Monday, August 10, 2015

Little Life Box August

Yippee! More goodies in the mail. This time it was my Little Life Box of greatness.  They always pack it so pretty and include a seasonal postcard.

Details as per their website:
  • Curious about switching to healthier, more sustainable alternatives of the brands that you consume on a daily basis? Receive a package of up to a dozen products right to your door for you to sample and discover. Snacks, cosmetics, supplements, vitamins and more! 
  • Original or vegan subscriptions
  • Shipped on the first Monday of the month via Canada Post (I seem to always get mine on the first Friday of the month)
  • Prices begin at $19.95/month 
There is no product information card included, but all the details on the products can be found at their site with links to where you can purchase more.

1.  Tolan Skincare Foam Cleanser 50 ml 
This was the sneak peek item this month.  Tolan Skincare is dedicated to providing top-quality, cruelty-free, all natural, Canadian produced products. Our Foaming Cleanser is formulated from a coconut base with aloe vera to moisturize and provides an all-around, refreshing feeling. Use morning and night to defend your skin against daily dirt, oil and makeup-up build-up.  On the Tolan site, a 210 ml bottle is $30 so this is worth about $7.  I love that it is a large enough size that you really get a chance to try and know if you like it.

2.  Arome Oils Hand lotion 0.5 oz sample
ArĂ´me hand lotion's are homemade with Shea butter, sunflower seed oil, avocado oil and more natural ingredients that are excellent to moisturize and replenish dehydrated hands.  A 4oz bottle on the Arome Oils website is $6 so this sample is worth about $0.75.  This is a great size to throw in my purse and it smells great (Hawaiian Breeze).

3.  ethical bean coffee rocket french roast - no size indicated

The lovechild of dark alchemy and complete combustion. A hammering dark roast, blended to display body, balance and a dark cocoa-laced finish.  This is a sample size about 6" x 2" package.  I would guess it's about 1/4 of a full sized bag so going to guess $4 value.

4.  Four O-Clock teas - 4 bags

We have received this in the past but I like it so I'm okay with that.  One of the flavors is cucumber mint which makes an awesome iced tea.  Based on the price of a full box, I'll estimate this at worth $1.

5.  i heart keenwah Quinoa puffs x 1.5 oz bags x 2

These look really good.  They sent two flavors Herbes de Provence and Aged Cheddar.  They are priced at $1.25/bag on the i heart keenwah site, so these are worth $2.50 total

6.  Free for All Kitchen gluten free Brownie Thins 1oz x 2

These aren't listed on Little Life boxes website, but the crackers are.  I did find the brownie thins on Free for All Kitchen website, but there are no prices listed.  I'm going to guess at $1.25/bag.

7.  Tasty Bite Kung Pao noodles microwaveable pouch

My teenager son is going to love taking this for lunch!  A vegetarian take on this staple of Sichuan cuisine, our Kung Pao noodles are freshly cooked with vegetables and tossed with peanuts in a sweet and spicy sauce. Heat and serve to enjoy real Chinese cuisine in 1 minute (without the MSG).  These are worth $3.50

8.  Solo apple cinnamon with quinoa energy bar

This will be great in my golf bag.  Apple pieces and cinnamon notes paired with protein-packed quinoa - all wrapped up in yogurt. Yes please! This all-natural energy bar tastes like a piece of fresh apple pie. Go ahead; indulge. With this bar in your cupboard, who needs dessert?  These are about $2.25/bar if you buy by the case

9.  Mediterra nutrition Sesame energy bar with pistachio & honey

Another great item for my purse or golf bag.  Did you know sesame seeds and Greek honey are among the best natural sources of energy?Packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, these Mediterranean favorites have been boosting performance since ancient times. They added pistachios from Aegina Island to bring you a nutrition bar bursting with flavor.  $2/bar

Once again, I'm happy with my Little Life Box.  It's a great way to sample new (and frequently Canadian) products.  I paid $18 for this box, as I purchased a 6 month plan.  The total cost of the products was about $25 based on my calculations which was lower that normal, but still more than what I paid for it. 

I continue to look forward this box every month and can't imagine ever cancelling my subscription.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sunshine Crate Mystery Clearance Bag July

I was very curious to see a new clothing subscription company. I have wanted to try Golden Tote for quite awhile but the cost, exchange, shipping and possible custom fees have scared me off.  I did try one of their mystery bags in January and was happy with three of the four items, but still not sure about subscribing regularly.

I still follow the Golden Tote Trading Group on Facebook and it was there that I heard of Sunshine Crate.  I'm a sucker for new start up companies so I placed an order for a clearance bag and a regular mystery crate.  This is a review of the clearance bag only.

The shipping was incredibly quick and the contact with the owner was very positive.  I started following the company on Facebook and used a discount code that was posted there which gave me a $10 discount off a clearance bag which brought it to $15 for the bag.  The bag promised 3 pieces of clothing and 1 accessory.  Pretty awesome price for all of that.

From the reviews I had read and pictures posted of some of the clothing I was concerned that some of it would be too young for me, but fortunately I have a teenager who is the same size as me and would love the items that wouldn't work for me.  The first item I pulled out of the bag was indeed, far too young for me but I think looks perfect on her!  The ruffle skirt is more mustard colored than yellow and will be perfect for the fall.  The embroidery on the waistline is teals and pinks which matched perfect with the bracelet that was also included.

The next item I pulled out was this necklace which is really pretty.  I know I'll wear this one quite a bit.

The last two pieces of clothing worked together perfectly.  I LOVE that the mystery bag provided an entire outfit not just random pieces.  The tunic is a nice loose fit so could be worn this time of the year, but I do think it will be a great fall outfit with a cardigan.  The color is a bit dull but that's fine.  The leggings are lined making them far too warm to wear in the summer but I know I will use them this fall.  The only thing that was disappointing was the quality of the leggings.  There is already a pull in them and it's obvious they will pill quickly.

Overall, I was really impressed with this clearance grab bag.  The owner did state that the bag was made up of items that she didn't feel comfortable using in the regular crates due to quality or style.  I can see why these pants wouldn't be included in a regular crate and therefore part of this bag.  When I ordered a clearance bag, I knew there may be items with flaws, etc. so I can't complain.

Overall, I was really impressed with this bag.  3 clothing items and two accessories for a great price!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Jule's Wellness August Lifestyle box

I was so happy to discover a new Canadian subscription box!  This one focuses on women's health and includes many Canadian products.

I first tried it last month and was very impressed with the goodies.  As a result I ordered the August box right away.  I was very happy when it arrived on July 31.

Who:  Jule's wellness.
Share our passion for healthy living!  We are navigating through the confusion to help eliminate health-washing and bring you the best healthy living and wellness products.  We read the labels, and do the taste testing.  If we find something we love, we share.  

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 monthly including shipping within Canada

August box:  

The theme this month is getting active and they included a card with some tips to help you,

They also included an information card for the products and a 20% off code if you order more of the products in their boutique.

1.  Toe socks
My daughter almost had a fit when she saw these. She's been wanting a pair for awhile.  There's no way I'm getting this back from her.  Just a note I was asked in advance what size footwear I wore to be sure they sent the right size.  $18 at which is cheaper than anywhere else online.   Toe Sox is a Canadian company.

2.  Juicy bamboo facial wipe sample.
No chemical cleansing cloth.  Sample of one wipe.  Online price $14/30 cloths. So this sample is worth about $0.50.


3.  Boiron Arnica 15g sample
Homeopathic ointment for injuries, pain and inflammation.  I received this in other subscriptions but was happy to get again.  I hate using non natural products so love having this on hand for my active teens and husband.  Online price $17/70g tube so this sample is worth about $3.50.  Canadian product.

4.  Ella's Botanicals Sports Rub 62g
I'm not sure if this was a bonus item, if this was an item that varied per subscription or if they just forgot to list it on the information sheet.  This is a soothing & revitalizing Sports Rub.  Not online at juleswellness but Ella's botanicals has it listed for $20 on their site.  Made in Canada.

5.  Ultima Raspberry Replenisher Sample 
Electrolyte powder sample.   I'd love to find an alternative to Gatorade for my kids so I'm hoping they'll love this.   Online price is $17 for 4.7oz so this is worth about $0.50

6.  Natural Calm Magnesium sample x2
Mineral for muscle relaxation and optimal organ function.  Magnesium is also great for sleep too.  Online price is $27/8 oz. so these are worth about $0.40.  Canadian company.

7.  Four Sigma foods Instant Cordyceps sample
Cordycep mushroom helps the body maintain constant energy levels.  I think I'll send this with my husband to add to his pre workout smoothie.  Not available at juleswellness

8.  Honey Stinger energy chews 
online price is $2.75

9.  Buff Bison Jerky
100% Canadian bison meat without steroids or hormones.  Online price $4.25  Canadian product.

10.  Flow Water
Naturally Alkaline Spring water.  500ml  Online price reg $5.45 on sale for $2.40.  Canadian product.

I was happy with this month's box.  There was a very clear theme and all products will be used by our family.  The toe sox and the sport's rub made up the value of the box and the rest were bonuses.  The total value of the box is just over $50 which is definitely more than it cost me.  I love being introduced to new Canadian products and will be looking forward to next month's box.

Books Read June

Trying to catch up on my posts.  Had another good reading month:

5 Star:

To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee - I read this in high school, but I think the writing was lost on me.  I'm glad I reread it now as an adult

4 Star:

The Secret Garden The Secret Garden - Burnett - A Classic that I am glad I took the time to read

One Plus One One Plus One - Jojo Moyes - I love this other and enjoyed this one (not near as much as Me Before You though)

A Week at the Lake A Week at the Lake - Wendy Wax - I was fortunate to receive this book for free and I really enjoyed it.  I love books set at the lake.

Host Writer (The Archivist, #1) Host Writer - Kuehen - Another Book I was fortunate to receive as a Goodreads win and another one I really enjoyed.  Looking forward to the next in the series

Where'd You Go, Bernadette  Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple - I chose this one based on the cover and wasn't disappointed.

3 Star:

Eight Hundred Grapes Eight Hundred grapes - Laura Dave - Fun read

2 Star:

Homecoming. Cathy Kelly  Homecoming - Cathy Kelly - disappointing

Books read April and May

Yes, this is super late!!

Here are the titles I read, sorted by my ratings:

5 star:

Still Alice - I was hesitating reading this since the topic of Alzheimer's disease scares me (runs in my family) but it is written so well it was very much worth the read.
Still Alice

4 star:

Magic Hour Magic Hour - Kristin Hannah - Really enjoyable

Sh*t My Dad Says Sh*t My Dad Says - Justin Halpern - I think I enjoyed this because it sounded SO much like an Uncle of mine!

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes Around the World in 92 Minutes - Chris Hadfield - Amazing pictures from space!

Still Missing Still Missing - Chevy Stevens - Pretty scary storyline, probably best not to read it if you are a realtor

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Constellation of Vital Phenomenon - Anthony Marra - Wow!  Hard to believe this was the first novel by a 20-something author

Three Amazing Things About YouThree Amazing Things About You - Jill Mansell - Very enjoyable Chick Lit

Cancel the Wedding Cancel the wedding - Dingman - Another fun, chick lit

3 Star:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is definitely a peculiar book

You Had Me At Hello You had Me At Hello - McFarlane

The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime, #1) Big Over Easy - Fforde - Twisted Nursery Rhyme

I Love You More I Love You More - Jennifer Murphy - a fun read

It's Just Mary - no cover photo - Marilyn Wright  - this is a homesteading book my Mom really wanted me to read.

The Secret of Happy Ever After Secret of Happy Ever After - Lucy Dillon - fun, quick read

Somebody to Love (Gideon's Cove, #3) Somebody to Love - Higgins Not much meat to the story but still fun

The Longest Ride The Longest Ride - Sparks - Looking forward to watching this movie.  I think this is one of those books that I had troubles deciding how to rate.  It's probably more of a 3.5

Home For the Haunting (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #4)  Home for the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell - I like a good ghost story now and again

The Old Man and the Sea Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway - I thought it was time to read a classic.  Great imagery but not a lot to the story

Bossypants Bossy Pants - Tina Fey - Enjoyed some of it quite a bit, other parts not so much

2 Star:

The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal  Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death ......   Just not really up my alley

We Have Always Lived in the Castle We have always lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson - again, just not my cup of tea

The Beekeeper's Ball (Bella Vista Chronicles, #2) The BeeKeeper's Ball - Susan Wiggs - This just disappointed me after the first in the series.  I think there was potential but it fell very short.

Hero at Large Hero At Large - Evanovich - Let's just say she's obviously improved as an author

Too Much Happiness Too Much Happiness - Alice Munro - Again, just not up my alley

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores Weird things Customers Say in Bookstores - Jen Campbell - I think I prefer books with more of a storyline