Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Julep Maven review (ft. May Modern Beauty box)

      My Julep Maven box came in the mail really quickly this month and I was so excited to receive this particular box. The May nail colors were all pretty, but what really convinced me to get this box this month was the additional products, a new trio of lipsticks and a lip scrub. Plus, I just added on the nail colors that I liked. 
     The theme for this month was "Set the Stage" and featured elegant colors inspired by the music, style, and spirit of the Roaring Twenties. The nail colors for this month were mainly cremes and a couple shimmers, metallics, and a glitter. The theme definitely seemed glamorous and 1920's inspired, especially because of the special product this month: the two Jazz Collection lip trio sets.

     Once again, the packaging was really beautiful with the products all nestled down in gold sparkly tissue paper and burgundy paper crinkles. The products were all packaged great too in shiny black and gold boxes. The containers themselves were shiny gold and really glitzy looking. 
      This month, I chose the Modern Beauty box for the first time. This is actually a newer style profile and the only one that does not include nail polish and instead has several beauty products. Three of the other profiles (Boho Glam, Bombshell, and Classic with a Twist) include different assortments of two polishes and one product. And It Girl still includes just three polishes (I was really tempted by the colors in this box this month, but decided against it because it didn't have the lip colors). But the great thing about Julep is that you don't have to stick with your style profile each month and can change up your mind (and style) anytime you want. 
  The products that came in my box were:
  • American Beauty Volumizing MascaraJet black. This mascara debuted in September last year and contains peptides to stimulate lash growth. I really like this mascara and was happy to receive another one. 
  • New York Jazz Trio lip colors: Satin doll (poppy lip sheer), Tea for Two (nude shimmer lip sheer), and Lady in Red (matte crimson lip color). These lip colors all look really great, but came in a smaller size than I expected. I assumed that they were full sized, but I'm still happy with them. I'm just glad that I got a box that they came in and didn't pay the add-on price of $19.99. 
From left to right, Tea for Two, Lady in Red, and Satin Doll.
  • Sugar Smooch Lip Scrub: Brown sugar and molasses scent. This lip scrub features brown sugar, molasses, conditioning oils, vitamin E, and shea butter. I love the scent of this lip scrub. It smells so delicious. And the container it comes in is really pretty too. I just want to leave it out on my counter so I can see it all the time. The scrub is maybe a little rougher than I expected, but it also had moisturizers that felt really good on my lips after I rinsed off the scrub.   
  • Bonus product: Four floral hairpins. This was a bonus item added to the boxes this month. They aren't really my style, but they are pretty cute. I was really hoping for tickets to go see The Great Gatsby in theaters. Oh well! 

      Because I liked so many of the nail polishes, but not really any that came in the same box together, I added on two nail colors: Myrtle (flapper red creme) and Zelda (pink champagne metallic). They haven't come in the mail yet. 
     Want to join in on the fun of receiving nail polishes and products in the mail each month? Joining the Julep Maven program is the best way to get Julep products at a discount on everything and access to new colors before everyone else! You just take a style quiz and they will send you products that match your style (don't worry though because you won't be stuck with that style forever). Plus you can join now for a free box and just pay shipping. Here are some other benefits of the Julep Maven program:
  • $40-$60 worth of nail and beauty products delivered to your door each month for $19.99.
  • You get to preview the nail colors you will receive each month.
  • You can add on up to three additional nail colors or products at a discounted price.
  • You can pay an additional $30-$35 and receive the entire collection for that month, which is often a really great deal worth more than $200. 
  • You can skip receiving a box (and the bill) if you're not interested in that month's products and colors. I have done this the past two months. 
  • You can switch to one of four other style profiles if you don't like the colors in your style profile.
  • You can chose to send your box to a friend. 
  • One Maven will win a super special box that includes all sorts of things depending on the month's theme. There are also typically bonus items in all the boxes too. 
  • Twenty percent off purchases at julep.com and free shipping for Mavens. 
  • You can earn a free month by referring two friends to the program using your referral link. (Mine is below and I'd be so happy if you used it)
  • You can earn jules (rewards points) to be used toward monthly boxes when you purchase a box or add-ons. You also get reward points on your anniversary as a Maven and on your birthday. 
  • You can cancel anytime by giving Julep a call.
Sound good? Then fill out a style quiz HERE and use the code FREEBOX to receive your first box for free (just pay shipping!)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bump update: 22 Weeks

         According to my pregnancy app, this week the baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and tiny tooth buds are even developing beneath the gums. His eyes have formed, but the irises still lack pigment. At about 11 inches long, the baby weighs almost a pound. 
       Fine hair called lanugo covers his body and the wrinkles in his skin will fill with fat before birth. If I give birth on my due date, then I have 124 days left to go! 
       I am still feeling good, though I have been a bit tired again lately. I have a good amount of energy in the morning and through the beginning of the afternoon, but I've been wanting an afternoon nap the last couple days. I am a little stressed about getting things in order at the house before the baby comes because we have a lot going on this summer and will be out of town several times. At most, we only have 18 weekends before I'm due and of those I know of at least two where we will be out of town and I didn't make it to 40 weeks with Owen anyway. And I'm only getting bigger! Hopefully, we will begin working on Owen's big boy room soon and I can begin getting back out all our baby stuff and making sure we have anything else we may need. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Newlywed Game Link-up

      I haven't linked up with the Newlywed Game Link-up in a few weeks because I haven't really had the time to do it, but because my sister-in-law Leah is the new co-host this week, I figured I should make a point of linking up. 

Question 1: What is the funniest thing your spouse has done?
I can't really think of anything at the moment. Tim is really funny though and typically catches me off guard with his sense of humor. 
The funniest things we have are our inside jokes we've developed over our relationship. They crack us up more than anything she or I do.

Question 2: What is your idea of a good date?
My idea of a good date would be doing something really fun and new for the both of us, but more realistically, I'd just be happy to go out to dinner and a movie. 
One that ends with us in bed. 

Question 3: What is your favorite memory of you and your spouse?
My favorite memory of Tim is from our wedding night (don't get freaked out just yet!). I was in the bathroom getting ready and all of a sudden I heard Tim's voice. At first I thought it was a weird time to make a phone call, but then as I listened at the door (yes, I eavesdropped!) I realized that he was praying. It was such a sweet, intimate moment and it made me so grateful to have a husband who would take the time to thank God for me. 
We have so many good ones. Three stand out in my mind: when I proposed, our honeymoon, and the birth of our first son. 

Question 4: What are some activities/hobbies that you and your spouse do together?
We pretty much do everything together. We work on the house together, we play video games together, we travel and go exploring new places together, we watch TV and movies together, we play outside and work outside in the yard together.
Make babies. I like cooking with Jessica, doing yardwork with her, and I like exercising with her. 

Question 5: Why do you think your marriage is successful?
We are successful because we view ourselves as members of a team or as one unit. While there are obviously two people, we see ourselves as a pair. Sort-of an us against the world mentality. We depend on one another and support one another so that it's nearly impossible to imagine life without the other. 
Our marriage is centered around our relationship with God and is built on the principles of love and selflessness. 

Question 6: What is your spouse's dream job? Is he/she currently in it?
Tim's dream job would be in the engineering field where he actually got to design bridges and buildings and stuff. He is currently a project controls engineer so he is not doing what he dreamed of doing when he majored in engineering in college. (Tim says his dream job would be to be a sports coach or trainer.)
Jessica's dream job would be to have a little bistro or something where she could cook or bake. (Not really. I am happy to be a stay-at-home mom, but I would also love to have a little business on the side doing something I am passionate about, which probably would be related to children.)

Question 7: What is the best gift your spouse ever gave you?
The cheesy answer would be the gift of getting to be a mom. 
Jessica has given me lots of good gifts. The best gift she ever gave me would probably be my Nexus tablet. 

Question 8: Where do you see you and your spouse in the next 10 years?
This question is hilarious! We have done so many things in the past three and a half years of marriage that I never would have imagined we would do so I can't possibly guess where we will be in 10 years. We have moved three times in our first three years of marriage alone! (Though hopefully we won't have 10 more moves in the next 10 years.) What I do know is that we will be following God's plan wherever we go. Because His plan is the best plan!
I have no idea where we will be living, but we'll still be married and we'll have a 12-year-old and an almost 10-year-old. Woah! 

Question 9: Is marriage everything you expected it to be? Is it much harder than you thought it would be? Why?
Obviously in my imaginings of what marriage was like pre-wedding I didn't really fantasize about bills and job difficulties and all that stuff that comes along with life, but I think marriage has actually turned out to be so much more than what I expected. Tim and I were talking about this the other day. We love marriage. We don't see marriage as being all that hard. Obviously it is hard to die to our selfish natures and put another first, but marriage itself isn't that hard if you're with the right person. You know what is hard? Life! And luckily marriage and having an awesome spouse is one of the biggest things (besides a relationship with God) that helps you get through all the hard stuff in life like pain, death, disappointment, loss, and more. 
I don't think marriage is hard. It requires work, but that work isn't too bad if you get along and enjoy being with the other person. 

Question 10: Who is your spouse's celebrity crush and do you look like them?
We had this talk the other day just for fun and Tim always gets really uncomfortable when I ask him if he thinks any celebrities are attractive. So I don't really know. (I pressed him to think of somebody and he came up with Olivia Munn from The Newsroom. Oh, and I look nothing like her and there are lots of really skanky photos of her on the Internet.)

Ian Somerhalder and he looks just like me. (Note his sarcasm). 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts
      I'm linking up today with Jennifer from Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for Thursday Thoughts. 

~ I am so excited because I was lucky enough to snag one of the Allure Summer Essentials Beauty boxes on Tuesday. This box features more than $250 in full-size hair, make-up and skin-care beauty products. There are 26 items in the box. It cost $39.99. The box sold out really fast and people are all cranky on Allure's Facebook page because of something like a faulty link or it selling out too fast or whatever else caused them to be unable to get a box. Thanks to Jennifer from Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, I found out about the box and bookmarked her link so that when they went on sale at noon on Tuesday, I could easily click through to the page and buy one. I'm really excited about trying all the products and hopefully not having to buy anything from the drugstore for a long time. I will post on the blog when I receive the box to show off all my goodies. 

~ My brother-in-law and his wife are coming to visit us this weekend. I'm not sure what we'll do while they are in town, but hopefully we can show them a fun time even here in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. 

~ Ready for Love still sucks. 

~ I am so stinking excited because the photographers who did Owen's first birthday photos are having free mini sessions for moms and their kids during May. And because we will be in town visiting Tim's mom for her retirement party, I booked a session with them for that weekend. If you are in the Athens, Georgia area, give these people a call! 

~ I got my April Goodies Co. box in the mail yesterday and I was kind-of like "Meh." It had some healthy bars and an energy drink and just some other random stuff. I didn't feel like it had a theme like last month and there wasn't an information card in there either. That's my favorite part! 

~ I really love the concept of The Little Book Club, but once again, they are taking three eternities to ship. And I'm still not entirely sure that it is worth the price. I can pick out three books I know Owen will like on Amazon for about the same price and have them shipped free to our house. Hmm... 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

 I am linking up with Jamie at The Kind of Love for What I'm Loving Wednesday. And here's what I'm loving this week:

  • I am loving the Julep May Maven nail colors and products. After skipping the last couple of months, I was so excited by this month's Roaring Twenties theme inspired by the new movie The Great Gatsby. I had the hardest time choosing a box, and would have gotten the entire set if I had the points to get it for free. I just can't justify spending $55 on nail polish though. I ended up getting the Modern Beauty box, which includes three lipsticks, a lip scrub, and a mascara. I also added on two of the nail polishes: Zelda (pink champagne metallic) and Myrtle (flapper red creme). If you're new to Julep, it's a monthly subscription box company that sends you more than $40 worth of nail polishes and other beauty products for $19.99. You get to choose one of five different boxes each month and can add on an additional three products if you want. Julep is also a really unique service because you don't have to get it every month and can skip a month if you don't like the products or you don't have the money. If you're interested in signing up, you can go here and use the code FREEBOX to get your introductory box for free (you may have to pay shipping.) 

  • I am loving The Honest Company's new diaper designs, particularly the new hippo design which supports the World Wildlife Federation. They are so stinkin' cute. Also, because I was one of the first 1,000 people who ordered the new hippo diapers, The Honest Company donated money to the WWF to adopt a hippo in my name. Pretty cool, huh? Their new Comic boys diaper is also super adorable. They have comic book phrases like Bam! Pow! etc. on them and are really bright and colorful. If you are interested in The Honest Company, you can sign up now or just order a bundle from their site for 40 percent off through April 3o using the code PLUMDISTRICT40. Also, if you use my link, you will have $10 credited to your account as well. 

  • I am loving buying some new clothes for Baby Boy No. 2. I know we will be able to reuse some of Owen's baby clothes (though they will be born in different seasons so it might be little hard), but I still want this baby to have some stuff that's completely new. I had some Gymbucks that my mom gave me from the last time we shopped there so I used them to buy some clothes online the other day. I am apparently still loving elephants and other jungle animals and I'm digging the orange and navy.

  • I am loving that spring has finally come and we are able to do some yardwork. I also replanted flowers in my hanging baskets from last year and now our porch looks so summery and pretty. We used petunias, verbena, and some other dark purple flower that I can't remember the name of. Now I just need to make sure to keep them really well watered and hope they don't die like last summer when we go out of town on trips. 

  • I am loving this Apple Dumplings recipe from Pioneer Woman. It's incredibly unhealthy, but super yummy and very easy to make. I whipped them up on Monday to take to our small group and they were a big hit. I wanted something that was easy to make and that was easy to serve as well. I found this recipe in her cookbook, but you can find it on her blog too.  I recommend using less butter and sugar and Mountain Dew than the recipe calls for because I found the finished result to be a little too soupy. But it was still pretty darn delicious. 

  • I am loving my Owen boy. He is starting to seem so old to me lately. He's talking really well now and into everything. We recently moved him to the 2-year-old room at church and he didn't put up a fuss at all. He just went in and started playing and could care less that we left. In fact, he cried when we came to pick him up because he was having so much fun. Whose kid does that? This photo was taken at IKEA the other weekend. He really loves little tables that are just his size and we will most likely get him one once we start working on his big boy room. 

What are you loving this week? Anything I should try or check out?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Citrus Lane review (April box)

       My April Citrus Lane box came on Saturday and I wanted to share all the fun products that came inside. We were happy with our box this month, but it wasn't our favorite.  There was an interesting assortment of items inside, and there were quite a few practical items. I personally would prefer a more equal number of fun items to practical items. There was no "mom" item in the box, but I'm okay with not always getting something for me in my box. 
    Here's the description from the insert provided in the box: "We are so excited to be able to send you such a fun box this month. Melissa & Doug makes some of our absolute favorite activity kits, and we know your little one will enjoy them, too. We have another new partner, The Honest Company, who creates fantastic eco-friendly products for the entire family. At this age, it can be a challenge to get your toddler to stay in his chair for mealtime, so we hope that these items can help keep him entertained and give you a moment to eat your dinner!" 
   Owen, of course, loved opening his box by himself again this month. He recognizes the Citrus Lane box and comes running to unpack it when I bring it in from the mailbox. He had fun unpacking all six items from our box. The items in my box retailed for $31.51 (not including the extra add-on product which I paid for). This is of lesser value than the last few months, but still more than $6 over the price of the box. 
And here are the details on what we received in our box:
  • Melissa and Doug Paint with Water ($4.99): Paint with Water provides near-instant gratification. Your budding artist can create a colorful masterpiece without the worry of messy spills or splatters. A special paint palette is embedded right in the pages of this all-inclusive art activity, so you don't have to worry about finding the paint or running out of one color. Just add water. I am really excited about this addition to my box this month. Owen loves to paint, but I get tired of all the mess and clean-up involved. I used to do paint with water when I was a kid, but I had completely forgotten about it. It's such a great idea for little kids. The book says it's for ages 3 and up, but I don't see why Owen wouldn't be able to do it. I plan on letting him try it out soon.  
  • Non-slip Placemat from Oogaa ($8.99): Made from pliable silicone that grips, this placemat serves double duty. It provides a clean surface for meals (and protects tabletops), while keeping your child busy between courses - just hand them a set of washable markers for doodling. The placemat is perfectly sized to fit a highchair tray and it's easy to pack with you for dining out. Made entirely from high-grade silicone that's PVC- and phthalate-free, you can throw it in the dishwasher on any shelf. I haven't tried this out yet, but I think it is a great practical item to include in the box. I especially love the idea of taking it when we go out to eat because Owen is always putting his food down on the table and it always grosses me out when I think that the waiter or waitress just wiped it down with a rag instead of sanitizing it. 
  •  Packin'SMART Keepaa from Innobaby ($5.99): It takes quite a while before toddlers master holding something without squeezing tightly. This sleeve prevents little ones from accidentally squeezing juice boxes, milk, food pouches and kid-sized water bottles. Perfectly proportioned handles make it easy to hold, and the space-saving design collapses so you can toss it in the diaper bag or lunchbox. There's even a name holder to keep track of which drink belongs to whom. Free from BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead. We already have one of these drink holders and I really love it for when we are traveling. Owen doesn't drink juice boxes or anything like that on a daily basis, but when we are traveling, we typically pick him up a carton of milk or something to drink and this keeps him from squirting it out everywhere. 
  • Shampoo and Body Wash from The Honest Company ($9.95): Here's a head-to-toe shampoo and body wash the entire family can use. This tear-free, plant-based cleanser contains the highest quality organic and natural ingredients, so it's gentle enough for babies, even those with skin irritations and cradle cap. Organic calendula soothes, moisturizes and protects, while essential oils, fruit extracts, organic aloe and vitamin E hydrate. Perfectly pH balanced and hypoallergenic, it removes dirt without stripping natural oils. We have been using The Honest Company products for almost a year now. I love this shampoo and body wash because it makes Owen smell like an orange creamsicle. 
  • Plum Organics Mashups  pouch ($1.59): From Plum Organics kid's line of organic foods, this blend of fruit purees is a perfect snack for your kiddo when you're on-the-go. Perfectly portioned and made from 100 percent real organic fruit it's both healthy and delicious. Super convenient for including fruit in your little one's lunchbox or keep on hand for a quick and convenient snack when you're out and about. Owen loves squeeze pouches and will eat pretty much any food out of a pouch. He slurped this kind right up for dessert the other night. The box also included coupons for Plum Organic products. 
  • Skip Hop Monkey Straw Bottle ($6): This was an additional add-on item this month. Citrus Lane began a new program last month where they send out invites to some of their customers to allow them to pay extra to add another item to their box. I am not certain how they determine who gets invites, but I assume it is partly based on the appropriateness of the product for your child's age. Last month, I did not receive an invite, but this month I had the opportunity to add this straw cup to my box. I am really happy to get it because Owen always seems to need new cups and he does a great job with straws. And we love Skip Hop brand products, including: diaper bags, utensils sets, backpacks, lunch boxes, plates, bowls, and more. 

     Citrus Lane offers boxes for newborns to age 5. Boxes cost $25 a month, but  Currently, new members can save $10 on a subscription if they sign up through a referral link from someone who is already a Citrus Lane member. The Citrus Lane member will also receive a $10 credit. My referral link can be found HERE. Additionally, the coupon code TAKEHALF has been a frequent advertised coupon code to get half off your first month's box if you want to do a monthly subscription where you are charged each month. The code BREAK10 will get your 10 percent off a multi-month subscription of either 3-, 6-, or 12 months. You can try either of those to get an additional discount on Citrus Lane on top of the $10 credit for using my referral link.  

Bump update: 21 Weeks

          This week, the baby is about the length of a carrot at almost 11 inches long from head to foot. According to the doctor, the baby weighs about 13 ounces now, which is right on target for 21 weeks. He now has eyelids and has grown eyebrows. He frequently hiccups as a means to practice breathing and swallows amniotic fluid in order to practice eating. He has started developing more body fat and a thin layer of hair called lanugo. He now resembles a miniature version of a fully developed person, but would still be able to fit in the palm of my hand. 
           Our anatomy scan at the end of last week went really well. We got to see the baby's brain, all his little bones, and even watch as his heart pumped blood in and out. The ultrasound techs were really happy with all the pictures they were able to get and everything looked perfect, so we won't have to go back for another ultrasound. They will most likely call me back in for another ultrasound towards the end of the pregnancy to check this baby's size in case he is getting as big as Owen. They would like to prevent me from having to give birth to another almost nine-pounder. I am grateful for this, but at the same time, I would really prefer to go into labor naturally and not be induced. 
          As far as how I'm doing, I am definitely in the honeymoon stage of pregnancy. I feel great, my belly isn't so big that I'm uncomfortable, and I have lots of energy. I have been doing a pregnancy workout DVD several times a week and I'm feeling really good about my weight gain and about staying in shape as much as possible. My headaches have gone away for the most part and I don't really have any pregnancy symptoms. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Owen is 24 months (two years!) old!

        According to the doctor, Owen weighs 27.4 pounds and is 33 inches tall. He's still our little guy and doesn't seem to be putting on much weight. I know he is growing taller though, but the earlier measurements must not have been quite accurate and a little longer than he really was. Now that they measure him standing up (as opposed to lying down), the measurements should be more accurate. Otherwise, the doctor was quite impressed with Owen's intellectual development. To put it in perspective, at age two a pediatrician would expect a toddler to be able to put two words together to communicate. Owen is already speaking in full sentences of as many as eight words. Owen was being pretty quiet while the doctor was talking explaining this and I said," He's doing great." And the doctor then mentioned something about three-year-olds putting three words together and then all of a sudden Owen looks across the room at some books and says, "I want to read that Elmo's Song book." And the doctor was like, "Oh okay. He's fine." We discussed potty training a little bit, but I personally feel that Owen isn't quite ready and I would rather wait and have it be less stressful an experience than try to force it right. I really feel like he will be closer to 2.5 or 3 when he is ready. We'll see. 

  • Owen eats three meals a day and an afternoon snack normally. 
  • He still eats basically whatever we eat for meals. We eat dinner together as a family and I really think that helps encourage Owen to eat pretty much anything, even vegetables like spinach or peas, etc. He is getting better at using his fork and spoon, but still needs help sometimes. He seems to eat with a spoon better with his left hand. 
  • Owen's favorite foods and drinks are peanut butter sandwiches, oatmeal, cheese-flavored crackers, Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets, lemonade, and he's a big fan of birthday cake after his birthday. 
  • Owen drinks whole milk with each main meal and water in between. He is obsessed with juice and asks for it often, but we try to stick with water most of the time. Occasionally I will add some orange juice or lemonade to his water.
This is how he smells a flower. 
  • Owen naps in the afternoon and generally goes down just after lunch around 1 p.m and sleeps for between an hour and a half to two hours.
  • Owen goes to bed at night between 7:30 and 8 p.m.
  • He wakes up at around 8 a.m., sometimes earlier, sometimes later.
  • Owen's going to bed routine consists of a bath, pajamas, reading a few books and his storybook Bible, and then snuggling and rocking in the chair with either mommy or daddy for a few minutes before putting him in his crib. 
 Things He Knows:
  • Owen has a super large vocabulary and it seems to grow by the day. People still frequently comment on how impressed they are with his talking.
  • Owen can easily count to 10 and into the teens. 
  • Owen has learned some of the words to several songs. I will sometimes catch him singing a song and it will be one from the radio or from toddler time at the library even though he's only heard it once or twice. 
  • He has many of his books memorized and will sit "reading" them to himself.
  • Owen can still recite his ABCs if he doesn't get distracted partway through.
  • He has learned to recognize all the letters of the alphabet. 
  • He knows tons of colors and shapes. 

 Other Things I Want to Remember:
  • Owen is wearing mainly size 18-24 months and 24 months clothing still. And even some of those are big depending on the brand. He is a little guy! 
  • Owen wears size 6.5 and size 7 shoes. 
  • Owen is wearing size four diapers.
  • Owen has 16 teeth now. We have yet to see any signs of his two-year molars coming in, but we're fine waiting a while for those to make their appearance. 
  • Owen loves when we read to him and looking at books by himself. His favorite books are anything with trucks, trains, or animals.
  • Owen loves playing with his Fisher Price Wheelies cars, his giant Lego-type blocks, his new stackable animal houses blocks, and his Thomas the Train trains. 
  • Owen loves to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Thomas and Friends. He gets to watch an episode a few times a week. He can now sing the entire theme song to Thomas and Friends. He was super thrilled when we bought him a Thomas the Train birthday cake. 
  • Owen loves bathtime. He enjoys playing with his squirty Thomas the Train toys, his foam farm puzzle pieces and his tug boat. 
  • Owen still enjoys playing outside and will cry pretty much every time we bring him back inside. Outside, he likes to be pushed around in his Lightning McQueen car, explore the yard, and draw with sidewalk chalk. Or more accurately, demand that I draw with his sidewalk chalk by handing me different pieces of it and saying. "Draw red!" Or "Draw blue!"
  • Owen has pretty much gotten over any separation anxiety he used to show at friend's houses and at church. He goes in happily now to play with Miss Daisy and Mr. Don. 
  • Owen is a typical 2-year-old and his favorite word at the moment is "No." He says no to everything, even stuff that he actually wants. Like "Do you want a peanut butter sandwich?"... "No."
  • He also has gotten a big case of the "I wants...," particularly at stores. We are working on switching it to "I would like" and "please." Sometimes he will also throw in an "I need..." ie. "I need cake!"
  • Owen doesn't really understand that I am pregnant and that the baby is growing inside me and that he will have a brother. But if I ask him to kiss my belly or say "Hi Brother" to my stomach, he will do it and it's really cute. 
Getting Owen to both look at the camera and smile is a feat now. Of course the only one I would get is with a background of our neighbors trashy yard and 8 million vehicles.
Oh well. 

Waving hi to our neighbor who was mowing his lawn. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birchbox Home: from the garden review

      I ran across a blog post about the release of the new limited edition Birchbox Home: From the Garden box last week and just knew I had to order it for myself. I just couldn't resist items for the home. Birchbox Home: From the Garden is described this way on the Birchbox website: "Our second Birchbox Home collection is dedicated to spring and all its bounty. This limited edition box is teeming with seasonal picks—from the accessories you need to make the most out of your next trip to the farmer’s market to a foolproof herb-growing kit. No green thumb required."  

     The box is garden/floral/farmer's market-themed, but you definitely don't have to be a gardener to appreciate what's inside - there are no gardening gloves or packets of flowers seeds or anything like that. Everything is absolutely beautiful and is the perfect was to say bye-bye to winter and hello to spring. And it would make a fantastic Mother's Day gift depending on the mother. It is currently available for $32 on the Birchbox website. Shipping is another $5, but you can try the code BBFREE to get free shipping.  

The products came beautifully packaged in a box that I will be sure to reuse. It is probably the most attractively packaged subscription box that I have ever received. That's another reason why it would make a perfect gift. It's already so lovely that you wouldn't even need to wrap it. 

Inside the envelope were five thick double-sided cardstock cards. One had a list of the contents of the box, while the other four described the various categories of the box: Nurture, Slice and Dice, Provision, and Nest. These cards included tips and tricks, recommendations for related products, advice on gardening for everyone from newbies to experts, and a shopping list for the farmer's market. 

      The box contained eight different products with a total value of $89. Most of the products were the same from box to box, but the candle, lotion and bag could come in different scents/designs. I was really happy with the items I received and there's not one thing in the box that I won't use. 

Here's what came inside:
  • Gift Republic - Grow Me: Mini Herb and Vegetable Growing Kit ($6): Dust off your sunniest windowsill: this all-in-one set includes basil seeds, growing pots, and -most importantly- foolproof tips. I am really excited about this product. I have always thought it would be a good idea to start growing my own herbs and this will be a fun way to dip my toe in.
  • TOCCA Crema da Mano Luxe ($20): More often than not, green thumbs are part of chapped hands. Curb dryness with this rich, fragrant cream. Mine is the pink tulip and green apple-scented Giulietta. This lotion is ridiculous. I can guarantee you that I have never spent $20 on hand lotion, but this stuff is worth every penny. It feels so fantastic and velvet-y on my hands and the smell is really nice too. This type of product is one of the reasons I love subscription boxes. How else would I get super expensive luxury items like this for a lot less?
  • Core Bamboo Radish Print Utility Knife ($13.99): Sure, this knife is fun to look at, but it's also designed with ergonomic principles in mind. It's perfect for peeling, slicing, and coring fruits and veggies. This knife is super cute and makes me wish all my knifes had pictures of what they cut all over the blade. The company also sells a blue fruit version of this knife with pictures of little pears on the blade. 
  • Baggu Market Shopping Bag ($9): Paper or plastic? Neither! Bring this adorable reusable bag with you on your next shopping expedition. Mine came in the bright blue Shelter pattern with little teepees and igloos and other building on it. I already have several Baggu bags, but I love them and am happy to have another. They are great for grocery shopping, running errands, picking up books from the library, etc. 
  • Birchbox Shopping List ($6): Arm yourself with this notepad before you hit the local farmer's market and load up on the season's peak produce. I have been keeping my shopping list on my iphone, but this cute notepad will encourage me to go old school at least until the pad runs out of paper. 
  • Sarabeth's Legendary Spreadable Fruit ($8.50): We love these award-winning strawberry-raspberry and peach-apricot preserves so much we're tempted to pass them off as homemade. I am excited about trying these tiny jars of jelly. They are pretty small so I doubt I will get more than two or three uses out of each, but I've heard that they taste fantastic. 
  • LAFCO Little Luxuries Candle Tin ($20): This chic candle fills any space with a lovely scent and burns for up to 30 hours. Mine is the Cilantro-Orange scent. The pastel orange candle is made of soy-based wax and has a 100 percent cotton wick. It even comes with its own set of matches set into the lid of the candle. I am not a huge fan of the scent, but I will see how I feel about it when it's lit. I would probably have preferred the mint or fig scent. 
  • L'Occitane Jasmin and Bergamot Eau de Toilette ($75 for full size): Ideal for spring, this light scent features classic and non-cloying notes of jasmine and bergamot. The scent is feminine, floral, and sweet, but it's also fresh and refined thanks to the bergamot. The bottle that came in the box is sample sized. The scent is really nice and it reminds me of something, but I can't put my finger on it. 

If you are interested in the limited edition Birchbox Home: From the Garden box, they are still available on the Birchbox website. Look for it in the Home & Food section.