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January 31, 2015

Subscription Box Review: Hatchery

So I haven't been around lately mostly due to work and traveling but I have a series of posts I need to make over the next few days.  I was going to start with a hair post but then I got a surprise a few days ago. Ok not a surprise I knew it was coming but didn't realize it would be here so soon after hearing it would be shipped. It's from a subscription service which isn't hugely monumental but in my case it's a big deal because I've for the most part entirely shunned those services.  I mean I like healthy snacks but my version of healthy and their version not quite the same.  And while I enjoy fashion and beauty I very rarely use makeup so those services won't work.  I ditched Fabletics because the cute outfits never seemed to be in my size and I am one of those women that legitimately hates yoga/thing workout pants.  This box could be called a fit of food snobbery but you'd be somewhat wrong.  It's a gourmet food service that gives you samples of small shops across the country.  Living Social had a three month special which amounted to a third off so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out.

Hatchery.Co produces the Hatchery Box.  Once a month you get a sampling of products to cook with.  Some of it is tailored to your tastes along with what seems to be part of the selection for the month.  And they alert you before the shipment moves out so you know when you to look for it.  I had a few of the same items as featured on the website this month but have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the assortment and taste for those things in the box.  The only miss for me was the jelly and that's just cause I don't like jelly.  I will review each item below the picture.  First up though just some photos of what the box looked like as I was unpacking it.  Call me a sucker for the somewhat kitchy and vintage look but I loved the look of this box.  Each item is very securely packaged and there's a description of each item on the cards I snapped.  There's also a recipe included using at least one of the items in the box.  This month it was for barbecue peel and eat shrimp.  Sounds good but I'm lazy when eating so the shrimp would have to be peeled ahead of time lol. 

Now on to the reviews.  This box came the night I wasn't sure what to do with my salmon so it worked out fantastic really.  I used a bit of the mustard and paella spice mix on my salmon.  The paella didn't pack much heat for the amount I used but it could have been muted by the mustard which was AMAZING.

This is a sample of a very nice olive oil.  I've only used it to coat my baked potatoes but it was light and tasted okay.  I need to try it on a larger scale either in meal prep or marinade to give it a better marinade.

I'll admit to being confused by this one.  Pasta gravy is a new one for me and I was nearly ready to chuck it to the mom donation pile until I started reading.  It sounds like a really good and rich pasta sauce.  As soon as I try it I will let you know.

This was the miss for me.  I won't be trying it but I'll give it to mom to try like normal.

I haven't tried this one yet but I'm semi desperate to.  I love a good barbecue sauce so flipping much.  I might try it with my steak tonight.

This mustard is delicious.  I may actually have to order this full size and love it more.  It's got a nice tang to it on top of being a rich full flavor.  

I was a little disappointed in this on the salmon.  It just kind of lost it's totally imagined fire.  As I mentioned that could have been because I added the mustard to it but I will give it another try on another dish.

Ok I got a three month subscription for 51 bucks through LivingSocial.  Regular monthly price is 25 a month with cancellation anytime you would like or yearly 240 bucks (a whole savings of 5 bucks a month).  If you really like to cook and try new things without paying full price for things this isn't a bad deal.  It isn't anymore expensive than some of the other subscription services and if you're like me it will expose you to things you can't get locally.  

Six items would work out to be about 4 dollars an item each month including shipping.  Now you can see about what sized items you are getting so it may not be worth it to pay that monthly especially since you don't know what is coming.  If you were willing to commit for the year then it would be about 3 bucks an item plus shipping.  I like the idea of things being sourced from all over especially since I keep finding myself in smaller towns with seemingly limited palettes.  Having said that though I really do like knowing that my boxes will end in March unless I'm just so overwhelmed that I must continue.  I like having the finite ending point.  The same could be said of the yearly package so if you want to give it a whack for a longer time that's an option as well. 

Have a good Saturday and enjoy good eats every day.

January 2, 2015

First Friday: Fitness on Tap

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I actually forgot that the gym was open yesterday but it wouldn't have mattered because Thursday is my off day. I was semi-dreading going today because I was convinced the Resolutioners would be there en masse and causing confusing. Turns out I was wrong on both counts. It may pick up soon but for right now my anticipated gym times seem to be quite clear.  As I was winding down for my last bit of cardio, I spoke with a cute older woman named Holly.  She was in the gym for the first time and the machine was confusing her.  Four minutes later she was up and running and tinkering with the machine to better account for her pacemaker.  I'm sure the Resolutioners will take over eventually but today was a good work out.

Fitness Friday

December 30, 2014

2014 Recap: The Good, The Bad, & The Growth

I haven't washed my hair yet.  I'll do that tomorrow after the gym or after my mother's doctor's appointment cause setting up appointments on New Year's seems like oodles of fun right?  Yeah the joy of raising you parents.  Tomorrow when I'm done ripping and running I will prepoo my hair.  Either for the rest of the day or for a few hours.  I will be using my Hot Head heating cap again because I super duper love it.  And I will let it loosely let it air dry like I did last week.  That actually turn out badly so I didn't blow it out or put any heat on it the last week.  I will after this wash day because I want to take a current length and potential damage shot for New Year's.  I also want to have a weight loss progress shot since I am now down 25 pounds.

Good: I know my hair won't fall out if I go swimming
Bad: Chlorine is still really hard on your hair
Growth: I'm still trying to make it work even though I admittedly started slacking at the end of the year

Good: My hair rebounded from the massive chop from last year
Bad: I didn't do enough to prevent split ends
Growth: I'm ready to get it popping again this year

Good: I bought a Mia to help with my skin regimen
Bad: I haven't used it regularly
Growth: It's reboot time and if I just get up 20 minutes earlier I can get everything I want to do in the morning done

Good: My hair is good and gray lol not everywhere and not all the time but woosah it's gray
Bad: Since that last perm didn't take my hair is ridiculously thick right now
Growth: I'm about 20 weeks post now and my hair hasn't crawled off my head and sought out a relaxer

Good: I worked out at least 45 times more than last year
Bad: It's still not as much as it could have been but I am getting better
Growth: That whole six weeks to make it a habit thing is true, I'm getting it in and I love it

Good: I am not remotely depressed about turning 40 next year
Bad: I have no idea how I want to celebrate that
Growth: I have developed the celebrate me mindset so it will happen

Good: I am really enjoying my life
Bad: Mad it took me this long to get here
Growth: If I'm lucky I have at least another 40 years to be loving me

I'm taking all of my Growth moments as things to move with me into the new year and will pad them with a bit of the Good stuff.  The Bad are lessons to learn from so all in all no matter what it was this was a GREAT year of self exploration, self care and growing into a better me.
The Wash Day Experience

December 27, 2014

FItness Friday: Sweaty Saturday Summary

So my Fitness Friday post is late again this week.  I did hit the gym as scheduled this week so now I'm three workouts away from 100 for the year.  Much as like last year though, the vast majority of them came at the end of the year when my brain and body finally said enough damn it.  I'm still learning my body and what works and what hurts and instead of just plugging along at something I'm not interested in doing I'm speaking up and making changes as needed.  My trainer is helping immensely and I'm figuring out that some of my old food wasn't so bad as long as it's not a daily kind of thing. Next week it's homemade pizza time--I'll try to take a photo, actually that's tomorrow so yeah I'll try to take a photo before I slice it up.  I had pot roast for Christmas and last night, I'll probably have that again tonight instead of a twice baked potato.  I do like potatoes but yeah not in the mood for one today.  That is something I have noticed over the last few months.  Even food that I love can either feel too heavy or just not what I'm craving.  Thankfully there's a lot of flexibility in the meal plan so I don't ever get too far off calorie count.  Trying to balance the dairy and protein and what not is a challenge some days but it's better than it used to be.  I'm not going to claim it at this point but it looks like I'm back on the losing end of things again after a week of flat weight loss.  If it holds I'll be down 25 pounds since I started this whole reboot two months ago.

I did just find out that my yoga class is moving to the same time as my swim lesson so I'm going to have to figure out when to sneak it in during the week.  Yoga this morning was different cause we had a new instructor for the day.  I got in a good sweat which is always nice but I really liked having yoga then scooting down the stairs to swim.  Ahh we'll see. 

Oh and I had a doh moment at the gym this week.  Remember I'd been having trouble with my heart rate monitor.  The readings would be all over the place like the sensor was losing its mind.  Well I was washing my hands and trying to get the sensor to read normally when the band came unhooked--again.  Why this didn't occur to me before I really can't say but I have NEVER tinkered with the band ever since I bought it.  I've been losing and gaining the same 10-15 pounds over the last year until recently.  There is actually less of me to wrap around so I had to make the band tighter.  Yeah for tangible proof of weight loss but damn that was an easy fix that had I just thought of earlier I might not have been checking out other fitness bands.

How goes the sweaty life for all of you?

Fitness Friday

December 19, 2014

Fitness Fridays: Food and Flexibilty

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So it's Friday and it's time for an update.  I have to say December has been the best gym month period so far.  I went to the gym three time this week and will keep up my two workouts tomorrow even though swim class is over until mid January.  Yoga and back to Planet Fitness.  That will make 14 workouts in 20 days.  That will pull me up to 92 for the year with 11 days to go for the year.  Considering when the holidays actually fall I MIGHT make it to 100 but they weren't as consistent during the early part of the year.  There's definitely been an uptick since I hired my trainer which is good cause I would seriously feel like an ass to paying someone to get me in shape and then not following through.  I am losing weight so that's good.  Just as I was thinking I was hitting a weird plateau with the working out and weight loss I got my new plan for next week and two new workouts are in play.  I get to test some new stuff out and see how that goes.  It's a good week to test it out since there's no work and I am expecting a light gym crowd since Christmas is next Thursday.  We'll see but I'm excited.  I'm starting to hate my Polar fitness watch.  It is glitching out or I have a heart murmur.  I don't think I would have missed the second one as much as I have been to the doctor as of late.  Some days it's perfectly fine, others it's always recalibrating to read the heart sensor.  I've changed both batteries recently but I know when it doesn't register that correctly it doesn't register the calorie burn correctly either.  I'm going to keep working out regardless but I'm wondering if it's time to upgrade my tracker.  And my right calf is a little sore today but I think I must be putting more pressure on that leg during workouts.  I'm sure it will feel better in the morning when I get to do this.

Part of that is also making sure I eat properly.  I didn't lose as much weight last week because I was hitting the bread again.  The sandwiches were within my calorie count for the meals in question but yeah bread hasn't really been on the menu.  We'll see how the next weigh in goes but I did want to share some of the most recent meals I've had that have kept me happily fed and staying on track.  These were taken with my camera phone so yeah sorry the quality isn't better.  The top dish is Cajun spiced salmon (I LOVE salmon), a side of corn and chicken flavored brown rice.  My recipe for the night included asparagus but I didn't have any so I switched in corn instead.  The second dish is seriously one of my new favorite meals.  It's a beef stir fry with red and green onions, ginger, garlic and a few other things.  The original recipe called for pineapple chunks and juice but both of those make me unhappy lol.  I nixed the pineapple and use orange juice instead.  Still has the citrus tang and has a wonderful overall flavor and smell while it's cooking.  It's served on brown rice and is the bomb.  Working on portion control is just amazing.  I'm not as hungry as I used to be and I'm not snacking to fill time.  I do get snacks but they are planned out and things I want.

All right I'm done for the day.  What's up with you ladies?

Fitness Friday

December 14, 2014

Pre Birthday Wash Day

As I mentioned yesterday, my birthday is on tap.  This week I wasn't sure what if anything I was going to do with my hair.  I have a few weeks off from swim class so it will just be normal gym sweat for this week.  The more I think about it the more I think I'll be heading to the day spa and getting rubbed down and dolled up.  But in the mean time I had to take care of my chlorinated hair.  It didn't feel as good today in terms of my hair in general.  It's a little rough to the touch.  I should have grabbed the Roux Porosity Control shampoo I bought at Sally's to see if it helped but I was on a mission today and it wasn't worth going off my rhythm.

Washed with: Moroccan Oil Moisture based shampoo, Organix Moroccan Oil and Rusk Bright shampoo to minimize the brassy

Conditioned with: Moroccan Oil, Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor and Mizani Moisturefuse

Deep conditioned with: Dr. Miracle's this week since I finally repurchased it and for the second wash day I used my new heating cap, the Hot Head that I got from Etsy.  It was totally different from the old one with the gel inserts and really soft wrapper.  It still heats up in the microwave but seems to heat better and since it fits like a bonnet I never feel like there's a spot not being touched.  I gave up on Hair Therapy Wrap.  No matter how I stored it or heated it the gel packs kept bending or doing something funky.  I have to say this feels much better and I really do like it.  It shipped quickly and arrived within five days of purchase.

I put my hair on flexi rods since it's finals week and I don't really have to look stellar the next few days.  If I go in for a spa day I will take photos of that as well.  Here's one of me after the t shirt drying and detangling.  One side always behaves in photos and the other is like chick please.  Ahh well.  There were minimal tangles and knots this week so that's great but I'm still not sure about what protective style to shoot for before swim classes begin again in mid January.  How was your wash day?

The Wash Day Experience

December 13, 2014

Pre Birthday Updates

So I am now on countdown to my 39th birthday.  I'm not sure what I thought I'd be doing at 39 but I can almost assure you my current life isn't it.  That's a good thing though as I am genuinely enjoying my life right now.  Are there things that need to be improved on?  Well most assuredly but I also have the passion and drive to continue to improve.  The best part about being nearly 39 though is that next year, God willing, I'll be 40.  If things keep going the way they are going it will be the best birthday ever but then again I'm making plans to make sure every birthday gets that distinction.  Just because this is more of an introspective post about lots of things not just my hair I'm going to insert a page break here.  If you don't want to go any further not a huge deal as I tend to be wordy sometimes.  Just know that I'm in a good place and enjoying life.  If you are nosy and got time to kill continue after the break.

December 7, 2014

Final Firmoo Review

I have been meaning to get this up for a while and keep forgetting.  So as I mentioned in my earlier post I got a pair of glasses to review from Firmoo.com.  I wanted to wait a few weeks after I started wearing the new prescription to give an honest review. 

Quality: The glasses were just as sturdy and well made as the glass I got at the local store.  Both frames were plastic and while that was disorienting from the metal lenses I had been wearing but something easily gotten over.  The lenses looked about the same and darkened as they should have when I went outside.  They were probably a little too big for my face but that's my fault for not measuring my current glasses before picking them out.

Prescription: This is where things go off for me a bit and I think it's because my prescription is on the stronger side.  The firmoo lenses continue to feel much more intense than the local lenses I bought at the same time.  The new script hangover wore off within an hour with the local lenses.  The firmoo still causes a bit of a headache that just gets worse if I need to be active.  If I want to sit and read not a huge deal but if I turn my head quickly it's back and not so much with the fun. 

Overall feedback: I think if you want fashion lenses or need a weaker prescription then they would be a great option.  Also if you have to wear glasses regularly make sure that you measure your face well and pick a frame that suits you.  Firmoo makes a good product though and I think you will be happy with your purchase.