Popsugar musthave mystery box

So I succumbed to the temptation and bought another mystery box.
This one was $24.95 and came within two weeks

  As usual, all my prices are Amazon prices because that's where I do all my shopping.

Govino Shatterproof Stemless Wine Glasses (set of 4 for $12.95)

This is kind of unique piece that would make a good gift.
We're not much wine drinkers so I don't think I would have bought this to use.

Michael Stars Porcelain Skinny Scarf $17.23
Image result for Michael Stars women's porcelain

This scarf is pretty but also really really skinny and narrow
I was really hoping for a pretty scarf but I don't think I can wear this bc I have a thick neck.
I did see a tutorial on how to make it a headband tho

Cargo Powder blush ($26)

Was glad to get this in the box because I actually needed a new blush.
I love Cargo products so this was a win!

West Emory Bingo Set ($12.99)

this also a cute item and maybe can use in the future for game night

Homestead 8 oz Candle ($23.49)

Image result for homestead candle 8 oz

I love a good candle and it smells just like fall!
Win item

Oribe Dry Texturing Spray ($22 for 2.2 oz)
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray for Unisex, 2.2 Ounce
goodness who knew a dry texturing spray would be this pricey?
Excited to try this product bc if a small bottle is worth $22, it better produce amazing results!

Gramr Postcard Pack ($9.95)

Gramr Gratitude Co. Exclusive Thanksgiving Postcard Pack

Thanksgiving postcards.  I actually saw Halloween and Thanksgiving cards and wondered why anyone would send a Thanksgiving card.   but I guess it's a thing.

Joe Chips ($1.99)
Image result for joe chips

The total value of the box was $127.11!
I guess for $25 it's a steal and there are several items that I am excited to use!


Popsugar All Star Mystery Box Review

When Popsugar announced that they were selling their "All Star Mystery Box" for $19.95, I jumped at the chance.   I have been eyeing this subscription box and liked the reviews that I saw.  For less than $20, it had a guarantee for the items in the box to be valued at $100 plus.  It was also an one time purchase which I liked.

I buy things all the time off AMAZON so my prices are AMAZON prices.  This is how I like to gage if I would buy the items in the box or not.  Reviews are also all my opinion.

Deepa Gurnani Headband Amazon prices:  $56

This headband is gorgeous.  It's thin and very pretty.  I would not have bought this and spent $56 on it though.

Book: "The Secret Recipe" by Dominique Ansel Amazon Price:  $23.49

The author is the guy who created the famous Cronut in New York.  It's a good coffee table book but the recipes are wayyyy too hard for an average cook to even try.

Tarte Amazonian clay eye shadow quad "Apple of my eye"  Amazon Price:  $9.99

The colors are very natural which I like.  But it's eye shadow and I hardly ever wear any.
Note:  Apparently, they don't sell this on the Tarte website and it was a special edition eye shadow from the past

Capri Mercury Jewel Box in Rain Amazon Price:  $19.99

I love candles.  I love awesome smelling candles with clean scents.  I love the design on the outer edge and the distressed wood look.  I love how you can use it as a jewelry box after you're done with the candle.  I was excited to get this!
Note:  Georgia is currently 100 degrees so the candle was very melted when I opened the box.  I stuck it in the fridge for an hour and the candle is good as new.

Terrapin Ridge Pecan Honey Mustard (8 oz)  Amazon price is $19.99 but its $7.30 for an 10 oz jar on their website.  I'm going to estimate to the price to be around ~$6.00

I didn't try it yet but I'm sure for a honey mustard this is yummy.

Wine glass marker Amazon Price:  $6.50

Already gifted toward a friend who loves wine.

Total price= $121.97
For $20, it was worth the price but none of the items really wowed me and I can see myself not using any of the items except the candle.  Maybe instead of the book, there was another item...


My unintended but successful med-free VBAC story

So it's been forever plus a day! Since the last post (over a year ago)... I struggled with secondary infertility, we took fertility meds to help get pregnant, had a easygoing pregnancy, and just had a beautiful baby boy!  With that, I wanted to document his birth story so here goes!

As with all VBAC birth stories, it actually starts with the birth of your first child.  EM was induced at 41 weeks because she was getting big and I wanted her out.  I was 2-3cm already dilated going into the induction and was given pitocin.  I progressed slowly but nicely and at 5cm, I was given an epidural because, well...the pain was unbearable.  After the epidural, I was still progressing and reached 9cm and then it stalled for 4 hours.  At that point, it had been 24 hours since my induction began, 24 hours since I started pitocin, 15 hours since the epidural, and 15 hours since my water had broken.  I was advised to do a c-section and I was content (and tired) to follow the midwife and doctor's recommendation.  EM was born at 6:52am, healthy and happy.  The csection recovery wasn't terrible and I actually was able to bounce back really quick.  All in all, I had no remorse or negative feelings about EM's birth.

Three and half years later, throughout LO2's pregnancy, my midwife and doctors told me and advised me about VBACs.  Again, because my csection delivery and recovery went great, I wasn't adamant about trying for a vaginal birth.  In fact, I researched and contemplated all throughout the pregnancy if I should just reschedule a repeat csec.  My mom for some reason really didn't want me to have a csection again. My doctor and I talked endlessly about the benefits of a VBAC, especially if I wanted to have more kids and with my mom's swaying, I decided to at least attempt a VBAC.

Because EM was a big baby and was born at 41 weeks, my doctor did not want me to go past 41 weeks and that was my "end" date.  In fact, they had me go ahead and schedule a repeat csec on that date.  If I didn't go into labor naturally by then, I would have to have a csection.

Throughout my pregnancy and in my mind, I felt one or two things would happen for the birth of this baby.  Because EM was really late and refused to come, I assumed this would also be the same.  My midwives and doctors that I saw also reiterated that the second usually follows the pattern of the first. I assumed that this one will also not have any movement and that I would just end up going in on my scheduled csection date.  Another scenario that I thought would happen is that I would go into labor naturally at the last minute, I would labor, it would fail to progress like last time, and that I would end up with a csection anyways.

It just goes to show you that with labor and delivery, all assumptions are out window and nothing goes the way you would expect it too.

My pregnancy was uneventful and not too difficult (except mothering a preschooler).  As I reached 3rd trimester, many people were telling me that I was sitting low.  At church, Em's preschool teachers, random people at Target.  When I mentioned this to my doctor at my 37 week appointment, she laughed and said that I was barely even dilated and that it would take awhile.

 I had my 38 week appointment with a midwife on Thursday morning.  Again, she said I was barely dilated (maybe half a cm) and had me schedule appointments for the next two weeks.  She even suggested that I could move up my csec date if I wanted too.  I left feeling disappointed that I was still at 1cm.  I had lunch with a friend, went to Costco, came home and saw that the bathrooms were dirty and cleaned.  I went to bed feeling normal.  We always wake up EM at 1am to have her go potty and just like routine, I woke up and took her potty and laid back down to sleep.  Even still at this point, I felt nothing.

I could not fall asleep and I kept tossing and turning.  At one point, I felt uncomfortable and felt the urge to go poop.  I sat on the toilet for 30 minutes before I realized that I was having a contraction.  After the realization, the contractions started to get painful.  After internally debating, I finally woke up my husband to call our emergency sitter over.  As he was making phone calls and as I was packing my hospital bag (totally my fault for not prepacking), the contractions got incredibly painful.  The drive is about 25 minutes but felt like forever because of the pain.

 We pulled up into the hospital at 3:15am and as I was walking into the building, I could feel my water breaking.  Instead of being taken into the L&D rooms, I was taken into a small room to be admitted.  Even with EM, I was taken directly to the L&D room so I was confused as to why I was in this tiny and suffocating room.  I suspect there are a lot of people who aren't in "active" labor and their protocol is to make sure you are before being sent to L&D.  In that room, the nurse started asking me the pre-admitting questions.  At this point, the contractions were getting severe and I started asking for an epidural only to be told that I had to wait until she was finished.  The nurse seriously took forever typing and putting the questions into the computer.

I also need to mention that my only birth plan was getting an epidural as soon as possible.  I know many women who strive to have med free births by practicing their Kegels, visualizing through their pain, hiring doulas, etc.  I am not one of those women nor did I have any desire to do so.  I wanted the strongest dose as fast as possible.

Anyways as the nurse was asking me stupid questions like If I ever smoked or drank, I could feel the transition of the baby coming down through the birth canal.  Another nurse came into the room, yelled at the slow typing nurse to see if I had even been checked (I wasn't), and checked me herself where she started yelling again to call the midwife and that I had to be moved immediately.  Normally, women walk from the room I was in to the L&D room but they were in such a hurry, they started pushing me into the new room as they called the midwife.  At this point, I could feel the head coming out and I had the urge to vomit.

I don't remember much about the new room except there was a lot of activity and a lot of people in the room for it being 4:30 in the morning.  The bed I was in wasn't big enough so I was asked to get up and switch to a new bed...while my painful contractions were going full force.  Somehow I managed to get up and switch.  It was painful.  By the time I was situated in the new bed, hooked up to an IV, and everyone in position, the midwife asked me to get ready to push.  I kept asking and crying for the epidural and no one ever gave me a straight answer.  Finally, the anesthesiologist on standby came over and mentioned it was too late bc I was going to push.  Because I was panicking, I asked for a c section.  He was very calm as he patiently explained that I could be prepped for surgery...but he would have to put me completely under.  I considered that for half a second before I finally stopped panicking and gave myself a pep talk.  THIS was happening...it was time to meet our little boy.

I was instructed to push with each contraction and count to ten while pushing.  The nurse that I hated (seriously...I'm still bitter at her) for not giving me an epidural right away was next to me telling me not to waste energy making noise but to concentrate on pushing.  While it might be solid advice, I literally wanted to punch her in the face.  Thankfully, an actual L&D came and took her position.  Those L&D nurses are awesome.  They know the right amount of instruction, the right amount of encouragement, the right amount of ordering.  At one point, in the middle of a push, I had no more energy and just kind of collapsed my legs.  The nurses grabbed me right up and barked at me to continue to push...It might have been harsh but it was needed at that moment for me to continue on.  My poor husband had no idea what he was doing and even though the water and ice he continued to feed me were awesome..he wasn't a big help :)

All of a sudden, this male nurse came and was by my side.  He was a godsend, an angel.  His first words to me were.. "Do you want a cheerleader or do you want a coach?  Because I can do whatever you need me to do"  A cheerleader cheers and encourages you no matter what.  A coach on the other hand will yell at you, push you, and toughen you up.  I told him coach...and that's what he did.  He pushed me when I needed it.

After an hour of pushing, Elliot was born February 12, 2016 at 5:33am.  He weighed 7lbs 3 oz, 21.5 inches long.  He was exactly two weeks early and came really quick with very minimal tearing.  I first started feeling any sort of contractions at 2am and he was born in just 3 hours.  (mental note...if I'm ever pregnant again, go to the hospital asap!)

I know many people feel great after having a natural birth, but truthfully, I was exhausted.  I was tired, sleepy, and it hurt.  I pushed so hard that my blood vessels on my face and eyes had popped.  I had a crazy face and crazy eyes for several weeks afterwards.  Since I didn't have an epidural, the pushing of the placenta was also hard and difficult.  My ladyparts were in such shock that I had trouble peeing afterwards that I was put on a catheter (that hurt).  Recovery was painful even after I came home.

However, I think back and I feel a sense of accomplishment for having a med free birth.  I wouldn't change anything about this unique birth experience especially bc it gave me my little man!


October Citrus Lane Review

I received my October Citrus Lane subscription box last week.

For the review, I am using Amazon prices because we have Prime and if I were to buy the item, most likely I would buy it from there.

1.  Yellow Cab Story Set by Janod ($9.99)

Janod Yellow Cab Story Set

This toy set is really cute.  It's wooden so it's very nice and sturdy.  Em is really into cars right now (such a tomboy like her mama) and she loves it!  We already have like 5 cars but this is something to add to her collection.

They sent an accompanying pink set made exclusively for Citrus Lane.  I used another figurine set on Amazon.  I'm glad that its "girly" and again Em loves it because she's really really into cars right now.  BUT....I wished they had something different in the box.  I might be a minority but I would have liked a variety of items.

One pair of shaking things.  We don't have any musical instruments...I wanted to buy them but then I feel like I lost the window of age where she would have liked it...so I didn't.  I was glad to see this in the box.  Em likes it too.

Leg warmers.  It says it fits most sizes from baby to toddler.  This is cute item BUT...I have no idea how to wear it for her.  Couldn't figure it out when she was an infant bc wouldn't the legs not covered up be cold?  I still don't get it.  As a toddler, how would you wear it?  Like socks but not really?  I might just have to regift these.

So for the whole box we got $39.23 which isn't too bad since I'm still on the discount price but if I paid $29 for the whole box I would not have been happy.  Again, this has been one of my many points each month...over and over again.  Additionally, all the items in the box says it's for 18 months and up.  Her box is sized for a 34 month old and she's getting items that's suitable for 18 months?  I have a big problem with that.  I even called Citrus Lane but they didn't see any problems with that saying that it's suitable to use starting at 18 months but we feel that 34 months can get a lot out of it...which is true but if all 3 items and even the 4th one states that it can be used for the younger crowd, shouldn't it be in a younger aged box?

Anyways.. I digress.  I feel Citrus Lane's boxes has been getting smaller and smaller and the "value" of the box not much of a value.  Thus, I canceled my subscription.  It's not worth it to pay full box amount for only one or two items that are age appropriate for her.  

This ends my subscription box reviews.  I might restart them if I decide to get another subscription boxes in the future ;)


Citrus Lane September Review

I haven't been very impressed with my last couple of Citrus Lane boxes but am always excited to see what's in my next box.  I guess that's the allure of subscription boxes.

as always, prices are reflected by Amazon
because that's where I buy everything.

1)Melissa Doug shape sorting clock ($12.99)
Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Clock
If we don't already own this item, I would have been very happy receiving it.  It's wood, the numbers are like puzzles so good for Em now and can also be used to teach about clocks later.  She loves putting the puzzles in the pieces and enjoys counting out loud.  We bought this item deeply discounted at Target for about $4.99.  If we didn't have this item, it would be great but since we already do, I'm like eh?  I will save it for a gift for the future.

2) Bath puzzle by Boon ($9.99)

This is a great item.  It's a bath toy, it's a puzzle...it's a bath puzzle!  Em is really into puzzles and she loves taking baths so the combination is really great.  What I appreciate about Citrus Lane is they provide quality brands and Boon is definitely one great brand.

3) Little Red Hen book and cd ($8.99)

a great little book about a chicken and sharing.  They also have a recipe in the back for kids and parents to try together.  There's also a CD included which is always great to have.

4) Cinnamon Crunch from Somersault Snacks ($1)

sample package of this.  It's made out of sunflower seeds.

The total for this box came out to be $32.97 which is worth it in the price department bc I get a special discount but not if I paid their original price.  I think I would have been more excited if I received the other item.


Citrus Lane August Review

My citrus lane 3 month trial subscriptions were up and I had all the intent of canceling.
When I called to cancel, they offered 3 more months in that price point and who can resist?

As a reminder, all my prices comes from Amazon bc I have Prime and If I would buy the item, I would have gotten it from them.

#1 Petite Collage Alphabet Flash Cards ($19)

We were given a choice on what kind of flashcard designs and I picked this one bc we have a lot of books on animals and colors.  Emmy is learning the different modes of transportation so I thought it would be great to have a variety to learn ABCs from.  It's very sturdy and great for future use!

#2 Green Toy Tea set ($18.79 for the full set but we only got half so about $9?)

Love Love Love!  We only got the half starter set that I think is exclusive to Citrus Lane.  We got the tea pot, two cups, and two plates.  Funny story, I actually hid all of this month's items because we had my cousin's family visiting (She has 3 kids--Em's 2nd cousins) and they brought a lot of clothes and toys for her.  She somehow found it and immediately started begging to open it and play with it.

#3 Cool It Buddy Instant Cold Pack ($4.95)

Again, wouldn't have bought this item necessarily but already used it.  Not for Emmy, but for her dad.  I can foresee many uses for this product.

#4Little Pim Digital Download
a code with a app download.  Lame sauce Citrus Lane for including this as your 4th item.  Not cool.

All totaled, the cost is $32.95.  If I had paid full price for this box, I would be upset.  Citrus Lane used to send at least 3 big items, 2 small items, and some coupon code.  Now they have def reduced their items in the box to 2 big items, 1 small, and a code.  We notice, Citrus Lane.  I do not like this at all.


Citrus Lane July Review

My Citrus Lane July box finally came in so let's get to reviewing.
as usual, all prices come from Amazon

We were given the choice on which stack we wanted. I chose the animal one because we recently went to the zoo and Em can now recognize most of the animals and likes to point out the different animals.  I like how we were given choices again.  The toy itself is good quality but Em is a little young to play with this item.  Again, the box does say 3+

#2 snow white finger doll ($13.99)
a cute finger puppet doll.  Something I would not have gotten.  Em showed initial interest but now it just went into her pile of dolls.  

#3 Plum Organics Mashups (one pouch was given.  prob around $1.50)

#4 Pur-Protect SPF 30 from Pur Lisse.  ($21.00 for 1.7oz. I got a sample size of 0.5 oz so maybe $6)

the total of this box came to be $41.44 but I feel that it's less value.  Usually, they have 3 items for kids, food item, and item for mom but they only had 2. I like quantity and quality so  the box was kind of disappointing.  


Citrus Lane June Review

I got my citrus lane June box on Friday and ready for my review.
Its my #2 out of 3 boxes that I got for a discounted price.  After #3, I'm going to decide whether to continue or not.

The shipping on the box was originally slated for Thursday but for some reason it came on Friday.  I think it took over a week and a half to arrive (boo on slow mail).

I did not receive an information card from Citrus Lane this month and I thought it was odd because they usually have one and it usually contains some sort of link for a discount.  Oh well.

And as usual, all prices are from Amazon bc I have their prime membership and if I would have bought an item, it probably would have been from Amazon.

1.  Bumpkins wet bag ($10.95)

Citrus Lane sent me an email earlier in the month and gave me the opportunity to choose which wet bag design I wanted which I appreciated.  Em is obsessed with Minnie Mouse so it was a no brainer to go with this one.  I already have a wet bag that I use as a diaper bag (instead of the whole big bag) and I love it.  I'm glad for an extra one that I can actually use as an wet bag for swimming and stuff.

2.  Crocodile Creek Cupcake Puzzle ($9.14)

I sized Em up for the box so she's supposed to get products designed for 2-3 year olds.  I thought it was odd that we got this puzzle as it clearly says 3+ on the box.  It's cute and all but something we won't be using until she is older.

3.  Creativity for Kids, Fun with Fashion ($8.99)

Would I spend $8.99 for a coloring book?  probably not.  It doesn't quite look like this picture but It's the same concept.  It does say and look like it comes with quality paper so I guess the $9 price tag is warranted.  Again, this is something that I feel like would probably be best at use for an older crowd like 4+ (Trust me, I teach preschool.  I know how 2 and 3 year olds color).  Again, just surprised that this book was in this box for a 2-3 year old.

4. Episencial Bubble Bath (~$7.99-$12.99)
Episencial Babytime! Peaceful Bubbles Bubble Bath +Shampoo -- 3.4 fl oz
We used this as soon as we opened up the box and I loved it.  I'm always wary of bubble bath products because I feel it's too soapy or too harsh for Em's delicate skin.  This product was neither and just "peaceful" as it describes.  It has a hint of blueberry which I appreciate.  I was the most excited for this item because I love Episencial products!

5.  Plum Organics Might 4 Bars ($2)

one sample of each.

The total for this box came in at $40.07.  There wasn't anything overly impressive about this box and again, the products they put in the box seem out of the age range that was promised but you definitely get your money's worth.  Would I pay the full price of the box at $29/month?  No way.  But at $15 a month, it's okay.  It's worth it alone for the Episencial Bubble Bath because we had a blast with the bubbles during bath time.