Conscious Box May 2013 Review

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This month’s Conscious Box was pretty heavy, so I was oh-so-excited to see what was in store for me this month! I was NOT disappointed. There are a couple of amazing products in the box that I am super pumped to try! I was a little confused about a few of the other items in the box, not to mention the fact that since there is never a packing list included, it’s hard to really understand how/why some of the products were included.

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Conscious Box is a monthly subscription box service that costs $19.95/month and is full of pure and sustainable products. This was one of the first subscriptions I joined and it is STILL one of my all-time favs. I LOVE that the box is full of products from every category  so it’s always so exciting to open the box and learn about  so many amazing new products and brands.  They also over vegan and gluten-free options, which I know is a great choice for many people nowadays.

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The boxes typically include around 10 or more items, a postcard, and a letter about this month’s theme/season. They don’t include a packing list, and at one point they emailed out the list, but I haven’t gotten one of those in months. This month, however, I got an email that was titled “May 2013 Packing List”. I was happy to finally get one, but as soon as I looked over the list of items, they were certainly not anything that was included in this month’s box. Some were things I had never seen before and many were items that I received in my past boxes…. So I’m still kind of confused about that was…

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Let’s get to this goodies inside the May box!!

1 • Earthpaste Amazing Natural Toothpaste, (2) 3 g 
{Full size: $7.99}
I got 2 different samples of this natural toothpaste, one for kids (of all ages) in a Lemon Twist flavor, and a regular Peppermint flavored one. There is no artificial coloring or foaming agents in this paste, so the I imagine using it would be a completely different experience than using a “regular” toothpaste. I am a little nervous to try this because I think I LIKE the fact that my toothpaste is white and then it is all foamy in my mouth when I brush. It feels and LOOKS clean that way. However, I understand how using this toothpaste could be better, so I am going to give it a try soon. Check out the product and company here.

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2 • Dream Water Sleep & Relaxation Shot 
{2 – 2.5 oz shots, $7.50}
I got the Snoozeberry flavor and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED!!!!! First off, I had heard about this product a while back and read great things about it. I wanted to try it out but just knew I wasn’t going to pay that much money for a drink that might not even really help me sleep. These are the reasons I LOVE subscription boxes!!! Also, this week I haven’t been sleeping well at all, so it was almost too ironic that I got this in my box this month. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am super pumped to! Check out the product here.

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3 • Organ Healthy Kids Organic Nutritional Shake 
{$2.69 for 1 – 8.25 oz. drink}
I always seem to love items marketed for kids, and this is no different. I’m sure I’ll love this healthy organic drink! Plus it’s super cute! Check out the product here.

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4 • Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 
{Full size: 3 oz/ $11.99}
This is a tiny, tiny sample of sunscreen (o.o4 oz), probably just enough to cover my face and maybe neck. Nothing to get too excited about, but it certainly won’t go to waste! Check out the product here.
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5 • Ultima Replenisher Balanced Electrolyte Powder 
{Full price: $16.00/ 30 servings}
This product has no added sugars or artificial ingredients, and I got the Lemonade flavor, which is awesome because I love lemonade so I know I’ll actually try this drink mix! It’s full of electrolytes and good for you! I love mixing flavors into my water for the day, so I’m happy to try this! Check out the product here.

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6 • MRM Relax-All with Phenibut Dietary Supplement 
{60 capsules/ $20.00}
These 2 vegetarian capsules are supposed to support relaxation and calmness to muscles, aiding in a better night’s sleep. I of course am super pumped about trying out this product. The last time I tried a natural dietary supplement pill/vitamin, it really seemed to work for me, calming me down and making me much less anxious. Hopefully these will work too! Check out the product here.

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7 • Bija Lemon Ginger Echinacea Caffeine Free Organic Tea 
{20 tea bags/ $6.00}
Eh. This is probably the item I was least excited about it in this month’s box. I get SO MUCH tea from all my subscription services, and although I don’t mind that so much, this one I KNOW I will not be trying. It’s caffeine-free, so then there’s no point in me drinking it. Also, the flavor. Lemon and ginger. Two things I barely like alone, so putting them together makes me cringe. Oh well, I’m sure someone I know will want to give it a try :] Check out the tea here.

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8 • Herbamare Original Seasoning 
{8.8 oz/ $8.00}
This is a natural fine sea salt infused with organic fresh herbs and veggies. What’s not to love!? Seasonings are amazing and make your food even more delicious, so naturally I love them and probably over-use them, but I like it so that’s okay. haha. I’m excited to try this one out, I’m sure it’ll be fabulous! Probably would have been nicer with a bigger sample size, but oh well! :] Check out the product here.

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9 • Ecover Natural Automatic Dishwasher Tablets 
{$6.00/ 25 tablets}
I don’t have, nor have I ever used a dishwasher, therefore these tablets will see no use from me. I will just be giving these bad boys away. Check out the product here.

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10 • Fridg Tech DSP-30 Filter
{$7.00}
At first, I had no idea what this item was. Now that I know that it’s a filter to place in the fridge that will help keep my fruits & veggies fresher longer, I love it! And it lasts for 90 days!!!!! How amazing! It also saves on energy costs and eliminates bad odors in the fridge. LOVE IT. The filter can also be cut in half to use in 2 different drawers! This is certainly an item I would never normally buy on my own in a store, but something I appreciate and will put to good use after being introduced to it! Check out the product and all it’s amazing wonders here.

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I don’t want to count this as an item, but I’m not sure why we got it since I never got a sample of this brand/product, but they sent an envelope with all this stuff inside the box… not sure why since I didn’t get a chance to try the product they are advertising!

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May’s box also came with a coupon for the Dream Water, along with 2 business cards for companies who will give discounts to Conscious Box subscribers. I wish I could have gotten a sample of the Mac-N-Mo’s treats though!

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All in all, May was an excellent box full of goodies I am loving right now!

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Thanks Conscious Box, for being so awesome! :]

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all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

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Birchbox May 2013 Review

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This month’s Birchbox wasn’t my favorite, but only because I liked the items, but it was definitely not worth my $10. Instead of beauty products, this month I got 3 random products ranging from tooth paste to a Pilot pen! I’m not complaining about that because I do love random lifestyle products, but it’s kind of unfair for the value of the box this month.

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Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription service that costs $10/month. They send out 4-6 deluxe sized beauty & lifestyle samples each month. Each month usually has a theme, and they include a card explaining the theme and also listing the products and pricing.

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May’s theme is “Beauty Diaries”.

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Now let’s get to the {random} goodies inside!!

1 • Amika
Obliphica Nourishing Mask, 0.67 oz {Full size: $40.00} 
I sampled some Amika shampoo & conditioner before and absolutely loved it, so I’m sure this nourishing mask will be great! I love getting hair products for my damaged hair. Always put to great use!! Check out the product here.

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2 • COOLA 
Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face, .23 oz {Full size: $32.00} 
I WOULD have liked this product if it wasn’t soooo tiny. Maybe if this little tube was actually FILLED it would have been okay, but theres barely anything inside of it. It’s enough for maybe one use on the face. Tiny. Plus, it’s sunscreen. That’s not really something I get too excited about, especially compared to cool beauty products I could have gotten. Check out the product here.

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3 • Isaac Mizrahi 
FABULOUS Isaac Mizrahi Eau de Parfum, .05 oz {Full size: $69.00} 
This smells SOOOOOO GOOD. I used to hate perfume samples because they were so tiny and I didn’t appreciate them enough compared to the other beauty products… but I’m starting to love them now! I love that they ARE tiny and I can carry them around in my purse for night’s out or heading out for an interview… very convenient and I love trying out all the new fun scents that I wouldn’t normally purchase! This scent is so light and cheery, completely perfect for summertime! Check out the perfume here.

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4 • Marvis
Classic Mint Toothpaste, .5 oz {Full size: $10.50} 
I don’t know what to really say about this… I mean, it’s toothpaste. Something I use everyday, so of course it won’t go wasted. I do love the packaging and how it looks like something from an old antique store or something. Super cute. Check out the product here.

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5 • Sumita 
Color Contrast Eyeliner, .7 g {Full size: $11.00} 
This is a small sample of an eyeliner (I guess I’m just used to more full sized eye liner items). It doesn’t have a color name/number but I clearly got a Black pencil. This is perfect for me because I wear black eyeliner almost everyday and can never have enough! It’s very smooth and easy to apply. Check out the product here.

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6 • BIRCHBOX FINDS: Acroball by Pilot Pen (Pink) 
Full size! $6.24/ pack of 4 
I thought it was kind of weird to get a pen inside of my Birchbox… but I am an office supply LOVER so this was super awesome for me! It’s super smooth and writes pink! Love it! Check it out here.

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This was quite a confusing Birchbox as many of the items weren’t exactly beauty related, however I did it enjoy it and I’m pretty sure all the items will go to great use!

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I can only hope that Birchbox will start getting better, the way they used to be… the past couple of months just haven’t been too great!

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all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

Popsugar Must Have Box – May 2013

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I was so pumped to find my second ever Popsugar Must Have Box waiting on my doorstep the other day! Although the items are random and from many reviews I have read almost a hit or miss, I honestly loved all the boxes I read about it and am eager every month to find out what they will send out to us next!

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These monthly subscription boxes are full of hand-selected items in beauty, fashion, home, fitness, and food. The cost is $35/month, and is well worth the money because the boxes are usually worth well over $100 in products. They always include a little booklet explaining all the items inside.

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Let’s get to May’s must have goodies!!!

1 • Kooringal Giselle Mid Brim Hat 
{Retail Value: $27.99} 
At first I laughed out loud at this hat because I was confused by it’s shape (I didn’t realize that it was super bendable and able to be packed tightly into bags) and I also am just not normally a hat person, especially a huge beach hate like this one. However, after reading good reviews and taking to heart all the benefits this hat has against harmful sun exposure, I was kind of excited about it. I live near the beach now too, so this can now go to good use! :] Check out the hat here.

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2 • The Modern Margarita 
{Retail Value: $8.00} 
Mmmmmm I was so excited to see these in the box! I love margaritas and there are some delicious flavors included in this simple kit… and they even give you salt to brim the glasses with! It’s perfect! I also LOVE the packaging, so bright and an excellent design. These will go to great use this summer. Check out their website here.

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3 • Questions I Ask When I Want To Talk About Myself Deck 
{Retail Value: $14.95}
“50 Topics to Share with Friends.” This is based off of her book (which I have but still have yet to read), and they are basically cards to start topics up around, say, a group of ladies having a fabulous wine night. I love Mindy Kaling and think she’s hilarious, so hopefully some of these cards will be funny… otherwise, I’m not the biggest fan of this item in the box. Check out the product here.

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4 • The Original BeautyBlender & BlenderCleanser 
{Retail Value: $23.95} 
I was SO PUMPED to get this!!! Whenever I see these in the store I contemplate buying one but can never get myself to pay so much money for a sponge. This is the reason why I love subscription boxes!! They send you things that you couldn’t/wouldn’t normally buy in stores! I’m almost too scared to use it and get it all full of make-up, but after watching the videos about the product it seems fairly simple to clean. This was probably one of my favorite items featured in this month’s box!! Check out this amazing product here.

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5 • Pacifica Natural Color Quench Lip Tint 
{Retail Value: $9.00} 
This lip tint smells SOOOOO yummy! I got the color Guava Berry, and it’s a very sheer tint, not too overwhelming, so perfect for me! An awesome lip product I’m excited about! Check out the product here.

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6 • Charm & Chain $30 Gift Card 
Charm & Chain is a great online jewelry store that features over 50 different luxury to every day jewelry designers. A lot of their jewelry is REALLYYYY out of my price range, but they have super cute pieces starting at $33. Since they gave us a $30 credit towards the store, I’m excited to pick out a piece and basically only pay the shipping charges! Check out their website here.

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7 • Way Better Snacks – Simply Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips 
{Retail Value: $3.49/ 5.5 oz bag} 
I can never complain about getting snacks in one of my boxes. Especially when they are chips. These are unique and delicious and not as bad for you as many of the other brands. My only complaint is that the bag was too tiny! Check out the chips here.

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8 • Popsugar Bag 
We also got this bag as a little added bonus! I seem to always be lugging random crap around me with everywhere, so bags like this certainly get some good use!

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So although I really enjoyed this box, the value came in VERY LOW this month. The added retail value of all the products is only about $85.39. If I count the $30 gift card that brings the value to $115.39, but that’s still very low for this box, and I don’t think adding the $30 is really fair because you’re going to have to pay more on the website because the products are all over $30 to begin with.

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Although the value was low, I’m super excited about my new BeautyBlender and fun margarita mixes, not to mention my new beach hat :]

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all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

Ipsy Glambag May 2013 Review

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“Spring Fling”

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This month’s theme is Spring Fling. I LOVE the bag, super bright & adorable! This month, I am SO PUMPED about all 6 items that I received in my Ipsy Glambag. Ipsy costs $10/month, and you usually get 4-5 deluxe samples of beauty products to try! The bags are always themed, and they send along a little card that gives the theme name and also all the deals that you can get on products on their website. I am a little unhappy with this feature because I wish that (like almost all of my other monthly boxes) a list came with all the products and comments about usage.

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This month’s bag was jam packed (and heavier than usual) so I was very excited about it from the start! This month’s box also came with a NuMe gift certificate worth $110 on their online store. I am SUPER pumped about this because I have been wanting extensions for a super long time to thicken up my hair, and they have some that I think I may have to try out! I also got that little note about the special Urban Decay product that I got in there too…. which made me super excited because I LOVE UD!

IMG_1909 IMG_1915 IMG_1917But now let’s get to the goodies inside the box!!!

 1 • Pacifica 
Coconut Crushed Pearl Bronzing Body Butter, 2 oz. (FULL SIZE!), $7.00
This is a slight instant tanner with amazing shimmer that smells heavenly. I get a coconut-vanilla scent from it, and the shimmer isn’t over the top. Always love tanning products!!!! Check out the product here.

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2 • Macadamia 
Healing Oil Treatment, 1 oz. (FULL SIZE!) $13.50
Well this product is worth OVER the entire price of the bag itself!!! I loooove getting hair products to help restore my hair back to some state of health, and oil always makes my hair feel extra soft and shiny. This particular oil has a strong scent that at first I thought smelled like an old man’s cologne (!!) but now I’m starting to like it… So I don’t know if I’m just crazy, but it does have a pretty strong scent. Check out the product here!

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3 • Urban Decay 
Moondust Eyeshadow – Stargazer, 1.5 g (FULL SIZE!) $20.00
This was the bonus item I get this month from Ipsy, and I couldn’t be happier with it!!! Urban Decay is one of my all-time favorite make-up brands, and this color is so amazing! At first, it looked to me like mustardish yellow and I didn’t think I would like it at all… until I tested it out and realized that it is a super beautiful gold color! The feel of the eyeshadow is so smooth and it’s simple to apply. I am so excited about receiving this extra marvelous product (that is worth double the price of the bag itself!!!) Check out the product here.

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4 • Yaby 
Concealer Refill, #cc008 – Buff, 3.5 g (FULL SIZE!) $4.85
This was the item that I was least excited for in this months bag… at first. Then I tried it out and it actually blends perfectly well with my skin tone/makeup, so I like it a lot! The packaging is obviously not very nice (or non-existent if I lost the loose plastic casing they send it in), but I can just stick it in the magnetic little Glam RX freestyle pallet I got in the March Ipsy glambag. It’s not my favorite product, but it’s definitely a good one! Check out the product here.

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5 • Zoya 
Nail Polish, Blu, 0.5 oz (FULL SIZE!) $8.00
This color is beautifully blue (hence the name), and it’s a perfect formula that spreads on super easy and dries fairly quickly! I LOOVEEE nail polish so I’m always excited to get a color that I know I’ll use and get to try out more nice polish brands I wouldn’t normally buy in the store. I have gotten other Zoya polishes before from subscription boxes but I never remember them coming in boxes like this month’s did… Made it seem even fancier, so I loved it! Check out the polish here.

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6 • Juice Beauty 
Reflecting Gloss – Pink, 0.14 oz, $7.50
When I went to look up the price on this lip gloss, I just assumed it was also a full sized item because it’s a normal size for a lip gloss. When I found out the full size is DOUBLE (0.28 oz) I was shocked because I thought this was already big enough! Anyway, this gloss has a yummy sorbet smell and looks nice and shiny (and not sticky!!) on the lips. Perfect for Spring! Check out the product here.

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This was probably my favorite glambag yet… value-wise, I’m sure it was the best! This month I got (almost!) ALL full-sized items, for a grand total of $60.85! And that’s not even including the adorable makeup bag that it comes packed in! This month my $10 was FOR SURE worth it. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next month! Hopefully things just keep getting better & better!

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all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

You Gotta Keep Your Head Up

The past couple of days could have been better. Could have been MUCH better. Last night I didn’t sleep a wink. Not at all. I was up, staring at the ceiling and downloading silly apps on my iPhone until the sun was way way up. At this point I just decided to get up and start my day. (I have SUCH lovely bags under my eyes that seem to stretch all the way down my face.) I couldn’t sleep because I think I was just too anxious about all that’s been going on lately. I’m not trying to complain too much or say my life is terrible, but I guess the saying is true, “When it rains, it pours.” When I finally got up today I found a huge infestation of ants in our back (kitty) room. The dry cat food bowl was COVERED with ants it was so disgusting I was screaming like a little girl, I’m sure the neighbors think someone was getting killed or something, but I couldn’t help it. I spent a while spraying down all the walls in the room with the ant killer, then attempted to kill the wasps that are building a new nest our deck. DAMNIT I HATE BUGS SO MUCH.

Aside from that, there’s just the HUGE issue of my unemployment. I am SO SICK of getting rejected left and right. I didn’t realize how much it starts to get to you and make you question what you’re really good enough for. I used to be super confident in my brains and successfulness, but now it’s all starting to feel like I was just living in an illusion the whole time because no one seems to want to hire me now. I know with time God will place me in the right position where I was meant to be, but this wait is long and hard.

On top of my own crapola, the bf was passed over for a job opportunity because of an issue that was COMPLETELY out of his own control. It is so incredibly unfair, especially because he deserved this job and was oh so excited about it. I was so proud of him and all the work he was putting into applying for the position, but when it all came down to it, the next step wasn’t anything he could control. Again, I understand that everything happens for a reason so this obviously wasn’t meant to be, but it’s just so hard for me to be okay with it right now.

Although this isn’t something essential, I’m also pretty upset about the fact that this month will probably be last getting my subscription boxes (I will be pausing them) because I can no longer afford to really spend any money. Aside from my rent and other bills, I honestly haven’t been shopping or spending too much money since I’ve quit my job. Those boxes were my only fun new surprise of the month that would at least keep me happy and busy for a day of the month, taking a break from job applications and worrying about the entire process. Soooo this makes me sad :[ The main reason I have to do this this month is because this weekend I got a frickin (UNFAIR) speeding ticket. The cop pulled me AND a Harley over out of an entire lane of traffic that was going the same speed to just give us (the Harley and the Mustang) a ticket. I was warned that my car would be a huge red marker for cops, and it sucks to have it actually come true. Soooo there goes $120 to some dumb hicktown in Illinois.

I want to end things on a good note though, because although things are sucking for me right now, this weekend I did have a great time at my friend’s graduation party (Congrats Jordan!!!!), which was Blackhawks themed!! And tonight we start the next round of playoffs!! SO LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!

blackhawks everything down to the straws, umbrellas, and stirrers! :]

blackhawks everything down to the straws, umbrellas, and stirrers! :]

my heaping plate of ketchup, some brat, more ketchup, and yummy salads!

my heaping plate of ketchup, some brat, more ketchup, and yummy salads!

and there were kittaaayss everywhere!! it was heaven :]

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and on Sunday, for a special Mother’s Day treat, Michael got old.

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tryna stay positive…..,

mary elyse

Cosmo June 2013 // Sofia Vergara

Cosmopolitan June 2013

Cosmopolitan June 2013

• 8 Fabulous Finds in this Issue •

Sooooo I’ve been trying to figure out a way to organize all my magazines more efficiently and actually utilize the information or inspiration that I learn/feel while reading, so aside from marking all the pages I want to keep in my magazine binders, I’ve decided to do this!!! It makes me happy, so it works :]

{1} Sofia Vergara. I just love her. I mean, how can you not unless it’s just out of jealousy and envy? She is gorgeous AND hilarious. I think that’s the best winning combo anyone can ask for. Everything I’ve seen her in she always makes me laugh and is very in-your-face, but in a good way. She looks stunning on this cover, and of course I love the bright red and purple theme. (I think half the reason I’m obsessed with magazines in the first place is strictly because I am obsessed with magazine covers. The colors, the beautiful people, and mostly the word art/typography get me every time!!!)

{2} This ad. Love love love love love it. I’m not even a sorbet lover but this is making me a) want some and b) try this vodka!! (Another reason why I’m obssessed with magazines… my crazy obsession for print advertisements. When I was in advertising classes in school, I literally read the textbooks for fun because I loved the ads and the stories behind them that much)

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{3} Their “cosmo guy” this month was Michael Bublè. Yummoooo I just love him (and mainly his voice). He discusses his new album, which I have yet to buy (I’m a little behind on my music downloading lately), but I do LOVE his first single off the album, “It’s A Beautiful Day”. Even though it’s about a breakup, it makes me smile and wanna jump up and dance every time. (And the video is awesome.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QYxuGQMCuU&noredirect=1

{4} Loved the article titled What Makes Us Likeable?: Why are some famous women universally adored while others get the mean girl treatment? And how important is it for women to be liked anyways? This article made me laugh because it talks about some celebs (Emma Stone, Mila Kunis) that everyone seems to love. Then there are other actresses, like Anne Hathaway, who seem very unlikeable. It talks about how we don’t even know/realize WHY we dislike these certain actresses, and I know I am certainly guilty of that. I didn’t realize that there were so many other people that disliked Hathaway the way I do. I mean, I think that I have a legit reason though. When I was younger, I LOVED the Princess Diaries books, so when the movie came out and she was starring, even then I didn’t think she was good enough for the part. She is so bleh to me. Hahahah so basically this article talks about the reasons why people like me think these kinds of things against certain actresses. It made me laugh because it still didn’t change my mind about her.

{5} Ohhhh how this page makes me smile. California, the colors…….. I want that bike shirt, that beach book, the zip pouch, and that awesome sunset top. Just to name a few ;]

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{6} This ad isn’t my favorite, but it definitely caught my eye with all the blue hues! Also, I love finding new fun polish collections and/or brands. :]

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{7} This ad. I don’t even know what to say. I would say it’s a trainwreck, because it’s so bad yet I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. Scratch and sniff…?? For a VODKA ad? A super cheap low quality vodka ad?? It made me laugh for sure. And of course I scratched and sniffed that shiznit. Smelt good too. I’m sure it doesn’t taste as good though.

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{8} I need these straws. I’ve never seen them before and think they are amazing. I can almost feel the freezing frostyness of them on my lips. You can buy them here!

So those were my random tidbits of fun from this month’s Cosmo. Love love love organizing my thoughts on these things and making lists. So great for me. haha :]

all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

 

 

Love With Food May 2013 Review

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This might be my favorite Love With Food box yet!! Everything that I have tried so far (and I only just got the box TODAY), has been absolutely delicious. The theme this month was “Mother’s Day Breakfast In Bed”, and the theme works great, probably because all the products are just super unique and tasty!

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Love With Food is only $10/month, and they send you gourmet samples of amazing new foods. You can learn more about the service in my subscription box section. I have discovered so many new/different brands that I had never before even heard of before trying them from these kinds of boxes. This one is full of fun new products and brands! It’s never been a let-down. And this month I think is my absolute favorite thus far!

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Each month, they send you a nice little card with that month’s theme and the rundown of all the tasty new treats inside the box. This month, there is a “Mystery Item” listed, however when I go to the website it says nothing about my actual 8th product, which I will review last, so I’m kind of confused about that…. Otherwise, I loved this box!!!

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Item 1 • Great Full Cookie, The Cookie Department, Inc. 
{$36.00/box of 12}
This cookie is full of sweet potato and cranberries. And it was one of the best cookies that I have ever tried!! It was super sweet, but in a perfect way, and I loved the cranberries and the super super softness of the cookie. Plus, it was huge. It was actually 2 servings, so I was only supposed to eat 1/2 at one time… Buuuut it was just too good. I couldn’t help myself. Check out the cookies here.

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Item 2 • Strawberry Preserves, Bonne Maman 
{$4.99/13 oz. jar}
I was SO HAPPY to see this adorable little jam jar in my box this month because I had already recieved it before in my March Goodies Co. box and I LOVED it {you can find the review here.} It’s a really tiny amount in there, just enough to spread on 2 slices of toast, but they were two DELICIOUS pieces of toast! I love this jam and I’m so happy I get to have some more. Check out the jams here.

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Item 3 • Hand Drip Coffee, Caffe Borsa, Sumatra flavor 
{$17.99/2 boxes}
I’m a little confused about this product only because I don’t know why I would normally want to choose this hand-made coffee over letting my coffee pot do the work and I can get ready while it’s making the coffee FOR ME. But I’m probably just missing the point of this, I didn’t really give it a second look yet and read over the directions and whatnot. Who knows, it could be super amazing. See for yourself on their website.

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Item 4 • Original Cajun Seasoning, “Slap Ya Mama” 
{$3.50/8 oz. canister}
This seasoning looks so fun! I’m a sucker for fun names and packaging and these guys did a great job with both! I’m excited to try it on just about anything, as the label directs. I love delicious spice blends, especially if it’s got a good kick to it. Check it out here.

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Item 5 • Tomato Crunch, Snapz Crisps 
{$1.99/1 bag}
O.M.G. I was a tad bit freaked out at first when I realized I was about to try dried tomatos. Out of a package. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a tomato in this form, but I am a huge tomato lover, so I knew had to give it a shot!! They were sooooo freakin good! They tasted almost like a regular, fresh tomato, but the crispyness also gave it a new flavor. I loved them! Absolutely delicious, yet good for you at the same time! Check out the chips here.

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Item 6 • Authentic Almond Biscotti, Biscotti Bari 
{$14.50/pack of 8}
I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m not usually huge on biscotti’s, especially because there are almonds in this particular one. I will give it a try soon though to see if I like it. They look pretty fancy, and the the biscotti is also pretty big, so it’s a large treat! Check out their website here.

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Item 7 • Latte Candy, Bali’s Best 
{$16.38/ bag of 42 candies}
These were DELICIOUS! There wasn’t an overpowering coffee flavor (like I thought there was gonna be), it was very smooth and milky and carmelly and just all around delicious! Would definitely buy these. Check them out here.

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Item 8 • Pumpkin Crunch, Mrs. May’s Naturals 
{$40.00/ 24 pack}
I didn’t think I would really like this all that much. I’m not very big on nuts and grains and oats… I don’t mind them, but most of the time they are just too bland for me. This pumpkin crunch, however, was absolutely delicious! I only wanted to try one piece and I accidentally found myself eating the rest of the bag. SO FRICKIN GOOD. And I felt even better about myself because I knew that it was a healthy snack. Check out their website here.

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Overall, I LOVED this May Love with Food box. It was full of random items that I never even knew exsisted and brands I have never tried before. I love getting introduced to all these new brands, especially when it’s about snacking… I LOVE to snack and this box keeps me happy for a while :]

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all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

You Should Be Reading…

{1}

Beautiful Creatures
2009
4 STARS
After reading a glowing review about this book, I decided to pick up a copy myself (and by “pick up”, I mean order from half.com for $0.75 cents). I get all my books from there (used) and most of the time they look/feel/smell BRAND NEW. All you basically have to pay for is the $3 shipping fee. I never pay over .75 cents otherwise! Anyway, to the book. IT WAS SO MAGICAL! I LOVED IT! I’ve been reading it during my gym time when I’m peddling away on the bike, and I could barely put it down! It definitely HELPED my workout when I didn’t even wanna get off the bike because I wanted to see what would happen next. I don’t want to give anything away, but I would put this YA novel in the category of series such as Twilight and The Hunger Games, ALTHOUGH it is much more mysterious and full of more questions than Twilight was. For sure. The love story is adorable, and I couldn’t help but root on the main characters the entire time. I loved all the aspects to the book and there wasn’t a certain scene or character that I hated or thought the story could do without…. all around, an excellent read. Super addicting and magical and I just couldn’t put it down.

I DO HAVE SOME ADVICE UPON READING THE BOOK: I had heard that the movie Beautiful Creatures had just came out, but I didn’t look up any of the actors or watch the trailer or anything. I wanted all the characters to look and feel the way I wanted them to in my head. After finishing the book, I looked online at pictures from the movies and I was actually quite horrified. I didn’t picture any of the characters to look the way they do in the movie. Ethan looks like SUCH a dork. And Lena is NOT the beautiful vixen she is described as in the book. Kind of a let down. Not my problem though because I usually don’t like the movies based on the books I love anyway.

{2}

White Girl Problems
2012
4 STARSThis book ALSO got 4 stars because although it was completely different, it was ultra fabulous. This book was HILARIOUS. I started reading it on the train and would a) have to hide the cover because I was embarrassed and b) would eventually embarrass myself anyway because I would be laughing out loud. A little too much. White Girl Problems is just soooo funny. I used to randomly check out Babe Walker’s blog but didn’t really get it. I just didn’t understand the humor or jokes or anything. This book filled me in!!! It is almost like a satire on insane LA girls who only concern themselves with their looks, figures, money, and shopping. This was an easy-read that also kept me guessing what was going to happen next. And with White Girl “Problems” such as “All I want for my birthday is for you to know what I want for my birthday without me having to tell you”, “I hate my horse”, “He’s not a doctor, a lawyer, or a prince”, “I need a therapist to talk about the problems I’m having with my therapist”, and “Maybe people would take me seriously if I wasn’t so hot”, there is bound to be a chapter in that book that will make you laugh. I mean, you hate her at the same time, but it’s a love-hate relationship. And NOW her blog is all the more fun to read! Now that I know all her crazy problems and issues. Fun, quick, summer read :]

Right meow I’m currently reading the second installment in the Beautiful Creatures series, Beautiful Darkness, but I have about 49348325 other books on my bookshelf that I have bought and not even opened yet! When I was younger I was OBSESSED with reading. Books were my favorite thing in the world. I would wake up supperrrrr early BEFORE school so that I could read whatever amazing book I had at the time. Yes, that obsessed. When I got to college, instead of reading as much, I would spend my free time doing other, ahem, “college”, activities. I want to get back into reading books more because I love it so much! Maybe posting these reviews will inspire me to get through more and more of my bookshelf! (Plus I’m always buying more… Can’t pass up $0.75 cent books on half.com!!!)

all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

I Spy…

…a freak lil ninja kitty named Charles.

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Sims used to love to go up there & watch us, we miss that lil bugger :]

This morning I have an interview in the city, which I’m excited about because it’s literally right down the block of my old job… so I’m very comfortable with the area and know exactly where I’m going. Hopefully this one will stick & I can be employed soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After the interview, I have a lot of chores that need to be done, like the never ending pile of dishes, more and more laundry to do, and cleaning cleaning cleaning…. BUT I am most excited for a music session, to discover & download tons of new tunes… And thanks to my prior spending habits, I checked my reward balance and found that I had accumulated a LOT of points over the past several months, so AmEx sent me this nice $100 iTunes giftcard! Yayyyy!! :]

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Now I have to get ready for my interview, and hope for the best!!!!

I didn't do it!

I didn’t do it!

lazy lil charles

lazy lil charles

all love & smiles :]

mary elyse

 

Food… Food… & even MORE Food.

So it’s no secret that I’m overly obsessed with food. I seem to talk about it all day, love looking at food photography and reading recipes, I love walking the aisles of the grocery store, and I wish I could try out every single restaurant in America. I just LOVE it. Looking through the pictures on my phone from the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a little more than usual food/meal pictures. I just looked through them all and couldn’t help but say OMG I EAT SO MUCH DAMN FOOD!!!!!!!!! But sometimes, I just don’t care because I love meal times and, let’s face it, I just have no self-control.

Soooo onto the food fest! I just love sharing food experiences and concoctions and just all-around yummy foods!!! {These meals were consumed starting April 21st, so it’s not like these meals are from just this past week or anything! hahah}

• We are ‘dilla LOVERS over here. The George Foreman quesadilla maker most certainly got it’s $20.00 worth of use. We use that thing at least once a week, usually much more. I made a super seasoned up cheese ‘dilla with my favorite salsa in the world (from El Gallo of course).dilla

•Edamame ❤ How I love thee.

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 • Strangely large & weird dinner one night: Fish fillets w/ my tarter sauce + ketchup combo, edamame, & apples w/ pepper jack cheese slices. SO GOOD.

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 • One morning (before an interview) I even tried an Instant Breakfast… which turned out to be super delicious and filling!

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• My parents took me to lunch at Horse Thief Hollow, which is an awesome brewery on the south side of Chicago. I got the spinach & goat cheese “burger”, along with a cup of their amazingly delicious chili. There are like huge chunks of delicious meat in there, not just your average ground beef. The place has a super nice vibe to it and I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu items and test out some of their beers!

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 • Michael & I finally went to the White Palace Grill, a restaurent right near us that Guy Fieri visited on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives! We were super excited! It ended up being delicious. We shared some mozz sticks, both had delicious chicken soup, and I had the catfish sandwich. It was fun to be at a place that was featured on that show because I’m obsessed with the Food Network and love all those hosts! It was also a really crappy day out when we went, and walking to the restaurant, I thought the Sears Willis Tower looked supa spooky.

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• We went on a mission to find the little Mexican carts of amazing food on the corners, aka: corn & chips & cucumbers & ice slushes. I’ve been OBSESSED with the “mexican chips” as I like to call them. The little pinwheel guys squirted with lime juice and hot sauce. SO FREAKIN GOOD. Michael knew that I would also love the corn and cucumbers that they have… and he was right. Also loved ’em! They fill the corn with butter, salt, lime juice, mayo, and chili powder. DELICIOUS!

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• On a sweet note, I made some delicious AMURICAN red white and blue sprinkled cupcakes, a chocolate cake that me & Michael completely devoured, and look how cute my little monster looks inside our empty beer box?? Awwwwwww. She looks a little hungover herself from all the beer and cake.

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• Eating out wise, I’ve been super spoiled! So. Much. Deliciousness. We got Domino’s the other day, which was amazing. I know that my new obsession there is the Pacific Veggie Pizza. I tinker with the toppings a bit, and it’s becoming one of my new favorite pizzas! We tried our first Chinese place together, called Happiness. It was pretty good, don’t know if I want to order from there again because a) we didn’t get sauce for our crab rangoon, b) there were only like 2 pieces of shrimp in my shrimp dish, and 3) I wasn’t IN LOVE with my meal. HOWEVER, those crab rangoons that I speak of were one of the best kinds I have EVER HAD. They were ohhhh so delicious! Michael also likes to surprise me with Mickey D’s breckie, and we caved and went to Chipotle after me not having it for a pretty long while. It was amazing. hahaha.

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• Michael made some supa yummy meats, and I bought this amazing Guy Fieri habanero mustard wing sauce. SO YUMMY!

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• Mama made me the best tuna salad in the world…. So I like to try different concoctions with it. First, Michael was making grilled cheese, so I decided to make grilled cheese tuna melt with jalapeños. YUM. Then today I made me a tuna + cheese ‘dilla. EVEN BETTER!!!

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• I bought this supa yummy dip mix when in Saugatuck while shopping around the town. It’s called the Great Lakes Blend. I made it with sour cream and added a little minced onion and garlic salt and it is OH SO GOOD with celery. My go-to snack.

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• What I CAN’T STOP CRAVING lately though are soft pretzels w/ cheese, and Sugar Shack ice cream. Since I’ve only been living here since October, I had never tried the Sugar Shack before as they are only open for Summer hours. I loooooove it. Have been there twice already and both times my Blizzards were amazing. It’s only a block away, so it’s pretty dangerous for two ice cream lovers like me & Michael. Hopefully our daily work-outs will help us fight the battle against the Sugar Shack. hahaha :]

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Soooooo that was an obnoxious amount of food pictures, but I love sharing what I love!! :]

Also, I am currently obsessed with my new blog theme. I finally found a new free site design on WordPress that I like for now, and I REALLY like this one! SO much better than before. I love the font, format, and picture views. LOVE LOVE LOVE 🙂 It’s a happy day!

all love & smiles :]

mary elyse