Review: KitNip Box April 2016

Woah. House buying stress is so real – and we haven’t even been doing housey things for very long. I guess we’ve been busy with lots of other things too, but I had “write kitnip review” written in my planner for 2 Fridays ago, and here we are, on the second to last day of the month. Ah, life. We’ve also been out of paper towels for a week if that gives you any idea of where our minds are at (or aren’t at, really.) So anyway.

After my somewhat “meh” review of January’s KitNip box, the company reached out to me to see if Barb and I would like to give their box another go…and after very little consideration at all (lets be real, Barb is spoiled; the more toys, the better) – I said yes 🙂

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Of course, Barb had to get all up in the box the moment it was opened.

After her initial nosing around in the ‘Royalty’ themed box, Barb didn’t really have much interest in any of the toys – such a stinker. BUT. Here we are 3 weeks later, and she LOVES those little rattle-y balls. Loves them. Especially at 2am (because when else would one want to play with toys?! Hah.) The little bee toy gets batted around too…sometimes. Much to my dismay, she wants nothing to do with the ‘Keep Calm and Purr On’ pouch. I think it’s hilarious – come on, Barb! I actually think it’s just a bit too big for her to really know what to do with it. Unfortunately she doesn’t particularly like the pumpkin hairball aid treats/supplements either, but I think we’ve learned that she just doesn’t like ‘moist’ things. *Shrug* – cats will be cats.

The adorable slippers, handmade emerald ring toy, and handmade crown have pretty much been left untouched, but for all we know she’ll decide they’re the best things on earth in a few months. I would really like her to chew on the slippers though; they’re made of a loofah material and are supposed to help keep teeth clean. Oh well.

I think having multiple cats would make this box a better buy…using Barb as an example: not every cat will like every toy, and when you’re spoiling your kitty with their own subscription box, you don’t want any toys to be ignored, or treats to go to waste!

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Based on what I could find online plus reviews from other bloggers, it looks like this month’s box had an approximate value of $30, which is above the $19.99 purchase price. If you have more than one cat OR have room in your budget for cat-related items OR like giving your kitty toys of the handmade/natural variety, I think this subscription box is definitely the one for you; it seems like KitNip supports smaller companies – many of the toys/brands can be found on Etsy 🙂

Thanks again, KitNip!

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Wanderlust Wednesday – 4/27

Wanderlust Wednesday - Paris, France 2015
Paris, France 2015

Nothing exciting or thought provoking to post today. So instead you get a countdown update: 246 days til Morocco!

Happy Hump Day 🙂

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Yay, Monday!

I’m preeeetty much convinced that it’s hard to have a bad Monday when the sun is shining and the temperature is above 55F. As usual, our weekend was packed full of greatness. One of these days we’ll learn that sometimes taking a break from our go, go, go lifestyle is acceptable. Maybe.

  1. Saturday was the Dark Horse Smoke-Off, and even though team Meat Yo Maker didn’t win, we had an awesome day…in part due to the consumption of more growlers than we could keep track of; but hey what do you expect for a day-long event at a brewery?! 😉 Everything I was wearing has a very smokey smell now, but I kinda like it!
  2. We went putt-putting Sunday. I lost. Lining up shots takes too much effort! Or something. I don’t really know why I’m not good at it; yesterday I was blaming my hair for blowing in my face, so I’ll stick to that story! Hah.
  3. Joe and I are both trying out different Teatoxes – Fruiteatox for me, Slendertox Tea for him. We’re on day 3 and nothing drastic has happened yet…though I am missing my daily/morning Diet Pepsi somethin’ fierce. I brought my Bambi mug to work today; people might be judging me a little bit.
  4. Le Tote had a sale going on – 50% off your first month, so I figured I’d try it out. You get unlimited boxes of clothes every month (get one, wear the stuff, send it back, get another) and can wear the clothes for as long or as short as you want. The stuff they sent me for my first round of clothes was pretty cute – but unfortunately it came right as the weather was hitting 70+ degrees. The likelihood of me wearing a somewhat chunky sweater in the blazing sun, no matter how cute it is, is very slim. That said – it’s definitely something I’m going to continue for at least a little longer. It keeps me from continuing to add more and more to my closet, but provides some (rotating) new-ness to my wardrobe that I definitely can appreciate. If it’s something you’ve been considering, just go for it! Especially if you have lots of events coming up. If you use this link you get $25 towards…something. I’m not sure if it’s a purchase of clothes, or your monthly cost – if you find out, let me know!! 🙂
  5. Phew. That was long. Last but not least, Topdeck updated their app over the weekend, providing support for their Middle East/Northern Africa trips! Of course I updated and checked out the app ASAP…sadly no one else seems to have done the same. No responses in my group chat quite yet. Check out that countdown though – woohoo!

Happy Monday, y’all!

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Review: PCA Revitalizing Eye Gel


Disclaimer: I was sent these products from PCA Skin with no compensation other than the product to test and review. The following post consists of my honest thoughts & opinions about the product!

My goodness, I feel like I’m writing about my puffy, dark circled eyes every other week. It’s a problem. (Well, maybe not a problem, but definitely the one thing about myself that I’d like to fix!) That said, I imagine actually getting 8-9 hours of restful sleep a night and drinking lots of water would probably help….but aint nobody got time for that. 😛

What I do have time for however, is this nifty revitalizing eye gel that PCA Skin sent for me to review! I just leave it out on our sink area and put it on after I shower in the morning, and right before bed. Easy peasy. I love that it doesn’t have a scent, doesn’t stay sticky for longer than a few seconds once applied, and that it’s safe to put on your eyelids, which a lot of eye-related products are not. My eyes aren’t quite at the ‘aging’ stage of life yet, but hey – I’m going to take any and all preventative measures I can to put that off as long as possible.

No makeup yet - only the eye gel!
No makeup yet – only the eye gel!

PCA Skin claims you’ll see ‘rapid results within 1 week’ – and although I’ve been using it for exactly one week now, I wouldn’t say the results I’m seeing are rapid. That’s not to say I’m not seeing improvements though! I’ve had a couple earlier than normal mornings this week, and noticed I haven’t felt quite as desperate to slather on concealer underneath my eyes – so the gel is certainly doing it’s job, which I am super happy about 🙂 (especially since I’m running out of concealer! Hah.)

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Now for a little bit of background on the company, from their website:

The PCA SKIN R&D, product development and quality assurance processes are above and beyond industry standards. Our formulas are researched, designed and executed by our in-house PhD chemist. We address each skin condition holistically, with products combining the newest and most efficacious ingredients paired with proven, tried and true ingredients to create unparalleled, visible results. We have a solution to address a wide variety of skin types and conditions.

For our more than 25-year history, we have been the leader in skin health education. We teach clinicians globally in the physiology of the skin and the safe and effective application of chemical peels.

So I think it’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing when it comes to skincare 🙂

To purchase: http://bit.ly/1OmadNe

Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

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Let’s Talk Birth Control!

Sooo I’m just going to get right to the point. My birth control prescription has run out, and to get it refilled I either had to find time to go to my ObGyn on the other side of the state, or find a new one here. I hate talking on the phone, and don’t have time to get to the doctor in the near future. Merp. Luckily, while I was contemplating my options I came across a sponsored post on Facebook (I think?) for PRJKT RUBY – a mail order birth control company.

After taking my blood pressure 5 times at Meijer (the first few were a little high for my liking), filling out a couple web pages worth of questions, and confirming that yes, I waive the need for a pharmacist consultation, they matched me with a brand of birth control. I ended up paying $60 for 3 months of pills.

You may be thinking $60?! That’s absurdWhich yes – it’s $60 more than I’ve been paying for the past 8 years thanks to insurance, but there’s also no cost for a doctor visit.

Oh, and did I mention that every pack of pills purchased from PRJKT RUBY will be matched with a 25 cent donation to support access to contraception for women in the developing world via Population Services International (PSI)? Sure, a quarter doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough to buy a pack of pills for the more than 225 million women in the developing world that lack access to the modern contraception they desire.

How great is that? So yes, I may be paying a bit more, but the benefits far outweigh paying $20 a month to keep our household (and someone else’s!) baby-free 😉 (Even if ‘for security purposes’ I had to call customer service to confirm a few things. Can I play the millennial card? I just want to do everything with as little human contact as possible! Hah.)

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Wanderlust Wednesday – 4/20

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I’m actually not quite sure how I feel about this quote the more I think about it.

I remember one of our first ‘tasks’ from the designer leading our first workshop in Den Haag was to spend 8 full hours exploring the city on our own, no partnering up, no meeting up for lunch…just wandering the 38ish square mile city to get a grasp on where we would be spending the majority of our next 3 weeks. I wouldn’t have discovered the most delicious ice cream shop, the super kitschy ‘Flying Tiger’ shop, or a secret little park where I spent a lot of my downtime  if not for that day of wandering (I walked upwards of 25 miles that day. Merp.) Getting your bearings in a new place is totally necessary to fully appreciating what your destination has to offer. Guide books are great, but you never know what you’ll stumble on if you don’t get out on your own a bit! 🙂

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Review: Valentia Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum


Disclaimer: I was sent these products from Valentia with no compensation other than the product to test and review. The following post consists of my honest thoughts & opinions about the product!

You might remember the Valentia Royal Rose serum review I posted a couple of weeks ago – yes? Well Valentia provided me another serum to review, this time for daytime use instead of night! In case you need a little recap on the brand, Valentia is an all-natural and organic skincare brand, designed to repair and protect skin.

Valentia Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum

From Valentia:

The Roman Goddess of healing, Valentia, relied on nature’s gifts to heal the citizens of Umbria…Valentia used berries, herbs, barks and other natural ingredients. We also rely on all natural ingredients due to their protective, preventative and corrective powers.

As someone who is helping design for a start-up brand currently, I love when brands have a good story to back up their name – it makes everything seem much more thought through (which I’m sure it was!)

I’ve been using this serum before moisturizer just about every morning for the past week and a half, and while I’m not noticing any immediate visual differences in my complexion, my skin is definitely feeling softer and less dry. The serum doesn’t make my skin feel sticky; it absorbs quickly, allowing me to get on with my morning routine fairly quickly…which as a non-morning person I can definitely appreciate. If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a thing against products that cause hair to stick to my face after applying it. No thank you!

I remember my 100 year old+ great great great Aunt Marian swearing by Ponds to keep her face looking young; who knows, maybe I’ll be thanking Valentia in 75 years! (As well as keeping my face out of the sun whenever possible, of course.) 🙂

You can find Valentia on Facebook and Instagram, and the Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum here!

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Monday!!

Other than the fact that every single muscle in my body is sore from yesterday’s Fab Abs Plank Intensive at Pure Barre (and places I didn’t know could get sore, like the skin on top of my ribs…) – this Monday is already the best Monday in recent memory, and it’s only 11am! The sun is shining, it’s already above 70 degrees, and I’m wearing a dress! I love dresses. It makes looking ‘nice’ so effortless, and I’m all about minimal effort when it comes to dressing myself 😛

  1. We went to the Sporcle Live Trivia Championships yesterday evening! Our team didn’t win any money (top 5) but we did have awesome t-shirts (because I was feeling ambitious on Saturday) and probably got in the top 20 out of 40 teams (they didn’t announce it.) The questions were hard – holy moley. But we did our best, had lots of fun, and definitely pulled some correct answers out of the deepest depths of our brains which is always a good surprise:)
  2. I know I already mentioned the weather, but my goodness I’m glad it’s looking like we no longer have to worry about snow. It’s about time! Hopefully I didn’t just jinx that.
  3. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 2 came out on Netflix on Friday, and I’m already on episode 10 (I watched a lot while I was making shirts on Saturday, okay?) It’s not a type of show I usually watch; no Always Sunny or The Office in our house. My faves are usually on the darker end of the spectrum (Bates Motel, Gotham) or at least very confrontational (Dance Moms, Intervention.) So I’m glad there’s a show on my radar that’s much more lighthearted…even though it does touch on more serious topics now and then. If you haven’t watched it, you should definitely give it a go 🙂
  4. Joe and I have one free weekend between now and the second week of June. I’m actually not sure if that’s worthy of being in a ‘Happy Monday’ post or not, but I like being busy, so we’ll go with yes! Plus we’re busy with fun things! Hopefully Barb doesn’t hate us too much – she’ll get lots of lovin’ during the week though, that’s for sure. (But also we won’t be totally absent every weekend.)
  5. Returning back to the ‘minimal effort when dressing myself’ thing – I’ve decided that I thinkkkkk I’m going to start growing my hair out again. Being able to throw it in a bun or braid if I didn’t have time to wash/dry my hair on any given morning was so nice, and I think I want to go back to that. At least for now. The ebb and flow of short hair life is real, yo.
  6. Bonus! One of my bridesmaids came over on Saturday to watch a bad Netflix movie and fix my eyebrows 🙂 We had planned on going out to see Allegiant, but decided sitting at home with a hard ginger ale sounded a bit more appealing. It was, but also you don’t need to add Final Girl with Abigail Breslin to your ‘must watch list’ any time soon. Trust me 😉

Happy Monday!

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Review: MAKE Lipstick and Eyeshadow


Disclaimer: I was sent these products from MAKE with no compensation other than the product to test and review. The following post consists of my honest thoughts & opinions about the product!

LBirchbox has introduced me to SO many new brands and products, it’s hard to keep them all straight in my head, but sometimes there’s a brand that is more memorable than others. Some hair products (a detangler and dry shampoo if you’d like specifics,) an eye cream, and an itty bitty, teeny tiny lipstick from MAKE to name a few.

That lipstick was memorable for more reasons than just it’s absurdly small size though, so when the opportunity arose to review a couple more products from MAKE, I jumped at the chance! I received their Silk Cream Lipstick in Taffy, and a Matte Finish Eyeshadow in Alabaster – and yes, they arrived and were just as comically small as the sample I received from Birchbox. But hey, whatever works!

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As an aside, I also love their branding. Simple, memorable..yassss. So good.

Okay, back to my review. I’ve somehow managed to not lose the lipstick I received from Birchbox, so I decided to compare the two (along with the eyeshadow….which I’m pretty convinced I’m too pale for.) Pretty, right? The lipsticks actually do double duty and are moisturizing too – wooo! I’m all about multi-functional makeup, and hate when my lips feel like they’re drying out. Not a problem with MAKE’s lipstick. It also stays on prettttty long. Definitely needs reapplication throughout the day, but it stays on better than some lip products I’ve tried in the past 🙂

Onto the eyeshadow. Hmm. Well, I’m very curious to see how it looks on other people that aren’t quite as….translucent as I am. I put it on rather heavily and could hardly tell I had eyeshadow on at all. Sad day. It could probably work well layered over (or under) something else, but I’ve been using it in the corners of my eyes to brighten them up a bit! That’s been working out pretty well 🙂 MAKE’s eyeshadows are crease-resistant and oil-free, with Vitamins C and E help to provide antioxidant protection for the eye area.

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After using the samples fairly consistently for about a week now, I think I’ve realized why the samples are so small – by the time they’re running out, you have already fallen in love with the products, so you’re tempted to hop on their website and buy the full size products! So sneaky, MAKE marketing team – I’m on to you 😉 (But it’s totally working, and you can get 20% off your order through 4/15 from www.makebeauty.com using the code MAKEYOURSELF)

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Wanderlust Wednesday – 4/13

aquila game reserve - south africa - travel quote - helen keller
Aquila Game Reserve, South Africa

Love this quote. It wasn’t even in my official “for blogging” list, but decided it was deserving of a post!

Today I’m pulling another excerpt from one of Rufus’ emails (from his trip to the Solomon Islands) for your enjoyment:

The hotel I am staying at evidently was hosting on their hotel grounds “the Musical Event of the Century” (at least by Solomon Island standards). My hotel was a zoo as thousands of mostly young Solomon Islanders packed the grounds for this once in a life time event. At one point during the night and having nothing else better to do I wandered down to the concert following the very loud music and amazing light show. I walked right pass security despite not having one of the $350 tickets,  and what a sight! … There were 3 or 4 thousand young Solomon Islanders in a state of ecstasy. They were singing, dancing, gyrating, drinking, kissing, fondling, petting, hugging and packed like sardines in the concert area. The young gals had their lips, hips, and hands all over anyone and everyone. In fact I accidentally had sex with three different women just walking and trying to make my way up to the stage. Now if you want to imagine one of the oddest sites you can think of, imagine and older white man (Rufus), clueless as usual, who knows nothing of music, does not have one iota of rhythm in his body, now befuddled by the overt sexual energy and music he is bombarded by, discovering he has just entered a “Shaggy” concert. I had no idea who “Shaggy” was. I still don’t know who in the hell “Shaggy” is even after spending nearly two hours at his concert. But he sings and he is actually pretty good. He talks a lot about Jamaica, drugs, and sex.

But this story gets just a little bit stranger. I figured as long as I was at the concert, I might as well try to work my way up to the front and see if I could destroy what little left there is of my hearing. Believe it or not I got all the way up to the front..but there is a solid mass of security in blue uniforms and yellow jerseys stopping one from going any further unless you had the laminated VIP around your neck. I just kept moving forward attempting to move into the VIP area when one of the guards said, “Stop. Who are you?” I said,” I’m Rufus” and he allowed me in. It’s all in a name folks; that or someone has been impersonating me over here.

Go on YouTube and pull up a video of Shaggy’s tour in the Solomon Islands. You will see among the young, all black crowd of concert goers an older white man—I can assure you the only one at the event with a Medicare card in his wallet—walking about very confused and befuddled with a true Forest Gump expression on his face.

Oh, Rufus. So great.

I did my thesis project on his travels (in comparison-ish to mine) so I have 57 single-spaced pages of emailed trip reports, all equally as amusing.

Happy Hump Day!