The Fare Trade January Review

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The Fare Trade is a monthly subscription box which sends you high quality delicious ingredients as well as recipes by professional chefs. The cost is $65 a month. Each box usually contains 5 ingredients:

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As well as 2 candies, several recipe cards and info about the ingredients.

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This month the candies were caramels by Avenue Sweets. I was kind of excited about this month’s box. All the ingredients I like and the recipes seem doable. The chef is Fabian Gallardo. Here are pictures of each ingredient individually: IMG_0113

Dude, Sweet Chocolate One Night Stand Potion Chocolate Sauce $9.00

“Product Description – Using 100 anos tequila, One Night Stand Potion is a loose take on a Mexican coffee. Using agave, South American chocolate, Valrohna cocoa powder this sauce is shelf stable and dairy free. Never meant to be refrigerated and happiest as a chocolate martini with three parts vodka to one part sauce.”

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Guelaguetza Mole Coloradito Sauce $12.00

“Product Description – This is the same mole made famous by our chips at Guelaguetza’s Restaurant in L.A.. Pour it over a nice piece of chicken, beef, or come up with your own unique way of using it.”

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Diane’s Sweet Heat Mango Habanero Jam $10.00

“Product Description – A Mouthwatering Blend of sweet fruits, bell peppers and the spicy habanero made from all natural Ingredients. It is low sugar and has a medium heat Scoville Rating. Great served on bagels, crackers with cream cheese, meats, fish and poultry or on ice cream and other desserts. Made in Northern California.”

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Gustus Vitae Taste of California Gourmet Seasoning $8.00

“Product Description – A delightful composition of savory, zesty, and sweet notes, Taste of California is a rich, flavorful blend of the natural bounty of California. Dried strawberries lend beautiful color and a lingering sweetness, cilantro, thyme and tarragon add depth and warmth, the natural zest of lemon peels brings a refreshing sharpness, and a light sprinkle of Pacific sea salt binds all the flavors together. Apply the Taste of California to fish, chicken, vegetable and pork dishes prior to cooking, or sprinkle on to fresh salads for vibrant color and complexity of flavor. Taste of California works beautifully as a marinade or sauce too: mix in a generous helping of the blend into a cup of yogurt or coconut cream and savor the rich flavors of the Golden State!”

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La Fundidora Humo Salsa $6.99

“Product Description – A tomato-based red salsa with select chipotle morita and pasilla chiles. This is our most complex offering. The depth of taste and the undeniable allure of smoke make this an ideal salsa to pair with beef, heartier cuts of pork, stronger cheeses, beans and other legumes.”

The total value of ingredients is $46. But, that does not include the cost of shipping, curation, recipes, or video tutorials. This is a great box for anyone who would like to try new products, cooking techniques and professional recipes. I have not yet made any of the recipes from this month but I’m looking forward to trying them. For me this has been the best month yet. What do you think of The Fare Trade?

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January Citrus Lane Review

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Citrus Lane is a subscription box for kids ages 0-5. My box is for a 3 year old and contained 4 items.

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The big item this month was the Melissa and Doug stamp set.

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We already have a different Melissa & Doug stamp set so I wasn’t super excited about this one. Maybe my toddler will enjoy it a bit more when she’s older. Or I may gift it to someone. We’ll see. The next item I thought was kind of neat. It’s a pizza stacker. Here’s a picture of it in the bag and out of the bag.

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My toddler had fun pretending to take my order and building the pizza. The next item was a book “Little Hoot.”

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I really liked this book. It’s a funny book about an owl whose parents won’t let it go to bed. So amusing since my daughter is very resistent to bedtime. The last item was a Jammy Sammy Snack Bar.

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This bar was just ok. I probably wouldn’t buy it but it’s always fun to try different foods.

Verdict – I love Citrus Lane. They have a great selection of products and the price is very reasonable. I fully recommend them.

PopSugar Must Have January Review

There were a lot of good coupons floating about over the holidays and so I decided to sign up for a 3 month subscription to PopSugar. I had actually forgotten that I had even signed up until I got the notification about the shipment. It seems like mommy mush brain is so prominent these days, but that’s a subject for another time.

Here is a picture of what was in my January Box:

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There were a total of seven items which I thought was a pretty good amount.

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Jack & Lucy Pom Pom Hat $22 – My favorite item in the box is the hat. I love love the hat. I had needed a new hat and had been hoping someone would buy me one for Christmas but no one did. The hat is very soft and looks great on. My only complaint about it is that it is dry clean only. So I will have to be very careful to keep it away from my toddler (aka destructo-baby).

Manduka eQua Yoga Hand Towel $16 – This towel is very soft and will be nice to have once I kick my butt in gear and actually start working on my new years resolution to exercise. I know I’m supposed to start my new resolution New Years Day but what can I say. Next Monday will work just as well right. Or Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday. By Thursday for sure.

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KeepCup 12 oz Reusable Coffee Cup $26 – I think this cup is great. I am all for not using the disposable cups to drink my coffee in. Of course one of my other new years resolutions was to quit drinking coffee but we won’t talk about that.

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Nature Valley Protein Granola $4- This seems like it would be a good product except that it contains soy protein isolate which is a no go for me. So I gave this to a friend. Haven’t heard back yet as to the flavor but I’m sure it’s probably good.

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Empire Skin Jewel Tattoos $18 – At first I wasn’t that excited about faux tattoos until I read it can be used as nail art also. Once I have that figured out I’ll post pictures.

ToGoSpa Eyes $12 – This packet contains 3 under eye treatments. I haven’t tried them yet but I plan to very soon.

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Ultra Repair Cream $28 – This product is great for those of us with dry skin who live in cold climates. I put some of this on my hands right away. It’s a bit greasy for me and I’m not crazy about the slight medicine-y smell but it really works. After it had soaked in my hands were significantly softer. So it’s good stuff.

Verdict – For me this PopSugar box was a win. I will use everything in it except the Granola. It was a full of perfect choices for January and I’m extremely pleased at the total value of $136.

December Koala Crate Box Review & Coupon

Koala Crate is a monthly subscription box for kids ages 3-4. Each month they send you a box full of play-and-learn activities plus the  imagine! magazine, which was created in partnership with Highlights for Children. Each month has a different theme and this month was Safari. Here is what was in the box:

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The first activity involved making safari puppets. There were five different heads and five different bellies that my daughter could match to the puppet. She actually did really well matching them and each belly had a different texture which offered a sensory experience as well. After we matched up the puppets I hid them around the house for her to find. She had a lot of fun with this. She was so delighted when she found one. She’s not quite three and so I made them really easy to find. Here is a picture of the puppets.

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The Safari search came with a little checklist so each time she found a puppet we could check it off the checklist. I think she really enjoyed this game and especially that I played it with her.

The other game was a set of ten cards of each of the five safari animals with their heads and feet. The kids have the option of matching them up or playing memory with them. I left her on her own to do this and I thought I had a picture but I can’t find it. There is also a story in the Imagine magazine and other activities and games.

My three year old and I really enjoyed this box. I thought the theme was great and the activities were perfect for her age. I fully recommend this box. The cost of Koala Crate is $19.95 a month but if you follow this link you can get $10 off your first box. Koala Crate

December Escape Monthly Review

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Escape Monthly is a subscription box which sends monthly foods and lifestyle items from locations around the world. Each month is a different location. December’s theme was Christmas in Europe. There were 8 items in the box.

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Stash Christmas in Paris Herbal Tea – This was an ok tea. It has mint undertones but it’s nice that it’s herbal so you can drink it in the evening.

St. Dalfour Raspberry & Pomegranate Fruit Spread – This is still sitting in my refrigerator unopened. But I like that is has no added sugar and how wrong can you go with a fruit spread.

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These exact same two items are in the Try The World Paris Box.

Nougat de Montelimar – This little nougat bar is quite good and I liked it. But in Try The World you get two.

Chestnut Spread – I had tried this from my Try The World box and I thought it was a bit sweet and not really my thing so with this one I gifted it to a friend.

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Mini Madeleines French Sponge Cakes – These were good. They reminded me a little bit of a twinkie. I felt like there should be whipped cream inside.

Bisschopswijn Mulling Spices – I have not tried these yet but it says they can be steeped with 3 gallons of apple or cranberry juice. It also says made in Pella, Iowa USA.

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The last two items in the box were:

Rick Stevens European Christmas – I have not read this yet but I plan to at some point.

StivoTex Christmas Tree Ornament – I went ahead and put this on my tree but it’s not a super sturdy or spectacular ornament. At least though it says Made In Germany.

Verdict – I really want to like Escape Monthly but month after month their curation is just poor. The theme said Christmas in Europe but the items are centered mainly on France with only a couple of German items. Where’s the rest of Europe? Also it would feel better to me if it didn’t feature items Made in the USA. I can buy Stash Tea at my local supermarket. They’ve been around for over a year now and it seems their products are getting worse rather than better and I don’t feel like they always deliver on what they promise. I also would have liked to have seen some lotions or other non food items in this box. The main problem is that all of these feel like cheap items. They don’t have a luxury or authentic feel. I’ve been to Paris and this box didn’t remind me of it.

Fare Trade December Review

IMG_0034The Fare Trade is a monthly subscription box which seeks to deliver flavorful, hand-crafted ingredients to you each month. Each month features a different chef with video tutorials and recipes. The theme of this month was a retrospective on some of the year’s best ingredients. There were 5 ingredients in the box and 2 sample candies. There are always sample candies and it’s possible that I ate them before taking this picture.

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Drunken Monkey Jam – I had never heard of this before but apparently it is a jam with bananas, rum and a squeeze of lime. The recipe that came with it was for “Drunken Monkey Budino.” I had never heard of a budino before but it seems to be a pudding type dessert with a cookie crust. It sounds very very tasty and the recipe is easy enough for me to make so I may try it.

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Texas Grapefruit Shrub – This ingredient is essentially a cocktail mixer and the recipe for it is for a Blue cheese, Walnut, Grapefruit Vinaigrette Salad. I’m not a fan of grapefruit so I’m on the fence about keeping it or gifting it.

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Skillet Bacon Spread – I’m very intrigued by this ingredient. I have never heard of a bacon spread before but the included recipe is for Maple Bourbon Baked Apple Crumble which sounds divine. The included card says it can also be used on burgers, sandwiches or even toast.

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Unbound Pickled Okra – I don’t like pickles and I don’t like okra so I gifted this to a friend who was delighted. I probably should have at least tried it because the recipe included frying the okra in a beer batter and then dipping in aioli.

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Baia Pasta – This was in one of my other boxes. It’s a good pasta although a bit unusual. I had a tough time finding recipes for it and the included recipe involves crab and several other ingredients I am not familiar with such as pernod. What is Pernod?

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The box includes several recipe cards as well as an explanation of each ingredient and the different ways it could be used. I like the box this month. Most of the recipes seem doable and the ingredients aren’t too far out there. I only have one more month on my subscription and I am kind of sad my subscription is ending. But truthfully the majority of recipes and ingredients I’ve received I haven’t gotten around to trying yet. I think the box is more for an adventurous cook who likes to try new things and not so much a busy mom with a fussy midwestern meat & potatoes type husband.

December PopSugar Must Have Review

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PopSugar Must Have is a monthly subscription where each month they send a mix of items from beauty, fashion, food, fitness, home, etc. The cost is $39.95 a month but you can usually find good coupon codes and deals if you search around. This month’s box contained 6 items and was one of my favorite boxes ever.

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Subtle Luxury Speckled Metallic Scarf – Value $62 – I love love this scarf. Perfect for this time of year.

Sparkle Pop Jewelry Sydney Pendant Necklace – Value $42 – This is one of the few jewelry items from subscription boxes that I’ve actually liked. I haven’t worn it yet but I think it’s a great item.

Canvas Home Dauville Bowl in Platinum – Value $29 – I really like this. What a great little bowl for putting jewelry in.

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Smashbox Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer in Bordeaux – Value $24 – This lipstick color was a little bright for me but I have to say that it lasts and lasts. It stays on longer than any other lipstick I’ve ever used including lip pencils.

Knot & Bow Gift Package Tags – Value $4 – I’m not exactly sure why they chose blue gift tags for a December box. I would’ve preferred red or silver or something but I will use them eventually.

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Williams Sonoma Cupcake Mix in Vanilla Bean – Value $15 – I was skeptical about these because $15 for cupcake mix seemed just ridiculous but I made them and they were YUM. I mean seriously good. Like the best cupcakes I have ever had. The box only made about a dozen but even so I may have to buy more of these. LOVE LOVE LOVED the cupcakes!

Verdict – This box was a win for me. I liked every item in it.