Trail Mix

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Recently Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network invited me to participate in a challenge called the Kroger Trail Mix Face-off.  They sent me a free bag of Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels and a nice size bag of Kroger Almonds as well.  The challenge was to come up with the ultimate trail mix and to decide based on what you mixed together if you were Team Sweet or Team Savory.  On their website they even gave idea of possible sweet and savory combinations.

In my concoction I added basically everything but the kitchen sink.  I started with a ton of the Kroger mini pretzels, added some honey-flavored Teddy Grahams, Kroger Cheese Nips, caramel Crunch ‘n Munch, plain chocolate M&M’s, and wheat Chex.  I decided that in my opinion trail mix needs to be both sweet and savory.  I can’t imagine just choosing one or the other.  I think my trail mix turned out ok–my husband sure ate enough of it.  But I think it wasn’t the best trail mix ever.  I think that what it could have done without were the Teddy Grahams and the Chex.  While I enjoy both of these products on their own I feel like they just didn’t add anything to the mix to make it stand out.  The pretzels and cheese nips added a nice saltiness and the M&M’s and Crunch n’ Munch added the perfect amount of sweetness.  All ingredients were perfectly crunchy!

Again, I refused to declare myself “Team Sweet” or “Team Savory”.  I think instead I should make my own team called “Team Delicious” and I would happily be a taste-tester for any people who would like to join my team!

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Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels

I have always been a fan of Kroger pretzels.  Growing up we would eat Kroger brand food over name-brand most of the time.  A bag of these will run you just over $1 which is quite the deal.  In contrast the name brand pretzels of similar quantity run anywhere fro $2.50 a bag to $3.50.  I will choose $.99 every time as I do not believe that the name brand are substantially better if better at all.

Kroger Salted and Roasted Almonds

Kroger sent me a free 10 oz package of these almonds.  I couldn’t find the 10 oz packages in store but a 24 oz package will cost you just shy of $10–yeah I know, nuts are expensive!  But, in contrast a Blue Diamond 16 oz package costs $9.  So, the Kroger brand is by far the better value.  Unfortunately I cannot attest to the flavor difference in the Kroger vs the Blue Diamond as I do not eat nuts.  At all.  Ever.  I know I am weird.  I brought the bag of nuts to a party and I will say they definitely got eaten.  So–they must have been good.

This was yet another fun challenge given to me by Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network.  I can hardly wait to be assigned a new mission with more great products to try!

Spring-Fresh Look

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I was recently sent a a free box of beauty samples by the MyMagazine Sharing Network in conjunction with the Kroger Company.  Let me first say that I am thrilled with everything I received!  In my box I received a can of TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hair Spray, a sample pack Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer and Restorative Night Cream, a Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying 100% Hydrogel Mask, a sample-size L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara Primer, a sample of Love Beauty and Planet Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner, and a Garnier Fructis Nourishing Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask trial packet.

TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hair Spray

This is a completely new product to me.  I have used the original TRESemme hairspray many times in the past.  I have always liked the way it smelled but wasn’t always happy with the “crunchy” feeling it gave my hair.  The compressed mico mist comes in a 5.5oz can vs. 11 oz original but is reported to have the same number of sprays as in the larger can.  Not only that, it also produces 50% less gas per spray!  That is a big deal in helping out to reduce our carbon footprint.  I like the more sleek size of the can and it is also slightly contoured so it’s easy to hold.  But the most important part is that this is the first hairspray I have found that doesn’t make my hair crunchy and does what it’s supposed to do without making my hair look dirty.  I will definitely continue using this product.  This hairspray can be found at Kroger for $4.99.

Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer and Restorative Night Cream

I was happy to see this product in my box as I had just run out of my moisturizer.  I actually already use the Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer.  What I like about it is that it is SPF 30 and it leaves my skin feeling smooth but not greasy.  The Restorative Night Cream was new to me.  I have been putting it on in the evening and I think perhaps my forehead does look a little less wrinkly but I feel like I end up a little greasy.  I also have never been very fond of the way these smell.  Both the Daily Moisturizer as well as the Night Cream sell at Kroger for $19.99 which is a bit steep.  I think I will continue to use the daily moisturizer but probably won’t purchase the restorative night cream.  That is unless after I use this whole sample I change my mind about the grease factor.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying 100% Hydrogel Mask

IMG_1089IMG_1027I loved this Neutrogena Deep Cleaning Hyrogel Mask! I have never used a hydrogel mask before and honestly didn’t even know they existed. Before I have used mud masks that you wash off or gel masks that go on as liquid and you peel off when they’re dry. What I loved about this mask was that the hydrogel was so cool which felt wonderful to leave on my face for 30 minutes while I relaxed in the tub. It also smelled great. After removing the mask it left no sticky residue and my skin was soft and supple.  I have not been able to find this product at Kroger yet (maybe it’s too new) but I was able to find it on Amazon (affiliate link) for $30 for a box of 12.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara Primer

I have used this product in the past and have really liked it.  You apply this white mascara primer and follow it up with your normal mascara.  The primer helps to lengthen the eyelash prior to mascara application.  I have also found that it helps reduce smudging.  I have also found that it is not any harder to wash off my mascara when I use this which is a plus.  The only negative I see is that it does give the lashes somewhat of a clumped together appearance.  A full-size tube of this mascara primer can be found at Kroger for $6.19.

Love Beauty and Planet Lavender Shampoo and ConditionerIMG_1404

I was thrilled when I learned about Love Beauty And Planet and that it is available at Kroger. I try hard to use beauty products that do not test on animals and are vegan but those type of products can get expensive. This brand is a very good price for something that is vegan, earth-friendly and cruelty-free! The scent I tried was Lavendar which is overly perfumey to me but fortunately it didn’t leave the scent in my hair, I was only able to smell it while I was washing my hair. It lathered easy and both the shampoo and conditioner rinsed out quickly. My hair was left feeling cleaner than it has felt in a long time and it lasted a full 24 hours. My hair is usually greasy before 24 hours have passed. Overall I loved this product and am looking forward to purchasing a full-size bottle of shampoo and conditioner in the Coconut and Ylang Ylang scent.  You can currently find Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo and Conditioner for $6.99 each at Kroger.

Garnier Fructis Nourishing Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask

IMG_6108And last but most certainly not least is this Garnier Fructis “Nourishing Treat” Hair Mask.  I have always loved Fructis products as they always smell divine.  This one is no exception.  The coconut extract smells amazing and is perfect for the summertime as it reminds me of the beach.  You can use this in three different ways: a 1 minute mask, a regular conditioner, or as a leave-in conditioner.  I used it as a mask and it did exactly what it promised which was to smooth my hair and make it manageable.  Best of all this product is vegan and does not use parabens or silicones.  I would definitely use this product again.  You can find a 3 oz tub at Kroger for $3.

 

Have you tried any of these products?  What did you think?

Anything For Your Pet

I recently was assigned a really valuable mission by the MyMagazine Sharing Network.  This mission was called “Anything for your Pet” and they sent me a whole bunch of awesome dog treats and foods to try for free!  IMG_1338I received:

  • ONE (1) Free Nature’s Recipe® Wet Dog Food, 2.75 oz.
  • ONE (1) Free Pup-Peroni® Dog Snacks, 5.6 oz.
  • ONE (1) Free Blue Buffalo® Chicken & Brown Rice, 4 oz. or ONE (1) Free Blue Buffalo Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice, 4 oz.
  • ONE (1) Free Coupon for Purina ONE® True Instinct Trios Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Free Coupon for Purina® Beneful® Grain Free or Select 10™ Premium Dog Food
  • ONE (1) Free Coupon for Nudges® Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $2 Coupon for Nudges Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Pass-along 75¢ Coupon for Pup-Peroni Dog Snacks, 5.6 oz.
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $2 Coupon for Purina Beneful Grain Free or Select 10™ Premium Dog Food
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $1 Coupon for Purina ONE True Instinct Trios Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $4 Coupon for Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food, 15 lbs. or larger
  • ONE (1) Pass-along 50¢ Coupon for Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food, 2.75 oz.

IMG_1456Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Wet Dog Food

It seems like “grain free” dog food is all the rage these days.  I myself have not tried grain-free for my dogs.  A lot of people swear by it and say it really has helped their pet’s digestion.  This product received really great reviews online.

A container of this wet dog food costs about $1 at Kroger and it is 2.75 ounces.  On the container it says to feed an adult dog 2-3 2.75 oz cups of this food per 5 pounds of body weight daily.  So, I have three dogs whose combined weight would equal 84 pounds.  So if I followed their feeding instructions that would be almost 17 packages of this food a day and at $1 a pop we’re talking $17 a day for dog food!  Yikes!

The high price tag was an instant turn-off for me.  Not only that, I cannot stand the way canned meat smells when I open it–it absolutely turns my stomach.  So, I probably won’t be feeding this to my dogs.  I think I will stick to kibble.  I do believe if one of my dogs were really sick and not wanting to eat that the smell of wet dog food would really motivate them to eat.  So maybe I will hang on to it just in case one of my dogs is ever sick and refusing food.

 Pup-Peroni Original Beef Flavor Dog Snack

I received a 5.6 oz package of these treats to try–a $2.99 value.  Our new dog absolutely loves the Pup-peroni Original Flavor. I rescued this pup off the street and at first he was very nervous in my house. I was able to easily win him over with some Pup-peroni. He will get into his crate without complaint and no-hassle whatsoever as long as he is lured with some Pup-peroni. I also like the way these smell–it reminds of of beef jerky so it’s not at all gross to smell when I am giving it to my dogs!  This is a brand I already used prior to getting a sample from Kroger, but it is also a brand I will continue to use!

Nudges Natural Dog Treats Soft BakesFullSizeRender 2

A 10 oz. package of these treats will cost you $5.99 at Kroger and can be found in two varieties there: Chicken, sweet potato, and carrots, and chicken and blueberry.  My dogs love these Nudges Natural Dog Treats Soft Bakes in the chicken, sweet potato, and carrots variety. The treats themselves smell like oatmeal cookies to me so they don’t leave an unpleasant odor on my fingers after I have given them to my dogs. The treats are very soft like a cookie and bread apart very easily so I can split the treat into halves or fourths for my doggies. They love them so much that one of my dogs keeps trying to get on top of the cabinet where I store them! I am glad to have discovered this brand through the MyMagazineSharing Network!

My new foster dog absolutely loves the Pup-peroni Original Flavor. I rescued this pup off the street and at first he was very nervous in my house. I was able to easily win him over with some Pup-peroni. He will get into his crate without complaint and no-hassle whatsoever as long as he is lured with some Pup-peroni. I also like the way these smell–it reminds of of beef jerky so it’s not at all gross to smell when I am giving it to my dogs!

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

I received a 4 oz package of the Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe kibble for puppies to try.  We have a new dog who is about a year old so not quite a puppy but closer to a puppy than my other two knuckle-headed dogs.  A 3 lb. bag of this dog food is $7.99 at Kroger so certainly a better value than the Nature’ Recipe wet dog food, although I believe kibble is generally more affordable than wet dog food anyhow.  Blue Buffalo has a reputation for high-quality.  This formula boasts protein-rich chicken with no poultry byproducts.  It also claims to be corn, wheat, and soy free and also claims to only have whole grains.  This is a pretty big deal in the dog food world as many dog food’s primary ingredient is corn and chicken byproducts.  I think if you really value your pet’s health and can afford it than this dog food is a good choice.  My dog ate it right up and didn’t have any noticeable stomach issues.

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Purina One True Instinct Trios

I received a 5 oz package of these Purina One True Instinct Trios to give to my dogs.  The Trio I received was Chicken, Turkey, and Duck but it also comes in a trio of Chicken, Beef, and Lamb.  It sells for about $4.49 at Kroger.  The treats are about 1.5″ long and are soft enough to break apart.  They are a nice protein-rich treat and as a bonus–they are made in the USA!  My dogs definitely liked these.  As you can see, my package is empty, they didn’t last long!

Purina Beneful Select 10

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I received a 4.5 lb bag of this Purina Beneful Select 10 dog food with farm-raised beef, a $7.99 value.  I like this price point the best of all of the dog foods that I was given to try.  This particular brand claims that “every ingredient has a purpose” and boasts that it does not contain corn, potatoes, wheat, or animal byproducts.  So, again that is a pretty big deal for dog food.  My dogs are still working on this bag of food.  I am currently mixing it in with my dog’s other dog food as it is not healthy to switch completely to a new food quickly.  So far they seem to be enjoying it.  I think it’s worth keeping up with once their current dog food runs out to see how well they like this one in comparison.

 

All in all this was a pretty amazing mission that I did.  I received almost $20 worth of free products to try and tons of coupons to use in the future.  I also passed along extra coupons to my aunt who volunteers with a rescue group.  I am pretty sure those coupons will come in handy for them!

Have any of you all tried these products?  Let me know what you think!

The Fresh Side of Private Selection

As part of the MyMagazine Sharing Network I was invited to participate in “The Fresh Side of Private Selection” mission.  Private Selection is Kroger’s high-end store brand products.  They include such things as produce, frozen foods, meats, and other artisan-inspired products.  I have always found Private Selection products to be of good quality and it’s a brand I frequently buy.  This particular mission focused on trying out Private Selection produce items.

My mission kit included Private Selection Swag (vegetable ribbon slices, an apron and four recipe cards).  It also included a coupon for a free Private Selection produce product to try, six discount coupons for Private Selection produce like mushrooms, petite potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce for me to try and 12 coupons for the same type of products to pass along to friends.  Here are my thoughts on each of the Private Selection items I chose.

Private Selection Navel Oranges
Private Selection Navel Oranges

Private Selection Navel Oranges: $4.99 (free with my coupon)

For the last few years I have had a hard time finding good oranges. They have been not very juicy, the pulp has been pale and they have just lacked flavor all-around. Not so with these Private Selection Navel Oranges! As you can see from my picture they have a vibrant orange pulp, are ultra juicy and they are also bursting with flavor. My only complaint is they are more of a sweet flavor with very little tang which I prefer in my oranges. That being said, these are heads and shoulders above what I have been finding in the store these last few years.

Private Selection Purple Potatoes: $2.50

I love that Kroger has these 1.5 pound bags of petite potatoes–they are the perfect size for a side dish for dinner for four people. Purple potatoes are hard to find but now that Private Selection has them I get to make them more often! The purple potatoes have such a nutty and rich flavor. They are perfect roasted with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.IMG_1408

Private Selection Gourmet Blend Mushrooms: $3.99

This is a blend of shitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms which comes sliced in a 4 oz. package.  We used these mushrooms in a chicken marsala dish that we made and I highly recommend them.  They cooked down nicely without getting squishy.

IMG_1382Private Selection Artisan Lettuce: $2.99

This is a 17 ounce package of four heads of artisan lettuce.  The varieties it includes are Sweet Gem, Tango, and Oak.  This package of lettuce was excellent as it offered a variety–you can use just one type at a time or if you are making a mixed salad you can blend all three varieties.  All varieties were nice and crisp and what is especially nice about this package of Artisan Lettuce is that it lasted several days without wilting a bit.  That is something that I frequently struggle with.  I will definitely buy this lettuce again.

IMG_1381Private Selection Mini Seedless Cucumbers: $2.49

This package of mini seedless cucumbers was great.  The cucumbers are so small, roughly the size of a whole Clausen pickle.  We used these sliced and put into a garden salad.  The slices were the perfect size, about the diameter of a quarter which didn’t require any additional cutting while in the salad itself.  We also used these little guys in our water infusers to make cucumber water.  I love cucumber and these were no exception.  I will likely purchase them again due to their manageable size and freshness.

Private Selection Campari Tomatoes: $3.99

I had not tried these Campari tomatoes before.  It came in a one pound package and the tomatoes are still on the vine.  I thought these tomatoes had exception flavor and color.  They were very red and you could tell they were picked at the peak of their perfection instead of picking too early and waiting for them to ripen.  Not only that, they have continued to hold up in my refrigerator as I didn’t use them all at one time.  The flavor of the tomatoes is great and was ideal for salad as well as making pico de gallo out of.

All in all I would say I am very pleased with all of these Private Selection produce items.  I can’t even find one complaint.  I will certainly continue to purchase all of these products!

 

Ripple Nutritious Pea Milk

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I received an interesting mission from the MyMagazine Sharing Network the other day.  They asked if any milk-drinkers would be interested in trying a new non-dairy milk product called Ripple.  It is a Pea Protein Milk which I had actually never heard of before.  I have tried soy milk and I have tried almond milk, so why not try this?  I am a big animal rights supporter and it would be nice if I could find a good alternative to cow’s milk so that I can eliminate it from my diet–or at least eliminate it as much as possible.

I received a coupon to try a free 48 ounce container of Ripple Nutritious Pea Milk and two pass-along coupons to give to friends.  At Kroger the varieties they had were the Unsweetened Original and Chocolate milk.  It comes in a Sweetened Original, a Sweetened Vanilla, and an Unsweetened Vanilla variety as well, but Kroger did not have those in store at the time of this post.  We chose to try the Unsweetened Original flavor.

Let me first say that I have never been much of a milk drinker.  I don’t really like the way it tastes–unless I drink it while I am eating chocolate! After a few days of the milk being opened it starts to get a scent which turns my stomach.

Because I don’t drink milk straight up I got this Ripple to try in my cereal and in smoothies.  When I opened it I gave it a sniff and it smelled like nothing.  I gave it a taste which also tasted like nothing.  So far so good.  I put it in my Cinnamon Toast Crunch and it got my cereal wet without adding any flavor which I appreciated it.  My husband added a cup to his fruit smoothie and declared it also had no taste–so it was a good thing to have in his smoothie if you are looking for protein without the flavor.

So let’s break down the nutrition versus 2% milk.

Ripple Pea Milk in Original Unsweetend contains 70 calories a cup while 2% milk contains 130 calories.  Ripple and 2% go head to head on grams of fat with Ripple containing 4.5 and 2% containing 5 grams.  Unsweetened Ripple contains 0 carbohydrates and 0 grams of sugar vs. 2% containing 11 grams of each.  As far as protein goes again Ripple and 2% are head to head with Ripple containing 8.5 grams and 2% containing 9 grams.  So as far as nutritional value goes, I would say Ripple has 2% beat.

Here’s the kicker though… a 48 ounce container of Ripple at Kroger costs $4.49 while a gallon (128 ounces!) of 2% milk at Kroger is only $.99!  So, cow’s milk is much more economical.  Now, I can stand the price point I suppose if I am only using a splash of it every morning in my cereal, but if you are talking about baking with it or drinking it straight up, you are going to go through that 48 ounces really quickly and then have to shell out another $4.49 which can really add up.

The only other drawback for me with Ripple was the texture.  It has a kind of syrupy consistency which reminds me of soy milk.  I do not like that consistency at all as it tends to stick to things more which I don’t like!  I basically just want my cereal to be wet but I want to be able to drain out the milk.  Lol.  So for me, I probably wouldn’t continue using Ripple on my cereal because it does not meet my most basic need.

But, if texture doesn’t bother you too much I recommend you give it a try at least.  Ripple boasts that it is high protein, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, lactose-free.  So if all of those things are a big deal to you then go for it!  Ripple also has a Greek Yogurt alternative…I wouldn’t mind trying that!

MyMagazine Sharing Network

 

MyMagazineSharingNetwork
MyMagazineSharingNetwork

 

I was recently invited to be a part of a group of brand-influencers called the MyMagazine Sharing Network.  My Magazine is a magazine put out by the Kroger company.  You can create an account at https://mymagazinesharing.socialmedialink.com and from there you are assigned “missions” which you can choose to accept or not.  The missions usually involve them sending you a product to try or coupons to purchase a product at Kroger to try–as well as coupons to pass along to your friends and family.  Once you try the product you generally link to social media and post pictures and reviews which earns you points.  The more points you get the more likely you are to be selected for future mission.

 

Are you an avid social media user who enjoys trying new things?  You should consider joining!  MyMagazineSharing Network

Dr. Praeger’s Fish Taco Bites

I was recently invited to be a part of a group of brand-influencers called the My Magazine Sharing Network.  My Magazine is a magazine put out by the Kroger company.  You create an account at https://mymagazinesharing.socialmedialink.com and from there you are assigned “missions” which you can choose to accept or not.  The missions usually involve them sending you a product to try or coupons to purchase a product at Kroger to try–as well as coupons to pass along to your friends and family.  Once you try the product you generally link to social media and post pictures and reviews which earns you points.  The more points you get the more likely you are to be selected for future mission.

I love free stuff so I figured why not?

Dr. Praeger's Fish Taco Bites
Dr. Praeger’s Fish Taco Bites

My first mission was “Diving into Dr. Praeger’s Seafood.”  MyMagazine Sharing Network sent me a box that had a mission description card, a Dr. Praeger’s elastic, a Dr. Praeger’s sticker, a coupon for a free Dr. Praeger’s product (the product I chose was $5.29 at Kroger) and several $1 off “pass-along” coupons to give to my friends and family so they can also try Dr. Praeger’s.

Dr. Praeger’s recently came out with a line of seafood products so my free coupon gave me the choice of Seafood Burgers, Fish Taco Bites or Lightly Breaded Fishies.  The first time I went to Kroger to look for it they didn’t have any–I think the product was just too new.  The next week I went and they had a few products to choose from.  I chose the Fish Taco bites because they remind me of chicken nuggets–a very kid-friendly food.  Since I have a one year old I wanted to give him something easy to pick up and also fairly healthy.  My husband and I are dieting so this was also a fairly healthy choice.

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The preparation couldn’t have been any easier.  I simply popped the fish taco bites into the toaster oven, turned them over after ten minutes and then after 20 minutes of total cooking time they were finished.

So how were they?  Well the fish taco bites are breaded with tortilla chips and they have a little jalapeno in them as other southwest flavors.  Biting into them was pleasant–they had a good crunch to them.  Upon biting into them I found that the fish inside was ground up and mixed with other ingredients.  I don’t know why but I expected these to be solid hunks of fish that were breaded.  The inside actually has a texture more consistent with a crab cake.

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I found the flavor itself to be good, not too spicy but also not boring. The texture for me was just so-so. Because of the “crab cake” consistency I found it to be a little mushy. Overall though I would say they were good. My baby had a few bites but didn’t seem to care for them. To be fair, he’s going through a phase where he only wants to eat goldfish and mac ‘n cheese.

So would I eat them again and recommend them to others?  Maybe.  The Fish Taco Bites for me seemed more like a snack food than an actual meal–but would probably make a good meal for a kid who likes fish sticks.  I think I would like to try the seafood burgers or the Fishies if they have them in stock before I would buy these again.

This was a fun “mission” and I am looking forward to completing upcoming missions and sharing them with all of you.

Have you tried any Dr. Praeger’s products?  Let me know what you think.

#MyMagazineSharing #FreeSamp

Petit Vour Subscription Box Review April 2016

Disclosure: I purchased this box with my own money and was not paid to review this box.  However, if you purchase this subscription box using a link from this site, I will receive in-store credit to Petit Vour.  All opinions are my own.

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I love makeup and beauty products and am slowly making the transition to cruelty-free.  For me, cruelty-free is becoming a passion, but it is a constant challenge for me to discern when companies truly do or don’t test on animals.  I happened upon Petit Vour’s subscription box when I was reading reviews on all of the beauty boxes out there.  Petit Vour is a site which provides luxury vegan, non-toxic, and cruelty-free beauty products.  Petit Vour offers a monthly subscription box costing $15 USD (or $23 in Canada) which boasts over $35 worth of products in each box.

Each box contains a card detailing what’s included, how to use the products, and how much the products are worth.

 

card

 

The theme for this month was “Pretty Fantastique” but I only wish the box was just as fantastic.  Don’t get me wrong, I got valuable stuff, it just wasn’t my favorite box.

Full Size Eye Shadow!
Full Size Eye Shadow!

100% PURE Fruit Pigmented Satin Eye Shadow:  This was this month’s full-size product and is valued at $25.  The color I received was “Bahama” and it arrived just in time for my cruise to the Bahamas!  What cool timing!  This is a nice cream eyeshadow made with fruit pigments.  What I liked about it was the nice neutral color and the summery shimmer.  I applied the shadow with my finger which kinda got to be a mess since it would often get under my nails when I dipped them in the pot.  It went on smoothly but when it came to lasting power, I was let down.  Like all other cream eye shadows I have encountered, it starts to settle into the eye creases within an hour and looks clumpy so I am not too happy with that.  I don’t recommend using this as an all over eyelid color due to the clumping factor.  I think this eyeshadow would work great as a nice highlight for underneath the eyebrow, though and I will definitely keep using this to that end.

Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm
Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm

URSA MAJOR Fortifying Face Balm:  This was a nice sample-size face lotion (valued at $9.50, full-size is $36) so it was ideal for taking on vacation.  A little of this goes a long way, so don’t overdo it.  It is a pretty thin lotion which is good because it feels breathable and didn’t clog my pores.  Unfortunately it smelled almost identical to my Suki Transformative Mask from last month which I did not like at all.  I will use the rest of this sample but will not likely repurchase.

kumari

KUMARI River Bath and Body Oil:  This is a .5 fl oz “sample” of this oil, but I think the size is great and will last a really long time.  It has a little dropper and you can use a few drops in your bath or apply to your skin after a shower when your skin is still moist.  This is a blend of lavender, mint and chamomile, so it is a very relaxing scent, great for applying before bedtime.  I don’t really take baths because my tub stopper is broken and I don’t use much in the way of oil, so I probably won’t get much use out of this, even though I like it.  I do have an aromatherapy diffuser…I wonder if I could use this in there?  I think I may have to try that out.

juara

JUARA Hand & Nail Balm:  This is a .27 oz sample size worth $2.50, the full-size is $25.  I really liked this hand cream.  I often have dry hands due to my job and this provided a great boost of hydration without a greasy feeling.  It smelled just like coconut which got me in the mood for my vacation and made me excited to go to the beach.  I may have to buy a full bottle of this when the winter rolls around and my hands start to dry out again.  I think this would be great in the winter because it could be a constant reminder of sunny weather!

Overall this month’s box was valued at $45.50–what a great value considering I only spent $15.  I liked a lot of the products but wasn’t blown away by any one thing.  I am at least glad that I will use these products and they won’t end up in the trash.

Interested in a Petit Vour box of your own?  Click here!

My first LE TOTE was Le Awesome

Disclaimer: I pay for this subscription myself, all opinions are my own.

April 2016 Le Tote

I am by no means a fashionable person and therefore clothes shopping is very much a chore for me that I avoid like the plague.  Recently I was introduced to subscription clothing services where a stylist picks clothes for you and ships them to you, then you try the clothes on and buy what you want to keep.  Well, I’m not one for spending a bunch of money on clothes but while I was researching these subscription services, I found a clothing rental subscription called Le Tote and I decided to give it a try.  This review focuses on my first month of Le Tote.  To learn more about Le Tote and the subscription process check out my information blog post–What is Le Tote and How Does it Work?

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The Basics:

For $59/month you are sent three clothing items and two accessories at a time.  Le Tote provides free two-day shipping both ways.  You can wear the clothes that they send you for as long or as little as you want.  Once you’re done wearing the clothes you just send them back in a prepaid mailer sack.  Once Le Tote has received your returned items they will immediately process a new tote to send out.  You can receive and return totes as many times as you want throughout the month for no additional charge.  Le Tote also gives you the option to buy the clothing if you love it–you get it for a discount price.  Please keep in mind that all of the clothes in this review were selected for me based upon a style profile I filled out on Le Tote’s site, anything you receive in your tote will be geared towards your preferences.

Tote #1

I’m a pretty casual girl throughout the work week–I wear scrubs to work so I don’t need cute work clothes.  I do like some nicer casual clothes and sometimes dresses to wear on the weekends and for dates with my husband.  In my first tote I received a denim jacket, two tops and two sets of earrings.

Blue Pattern ShirtThe first top I received was by Summer & Sage (retail$58, Le Tote Price $44).

I really liked the color of this shirt–it’s a navy blue color with a satiny polyester front and a jersey back.  This top looked really nice on its own but would look even better under a jacket due to the width of the sleeves.  The sizing was perfect and I definitely enjoyed wearing this top.

cream shirt
The second top I received was by Noir (retails $68, LT price $39).  Like the top above, this had a jersey knit back but this one had a cute lace overlay in the front with the lace looking a lot like clam shells.  I really liked the neutral cream color, the fit was perfect and the effect was slimming.  I wore this shirt a few times, once on its own and once with the jacket below.

 

jacket
I really love the way denim jackets look so I was excited to receive this Kut From the Kloth jacket (retails $79, LT Price $60) Though I love the way denim jackets look I always have a hard time deciding what kind of pants to wear with them! The dark fabric of this jacket I think would have looked good with many varieties of colors but I had a hard time making it work with my current selection of pants in my wardrobe. The jacket fit great but it was a little stiff to move in. It also smelled pretty funky, kinda like a warehouse. I’m not sure if that’s the dry cleaning LT uses or if the jacket had indeed been sitting in a warehouse for a while.

 

white earrings teal earrings

The accessories I received this time were both earrings.  At first I was a little hesitant wearing earrings that someone else has worn before but they are supposedly disinfected by Le Tote before they are sent out.  All-in-all I was pretty happy to receive a few pairs of earrings because that’s the accessory I wear the most.

The cream-colored earrings were by French Connection (retail $24, LT price $19).  I enjoyed the simplicity of these earrings and their versatility due to the neutral color.  I wasn’t thrilled with the earrings themselves just because the stones seemed pretty oddly shaped, they were not symmetrical and had some sharp edges.

The aqua earrings were by Noir Luxe (retail $24, LT price $16).  These were pretty big earrings but were not overly heavy so I happily wore them.  They looked great with the cream top above because they really added a pop of color to that neutral shirt.

Overall I felt like the first tote was pretty successful–I was willing to wear everything the tote included!  I decided not to purchase any of the items I received in this tote so I packed it up and shipped it back.

Tote #2

Unfortunately, I returned my first tote on a Monday and it took until the following Monday to receive my next tote, despite the two-day shipping each way!  What I learned is that once USPS scans the returning package, Le Tote begins to process a new tote which they send you a preview of.  You have 48 hours to either approve the tote or to switch out articles of  clothing if you choose to.  I think that’s pretty neat that you’re able to swap out stuff that maybe just isn’t your style or might not work for the weather you may be having in your city.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I had to click “finalize tote” when I selected my new clothes so it waited the full 48 hours to ship.  I won’t make that mistake again!

drapecardigan
The first item I received was a drape cardigan by Max Studio (retail $98 eek!!, LT price $74). I will first say that the garment was of quality construction but I would never spend that much money on a cardigan. This cardigan was selected for me by Le Tote but unfortunately it really didn’t work for me. It was very long in the front (which I know is the style) and had weird draping. The length of the cardigan really didn’t work for my body-type as I am very short and have a small frame. This cardigan swallowed me whole! I definitely did not wear this out in public, but I did wear it around the house because it was cold inside and the sweater was cozy.

bluesweater
The second item I received was one that I requested to have put in my tote which was this periwinkle sweater with a diamond pattern. I regretted most of the items that I personally chose for my tote for the sheer fact that I chose all sweaters and the week I received the tote it ended up being so warm outside that I really didn’t wear my sweaters for long! This sweater was by LA Made (retail $58, LT price $46) and I did really love the fit of this sweater and even wore it for a family portrait, so I’m hoping it photographs well!

greysweater The last clothing item I received in this tote was this grey pullover sweater by Summer & Sage (retail $72, LT price $58).  I really liked the textured dots on it and I know you can’t see it in this picture but it had zippers on the sides which was a cute detail.  This sweater layered well over a tank top without adding bulk and overall I felt like it was very flattering.

tartanscarf
I received two accessories with this tote, a blue plaid scarf and some simple silver studs.  The plaid scarf by AVA (retail $38, LT price $30) was very large but when folded it compacted nicely.  I’m going through a Scottish phase right now–so anything plaid I am obsessed with.  Unfortunately since it was so warm the week I had this tote, I was unable to wear the scarf!

silverearring

As for the earrings by Octavia & Co. (retail $14, LT price $9) I was able to wear these to work since they were so simple.  I rarely wear earrings to work so it was nice to be able to have something simple and cute to wear.  The metal was a little faded in appearance and it was hard for me to tell if that was from excessive use or if the earrings were supposed to have an antique look.

Overall the second tote was really great in style but it wasn’t my most successful tote due to the weather!

 

Tote #3

Once I figured out the trick of “finalizing my tote” the process of receiving my tote was much faster.  I returned tote #2 on a Monday and received my third and final tote for the month on a Friday, just in time for the weekend.  This time I ended up exchanging a lot of the clothes that were initially picked for me since I paid attention to what the weather was going to be like that week.  Also, I added a pair of jeans to my tote (they originally picked all sweaters and tops for me) because I was really wanting to try some of Le Tote’s bottoms and see how well the sizing would work.

pinkshirtandjeans
The jeans I received were Levi’s (retail $54, LT price $44) and in the tote they even came with a tip booklet on how to cuff jeans.  These jeans really seemed brand new, like no one had worn them before me.  I loved the dark color and the fit was perfect.  There was some stretch to the jeans but not so much that by the end of the evening they would lose their shape.  I ended up liking these jeans so much that I ended up buying them–I was desperately in need of some new jeans!

The first top I received was by French Connection (retail $48, LT price $38) and was a simple loose-fitting pocket tshirt made of polyester.  It was very breathable and the pink color was vibrant.  My husband thought this top was really cute and I had to agree.  I didn’t end up keeping it though, but it was nice to wear for a day!

patternshirt
The second clothing item I received was a polyester shirt by Noir (retail $60, LT Price $48).  It looks black in pictures but it’s really a navy blue color with a geometric print.  I was very pleased with this top as it fit nicely and it was much cuter in person than on Le Tote’s website and indeed in my own picture.

ring
I also chose to receive an open pave ring by Camilla (retail $24, LT price $18).  The ring had two clovers–one rhinestone and one black.  I was able to squeeze this ring together to fit my slender fingers.  I thought it was a pretty unique ring and it could definitely work with several different outfits.  I feel like $18 for a simple ring is a little too pricey though.

brokenearrings
The final item I received in this tote was the only item I was disappointed with. It was a pair of earrings with feathers in clusters by Clement (retail $20, LT price $16).  I initially really liked the earrings because they were pretty unique but when I went to take the earrings off to grab a picture, I noticed that one of them was falling apart.  I flipped the earrings over to look at the back (pictured here) and it appears that someone has previously tried to repair these earrings…it almost looks like they tried to solder it back together.  I’m not sure if it was someone who was previously renting these earrings that tried to repair them or if it was Le Tote trying to repair them.  Either way I was pretty unhappy with it–you would think if something was in questionable condition that Le Tote would not keep it in circulation.  I promptly emailed Le Tote to tell them of the problem, just in case they tried to blame me for the broken earrings.  I never heard back from them!

All in all, I really loved my first month of Le Tote.  For $59 I received four shirts, three sweaters, a jacket, a ring, a scarf, and four pairs of earrings–and I didn’t have to launder any of them!!  The process of sending and receiving totes was super easy and fairly quick once I figured out how to do it correctly.  I am already looking forward to my second month of totes.

Are you interested in trying Le Tote yourself?  I have two free totes to give away or you can sign up here.  Have any of you all tried Le Tote?  How do you think it compares to services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What is Le Tote and How Does it Work?

Discolsure: I pay for this subscription myself and all opinions are my own.   

By now many of you have likely heard of subscription services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.  I was interested in doing a subscription clothing service but I don’t like paying a whole lot of money to buy clothes so I was hesitant.  Then I heard about this service called LE TOTE which is a monthly clothing rental service.  So you get the benefit of having a constantly revolving wardrobe without making any major purchasesSCORE!

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The cost per month is $59 (or if you choose the maternity option it’s $69/month) which includes two day shipping both ways.  In each tote you will receive three clothing items and two accessories.  Wear the clothes and accessories as much as you like and when you’re finished don’t even bother washing it–just shove it in the prepaid mailer and put it in your mailbox.  Once Le Tote has received your old box of clothes they’ll send you out a new one immediately.  You can receive and return boxes as many times you want in a month (time allowing) and it’s all included in that same $59 fee.

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Getting signed up is easy.  First you will take a survey that will give Le Tote’s stylists a feel for your basic style and clothing sizes.  The survey will also ask things like what colors, prints, jewelry types and clothing types never to send you.  For example; my wrists are tiny so I asked to never receive bracelets.  Never fear–if your tastes and size change over time, you’re always able to update your style profile.  After you’re signed up you can also browse all of Le Tote’s clothing and “heart” items that you want to add to your closet.  The stylists will oftentimes pull clothes from your closet or choose similar items.

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Once you receive your tote and try everything on you can get online and rate how well you liked the items and if they fit or not.  You can even attach pictures of how you look in your clothes and this will further give the stylists an idea of what to include (or not to include) in your next totes.

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You’re probably wondering if you have any control over what they send you with each tote, and the answer is YES.  Before they send you out a new tote you are able to preview what they’re sending you and swap anything out that you don’t want.  This feature comes in really handy especially between seasons when it’s likely hard for the stylists to decide whether to send you warm weather or cold weather clothing.  But…it does take some of the fun out of getting a surprise tote!

So say you find something in your tote you can’t bear to part with–you buy it.  Le Tote offers their members a discounted price on the clothes in the tote and if you end up buying all five items in your tote, you get a month for free!  To purchase the item, simply don’t return it with the rest of your tote and your card will be charged.

What’s nice about Le Tote is that you’re able to put your subscription on hold for a week or even a month at a time without being charged.  You’re also able to cancel at any time without being charged a fee, but you’ll have to make a phone call to cancel.

Has anyone else tried Le Tote or any other clothing subscription service?  I’ve got two free totes to give away so if you’re interested, reply below!