Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nature Box (March 2016)

I'm really excited to be reviewing Nature Box once again. They have such a wide variety of options - from healthy to indulgent - to satisfy any craving should be easy. They scour the globe and partner with only the best growers and producers to bring you delicious snacks. They combine unique flavors, with ingredients you can pronounce, to create great snacks you may not want to share.

It's time to change the way you think about snacking.

The first treat I tried was the Dried White Peaches. "White peaches are known for their softer texture and sweeter taste than their tangier cousin yellow peaches. Just don’t tell the yellow peaches we said that, they are really sensitive. With this dried version of our favorite summertime fruit, you’ll never have to worry about the pits."

The second treat I tried was the Apple Pie Oat Clusters. "These Apple Pie Oat Clusters combine the sweet taste of freshly baked apple pies with the crunchy goodness of oatmeal cookies. These bit-sized clusters are perfect right out of the bag but even better atop a scoop of vanilla yogurt. But we doubt you'll have any left for that!"

I especially liked the dried white peaches. I like peaches but not peach-flavored stuff. Being that these are real peaches, and I LURVE dried fruit, these were right up my alley. The apple pie oat clusters were delicious but also something you can find at the grocery. I kind of expect a little more originality with these treats. Still... very good.

I next tried the Simply Smoky Nut Mix"We don’t know about you, but we like our nuts smoky. Smoke-flavored peanuts and almonds are perfectly roasted and tossed with crunchy sesame sticks for a savory snack, perfect just about anytime of day. Don’t worry, we’ve done the research."

Then I had the Cheddar and Onion Sunflower Kernels. "These babies are made with real (yes real!) white cheddar cheese and onions for maximum goodness. Just in case seeding and spitting is not really your thing, we’ve gone ahead and removed the shell on these flavor-packed kernels for an easy topper on your lunchtime salad or homemade hummus. Okay, so you didn’t make that hummus but don’t worry we’re not tellin’."

I'll be honest, the smokiness of the nut mix was good, but a little overwhelming. I liked the all of the components, just a bit less smokiness. I did not care for the sunflower seeds and I love sunflower seeds. I suppose I need to stick with salted ones going forward.

The last one I tried was not what I was supposed to get. I was supposed to get Dried Pears. I got Vanilla Bean Wafers. But Nature Box was quick to rectify the situation. I'll be getting the dried pears as an extra in my April box.

So as for the vanillla bean wafers. "Here’s a premium take on the classic vanilla wafer, made with ingredients you can pronounce like flour, butter, and sugar. Light, airy and crisp these bite-sized wafers are made with real vanilla beans. But don’t take our word for it—each wafer is packed with visible flecks of vanilla goodness."

First, these were very tasty. But I don't care for hard cookies. The texture of anything hard (chips, etc.) remind me of nails on a chalk board. However, I will say, the flavor was remarkable. Very simple, a nice butteriness (not a word?), and just the right amount of vanilla. You'll probably love them if the crunchy texture isn't a turnoff. 

This month wasn't a slam-dunk but everything can't always be perfect. I am looking forward to seeing how my snacks taste in April.

Allure Beauty Box (November 2015)


Allure Beauty Box is one of my favorite subscription services. A little background:

"Allure editors uncover the most noteworthy beauty products on the market, from hair and makeup to skin care, fragrance, and more. Then, they personally try and review each product, hand-selecting the ones they love — and know you'll love, too. And finally, here comes the fun: a glossy red box is delivered directly to your doorstep filled with the expert-approved products that are sure to become your new favorites."

Here's what's included:
  • Five to seven 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
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:

KLORANE Floral Eye Make-Up Remover (0.8oz, ~$1.91) - One of the gentles makeup removers that's ever been near your eyes. It wipes away makeup and depuffs. When you first use this, it may cause some tingly, which isn't usually a good thing in the eye area. But there's zero burning or irritation. This all-natural remover can whisk away waterproof gel with just a few passes of a cotton ball with absolutely no tugging.

L'OCCITANE Divine Youth Oil (0.1oz, $10.60) - A featherweight oil for your face. Hydrates the skin without leaving you looking or feeling greasy. If you're a face-oil holdout, this could be your ticket. It sinks in so quickly, you may want to use more than a drop or two, and it leaves skin seriously luminous

The eye makeup remover has such a lovely, fresh smell. I need a lot of help removing eye makeup so I'm looking forward to using this. L'Occitane makes the best facial/skin care products. I'll be passing on this however because I have a ton of k-beauty face/skin care products that I love.

CRABTREE & EVELYN Verbena and Lavender De Provence Bath and Shower Gel (1.7oz, $4.40) - A not-too-foamy, majorly scented body wash. Thoroughly cleanses skin and leaves your bathroom smelling citrusy. You'll have to squeeze like you mean it to get this semithick gel out of the bottle. It's bracing and bright in the morning and deeply relaxing and soothing at night..

KEVIN MURPHY Anti-Gravity (40ml, ~$6.67) - A lightweight volumizing serum that boost volume all over without weighing down hair. This colorless, milky serum smells like lemonade infused with lavender.

I can never have too many bath/shower items. Especially when they smell as flowery as this. I'm also excited to try the volumizer. The fragrance is delightful.

MALLY BEAUTY High-Shine Liquid Lipstick in Perfect Pink (0.09oz, $15.00) - A shimmery, megashiny lip gloss that comes in a range of shades. There's a definite stickiness to this lip gloss if you overapply, but the doe-foot applicator makes it easy to avoid that problem. It has a faintly fruity scent and taste.

Hanae by HANAE MORI Eau de Parfum (0.04oz, ~$2.16) - A scent laden with candy and fruit notes. The notes are bergamot, orange blossom, strawberry, jasmine, toffee, patchouli, sandalwood and vanilla. The burnt-toffee and vanilla accords are more patisserie than parfumerie, but the fragrance gets nudged into grown-up territory by the just-sexy-enough proportion of patchouli and sandalwood.

I'm passing on the lipstick because it's just not my color. The perfume is quite powdery in scent, which I normally don't like, but this just works.

I calculate this November box to have a value of $40.74, which is great. And this subscription has so much variety! Even though I won't use everything, I couldn't be happier. Can't wait to see what's next!