Monday, December 31, 2012

Manicure Featuring Makeup Cherimoya Nail Polish

Manicure Featuring Nail Polish from Nail Art Society

Cherimoya Mystery & Blockbuster mixed with a dotting tool creating a marble design

Left to Right - without a topcoat, with 5 crystals, with matte top coat on left & glossy top coat on right with crystals (it's pink in person, camera makes it appear red in photo), with Julep matte top coat , with Seche Vite glossy top coat.  

This polish was received from Nail Art Society which is a monthly subscription featuring products for nail art.  To see what I received in the December package, click here.  I used both the pink-purple color (Mystery) & the silver color (Blockbuster) in the following steps:
  1. Washed hands and used a cotton ball to apply nail polish remover to all nails to remove any oils.
  2. Applied two coats of Orly's Rubberized Bonder Base Coat to prevent chips and let it dry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Applied quickly two coats of Cherimoya Mystery, second coat being a heavy one.
  4. Applied quickly dots of Cherimoya Blockbuster in six big blobs of polish, 2 rows 3 down.
  5. Took my yellow colored dotting tool and pulled through the polish from the middle near the cuticle down to the bottom making curves, running through all the dots of polish.
  6. Continuing with the dotting tool, pulled through the polish from the far left side down to the bottom of the nail making curves.
  7. Continuing with the dotting tool, pulled through the polish on the far right side down.
  8. Let it dry for an hour before resuming normal activity.
When the two colors were swirled together with the dotting tool, the silver color turned a pinkish color.  As you can see above in the swatches, when I added a top coat it changed the appearance of the polish.  I like the way it looks without a top coat best.  I'm hoping it wont chip.  If it chips too quickly, I'll repair the chip and add a top coat.  I didn't like the addition of the crystals, so I decided to skip that for this manicure.  The Cherimoya Mystery polish started getting too thick and I had to add Seche Vite's Restore to fix this issue.  This is my first time using a matte polish and while I like the texture and effect it has, I'm not happy about not being able to add a top coat. Top coats keep my nails from chipping, help keep them look like they were freshly painted and help them dry quickly.  Have you tried a matte polish yet?  Were you able to add a matte top coat without it changing the look? If so, which brand did you try.

Check out my other marble designs here:

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Nail Art Society - December 2012

December Shipment from Nail Art Society

Everything included in December Shipment (click on photo to enlarge)  

This is a new monthly subscription service from Nail Art Society.  It only costs me $10 per month, since I'm an early adopter.  Anyone who signed up the first two months have received this low rate.  The new rate is $20 per month.  It's a comparable value to Julep, another monthly nail polish subscription.  Right now I'm preferring this one over Julep since it's nail art related.  I prefer doing my nails with a design rather than just using one nail polish.  Included in this shipment were the following:
  1. Cherimoya - matte polish in the color Mystery (purple-pink)
  2. Cherimoya - matte polish in the color Blockbuster (silver)
  3. Cherimoya - 38 sheets of nail polish removal pads with cuticle oil
  4. Stella - luminous nail kit, crystals in four sizes
  5. Beauty Art - nail glue
  6. Instruction card
I haven't had a chance to try out this kit, since I'm currently wearing a Christmas Marble Design.  I plan to give this a try soon.  Deciding between the following designs:
  1.  Place the crystals down the center, choosing one color of polish or a different color on each side of the crystals
  2.  Place crystals at an angle with different colors on each side of the crystals
  3.  Place crystals starting just below the cuticle and toward the tip (from left to right) three crystals in different sizes from large to small, then two, then one (in the center of the nail), then two, then three.
Which design should I try out?  Subscribe so you don't miss my post showing what design I came up for my nails. I've never used crystals or any other 3D decoration on my nails before.  Anyone know how difficult it is to remove them?

So there you have it, my first box from Nail Art Society.  Well actually it comes in a padded envelope.  I look forward to January's shipment!

Here's my manicure using this kit:

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Monday, December 24, 2012

DoggyLoot Mystery Loot Box

Mystery Box from DoggyLoot

Leo checking out the goodies

This is a mystery box from DoogyLoot for $22 including shipping.  Included in the box were the following:
  1. True Chews - spiral bully stick from Iowa
  2. Loving Pets - vegitopia pineapple slices
  3. Lamb Airy Bites - lamb lung with organic spinach, pumpkin & carrot
  4. Pet Stages - Orka fetch toy that bounces and floats
  5. Grandma Lucy's - organic baked apple treats from Canada
The bully stick was Leo's (Maltese) first choice and he enjoyed chewing on it.  Later Teddy (Maltese) chewed on it.  My dogs love bully sticks and we are on monthly auto delivery from DoogyLoot.  The pineapple slices were rejected by all four of my toy breed dogs.  Issy (Shih Tzu) gave it a try, but didn't like it.  The others didn't even taste it.  The lamb treats were enjoyed by all.  My dogs love lamb and it's the main ingredients in their dry dog food Hundenflocken from Solid Gold.  Lamb is especially good for dogs with allergies.  Lamb is Harvey's favorite food and he goes nuts when we are cooking a leg of lamb in the oven.  The Pet Stages toy was enjoyed by Teddy who loves to play fetch.  The Grandma treats have wheat in them, so I wont be giving any to Harvey who can't tolerate that ingredient.  While the ingredients are organic, they aren't ones I will give my dogs such as wheat, soy, sugar, and oils. is a website that has daily bargains which sell out quickly.  It's best to sign up for their emails to inform you of the bargains or visit their website a regular basis.  Some items you can set up for auto delivery also. They have free shipping on everything, so if you need an inexpensive pick me up for your dog, this is the place to shop!  I'm saving a ton of money on bully sticks monthly!  To receive $5 off your first order, use my link here.  

Previous blog posts about DoggyLoot:

Bully Sticks Bargain

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review of Wheat Free Cake Mix by Puppy Cake

Red Velvet Cup Cakes for Dogs

I received this box of cake mix in December's Barkbox.  I love healthy treats for my dogs and they are hard to find.  One of my four dogs, Harvey can not tolerate any products with any wheat in them and my other three turn their nose at them.  So I'm always coming up with recipes on my own to accommodate them.  I was happy to see this in the latest Barkbox and anxious to give it a try.  

It's a very easy, quick recipe to make.  You only need a fork to mix this. I used a Le Creuset baking tray made out of silicon.  Ingredients in the cake mix are rice flour, evaporated can juice (for sweetness), beet powder (for coloring), baking powder and salt.  The frosting is unflavored yogurt.  You only need in addition to the box of ingredients: 1 egg, 3/4 cup water, and 3 tbsp vegetable oil for the cake mix and only 2 tbsp water (recommend filtered).  It bakes at 350ΒΊ F for 18-22 minutes.  Since I only made six cup cakes instead of eight, I had to cook it a few minutes longer.  I refrigerated my frosting while the cup cakes were cooking,  so I didn't have to wait for the cup cakes to cool completely before frosting.  The frosting takes awhile to dry and that is the effect you want, it should dry out.  That makes them less messy when serving to your furry friends, you don't want frosting in their hair!  Here's my doggies taking their first bites:

Leo, Harvey & Teddy  

My four dogs shared one cup cake.  I cut it into eight pieces.  Isabella ran off with hers, while Leo & Harvey wanted theirs cut up into even smaller pieces.  Isabella, Teddy & Harvey approved and Leo spit his out and didn't try it again.  Teddy quickly gobbled up Leo's portion also.  This was a lot of fun for my dogs except Leo.  But don't worry about him, I had made carrot cookies also that day.

As far as nutrition goes, I would have liked to see something other than rice flour.  Some apple sauce or vegetables would have improved it for me.  So this is something I would serve my four dogs only occasionally and certainly would be perfect for their birthdays!  I'll stick with my cookie recipes for daily treats which I make weekly.  You can find links to my dog cookie recipes below:

And check out the BarkBoxes my dogs have received:

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Friday, December 21, 2012

BarkBox - December 2012

December Shipment from BarkBox

Leo & Harvey waiting to try out all their goodies  

Leo & Harvey checking out the BarkBox goodies

This is a monthly subscription service from BarkBox.  This is our 7th shipment and my dogs have been really enjoying this service!  Inside December's box were the following:
  1. Simply Fido - an organic furry squeaker reindeer toy
  2. Puppy Cake - wheat free cake mix with yogurt frosting (full review on this blog soon)
  3. Fresh Dog - oatmeal shampoo
  4. Bocce's Bakery - 3 oz bag of biscuits containing oat flour, chicken, cranberries & cinnamon
Our two Maltese dogs love playing fetch with the reindeer toy.  I tried out the cake mix and all but one of my four dogs love it.  To read the full review, click here.  I will try out the oatmeal shampoo soon.  I'm really picky about shampoo since I bathe them weekly, so I normally use Royal Treatment Organic Shampoo.  The cookies were enjoyed by Isabella (Shih Tzu) the most (she tried to steal everyone else's), followed by Harvey (Shih Tzu), then Leo (Maltese) finally tasted them and licked his lips. Teddy (Maltese) left them and didn't give them a try to after his nap.  So there you have it, the latest BarkBox.  If you need a pick me up for your doggie, you should give this monthly service a try!  

To see what my dogs received in their box previous months, click on the links below:

If you would like to bring joy to your doggie, subscribe today and receive $5 off your first box, to do so click here. To see the joy, excitement and smiles this box gives them monthly is priceless!  Kisses and hugs to your doggie!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Favorites Cravebox

December Cravebox Shipment

This is the latest shipment from Cravebox.  It's a monthly subscription service and this box cost $14 including shipping.    Bargain!  Included in this shipment were the following:
  1. Heinz Chili Sauce - full size sample with meatball recipe card
  2. BelVita - breakfast energy bar
  3. Mary Kay - lipgloss in the color Red Passion
  4. Vitabath - four small sample packets of body wash
  5. Campbell's - Golden Butternut Squash Soup, full size
  6. Nancy's - coupon for a free appetizer
  7. Pillsbury - coupons for free pie crust and cookie dough
  8. International Delight - coupons for three free coffee creamers
I've never tried Heinz Chili Sauce before, I shall give it a try even though I'm not crazy about the calories it adds to a recipe.  Hubby has never met a meatball he didn't like!  I plan to try the BelVita energy bar soon.  But as a rule, I do not purchase anything with soy in it.  I'm so sick of finding so many products with soy in it.  Soy turns into estrogen, so it's on my do not eat list.  The lipgloss is very opaque and has excellent coverage.  It's not sticky and takes very little product to cover.  It has the coverage of a lipstick.  I've never seen this much coverage from a lip gloss!  I look foward to trying the four scented Vitabath body washes.  I'll be trying Pink Frosting tonight, sounds yummy.  I love Butternut Squash soup and purchase it on a regular basis, so this will be eaten very soon for lunch.  I've seen Nancy's line of appetizers before, but wasn't daring enough to try them. Now that I have a coupon for a free box, I look forward to trying them out.  I'm not crazy about the ingredients in the International Delight creamer.  I will share it with others who don't mind artificial ingredients.  I love Pillsbury cookie dough and I have tried the pie crust before.  They are both winners and items I purchase especially during the holidays.  I will update this post with my opinions of the products I have free coupons for as soon as I get to the store to purchase them and have a chance to sample them.

To view other boxes I received from Cravebox, click on the links below:

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Cravebox - Knorr Ultimate Thanksgiving 2012

November Cravebox for Thanksgiving

This is a monthly subscription service from Cravebox.  This box featured items that you would use for your Thanksgiving feast.  It was only $14 including shipping and a joy to receive.  Included in this box were:
  1. Del Monte - two cans of whole green beans
  2. Brookside - dark chocolate covered pomegranate candy
  3. Duncan Hines - frosting creations frosting with flavor packet
  4. Knorr - condensed homestyle stock
  5. McCormick - two turkey gravy packets
  6. Folded Words - coupon for $35 worth of cards or other printed material on their website
It came just in time for Thanksgiving and we used the green beans for hubby's green bean casserole dish.  The turkey we had purchased came with gravy, so we didn't have any need for that, so we plan to use those in the future instead.  I actually haven't tried the dark chocolate pomegranate yet which is crazy, that just goes to show how busy I have been lately.  Chocolate in the house and not sampled, crazy!  I shall try it soon.  I would have preferred a different flavor on the frosting.  I am guessing that they came up with the add your own flavor idea to reduce the amount of shelf space they need in the grocery store.  The flavor I purchase the most, well always is chocolate!  So the strawberry flavor will have to wait, it's more of a spring flavor than fall or winter.  I used the $35 coupon at on some greeting cards with photos of my dogs and received them the other day.  They are nice cards.  I wasn't expecting the cards to be matte.  Hubby purchased customized cards from Apple before and they were a nice shinny card stock.  I prefer shinny over matte when it comes to cards  with photos.  This is a fun inexpensive monthly box subscription that I highly recommend.  

To view other boxes I received click on the links below:

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Cravebox - Holiday Spruce-Up

November Cravebox Shipment

Above shows a photo of the November Holiday Spruce-Up Cravebox.  It's a monthly subscription box from Cravebox. This was the only shipment out of five that was disappointing to me.  I felt as many other subscribers did that this shipment wasn't worth the $14 we paid for it.  Many monthly subscription services disappoint every few months, but in the long run they are worth subscribing to.  This is one of the subscriptions that rarely disappoints.  Included in this box were:
  1. Oxi Clean - Dishwashing Booster
  2. Bissell - Stomp 'N Go Stain Lifting Pads
  3. Tide - Pods
  4. Febreze - Set & Refresh 
  5. Biz - Stain Fighter coupon
  6. Mean Green - cleaner & degreaser coupon
I have tried the Oxi Clean dishwashing booster and so far it seems to work ok. I like that brand and it usually doesn't disappoint. I don't have carpet, so I can't use the Bissell lifting pads.  I have received a free Tide Pod before and wasn't impressed.  While Tide use to be my favorite brand, I no longer find it to be of the same quality.  I use Costco's own brand (Kirkland) of HE laundry detergent that has no color additives and natural lavender oils.  I placed the Febreze Set & Refresh in the laundry room and it helped.  I haven't heard of the two items that I received coupons for, that's item 5 and 6 on the list, so I am reluctant to purchase them without first trying a free sample.  I was expecting a sample from them rather a coupon.  I'm happy to report that Cravebox has excellent customer service and after an quick email to them informing them of my thoughts about it not being a good value, I received a refund!

To view the previous boxes I received click on the links below:

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Cravebox - Cooking Light

Cooking Light Cravebox

This is a monthly subscription box from Cravebox for $13 including shipping.  This one featured Cooking Light and included the following products:
  1. McCormick - Perfect Pinch Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning
  2. Nectresse - no calorie sweetener from the makers of Splenda
  3. Tully's French Roast Coffee
  4. Dole - Fruit Crisp in Apple Pear, Apple Cinnamon & Peach
  5. Torani - add a splash to your brewed coffee
  6. Cooking Light - magazine
  7. Magnet from Cooking Light - measurement conversion 
  8. Recipes - McCormick Garlic & Herb Chicken & Tully's Coffee Banana Bread
Hubby tried the Torani and thought it was good, but prefers regular coffee flavors, not the fancy ones.  I was happy to see that it wasn't full of sugar and uses a sugar free substitute.  The Tully's French Roast Coffee came in handy since our Keurig decided to stop working and hubby had to use a french press until the new Keurig arrived. I tried the Fruit Crisp in Apple Cinnamon and it was a nice quick treat, but I will not purchase again since the apples are from China.  Really, China?  We have plenty of apples here in the states, so I am very sad that Dole decided to import apples.  Shame on Dole! I tried the Nectresse in my tea and it made me nauseous, so I will not be using it again.  I rarely feel nauseous, so that product really disagreed with me!  Hubby didn't like the taste either.  We will stick with a heathy option, Stevia.  I love the magnet, I frequently find the need to convert cooking measurements, so that will come in handy.  I'm always looking for ways to spice up chicken since we eat mostly chicken to keep our cholesterol levels low.  So we will be trying out the McCormick spice soon.  We don't cook without spices!  I looked into the digital magazine subscription, but since it required that you cancel after your trial, I passed.  So there you have it, our latest shipment from Cravebox.  This was a fun box of samples to try out.  If you want a really inexpensive monthly sample box, this is one to try.  What monthly subscription services do you love, comment below!  

To view the other boxes I received click on the links below:

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Green Mountain Coffee - Wellness Collection K-Cups Review

Green Mountain K-Cup Review

These free samples were provided by BzzAgent.  Hubby tried these out in our Keurig machine.  He thought the taste was ok, just average.  He wouldn't purchase these and didn't find any of the so called enhancements of focus and antioxidants.  We take tons of vitamins everyday including memory and antioxidants.  These are simply easier to take via a vitamin supplement than in your drink and they take at least two weeks of daily use to feel a difference anyway.  It seems like a great idea, but if you are already taking vitamins there is really no point in spending more money on these vitamins.  If you plan on using this coffee as your source of these supplements, then make sure you use them daily and do not expect results for at least two weeks.  It's not like caffeine which you can feel the effect immediately after drinking.  Hubby's favorite kcups are the ones from Starbucks which we purchase at BJ's & Costco.  He also recommends K-Cups in the flavors Green Mountain Vermont Country Blend, Eight O' Clock, Barista Prima Italian Roast, and Newman's Own Organics Special Blend. My favorites are tea in the flavors Timothy's Lemon Blueberry Passion Tea, Celestial Seasonings English Breakfast Black Tea, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea.  We both recommend the hot chocolate in the flavors Cafe Escapes Milk Chocolate & Timothy's White Chocolate.  What are your favorite flavors?

Also, our first Keurig machine died recently after three years of service.  We called Keurig and they offered us a new one at a discount of $60 off.  Keurig has awesome customer service, if you ever have an issue with your unit, be sure to call them first.  Don't forget to register your unit on their website, since you will receive a buy two get two free K-Cup boxes coupon.

Previous BzzAgent reviews on this blog:

Dr. Scholl's Massagin Gel Insoles

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

QVC TSV - Dennis Basso Faux Fur Throw & Pillow Set

Dennis Basso Faux Fur Throw

Leo sitting on the Ivory Lynx Throw - item H197713  

Leo's review:  Oh so cuddly and comfy, great to take a nap on!

Patched Animal Print & Ivory Lynx

This is the yearly Dennis Basso Home TSV from QVC that I look forward to each year.  I have purchased this TSV (today's special value) for the past three years in multiples.  It features amazing quality, softness and is machine washable.  I purchased three sets this year: Ivory Lynx, Brown Cheetah and Patched Animal print.  I haven't found this quality and softness from any other company and being machine washable is certainly a must.  I like to cover my leather sofas with these blankets and my dogs love cuddling on them.  They wash very well in my HE washer and dryer.  I wash them frequently since my dogs love to lounge on them, so they have been tested by my four dogs over the last three years and have passed their challenge!  I also recommend his faux fur coats, just make sure you size down, his line runs large.  

Do not forget to drop by Mr Rebates or Ebates prior to your QVC purchase or any other online purchase to save money!  

Other QVC posts on this blog:

Bare Minerals Bare Luxury A/D

Update - November 2015 and the above throws have been washed regularly for almost three years in our HE washer and they are still in excellent shape. Bought 2013 and 2014 versions also and they are in great shape too. Highly recommend them! Update - September 2017 these are still in great shape and used daily, washed weekly!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Marble Design Manicure for Christmas

Marble Design Using a Dotting Tool

Close Up in Sunlight Next to the Goldeneye Bottle

Close Up Next to the Sample Sale Bottle  

Nail Polishes Used:  Nubar Reclaim, OPI Goldeneye, & Sephora by OPI Sample Sale

This is my 3rd marble design manicure using a dotting tool.  I was going for a Christmas look, but hubby said it looked Asian instead.  What do you think?  I started with OPI's Goldeneye using two heavy coats.  Then quickly I applied three dots of OPI's Sample Sale, then three dots of Nubar's Reclaim.  Without delay, I used the dotting to tool to swirl the colors together.  I applied more Goldeneye with the dotting tool to any areas that the dotting tool removed too much polish on. Then I applied a top coat after it dried for about fifteen minutes.  The polishes take time to stop mixing together, so you must wait for that to stop before applying a top coat.  I have full instructions and links to tutorials on my first post about this type of manicure.  Here's are the links to the two previous manicures using this same technique:

So there you have it, my latest manicure.  Be sure to check out my previous manicures featured on this blog, links below:

Gradient Nails
4th of July Nails
Bubbly Nails
Water Marbling Nails
Fish Tail Braid Manicure
Chevron Julep Manicure
French Nfu Oh Holographic Manicure

I have a Blog Sale going on right now, which includes some nail polishes, visit it here.  I'm offering 15% off for my readers, please mention coupon code "Blue Skies 15". Thank you for visiting!  I hope you feel free to mosey around and return soon.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Doggyloot - Bully Sticks Auto Delivery

Monthly Shipment of Bully Sticks

Leo checking out the package of 10 Bully Sticks.  Leo says, "Oh how they smell so good!"  

Harvey in the background chewing a bully stick and Leo in the front chewing on one

I use to give my dogs rawhides with chicken basting on them until I discovered bully sticks.  Bully sticks are less likely to get stuck in your dogs throat and are more enjoyable for your dogs.  Remember to always supervise your dog chewing on any product!  My Maltese dogs like to chew, but my Shih Tzu dogs are a bit lazy and harder to please when it comes to chew toys.  Three out of my four dogs love to chew on bully sticks.   They chew on them everyday and when I need them to be occupied such as when I want to watch a movie uninterrupted, I hand them a brand new one and they are busy while we watch our movie.  Bully sticks tend to be much more expensive than rawhides and cost about $4 each.  When I found them for $18 for 10 sticks including shipping, I hit the jackpot!  I have been on auto delivery for these for several months now and my dogs and my budget are very happy.  You should check out today!  They offer discounted dog products that change daily. The bully sticks show up usually about once a month, when you find them be sure to sign up for auto delivery. You have the choice of how often you would like them shipped.  Since I have four dogs, I have them shipped monthly, but if you have less dogs you can chose a less frequent shipment.  For $5 off your first order, click here.  What do your dogs love to chew on the most?   Please comment below your product suggestions.

See my previous post about here:

Bully Sticks Bargain from Doggyloot

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Friday, December 7, 2012

BarkBox - November 2012

November BarkBox Shipment

Leo checking out the BarkBox  

Sniff Check by Harvey & Leo (their Christmas outfits from

Leo checking out the Moose Rac Chew Toy

Happy smiling Teddy who is so very excited by the toy (he's loves playing tug of war)

This is a monthly box subscription from BarkBox for small dogs. They have a slightly different box for larger dogs also. This is our 6th shipment and my dogs really look forward to receiving these.  Now every box that arrives on our front porch they think is for them!  They know the routine when the box arrives:  sniff test and then they get to pick what they want to try out first after Mommy removes the labels.  This is what arrived in the November box:
  1. Bionic - orange silicone toy to stuff treats inside or chew on
  2. Fruitables - organic treats
  3. Acadia Antlers - rope antler chew to chew or tug
  4. Mr. Barksmiths - frozen smoothie treat 
  5. Barkworthies - bully stick to chew on
  6. Barkbox App - free shipping on purchases
  7. Mr. Chewy - $10 gift card
  8. Rover - $10 off a dog sitter
  9. DogTV - one month free, tv for your dog
The favorite item in this box was the bully stick.  We get a pack of 10 bully sticks every month from Doggyloot. Read about that bargain, here.  I highly recommend bully sticks for your dog to chew on, great for their teeth. Even lazy chewers will find them interesting. The second favorite was the rope antler chew and was interesting to Teddy & Leo, but was chosen to chew on by Isabella.  She's extremely hard to please and rarely chews on anything, so it was nice to find something that she enjoyed.  The frozen smoothie was rejected by all.  I forgot to place a goodie in the orange toy, I will try that out tomorrow.  It's a bit large for my dogs, better suited for medium or large dogs.  The dog treats weren't popular, only Issy, one of our four dogs gobbled them up.  My dogs are extremely picky about dog cookies since they get handmade cookies made by me everyday, recipes on this blog.  Less picky dogs who aren't use to fresher treats would probably like them.  I haven't tried items 6-9 yet since this is the busy time of year and my to do list is very long.  I shall give them a try soon.

To see what my dogs received in their box previous months, click on the links below:

If you would like to bring joy to your doggie, subscribe today and receive $5 off your first box, click here.  To see the joy, excitement and smiles this box gives them monthly is priceless!  I just checked and the cost went up, use to be $25 a month.  It now costs $29 per month, or $22 if you sign up for 3 months, or $17.50 if you sign up for 6 months which includes shipping. So be sure to sign up soon to lock in your price. 

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