Sunshine Box Swap Reveal!

Hey there Sunflowers! A couple of weeks ago, I was minding my business scrolling through my IG feed when the hashtag #SunshineBoxSwap caught my eye. Sunshine, you say? Swapped in a box, you say? All over it. Hosted by fellow bloggers Abby of Always Abby and Dean of Mrs. AOK, the Sunshine Box Swap was created to encourage bloggers to kick of Summer by spreading sunshine in a swap ūüėČ

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I  received my package of sunshine from Lowanda of Sunshine and Elephants and it was awesome! She really took the sunshine theme and ran with it. The super cute note card and custom CD were just the beginning.

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Good eats, good dranks and smell goods rounded out this beautiful box of sunshine.¬†I was never really a fan of the sunflower craze that was pretty popular here in DC. I just never understood all of the work of dealing with the shell¬†just to get such a tiny reward in the seed. Well, apparently my partner¬†knew this and gifted me with a bag of Sunflower Meats (sunflower seeds, minus the shell) – these will make for a great snack. The¬†bright yellow “Good Morning Sunshine” mug and honey spoons are perfect for my getting my¬†daily tea fix. Lowanda even included some drink mix with Sweet Tea and Mango Pineapple vodka for my own personal happy hour, YES! Smell goods in the form of¬†shower gel and lotion in Country Chic, citrus-scented antibacterial hand wipes and stress-relief hand sanitizer will remind me of the joy that this box brought me for weeks to come.

A special thank you to my swap partner Lowanda for the care that she took in making this package bring a huge smile to my face =) Also, thank you Abby and Dean for the opportunity to participate.

What’s your favorite part of my swap box? Have you participated in a swap recently? Leave your sunshine below.

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Meet Iron Chef Marc Forgione at Macy’s

Happy Thursday my lovely Sunflowers!

I cordially invite you to join me next Thursday, June 11th¬†at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD to meet Chef Marc Forgione when he kicks the season off with a delectable, private dinner party. Dine with one of the best chefs in the business as he shares stories from the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but I’m¬†even hoping to pick up a recipe or two! What better way to kick off the summer?

Marc Forgione

Chef Marc Forgione is the chef/owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione in New York City, American Cut in New York City, and Revel in Atlantic City. He was recognized with a glowing two-star review in the New York Times and received a Michelin star consecutively three years in a row! As Marc Forgione puts it, ‚ÄúClassic American food never tasted so good.‚ÄĚ From Amazon:

Forgione’s first cookbook features gorgeous photos throughout and 170 recipes with restaurant signature favorites including Chili Lobster and Chicken Under a Brick. The cookbook features not only recipes but also stories of an unlikely journey to where Chef Forgione and the restaurant are now. Flavor comes first, but Forgione is like an artist in the way he presents food. His goal with the book is not to just present a collection of recipes but to challenge home cooks and aspiring chefs, helping them to elevate their skills in the kitchen.

The foodie in me is looking forward to a great meal but I’m even more excited to hear about Chef Forgione’s journey. As I shared in my Foodstalgia post, the story behind food fascinates me. I find it intriguing how food can evoke¬†so many emotions and ignite all of our senses, creating an experience beyond the tangible. Won’t you join me in checking out what the Chef has in store for us?

Space is limited so reserve your spot today by calling 1-877-556-2297 10AM – 6PM EST.¬†Tickets are $45 and include a reserved seat to the dinner, a $20 Macy’s gift card (must be used that evening) ¬†and a copy of Chef Forgione’s cookbook, Recipes and Stories (while supplies last), which he’ll sign during the event.

*This post is sponsored by Macy’s Culinary Council; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

Clean Water to Go with LifeStraw¬ģ Go (+ Giveaway!)

TGIF Sunflowers! I can’t wait to share all about last week’s trip to Blogalicious in San Antonio – look for a post everyday next week highlighting¬†what a great experience it was!

Prior to leaving for San Antonio, I had the pleasure of trying out LifeStraw¬ģ Go. Whether you are exploring the nearby nature trail or camping in the mountains, having access to clean drinking water is always a priority. This easy-to-use filtered water bottle converts microbiologically contaminated water into safe drinking water, removing 99.9999% of bacteria so you can rest assured that you will have clean drinking water on-the-go.¬†The durable, lightweight bottle is ideal for a variety of users outside of the home, including hikers, runners and campers, and for everyday consumer use as I discovered:

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Staying hydrated with LifeStraw¬ģ Go¬†while multi-tasking to meet deadlines.

 

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On the move running errands with LifeStraw¬ģ Go at my side.

 

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LifeStraw¬ģ Go even fits perfectly in Baby Sunshine’s diaper bag – perfect for a stroll!

Now y’all know I’m not the outdoorsy type but having a water bottle that gives me access to clean water no matter where I am is hella convenient, especially now that I have Baby Sunshine in tow. Plus I love supporting companies that are committed to social justice and walk the walk in order to make a difference.

Not only does LifeStraw¬ģ Go provide you with clean drinking water, but LifeStraw¬ģ‚Äôs Follow the Liters‚Äô cause marketing campaign harnesses the collaborative power of individuals to help solve one of the world‚Äôs most pressing issues ‚Äď lack of access to safe drinking water for people in developing countries. Under the ‚ÄôFollow the Liters‚Äô campaign,¬† when a consumer purchases any LifeStraw¬ģ water filter, a portion of the funds are used to provide one school child in Africa with safe drinking water for an entire school year.

LifeStraw¬ģ is manufactured by Vestergaard a Swiss-based global company dedicated to improving the health of disadvantaged people with game-changing solutions that fight malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal disease and neglected tropical diseases. The company is the largest producer of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets that prevent malaria under the PermaNet¬ģ brand, and its award-winning LifeStraw¬ģ water filters have been designed for individual, family and community uses.

Want you very own¬†LifeStraw¬ģ Go water bottle to use out and about? Enter below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about Lifestraw and find out how to purchase, please visit their website¬†http://www.buylifestraw.com/.¬†What outdoor activity would you find LifeStraw¬ģ Go useful for? Leave your sunshine below.

Disclosure: The LifeStraw¬ģ Go and information have been provided by Vestergaard.

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August Foodie Pen Pal

The Lean Green Bean

 

It’s that time again!

A little reminder:¬†Foodie Pen Pals¬†(FPP) was started over a year ago by Lindsay of¬†The Lean Green Bean¬†and now has over 1000 participants from across the USA, Canada and the UK. The idea is for participants to receive a specially packed box o’ goodies each month. Once matched up with a pen pal, you are free to communicate your food allergies, dietary restrictions, preferences, etc. and all participants are limited to a $15 spending limit.

I received this month’s package from Alan¬†who sent me Cincinnati chili mix, Asiago sourdough bread, Cheesesticks and locally made ketchup :

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The sourdough was so fragrant that I could smell it before I even opened the package. It was super fresh so I didn’t hesitate to incorporate it into dinner that night. We were having spaghetti so I made some garlic butter and sliced the loaf into thick slices of garlic bread – it was heavenly. The next day, I made some artisan grilled cheese sandwiches with gruyere and spinach. Man, that bread was some kinda good!

The Cheesesticks are among my favorite snacks yet I hadn’t had them in a while so they headed straight to my work snack cabinet. I haven’t tried the chili mix yet but am looking forward to it. Apparently what distinguishes this chili from other styles is that cinnamon and/or cocoa are included. I love the locally-made ketchup made “without any forms of corn syrup” and am looking forward to trying it.

Thank you Alan! What a thoughtful box =)

Are you interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal? Have you ever had Cincinnati chili? How would you have used the Asiago sourdough? Leave your sunshine below.

Battle of the Subscription Boxes

So, whose idea was this!? Because I don’t know whether to kiss or smack ’em…sigh. Yes, monthly subscription boxes are all the rage and I must admit that I have succumbed. For those of you who have your wits about you, monthly subscription boxes boast seamless monthly delivery of a new box of goodies each month for a (usually) minimal fee. It’s a smart way for businesses to get new products into the consumers’ hands and a nice way for consumers to discover new products without necessarily committing to buying a full product.

For me, it all started last year with Little Black Bag. Jewelry, handbags and sunglasses – I was in accessory heaven! Then came the beauty boxes: BeautyFix, My Glam (now called Ipsy), My Brown Box and BirchBox. Makeup, hair, nail ¬†& skin care? A product junkie’s dream. Then I stumbled upon the food boxes…lawd! Love with Food¬†upped the ante by donating a meal to a hungry child with each box they send. You know how much I love the chirren and giving back, smh.

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Then came wedding planning and I made the decision to halt the madness…at least temporarily. Wouldn’t you know there I was last month minding my own business, when I came across two new boxes? The first¬†Goodies, Co. Taster’s Box¬†seemed to good to be true at a mere $7/month. This box promised 5-8 newly curated snacks each month with the opportunity to purchase more at a discount via the Goodies website. I enjoyed every single item in this box: jalapeno and sea salt corn chips, gluten-free multi-grain crackers, cinnamon crunch oven-baked corn, orange-mango sparkling water and cherry lovers’ fruit chews. At $7/month, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few months bring.

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The second box I received this month was the Pop Sugar Must Have box. So far, this one seems to be a combination of all of the other boxes:

Every month, Lisa Sugar and her editorial staff will curate an exciting monthly box full of fun, must-have picks across fashion, beauty, home decor, fitness, and more, which we will deliver to your door. The monthly box targets women ages 18-40 and features full-size products and premium items including tried-and-true classics, celebrity favorites, and brands consumers have yet to discover. Your monthly subscription box will include products worth over $100. We may also include samples or freebies for good measure!

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I immediately fell in love with this box. The items included are mostly things that I never would have purchased on their own but are the perfect discoveries! The dried apple rings are yummy and a great car snack, plus it came with a trial subscription to Nature Box (-_-). The Lulah body wash is Tamarind and Ginger and smells divine! I love Dermalogica products – in fact my aesthetician uses them – ¬†however they can be pricey, so receiving the pre-cleanse and cleansing gel was awesome. I wasn’t sure what to do with the apple bowl. I mean it’s really nice, but it’s one of those things that can be used in so many ways. For now, I’ve been using it on my nightstand to hold my rings and earrings. The agenda book is super cute, functional and needed – I’m hoping it can help keep me on track with the 50-11 things I seemingly always need to do :-/ The Gorjana & Griffin Open Circle necklace is chic and a nice addition to my mostly obsolete necklace collection. All really, really nice stuff but my absolute favorite Pop Sugar Must Have is the Bentgo Stackable Lunch/Bento Box. I thought I was doing something with my food storage containers when taking lunch to work but baaaaaby this Bentgo Box is da bizness!!! All of this for $35? I plan to continue this monthly subscription as well. Want to join in on the Pop Sugar Fun? Click here:¬†http://popsu.gr/kYyq . Stay tuned for a possible giveaway soon!

So there you have it….my subscription box confession. Ahh…I feel so much better. What do you think of the subscription box craze? Do you have a favorite? What would you do with the apple bowl? Leave your sunshine below.