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.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Dishing On: Disaster Preparedness

From what I've seen on my Facebook wall today, plenty of you felt that lovely little rolling quake we had earlier :). I'll admit that I only realized it was an earthquake about halfway through. Our apartment shakes when people run, so it was kind of disorienting.

Still, each time something like this happens I'm reminded of my life growing up in the Torres household. See, you couldn't live under our roof without knowing the meaning of disaster preparedness. Some of you 80's and 90's babies might remember having to take those little earthquake kits to school each year. You know the ones. Filled with non-perishable food, those solar blankets, and other random items? In the Torres household, we had those... times ten.

My dad is big on being ready for anything. We were the family who had a rubbermaid tub packed with our stuff during fire season, in case we were evacuated. We were the family who had a real life evacuation plan in case of a fire (which we one time actually did have to use). We were also the family with huge 10 gallon drums of water sitting in our backyard, and the water sanitation tablets to go with them. JUST IN CASE. That's my dad's motto. Be ready for anything.

Now that I live in Castle Nottingham, we try to keep the trend going. We have emergency lights that turn on in case of a blackout. They are also removable, as flashlights, in case you need to go from room to room. We have canned food a plenty, and a handheld can opener (although according to my dad a knife will do just as well). We even have what is most commonly termed a "Go Bag" in case of an emergency that causes us to leave in a hurry. It's filled with medicine, gauze, medical tape, non-perishable food, water purification tablets, and a bunch of other stuff with space to spare for a quick change of clothes. All packed up in a bag that's easy to grab and go with.

Daddy always said to be prepared. JUST IN CASE.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

An obsession with Veronica Mars

Oh Veronica, you are such a sassy and brilliant girl!

I've decided that since Sunday is my alone time, I should catch up on some shows I've been meaning to watch but never gotten around to. You know, I hardly ever watch television. In fact, the hubby and I haven't had cable for the last two years. *Gasp* I know! Ha. We get by on Amazon Instant (mostly because I love Prime shipping) and Netflix.

Needless to say I don't watch many tv shows, but I've always wanted to watch Veronica Mars. One of my awesome friends, who totally knows who she is if she is reading this, would talk up this show like mad. I knew I wanted to see it. A sassy and brilliant female character? A high school filled with all sorts of scandals? Sounds like my kind of show.

Scratch that, it is my kind of show. In the last three weekends I've powered through one and a half seasons and am lamenting the fact that it's almost over. Perhaps I'll move to Orphan Black next :). I love me some sci fi.

Lazy Sundays = my Veronica Mars time.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Polish Chronicles: Part 2

I've gotten in the habit of painting my nails about once a week :). It's pretty much my Saturday afternoon ritual at this point. I was hoping that my new nail polishes would come today but, alas, they did not. So once again my nails are a pretty fuschia color (Ulta's Fuschiamania to be exact) and I decided to play around with nail stamping this time!

Nail stamping is something I've been reading about, but was hesitant to try. It sounded cool in theory! So when my co-worker was kind enough to lend me her kit to try out, I was excited!

The basic premise is this:
* Spread the special polish on the stamping plate
    - They have these awesome designs stamped in to a metal disc
* Use the scraper to scrape any excess polish off of the top of the plate
    - This leaves polish in only the picture!
* Push the stamper down onto the plate to pick up the picture
* Quickly move to your nail and gently roll it over to transfer the picture!

It took about two tries for me to get it exactly right, which is why I only did one nail per hand. Again, so much easier to only fix one! You can see the finished product to the left though! Super cool!

If you search on Amazon you'll see that there are all sorts of plates filled with different kinds of pictures. Hearts, swirls, leopard print, pretty much anything you can think of. What an easy and amazing way to decorate your nails!

I'll have to play around with this more, but as it stands I'm hooked.

I'm a nail polish-a-holic and I don't care who knows it :).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A mini update

I now have a blog program on my phone, my iPad and of course my computer. Now there's no excuse not to write in here when it strikes my fancy :). It's almost better than having a paper journal that I'd have to carry around. I miss the feel of pen against paper, but then again I can put my thoughts down anywhere I am now. It's kind of a good feeling.

Just checking in today. There's a lot I've been debating on writing about, but haven't quite had the time to sit still and mull it all over. I have this thing about writing. It has to flow. If I sit down and no words come out? I walk away. Sometimes for an hour. Sometimes for days. If being a book reviewer has taught me anything, it's that forcing something makes it no fun anymore. I love writing way too much to make it a chore.

Here's some totally random stuff that happened this week:

* My March "Love With Food" box came, and it was epic. I've already started eating it. Don't worry, you'll get a full review soon.
* The hubby and I have both lost a noticable amount of weight and, now that we have a way to measure it, have improved our BMI's too!
* We have a vacation planned for four glorious days in Vegas for the hubby's big 30. I need this. He needs this. We're excited!
* I discovered chocolate almond milk. Holy mother, it's good stuff. Why didn't I find this before?

So there you go, a mini update just for you. I'll probably sit down and type something more meaningful on Friday but for now I felt like rambling! You're welcome.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Polish Chronicles: Part 1

Every year, without fail, I pick up a new hobby. Some I keep (see the many blogs I own), some slowly disappear (see sewing) and some I find so frustrating that I never pick them up more than once (see making candy).

This year, since I'm on a quest to understand where I fall in the beauty regime spectrum, I've fallen in love with nail art. It might sound odd, but painting my nails is zen for me. It's calming. Now that I've decided to keep this thing going,I'll post periodically about my nail polish adventures!

This week it was all about Accent Nails.

I'm trying to break out of my pink phase, so I picked up a purple polish called "Ultra Violet Femme" at ULTA. It's so pretty! A perfect shade of purple.

I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided to try an accent nail. It makes it easier when you only do one. That way if you mess up, you can fix one nail ;). I might be more ambitious later, but for now it's the perfect way to practice.

While browsing Etsy, I stumbled upon SSPVinyl, who makes these awesome vinyl nail templates. I just painted my nails purple, let them dry, put two squiggles on the nail, painted over it in silver, and then pulled them off right away. I was so gosh darn excited to see the finished product! Easy peasy.

Finally I layered on two coats of top coat! I want to keep them nice.

Let me share some things I've learned over the past month of painting my nails:

* Wear a base coat. Seriously. Lots of dark colors stain your nails, and slightly tinted pink nails are not cute.

* Put Vaseline around your nail beds when before you paint! It makes any nail polish that sneaks off your nail way easy to clean up. Just wipe it away with a tissue.

* A small brush helps a lot with any tiny polish errors. Just wait until after your polish dries entirely.

More to come! Next week I'm going to try pinstripes :).

Friday, March 14, 2014


Wow, am I glad that it's actually Friday. This week, while it had both its ups and downs, felt way too long. I couldn't contain my excitement at the end of the day today. I probably looked like a little kid wiggling in her seat, waiting for the bell to ring :). Some things never change.

It's funny, because I still remember when I used to take weekends for granted. When I worked at the Y, weekends had to be spent going out. I wanted to be places, go to movies, shop, do anything but sit at home. Now, weekends are all about minimal plans. I still love going out, but the hubby and I will plan things so that we're out for a few hours, and then we come home and relax. Or, sometimes we'll just stay home and in pajamas all day. I relish my weekends now. I look forward to them with an intensity that I never had before.

The more I stop and look at my outlook before, versus my outlook now, the more I see how much I've changed. I guess I really am growing up, huh? Still, you know I'll always be a big kid at heart. There's no taking that away from me.

Happy Friday evening! Rock it, or stay in and rest. Either way, enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Morning Musings

Or, I suppose at this point it'd be "almost afternoon" musings. No matter, you get the point.

Things are quiet here today, in Castle Nottingham. Sundays are a weird day for me. On the one hand, I'm extremely happy that it's a weekend and I don't have to wake up early or go to work. On the other hand, the hubby sleeps all day because he works Saturday night. So, it's quiet. Sometimes too quiet.

I used to be really good at being by myself. It was the time where I picked up hobbies, caught up on television shows, or read for hours on end. It happened a lot when we were first together. Seven years ago, at the fledgling "can we live together" stage of our relationship, our schedules never lined up. We made it through. We spent the time we could together, and I got used to spending time alone.

Now, I'm not sure if it's the fact that our time together is more copious, or if it's because of my current state of mind, but it's harder for me to be by myself. There are literally hundreds of things I could be doing right now, and I know that. I could be taking a walk, or knitting, or baking a cake, or any number of other things. Yet, I'm fighting the melancholy at being bored and too lazy to do anything about it. I need to shake myself out of this.

I think I'll order some Thai food and chill.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Boots Botanic Ionic Clay Mask #powerofplants

Yesterday you might have seen me talking about my Influenster J'Adore VoxBox and the Boots Botanic Ionic Clay Mask that came inside of it! I've only done a clay mask once before, and it gave my sensitive skin a pretty crazy rash. So I decided to put this on last night, that way if I looked itchy it'd only be on a weekend day when I could stay home :p. Having sensitive skin is tough.

I didn't see it anywhere on the package, but make sure you shake this up before you use it! The water and the clay tend to separate, and I spilled a bit on my counter before I figured that out. Just give it a good shake before you squeeze it out. Then spread it on evenly all over, and get ready to let it dry! It takes ten minutes to set.

I thought it would be funny to take a picture of this mask while it dried. I loved how it make my skin look like clay! Ha. Of course my husband tried his best to make it crack by making me laugh.

The package also says to wash it off in warm water, so I decided just to hop in the shower. You know what? I could instantly feel the difference! My skin was so smooth, and honestly even a bit shiny. It feels even better this morning after I did my morning facial scrub. I'm impressed!

So final verdict? A nice clay mask, and no side effects for my sensitive skin! I'm a fan.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Influenster J'Adore VoxBox Review

J'Adore Voxbox - I really do adore you.

So besides talking about random things, my other purpose of this blog is to share with you some of the cool things that I get in the mail! I've always been a reviewer. I love to give my opinions of things and, you know what? People love to hear your opinions, and will actually sometimes give you free items in exchange! 

So yes, in the spirit of full disclosure, this J'Adore Voxbox came straight from the lovely people at Influenster, and everything in it was complimentary in return for my honest opinion.

This was a February box, and everything in it was mean to pamper, primp and relax. Let's dive in, shall we?


Vaseline Spray Lotion for Men

Here's the thing about lotion and the hubby. He's REALLY picky about it. To him, most lotions feel greasy, and therefore he won't touch them with a ten foot pole. I thought I could convince him with this Vaseline Spray Lotion because it smelled really good (and manly) and doesn't dry greasy at all. I'm sincerely impressed. So what did I do? I went up and sprayed it on him, then rubbed it in before he could protest. Ha. I'm evil sometimes. Still, he actually was impressed too! Turns out that we have found a lotion that I convince this stubborn man to actually wear. Kudos Vaseline! You rock.

Hershey's Kisses

Okay, come on. Who doesn't love Hershey's Kisses? They're like individually wrapped rays of sunshine! You know actually, if you don't like them, don't tell me. I don't want to know. I will tell you that I absolutely love them! I have to keep myself from eating them in handfuls. The only thing that helps with that, obviously, is having to uwrap them. Still, yum. I love you chocolate.

Red Rose Tea

I love tea. I love it to the ends of the Earth, and I'm always willing to try new brands! I'd never heard of Red Rose tea before, so I was excited when I saw it in the box. They sent me Creme Caramel, and Lemon Chiffon. I wasn't so much a fan of the Lemon, but then again I'm not usually a fan of lemon flavored anything. The Creme Caramel though? Oh, to die for. It's smooth, rich, and so tasty. I'm buying more.

KISS Lashes

This is one item that I haven't tried yet because, and yes I'm admitting this, I am terrified of fake eyelashes. I don't know how to apply them, and I'm so worried I'll rip out my own eyelashes in the process! *cringes* Still, I'm going to keep this on hand. I know my sister loves them, so I might try them out the next time she comes to visit :).

John Freida's Frizz-Ease 3 Day Straight

I'm not usually one to put products into my hair unless I'm headed somewhere nice. However when the side of the box promised straight hair for 3 straight days with one application? I had to test it out. The first time I did it I just put the serum onto my hair and let it air dry. Totally impressed! It actually did calm my baby hair frizz. This time I put it on, and then blow-dried my hair. It's the end of day one and my hair still looks gorgeously sleek! I can't wait to see how it looks by day three!

Boots Botanic Clay Mask

I'll be doing a whole review on just this item tomorrow! I just put it on (which you probably saw on Instagram) and washed it off. Seeing as how I have sensitive skin, I'm going to wait until tomorrow so I can see what it does overnight. Let's hope that it, and my skin, play nice!


So that's my J'Adore Voxbox! I'm pretty excited about the majority of things that came in it, and am looking forward to definitely buying more Red Rose tea and Vaseline Spray Lotion! That's what I love about these, they introduce me to new products.

If you'd like an invitation to Influenster, for a shot to try things like this for yourself, let me know! I'll be happy to send you an invite code :). Yay samples!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Snail Mail

What to talk about today? Staring at that blinking little icon on a blank page is a little daunting, I'm not going to lie. I write all day long. Emails, book reviews, Facebook and Twitter posts, and then in here. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, no?

Let's talk snail mail today. Shall we?

I stumbled upon this totally awesome set of postcards in the Library Book Store. Yup, the Los Angeles Public Library has it's own store. It's awesome, but I digress. Point being I found these awesome postcards and then I thought to myself... why don't I ever send postcards to people? It's not like it takes a lot of effort. Write on it, throw on a stamp, and voila you have yourself one that's ready to be mailed.

So I'm going to try to send more snail mail this year. More random notes, cards, and other fun things that I find. I'm always excited when someone sends me something, so why shouldn't I spread the love?

If you'd like to be on my list of people to send things to, shoot me your mailing address! Now to hunt for more awesome cards.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The good kind of sore.

So yesterday was my first meeting with a personal trainer. When the hubby and I signed up for our new gym, part of the package was a free one hour session. Pretty awesome right? More like nerve-wracking for this girl. I've always had this thing about looking weak in front of other people. Gyms used to make me nervous in general because I didn't want other people to judge my lack of fitness. So being one on one with someone who will know exactly what I can and can't do? Terrifying.

Still, I've committed myself to being a healthier and fitter me, so I went. You know what? It was awesome! First of all my trainer was super cool. He was funny, and honest, and made me feel like I could actually achieve the stronger me I wanted. I'd look at an exercise and think "Wait, I don't think I can do that!" and he'd convince me I could... and I could. All it took was that mental boost.

I'm sure there are people out there who don't need that boost. I wish I was one of them, but one thing I know about myself is that I need someone to be accountable to. I need someone to push me, and tell me that I can do the things I didn't think I could. So I plan on signing up for more training sessions, because that's exactly how I felt yesterday. I've never been prouder of myself than when I accomplished an exercise I'd never dream of trying on my own. I guess I'm stronger than I thought I was.

I laughed when he told me I'd be sore today, but what he likes to call "the good kind of sore" because it means you worked hard. I'm feeling it, and you know what? I'm wanting to go back for more.