Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Freebies

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tonight is the night that children everywhere have been waiting for. It is also the time at school when all the students, young and old, are extremely excitable. I live out in the country now, so I don't really see that many trick-or-treaters, but I better pick up a little candy because usually the neighbors' kids make their way to my house. 

If you are going out tonight, be safe! 

Some tasty Halloween freebies:

AND Sonic will have corndogs for 50 cents tonight!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thoughts on Cravebox

There seems to be a lot of grumbling going on focused around the way Cravebox is running their business and the way they are currently changing things on their site. Apparently the way things were was not working or they wouldn't have to change. When I received the first email several months ago (maybe a year?) about joining this new subscription box service I signed up immediately. I had not had any experience with subscription boxes before then, but I could tell that this was something special. It turns out that shortly after I joined, Cravebox slots sold out. I have been overjoyed with Cravebox and all the products I have received. Via their Facebook page, Cravebox keeps its member updated on boxes and the latest news. 

I personally think the changes being made to Cravebox's program are positive ones. I like the fact that I will be assured 4 boxes and have the chance to earn more boxes. Change is hard on some people, but in the end change is usually a good thing. I am looking forward to receiving Craveboxes and enjoying the products found therein. If some people are truly unhappy with the way Cravebox is run, then those people need to cancel their subscriptions and find something more suitable to their needs.

Cravebox, if you are reading this please remember President Lincoln's famous quote:
You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

I think Cravebox is doing a fine job and I can't wait to see what it coming next!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Save Money the Old-Fashioned Way

Ok, you've probably heard the old saying, "Simple is best". I have to agree that in many cases this is true. I am not one who only purchases organic products and a lot of times I go towards the convenience tunnel to make my life easier. However, about a year ago I discovered that I could make my own laundry detergent that works like a charm and is easy on my husband's sensitive skin. 

This all started when my husband was breaking out no matter what laundry detergent I used. I tried it all, including All (the free and clear kind), to no avail. We had already started using Ivory soap for showers and it works great and is simple; it claims it is 99.44% pure, right?

I started thinking, hmmm, wonder if I could make my own laundry detergent without all the harsh chemicals that are in the store bought kind. Even All Free and Clear has a list of ingredients as long as my arm. So I set out looking for a recipe and sure enough I came across something that looked heavenly, and it included our already successful Ivory soap. It looked simple, very simple in fact. I decided to give it a shot and what do you know? A year later I am still using it and there have been no breakouts on my husband's skin and my clothes smell clean and fresh.

Here is the recipe I use:

3 bars of Ivory soap, grated
3 cups baking soda
3 cups of borax (I use 20 Mule Team)

Mix together until the soap is in small chunks.

I use 2 tablespoons for a regular size load of laundry. I have a HE washer and have had no problems.

This costs a FRACTION of what a bottle of store bought laundry detergent costs and doesn't really take much time to make. You should give it a try!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Birchbox Breakup

Well, the time has come. I have given Birchbox a fair shake and I just cannot get into it. I know I have said this before, but I'm pretty sure Cravebox and Popsugar have spoiled me rotten with their full-sized packed boxes. This month seemed like the worst one yet! I didn't even deem it worthy of a post. It was all sample sized products, and not the deluxe samples that you get with Sample Society, but rather small samples like ones that I already get for FREE directly from the companies. 

I know it is only $10, but in a year's time that will add up to $120 and for my little Versa, that is several tanks of gas! I did manage to get 100 points from reviewing the products and I will use that before I quit. So, if you have been waiting for a Birchbox spot, one is going to open up in the next few days!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sample Society October 2012

I have once again received my Sample Society box in the mail and I have once again been impressed. As I have stated before, these are probably not products that I would just go out and purchase, but it is extremely fun to try them and daydream of the time when I might win the lottery and be able to actually afford some of these!

I love getting boxes in the mail, and to know this one will be full of luxury products make it even better!

The Oscar Blandi instant volumizing conditioner may be just what I need. My hair lacks volume and sometimes just hangs there. I did read in the little booklet enclosed that for more volumized hair, you should condition FIRST and shampoo last. Apparently this method removes the residue that the conditioner might leave behind, while still leaving your hair conditioned. I am going to try this on my hair today when I wash it. I will also try this new conditioner, which retails for $24 on brand websites, like Nordstroms but I found you can buy it on amazon for around $10.

I exfoliate my face a lot, so this next product will be well-suited to my skincare routine. It is Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate intensive exfoliating treatment. My skin feels so much fresher and clean after I have exfoliated, so I can't wait to try this. ExfoliKate retails for $85/2 oz. and this sample is 0.25 oz. It has rave reviews online and is reported to be Kate Somerville's best seller.

I love, LOVE trying new fragrances, so I was excited to see a small spray bottle that looked like perfume. It turned out to be Aromachology Clean and Fresh. It does smell clean and fresh and I will wear it occasionally. It does seem a little strong, but perhaps that is because I am just not used to it yet.  I'm not sure what size the sample actually is, but the full size of 3.4 oz. retails for $100.

Hands down, the most expensive product in the box is Erno Laszlo's Phormula 3-9 repair balm. This product is for smoothing scars, burns, wounds, and extremely dry skin. I read where it promotes rapid healing. I do not want to get hurt, but when I do (and I will, I'm too clumsy) I will keep this on hand to see if it actually helps you heal rapidly. It retails for $245/1.7 oz.

It is common to find a Jane Iredale product in the Sample Society box and this month was no different. Included in the October box was Jane Iredale's Tantasia self tanner. I'm not crazy about self tanners because I have yet to find on that doesn't leave an orange tint, but I will give this one a shot because I've always been pleased with any Jane Iredale product I've tried. This self tanner retails for $36/4.2 oz. and has online reviews that are on both ends of the spectrum. I will try it on my legs since summer is over and my tan has started to fade.

An added bonus inside this month's box was a Herban Essentials lavender towelette antibacterial hand wipe. A box of 20 costs about $15 on This will be great to keep in my purse. 

As usual, I have pleased with Sample Society's subscription box. I will continue to purchase it and continue to be pampered with products that I will probably never buy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Popsugar's Must Have Bag September 2012

It has arrived. My favorite of all the subscription boxes. It is my September Popsugar Must Have Bag. I am just overwhelmed. This is such a fantastic box that I can hardly put it into words. I am once again amazed at all the goodies I have received. I opened the box to find this:

I could hardly wait to get home from school today because I knew this would be waiting at my door. My only fear was that my husband would go through it before I got home! Maybe it's time to get him a man's box...

I first noticed a large black drawstring bag. I opened it to find the softest scarf I have ever felt. This scarf is absolutely beautiful. It is from Brokedown and it is such a great color because it will match almost any outfit. What a great find! It retails for $84.

Naturally, being a librarian I notice books. So after taking in the scarf, I saw the book included in this month's box. The title is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It seemed like a really great book and I am looking forward to reading it. It wasn't until I read the brochure that came inside the box that I learned there were movie tickets to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Totally wonderful! The book costs about $8.50 on amazon and the movie tickets are worth about $20.00.

Next, I saw a very colorful box and when I saw the word Benefit I knew I was in for a beauty treat. This turned out to be Benefit's Cabana Glama combination set that features bronzing powder with a brush, foundation, lip and cheek stains, and a matching eye shadow palette with an applicator. The colors are all warm and brown, which are great for me. It is normally $36 on Benefit's site, but right now it is on sale for $18.99.

A cookie? Yes, a delicious looking delectable cookie. I haven't tried it yet, but tomorrow night is my "cheat" night on my diet, so I plan on eating it then. I don't know if it will be good, but if it tastes anything like it looks then it will be yummy. Along with the cookie was a coupon for Pop-Up Pantry Dinners for a delicious 3 course dinner to be delivered to my door. Ahhh, heaven!  The dinners are about $19/person and there is a coupon for a dinner for 2, making the value $38.

There was a cute little notepad from Rifle Paper Co. It looks like small little notebook pages. It sells for $8.00.

This month's box was extra yummy because in addition to the cookie, there was a small package of caramels from Becky's Blissful Bakery. These retail for $10.49 for 4 oz. and two caramels were included in this package, so it was more of a sample. But a delicious sample, nonetheless. My diet cheat night will be extra sweet!

Some extras thrown in the box were, Yes To Cucumbers towelettes, Kitsch hair ties, a $25 gift certificate to Tracie Martyn skin care line, a sample sized bag of Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips, and a medium sized Must Have coin purse. 

This is absolutely the BEST subscription box anywhere around! I have yet to be disappointed with anything they have sent me. I will continue to receive Popsugar's Must Have Bag as long as they will let me. Click HERE to get your own box for October.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cravebox Book Lovers Box

One word about Cravebox, superb! I received my Book Lovers Cravebox today and it made my day. I had a tough day at school, so to come home and find such treasures at my doorstep was priceless. I immediately got the scissors and cut open the box. My first look inside my Cravebox was this:

I was super-excited to see the book inside. I had done some snooping last week online and already had an idea of the title of the book. Turns out I was right on. I am delighted to have this book on hand because it looks like an excellent read. The title is How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren. It is not the usual type of book I choose to read, but it is probably time I took a little break from serial killers and horror. 

Here is a summary of the book (taken from Amazon):

Set in a Colorado ski town, Kaya McLaren's How I Came To Sparkle Again is a remarkable breakout novel that chronicles three people and their journey from loss to love; heartbreak to hope
Jill Anthony spent her young adulthood in the ski town of Sparkle, Colorado.  But more than a decade has passed since she left when, only weeks after a very late miscarriage, she finds her husband in bed with another woman, she flees Austin, Texas for the town she knows:  Sparkle. 
Lisa Carlucci wakes up one morning after another night of meaningless sex, looks in the mirror and realizes that she no longer wants to treat her body like a Holiday Inn. She’s going to hold out for love.  The only problem is, love might come in the form of her ski bum best friend, who lives next door with his ski bum friends in a trailer known as “the Kennel.” 
Cassie Jones, at age ten, has lost her mother to cancer and no longer believes in anything anymore.  She knows her father is desperately worried about her, and she constantly looks for messages from her deceased mother through the heart-shaped rocks they once collected in the streams and hills of Sparkle. 
Three people at the crossroads of heartbreak and healing.  Three lives that will be changed one winter in Sparkle.  One tender, funny, tear-jerking novel you won’t soon forget. 

I can't wait to get started reading it!

Also included in the box were the most delicious little strawberry licorice bites from Natural Vines. They are so soft and tasty that I had to hide them from myself!

Some soy nuts were included:

A Gratitude bracelet from Alexa's Angels, which is very pretty. The bracelet retails for $10 on Alexa's Angels website:

Along with the bracelet was a coupon for for 10% off which doesn't expire until the end of the year. This will come in handy as I begin to think about Christmas presents.

All in all, this was a very nice Cravebox. It is always a pleasure to receive a surprise box in the mail, but this one seemed especially nice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


A kid at Christmas...that's what I feel like tonight. I have three emails, each with tracking numbers for packages that are on their way to my house. Popsugar's Must Have Bag comes all the way from California so I know it takes a while to get here, but I sure do hate to wait! I just know it will be filled with all sorts of goodies and I can't wait until it gets here. Fedex Smart Post has got to be THE slowest shipping method out there, but I'm sure it's the cheapest which helps me get better deals, I guess.

I also got chosen to receive Cravebox's Book Lovers box and it is on its way as well. It only comes from Missouri so it usually doesn't take as long to get here. Hopefully I will get it tomorrow or the next day. I also got an email saying my Sample Society box had shipped today via UPS. 

I guess for the next few days it will seem like my birthday around here. Yay, me!!! It may be childish to love getting these surprises every month, but hey, life would be boring without treats every now and then.