Friday, May 31, 2013

May Tasterie Box - Signature Box

I can't remember where I heard of Tasterie but wherever it was had a 50% off deal so I thought oh what the heck I'll give it a try.

Tasterie is a monthly subscription with a focus on foods and specifically healthy foods and foods that accommodate food allergies. They have two types of subscriptions. There is the signature box which is $25.00 a month with shipping included. The signature box has 6-8 healthy and safe foods as well as something to satisfy the sweet tooth. The snack box is $18.00 with shipping included and is packed with 6-8 yummy grab & go goodies. If you have a food allergy they have tons of options for you. 

The types of boxes offered are:

dairy allergy
dairy & egg allergy
dairy & soy allergy
egg allergy
gluten & wheat allergy
gluten, wheat & dairy allergy
gluten & wheat allergy, vegan
nut allergy
soy allergy
vegan box
top 8 allergies
healthy & nutritious box

This subscription ships to the US only and ships from Wellesley, Massachusetts.

The good:

Food Allergy: There is bound to be a box for you with tasterie.

Skip: You can skip a month but you have to call or email.

Need a gift: You can gift a box to anyone.

The not so good:

Nothing really stood out.

I ordered the signature box. Since this is my first box I don't know if this is normal but two boxes were taped together.

My two boxes opened up


Here are all my Tasterie treasures.


Close up of the cashew fruit bar. I find that bars like this usually don't taste good but I'm willing to try it.


Contents of the Tasterie box with approximate retail value/price:

.5 oz. Angies Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn. Value = $1.00

FULL SIZE box box with 5 Udi's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. Value = $5.50

1.5 oz. Beanfield Snacks Pico De Gallo Rice & Bean Chips. Value = $1.00

Awesome Foods Cashew & Super Fruit Bar. Value = $2.48

1.7 oz. Eden brown rice chips. Value = $4.40 - I can taste the faintest hint of seaweed but otherwise not much flavor.

1.3 oz. Rice Works brown rice crisps sea salt flavored. Value = $1.00??

FULL SIZE bag Bob's RedMill Ancient Millet. Value = $2.89

FULL SIZE bag Bob's RedMill Old Country style Muesli. Value = $4.39

The total approximate value of this box is $22.66. Since I only paid $10 it's a great value but regular price is $25.00 so it's about even. The boyfriend frequently eats all the chips and popcorn that we get in our boxes. I was excited to get the millet because I discovered that's something I can eat on the Fast Metabolism Diet. I can't believe of all the foods I've eaten I've never tried Muesli. The package says you can eat it hot or cold. The cashew bar looks interesting and like it has a lot going on in it. I liked this box and for a lot of people this may be items that aren't readily available at your local store. I have a Sprouts near my house which is where I do 75% of my grocery shopping and I see a lot of these items there. The nice thing is I can try these items and if I like them then I can buy more.

Verdict: I enjoyed this box. Can't wait to see what comes next month.

No More Cravebox?????

I just got this email from Cravebox saying as of today they are no longer in business.  What the heck happened? Did they not know about this before? As far as I know no one knew about this possibility. 

Well bye bye Cravebox. We had some good times together and I will miss you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Eco Emi Box

Eco Emi is a monthly subscription service that sends a minimum of 5 eco-friendly/conscious products to your door for $15 a month w/shipping included.  The products range from beauty, household, food, etc.  They send a really nice variety of items including food, beauty etc. You get a little bit of everything. It's something everyone is your house could enjoy.  My Eco Emi boxes are always nicely packaged and stuffed full of treasures.

This subscription is available in the US only and ships from St. Peters, Missouri

The good:

Price: Eco-friendly product samples can be difficult to find.  I appreciate being able to try these products for a fraction of the price of purchasing full size. 

Eco-friendly: Every little bit helps

Variety: Not just beauty products.  You get food, home, drinks, etc.

Want more: Sometimes they have left over boxes that they sell after the subscriptions have been sent out.  The cost of these is $15 w/shipping included.  Kinda cool if you really like or know someone that would really like that months box. 

Skip a month:  You can put your account on pause if you want to skip.    

Information: They put a card in every box with information on the products as well as the price.  

The not so good:

Payment: You have to set up a recurring payment through PayPal.  I don't like this because PayPal makes you use your PayPal balance before they take money from your checking/credit card.  I like to save my PayPal balance for misc eBay purchases. 

The theme of this box is "kick off the summer" A couple of the items were packed in a clear plastic reusable container.

 Contents of box with approximate retail price listed:

Suncoat Girl nail polish in pink. Value = $7.99

Lauren Brooke eyeshadow in Pink Champagne. Value = $9.00

Eco Lips Mongo Kiss Honey Vanilla lip balm. Value = $1.99

Seaweed Powder bath with Hawaiian Kukui Oil. Value = $3.89 - I like the idea of this but it makes one heck of a mess out of your bathtub!

Athena Pomegranate bar. Value = $1.89

Suncoat Vegan Mascara. Value = $14.99 - I didn't care much for this. It was thick and didn't seem to do much in the making my lashes luscious department. 

.17 oz. All Terrain AquaSport SPF30 Sunscreen. Value = $1.19

.17 oz. All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellent. Value = $0.38

2 oz. Beauty without Cruelty Conditioner. Value = $2.99

Creatology Eco-fi 9x12 printed crafting felt. Value = $0.50

The total value of  this box is $44.81. This box always has great products and a great value! I was super happy with the products in this months box except the seaweed bath stuff.  Normally I would be all over that but as I recall the last time I used it I had a huge black mess on my hands.  The eyeshadow looks shimmery and very pretty. I'm going to save the All Terrain products for my summer road trip with my mom and nephew. I probably won't get to the lip balm for awhile since I have lots right now but it sounds tasty. I'm always up for trying new mascara and conditioner will always be used at my house.


Verdict: I really enjoy the eco emi box. It includes products I don't normally see when I'm out and about.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May The Fancy Box

This is the classic Fancy Box. It contains random items that they feel you would like. You tell them what kind items you like such as shirt size, what kind of devices you have and what categories of stuff you like. You can also fill in miscellaneous info you think would be helpful. I told them I love traveling, gadgets, cooking, baking, I'm a blogger, love anything that has to do with Marines or law enforcement and things like that.  The Fancy box is $39.00 plus $7.95 shipping. Be sure to look for discount codes because there are a lot of them floating around out there.

This subscription is available worldwide and ships from Devens, Massachusetts.

The good:

Sizes: You get full size food items!

Information: They include a nice card with the product information and picture.     

The not so good:

Skip: There is no option to skip a month, only cancel. 

Price: The price is a little high - unless of course it has great products and a high value.


I don't know what's going on with my camera but sorry about the fuzzy pic.

This is a close up of the TKO Skeleton watch. It's very pretty.


Contents of The Fancy Box with approximate retail price listed: 

Selection Decanting Pourer by Menu. Value = $13.00

Mr. & Mrs. Who Playing Cards. Value = $25.00 

TKO Skeleton Mechanical Watch in mint. Value = $125.00

Mizu Fancy drink bottle. Value = $18.00

The total value of this months box is $181.00. Another high value box from The Fancy. I think the watch is super pretty but I don't wear a watch ever so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this quite yet. The card that came in the box was for a different watch of the same brand but even though I don't wear watches I'm happy I got this one. Surprisingly I don't have a decanting pourer. I have a decanter but this is much more handy. The playing cards say they feature hip hop, rock, pop and fashion suits with icons like Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Jay Z and Kanye West on the faces. This I wasn't to excited about because I have lot of playing cards already and I don't think these are worth $25.00.  I wasn't too excited about the water bottle either until I saw it was dishwasher safe. I just wish it didn't have the fancy logo on it.

Verdict. This box had a high value but only one thing that was totally useful to me.

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The elusive Izzibella - She loves jumping in all the boxes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May Blush Box

Blush is a company that is associated with Dermstore and Blush started selling a monthly mystery beauty box.  You can make a one time purchase for $34.95 or subscribe monthly for $24.95.  Both prices include shipping. It made absolutely no sense to me to pay $10 more when I could just cancel the subscription if I didn't like it.  Each month Blush says they will send a box full of products handpicked by their panel of beauty experts of mostly full size and some travel-size products worth at least $100.  The subscriptions are limited and sell out quickly.

I believe this subscription is available to the US only, they don't really say on their website. 

The good:

Size: There were four full size products in this box and they were premium products to boot!

Price: If they continue to send great products with a value of at least $100 that's 4 times the value.

Want more: Since they have a retail website reordering is easy and all these products were easily found.


The not so good:

Price: This is one of the higher priced subscriptions but the products seem to be premium.

Skip: Their website is not user friendly.  I couldn't find an option to skip or cancel.

                          Blush treasures!


Contents of Blush box w/approximate retail price listed

Skylark Wild & Free Mini Nail Lacquer set. Value = $29.00

FULL SIZE Nick Chavez Advanced Volume Conditioner. Value $24.00

Bauble Bar purple crystal skull bracelet. Value = $20.00

.5 oz. B. Kamins BB Cream. Value = $14.41

FULL SIZE Cailyn Cosmetics Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in Chocolate Mousse. Value = $21.00

.11 Cotz Face for natural skin tone SPF40. Value = $1.33

.5 oz. Tocca Giulietta Body Wash. Value = $1.00

The total value of this mystery beauty box is $110.74. This box always has a amazing value. This box wasn't as exciting for me as the last ones have been though. The nail polish is ok but I have quite a bit of it right now. Ditto on the BB cream. I will definitely use the conditioner and I'm super excited about getting a gel liner in brown and that it comes with a built in brush!. The Bauble Bar bracelet is cute but skulls really aren't my thing. I think the Tocca product was an extra because it wasn't on the list of products or in the new little drawstring bag they send.

Verdict: Even though this months box wasn't my favorite, overall I really like the Blush mystery boxes.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

May Ipsy Bag

Ipsy bag sends out 4-5 samples and a makeup bag for $10 a month with shipping included. If you sign up yearly it's $110 which brings the price down the $9.16 a month with shipping included.  I've been with them for over a year now and have really enjoyed it overall.  It constantly has a high product value with products that I use. If you think you might be interested there is a wait list which can be about a 6 week wait from what I'm told.

This subscription is available to the US and Canada. 

The good:

The samples.  They seem to include at least one full size sample each month, which is nice.    

The packaging. Each month the products come in a cute makeup bag for all your goodies.

Discounts: The almost always offer a discount on any additional purchases you want to make. 


The not so good:

Skip a month? There is no option to skip a month.  You have to cancel.


The theme this month is Spring Fling.

Contents of bag with value and approximate retail price:

FULL SIZE Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia Perfume Roll-On. Value = $12.00

FULL SIZE Zoya nail polish in Blu. Value = $8.00

1 oz. Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment. Value = $13.50

Yaby concealer refill in buff. Value = $9.86

FULL SIZE Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Pink. Value = $15.00

coupon for $110 off hair styling tools and hair extensions + free thermal pouch at NuMe.

Bonus for being an active member of ipsy

FULL SIZE Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Zodiac (smoky black with blue green shift). Value =$20.00

chevron style makeup bag in blue, orange and white.

The approximate value of this months bag is $58.36 not including the Urban Decay, coupon or makeup bag. They said they sent me the Urban Decay product for being an active member of the ipsy community but honestly I don't do anything on their site. I'm not complaining though cause I love the color of this eyeshadow. This is the first bag that was sent out using their new customizing system. This bag was customized based on answers to their questions. I would say they hit it on the mark for me except for the concealer. I love the perfume and I'm so glad I received gardenia still I love gardenias. I'm a big fan of Zoya polish although not a huge fan of this color. I tried the macadamia oil several months ago and it was amazing on my hair. I'm not a huge lip gloss person but I like the color of this one.

Verdict: Ipsy is consistently a great all around inexpensive beauty subscription.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spring Momme Box - May Treats

What is Momme Box?  They started in December of 2012 and shipped out 3 months of boxes and decided to make their subscription quarterly. As most of you know I'm not a mom but I've noticed a lot of these mom theme boxes contain items that anyone would enjoy. The price of the subscription is $20 a month or you can sign up for a seasonal subscription (4 seasons or more) at $15 a season.  With the seasonal subscription you are initially billed $15 for the first season and $15 for each season thereafter.  Each season will have a theme to the box and you can actually look on their website to see what all the themes are for 2013.

This subscription is only available in the US but if you're international and interested they advise to email them at hello@mommebox.com

The good:

Variety: They include lots of products for different aspects of your life.

Recurring: Unless you opt for the seasonal subscription this is not a recurring subscription box so you don't have to worry about skipping or canceling.

The not so good:

Price: $20 a month is a little high for a surprise box. $15 is much more reasonable but you are committed to 4 shipments if you go that route.

                    
                                        The theme for this months box is May Treats.

Content of box with approximate retail value listed:

(2) GoGo squeeZ AppleApple pouches. Value = $0.66

$5 GymPact Gift Card. Value = $5.00

Loop'd & Hoop'd free mesh earrings ($25 value) with $30 purchase. Value = $0.00

(3) .10 oz. packs of MD Ultimate C Skin Brightening Serum by Susan Lin. Value = $11.50/ea.

(2) Nature's Bakery Fig Bars. Value = $1.25/ea.

(3) .04 oz. Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. Value = $0.16/ea.


The total value of the Momme box is $20.80. I was a little underwhelmed with this box. I expected their first quarterly box to be great but this was just ok. I probably won't use the gympact card - my schedule is so crazy I can't count on going to the gym ever, I just go when I can fit it in. I can't believe how expensive the serum is for a full size bottle. Through amazon it was $115 for 1oz. I love the Nature's Bakery fig bars but sadly they don't fit in my diet right now. I know the boyfriend like them though so I'm sure he will eat them. I'll put the sunscreen with the other one I got and pack it for my road trip and maybe I'll have enough to cover an arm.

Verdict: Undecided, the next box is summer beauty, home & fun. I may give that one a try and make it my deciding factor.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

May Conscious Box - Classic Box

Conscious box now offers 3 types of boxes. The classic, vegan and gluten free.  Each box contains a wide variety of items from food to beauty products to household goodies.  The price is $19.95 a month with shipping included. They also have a 3, 6 and 12 months plans. The 12 month plan is the only one that offers a discount.

The good:

Variety: You get a wide variety of items and the box was packed!

Vegan: If your vegan the vegan box is great for you.

Gluten free: If you live a gluten free life the gluten free box would be great for you.

The not so good:

The price: It's on the high side for subscription boxes but I would consider this a specialty box for sure.

Skip: Currently no option to skip a month

                     
Conscious Box - Classic Box


Contents of box w/approximate retail price listed:

(2) Dream Water in Snoozeberry. Value = $2.49  - I swear this works. I don't know how but I use it when I need to sleep but know I will have trouble falling asleep. works every time.

Earthpaste in Winterberry. Value = $7.99

Orgain for kids in vanilla Value = $2.69

MRM Relax-All with Phenibut Value = $0.83

Bija Lemon Ginger Echinacea. Value = $0.35

.17 oz. Healthy HooHoo gentle feminine wash. Value = $0.61 - very mild soap, worked well.

Ultima Replenisher lemonade packet. Value = $0.80

.09 oz. Herbamare original seasoning salt. Value = $0.09 - I added this to some ground bison and it added some flavor but I would've liked a little bit more/

3g Earthpaste for kids. Value = $?? I couldn't find any info on this. - This is missing the minty flavor which kids normally don't like. I didn't care for it.

2 Ecover Dishwasher Tabs. Value = $0.48

.9 oz. Surf Sweets Fruit Snacks. Value = $0.89 - I've had these before and they are really good. I like that it has real fruit.

.04 oz. Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen SPF30. Value = $0.16

Coupon for a free Zukay Kvass drink. Value = $3.99

The approximate value of my classic box is $21.37. I'm almost out of dishwasher tabs so I will give this a try. I hope it works. I actually like the surf sweet snacks a lot, they are very flavorful. I had to laugh at the hoohoo wash. I didn't realize you needed separate soap for girlie parts. I've used the dream water products before and I'm not sure if it works or if my mind of playing tricks on me. The orgain says it's for kids but I don't see any reason why I can't try it. The little sunscreen packet is cute, I might put it in my purse or travel bag.

Verdict: I subscribed to this on on an annual basis since I was able to get it half off.


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Friday, May 24, 2013

May Bulu Box - Feel Good Discovery Box

Bulu Box feel good discovery box is a monthly sample box that contains 4-5 premium vitamin and supplement nutrition samples.  These products are for both men and women.  The cost of the service is $10 a month or $110 a year ($10 savings) which brings it down to $9.16 a month. The boxes ship around the 15th of the month so this box will arrive towards the end of every month.  This is a great way to try supplements and health type foods without spending a ton of money.  They also have a box focused on weight loss.

I subscribe to both the Feel Good Discovery Box and the Weight Loss box and I have no idea which is which. Usually the card inside says but this month they both said Feel Good Discovery.

This subscription box ships to the US only and ships from Lincoln, Nebraska. 

The good:

New products: Nutritional products can be overwhelming and expensive to try.  This allows you to try new products for a low price.

Information: They include a card with the product information on it.

Samples sizes: The sizes are usually decent.

Access to products: There are links to purchase the products on the Bulu website

Point: You can earn points by reviewing products on their websites. Points can be used for discounts on full
size items.

Skip a month: No but you can put your account on pause.  It will stay in that status until you reactivate it.

The not so good:You may get products you won't use or don't want to use.  A lot of people don't like taking supplements which I totally respect but I would say this probably isn't the box for you


                                                            Bulu Box Feel Good Discovery.


Contents of box with approximate retail price listed.  

Healthy Craving Fix:

Promax Fit 'n Crisp Vanilla Marshmallow snack. Value = $1.63 - This is by no means a real crispy treat but it's actually really good. It's soft and has that familiar crispy treat flavor.

Fast Allergy Relief:

AllerDx Plantiva 4 capsules/1 dose. Value = $1.46

Muscle Building Fuel:

1 serving pkt. Fitmixer Amino. Value = $0.77

Delicious Collagen Support:

2 NeoCell Beauty Bursts. Value = $0.27/ea.

Maximum Antioxidants:

Artisana Superfood Acai Berry Nut Butter. Value = $1.75

Online JCore Workout. Value = $0.00

The total value of my Bulu box is $6.15. This is actually pretty low for this box and a little disappointing. I wish I would've had the allergy pills last month because that's when my allergies were real bad. For some reason I think I've tried to Acai butter from a different box but I can't remember. I didn't give a value to the JCore workout because you can get it free online. 

Verdict: This months box was ok, I liked the vanilla marshmallow snack, I would buy that again.
If anyone wants to try a Bulu Box send me an email at pixiepowered@hotmail.com and I'll send you a link for a free box.


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The Fast Metabolism Diet Book - My Experience

I was lucky enough to be picked to receive The Fast Metabolism Diet book complimentary from She Speaks for review. At first I thought it's another gimmick diet book. I mean really how can you lose 20 lbs in 28 days, yeah right. I started reading the book and the principals made sense. I honestly thought I wasn't going to do the diet because it seemed to difficult to track the food but then I found out there's an app for that! I downloaded the app for $1.99 and while it needs a few tweaks the app makes it easy to keep track of what you can eat and how much. It even has a way to add all your food choices to a shopping list. If you are thinking about doing this diet and have a smart phone I highly recommend the app, it will make your tracking easier. I know the app has some issues but I still think it's better than carrying the book around.


                

Here are my thoughts so far:

Each week is broken down into phases that last 2-3 days. Phase 1 is two days and focuses on lots of carbs and fruit with cardio for exercise. Phase 2 is two days and focuses on lots of protein and veggies with strength training for exercise. Phase 3 is three days and focuses on fruit, carbs, protein, veggies with healthy fats and oils. Exercise for this phase is relaxation like yoga, meditation or a massage. I think the structure is nice because it allows for a little more variety during your weekend (phase 3).

No caffeine of alcohol - but if you MUST have one of both of those things there are some adjustments you need to make to your plan. At least they don't say you can't have it at all.

The amount of food you eat is based on how much you want to lose. If you have 20 lbs ore more to lose you get to eat more. The app is great for that since you put in your current and goal weight and it calculates it for you.

Speaking of food - you really do get to eat a lot of food.

You eat every 3-4 hours starting 30 minutes after you wake up.  I work 12 hour days starting at 6am. I normally would eat breakfast at work but I have to eat it at home which confuses my morning routine a little. The other thing that I found funny was I was eating my lunch at 10am and dinner 4pm. I'm not even home by 4pm so I'm eating my lunch and dinner at work. The only thing I have when I get home from work is a snack at 6:30pm. This might be super difficult if you are feeding a family or kids.

You really need to plan out your meals at least a few days ahead.  I found a I had to make extra trips to the grocery store because I hadn't planned far enough ahead.

The book contains lots of recipes to use but it's a little difficult because I'm not sure how many servings to eat. 


The science:

Phase 1 is to unwind and calm the adrenals. You will eat foods high in carbs such as brown rice, oatmeal, brown rice pasta. Foods high in natural sugars such as apples, figs, strawberries, peaches. Foods high in vitamin B and C such as turkey, lentils, lean beef, oranges. This is also the phase where you will do intense cardio exercise.

Phase 2 is to unlock fat stores. You will eat foods that support liver function such as onions, broccoli and cabbage. Foods high in lean protein such as lean beef, buffalo, white meat chicken and tuna. Foods rich in alkalizing green, low-glycemic veggies such as kale, greens and lettuce. This is the phase where you will do strength training exercise.

Phase 3 is to unleash the burn - hormones, heart and heat. You will eat foods high in healthy fats such as avocado, olives, olive oil and nuts. Foods with higher fat proteins like salmon and hummus. Low-glycemic fruits and veggies such as blackberries, grapefruit, spinach and sweet potatoes. Moderate amount of unrefined carbs such as wild rice, sprouted grain bread and quinoa. Thyroid-stimulating foods such as seaweed, shrimp and lobster. This is the phase where you will do stress-reducing exercise like yoga, deep breathing or have a massage.

The food you eat is mostly normal grocery store items but they do suggest you buy organic and nitrate-free. Some of the grain items are not common like brown rice pasta and sprouted breads and tortillas. The store I shop at most frequently commonly has those types of items but depending on where you live you may need to search it out.

The Do's:

Rule #1: You must eat five times per day, 35 time per week - 3 meals and 2 snacks, no skipping!

Rule #2: You must eat every 3-4 hours except when you're sleeping (the app schedules it every 2-3 1/2 hours but you can change it)

Rule #3: You must eat within 30 minutes of waking, every day - don't let your body run on fumes

Rule #4: You must stay on the plan for a full 28 days - 4 weeks is required to get a true repair

Rule #5: You must stick to the foods allowed in your phase - the app needs work on this part, some items are missing and or don't match up to the book

Rule #6: You must follow the phases in order - there's an order for a reason.

Rule #7: You must drink half you body weight in ounces of water every day - other liquid don't count

Rule #8: Eat organic whenever possible - it's better for the liver

Rule #9: Meats must be nitrate-free - nitrates slow down the breakdown of fat in the body.

Rule #10: Exercise according to your phase - exercise is always good

The Don'ts:

Rule #1: No wheat - too difficult for you body to digest and extract nutrients. sprouted wheat is ok

Rule #2: No corn - super bad for you metabolism.

Rule #3: No dairy - you can use unsweetened rice milk, coconut milk or almond milk

Rule #4: No soy - soy slows the metabolism

Rule #5: No refined sugar - all bad

Rule #6: No caffeine - causes too much stress on adrenals glands. If you insist on coffee eat first

Rule #7: No alcohol - alcohol is high in sugar

Rule #8: No dried fruit or fruit juices - there is too much sugar concentration in these items.

Rule #9: No artificial sweeteners - if you must use sweeteners they want you to use Truvia, Stevia or Xylitol

Rule #10: No fat-free "diet" foods - no frozen diet dinners, packaged food.

As you can see this is a diet that says you "can't" eat certain things but it's only for 2-3 days. I think 2-3 days of not having carbs or fruit or whatever is manageable. I think the hardest part is 2-3 days without wine is going to be the hardest part. I am going to give this a try because why not, can't hurt. I will keep you posted on my findings and hopefully weight loss. I'm also doing Weight Watchers online so I'm going to see how many points I use each week compared to what this diet has you eating. I started the diet on Monday May 20th so my week will be a typical Monday-Sunday.

Week 1: 5/20/13-5/26/13

Phase 1: Food consisted of oatmeal, apples, grapefruit, brown rice, ground buffalo, bok choy, oranges, brown rice pasta, chicken sausage, broccoli, zucchini, blueberries, strawberries and nectarines over the 2 days. Exercises once for 30 minutes on the treadmill. I only drank 51% of the water over the 2 days. Was food satisfied both days. Day one I was tired in the afternoon and day 2 I was tired all morning with a headache - unknown if that was related to diet.

Phase 2: Food consisted of egg whites, spinach, deli turkey meat, tuna, red onions, oysters, chicken breasts, broccoli, turkey bacon. smoked salmon, cucumbers and I slipped on day 2 of this phase and had a small slice of coconut cream pie. My stomach was not happy with it. I didn't get any exercise these days. I only drank 68% of the water over the 2 days. The first day of this phase I was very tired all day and the second day I felt bloated and had a headache - unknown if that was related to the diet. I was happy to be over the meat phase, I was tired of eating turkey and chicken.

Phase 3: Food consisted of eggs, sprouted grain tortilla, fresh spinach, avocado, cucumbers, raspberries, shrimp, beets, pistachios, carrots, wild rice, turkey sausage, green beans, almonds, seaweed, cashews, salmon, yams, blueberries, almond cheese, peaches, cashews and brussels sprouts. I did have a glass of wine on the last day.  I sipped slowly and drank water with it. I wasn't able to exercise during this phase. I only drank 78% of the water over the 3 days. I felt good during these 3 days. I didn't have any headaches. I think my body was getting used to the eating schedule because I could feel myself getting hungry close to meal times.

Overall I think this week went well considering I had a 71 hour work week and had to go to work all 7 days. I don't work from home but my commute is only 8 miles each way so that helps. I only had one day where I ate something I wasn't suppose to and one day where I drank alcohol. I think results may have been a little better if I was able to work out but I was just too busy to get in it (I don't get breaks or lunch breaks at work so that's not an option).

I lost 1.2 lbs. this first week. I was expecting much more. Pretty sure I won't be losing 20 lbs in 28 days.

I compared this week to Weight Watchers I went over by 7 points. If I would've exercised more I could have earned those 7 points and it would be even.

Week 2: 5/27/13-6/2/13

Phase 1: Monday was my first day off work in 7 days and I had planned a spa day with a friend. I did good in the morning and even exercised for 40 minutes (bike/treadmill) but that afternoon I shared nachos with her. That evening I was too tired to make dinner so I ate a Weight Watchers frozen meal and a WW ice cream bar. I think I did ok calories wise but bad for this diet. Tuesday was better I was tired but due to lack of sleep the night before. Food was similar to week one and I went for a 40 minute walk. I only drank 47% of the water.

Phase 2: The protein phase is not my favorite phase. I'm glad it only last 2 days. Not only is it expensive to eat free range, nitrate-free, etc but I get so tired of eating meat. I exercised one of the two day. I did 10 min on the weight machines and a 30 min walk. I was able to drink 94% of the water. I could've pushed myself to drink the last 16 ounces to get to 100% but I didn't want to be up all night using the restroom.

Phase 3: This phase didn't go so well for me this week. I went to a party on Saturday and had a beer along with a small scoop of potato salad, chips and salsa and a piece of cake and ice cream. UGH! On Sunday we had a group event and went out out to lunch. I had fish tacos (nothing fried) with rice and beans and that night I had a cocktail. I did really bad on the water intake which I'm sure was less than 50%.

I gained 2.4 lbs. this week. Very disappointed. I guess those two days of being off the plan really messed everything up. I also noticed on Friday I stayed on plan but ate the recommended nuts and olive oil and that  put me 41 points over my WW allowance for the day.

Week 3: 6/3/13-6/9/13

Phase 1: Since I gained weight last week I was tempted to quit and call it good. I'm really getting tired of eating the same things and planning meals is taking up a lot of time. The boyfriend said I couldn't quit and I had to finish it and I realized he's right so here I am. I wanted something different than brown rice this phase so I tried millet. I think I need to experiment with it a little more because so far I'm not a fan. I mixed up the fruit a little and bought apricots and mangos. I didn't track my water on Monday but I was able to get to spin class which is 30 min followed up by 20 min of balance work. Tueday I didn't meet my water goal but I did manager to get 30 minutes in on the ARC trainer (basically it's an elliptical).

Phase 2: With the weight gain this week I am feeling very unmotivated to complete this diet. I made a promise to myself and all of you that I would give it a go so I'm sticking to it. Wednesday food was lots of protein rich foods like chicken, egg whites, oysters, turkey bacon and smoked salmon. I didn't meet my water goal but I drank 80 oz which I'm ok with. Thurdays food started out good same protein type items, egg whites, ground turkey, chicken, tuna, oysters. Thursday evening life happened and I fell off the wagon so to speak. We didn't end up eating until late that evening (unexpected delay) which meant not only was it 4.5 hours between meals (and I was starving by that point) but we had to make something quick. I ended up eating turkey sausage (good), pasta (bad) and pasta sauce (bad). Ugh.

Phase 3: Friday I stayed on the plan most of the day and them Friday night we had sushi. Saturday we hosted a party at my house and I spent most of the morning cooking and setting up. I tried to eat on schedule  but with all the running around it was way too difficult to eat on time and on plan. So basically Saturday was a wash. Sunday was filled with leftovers from the party. So I don't think I did horrible food wise but I definitely didn't stick to the schedule.

At the end of this phase I gained another 2.5 lbs. This was seriously annoying and discouraging. I know I didn't follow the plan but this gaining weight two weeks in a row is ridiculous!

Week 4: 6/10/13-6/16/13 

Phase 1: Still discouraged and not wanting to go through all the work to stay on this diet.

Phase 2: I've decided to listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry.

Phase 3: Same as above.

I didn't complete the 28 days on the diet. The weight gain from week 2 and 3 was really discouraging. I felt like I planned, shopped and prepared so much what was the point of doing all that work for no reward. Week 4 I stuck to eating within 30 minutes of waking (most days) and ate when I was hungry which was about every 3 hours. I followed the weight watchers points system which doesn't limit what I can eat but how much. I ended up losing a few pounds and am now back at the weight I was 28 days ago. With that being said I feel like it didn't work for me because it's so regimented and takes lots and lots of planning. A diet only works if you stick to it and clearly this is not one I can stick to. So I'm not saying the diet didn't work but it doesn't work for me.

Verdict: This didn't work for me for various reasons but everyone is different.


**This is a sponsored post by She Speaks and The Fast Metabolism Diet. I received the book free of charge to review. All opinions are my own not influenced by She Speaks or The Fast Metabolism Diet.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May PopSugar Must Have Box

The PopSugar Must Have Box is a monthly subscription box that is geared toward many aspects of your lifestyle.  It includes, food, beauty, fashion, tech, and all kinds of other treasures.  The price of the box is $35 a month w/shipping included.  They also have 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions and each one saves you a little bit of money.  The products in the last 2 boxes have been just fantastic!  PopSugar advertises that you will receive full size and premium items worth over $100 (based on the manufacturer MSRP at the time acquired by Sugar).  This box contains a variety of products.  The booklet they has a sections with product information on each item which is super cool.

This subscription is available in the US only and ships from Gilroy, Ca.  

The good: 

Products: Full size products as promised and a nice variety of beauty, home etc.  

Pricing structure: They have monthly, 3, 6 and yearly subscriptions.  Each one (except monthly) saves you a little bit of money.  

Referrals: The offer a generous referral program.  Refer 2 people get a month free.  5 people 3 months free and 10 people is 6 months free.  I've was super lucky and 10 people used my referral link so I got 6 months free.    

The not so good:

The price: $35 is a little high for a monthly box but you do get some really cool stuff with a value of way more than $35

Skip a month: There is no option to skip, only cancel.


              
Sorry about this awful picture. It looked better on my phone and I couldn't retake it because I already open the stuff. 
 This is a little bag, can be used for lunch, car, etc.

Contents of box with approximate retail price:

Must Have Food
The Modern Margarita cocktail set. Value = $7.59

Must Have Beauty
The Original Beautyblender and Blendercleanser set. Value = $23.95

Must Have Fashion
Kooringal Giselle Mid Brim Hat. Value = $27.99

Must Have Entertainment
Questions I Ask When I Want Too Talk About Myself Deck by Mindy Kaling. Value = $14.95

Must Have Beauty
Pacifica Natural Color Quench Lip Tint. Value = $7.00

Must Have Fashion
Charm & Chain gift card $30.00 - The cheapest item I found on their site was a bangle for $33.00

Special Extra
Way Better Snacks Sweet Potato tortilla chips. Value = $1.19 - very good, sweet potato is the new thing it seems which is ok by me cause I love sweet potatoes.

PopSugar branded lunch bag. Value = $3.00??

The value of this months box is $85.67 give or take on the PopSugar bag.  Now they say you will get over a $100 value in the box and if you count the gift card that would be true. I don't count gift cards that require any out of pocket expense (except maybe shipping). I think this box missed the mark on the promised $100 value but the products included are decent. At first I thought the hat was just ok but when I started playing with it I noticed it has bendy parts on the brim and you can adjust it how ever you like. I think I will probably use this hat more than I originally thought. I hear really great things about the beauty blender product but I don't wear foundation often and I got a really nice makeup sponge in my SeaonsBox that I use. I don't normally use mixes for my margarita's but I have to see this is pretty darn convenient and I love that it comes with rimming crystals. I never read Mindy Kaling's other book and I only watched part of her show once but I hear she's very funny. I don't want to open this quite yet because I might gift it but I'm curious about the questions inside.

Verdict: PopSugar offers a great value but this one didn't have the promised $100 value in my opinion.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May Goodies Box

Goodies Co. is a monthly subscription that sends out 5-8 trial sized food products for $7 a month w/shipping included.  Yep just $7 for this tasty little box!  The other thing about Goodies Co is they are a Wal-Mart brand. Right now you have to sign up to be on the invite list to get a box. I don't think it takes too long to receive an invite though.

The good:

Price: $7 is a very reasonable price to pay for a box of snacks to try.

Points: If you write a quick review on their website you can earn points for rewards.  It takes 300 points to earn a free box.   

Want more: You can log onto their website and purchase the things you enjoyed from your box.  

Skip: You can put your account on pause for up to 3 months at a time. You can do it online and it's super easy.

The not so good:

It's all good!


The card didn't say what the theme was nor did it give the usual product info. This is the second month in a row they've done this so maybe it's their new format now.


Contents of box with approximate retail value:

Zico coconut water. Chips. Value = $4.34
1.5 oz. bag Beanitos original black bean chips. Value = $1.00 - I like these chips, not bad for being healthy and semi good for you.
Numi tea in Moroccan Mint. Value = $0.36

(2) .4 oz. California Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Value = $0.60/ea. - I buy this olive oil on a regular basis, it's good quality basic olive oil.

2.5 oz. Bronco Bobs Mango Chipotle Sauce Value = $1.50
1 oz. Kathie's Kitchen Super Seeds Pumpkin Seeds. Value = $1.00

Sour Power Straws in Blue Raspberry. Value = $0.99 - I didn't really taste raspberry but it was fruity. I didn't try and use it as a straw.

Sour Power Straws in Pink Lemonade. Value = $0.99 - I liked these alot, they were fun and tasty.

Coupon for a free Wholly Guacamole. Value = $6.50 - I prefer homemade guac but this is not bad for being commercially produced. I will definitely use this coupon.

The total value of my Goodies Co. Box is $17.88 including the coupon. I was really happy with this box. The only thing that gives me pause is the coconut water. I tried it once and didn't care for it. I think I will try it again but maybe mix it with something. I thought this box had some fun stuff in it.

Verdict: This box is pretty good considering it's only $7.00 a month.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

May Yumvelope

Yumvelope is a subscription service centered around food and snacks.  Each month you receive a large USPS envelope filled with yummy goodies.  The cost for this service is $21 plus $3.00 shipping or you can sign up for a month to month subscription for a flat rate of $21.00.  If you like what you get then you can sign up for 6 months for $126.00 w/shipping included and a bonus shipment (I confirmed this is an extra month - so you get 7 months for the price of 6). The Yumvelope promises to send all natural hand picked delicious items in each envelope.  Yumvelope has also started a meal donation program for each envelope purchased, and you know I'm a big fan of that.

This subscription is available is the US only and ships from Illinois. 

The good:

Variety: There is a good variety of items.  

Discounts: The try and send a promo code for each product so you can order your favorite products at a discounted price.  

Size: They send full size or close to full size products which is always nice.  

Meal donation: For every Yumvelope shipped they donate a meal.  

The not so good:

Skip: No option to skip a month



Contents of box with approximate retail value/price listed.  

2 oz. bag of Half Pops natural butter & pure ocean sea salt. Value = $1.49 - Sooo good! I could've eaten the whole bag but I refrained.

2 oz. bag Cristoforo Hazelnut Biscotti. Value = $2.31 - not as flavorful as the bari biscotti but it was ok

2 oz. bag Cristoforo Almond Biscotti. Value = $2.25 - not as flavorful as the bari biscotti but it was ok

2.2 oz. bag Cristoforo Organic Sprouted Spelt Sourdough Crackers. Value = $3.75

3 oz. bag of Lush Nuts Coconut Lavender almonds. Value = $4.50

1.41 oz. Urban Raccoons Cranberry Maple Almond Granola Bar. Value = $2.00

The total approximate value of this Yumvelope is $16.30. I wish the value was a little just a dollar higher but I still like the yummies in this box. Even though I shouldn't be doing it I really enjoy eating biscotti with my morning coffee or tea so I'm excited about getting these little packages. I still have some jam left from my Quarterly Box that might go well with the spelt crackers. Coconut lavender almonds? interesting. I hope they are more coconut and less lavender.


Verdict: My subscription is up for renewal. decisions, decisions...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May Sample Society Box

Sample Society by Beauty Bar is a monthly service for beauty products that promises 5 fresh deluxe sized samples from luxury brands designed for multiple uses.  You also receive a coupon each month for $15 off a $50 purchase from Beauty Bar and a 12 month subscription to Allure magazine.  The cost for this subscription is $15.00 a month.

The good:

The samples: You get deluxe sized samples from luxury brands.   

Magazine: You get a free 12 month subscription to Allure magazine.  If you already subscribe they will extend your subscription and if you don't want it you can mail in a form for a refund on the value ($12)

Coupon: They send you a coupon with each box for $15 off a $50 purchase.  The catch is your order has to include at least one item from a brand you received that month.  It doesn't have to be the item you received just the same brand.

Referrals: If you refer someone to their site and they make a purchase the company donates up to $30 to charity.  I thought this was a nice gesture.  My referral code is pixiepower. 

The not so good:

Skip a month: There is no option to skip a month, only cancel.

My Sample Society Treasures. 
                 

Contents of box with approximate retail value.

small sample Jane Iredale Forever Pink Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain. Value = $6.25?? This didn't say how big it is but I would say it's about 1/4 of the full size which is $25 - I love this stuff and I'm not a lipstick person. I thought it was going to a light gloss but it adjusts once applied and it was the perfect shade of pink!

.1 oz. Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream. Value = $1.28 - This has a slight menthol scent but not too strong. It's thick but doesn't leave a heavy greasy residue. I like to use it on the part of my hand between my thumb and pointer finger. That area seems to be the most dry.

.25 oz. Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB Cream SPF 30. Value = $9.75

.85 oz. Alterna Bamboo Shine Luminous Shine Mist. Value = $5.11 - Add a nice shine without making my hair look greasy or weighing it down. 

1 Kate Somerville Somerville360 Tanning Towelette. Value = $6.00

The total value of my Sample Society box is $28.39.  This is definitely a summer themed box. I'm not into tanning at all which makes this tanning towelette perfect for me. I'm will try it this weekend and hopefully my skin won't turn a weird color. I love the lip stain! More BB cream - I just saw Dr. Oz talking about this so I'm sure it's going to be all the rage now although it seems to be already. I like the Bamboo products and this will be good for those dry hair days.

Verdict: I enjoy these boxes and like that  value is always way above the $15.00

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May Little Black Bag

I opened another Little Black Bag. Although I opened them close together they were in different months so I feel a little better about it. LBB was having a deal I just couldn't pass up at the time. The deal was open a bag with a pair of shoes and get a purse for free. At first the purses I was getting (although I couldn't see them) weren't very enticing but I kept checking during the promotion and then I got lucky! So I picked the shoes I wanted and crossed my fingers that I would get the bag I was thinking I would get based on the brand and price it showed me.

The cost of the bag depends on what you open with. The bag I opened with the shoes and free handbag ended up costing $48.90 after my VIP discount, taxes and shipping. I'm confused as to how the VIP discount works exactly but for $50 I thought I got an awesome deal!

Existing members are automatically VIP members. The basics of the VIP memberships is that you are charged $9.95 a month which you can put towards a bag or save your credits and open a bag when you're ready. Now I believe members that existed before the change have the ability to skip the month and not be charged the $9.95. I'm not sure if that option is available to those who signed up before the change

Shipping is $5.95 in the US except Alaska, Hawaii, APO/FPO and Puerto Rico is $11.95 and Canada is $15.95.

Returns/Exchanges - This is the biggest change. I ended up returning a bracelet from the April bag while this bag was open so I can tell you all about how it works. Once LBB received my exchanged a button on the top of the page showed up that said "exchange". I clicked on the button and a gallery of items ranging from $15-$48 appeared. I didn't see anything I wanted so I didn't do anything. I checked it daily to see if the items changed and they did. I eventually found a purse I wanted that was also $48. I clicked exchange and the purse was added to my open bag and the exchange button disappeared. Easy peasy. If you don't have an open bag then you have to pay shipping on the exchange (both ways). If you are exchanging because of a defect or broken item they will pay shipping. You can trade your exchange item I didn't though because I was really happy with the purse and wanted to keep it.

This time around I found trading to be really slow. Whereas before I could hardly keep up with all the trades and I felt like I was constantly trading items, this time I would be lucky if I did one trade a day.  


The good: 

Like to shop? It's fun looking though the gallery and picking out treasures. As I said trading has really slowed down so don't expect a whole bunch of trading going on.  

The value:  Your bag is guaranteed to be worth more than you paid.    

The brands. The brands range from very well known to not so well known with price ranges to match and they are always adding more.  Also they add new products two times a week.       

Multiple treasures:  You can score multiple treasures and use them for gifts at a fraction of the cost. 

Variety. They have handbags, sunglasses, cell phone cases, iPad cases, earrings, wallets, nail polish, home :items, etc.  You will find something you like. 

The price:  Depending on what you open your bag with the price is very fair.

Received your items but didn't like it:  LBB will let you return the item for an exchange or refund.  The exchange process has changed slightly but I returned something from this bag so we will see how it goes.

The not so good:

Pictures: They show pictures of the items and list the sizes but I would like to see them on a model (real or fake) to see the scale.  I have received a couple of pairs of earrings that were bigger than I thought they were going to be.   

Want more, more more?:  For now you can only open one bag at a time however there is no limit to the number of bag you can open.  
This is what it looks like when you make a purchase. As you can see they show you your first pick which were the shoes and everything else is hidden. I received the handbag as a VIP gift and I had a referral item bonus.




Once you hit purchase your picks are revealed. As you can see there are the shoes I chose and an awesome Deux Lux bag valued at $84. I was hoping I would get one of these bags. My stylist pick was the facial cloths valued at $15, which I was also excited about. 




My second stylist pick were earrings valued at $16 and my referral item were another pair of earrings valued at $24.00.  The retail value of my bag was $198.00 and I paid $49.00!!



This is what I ended up with. I was able to trade the yellow bag for this striped one. I liked the yellow one but the teenager is into nautical stuff and I was feeling nice that day so I thought I would get this for her as a future gift. I kept the face cloths and shoes and traded the earrings. The lace purse was what I exchanged the bracelet in my previous bag for. I liked it so much I didn't dare trade it.

I didn't mind the earrings that were my stylist and referral picks but I thought these would make better gifts for our moms. The holidays will be here before you know it!


My super pretty lace purse from Jessica McClintock. It has a chain strap for over the shoulder or just use as a clutch. The inside is beige satin. I love it and have already used it. 

All my Little Black Bag Treasures with retail price listed:

Two lips Two silver flats. Value = $59.00 - I held onto these because they are so cute. I had some good trade offers but I thought no, I'm keeping them!  Unfortunately they are too tight around the toe area so they have to go back. so sad....

Deux Lux Skipper Small Tote. Value = $84.00 - Super cute tote bag. I love the sequins on the bottom although I wish there were a bolder red.

Skyn Iceland Facial Cloths. Value = $15.00

1928 stone cluster earrings. Value = $16.00

Rouge Jardin stone drop earrings. Value = $28.00 - These will be a perfect gift for the boyfriends mom.

Exchange item
Jessica McClintock Jewel Lace Frame Clutch. Value = $58.00 - love this little purse! It's perfect size for my iPhone, lip stuff, ID, credit cards and cash.

The total ending value of my LBB is $202.00 not including the exchange item.This did include a VIP gift ($84.00) and a referral item ($24.00, Thanks Minna C.). I traded the VIP item for a different color bag but the same value and I traded the referral item up by $4.00. I love all the stuff in my bag I just wish the shoes fit.

Verdict: Even with all the changes I still enjoy Little Black Bag


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