Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monthly Subscription Series: Birchbox

Hello there!

So today I'm going to tell you about Birchbox. I've been subscribed to them for over a year now and they were the very first monthly subscription that I signed up for. Birchbox is $10/month and it always includes one full size product and 4 or 5 more sample (small) sized products. I think I've been subscribed to them for probably about 14 or 15 months and probably 10 of those boxes have been great and about 5 of them not so great. So it is kind of hit or miss. But mainly hit!

I remember one time getting a box that probably had about $60 worth of great product in it and the box was only $10! Sometimes the boxes are amazing!

The other great thing about Birchbox is that they have a points system. None of the other monthly subscriptions that I'm signed up to have a points system. Anytime you have a friend sign up you get 50 points. Any time you order anything your points are matched to the price. If I order something that costs $30 then I get 30 points. I also think you get 10 points every month because of the $10 for the cost of the monthly service. Oh yea, AND you get 10 points every time you review a product from you box! So there are quite a few ways to get points! Every 100 points you have = $10 you can use toward a future purchase. (if you get a product in your box that you like you can order the full size version from their site. And if you have points you can use them toward the product. Basically, if you save your points you can get products for free!) I've ordered a few things from Birchbox. And they're always things I would have never found without having this service. It's always brands I've never heard of.

I feel like I've overloaded you with information so I'm just going to go ahead and show you some pictures of what you can expect if you sign up.

It always comes in a cute pink box. In the picture it shows "teen vogue" on the box. Sometimes they do collaborations with other companies. Last month they collaborated with Teen Vogue.

The inside of my box. It's always wrapped in pink tissue paper.

I got a Tarte Lip Surgence Lip Tint which costs $24.00

I also got an Essie Luxeffects full size Nail Polish which costs $8.00. Sometimes there are more than one full size product. But there is always at least one.

I also got a sample vial of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie perfume. It smells SO good!

Then the last couple things were just small little random things. A Twistband hair tie and Shiseido oil blotting papers. I'm guessing this box is probably worth about $35.00. So it's always well over the $10.00 you pay for it. You can cancel the service at any time if you wish.

Overall I think this is a pretty great service! If anyone wants to sign up here's my link for "inviting friends". . .

Hope you all are enjoying the nice weather! My next post will have a couple yummy recipes so be on the lookout! :)

New Car, Hunger Games, and Tomato Cucumber Salad!

I don't work on Tuesday's so they're normally jam packed with errands, appointments, etc. But this Tuesday I made sure to not have too busy of a schedule because I knew I was going to see The Hunger Games that night and I still had about 8 chapters to read!!! So I slept in a bit, worked out and then spent a good part of the afternoon reading outside.

While I was outside I took a picture of my new car! It's a Chevy Equinox and I love it! So much nicer than anything I've ever driven before!

Here's a picture of what I had for lunch on Tuesday. An Amy's Pizza and some tomato cucumber salad.

I've only tried one flavor of Amy's Pizza. I guess because this one's so good I don't feel the need to try any of the others. I first tried this about 3 years ago while I was at my brother-in-laws house. The "flavor" is pesto. It has pesto sauce instead of the traditional pizza sauce, cheese, broccoli, and tomato's. It's very good! I also had a side of cucumber tomato salad. I've been trying to replicate something that I had at First Watch. It was some sort of Cucumber Tomato salad. They called it Santa Fe Sauce. I couldn't tell what type of sauce/liquid was in it. It had small little black things in it which made me think it had poppyseed dressing in it. I decided to get on Pinterest to try to find a similar recipe. I didn't see any that called for poppyseed dressing so I just picked a random recipe from the other choices. It was good but still not quite like the one from First Watch. I'll keep looking but in the mean time this one will do!

Here is the link to the original recipe:

Tomorrow is Friday! Yay! Have a good weekend!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lentil, Vegetables, and Beef Stew

Hey everyone!

As much as I love this amazing weather we have been having (It is 6:00pm and 84 degrees!), it kind of stinks because most of the recipes I want to share with you are more Fall/Winter type of meals. Like soups and stews. But you know what? I'm going to share them anyway :)

I adapted this recipe from:

Start by cutting up your carrots and celery. The original recipe calls for just one carrot (shown above) and just one celery stalk. I thought that was crazy! There aren't many vegetables that I would eat raw so I have to get all my servings of vegetables in the form of being mixed in with the rest of my meal so I wasn't going to only use 1 little carrot and 1 puny celery stalk! That's just crazy!

So, I ended up using 3 of each. Much better. Actually, these pictures are from the first time I made this meal which was last week. I made this again on Sunday and that time I used even more veggies. I used 4 carrots and 4 celery stalks that time. Feel free to use as many as you want!

The rest of the ingredients: 32.oz of Vegetable Stock, 2 tablespoons of Veggie Oil, and 1 cup of Dried Lentils.

. . . and the seasonings: 1 teaspoon ground Cumin, 1 teaspoon Thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of Salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of Pepper.

Start by placing the 2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil in a skillet. Add the Ground Beef. I used the entire package (which was more than one pound) of Laura's Lean Ground Beef. Add in 1 tablespoon of minced Garlic. Cook and stir until the meat is browned. Add the Cumin and Thyme and stir for about 1 minute.

While the Ground Beef is browning, put the remaining ingredients (vegetable broth, carrots, celery, lentils, salt and pepper) into a large pot over the stovetop.

Once the meat is browned, add it to the pot. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to medium heat and cover. Continue cooking for at least 20 minutes. I usually cook mine for at least a half hour. The thicker you want it (more stew-like), the longer you let it cook. If you want it to be more like a soup, then only cook it for about 15 minutes.

This is what is looks like after about a half hour of cooking. It's thickened up and isn't as "runny" as it was before.

And that's it! It is very tasty and it will make your house smell SO good!


*Note: The original recipe said it would make 8 servings. However, the two times that I have made it it has only made 4 servings. I know Dave and I don't eat too large of servings to I think maybe the serving amount is off because I made mine more of a thick stew and maybe the original recipe maker made theirs into a soup. That's the only thing I can think of. If you make it like I did it will probably only make about 4 servings.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monthly Subscription Series: Good & Lovely Box

Ok, . . . so I lied. In one of my last posts I said I was signed up for 3 monthly subscriptions and I guess I really was at the time that I wrote that. But as of today I'm signed up for 5!!! Whoops! I'm not going to stay signed up for all 5, don't worry! I have a pretty good idea of which ones I will be keeping but I wanted to go ahead with this series because I think some of you will be interested in learning about all of them.

Today I'm going to tell you about a brand new monthly subscription. This is the first month that I received it. It's called Good & Lovely. I LOVE the concept! It is meant to come and cheer you up when it's that time of the month. The best part of this subscription is that you get to pick when you want it shipped! Most monthly subscriptions are shipped out on a certain date. But with this plan you get to pick! I honestly had no clue when to have mine shipped (I have some messed up cycles! Haha!) so I just picked the 15th. I think I ended up getting it on the 8th or something. Which was really nice because my cycle actually started on the 5th. So I got to enjoy my box at the right time for a few days. (I guess they send your box a little early just in case?!)

Here are some details of the box. . .

"Hello Beautiful" How awesome is that?! I love opening mail and seeing such a sweet message! And check out the card! It was a handwritten letter thanking me for signing up. They had me at hello ;)

All my goodies!

Did I mention that every box will always include some sort of chocolate treat?! This month it was some chocolatey pretzel clusters from the Pretzel Perfection company. Very tasty!

I was really excited about these two products as well! On the left is some topical cramp relief lotion. I am so excited to try it next month. I didn't get to try it this month because I normally only experience cramps on the first day of my cycle and I hadn't received my box at that time. On the right is a shower tablet. You lay it on the floor in your shower and the hot water/steam melt it away which gives off a yummy therapeutic vapor. It's an aromatherapy type of thing.

More calming and relaxing treats! Some Mighty Leaf Tea and some yummy smelling aromatherapy lotion.

And lastly, some foot cream. I'm not really into foot cream but the scent - peppermint tangerine- sounds amazing. Maybe I could just use it as hand lotion? That's not too weird, right?

I really like this box! It was super fun to get during a crappy time! This monthly subscription costs 13.99 and you can cancel it at any time. To sign up, follow this link:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chicken Salad and Sunshine!

Hello! I am so behind on my blogs! I have lots of recipes to share with you but I've been super busy! I'm hoping to get caught up soon! I was looking through some pictures of food and realized that I do have one recipe that I actually created! Even if it's only chicken salad it still counts, right?!

Start with some shredded chicken. I take the easy way out and buy one of those rotissere chickens from the grocery store and just pull the meat off the bone. They have a few different seasonings to choose from. I always get the lemon pepper because I imagine that is the one with the least amount of flavor. I don't really want it to have a certain flavor (like BBQ or something) because I mix it with other things to give it flavor anyway. You can bake, grill, etc. your own chicken. I just don't b/c I'm not fond of cooking meat. I don't know if it's that I'm not good at it or if it's just that I'm too impatient to cook it.

Here's all my pulled chicken!

And here are the mix-ins. Craisins, almonds, and Vegenaise. I have no idea how much craisins I use. I just eyeball it. I use the whole pack of slivered almonds. I think it's about 2 or 2.5 oz. And I also eyeball the vegenaise. I don't like my chicken salad to be too wet. I keep mine on the dryer side. But you can make it however you want. The vegenaise is in place of mayonnaise. I'm not a fan of mayo. The smell makes me cringe. I also don't like the texture (which is probably why I keep my chicken salad on the dry side). I can handle the vegenaise a little better. It's supposed to be a little better for you too.

Ta da! It makes for an easy lunch. I eat it on crackers and usually have an apple on the side. Easy and tasty!

On another note. . . I have been painting my nails a lot lately! Which isn't normally my thing. In the past, I used to only paint my nails once or twice a year. I've probably painted my nails once a week for the last couple of months. I finally came to a conclusion. I think I've been painting my nails a lot lately because I haven't been going to the tanning bed anymore. I know that sounds really weird. But I think since I haven't had that form of sunshine/color/vitimin D, I've replaced that with painting my nails a fun color. I feel like it gives me that little rush or burst of energy that the tanning bed gives. Here are some pics I took of my nails today while I was outside enjoying this amazing whether!

It was in the 70's today and it felt great!!! I have Trout Pout by Butter London my fingers and Now You Sea Me by L'Oreal on my toes. It brightens my day a little!

My feet basking in the sun along with some dandelions my nephews picked today! I know I just said I haven't tanned in months but I think I'm going to start going again real soon. I need to get some color so I don't fry when I go to Florida in May! :)