Monday, August 24, 2015

August 2015 ADRIFT GIFTS Review

I am a fan of the beach. We are currently living on Anna Maria Island, FL which is a gorgeous 7 mile island off the west coast of Florida.

I am also a fan of subscription boxes. I was introduced to a new one through reading Ramblings of a Suburban Mom who has a daily blog about all things subscription boxes. 

Adrift Gifts is curated by someone who lives just "round the corner" from me. She is also on the Gulf Coast of FL and you can tell she also loves the beach. 

The monthly subscription costs $45 per month or it goes down to $40.50 with a subscription. The boxes are shipped around the 20th of the month and contains items that remind you of the beach or you can use at the beach. I got mine within ONE day. Obviously this is not going to happen with everyone but wow. That was fast.

Here is my review of the August 2015 box. Each box comes with a hand written note. This alone amazes me. 

The first look was bright & pretty. I love that almost everything was wrapped. By hand. Again, amazed. 

The first item in the box was a clutch. You could use this as a small purse/clutch or to just throw your lotions into your beach bag. The colors are so pretty and this has a really nice burlap-canvas thing happening. I love it but I literally own one purse and I like it that way. It is big enough for a small diaper & wipes carrying case. I may gift this to a close friend.

My second item was this Florida gold-tone necklace from TRS. It was marked $10 on the tag and that is about what most tourist-y shops charge for this type of thing. I love it. I don't tend to wear jewelry but I'm keeping it. The state of FL has a little heart cut out of it. 

 Next up was a bunch of bracelets, all with an anchor. Again, these colors match the rest of the box. I really appreciate this type of detail. One had a price of $6.95 and the other two were not priced but probably also retail $5-$8. I will be gifting these. I regularly send packages to some of the kids back home at "our" church in PA. These will be great additions.

The Mermaid Kisses sugar scrub was my favorite item in the box. This smells amazing. You can use it with water to dilute it or just use it straight out of the pot for a heavier exfoliation. Keep, keep, keep. 

 The next item was a book called Gift from the Sea. I just returned this book to my local library! I loved it. It is a simple book with a lot of wisdom. I'm keeping this. It will be a great addition to the items I'm saving for the guest room when guests come to visit our FL home (when we buy one...we still aren't there yet). 

You think I could have rotated this photo but it slipped through the cracks. Turn your head ;) The beach! Each box includes a little bag of sand from a different beach. Bradenton Beach is on Anna Maria Island and we have visited many, many times. 

Each box also includes a little glass jar to put your sand in. Inside the glass was a little rolled paper with "You Float my boat" which is just adorable. You can really tell thought was put into these boxes. Mine was missing the little cork. I'm going to message the company and ask if they can put an extra in my next box. I already have my little glass labeled "Bradenton Beach, FL" and it is filled with the sand. 

My overall thoughts...

I loved this Adrift Gifts box. It felt well curated.

The retail value was probably some where around $55-$70 based on some internet pricing & some guesses.

Would I have purchased all of this from retail? Probably most of this. I have been buying a bunch of FL stuff for friends back up north. 

I loved (loved!) the Mermaid Kisses scrub, the FL necklace and the book. The clutch & bracelets will be gifted.

The August box is sold out. You can sign up now for the September box. There will be spoilers on September 1 for the box. You then have five days to either say "yes" or "skip". Most other subscription boxes don't allow you to skip if you don't like the spoilers. I think this is a pretty great option.

There are three pricing options on the Adrift Gifts website. You can choose a mini box (1-2 items) for $15, a small box (2-3 items) for $25 or the standard box for $45 ($40.50 with subscription) which is the size that I chose.

**Disclosure: I paid out of my own pocket for this box and all opinions are my own. Right now there is no referral program so feel free to click on any of the above links to get to their website.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week in Photos & Words - 8/22/15

Today I'm having a good day. I woke up with overall less nerve pain. You know the feeling you get when your foot falls asleep and then wakes up? It is like pins and needles. It isn't super painful but it is quite annoying. Nerve pain feels a lot like that some times. It is distracting and kind of consumes your thoughts. But, I'm having less today so I'm celebrating that.

About a week ago we visited a wonderful doctor/specialist in Clearwater. The ride was about an hour and a half each way. Vibrations normally kill me. We had prayed beforehand and guess what...not bad! I timed my medication perfectly and it was amazing. Some days the medicine doesn't kick in as quickly or doesn't last as long. But it was great.

We went over this cool bridge. I took way too many photos because I was enjoying the car ride!

See? I love living by the water.

There has been a lot of hair practice this week (well, mostly today since my hands felt SO MUCH BETTER!)

I seriously did this sitting on my front porch. Without a mirror. One elastic is holding this together. And I will never be able to repeat it ever again.

I love this one. I'm practicing for my sister's wedding in October. I'm having my hair done professionally (fancy me!) but I still like to see the different styles on my head.

I like the idea of incorporating curls into a side braid. There is no way I'm blow drying my hair and curling it to practice though. I've loving this easy beach style I've got going.

Last weekend we went to a few yard sales here on the island.

I found all these candles & essential oils for $5. Brought them home, separated out the ones I wanted and listed the rest on the Facebook yard sale group I belong to. A few hours later, I sold the ones I didn't want. For $5! So I basically got a bunch of free candles.
I tried to keep just what we would actually use.

One of my favorite stops of the day was at the theater play house down the road. They sold a lot of their costumes, props & a ton of other stuff. Again, I only wanted to buy what I would use or sell within the next two months. So, not much.
Free paint! This is about 2/3 full of turquoise paint. We have 10 gallons of white paint just waiting to be tinted and this is exactly what I needed. I plan on mixing it with most of the white paint for the inside walls of our home. It will make a beautiful aqua color. They also invited me back any Monday to pick up more of their paint. Gotta love free!

I was SO good in the clothing department. Old me wanted to buy so much more. But the new me, the me with pain, limited myself. I bought a Carole Little German rayon set for $2, a Spencer Alexis blouse for $1 and an all cotton HEAVY robe duster thing for $2. We also picked up this giant plane book for 25 cents. I didn't have an intended purpose for this but it was a quarter. It will either go in one of the care boxes I send or perhaps brought to my sister's wedding reception for the kids.

Speaking of care boxes, my sister sent me this adorable little aqua mason jar. It is only about 3" tall. Adorable!!! Plus I got a bunch more of her hand made cards. We have been sending each other stuff on flash drives. Anyone else do this? Our internet here is S-L-O-W when it comes to uploading & downloading so this works best.

Bob! This Blue Heron comes every day. He is my little buddy and truly amuses me.

I saw a boat on the canal behind our home and grabbed my phone for a camera. Bob must have been close by and saw me. He came running in to see what was going on.

Our beach photos over the last two weeks...

Everyone was looking at a manatee which everyone then scared away. If people would just keep still, it wouldn't swim further out. Silly people. Look how clear the water was this day! This was the only time this week I went into the water. It was gorgeous.

Someone in the neighborhood was having a home delivered. They parked it along side the road before they made the big turn. The beach is literally right on the other side of that. The hubby & I joked that they were building our house. Right there. (Could you imagine the flood insurance alone? Yikes!)

I always take a photo of the Gulf but this is the view looking the other way.

It is turtle season and Anna Maria Island takes that very seriously. There are turtle counts in every weekly paper. Because the baby turtles could hatch at any minute, the sand needs to be smooth and flat. They take down sand castles, smooth umbrella holes, etc. It is funny to see a John Deere tractor on the beach but it is amazing to walk on freshly combed sand.

My hubby. I adore this guy so much. He can stand the "waves" (ocean lovers would laugh at our tiny waves).

This post took me a few days to write and in the meanwhile...I got my bridesmaids dress! I had actually ordered a completely different dress on ebay. But that seller's cat knocked coffee into the dress and she refunded me. I was pretty bummed since that meant more time online. But then I found this dress. It is the Jenny Yoo Annabelle dress and I love this silly thing.

 Its actually a medium gray. My sister let her bridesmaids pick any dress as long as it was a shade of gray or a cheery yellow. Her colors are gray & yellow which I love.
That spot on my sheets is actually not on my sheets; its on our landlord's mirror. Just didn't want you thinking I had stained sheets (I'm vain like that).
 The dress is convertible and can be worn 15 different ways. There are even YouTube videos on how to tie it. I think I like the one shoulder with the floppy bow best. I may get a yellow sash in the next two months.

My hubby has been booking a lot of retirement communities lately. The other day he came home and said he was asked to play at an Oktoberfest. He asked me if I could get him something to wear for Oktoberfest. Haha. I got a little giddy. I love costumes and dressing up for different events. I haven't been able to do that in awhile but it is all still there in my head.

 He really had no idea of what he was asking. Maybe suspenders he thought? But, I'm going for one of these amazing t-shirts. Look how FUN these are? There may also be a hat involved.

My next blog post will be a review of the AdriftGifts box which is a monthly subscription box centered around the beach!

Monday, August 17, 2015

PopSugar Must Have August 2015 Unboxing & Review

My PopSugar Must Have box came this past week. PopSugar is a monthly subscription box which costs about $40/month. They send you a box full of surprises each month. 

If you would like to sign up after reading this review, please use my referral link HERE. Use coupon code MUSTHAVE5 for $5 off your first box.  

1. MeriMeri paper napkins, retail $6. I will throw these into a gift box at some point so these are GIFT for me. We don't tend to use paper napkins here. But, I do send boxes to friends all the time and these will make a fun addition. (Am I the only one thinking red does NOT go with pink? FabFitFun just sent nail wraps with red and pink as well)

I watched a YouTube video of this unboxing and someone say "I'm not just sitting around throwing parties" and that cracked me up. True!

2. Pastel (this is the brand) Best Day Ever mug, retails for $12. KEEP ... probably. I see mugs like this all the time at Dollar Tree so I think the retail is high. We don't own mugs. Not a single one. We sold them back in PA before we moved down to FL. So we will keep this one for the hubby to drink hot chocolate in come winter.

3. Southern Culture pancake & waffle mix in the flavor "Birthday Cake", retails for $8. KEEP. I love the idea of these! PopSugar celebrated their birthday and so the flavor was inspired by that. These sound yummy. The hubby said he would be glad to try these.

4. Folgers Iced Cafe concentrate, retails for $5 but this was the bonus item in the box. GIFT. Neither the hubby nor I drink or like anything coffee flavored but I know someone who does (looking at you, Li) so I'll save it for her.

5. MyYogaWorks 3-month trial, retails for $45. This is an online yoga program. I will pass on this but will GIFT it to a friend. 

6. Happy Jackson lunchbox, retails for $10. KEEP. I am not using this for lunch however. The box itself is cute & cheery. It would be great for a school lunch or even an office lunch. 

I'm totally using this as organization though. I need organization more than I need a lunchbox. These hold my twistable pencils & Sharpie markers. 

7. American Colors reversible cotton scarf, retails for $79. KEEP ... probably. I'm not a scarf girl but I do occasionally need one in the winter. The plaid is done in white, place, blue and pink. I think I just decided I'm not a fan of pink unless it is with gray or white/cream. It is not the color I would have chosen in a store though.

However, I'm loving the blue & white gingham on the other side. I like that it is cotton but wish it was made in the USA (not China) for the retail for almost $80. Plus the brand name is "American Colors". Hmmmm...maybe it should be made in America? It is a good size though and I'm sure it will keep my neck warm. 

8. And the last was my favorite item. The Tea Balm eye treatment by Royal Apothic, retails for $36. It is about a half ounce. Before I opened this, I was so-so on the box. Even after I opened it I wasn't thrilled. But I tried this the first night and saw a MAJOR difference in the puffiness under my eyes.

I kind of forgot that I had put it on and woke up wondering why my eyes looked so smooth and good. Then I made my husband try it and he didn't see the same results (but he doesn't really have puffy under eyes anyway). 

I have done experiments all week long. On the nights I used this, I woke up with NO bags or puffiness under my eyes. On the nights I didn't use it, I woke up with big bags. I don't sleep well anyway but this totally covers this. I was majorly impressed. 

Plus, it came in this adorable box. I decided to use the bottom for my larger hair clips and the bottom from my smaller ones. The bottom was already a pretty print but the top had all the wording. So I decided to washi tape it. 

Overall thoughts...

The box didn't seem to have any real theme. PopSugar said that Organization, Morning Routines, Celebrations, Caffeine and Back to School were what inspired them. I get a few of those things. I like when a box has a similar feel or color theme.

Besides that, these were pretty decent items. I will keep the lunch box (for organization), the pancake mix and the eye cream. The eye cream was worth the entire price of the box for me. I liked it that much. I may keep the mug and the scarf. I will gift the napkins, yoga trial and iced cafe drink.

The total retail was $201 with everything. PopSugar never counts the bonus item in the total though so their value was $196. This includes the yoga trial so the retail of the tangible items was $151. Still great for a $40 (or less with the coupon code) box.

And a random beach photo...

What would I have purchased at an actual store? Maybe the pancake mix since the hubby loves pancakes (usually they have milk and so I pass on eating them). That probably would have been all.

However, I'm so glad I found that eye treatment cream. I would never have spent $36 in a store on an unknown cream but it really works for my eyes. I will be purchasing this again; hopefully I can find it on sale when it comes time to buy it.

So what would have I paid for these items had I seen them on a TJ Maxx clearance table?
Scarf: maybe $8

Eye Treatment: $8 (not knowing if it worked)
Mug: $1
Lunch box: $2
Pancake mix: $5
Napkins: $1
Yoga Trial: nothing
Drink coffee thing: nothing

So I would have spent about $25 if I had seen them in a clearance type setting. I paid $35 for my box. 

This is still worth it for me because I know have a few gifts to share and some new items to try. Plus, I get the surprise of a box being delivered to me each month. And that eye cream was amazing.

If you would like to sign up after reading this review, please use my referral link HERE. I get something. I'm still not sure what. Use coupon code MUSTHAVE5 for $5 off your first box.  

This coming week I have a new subscription box coming called Adrift Gifts. It is a beach themed box put together by a woman living less than an hour from me. If I like that box better, I may drop PopSugar. We shall see. 

And a story about how I got these candles completely for free in the next blog post.

Thanks again for reading!