my cabinet, waiting to make their debut. I already have plans to make truffle fries with the Truffle Salt. It smells heavenly right through the bag. I think the Sea Salt will make it's home on a nice salmon steak soon too :). 

Praline Pecans by South Georgia Pecan Company
Package Size: 2 oz - Value: $1.25

HOLY NOM, my friends. These were scrumptious! I love pralines, I love pecans, but praline pecans? Get out of town. These were so darn good! Another perfect sweet snack for that moment when you've just got to have something a bit decadent. The hubby suggested we buy more to throw in our popcorn next time. I'm in!

Malabar Black Pepper Pork Clouds by Bacon's Heir
Package Size: .07 oz (2) - Value: $4.00

These babies aren't cheap. The hubby loved the flavor of these so much that I went online to see about buying more. It's sad how expensive one bag of these are, because they are honestly delicious! This is the perfect pork rind. Not too crunchy, not too soft, and the flavor of the Malabar Black Pepper was to die for!

So there you have it!

I can't express enough though that Love With Food is all about curation. It's about getting you to try new snacks, from all over the world, that are healthier alternatives! So if you're looking at trying this? Go for it. You can even get your first tasting box for free right now. All you pay is shipping :).

Happy snacking!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Climbing Uphill

Well, it's been a battle the last few weeks. I can't lie. I haven't wanted to blog on here because I didn't want to sound whiny and cranky, even though I totally was. It's funny. When I had a paper journal I'd write whatever the hell I wanted. I mean, who was going to read it besides me? If I was whiny, it'd only be to myself. Now though? This is out there. Like out there. So I think a lot harder about what I write. That way you don't all think I'm just a complainer. Seriously, I'm not. I'm just in a funk.

I've been learning to deal better with it though. Work is still tough, still full of negativity, but we're pushing forward. I've been trying to find happiness in the little things. In the stuff that I love doing that, for a small moment, started to feel like work. I took a break from my book blog, but I missed it so much I went right back. I still have my nail art that I love doing. I still have my book club. And you know what? I'm still going to do subscription box and product reviews on here. Because it's fun, and I can. So there.

It's an uphill battle right now, but I'm making it. Slow going yes, but progress all the same.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In defense of healthy meals!

One thing that drives me completely bonkers when I'm talking to people about healthy eating is the phrase, "Oh I know, but it's so expensive!". Is it? Let's dive deeper into this, shall we?

For those of you who've been following this blog, you know that the hubby and I have been dedicated to healthy eating since the beginning of the year. For the last five months we've been filling our fridge with delicious and nutritious foods. We're both handling it a bit differently, which makes for interesting grocery shopping and actually slightly increased the amount we used to spend because we aren't buying pre-made junk anymore, but I'll get to that later.

For me, groceries consist of chicken breasts, frozen shrimp, ample amounts of vegetables and healthy snacks for work. I pick up yogurt, raisins, granola, and all manner of other little yummy bites. For the hubby, who is on a ketogenic diet, groceries are just meat, vegetables, and cheese. So our diets do overlap a little bit. The difference is that now we are buying better cuts of meat for him. Steaks, pork chops, and even the occasional smoked sausage or two :).

When we used to buy pre-packaged and frozen food, our monthly food bill generally came out to around $120. Not too shabby, right? Now that we're eating healthier, our monthly food bill comes out to around $160. See that? Only a $40 increase per month my friends. Maybe $170 if we go the Farmer's Market a weekend or two. I'm betting to guess you have $40-$50 sitting around somewhere in your budget. Perhaps you're spending it on eating out or buying coffee every morning? Hmmm?

My whole point is that eating healthy isn't necessarily as expensive as you think it is. Perhaps it might cost more if you're going out to have a salad made for you that costs $8, instead of making it at home for $2. It's all about time. It's all about planning. Healthy eating is in your grasp. So stop making excuses :). You've got this!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's technology, yo!

As I'm sitting here today, paying bills and getting caught up with everything social media, I can't help but realize how reliant my life has become on technology. I mean, think about it. It's how I check my finances, make purchases, talk to people who live far away, write book reviews, and oh so much more! Now before you freak out and think  "Oh, Jessica is about to go off on an anti-technology ran of some sort. Head for the hills!", let me assure you that I'm not. I'm just amazed at how much I don't even think about it anymore. How all this technology is such an integral part of my life that I don't even notice.

Food for thought my friends. I'd never give it up, I'm just thankful it exists.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Montagne Jeunesse Creamy Coconut Face Mask Review

Yes, I meant to write this review days ago! Ha. Things got so busy this week that I really do wish I had another one of these face masks for tonight. Sitting back and giving myself a spa facial sounds AMAZING. Sadly, I've already used it up. 

First off I must announce that I received this product for free from Influenster and Montagne Jeunesse for review purposes. Although this doesn't affect my opinion in the slightest, I still want to be honest. On to the review!

First of all, I'm fairly certain that this package is how all the face masks come when you purchase them. That's pretty standard for a lot of face masks, as I've tried other brands before, but I was a little disappointed at how difficult it was to squeeze the entire mask out of this blister pack. If you choose to do one of these, I highly suggest squeezing it all out before you start putting on the mask. Trust me, it will make things a ton easier.

Once I was able to spread this mask evenly across my whole face, which was a little challenging because it started to absorb into my skin, the next thing I noticed was the scent. It's very strong, but in a pleasant way! I'd say it smells like a mix between coconut and shea butter. It doesn't have the exact same scent as sunscreen, but it is pretty close. Honestly? I thought it smelled good enough to eat! (Then I giggled that there is a tagline that specifically states not to eat this.)

The mask is supposed to sit for 10 minutes. I've done other masks before, and I don't mind the wait time. This mask was tough to ignore though because it tingled like crazy. I don't know why honestly, but I'll admit that I had a moment of panic where I was afraid it would give me a rash. The face you see in this picture may or may not have to do with that sensation mixed with the fact that this mask smelled so good.

I have very sensitive skin, so I do get a little paranoid. Luckily I washed this off with no issue, and no rash. Instead it left behind smooth, and very hydrated skin that was soft to the touch. As an added bonus, the scent stayed around for a bit! Nice!

So would I try another Montagne Jeunesse Cream Face Mask? Absolutely! Although I do wish it came in an easier to dispense format, and was a little thicker when it went on. 

Thank you Influenster for the opportunity to try this product!

Find Montagne Jeunesse products on:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Viva! VoxBox Review

It's time for another VoxBox Review! This time it's all about the Viva! VoxBox and its amazing goodies. I'm always thrilled with Influenster deigns to send me one of these! So many new products to try, and fall in love with. *swoon* The least I can do is thank them with some reviews for the free products that they send me. So, let's get to it!


* Creamy Coconut Face Mask by Montagne Jeunesse

I'll be doing an individual review on this tomorrow, but for now I'll say that this mask had both its pros and cons. While peeking around at what other Influensters received, I'm glad I got a cream mask. Montagne Jeunesse makes quite a few different types of masks, and I'm a little afraid of peel of ones. A cream mask on the other hand? Bring it on! This mask definitely gets points for the amazing way it smelled. A little like shea butter, and a lot like coconut, it was reminiscent of the beach.

* CityProof Twistable Intense Lip Color in "South Ferry Berry" by NYC

First of all, massive kudos to NYC for creating such a buttery soft lip color! It goes on so amazingly smooth, and leaves your lips feeling moisturized without being sticky. If there's one thing I can't stand about lip products, it's stickiness. So that already made this a win in my book! Add in the fact that the color actually lasts through moderate eating and drinking, and you have my heart. The only downside for me was that these are very pigmented colors which in itself isn't a bad thing, but South Ferry Berry is very red. It's not my type of color. I'd probably choose something a little less bold :).

* Pure Ice Nail Polish in "It's Complicated" and "Afterhours"

Here's the manicure that I rocked with these colors! Let me tell you, this nail polish is super addictive. 

* It's only $1.99 a bottle!
* The colors are vivid
* The formula is smooth

* It's only sold at Walmart

That gorgeous pink is "Afterhours" and that fun glitter is "It's Complicated". Don't they pair together great? Two days after I received these colors, I went out and bought "Silver Star" and "Sexy Mama". I was only bummed that our Walmart didn't have a bigger selection. I'd love to see these for sale other places! 

* Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths

As you've probably realized from following my reviews of skin care products, I have pretty sensitive skin. One wrong move and I've either got a huge breakout on my hands, or dry skin that itches like mad. So when these Cetaphil cleansing clothes said they were gentle, I was hopeful! I am always looking for something to take my tinted moisturizer off with at the end of the day, without all the harsh makeup removing chemicals. These do the trick! They have little to no scent, are very soft, and work effectively at cleaning your skin. I use them on my feet now too, to wipe them down after a day of wearing sandals.

* Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer Cocoa Radiant

I was a little jealous last voxbox because my husband got a Spray & Go Moisturizer. I fell in love with the idea that, like my favorite new sunscreen, you were able to just spray it on, rub it in, and go. Of course his smelled like cologne, so I didn't want to use it :). Imagine my happiness when I opened my box to find one of my very own! This has a really pleasant shea butter and cocoa smell to it, and goes on so smooth. Be warned, it does dry really quickly! So if you don't want build up, do an arm at a time and make sure to rub it in right after you spray.

Truthfully, this was the only thing in the box I didn't get excited about. We don't usually buy gas at Shell, as it's much pricier than the other gas stations around us, and this rewards card doesn't really make much of a difference. You do save about $.03 per gallon at the pump, but in order to actually earn rewards you have to shop at their online mall, or sign up for a MasterCard Rewards Card. I like the idea of this, but it would make way more sense if you were just rewarded points for each time that you use the card at the pump. I don't see the hubby and I using this very often at all.


The bottom line?

I loved the majority of this box! The Viva! VoxBox has me hooked on Pure Ice nail polish for sure, and I plan on going out to get more Cetaphil Cleansing Cloths once I run through mine. So this box was a ton of fun for me, and I can't wait to try more! Thanks Influenster for the fun products, and thank you for reading my review!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

So it's like that, huh?

You know what inspirational quote pic? You're right. In theory. But what happens when half of your 24 hours is spent getting ready for, spending time at, and coming home from work? Didn't take that into consideration did you? HUH? 

I'm being silly, but yes, this post is all about time management, which I'll fully admit I'm still struggling with to this day! It's been about four months since the hubby and I joined our new gym. We drag our behinds there at least 3-4 times a week, and I actually do love going most days. The struggle? It eats into the very limited amount of time I have in the evenings before I head to bed. When you get home at 6:30, and go to bed at 8:45, that two hours is at a premium. How do you fit in all the things you want to do?

I've started implementing little things to keep myself sane. I do all my reading going to/coming from work now, and audio books are my new best friend. I write blog posts/book club posts from my phone whenever I have down time. I prep things I might need for weekly meals on the weekend, and try to make big enough portions of dinner that I can take for the week as lunch. Still? I'm struggling. Mainly because I'll get lazy, and then buy lunch, or eat a crappy dinner. I'm only human.

I admire the people out there who seem so put together. The stress of all this is really getting to me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Which is why, of course, you all get to read this rambling post. *wink*

I'll live, and I know it. Sometimes hashing it out just helps. You know?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Love With Food Box - April 2014

This was my favorite Love With Food box so far!!!

I just keep finding more and more delicious snacks to love in this subscription, and this month's box totally blew me away on that front. Not only did I try things I would probably never pick up on my own, but I got to share some of my box with family members who are also hooked now :). Spread the love. That's what I always say!

What is Love With Food you ask? Here's a blurb straight from their website:
Love With Food helps you discover new organic, all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.

For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!

Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!
This month's theme was FLOWER POWER.

(A note: These are not my photos. All the photos I took this month were lost when I got a new phone. Credit goes to the Love With Food website!)

Orchard Blend by Sensible Foods
Package Size: .75 oz - Value: $1.66

I think I've found a new favorite way to eat fruit! My dad used to buy dried fruit all the time. I remember eating sticky pieces of dried apricots and pineapples. While I love the taste, I hated how they were so tacky feeling. This mix? It's freeze dried! It's crunchy, and sweet, and perfectly satisfying when you want that "chip" feel for your lunch. I actually loved this bag so much that I am eager to find more!

 Heart-tee by Wild Hibiscus Flower Co.
Package Size: 3 sachets - Value: $1.50

This tea is made from Hibiscus, and it's very very red when steeped. It looks beautiful in a glass teapot! I have to say that it takes a bit to get used to. The tea is very tangy. However, like most teas, it has a lot of health benefits, namely lowering stress and anxiety. With the way things have been going lately? I need this. I'm going to try it iced next!

Creamed Honey with Chocolate Mint by Vintage Bee
Package Size: 2 straws - Value: $1.00 (?)

Oh. Em. Gee. Do you love honey straws? Because I totally do. Now imagine that honey straw you love is turned into a creamy treat with undertones of chocolate and mint. Are you sold? I was! I ate this directly out the straw, and it was so good. I could see this going amazingly well in tea, or in coffee, or even spread on a piece of toast! The website has many more flavors. I think I might need to place an order.

Almonds with Cranberries, Honey + Sea Salt by Sahale Snacks
Package Size: .75 oz (2) - Value: $.75 each

Although I liked these, I don't think they're anything super special. The mix of almonds and cranberries was nice, and it was a good mix of sweet and salty, but I wasn't overly impressed. I think maybe I was missing a mix of more types of nuts. Almonds aren't that crunchy to begin with, so pairing them with cranberries makes for a non-crunchy snack. I'd be willing to try other varieties though.

From Olde England With A Kiss by Crave Canyon Popcorn
Package Size: 1 oz (2) - Value: $1.75 each

This popcorn flavor was... interesting. It has a kettle corn base, which we all know and love. The kick is that it also has anise on it. If you'll recall, anise is the spice that gives black licorice its flavor. I am not a fan of black licorice. So this popcorn flavor didn't really sit well with me, sadly :(. Good concept. Just not for me.

Hatch Has Met Its Match by Crave Canyon Popcorn
Package Size: 1 oz - Value: $1.75

If only they had put two of this flavor in my box, I would have been one happy girl! This popcorn was scrumptious! Imagine your favorite cheddar popcorn, but now add in the sharpness of asiago cheese and then... wait for it... hatch chilies. YUM! I had to fight with my hubby over this bag because we both liked it so much. This is a flavor I'd absolutely buy again.

Honey Waffle by Meli
Package Size: 1 waffle (4) - Value: $1.00 each

Holy mother of all things sweet this is a delicious treat! No seriously. There were four of these in my box, and I promptly devoured two the instant I opened the first one. Guys, these are delicious. They are slightly crunch, and sweet, and gooey, and... excuse me for a minute while I go get another one. I've already bought another set of these, and I plan on buying more!

Fiordifrutta Organic Fruit Spread by Rigoni Di Asiago
Package Size: .8 oz - Value: $.50

I'll be honest and say that I haven't eaten this yet, mainly because I haven't had any bread for toast in a while. LOL. I am intrigued by it though. This fruit spread has no added sugar, and is instead sweetened with organic apple juice! Since I'm already a fan of preserves over sickly sweet jellies, I think I'll like this. Only time will tell though.

Original Peanut Organic Energy Bar by Bumble Bar
Package Size: .65 oz (2) - Value: $1.00 each

To all the people out there who tried to get me to eat flax seeds, I'm sorry for not listening to you. This bar is made up of sesame, flax, vanilla and cinnamon (plus honey of course) and the result is amazing! These are rather sticky, but they are so good I just didn't care. If this is what organic energy bars taste like? Count me in.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Kelapo
Package Size: .5 oz - Value: $1.00

We haven't used this yet, because I'm hanging on to it to make my Pad Thai this weekend, but I've heard so many good things about coconut oil! According to the healthy sites I follow, it's a great way to add extra flavor to your food and cut down on unnecessary fats. 

Sea Salt Pomegranate Chips by Simply 7 Snacks
Package Size: 1 oz (2) - Value: $1.25 each

Before you look at these and balk, listen to what I have to say. I thought the same thing. How on earth could pomegranate pair with sea salt? Wouldn't that make a sweet chip with a weird salty taste? Nope. It's amazing. These are so good! This actually ended up being one of my favorite things in the box, and I can't thank Love With Food enough for creating the opportunity for me to try them.

What an amazing box this month!

Once again this box was valued at around $20, and I paid $17, so it was another good month of deals. I can't express enough though that Love With Food is all about curation. It's about getting you to try new snacks, from all over the world, that are healthier alternatives! So if you're looking at trying this? Go for it. You can even get your first tasting box for free right now. All you pay is shipping :).

Happy snacking!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ah, stress.

I've hinted here and there about the way things are going at work lately. We all know that our jobs are on their way out. Everyone I work around knows that, pretty much at any time, we might be told that our last day working there has come. Being someone who tries her best to work hard, and keep things moving, it's been a tough last few weeks. I've watched the morale of those around me sink lower and lower by the day.

So of course it's natural that I feel stressed. No matter how far down I push it, and try to stay positive, it makes itself known. Manifesting in my dreams or keeping me from falling asleep at all. It's tough not to know where you'll be in a few months. The unknown is one of the scariest things for me. I'm a planner.

I feel for the people out there looking for jobs. While I'm still employed, I've been scouring job postings and filling out profile after profile in hopes of finding something worthwhile. It's tiring. It's unrewarding. It's also completely necessary. You might apply for 90 different jobs, and end up being contacted by only 1, but that's the way the game is played.

Needless to say I've been trying to stay upbeat! I'm lucky to have an amazing husband who, since we found out this was coming around the bend, has worked hard to make sure we can handle whatever comes our way. We've paid off debt, we've put money in savings, we've even discussed how to handle it if I have to take another entry level job for a while. So, I guess things aren't as bad as they seem. I'm just trying to get my brain to wrap itself around the fact that the unknown isn't as terrifying as I think it is.

I know this post is just a bunch of word vomit, but it's what is on my mind today. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sample Society - April 2014

As you know, I've been slowly exploring the world of beauty products. Since I'm also completely addicted to subscription boxes (yes, I admit it),  I wanted to try out Sample Society! I followed this subscription for a few months first. I was consistently impressed with the brands and the curation that went into their boxes. 

So, I signed up. They have you fill out a survey when you first start, and mail you a box that caters to your tastes. This is my first box, and I couldn't be happier!

Here's what I received:

 Illume Candle Tin in Anemone 
Size: 2 oz - Value: $5.50

This candle tin is adorable, and I love that it's portable! The scent is interesting. It's very heady, almost kind of musky. I think that's because there is patchouli hanging out in this blend. I don't mind it, but I'm more of a floral scented kind of girl. So I might buy another one of these, but in a different scent!

 Butter London WINK Eye Pencil in Union Jack Black
Size: .04 oz (Full Size!) - Value $18

I am so happy this came to me in black! I've been wanting to try a WINK eye pencil for a while, but it comes in some pretty crazy colors. I'm not a girl who can pull off green or pink eyeliner. What do I love about this? When it says it sets in 30 seconds, it's not kidding. The color stays all day, crisp and clean. I'm impressed!

 Tatcha Original Aburatorigami Beauty Papers
Size: 30 sheets (Full Size!) - Value $12

These are amazing! I've seen blotting papers before, but these are gorgeous. I mean that. There's gold leaf in them, and they are so perfectly made. Besides that, they actually work very well. You can even use both sides and they are biodegradable!

H2O Plus Aquafirm Micro-Collagen Moisturizer
Size: .34 oz - Value $10

I wasn't sure about this moisturizer at first, because I have sensitive skin. I started using it a few days ago though, and I'm so happy with the results! My skin is softer and less blotchy. Plus this smells so good. It actually makes me want to put it on. A little goes a long way, so I might just splurge on the full size version.

Dr. Hauschka Skin Care Cleansing Cream
Size: .34 oz - Value $5.50

I'm on the fence about this facial cleanser. On the one hand, it actually works well. It's made with all natural, holistic ingredients so I don't need to worry about harsh chemicals reacting with my skin. On the other hand, it smells very strong. I think it's the mix of essential oils that are in it. It has an odd scent that I can't quite get over. I'm going to keep using for a bit though and see if the outcome is worth it. So far I'm quite pleased with how gentle this is.

The Verdict?
This is my first Sample Society box and I'm already hooked! I signed up for this intentionally to try new brands, and find items that worked for me. Just based on this criteria, the box is already a win. Add in the fact that I only pay $15 a month, and this box is already worth $51, and you have made me a very happy subscriber. I'm already looking forward to my May box!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Embracing My Inner Diva

Friends, I come to you with a retraction. I've decided that I don't actually hate makeup. Do I love it? No. Will I wear it constantly? Probably not. Do I understand why people like it now? Yup. More below.

I can tell you exactly why I started disliking makeup because, yes, I still remember the moment. Rewind to when I was 7 years old and in dance class. Every time we had a recital, we had to do our hair and our faces so that we wouldn't look like ghosts under the stage lights. My mom had this little black makeup kit she used to carry with us to these shindigs. When I saw her pull it out of the bag, I'd cringe. Lipstick was sticky, I felt like it was suffocating my face to wear foundation, and don't get started on eye makeup! You're telling me I can't rub my eyes? WHY?

Looking back now, I giggle at that. I'm still the same girl through and through. Minimal. Simple. Practical.

That being said, I'm also starting to work to embrace my inner diva a bit. Being honest, it's kind of nice to pretty up once in a while. I've never minded mascara, but I'm working on learning to do simple eyeliner. I'm trying to take better care of my skin, so I bought a facial moisturizer and some BB cream with SPF in it. You all know my new obsession with nail polish! Still simple, but working on a good daily routine I can stick with :).

I think my 30's are going to be all about embracing new things. I want to step out of my shell, and try things that I was previously afraid of. I want to question my old beliefs, and build good habits. I just want to grow, and I think I'm working towards that. Maybe being a little more of a girl isn't a huge step, but it's a step! And that's what's important.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O Hai There!

I happened to glance in here and realized that I haven't posted in a while! Time flies when you're... well no, it just flies no matter what honestly. I swear each time a month ends, and a new one begins, I have to shake my head in disbelief. It feels like there's so little time in between. I guess that's why we have to seize the moments where we can.

Like this last weekend. The hubby and I planned a fairly last minute trip to Vegas for his 30th birthday! We're normally big planners, but we decided to go on a lark. It was so much fun. I'd saved up for something big anyway, so I was able to get us tickets to see The Blue Man Group, and we ate some great food. That's the stuff memories are made of. I need to get me some more that.

So what have I been up to? Mainly trying to amuse myself with things I enjoy, to keep myself from thinking about what's coming around the bend. The future of my job is shaky, but I still have one for now so I'm trying to stay positive. In the meantime I've been distracting myself with things like starting a book club, increasing my "me time" and watching movies with the hubs. That's not to say that I'm ignoring this entirely. I've planned and saved for the inevitable. Momma didn't raise no fool.

I'm thinking I'm going to turn this blog into a hybrid of random posts and product reviews :). I already review products now anyway, and I find it to be a lot of fun! It's awesome to be able to try something I might not otherwise, and then share about it. Plus I already review books anyway. Why not add to the madness?

Anyway thanks for sticking with me. I'm here, and I'm good. Just plugging along.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

They say old habits die hard...

but trust me, they are totally able to be vanquished!

I remember reading an article once that said it takes 21 days to create a habit. Their take on the matter was that if you do something for 21 days in a row, it becomes something you no longer need to think about. Intriguing, no?

While I'm not 100% I agree with that, I can definitely tell you that building a habit takes time and perseverance. You will screw up. You will forget. You will have days when you think "Why the HELL am I doing this?" but you'll keep going. And soon? It'll be easy.

I've fallen into a steady groove now in my fitness goals. I counted every calorie I put into my mouth for two months straight. It drove me crazy, but soon I found myself thinking about how much I was going to have to kick ass at the gym just to eat that candy bar. Was it worth it? Sometimes I'd decide yes, sometimes no, but I didn't need a calorie counter to tell me. Now I don't need one anymore :). I know what I should eat. I know what is good for my body. I've just finally gotten the willpower down to make those good decisions.

Best of all, going to the gym has gotten to become a habit that I actually like. I wouldn't go so far as to say I love it yet, lol. The gym and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate going, but once I'm there I'm always happy. So my outlook is slowly getting better. If nothing else, it's the motivation from the way I look and feel that's keeping me going. It feels good to be fit!

There's still a long road ahead of me, but I'm not giving up. This is my year of health and happiness! I'm building happier Jessica to face her 30's head on.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Love With Food Box - March 2014

Ah, Love With Food box you are so delicious.

If you'll recall, last month I upgraded to the Deluxe Box. I loved this box so much that I splurged and bought a whole year out right. I figure I'll give this subscription a full year. If it's not worth it anymore by then, well, we'll have to break up. So far though, I've been really happy with what I've been introduced to! 

What is Love With Food you ask? Here's a blurb straight from their website:
Love With Food helps you discover new organic, all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.

For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!

Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!

This month's theme was FLAVORS OF THE WORLD! Here's a breakdown for you.

Shortbread Fingers by Walkers (2)
Package Size: 1 oz - Value: $.85

Earl Grey Tea by Taylors of Harrogate (2)
Package Size: 1 sachet - Value: $.25

These were the first two things I took from the box. The shortbread cookies are to die for (so buttery!) and this tea is my new favorite. No wonder, it's made in England after all.

Chai Spice Macaroons by Emmy's Organics (2)
Package Size: 2 oz - Value: $2.95

These babies are not cheap! Whoa. Let me say, I was pretty excited about the fact that they were Chai Spice flavored. I love me some Chai. I liked this well enough, although the texture is a little soft at first. For being Vegan, Gluten Free and Organic though? These are pretty darn good for a little snack.

Cassava Chips by Wai Lana (2)
Package Size: 1 oz - Value: $1.39

I received Sea Salt & Vinegar, as well as Thai Curry with Lime. I was blown away by the fact that these aren't actually potato chips. They're made from cassava! In my opinion the Sea Salt & Vinegar flavor was way too heavy on the flavor. They were so sharp that I had to tone them down by eating a sandwich at the same time. I'm excited to try the Thai Curry with Lime flavor though!

Ginger Chews by Chimes
Package Size: 1.5oz - Value: $1.70

I've had these before, and they are good stuff! I remember the first time I saw them I thought that ginger was a pretty weird item for a candy. Truth be told? They're really mild and tasty. Plus they're good for your stomach :). I'm happy to have a little bag of them for my very own.

Lollipops by Pierrot Gourmand (2)
Package Size: 2 lollipops - Value: $.50

These lovely lollis are apparently from France and come in some interesting flavors. I received Milk Strawberry and Raspberry. They are all natural! And honestly, I liked the Milk Strawberry. It's pretty interesting, but in a good way.

Taco & Burrito Seasoning by Desert Gardens
Package Size: 1.4oz - Value: $3.45

I'm always happy to have more spices in my arsenal, and when I opened this packet it smelled amazing. We haven't used it yet, but we will soon. This was definitely a win in my book. Taco night anyone?

Pasta Chips by Vintage Italia (2)
Package Size: 1oz - Value: $.85

Are you intrigued? So am I! I haven't cracked into these yet but they are described as being "pasta in the form of a chip". I feel that this has the potential to end really well,  or really terrible. We'll see which one it is.

InkaCorn by InkaCrops
Package Size: 1.7oz - Value: $.80

Holy snacks batman! You think Corn Nuts are good? You haven't had InkaCorn yet. Actually I hadn't either, but it is so good I don't think I can go back. It's like regular corn on steroids, and not too terribly salty. I think these are a new favorite of mine from now on.

White Miso Soup by SushiChef
Package Size: .5oz - Value: $1.49

So apparently this little packet makes one mug of delicious miso soup. It has everything dehydrated inside of it, and then you just mix it up with some hot water. I'm pretty excited to try this! I'm a sucker for miso soup. It'd be nice to have the ability to make it myself any time :).

So there you have it!

The Deluxe Box is a much better value in my opinion. I pay $17 a month, and this month I received around $20 worth of snacks. Compared to last month, and my smaller box, that's pretty awesome! I'm hooked on this box so far. Let's hope it stays that awesome.

Happy snacking!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Added to the Polish Horde + Nailette Subscription!

A PSA to all nail polish-a-holics out there, ULTA is having a 2 for $4 sale on their ULTA brand nail polishes! You have until April 5th to go grab some new colors. I couldn't pass up that deal. Most nail polishes are at least $6 a bottle. So I splurged a little! Here are some swatches! Please pardon my nail painting skills in these. I knew I'd be taking it right off, so I wasn't as careful.

From left to right: Total Eclipse, Grin & Berry It, Howl at the Moon
(Not pictured: Snow White)

I love all these colors! Total Eclipse isn't quite black, but more a really dark grey. Grin & Berry It is just lusciously reddish purple in color, and Howl at the Moon is a very dark blue!


As if I didn't have enough nail polish in my life, I stumbled upon a cute little subscription called Nailette!
For $9.99 a month, you'll get a little box with two nail polish minis. Nailette uses Orly, OPI and Essie! All high end brands that are, on average, $8.50 a piece for a whole bottle. So basically you're paying the price of one bottle to get two half size bottles. What a great way to try new shades!

My first box showed up yesterday:
Isn't the packaging super cute?

I received Find Me An Oasis from Essie's Resort Fling 2014 collection and Amazon Amazoff from OPI's Brazil 2014 collection! So two new colors, not only to me but also to everyone. Pretty awesome!

Aren't these just the cutest little bottles? I know, I know but seriously they are cute. 

Find Me An Oasis is a very light ice blue, extremely close to being a white. You wouldn't be able to tell them apart unless it was compared against white. I think this will be a layer color. I'm not a fan of it on alone.

Amazon Amazoff is a total win for me! This is a very pretty, shiny teal color that goes on smooth and wonderful. I see myself wearing this color often, and going through this little bottle fairly quick. In fact, this might be the color I do my nails tonight! We shall see.


So that's the round up! I'm not going to allow myself to buy anymore nail polishes now that I have this subscription box. I will, however, keep letting you know the colors I receive!

Now to go play with my new colors.