Monday, June 23, 2014

ipsy Subscription Box Review

June 2014 Bag Designed By Rebbeca Minkoff

ipsy is a beauty subscription box. Each month for 10 measly dollars, you get a cute little bag filled to the max with deluxe samples and full sized beauty products. When I attempted to join I was placed on the wait list and remained there for about two months. I've been getting my ipsy bag since February and have waited until now to do a review simply out of laziness :)

You take a quiz before hand that helps to make sure ipsy only sends you items that you will get some use out of. I think for the most part my products received have been right on the money. Here is what was in June's bag:

Nicka K New York Shimmer Eyeliner: I received the blue color. I'm terrified a bit of this. It would definitely have to be the right setting to get this color around my eyes but I guess it could work... Aaliyah did play with it the other day when I let her do dress up and it's cute on her. Still undecided for me though.



NYX Butter Gloss: Received the Eclair color. Love this! It's smells and tastes like cake batter. It puts just a hint of pale pink color on my lips and lasts for most of the day. I'm a sucka for lip gloss and this fits right in with my growing collection.


Carol's Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage and Anti-Frizz Styling Cream: Whoa what a title! I've been wanting to try out Carol's Daughter products for awhile now. They seem to work pretty well for my friends who share my frizzed out fussy hair issues. This is a teeny tiny sample. I haven't had a chance to use it yet but I already know I'll only get one use out of it. When your hair is as thick and kinky as mine, you use ALOT of product to get the look you desire. Also very excited to find out that this line is now carried at Target so it will be easy to pick up if the sample does the job I'm looking for which is basically not to look like a crazy ax murderer :)


OFRA Universal Eyebrow Pencil: This is full size so I'm excited about that but I just don't have a use for an eyebrow pencil. This goes back to my over abundance of hair mentioned earlier. My eyebrows are full and fancy free! This will go into my give-a-way box. I'm starting to think I will do a subscription box give-a-way on the blog of some of the items I've received but won't use. Could be fun no?


Realtree for Her Fragrance: So Realtree is a camo pattern company, you know for hunters. They made a fragrance for woman and at first sniff, I'm relieved to find that it doesn't smell like deer pee! (Just a little hunter joke there) It does however smell like lots and lots of flowers and so it's not for me. I'll be passing this along to someone who can appreciate it.


So that's June's ipsy bag. Some hits and some misses. Love the bag also this month. It's bold and funky and I'll definitely use it in the future.

Disclosure: This blog post contains referral links.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

PopSugar Must Have Box Review




PopSugar Must Have Box is a fun lifestyle box filled with must have items across fashion, beauty, home decor, fitness, and probably a whole bunch of other catagories I can't think of right now. It's the most well rounded box I subscribe to and also the box I most look forward to receiving every month. Boxes always have several full size items and the box value is often $100+. Boxes start at $40/mo.

Each box is inspired and this June 2014 box was inspired by beach/bbq summers. Here is what was in the box:

The One & Only by Emily Giffin: Yeah.... I don't like when you pick my books for me! Books to me are a very personal choice. I read the synopsis of this and I'm just like eh. Not really my thing and also I'm obsessed now with reading on my ultra chic Kindle reader. It feels tedious to hold a book now and a hard cover to boot. I'll be passing this off to someone in my circle who will enjoy it.


Sachajuan Shiny Citrus Body Lotion: This smells like citrus and is light as air. My extra dry skin needs something a little more thick but I'll add this to my thicker scent free stuff or use as a refresher during the day. It claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles but really at this point I think anything that moisturizes your skin can claim to do that, duh!


Turkish-T: I'm still on the fence with this towel. It's not really a towel and not really a scarf and not really a wrap... weird. They call it a lightweight beach towel & a glam wrap. I don't know about glam but I'll figure out a way to make it work. It was super scratchy but a Tide wash and Bounce dry later and it's as soft as world's finest cotton should be.


You Smell Lemon Wet Wipes: These smell great. I like citrus aromas and I guess I can get funky every now and then but I don't think I'd use them in that way. I would rather put them in the picnic basket and use them as hand wipes for afterward.


Lollies Basics Hair Ties: Love these! Because of the metal hoop they look amazing as bracelets and because they are thick and stretchy they work great in my hair. I can't tell you how many hair ties I have destroyed trying to gather up my puffy 'ol mess of a mane. I'll be purchasing more right away.


One Potato Two Potato Chips in Hawaiian BBQ: Whoa these are spicy! I was to the bottom of the bag before I knew what happened so these are dangerous as well. I've tried the sweet potato flavor from another box and I think I like these better.


Native Union $15 Gift Card: Oooh finally a gift card I can get behind! I will be using this bad boy to get this. My iPhone is always low on power. I've been looking for a solution for awhile and think this may just be it. They also have some pretty cool phone cases.


So that the box! I think this is my favorite to date. So many useful items and discoveries. Until next time :)


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Influenster TLC VoxBox Review **Sponsored**


Have you heard of Influenster? Well if you haven't, Influenster is a community of trendsetters, social media masterminds, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences. Part of this includes the VoxBox program where members receive complimentary products to test and review. In exchange, the company asks members to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media.

I have been a member of Influenster for a few months and recently qualified for my first VoxBox program: the TLC VoxBox. The TLC VoxBox was created for the Moms of Influenster Nation.

Here is my review of what was in this box:

Neosporin Neo To Go!: Call me dumb but I couldn't figure out where the mist was supposed to come out of this. I had taken all the stickers off and was pushing looking for a hole to open up at the bottom when the whole thing fell apart. I got it back together and then realized the hole was in the front... oops! I love Neosporin as a product but this packaging is obviously ackward for me. Would love to see it in a mini spray bottle. With the bumps and bruises my kids rack up this will sure come in handy this summer.


Breyers Gelato Indulgences: I love Breyers ice cream and was very excited to see a freebie coupon for their new gelato line. I used my coupon to get the Raspberry Cheesecake flavor. Ooooh this is soooo gooood! I'm very grateful that I put my first serving into a small bowl or it could have gone downhill quickly. It was extremely hard not to go back for a second and possibly third bowl. This gelato is so smooth and creamy and the fruit and graham crumble puts it over the top. My next grocery trip I will be purchasing some of the other flavors (Tiramisu anyone?).


Ivory Soap Bar: I already use Ivory soap for the kids bath time. For those that don't know Ivory is 99.44% clean and contains no dyes or heavy perfumes which is all well and good but the real reason I use this on my kids is because it floats! Love this retro pattern on the packaging. I wonder if this is in stores or only for the VoxBox? Also here is a very fun experiment involving Ivory soap and a microwave you can do with your kids this summer when they claim they are bored :)


Avon Renew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother: This translucent balm is supposed to blur the look of wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes INSTANTLY. I followed the directions to a T and low and behold the crows feet on my eyes that showed up shortly after my 29th birthday are still rearing their ugly head (feet??). Also I guess I'm lucky to not have lines on my forehead yet so yea that's a plus! I like the way this compact slides up and the reflective case but.... it's not for me. This will find its way into my give-a-way box. Hopefully whoever gets it will see results.


Puffs To Go: Tissues are a must for a mom. I have them stashed everywhere, so much so that I'm always finding half used packages. These will fit in nicely.


Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card: The Fuel Rewards Network program at Shell is a free loyalty program that helps you save money on fuel. This was a reward card that I didn't have in my collection and who doesn't want to save money on gas? For a limited time, new members save 25 cents per gallon on their second fill up and 3 cents every time after.


So that's my box. Just to reiterate I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spoonflower Update: New Textile Design for Sale and Giveaway!

A little bit ago I decided to dip my toes into textile design. I found the site Spoonflower, which allowed me to upload my designs and sell them on various textile products including various fabrics, wallpaper & gift-wrap.  Spoonflower seemed like such a perfect next step for Riyah-Li Designs. I had already entered the graphic design arena with Cafepress & Zazzle and the handcraft arena with Etsy.

I'm pleased to announce my first for sale textile design with Spoonflower: Afro!

Afro

Afro is a repeating modern monochrome pattern that gives you the perfect pop of red. It features a fierce diva and I'm so excited to see what gets made from it!

In celebration of launching this design I have made a perfect little item from this great fabric. This brush roll is just what any diva needs to keep all her precious make-up brushes safe and protected. Best of all I'm giving it away FREE to one lucky reader!!! This giveaway ends on 6/16/14 at 12am CST so what are you waiting for? Enter already!

Inside

Outside
Rolled Up

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 

Our Week of Plated Meals

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Plated is a weekly meal subscription delivery service that has changed my life! They send you all the ingredients you need to prepare meals that you choose from an assorted mix of 7 options. You can sign up for their membership option which saves you $3 off every meal, or you can just pay as you go.

Plated ships via FedEx and delivers twice a week. I have been wanting to try a meal delivery service for awhile but for the most part these services stick to the coastal states. Once I found out this was open to the good 'ol Midwest for delivery I jumped on it.

Every Saturday for the past two months we have been getting four to six meals delivered to our door. I must admit the road hasn't always been golden. Many of our boxes have come with issues but the customer service at Plated has been amazing and corrections have been granted swiftly.

Here's our selections from last week:

Thai Chicken Burgers: I was excited about these because I have never had Thai flavors in a burger before. Also I had never made a chicken burger and that was interesting as well. This was really good. I usually stay far away from using fish sauce in a recipe because it tends to overwhelm everything. I wanted this recipe to taste authentic so I used it and it blended so well with all the other ingredients that I'm no longer afraid of fish sauce! The rice was your typical cilantro and lime variety, the star here was the burger.

 
Spaghetti with Meatballs, Pesto & Greens: This was also really good! I loved that this sauce was made from pesto and the meatballs were full of flavor. I think I should have added more salt to the spaghetti water as the noodles were a little bland. The kids even got into this which of course is extremely rare due to the green.

 
White Pizza with Arugula and Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes: Love making our own pizza! Because I'm married to one of the biggest carnivores in history, I brought some sun-dried tomato chicken sausage to add to the mix. Also because this pizza was way too adult I bought ingredients at the store to make a simple pepperoni pizza for the kids. Delicious pizza was had by all!

 
Lemon Oregano Tofu over Greek Salad: I like having salad for dinner. It feels good getting full on veggies but Nate was having none of this. He ate it only because he wanted to make me happy. Next time I'll add a chicken breast in place of the tofu just for him :)



If you are interested in giving Plated a try you can use code 02ffc0 to get 50% off your first order!

Disclosure: This post contains referral links. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Skoshbox Subscription Box Review


Fun fact: I LOVE JAPAN! I love everything about Japan so much so that I feel strongly that I was Japanese in a past life. I took Japanese for three years in high school and even have my name in Japanese tattooed on my body (yeah I'm a bad ass). Japan is my trip of a lifetime and going there is right at the top of my bucket list right alongside dinner with Oprah :)

So when I found out that there was a Japanese snack subscription box I gleefully handed over my credit card info. Skoshbox is a monthly subscription box which delivers Japanese candies and snacks right to your door.

Pricing for Skoshbox is $12/month. Here is what was in my June Box:

Matcha Mochi Choco Square: Loved this! It's green tea flavored with a mochi (gummy) center. Also on a fun note because my kids are way into this box, I was able to split this little square into three teenie tiny pieces... Thank goodness I found these on Ebay so I can get my hands on more.


Kit Kat Bake-Pudding: They do fun things with their snacks in Japan and this is a prime example. To fully enjoy this treat you are supposed to broil it for 1-2 minutes until golden. This creates a creme brulee finish. Creme brulee is my absolute favorite dessert and I wish I had patience for that but I just don't. If you don't broil it, these taste just like a white chocolate Kit Kat.


Wasabi Kakinotane: This is a tasty mix of wasabi flavored crackers and peanuts. I love wasabi but for obvious reasons can only take it in small doses. The amount on these is just right. The kids wanted nothing to do with this so I got these babies all to myself.... score!


Matcha Okoshi: This is like a green tea flavored rice crispy treat without that pesky marshmallow. It's not my thing but it wasn't inedible. I guess that's not exactly a glowing endorsement...


Takoyaki & Corn Potage Umaibo: Fun fact, tako means octopus and yaki means grilled in Japanese. To me the takoyaki flavor in this umaibo tastes like the flavoring used on ketchup fries. Uriyah finished this one off as one bite was enough for me and Aaliyah wanted nothing to do with it. The corn potage oddly melts in your mouth and tastes just like creamed corn. Aaliyah adores corn and anything related so she gobbled this up before I could even take another bite. I adore the fun colors of the packaging and I'm inspired to create a textile design from it...


Bake-Choco: Another fun treat. You microwave these for 25-45 seconds and the chocolate filling inside gets all warm and gooey. We did this and for us there wasn't a whole lot of warm gooey filling but Aaliyah is our house chocaholic and she loved them. 


Harvest Green Tea Crackers: These are lovely green tea flavored crackers. They have a strong butter flavor that is awesome. Loved them with my morning coffee. 


So lots of fun items in this box and a great steal in my opinion. It's the closest I'll get to Japan at the moment and I'll take it!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Things I'm Loving and Hating At The Moment

I thought I would again take the chance to rant about the things that I am loving & hating at the moment. You could read about my first rant here. I think I will keep these posts going monthly as I like sharing and maybe one or more of these people will relate to.

Love: The Sun! I know everyone of my Facebook friends was worn out from my "I'm so sick of winter" posts but damn... this winter went on forEVA! The kids got crazy bored, the dogs got stir crazy, the hubs got a bad case of the sads and if I'm being honest, so did I! As I have gotten older I have come to realize that I need high doses of that good 'ol vitamin D. Seeing the sun out and showing off has really put me in a much better mood! I can't wait to spend nights on my patio, grill everything in sight and drink fancy cocktails out of even fancier cups :) Bring on the sun!

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Love: Amazing Sales! Sometimes there are deals so good it brings tears to my eyes, like literal tears. For me this week it's the Bath and Body Works Memorial Day sale. I usually save my BBW fandom for their hand soaps but today's post from Ramblings of a Suburban Mom had me rushing in a frenzy to pick up some 3-wick candles. 5 candles and $47 later (damn sales tax) and I'm one happy chica. My house will stank up a storm and that's just the way I like it!

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Love: not Frozen "Let It Go" its IGGY Fancy lip dub YouTube Vid: I adore when a daddy and a daughter can bond and this video captures it oh so well. This is giving me all kinds of Alex & Phil Modern Family realness! Lots of hate in the comment section though about safety while driving. Yeah okay buzz-kills, can't we just love this video for what it is?! Which of course is pure awesomeness!


Love: Subscription Boxes! Um... yeah I can admit when I have a problem and Houston, I have a problem! Within the last two months I have fallen off the deep end with subscription boxes. I pretty much have a box for every category imaginable and don't tell the hubs but yesterday I subscribed to three more! In my defense I also cancelled three subscriptions so they cancel each other out... right?

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Hate: Blogging Subscription Box Reviews: April was the month a lot of the new subscription boxes that I signed up for came and I went full force with my blog reviews but then you know what happened? I got burnt out! I highly over estimated how much work goes into a review post. Also because I'm a giant perfectionist I needed everything to be just right. It got real old, real fast and so I took a break in May from reviews. I'll be back in June but I think I will only review boxes that have few reviews or who's contents really excite me. Reviewing every single box I get is just not in the cards. At least not until I'm able to quit my full time job and devote every waking moment to it :)


Hate: Superbowl 2018 in Minneapolis: Shoot me all you want but I don't get football, really any sport for that matter. While all the rest of Minnesota is ecstatic about the 2018 Superbowl coming to the Mini-apple all I can think about it the insane clusterfu*k this is going to cause. The traffic, the riots, the crowds... blech. Keep it all! Although the new stadium does look pretty sweet.

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Welp, that is all. Until next month...

Linking Up with Jennifer @ Ramblings of a Suburban Mom



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Uriyah's Opera Debut

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Uriyah was in his first Opera performance a few weeks back. The Opera was The Cunning Little Vixen and was put on by the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre. He has been provided with so many unique opportunities thanks to the Metropolitan Boys Choir. Uriyah has been a member of that choir for almost 6 years now! Time is really speeding by fast when it comes to our kids!

In the Opera Uriyah played a rabbit & a fox cub. Both of which he was amazing at. It's so humbling to see him so focused and tuned in when he performs. Nate and I are not huge fans of Opera and will admit to struggling to sit though it all, but watching him up on that stage was a proud moment for us.

I don't have any photos from the actual performance but I do have two adorable photos of Uriyah backstage in his costumes. The University let us keep them so we will be getting some more use out of these come Halloween time :)



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