Pop Sugar Must Have Summer Box

After the Winter “special edition” box epic fail, I swore I’d not do another damn Pop Sugar “Special” box but I fell for it.  I figured that it couldn’t be any worse than the one for winter… and at least there I was right.  It is better, but I’m still underwhelmed.  However, I should use most of these items, unlike the Winter box which I used only two of the items.  I am also thanking the stars that none of that ___Mint shit is in this box.  SO over Style/Jewelry etc. Mint crap.  Pop Sugar’s monthly boxes have also been decidedly meh as well lately.  I’m not sure what’s going on.  It seems like there was a mass exit because they are offering a 50% off discount on the next box, use code GET50 to take advantage of that!

Pop Sugar Must Have Summer Box

House of Harlow Sunglasses

The Must Have Summer Box included the following products for a grand total of $301.95.

House of Harlow 1960 Sunglasses in Tilda, silver $125
Sachin + Babi Baroque Print Foulard Sarong $50
Truffle Classic Clarity Pouch $38
S’well stainless steel bottle in Pink $35
Henri Bendel Lilac Scented Candle $30
Vitabath Fresh Citrus Twist Exfoliating Sugar Scrub $18
Starbucks VIA Refreshers Packets in Very Berry Hibiscus $5.95

Favorite of all of the items?  The Lilac candle.  Our local Bath & Body Works used to carry Henri Bendel and I LOVED it.  I’m still kicking myself for not buying this one perfume of his that was on discount when they were getting rid of the collection that I thought was OK when I first tried it but LOVED once it mellowed on the skin.  Something like Vanilla Rum or something?  Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed his scents and I’m really excited to try the candle and I love lilac.  So this is a huge win for me, I will be lighting that sucker ASAP.

Least favorite of all of the items?  The sunglasses.  I typically use prescription sunglasses anyway (well when mine aren’t broken that is) but even when I don’t I just haven’t ever got into the aviator thing.  Beyond that, when I first tried on these sunglasses to see how they’d look, all I could focus on was the center piece, which to me looked like a penis.  I know, most aren’t going to see it but once I saw it I couldn’t UNSEE it and now I keep seeing a penis on my forehead so I doubt I’ll ever wear these.  I saw other styles that people got out there and I’m jealous.

Overall though I’m OK with this box.  I’ll use the truffle thing this summer when reading my kindle outside instead of my ghetto ziplock bag that I typically use.  I’m definitely going to use the water bottle to fill up for work this summer so I have cold water to drink after a photo session in the hot sun.  We’ll see if it really DOES keep things cold for 24 hours (although boo to the no dishwasher!).  Sugar scrubs can always be used or gifted and I’ve already got a box of the VIA’s so I’ll definitely use them – even if they give me the jitters.  The sarong may not get used but I’ll toss it in with my suits with the INTENTION to use it this summer.  Ha.  I don’t think I’d go for another box (unless it’s a pumpkin themed one, which means I may fall into an autumn themed trap!) but I don’t hate this one like I did the winter box.

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Birchbox’s May Epic Fail

Birchbox was my first subscription box and I guess that’s why I still soldier on with it.  Or it’s the fact I accidentally signed up for a yearly sub and can’t get out of it no matter how much I want to now.  I, of course, realized this mistake 2 days after my card was charged for another year of Birchbox.  Crap.  The samples have been ho-hum to WTF and I don’t think I’ve used most of it in months.  Trust me, come November I’m done with this puppy.

I can deal with the random-as-hell samples but missing not one but TWO samples?  Oh hell no.  I’m pissed.  Really stupidly pissed.  I’ve sent off an email to customer service but I’m sure there’ll be the blame game heading my way.  In the meantime I’ll vent on my blog.

card from Birchbox with everything that was supposed to be included.

This is the description card that you get with each Birchbox.  I save this until last because I want to have the fun of going through the box first.

Product samples I did receive from Birchbox

This is what I pulled out of the box when opening my box.  I thought it was a joke and thought SURELY there would be something in the yellow puff box included in the box.

empty box in birchbox

No such luck. It was a big fat empty box.  Womp-womp.

So what am I missing?  I am missing a “Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face” and a “Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner.”  Am I crying buckets?  No.  However I’m still pissed.  I’ll update when/if I get a response from Birchbox.

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Pop Up Pantry Gone Wrong

So in September one of the included goodies in the Pop Sugar Must Have Box was a code for a free meal from Pop Up Pantry.  It intrigued me because sometimes I just don’t want to cook, I think pretty much anyone can relate to that.  There are days that you just can’t be bothered but still want something decent without coming from a box or going out of the house.  Ta-da, this would be fantastic!  I’m willing to pay for it and while the free deal got me into it, I was hoping it’d  be a hit so I could look forward to having at least one night off a month, maybe more?

Ha.

Ha.

BHWAHAHA HAAHAAA!

Seriously.  Not kidding.  It was bad.

Due to the overwhelming response, there wasn’t much of a selection and some of it just wasn’t up my alley.  I’m not the most adventurous eater so lots of these weren’t my idea of a good meal but the Heirloom Vegetable Pot Pie looked pretty interesting.  Confession: I mostly chose it because it had a pumpkin roll as the desert (or “roulade” as they called it).  I selected a date for delivery about a week or so off and promptly forgot about it until this box showed up at my house with lots of warnings about dry ice. I opened the box and was mystified with how the dry ice bag got a HUGE hole ripped in the bag and the dry ice floating around freely in the box.  Greaaaat.  I then froze everything except the pumpkin roll because I wanted that shit.  Now.

The rest of it would wait a few weeks until I was home to make it because I went to Canada for a week.

pop up pantry's pot pie

What I started the dinner with.

I got out all of the stuff and started the dinner per the instructions they emailed to me because they forgot to put them in the box.  Which is probably good since the dry ice was floating around in the box and I kept having “I’m melting!” visions in my head as I was grabbing things out anyways.

broken pastry puffs

I start out preheating the oven and find that the puffed pastry shells are mostly broken. Grrr-eat.  I figure they’ll still taste the same but it made me really sad to see how beat up they were.

boiling filling in a bag

Then I get out the pot pie filling and start to wonder if things are not going to end up so great for me.  The pictured pot pie had a dark base to it, almost beef looking.  This looked pretty yellow/white and I was worried this meant there was going to be an onion fest waiting for me… and I’m allergic to onions.  You boil the bag of frozen filling for about 30 minutes which SOUNDS fairly easy but really is kind of a pain.  I can’t tell you how many times I got burned by water popping from the boil as I used the tongs to turn and mush the stuff around.  Gah.

bean salad melting

While the filling is boiling the cold bean salad is defrosting in a bowl of water NOT boiling.  This was much easier to handle.  And while the instructions didn’t mention it, I felt it was probably a good idea to take the paper labels off in case they created a mess.

puffed pastry mess

After about a half hour my meal was about to be ready and I was still holding out hope to be wowed.  Then I saw this and it made me sad.  The small broken bits didn’t cook like the bigger bits.  I think had the pastry been whole it would have been awesome but not whole = not as awesome.  Then I pulled out the filling, burning myself again in the process (cutting a boiling hot bag isn’t as easy as it sounds) and also dumped the bean salad… onto hubs plate because that shit looked nasty.  I was sad to see how much onions were in the pot pie filling so hubs got the majority of that as well and I kept a small bit for myself and topped it all off with the chunk o puffs.

Heirloom Vegetable Pot Pie Pop Up Pantry Review

This is what my finished pot pie looked like, minus that bean salad scary stuff.  The pastry was good, the rest was… meh.  VERY oniony and I believe the base was some onion type gravy stuff.  Which meant I couldn’t eat much of it so I guess I’m glad it wasn’t that good.  To me, it was kind of bland and just didn’t have a lot of flavor.  The veggies were OK but… I was NOT wowed.  I was expecting the hubs to be wowed, especially since our palates are totally different, but he didn’t like it either.  At the end of the meal he said, “not again.  Ever.”  He also said the bean salad was awful.  He wouldn’t eat it and he’ll pretty  much eat anything.  He ate the pot pie but definitely was not a fan.

So here’s the final thoughts:

Pop Up Pantry:  Not worth the money you would spend per month for meals like the one I got.  Has potential but I’m not enough of a foodie to enjoy.

Heirloom Pot Pie:  Bland, broken and blah.

Bean Salad:  Ick.

Pumpkin Cranberry Roulade:  YUM.  This I would order again on its own.  THAT was good.

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Pop Sugar Must Have Box: October

It’s another busy month for me, so I fail at blogging epically.  Whoops!  I’ve been what seems like around the world this month with a wedding, lots of portrait sessions and a trip to Canada and back.  Whew!  October isn’t done yet and I hear we’re ending it with a snowstorm.  Cue the whining from all!  😉

I have been mad stalking my shipment of this month’s Pop Sugar Must Have Box after the delightful surprise last month.  I was kind of worried because I heard some complainers saying this one stunk compared to last months but I was very happy with mine when I opened it (I avoided spoilers because I’m weird like that).  I actually may have wooped a little and done a jig.  While I realize that the Pop Sugar Must Have Box is a bit more than most boxes at $40 or so a month (use REFER5 for $5 off!) I feel OK with it since I LIKE everything in it for two months in a row.  Lately with Birchbox, I’ve been lucky to like even one thing in it.  I keep meaning to pull the plug but I wanted to find something to fill its place.  I’ve also signed up for Ipsy and so far I love it more than Birchbox so I may finally be kicking that habit. I may have added a few other boxes in my quest like the Julibox (COCKTAILS!!), Glossybox and Julep Maven.  I’ll be adding those to the reviews now that I have time to actually breathe with my job (well, when I get them).  I also plan to start throwing in more book reviews!  🙂  Yes, this blog is a mixed bag, just like me.  Ha!

Back to the Must Have box… while it doesn’t have the high value that last month’s had, it’s still awesome and I loved it a lot.

Pop Sugar Must Have Box October

The October box included the following products for a total value of $121.44 (listed in order of excitement)

J.K. Rowling – The Casual Vacancy Hardback Book $35
OPI Pink of Hearts 2012  $14.95
Red Flower Japanese Peony Petal Topped Candle $38
Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy 3 oz Shampoo & Conditioner $3
Dylan’s Candy Bar Gummy Bears $4
Pirates Booty Aged White Cheddar $1.50
Crescent Moon ExerSocks $24.99

I’m a huge reader and although I’ve not read Harry Potter (yes I know), I am excited somewhat to read this new book by JK Rowling.  Since it’s free, I’m definitely giving it a whirl.  I’m OPI-obsessed so the Pink of Hearts is fantastic and straight up my alley, and since I didn’t have to donate to the Komen fund (I support cancer charities, just not Komen) I’m happy to be given it.  The candle smells AMAZING but I definitely wouldn’t buy it at near $40 for that small of a candle!  The shampoo & conditioner is perfect for me since I have long and thick hair – it’s NEVER fun to get the tiny samples b/c I need more than that to wash my hair!  The gummy bears look divine shall  be munching on those during trick or treat!) and the Pirates Booty does too.  The socks are… socks.  I’ll wear them but probably not buy them again.  Unless they totally wow me breathless.  I’ll come back and update with reviews of each items as I use them 🙂

 

 

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Titanic 3D Review

 

I just got home from screening Titanic 3D and all I have to say is WOW.

I am a huge Titanic fan.  Back in the day I had one of the most popular fansites (Collide With Destiny) and still contribute to Back to Titanic which my friend still runs.  I honestly wasn’t sure going in how I would feel about it.  Would things change?  There were rampant rumors that things had been edited.  I knew he wouldn’t mess with the storyline too much but still… Then there is the 3D.  Generally, I’ve never been a big fan.  I end up with a headache and nothing really wows me.  I was excited to see one of my all-time favorite movies return to the big screen but I was apprehensive about the treatment of it.

I shouldn’t have worried.

I was one of the lucky ones that managed to snag a pass for the Valentine’s Day screening online a couple weeks ago.  The site was terrible and was totally bogged down but I persevered and secured my tickets.  Keep in mind they were free which was even more awesome!  You could have two people per person which was even better.  The night before I saw online that they were expecting a full house and I was worried that our projected arrival of around an hour before may be cutting it too close but there wasn’t anything I could really do.  We walked into the theater and the local radio stations were there doing giveaways and prizes.  When walking into the theater the movie was in, they handed you a boarding pass (to get in and out), a voucher for a drink/popcorn and Titanic themed 3D glasses.  Every 50th person got selected to have a sketch done by an artist.  There was a string band playing at the front of the theater and people were dressed up in Titanic like costumes.  On the way out of the theater we were each handed a Titanic themed swag bag with a Titanic t-shirt, a mini-poster with some coupons in it.  It was pretty impressive!

The movie itself was awesome. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it on the big screen (the last time may have been Valentine’s Day 1998) and I forgot how much more amazing it is to see at that size. Since almost everything is in 3D there were lots of bits and pieces that were new or new-to-me. I found myself watching the scenes that were going on behind the main scenes more than the actual storyline. I found myself captivated by things and people that would have originally been blocked/partially obscured by the original 2D shot. It was just awesome to see.  I wish I could sit and go over every awesome scene that was almost new-to-me with the 3D but I’ll stick to the highlights.

The scene that wowed me the most is probably one that others wouldn’t have paid attention to but the lunch scene was done amazingly well. The beams of light shooting through the cafe were amazing and the breaks in the light when people walked through the beam were what sold it. Maybe since I am a photographer the light grabbed me the most but regardless it was a splendid scene!  Much of the rest of the scenes were similar – just enough 3D to make you say, “wow” quietly to yourself but nothing that made you duck and cover.  I will say that the more crowded the scene, the harder it was to focus as things got blurry.

The sinking was just was amazing as one would think it would be. It’s a whole new dimension with the 3D added – although I as prior in the movie when things got moving often things got a bit blurry.  Still, it really made you feel like you were right there with them – especially when you’d be in the POV from the water looking at the ship. You also got more of a feel for the depth of the water as things were submersing into the water and being 3D you could gauge JUST how deep the water was and how fast it was coming at you.  I think the most impressive shot in the sinking scene though was the boat returning at the end. You really felt like you were in the water with the bodies. Creepy and cool.

I definitely give this two thumbs up! I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it not being a normal fan of 3D but I loved it.  I can’t wait until the full release so I can see it again.  I may give the IMAX a whirl this time to see what the difference would be between that and the RealD 3D.

P.S.:  The ONLY downside to the entire experience was this group of morons in front of us.  There was about 8 or so people that all came together.  After the movie started the Mom handed out bags of chips so for the first portion of the movie I couldn’t see the bottom of the screen because the kid in front of me had the  bag raised above her head eating the chips out of it like it was a cup.  Then after that finally stopped the two girls on the end (caddy corner to me) were texting each other for the whole movie.  It was so.rude.  I haven’t been to a theater in a while and I just wanted to smack the kids and their Mom.  I’m still not sure how she managed to get that many tickets since the max was 2 but beyond that, tell your kid to put the damn cell phone away in the theater.  You don’t need to sit and text through the whole movie.  The bright screen was so distracting and I know I sound like a grump but there you have it.  I was so excited for this and while it didn’t ruin the experience it was definitely annoying.

P.P.S: PLEASE VOTE FOR ME AS TITANIC’S BIGGEST FAN!  That would make me the QUEEN of the world!  ha!

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