Monday, 28 March 2016

Orange You Glad I'm Bringing You A New ATM Favorite?!

The name of this subscription service reminds me of that old knock knock joke that ends with the punch line "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?".

I can't tell you how many times I subjected my parents and grandparents to that particular joke.

Regardless of your stance to that age old joke, if you like sweets as much as I do, I think you'll like this! Side note: I'm writing about this product because I've tried it and loved it. I paid full price for my product and I just want you to know how much fun it was!

OrangeGlad is basically a sweets delivery system. You can purchase a one time box or a reoccurring subscription. I signed up for the one time deal and would like to purchase a subscription but they are currently limited to monthly and since I'm trying to lose weight that is far too often for me. I'd love an every other month delivery option. Anyway, you sign up and they send you a box of curated sweets. Each box is a surprise!

Here's what I received and what I thought about each item:

Everything arrived packed in a cute box. They also sent a little booklet giving extra information on each product.

I haven't tried this but I think this is the most exciting item in the box. I love that all of the ingredients in this bar are organic and fair trade. This bar contains no soy which is HUGE  in my book as most chocolate contains soy lecithin these days. 

I received three truffle piglets, each in a different flavor. They were tasty but I was disappointed by the fact that they contained soy lecithin.

I love lemon so I'm excited to try these too. They were made in the same town my grandparents live in which gives them bonus points. The packaging is beautiful and will probably be saved but I was bummed when I read that they use butter flavoring and not real butter. I also wish they didn't use the enriched flour and used whole wheat instead.

The bag of caramels was extra buttery which is how I typically like my caramel. Also, the pieces are huge. I couldn't figure out why they use caramel coloring. Doesn't caramel already have caramel coloring?! Leave it out please!

The Clairesquares bar made for a delicious breakfast on the go and contained minimal ingredients! I would love to try this product in other flavors. The flavor I tried was raspberry and oats. I loved it and I'm not a raspberry girl by any means. I passed the wrapped onto a friend who is also trying to live a cleaner lifestyle.

I am definitely going to try another box in a month or two! If you want, check out their site here.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Book Review: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife by Ruth Ann Tucker

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife  is Ruth Tucker's true story. Ruth is a professor and mother. Her husband was a minister and used the Bible's call for wives to submit to their husband's as validation for abusing her. Ruth tells her story and refutes her husband's logic with Biblical evidence. 

For the most part, I think that Tucker makes her point well. She applies logic and reasoning to verses in the Bible and uses the verses in context. For example, she points out that many often ignore the command for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church, or that people are quick to chalk up the command to forgo braids and jewelry to cultural differences but heavily stress other commands in the same section. I found that Tucker and I held the same view in most cases but she provides extra examples and verses for me to look up and remember when I have this discussion with others. At times, I felt she got overly scholarly, but for the most point I found B&WB,BBW to be on point and enlightening. 

I'm curious to hear about how your thoughts on submission and the biblical roles of wives and husbands. Personally, I think that the Bible places emphasis on women being strong! Look at the Proverbs 31 woman for an example.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Beyond the Silence is the story of Lillian, orphaned at a young age, her grandfather and only living relative disowns her when she accepts employment as a nanny in California. Upon arriving in her new home, Lillian discovers that the townspeople believe that her employer murdered his wife. Jimmy, her small charge hasn't spoken since he witnessed his mother's death. Lillian helps each member come to terms with Rebecca's death and face the rumors, even as trouble stirs again.

I found this book to be engaging and suspenseful. I enjoyed getting to know each character, as well as the overall story. When I initially noticed that the book was co-authored I became a little leery because I'd read co-authored books in the past that didn't flow well. I didn't have this problem with Beyond the Silence. I highly anticipate reading their previously published book All Things Hidden.

*I was given a complimentary  copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Baker Brain

Do you know how when you are first learning something interesting, you keep trying it and reading about it and you may love doing it but you can't really think through and problem solve with the new information?

That's how I've been for a long time with baking. I've been experimenting with different flavor combinations and learning to make many different basic recipes. I've always had to follow a recipe and generally followed a recipe that I Googled and at the most cobbled together some recipes that I'd Googled.

And then, I caught myself. I was sitting in the car before, eating my scone for breakfast, and calculating ratios and different ways to make the scones I'd baked taste better!

Y'all. I think I have a baker's brain.

And that's wonderful news because owning a bakery is one of my dreams!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Book Review: Locally Laid by Lucie B. Amundsen

Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky,…

Locally laid is the true account of Lucie and her husband's journey from liberal arts educated writers to chicken farmers. The journey is not an easy one and the Amundsen's face many challenges from personal to chicken related. In the beginning, Lucie is totally against her husband's idea of opening a locally owned chicken farm and the book follows her as she comes to terms with the idea and later educates herself on what it means to be a part of middle agriculture.

As I am just setting out on my journey of eating more naturally, locally and (eventually) seasonally I found this book an especially interesting read. As my close friends know, I am terrified of chickens and other birds of prey and would never dream of owning my own chickens but I do value farm fresh, local eggs from humanely raised chickens. I enjoyed following Lucie's journey and cheering for Lola, although I did get bogged down a few times. I enjoyed Lucie's humor. She doesn't make you belly laugh but the humor is definitely present and I guess, given the gritty details of farm life, it often had to be present in her life as well.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an  honest review.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Book Review: The Pounamu Prophecy by Cindy Williams

The Pounamu Prophecy is set in New Zealand and Australia. Helene and James are a married couple struggling to value and support each other within their marriage. Helene is a busy doctor focused on saving others and James is trying to prove he has what it takes to be an independent graphic designer. Mere, is a Maori woman and friend of James' mother, who is staying in their guest house while she writes her memoirs. Mere is a grandmother now but the story focuses primarily on her childhood. She watched the government burn one home and dismantle another.  The book shifts between these three viewpoints and their relationship grows increasingly interconnected as the book goes on.

I really enjoyed the two stories and seeing how they joined together at the end. It was very interesting reading about a culture that where I live is only talked about generally in a few history classes. I found Mere's character to be very strong and inspiring. The book touches lightly on faith, as Mere’s family and most of her tribe are Christians but it is not heavy handed and leaves the reader open to decide for themselves. The book does use some Maori language but it doesn't take away from the story, especially as there is a glossary of terms in the back. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Stitchfix Shopping Trip

Y'all, when I was in South Korea I drooled all over my screen as I read review after review of Stitchfix, so I saved up my money for when I came back to the States and could splurge.

We moved into our apartment in January and I scheduled my fix to arrive at the end of February. It turned out to be perfect timing because I accepted a new job that I will start next week and need to dress business casual for.

Stitchfix is basically a remote personal styling service. You fill out their style profile which allows you to share your likes, dislikes and wants. You can also link up your style Pinterest board.  (Here's mine.) Then, they send you a box of 5 clothing items that they think you will like. You pay a $20 fee upfront, but if you make a purchase, you receive the $20 as a discount. If you don't make a purchase, they keep the $20 for the service. You keep and pay only for what you want and return the rest in a prepaid envelope. You can then leave feedback on what you liked and didn't like and why. From there, you can decide to schedule another box. You can schedule boxes or "fixes" as they call them anytime or on a set schedule.

I chose to forgo the reoccurring box but I do plan on scheduling another fix around June or July for some summer items. I really enjoyed shopping and checking out my clothes in my own mirror and with the opinions of my sister and husband, both of whom would not normally be in the mall dressing room with me!

Now, let's check out the clothes!

They came nicely wrapped in a cute box. Also included was a note from my stylist and a style card showing you different ways to style each piece.

I hated this top but I tried it on anyway. The print isn't bad but the colors are baby blue, black and light pink. I felt like I was impersonating cotton candy. Also, something with the cut was off. I returned this.

This navy shirt and black and white skirt both came in the box. I fell in love with shirt at first sight. It is easy to dress up or down. I was skeptical about the length of the skirt as it almost hit on my knee and I like skirts to hit just above the knee.  But, I thought it paired really well with the top I knew I was keeping so I kept both.

I wanted to love this cardigan. I like the chevron pattern and the cut of the cardigan itself but I'm not a pink girl. I tried to convince myself to keep it but I couldn't see spending money on a piece I didn't love, so I returned it.

They also sent a pair of jeans that I loved and I thought looked very flattering on me but they did that weird back gap thing and were a tad too long, so I'd have to have them hemmed and taken in. They were listed at $88 and for that price I wanted them to fit a little better.

My total was a little over $80. If I would have keep everything, my total would have been $214 because if you purchase all of the items you get a 25% discount!

What do you think? Should I have kept the jeans and cardigan?

PS: If you decide to schedule a fix, please use my referral code. Stitchfix gives you a shopping credit for each referral! If you're not sure about ordering, still create an account because they do run promotions. For example, I was able to take advantage of a free styling fee credit. This meant that I paid nothing upfront AND received the $20 discount.