Memebox

Memebox

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Home Chef (05-15-15)


Home Chef's mission is to make cooking fresh food at home as easy as possible.  Their chefs shop for you and plan your meals, allowing you to choose from a new menu every week.   They offer a meal delivery service that includes all of the fresh ingredients and instructions needed to cook restaurant quality meals for 2, 4 or 6 people in the comfort of your own kitchen.   They eliminate recipe and food hunting by sending you a flavor-packed kit along with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, turning you into a top chef.

My husband and I love to cook our own homemade meals throughout the week, usually repeats... chili, spaghetti, soups, grilled meats and veggies.  But this enables us to take it a step further and make delicious dinners that we wouldn't think to just make on the fly.  With Home Chef, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I selected three meals from seven or eight that they offered to me, and Home Chef sent me the recipes and all of the ingredients... vacuum-sealed meats, fresh veggies and herbs, and anything else I should need.

The first meal I chose to create was the Shrimp Maki Sushi Roll with Wasabi, Soy Sauce and Sriracha, for two reasons... one, I didn't think the shrimp would last the longest in the fridge even with the vacuum-sealing.  Two... OHMIGOSH!  How much fun would it be to make my own sushi!!!

I started prepping the meal by THINLY slicing the cucumbers lengthwise into quarter-inch cubed strips.  The cream cheese was a little too sticky so I put it in the freezer to firm up.  I cut the shrimp in half lengthwise.  Then I mixed the wasabi for dipping.  I then cooked the rice and folded in rice vinegar, lying it on some aluminum foil to cool.  I put the shrimp into the pot to cook for two to three minutes and set to finally cutting the cream cheese.  UNFORTUNATELY... during that time I nearly forgot about my shrimp.  So they may have cooked a tad too long, but they were fine.  A litter firm, but okay.

After everything cooled, I got my dish of water ready and started filling the nori wrappers with the rice.  That water was very important to keep the rice from sticking to my fingers.  Then I added cucumber, chives, cream cheese and shrimp, wetted the end of the nori paper, and CAREFULLY rolled the nori, trying not to break it, end to end.  They gave me extra papers in case some did break... BUT I NAILED IT!

And holy moly, this made a LOT of sushi.  There's only five rolls in the picture but I actually got six out of it, the last without shrimp because I ran out but still had plenty of everything else.  That's fine by me.  I like veggie sushi too.  I ate that MF'er like an apple!!!  Hahaha!

Of course, my sushi was not Sake Blue quality.  I won't be handed a set of exquisite sushi knives and a white chef's jacket anytime soon, but the husband and I found them quite lovely for being homemade.


I served them with the wasabi, soy sauce and sriracha they provided.  This was a great dish.  So much fun to create, and unbelievably... EDIBLE!

However, there was too much to eat.  Wish I'd known.  I would've invited some fellow sushi lovers for dinner.  BUT... who's going to complain about too much???

The second recipe I made was Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberries, Kale and Wild Rice.  This was a super easy recipe to create, but also a little precarious because you're dealing with pork.

I chopped up the kale and placed in a bowl with the thyme.  I minced the shallot and garlic and put them in a separate bowl.  FYI... through these food service boxes, I have developed a whole new appreciation for shallots.  I don't know if I even care about onions anymore. ;-p
Also, neither the husband or I like "fruit" included in our meat dishes, so I ate the cranberries as I prepared the dishes.  Ordinarily I follow the recipes despite our likes or dislikes, but this pushed us past our comfort level.


I started the rice cooking and it predicted forty minutes, but it took less than 25 minutes for the rice to cook perfectly.  With olive oil, I sautéed the shallots and garlic until opaque, then added the kale and thyme.  Once that cooked down, I added the goat cheese.  I butterflied the pork loin and pounded it.  I covered the pork with the kale-goat cheese mixture and rolled, securing with several wooden skewers.  I couldn't quite follow the instructions with the skewers.  Maybe because I didn't pound the meat thin enough, maybe because I had too much filling, but I did my best with what I had.  I cooked the pork for 25 minutes, but after checking, it needed five more.  Then I rested it for another five minutes before slicing.

This was a delightful dinner.  The pork was perfect.  The kale-goat cheese stuffing was beyond delicious.  The rice mixed really well with the protein.  I paired these dishes with a light mixed green salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, and the husband and I both enjoyed our dinner thoroughly.

The last recipe I made was Summery Grilled Chicken with Herb Vegetable Succotash.  This was SO easy to make!

I cleaned and cut up all of the vegetables... zucchini, red bell pepper, ear of corn, cherry tomatoes, green beans, onion, and lima beans.  I also minced garlic and chopped some dill.  I was supposed to cut up some chives, but they were left out of my package.  Not to worry... there was a bonus.


I got the onions and garlic cooking in a pan with olive oil and let those get translucent.  In the meantime, I sprayed another pan with cooking spray, seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, and cooked them five minutes on each side.  I added all of the other vegetables and dill to the onion/garlic mix and cooked for about twelve minutes... a little longer than the recipe called for but the zucchini, pepper and green beans were still a bit crisp, and everything else was cooked through.

BONUS: I was going through the ingredients for all of the recipes, and there was a package labeled "Italian Chicken Vesuvio."  Well, huh?  I checked with Home Chef and sure enough, I didn't order that.  Minus the protein, I had another full meal.  Home Chef was kind enough to let me keep those items and send me the recipe and I may make that, but hey, super cool for me!  I got extra stuff!

Home Chef usually runs $9.95 per meal for three meals for two people delivered weekly.  I got super lucky and only paid $29.70.  While this promotion may or may not still be available, they always have some great deal on your first box.

Home Chef's recipes were super fun to create.  I love the convenience of getting perfectly portioned, fresh ingredients delivered right to my door.  I will order from them again, and will be ravenously watching their site for recipes I can't resist.  I highly recommend Home Chef.  I love it and I know you will too.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Allure Sample Society (May 2015) by beautybar.com

Allure Sample Society is quickly becoming one of my favorite subscription services.  A little background:

"Allure editors don't just obsess over beauty products — they uncover the groundbreaking, game-changing formulas making waves throughout the beauty sphere, from hair and makeup to skin care and fragrance."

"They do all the legwork so that you can do the fun part: open a glossy red box filled with five hand-picked, editor-tested products every month. Bonus: Allure editor-penned mini-magazine boasting in-depth reviews of each sample."

Here's what's included:
  • Five deluxe-size beauty samples—so you can use each one more than once
  • Curated mix of skin, hair, and makeup products, as well as fragrance
  • Allure mini-mag, packed with in-depth beauty sample product reviews written by Allure editors
  • $10 BeautyBar.com gift card to redeem on any $50 Beauty Bar purchase

I really dig the mini-mag.  Very professional and so much information on the products!  Definitely the best, most descriptive tool I've seen in any box.  Each page has a "What It Is," "How It Looks/Feels," "Why We Like It" and the retail price of the full-sized item.  Some products have a "What It Does," as well as a "Key Ingredients" list.  A lot of people have allergies or find certain ingredients affect their skin in negative ways, so I think this bonus information is great.

Here's what I received:

Eau Thermale Avene Thermal Spring Water (50mL) - A skin-quenching water spray that calms and softens sensitive and dry skin.  Key ingredients are thermal spring water, iron, manganese, zinc and copper.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (20mL) - An overnight hydrating mask that draws in serious moisture, leaving skin looking plumped and glow-y.  Key ingredients are cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, trehalose and beta-glucan.

I'm no newbie to these types of facial products because of my kbeauty obsession.  The spring water was refreshing.  The sleeping mask made my face super smooth and soft.  A lot of these masks are supposed to be washed off in the morning, but I like to just keep it on.  It's basically a moisturizer on steroids, so...


John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment (1oz) - A gel you apply in the shower to washed and conditioned hair, then rinse out before blow-drying to create fullness that lasts through three to five shampoos.  The gel coats hair with polymers that, when set by the heat of a blow-dryer, create a flexible layer around each strand.  The coating is water-resistant, so it lasts through several washings.  Meanwhile, fruit acids penetrate the hair shaft to boost volume from within.

Alterna Caviar Repair Multi-Vitamin Heat Protection Spray (0.85oz) - A weightless styling spray that softens and protects hair.  It smooths strands that are dull and frayed from overstyling and helps prevent further damage from flatirons and blow-dryers.  Key ingredients include Biotin and Vitamins B6, B12 and E.

I could totally feel the volumizer in my hair after I shampooed and conditioned.  It was a strange texture because I'm used to my conditioner leaving my hair so smooth and silky.  This was a tiny bit tacky after rinsing.  But it did leave volume in my hair.  It felt great.  The heat protection spray smelled so good.  It did not leave my hair feeling stiff, so I liked it.

Julep Lip Gloss in Graceful (0.1oz) - A sheer pink lip gloss with the slightest amount of shimmer.

Versace Eros Pour Femme EDP (0.17oz) - An easy-to-like, hard-to-describe fragrance with notes of Sicilian lemon, bergamot, pomegranate, jasmine, peony, sandalwood, amber and musk.


What do I say about this lip gloss?  I almost gave it away because I didn't think it was my color?  So glad I didn't because it left the most awesome gloss on my lips, and it had a very pleasant taste.  So sheer, not sticky at all.  I'd been wanting to try Julep lip glosses for a while but haven't because of price.  However, this was incredible.  Seriously glad to try it.  I will happily buy colors I want now.  The formula is amazing.  The eau de parfum was exactly as described.  Easy to like, hard to describe.  I don't think this was for me (although my husband really enjoyed it).  I prefer a little more definition in my fragrances.  I liked it.  I really did.  But I'll pass it along to someone more apt to use it.

Last month's Sample Society box was largely criticized by other bloggers.  The retail value (just) barely surpassed the cost of the box ($15) and the samples were super tiny.  I suspected that this month would be pretty fantastic, and it is!  I calculate this May box to have a value of $35.47.  Every sample is more than an adequate amount to see how you like the products.  There's a wide variety - skin, hair, makeup and fragrance - and more high end than drugstore brands.

I'm very impressed with this box, and cannot wait to see what they have in store for me next month.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag (May 2015)

Each new month, the Rainbow Honey mystery bag features sample sneak peeks from upcoming collections and future releases, plus a selection of their custom blended fragrances and body care products.

The mystery pack came with a letter detailing the products, along with a super sweet personal message, along with information on how to receive a free full-sized product with purchase.

I'll start with the body care products:


Mojito Clasico Perfume Oil Rollerball (4ml) - This month, their silky soft perfume oil rollerball is featuring the first signature scent from their upcoming Summer Drinks collection.  This is a classic and refreshing Mojito Cubano blended with mint leaves, sugar cane and lemon slices!

Pina Coco-Colada Scented Cuticle Balm (0.15oz) - Their hydrating cuticle balm is scented with their next signature summer drinks scent, Pina Coco-Colada, a frozen delight blended with coconut, sweet pineapples, luscious mangos and topped with notes of lotus flower and vanilla!

Twisted Ice Tea Cooling Gel, enriched with Aloe (1oz) - Their favorite summer must have is scented with Twisted Ice Tea, fresh tea leaves and sugar, blended on ice with sliced oranges and lemons for a bright summer twist!

The mojito rollerball was the perfect combination of lime* and mint.  I know that's not the description but that's what I smelled and I LOVED it!  The pina colada cuticle oil (which I use as both that and a lip balm), also smells fantastic.  Really left me craving a pina colada on the beach!

My favorite thing, without a doubt, was the cooling gel.  I don't even know what cooling gel is!!!  But I rubbed it on my hands and arms, and ohmigosh, the tea, orange and lemon smell was DI-vine!

Each of the nail polishes included in the mini bag I subscribed to for $10 are 7.5ml, which is not only half the size of the full-size products, but the perfect size for those of us who have entirely too many polishes.

Juicy Orange Pop Nail Lacquer - a luscious bright orange soda jelly.

Laguna Grande Nail Lacquer - a midnight swim, illuminating teal blue.

Neon Yoshimi Glitter Topper - full of black, white and neon blast of bright glitters in varying sizes sprinkled with iridescence to make your manicure pop.

I like using a layering thing to see what looks I can create with the items Rainbow Honey sends me each month.


I began by painting my pinky and ring finger with a pale blue, followed by Laguna Grande.  My middle finger was painted with a white base.  I painted my index finger and thumb with a pale peach, followed by Juicy Orange Pop.  Then I put the Neon Yoshimi Glitter over my index, middle and ring fingers.

These are really fun colors, but not the best I've received.  I love that Rainbow Honey is sticking to the "summer drink" theme.  I especially liked the orange and blue.  I hate the word "but," but, I wasn't a fan of the glitter at all.  That being said, I do like most of their glitters.

I adore Rainbow Honey, and this month was a big win for me despite the Neon Yoshimi Glitter.  The smells of the body products were oh, so wonderful!  I can't wait till next month.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The WRONG Way To Begin Your Subscription Addiction

1.  DO NOT GO INTO IT BLINDLY

     The biggest mistake you can make is looking on a subscription box's website and getting excited that you're going to receive all of the brand name products that are splashed across their pages.  Do some research.  There is so much information available online through bloggers and vloggers that reveal what they've actually been receiving each month.  My favorite is My Subscription Addiction, because Liz, the founder, gets pretty much everything.  Other great sites I get information about subscriptions from are: Harlot Beauty, Subscription Box Mom, Hello Pretty Bird, Bits and Boxes and Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, just to name a few.  There are HUNDREDS!

2.  DO NOT GET EXCITED ABOUT FOIL PACKETS

     I loved foil packets!  LOVED THEM!  Then I started getting them, and getting them, and getting them.  Here's the problem: there's not enough product in those foil packets to judge how much you like it.  Sometimes there's not even enough product in those foil packets to get ONE use.  Plus, in a subscription box, they have zero value despite what the company may state.  Because you can contact ANY of the companies that supply foil packets and 99% of the time, they will send you the sample for free.  And before you know it, you have this ------>>>>>>

     And despite your best intentions, you'll never EVER use all those foil packets.  Because you're going to be getting much more substantial samples which you'll be more interested in using.  THE EXCEPTION: hair masks.  Hair masks are not usually used more than once a week and the manufacturers who provide them, in my experience, give you ample product, and you can then decide if it's awesome and you want to buy more.

3.  DO NOT IMMEDIATELY SIGN UP FOR EXTENDED SUBSCRIPTIONS

     Subscription box companies have these amazing deals on 3, 6 or 12-month subscriptions, which are fantastic and money-saving.  The problem is, you don't know what you like yet.  After having signed up for several dozen subscriptions myself (on a month-to-month basis), I was surprised at how many I had no use for.  I know it's shocking, but I don't actually want five new lipsticks a month, or three different nail subscriptions.  THAT'S TOO MUCH DAMNED FINGERNAIL POLISH!!!  I never thought I'd say that, but it's true.  So sign up for the first month, feel it out for at least three months, and then take advantage of those wonderful, money-saving opportunities.

4.  DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO EVERY BOX

     Ohmigosh!  There are so many.  The first that are going to pop up everywhere you look are Birchbox, ipsy, Beauty Box 5, and Beauty Army.  These all fall into the $10 - $12 range.  Try not to sign up for more than one of these at a time.  They pretty much offer all of the same products, just at different times.  Last summer I received three Purlisse lotions, three Nicka K eye crayons, countless argan oil hair masks, etc.

     Then you move on to the $15 - $25 tier: allure Sample Society, Glossybox, BeautyFIX, BoxyCharm, and Kloverbox, which all offer higher quality, niche products and more variety, but you still don't need them ALL.  You will end up with so much more stuff than you will ever be able to use.  And the boxes get fancier after that with companies like WantableNew Beauty Test Tube, and PopSugar Must Have.

     And that's just scratching the surface of beauty boxes.  There are also boxes for clothes, toys for "nerds," pets, food and candy, jewelry, socks, phone cases, home décor, wine, beer, shoes, candles, tea or coffee, fragrances, kids, nail polishes, stationary, crafts, "time of the month," "adult," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

     Do your research and take your time.

5.  DO NOT EXPECT TOO MUCH CUSTOMIZATION

     Because you're not going to get it.  Dark-skinned ladies will get light foundations.  Fair-skinned ladies will get dark bronzers.  You're going to get some butt-ugly eye shadows that might look great on your mother.  You'll get volumizing treatments for your super thick, frizzy hair and smootheners for your extra fine hair.  You 20-something's are going to get enough face creams to last you into your forties.  And women with pale skin and tea-stained teeth are going to get nothing but bright pink lipsticks.  Have you ever seen a pale-skinned woman with tea-stained teeth in a bright pink lipstick?  I have.  Every time I test a new bright pink lipstick and look in the mirror.  Don't get me wrong... you're going to get A LOT OF GREAT STUFF.  But even if you take the quizzes, not everything is going to be for you.

6.  DO NOT THINK YOU NEED EVERYTHING

     You're going to have your select boxes and be perfectly happy.  Until you read someone's review on another site or see spoilers for a different box.  Keep this in mind.  You DO NOT need everything.  Don't jump into a new subscription just because you see something you want.  Take a breath.  Sleep on it.  Maybe, just maybe, look up the product that caught your eye and *gasp* buy it on its own.

7.  DO NOT BID ON BOXES OFF EBAY

     Nothing against eBay, but I learned this lesson the hard way.  It was the May 2014 Bergdorf Goodman Glossybox.  And I needed it.  And then the heavens opened up and someone was selling it for $50.  That was over twice the cost of the subscription price.  Problem was, when it showed up, only about three of the original products were in there, and a few other craptastic things were thrown in.  No returns.  Whatever.  Lesson learned.  Shame on me.

     I wasn't going to get that particular Glossybox no matter how I tried.  But half the time you can get past boxes if you inquire directly to the subscription company, and sometimes, like with Sample Society, they even sell the old boxes right on their website or on Amazon.  Look first.  Don't trust strangers.

8.  DO NOT MISS OUT BY NOT CAPITALIZING ON SPECIAL OFFERS

     Once you know what you like, before purchasing, find those special deals.  Groupon, Living Social, and RueLaLa offer some amazing deals on multi-month subscriptions.  Type the name of the box and "discount" into Google.  You'll find them all over the place.  Bloggers often have partnerships with certain companies such as 10% off your subscription.  You're also helping the blogger out because they sometimes get a small commission which helps them continue publishing their blog.  At least, that's what I do with the tiny commissions I receive.  Or they may earn a free box after so many new subscribers come through their blog.  Coupon codes are often listed on sites like RetailMeNot.  Point being, you can save, so do it.

9.  DO NOT FORGET IMPORTANT DATES

     If you subscribe to a box first month free, and you don't like it, make sure to cancel in a timely manner so you are not charged for the next month's box.  That date should be available to you in your account information.  If not, ask.  If you're subscribed to something like JustFab or ShoeDazzle, and need to skip a month, do it within the parameters of the agreement.  Otherwise, it's quite the ordeal to get your money back.  Some subscriptions give you choices on samples.  If you want first pick, get on it, or you may get stuck with what's left.  Sometimes, like with Treatsie, you can order extras with no additional shipping charges.  Watch your dates.

10.  DO NOT BREAK THE BANK

     Come on.  This world can be intoxicating.  Who doesn't love boxes showing up at their door everyday with pretty surprises inside?  They call it an addiction for a reason.  But I have heard so many stories of people spending all of their expendable income on these boxes.  Forget eating out or going to that concert or buying your nephew that LEGO set for his upcoming birthday.  I, myself, have maxed out a credit card or two when I started out.  Hope my car doesn't break down.  The husband's asking me why I pay $100 a month on my credit card bill but the balance never seems to go down.

     Don't get yourself in trouble for this "hobby."  It's not worth putting yourself in financial straits just to get a bunch of stuff that you *may not* even use.  Set a budget for this sort of thing and if you want something else, drop another that you're already getting.  THIS IS MY BEST ADVICE.  Please, please take it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Plated (05-05-15)

Plated delivers everything you need to create chef-designed recipes, making it simpler and more fun to cook at home.  With Plated, you get a weekly box of fresh and seasonal ingredients, pre-portioned for the recipes you choose, so you can create great food with less effort.


My husband and I love to cook our own homemade meals throughout the week, usually repeats... chili, spaghetti, soups, grilled meats and veggies.  But this enables us to take it a step further and make delicious dinners that we wouldn't think to just make on the fly.  With Plated, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I selected three meals from seven they offered to me, and Plated sent me the recipes and all of the ingredients... vacuum-sealed meats, fresh veggies and herbs, and anything else I should need.

The first meal I chose to create was the Cod en Papillote with Herb Butter, Farro, and Lemon Roasted Asparagus.  Cooking in parchment, or "en papillote," is a popular French technique.  This method creates concentrated steam inside sealed parcels while they roast in the oven.


I started preparing the meal by zesting the lemon and slicing half of it in thin strips, chopping the parsley and chives, and cutting the asparagus into bite-sized portions.  I cooked the farro and rice in boiling water, and while that was going, I made the lemon butter.  I put the cod on the parchment paper, topped it with the butter, white wine and lemon slices, and tucked it all in so I could bake it.  Then I tossed the asparagus with lemon juice and olive oil and put them in the oven to roast.  About that time, the farro and rice were done, so I strained those and tossed with olive oil in a large glass dish.  When the cod and asparagus were done, I topped the farro and rice with them.

I chose to serve this family style rather than dishing it out with the cod and rice mixture separated on two plates because... well, it's embarrassing but we had a big cookout and the dishwasher (aka my husband) hasn't done the dishes yet.

The cod was delicious!  It was flaky, and the herbs and lemon and white wine were perfect compliments to the fish.  I also really liked the asparagus.  I left it just slightly crunchy, great texture.

The farro and rice, however, were... disconcerting.  I don't know if I didn't cook it long enough or cooked it too long.  I don't know.  It was kind of chewy, a difficult texture.  I would do this dish again, but probably just use long-grain rice in the future.

The second recipe I made was Tarragon Chicken with Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Gratin.  This was a very FUN recipe to create.  As one thing was happening, something else needed to be done.  So there were no gaps in cooking.


I prepared the herbs and veggies.  Chopping the tarragon and pea shoots, then slicing the shallots and mushrooms.  I cooked the mushrooms, peas and pea shoots in olive oil, and sat aside.  Then I simmered the chicken skin-side down to brown and render the fat.  While that was browning, I mixed the milk and goat cheese, and after seasoning, added to the veggie mixture with panko and pecorino, and put in the oven to finish.  In the meantime, I turned the chicken.  And once that finished, I wrapped the chicken in foil, while retaining the fat in the pan.  I cooked the shallots until opaque, added white wine, and then the tarragon.  When finished, I pulled from the heat and put in the butter.  I put the chicken back in the shallot-tarragon mixture.  After taking out the gratin, I plated both meals, making sure to pour all of the pan gravy over the chicken.

I LOVED this recipe.  The gratin was perfecto.  My husband doesn't even like peas in large amounts, but he was totally into this.  He adored the chicken and ate it as is, but I'm a little funny about my meat, so I cut the meat from the skin and fat.  Absolutely delicious.  The sweetness from the shallots and tarragon flavoring mixed so well with the pea and mushroom gratin.  The hubby was so complimentary!  The chicken seasoning was incredibly tasty.  We both very much enjoyed this recipe and I definitely plan to make this dish again... maybe with potatoes and/or onions in the gratin in place of the peas (for the hubby's sake), although he wasn't complaining!

The last recipe I made was Pastaless White Lasagna with Spring Vegetables and Pesto.  This was so easy to make! 


After cutting the veggies into manageable pieces, I roasted them with olive oil for fifteen minutes.  Meanwhile, I mixed Greek yogurt, ricotta, grated pecorino cheese, peas, pesto, lemon zest and egg.  Super easy.  Then I arranged the vegetables between layers of the creamy cheese mixture, and baked for ten minutes.

I knew picking a vegetarian dish would be risky for my meat and potato loving husband.  So I wasn't too upset with his reaction.  He liked it.  Thought it had great flavor.  But he would have preferred it as a side to a nice piece of protein.

I, on the other hand, was happy, happy, happy to eat his portion.  And this made a lot of food.  Minimum four LARGE servings.  The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the sauce was just delicious.  I could eat ricotta plain with a spoon though, so yum.  I will be cooking this again... maybe with some tarragon chicken... hmm...

Plated usually runs $72 for three meals for two people delivered weekly.  I got super lucky and got four meals free and only paid $24 for two.  While this promotion may or may not still be available, they always have some great deal on your first box.

I love the convenience of getting perfectly portioned, fresh ingredients delivered right to my door.  I will order from them again, and will be ravenously watching their site for recipes I can't resist.  I highly recommend Plated.  I love it and I know you will too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

XO Memebox Line + Haul

XO Memebox is Memebox's very own private label brand featuring the hottest Korean beauty trends. After years of delivering K-beauty products globally, they took the next big step to design products that customers want. Memebox designs the formula, colors, and packaging of XO Memebox range and this allows them to offer high quality products at affordable prices.





Meme Mask Intensive Moisturizing Hydrogel Mask ($3)
Enhance radiance, alleviate irritation, effectively illuminate, and create firm, resilient skin. Memebox brings you their very own Mememask Hydrogel Mask formulated with only the best ingredients such as, Baobab Tree Seed Extract, Chamomile, Niacinamide and Adenosine, and Polyglutamic Acid, leaving your skin radiant and hydrated.



I always like to include a picture of masks in my reviews because like me at one-time, newbies may not know what they look like.  These sheet masks are still relatively unknown to many in the U.S., even though they've been around a long time.

The Meme Mask is one of the best I've ever used.  It's two-pieces, stays in place (fairly) well, and really leaves your face soft and moisturized.



Chosungah x Memebox Get! Peachy Glow Pack ($32)
Chosungah is a legendary professional K-Beauty makeup artist, known as the global leader in the K-Beauty and fashion industry since the year 1990. Her ever-evolving style can be found in high gloss magazines, fashions runways, and is enjoyed by high-profile celebrities world-wide.

She believes that makeup should be kept “simple and fun” and this is evident in all her products. This time, Memebox teamed up with Chosungah to bring you Get! Peachy Glow Pact, a revolutionary multi-functional beauty boosting skin care product to give you an all-in-one tool for perfecting your skin.

This multi-functional primer gives natural, radiant glow on your skin.   I used it in my complete look at the end of the post.  It was a nice all-over primer and left a dewy look to my complexion.
 

I'm Series I'm Blush ($7 each)
This silky formula glides on effortlessly and offers a smooth finish with long-lasting wear. Each blush is injected with a mix of hydrating oils to provide a crease-resistant finish and sebum control powder to maintain shine-free skin.

#01 Petal Pink is a natural nude, pink tone that provides a fresh-face glow.
 
#03 Rosy Peach is a deep pink hue that creates a sultry, feminine look.
 
I'm Series I'm Cream Blush ($10 each)
Blendable cream blush that dries to a lightweight powdery finish for a natural, long-lasting color.
 
#01 Kristen Cream Blush
 
#05 Emma Cream Blush
 
Petal Pink is so light... I mean, I'm fair-skinned, but I don't even think this would show up on my cheeks.  It barely showed up on my arm.  In the swatch below on my hand (second from left), it was almost invisible.  I thought this would be the best color for me but I guess you have to be "porcelain" white for this to work.  Rosy Peach has more pigment to it, but it's more peachy than I expected.  Not terribly flattering for my skin.  I was delivered Kristen by mistake and was kind of upset about it.  Unbelievably, it was my favorite!  I had originally wanted Emma, which I eventually received, but Emma was almost coral, whereas Kristen blended in to create a nice rosy tint to highlight my cheeks.  Besides the first hand photo having no blush on it, the swatches on my arm and in the hand photos below in order are: Petal Pink, Rosy Peach, Kristen, Emma.
 
 
I'm Series I'm Eyeliner ($5 each)
I’m Eyeliner Retractable Waterproof gel eyeliner glides on smoothly to deliver cosmic doses of highly pigmented color. Formula dries fast for a long-wearing, water-resistant finish. With its retractable end and smudge tip, this liner is your go-to eyeliner for creating countless looks.
 
#04 Blazing makes eyes pop with gorgeous dash of burgundy. Pink undertones bring out the warmth in natural eye color to enhance natural beauty.
 
#01 Night lets eyes shine bright in the night with fierce black.
 
Kyungsun x Memebox Bad Girl Volume Mascara #01 Mad Black ($12)
KyungSun is one bada$$ gal - Best known for eye makeup on point, she designed products that makes smoky makeup a breeze even for beginners. Unleash your inner sexy with KyungSun’s Bad Girl Line!
 
Double the drama with this dual volume mascara. Upper lash mascara lengthens and volumizes. Lower lash mascara grabs and pulls every single hard-to-reach bottom lash.
 
I'm Series I'm Stick Shadow ($7.50)
Color, define, and highlight your eyes with this convenience, do-it-all eyeshadow stick. 

Comfortable tug-free wear, crease-resistant & water-resistent formula, convenience retractable stick type shadow.

#04 Good Evening is a neutral brown with hints of violet shine add a mysterious touch to any look.

I'm Series I'm Eye Shadow ($5 each)
Each shadow is infused with a hydrating color coat to glide on effortlessly for hours of crease-resistant wear.
 
#07 Carmen Eye Shadow Mono
 
#08 Hold Me Eye Shadow Mono

#05 Streetlight Eye Shadow Mono is a natural looking golden cocoa hue that is versatile, stunning, and sexy, so that you can create a multitude of different looks.
 
#14 Earl Grey Cookie Eye Shadow Mono is a cool-toned pink beige that goes on with a satin smooth finish to add elegance.
 
I really wasn't sure how I would like the Blazing eye liner when I received it.  I expected a deeper purple burgundy.  So it's not for everyday use, but I was able to create one look that worked.  The formula in the eyeliners is great.  They go on smoothly.  You have to be a little careful not to put it on too thick.  The mascara was AH-mazing!  No joke, best mascara I've ever used.  It was instantly dramatic, but not overly so.  Each additional coat though really adds to the glamour.  The stick shadow went on smoothly, but like the eye shadow monos, didn't have as much pigment as I would have liked.  Here are a few looks I created.  I sincerely apologize for the creepy eye pictures, but I am not good at using the reverse mode on my camera to photograph myself!!!  All of the looks include the Kyungsun mascara.  Left to right: Blazing eye liner and Streetlight eye shadow, Night eye liner and Good Evening stick shadow, Night eye liner, Earl Grey Cookie eye shadow and Carmen eye shadow, and Night eye liner, Earl Grey Cookie eye shadow and Hold Me eye shadow.
 
 
Hoyeon x Memebox Punk Matte Lipstick #01 Manish Red ($15)
Hoyeon joined Korea's Next Top Model Season 2 at only 18. Though shy and inexperienced, young Hoyeon knew she wanted to become a supermodel. The judges told her she will never make it as a model and sent her home early. She cried tears of disappointment but refused to give up. After two years of intense training she applied again for Season 4. The same judges from Season 2 watched her in awe as she strutted with confidence. Today she stands proud as the final winner. When it's you against the world, stand tall like Hoyeon and make sure you have fun!

This is a non-drying, highly pigmented lipstick with a matte finish.

Pony x Memebox Blossom Lipstick #02 Spring Romance ($12)
Korean self-taught MUA and the winner of "2011 Makeup Artist of the Year Award", Pony is one of the hottest beauty icons in the industry. Her passion for beauty is evident on her YouTube channel Pony's Beauty Diary where she delivers the hottest K-Beauty trends. She teamed up with Memebox to design products that are beginner-friendly and can glam you up instantly- Shine, Easy, Glam.

Formulated with white flower complex, honey, and shea butter to keep your lips moisturized and supple, this pigmented lipstick has a semi-matte finish that is not overly drying.

Dayeong x Memebox Black Lipstick #01 Bad ($10)
Dayeong is oh so chic- she effortlessly transforms her makeup look in a matter of seconds! Her Youtube tutorials teach you unique beauty tips, whether it be versatile natural makeup for work or bold makeup for special events. She teamed up with Memebox to design her own products that she enjoys using on a daily basis.

This is a creamy lightweight lipstick with intense color pay-off.
 
Haena x Memebox Catwalk Lipstick #02 Charming Cat ($15)
One of Korea's top models, Haena inspires fashion designers and enthusiasts with her eclectic sense of style. Although only 5'5'' as a model, she conquered Korea's Next Top Model Season 2 and proved the haters wrong in front of thousands of viewers. Haena believes that being unique helped her get to where she is today. See how she expresses herself with her top model beauty essentials!

A poppy orange lipstick, formulated with shea butter and jojoba oil to keep your lips plump and hydrated.

I'm Lip Crayon #01 Giselle ($7)
I'm Lip Crayon delivers the vivid color of lip pencil, the lustrous shine of a lipstick and staying power of a lip tint. This 3-in-1 effect creates a versatile look and pencil-style applicator allows accurate application. One single swipe will deliver highly pigmented color that really lasts. This lip crayon contains natural ingredients, macadamia seed oil, argan oil, jojoba seed oil, and rose hip oil to form a protective moisture layer of the lips.

Giselle is a nude-y pink shade that glides smoothly onto the lips for a naturally gorgeous pop of color.

Soyoung x Memebox Lip & Cheek #01 Lovely Peach ($15)
Best known for her "Korean Makeup vs American Makeup" video, Soyoung is the perfect girl nextdoor you want to visit for beauty tips! Her fans love her version of makeup looks of the hottest K-pop stars, such as Sistar, SNSD, After School and more. This luxurious lip & cheek multiple is a must-have in every girl's makeup pouch.


A vibrant, long-lasting color that applies creamy and dries to a light, matte finish.

Hoyeon Manish Red lipstick is highly pigmented and a deep burgundy.  Great for a dramatic night look.  Pony Spring Romance is very similar in color, but leaves a lighter, glossy finish.  Dayeong Bad is the perfect red, and applies differently than the others which have rounded tops.  This has a typical pointed top of most lipsticks, and really helps accentuate the Cupid's bow.  I made a major jump out of my comfort zone with Haena Charming Cat, but I LOVED the orange hue.  The Giselle lip crayon was probably my least favorite.  It's a peachy color that I don't particularly like.  The formula however goes on very smoothly, and I'm loving lip crayons right now.  So easy to create a perfect lip.  Soyoung Lovely Peach is a great peachy pink gloss.  I won't be using it on my cheeks, but I liked it as a lippy.

 
What fun I had playing with ALL of this makeup!   But now I'm all dressed up with no place to go.  To create this look, I applied the Chosungah x Memebox Get! Peachy Glow Pack all over to get a super dewy look on my face.

I used I'm Series I'm Eye Shadow in #14 Earl Grey Cookie on my entire eye, and put #08 Hold Me on the lids.  I lined my eyes with I'm Series I'm Eyeliner in #01 Night.  Of course I applied my new favorite, Kyungsun x Memebox Bad Girl Volume Mascara in #01 Mad Black.

Using my fingers, I put I'm Series I'm Cream Blush in #01 Kristen on the apples of my cheeks.  I chose Hoyeon x Memebox Punk Matte Lipstick in #01 Manish Red and blotted to leave a less glossy finish.

This is NOT an everyday look for me!  This is a much more dramatic look than I would ordinarily go for.  But like I said, I had so much fun. 

                                                                                                                                
 
TONYMOLY Strawberry Jam Sugar Scrub ($15.20) - This strawberry extract and sugar scrub de-flakes skin, unclogs pores and softens skin to help you achieve a clearer and more refreshed-looking complexion.

Somebody has a new favorite scrub!!!  This stuff looks super goopy, but once you start massaging it into your skin, you can feel the dead skin just rubbing off, and it's much easier to wash off than you might assume by looking at the gunk in the jar.  Also, a bit of it got in my mouth, and, uh... it tasted like strawberries.  Not too shabby.

TONYMOLY Mini Blueberry Lip Jam ($9) - Moisturize your lips on the go with this adorable little lip balm.

This lip balm tastes just like blueberries and feels every bit as good as the reviews I've read have said.  Plus the little blueberry container is just adorable!

LEADERS Coconut Gel Mask with Orange ($3.50) - This sheet mask contains orange extract that is abundant in Vitamin C and AHA, boosting collagen and brightening the skin. Vitamin C works great for treating dark spots and reducing its appearance on the skin. This mask helps rejuvenate and restore dull skin giving it a vibrant youthful glow.

LEADERS Coconut Gel Mask with Tomato ($3.50) - This tomato sheet mask contains a powerful antioxidant, Lycopene, which gives the skin elasticity and resilience by keeping harmful environmental factors out and locking moisture in. This substance also helps reduce redness, minimizes pores and revives the skin’s healthy glow.

IT'S SKIN The Fresh Mask Sheet Carrot ($2) - Brighten your look with carrot extract! This cushion pulp sheet includes nutrition from fresh and natural carrot extract, that will provide a natural glow, and brighten up your complexion.

IT'S SKIN The Fresh Mask Sheet Blueberry ($2) - Revitalize and moisturize with real blueberries! The mask is saturated with intense moisture serum formulated with blueberry extract.

I adore these brands.  TonyMoly is really starting to make a name for itself in the U.S. as of late.  Leaders is a newer kbeauty brand that is getting a great reputation.  And who doesn't love It's Skin???

This is by far my longest blog post.  Sorry about that.  I wanted to fit it all in, because I wasn't sure if I'd be purchasing more from Memebox (yeah, right).  However, now they're selling Innisfree again, so... what can I say?

Anyhoo, between various sales, codes, and Memepoints I'd acquired, I only spent $113.70 for ALL OF THIS!  I don't know if you've been paying attention, but that's $227.70 worth of product.  I paid half... HALF!  If you haven't already, check out Memebox.  Search the net for coupon codes.  They're everywhere.  INSTALL THE APP.  Not only do they accept codes, there are tons of great sales and specials that you can only get on the app.