The Homegrown Collective: August 2014

In the spirit of trying out new things, I decided to purchase a couple months of The Homegrown Collective.

“The Homegrown Collective is an invitation to be a part of the growing overall collective of people who are looking to shift their lifestyle to a more local, self-sustaining, and eco-conscious way of living.”

And what’s included in their monthly boxes?

“A blend of seasonally appropriate, professionally curated and exclusive consumer items. We like items that are unique, useful, practical and exciting. In our efforts to promote self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship and sustainability…Each product will reflect the season you receive it. It will be meaningful and useful. One month you may receive the ingredients for a home-brewed hard cider to add you your Holiday season. Another month’s box may include the missing items to make a secret Native American cold remedy just in time for flu season. Every item will have a purpose and tie back to our goals of helping our Members become a little bit greener and self-sufficient. Aesthetically, some have coined it, ” Pinterest in a box”.

Box

Now I love me some Pinterest. Like I have pinterest boards for everything (seriously everything), so it was the whole “Pinterest in a Box” that piqued my interest. The thing is I’m crafty and I like a challenge, but I’m not uber granola hipster.  I also tend to get crazy busy with writing, my full time job and my hobbies so a DIY eco-friendly sub was a bit of a risk for me, but I opted to give it a chance.

I started off my subscription in August and yes, I know it’s November now. But here’s the thing. I wanted to actually make the stuff in the DIY box so I could give you a real review. It took me awhile, cause you know, stuff.
Open Box 2Open Box 1  Open Box 3

So my first box theme is: “DIY Summer Essential Home Detox Kit
Sheets

It includes natural items to make your own:

Air Freshener
Air Freshener

Oil Diffuser
Diffuser

Soy Candles
Candle Kit

So it looked like all the projects circled around using essential oils for home freshening. I actually really liked all the projects included and was excited to try them. The one small part that turned me off was that the literature repeatedly talked about how awful chemicals were and all that buzz word nonsense. Not a specific chemical mind you, just “chemicals”. Chemicals are in everything, including us. They are not inherently bad just for being chemicals. I really wished they’d keep the inaccurate propaganda out of my fun DIY box. It put a bit of a downer on what was otherwise a fun box.

Now to do the projects.

I bribed asked my boyfriend to help me since some of these involved stuff like microwaving wax and if you leave me alone for things like that, there is no telling what might end up on fire.

We start with the air freshener. It’s just dropping some essential oil into water that you put in a spray bottle. We followed the directions and you couldn’t smell a thing when you sprayed it. I even tripled the amount of oil. Nada. I ended up just dumping the air freshener later and repurposed the bottle for watering my little succulent garden. The sprayer was good quality and a nice shape and size. I may try it out again with even more oil and see if that makes a difference.
Oils

We moved onto the diffuser. This one was a little bit of a cheat since it required you to supply your own Safflower oil. Shockingly, I actually had some on hand from a Chocolate Beet Cake I’d made (no seriously, I’m really not that hipster). The glass vessel they supplied was good quality and I’m assuming you could use a different one of your choosing. I put this one in my living room.  It’s been awhile and I still don’t smell much. It is cute though and who knows maybe it is absorbing more odors than I realize.
Diffuser #2

I saved the most complicated for last. The soy candles. This is the project where I needed adult supervision since melting things in the microwave is required. It took a lot of babysitting and watching but the candles actually turned out great. The trickiest part was making sure the wick stood up straight while the candle hardened. And from giving them a sniff it actually smelled like the essential oils I added. Success! I’m not sure I’d make my own again since it seems like a ton of work for something I can get inexpensively already made, but the kit certainly delivered a nice product.
Melted Wax Candle #2

OVERALL
Full Box

Verdict: Like

While the projects weren’t all super successful for me, I really liked the idea behind the kit and I can certainly use the essential oils included for different projects. The materials in the kit were high quality and nicely packaged.  I do think that they should have included the safflower oil required for the diffuser.

I had a coupon code for my first box so I paid $36 total (including shipping)and with the discount I really thought it was a great value. I nabbed one more box to review for you all so we’ll see how my next pinterest-in-a-box turns out.

Do you like DIY projects? If so which ones?

THE BACKSTORY
The Homegrown Collective
Month to Month: $39 + $9 Shipping
3 Months: $105 + $9/month Shipping
6 months: $234 + Free Shipping
1 Year: $429 (1 free month) + Free Shipping

Fair Ivy Mystery Box: June 2014

So I’ve been procrastinating on this review because I am in denial that my Fair Ivy subscription is coming to end. This is the last box for Fair Ivy while they go on hiatus until next year when they’ll be back with awesome new artists and finds. In the meantime, I’ll have to comfort myself with trying new boxes and with this last, very special surprise.

Box

I think this is one of my favorite wrapping jobs I’ve received. TingLisa really did a wonderful job of packaging this so it feels like a special gift just for me. Now what’s inside the lovely bag?
Open

A gorgeous printed scarf!
Scarf 1
Perfect spring/summer floral print scarf
(Retail: $20.00)
Verdict: Love!

Cards
The little card inside describes the item in a completely cheerful, (if not always grammatically correct) way…
This month I am very excited to present my newest product —the Cutest Floral Print Scarf. This light weight scarf is super soft! It hugs your neck with the gentlest touch and incredible amount of happiness. I chose this floral print because it is perfect for warmer sunny days, and I designed the scarf wide enough to be wore as a shawl and long enough to tie around your neck twice as an infinity scarf, to create that versatility look.”

Scarf #2
I would have said that labeling something “the Cutest” with a capital C would be a gamble, but TingLisa is not lying. And who doesn’t want something to hug your neck with an “incredible amount of happiness”. This scarf is adorable and super soft. The size makes it very versatile and it’s perfect for traveling when you might get stuck in a crazy cold plane or bus. This is becoming a staple in my work bag as my go to item for the parts of my commute that have really chilly air conditioning. I also adore the print TingLisa chose as it has a vintage fabric vibe.

Replacing my Fair Ivy box in my line up (but not my heart) starting August, will be The Homegrown Collective. This sub describes itself as “Receive seasonally appropriate, professionally curated products that deliver the satisfaction of living a more self-sufficient & sustainable lifestyle to your doorstep each month.”

So I may be getting myself a bit too far into hipster territory with all this DIY and sustainability, but it will be fun to step a little outside  my comfort zone . Plus, if it’s weird enough, there’s hilarity in it  for you. It’s a win-win, really.


THE BACKSTORY

 

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

There are now three exciting subscription options:

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month. (This option will ship in the US & Canada).
Or

The Mystery at $20.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 handmade mystery gift every month

Or

The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry). (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose a duet subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

April Blog Hop: Spring Picks!

I’m part of a fabulous Beauty & Fashion bloggers group on Facebook and each month they host a blog hop where we all post about the same topic on the 1st of the month.   April’s topic is our Spring Product Picks.

I’ve decided to feature items that I’ve purchased for myself for Spring or that I intend to purchase soon.  I’ve come up with a bunch of fun categories and chosen one item for each one.

Box Pick:
The Homegrown Collective
(Retail: $39 per month/$9.00 shipping)
So you know I had to start this list with a subscription box pick.  Is it me or does the phrase “homegrown collective” make you picture a Bearded Hipster in skinny jeans saying “resistance is futile, you will be assimilated”?  So this subscription has been called “pinterest in a box” and features home items that help you be more self-sufficient and ecologically mindful.   The boxes are seasonal and feature various themes.  A few past boxes include: “DIY Detox in a Box”, “Superfoods and Antioxidants”, and “Eco Laundry”.  Now springtime puts me in spring cleaning mode.  I’ve got plans to overhaul my whole house including my kitchen.  This subscription seems like a great way to make my home a little more healthy and finally complete some of those DIY pinterest pins I keep accumulating and promising to do “someday”.  I haven’t ordered this yet, as it’s going to be my reward once I have finished spring cleaning my apartment.  (Thus forcing me to actually finish spring cleaning my apartment).

Beauty:BalmRosebud Smith’s Lip Balm, Rose and Mandarin, 0.8 Ounce
(Retail: $6.00)
I’m a lip balm junkie and I try tons of brands and always come back to the Rosebud salve.  They are super moisturizing, smell great and the retro packaging is adorable.  I discovered they came out with a Mandarin orange flavor and I adore it.  I keep it by my beside at night and apply it right before I got sleep.

Makeup:
Stila Closed Stila Open Swatch
Stila “In the Know” Eyeshadow Palette
(Retail: $39.00)
I have a difficult time finding neutral eyeshadows that I love.  I have pink undertones and browns and golds can go too warm and turn orange.  Because I’m pale, purple tones can look like big old bruises.  I saw swatches of this online and thought I’d take a gamble and see if they’d work for me.  I think they work really well with my skin tone and I adore the eyeliner included.  I can’t wait to use them for some new spring looks.

Hair:
Hair Powder
Lulu Organics® Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder
(Retail: $30.00)
I have a dry scalp, which means I tend to get oily roots.  The problem is when you wash too frequently you exacerbate the dry scalp issue, so I try to wash my hair every other day.  I’ve been searching for a dry shampoo to help keep the oil away on my off days.  This powder smells amazing and of all the dry shampoos I’ve tried I feel it blends in the best.  I also adore the art nouevau style packaging.

Nails:
Pahlish_His_Favorite_Sundress_2
His Favorite Sundress by Pahlish
(Retail: $9.00)
Melon is on trend for nails this spring and I really wanted an interesting coral-ly shade and fell in love with this color from Pahlish.  It’s completely different from any of my other polishes and I can’t wait to wear it with my spring dresses. There are so many fabulous indie polish brands creating really unique shades.  Llarowe.com has a wonderful assortment of indie polishes to get you started on your newest addiction.  I’d like to thank “Ida Nails It” for graciously allowing me to use her swatch photo.  I had a slight kerfluffle with my order and didn’t get my polish in time for this blog post.

Clothing:
Jacket
Striped Terry Jacket from Anthropologie
(Retail: $78.00)
At first I was so sure I was going to include a cute dress, but then I stumbled across this jacket at my local Anthropologie.  I love things with a nautical feel and the stripe drew me to it.  It didn’t seem like much on the hanger but I figured I’d try it on anyway.  It was really flattering and incredibly comfortable.  It’s warm and quite soft for a jacket.  I was concerned that without buttons it would lay oddly, but it doesn’t.  And the nice part about not having buttons is that you can lose or gain a little weight and have no issue.  Also a plus for the pregnant ladies who can wear it pre and post baby.   You can dress it up or down, so for more casual days I plan to wear this with a red tee shirt and my favorite pair of dark wash, flared Modcloth jeans.  For work I’ll wear it over my knee length yellow, navy or red dresses. It’s warm but not too heavy and I think I can wear it all the way through summer.

Shoes:
Shoes
Defined the Scenes Flat in Blush
(Retail: $29.99)
Modcloth is one of my go to places to shop and I love all their unique offerings.  Because I commute to work in NYC, flats become by go to pick for spring and summer.  I loved this blush color because I think it will soften a lot of the black and grey in my wardrobe allowing them a nice transition into spring by giving a sort of Paris in Springtime vibe.  They are also super comfy on my wide feet and the price is really affordable.  If you dig them, I suggest you snap them up asap; they are more than worth the pricetag.

Jewelry:
Flower Post Earrings
Rosebud Flowers Post Earrings from the Fresh Jewelry Company
(Retail: $22.00)
I love jewelry that’s nature inspired, whimsical and unique.  Spring time makes me long for flowers and greenery and I adore jewelry that manages to capture that feeling.  These little sterling silver earrings feature real flowers inside resin.  This way you can take a bit of springtime with you, wherever you go.  (I ordered these but they didn’t arrive yet so this photo is from the Scoutmob site.)


Bookshelf:
When Venus Fell by Deborah Smith
(Retail: $5.98 for Ebook)
When it comes to reading, springtime makes me long for romance novels.  Now, there are so many super cheesy, boring and poorly written romances that they’ve given the whole industry a bad name.  But I promise there are still wonderful romance writers that give you interesting stories, compelling characters and gorgeous prose.  “When Venus Fell” by Deborah Smith is one of my favorite books.  The characters are not your stereotypical romance novel folks (no bodice ripping Fabios) and her prose effortlessly engages you with her characters, so you’re invested in the story.  If you want to give a good romance novel a try, pick this one up.  It’s one that I reread year after year.

Organization/Spring Cleaning:
Beauty Cases Case Open  Velcro         

Joy Mangano Biggest and Best Beauty Case Set Ever with 3 Bonuses!
(Retail: $59.95)
I managed to pick this up when it was a today special so I snagged it with free shipping and $20 off the pricetag.  If you read this blog regularly you know that I get a ton of products in my boxes.  I grabbed  this set so that I could do some spring cleaning and organize all the products I receive.  You can fit a ton in these and they fold up quite neatly.  The sections are velcroed and pull out easily.  The kit included three beauty cases and three additional storage bags. Thanks to living in a Victorian house, I’ve got the world’s most narrow storage cabin for my products.  These cases will nestle perfectly inside and make it easy for me to see what products I have and what’s running out and needs to be replaced.  These bags are super versatile and you can use them for all kinds of things, like crafts and office supplies.  If you want to get more organized, I highly recommend these.


Crafting:
stamp_parescargot1
 Par escargot Stamp by Wit & Whistle
(Retail: $20.75)
I discovered Wit & Whistle through my Fair Ivy subscription and I fell in love with this stamp.  Rubber stamping is one of the easiest ways to craft.  You buy some blank cards or postcards, an inkpad and a stamp and get to it.  I like to make notecards and gift tags using rubber stamps and this one is perfect for using on envelopes.  I plan to pick this up so I can jazz up all my outgoing mail.  I haven’t ordered it yet, so this photo is from the Wit & Whistle site.

So those are just a few of my favorite things this season.  There are only about a billion more, but you have other things to do besides listen to me talk about shopping.

So what did you pick up for Spring?

To read some other fabulous blogs and check out their Spring hit lists, take a look at my fellow blog hop participants.   Happy Reading!