All posts by starspiritadventures

TK is an adventurer who loves writing and photography. She is the award-winning author of two fiction novels. She believes every day is a new adventure and should be lived to its fullest. Star Spirit Adventures is a lifestyle blog which explores everything from books, to vacations, to the meaning of life.

Foodie Friday: Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

So, not going to lie, this recipe became a must for me, the second I saw it. First off, I love the movie Julie and Julia. It’s amazing what Julia Childs was able to do for women in the world of cooking. She knocked down the walls preventing women from learning to become extraordinary chefs. If you love to cook and have not seen Julie and Julia, I recommend you make this recipe, uncork a nice bottle of wine, and settle in for a dinner showing. I am guessing Julia Childs might not approve of her Beef Bourguignon being made in a slow cooker, but I am pretty freakin’ stoked about it, due to the time-saving aspect.

Moving on, this recipe was taken from the unboundwellness.com site. As I stated in last Friday’s article, I have a few recipes I plan to make and evaluate, which come from this same site. The Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon is a savory stew filled with lots of veggies, and of course, stew meat.

It took me an hour to put the dish together. The ingredients are as follows: beef stew meat, bacon, carrots, Portobello mushrooms, white sweet potatoes (I used orange), pearl onions, beef broth, arrowroot powder, red wine, salt, pepper (I omitted this), garlic, Bay leaf, and Thyme. This dish can be prepared to fit the needs of anyone on the AIP, Paleo, Whole30, or Gluten free diet.

The most difficult part of this dish is cooking the bacon and browning the beef. The rest is really about chopping vegetables and putting the ingredients into the crockpot at the correct time. It must cook for 8 hours on low, so definitely plan ahead.

I ran into a couple of snags during my cooking adventure. I was unable to find white sweet potatoes, so I used orange, which the recipe says is okay. I put one in the pot, and will cook two to mash up underneath the stew, once it is ready to serve. The second issue I ran into, was that I forgot to buy fresh Thyme and Parsley, so I had to go back to the store again to get these items. I was not going to let my dish go without Thyme. I took the “Thyme” to make it, so it should be done correctly, right?

It smells and looks heavenly in the slow cooker. Waiting is my biggest frustration. The flavor, however, was totally worth it in the end. It’s hearty and I am incredibly glad this makes enough for six servings, because I want more later.

I give this recipe 5 stars because it seems like a complicated recipe, but with the slow cooker, it becomes quite simple and still provides an elegant dish to share with your family and friends. The recipe was easy to follow and worth the time and wait. The author gives you substitution guidelines as well as different serving options, which is always a nice bonus.

To make your Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon, check out the link below:

https://www.unboundwellness.com/slow-cooker-beef-bourguignon/

An Author’s Life for me

For those of you who do not know, I am the author of the award-winning novel, Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair. My first book was published by Black Rose Writing in March of 2018. The sequel came out the following year in June of 2019 and the third installment will be arriving this year. I am also working on a fourth book which is outside of the Runway Dreams series.

Life as an author is not as easy as some people think. Most often a published book does not mean instant success. You must work hard to hone your skills and improve. Sometimes the road an author must travel is wrought with trial and error. I consider myself quite lucky, because my books are selling, and while I know the first installment is not perfect, I also know the second and third are better stories and hugely improved. As long as I keep improving and people continue to read my stories, I consider myself to be successful.

If you have a story to tell, don’t give up. Keep working at it. Keep believing in yourself. You will get to your goal eventually, providing you never stop believing in yourself. When I wrote Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair, I told myself it would be published. I was picked up by one of the very first publishers I sent the book to. I know that is not the norm, but perhaps it plays to the power of positivity?

Authors need supportive people in their lives. They run on creativity and coffee, as well as cat companionship, but if you are a human friend, be supportive and let them know you are in their corner. It’s not easy to finish a full-length novel, and it sure as heck is not easy to find a publisher. Once they do, they will remember your confidence in them and possibly give you a nod in their published novel.

For the authors you love to read, remember to review their books on Goodreads and Amazon. This is important for sales. Try not to be a jerk. We know our books are not meant for everyone, but your dislike is no excuse for poor behavior. I honestly do not review a book if I have to rate it below a three. A three means it is okay but could use improvement. If it’s below a three, I probably do not have much good to say. I don’t want to drag them down further when others might love the story. We want the right audience to find us, as well as our author friends.

If you are into humorous stories about love and deceit and you like to read about rich and famous characters who come to the realization that there is more to life than the bubble they were previously living in, you should checkout: Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair. If you have read my first book, then the second is an absolute must.

Please find the links to my books below, and remember, never give up on your dreams and be nice to your dreamer friends.

https://www.amazon.com/Runway-Dreams-Black-White-Affair-ebook-dp-B07B9QXYL5

Foodie Friday: Chicken Stroganoff

Welcome to the very first Foodie Friday blog entry where I will review and tell you about my experiences with trying new recipes that I have found. These recipes could range from appetizers to entrees to desserts and most often will be made for those who have diet restrictions. This first recipe I was hesitant about, but I am obscenely happy that I decided to move forward with preparation.

Growing up, my mom liked to make Beef Stroganoff, which was okay (it had nothing to do with how she made it. I would not have been a big fan no matter who made it). I never felt drawn in enough to want to make it myself, until now. The biggest change is that this recipe was made with chicken instead of beef, and I put it on top of mashed sweet potatoes. I am currently kicking off a new diet due to health issues. I have to cut out corn, dairy, grain, soy, and eggs, which can be challenging.

This first recipe came from unboundwellness.com and is Paleo, Whole30, gluten free, and AIP appropriate. I will include a link to the recipe at the bottom of this article. What drew me in was hugely the image posted of the dish. I love mushrooms and they looked wonderfully decadent (I did not include a photo because I failed to take a photo when it was still in the pan and the plated version is not as pretty as what is posted on the authors website).

Now, I should tell you that I did not use the Portobello mushrooms that were listed in the recipe. I ended up swapping for white buttons because the store happened to be out of Portobello and I was not willing to make another stop. I also made the recipe a little larger than what was called for because it turns out, I sliced up more than a pound of chicken.

The recipe calls for chicken breast, chicken broth, coconut cream, arrowroot starch, mushrooms, onion, garlic, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper (I omitted the black pepper). This dish can be made in a single pan and it cooks up nicely. The smell is divine and it tastes even better. They do say that it will take 20 minutes to prepare, but honestly, it took me an hour to chop everything and cook it, but again, I made extra chicken and added extra ingredients because of my oversight.

I put the stroganoff atop mashed sweet potatoes and it was AMAZING! I think I could eat this recipe every other day and be quite happy. The dish was aromatic and tasted like something you would get at an upscale restaurant, but I made it at home and it was fairly easy. If you like Stroganoff, certainly you should check this recipe out. It’s not like some of those healthy recipes where you take the first bite and instantly wonder what’s wrong with the chef’s tastebuds. This one will wow anyone you invite to dinner (providing they are into this sort of cuisine).

What I love about this site and recipe is that they do make it fairly easy to follow. They also tell you some tips and tricks for changing the recipe to suit your needs. I have several other recipes I intend to try out from this site in the future. They have provided me with enough healthy variation, that I could cook from them for weeks and not get bored.

On a scale from one to five, one being the worst and five being the best, I give Chicken Stroganoff five stars for ease of execution and how sinfully elegant it tastes.

To check out the recipe I used, visit the site listed below:

https://unboundwellness.com/chicken-stroganoff/

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a city meant for fun and exploration. Most often, when we think of Vegas, we think of drunken debauchery and hiding the evidence of what we did while there. Clearly, with the development of Facebook, there is no longer any true way to hide your crazy escapades, so why not opt for something a little less sinful? What, you ask, would I recommend? How about the Neon Museum?

To visit the Neon Museum, you must book your time-slot in advance. They run on a tight schedule and you will get the best bang for your buck if you plan to go at night and you also plan to watch the, Brilliant, light show. You absolutely have to add Brilliant to your ticket. It is worth the viewing.

You will see many different signs from throughout Las Vegas history. Several of which have been restored. The guide will humorously tell stories about where the signs are from and other stories regarding the owners of the casinos. You will be allowed to take photographs of everything, and of course, that was one of my favorite parts.

The museum is located in downtown Las Vegas and can be walked to from many locations. You can buy a single visit pass, or an annual. We opted for the annual, since it came with other perks as well. It allows you to visit other museums throughout the country, which sounds great to me.

To find more information on the Neon Museum, or purchase tickets, visit the below website:

The Neon Museum Las Vegas | The history of Las Vegas through neon

New Year’s Affirmations

Another New Year is upon us. Rather than throw anger and negativity at the passing year, I choose to look at the good things that have happened and to send out positive affirmations for the year I am planning to have. If you are one of the people who were hit hard this year and you are struggling to pull yourself out of the pain and sorrow, time can sometimes ease the pain, but for loss of a close loved one, I understand there will always be a certain ache inside.

If you want to bring more positivity to your life, I recommend starting with your New Year’s affirmations. You can write them down, and/or say them out loud, but whatever you choose to do, I recommend writing “or better” at the end. This particular statement leaves the door open for other greater possibilities. This is a trick that Mike Dooley tells his readers about in his novels, which brings me to my next recommendation.

If you would like to bring more positivity into your life, I recommend reading the following books, depending on your current life situation: A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe, by Mike Dooley. The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You, by Mike Dooley. Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. The last book I listed, changed my life and my way of thinking, for the better. Louise Hay is also a huge author in the world of positive manifestation.

Create your intentions and put them out there. Stay away from the negativity of this past year. That chapter is closing and life is short. There is no time to dwell on the past, but only time for moving forward and “living your best life now,” which is another point Mike Dooley likes to stress. If you are one of the people who keeps saying, “I will do it tomorrow,” consider that the energy you are putting into the Universe, will continue to place your desires just out of reach. Believe that you already have your deepest desires and the law of attraction will pull in more of the same.

Happy New Year! Love and positivity to you all. With positive beliefs, we can breed life-long changes.

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