Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book and Beauty Cravebox Review

I am a bookworm. That is probably no secret since I post so many book reviews on this blog! I am also a beauty product junkie, so what could be better than a Cravebox containing both? For those of you that don't know what Cravebox is, it is another subscription box company. The way it is run is a tiny bit different than the other monthly subscription box companies out there. Cravebox has a list of boxes on their website of different themes, how they can be purchased and what they will cost. Depending on what is in the box you are interested in, it can cost anywhere from from $10-$16, shipping included. There are several different purchase options as well. "Instant Boxes" allow you to purchase a box immediately as well as know what the contents of the box are. You can also enter a drawing to be one of the lucky people that gets chosen to receive specific boxes (you choose which drawings you'd like to enter). If you don't want to try your luck at the drawing, there is also an "Guaranteed Box" option to purchase the box now, but for a few more dollars than you might have paid had you have been selected as one of the drawing winners. There are so many options, it's kind of fun to try them all out. I usually stick to the drawings, but I have bought a few instant boxes as well.

Anyway, back to the Book and Beauty box...I was excited that Cravebox was offering another box with a novel. Just the cost of the novel is more than the box, so you definitely get your money's worth. I loved the first Book box they did, the "Book Lover's Box" so I knew I would want to get this box as well.

The novel included in the Book and Beauty Cravebox was Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold. I have never heard of the book or the author, but I love a good historical romance, so I was excited to find out that is exactly what this book is and that it is the first in a series of books. This is a nice hard bound and also has a gorgeous cover! I haven't read much of it yet, but it seems like it will be a really nice read.

Now, on to the beauty products. I was perplexed that this box didn't contain bubble bath. I mean, when I think of a good book, I think of relaxing in a nice bubble bath or some other bath time goodie of some sort. The items that were included were great though. There were several Biore product samples and a full size tub Vaseline Total Moisture lotion. The lotion is really great and leaves my hands feeling soft and pampered and definitely not dry. I was glad it was included in the box since I had never tried it before and probably wouldn't have thought to. That is the beauty behind a subscription box, you can definitely fall in love with a product you never would have thought to buy in the first place! There was also a full size bottle of John Frieda Full Repair Hydrate + Rescue Conditioner. This is a a $9 product, so I would say this box more than paid for itself.

I really liked this box and hope for more Book boxes from Cravebox in the future! The Book and Beauty Cravebox is now and instant box so you can purchase it right now if you are interested! You can also check out other current and upcoming box themes! If you happen to buy a box, please consider saying CristiMarashi (my username) referred you when you create your profile at the website! I'd really appreciate it, as it could get me free boxes in the future. Then, make sure to tell all of your friends about Cravebox and have them say you referred them!

For more information about Cravebox, head over to the Cravebox Website!

*Disclosure- I did not receive anything in exchange for this post. I just really like this service and wanted to share it with my readers!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

(March) Vegan Conscious Box Review

If you have been reading this blog for really any amount of time you will know that I am a huge fan of Conscious Box. There is just so much to love about the concept. I am a subscription box fan in general, but you would be hard pressed to find a subscription box company that delivers in the way that Conscious Box does. You have the option of getting a traditional box of eco-friendly good ranging anywhere from cleaning supplies to chocolate to essential oils or you can get the same eco-friendly goodness in an all vegan box OR a gluten free box. Conscious Box is a great way to try new eco-friendly and natural products to get familiar with products you may not have otherwise known about. I LOVE that there are often small businesses samples included and I am pretty sure that Conscious Box is the only subscription box that continually includes products that are specifically labeled non-gmo, a BIG plus in my book!

Since I became a vegetarian in June of 2012, I have been wanting to try more vegan products and recipes, so I was thrilled when Conscious Box announced that they would be offering a vegan box. The vegan box for this month is the second vegan Conscious Box I have tried and I have been very impressed with them both.

Some of the things included in the box were:

Argo Labs Organic Wheatgrass Boost Energy Shot
Earnest Eats Dark Choco Espresso Bar
Chef Sleeve Disposable iPhone sleeves
Better Life Even The Kitchen Sink Natural Cleansing Scrubber + $1 Off Coupon
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts (Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds) + $1 Off Coupon
Two Degrees Apple Pecan Bar
Ancient Essence Frankincense & Myrrh
Stash Very Berry Tea
Medicinal Flower Blueberry Flavor Extract
Sweet Riot 70% Dark Chocolate

My absolute FAVORITE thing out of this box was the Two Degrees Apple Pecan Bars. this was the best bar I have ever tasted. I can't wait to try their other flavors.  I have also been making great use of the frankincense & myrhh. These two scents together create such a calming affect, I like to dab a little on my wrists and neck so I can smell the calm all day long. It smells really great! My 5 year old spotted the chocolate right away and it must have been good because she sure seemed to like it. :) I haven't used the iphone sleeves yet, but I think it is an interesting concept. I wish they were fitted though. I used the cleaner on my glass top stove and it worked really well. I really like that I have found an option to clean the oven that doesn't include harsh chemicals. The cleaner is also good for stainless steel. showers & tubs, toilets and tile & grout.

I thought this was a great box, but that didn't surprise me because they always are. I have already ordered a gluten free box to try because that is the only one I haven't got yet! I will be reviewing that as soon as I get it!

If you are interested in learning more about Conscious Box you can do so at their website. You can order the Classic Box, The Vegan Box or The Gluten free box either monthly, 3 months, 6 months or a year (this option gets you a free box.) or you can also buy a box as a gift. Since they have launched their new website you can even earn points if you leave product reviews after you receive your box or you can become an affliate and earn money for sharing Conscious Box with your friends. I highly recommend Conscious Box, these boxes do not disappoint!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Playtex Secrets Bra Review

I get fitted for bras at least twice a year, so you would think that I have perfect fitting bras all of the time. Not so. At my last fitting, I was told I would fit in either 36C OR is that even possible? For the record, I feel most comfortable in 36D, so I think that even if you have had a bra fitting, it's best to try on several sizes near to whatever size you've been told.

I typically buy my bras at Victoria's Secret or other specialty shops because I just haven't had good luck with bras and thought that is surely where I would get the bra with the best fit. When Bzzagent offered me the opportunity to try a bra from Playtex's new line of bras, Playtex's Secret, I JUMPED at it. I wanted to see if this bra could outdo the bras I have been spending a fortune on the last few years.

As you can see in the picture to the left, I received a bra in the nude color tone. The straps are wider than an average bra making them more comfortable and more likely to stay in place. I have a terrible time with bra straps falling all day long, no matter what size bra I am wearing, no matter what brand of bra it is and no matter where I adjust the straps to. I have been wearing the Playtex Secrets bra for three days now and the straps HAVEN'T fallen down AT ALL! The Playtex Secret's bra use a techonology they call "truSupport" a 4-way support system:

  • Frame- Higher sides for a secure coverage and support
  • Straps- Comfortable straps help reduce bounce and prevent digging
  • Cups- Rounder, accommodating cups mean less spillage and proper hold for a natural shape
  • back- wider, smooth backs for stability without ride-up
Overall, I found that the truSupport system was true to it's word. The cups give nice support and a great shape and after nursing three babies, I am glad to finally find a bra that gives me the little lift I need. The only issue I had with this bra is that the band digs into my back just a tiny bit, but it is still the most comfortable bra I have had in years. I plan to go get several more in other colors. These full figure bras are available at Kohls in sizes 36B-44DD and happen to be on sale right now for $20.99!

*Disclosure- I received one or the above mentioned products free from Bzzagent & Playtex. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Purex Natural Elements Tropical Splash Review & Giveaway + Win a Trip to Waikiki!!

When I think of the great smells offered by nature, I think of scents like fresh flowers or wonderfully ripe fruit.  I am a girl who enjoys nature and I am also someone who likes to surround myself with wonderful scents that make me feel great. Purex has just released an awesome new scent in their Purex Natural's line meant to take your noise on a vacation to a tropical paradise. Tropical Splash smells wonderful. It's not so fruity that it smells odd on laundry, but it is just different enough that it is kind of a great change of pace from the normal fresh linens and lavenders and other typical detergent scents. The great combination of pineapple and coconut paired with the scent of tropical flowers make this a truly unique detergent.  Not only does Purex Naturals Tropical Splash smell like it came from nature, it's biodegradable formula promotes green cleaning practices as well. You can use Purex Natural Elements in your High Efficiency or traditional washing machine!

I have really enjoyed this Purex Naturals Detergent so far. I have sensitive skin so the fact that it is hypo allergenic and formulated for sensitive skin is a huge plus in my book and it also makes me feel comfortable using it on my children's clothing. I also love that Purex Naturals is great for those of us who want to be environmentally friendly, but still is effective at cleaning with it's dirt lift action.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a free bottle of Purex Natural Elements Detergent. 3 Winners!

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Don't miss your chance to win a trip to Waikiki a year supply or Purex Natural Elements & Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends or coupons for free Purex Natural Elements & Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends by entering the Tropical Trio Sweepstakes! 106 Prizes in all. Enter today!

*Disclosure- I received one or more of the above mentioned products for free as part of the Purex Insiders program. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Not Your Fault by Steve Shenk Book Review & Giveaway

Just the title of this book kind of makes you want to pick it up and see what's in it. We all have fears. I think fear of failure and of being important enough can be pretty high on that list and get in the way of our self esteem or even cause us to not achieve things which we might have been capable of with a different attitude.

Steve Shenk's book It's Not Your Fault and I can Prove It takes an in depth look at the many different factors that go in to how we feel about ourselves and how we see ourselves. It is a fictional account of a man named Michael learning lessons about all of this from someone called "The Guardian " I had a a hard time getting into the book in this format and felt like I would have rather this been a non-fiction book that just focused on the same key points and was just a more direct approach, but as the book went on, the more interesting it got. I especially find some of the middle chapters to be quite intriguing, most notably the chapters entitled Judgement, Approval & Unconditional Love. There is some great insight into this book, and I think that it is a good read for anyone looking to improve themselves.

About the author:
Steve Shenk is a noted food expert, educator, corporate executive, philosopher and forty year entreprenuer in the food industry. During his 30 years building the storable food industry, author Steve Shenk met hundreds of people who shared their struggles and triumphs.As a result, he came to understand much about the human experience. Steve realized that after the basic need of food is met in every person's life, there is an opportunity to go further and even reach magnificence. His new book, It's Not Your Fault, is a compilation of his years of experience with people, families and relationships.

Connect with Steve Shenk at his website

Enter Below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of the book!

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*Disclosure- I received one or more of the above mentioned products for free in hopes that I might mention it on my blog. All opinions are 100% my own.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blog App + Giveaway

In just a few days, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released on DVD!

"J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an amazing quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers."

From the brilliant mind of Academy Award Winning Peter Jackson comes the first in a trilogy of movies depicting J.R.R Tolkien's fiercely popular novel, The Hobbit.

In celebration of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's March 19th release date comes a fun, interactive blog app. Take the quiz to see if you rae 100% Hobbit (I was 67%), find out facts about the creatures of Middle Earth, watch the movie trailer, or download the Hobbit Handbook to find out all you need to know to throw an amazing Hobbit watch party from the comfort of your own home!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-Ray Combo Pack!

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert Book Review + Giveaway

About the book:

A three-year-old son, a struggling cafe and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Will Tree Cafe in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.

So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her cafe and a vital town ministry are located, she isn't about to let go without a fight.

As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won't give up easily. His family's business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin's gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.

With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal, and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of second chances.

My thoughts:

I read Ganshert's first book Wildflowers for Winter and really enjoyed it. It was a great first novel and so I knew as soon as I heard that she was writing a second book that it was another I would need to read. Robin is in Ganshert's first novel too as a more minor character, so it is nice to see her story unfold in Wishing on Willows. It is easy to feel sympathy for Robin, a widow with a young son and a cafe owner in a small town. You don't want to see her lose her business when she has already lost something so precious and seems like such a good person. When Ian comes to town, looking to develop property, and win the approval of his father, at first it feels like you don't want him to win. As the book goes on and you learn a little more about Ian's own personal life and struggles and can quickly start to see him develop feelings for Robin, you definitely are rooting for him as well. Wishing on Willows is a great story. It allows us a glimpse into the life of someone suffering the greif of losing a spouse, that many of us can only imagine and how to come to grips with maybe feeling attracted to someone else and having to deal with those emotions. I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was a great sophomore effort from Ganshert. I already find myself looking forward to another book in this series!

About the Author:

Katie Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education. She worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband and their young son. She is the author of Wildflowers from Winter. 

Connect with Katie Ganshert on Facebook
Connect with Katie Ganshert on Twitter
Katie Ganshert's Website
Enter below via the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of Wishing on Willows!

Be sure to head to Katie Ganshert's Facebook Page on March 19th (to coincide with Wishing on Willow's release date) and enter to win prize packages from several different characters from the book. There is some pretty cool stuff that is to be given away! Hope to see you there!

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*Disclosure- I received an advanced reader's copy of Wishing on Willows in hopes that I might mention it on my blog. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Roma Downey's Little Angels Prayers for Every Day Review & Giveaway!

About the Book:
Little Angels Prayers for Every Day features more than 50 simple rhyming prayers that cover a typical day and the typical worries of a young child. From waking in the morning to going to sleep at night, from thanking God for a meal to praying for His comfort when afraid, the prayers here will help little ones to see that any moment is a good moment to talk to God. Relevant Bible verses are scattered throughout the book as well!

My Thoughts: 
Roma Downey sure is one busy lady these days! I just posted a few days ago about a mini series she is producing with Mark Burnett on The History Channel called The Bible and today I am going to telling you a little about her new children's prayer book Little Angels Prayers For Every Day! This sweet little book has prayers for children regarding all of the different things they can pray about. It starts off with prayers for the morning and ends with prayers for bedtime and is filled with prayers for so many other occasions and feelings such as praying before meals, prayers of thanks, prayers of praise, prayers for help, prayers for others, prayers forgiveness, ect. There are several prayers for each category and they are short and they rhyme making them easy for our kiddos (and for us as we are teaching them!) to commit them to memory. Each page is colorful and has cute animated twin brother and sister Zoe and Alex in situations where they would want or need to pray. I thought this was a very cute book and a great way to introduce the importance of a constant prayer life to our little ones. This would make an awesome baby shower gift! It would also make a great addition to an Easter basket for a toddler or even a preschooler. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a way to teach their kids about prayer! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a copy of Roma Downey's Little Angels Prayers For Every Day!

Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of the book!!!
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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

*Updated* Win a 3 Month Subscription to Conscious Box! + Coupon Code for 50% off ANY subscription!!

**UPDATE** The first 100 people to sign up for any subscription at Conscious Box using the coupon code: GOCONSCIOUS will receive 50% off the subcription of their choice! Hurry, this promo is gonna go very fast!!

So many amazing things have been happening with Conscious Box that is hard to believe it has barely been around for a little over a year! In the last few months, they have introduced an all vegan box (yay!) and more recently a gluten free box. These new box options are in addition to the already magnificent traditional Conscious Box, which is also filled with eco-friendly products. As you can tell, they have been super busy working on new boxes to offer us, but they have also revamped the Conscious Box website. You can learn more about Conscious Box and about how you can earn points for each box you purchase and how you can even earn money as an affiliate! Conscious Box just keeps getting better and better!

 If you love discovering new products and you want to take better care of yourself and our planet, I highly suggest giving Conscious Box a try. I have never been disappointed by any box I have purchased or reviewed and I love that they have so many options! As I have already mentioned, there are several different boxes to choose from and what I really love about this particular subscription box is that you can decide whether you want to subscribe month to month, for 3 months, 5 months or for the entire year and you can even purchase gift subscriptions to send to your friends (I totally sent my bestie a Conscious Box for Christmas!)

There are so many subscription boxes out there and I have tried many of them. None can compare to Conscious Box. That is why I am excited to announce that the awesome people behind the company want to offer one of my readers a THREE month subscription to Conscious Box! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure- I may receive a free product as a thank you for helping spread the word about Conscious Box via this post. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New 10 Part Bible Mini Series to Air on History Channel (Sunday nights beginning March 3) + Win a Giftcard to Walmart!

I am so excited about a new mini series that is going to begin airing on The History Channel tomorrow, get your DVR's ready everyone! Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett will bring us a 10 part mini series called The Bible. There are so many reasons to be excited about this show! It is always wonderful to see the Bible come to life before our eyes on film or in television and this series promises breathtaking beauty as far as the locales go and wonderful acting from the cast of character. The Bible mini series also promises to be full of wonderful visual affects as we go through the Bible from Genesis to Revolution. I can not wait to see this programming, it is exciting to see shows about the Bible on mainstream television! I will definitely watch this entire series and record it on my dvr so I can watch them again, because I know I will want to!

The Bible Mini Series begins March 3, 2013 (tomorrow!) on the History Channel! What Bible Story will you most look forward to seeing come alive on your television screen?

Check out the fun app below. You can look at clips from the show and take a fun Bible scene quiz! After you check out the app, look below it in this blog post for the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win a $15 giftcard to Walmart!
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VeggieTales The Little House That Stood Review & Giveaway

I remember the first time I watched VeggiesTales many years ago, long before I met my husband or even thought about having children of my own. It was in youth group at church on a Wednesday night and none of us could get enough of the Silly Songs with Larry segment of the show. I knew right away that one day when I had kids of my own, I would want to watch this wonderful, entertaining and best of all Faith based children's show with them.

Now that I do have my own kids, we definitely watch our fair share of Bob, Larry and friends, so I was beyond excited to have the opportunity to review the newest offering from VeggieTales- The Little House That Stood. This movie is about making good choices, a lesson we all need to be reminded of every now and then, adults and kids alike. The first story interweaves the Biblical parable of the wise man building his house upon the rock with the beloved children's classic The 3 Little Pigs. All three of my kids were excited to see the pigs make an appearance and they loved all of the catchy songs this VeggieTales offering was filled with. I loved the great lesson that no matter what we build our house out of, without a firm foundation, it is useless. And of course, this is also a great lesson in having a firm foundation for our lives as well (our faith in God).

Between the two episodes, there was a Silly Songs with Larry segment called "Happy Toothday" in which he sings an ode to his lone tooth. It's cute and silly as per usual. The next episode of VeggieTales on this dvd was just two cute and followed the theme of making good choices. Humpty Dumpty is the main character and mayor of a town of many chidlren's stories characters. My 5 year old daughter was most excited to see Goldilocks and the 3 bears in this episode and I really enjoyed the way some of these children's stories were woven together for the purpose of the lesson. It was pretty clever!

We enjoyed this VeggieTales DVD very much and look forward to watching it many more times in the future! Check out the trailer below!

Connect with VeggieTales on Facebook
Connect with VeggieTales on Twitter
The VeggieTales Website

VeggieTales: The Little House That Stood Still will be available on March 5, just a few days! Enter below for your chance to win your own copy of the DVD below via the Rafflecopter.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.