Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe is a collaborative cookbook from Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda. It was released September 30, 2014, and is available in hardback or as an eBook. Vegan Holiday Cooking has a list price of $22.99. The cookbook offers vegan recipes for a variety of holidays and celebrations. I believe it is important to say that the recipes should not be considered weight-loss friendly, but they are very appropriate for parties and holidays.

The contents of the book follow what I would call an annual holiday calender. Each chapter is based on a holiday or celebration such as Super Bowl Big-Game Party, Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day, Passover Seder, Easter Brunch, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, 4th of July Backyard Barbecue, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. There is such a wide range of recipes in the book that you could find something for any event.

The recipes for the holidays addressed in the book are presented as a menu. Each chapter begins with drink suggestions followed by appetizers, main dishes, and dessert. If you were planning a dinner party you could easily plan your entire menu from the contents of one chapter. The presentation of this book is wonderful. Beautiful color photographs accompany many of the recipes.

When reading the recipes I immediately wanted to eat each and every item in the cookbook. There are recipes that would appeal to both vegans and omnivores. After reading this cookbook in its entirety I know it will not disappoint.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own and are completely honest

Monday, November 10, 2014

Birchbox Limited Edition Vanity Affair Box Review

The limited edition Birchbox Vanity Affair Box is beautiful, elegant, and a perfect gift idea for yourself or a loved one. This box is meant to bring luxury into the recipients life, and I believe it does just that. It has a variety of beauty and lifestyle products, and you get a lot of luxury for your money.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review: Make Up by Michelle Phan

Make Up by Michelle Phan is a beautiful book. I smiled as soon as I removed it from the shipping package. If you are at all familiar with Michelle Phan this should not come as a shock. Make Up was released on October 21, 2014, and is available as a hardback or eBook.

Make Up is a beauty guide as well as a style and success guide. The contents seem to be targeted towards readers in their teens and twenties, but at thirty I still loved it. There is something in this book for everyone, even those who have an established beauty routine and career.

The book begins with an introduction to Michelle's life so far. Her story is wonderful and shows how following your dreams can pay off. In the beauty portion of the book she breaks down the basics of what you need to know. She discusses skin care, makeup, hair, and nails over the course of seventy-eight pages. Somehow, Michelle seems to hit on every topic I could want in a beauty guide.

When the book moves on to fashion, Michelle instructs readers on building a wardrobe. She covers dressing for your type, for different occasions, and how to accessorize.

The "success" portion of the guide covers digital dos and don'ts, finding a job you love and keeping it, turning something you love into a career, and modern manners. This section of the book contained two of my favorite chapters. 'Digital Dos and Don'ts' and 'Modern Manners Made Easy' covered some very important topics on etiquette both online and off.

Overall, I loved Make Up and believe it is a great book. I cannot wait to read it again with all my beauty products and tools in front of me.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own and are completely honest.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

BOXYCHARM Review - October 2014 Box

I am excited to review my first box from BOXYCHARM! BOXYCHARM is a beauty and makeup subscription box that delivers deluxe-size and full-size samples.

The Details:
BOXYCHARM costs $21 a month and ships inside the continental US. The box will usually contain 4 to 5 full-size products.

This month's theme was "Bewitched" and it contained some fantastic items!

Coastal Scents Eclipse Palette (Full size, normally $19.95, currently $14.95): I am so excited about this product! It is a concealer palette and has a wide range of colors so that you can blend, contour, and disguise anyway you want. I have always been curious about the concealers that are not flesh colored, so this will give me a chance to play!

Palmetto Derma Collagen Booster & Restoration Serum ($48 value): A full-size, cruelty-free, vegan skincare item that is free of parabens, sulfates and alcohol? Yes, please! This serum is applied after cleanser and toner, and is meant to fight free radicals and increase collagen growth in your skin. I cannot wait to see if this makes my skin glow!

CULT/COMMERCE & BOXYCHARM "Shady" Nail Polish Collection in B'Witched and Spell On ($21 value): This collaborative set launched in BOXYCHARM and is perfect for the Halloween season. I really want to rock these polishes tomorrow, but I would have to remove them and repaint for a wedding Saturday afternoon. Decisions, decisions! 

Be A Bombshell Eyeshadow in Corrupt ($14 value): This is such a great color! You can create so many looks using this nice charcoal grey.

Starlooks Ultra Gem Eye Pencil in Ultra Turquoise ($14 value): I could not find this exact item on the Starlooks website, but it goes on as a beautiful blue. This seems more like something I will use when I go to holiday parties.

Overall, I am very pleased with my first box from BOXYCHARM. The box is values around $112-$117 depending on how you price the Coastal Scents Palette. I will get more than my money's worth out of this box.

Do you subscribe to BOXYCHARM? What did you think of this month's box?

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

After years of following Gina Homolka's blog, Skinnytaste, I was thrilled when she decided to write a cookbook. The Skinnytaste Cookbook was released September 30, 2014 and is available in hardback or eBook format.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook features 125 new recipes as well as 25 favorites. All the recipes are low-calorie and waist-friendly. A majority of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful, full-page photographs.

The book begins with an introduction that explains the intentions of this cookbook and provides the Skinnytaste origin story. This section also provides you with a recipe key which is one of my favorite parts of the book. The key is used to identify vegetarian, gluten-free, quick (ready in 30 minutes or less), freezer-friendly, and slow cooker recipes.

The chapter titled The Skinny Basics provides readers with tips for a healthier kitchen as well as a healthier lifestyle. I think this was an important addition to the book, because sometimes changing the way you eat or cook can be a daunting task, so tips from a professional or role-model are always appreciated.

Once you get past the introduction and basics you get into the most exciting part of the book: the recipes. The recipes are grouped into chapters such as Sunny Mornings, Skinny-Licious Soups & Chilis, Sandwiches On The Lighter Side, Skinny Bites, Fabulous Main-Dish Salads, Perfect Poultry, Lean Meat Dishes, Fabulous Fish, Meatless Mains, Veggie-Licious Sides, and Skinny Sweet Tooth.

Throughout the recipes Gina added helpful hints and tips to make your meal prep easier. Pairing options, storage tips, and tool suggestions are just a few of the tip topics. This is in addition to the nutritional information that is provided for every recipe. As a professional calorie counter this is what I am most grateful for.

Overall, I am thrilled with this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a low-calorie cookbook.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own and are completely honest.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Quick Update After A Long Absence

I am excited to be back after a long absence from writing. Due to the increased and unexpected demands of my day job I had to leave the blog alone for several months. Life is now much calmer, and I look forward to spending more time writing posts. Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New! Birchbox Limited Edition: Free For All

Birchbox just released a new limited edition box. The theme is Free For All and all of the products are free of concerning ingredients such as sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, GMOs, and parabens. 

According to the Birchbox website each box will contain:

W3LL PEOPLE Hypnotist Eyeliner - 0.04 oz
Alima Pure Lip Tint in Rhubarb - 0.13 oz
eco-armour Shave with Benefits Shave Foam with Mint + Eucalyptus - 50 ml
FEED 10 Pouch
Jurlique Purely Bright Radiance Serum - 15 ml
Karma Organic Spa Nail Polish Remover with Soybean Oil and Tea Tree Oil - 15 ml
Løv Organic Tea (muslin tea bags in assorted flavors: Løv is Good, Løv is Pure, Løv is Zen, and Løv is Beautiful)
Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser - 30 ml

The box is selling for $44 plus shipping. However, if you spend $50 shipping is free. I purchased the box and a bottle of Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle. I was able to use the 20% off code that comes when you download the mobile app, so I only paid $52.76 for both products.

Will you be buying the Birchbox Limited Edition: Free For All box?

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 2014 POPSUGAR Must Have Spoilers and Coupon

The first official POPSUGAR Must Have Box Spoiler is out and it is the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette! I checked out a few of their palettes in Sephora last night, so I am thrilled to be getting this! Through tonight you can use the REFER5 and save $5 off your first box. The monthly price is normally $40 with free shipping.

According to this article the box will also contain Graphic Image Pocket Notes, Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap, a Blueavacado Shopper Reusable Bag, and a Fresh Pastry Stand Tea Towel Set.

What do you think of the April POPSUGAR Must Have spoilers?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GLOSSYBOX Review - March 2014

GLOSSYBOX is a beautifully packaged monthly subscription box that focuses on makeup and beauty products. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

FabFitFun VIP Box - 2014 Spring Edition Review

FabFitFun VIP is a quarterly subscription box from FabFitFun and Giuliana Rancic. A new box is released with each season, and has over $100 in fashion, beauty, and fitness products. The subscription costs $49.99 a quarter. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Julep Lucky Mystery Box Review

In celebration of Saint Patrick's Day Julep released four mystery boxes. Since I am a sucker for mystery boxes I ordered the 100% Mystery Box, the Mystery Box with Shannon - It Girl, and a Major Mystery Add-On. Each mystery box was $24.99 and my total with the add-on came to $64.97. Let's just say it was a major moment of weakness.

BarkBox Review - March 2014

BarkBox is a monthly subscription service that focuses on products for your pups. Boxes are tailored to your dog's size; however you can alternate the size each month if you like. This was my original plan before I determined that the medium box actually works well for both of my dogs. BarkBox is $29/month for month by month, $24/month for a three month subscription, and $19/month for a six month subscription. 10% of the monthly subscription price is donated to organizations that help dogs in need.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GlossyBox Customer Service Review

When I received my February 2014 GlossyBox it was missing the Sumita Beauty Kala Color Intense Pencil. Once I realized it was missing I contacted GlossyBox and after two days they e-mailed me back and let me know that they would send me a replacement item. They were very apologetic and kind. Eleven days later I received a package in the mail that included the Sumita Beauty Kala Color Intense Pencil as well as a bonus. GlossyBox sent a deluxe sample of Sebastian Professional Color Ignite Multi Tone Conditioner.

For me dealing with customer service often means that something went wrong. I feel that it is important to praise good customer service, because receiving it is not a guarantee. I feel that GlossyBox went above and beyond in this situation and they deserve a huge thumbs up!

What are your customer service stories?

New Beauty Test Tube Review - March 2014

New Beauty Test Tube is a bi-monthly makeup and beauty subscription box. Every second month they send you a box that contains a tube filled with full sized and deluxe sized beauty samples, a bonus Beauty To-Go sample pack, and a subscription to New Beauty Magazine. As of yet I have not received the magazine, but I believe it is released quarterly. The box is $29.95 plus shipping and you are billed every other month. Shipping to South Carolina costs $8.95, which brings the total cost to $38.90. If anyone were to ask me if the price is worth it I would have to say, "Without a doubt!"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wantable Accessories Review - March 2014

Wantable is a company that offers three different monthly subscription boxes. You can get the accessories box, makeup box, intimates box, or all three! Currently, I only subscribe to the accessories box, but I could easily be tempted to try them all.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ipsy - March 2014 Review

Ipsy is a monthly subscription service that focuses on makeup and beauty products. For $10 a month you get deluxe sized samples or full sized products and an adorable makeup bag. This is the same price as Birchbox, so it is hard not to compare the two. This month the theme was Destination Beauty, and everything had a bit of a vacation feel to it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

PALETA Cold-Pressed Organic Juice Detox Review

Due to long hours at work I have been falling back into horrible eating habits. I decided that a juice detox would be the perfect way to get myself back on track. Normally when I do a juice cleanse or detox it is with the intention to lose weight. Since that was not my goal this time I decided not to weigh before or after the two day detox. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

JewelMint Welcome Mystery Box Review

JewelMint is a jewelry subscription service. You can start by ordering individual pieces or by purchasing one of their mystery boxes. Once you place an order with JewelMint you are automatically added to their monthly subscription service. Each month you are automatically charged $29.99. You have the option to shop their store and pick out any item you want, save the credit for a future purchase, or completely skip that month.

Beauty Box Five Review - March 2014

This was my first monthly box from Beauty Box 5, so I was not at all sure what to expect. Beauty Box 5 is a monthly subscription service that delivers 5 beauty samples in each box. Products range from high end to everyday brands. A monthly subscription costs $12, but if you are willing to pay in advance you can get a year for $99.

Friday, March 7, 2014

POPSUGAR Must Have Review - March 2014 Box

My March POPSUGAR Must Have box arrived today. I have really been looking forward to this box since learning it would contain a Brokedown scarf. The POPSUGAR Must Have box costs $39.95 a month. If you are willing to pay for full year in advance you can save $50. So far each box value has been much higher than the purchase price.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

GlossyBox Review - February 2014

My February GlossyBox arrived yesterday! Normally I would be disappointed to receive a February box in March, but since February is such a short month I'll let it slide. This was my first month of GlossyBox, so I was not totally sure what to expect. Despite the tardiness and a missing item I am still very pleased with this box.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Total Beauty Red Carpet Collection Review

Total Beauty does not offer a subscription service, but about once a month they release new collections. The most recent collection was the Red Carpet Collection. This was a very appropriate theme since it was released during awards season. The collection is $25 with free shipping, but if you use the code WINNER you can get it for $19. The box has over a $60 value.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yuzen Subscription Box Review - Spring 2014

Yuzen is a quarterly subscription box that offers eco-friendly products. The cost is $33 a quarter.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

POPSUGAR Must Have Limited Edition Resort Box

POPSUGAR Must Have is still offering their Limited Edition Resort Box. This went on sale last week and costs $100. This will be my first limited edition POPSUGAR box, and it cannot get here soon enough. I am already tired of winter and find myself daydreaming about the beach. These boxes will ship by March 31st. Can you think of a better way to get in the mood for summer?

POPSUGAR Must Have Box - February 2014 Review

I am so excited to write this review. This month I received my first POPSUGAR Must Have box. It was tough, but I managed to avoid seeing any spoilers before mine arrived. The POPSUGAR Must Have box costs $39.95 a month. If you are willing to pay for full year in advance you can save $50. This seemed pricey to me in the beginning, but after doing some research I realized that I would always get my money's worth from this service. Each month you get full size products hand-selected by POPSUGAR editors. These items can be fitness, fashion, beauty, food, or home related.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Birchbox Review - February 2014

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers beauty and lifestyle samples to subscribers on a monthly basis.

This month Birchbox partnered with US Weekly to create boxes containing items worthy of the red-carpet.