Escape Monthly February 2014: New York

Happy Saturday, everyone!  Sorry this review is so belated (it was for a box sent to me in February!).  But anyway,  introducing….

….Escape Monthly!  EM is a Destination Inspired Subscription Box service that will give you a “vacation in a box” every month.  It retails for $49.95 (free shipping) and every month features a different location.  The boxes feature local artisan goods from all over said region/country/state.

February’s Box was inspired by NYC and I knew I had to sign up—we’ll be there in May!  😀

Escape Monthly’s box is also blue—when I checked my mail, I thought I had gotten a second Darby Smart box.



And tah-dah!  This month’s Escape to New York included:

1. Moon New York City Metro guide and a BONUS I ❤ NY sticker.   It’s a long, skinny book with a few pull-out maps and lots of tips.  Even though everything is so electronic these days (including maps.  THANK YOU GOOGLE), I’m still rather fond of hard copy maps.  (Sometimes, it’s so much easier on the eyes.  Maybe I’m getting old?) It’ll be nice to peruse this while on the plane or if we’re in taxi.  Retail value $14.99,  Retail value $1.49.


2. Brooklyn Studio Travel Tin Candle.  Made with all-natural American-grown soy and blended with essential fragrance oils.  This scent is green tea lemongrass and it’s pretty fragrant!  I could smell it before I opened the box.  It’s a travel-friendly candle, which could come in handy after relaxing after a long day…(of shopping. :D)   Retail value $9.99.


3. Flint Creek Good Skin Blend Soap.  All-natural soap.  This is my favorite item in the entire box, omg.  It smells AMAZING and it lathers really well.  My skin feels so great afterwards!  It feels clean yet moisturized.  Retail value $3.00.


4.  Kanpeikies Peckigram Cookies.  CUTE!  Cherry Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies.  I got a total of 4, they look delicious!  “Sweet Crumbly Goodness.”  Retail value $8.00.


5.  The Peanut Principle Gourmet Maple Peanut Butter.  Based out of Albany, this company has been making PB for 15 years.  It’s apparently a Farmers Market favorite!  I’m a sucker for PB.  Especially good PB.  Retail value $6.99.


6.  Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce.  Made in historic Saratoga Springs with local ingredients!  Sundaes, anyone?  Retail value $6.50.


7.  Better Brittle West African Style Peanut Brittle.  From Upstate New York and made by hand in 3-pound batches.  I liked it!  It wasn’t too sweet and or too sticky.  I like PB but I’m not too big of a fan of brittle but this one definitely gets the green light from me.  Retail value $4.75.


8.  New York Taxi Treats Cookies.  Cute!  They’re little shortbread cookies.  Retail value $2.99.


The total value of this box is about $57.  What did you guys think?  I’m on the fence with this box.  I like that it included the travel book and variety of products but I’m not entirely impressed with what was in the box.  I liked the book, the soap, and the peanut butter, but I feel $50 (even with 20% off for life) is a bit steep to pay for the rest of the items.  Cost aside, the spread is not bad!  I would appreciate things like a letterpress card or some spices (more savory things).  Everything in this box is sweet!  (Not that that’s a bad thing)


If you’re interested in subscribing, click on to Escape Monthly’s website.   Right now, they’re doing a special where you get 20% off for life if you enter YOURESCAPE.  For March, they did Ireland and for April, EM is going to be “whisking” you away to Mexico!  Happy travels, everyone!


Wishlist: decoylab Bamboo Clocks

I have been obsessed with hanging things on our walls.  OBSESSED.  I went on a picture frame buying spree last week and now, I’m looking for other random things that can be hung: wall art/functional basket mail organizer things/clocks.   If possible, I would have loved for it to be handmade (vs. bought at Target).

Enter, decoylab.  Makers of super cool, rather cute, awesome laser cut bamboo (and other sustainable materials) things.  Mostly clocks.  But really cool things!   I love all of their products.  I think the floral ones would look great in my office and the fairy tail animal ones would look great in a kids room.  What do you guys think?

Small Houseplant Wood Ornament

Wooden Forest Animal Clock

Bouquet Clock

Floral Kirie Clock


Modern Deer Cuckoo Clock

Elephant Clock with Flowers and Butterflies

Kirie Bamboo Clock

Bamboo Birdies Clock


Bamboo Twig Berry Brooch Pin


Any favorites?  Handsdown, mine is the Bouquet clock.  It’s so pretty!  YAY for Made in the USA!  Please check out decoylab’s Etsy shop if you’re interested in checking out more laser-cut goodness.





Influenster Vox Box Review: Colgate Optic White Before and After!

Random story because its Friday: when you buy Crest Whitestrips from Costco, it also comes with this 2-hour express whitening pack.  I did it before the wedding—ahhhhh that 2 hours was so long!  I watched a movie (Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley), folded clothes, stretched.  Afterwards, I didn’t feel like my teeth were significantly whiter (they were noticeably whiter but only a little) and they were rather sensitive afterwards!   I guess it was worth it but 2 hours, omg.  It felt like forever.

Okay done—So.  I’ve been using the items in my Influenster Optic White Vox Box for about….a week now?  (It’s a toothbrush with a whitening gel pen built in)  Here’s my before and after:


Tah-dah!  You can’t tell that much of a difference, can you.  It’s true.  The overall whiteness of my teeth is relatively the same.  (But it does feel brighter!)  However, that’s not the full story.  To apply the whitening gel, you twist the tube until the gel comes out of the applicator, then you “paint” your teeth with it.  At first I was skeptical, but I really appreciate how you can apply it to the in-between spaces of your teeth (spots where I feel the strips have a hard time whitening).  SO!  You might not be able to tell in the picture but I feel like my teeth are definitely whiter in those spaces and along my gumline.  Success!  I’ll still go with whitestrips when my mission is overall a couple of shades lighter, but for touchups, this gel is great.

I feel like this product is great for people who want a whitening agent on the go, but is also looking for something that isn’t a full on whitening strip.  People who are traveling, people who brush their teeth at work, etc.  Also, I feel like this product is GREAT for fending off stains from drinking coffee, tea, etc.  I’m addicted to Japanese green tea but I’ve been sneaking coffee in the mornings when I forget my tea at home…it’s delicious!  But my poor teeth.  Good thing I have a whitening pen haha.

On another note, I feel like I’d be really interested to buy the gel at home for….well, at home use!  I wonder if they sell it seperately—at home, I use a Sonicare toothbrush so I don’t necessarily need it built in to my toothbrush.

And that’s a wrap!  Thanks Influenster, that was fun.  #BrushWhitenGo


PS!  I still have a bunch of blogging to keep up with all the things I got in February and early March:

  • Escape Monthly NYC Box (February)
  • Darby Smart Monthly DIY Box (March)
  • For the Makers Monthly DIY Box Full Review: Hello Trouble (March)

Stay tuned!  Happy Aloha Friday, everyone!

For the Makers March 2014 Box: Hello Trouble Preview

For the Makers is a crafty monthly subscription that sends you 4 projects to make.  Woo-hoo!  I get to do crafts that aren’t wedding related?  I’m stoked.

This month’s collection is called, “Hello Trouble,” and is dedicated to all us trouble-makers out there, as well as the countdown to Spring!!!


The 4 projects are:

1. Lemon Drop Necklace

2. Paradise Key Fob

3. Easy Breeze Applique

4. Locals Only Bangle


I just got my box in the mail and I’m excited!  I really like these projects and I can’t wait to get started. I totally appreciate that the instructions are VERY easy to follow.   Stay tuned, I’ll post what my finish projects look like.  😀  If you want in on the DIY action, here’s a link!

March 2014 Birchbox: Changing Seasons

OOOH I haven’t been this excited for a Birchbox in a while.  Why?  Because I’m getting SKINCARE!!!  And an EYELINER!!!  and CHOCOLATE!!!  😀  Sorry for the abundance of caps, I’m excited.  Hurray!

This month, I’m getting:

1. INIKA Certified Organic Eye Liner
2. Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo
3. Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion
4. Jurlique Purely Bright Cleanser
4. Jurlique Purely Bright Treatment Serum
5. Ghiradelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango

I absolutely love it!  🙂  The focus of this box is to focus on maximizing your daily routine.  As in smart DIYs and clever beauty shortcuts.   I wonder if some of these are dual purpose items?  (As in…maybe that eyeliner gently smudges out to a beautiful yet contained smoky eye)

I’m also rather excited to try Jurlique products.  I heard that their products smell great!  🙂  I also don’t normally use a serum so I’m interested in seeing how my skin likes it.   What did you guys get in your Birchboxes this month?

PS For those of you who aren’t in and want to sign up for Birchbox, here’s a link!  Birchbox is one of my favorite (and relatively inexpensive, at $10 a month) monthly pick-me-ups.  I love that they tend to push me out of my (rather limited) beauty comfort zone so I’m always trying new things!