Treatsie July 2015 review

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I spent a good hour playing with the cats outside before discovering this box at my door! What a nice surprise for the week.

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 july 2015 box contents with shotwell candy co tennessee toffee trail mix, anya's licorice sticks, and wackym's kitchen cookies treatsie july 2015 info card treatsie vanilla bean lemonade recipe card

Shotwell Candy Co Tennessee Toffee Trail Mix: I couldn’t tell if it said coffee or toffee when I opened the box, so I’m glad it was the latter. But then I noticed it said trail mix and I was unsure again – I’m not generally a fan of trail mixes, but I hoped the toffee could help overcome that. I was surprised at the look when I opened the package – chunks of what looked like caramel that had bits of fruit and nuts in them. There’s one strong flavor that I’m not into – I think it’s either almond or cherry. Otherwise, this is a fun treat!

Anya’s Licorice in Cherry, Mango & Strawberry: At first I thought these were fruit leathers, but they’re somewhere between those and  the licorice I’m used to. They’re soft and full of fruit flavor. Quite good! I don’t know if I’d ever crave them, but if I wanted snacks for a road trip or hiking, these are nice to get a burst of sweetness.

Wackym’s Kitchen Salted Caramel & Margarita cookies: These are nice crunchy cookies that aren’t greasy, so they feel light. The salted caramel is a very strong flavor, great for those who like a lot of taste. The margarita has a light lime flavor and is more refreshing. These would be great with tea!

These products were pretty tasty, even if some have flavors that don’t always appeal to me. It’s cool that they have a recipe on the other side of the card this time. I had no idea vanilla could be added to lemonade to help with the acidity. Pretty cool! What snacks 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!]

Escape Monthly July: New Orleans Box review

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I think this box came a lot earlier in the month than I’m used to. Either that or the month has been going by super quickly. I haven’t had a chance to try most items yet, since quite a few involve the kitchen and I’m great at procrastinating there. :-P

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly july new orleans box products showing escape monthly july new orleans box info sheet escape monthly july new orleans box info sheet opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

This felt eclectic and fun, with quite a mix of products. I love the purple, which is the best color!! I’m not sure what the random little spoon is for – maybe it goes with the seasoning?

Here’s what came in the box:

Frommer’s New Orleans day by day guide – This is new and I don’t think I’ve gotten one in an EM box before. I’m curious to see how different the style is and what I’ll learn. Panda is so intrigued by New Orleans and I’m hoping this guide will show us awesome ways to enjoy the city without partaking in alcohol and parties. It’s funny since what they’re known for is not our scene, but he really wants to go.

New Orleans voodoo doll – I’m glad I read about this, because I had those crazy media portrayals in my head and I thought, “Why would I want to use one of these? I don’t want to harm anyone.” Just goes to show how ignorant I was. I liked reading about how to use it to bring healing and goodness to someone’s life. I think it’s important to set intentions and visualize your goals, so a voodoo doll can be useful for that. I might not believe in the superstition of it, but it’s a good exercise to get me thinking about what positivity I want or what negativity I don’t want.

NOLAS Blue Like Jazz Sugar Scrub – I’m a little confused if this is a lip scrub or general skin scrub. At first I thought lip scrub because I’d just gotten some from another box and my mind was on that track, plus their logo says “lip and soap” on it! But then after reading the instructions, there’s no indication that it’s for the lips. I guess I’ll just use it like a normal scrub then.

Mardi Gras magnet – It must be serendipity that I got a magnet in my favorite color. I love how it looks and am more than happy to add it to the other on my fridge. This reminds me a lot of Venice, so I think I’ll see similarities when I go down to New Orleans. Since there’s a string on it, this would also make a good ornament for a future tree.

NOLAS Mint Julep lip balm – I’ve got a huge stash of lip products I’m working through. This will be added to my collection and pulled out when I next need a simple lip balm that will be hydrating and no fuss. I like to have a plain(ish) lip balm, a tinted lip balm or lip gloss, and a bright lip color in rotation at any given point.

Bocage Candy Company pralines – I tried a piece of this and couldn’t really taste anything. It was just sweetness that sort of melted in my mouth. I was surprised at how quickly it fell into a powdery consistency when I was expecting something more crunchy. Maybe I’m just not used to how these are supposed to be.

Cafe du Monde beignet mix – Oh I love beignets! When I was reading the box, I thought it said “Makes 4 French doughnuts” and I was surprised and disappointed at that. But then I reread it and realized it was “Makes 4 dozen French doughnuts.” Thank goodness! That’s plenty and more. I do wish they’d include a bit of powdered sugar, since that’s not something that I have at home.

Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane cocktail mix – This is the one item I’ll need to give away since neither Panda nor I drink. Perhaps if I take it to the office my coworkers will make use of it in subsequent happy hours in the kitchen. I’m sure someone would like to try making cocktails!

Red Stick Spice Co BBQ Shrimp Seasoning – As soon as I opened the box, I got a whiff of this seasoning. I can totally imagine getting seafood with this type of flavor and I really need to get around to cooking with it. I love shrimp and I’m looking forward to how this seasoning will make them taste.

Spa Wraps eye pillow – I would have thought something like the magnet would be bonus item, but this is awesome! I enjoy spa treatments and tools for relaxation. I can use this to cool down my eyes and face after a long day, or to help shut out the world for a little bit.

The party vibe was all over this box and I’m glad a little bit of relaxation was in there too. I like the diversity of products and slightly higher quantity too. What products from the New Orleans Escape Monthly box would you want too? If you want to sign up, be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get a code for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription.

I haven’t seen the next destination posted yet! I’m hoping for something abroad like Thailand or Hungary.

[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!]

If the world could be like us

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There’d be less judgment.

We’d get to do what we want, without sideways glances or raised eyebrows.

Openmindedness would fuel our way of life.

We wouldn’t constrict ourselves to “acceptable” standards to avoid scrutiny.

Empathy would drive our understanding and decision-making.

We’d be comfortable expressing ourselves as is.

Assumptions would not be made.

We could each thrive in what makes us feel happy – in what feels right.

Petit Vour July 2015 review

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More great products to help you through the hot weather. I can see each of these contributing a healthy summer glow.

Petit Vour is $15 per box (or as much as $30 for international subscribers) and comes with vegan beauty, skincare, and other personal care products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards free boxes (email contact@petitvour.com to say I referred you if you sign up!).

contents of petit vour july 2015 box with nubian heritage mango butter, luxe de mer toner, routine. de-odor-cream, aila nail lacquer, and info card with cruelty-free summer theme petit vour july 2015 box info card with item details

Nubian Heritage Mango Butter – Well, mango isn’t typically my thing but the scent is this is amazing. The consistency is a bit grainy at first and then when I let it melt on my skin and rubbed it in, it was very hydrating. It absorbs nicely to leave behind soft skin without greasiness.

Luxe de Mer organic rosewater toner – I love the cooling tingling that I get from applying this. It makes me feel so refreshed and confident that my inflammation will be soothed. It smells wonderful too!

routine. de-odor-cream – A clay deodorant? That’s cool! I thought it was powdery when I saw it, but it’s a nice creamy texture. I didn’t need much to rub in and it felt nice. I haven’t ever really needed deodorant, so I’m sure this will work for any perspiration I might have.

Aila nail lacquer in Doolish – Coral is a great summer shade. I do have some similar ones so I might share this (or my others) with someone. This nail polish is easy to apply, though you definitely need two coats to get a nice solid shade throughout.

I’m a fan of these products and will definitely consider repurchasing some of them. The only reason I’d trade the nail polish is because I have coral shades already, but we’ll see. Which of these items do you like most?

[This post mentions a referral program. Signing up and emailing contact@petitvour.com to say I referred you 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!]

Pet store finds

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Check out these adorable little guys!

hoppy hamster from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

spazzy hamster from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

rabbit speed chewing from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Yogi Surprise July 2015 review

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Whoa, the first third of the month (I got the box around the 10th) went by so fast I didn’t realize it was time for this box again! I guess it’s because I was just getting my bearings after returning from a trip west.

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 july 2015 box with info card yogi surprise july 2015 info card with product details

Aura Cacia sweet orange & peppermint motivating yoga mist – This smells great – sweet, citrusy, and minty. It’s nice to spray in the air for a relaxing environment. One of the cats was really interested when we were spraying it!

zhena’s gypsy tea coconut chai green tea – I’ve seen this brand and wanted to try it, so this will be a great opportunity. I like that it’s organic and fair trade. The tin has 22 sachets, so that will last me quite awhile.

Acure cell stimulating face mask – I’m a fan of this brand, so I’m happy to get this mask. I love all the plants they used to create it and the instructions are really cute: “Apply evenly over the face until you look like a green sea-monster.” :)

Gaiam dual-grip headband – What a cool headband! I’ve never had one with two bands like this, which is a nice design. I like that it feels more secure than a single band, plus it’s in my favorite color!

Tiger’s Eye Buddha charm bracelet – I’m getting quite a collection of bracelets now and this one has an adorable little Buddha charm. Tiger’s Eye is such a cool type of stone that catches light in a really unique way. Looks like I should start wearing more jewelry.

While there weren’t many items in the box, there were some really solid products that I will use. I do hope they don’t lean on the jewelry part to try to bring up the “value” of the box. I’d much rather see 7-8 items than one large ticket item. Which products do you want?

[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!]

One LONG day

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5:30 AM: Woke up and got ready for the day.

6 AM: Checked out and drove to MCI/KCI (Kansas City Airport), with a minor bit of disorientation along the way.

6:42 AM: Returned rental car and caught shuttle to terminal.

7 AM: Settled in at gate for 8:05 flight.

7:30 AM: Mechanical issues prevent us from boarding.

7:50 AM: The flight gets delayed by 4 hours and I get my food voucher.

8 AM: I get a drink and turkey jerky, then return to the gate to find everyone standing in a gaggle. The flight was cancelled. -___-

9 AM: I notice text messages letting me know I was rebooked for a 2 PM flight to Houston and then a 5 PM to Dulles. After sitting around then waiting in line, I am put on standby for an 11 AM to Houston.

10 AM: My coworkers arrive for their 10:30 flight and I chat with them before they board. Nobody on standby gets on the flight (one poor woman was supposed to catch another airline to go to Italy, with this being her only other chance).

11 AM: The Houston flight is also completely booked and boarded. I get back in line for assistance. This time I’m put on standby for a 1 PM.

1 PM: I get called up for my ticket, but I hesitate because I’d gotten a first class upgrade on the 2 PM flight. The gate attendant recommends I just get on this flight in case something happens with the next one (you never know).

3 PM: We land in Houston after a mediocre flight in which the attendant completely skipped me for drinks after chatting up the lady next to me (who didn’t want anything). Ugh. Wasn’t even worth it since I didn’t really want to drink anything.

3:30 PM: I request standby for a flight into DCA that arrives an hour earlier than my 5 PM flight to IAD. Just want to get going! Gate attendant was rather rude about it, but did it for me.

4 PM: After a stressful 20 minutes waiting for my to-go order, I bring it and board the plane. Discover my seat is waaay in the back and not economy plus despite there being plenty of space. I run back up to the gate to ask for a better seat. Even though the only seat taken in row 7 was 7A, he puts me 7B, a middle seat. I sit in the aisle and then move over to the other window seat just as the captain gets on to tell us that we’re delayed until about 6:30 due to weather in DC. We de-board.

4:30 PM: I go over to the gate for the flight to IAD that I was originally on. I’m sent to the customer service desk, where thankfully there’s a premier access line with just two people. I get a seat back on that one, which is also delayed to 6:30 due to storms. I wish I’d taken the 2 PM flight and kept my first class upgrade. Alas, there easily could have been further delays or cancellations so I won’t dwell on it.

4:40 PM: Panda’s on his way home (it’s 5:40 Eastern) and I update him on what happened all day.

5 PM: I finally get to eat the tacos I got. First meal of the day.

6 PM: Board the plane and hope for a last-minute upgrade to first class. I keep checking and *boom* it happens! I happily go up to seat 1B.

6:30 PM: We head off and I realize how desperately I need a window seat next time. Neither side had their windows open and I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I’m not claustrophobic, but I do get some motion sickness when I can’t see the steadiness of the landscape outside. I also had a massive headache from artificial lights. I kept reminding myself that it was ok, we were staying level, and it’d only be three hours. A few times I thought it was a cross-country trip of 5 hours. I just tried to focus on playing games to stay distracted and eating the food that came along. Still, when I pulled up the flight map and saw we were over New Orleans, I really wanted to see what was outside!!

7:30 PM: I try to eat all the dinner, but my teeth are sensitive and I’m still full from my earlier meal.

8 PM: It’s cookie time! There’s something magical about a cookie that is heated up so it’s nice and gooey. Yum. The window in the row behind me has their window open and I can see some gorgeous colors of the sunset, with the outlines of some really cool clouds. I wish I’d been able to watch the light changing that whole time.

9 PM: We start our descent and the guy next to me finally opens the window! I notice a flash – what? I keep looking outside and it’s lightning! How jealous I am of what I missed.

9:30 PM (10:30 local): We land and I make my way out of the airport in record time.

11 PM local: We get home, finally. It’s 11 hours after I should have arrived and if I had driven straight from the hotel, I would have gotten home around the same time. What a day.

Homegrown Collective June 2015 review

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Ooo I’m all about exfoliation! In fact, I think I probably go too crazy with that, but I just love envisioning the dead skin sloughing off leaving behind freshness. Sugar, salt, ground up nuts – I’ve tried’em all and love’em all!

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 salty & sweet homegrown collective 2015 box with the info sheets on the inner lidcontents of the homegrown collective june 2015 box with salty & sweet theme

Project #1, DIY lavender bath soak: Ah, what a nice easy soak to put together. I enjoy baths with lovely scents like this, so I’ll be trying this with one of my next baths.

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy lavender bath soak info card the homegrown collective june 2015 products for diy lavender bath soak

Project #2, DIY eucalyptus sea salt scrub: Now what is the difference between these types of salts? I’m not really sure, but I’m happy to use them. I guess epsom is good for soaking and sea salt is good for scrubbing. Oh, and the glove is so cute!

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy eucalyptus salt scrub info card the homegrown collective june 2015 products for diy eucalyptus salt scrub

Project #3, DIY sugar & lemon scrub: I had no idea sugar helps draw sugar to your skin, but I did know there is a difference between using sugar scrubs vs. salt. Still, I like them all and will use this when my skin is feeling dry to hopefully revive its moisture.

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy sugar & lemon scrub info card the homegrown collective june 2015 products for diy sugar & lemon scrub

All these are just up my alley and I’m excited to have them to try, among my many other exfoliant products. The last sheet explained more about exfoliation and the benefits of it all over your body. Good stuff. :)

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy salty & sweet exfoliation 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!]

Escape Monthly June: Vancouver/Victoria BC Box review

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The timing of this went perfectly with Canada Day, giving us a chance to see items from our neighbors. I was away when it arrived, so I’m a bit delayed seeing what I got!

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly june victoria/vancouver box products showingescape monthly june 2015 box with new tissue paper design escape monthly june victoria/vancouver box info sheet escape monthly june victoria/vancouver box info sheet opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

The look of this one was completely different, with new tissue paper, the new logo, and a different style of insert. I guess the digital kind from last month didn’t go over well. This type feels less professional than the original three-panel one. I was also really bummed that I didn’t get the bonus item! I’m used to receiving it in nearly every box, so I’ve messaged them and should have it on its way this week.

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Victoria & Vancouver Island – This part of Canada is pretty foreign to me, though I will be going that direction for a cruise to Alaska later this year. I certainly want to go spend some time there another time.

Murchie’s The Golden Jubilee tea – I will drink just about any tea, so I’ve already started sipping on this. I’m not super sensitive to flavors so this tastes pretty normal to me and I’m happy to drink it at home when I want something a little more flavorful than water.

Vancouver Island Salt Co. Orange & Lime Sea Salt – Whoa, this is cool and I love the citrus aspect of it. I wonder how strongly that will come through when I use it for some cooking. This should be fun!

Native Origins Eco Bag in Butterflies – This is totally perfect for me. I love using these types of bags to carry lunch to work or just use in lieu of a large bag or purse. The size is great for some of the larger containers I try to carry and the pattern is really pretty.

Rain City Foods Miso Ginger Grapefruit dressing – This sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try it out on my next salad! I usually like Italian dressing, so I think I’ll like the tangy aspect of this one. It’s a very large bottle that will last for quite some time.

Coconama chocolate – These chocolates are very rich, sort of like cheesecake. I can only have a small bite at a time. When I first saw the box, I thought it might be jewelry. It’s nice packaging!

Sea Change Seafoods smoked salmon paté – Hmm, I am not familiar with this kind of thing, so I’ll have to look up how to eat it. I’m thinking I can either cook with it or maybe spread it right on a cracker? I do like smoked salmon, so we’ll see about this.

native art magnet – The magnet was the bonus item this month and I’m looking forward to receiving mine in the mail soon. It’ll be a nice momento to keep on the fridge and help hold up random coupons or ads we have.

I love the freshness of the products in this box, though I would have liked to see at least one home or skincare item. Which products from the Vancouver Escape Monthly box would you want too? If you want to sign up, be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get a code for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription.

Next will be New Orleans, which I’m sure will feature some awesome food options.

[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!]

High atop Dragonback

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When Panda and I went to Hong Kong, we spent a day hiking the mountains, which was so much fun. Here are some videos from that day!

dragonback hike time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

chillin' atop dragonback from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

dragonback view from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

paragliding over ocean from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

bird gliding over people on mountain from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

paraglider by mountain from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

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