Monday, November 25, 2013

Graze box

Just in time for everyone's peak grazing season, I signed up for a snack subscription box called Graze.  Their website allows you to indicate how much you would like to try each snack and they send your highest ranked snacks with a possible seasonal snack.  The first box is free, after which get snacks monthly or biweekly for $6 shipped if you want to continue.  Below is a pic of the serving sizes which are usually somewhere near an ounce, which is normally sufficient to tide me over until dinner at work.

In my first box I got

garden of england - dried apples, strawberries, and black currants
olive and rosemary bruschetta - mini tomato breadsticks, rosemary and garlic cashews and kalamata olive croutons
coco paradise - milk chocolate drops, coconut flakes and cranberries
korean chili rice crackers - spicy chilli rice crackers

The first two of these were excellent and had me curious if they are getting requests to sell their snacks in largers sizes.  I have not tried the second two yet.

If you're thinking about trying this out they make you enter in a code as a new subscriber, here's a code you can use.  Your first & fifth box is shipped free, and you receive a code to share with others as well.

Have you or anyone you know tried this service?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heavy duty lip balms for winter

If you live somewhere that goes through all four seasons each year, you've probably been experiencing the effects of cooler weather for a few weeks now and have started using moisturizing products if you weren't already.  Most of the year I can get by without a regular regimen, but I've made a few adjustments in the morning recently, like not using soap on my face every day and using a lotion or cream after shaving.  Since I started collecting lip balms about a year ago, I've been using one a few times a day to justify having all of them and have found some to be better than others at preventing and healing chapped lips.  If you happen to be interested in trying something new or want something with a little more oomph, here is a list of ones that don't let me down this time of year.

For Strange Women

I picked these up from a perfume forum for $4 each although they sell for $7, which is more than I would spend, so I'm glad I stumbled on them.  I received tubes in Pine Cone and Clove.  Pine Cone had very little scent when I received it, but Clove was quite strong and lovely and has not suffered any fade over time.  The formula in these balms is firm but becomes creamy during application.  I'm not sure when I will order more but I would like to try Absinthe and Poison Ivy some day, which is described as a soothing, deep green flavor.

Ingredients:  Beeswax, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, meadowfoam oil, essential oil, vitamin E, rosemary extract, stevia extract, mica

Mirasol Farm

If you're interested in a balm that is hard working but isn't shy on flavor, this is for you.  These balms go on very smoothly with a medium to heavyweight feel, and the flavor strength is the best I've tried from any brand.  I did a review on the Lip Balm Wrangler earlier this year, and since then I've also received tubes of mocha, pink grapefruit, and sweet patchouli.  I hope to get around to trying every flavor down the road. 

Ingredients: organic cocoa butter, unrefined organic beeswax, organic sunflower oil, organic coconut oil, lanolin, essential oils, vitamin E

Upstate Herb Works

This is a brand I discovered when I was reading the Lip Balm Wrangler regularly and am so glad I did.  I've been very happy with the quality of all of UHW's products.  Although the LBW's writing style making me want to try many of the brands she reviews, I was intrigued by the owner's description of her lip balm -- she used a technical word for chapped lips and how her formula is meant to heal and prevent them.  Since they were deeply discounted at the time I bought a couple, Lavenderaide and Cup of Joe.  Later I ordered a few more, Mint Chocolate, Porch Party, and Orange Vanilla.  All of her lip balms have undeodorized cocoa butter so they have a hint of chocolate in the background, which as a chocolate fan doesn't bother me.  If I order again I would like to try Solstice Spice, a orange, cinnamon, clove and cardamom flavor.

Ingredients:  organic shea butter, organic fair trade cocoa butter, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, cold pressed castor oil, local undeodorized beeswax, cold pressed meadowfoam seed oil, non-GMO vitamin E, essential oils and CO2 extracts.

Ananda Beauty

This is my favorite lip balm formula right now.  It is extremely smooth and creamy.  Ananda mainly carries tints although some of them are flavored also.  I just ordered this balm below, a golden iridescent tint, and a translucent red balm.  Right now all balms are $6 and shipping is free because the owner is going on hiatus.  Definitely check them out!

Ingredients:  organic castor seed oil, organic hemp seed oil, organic cocoa butter, candelilla wax, vitamin E oil, mica, and oxides.

Blue Q

The "Get Real" line of lip balm is out of production so when I saw a pack of 4 on sale on a random website I snagged them. Because of the how many balms I have now I'm still on my first one, so if you are interested in trying this brand let me know and I'll send you one.  :)  The replacement for this line is called Lip Shit and comes in more unique flavors than the Get Real line.  I just checked their website to see where it is carried, and apparently it is in a deli in the town where I work, as well as Urban Outfitters and a Barnes & Noble elsewhere. interesting assortment fitting for a quirky brand, lol.

So if you're starting to experience cold weather where you live, are you doing anything extra as part of your routine?  Do you have any lip balms that you are turning to more?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Haul - Bodygoodies

At least twice a year Bodygoodies has a free shipping sale, usually around the beginning of the summer and the holidays.  Since my last order was a year ago and there were many new things available, I decided to place an order even though my soap stash is still sizable.  I'm glad I went for it because it turned out to be my favorite order so far.  I ordered 4 soaps and a mystery bag.  Below is most of what I ordered.  Some of the soaps have had samples taken from them and are no longer full size (1, 2, and 4).

The first 4 I picked and the others were from the mystery bag or extras.
  1. caribou crossing - unscented with a ground loofa bottom layer.  
  2. clay bar - I'm not sure what this is scented with but it smells manly, my guess is black pepper or frankincense.  
  3. bar none - unscented, this is the only one I haven't used yet.
  4. lavender mint - I love the scent of this one and the swirls are pretty too.  I've used about a 1/3 already.
  5. metz road soap ball - Smells like a cinnamon pastry, this was the first one I used because it was rolled in brown granulated sugar and the sugar had melted into the paper around it.
  6. room 42 - rose geranium, patchouli and cocoa
  7. amyst - rosemary mint.  I really like this one also but it has been retired.
  8. samples of honey orange and beer soap
Between the mystery bag and the extras there were a lot of surprises.  In the bag were (5) and (7) above, a serum sample, a laundry stick, and a low tide sample.  (6) and (8) were extras everyone received with their order, and Heidi kindly included a tinted lip lotion I requested.

Below is the treatment serum sample and tinted lip lotion.  I'm not a regular serum user so I expect this will last a long time.  I've used it around my eyes a few times.  The lip lotion goes on nicely and the tin is pretty big for a lip product.  The tint is very light when applied.

Lip lotion and treatment serum

Tinted lip lotion in natural light

For anyone thinking about trying bodygoodies, the lather on these soaps is why I buy them, it's hard to describe the difference but it's worth splurging on if you want to try something new.  And if you already have a lot of soap, wait for the free shipping sales, which is usually $40 minimum.  Both times I've ordered during these sales I've received an extra free bar.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Moonalisa summer order

I lucked out again - I received another person's order by accident but was notified of the mistake before it arrived.  Like last time it doesn't bother me because there are so many scents I haven't tried.

  • Blueberry Hill - Delicious, warm blueberry syrup, butter and pancakes, slurp.... this one is a straight up fragrance that is so good on its own, I never had the heart to add a thing.
  • Bohemian Velvet - Sandalwood, Patchouli, and Nag Champa incense type of notes. Inspired from MoonaLisa's Haight Ashbury days as a Goth girl. It's like walking into one of those dark and exciting old pagan magic shops in the Haight, sadly which no longer exist  The lovely incense type aromas are sure to bring back old memories or build new ones.
  • Blue Milk bubbling bath brew sample - no official description, it is a blueberry candy-type scent.

I opened these to sniff only without touching the roller balls.  If anyone is interested in them, I was planning on putting these on a couple forums or eBay at a discount from Moona's shop.

I like both perfume scents, I'm not into the sweet scents as much as I used to be so I would prefer Blueberry Hill in a wash-off product.  I've seen a few people rave about Bohemian Velvet and it is a really good scent, it smells like incense, I would like this as a home fragrance oil or a wax product.  Sometimes I find burning incense too smoky, and this doesn't smell that way, more like incense before it is burned.

My order contained perfumes of some of the scents I got in my Easter basket - Don't Get Your Knickers in a Twist, Dr. Bombay, and Patchouli & Petitgrain.  I wanted to get Lavender Absolute but figured I could buy a bottle online somewhere else and make my own version with a carrier oil.

If you ordered what are you looking forward to receiving?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anticipation! First trip to California

For years I've been wanting to see California, and my wait will finally be over in the fall.  Three months ago I saw a deal for round trip flights to LA or San Francisco from NJ.  I'm more interested in seeing the coastline than spending time in either city so I bought tickets into SF and out of LA.  Excitedly I went to the county library for interesting travel books...and then largely put off figuring out what I wanted to do and where to stay, the information on hotels, restaurants, parks and things to do was overwhelming.  A couple weeks ago I realized I needed to get on the ball; some of the places I was hoping to stay were already booked.  Even though I shouldn't have I started browsing at work, reading reviews, and made all of the reservations over a couple of days.  The plan is to spend a couple of days in San Francisco, a few more in Monterey and Carmel, drive through Big Sur and then make one night stops to Santa Barbara and the airport.

The photos are what I'm looking forward to the most:  local ice cream, sea lions, Big Sur, and sunsets over water.  If anyone has restaurant recommendations please share!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Interested in trying some scents or vendors that you've never tried before?  I'm having a giveaway, all you can fit in a small flat rate box!!  These have light to moderate scent fade, if you're interested in something I'll give you more details.

Here's what I have:

Whole bars:
Pacifica - Brazilian Mango Grapefruit
Heirloom Soapworks - Lime
Magic Hands Workshop - Fruit Slices - orange, lemon, and lime
Magic Hands Workshop - Gin Martini salt bar

Half bars:
Haunt - Goblin - pomegranate, green apple, quince, raspberry, lemon, blood orange, green mandarin, ruby red grapefruit, vanilla, a drop of jasmine
Haunt - Beckoning - Freshly fallen snow in a forest of sweet firs and blood cedar...a distant lantern light promises the warmth of amber, jasmine, sandalwood and patchouli.

bodygoodies - lemon mudslide - scented with lemon oil
Paintbox Soapworks - Silken Peony
Magic Hands Workshop formula from Product Body - Bitter End - Bitter almond, bitter orange, and bittersweet chocolate.

Feel free to take as much as you like, as long as you or someone you know will use them!!

50% off Zoya polishes for Earth Day

I'm not a regular nail polish wearer but I've been tempted to try Zoya in the past.  This week they are offering their nail polish for $4 and have set up a recycling program for unwanted polish.  Since my recycling obsession is almost as strong as my soap obsession I might order some shades to support them.

Here are the details, I'll probably get a few neutral shades...let me know if you have any favorites!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moonalisa Easter goodies

Last week I received an Easter basket with various goodies from Moonalisa.  I was excited to get this because the basket I ordered had a few citrus scents I had been wanting to try, the lemony Don't Get Your Knickers in a Twist and all grapefruit Grapefruit Haven, and I was finally one of the first to receive theirs because I didn't become indecisive making my order like in the past, which can be a difference of 2 or 3 weeks (although Moona has hired more staff and to her credit the turnaround time and product availability has noticeably improved).  It arrived Friday, and as I picked it apart I noticed scents I was not turned out there was a mix up, the basket was a different theme from the one I picked.  Still smelled nice and looked cute of course. 
The foil items are bath melts and solid sugar scrubs.
I sent Moona an email that night and when I was awoke in the middle of the night later, decided to leave a note on Facebook and instantly received a message back that she would send out another basket asap.  This was about 1:45 AM her time, and on Monday the replacement came.  So, all in all, it worked out and I got to try some scents I wouldn't have otherwise and it kinda felt like Christmas, so I can't complain.
There are a few things I will be giving away, if anyone is interested in them I'll send them either or both of the following, all I ask is funds for shipping, and I will wrap and send them with care in typical Moona fashion.  Actual photos to come, here is one from Moona's bigcartel site.

I have a soap cupcake with a raspberry on top instead of a bird's nest, in Raspberry Lemon Tisane.  It smells great inside the package, sweet and fruity with a very tart lemon edge.  When I took it out, however, it is almost too strong, but maybe it will mellow over time.  I wonder if this could be on purpose because of the size of her fans' collections, she knows things don't always get used right away, LOL!  Anyway, I cut a thin slice off to sample, and the scent throw was a few feet.  The rest of the cupcake in original packaging is available.
I also have a 4 oz. 4-in-1 gel, in Snozberry Fizzy Lifter, described as juicy red and purple berry blend with effervescence and a teeny touch of a secret floral , just a tad to give it enough freshness, but barely detectable.  This smelled really familiar to me but I couldn't make the connection for a month or two, but eventually realized it reminds me of Herbal Essences shampoo.  (The 4-in-1's are body washes that can also be used for laundry, as bubble bath, or shampoo.)
In addition I have 2 solid sugar scrubs in Lemon Sugar Cookie and Raspberry Lemon Tisane, and a travel-sized sample of Sleepy Hallow 4-in-1 from a prior sale, described as smoldering seasoned oakwood fires, warmed leather from fierce riding through the eastern woodside and the distinct aroma of roasted spiced pumpkin flesh and smoldering marshmallows.
If you're a Moonalisa follower, did you place an Easter order or what Moona products are you using right now that you hope to see again? 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More S.S. bath salts

Believe it or not, I've switched from taking showers to baths every day.  It started when some of the tiles above my bathtub were coming lose, and taking a bath prevented them from getting worse, and then I figured I'd stick with it because I use less water taking baths.

In a prior post I mentioned Solstice Scents bath salts, and for Valentine's Day I ordered my first jars of Blood Bathory.  The scent is a combination of essential oils of pink grapefruit, white grapefruit, palmarosa, geranium bourbon, peru balsam, roman chamomile, rosewood and jasmine with a few drops of jasmine fragrance oil.  The top notes are the grapefruit and a hint of geranium.  The grapefruit smells like a white grapefruit with the white pith around it, more tart than sweet like the ruby red variety (edit: I was reviewing a jar that was half-full so it had been exposed to air, silly me. When I opened a new jar, the sweeter pink grapefruit came through), and this is not a shy grapefruit.  I don't know what a few of the rest of the notes smell like individually but there is a depth to this blend like Crumbling Crypt so I'm sure they're adding something.  :)  The name of the salts comes from the color added to them which turns your water a deep shade of red; here's some tub photos from another blog.

Like Crumbling Crypt, these are heavily scented...Angela doesn't skimp.  The salts are offered seasonally which is why I have a bunch of jars.  I think next season's release will have the last EO scent blend I'm aware of that I haven't tried, called Wren, described as primarily tart, citrusy, herbaceous and slightly woodsy.

What do you like to add to your bath or shower routine as an extra treat?  Have you tried anything new lately?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

You want it, you got it; a giveaway {Closed}

Happy New Year!  Things have been quiet here for a while, but there will be some reviews to come soon.  For those looking to try something new, I'm holding a "choose your own" giveaway.

Below are the mini soaps and samples to choose from.  Also in the giveaway is a sample of Magic Hands Workshop salt soap in Gin Martini, description here.

Clockwise from upper-left are, 

        Rooibos Tea, scented with patchouli EO
        Frenchy, scented with lavender EO
        Bar 21 (retired), scented with rosemary EO
        The Salt Bar (retired), scented with peppermint FO & EO, I'll cut a sample.
Haunt & Violette Market
        Lightning Storm & Letters on the Wind - descriptions here, these are lightly scented.

To enter, leave a comment with a product you're glad you discovered in the last 6 months, and what you would pick to receive.  I'll randomly pick a winner on the morning of January 27th (U.S. residents only).

To start it off, this season I'm glad I tried Mirasol Farm's body cream and Upstate Herb Works' lip balm for their formulas, and Arcana's Honey Vanilla soap for scent (all natural yet potent).