Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Harrison Blake Apparel Monthly Club - November Review

I recently found Harrison Blake Apparel and decided to try out their monthly club in hopes of getting a few things I can use as Christmas gifts for my teenage sons and husband.  Both of my boys wear 'fancy duds' often but they are also becoming quite fussy in the quality of their clothing and accessories.  I wasn't sure how HB would measure up but thought it was worth a try.

All of the details on the Selected club can be found here, but in a nutshell it's $25 US for 1 necktie and 4 other accessories.  From what I've seen of past boxes (which they have photos of on their site), the accessories typically include pocket squares, tie bars, lapel pins, bracelets or watches.  All items are HB brand so you can't really compare the prices elsewhere.  There is a bow tie club available as well.

You are billed on the 20th of the month for the next month's box.   I asked if I could get November's even though I subscribed on Nov. 3 and sure enough, they shipped it to me right away on Nov. 6.  I received it today, Nov. 17th which is an excellent turn around time for something coming from the US.


This month was extra-special as there were 6 items rather than the usual 5.  There is a card included itemizing the items and providing a retail price.

1.  Rosette Lapel Pin - $15
2.  Microfibre pocket square - $18
3. Knit necktie - $25
4. Anchor tie bar - $24
5. Leather Anchor bracelet - $12
6. Stainless Steel collar stays - $20


They did a great job on this month's theme - the items look great together.  I don't think any of the males in my house would wear anchor items on a daily basis (but with teenagers, who knows), but we go on a cruise every couple of years so they will definitely wear them then.  My oldest son LOVES knit ties so I know he will love this one.  He wears pocket squares all of the time at work and he's also starting to wear lapel pins so I think this month's box will be part of his Christmas present.   Overall, $114 retail value for $25 is a great deal.  As for quality of the items, the tie and pocket square felt very nice.  We'll have to see how well they hold up after a few uses but they appear to be good quality.

The item I like the most are the collar stays.  These will definitely get used.  They have small magnets to keep them in place - what an excellent idea!  I checked on their site to see if I could purchase an additional pair but they are only available in this box.

If you are interested in this particular box, it is available for $35 on their site now.

If you are interested in a sneak peek of December's box, you can find that here.  I know my boys will be happy with everything in it!  I'm thinking of getting a second box for a gift for my nephew too.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Little Life Box November review

Oh how I love my Little Life Box.  I didn't get it last month and I missed it.  I purchased a one year subscription that I thought was auto-renewing, but it doesn't.  I had to go back on to their site and purchase another.  Not a big deal, just meant I missed a month of goodies.

As you can see, LLB changed their look - version 2.0 they say - it's a new colorful logo and the boxes are now white.  Looked different on the outside, but still the same awesomeness inside.

All of the details can be found on their site HERE.  Very simply - Your new healthy essentials. In a box.  At your door.  Every month.

This month's box is super loaded:

As usual, there is a good variety of items but mostly snacks and foods which suits me just fine.  There is always a mixture of samples and full sized items.  This month included the following goodies:

1. Flap Jacked buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix $3.65

Why have I never thought to add protein powder to my pancakes?  My kids love pancakes so I have many healthy recipes, but having a mix can be super handy.  All you need to add is 1 cup water and the mix will make 6-8 pancakes.  I checked out the company website here and see they have single serving protein muffin mixes too - chocolatey goodness.  A bag of the pancake mix sells for $9 on flapjack's site and $11 on LLB's (due to fact they are a US site and LLB is Canadian) - this sample is one-third of a full-sized bag.

2.  PB & Me all natural Powdered Peanut Butter - $8

I've been wanting to try powdered PB for a long time so I love that I got this one.  From the companies website: The original all-natural, low-fat peanut butter. Made with premium roasted peanuts, PB&Me traditional flavour is lightly blended with a hint of sweetness to create the delicious peanut butter you grew up eating, without the calories of course! PB&Me is a fresh take on Peanut Butter. We remove 90% of the fat from the peanuts - resulting a delicious alternative to traditional peanut butter, with 2x the proteins per gram than traditional stuff.  PB&Me's uses are endless! Add a little water to enjoy it as a spread, use it as an ingredient in your shakes, absolutely delicious in baking, or simply enjoy it by the spoonful!  2 Tablespoons of mix to 1 T of water - how simple is that!  This is a 180g bag, it's sold for $9 for a 200 g jar online.  Love that it's a Canadian company too!

3.  Simple 7 Quinoa Chips $1.25

MMM, chips, but healthy ones!  No fat, no artificial colors or flavors, no perservatives, gluten free all clean ingredients.  This is a 23 g bag.  A full size (99g) size bag is $4.  According to LLBs site they are available at health food stores as well as some major grocery chains (Sobeys, Loblaws, etc.).  Made in the USA.

4.  eLan Sunflower Seeds $3

Sunflower seeds without all the effort of shelling.  Organic, GMO and gluten free.  Packaged in Canada but from China.  This is a big bag (200g) and is priced at $3 on LLB so seems like a great value.

5.  Four o'Clock Tea bags - $0.50

This company has been included in the box in the past, but these are two new flavors which I'll be happy to try.  Gingerbread and Almond Biscotti.  Available in many healthy or organic food stores across Canada.  Another Canadian company.

6.  Real Salt - Nature's finest sea salt - $0.20

This is a really cute and very small salt shaker.  So cute. All-natural sea salt with more than 60 trace minerals, a unique taste their customers love, and reports of health benefits around the globe. Don’t we all just like it simple!  135g sells for $4.79 on Well.ca so this is really only worth about $0.20 but it's a cute addition to the box.

7.  Amazing Grass Raw Reserve Super food Berry flavored mixes - $4

We've received these in a past box, just not the Berry flavor.  I'm going to pass these on to my husband and see what he thinks.  I wasn't fond of the other but I'm not so good with green powdering stuff.  Count them, if you dare: Amazing Grass Raw Reserve contains twenty five billion probiotics per serving. You could say it’s their ultimate combination of whole organic superfoods.  These are sold on Amazing Grasses site for $2/package

8.  Planima hazelnut cacao + maca sprouted vitality bar - $3.50

The Hazelnut Cacao bar combines the creamy taste of hazelnut butter with raw Peruvian cacao in a rich brownie-like treat. It's filled with crispy nuts and seeds, plus raw cacao nibs and maca root for an energizing boost in vitality and focus.  Enjoy the enhanced flavor and nutrition of living nuts and seeds that have been brought to life by soaking, sprouting, and gentle dehydration to preserve their life force.  Only the most nutritious whole food ingredients have been selected. No artificial ingredients or additives, ever.  Sounds super healthy and with cocao can it be bad?  Another Canadian company, this one appears to be founded by some young heath enthusiast.  

9.  Neocell Beauty bursts Gourmet Collagen soft chews - $1

Soft chewy candies that result in better complexion, nails and hair - yes please!  NeoCell Beauty Bursts deliver high absorption beauty nutrients in delectable, gourmet soft chews. Collagen Type 1 & 3 is the body's beauty protein & strengthens skin, hair & nails. Hyaluronic Acid is know as "Nature's Moisturizer" & hydrates the skin. Vitamin C is essential to boosting collagen in the skin.  Well.ca sells bags of 60 for $28.

10.  Earth paste toothpaste - $0.50

All natural, lemon twist and peppermint flavored toothpaste.  These packages will be super handy for an overnight trip.  Can be purchased online in tubes or in these travel sized packages for $6/24 packs.

11. Buckthorn Sniffle Stick - $5

A natural way of being.  Looks like a chap stick, but it's actually an essential oil blend to apply to your chest and nostrils when you have the sniffles.  I used essential oils all of the time when someone in the house has a cold, but this is perfect and easy to use.  Love this! Available on their site (but I couldn't find it) and well.ca.  Another Canadian company who need to update their website though!

12.  Weleda Anrica Massage Oil 0.06 oz sample - $0.40

  • Nourishes skin with antioxidant-rich sunflower and olive oils
  • Addresses muscle aches and soreness with extract of ecologically harvested arnica
  • 100% natural fragrance of rosemary and lavender helps the mind to relax
  • 3.4 oz bottles is available from Amazon.ca for $24.

    13.  Urban Spa classic nail brush - $3

    Another Canadian company, this will go straight into my basket of goodies near my bath tub.


    LOTS of stuff in this box.  It's taken me quite a bit longer than usual to write this post, which is a good thing.  The value of this box is $34 and I paid $25 for it.  Best of all though, I was introduced to quite a few new companies and products.  Happy, happy!

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015

    Jule's Wellness Lifestyle November box review

    It's always a happy day when my box from Jule's Wellness arrives.

    Jule's Wellness is a Canadian company, supporting Canadian business.  I receive a themed box each month with high-quality and health-conscious products.  What else could I ask for???

    The Details:

    From the Website:
    We hand-select health-conscious & female focused lifestyle products every month for our subscription box service. Surprise yourself or a loved one monthly to luxury wellness lifestyle products! This isn't just a box of sample packs... we send you an assortment of goodies from our boutique!

    Cost:  $34.32/month including shipping

    Item you are interested in purchasing after you've had a chance to sample them in the box, can be purchased in the online boutique.  You will receive a 10% discount code with your box.

    This month, the box contains some culinary favorites and staples.  As always, there was an information card and this month we also received a recipe card.

    This Month's goodies:

    Lee's Ghee:

    I have never tried Ghee before, so I guess this is a good time to start.  The butter is sourced from Ontario's Organic Meadow.  The website and card provide a lot of information on the health benefits and uses of Ghee.  The price online is $20/255g.  This is a 125g size so I valued it at $11.  

    Earth's Choice Organic Coconut Milk:

    We use coconut milk mostly in baking or smoothies in our house and this is a good size for that at 160 ml.  This is not available on their site, but I'm estimating it at $1.60 based on similar products.  

    Celtic Grey Sea Salt:

    I've used white and pink sea salt, but never grey, so this will be nice to try. This is a full sized 8 oz container, valued at $8 on their site. From the site: Light Grey Celtic® is a whole crystal (coarse), moist salt that is mineral-rich, completely unrefined and hand harvested. Dried by the sun and the wind; it retains the ocean’s moisture, locking in a vast array of vital trace elements. Light Grey Celtic® gets its light grey hue from the pure clay lining of the salt beds where it is harvested.
    Light Grey Celtic® is perfect for use in a grinder and for cooking. The whole crystals dissolve with heat and moisture, enhancing food with its rustic, old-world flavor while adding vital nutrients to your diet.

    Acropolis Organic Mousto Balsamic Vinegar:

    I LOVE Balsamic Vinegar.  I just opened a new bottle though so I'm going to keep this one sealed until I've used that one up.  This is a great sized bottle (250 ml) which is priced at $12 on the site.  From the site:    Created from an ancient recipe, Acropolis Organics mousto balsamic vinegar is made from Romeiki grapes to deliver a taste as rich and dynamic as Crete's history and culture.
    Unlike most modern balsamic to which cane sugar is added, our Mousto Balsamic is enhanced with Petimezi - a natural, ancient grape molasses, which gives our vinegar a full fruity sweetness. It's then aged in oak barrels for six years to further enrich its flavor. The refined chef's choice ingredient, Mousto Balsamic will transform your salads, vegetables, pasta, meat and seafood dishes into culinary works of art.  This is a product of Crete.

    Jaswant's Kitchen Tadka Masala 100% Natural Indian Spice

    Thanks to a very close Indian family friend, my kids have a developed a love of Indian food.  I've never attempted much but this I will use for sure.  They included a very simple recipe for salmon that even I shouldn't be able to mess up.  Again, this product is produced in Canada.  Price online is $8.


    This box contains 5 items which will all be used.  The value is there, adding up to approximately $40.  Unfortunately, it didn't feel as exciting to me as some of the past boxes, but I guess that's because it contained staple items.  I'm hoping next month's box will be one that feels more like presents with Christmas coming.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015

    House Box response

    I really don't like complaining.  I will go out of my way to avoid confrontation any kind.  I was raised by the old "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" philosophy.

    I don't like posting poor reviews, but the last one was a negative review.  After a few days, I thought i should at least give the company an opportunity to respond.  I sent Alison, the owner of House Box, an eMail expressing my disappointment in the first box, a link to my post and a request to cancel my subscription.

    Here is her response:

    Hi Joann,
    Thanks for letting me know about your blog post, and about your feelings of disappointment towards the service. I am truly sad that you felt the value was not there, as the box was carefully thought out and curated to present new ideas for household items. I understand that not everyone will love the service and will feel that the product total is not worth the money spent. All I can say is that the idea is to present new ideas, not necessarily deliver a dollar value of product.

    When I first thought of the company, I had no idea how much all the things that went into producing a shipment was going to cost, and was completely shocked when I learned what shipping costs were! Ideally, the cost would be closer to $15/box plus $5 shipping, but then it would be costing me money to produce. As we become more established and our brand is recognized, I hope we will be able to include more high value "deluxe" samples. And I understand that when our volume of shipments increases, we will be offered lower shipping rates, which we will gladly pass along to our subscribers. I am sorry to see you cancel your subscription, but I understand it was disappointing if it was not what you had in mind.
    Allison Brown

    Although she was very polite in her response, I'm certainly not changing my mind about the subscription.  Firstly, these really weren't 'new ideas' that were being presented.  I use all natural laundry detergent and dish soap already (and there are a LOT of options out there and places to purchase them).  Paper straws can be purchased online, or in local department stores.  As for coffee..........nothing new there.  

    As for shipping, I completely get that Canada shipping is pricey - and completely out of her control.  The subscription price does not include shipping - that is an extra $10 which is enough to cover the cost.  Obviously, there are costs of packaging, etc. that need to be covered too but paying $30 for $7 worth of stuff can't all be blamed on shipping. 

    I wish her luck in her business, but I think she's going to have a tough time of it.  

    Friday, October 23, 2015

    Review of House Box #1 subscription box

    I was very excited when I heard there was another Canadian Subscription box on the market - this one catering to your home.  As per the website, www.housebox.ca:

    Discover items that make a house your home.
    Expertly selected products and samples delivered right to your doorstep! You will receive 5 or more items, including samples of household products (cleaners, laundry detergents, dish soaps, etc), non-perishable consumables (coffee, tea, spices, etc), atmosphere enhancers (candles, essential oils), and other unique household items!

    The cost was $21.95 + $9.95 shipping  less 25% off the first box.

    There were quite a few eMails from the company in advance to build the hype of the box and then another sending me a refund since I had paid full price before they released the 25% off coupon for the first box.  As a result, I was very impressed.

    The box ships out every second month on the 15th of the month.  I received my box on Oct. 19.  This is what I received:

    The box is small so fit into my super mailbox no problem.  It measures 4.5"x 2.5" x 8".  The box included an information card with details and pricing of each item received.

    1.  Greenmunch Paper Straws:
    These were listed at 250 for $30.  I received 8 straws so this was worth $1.

    2.  Paradise Mountain Organic Coffee:
    Cost listed is $13 for 340g.  This is a 70g sample so worth $2.67.

    3. The Good Home Co. Summer Cottage Dryer Sheets.

    Cost listed at $12 for 20 sheets - that seems very expensive to me.  I use wool balls so don't know how this compares to other natural dryer sheets, but I would not purchase at that price.  They recommend using 1 or 2 sheets per load.  They are not reusable.  That's about $1 per load of laundry and with a family of 5, I do at least 2 loads per day.  There were 2 sheets provided to try, worth $1.20.

    4.  The Laundress delicate wash detergent.

    Cost listed as $24 for 16 oz.  I use all natural laundry detergent so I'm aware it's more pricey than the cheap stuff, but this is very pricey.  The sample received is 0.5 ml enough for one washing and would be worth $0.75

    5.  Murchison Home Heirloom Dish soap.

    Cost listed at 32 oz for 32ml.  Again, much pricier than the natural brands I use.  The sample received doesn't have a size indicated but it's enough for 1 load of dishes, I'd say about 0.5ml as similar size to the washing detergent.  That would be worth $0.50.

    6.  Young Living Essential Oils

    I use essential oils all of the time.  There is no cost listed on the information sheet, but my sister sells YL so I know it's not inexpensive.  The sample size received is not big enough though to get any sense of the product so I don't think there is any value to it.


    I hate publishing anything negative but I am not happy with this box at all.  The value is about $6-$7. That comes no where close to the cost of the box.  In addition, not one of the items in the box are items I would ever purchase again.  

    I immediately cancelled my subscription.

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Relish Clothing Review #2

    Once again Harper Noel, owner of Relish Clothing, hit it out of the park.

    This time I ordered a large mystery tote which is described as follows on the website:
    "Large box $199 – This is where all the magic happens. Expect to receive 8-9 pieces and perhaps even a luxe item!! For the super adventurous #relishgirl. The value is = mindblowing!"

    My first review, here, was for a medium sized box but I decided to order up this time.  The shipping doesn't increase for the larger box, so why not?  

    The way Relish works is described best on their Facebook page, but it does involve pinning items of interest from Harper's Pinterest board and other customer's reveals on Facebook.  In my last order, I received 6 pieces of clothing, 4 of which were items I had pinned, and 2 complete surprises.  I liked everything, but ironically the two surprises are what I've worn the most in the past month.  This time all but 1 of the items were items I had NOT pinned, but yet I'm very happy with what I got.  Maybe Harper knows me better than I know myself.  

    Along with pinning items, you are also asked to give your measurements, items you are particularly looking for, items you aren't etc.  I wrote a VERY detailed list for both orders and it seems to have worked.  I do know that I had asked for pants, but I also was worried about anything low rise which is likely why I didn't get any.  I did say I had some fundraising events coming up if there was a LBD I'd love that, so am a bit disappointed I didn't get that, but I will stalk the for sale boards in the facebook group to see if something that would work is listed there.

    Enough chatter, here are the goodies:

    1.    Comme Toi plaid button up.  

    I had asked for anything black and white plaid.  This is navy and I'm definitely okay with that.  The back is stretchy so a very comfy shirt.  I know I will get a lot of wear out of this one.  It does recommend dry cleaning, but if I'm wearing this as an everyday kind of shirt, I'm not dry cleaning it.  I will wash in gentle cold cycle and hang to dry and hope for the best.  I have never seen Comme Toi brands here so no idea on quality, etc. but after a quick search online it seems to be decent line.
    This is the one item I did have pinned.  

    2.  THML lightweight sweater

    Another item with plaid makes me happy.  The grey sweater is very lightweight but lined on the front so no worry about it being see through.  Again, I plan on wearing this a lot but will have to be careful washing as it recommends hand wash, lay flat to dry.  Again, a new-to-me brand (because I live under a rock in the middle of nowhere) but I've seen other THML items in stitch-fix reviews for around $60.  I did have quite a few black and red plaid items on my style Pinterest board which I'm sure Harper noticed.

    3.  Staccato Elbow Patch striped sweater

    I didn't have THIS pinned, but I had the black and white striped cardigan with elbow patches, so I think that's close enough!  I love this one.  Super comfy and the patches give it just a bit of character.  Another hand wash item, but it'll be worth the extra care required.  Even I've heard of Staccato before.  It's not too heavy of a sweater and I know I'll wear it often.

    4. 12PM by MonAmi Floral Hoodie

    I don't own anything floral, and I didn't have anything floral pinned BUT I love this!  My daughter is also going to love it, so I have to keep it hidden.  It is SO comfy and will look awesome with a couple pairs of leggings I own.  I received a 12PM by MonAmi in my last box and it was super happy with it, so happy to see the brand again.  Says hand wash, but again I'm going to risk washing on gentle cycle.  Did that with the one from last month and it was perfectly fine.  The crazy pose is to show it has a hoodie and a kangaroo pocket - LOVE it!!

    5  EZRA floral blouse

    Another floral, this one I'm okay with but not loving but mostly because it's way too low in the front.  I will have to try it with a cami of some kind.  Another new to me brand but it looks like very good quality.  I'm thinking it will dress up a pair of grey skinny jeans really well.  

    6.  Naked Zebra blouse

    A beautiful maroon colored blouse I didn't know I needed.  Terrific color for fall.  There's a exposed gold zipper on the back but I didn't get a pic of it.  A good quality brand again.  I love the detail on the neckline.  Everything I received was size small but this one definitely ran the smallest.

    7.  90021 by Naked Zebra cardigan

    I know I'll wear lots.  It's SUPER soft and actually matches the floral blouse perfectly since the blouse has this sagey green in the leaves.  Another item I haven't seen in any Relish reveals before but happy with receiving it.

    8.  Cherish Maroon Cardigan

    I had pinned this in ivory, but I LOVE that I received this one instead.  I know I'd stain the ivory one right away and this is so much better color for fall.  I think it's the softest piece of clothing I've ever owned.  I haven't taken it off since I tried it on this morning.  

    9.  ZAD necklace

    I had requested that I not receive jewelry but this is just too beautiful, so I'm okay.  I have so much jewelry, I really don't need anymore but since I love multi-strand, gold and stones this is a triple-win for me.


    I'm happy!

    I placed the order on Harper's birthday when she gave everyone a discount.  The box came to $188 after discount and shipping of $35.  Unfortunately, I also got hit with a custom's charge of $36 this time.  So the final cost to me was just under $280 Canadian.  Not chunk change by any means.  I receive clothes I haven't seen in stores here and I don't have to go shopping!  I really think I'm set for a few months though.  There are many other companies out there where I could spend less for 9 items, but I do believe the quality of these items are better than many other places I've ordered from.

    Will I order again?  Absolutely.  
    Do I need to wait for a bit?  Yes.  
    Will I be able to stay away from the posts and reveals on Facebook and avoid the temptation of ordering another one soon?  Probably not..........

    October Readings

    I can't believe it's only October 15 and I've already read 7 books this month.  A few were definitely quick reads, but I have managed to find a few more hours to dedicate to reading the past few weeks.  Once my daughter's sporting activities start up, I spend more time in the vehicle to and from practices and find it a great way to get a few chapters completed.

    I've read nothing new so far this month, instead I'm trying to get a few titles off of my to-be-read list.  Many have been there for a few years.  Right now I have over 400 books on the list so need to whittle that down.

    1.  The Trouble in Mudbug by Jana Deleon - Rating 0/5

    I got this kindle title free awhile back from Amazon.  I hate giving bad reviews, but this books was just not good.  I suspect that's why it was free.  It's the first in a series, and I won't be continuing.

    2.  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - Rating 3/5

    Not a typical read for me by any means.  I ordered it from the library for two reasons:  I needed to read a play for my Goodreads reading challenge; and my son is about to perform this in his high school musical theatre class.  Hard to know what to say other than - I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY ARE DOING THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL!  It takes place in a whore house for goodness sake!!  My son is playing the role of Hero who falls in love with the only virgin in the house.  Really.  Part of me is shocked, but the other part of me can't wait to see the production!

    3.  Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand -  Rating: 3/5

    I enjoyed this book. It was nice to see main characters able to rebuild a friendship that fizzled years earlier. The author was able to make me feel for the main character rather than think of her as a spoiled wife of a cheating husband.

    4. Falling Home - Karen White Rating 2.5/5

    I always enjoy Karen White when I'm in the mood for a light read. This one had a lot going on - maybe a bit much actually. Coming home to a dying father, falling for the high school friend even though engaged to someone else, then discovering her sister is also dying. I think my biggest problem was that I didn't really love the main character.

    5. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger - Rating 3/5

    My goodreads challenge was to read a book that had been banned at one time and this was one I've heard a lot about but had never had the interest to read in the past. It's hard for me to decide if I like it. It's quite depressing, but that's obviously the intent so the author was successful. I do think it would be better suited to young adults (as was the intend) than an "old" lady like me.

    6. Would-be Witch - Kimberly Frost - Rating 4/5

    I 'should' be reading intelligent, thought-provoking books, but I can't help myself - I love fun books like this. Goodreads has a feature where they recommend books to you based on what you've already read so I was just introduced to this series even though it isn't new (although there are still titles being written in the series). The book was a fun, quick read. The main character is just developing her witching abilities, there is the bad boy who wants to help her develop her skills, and the good guy (ex, but not really-ex husband) who doesn't believe in witches. Throw in a cat with it's own abilities and a few other cooky friends and I think it has the potential to be a great series. I'll definitely be continuing with this one.

    7.  Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult  Rating 3/5

    This is an older Jodi Picoult book but has been on my to read list for quite sometime.   I really like the storyline of this book, but did find there was some extra 'fluff' that in my mind didn't add enough to the characters stories for it to have been included in the book. The Indian neighbor's life, illness and suicide wasn't necessary, nor did I really think the full details of the prison life added much. I do think those parts were written well, but in my opinion should have been saved for another book.With that said, I still thought the book was worth reading.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Goodreads Giveaway New Book Reviews

    I have been fortunate to receive some ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of some new books through Goodreads.com.

    I've reviewed them on Goodreads but thought I'd post them here in one post as well.

    Sideways (The Sideways Series #1) by Annie Carlisle Rating: 3/5

    Published April 2015

    There is a lot to love about this book. I quite enjoy mysteries and this definitely fit the bill. Without ruining the plot, I'll just say Olivia is recovering from a traumatic event, thrust into another, and then another! The author does a great job of keeping you on your toes, wondering what is going to happen next.

    The book is also very much a romance as well. Although I do like romantic story lines in mysteries, there was just a bit too much for me (but that's just my taste). I'm not one to like sex talk but that's just me and I know other's may find that enjoyable.

    A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax Rating 4/5

    Published June 2015

    This is a wonderful story of three friends, Emma, Serena and Mackenzie. After an accident leaves Emma struggling for her life, their initial plan to spend a week together at the lake with Zoe, Emma's daughter, turns into a longer visit while helping Emma heal. While together, they learn to overcome events from their past and solidify their friendship. A terrific beach read.

    Host Writer (The Archivist #1) by W.F. Kuehn Rating 4/5

    Published April 2015

    This is quite the book! There's a lot going on, but the author manages to keep it all clear and easy to follow. There's some mystery, suspense, paranormal characters and a bit of romance too. I really enjoyed this one.

    I feel it's a great YA read as well so will be passing it on to my teenagers.

    Looking forward to the next in the series!!!

    1/2 Minute Meditations by Mischa V. Alyea Rating 3/5

    Published April 2015

    I found this to be a great introduction to meditation. Since I've never done it before, it was a great place for me to start. If you are familiar with meditation, I suspect this book won't be as helpful for you as it is clearly an introduction. The book is only 56 pages so definitely just introduces mediation techniques.

    Across Canada by Story by Douglas Gibson Rating 3/5

    Published September 2015

    If you are a fan of Canadian literature, this is a great book for you. It's a light read that takes you across Canada, 'hearing' about many Canadian authors and their roots along the way.
    My mother is an avid reader of Canadian literature and I can't wait to pass this one on to her.

    I have won a few more in the last month so will be reviewing them shortly.

    Reading Challenges

    By back at the beginning of 2015, I posted that I planned on taking part in the PopSugar's 2015 Reading Challenge on Goodreads.

    I have really enjoyed taking part.  The challenge is now in week 41 and I have now managed to read all but 7 books of the 52 required categories.  The list can be found on the Goodreads challenge group.

    I'm pretty sure I will be able to finish up the challenge before the end of November and I will post a list of each of the titles I read along with the categories.

    The group is now voting on a regular to come up with our own list of categories for 2016 and it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.  I've already picked most of the titles I'd like to read for it.

    In addition to this group, I also have a goal of reading 100 books this year and as of today, I'm 8 books ahead of schedule so I think I'll get there.

    Once I become hooked on this challenge group, I decided to start looking for some more on Goodreads and discovered The Challenge Factory and The Lost Challenges.  Combined, these two groups have a LOT going on!  I've limited myself to 2 or 3 challenges per group.  For this month, I'm taking part in a scavenger hunt of October themed words, a phobia challenge, a scattegory game, a Halloween trivia challenge, plus a couple of others.  In most cases you can decide what level so reading as few as 4 or 5 books a month will still allow you to take part.  It's become quite addictive!!  I'm starting to wonder if I enjoy selecting the books I'll read as much as I enjoy reading them.....

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    Jule's Wellness October Lifestyle Box

    It's always a great day when my Jule's Wellness box arrives!

    Last month's box can be seen here,   So far, I've liked the variety but it's especially evident when you subscribe for a few months in a row.  For instance, this month's had more snacks compared to last month - which had facial items and this had none of those.  I know I will use everything I've received since I've started subscribing and that's pretty amazing compared to many subscription boxes.

    Who: http://juleswellness.ca/. Jules Wellness is an online Wellness boutique. They sell a variety of Health conscious items including the subscription box. If you like what you receive you can purchase more and even subscribe to a particular item and they will ship it to you on a regular basis.

    What: monthly box of goodies for health conscious females. These are not samples, they are full sized items from the boutique. I noticed they are planning a Mom and Baby box soon.

    When: arrives at the beginning of each month.

    How much: $34.32 month including shipping within Canada

    This Month's goodies:

    1.  Beekeepers Propolis Throat Relief  $12
    Ironically, the day the box arrived my daughter came home from school with a sore throat.  She's 13 and made lots of funny faces at the taste of the spray, but she did say that it felt good and didn't have any aftertaste.  I loved seeing this in the box as I hate giving my kids sugary lozenges.

    2.  Bach Rescue Night Liquid Melts $10
    A homeopathic natural sleep aid.  I received this last month in my Little Life Box but have yet to try it.  I do have troubles turning my brain off many nights so will be keeping it on my bedside table.

    3.  Strawsome Glass Straw and cleaning brush $7
    I've always wanted to try a glass straw but was concerned about keeping them clean so it's nice they included a brush as well.  

    4.  Yes, peas chickpea trail mix tropical $6
    I love snacks with chickpeas so happy to try this one.

    5.  pur peppermint gum $1.50
    I've had this gum before as I refuse to use anything with aspartame,  I'm not a gum chewer but I keep this in my vehicle just in case I need a breath refresher and this one is very strong flavored and does the trick.

    6. pukka refresh tea bags $0.75
    This is a blend of organic peppermint, fennel and rose so I suspect it will be great anytime someone has a bit of upset tummy or indigestion.  

    7,  Larabar apple fruit and nut energy bar $2.25
    My daughter's basketball and soccer seasons started this week so having a supply of healthy snacks is a must.  These will go into her bag for between games or after practices

    8.  Chocosol Artisan Sinfully Raw Vanilla Chocolate Bar $4.75
    This is NOT going in my daughter's bag.  I'm going to keep it to myself.  These are made in small batches by hand in Toronto using all real ingredients.

    The value of this box was about $44 or $10 more than what I paid for it.  That's a bit lower than the last few months.  As usual, I was introduced to some new products many of which are made in Canada which I love.

    This is a box I regularly recommend to friends and family.