Testing Top Beauty Box Subscriptions: Ipsy, Glossy, Allure, & BirchBox

Last month I got a wild hair up my tush and decided I suddenly wanted to order a beauty box. I already receive FabFitFun and CAUSEBOX on a regular basis, so a beauty box was probably not a necessity. Come to think of it, the other two are not exactly necessities either, but I find the surprise to be a fun break from the more serious aspects of life.

I started with Ipsy and added Allure. A week later, I added Birchbox and Glossy Box. So now I have a problem and you can see just how easily things can spiral out of control. Joking aside, I ordered the four boxes because I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast a few of the top selling beauty boxes so that I may tell others which one seems to be most worthwhile.

The first to arrive was Birchbox with its tasseled sliding drawer box. Inside I found tips on usage as well as five deluxe sample products: Pai – All Day Hydration, Arrow – Nourishing Lip Oil, Oribe – Matte Waves Texture Lotion, Benefit – They’re Real! Mascara, Eyeko London – Brown Liner, and Nature Lab Tokyo – Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub. The brow liner works great, but is too dark for me. I would however recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good brow liner. I do like the mascara, but I have other mascaras that do nearly the same thing. I have yet to try the texture lotion and scalp scrub. The lip oil made my lips tingle, which could be due to the peppermint oil. I kind of liked it. I am a fan of the moisturizer by Pai. It made my skin feel soft and hydrated, but I won’t give up my regular lotion for it. This particular box is normally $15, but it cost me $10 plus tax. I received a $5 discount on my first-time order. There are several plans to choose from which range in cost depending on the number of months you would like to commit to. I am a commitment-phobe in everything but relationships, so I chose to do a single month in order to try it out. I am glad I chose one month because I ended up canceling. The box fell short for me. While the presentation was beautiful, the items were not all that exciting and I would not pay $16 on a regular basis for the underwhelming feeling I got when I opened up the drawer compartment. If you are interested in Birchbox, they do have a special running right now. You can get an entire year of boxes for only $94. Now that’s a steal.

The second box I would like to talk about is not actually a box, but a bag. Ipsy, though it was the first to be ordered, was the last to arrive. Each month Ipsy gives you a different makeup bag with five items which could be sample, deluxe, or full-size. You also receive information and tips for using each item. The bag costs $12 plus tax per month at the first level. You can upgrade to the Glam Bag Plus for $25 per month and receive five full-size items in a drawstring bag, or you can take it further and go with Glam Bag Ultimate which will get you twelve products of varying sizes in a deluxe bag for $50 per month. I went with the Glam Bag which for the month of September, was gold on one side and maroon on the other. Thank goodness it was not all gold. I do not think I could have handled that (I mean it genuinely). Inside the Ipsy Glam Bag I found: Sundays – Nail Polish No. 18, HEMPZ – Herbal Lip Balm, DEWYTREE – Clean Lab AC Dew Foam, Tarte – Big Ego Mascara, and Maelle – Pink Diamond Eyeshadow. I love the Hempz lip balm, it’s wonderful. I also love the eyeshadow. It’s gorgeous. I have not yet tried the dew foam, polish, or mascara, but I intend to in the near future. I did decide to cancel Ipsy because again, I was not overly excited about the bag, but Ipsy apparently wants to keep me because they offered me a second bag for free. I have to admit, the second bag drew me back in with two things. I am a Libra, and I like the “You’re Magic” quote with the gold moon and star zip handle on the bag, as well as the pistachio body butter by Pistache Skincare – it smells so tasty! Ipsy may have won me over for one more month, because I am now curious about what November will bring.

Box number three, dun, dun, duh! The Allure Beauty Box. This box has changed slightly since my order last month. The box I bought for September was $15 plus tax and came with a free gift for first-time purchasers, as well as seven beauty products. The box normally comes with five or more products worth $70+. Now the box has changed to $23/month and you receive six or more products valued at $100+. The items come neatly packaged in a white and silver Allure box with red tissue paper. This box was right up my alley. The contents included: Glam Up – Soothing Aloe Texture Refinement Sheet Mask, Elemis – Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, Waterl<ss – Dry Conditioner, NYX – Pro Contour Brush, La Roche-Posay – Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen in SPF 50, Wander Beauty – Unleashed Volume and Curl Mascara, Cleo Noir – Twist Up Eyeliner, and of course, the booklet with information and tips on each product. The freebie, Anastasia Beverly Hills – Moonchild Glow Kit Eyeshadow, was by far my favorite item in the box. The colors are fabulous and make me feel like a beauty queen. My second favorite item was the Waterl<ss dry conditioner. I love that this product is paraben and sulfate free. I find the smell pleasant and I am excited to take it with me on vacation. The rest of the products I have not yet tried, but look forward to testing out in the near future.

Box number four is my favorite. Glossy Box. The theme for September was spa, which set my little heart a twitter. I love, love, love the spa concept. This particular box is regularly $21, but I received a first month discount which brought the price down to $16 plus tax. This box has won out for certain. It arrived in this cute black and white shipping box. When I opened the box there was another box inside that happened to be just as pretty as the shipping box. It was pink with black lettering. Inside the pink box was a ribbon tying everything together. Untying the ribbon, I found a pamphlet which gave me tips and information on each product inside. Below the pamphlet was pink tissue paper stuck in place with a black Glossy Box logo sticker. Each product was laid neatly atop black crinkly paper pieces and let me tell you, this unboxing was one of the most exciting unboxings I have done in over a year. Inside the box I found a: Melusine Paris – Jade Roller, Daily Concepts – Daily Beauty Band, Codex Beauty – Bia Exfoliating Wash, Swell – Ultimate Protect & Renew Serum, Vitamasques – Ruby Sheet Mask, and Banila Co. – Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream. I love the pink headband; it is great for holding back your hair while doing facials. The exfoliating wash is gentle and left my face feeling clean and refreshed. I love my new jade roller, it will get plenty of use. I also love the Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream, which has royal jelly and yellow flower in it. The scent is light, but it feels wonderful on my face. I have not tried the protect & renew serum or the Vitamasque yet. My only negative toward this box is that it lists Rosen Skincare – Breakout Spot Treatment as an item in the box and not the Swell serum. Honestly, it’s not really a negative. I probably would not have used the spot treatment.

I had a blast checking out each of the chosen boxes. Of the four subscriptions, I am still receiving Ipsy and Glossy Box. My top favorite are the Glossy Box and Allure Beauty Box. I will most likely cancel Ipsy after another month because I do not feel like it’s worth the price in comparison to Glossy. I feel the same about Birchbox, which is why I canceled already. If I were to choose to keep only one, I would go with Glossy Box, hands down. Glossy has the best presentation and the feeling is simply magical when you go to open your monthly box, not to mention, the items feel the most substantial. Allure Beauty Box is not far behind, but I am not happy that they raised their price. That said, I enjoyed getting every one of them and I will probably use most of the products I received.

If you would like to checkout the boxes for yourself, please find their links below:

https://www.birchbox.com/

https://beautybox.allure.com/

https://www.ipsy.com/mdvwetnm

Receive 20% off your first Glossy Box: https://www.glossybox.com/referrals.list?applyCode=PATRICIA-R1XV

Disrespecting the virus

It’s Thursday morning and here I am on my third quarantine due to exposure to the Coronavirus. I am taking it for what it is. We are all a part of a worldwide pandemic. I do wear a mask regularly, except when around my family, or if I am outside. It was the outside part that came back to bite me in the butt this time (the other times I had a mask on but was still quarantined).

When you have been around someone who tests positive, you must be quarantined for 14 days to see if symptoms present. The Wisconsin Health Department is simply doing their job to try and contain things. While in quarantine, you must report to the Health Department twice each day with your temperature, as well as answer a list of questions regarding your current state of health. Also, keep in mind, if you do test positive, you are only considered safe from the virus for an estimated 90 days. All bets are off if the virus has mutated.

My frustrations with this particular situation have more to do with other people who think this is some sort of political scheme that will simply vanish after the elections. If this were a political scheme, then why is it everywhere? Even President Trump has admitted that he downplayed the severity of this situation because he did not want the public to panic (see link at bottom of page for further information).

Whether or not the numbers are legit in the United States or exaggerated does not change the fact that we are still dealing with a virus that has killed many people. The wearing of a face mask is a simple gesture of kindness to others when you go out, because this virus spreads via breathing in airborne particles. Many people say it is their right to not wear one, but the point of a mask is not to protect yourself from germs, but to protect others. The mask, providing it is a proper cloth mask, stops your airborne particles from spraying out when you breathe, sneeze, or speak to people. If you are a person who does not show symptoms and you are still out not wearing a mask, you are likely spreading the virus and possibly killing people. If we were all to wear masks, this could potentially harness the virus and allow it to die off, thus removing us from being in a state of pandemic.

I know a lot of people who have been infected and who have become very ill. Some of them were in an outdoor setting without masks. Several of them have been considered healthy adults in their prime. Some of them appeared to be out of the woods and then suddenly died. This is not a joke. It is not a game. This is what your modern-day plague looks like. It was only a matter of time until we were in such a state again. This is the ebb and flow of nature.

Wear your mask and go outside. See your family and friends, but take precautions. It’s not as if the CDC is asking you to give up living, but if you do get sick, you may very well give up living. Think about the people you love. Think about how they will miss you if you become a victim. Also, take your vitamin D (providing your Dr. approves). Many articles say Vitamin D helps ward off the Coronavirus.

Other countries have done much better at containing the virus than the US because they have followed orders to help contain the situation. Sometimes the rules we make have good purpose. Do not touch the stove when it is on. Do not smoke when you are fueling your car. Stop at red lights. Why is this situation any different?

For more information on the above, please refer to the following sites and articles:

CDC on Coronavirus facts: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

CDC on cloth face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

WebMD on Coronavirus: https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus

Vitamin D and the Coronavirus: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/vitamin-d-can-help-reduce-covid19-risks

This is an article with graphs showing how the US compares to all of Europe in new cases: https://www.newsweek.com/graphs-show-how-coronavirus-cases-us-compare-other-countries-1513490

NBC News article on why other similar countries are experiencing the pandemic differently than the US: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/why-are-similar-countries-experiencing-covid-19-so-differently-n1232358

GO FAR – A SUBSCRIPTION BOX FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE TRAVEL

This week I received the summer Go Far subscription box, and let me tell you, it has greatly exceeded my expectations. The box shipped quickly (I know what you are thinking, it’s September, but it was a late request on my part) and when it arrived, I was excited to find a decent mix of items inside.

                As you can see from my blog, I am into travel. I love to go anywhere and everywhere and I love to review things along the way. Go Far Travel Gear shares my passion for travel and they work hard to provide their patrons with items which make packing up and going, much simpler. You can subscribe to their quarterly box for $39.99. The summer box contents added up to be nearly a $120 value. Their products change with each season, so you will always have a new and exciting travel surprise.

                Inside the summer box, you will find a pocket size backpack, a pocket travel bag, a white logo t-shirt, a white logo facemask, a green logo luggage belt, a logo button, and a blue pineapple themed makeup bag with matching manicure set. I love every one of these items. I am huge into pineapples, so the makeup bag and manicure kit are right up my alley, but my biggest salute goes to the pocket size backpack and pocket size travel bag. These two items should be in every traveler’s possession.

                Here is what I love about the backpack and travel bag. They are lightweight and fold up to a tiny size that you can easily stow in your suitcase or carry-on, without making a dent in their weight. The backpack is great for carrying your water bottles, extra layers, or snacks for while you are out sightseeing. The travel bag, with its nifty band for stacking on the handle of your suitcase, could be used as a carry-on, or it could also make a great beach bag. These bags can also double as backups for when you bring home extra souvenirs. There are many possibilities for use, and I can tell you one thing for certain, they are coming with me on my next trip.

To learn more about Go Far Travel Gear, please visit: www.gofartravelgear.com

If you would like to see more images of the items from the summer box, please visit my Facebook page @starspiritadventures and my Instagram @tk_loves_this

A Taste Of CAUSEBOX

Recently, by which I mean last summer, I found out about a new obsession. Well, maybe it’s not new to others, but it is to me. This particular obsession provides the buyer with an element of surprise while getting them products that they might not have typically found or bought on their own. The  obsession I refer to is that of buying subscription boxes. I never would have guessed how many different boxes exist, but I can tell you one thing for certain, I greatly enjoy telling people whenever I find a product I genuinely love.

Subscription boxes come in many different forms, but my favorites are those which provide a variety of lifestyle products, clothing and accessories, travel, or books. Yesterday I received the introductory box from CAUSEBOX, which can often be purchased for the discounted price of $24.95 and comes with nearly $150 worth of products.

The introductory box is a smaller version of their larger quarterly subscription box. This particular box comes with five popular items inside. Now, if you don’t know, CAUSEBOX’s mission statement is, “to bring sustainable and ethical products to everyone,” which I can definitely get behind. Each item they place inside their boxes lives up to their mission statement.

The items I received inside my introductory box are as follows: 1-17oz red S’well bottle, 1-October Jaipur natural vegan leather envelope clutch, 1-full-size DERMA E hydrating night cream, 1-Wyld French pink clay konjac sponge, and 1-Banded scrunchie 3-pack in yellow, white, and pink.

Each item inside the box has its own card with image, original price of the item, product description, and company information. For instance, the Banded scrunchie card informs the new product owner that each purchase will feed 3 meals to a child in need and that Banded has, “donated over 10.4 million meals to undernourished children to date.” I love their scrunchies even more with the new knowledge that they help feed children in need.

As of this moment, I have only tried out two of the products in the box. The scrunchies and the WYLD sponge. I love them. The sponge is quite soft and luxurious feeling. It is not rough on the skin at all and it boasts cleaner pores. I have decided to make it a part of my daily routine. The best part is, each sale helps with marine wildlife conservation. The scrunchies are soft and funky, and I’ve already told you they feed children, so they get a “yay!” from me.

I currently own a S’well bottle in 8oz, so I was happy to get one in 17oz because it’s perfect for plane rides because it keeps liquids cold for up to 24 hours and hot liquids warm for up to 12. The bottle is normally $35 dollars and it was the only product I knew to exist inside this box prior to ordering. The bottle alone made the purchase worthwhile. This was the only item that did not have a card with it. For anyone who does not know, S’well helps bring clean water to communities in need around the world.

I look forward to testing the DERMA E night cream. I am currently in search of a new product to help with keeping my skin looking it’s best. For those of you who do not know me, I do not look my age, but I am starting to see some fine lines and this product might be the winner. I will keep everyone posted ;o). On a side-note, these subscription boxes have helped me up my face preservation game. Previously I did not have a regular exfoliating, moisturizing, clarifying, etc., ritual, but I do now.

I have told you about my view on four of the products, now let me give you my feelings on the final item. The October Jaipur vegan leather envelope clutch in natural. It has a magnetic closure, credit cards slots, and a zipper pocket inside. The size is fairly decent and can definitely hold your phone, keys, and perhaps a couple of makeup items, which is great, but I feel due to its slippery sheen and size, I would probably be dropping it throughout the night. The clutch is the most expensive item in the box at $54. I have to be honest; I am not a big fan. I am going to give it a shot as a large wallet because I do not use clutch purses. I prefer, at the very least, a wrist strap. My other issue is that I simply do not find it to be attractive. I am not a huge fan of the color, but it does appear to be solid and I do appreciate that it is hand-stitched and ethically made.

If I were to purchase the quarterly subscription, the box would run me $54.95 per month and it would contain $250+ worth of products. The quarterly option is more expensive in the long-run than the annual option, which saves you $5 per box. The quarterly subscription does not allow you to customize any of your options, but the annual does. Both memberships allow you to participate in CAUSEBOX product sales at discounted prices. As of the current date, if you decide CAUSEBOX is not for you, you may cancel your subscription at any time.

My overall view of CAUSEBOX is that they are a wonderful company, but considering my distaste for the most expensive item inside the box, I am thinking about passing on the annual subscription. If you would like more information on CAUSEBOX or any of the products, please check out the links I have posted below.

Check me out on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tk_loves_this/

https://causebox.com

https://www.swell.com

https://global.octoberjaipur.com/

https://banded2gether.com/

https://dermae.com

https://www.wyldskincare.com/

A Trip To Melia Golf Resort In Cozumel

A few weeks ago, my family weighed the pros and cons of leaving for vacation in Mexico. There were no travel bans and we had no idea where this virus was going. The vacation was paid for and it was something we had been looking forward to for many months. We decided to go forward with the trip.

The destination was Cozumel, Mexico. The resort, Melia Golf. This particular article is going to go in a slightly different direction than my usual entries. I want to give my readers a review, but also explain what the week was like.

When we got on the plane, it was nearly empty. Maybe a quarter full. I was slightly nervous, but we were heading to a place where the heat and sunshine would hopefully be to our advantage. Our arrival went smoothly. The taxi cost five dollars per person and our hotel was only a short distance from the airport.

Upon arriving at the resort, we were quickly checked in and shown to our suite. We chose to stay through RCI and would be located in the tower. Our room had a king-size bed, mini kitchen with a glass-top table for four, a bathroom with a shower, couch, television, and a balcony overlooking the ocean. We were on the twelfth floor and also had two chairs with a small table and a whirlpool located on our balcony. The room was clean and comfortable.

There were two places to eat during regular day-time hours. The buffet, or the grill. At night you could go to the buffet, or one of three restaurants which required a reservation and served Italian, Mexican, or International cuisine. My favorite of the three was the Mexican restaurant. I am gluten-free and it had the safest options and was also delectably satisfying.

The hotel offered two pools. One for adults only and one for families with children. Melia is home to a golf course as well as several other activities such as croquet, mini-golf, shuffleboard, and tennis. There is an arcade, wellness center with spa, and activity center for kids. You have three bars to choose from which include, the lobby bar, the beach bar, or the pool bar. There are quite a few chairs around the pool as well as located on the beach with umbrellas. At night there are plenty of activities to entertain your whole family.

This resort is maintained and clean. I never once felt as if anything was not clean. The food at the buffet is a limited variety, but quite satisfying. You can get ice cream if you know to ask for it. Their coconut ice cream is to die for. The staff is friendly and accommodating.

Now, on the flip-side of things. After we arrived Covid-19 changed rapidly. I barely slept for a few days before the trip and several days into it. We had family and friends messaging us and telling us that there was talk of closing the borders, which quickly became a reality. We needed to leave or risk being trapped in Mexico. The resort became more and more empty each day. We arrived on a Monday and by Thursday people were filing out. On Saturday morning we decided we needed to leave. We booked a flight home for Monday; we couldn’t get out any sooner. I finally slept that night.

The day before we left, the place was desolate. The only dining option was in the buffet, which became a cook to order situation where you were given a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The grill was still running, but that was it. We heard that the resort would be closing down on Tuesday. My heart goes out to all the workers who were told they would be going on vacation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Being on an island during such a crazy time was interesting. We had the place nearly to ourselves. I have never seen so many empty beach chairs in my life. We made some new friends and I know I will never forget this trip. I cannot tell my readers how packed this place is during normal circumstances. It is a small resort with limited seating, but it’s beautiful and clean. I hope to return in the future during normal circumstances.

For more information on the Melia Cozumel Golf Resort, please visit: https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/cozumel/melia-cozumel/index.htm

Out Of The Woods & Into Your Heart

So, I will be the first to admit, I love wine. This past November we visited Cable, Wisconsin for a mini getaway for our five-year-anniversary. We researched the area to find some fun places to visit and I was quite pleased to find Out of the Woods Winery, which is located thirty minutes away in Hayward, Wisconsin. As a side note, I would like to apologize for how long it has taken me to write this post. I had surgery right after our visit and life has been a bit crazy.

Neal and I walked into this establishment looking for some good wine and we got so much more. We were first greeted by Dan, who is one of the owners, along with his father and brother. He took his place behind the bar and poured us our tastings. Not only does he have wine, but also cider. We chose to taste a mixture of 7 wines and ciders.

We tasted:

  • L1: Spring Lake Sauvignon – quite dry and not my favorite, but if you love dry white wine, this might be for you.
  • L2: Tiger Cat Riesling – Great flavor. The perfect combo of sweet and slightly dry. We decided to take this bottle home and put it aside for our anniversary next year.
  • D2: Noval Black Port – I loved this wine! It has a taste of dark chocolate covered cherries. It’s sweet but not too sweet. My husband wasn’t as into it as I was, so I didn’t buy a bottle, but will definitely go back for a glass next time we are in town.
  • C2: Nektar Zombie Killer – This cider has a prominent honey flavor and is the perfect mix of sweet and tart. It was my favorite cider.
  • C3: Rekorderling Strawberry Lime – This is their most popular cider. You can taste both strawberry and lime. It’s sweet but not in an overpowering way.
  • C5: Wyders Dry Pear – This cider has a very light flavor and is too light for me. Dan tells us that it’s great mixed with the Belgian Saison.
  • C6: The Cider Farm Belgian Saison – Tastes like black licorice. The flavor is soft, but on the metallic floral end. I am not a fan of floral flavors, so this doesn’t cut it for me.
  • C5 & C6: Wyders Dry Pear & The Cider Farm Belgian Saison – Definitely cut the wild flavor of the Saison, but isn’t something I would go out of my way for. Simply not my thing.

After we completed our tasting, Dan offered to let us try some items he was debating on carrying. We were delighted to give our thoughts.

Bonus Tasting:

  • Omme Gang Brewery: Rose Cider – Definitely dry and a little bitter, but it would make a nice refreshing gluten-free choice. I would drink it on a hot summer day. I say it’s a keeper.
  • Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha – Nice flavor. It’s sweet and unlike what I expected from a Kombucha. It would compete well with the ciders and it’s a healthy alternative.
  • SKOL Red (from Chateau St. Croix Winery) – This is a decent table wine, very flavorful. It smells like strawberries and has a tartness to it. I would definitely drink it if it was in stock.

Dan is charismatic, to say the least. He was able to explain each wine and cider. He told us the history of the winery. He explained how he keeps art displayed regularly throughout the winery because his late mother was an artist and a local farmer recommended hanging art. He told us, “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.”

As we tasted our way through the list of wines and ciders, we were able to listen to live music provided by John. He sings and plays acoustic as well as harmonica, each Saturday. He stayed longer than normal, simply because he felt like it. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. You can’t help but feel as if you have become part of the family. As I look out the window, I see Dan’s father and his brother Jess, stringing Christmas lights. We couldn’t have asked for a more memorable experience. Out of the Woods Winery has truly captured our hearts.

For more information on Out of the Woods Winery, please visit: https://www.outofthewoodswinery.com/

October Luxury Divas Box – Yes!

It’s month number two and I have received my Luxury Divas Box.  I am excited to say that I loved everything in this box and I am stoked that I decided to do a three month membership. The three month membership saves you five dollars per box, which brings the total down to thirty dollars per month.

This box came with the following: Red Luxury Divas slouchy hat, white fuzzy boot socks, a beautiful silver mesh bracelet, a pair of dangly caged crystal earrings, a black and purple crossbody bag, and a burgundy choker style top which fits great. I have no complaints. They also sent me a ten dollar gift certificate for the Luxury Divas site, because October is my birth month. I immediately went online and bought a beautiful ankle bracelet. I cannot wait until it comes. I plan to wear it in Las Vegas around the pool.

Here are the things I love about this company. They ship promptly. They take into consideration the colors you like and the type of style you wear. They give you a little something extra for your birthday. They write you a personalized note each month and they give you a sheet that tells you about each product and its value. I promptly emailed Marina, my curator, and told her how well she did. They also send you a little treat in each box, which was candy corn this month.

If you like accessories and you don’t want to break the bank on a monthly box subscription, I highly recommend Luxury Divas. The items fit well and I feel they are practical. I think you will find the experience refreshing. This is a company I feel good about. If you would like to see more images of the items from the October box, please visit my Facebook page. I will be posting images as soon as possible. https://www.facebook.com/starspiritadventures/

For more information, please visit: https://www.luxurydivas.com/

Extreme Zip Lining

This past June, while planning a visit to Colorado, my husband and I found ourselves perusing the internet looking for fun activities. He happened to find a Groupon for Royal Gorge Zip Line. Since I had never seen Royal Gorge previously, I thought it might be a fun day trip from Vale. He asked me if I would like to take part in the ‘Extreme Zip Line Tour,’ and I said yes. Basically these zip lines are faster and longer than most others. What he failed to tell me was that there would be a seventy foot tower at the very end, and only two ways down.

This definitely is not a mild course. As I said, it is extreme. There is some hiking involved, so if you use an inhaler I would recommend you bring it along. The hiking goes pretty fast, though the climbs are intense at times. The crew provides plenty of water along the way and a small snack after the largest jaunt. The fastest line can reach up to sixty miles per hour, and the longest line is over a third of a mile long. This course does have weight stipulations. You must be between seventy-five and two-hundred-and-fifty pounds.

The lines are an absolute blast and our guides, Michaela and Sami, were hilarious. They were knowledgeable and they kept us laughing all while maintaining our safety. Sami will cheer you on the whole way and Michaela will make jokes to lighten your hike. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.

As I said earlier, the tower at the end of the course is seventy feet tall. Upon arriving at the tower I had no idea that there were only two ways down. None of which is a ladder. You have to jump. There is no way around it. The only question is whether or not it’s a slow belay down or a free-fall and then belaying the rest of the way. I chose to jump. They told me that going backwards sometimes is easier if you are afraid of heights, which I am. I decided that backwards was my best option. I made a mistake. Instead of hopping back off the tower I let myself fall backwards. My feet did not leave the tower as I was falling, and very quickly I was upside down thinking, “Oh, F—! I don’t think I’m supposed to be upside down.” Pardon my internal monologue. I was a little panicked as my brain quickly whipped through what I knew was coming next. The strap tightened and my body was instantaneously jerked back around to an upright position. I had a nice burn on the back of my shoulder, but I didn’t break or dislocate anything, so I’ll call it a success.

After I was safely on the ground I looked up to see my husband standing on the edge of the tower. This man is a dare-devil and he stands atop mountain peaks on a regular basis. I saw him pause briefly as he took in the distance to the ground. It is definitely an adrenaline rush. No one wanted to jump off the tower immediately, but I will tell you one thing, it goes so fast you barely realize what happened. His jump was more graceful than mine. Everyone’s jump was more graceful than mine, but at least I can say I did it. I had fun and made some great memories. If you want to face your fear of heights, check out this course. You won’t be sorry… or maybe you will. Either way, you’ll be jumping off a 70 foot tower before the adventure’s end.

For more information on Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours, visit: https://royalgorgeziplinetours.com/

 

LD – Box One – Loving It!

Hey friends! Today I’m doing something new. Those of you who follow my blog know that I like to post articles about places I have visited. Beyond travel, I also have a strong love for fine food, art, wine, and don’t get me started on my love for hats, lingerie, shoes, jewelry, and purses. Honestly, my accessory love has grown immensely, which is why I am here today to review the Luxury Divas Box.

My first box arrived this afternoon, and boy was I stoked! This box is $34.99/month, or slightly less if you subscribe for three months at a time. I like this subscription, because unlike other fashion boxes, you get to keep everything they send you. It’s a whole lot more than accessories.

My box contained seven items, literature that explained each item’s value, and a description of why they chose the items they did for the current month. This is what I received: Long grey knit cardigan with pockets, a gold leaf necklace, a black, white, and rose gold watch with silicone band, a black and white Luxury Divas canvas tote, an Italia Deluxe Lashes For Daze waterproof mascara, and a blue multicolor art deco scarf. There was also a wonderful personalized note from the curator and some gummy bears to go with it.

Now, of all the items I like the tote, mascara, and necklace the most because they fit me well. The tote is black and white and simple. It’s made from recycled canvas, which is a huge bonus in my world, and hopefully yours. The leaf necklace is an item I would have bought myself, and I did. I own a smaller version in copper. I love it because, as most people know, I’m a hiker and I love me some Colorado nature. My third favorite is the mascara. It does exactly as it says. End of story.

Moving on to the items I haven’t expressed my undying love for. The cardigan is cute, but it’s also long and I am 5’3” so that means I need to wear heels when I wear it. I love that it has pockets and that it would dress up a cute t-shirt. It’s definitely versatile. No real complaints though, I am definitely still excited to try it out. The watch is a love hate situation for me. I love the colors and the look. I hate that I don’t wear watches and that the band is silicone. Everything sticks to silicone. My cat might be wearing it right now. One thing is for sure; he will look fashionable. In all seriousness, I promise to wear the watch sometime because it is cute. The last item is my least favorite. I am not fond of the scarf because it feels like a summer item and despite my somewhat wild personality, I don’t care for the wild colors for regular wear. Being that it’s Fall, I would have appreciated something fuzzy over sheer. I think I may wear the scarf as a swim wrap when I go to Mexico in March, or use it as a decorative table covering. I will play with it and see what I come up with.

Overall, I liked the box and I plan to become a subscriber. It feels personalized with the inclusion of the note and friendly gesture of sending gummy bears. This is a company that feels warm and fuzzy. I want to see what else they have up their sleeves.

Within the next week I will get some photos of the above items being used. Once posted, you can view them here: https://www.facebook.com/starspiritadventures/

For more information on Luxury Divas, please visit: https://www.luxurydivas.com/

Maggie’s In Bayfield, Wisconsin

This past May, my husband and I took a trip up to Bayfield because we were on a mission to see several waterfalls in Wisconsin and Michigan. While bumming around the town, we asked locals what they suggested for a decent place to grab a snack. Maggie’s and one other place, of which I cannot recall the name, were the top options.

After some debate we ate at Maggie’s. My first impression was that we had made a great choice because the atmosphere was fun with a tropical flare. There were quirky decorations and flamingos on almost every surface. I was pleased upon inspecting the menu, because they had some decent gluten-free options.

Our waitress came to the table to take our orders, and I discussed the gluten-free menu items with her. In the end, I told her I would like to go with a pepperoni and pineapple gluten-free pizza and a piece of the flourless chocolate torte. I was sure to tell her I have a gluten intolerance. My husband ordered a burger and onion rings.

The food did not come out as quickly as we would have liked, but it wasn’t a ridiculous waiting period either. At first bite of my pizza it was clear that the crust was barely cooked. The majority of the center was still raw dough and hardly warm. I flagged our waitress down and let her know that it was not completely cooked. She simply stared at me and offered no thoughts, so, feeling slightly irritated and hating to make a scene or send food back, I brushed it aside and said, ‘fine, I’ll just eat it without the crust’. I was not thrilled since they charged me extra for an uncooked gluten-free crust. I know that I should have made a bigger deal about this and that it is my fault for settling, but I have learned my lesson and will speak up more if this ever happens again.

My husband liked his food. He said the onion rings were decent, and the burger was filling. I was not happy with my food. At one point a manager stopped by our table and asked how things were. I told him the crust on my pizza was not cooked. The waitress came over and got involved in the conversation saying that the cook asked if I had wanted it cooked longer and she told the cook I was fine with it the way it was. The manager walked away, and I became quite irritated to find she didn’t even give me the option to put it back in the oven, and that the manager would brush this off. On top of it all she asked if we wanted dessert, which I had ordered with my pizza and never received. I said no, and we paid our bill and left. They charged us the full amount for the crust that was inedible.

I rarely complain about service at restaurants, and I like to give staff the benefit of the doubt if things are busy and get a little rocky, but this place was not busy and they have no excuse for their horrible service. I have never been so letdown by a waitress in my life, not to mention the manager who did nothing. There is no excuse for poor food when it’s brought to the waitress and manager’s attention. Restaurants rely on positive experiences and word of mouth to bring in new people.

If you happen to visit Bayfield and Maggies, feel free to let me know what your experience was like. This may have been an isolated incident but I’m struggling to find the desire to visit Maggie’s ever again.

For more information on Maggies, please visit: https://www.maggies-bayfield.com/

Adventure is wherever the desire takes you.