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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Goodies Co. September 2013

Goodies Co. is Wal-Mart's snack box subscription service. You can choose from a taster's box or a kid's box. This box is only $7 and includes shipping.

This is the first month I am getting Goodies Co.  There was a special coupon for a free box this month and that's why I took the plunge and got this box. This snack box seemed more appealing to me with more snacks and not huge emphasis on healthy food.

The first thing about Goodies that was different from other boxes I received is the absence of a shipping notification and tracking number. I logged onto my account and it said it was expected to ship on September 19th. I wasn't expecting to see the box until sometime next week when it came on September 20th.


When the box came, I was plesantly surprised at how large it was. For $7 a month, I expected something smaller and comparable to Birchbox or Love with Food's size, but it was much larger.


While the box was large, it wasn't necessarily filled to the brim to really justify the size of the box. Most of the box was filled with those packing strips. Also, it didn't have a card that talked about each product in the box. I liked having that in other boxes I have subscribed to and this was a bit of a disappointment. There also wasn't a theme, but I am ok with that.



For whatever reason I wasn't able to get the picture straight, but I think you get it. This is the first thing I took out of my box and was not pleased. I don't like black licorice. YUCK! Anyways, this was Scottie Dogs All Natural Black Licorice. The licorice pieces a shaped like a little dog and are very cute.


Sample Value: $1.29

I was excited about this one. Bare fruit crunchy fujji red apple chips. As you know, I am a picky eater and don't eat fruits or vegetables. It's a texture thing to an extent, and I like to eat things that are crispy. In an attempt to try to start eating fruits, I decided to try these dried fruits since they will be nice and crunchy. The problem I had when I tried these was I bought an assorted fruit bag and when I ate one, I had an allergic reaction because strawberries were in the bag. UGH!  So, I am glad to be able to try these. The one thing that kind of baffled me was the lack of nutrition in these chips. I thought fruits were supposed to be good for you. There are practically no protein or vitamins in these chips. Other than being only 50 calories, I don't see what is so good about them in terms of nutrition.

Looking on their website, they have a caramel, cinnamon, granny smith, and chile lime flavors too. 


Sample Value: $1.05

The next thing I pulled out of the box was a Zone Perfect bar. I have eaten many Zone bars and haven't had a chance to try this one yet. Luckily, it's a flavor that I should like and won't be hesitant to try.


Sample Value: $1.25


Kashi Sundried Tomato, Basil, & Feta Hummus Chips are all natural and look delicious. I haven't tried these before and look forward to eating them. What surprised me about these chips were the amount of nutrition in them. They have much more than the apple chips from above, with 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber in only 110 calorie bag.

Sample Value: $0.70

The next thing was this savory tea from Numi Organics. I got a green tea that is also decaffeinated. I had neutral feelings about getting the tea until I read the flavor they gave me.


Spinach chive and it took everything not to gag after reading it. I couldn't imagine drinking something with that flavor. An oniony drink. Ugh! I will not be drinking this. I think I will just take it to work and leave it there for someone else to try.

Sample Value: $0.66


Attiki honey is what I pulled out of the box next. Without a card telling me the different things I received, I didn't really know the point of this. It seems like regular honey and I haven't tasted any honey that didn't taste like regular honey. It will be good in my tea, not the spinach chair, but regular tea. After looking on the website, I found that what I got was a Greek honey. I still don't know how its any different from regular honey though.


Sample Value: ????


The last thing I got in my box was Nestle Pure Life Splash in Mandarin Orange. It's flavored water. I am not usually a fan of flavored water because I like bolder, sweet tastes. Usually, flavored water tastes like diet water to me with a aftertaste I am not a fan of. I am willing to give this a try though. It comes in four  flavors =.

Sample Value: $.86


The total value of everything in this box was $5.81.  I wasn't completely impressed because I was expecting more snack-like items. Since it's only $7, I think I will try this a couple more months and change my settings to say I have children to get more snack items. Maybe I will even try the kids box instead of the tasters box.

Did you get a Goodies box this month? What did you think of it?


*I received this box for free through a coupon. My opinions are my own.*

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love with Food-August 2013

Love with Food is a subscription service that provides 6-10 samples of healthier foods. It has a modest price at only $12 and includes shipping. They also donate a meal to the needy for every box sold.

This was my first month with Love with Food. I was excited to get it and was chomping at the bit. Unfortunately, my initial good impression was harmed when they ran into shipping issues. I didn't receive shipping information until a few days after it shipped and the tracking information would not update. After scanning their Facebook page, I found that many others were having the same issue.


When it finally came, I was very excited. It was about the size of the Birchbox box so I wasn't quite expecting the samples to be large or have very many. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of samples in the box.

As you may know, I am an extremely picky eater, so my a lot of my reviews with this box will be through my fiance.

The theme this month was Backyard BBQ and for the most part, they nailed it. I have no complaints there and don't understand why people complain about the theme. I mean, really?!


The first thing I pulled out of the box was the Bops chips. They are organic, gluten-free, and chemical free. I saw these as a spoiler on their Facebook and I was excited to try these.



They were kind of weird. They were super flat, so flat that you could stack them perfectly. They were very crisp, but way too salty. They tasted like a ridged version on Muchies potato chips. This was the snack I was most looking forward to and I came out disappointed.


Sample Value: $1.37


The second item I pulled out was Aunt Sally's Creamy Pralines. This was the second spoiler item that I knew would be in the box. Like others, mine came squished and melted,  but what difference does it make? Some people were making a big deal about it on Love with Food's Facebook page. All I did was pop it in the freezer and it was just fine. I don't like nuts, so this got passed on to the fiance.


The consensus was that it was delicious. They are a bit pricey though, and I don't plan myself on buying them.


Sample Value:  $2.50


Rip van Wafels....YUM!!!!! I wasn't too excited about these but after I tried them, I wanted more. Mine was a little stale from being melted, but it was great. I plan on buying them despite how pricey they are.




Sample Value: $1.60

Sahale snacks are a trail mix of sorts. They have nuts and strawberries (ALLERGIC) so these were once again passed to the fiance. He thought they were ok, not worth buying.




Sample Value: $0.99

These Snapea Crisps looked delicious. I don't eat vegetables but was working up the courage to try them. I waited too long and the fiance gobbled them up. It was short-lived though, because he thought they were disgusting.




Sample Value: $0.77


Dizzy Pig seasoning in Dizzy Dust. I haven't used this yet and am not sure what I will use this on.




Sample Value: $1.08


People had a lot of problems with the El Pinto salsa. It apparently kept bursting open for many people and ruining the contents of their boxes. Mine came unscathed and the fiance enjoyed it.




Sample Value: $0.99


The mint tube was a fun addition. I loved the tube with cork. The mints were standard mints. Nothing huge to report about them.




Sample Value: $1.16


That was the August box. While it was interesting, there was not enough for me to try to justify continuing the box. I like the idea that they donate a meal for every box sold, but this box just isn't one I am going to continue. The total value of the box was $10.46.





*I received this box for free through a first time customer coupon. My opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birchbox Review-August 2013

I got my August Birchbox today! This will be my 2nd box and I am so excited!


                                      

This month's theme is finishing school and they have teamed up with Ann Taylor for their picks.




After opening my box, I found that I received box #9. There were 65 different boxes this month.





The first product I pulled out of the box was the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive. It is a peel with fruit-derived acids to dissolve dead skin. A full size version is $39. 
I think this is the product I am most excited about. I love peels! My favorite peel/mask to date is Origins Charcoal  mask.  It truly cleans out my pores and I use it weekly. If this product works as it is supposed to, I will have no problem buying it. 
Value: $4.87




I was a little shocked to see teabags in my Birchbox this month. This disappointed me. I am a tea drinker but am not a fan or either Earl Grey or Peach. This will be something I take to work to share because I won't drink this.
Value: $.37 to .80


Dreams Nail Lacquer is a calcium enriched base strengthens nails, fills uneven ridges, and prevents discoloration. I had never heard of this and I am not really into nail polishes. I will give this a try but I am unsure of how it will work. This is probably about half the size of a full bottle.
Value: $5.25



The next item I received was ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick. It is a semi-matte lipstick that claims to deliver both hydration and lasting pigment. I received the color "Kitty". It comes in a trio.
                                               


It looked a bit dark in its tube but when I put it on my wrist, it was subtle. I think I will like it and if it has the staying power claimed, it will be even better. I can't wait to wear it to work tomorrow!
Value: $8.00


The final product I received was Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes. They are alcohol-free towelettes that cleanse and soften with vitamin E, peppermint, and aloe. It says they are for feet but are great for hands too. I think these will come in handy for after Pilates. We will see.
Value: $.66



The box also included a 20% and 30% off coupon for Ann Taylor.


Total Box Value: $19.15


Overall, I think I got a couple of good items in this box, but I am not as impressed as I was last month.  What do you think? Did you get any of these items?


I wasn't completely happy with this box and decided to suspend it for the next couple of months.

*I paid for this box with my own money. My opinions are my own.*

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Birchbox Review -July 2013

I am excited to get these boxes. I always want to try new beauty products, but I don't want to spend the big money and be disappointed by them.

I received my very first Birchbox today! I have to say on my initial inspection, I was disappointed. I expected a larger box and it was a  little box. I am not sure why I expected a bigger box. I suppose when I was reading reviews, the pictures didn't have a scale for me to compare so I just assumed a larger size.

The box was really cute and plain. I really enjoyed the simple branding.




This month's theme is "Power Play" and  talked about the different products for the months and a small advertisement for the show "Suits", which I have never seen before.


On the opposite side of the card was a listing of the samples included in my box with the pricing of the full size versions. It included a "Suits" pick and a "Beauty Extra". I am not sure of the significance of the segregation in the listing, but working in the marketing industry, I assume it would be to get the recipient hyped up and excited about the box. I liked how the product listing included a "How to use" on it. Often times, I buy products and don't have instructions of how to use them. This was super helpful.


Upon opening my box to reveal the samples, I found that I had box #53.



The first product I pulled out of my box is Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect. The full-size version is $32. It is a leave-in conditioner with instructions that say to mist on damp hair before styling.

8.6.13-UPDATE- I used this and loved it. It had a nice smell. I sprayed it in my hair instead of using a conditioner. It made my hair soft and shiny. I allowed my hair to air dry and even slept on it. When I woke up in the morning, I didn't need to use a straightener. My hair fell perfectly after only styling it.
Sample Size Value: $4.00
The second product I found in my box was the "Suits pick", which was Purminerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40. The full-size version is $38.  I didn't know what CC cream was but found out that it is a color correcting cream here.  Directions say to put a small amount on your face after cleansing. Hopefully it will match my skin tone in light

8.6.13-UPDATE- This was my first experience with a CC Cream. I was pleasantly surprised.  It covered all of my blemishes without looking like a caked on mess. It worked great for about a week, but then my skin started breaking out. I'm not sure if it was because of this or stress.
Sample Size Value: $8.90

The next product was COOLA Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face. The full-size version is priced at $32. I wasn't sure exactly what this does. It says it is a mineral sunblock and to smooth on a thin layer an hour before stepping outside. Living in Florida, I really look forward to using this. 

8.6.13-UPDATE- This had a very runny consistency. It was only sunscreen and didn't impress me.
Sample Size Value: $4.45

This is Caudalie Divine Legs with a full-size version priced at $38. I didn't know what this was and had never heard of it. It is a tinted lotion that supposedly gives you a beachy glow and doesn't rub off.  It says to apply legs using circular motions. It claims that it may look dark but will blend seamlessly. We will see how it fares against my super pale skin.

8.6.13-UPDATE- I don't typically like self tanners, but I tried to go into this with a good attitude. Every self tanner I have used has a smell that I don't like and can't handle. This was no exception. I used this on my stomach because I didn't know how far this little packer would go and didn't want to be rocking one tan leg and one super white leg. It went on dark and made me nervous, but it rubbed in very well. It looked nice but it's not something I will buy.
Sample Size Value: $1.80

In reading other people's reviews, there were some complaints about these bobby pins. I personally LOVE them! I often pull my bangs back with regular ugly old clips and these will dress up my hair nicely. A set of six is five dollars. 

8.6.13-UPDATE- These are cute and were tight. They had a great staying power. They were just difficult to take out. I felt like I was pulling apart my hair when removing them.
Sample Size Value: $1.66

The approximate value of this box was $20.81. Overall, for my first box I was not disappointed.


*I bought this box with my own money. My opinions are my own.*



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Endoscopy-Start to Finish

I suppose I should start at the beginning.  Until recently, the only doctors I went to regularly were dentists, optometrists, and gynecologists. I don't typically trust doctors because I once went to an ENT three different times and got three different possibilities of what could be wrong. These doctors refused to let me ask questions and in the end it was my DENTIST that figured out what was wrong. Usually, I save myself a copay by self diagnosing on Webmd.

Another reason I NEVER go to doctors is that my mom had a life before I was born, and in that life she was a nurse.
someecards.com
I did a lot of reckless things as a child and still have never been to an emergency room. When I started having tear-jerking extreme back pain at 17, my mom brushed it off. I started taking  ibuprofen. So much, that I eventually burned a hole in my stomach ad thought I was constantly having a heart attack because my chest pain was worse then the back pain.  When I went to the pediatrician, he told me I have GERD and prescribed me ranitidine. It didn't work great so I adjusted my diet slightly and lived on. Well, in the past couple of years, it has become steadily worse and the ranitidine no longer worked. I switched to omerprozole and that gave me extreme stomach pain. Ironically, the only thing that would relieve the stomach pain was coke, which is what causes my GERD to misbehave.  

So I finally gave in to my stubborn ways and  made an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I went to the appointment, he prescribed me nexium and told me I needed an endoscopy. 

Never having a procedure of this kind before, I took to Google. Unfortunately, there was no information about what its like start to finish. There were a couple of YouTube videos but they only took my through the procedure. So, here is the step by step:

When I made the appointment, they told me it would be that day and I would be called the day before to let me know my arrival time.

When they called the day before, it was around 1:30pm. After telling me my arrival time, they went through my medical history with me and asked me of the medications I was on.  They reminded me not to eat or drink anything after midnight, and to remember to bring my photo ID, copay, insurance card, a driver, and list of medications with me.

When I arrived at the surgery center, the receptionist checked me in, took my copay, and had me sign a pile of documents. I was then directed to wait in the reception area until I was called.

Not even five minutes later, I was called. The nurse assigned to me took me to a small room where she took my blood pressure and temperature. She then went over my list of medications,  asked when my last menstrual cycle was, and had me sign the document.  I had to declare who my driver was and sign a form saying who he was and then sign it. She also asked if I was pregnant and said I would need to either sign a release saying that I am not pregnant or take a pregnancy test. Seeing as I hadn't had anything to drink or eat in 12 hours and not needing to pee whatsoever, I opted for the release. The nurse didn't see happy about me signing the release and she kept repeating that if I am pregnant, the anesthesia will hurt the baby. I signed the paper saying that I am not pregnant and she returned me to the reception area. 

About 10 minutes later, my nurse returned and led me to the hospital setting. I was taken to my bed and instructed to take my shirt, bra, and shoes off and put on the gown opening at the back (I know! Opposite of what they tell you at the gyno.)  I put on the gown and medical booties and put my personal effects the plastic bag they provided. My nurse came back with a warm blanket. She then started an IV with lactated fluids on my right arm. An anesthesiologist came around and explained what was going to happen and if I had any questions. I also had to sign another release. I was then left for about 45 minutes with the nurse coming around every now and then to ask how I am doing.

Finally, my doctor came around and explained the procedure one final time and asked if I had any questions. After this, I was wheeled into the procedure room. They put a pulse thing on my finger and had me lay on my left side. I was given a oxygen through the nose thing, and a wedge was put behind me to keep me in the correct position. Next, a round thing was put in my mouth and I was asked to bite down. The round thing was like a hollow cylinder. This is how they get the video camera through my mouth and down my throat.  The anesthesiologist then explained that I might feel some stinging in my arm.....

The next thing I knew, the nurse was calling my name to wake me up. I was still laying on my left side with the wedge behind me. After I was semi-coherent, she offered me juice or water and carefully removed the wedge from behind me.  

I immediately asked for my fiance and they immediately called him back.  I was so thirsty, my juice box was gone by the time my finance arrived. The nurse checked my vitals and asked if I felt ok, and I did. After maybe 10 minutes, she came around with images of my esophagus and stomach and a report. EVERYTHING CAME BACK NORMAL!!! After this, my finance signed some papers declaring that he was in fact driving and I signed discharge papers. 

Other than my throat being a bit sore for the rest of the day, everything was just fine.

Feel free to ask me any questions about the procedure. I was a nervous wreck until the procedure without any to answer my questions or reassure me.








Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Half Bath from Hell!

In my very first blog post, I explained the terrible experience I had with buying my home. If you haven't, please read it and learn from it.  For instance, even three months after closing on the home, I got a letter from the title company asking me to sign a paper they "forgot" to have me sign.   The experience was so bad that when we finally closed, I refused to go in the house for a whole week. The only reason I entered my new house after the week was because my mother was in town and wanted to see. Every time we went to the house, I acted like a total brat. HATED the HOUSE! After moving in and settling a bit, I begin liking it. As we move forward with renovations, I think I like the house even more, and then I get a setback like this half bathroom from hell.

We began renovating our half bathroom. While most people would tolerate the way it looked, I hated it and had to change the whole thing.  There was an old toilet and the vanity was built into an odd wall that had a weird-concave like angle. It had to go. I didn't anticipate everything to go smoothly, but i expected things to not be like this and in all fairness, after the wall incident, they are all pretty much my own fault.



Let me preface this my saying, the times it takes to do this is because we work opposite shifts. Most of the things we do require two people. I work in the day, he works at night. The only time I see him with his eyes open are on weekends.

I also know a lot of these issues we are having is due to the fact that we are doing everything ourselves and we haven't been the best in planning these little catastrophes. Shit happens. It's just in my nature to think everything going wrong is the end of the world. I have a naturally pessimistic attitude. 

BATHROOM FROM HELL INCIDENT 1:

As I may have mentioned before, I curse whoever painted this house. They painted flat paint over gloss which translates into a mess when you try to clean the walls.  Well in the bathroom, it translated into paint peeling off the wall.  I suggested spackling it and then sanding and painting over it. My fiance bought an orbital sander instead and went to town on the walls  

This may not seem like a big deal, and it probably wasn't. but it took close to 3 weeks to rectify this situation. As a perfectionist, I am still not pleased with the imperfections in the wall. The image below is how it turned out when we initially painted the walls.


BATHROOM FROM HELL INCIDENT 2:

The sink we bought is from ikea.  It was inexpensive and a great buy for a wall-mounted sink. Wall studs typically sit 16" apart.  In my house, one of the studs were 10" and 14" apart with NO stud where the sink needed to be mounted at. 

When we found this out, I threw a tantrum (very child like).  Eventually my fiance came up with a solution that would take an additional month to rectify.  
 He had to cut open the wall and install 2x4 studs horizontally  between the oddly placed studs. Once he did this, he placed the wall back in place, spackled, sanded and painted it.

The issues here came when the 2x4s were not cut short enough, we had to turn the water off more than once and the pipes wouldn't stop pouring water. It was a lot of poor planning on our part, but knowing nothing about what he was doing, I didn't know how to plan for the negative things that could go wrong. 

We eventually got the sink in and it looks beautiful and ended up being worth the trouble. I will show you pictures when the whole bathroom is complete.  :)

BATHROOM FROM HELL INCIDENT 3:

The current issue is actually my own fault. I wanted a river pebble/stone flooring. You can buy river stone tiles, but they cost at least $10/sq ft.  Even though this bathroom is small, it is still about 20 square feet, translating into over $200. I didn't want to pay that much for it.  My bright idea was to buy 40lb bags of river stone and some thin set and slap it down on the floor.  I did this on one section of the floor to see if this would work, and it did! 
In between me creating the picture above and now, incident #2 took place and I had to stop. I needed there to be a solution for the sink first because if we were unable to get the sink mounted to the wall, I would have to go with a pedestal or another vanity, and it would have NEVER sat level on this stone. It would probably always have a teeter to it.  So, I stopped doing this and waited until we got the sink it.  

Once we got the sink in, I took to doing this again and found that I needed more stone. That shouldn't have been an issue, but Home Depot had discontinued the stone I used for this.  I used the nifty store inventory locator, and grew increasingly disappointed. :(

There were two shops that sold white river stone, but it wasn't right. They weren't smooth like the ones I already had were.  

I am immensely disappointed and don't know what to do for the floor at this point.

Any ideas?

Long Awaited Kitchen Update

As I may have said before, my kitchen is about 80 percent complete. The floor and cabinets are done. We only need to do the countertops and paint the the walls.

I had previously said, I would just paint the countertops, but when we took them out, a weak spot broke. We currently have the old countertops with the broken space covered with a garbage bag because I am unsure of exactly what kind of countertops I want.

I wanted to include more details and pictures before I started with my bathroom progress.

After we took everything out of the kitchen, we laid vinyl plank flooring. We used vinyl plank, because I initially wanted to use laminate but learned that this wasn't the best idea for a place that could get wet regularly.

I used TrafficMaster Allure Resilient Vinyl Flooring.  Overall, it was easy to use. I'm not a directions reader so it took awhile for me to get the hang of it. Once I read the directions, it turned into a very easy job. I would suggest buying a vinyl tile cutter  to go along with it. It will make your life easier!
 
It all kind of snaps together with an adhesive that is already present on the tiles. If you make a mistake, you just carefully remove the tile and try again. Very easy!!! My kitchen is very small (about 7x9) and I used 2 boxes of this vinyl plank.
Do you like it? It have been about 4 months since I have installed it and it holds up beautifully. I have no issues or complaints with this.


As I said before, some of my cabinets had to be replaced. I ended up replacing four cabinets and keeping the rest. The new cabinets were unfinished, so I sanded and  primed them with 2 coats of a basic white primer. I decided to use Rustoleum Cabinet Tranformations to change their look. 

I have heard mixed reviews about this product. It seemed simple enough. I went to my local Home Depot to pick up the small kit. If you use cabinet transformations, keep in mind, that you have to get the base coat tinted to the color you want. If you just pick it up and take it home and paint, your cabinets will be white!

The very helpful gentlemen spoke with me about this kit as my paint mixed.  I mentioned I only intended on this taking a couple of days considering my kitchen is so small. He smirked and said it takes much longer. It took MUCH longer.


I chose English Cream since my kitchen is very small and I wanted to open it up as much as possible without going with white and still having a distinct color.

The transformations kit comes in four steps. The first step is the deglosser. MAKE SURE YOU ABSOLUTELY USE THIS! I actually missed the side of one of the higher cabinets because it wasn't deglossed, the paint turned out like this:
yucky, right?!

After the deglosser, you wait about an hour and then when your cabinets are dry, you move on to step 2. You paint the bond coat on the cabinets. The cabinets that were primed only needed two coats of the bond coat. The cabinets that were old needed three due to their darker color.  This took me about 2 weekends to complete. You must wait about 2-3 hours in between each coat to repaint. This was the step that took me the longest. I thought I would be on step two forever!

Finally after everything was painted and complete, I moved on to step 3 which is an optional step if you want the glaze on the cabinets. I did. This was relatively easy. You just paint the whole cabinet with the glaze and then wipe with the provided lint free cloths until you get your desired look. Because I am a perfectionist, this took me longer than I would like to admit.

The last step is the top coat. This goes on quickly and dries in about an hour.  I gave it 24 hours and then started putting everything back together, including some new brown knobs and drawer pulls that go great with it.

A before and after shot:
 The final product. It looks great! the pictures really don't do them justice.

Overall, I am happy that this turned out so great. It was easy, yet time-consuming, but I would do it again. What do you think? That was as far as I could go with the kitchen. I am still not 100% sure what I want to do for countertops or paint colors. Any ideas for me?