Reviews

Popsugar Must Have Box – May 2013

Well unfortunately this review is coming a bit late, things have just been crazy I haven’t had time to focus on getting a picture of the items.  I was really hoping I was one of the lucky winners of the clutch bag, but at lass I was not.  I think this popped my excitement bubble a little because the contest was one of the deciding factors to keep my subscription one more month.

So here we go May’s must have box.

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I will start at the top and work clockwise.  First up the Giselle Mid-Brim Hat by Kooringal.  © Blurred LinesI was a bit excited to see a nice floppy hat for the summer, it has a molded-able brim so that it can be easily packed for those summer trips to the beach.  But the hat itself is a bit small for me so I can’t really pull it down onto my head.  Because it sits so high on me the top of the hat really sticks up and looks like I have a cone head, it is a bit stiff so I don’t think I will be able to use it.  I may have to see if my mother would like it.  To the left is a better picture of the item since it was hard to get the right angle in the group shot.

Next up we have the Sweet Chili chips from Way Better Snacks; this was one of the box extras that they normally throw in.  I have yet to try these but I am looking forward to them, it seems like a great flavor.  This is a company that I have never heard of before and I like that they use nuts and grains to enhance them.  They do use a technique called sprouting which allows the grains and seeds to release their hidden benefits before they are put in the chip.  Since I have been on weight watchers for the last few months I am always looking for ways to get those random snack cravings that come up.  So I have high hopes for these chips, stay tuned to my twitter @TheBlurredLines for an update on how they taste!

Now we have the Mindy Kaling Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself conversation cards.  When I first saw this I was really excited, I love conversation cards.  I own two Table Topics cubes and love to bust them out when I have people over, so another set of conversation cards sounded great.  Then I opened them up, they aren’t necessarily conversation cards as much as just a way to put parts of her book on cards and then a tiny question at the bottom, almost so small to read on some you might think it is a footnote.  Now don’t get me wrong I read her book and it was funny, so there is no doubt that her little stories wont be funny, but I don’t think this was the best medium for this.  Maybe if I hadn’t read her book I would have found them better, I will leave them on the coffee table and see if they get the conversation going but I am not really on board yet.

Next up is the Beauty Blender and Cleanser.  This is a raindrop shaped makeup applicator sponge.  This sounds like a nice product providing a way to apply seamless makeup application.  Now for my daily routine does not include any actual wet foundation, I just use powder as a base.  Now on occasion I do go a bit more detailed and use foundation so I will give this a try when I do that.  I am not sure if it will work as well with just my powder but I should test that out sometime.  The nice point would allow you to get into the more hard to reach points like right around the nose and your under eye area.  The nice thing about this item was that it came with the cleanser to help keep things nice and clean.

Right next to that is the Charm & Chain $30 gift card towards a purchase.  Now I am not a fan of them putting gift certificates in the box; I would rather get a piece so I can see the quality before making a purchase.  So I was a bit disappointed to see this as part of the value of the box.  I did go to their website and unfortunately there is nothing on the site that is for $30 or below, everything is over this price.  So we do have to put up money to get something.  And of course all the pieces I actually liked were $100 and up.  Which for my budget it just doesn’t fit.  The one piece I found close to $30 was a pair of turquoise earrings but even though they were listed under turquoise they were no longer available unless I got them in a rose color.  So that was  a bit disappointing.

Next up is the Pacifica Color Tint Lip Tint.  I received the guava berry which in the tube looks like a deep purple red color.  It smells really good when you open the tube.  Upon application to the lips it turns a soft pink/purple color which was not intense at all.  At first I was a bit nervous because the color in the tube is dark, so I was happy to learn that it is sheer.  This is perfect for me because I have been looking for a light pink color that I can throw on for day to day.  Now the scent and flavor once on the lips is a little weird, almost fruit mixed with mint.  I am hoping I get used to this the more I wear it.  But overall I am very happy with this lip tint and even more happy that it was not a pot like Popsugar is more famous for sending.  By sending something in a tube it was already gaining marks.

Last up we have the Modern Margarita Cocktail kit.  This kit comes with 5 different margarita flavors and colored rimming sugar.  Since this box came after Cinco de Mayo I was not able to give this a shot, but I do plan to keep it on hand for my next cocktail party or gathering.  I did see that you can pick this kit up at Target over the weekend on sale for $5.99.  So if these taste amazing at least I know it is something I can get just around the corner.

Retail Price Breakdown

Kooringal Hat: $27.99

Mandy Kaling Question Cards: $14.95

Beauty Blender & Cleanser: $23.95

Chain & Charm:  $30.00

Pacifica Lip Tint: $7.00

Modern Cocktails: $8.29

Total Retail Value: $112.18

($82.18 value without gift certificate)

*The chips are not included in the price breakdown because they were listed as an extra but retail for $3.

If you have been following my last few reviews you know that I have been on the fence about my monthly Popsugar subscription.  Things just have not been living up to the boxes that I was receiving at the start of their service.  With April’s box being as bad as it was I actually planned to cancel after receipt of the box and the only reason I didn’t was because I received an e-mail saying they were running a contest where they were giving away 10 clutch purses in May’s box.  I am sucker for a cute purse so I really hoped I would be one of the lucky ones.

Overall my opinion is this box was just OK, most of the stuff I wont be using and the only thing that stands out to me is the lip tint.  I am especially disappointed about the $30 Charm & Chain gift card, if you take this away from the merchandise that was included in the box the box falls under their $100 box value.  While I do not expect each box to be way above $100, I want the quality of items to meet that value.  Lately this just isn’t happening and when one of your main items in the box is a gift card it takes away from the overall value that you are receiving.  I do think for the most part this has been a fun subscription but a few days after receiving May’s box I cancelled my subscription and will no longer be getting their boxes.  I do know that just within the last few days I saw on one of the Popsugar sites they said there are still a 100 boxes left for June, so I am guessing that they have had a few cancellations over the last few months because for months they were sold out and you couldn’t even join up for at least 2 months.  So this is saying something about the subscription.

I do plan to keep tabs on their boxes and see if at a later date I want to rejoin because their idea of being well rounded and providing things from all different areas is a great idea where as most boxes are just based on one subject.  So for now I am going to be looking into other subscriptions.  I really do like the idea of subscription boxes and there are so many out there it is hard to choose; so for right now I haven’t decided on a replacement.  If you have a monthly subscription you love leave me a comment so that I can check it out!

**I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review

Popsugar Must Have Box – April

Now that the brakes have been put on tax season I can finally write my Popsugar Must Have April review!

Let’s start with my first impression of the box while I was at the mailbox; my exact words were “boy this is light!?”  Then I hmmm’d all the way across the street wondering what could possibly be inside and it be so light.

So here is what I received:

First up the Shashi Nugget Bracelet in Turquoise/Blue.

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This is a gold plated beaded bracelet that adjusts to your wrist by pulling the strings in the back.  Because there is no clasp on this bracelet it can be adjusted to fit different sized wrists, which I think is a good idea, the downside is that it was too small for me even made at its largest.  It seems to me that it is made on the small scale, there was no way it was going over my hand no matter how I adjusted it.  The quality seems to be good, I didn’t see any major flaws in craftsmanship.  It doesn’t lay in a perfect circle right out of the bag, but it looks like if you put it on your wrist; or if you are me a blown up baggie, it lays flatter and more like a traditional bracelet.  I think that it is possible over time it could wear out if you wore it a lot because the string looks to be embroidery string and I know that eventually it breaks down when used as bracelets.  It would look cute layered with other small bracelets especially since we are hitting the summer months and our sleeves get shorter.  I plan on giving this to a friend because I think it would fit her and it seems more her style than mine and I would hate for it to go to waste just sitting on my dresser.

Next up is the Kai Perfume Oil.

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This is a roller ball perfume oil, because it is an oil you should be able to use less and get the same effect as your spray perfume.  But for me the scent is too floral, as I write this I haven’t put it on my skin yet to try, mainly because I was scared I would have to deal with the floral scent all day and I wasn’t really in the mood for that over the weekend.  I plan to wear it this week sometime while I am at work and see how it goes.  Worst case scenario I can wash it off when I get to the office.  It does say that it will smell differently on each person, which is true for all perfumes.  My one hope is that the gardenia smell it gives off right out of the bottle be a lot tamer on the skin and it will just have this light floral scent, which for spring and summer would be nice.  I will update on twitter how it works out for me; so be sure to follow to stay updated!  I do like the idea of the roller ball because this is something that I could easily travel with or throw in my desk drawer and not have to worry about it leaking everywhere so that is one plus for it!

Next we have the Tatcha Beauty Papers:

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I was a little disappointed to see this in the box because back in the August box we received the original Aburatorigami papers.  I didn’t use them then and I wont be using these now.  For me I don’t have oily skin, so I just do not use blotting papers.  I also know that it isn’t all about oily skin it is just that my beauty routine starts and ends in the morning.  I rarely reapply makeup throughout the day and in all honesty rarely check up on it unless I am going out after work, and even then I rarely have makeup with me to reapply.  So it just doesn’t seem practical for my day to day life.  Now the papers in this months box are for evening, they are black with gold flakes in them and come in a smaller size than the original.  I do see that they could easily fit in your clutch and you can go about your evening then when you go to the restroom you could break them out to freshen up.  Maybe if I think about it I will put them in my bag the next time I go out because it does seem to be the time of year where a lot of events happen outside at night and it can get warm so maybe this will help to keep things in place.  I just have to remember I have them and to throw them in my bag.

The next item is a sweet little treat:

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I did a side by side photo of the chocolate bar from Alter Eco because when I decided to give them a bite I wanted you to see what I opened.  Well tried to open, it took some time to get the wrapper off the chocolate because it melted at some point on its way to me.  In the picture on the right you can see how the left side of the bad has turned a pale brown and the far left side it is actually completely flat and just powder, when the bar melted it was on its side so the right side is solid while the left isn’t.  I did take a bite just because I wanted to see what it tasted like and it was decent; I do think if it made it to me unmelted it would’ve been a decent bar of chocolate.  I do wish it had been milk chocolate instead of dark because I prefer that but when I am not eating it any way I guess it really doesn’t matter.  They did include a $1 off coupon for one of their products, not sure I will use it because I find $4 for a chocolate bar a lot of money but who knows if it goes on sale or something maybe I will give it another shot.

The last item of the box is the Green Garmento Bag:

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This item took up 90% of the box, it is a large 4 in 1 garment bag.  The idea behind it is that you put your dry cleaning in the bag, take it to the cleaners then instead of the cleaners putting that clear plastic bag over your items they put this bag over it instead.  A way to cut back on the plastic bags being used.  While I like this idea, I am not sure how well executed this would be, I could just see them putting this on the hanger with your clothes covered in their clear bags just like they do with current dry cleaning bags or it get put on someone else’s dry cleaning.  It would be nice to see dry cleaners offer these bags for sale so that maybe it would become standard but in reality that just hasn’t happened yet.  It also says that you can use it as a laundry bag (if you have the stand or hook), duffel and of course just a plain garment bag for travel.  This is something I think I may see if my parents would like because they go to the dry cleaners on a pretty regular basis and maybe could get some use out of it, I just know it is going to take up space in my closet and never get used.  Especially since I have maybe 3 dry cleaning pieces and I always just try to sneak them into my parent’s weekly trip.

Here is the breakdown on the suggested retail cost of the items my overall review will be below the breakdown.  You can click on each of the names and be taken to their corresponding website if you are interested in any of the products I received.

Price Breakdown

Shashi Bracelet: $30

Kai Perfume Oil: $48

Tatcha Beauty Papers: $15

Alter Eco Chocolate: $4

Green Garmento: $10

Total Box Retail Value: $107

My overall feel of this box is disappointment.  I really wasn’t wowed by any product or super excited to try anything except the chocolate bar; which turned out to be inedible.  For $35 a month it is hard to see the value with this box.  And since this isn’t the first disappointing box my immediate response to everything was to cancel my subscription.  I really almost cancelled that very night because it just feels like they are not doing what they said they would do.  It should be must have products for life, home, beauty & fashion.  Nothing seemed like a must have, it all seemed pretty standard especially when they reuse a product.  If you were going to include a product from Tatcha again why not choose something different, like their Hydrating Mist or Lifting Mask so that we could see something else from their line, this would have made more sense to me then just putting in another blotting paper pack.  It just felt like they were trying to make the $100 value mark and didn’t care how they did it.

Because I didn’t cancel that very night a couple days later I got an e-mail telling me that they were running a contest in May’s box where as a subscriber they are going to be picking 10 winners of a clutch handbag. Since I am sucker for handbags I have decided to try my luck and keep my box through May, but after that one my ultimate choice is to cancel.  I just don’t think they are living up to their promises so I may switch to another box that is out there.  If you know of a monthly subscription that I should try please leave me a comment and I will look into it!

**Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review, the views are mine and mine alone. I do not earn any compensation if you click on the included company links.  I add them for your convenience**

Tacos El Gordo

The first of many reviews I hope and boy is it a good one!

Tacos el Gordo – Las Vegas Blvd
3049 S. Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
4.5 stars
 

**Edit 1/21/15 – The Las Vegas Blvd Location has closed but Tacos el Gordo has two other locations in the Las Vegas valley to try!**

This a hole in the wall taco shop located in a strip mall next to the Wynn hotel and casino on the Vegas strip.  I have been to this taco shop more than once because it is just so good.  If you are looking for a place that you can get authentic Mexican street tacos than this is the place. I heard about them from one of my coworkers, who said that her and her sister love their tacos and I needed to try them.  So luckily for me they were willing to take me on my first visit and navigate the menu and ordering process.

Because this is a small place how you order your tacos all depends on how busy the place is.  I say this because the very first time I went here it was in the middle of the week and just around 5:30 pm and there was barely anyone there, so we were able to walk right up to anyone and order. Yet the second time that I went which was a Saturday smack dab in the middle of the day the place was packed, wall to wall with people.  When it is like this there are separate lines for each of the meat types, so if you want more than one type of taco you have to stand in each line. This can be kind long depending on what you are ordering.

Now on to the food! First up here is a shot of the menu; they have one posted right outside of the entrance which I loved because I was waiting for my friends so I was able to peruse what was available.

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As you can see each taco runs $2 – $2.25 depending on the meat.  Then there are different types of fries and what I would consider a tostada, because it is a tortilla covered in meat the topped with another tortilla these run around $4.

For my first trip here I ordered taco de lengua (tongue), taco de tripa (tripe) & taco de adobada (spicy pork). This was the first time that I have ever eaten tongue or tripe, I figured if I am going to do this I am going to do it right!  And my friend was telling me how the only thing she orders is the tongue and I wont be disappointed.

First up let’s talk about the tongue:

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I ordered all of my tacos on flour tortillas, the default is corn.  I just am not a fan of the consistency so I opted for flour which they graciously obliged. As we can see it is topped with onions, tomatillo green salsa and cilantro. Since this was my very first time eating tongue I have nothing to compare it to but to me it was cooked perfectly.  It was nice and tender and great flavor, some bites did feel softer than others.  But it wasn’t at all chewy or tough which I was kind of imagining because it is a muscle.  Now there was a little too much onions on this taco for my tastes, so in some bites it was a bit over powering.  The nice thing was that the salsa and cilantro worked really well with the tongue. Overall it had great balance and I would recommend this to anyone who likes tongue or wanted to give it a shot this is the way to go.

Next up is the tripe taco:

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Again this is a first for me as well.  I have had other people talk about eating tripe tacos and how good they are so I just had to try it at this place.  I was not disappointed at all and actually this became my favorite of the night! The tripe had a nice salty crunch then with the salsa and cilantro it was a perfect blend.  On my second trip I had three of these that is how impressed I was with them.  Now the downside is I do not know exactly what kind of salsa this is but I would say it was along the lines of a tomatillo, it wasn’t spicy but it had a nice mellow flavor so it did not overpower the meat. This is defiantly one to try!

Last but not least we have the Adobada taco:

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Adobada taco is a spicy pork taco. The meat is roasted on a large spicket so the outside gets all crispy but the inside parts stay nice and juicy.  This taco is topped with a traditional salsa and then an avocado type sauce, cilantro and onions. This addition of the sauce created a creamy texture and everything melted together.  They were not heavy handed with the onions on this one so for this particular taco it added to the flavor.  Now on top of the meat there sits a piece of pineapple which they slice off and put on top of the taco on request.  I missed this part my first time there and was a bit disappointed about it, so I made sure to ask the next time I went and that is the way to do it.  The pineapple has the roasted sweet flavor that combines with the spicy pork that just works so well together.  It is something that at first you wouldn’t think would be good but then once you bite in you realize you shouldn’t have doubted it!

Now for the last and final photo I wanted to be sure to show you what the fries look like when you order them, my friend got the Adobada & Asada fries; it was an half & half type deal and this is what she received.

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I was pretty full off of my three tacos so only had a couple bites but this was pretty yummy and is certainly big enough to share with the whole table if you wanted.  She was only able to eat about a third before she was too full to take another bite.

Now for the overall review, the food is great; there is no question on the fact that they know what they are doing.  But the restaurant its self is very tiny, there is limited seating and the seating they do have is really small and cramped.  So if you are looking for a relaxing place to sit and chit chat this is not it.  It is all about the food, you suffer through the cramped seating and hard benches because you know the tacos are going to be worth it.  I would like to see them in a bigger space so that they can provide more places to sit so that once you have stood in their massive line for tacos you can actually sit down and enjoy your food.  This is the main ding on their review.  The other thing I should mention is be sure to as for a fountain drink and not just say a soda.  Because I made the mistake of asking for a soda and they gave me a can, it wasn’t until after I already paid and sat down did I realize I had an option for fountain drinks which I would have preferred. Even with the small amounts of seating and my can of soda I was completely satisfied and in all honesty within two days of my visit I was already craving their tacos.  Now that the weather is warming up here it is the perfect time to go and enjoy their outdoor seating with some yummy tacos! Be sure to check them out you wont be disappointed.

Popsugar Must Have Box – March 2013

This review is coming late in the month and I am sorry about that unfortunately this is due to my day job taking up all my time. I wont be able to have a steady schedule until after the tax deadline, downside to working in the accounting field. So below is my review of March’s Popsugar Must Have Box.

Here is a look at everything that was received once un-boxed.

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I will start in the upper left hand corner and move clockwise around the photo, so first up is the Sweater Saver, this is a pumice type stone that you use to remove pilling from your sweaters.  Unfortunately for me I do not have a lot of sweaters and the ones I do have, currently do not seem to be pilling.  So this may not be an item I would use, I am going to keep this item in a drawer because it is nice to have on hand if I need but not something I would ever buy.

The next item is also from Hollywood Fashion Secrets and is one of the special extras in the box it is fashion tape samples.  There are 4 different types of tape one of each of the ones they sell on their site; hem tape, fashion tape shapes, accessory dots & fashion tape. Of all the tapes I think the one I would use first off would be the accessory dots, because sometimes we just have those necklaces that keep turning or moving when we don’t want them to.  But overall this is not something I would use normally, I will defiantly keep these with the sweater saver because I am sure it could come in handy one day.

Next we have The Laundress Delicate Wash; this is a high end laundry detergent specifically for delicates.  I did see that there were other washes out there one for Cashmere & Wool and one for Denim Wash that people received.  I would have liked to have received the denim wash because I have a lot more jeans to wash than delicates.  Now not that I don’t wear delicates it’s just that I don’t treat them in any special way, they just go in the laundry and that is it.  I am sure I am breaking some faux pa actually I know I am because at one point I sold lingerie but of course my laziness wins every time so they just go in the washer.

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Now we have the Buxom mascara (sorry the picture isn’t better the box is very shiny) I am looking forward to giving this a try once I use up my current tube.  I am always looking for a great mascara, something that really makes my lashes look full and long without having to curl them forever.  On Sephora it seems to be getting good reviews so hopefully it lives up to them.  Now it is certainly pricier than the drugstore mascara, almost double the cost.  But the one thing about women is if it makes our lashes pop it becomes worth the money.

Moving on to the next item we have the nail polish just above the necklace.  This is called The New Black; I received a metallic sage green and metallic purple/blue.  Neither of these colors appeal to me, they are along the lines of spring colors but just looking at the bottles doesn’t make me want to paint my nails so I will be putting them in my cabinet but doubt I will use them.  Again I would’ve rather have received the pink/red colors that others got but oh well.  Looks like this polish can be purchased at Sephora or Nordstrom.

Heather Belle necklace is next and my favorite piece in the box.  Over the last year I have finally started to wear gold jewelry and I love long necklaces like this. I have been looking for another long necklace to add to my collection, because I only have one other necklace and I wear it so much that I am getting bored with it.  I tend to wear them to work and this is great because it isn’t overly dressy so it is great for everyday but could easily be dressed up for a fancier outfit.  I really do love this piece and I will be sure to follow Heather Belle and see what else she comes up with in the future.  Her website is finally up and running again which I have linked it below in the breakdown.

The last and final piece is the Spoon Sisters Corkatoo Corkscrew, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this.  It is a fun design of a pretty boring item.  I will look forward to using this at my next party.  Because this is definitely something that you don’t want to just keep in a drawer.

Box Price Breakdown:

Heather Belle Necklace: $72

The Laundress Delicate Wash:  $19

Corkatoo Corkscrew: $15.99

Buxom Mascara: $19

The New Black Polish:  $10

Sweater Saver: $5.99

Total Retail Value: $141.98

My overall impression is that is was a decent box, it is well over the $35 cost so it certainly was worth the money even if I end up not using a few of the pieces.  It seems like there was some thought put into the box and the items that were included there didn’t seem to be anything really off the wall in the box and I was happy to see that there weren’t any coupons as part of the box this month, I have never been a fan of that.  The ones that were included related to the items we received which I do like especially if the product I really like it will entice me to purchase something in the future.  The special extra of peeps for the Easter holiday is cute, unfortunately I really hate peeps so these will for sure go to waste or at least into the office maybe someone will eat them. Since I have been riding the fence on whether cancel or not this box has at least made up my mind to stay on for one more month without hesitation because it shows that there is progress being made in some way.  Hopefully this is a sign that things will just get better and better.

If you are interested in giving Popsugar Must Have Box a shot click here to register.  By clicking here and registering I do earn points towards free boxes, I do not receive any kind of compensation for this review or anything for clicking the above links during the price breakdown.

Popsugar Must Have Box – February

It is time for the February review of the Popsugar Must Have Box. I received my February box on Valentine’s day and boy was I happy to see it. I had been anxiously watching its travel to me, it is always weird to see it go past where it needs to be and then come back to my town. So I decided randomly to check my mailbox a day early from what the tracking said it would arrive just in case and there it was; upon removing it from the mail box I noticed a nice one inch sized hole in the box, so that had me concerned that something may have been broken.  While my experience with customer service and getting items replaced has been good it is just never fun to deal with a damaged item. Luckily for me nothing was damaged inside and it was just a superficial wound.

Below is a photo of everything that came in the box: (I’ll go trough the items counter clockwise below)

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Let me start with the first item on the left which is from Brokedown Clothing. I was so excited to see something wrapped up from them because the scarf that was in the September box was seriously the best item I have gotten and I have been using it all the time! I was really hoping for another scarf to be honest so I was anxiously unwrapping it and I unwrapped an after shower wrap or spa wrap as it is called on their website.  I received the white one and my first impression was that the fabric is really soft, the down side is that the fabric on the inside is not the same material that is on the inside, it isn’t really ruff on the inside but it certainly isn’t as soft as the exterior. I will admit even though the item is good in theory its quality has me on the fence, it is a bit thin so it has me a bit shocked this item costs $84 on their website; there is a direct link to them below in the cost breakdown. Truthfully it feels more like the $25 – 35 range not almost a hundred dollars, so this is defiantly something I would never purchase on my own. Now while I like this item the downside is it doesn’t fit me because I am plus size and wear an 18-20 oh and I have boobs.  I am going to keep this around because I am on a weight loss journey so maybe it will be useful once I am down a few sizes. They did include a coupon code for 30% off an order not sure I will use it, but I do absolutely adore the gray scarf I got in September so maybe I will get one in a different color.

The next item up is Connoisseurs Gel Jewelry cleaner, at first I was a bit disappointed but then it dawned on me that I have been needing a jewelry cleaner and I never remember when I am at the store to get one. I gave this a shot over the weekend on my gemstone ring of blue topaz & peridot, this was in desperate need of a good cleaning.  And boy did this cleaner shine up my ring it had me staring at like I just got it.  It did take two cleanings to get it just right but I think this has more to do with how I cleaned it the first time I missed the side stones a bit.  This will be something that I will definitely keep on hand and would consider purchasing in the future.  It was easy to use and didn’t irritate my hands or leave any funny smell on them.

The next item is Revlon’s Just Bitten Lip Stain in Crush (item above the conversation hearts; these were a special extra) I really liked this item it went on smoothly and had a nice minty smell to it.  The only downside was that it was just not my color it went on too dark for my comfort.  I noticed some other people got a light pink color which I would have rather had.  Luckily for me my mother has a more olive skin tone so dark lip colors look good on her and I passed it on to her.  She also really liked this and it now resides in her desk at work for those days when you forget to apply lipstick and need a pick me up before a meeting.

Then we have the Nicholas Sparks book Safe Haven; now I have never read a Nicholas Sparks book before but I have seen a couple of the movie adaptations of his books. I don’t think I realized how many of his books have become movies until I looked up his website and honestly I didn’t even realize that he wrote The Notebook; I guess that is what I get for just not paying attention to the original story.  As a bonus with this book there is a code for a free song from the movie soundtrack. The funny thing I did notice is that the movie adaptation covers of his books basically are just a couple almost kissing which is kind of funny looking and I am sure I am not the only one who noticed this.

Now to the sweet stuff in side this box there was Mariebelle Chocolate Tresor Box; I received the dark chocolate pearls. These are really yummy and I am not a fan of dark chocolate but I think because they are so small they don’t taste as strong as dark chocolate does. As described they could be used on desserts which is true, I think they would make great cupcake or cake decorations because they do look like little chocolate pearls. This statement leads me into the fact that this particular item is no longer available on their website so that part is really a downer that if I wanted them I couldn’t get them. Their website does have a nice view of their chocolate selections and they do look yummy and if I ever make it to New York I would swing by their shop in Soho and check out their chocolate in person.

And last up is the Hanky Panky rolled thong, now the color is truly awful it is this golden yellow color but the lace was soft and pretty.  What I found interesting about this is again it was a one size fits most, I get that they can’t really get sizes for everyone and that I am sure it will cost more but it was a bit disappointing to see that it was one size fits most. But for the sake of the review I did try it on and it did fit me, as a reference I wear between an large or extra-large panty normally it all depends on the designer and style.  So I could see if you were a small this would fit really high up on the hips & stomach and may even be too big for some depending on how tiny you are. Even though it did fit me I found the style to be weird it is cut really high on the hips and has a low v in the front which with a one size fit most style I could see how on everyone this is going to fit differently because while it was low on me this may be because of my size and will fit differently on each person. A bonus item with this panty was a coupon for 15% off an order and a free nail polish if you spend over $75.  This was the one time where I think they should have given us a coupon for a free panty so we could have chosen a size or color of our liking, because really my pasty skin does not look good in yellow instead of sending us an actual panty.  I think I would be more inclined to use the coupon to try them out.

Cost Breakdown of the box:

Breakdown Spa Wrap: $84

Connoisseurs Gel Jewelry Cleaner: $9.95

Safe Haven Book: $7.99

Revlon Lip Stain: $8.99

Mariebelle Tresor Box: $12.00

Hanky Pany Thong: $20.00

Grand Total of $142.93

My overall impression of this box is that it was good, not great but good; my cost was $35 so certainly price wise I got a great deal.  It defiantly is a step up from last months (which you can read my review here), it feels like they put a little more thought into the items and how they relate to each other for that particular month.  It really did feel like February where there is romance, chocolate and lingerie. I also liked that for once there were not a bunch of coupon codes in the box for items that were not included this was a huge upgrade in the box’s potential.  I was never a fan of those codes because they always seemed to be a waste for me. This month’s box does have me still on the fence because while I liked the items on their own; nothing was really that exceptional but it did make my mind up that I am going to keep my subscription for another month and see how it goes.  I guess that is why I have a month to month subscription.

Feel free to leave me a comment below about your experience with the box or if you have questions about any of the boxes so far I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this subscription.  Also if you are interested in giving Popsugar Must Have Box a chance for yourself use the code REFERFRIENDS for $5 off your first box.  If you want to help me earn points towards a free box use this link as a referral.

Popsugar Must Have Box

I am fairly new to monthly subscription boxes. I can’t even tell you how I came across Popsugar’s box, but a few months back I came across their website talking about their first month of the program. I thought what a great idea a package in the mail with a wide variety of products to try and full size products at that. It took me a few weeks but I decided I would sign up and give it a try. They listed on their site that the first month was $30 with their $5 off coupon. Also if I was not completely satisfied with my box I could return it and get my money back. So what the hell I thought, I like getting mail and now I will actually be getting more than just grocery ads in my mailbox and if I am really that disappointed I could get my money back. All of this was just 6 months ago, which brings me to why I decided to write this post. I am struggling with this subscription now, I mean it is a great value, for $35 a month I get approximately $100 or more in products that are fashion, food, fitness & home related. (granted when I first signed up it was $150, that was a short lived price and they quickly switched to $100 min value)

But here I am, I just received my sixth box from them and I am just blah. I don’t even have a better word for it, just blah. I don’t exactly hate what I have received but they haven’t been that great either.  It has been this blah feeling for the last 3 boxes. Below is a picture of the January box once it was opened.

Freshly Opened

Freshly Opened

Every month the items come packaged surrounded by hot pink tissue paper and sealed with an enjoy sticker. I don’t have any pictures of this presentation because honestly I am just impatient and by time the box shows up I am just ready to dive in and forget to stop and photograph it until I am all done looking at everything. Each box also comes with a booklet outlining what is going to be included inside, now I do find this informative to try to understand their reasoning, but in reality it is a spoiler. Don’t read this until the very end, because once you read the first paragraph listed on the front you know know exactly what is inside. Ok, ok yes you can see what is inside in the photo above but really not everything is visible.

Here is everything laid out and I will go over my reactions to each after the photo.

Jan Must Have 1

First and most obvious is the stability ball; now the focus of this box was fitness and freshness of the new year, so I totally get why they included a piece of exercise equipment. Now I don’t hate this but I already own a stability ball, it is deflated and in my garage. Granted I did just recently decide that I need to add some different exercises to my routine so I was going to blow my ball up if I could find the pump. But this is one of those things that most people already own if they wanted to own one. I did blow it up and it is a good size for me, but the pump I found to be cheaply made. I had a hard time connecting the nozzles to the end of the pump because the plastic nozzle wasn’t threaded the same as the metal on the pump so it was just half screwed together and at an angle. Oh and if you want a work out just pump up a stability ball, because I spent almost an hour pumping away and I still could never get it to the right stiffness. I feel like it needs more air, but after that long of pumping I was bored with it and decided that I should just get on the treadmill instead.

Here is a close up of all the little items that were in the box:

Jan Must Have 2

The included items are Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick in Dark & Milk chocolate, Jet-Puffed Vanilla Mallow Bits, Epicuren Discovery Lip Balm & the Remix Timebomb watch. The items located at the top of the photo are Think Thin Bars & Casetagram gift certificate these items are considered special extras which is why I am listing them at the end.

Let’s start with the Popbar Hot Chocolates, now I haven’t had a chance to try these yet and honestly I may give them to my parents to try because I personally am not a hot drink person, I like things with ice no matter how cold it is outside. But I have to admit I feel like this is a really cute idea and I would have rather seen these in December’s box especially with the peppermint poles we received. In actuality the tea from December should have been swapped with the hot chocolate because tea is more in line with the healthy ideas and freshness of the new year. When I think of hot chocolate I am thinking sitting around the fire with family during the holidays not hey let’s get fit by drinking hot coco. So really this just seemed kind of off for this box.

Next up the Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits, now yes this was included because how can you have hot chocolate without marshmallows at least this is their reasoning for throwing these in this months box. Which of course is very cute and I will be using these but not for hot chocolate but for baking, I did see a cookie recipe a little while ago that called for these and now that I have them it will give me a reason to give the recipe a shot. Because this is one of those items I don’t think I would purchase unless I had to so it was kind of nice to get them in this box.

The Epicuren Lip Balm has tee tree oil in it, so if you aren’t a fan of that smell then this lip balm is going to be too much for you at least at the start. Because of the tree tea oil it can smell like medication and not something that I would want to have on my lips all day long. I am not a fan of pot balms, I don’t like having to use my finger because then I am always looking for a tissue or towel to wipe my finger off. This type of application has never appealed to me, I would have preferred a lip balm in a tube or stick. Especially since just two months ago we received a pot lip balm as well. So with two strikes against it before I even tested it out I was seriously hoping that it was going to feel amazing on but it didn’t it felt waxy and a slight gritty texture. Now the scent of the oil did go away shortly after application, which is good.  So overall this balm will not be used when I already own things that are better.

Then we come to the final item of the box (excluding the extras) which is The Remix Timebomb watch. All I can say first off is wow how old do you think your demographic is? We are not teenagers in high school looking for gel watches that we can interchange with different colored bands. Oh and to up the kid factor it lights up?! This piece just seemed so off and not at all like they really took us consumers into thought when picking it out. I mean if you are going to make a box about the start of the new year and want it to be healthy, fresh & fitness related why would you pick this watch? Why not something that actually kept track of the time you spent working out or even a pedometer to track our steps. I would have to say that 90+% of the people signed up for this subscription I am sure have cell phones so we can check the time there; heck they even remind us when our appointments are. So the idea of using this to make sure that I am on time is so out of the ballpark. Honestly this is more than likely being donated to charity unless one of my friend’s kids want it.

Now a quick bit about the extras; in this box we got three different Think Thin bars I am looking forward to giving them a try, I have been trying to have these types of bars on hand throughout the day when I need a healthy filling snack. I just have a few already in my desk at work that I want to eat up before I give these a go.

The last item in the box was a gift certificate to Casetagram for $15 off of a personalized iPhone or iPad case. I did download the app so I could see what it was about, and the iPhone cases are $34.95 & the iPad cases run $54.95. While this idea seems cute and I wouldn’t mind having one but just to redeem this I still have to shell out $19.95 for a cell phone case and since I just shelled out money to purchase the current case on my phone I don’t see myself using this code any time soon. I have to admit I think it would have been better if they gave us a 50% off any case just so that we could experience their product. I think I would be more inclined to use it for a case for my iPad. These types of certificates are not uncommon in the Popsugar Must Have Boxes, and honestly I have run into trouble trying to redeem one in the past and the others required some form of additional payment to use so I have honestly given up trying to redeem any of them.

Here is the January box breakdown of the item’s cost:

Stability Ball – $39
Popbar Hot Chocolate – $6 ($3 per bar)
Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits – $2
Epicuren Lip Balm – $10
Remix Timebomb – $45

Using these totals my box value came to $102; if I include the extras the total becomes $123

Now I did only pay $35 for my box which basically is the cost of the stability ball alone, but the overall feel of the box to me makes this not worth what I paid for it. This really felt to me that at one point they received a bunch of different items and this was what was left over and they just had to get rid of them so they threw it in a box and called in January. It was like there was no thought process of how the items relate to each other as well as to us the consumer. They really missed the mark on this month, which added to the fact that the last three boxes have felt like misses as well it has me toying with cancelling my subscription. I don’t know if it is because the subscription has grown so much and they just cannot keep up with demand so they are slacking when it comes to the item selection or there just isn’t enough time to plan the boxes out because they need so many more. But they really need to step it up before they start loosing their subscribers. Even though I am considering stopping my subscription I do think I may stick it out through February’s box and see if it steps up a notch and then make my final decision. But to be honest this seems to be my response each month so I guess in one way they have me hooked because they keep getting my money.

What do you think of this subscription? Do you want to give it a try? Or are you signed up for a monthly box that you just absolutely love and want me to know about, leave a comment below and tell me what you think!! And if you want to give popsugar a try go to this link and use the code REFERFRIENDS to receive $5 off your first monthly box, this code is only valid for new subscribers.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way in regards to this subscription or review.

Weiss Deli & Bakery

 
2744 N. Green Valley Parkway
Henderson, NV 89014
 
702-454-0565
 

While at work the other day we were trying to decide on some place to go for lunch, because of course where you are going for lunch is something you discuss instead of actually working.  We wanted something different from our normal go to places; not that they aren’t good, they just get a little old after awhile.  So while searching that very popular review site that rhymes with help for places near my address I found Weiss Deli & Bakery.  This deli is located in a strip mall on the corner of Green Valley Parkway and Sunset, near Trader Joes.  Honestly I have been over here and have never noticed this place before.  We got there around 11:30 am and there were two other parties seated so we had our choice of seats; at first this made me weary because it is always weird to eat in a place that is empty.  A waitress at the end of the restaurant waved us to the back to take a seat in her section; because this is a seat yourself kind of place.  Even though I had been a bit skeptical with the lack of patrons that all shortly changed through our lunch as every booth and table except for the one behind us began to fill up as it got closer to noon.

They did have a wide range of deli favorites from corn beef sandwiches to matzo ball soup; this soup was very popular I would say because I saw about 5 bowls travel past our table to the ones around us.  I decided to go with something I have never had before which was called “Ceily’s Stack”.

©Tasting LV

The Ceily’s Stack is two potato latkes stuffed with braised brisket topped with Muenster & Provolone cheeses and then drizzled with brown gravy sauce and sour cream.  I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised on how good this actually was.  I mean it certainly isn’t the prettiest thing to look at but everything worked really well together.  The braised brisket was really the shining star, it was perfectly tender and juicy with a great beef flavor.  I would come and just have brisket and the brown sauce if it is on the menu.  The brown gravy sauce was exactly what you would expect from a good brown gravy it had great beef flavor and it really worked well on this dish.  They put a good amount of cheese on this dish which as a cheese lover is fabulous and it was melted perfectly.  Now the description says that this dish comes with sour cream which I did not receive and I do think that this would have added something to the dish, because after a few bites it needed either more gravy or something else to dip each bite into, and sour cream has that tangy bite already and if it was paired with the brisket and latkes it would have added another layer of flavor.  Now I am not sure if I am just not a potato latke person; because I have never had them before, but to me they were a little too soft and flavorless.  To me they got lost in each bite, I think I would have liked them more if they were a bit crunchy to give this dish some texture.  Towards the end of the dish I just pushed the latkes to the side and ate the brisket, cheese & gravy.  I would say that if you want something different and are a fan of the latke then give this one a shot, just be sure to ask for extra gravy.

Next up was the Veggie Melt:

©TastingLV

The veggie melt is served open faced or closed and is a roasted portabello mushroom, sauteed spinach, roasted peppers, tomato, caramelized onions and cheddar-jack cheese on top of grilled rye bread, this also came with a choice of fries, cold slaw, potato salad or fresh fruit.  My mother ordered it with the side of fruit and received two wedges of cantaloupe, a strawberry and two orange slices.  This was a lot better than most sides of fruits where you get a couple cubes of melon and some grapes.  I had a couple bites of this sandwich and it was also really good, granted at first look it looks like it was put in the oven just a little too long to melt the cheese, but it worked out.  Again they were not shy with the cheese so for the cheese lover this is a good place to eat.  The veggies were cooked well and the portabello was nice and meaty, not over roasted so it still maintained all the goodness of a protabello.  But for me I really enjoyed the spinach it wasn’t over cooked and melded really well with the flavors of of the rye bread, then you got the creamy texture of melted cheese.

As you can see the portions are surely on the large side, and what is shown above is nothing compared to some of the items I saw go past our table.  The sandwiches are piled high with meat, definitely not for the faint of heart.  I know that I will be back to try other things on the menu because the food was worth it.  I do think the service was ok, not really slow or fast either.  My soda was only refilled once and that was at the end of the meal while my mother’s ice tea was filled up a few times throughout lunch.  But in all honestly this is what I kind of expect when I go to a diner/deli the home town feel where they run on a different time than everything else around.  Our waitress was chatting with all her tables, a few of which I think might be regulars, which is a good sign, because obviously they are doing something right when they have regulars they actually recognize.  On the decor side of things it isn’t the nicest place, it is in an older building and it shows.  On the walls are artwork that if I am not mistaken were for sale by local artists, I take this as a nod to the art supply store right next door.  I do think in some way the fact that it isn’t all gussied up is what makes it feel like a true deli, something you would find on the corner in New York or Jersey a place that locals flock to because they know that the food and people are what it is truly all about.