Sunday, July 27, 2014

Citrus Lane: July 2014

*Affiliate Link Included

July's Citrus Lane came on the 18th and the reason I remember the exact day is because when we opened the box I was standing there with wet nails all ready to meet my friend for her birthday dinner.  My son squealed with happiness the second he spied this John Deere Monster Tread from Tomy.  He grabbed it and ran around the house in circles several times before coming back to me to take it out of the packaging.

Well you know how kid's packaging is!  I told him that Mommy was all ready to go out and Daddy would be home in just a few minutes to unpack it for him.  He was none too understanding about the delay!  I felt kinda bad as I watched him standing nose pressed to the door glass, anxiously holding his toy, and chanting, "Daddy open, Daddy open..."

To try and distract him a little bit, I him have the Mashups from Plum Organics we got.  Even though I think he's getting old for food pouches he continues to love them.  We go through apple sauce pouches so quickly!  He loved this one just as much as he's liked all the Plum Organics samples Citrus Lane has sent us.  I was a little surprised because both of my kids usually act like blueberries are poison!

This month we got to select the theme of the Match Stacks we got from Tree Hopper Toys.  Since my little guy is about any kind of vehicle, it only made sense to get him the transportation set.  These are really cool, like much more sturdier memory cards, they are made in the US out of sustainable hardwoods.  I love that a small company like this was included.  A set retails for $19.99.

***Please note the smudges on the discs and reusable container were "added" by my kiddo's greasy hands and this not the original pristine condition they arrived in.  I made the mistake of letting him play with them before photographing.  At least it shows that he like them!

The fourth item in our box was this Pur Protect SPF 30 by PurLisse.  This is some pretty expensive sunscreen, a full size is $55, so I thought it was very cool to get a sample size.  I'm always on the look out for a good facial moisturizer so I'm enjoying it.  Now I have heard that this brand has been in a lot of subscription boxes this season so some weren't as pleased to see it, but since I don't get that many boxes it's new to me.

At first glance, this box seemed a little light, even though the actual box was bigger than normal to make room for the John Deere toy.  However, the TOMY and Tree Hopper Toy combined add up to $30, which is more than I paid for my box and the two other items are nice extras.  This box was by far the best one as far as my son is concerned!

If you'd like to try Citrus Lane, please consider using my referral link.  I'd appreciate it!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag: Sensationally Sunkissed, July 2014

* Affiliate Link Included

This month's ipsy glam bag came earlier in the month but unfortunately mine had a mishap along it's way to me and the Befine Food Skin Care Moisturizer opened up and squired everywhere.

I contacted their customer service and a replacement was sent to me.  I decided to wait until I received it so I could let you know if the situation got resolved and it did, within the same month as the original bag so I'm pretty satisfied.

Back to the actual glam bag, it's a hot pink with scalloped edges and I think it's just perfect for summer and this season since everything has been about the neons lately.  I got five products, and four I'm pretty happy with so once again, it was a good value for the $10 subscription price.

My only gripe was with the Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 08.  At the risk of sounding clueless, which basically I am as a life long non tanner, I had no idea what this was for.  Does one put it on and then go outside and tan?  Or are you supposed to put it on your legs and it makes you look tanner?  In that case, is it a self tanning product?  Anyways, I didn't know and the product description wasn't very clear either.  I don't tan and an SPF of 08 seems like a joke and a waste of time.  I decided to not even open it and pass it along to friend, and I did it before I took a picture but it's in the top photo.

The Befine Food Skin Care Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, full size $24.00, shown at the bottom of the photo above is what opened up.  I've gotten a new one and it's light, thin lotion, that seems to work perfectly fine.  It's fragrance free but it still has a scent that reminds me a little bit of sunscreen.  I don't really care for how it smells, which has led me to be hesitant to put on my face.

Above the lotion is a POPBeauty Sunkissed Bronzer, full size $10, and I think that's what we got.  Since I don't wear it every day or even every other day this should last me a long time.  I like the color a lot, it does have a shimmer so I use a light hand when applying.  I only recently discovered this brand, during an Ulta clearance sale, and have been quite happy with the lip gloss and nail polish I bought.  I'd be happy to see more of this brand in my subscriptions!

{Hey Friends!  This is where I will insert a picture of the next two items in my bag.  It's just too late to get a decent one right now & I want to get this review of the July bag up in July so this will be updated shortly!  You can use the links below to get a look at what full size products would look like.}

At first glance the sample size of the bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow, shade: Divine Wine/full size $18, seemed so minuscule, it was laughable.  However, I now realize that a little goes a long way and it's super opaque so I will be able to get several of uses out of it.  I like to apply mine with a brush because I read your skin oils will affect the texture of a cream shadow and increase the likelihood of it creasing later on.  This is a beautiful color, although it might be a bit dark for some tastes, and I am really glad I got to try it.

My favorite item in the bag has got to be the Tints & Sass by Elizabeth Mott.  It's gives a really nice wash of color and best of all, the size included in my bag is the full size and sells for $22.99!  I have really enjoyed lip tints in the past but the Benetint's $30 price tag has held me back from purchasing another so I'm thrilled by this.  I think it works just as well, is non-sticky after drying, and layers nicely.  I won't be using it as a cheek stain so this will last me a long time.

Over all this was a successful month for me, if I could have traded products to create the ideal bag I would've preferred the Pixi Beauty Mini Tinted Brilliance Balm and the Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray in lieu of the tanning oil and moisturizer but I think with services like this it's rare, if ever, that you get everything you want.  The bronzer and Tints & Sass make it more than worth my while to subscribe!  If you'd like to start getting an ipsy glam bag each month, I'd love it if you'd use my referral link!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are You a Good Mother, Just for Fun from Kidecals

*Infographic Provided

You may remember my previous review of these Blast Off Round Labels by Kidecals.  I have found them to be really durable and like how they help ensure our little guy's belongings come back home with us.  Labels make my life easier, that's for sure!

Kidecals recently shared this fun infographic, that's both positive and reassuring.  Basically, even though we may all make different choices, we are all good mothers.  I've been having some tough days with my kiddos lately, and sometimes I need to hear that kind of thing.  I thought maybe some of my readers did too.  Since I can't reach out and give you all a pat on the back myself, I hope this will help feel the love from me to you.

Courtesy of: Kidecals


Disclosure: I was not required to share this, nor did I receive any compensation.  I thought it was a pretty neat way to show no matter what decisions we make, we are all great moms as we make the best personal choices for our children.  I just wanted to clarify that this is not sponsored.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HUGE NCircle Entertainment Summer DVD Giveaway: WIN 10 DVDS!

* PR Samples Provided
*Giveaway Sponsored by NCircle Entertainment 

Today is my daughter's eighth birthday and since she's grown up learning from and enjoying many of NCircle Entertainment's most popular titles I thought it was the perfect day to share this truly EPIC summer giveaway from them.  The winner will receive a total of TEN DVDS.  Combined they have a suggested retail value of $100!

Six brand new titles are featured in this generous giveaway from NCircle.  Here is a little bit about each one.

Sid discovers that the brain controls all kinds of actions such as walking, thinking and breathing and wants to learn more about how it works.

Join the Octonauts aboard the Octopod as they come face to face with a trio of pesky Cookiecutter sharks, look after an injured Lemon shark and stop a Whitetip shark who is chasing the Gup-A!

Join the Octonauts as they explore the world’s oceans, rescue the creatures who live there, and protect their habitats above and below the waves!

When the Cat eats the last chocolate, Nick and Sally must fly to Coco-a-licious to restock their supply. But princess Lotta-Chocka's helpers are away. Join the Cat and the kids as they make chocolate today!

The beloved and wildly successful children’s entertainment group has finally released a collection of their most popular songs, including Big Red Car, Toot Toot Chugga Chugga, The Monkey Dance and much more.  

Join the WordFriends and play a game of Hide and Seek! In this special game, the friends have to hide behind WordThings that end in “ake." BUG builds a RAKE, and PIG builds a CAKE. But SHARK is so big that it s hard for him to find a good hiding place.


In addition to the SIX brand new titles, FOUR additional NCircle Entertainment titles are also included In this giveaway to make a total of TEN DVDs that help NCircle meet their mission to provide "Entertainment that Educates".

To enter this giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.  Please make sure I have a way to reach you if you win!  The last two giveaways I've run it's been very hard to track down the winner.  To ensure I have a valid email address, make sure you sign into the widget using the email address you wish to be contacted with or if you sign in with Facebook, make sure that is associated with an email address you check!

Edited to Add: This was supposed to post yesterday the 21st, but I accidentally hit save as draft instead of publish so let's pretend this posted on Monday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, July 21, 2014

Disney on Ice: Princess & Heroes Pre-Sale Code for the Palace of Auburn Hills

*PR Materials Provided

I have exciting news!  Next October an exciting new Disney on Ice show will be coming to the Palace of Auburn Hills and wait for it...It will feature characters from FROZEN!  This is going to be one popular show!  Here is pre-sale code so you can make sure you've got tickets for the October 16-19 shows!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Disney's PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE Activities to Print, Play, and Learn!

*PR Materials Provided

Download Print & play Activities

Are your kids looking forward to seeing the new movie Planes Fire & Rescue, in theaters TODAY, as mine are?  I know a lot of you will be heading to the theaters soon, it's a great film to help keep the kids busy this summer or escape the heat!

My little guy has the first PLANES movie on Blu-Ray/DVD and a bunch of the PLANES toys so every time a commercial comes on for it, he gets very excited.  It will be so cool to see the new adventures of Dusty and meet his new friends.

Since my little guy is too young to sit through a movie in the theater, we'll have to wait a bit longer, and buy it the day it's released for home viewing, I wanted to share these cool Print & Play activities for the rest of you.

Click the image above to download.

These include a bingo game, healthy camping recipes, backyard camping tips, hidden characters sheet, and a mobile/puppet craft.  There's lot of fun activities in there!

I also have an educational activity book you can download and print.   Enjoy and have fun using both the extend the PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE fun at home!

Click either the image above or here to access. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hideaway Pets: Cuddly Pet & Pillow in One

*Review Sample Provided

We are already big fans of the adorable toys Jay at Play makes, having previously reviewed both a Happy Napper and a CuddleUppet from them.  It was exciting to hear that they've expanded their collection to add J-Animals, Tummy Stuffers Wild Ones, and HideAway Pets!

Both of my kids instantly fell in love with the Hideaway Pets and were so excited when the Hedgehog arrived at our home for review.  We think he feels so incredibly soft, you just want to give him a snuggle as soon as you pick him up.  As you can see from my seven year old holding the Hedgehog, it's a good size at 15" and is a substantially sized cuddly friend.  I think he has the sweetest little face, don't you?

Each pet also comes with a circular adventure card with their name and a fact about them.  Ours is technically named "Mama" but my kids decided that he should be renamed Harold the Hedgehog.  Don't ask, I have no idea where that came from.  But I guess they, like their own mama, like alliteration!

What makes the HideAway Pets unique, is how they also curl up to hide away.  There is a little snap that holds them in place, and in this ball like form you can even gently roll it around.  Both kids think that's super fun.  If turned the right way, with the back facing up, it even looks like a puffy round accent pillow at first glance when sitting on my daughter's bed.

The Hedgehog is also the perfect size for a little travel sized pillow for my little guy, who'll be three at the end of this month.  He thinks it so funny to take his new friend to nap time and be in bed together.  It's so cute when he turns his head and gives the Hedgehog periodic kisses on his nose.

The Hedgehog HideAway Pet was such a big hit that I think another little friend might be coming to join our family soon, so both kids will have their own.  I think the Siberian Husky is also adorable!

You can order your very own Hideaway Pet online and get this adorable Hedgehog at Toys R Us, Target, and Kmart nationwide either now or very shortly, they are starting to arrive in stores!.  Suggested retail price is $19.99.  You can also follow Hideaway Pets on Facebook and Twitter.


Disclosure: This complimentary sample was provided for review.  The experiences and opinions related within are both personal and unbiased.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Birchbox: Power Up, July 2014 ***with Update

*Affiliate Link Included

This month Birchbox teamed up with Women's Health magazine and I am really happy with how their partnership turned out for subscribers.  First of all, the box is super cute, I'm such a sucker for adorable graphics.  It almost makes me want to go exercise, almost :)

The best perk though, is that a one year subscription is included with the box!  It's worth $9.99 and you even have the option of declining and getting a refund.  If you did that, it would totally make this month's Birchbox free!  I'd rather try out the magazine, so I'm pretty happy about this!

Also sent along this month is a cute set of challenges, again like the special edition box, it's really cutely done.  There is even a chance to win a collection of July products and a trip to NYC for a beauty & fitness upgrade if you do the challenges and share them on social media.

I think this is by far the best partnership Birchbox has had so far during my subscription, really nice bonuses!

Let's start off with what's in the box, with what I'm most excited about.  This month we got to choose one of our samples.  I was originally supposed to receive a Cynthia Rowley lip gloss but since the other sample you could customize was a Ruffian nail polish, you know what I had to go with!  I selected this gorgeous metallic rose lacquer in the color Rosary, full size $10.

I normally do not like metallic polish at all but Ruffian does such a terrific job with them, they are definitely the exception to the rule.  The formula is a little on the thicker side, but this is not a drawback because each of the five nail colors I have from them are one coaters.  How awesome is that?  They apply just beautifully and are easy to work with.

Along with the polish, we also got an acetone free nail lacquer remover towelette, full size $12 for 10.  This are very handy for travel, it would have been better to get two but since this is an extra I'm not complaining!

This Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Raina, full size $11, just glides on beautifully.  I love how smoothly is applies and how comfortable it is.  It's a gorgeous navy blue, which is the shade I prefer blue eyeliner to be, having tried a brighter Chella one from my March  ipsy bag that was a bit too much for my personal taste.  While I like this a lot and will use it, it would've been nicer to get it in another color such as olive green, deep purple, or charcoal.  I already have a blue eyeliner from Birchbox that I got in my Limited Edition Modern Mermaid box.

Initially not over excited by this Harvey Prince Hello Body Creme, full size $22, I ended up being really pleased by the very subtle orange scent.  It's so nice and light feeling on the skin as well.  I love a good citrus scent, almost to the exclusion of anything else, and this is not as pow in your face as the ones I normally prefer but it's really lovely.  I want a full bottle!

This Marcelle New Age 8 in 1 Power Serum, full size $34 is currently a Birchbox exclusive, meaning that you can only buy it through them.  It sounds really good and is supposed to do some amazing things for your skin.  I have a back log of serum samples to try but since I've really liked the two or three I've worked my way through I'm sure I'll give it a go eventually.  I do really think that the serums I've been able to sample have made a difference in the overall texture of my skin but I seem to get so many samples of them, it may be awhile before I have to actually buy one.

The last sample was something I was ready to love.  I was so excited when I saw it because I've seen a lot of YouTubers rave about this product, either this version or the matte one.  It's a small tube of Luminizing Moisture Tint in Deep Bronze by Jouer, full size $38.  

I'm was so excited to try it but then I noticed the color is Deep Bronze, seriously?!  I double checked my profile, but yep, my skin tone is set to fair.  Let me be clear, this totally justifies the name DEEP as in dark.  It's way, way too dark for anyone with fair and even fair to medium skin.  I think medium skin tones would even have a hard time pulling this off.

That being said, I think it really might be an amazing product and had I gotten a better shade it might be right up there in my favorites for the month with the Ruffian polish.  Do disappointing, Birchbox fail!

Update 7/17/14: Birchbox customer service reached out to me and acknowledged that my sample was not a fit for my beauty profile, apologized, and added 100 Birchbox points to my account.  100 points = $10 so that effectively makes this month free!  I am really impressed, because it's not like I contacted them directly about this asking for them to address it.  I did mention the inappropriate color in my review of my sample so I think that's how it came to their attention.  In looking over the other reviews for this product, it seems that this happened to several other subscribers as well.  I'm impressed with how Birchbox handled the situation, in essence they refunded my money and that's great!  

So sorry to end on a downer!  Over all, this box still gets a thumbs up for me.  It's way better than last month and since the one nail polish remover towelette counts as a sample that I get to review, I'll get the equivalent of $6 back in Birchbox points so the remaining items are well worth the $4 price tag.

If you'd like to sign up for Birchbox, please consider joining by using my referral link, I'd appreciate it so much and love you forever!  {Even though I already do!}


Monday, July 14, 2014

Julep Maven: July 2014

*Referral Link Included

My monthly Julep Maven subscription box has arrived, later than in the past.  It took about a week longer than usual.  I read on some other blogs that they might have changed to a cheaper shipping service, boo to that!  I did get some Jules bonus points in addition to the loyalty points I get each month for taking a box so hopefully the delay is temporary.

This month we got to choose from their Poolside Collection and I went with my default choice Classic with a Twist because none of the box combinations really jumped out at me.  I didn't like both of any of the colors paired up.  This is the second month in a row I haven't been too excited about the combinations, click here see what I got in June, although I did end up really liking Bergen once it was on my nails.

Because I joined before they updated their service I still pay $19.99 a month but I can't customize my choices.  Customization is about $5 more per month, which I was tempted to do this time so I could get two polishes I liked and skip the lotion.  Since I don't know how exactly the customization works and you can't then go back to the previous price I didn't do it but I kind of regret it now.

Since I just mentioned the lotion I'll discuss that first.  Julep describes their Bare Body Milk ($24.00/$19.20 Maven Price) as: An ultra hydrating body lotion for thirsty skin. The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula leaves a soft, silky finish that’s not heavy or greasy, and our signature Beach Tonic fragrance lets you smell like summer all year long.

It is supposed to do the following: Milk thistle locks in moisture and helps protect against environmental factors, Olive oil delivers essential fatty acids to hydrate and repair, Grapefruit oil promotes cell turnover.  Orange peel oil brightens dry, dull skin.

I don't care for it, the smell is subtle but not for me.  I seriously can't get past the smell.  The lotion is very light, which is nice for day time moisturizing during the summer, but and when I tried using it on my legs & feet one night I didn't feel like it worked as well as the Carmex or Palmer's Coco Butter lotions I usually alternate between.  Considering how both are drug store brands and closer to a fourth of the price of Julep's lotion, I won't be switching.

Polish wise I was happier than I expected with Kelsey, a powder peach crème.  Apologies for the dry skin and cuticles in my picture for this week's Mani Monday but I was so eager to try it out I didn't stop to properly prep my hands.  It's very pretty and subtle, even though it's a peach color it feels like it's also fairly neutral, in a dainty feminine way.

The other nail color I received is Vicki, a pink flamingo crème.  In my photo above it looks much darker than it is in the bottle.  The light wasn't cooperating with me the day I took my pictures.  It is lovely and the perfect shade for summer.  It just isn't very unique or different from a lot of other pinks and I usually look for Julep to offer me something different from what's easily available locally at drug stores or places like Ulta.  This just kind of seems like a nice basic to have on hand, nothing too exciting.

This is a better view of both of the polishes that I got this month in my Julep Maven box. Both really are very nice additions to my collection, even though they aren't what I'd pick out at the store.  If you are interested in subscribing, please consider using my referral link.  I'd really appreciate it!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Mani Monday: Julep's Bergen

I got Bergen in my Julep Maven box last month and at the time I was not excited about it.  Both colors in the box felt more like fall than summer.  But then we had a week of rainy days and when I spied it in my collection it looked a lot more promising.  It's actually a fantastic grey blue that reminds me of stormy weather and the way the water looks in our Great Lakes along the shore.  It was a perfect early summer color.

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