subscription boxes galore

One of the biggest new trends I have heard more and more about over this past year is subscription boxes. You can find boxes like this ranging from clothing, to beauty products, to food, and so much more. I’ve written about the subscription pet box that I get for my dog each month but I decided to try a few boxes I’ve heard about through others that had products for me!

Here are the couple that I signed up for and tried out this past month:

  1. Birchbox
  2. LoveWithFood

 

I heard about both of these either through other bloggers that I follow on WordPress and Instagram! I took pictures of each box and can tell you a little bit about what to expect from each one πŸ™‚

Birchbox

This subscription is a monthly box that is centered around beauty products (mainly hair products and makeup). These are smaller boxes that are filled with sample sizes of a variety of products that are sent to you based on a beauty profile that you fill out when signing up. They ask you questions such as the type of hair you have (straight/wavy/curly, long/short,etc) or your skin tone and type (dry, oily, combination). They take these responses and help to build a box that works for you and products that will achieve what you’re looking for.

I am definitely far from the world’s most knowledgeable person when it comes to hair products and makeup. I tend to keep things pretty simple and consistent so I can get really overwhelmed in the store when I am looking for new things to try. I liked that this box allowed me to try small quantities of something without having to commit to such a large size so that I can determine whether or not I like it and want to continue using it.

Due to the timing of when I signed up to receive my box I actually got the box for both February and March which was great! In the picture above you can see the sizes of the products. I received some sample eyeshadow, lipstick, mascara for makeup between the two. For hair samples I got some leave in conditioner and hair oil samples. I also got a perfume sample and some great makeup primer and moisturizer samples.

Another benefit of Birchbox is that if you love something (or more than one thing!!) out of the boxes you receive each month you can go on their website and order a full size version of that product and have it sent to your house! This way if there is something you love you can continue to use it πŸ™‚ If you’re someone like me who likes to try new things but doesn’t want to commit to a big size or spend a lot of money before you know you like something I definitely recommend trying this out. Head to their website here for more info on pricing!

LoveWithFood

If any of you are guilty of snacking (pretty frequently….) like me πŸ˜€ then this would be a great option for you! I have recently gotten better at choosing healthier things to snack on but sometimes portions were still an issue for me. This LoveWithFood subscription box sends you a box right to your door filled (and I mean STUFFED full) with individual serving/smaller size snacks to try. Almost everything in the box I got last month was something I had never tried before and I loved all of it!!

The snacks are all healthy and designed to help you stay mindful of what you are eating between meals. Many of the things that they sent were a little more “out there” then what I would choose at the store but when I gave them all a try I was pleasantly surprised. I can be guilty of thinking in my mind that something sounds too healthy to taste good but in this case they were all healthy options that tasted great! It made it so easy in the morning to reach in to the box and grab a new snack or two to throw in my purse to bring to work for my morning and afternoon breaks to get my brain fueled again. Now I can also be on the lookout for some of my favorite things from the boxes at the store so I can buy them regularly!

Lastly, probably the best reason to give LoveWithFood a try for a month is that with each box you order LoveWithFood donates food to food banks across the country to help in the fight against childhood hunger ❀ If you want to learn more or sign up yourself head on over here and check it out!

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Thanks so much for reading! I hope to check out some more subscription boxes over the next few months that I can share with all of you. There are so many to choose from!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice #birchbox #lovewithfood

xoxo Jen

 

apps on my mind

Hello everyone! I am back from another short hiatus….I was in Washington D.C. this past week for grad school and we had a non-stop week so I apologize that I wasn’t able to write! I will have a post coming soon with some pictures and sharing some memories from my trip πŸ™‚

I wanted to give you a shorter post on some apps that I have been loving lately!! I’m talking technology apps on your phone and not appetizers….just to clear that up for everyone (hahah!) If you were hungry when you clicked on this link you might have thought otherwise!

Here are three apps from a few different categories that I think you should all check out:

  1. AcornsΒ Image result for acorns app

Acorns is an app that I discovered while reading one of my business magazines. Acorns is a financial app that helps you engage in small scale amounts of savings each day without having to lift a finger…and the set up is really easy!

Essentially, what Acorns does is takes each transaction that you make with a debit card/checking account and rounds it to the nearest dollar. Any cents that are used in the rounding process to the next dollar are taken and automatically invested in penny stocks. You can choose the amount of risk you want to take with your investments when you set your account up but you don’t have to do any work…the app does it for you.

For example: if tomorrow morning you go to get coffee somewhere on your way to work and you use your debit card. Let’s say your total comes to $4.56. If you have Acorns set up on your phone and hooked up to your debit card/checking account, then 44 cents will automatically be taken from your checking account and invested in the stock market in penny stocks.

This is a great way to make small investments without feeling the hurt or hit of having to deposit large amounts of money into a retirement account or other financial vehicle. Taking 500 dollars and putting it somewhere hurts a lot more than cents on the dollar each day that you won’t even realize but can add up over time! You can monitor the performance of your deposits in the app and you can also choose to withdraw money out of the app and have it sent back to your checking account.

Follow this link to read more about the app before downloading

Image result for acorns app

  1. SheReadsTruth

This app is something I learned about from a friend I worked with in college and I have used it ever since. It is a daily devotional app that is geared towards women and the devotionals are written by other women! When I first started using the app I decided to begin with the “Bible in a Year” plan. This breaks the bible into 365 daily chunks and once you’ve reached the next year you’ve finished the whole bible! It can be a lot of reading some days but they break everything up for you.

Bible in a Year is just one of the many plans that you can choose to follow on the app. Some of the plans are free to download (and the app itself is free!) but some of the plans cost a small fee. Many of the plans will take you through a specific book of the bible. Those plans have a section of scripture reading each day as well as a short devotional and reflection to read afterwards. They also give you the ability to comment and discuss the readings through the app with other users which can be a great source of community.

Currently, I am doing the “Lent 2017: You Are Mine” plan and it has been so great so far. The Lenten season can be a great time for reflection and review on your life and the daily readings and devotionals have helped me to stay on track this season.

I highly recommend this app for everyone, especially those of you that feel extra busy. The devotional can take me 10 minutes on average each day which is a perfect amount of time to slow down and spend some time with the word. I usually do this right away in the morning or right before I go to bed so that I am not distracted by other things in the middle of the day. My favorite part of the app is the daily photos that they post at the end of each devotional section. The imagery they use is beautiful and you can save all of the photos to your phone and share them! I love to save my favorite and set them as my lock screen on my phone so that I see them often throughout the day.

Follow the link here πŸ™‚

Image result for shereadstruthΒ Image result for shereadstruth

 

3. Calm

Image result for calm app

Lastly, the Calm app is an app to help with mindfulness, improved sleep, and general stress relief. I haven’t been using the app for very long but I already really enjoy it! My favorite thing to do is to listen to the “sleep stories” when I lay down at night. Historically I haven’t had much trouble falling asleep at night, but over the last few months I have been getting less and less good rest. A friend recommended this app to me and I love the soothing voices and sounds. The idea behind the sleep stories is that it should remind us of when we were children and how we loved being told a story before or as we fell asleep at night. I usually find myself drifting to sleep before they story even ends!

You can also use the app to gear you towards becoming more mindful if that is your ultimate goal. I have lots to learn about this app and I’m sure that I will find more aspects of it that I choose to use down the road!

Check out more about the app here


Speaking of sleep….after being gone from work and “real life” for a week I’m going to get ready for bed so that I’m well rested and ready to tackle a new week being back in my regular routine! Have a great week, everyone πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for reading,

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

spring wreath DIY

I know that the weather couldn’t feel any farther from it at the moment BUT spring is coming….and hopefully sooner than later πŸ™‚ Last weekend I was thinking about how it had been quite awhile since I took on a craft project and so I took a trip to Michaels to get some inspiration and decide what I would like to make.

When I walked in and admired all of the fake flowers I was reminded that I had been thinking about how I don’t own a wreath for my front door that has a spring/summer type look to it. Since I have made Christmas and ornament wreaths in the past I figured I could tackle a similar project while making one that would fit for this time of year.

I am really happy with the finished project and I was also really pleased at how easy and quick this project was to complete! Instead of a 3D foam material wreath ring like I’ve used in the past I decided to buy a flat wood ring that is normally used for floral wreaths. They are very inexpensive and I found it really easy to work with.

When I was looking around for ideas of materials to use on the wreath I found some coral and lime flowers that I loved. Their size was simple and they were only 2 dollars for a pack of 5! For the background layer of the wreath I chose a burlap that was layered with lace. I knew burlap would hold up but also be easy to wrap and cut. I also was attracted to it because of the feminine look that the lace brings to a rough fabric. I also went with a roll of twine and bought a couple of packs of pastel Easter eggs. I thought I would end up incorporating them but when I finished with the burlap and flowers I decided I liked the simplicity and decided to skip the eggs and return them. Everything I bought for the wreath ended up being less than 20 dollars which is also a HUGE score. Sometimes projects can get expensive quickly but this one was easy to keep under control πŸ™‚

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My main tool in this project was my hot glue gun which is a MUST for all of you who are in to doing projects of your own. I bought a cordless one at Michaels that runs off of batteries and love not being confined to the outlet because let’s be honest….most of the hot glue gun cords are like 6 inches long!!

To begin I cut a long piece of burlap and glued one end to the wreath form and then began to wrap it tightly. I kept going and then glued the other end down once everything was pulled tight and I liked the way it looked from the front. I did the wreath with about 5 different big pieces of burlap. By cutting big pieces and wrapping them separately without the whole roll it was easier to control and keep it tight by gluing multiple times.

Then, I removed the flowers from their packaging and laid them out around the wreath to determine my spacing. Once I liked the way they were laying I glued the back of each of them and held down on the burlap for a good 10-20 second on each. I also wrapped the twist tie ends around the wreath to hide them in the back.

Lastly, I cut a long piece of twine and glued it to the bottom of the wreath in a few different spots. Then to achieve the messy look I wanted I curled some of the ends with my scissors and then glued other parts of the end up on the burlap to create a “nest” look. I finshed off the wreath with these pretty bronze geometric shaped stickers I found in one of the craft aisles at Target. I like that they have a shine to them and when the wreath is hanging on my door and the sun is shining on it then it will create a pretty metallic glint!

IMG_2348

As I mentioned earlier, I love the way the final product turned out and have been happy to have it on my door all week even though the weather feels like winter again. This is a great project to try if you aren’t looking for something difficult and it’s also something that is really affordable! Let’s hope that by me having this out on my door already it will convince the weather to warm up so we can get some flowers and sunshine soon πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for reading!!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

minneapolis food diary

Happy Sunday, friends!

Something that has been pretty absent from my blog is food…which is odd since it is definitely one of my favorite things to talk about πŸ™‚ I am really not a great cook…but I always appreciate and enjoy a great meal. My parents are both awesome cooks and my extended family is filled with some seriously skilled ones too. In other words, I bet get moving if I want to keep up with family and contribute something to the table at holidays that is actually edible!!!

One of my favorite things about traveling to different cities is trying new and different food. I am pretty adventurous with my food and am usually willing to try most things at least once. Two weekends ago I took a trip down to the twin cities to visit my brother who goes to school at the U of M. I LOVE going to MSP for different reasons but I was extra excited to try some fun new food because my brother always sends me pictures of all of the great things he gets to eat.

My brother lives right in “Dinkytown” which is essentially the village or town that is the center of campus for U of M students filled with entertainment, shopping, and lots of student housing. He lives in a newer apartment building that has a pizza place on the ground level floor. He sends me snapchats ALL the time of the pizza he eats there and it always looks amazing. I suggested when we arrived on Saturday afternoon that we have a slice of pizza when we stop to pick him up so I could taste it for myself!. The shop is called Andrea Pizza. The slices are about as big as your face and they have everything from classic slices (pepperoni, sausage) to more interesting (mac and cheese, a breakfast “egg and hashbrown” style slices, and more!). I decided to go the mac and cheese route for something and I wasn’t disappointed! If you’re ever in Dinkytown and want to check it out yourself I definitely recommend. Here is their website for more details

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Sunday morning we had a great morning meeting up with some of our extended family. My aunt and uncle from Rochester and their two sons who both live in the cities! We met at Hell’s Kitchen for brunch. I have made a couple of trips to Hell’s Kitchen and was never disappointed. Their menu is unique and they have BOMB option for breakfast/brunch. Even though I went in that morning expecting to order breakfast food I changed my mind and decided to order a burger that sounded too good to pass up: The Peanut Butter Bacon BugerI had had it the first time I visited Hell’s Kitchen and never forgot it. I, like many of you I imagine, LOVE peanut butter and at Hell’s Kitchen they know what they are doing with their homemade peanut butter. It has the perfect texture and such a sweet honey flavor. I wasn’t disappointed and I topped off my meal with a great bloody mary (and a Bud Light chaser….classic). All of my other family members ordered meals that looked delicious too. I would have ordered everything if I could!

A few other notes to add: they have a 35 foot long build-your-own Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar on the weekends. We didn’t participate but it looked like quite the adventure for any of you who would be interested. Also, during my first visit to Hell’s Kitchen, they had a great live folk music band playing on the stage who made the experience even better. There wasn’t any music this time but also something to watch for ahead of time if you’re planning a visit!

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On our last night in town we decided to take a break from sit down restaurants and make a trip to the Whole Foods a few blocks from where we were staying to dish up from their hot and cold food bars. Each time I have visited Whole Foods in the past I have always admired the salad bar/hot food bar and wished I could dish up and take some with me but have never had the chance! When my dream came true 2 weekends ago I was NOT disappointed. Everything I decided to dish up and take with me back to the hotel to eat for supper was so delicious. I took my time looking at all of my options and tried to fill my container with small amounts of lots of different things so I could try mostly everything I was interested in. The cold salads I had and the hush puppies (OH MY GOSH) were my favorites. The flavors were so strong and clean and it filled me up. I love to mix corn and black beans together so I was happy to throw them both in with the salads I tried. I also took a scoop of rosemary seasoned chicken that was to die for mixed with bacon and the corn/beans.

Not pictured: the chocolate peanut butter brownie bar that I got from the bakery. After I finished my container of food I couldn’t even wait long enough to take a picture before I tried it because it looked so unreal. It tasted even better than I thought it would and I enjoyed every last bite. Maybe in the future I would be lucky enough to live somewhere close to a Whole Foods where I could take advantage of the salad bar for supper or lunch to bring to work!

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All in all, our trip was a big success to spend time with family AND experience some awesome new food. I am excited for my next visit where I can try even more new places! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen