Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pet Gift Box Review - October 2015


This is a review of a monthly dog subscription box called Pet Gift BoxIt costs $28.99 a month if you subscribe month to month. For a three month subscription the cost drops to $23.99 and for a six month subscription it drops to $20.99. For a subscription for a year it's at it's lowest price of $18.99. This box comes in three sizes: petite, mid-sized and hefty. I ordered the petite. They also offer boxes for cats. Included in this box were the following products:
  1. Boo-Bat - squeak toy shaped like a bat, retail value $7.99
  2. Candy Corn Plush Toy - squeak toy, value $4.99
  3. Halloween Boo-Dana - Halloween Trick or Treat printed bandana, $5.99
  4. Pumpkin Smoocher - pumpkin flavored treats, value $10.99
  5. Spooktacular Cookies - two cookies, one shaped like a ghost & one pumpkin shaped, pumpkin flavored, $4.99
The total retail value of this box is $34.95, which is $5.96 more than the non discounted cost of this box. I had an email offer to renew my subscription after I had unsubscribed for only $9.99. When I clicked on that email offer, it immediately resubscribed me which isn't what I wanted to do. I only wanted to visit their website to get pricing information for my last blog post reviewing their September box. They refunded that fee after I complained yet they still shipped the box.

Only Teddy & Leo, our Maltese dogs enjoyed playing with the squeak toys. Our two Shih-Tzus weren't interested. Since our dogs wear bows not bandanas, I'll be donating that. I don't feed my dogs anything with wheat flour, it's not healthy for dogs. One of our four dogs can't stomach it at all and it gives him a great deal of bowel distress. So we won't be giving them the Spooktacular cookies nor the Pumpkin Smoocher treats since several of the ingredients in it I never feed my dogs. While they are "natural" ingredients that doesn't mean they are healthy ingredients. Those three items will be donated. I enjoyed the Halloween theme of the box but only two out of the five items will be enjoyed by our dogs. You can view our previous Pet Gift Box by clicking here

The dog subscriptions I recommend, have been using for years and have reviewed on this blog are the following:

BarkBox - reviews & $10 off discount link
Doggyloot - reviews & $5 off discount link

Before you go, be sure to check out my healthy dog cookie recipes. Either type in "dog cookies" in the search box over on the right or check out my Pinterest Dog Cookie Recipes Board. Also, check out photos of my dogs on my Instagram account. What's your favorite dog subscription box?

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Home Chef - 19th Delivery


Hawaii Five-O Smoothie with Pineapple & Mango


Ingredients (click on photos to enlarge)


Tandoori Chicken with Turmeric Rice & Cucumber Tomato Sambal


Ingredients


Sherry Wine Demi Glace Flat Iron Steak with Whipped Potatoes & Balsamic Brussels Sprouts


Ingredients


Lemon Dijon Shrimp Scampi with Penne Pasta, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Shaved Parmesan 


Ingredients


Fruit Basket


This is a review of a food subscription box called Home Chef. This is the 19th box we have purchased so far. Meals are $9.95 per serving, smoothies are $4.95 and the fruit basket costs $9.90. Each week they have eleven dinner recipes to chose from featuring steak, chicken, ground beef, pork and seafood and three are vegetarian. They also have one breakfast recipe, one smoothie and one fruit basket to chose from. This week I gave one recipe four out of five stars, two three stars and one two stars. Our favorite recipe was the Sherry Wine Demi Glace Flat Iron Steak.

Hawaii Five-O Smoothie with Pineapple & Mango

While this was an enjoyable smoothie, we've had more exciting ones from Home Chef before so we gave it three out of five stars. If we made it again we would add more spinach or even some kale since it was very sweet and more greens could easily be added for more vitamins. It could have been made with just pineapple without the addition of pineapple juice. Pineapple was the main flavor followed by mango. While this drink was green in color, it didn't have the usual earthy flavor of a green smoothie. It took about five minutes to prepare and had 226 delicious calories.

Tandoori Chicken with Turmeric Rice & Cucumber Tomato Sambal

This was an enjoyable dish, but the chicken was too spicy for me. I also found the lime made the chicken marinade too sour. The sambal salad was my favorite part. It had cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, sambal, lime juice, salt and pepper. While the sambal was very spicy, the cold cucumbers and tomatoes were cooling so it was enjoyable. We gave this recipe three out of five stars and it took about an hour to prepare, fifteen minutes longer than the recipe indicated. It had 620 calories.

Sherry Wine Demi Glace Flat Iron Steak with Whipped Potatoes & Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

This was our favorite recipe in the box. Hubby gave it five out of five stars and I gave it four stars. It's comfort food for sure coming in at 911 calories and it was a very generous portion. I shared some of it with our dogs. The whipped potatoes were scrumptious, the brussels sprouts were yummy and the steak was very tender and delicious. The sauce on the steak was perfect. It only took about thirty-five minutes and it was easy to cook.

Lemon Dijon Shrimp Scampi with Penne Pasta, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Shaved Parmesan 

I was a bit nervous about ordering this one since it didn't have much sauce, but I'm always tempted by recipes with shrimp. I should have gone with my instinct and skipped this one since I gave it two out of five stars and Hubby gave it three stars. There wasn't enough shrimp or parmesan cheese for our liking and there was too much lemon flavor. I didn't care for the sun dried tomatoes either. It took about thirty-five minutes to prepare and had 585 calories.

Fruit Basket

They finally changed up the weekly fruit basket and added some pears for a change. This week it included two anjou pears, two russet pears and two honeycrisp apples. After a few days, sitting on our counter in our fruit bowl, the pears ripened. They were really delicious and so juicy! The apples from Home Chef are always enjoyable and arrive ripe. Next week they will be adding pomegranate which I'm really looking forward to.

All in all it was an enjoyable week of recipes and food. Tomorrow we are expecting the following:
  1. Healthy Takeout Orange Chicken
  2. Rosemary Cider Chicken
  3. Spooky Shepard's Pie
  4. Caramel Apple Smoothies
If you haven't given Home Chef a try yet, I highly recommend you snag my coupon below by clicking on the link for $30 off your first box! They have free shipping for orders that total $40 or more, so you could get your first box for only $10! What a bargain! What are you waiting for?! Make cooking fun again by ordering your box today! If you have any questions, be sure to comment below and I'll answer as soon as possible. Check out my Pinterest Home Chef Board to see all the recipes we have made so far!

I recently did a comparison of Home Chef, Plated, Blue Apron & Hello Fresh, so be sure to check out that post before you leave. Which of the four subscription services have you tried so far and which one is your favorite? Please comment below.

Bargain Alert:
   
Home Chef - $30 off your 1st box, click here.
Hello Fresh - $40 off your first box, use coupon code "YVWF79". 

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blue Apron - 11th Delivery


Pan Seared Salmon & Farro Salad with Brussels Sprouts & Apple


Ingredients


Seared Chicken & Caramelized Fennel with Jasmine Rice & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes


Ingredients


Merguez Lamb Sausages with French Lentils, Mint & Feta


Ingredients


This is a review of our tenth and final box from Blue Apron. I unsubscribed due to not liking their box as much as their competition. I wouldn't have even bought this one, but I had a credit due to the food in the previous box going bad. I put off getting the last box for months due to their constant repetition of ingredients and not liking anything they had to offer. Additionally, I knew the odds were shipping during the summer months wasn't going to go well since they don't package the ice packs below and above the meat. I bought this box due to the lamb sausage recipe and it actually turned out to be the worst in the box. We gave it one star out of five, the salmon recipe received four stars and the chicken recipe three. It was another disappointing box, so there was no doubt it was time to unsubscribe.

Pan Seared Salmon & Farro Salad with Brussels Sprouts & Apple

This was the best recipe in the bunch. We gave this recipe four out of five stars. It was really delicious. Our complaints were that the salmon needed some sauce or something on top and we needed more farro. The farro salad was mostly apple, so it would have been much better with more farro, a 1/3 cup was just too little. This is very common with Blue Apron, they don't send enough of many of the ingredients. The vinaigrette was very yummy and I'm pretty picky about vinaigrettes. It was made with mustard, shallots, lemon juice and oil oil. I would definitely make the farro salad again, just with much more farro. The farro took seven minutes longer to cook than the recipe indicated. This recipe had 550 calories and took over thirty minutes to prepare.

Seared Chicken & Caramelized Fennel with Jasmine Rice & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. It was good, just not worth going to the trouble of repeating. Again, we would have liked more jasmine rice, a 1/2 cup for two people is just not enough. Really rice isn't expensive, so I don't know why they are so cheap about some of the ingredients. It gets old really quick and they repeated fennel again. So many of their recipes have fennel in it! I like it, but not over and over again week after week. This recipe took about thirty-five minutes to prepare and had 650 calories.

Merguez Lamb Sausages with French Lentils, Mint & Feta

This is the recipe that I thought we would like the most since we love lamb. We had never tried lamb sausage before though. Imagine my disappointment when we tasted it and it was so salty! It was just awful. The lentils were so blah, we couldn't taste the mint and the red wine vinegar & feta cheese made it so tart. I shared a bunch of the carrots with our dogs and left most of it on my plate. It was so awful I could barely eat any of it even though I was very hungry. This recipe took about thirty-five minutes to prepare and had 540 calories.

Goodbye Blue Apron, if only you had listened to your customers telling you that many of us went away from the table hungry and were tired of you repeating vegetables then you wouldn't be hearing that from me. I think you grew too big too fast and made a huge mistake of not listening to your customers which is sad. Instead Home Chef gets my money. If you haven't given Home Chef a try yet, I highly recommend you snag my coupon below by clicking on the link for $30 off your first box! They offer free shipping for orders that total $40 or more, so you could get your first box for only $10! What a bargain! What are you waiting for?! Make cooking fun again by ordering your box today! If you have any questions, be sure to comment below and I'll answer as soon as possible. Check out my Pinterest Home Chef Board to see photos of all the recipes we have made so far!

I recently did a comparison of Home Chef, Plated, Blue Apron & Hello Fresh, so be sure to check out that post before you leave. Which of the four subscription services have you tried so far and which one is your favorite? Please comment below.

Bargain Alert:
   
Home Chef - $30 off your 1st box, click here.
Hello Fresh - $40 off your first box, use coupon code "YVWF79". 

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bath & Body Works Fall Candle Haul 2015


Pumpkin Apple mini, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pumpkin Pancakes & Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake 3-Wick Candles


Who can resist the fall candles at Bath & Body Works? Not I! I decided to try some of their new scents and I wish I had stuck to the returning scents instead. The only one I liked out of the above haul was Pumpkin Pie. The other three give out very little scent. I didn't burn the mini candle since I'm using it just for decoration. Apple Pumpkin Pancakes started giving out more scent after it reached about half way down the jar. It was a disappointing haul to say the least. I also had issues with the wicks. They couldn't be trimmed because they would be too short but sometimes the wicks had just enough at the top to make smoke. Anyone else having issues with the wicks and the lack of scent? I placed another order today for my favorites such as Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, Leaves,  Salted Caramel, Fresh Balsam in the Welcome fall packaging and Marshmallow Fireside in the Gather fall packaging. Also, I'm going to try Brown Sugar All Spice for the first time since the reviews were so good. The candles are on sale today buy one get one, plus I used a 25% off coupon and Mr. Rebates for an additional 1% off. What are your favorite fall candles scents?

Check out my Bath & Body Works Pinterest Board for links to my other blog posts about Bath & Body Works. I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs. Don't forget to claim your free Graze Box!

Bargain Alert - 25% off your online order, code "EXTRA25"

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Home Chef - 18th Delivery


Enchilada Turkey Stuffed Pepper Trio with Melted Cheese & Cilantro


Ingredients (click on photos to enlarge)


Pork Chop & Cranberry Mostarda with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts


Ingredients


Chicken Chilli Verde with Corn & Two Peppers


Ingredients


Strawberry Fields Smoothie with Chia Seeds & Yogurt


Ingredients


This is a review of a food subscription box called Home Chef. This is the 18th box we have purchased so far. Meals are $9.95 per serving, smoothies are $4.95, and the fruit basket costs $9.90. Each week they have eleven dinner recipes to chose from featuring steak, chicken, ground beef, pork and seafood and three are vegetarian. They also have one breakfast recipe, one smoothie and one fruit basket to chose from. This week we gave three of the recipes four out of five stars and one five out of five stars! It was a very enjoyable week of recipes! We liked the Pork Chop & Cranberry Mostarda with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts the most. It's the perfect fall or holiday meal!

Enchilada Turkey Stuffed Pepper Trio with Melted Cheese & Cilantro

Hubby isn't a fan of turkey, but I sneak in a recipe here and there since I love turkey and it's healthier than beef. I give this recipe four out five stars. It was incredibly delicious. The only thing that keeps it from being a five star recipe is that we would have liked more cheese and the peppers were so large that we really needed some more turkey filling. Hubby added some Costco Kirkland's Mexican cheese on top because we really like a lot of cheese. The chef that came up with the recipe was probably trying to keep the calories down by not giving us more. We also found that it need baking a bit longer than the recipe indicated. This recipe had 612 calories and it took about forty-five minutes to prepare. 

Pork Chop & Cranberry Mostarda with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts

Wow, this recipe is so crave worthy! It was perfect so we gave it five out of five stars. Normally I only like pork chops slow cooked with apples and brown sugar, otherwise I find them dry and boring. I'm not a big fan of pork, but I order it for Hubby who is. So imagine my surprise when I absolutely loved this dish! It looks so fancy on the plate and the topping on the pork chops is heavenly. It really felt like we were dining in a fine restaurant. The topping is made of butter, onions, mustard, cranberries, brown sugar, salt & pepper. The roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are healthy yet so yummy. This recipe had 623 calories and took about forty-five minutes to prepare, ten minutes longer than the recipe indicated. This is a recipe we will make again soon!

Chicken Chilli Verde with Corn & Two Peppers

We gave this recipe four out of five stars, it was really scrumptious. The crema on top is so wonderful. It's made out of sour cream, cilantro, cumin, salt & pepper. We didn't shred the chicken since we don't like our chicken that way. Hubby just cut it into bite sized pieces. This was the first time we poached chicken in chicken broth which is a great idea. This recipe had 428 calories and took about forty-five minutes to prepare. 

Strawberry Fields Smoothie with Chia Seeds & Yogurt

I always look forward to Home Chef's smoothies and this one was so tasty. They have been listening to customers and included a fresh pear instead of canned. Included in this smoothie were one pear, some frozen strawberries, vanilla greek yogurt, honey, pineapple juice and chia seeds. The main flavor was strawberry followed by pear. We didn't taste the pineapple flavor at all. The chia seeds were a nice healthy addition. We gave this recipe four out of five stars. It had 300 calories and took about five minutes to prepare.

Wow, what an enjoyable week of recipes! We are anxious to try this week's recipes which arrived today:
  1. Lemon Dijon Shrimp Scampi with Penne Pasta, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Shaved Parmesan 
  2. Tandoori Chicken with Turmeric Rice & Cucumber Tomato Sambal  
  3. Sherri Wine Demi Glaze Flat Iron Steak with Whipped Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
  4. Hawaii Five-O Smoothie with Pineapple & Mango
  5. Seasonal Fruit with Honey-crisp Apples, Anjou & Russet Pears
If you haven't given Home Chef a try yet, I highly recommend you snag my coupon below by clicking on the link for $30 off your first box! They offer free shipping for orders that total $40 or more, so you could get your first box for only $10! What a bargain! What are you waiting for?! Make cooking fun again by ordering your box today! If you have any questions, be sure to comment below and I'll answer as soon as possible. Check out my Pinterest Home Chef Board to see photos of all the recipes we have made so far!

I recently did a comparison of Home Chef, Plated, Blue Apron & Hello Fresh, so be sure to check out that post before you leave. Which of the four subscription services have you tried so far and which one is your favorite? Please comment below.

Bargain Alert:
   
Home Chef - $30 off your 1st box, click here.
Hello Fresh - $40 off your first box, use coupon code "YVWF79". 

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Birchbox Subscription Box Review - October 2015



This is a review of a cosmetics subscription box called Birchbox. It only costs $10 per month and they have a generous point system, so in the end this box really only costs $5 including shipping. For October I chose one of the two boxes that weren't a surprise. There was also a mystery box to chose from. These options are a grand improvement that Birchbox has made which caused me to resubscribe. The box show above is perfect for me since it has lots of moisturizers and high end brands that I love. Included in this box were the following products:
  1. Clinique - Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, .21  oz, $4.81 retail value
  2. Darphin - Stimulskin Plus Multi Corrective Divine Cream, .17 oz, $29.50 value
  3. Clinique - Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Mega Melon, full size is $17, perhaps it's a half sized sample, $8.50 approximate value
  4. Smashbox - Photo Finish Foundation Primer, .25 oz, $9 value
  5. Estée Lauder - Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II, .14 oz, $18.20 value
This is one of the best boxes they have put together in a long time. I have calculated it's minimum value at $61.51 which doesn't include the chubby stick who's label doesn't indicate it's size. I'm guessing it's a half size which makes it worth $8.50 for a total of $70.01! These samples are like the deluxe samples you have to use 100 points each for at Sephora, so I can't tell you how happy I am with this box! This must be the best box out of the twenty-one that I have purchased so far over the years!

The Clinique moisturizer is wonderful. It has a cooling effect and it's a gel so it sinks into the skin very quickly. Not real crazy about the Darphin moisturizer since it's a bit thick, yellow in color and stinks a bit. Never heard of this brand before, so it's my least favorite item in the box. I'm not a fan of chubby stick lipsticks since I don't like the packaging. This color reminds me of a lipstick my Mother wore in the 80's! It appears as a semi-gloss and it seems moisturizing but it doesn't have lasting power. I've tried the Smashbox primer before and I like it since it applies quickly and I can move on to the next step right after application. It's very similar to Laura Geller's & Julep's versions. I prefer Julep's version due to the better ingredients but Laura Geller's is my favorite as far as effectiveness. They also enclosed a pink ribbon pin for October's breast cancer awareness month.

Check out some of my previous boxes here:

September 2015

Bargain Alert - Subscribe by November 9th and receive a $10 credit to use in the Birchbox shop! Click here.

I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs. Don't forget to claim your free Graze Box! Before you go, be sure to browse around my blog, I'm sure you'll find something that interests you.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Josie Maran Decadent Bliss - November 13th QVC's TSV




Decadent Bliss Argan Oil & Honey Hydration Collection



I preordered QVC's Today's Special Value for November 13th to show you a preview to help you decide if you want to order it. I ordered it on October 15th and it arrived today, October 19th. This six piece collection costs $69.96 or you can chose easy pay which is three monthly payments of $23.32. The preorder number is A273699 or A273770 for auto delivery. Auto delivery shipments will be sent every ninety days for a total of four shipments. The first shipment comes in your choice of a caramel apple scent or unscented. The other three shipments will be different scents unless you chose unscented. The other scents haven't been revealed yet, perhaps they will let us know on the day it airs on QVC. Included in this collection are the following products:
  1. Pure Argan Oil - .5 fl oz
  2. Pure Argan Oil - 1.7 fl oz
  3. Argan Cleansing Oil for Body - 8.3 fl oz
  4. Whipped Argan Body Butter - 2 oz
  5. Devine Drip Honey Butter Balm - 5 oz
  6. Whipped Argan Body Butter - 8 oz
They also included a little foil packet sample of Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Serum. I'm happy to report that the caramel apple scent has an authentic scent which smells so delicious, so I recommend giving it a try. The caramel apple scent is featured in the body cleanser and the two whipped body butters. Only a little dab of the body butter is needed for each part of your body and it sinks in quickly without leaving a sticky residue. I really love this product, I just wish it wasn't so expensive. It leaves your skin really soft and hydrated with just one use. The Honey Butter Balm is thicker and the label says to use it right after your shower when your skin is still damp. The scent isn't great, but it dissipates quickly. The Cleansing Body Oil leaves your skin extremely moisturized and it takes just a few drops per section. I really recommend her facial cleanser also though I didn't care for the scent, so I'm glad she's coming out with food scents. I find her Argan Oil for the face is very greasy and it takes a long time to sink in. I even found her "light" version to be the same. For that reason, I only use it after my shower at night. It would take too long to wait for it to sink in to apply makeup afterwards in the morning. It takes just a drop or two, so be sure not to use too much or you will be uncomfortable since it's so greasy. All of these products are especially good for dry skin or during the fall and winter months when humidity is so low. It would also make for an incredible gift. This collection comes in a box with a pull out drawer. It's not strong enough for regular use, but the inner of the box, as shown above, would be good for use in your makeup drawer to keep it organized. It's has a very pretty floral design. All in all this is a very good collection and much less expensive than if bought separately which would cost $181!

I hope you enjoy this preview so that you can make an informed decision on whether to purchase this TSV now or on November 13th or not at all. Be sure to check out my monthly lists of QVC's TSVs which are usually posted around the 15th of each month.

Update - 2nd shipment's scent will be toasted brown sugar, 3rd mai tai pineapple and 4th orange blossom. I recommend stirring the honey butter balm to make it easier to use. It won't be so thick if you stir it. Josie recommends using it on the driest parts of your body such as your elbows, knees and especially your feet.

Before you go, also check out my bargain alert for a Home Chef Subscription Box. With my $30 coupon you can purchase a box of food and recipes and have them shipped to your home for only $10 including shipping! Also, I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs. In addition, don't forget to claim your free Graze BoxShare this blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook:

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