Posts Tagged ‘lavender’

Central/Eastern European souvenirs

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This most recent trip to Europe allowed me to revisit some places I hadn’t been to in 9 years and also check out new places that have been on my wishlist. It was a lot of fun and I got some gifts along the way to remember each place by!

Our first official stop was Praha (Prague). There were so many artists, musicians, and crafters to be found everywhere. In one of of the shops, I got my first souvenir – a little metal cup. One of the few that wasn’t a glossy finish, which appealed to me.

teal metal cup with owl designs

I liked the matte look and the funky owls!

Then as we were walking across Charles Bridge, perusing the various vendors, I saw a guy selling these adorable paintings! I just had to have one since he had such a fun style and had cats in each piece. This one is perfect because it has the cat couple, plus two extra cats – just like me, Panda, and our cats.

original artwork of prague with cats and hot air balloons at night

I loved that this incorporated cats and had cute little hot air balloons.

Next up was Warszawa (Warsaw), where we explored a massive park and the Neon Muzeum, all the while eating peirogis. I managed to add to my growing collection of TOUS jewelry (this is the 4th piece) and find some local folk art. I’m very happy with the usefulness of the giant coaster, which will be good for putting pots on.

tous onyx bear necklace from warsaw

When we saw a TOUS store at one of the shopping centers, we couldn’t resist. I finally got something from the onyx collection I’d been eyeing!

brightly-colored coaster with roosters and flowers

I originally saw a tote bag with a similar design, but I have so many bags that I was determined to find this look and feel on a different product.

Then we were off to Wien (Vienna) to fulfill my long-awaited dream of seeing the Spanish Riding School. We also went to tour one of Mozart’s homes and the Haus der Musik. When we came across the stalls by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, I found the opportunity to get something with the word “Vienna” on it. I liked the handmade nature of these glass cups that are perfect for holding a tea light.

glass cup for candles with colorful stained-glass scene handpainted on

We had just a few Euros left, but I really liked this one because the name was easily visible (unlike the others where Vienna was along the bottom). We had to pay in a combo of Euros and dollars!

After that, it was down to Split in Croatia. We enjoyed exploring the city of Split, where I found the amazing backpack that is perfect for my needs. We spent a whole day going up to Krka National Park for the waterfalls (freezing cold water, but totally worth it!). And of course, we just had to go out to Hvar Island to check it out. My favorite was going over to Palmizana, a smaller island off of Hvar.

drawstring backpack with elephant design from split, croatia

All pockets open and close with a magnet, which I love. There are side pockets inside as well as zippered areas inside and on the back. All sorts of storage options!

box of lavender buds and essential oil drops, plus bonus pouch of lavender buds from hvar in croatia

Apparently there are lots of lavender fields in the area, so at Hvar I got this adorable box filled with lavender buds. There’s a bottle of essential oil inside as well, to help enhance the scent with a few drops every now and then. The lady kindly gave me a pouch as a bonus.

Finally, rounding out the trip was Budapest, with fantastic views from the Buda side. I loved getting goulash nearly every meal and we got to relax at the Szechenyi thermal baths. Up at Citadella, I saw a tower of mugs (think Christmas tree shape, except everything hanging is mugs) and knew I had to get one. I wasn’t crazy about any of the color combos, so I waited to find them again elsewhere until I decided on this funky one.

giant polka-dotted mug from budapest

My ladybug mug, as it will be known. It’s really a bowl with a handle and I can just about stick my entire face in it.

So these are all the items I have to remind me of this super fun trip to Central/Eastern Europe! I tried to get things I would use and not just stuff to put on a shelf. There’s so much more that I would have liked to have gotten, but that will have to wait for next time. 🙂

Homegrown Collective January 2014 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This weekend, I got the first Homegrown Collective GREENBOX of the year! When I first saw the theme of DIY Detoxify, I thought juice cleanse and I was skeptical, but as it turns out, I love this box too (big surprise there, haha – I’ve loved all their boxes!). Also, I’d like to mention how insanely good they are at packing these things… I never know how everything fits back in once I unpack them. Lucky for me, I don’t have to do that part. 😛

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.

the homegrown collective january 2014 box with small shipping label

Hehe, I was totally amused by the mini label – is that a new thing?

inside of homegrown collective box with the info sheets on the inner lid and white homegrown collective sticker on brown paper wrapping

They have a pretty new logo that they started using.

contents of the homegrown collective january 2014 box with diy detoxify inside and out theme

Project #1, dandelion leaf herbal tea: I always thought you could do something with those dandelions in the yard and lookie here! What a fantastic way to enjoy what is commonly viewed as an annoying weed. I’m totally trying this at work as soon as we have the hot water machine again. I wonder how it tastes. I can’t imagine it’d be sweet, so maybe a bit tart or bitter? For whatever reason, that’s what I’d expect dandelion to taste like, but I’ll find out soon enough.

the homegrown collective january 2014 project dandelion leaf herbal tea info card the homegrown collective january 2014 products for dandelion leaf herbal tea

Project #2, dead sea salts & lavender fizzing bath soaks: Ooo yes, FIZZING! Seriously, who wouldn’t like a little bubbling in their bath soak? It makes things so much more interesting and entertaining. I absolutely must go to the Dead Sea at some point to float in it myself, but until then, I’m glad I have some salts from there to enjoy the detoxing effects. This is like a science experiment and beauty treatment all in one. And being a nerdy gal, I love both those things!! It was fun to watch the pouch floating around as it sizzled, then sink when the fizz was gone.

the homegrown collective january 2014 project dead sea salts and lavender fizzing bath soaks info card the homegrown collective january 2014 products for dead sea salts and lavender fizzing bath soaks

Project #3, bentonite clay & rosewater mask: Ok, I have an unhealthy obsession with masks. I don’t use them nearly as much as I’d like, but I’ll almost always get them anyway. I don’t know why I love them so much, but I can’t help it and I’m thrilled with mixing my own! I’ve never heard of bentonite clay, but I think most types of clay are pretty awesome (like when I discovered kaolin clay). This one sounds fascinating with its electrical charges and whatnot. I really liked spraying on the rose water to keep the mask on for longer without the tightening getting too crazy. Feels (and smells) lovely!

the homegrown collective january 2014 project bentonite clay and rosewater mask info card the homegrown collective january 2014 products for bentonite clay and rosewater mask

Then came the final info card talking about all the great detoxing going on with this box:

the homegrown collective january 2014 detoxify inside and out info card

marketing info cards from the homegrown collective january 2014 box

Here are the marketing materials that came with the box.

back of marketing info cards from the homegrown collective january 2014 box

And the backsides with all the info.

What are you waiting for? Subscribe to the Homegrown Collective so you can stop being all jealous of my awesome stuff. 😉

[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!]

Homegrown Collective August 2013 projects

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you ready to see the results of my Homegrown Collective August box?! I sure had a ton of fun with it. 🙂

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.

the homegrown collective august 2013 products for growing alfalfa sprouts with instruction sheet

I started off with the alfalfa sprouts project.

pile of alfalfa seeds in layer at bottom of glass ball jar

I put in just enough to cover the bottom of the jar.

pile of alfalfa seeds submerged in water in glass ball jar

I then filled with plenty of water to submerge them, though I had some floaters.

collage of alfalfa seeds submerged in water after one day then getting water strained out

The next day, the water had browned and I poured it out. It was hard to get the screen on underneath the lid! It’s a tight fit. I rolled the jar and shook it so the seeds got spread around.

collage of alfalfa seeds sprouted in glass ball jar after two days

By the third day, they’d sprouted! I was so surprised I actually gasped out loud when I saw it.

collage of alfalfa sprouts growing in glass ball jar

On the fourth day they continued to grow and I tried to get the remaining seeds to sprout by giving them more space.

collage of alfalfa sprouts growing in glass ball jar filling area

By the fifth day, I noticed that they had orientated themselves upwards even though there was no sun where I kept them. Guess they just knew which way is up!

collage of alfalfa sprouts full grown in glass ball jar and removed

Just six days in and they were definitely full grown and ready to come out. I let the brown seed covers float up and dumped them out.

tray of full grown alfalfa sprouts with green heads after getting sunlight

I then let them sit out in the sun and the heads went from yellow to green. Ready to eat! I had some but gosh, this was waaay more than I could handle.

the homegrown collective august 2013 products for making green tea & lavender epsom salt bath soak with instruction sheet

Next up was a lovely bath soak to pamper myself!

pile of green tea mixed with fresh lavender for bath soak in muslin bag

I put together a few scoops of green tea and some lavender flowers in the muslin bag and mixed them up.

collage of green tea and lavender bath soak with epsom salts and muslin bag filled with tea and lavender flowers in tub

I ran really hot water, put in epsom salts that quickly dissolved, let the tea bag sit in the running water, and then let the bag float around the tub.

green tea leaves and lavender flowers emptied from inside of muslin bag

After my relaxing soak, I flipped the bag inside out to get the tea out, rinsed the rest off, and let it dry for next time.

the homegrown collective august 2013 products for dark chocolate pomegranate wonder cup snacks with instruction sheet

Finally, I got around to trying the pomegranate chocolate cups!

collage of steps to peel pomegranate from cutting skin to removing seeds and soaking in water

It was a slow process ensuring I got the seeds out as whole as possible, but I was rewarded with a nice pile of them.

collage of melting chocolate, drying pomegranate seeds, and putting pomegranate seeds into paper cups

I don’t have a double boiler, so I melted the chocolate with a bowl in the pot. I boiled the water too much and water got in, but it turned out ok. I nearly forgot to pat dry the seeds before putting them in the cups!

collage of melted chocolate and pomegranate seeds then pouring chocolate over the seeds in paper cups

I poured the melted chocolate over the seeds and just about overfilled the cups. I generously sprinkled the salt flakes on top and put it all the in fridge. It came out looking not much different and tasted fantastic, even with my messed up chocolate.

silicone cat-shaped ice cube tray with pomegranate seeds inside

I decided to have some fun with it and make some with my cat-shaped ice cube tray! I accidentally messed up the chocolate again so it didn’t turn out to well, but I’m totally trying again later. Nom!!

So what do you think? Jealous yet? 😉 I loved each of these projects and will definitely be doing them again. I’m also looking forward to the upcoming box!!

If you’re interested in getting it yourself, sign up here!

[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!]

Blissmobox: Indulge…

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yikes, I’ve got quite some catching up to do with blissmo! I’m nearly done with my subscription and I’ve only reviewed half the boxes. So this was the January box and I chose the “Indulge…” one because I wasn’t feeling the snacks and this one sounded so luxurious!

blissmobox is just under $25 per month with shipping (or as discounted as just under $120 for 6 months) and comes with eco-friendly products in themes like beauty, snacks, home, pets, and more. Each month you choose from two or three themes, or skip if none of them appeal to you. They do not offer a referral program.

the choices for january's blissmobox: indulge..., good morning!, and feel good snacks

The three choices for the January blissmobox.

I’m glad I chose this one because it included some cool products that I’m happy to have discovered.

opened blissmobox january 2013 with contents displayed

collage of stash tea bags in lavender tulsiStash Tea, Lavender Tulsi – I tried one bag of this and it was nice, but nothing I’d crave. Good to have in my stash (haha pun was unintended) but I’m not sure I’d get more since I have so much tea. However, when I do want a more relaxing variety, I will definitely pull these out. They strike me as the sort of thing that you’d drink when you need some calm, are trying to unwind, or are slightly sick. I just get the impression it’s kind of like chamomile tea, perhaps because of the lavender component.

divine crunchy milk chocolate barDivine Chocolate, Crunchy Milk Chocolate – A very well-chosen name! They certainly didn’t lie; this chocolate is absolutely divine. This particular flavor doesn’t appear to be sold on their site, but they have a great selection. This was THE smoothest chocolate I have ever indulged in. So creamy and fragrant and wonderful I couldn’t stop myself from gobbling it up. I definitely want to get more! YUM

collage of bambeco olive oil soap in peppermintbambeco, peppermint olive oil soap – Oooo this smells refreshing! I am generally sensitive to peppermint products, whether mints, lotions, or soaps so I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to use this or trade it off. I do love the branding, packaging, and overall look and feel, but I might want to try one of their other scents. Then again, my skin probably isn’t as sensitive to peppermint as my stomach is to it, right? Applying it to skin and consuming it in food/beverages may be different, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be sensitive to this too. I’m really on the fence with this one!

collage of kallari chocolate bar 85% cacaoKallari, 85% dark chocolate – This is a great dark chocolate! Very well-crafted and it’s not that bitter. It definitely feels exotic and exclusive. For some reason it makes me think of Amazonians… must be the name, not that I have a clue what it means or where it came from! I like that they package it in a sealed foil pouch to really preserve the freshness and it breaks off into bite-size squares. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these at Whole Foods, and I would pick it up again.

collage of somersaults dutch cocoa sunflower snacksSomersaults, dutch cocoa – Oh, Somersaults… I first learned of you back when my friend was graduating and his mom shared some with me. I want to like you and I do enjoy your shape and super crunchy texture, but why don’t I like your taste? I can enjoy sunflower seeds on their own, so why not pressed into little cracker cookies? I don’t understand it and try as I have, I just don’t like you enough. 🙁 However, of all the flavors I tried, this is the one that I’d actually consider getting. Go chocolate!

100% pure body cream samples in honey almond and vanilla bean100% Pure, honey almond & vanilla bean nourishing body cream – I have a ton of lotions to use right now so I’m saving these to use a little later. I plan on keeping them for times when I need ultra portability and can’t or won’t bring a deluxe size lotion around. Say, when I’m going on a hike or otherwise planning on being out for a long time, for example. I haven’t been all that active lately so I probably won’t need to break into these for some time!

collage of tisano nibbles cacao nibsTisano Nibbles, Dark Chocolate Cacao Nibs – These are strangely addicting. It kind of feels like I”m eating coffee grinds that weren’t ground up so well, but gosh who knew I could love that? I enjoy dark chocolate, but sometimes the bitterness is hard to swallow. In this tiny form, popping a few is easy as pie and before I know it, I’ve consumed the whole thing. I love that it’s crunchy with those nibs and that I don’t feel like I’m eating a candy, even though they resemble Nerds.

If you’d like more info on these brands, you can click below to enlarge the photo and read more.

blissmobox indulge... info sheet

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