Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wantable Accessories - June 2014

Sometimes some new jewelry just makes me feel better about myself. I don't have a ton of jewelry, and other than my wedding and engagement bands, I don't tend to wear jewelry every day (heck, I wear my wedding band every day but half of the time do not wear my engagement ring). However, I have a lot of friends who know how to accessorize and I want a bit of that! Wantable had a $10 off deal running on Facebook (I can't find it anymore) so I decided that I would give their Accessories box a shot. You get 3-5 accessories a month for $36 (or a one time box is $40). I've looked at blogger reviews and seen some great boxes, as well as a few that are just not at all my style. However, their questionnaire is pretty extensive so I figured I ran a good shot of getting at least one or two things that fit my style.

So, my profile says that I love bracelets and silver tone jewelry, and like classic style, rock 'n roll (I thought maybe an edgy piece would be fun), mix 'n match, necklaces, rings, hair accessories, and multi-tone. I didn't want to be too picky, but after receiving this box, I realize I should have been (and have gone in and updated my profile to match what I only want).

I like that the boxes always include a nice little message, and on the back is a quote. Some of my old ones from my Intimates boxes I've kept and used as book marks. I also appreciate that the box seemed carefully packaged. While there was nothing delicate, I do like that the items weren't just tossed into the box.

I received two headbands, the first of which is black and white striped. While I admit I have seen some people look awfully cute with this style of headband (the fabric wrapped around wire) I'm just not sure that I can pull it off. I have played with my friend's Cult Gaia headband and while it retails for more, it also feels like a much better quality than the two I received in this box. I also expected maybe one hair accessory not two, but that's okay. This feels kind of cheap, and I would definitely not pay $11 for it. Regardless, this is the "Addy Headband", and if I kept either of the headbands this would be the one - I have plenty of black in my closet and think this would go with many things I own.

The second headband is the "Bri Headband" and is not my style. While I think the pattern is cute, the colors do not work well with my hair color and I don't have a ton in my closet that would easily go with this. As with the "Addy Headband" I can't imagine paying $11.

Next is a bracelet - yay! I was hoping for a bracelet, and if I kept anything from this box, the "Amira Bracelet" would be it! I like that it's adjustable in size (some of my meds - I'm looking at you Prednisone! - make me swell a little). Also, while I was hoping for silver tone, I kind of like this mixture. I only have two pieces of jewelry that aren't silver, and my favorite is a gold necklace that was my grandmother's (my wedding band is white gold and engagement ring is platinum). This is a really fun bracelet and I could see myself wearing this to work or out with friends. It's not bulky, and I like that it has an interesting mixture. It also feels well made, so I doubt it would fall apart after a few wears. My sheet says that it retails for $21.

Lastly was a set of two necklaces. While I like that you could wear the "Kristen Necklace" together or separate it is NOT at all my style. Please file this under Holly things she is much edgier than she really is. Why did I select Rock 'n Roll? I have no idea. I thought maybe I'd get a bracelet with a few studs or something. I can't see myself wearing this necklace at all, and it's way too much gold for me. I went into my profile and took down Rock 'n Roll and multi tone - only silver tone for me now. This necklace retails for $29.

Why do I love Wantable? Even though this box was largely a miss for me, I'm not stuck with it. I just printed out a return label, taped up the box, and sent it back. When they get it, they'll credit the money back to me. To be fair, while this box did not fit my style, I still think there is a chance I can get some cool pieces, so I did order another box before returning this one. I still have hope!

If you're interested in trying Wantable, I highly suggest liking them on Facebook to get notice when they offer deals (around Mother's Day they did $1 boxes for new customers - I missed out on that, but several friends got the offer and had some great things! Had this been a $1 box, I would have been over the moon (and then swapped some items, for sure). However, if you can't wait, I'd like it if you signed up using my referral link

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Necessary Support

There are all different types of support, but I've found that my local Lupus chapter's support group is necessary for me. I know not everyone likes support groups. However, it works for me. It only meets once a month, and I love being able to spend time with people who really get it. While my husband, family, and friends try to understand (and are amazing), there's nothing like hanging out with people who are dealing with the same issues. I've also made some good friends.

Each month, we have a topic that we focus on and chat about (plus we catch each other up on what's new in our lives and get to ask questions). This past month, we had two new people, which is always nice when there are new faces. Even though I said it's nice to have someone who understands, we don't all have the same issues. For example, most of the people who attend the group I go to have systemic lupus (so, it can involve the whole body). There are at least two people who have discoid lupus (the type that Seal has - it involves just the skin). Still, we are on similar medications.

My husband comes when he can (he works probably half of the time), and I think it's helpful for him not just as the spouse of someone with lupus but also since he is a nurse. He said that since we started dating (and more so after he started going to the lupus group and getting to know the people there), his patients with lupus are some of his favorites. While his floor is more of a stroke and telemetry floor, lupus patients can end up there either because of those things, or if there are empty beds, anyone can end up there.

If you have lupus, check to see if there is a chapter in your area - they probably offer support groups. If you aren't into support groups, it may be worth talking to your local chapter to see if they offer anything that can help you. My chapter has had pamphlets I've used to help explain lupus to people, and they have given me lists of the names of doctors. Their patient navigator (Leslie, if you're in Ohio) is amazing! She also runs the new patient education classes, which I haven't been to (I've been diagnosed since I was 10) but I have had many friends attend and say it's very helpful.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Beauty Box 5 - Free Box

A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted that you could get a free box for signing up with the beauty subscription service Beauty Box 5. I figured what did I have to loose, plus if I liked it, it's only $12 a month. While it didn't look to typically contain higher end products (like Glossy Box), it still looked interesting enough.

My box arrived over the weekend, and honestly, I will not be subscribing. For free, it was fun and there are a few items that I will use. However, if I had paid the regular price ($2 more than Birchbox or Ipsy, if you get those), I would be really disappointed.

The first thing is three packets of Just Being Sexy! body bronzer. You'd think as someone who shouldn't be out in the sun body bronzer would leave me thrilled, but I tried one of these once (I got it in a swap) and it was much darker than I'd like and pretty orange on my fair skin. I received 3 packets, that are each 8 ml. The estimated value is $6.63 so half the value of the box.

Next up is a travel size Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming Body Wash. It has a nice lavender scent, and I will likely put it with my travel stuff. I've used Aveeno body wash in the past, and they've never irritated my skin or left it too dry. This travel size has an estimated value of $0.87

The other item that I am sure I will use is some travel face wipes from La Fresh. The travel pack has 8 wipes ($2.49). I haven't tried anything from La Fresh, but have seen their products in a few different subscription boxes as well as have friends who use them. If I'm feeling achy or am in the hospital, I like having similar wipes to freshen up. When I was in college, I used baby wipes to help take off my makeup and didn't think that there was a big difference between baby wipes and face wipes, but now that I've given some a try, I definitely see a difference. If you're looking to just freshen up (really nice on a hot day if you're sweaty!), baby wipes do the job and are cheaper but face wipes are great at taking off makeup without irritating or drying out my skin.

There is also a face mask from Montagne Jeunesse, and they sent me the Glacial Cooling Facial Mask. This isn't a packet that contains a face mask, but rather a sheet face mask. If you haven't seen one, I will take a picture next time I have one on. It's basically a sheet with spots for your eyes and mouth - you take it out of the packet and the best thing to do is recline or lay back, and relax, while you wait for it to work its magic. The last time I had one on, my dogs would sit near me. This one is mud infused. I've seen masks from this company (they have a huge variety) at my local drug store for $1, although Beauty Box 5 says the value of this is $2.49.

The last thing is a sampler eye palette from BH Cosmetics. They gave me 3 small shadows from the California Collection (the full size palette has 16 shadows and 4 face powder, and runs $18.95). I haven't used anything from BH Cosmetics, so this may be fun to play with. I like that you could easily use the three shades together, or mix them with what you already have. I estimate the value a little under $3

Adding it up, if you go by my price on the face mask, the value is around $13.99 (I think Beauty Box 5 would put it closer to $15.48), which is more than what I would have paid. However, I feel like even the worst Birch Box I've received was a better deal. I like my little surprises and pampering things, but this just missed the mark for me. However, I've seen a few other people's April and May boxes and preferred them, so it's all about what you like.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Influenster Mary Kay box

I joined Influenster a while ago, and have had plenty of friends get free boxes of goodies sent to them. I like that you can review pretty much anything on their site (recently I've reviewed face wash, dog food, a dog brush, yogurt, etc). I don't log in more than a few times a week, just because I prefer other social media sites and don't have as much experience (if you're interested in joining Influenster, send me a message and I will get you an invite). I was pretty excited when I got an email that Influenster would be sending me one of their "Vox Boxes", and a makeup one at that! I wasn't as excited about it being a Mary Kay box than if it had been Urban Decay or Hourglass, but since I haven't tried a ton of Mary Kay I didn't want to pass a ton of judgement - and this is a great opportunity for me to try out some of their products. When I pictured getting a Mary Kay Vox Box, I imagined a small box that likely wouldn't have anything full size, but some generous deluxe sized samples. Imagine my surprise when I received a box bigger than my usual Birch Box.

I opened my box, and boom! Totally full of FULL SIZE stuff. Whoa, Mary Kay definitely was generous. Plus, I couldn't help but smile a little at a box that greets me with "Hello, gorgeous!"

On top was a Mary Kay catalog that was full of pictures, and even some nice makeup application tips. I still wasn't sure what all was included until I moved the catalog out of the way. Basically, Mary Kay gave me everything to do a whole face application minus foundation and concealer (although that isn't for everyone, but I'm a fan). There are even three brushes included!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Birchbox

One of my favorite subscription boxes is Birch Box. It's only $10 and for every review you do of an item in your box, you get 10 points to spend in the store. Every time you buy something, each dollar equals one point. 100 points are equivalent to $10. I just bought four items (plus a free pick 2 mystery pack) that totaled $104.00. I had a 20% off code and also used the reward points I'd saved up and ended up paying $5.20 - not bad!

With Birch Box, each month you get 4-5 samples and while sometimes it's not something I am interested in, it's been good to get things that I normally may not pick out for myself. It's definitely had me step out of my comfort zone and discover some new things.

Since April is all about rain, they went with that theme (I've noticed that sometimes they'll pick a theme but it seems that no one's box has anything to do with it. Whatever, just go with it). So here is the card that came with my box this month, with all of my goodies hiding underneath:

In case you don't like spoilers (even though there are many different boxes), I'll put a cut here

Wantable Intimates

In happier and less serious chatter, I like subscription boxes. I don't get a ton, but they are a little something that I look forward to and greatly enjoy. One of my absolute favorite subscriptions is Wantable Intimates. Wantable offers three different subscriptions right now: intimates (undies, soft bras, loungewear, and socks mostly), makeup, and accessories (think jewelry, scarves, and sunglasses). Here's how it works: you fill out a rather in depth, but not annoyingly so, profile. This lets them customize exactly what you like. You mark things as love, like, or dislike. The cool thing is that you will never get items you mark as dislike. And my favorite part? Once you get your box, if you don't love it you can return it. It's possible to return portions, but I find that it's not worth it from a money stand point (unless you're absolutely in love with something). While it is one of my pricier subscriptions, the fact that I am likely to want to keep it but can return it if I don't like it makes it worth $36 to me.

So even though I gushed about how I love Wantable, you'd think this review would be about how much I love everything, right? Turns out I returned it. That's okay - it didn't take long after I mailed it back (you just print out the return label, tape it on, and send that box back to Wisconsin - no need to apologize or ask) and I had my refund in my bank account.

Here's what I got this month:
I should have taken individual photos, but I knew pretty quickly that i wasn't going to keep it - ah well, now I know for next time. I'll break it down though. This month (and you can switch it up from month to month!) I "loved" panties and camisoles, and "liked" soft bras.

Honeydew Intimates Scarlette hipster panty ($14): I loved this! I absolutely love Honeydew Intimates and own several items... including this panty (and in this EXACT color). I had no need for a second, but I took this as a sign that this is pretty customized and they at least have a decent idea of what I like. Anyway, this is a mixture of a very soft fabric, lace, and mesh. The back is slightly ruched and has the mesh at the back. It's comfy, cute, and a little sassy.

NikiBiki Camisole: While I liked the feel of this fabric because it was incredibly soft and stretchy, I wasn't in love. I do like pink, but it's a bit bright for me. It would be okay for lounging around the house but it's still a touch too loud for me. It also would have been the only thing I kept and as its value was around $20, it made it difficult to return the box (and I would never have paid $20-some for this, sorry!)

St Eve Tunic Cami ($15): this grey cami was just average. I happen to have a nearly identical camisole from Old Navy, but my cami is slightly softer than the St Eve one. I also noted a few strings hanging on this so no desire to keep it.

Nude Bikini ($??): I should have paid better attention, and Wantable's website no longer has the information for me (I feel like the brand was something like Creme Bralee?). I dislike bikini style panties and yet this one showed up. If it had been any color other than nude, I really may have kept it. The fabric was soft. I showed it to the mister and he was very indifferent. Return.

Am I bummed that I didn't really get to keep anything? Well, yeah. However, that's what's nice about this subscription - you can return it. Last month's Glossy Box was overall a dud for me (for example), but I'm stuck with it. Sure, I'll swap a lot of it away but I pay for stuff I won't use. I could also order another box for this month if I wanted.

If you want to join Wantable, here is my link: Wantable. Full disclosure, if you sign up, I do get $10 in credits.

When In Doubt, Check It Out

In one of the health classes I teach, I practically preach that if someone is doubting whether or not they are okay, it's worth getting it checked out. And if someone thinks that something is wrong, absolutely do not pass go, do not collect $200 - go directly to the ER or urgent care. If it involves any sort of chest pain, shortness of breath, or loss of consciousness - again, absolutely ER.

So on Sunday when I was experiencing severe chest pain and dizziness, I actually debated what to do. Of course, I kept thinking, those who can, do and those who can't teach. I can't follow my own advice. It also didn't help that my partner (an RN and soon to be MSN/FNP - that's a family nurse practitioner) was telling me that i just needed a nap. When the lower back pain in my kidney area started, I knew it was time to go to the dreaded ER. They're still figuring out what's wrong (I see my doctor on Wednesday) but they ruled out the emergency bad stuff (heart attack, blood clot, etc).

My point is, if you are in doubt if you're okay (or a loved one) or if you think something is wrong, then please please please get it checked out.