Treatsie August 2015 review

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I’ve had these treats for awhile but didn’t get to try them all yet. Still, here’s a look for you on what came this month!

Treatsie is $15 per box + $4.95 shipping and comes with artisan candy from 3-4 brands. That means about 6 or 7 different flavors of treats. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral link program to earn store credit. Use my referral link to get your first box FREE!

treatsie august 2015 box contents with walker creek caramels, butterfields candy buds, and grey ghost bakery cookies treatsie august 2015 info card treatsie brown sugar grilled peaches recipe card

Walker Creek Sea Salt Caramel: I can always have more caramel! This is a really soft kind that is a nice morsel to pop in your mouth. I do tend to prefer mine a little more firm, but the taste is great and I will eat them all.

Butterfields Peach, Lemon & Honeybell buds: These are the ones I haven’t tried yet, but I don’t know why. They were the most intriguing for me and I sort of want to keep them around longer. I have no idea what honeybell is, but it sounds good. These are great snacks to have in the heat, since they won’t melt on you.

Grey Ghost Bakery Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter cookies: I’ve had this brand from previous boxes and I like their cookies. My all-time favorite are the lemon ones. These are nice and I enjoyed them, but they don’t quite top the lemon ones!

I liked and will eat every single thing here. I think they’ve finally figured out a great way to use the other side of their cards, with another awesome recipe! I like this new approach. Which items do you like from this box? To get Treatsie, sign up with my link and get your first box free!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

DANI Naturals: a hard case to crack

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For secret santa last year, my pledge bros and I did a long distance exchange. Most of us are distributed around the world now, so it was a fun way to reconnect and send each other gifts. I got a lovely bottle of DANI’s lemongrass lavender reed diffuser. When my most recent reed diffuser ran out, I eagerly opened up the box for this one. Little did I know how challenging opening it would be! Since Panda and I don’t drink, we don’t have one of those wine bottle openers that might have helped with the whole process. Instead, this is what happened…

First we tried using pliers and other tools to grip the stopper and wiggle it out. It was the soft rubbery kind though, so it would just bend out of shape and wouldn’t budge. Eventually it started to break apart so I knew we needed to try other methods.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with paperclip trying to move stopper

So then I got a paperclip and started shoving it down the side of stopper. It was so tight I couldn’t get any sort of hook shape going.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with paperclip inserted at two points to leverage popping out stopper

I tried putting in the other end to leverage them against each other.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with nail trying to release stopper

After bending the paperclip until it was near the breaking point, we decided to get a nail and screw it in the top.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with nail to slowly move stopper

After MUCH wiggling, we saw progress! The dirty part is where we’d tried pliers and such. The bit of clean below that is how much slowly came out.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with stopper finally pulled out

I had to keep screwing the screw back down since it would start ripping out, but eventually we got that satisfying ‘pop’ of freedom!

tools used attempting to open dani naturals reed diffuser bottle

Can you believe it took all these tools and a good half hour or more to get this silly thing open? They really need to redesign the stopper.

At least now I get to enjoy the lemony smell of my reed diffuser!

Yogi Surprise August 2015 review

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This box was waiting for me when I got home from my trip! It’s eclectic and offers some cool stuff.

Yogi Surprise is just under $36 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with yoga gear, skincare, food, and other lifestyle products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

contents of yogi surprise august 2015 box with info card yogi surprise august 2015 info card with product details

SunBiotics chocolate almonds – These are very crunchy, with a mild cocoa flavor. They’re coated in powder, so it wasn’t quite the type of chocolate almonds I thought. They’re pretty tasty and make for a great healthy snack. Since they’re raw and have added probiotics, it should help with digestion as well.

Aura Cacia Revive body cloths – Ooo, what nice wipes for the body! These are perfect for a quick refreshing cleaning on a hot day or after a workout. I don’t want to open them just yet so they don’t dry out, but I can’t wait to try them.

My Tat inspiring temporary tattoos – If I ever want to show off my yoga lifestyle, I can put one of these one. There’s a nice collection of yoga symbols to decorate your body with.

African turquoise bracelet – They seem to really like including bracelets now – this is my fourth from them! Each one is made with something different, but they are similar in that they’re composed of beads. I might keep some for myself and I might give others away.

Yogi Surprise Fire to the Core yoga sequence series card – This is a new initiative that they’re doing and I think it’s a great way to tie in yoga to the box more. This cute little card reminds you of the sequence they put together and you can also check out the special page highlighting the full sequence complete with video.

Jem raw & organic Cinnamon Red Maca almond spread – Next time we have bagels in the office, I will give this a try. I might not like the almond taste as a spread, but the cinnamon could mask that. If that doesn’t work, I’m sure my coworkers can help me eat this.

Neelu Kaur Yogini Bliss – I can’t pick out the scents comprising this, but it’s a nice blend of essential oils and smells sweet and slightly minty. It’s great for breathing in to relax and clear your mind.

There were some great new items in this box that I look forward to using. I’m glad to see the item count back up again, which gives me a chance to try more products. Which of these items do you like most?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

A string of travel troubles

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For the past two weeks, my family has been struck by some really unfortunate incidents. It started exactly two weeks ago, when we happily drove from the hotel to Pier 91 in Seattle. My parents, husband, aunt, cousin, and I were set to embark on our week-long cruise to Alaska. After dropping them off, Panda and I drove to the nearest rental car location to drop off the car. The plan was to walk back to the pier, which was about 3 miles away. As we were enjoying the day, debating whether we should take a bus for part of the trip, I got a phone call from my parents: my aunt and cousin would not be allowed on the cruise.

It was one of those surreal moments where I thought, “Could this actually be happening?” But indeed it could and it did. Turns out they needed Canadian visas since there was a stop in Victoria, BC. We were never informed of this and didn’t even realize there was a Canadian stop along the way. It was too late to do anything at that point, so I started looking up last-minute flights to Oakland, where my other cousin was. We found the nearest bus stop and got to the pier as quickly as possible. On the way, I managed to find a decently priced flight that afternoon. It was pretty devastating to see my aunt and cousin for the last time, having to send them off to the airport when we should have spent a week together on our “family honeymoon” (as I called it).

That totally changed the tone of our trip and it just wasn’t the same. We still managed to enjoy ourselves, but not nearly as much as we could have.

Upon arriving home after the vacation, I then heard from my mom that my dad nearly missed his flight back to China. They overestimated the time they had and he barely got let on the plane while his luggage was not allowed. So my mom had to ship the contents separately. We’re having some bad luck, my mom told me, don’t go out if you don’t have to and let it blow over. She felt that we needed time for the pattern to break.

The next day, I was thinking about my upcoming plans (and the other big vacation of the year, to Europe) when I suddenly realized that a week of team events at work coincided with my grand vacation. The very week that my team lead had asked us to check our availability for was the week that I’d be gone for my trip. I can’t believe I had not made the connection earlier; everyone had likely already booked their flights. I felt absolutely awful and didn’t know what to do. I considered the costs of rearranging the trip, but with multiple flights and some prepaid hotels, it would be too much. This was my first big screw-up and I profusely apologized when I told my team lead. Luckily, he’s a very chill guy, so he didn’t make a fuss about it. I still feel bad though, and irresponsible.

So then I thought that maybe things were on the up and up. When my mom told me about my aunt losing her bag and having it stole in SF, I thought the troubles were back. But then it turns out the thief got hit by a car (what?!) and the police were able to return her purse when the processed the scene. Wow. And I did get a smile first thing Monday morning, when I had a gift on my desk: a bag full of cat toys. One of the guys who worked in our co-working space dropped it by over the weekend. Last Friday was his last day (of course his two weeks had to be during my vacation) and he’d been meaning to bring his extra cat things, but he kept forgetting. So I was super surprised when it actually showed up!

I’m hoping that this all means the unfortunate circumstances will stop plaguing us now. I’m generally a pretty lucky person, so I’d like things to return to normal.

Homegrown Collective July 2015 review

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Ooo, another soap box! Almost a year ago, we got a similar box, but the recipes are mostly different this time. I like that they used the same three base soaps, but came up with some more soap types to try out. The charcoal one is the same as last year, but that means I get to try it with both possible bases (white and clear). I want to try using some of the fun molds I’ve gotten, like stars or ducks.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of let us make soap!! homegrown collective 2015 box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective july 2015 box with let us make soap!! theme

Project #1, DIY charcoal soap: As mentioned, this soap is the only repeat from the last box. Since you can try it with two different soap bases, I look forward to being able to make both! Yeah, I still haven’t made the soap from the last round… I just have so many bars waiting to be used! I’ll make these when I finally work through some of the backlog I’ve managed to accumulate.

the homegrown collective july 2015 project diy charcoal soap info card the homegrown collective july 2015 products for diy charcoal soap

Project #2, DIY rosemary mint soap: I don’t think I’ve had a rosemary soap before, so this is a cool one to try. I certainly enjoy cooking with rosemary and I like the benefits that it is purported to have for the skin. Detoxifying soaps are my fav!

the homegrown collective july 2015 project diy rosemary mint soap info card the homegrown collective july 2015 products for diy rosemary mint soap

Project #3, DIY cacao chocolate soap: For me, this is the most likely candidate for the luffah and I can’t wait to try it. I will look for some extra ingredients to incorporate as well, just to make things more exciting. It’s so much fun to get full control over how your soap will be made! I wasn’t sure when the cinnamon sticks were supposed to be used, so I figure this one would be the perfect fit. I’ll probably shave off some and then break off some bits to mix in.

the homegrown collective july 2015 project diy cacao chocolate soap info card the homegrown collective july 2015 products for diy cacao chocolate soap

I prefer using soap over body wash, so I’m more than happy to get another box of them. With these pre-made bars, it’s super easy to customize them the way I like and have fun creating something unique. These ingredients should sit pretty well, so I will hold off on making them until I’m closer to using them. I’ve got a drawer that’s full of other soaps at the moment!

the homegrown collective july 2015 diy homegrown soap making info card

Want your own? Subscribe to the Homegrown Collective to start getting projects too!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Yuzen Autumn 2015 edition review

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I can’t believe I’ve been sitting on this box for a good month now. I’ve recorded the unboxing for the Yuzen site and Yuzen’s YouTube channel and even gave one away to a friend! Finally, here’s a look at what comes in the box.

Yuzen is $33 per quarter (with boxes sent Feb, May, Aug, and Nov) and comes with around 7 or 8 eco-friendly beauty, skincare, food/snacks, and home products. Boxes are sent quarterly with no option to skip, but you can get one-time gift boxes too. Sometimes there’s a waitlist to get the subscription. They do not offer a referral program.

2015-07-23 19.27.48 2015-07-23 19.27.57 2015-07-23 19.28.13 2015-07-23 19.28.44 2015-07-23 19.31.36

Africa OrganicsMarula Shampoo or Marula Conditioner: These are giant bottles and you would get either the shampoo or conditioner. The timing is perfect because I’m running low on hair products so I’ll use these next. Marula comes from a cool African tree and the oil is supposed to be good for protecting skin and hair. I found the formulas to be more runny than I’m used to so I definitely used more.

Glee GumRefresh-Mint gum: In another stroke of luck, I needed gum and got it! These are hard pieces with a nice crunchy shell. The ones we got are sugar free and a refreshing mint. They are good for a quick breath of freshness. The flavor doesn’t last long though, so don’t think of it as chewing gum. Use code YU15GG by 10/31/15 for 10% off at Glee Gum.

Nubian HeritageIndian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver body wash: Ooo, this feels luxurious and so silky. I love how it foams and my skin feels super soft afterwards. Neem oil is another one of those exotic African things that seems to be good for skin. The hemp and vetiver are pretty cool too. This wash smells nice, which might be due to this mysterious vetiver. Use code NHYUZEN for 15% off at Nubian Heritage.

red flower lymphatic phytopower sea cleanser and masque: The soothing smoothness of this makes me think of a lotion, so it feels strange to wash with it. There’s a hint of sweetness that makes this pleasant to use. I haven’t tried it as a mask yet, but I can feel how healing it would be. Use code YUZEN20 by 10/31/15 for 20% off at red flower.

red flower – arctic berry cloud milk cream: While I don’t really like the scent of this one, it looks awesome and is great as a body lotion. It feels a little watery when applying, but then absorbs leaving a little bit of stickiness. It’s not sticky, but I can feel it on my hands for a bit. I like it on my legs, which need extra hydration. Use code YUZEN20 by 10/31/15 for 20% off at red flower.

Cowgirl Skincareextreme antioxidant serum: I thought this looked familiar and no wonder – I got the extreme c serum last year! They are basically in the same packaging, but are totally different. This serum has a more milky look compared to the oily one of the extreme c serum. It has a really nice lemony scent and absorbs well into the skin, leaving it soft and hydrated. Use code YUZEN15 by 10/31/15 for 15% off at TheSkinFactor.

EcoLips – organic lip scrub in brown sugar, vanilla bean, or mint: What an adorable product. Absolutely love it and I was lucky enough to get all three to try, but I shared two with coworkers and kept the vanilla one for myself. You need just a little to exfoliate and moisturize lips. It’s a lot of fun, smells great, and you get to lick off the rest for a sweet treat! We are all big fans of this and really enjoy using it not just because it’s cool, but because our lips feel so soft afterwards. Use code YUZEN by 9/30/15 for 20% off at EcoLips.

I’ve got a full skincare regimen in this box! I enjoyed trying them out and found a few new favorites. What do you think of these items?

*Disclosure: As a super fan, I was invited to be the Yuzen Ambassador to help them spread the word about their brand. I now receive the boxes for free. I was not compensated otherwise and all opinions are my own, irregardless of my relation to Yuzen. I just happen to think they’re awesome (as does everyone else I’ve heard from). :)

Traveling as a tourist

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 You see lots of cool things you like. Luckily I already have the large panda!

You see lots of cool things you like. Luckily I already have the large panda!

You get to relax and enjoy.

You get to relax and enjoy.

You have time to observe your surroundings.

You have time to observe your surroundings.

You love local touches, like this cute moose!

You love local touches, like this cute moose!

You go shopping and seek free stuff!

You go shopping and seek free stuff!

You take lots of photos. And selfies, of course.

You take lots of photos. And selfies, of course.

 You learn some new skills! Check out my towel monkey!!

You learn some new skills! Check out my towel monkey!!

Scenic sights

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Been away for awhile on a cruise to Alaska! Check out some of the sights so far. There’s all sorts of awesomeness, with more pics to come. :)

carnival legend leaving seattle port with space needle in background

Cruise ship view of Seattle.

sunshine reflected on deep black ocean water

Glittering black waters.

glacial ice floating in tracy arm fjord with glacier in background

Ice chunks floating in the fjord!! And that’s a glacier back there.

forest area on trails of skagway with spider in foreground

A little bit of land exploration too. Tried to get the spider in the foreground.

Wedding celebration!

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A year ago today, Panda and I got married in a small civil ceremony at the LAX courthouse. Our parents and his brother were there for the quick and simple event. For the past year, we thought about putting together a “real” wedding but it just didn’t appeal to us. Ultimately, we had an open invitation to any relatives who could come and spend the day with us this year. My aunt and cousins, plus his uncle, aunt, and cousin were able to make the trip.

We totaled 13 people and spent the day taking pictures, driving, and eating. The restaurant we chose wasn’t my first choice (Nobu Malibu was) but it turned out to work pretty well. Japanese food might not have been to the taste of much of the party, but more general seafood certainly was. All I wanted was an oceanside view and we were right on the water, which is a lot better than I expected. I figured we’d have a giant table in the middle or back of the restaurant, away from windows, but we were right on the edge!

All in all it was a great time and just the simple sort of thing we wanted. :)splashing wave sandy feet

The DSLR plunge

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I finally made one of my long-time wishes a reality with the purchase of a Canon T6i bundle! I’m really excited about this and very pleased with the quality of images I’m seeing already. Funny enough, my dad had his eye on the very same one so we ended up both getting the bundle at Costco. For the longest time, I told myself I’d get a DSLR once I tried my hand at some manual settings on my regular camera. I did play around with the options, but not as much as I wanted. So I let many years go by before I decided to go ahead with it because I keep dreaming of the awesome photos I can take and I want to have something nice to vlog with.

At first I was going to look for a used or refurbished T3i, which seems to be what all those YouTubers use. But when I found that the price wasn’t nearly as cheap as I’d hoped, I figured I’d be better off getting a nicer one in a bundle. The idea of an extra lens and battery, along with some other accessories, really appealed to me. Turns out I like brand new things that are well put together for me. I’ll pay for the niceties and all just so I can experience that awesome fresh out of the box feeling. My dad’s the same way.

We both eagerly tore into our respective boxes and played around with setting up and using our cameras. I didn’t even get a chance to use it in daylight yet, but I’m very impressed with what came from the dim night lighting that looks soooo much better on this camera. I certainly wasn’t used to such good shots coming from low lighting like that. Call me a happy camper!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

I’m very pleased with this camera and I can’t wait to try some outdoor nature shots.

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