Tuesday, April 30, 2013

EcoEmi - March 2013: Full product review

Hi friends,

Before I reveal the April 2013 EcoEmi box (that would be tomorrow's post) I want to provide a fair assessment of the March 2013 box, which was my very first and highly anticipated box.

As you read in the corresponding March 2013 Open Box post, I was very pleased (and excited) about my first box. And let me tell you, I was also not disappointed with the products I sampled (with the exception of one). While some would not be products I would purchase as full sizes, I was still very happy with the overall quality and results from the majority of the samples I received from Christine with EcoEmi. So here is my review!

As a side disclaimer, I am not affiliated with EcoEmi or any of the products I am about to review. All opinions are my own nor am I solicited to write this review. I have included links to all the products mentioned in this review.

Here is another glimpse at the March 2013 box:

1. Theraganics Almond Oatmeal 100% natural soap bar - A-

The fragrance from this soap was absolutely divine. It does help that I love anything almond, whether as a lotion or a shampoo. At first I felt this was a good soap and a very general size too. I used it everyday in the shower for about two weeks so I would say that it did go a long way for a sample. I used one of those mesh puffs (no idea what they are called) to wash and felt the soap did provide quite a good lather too. The natural fragrance also had good staying power. As is, I would give the soap an A for rating however, I did not like it so much towards the end. The pieces of oatmeal started to really poke out of the soap itself and scratched my skin a few times. For that reason I was not able to finish using it as a bath/shower product and moved on to using it as a hand soap instead, which was equally satisfying as a fragrant cleanser. I would not recommend this soap for your face. I did try it that way and found my skin to be tight and too squeaky afterwards. You can visit Theraganics here.
2. Natural Heavenly Beauty - Lavender Vanilla Head to Toe moisturizer with 100% Shea Butter - A+
To say that I loved this sample would be an understatement. I thought this was the best one in the entire box for that month.  The texture comes out very thick, but as I mentioned in the original post, it would  warm up in the palm of my hands to ease application. I not only finished the little tub, I literally scrapped off every tiny bit from the bottom and used it as a cuticle cream. This was a very moisturizing butter, much better than anything I had tried in the past (Body Shop or Origins). It did wonders on my heels and elbows and the sample was actually big enough for three body applications. I can't even find the right words to describe the fragrance other than it was the perfect blend of vanilla and lavender and that the two took turns as under or power notes. Just perfect! I would definitely recommend this brand and specific body butter for a full size purchase. You can visit Natural Heavenly Beauty here.

 3. Blissoma - Herbal Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover - C+

Well, I was hoping this cleanser would be similar to Origins' Never A Dull Moment (minus the scrub part) and it was nothing like it. That said, I would say it was a good cleanser, overall. It did the job and did not leave my skin all tight and in dire need for moisturizing. I can't say I was all that impressed with it. I think cleansers can be a very personal thing as we all tend to like our own varieties. I know for instance that I do not care for foaming or cream cleansers. My current one (Avalon Organics Vitamin C) is difficult to top because I love the scent and the way it cleanses my skin. I would consider other cleansers though (I like Cetaphil a lot) so I can't say I am partial to my current one. I just did not think this was a great one. As for the scent, it had none. More like a fragrance free soap kind of scent. Not a big fan and I did not finish the sample. So this was the one I liked the least. You can visit Blissoma here.

4. Belles - Lavender Healing Lip Balm - B

There was something very interesting to me about this lip balm: it first applied with some kind of a gritty texture and then would melt upon contact with my body temperature. I thought at first that it was cold in my room and it would change texture once the room temperature would increase, but it did not. Once I got over the gritty texture I actually liked the results. It is a good balm. Maybe a bit too slippery on the lips after a while and I would not recommend it as a night time routine (it did stain my pillow as I am a side sleeper). As for the Lavender, I could not really smell it, it was there, but very faint. Overall I like it as a balm and keep it in my office drawer rather than carry it in my purse. It has good staying power as a lip moisturizer too. Lately however, I have been enjoying tinted lip balms, I guess that is one of the reasons why I chose not to carry it in my purse since it has no tint to it. Still, it is a good one to have. You can visit Belles here.

5. The All Natural Face - Glazed Strawberries Lip Gloss - B-

I love moisturizing lip glosses and slightly tinted balms. This one has a very pretty pink hue that I believe would go well on all skin colors. However, as much as I enjoyed it as a natural product, it had zero staying power. I mean none. Within 30 minutes all the product was gone from my lips and I can't even blame my smacking my lips or "licking' the gloss itself because it did not smell nor taste like strawberries. You would have to constantly reapply it to maintain the shine and color. But, it did have great moisturizing benefits so for that reason I still give it a decent grade. I am still using it on no makeup days when I don't want to look too much like a witch at the supermarket. You can visit The All Natural Face here.

6. Dr. Hauschka Rejuvenating Mask - A

I was very excited to sample this mask and made a point of taking a good relaxing hot bath just to be able to experience the sample itself. First the scent - just like the spa:  an amazing combination of clay and natural oils, this product, just from the smell of it, felt like luxury to me! I left it on for over 20 minutes (which is beyond what was recommended) and it did dry in the same way other clay masks would. It required a lot of rinsing. After close inspection of my skin I felt my pores were visibly reduced and my overall skin tone was also more even. And I guess that is all  I would want from a mask. I can't say it was very moisturizing but then again I would not expect moisture out of a clay mask. If you are looking for a very moisturizing mask I would recommend the one I use from Yves Rocher: Intensive Moisture Mask Botanical Hydration. I would say that the quality of the product and the results would justify the purchase of a full size Dr. Hauschka Rejuvenating Mask. You can visit Dr. Hauschka here.
7. Home Free - Gluten Free - Chocolate Chip cookies - B-
I had mentioned in my original Open Box post that I had eaten the cookies on the spot. For that reason I was able to provide an instant review. I was not thrilled with these cookies, as I felt they were too much on the dry side and not too chocolaty! Yet, I would never turn down a cookie. So while I am not sure I would buy these on my own, I would probably eat more if given the occasion. It was also the first time I ate anything Gluten Free so perhaps I reacted to that more than to the actual quality of the product. You can visit Home Free here.
8. Teatulia - Bengal Breakfast Tea - C-
 This is another product I tried right away and along with the facial cleanser, it was one of my least favorite sample to try. I have mentioned in other posts that I am a tea drinker (mostly Teavana and other loose teas) and this one did nothing for me. It was too weak and not fragrant enough. I did like the quality of the packaging and the fact the leaves were obviously of good quality. Other than that, I really was not trilled with it. You can visit Teatulia here.
9. Rockin Green - Smashing Watermelon Laundry Detergent - B
I use cheap detergent and sometimes I even make my own. So this felt like a bit of luxury to me. It does smell like watermelon when you open the package (this is not a liquid detergent) a bit more like Kool-Aid. I used it on a medium size load of my kids clothes. I did not see anything outside of the ordinary with regards to cleanliness. This product simply does the job. But, I was disappointed that none of the scent stuck around and the clothes, whether wet or dry did not smell like "smashing watermelon" afterwards. So for that reason, I only give it a B. It was just a detergent to me. You can visit Rockin Green here.


Overall I would give the March 2013 EcoEmi box a rating between B+ and A-. While I enjoyed using all the products, I felt some were disappointing in one way or another, but it was still exciting to try them because of their originality, packaging or scent.
If I was to compare this box with the usual Birchbox I also subscribe to, I would say EcoEmi wins this March 2013 round. (You can read my Birchbox March 2013 review here).
I really think it is a great idea to have a sample subscription reserved to organic products. First it raises our awareness that there are alternatives out there. Second, I thought all these products were very creative (aside from the tea) and I really wish the cosmetic industry would start to get the idea here that traditional makeup and skin care are getting boring.
I hope you found this review helpful.

Thank you for liking and sharing MGC with friends and family. You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Sophia, NJ

 *This site contains affiliate marketing. I am affiliated with Yves Rocher and would receive a commission should a purchase be made. I am not solicited to feature their products, I chose those I use, know and trust. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Hi friends,

My first Mother's Day Gift Ideas was so popular that I have decided to launch a follow up with more great stuff for moms.

let me start with makeup favorites:

Urban Decay Most Popular Palettes:

Naked - $37.00

Click Picture for link

The original naked palette, for the glam mom on the go.
Naked 2 - $59.00

Click picture for link

12 pigment-rich, taupe and greige neutral eyeshadows. This palette will give your glamorous mom all she needs to create the perfect smokey eyes look. Simply stunning choice of colors, wears great on every skin color.

No Makeup- Makeup Pallette - $38.90

This item is currently sold on Amazon with Prime (free)  shipping!                                   

Click Image to shop

For the mom who just wants a natural, no fuss makeup. This palette was designed to create the look of youthful morning glow. Having sampled it myself, I highly recommend it (never mind the fact that I WANT IT). It's that rosy fresh look of the morning we all wish we had, only you can carry it with you at all times!


Sigma: Possibly the best makeup brushes:

Sigma Mrs. Bunny - Travel Brushes - $65.00

Click here for link (Image Source)

Brush sets includes (text taken from the Sigma Website):

- Pencil: Soften and smoke out lines. Soften pencil liners along the top and bottom lash lines, add shadow to line the eyes, or use to highlight inner corner of eyes.
- Tapered Blending: Soft blended crease. Using just the tips to apply color, sweep back and forth through the crease for a diffused and blended finish.
- Eye Shading: Even application of color. Place color across the whole lid for an even and strong application of product.
 - Small Angle: Create precise lining. Moves fluidly and easily across the upper and lower lash lines. Use with gel, cream or powder liners.
- Large Powder: Even powder application. Uniform blending of powder products onto the face and body.
- Large Angled Contour: Subtle cheek application. Use the angle to softly contour the cheekbone. Can also be used to apply blush.
- Foundation: Smooth foundation application. Apply liquid or cream products such as foundation and primer.

Sigma Brush Trio - On sale $35.00 (orig. $51.00)

Click here for link (Image Source)

The trio contains a Large Concealer, Small Concealer and large Powder Brush. Everything she needs for a flawless face. Sigma Beauty offers high quality professional brushes with their own fan base.

Some Amazon Deals (check the links below):


Up to 60% off name brand perfume!

Gift Sets from the Body Shop

If you shop at Kohls (like I do) here is their Mother's Day Flyer
and last but not least, this Vera Bradley deal ends on 4/29/13!!!! RUN!!!! 
One Day Deal! Laptop Backpack for $59.99; Backpack for $39.99; Tablet Sleeve for $14.99 and E-Reader Sleeve for $14.99! Valid April 29, 2013.

Ok, I think I covered most of the needed beauty stuff. Funny how I did not include any cooking or home appliance stuff...oh, perhaps because us moms don't want to be given more housework related items on Mother's Day!

 Happy shopping!

Sophia, NJ

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE

*This post and site contain affiliate advertising. I am not solicited to review or advertise any products. These are my choices and my own opinions. I am not affiliated with Sigma, Urban Decay, Kohls or the Body Shop.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Hi Friends,

Mother's Day is right around the corner and with shipping delays expected, maybe it would behoove us not to procrastinate until the last minute!

I have gathered a list of favorites alongside other great deals for those of you looking for Mother's Day gift ideas. Some are beauty products, some are practical gifts. There is a mix of everything and whenever possible, I have also included coupon codes for further discounts. This is a long post since I inserted a lot of gift ideas, you may want to scroll down all the way to the end first to see what selections I made for Mother's Day 2013.



These are just a few selections, and you can visit the full site for more promotions such as BOGO, 50 and 75% off items.

Every Day coupon:
Free Shipping on orders over $25 and always a free gift. Use coupon code LCS25YR

Expiring soon:

Enjoy $10% OFFat Yves Rocher! EXCLUSIVE WEB OFFER! Use coupon code YVES10OFF at checkout. End date April 30th, 2013.

Enjoy 5% OFF with every order at Yves Rocher! EXCLUSIVE WEB OFFER! Use coupon code YROCHER5 at checkout. End date April 30th.

I love YR products and have reviewed several ones on this site already. They can only be found online and are sure to make a unique gift for those moms (like me) who love to try new pampering products. All YR products are organic, cruelty free and Made in France.

75% off - (orig. $14.00)

Discover the light, luminous scent of orange blossom with this soft body lotion. This silky body lotion perfectly captures the gentle and delicious scent of Orange Blossom. The moisturizing formula caresses your skin, leaving it soft, hydrated and lightly fragranced.6.7 fl.oz. Bottle / 200 ml.

Orange Blossom Body Lotion
click here for product

50% off - (orig. $5.00)

Yves Rocher was inspired by the exquisite elegance of fine confections to create this irresistible new sweet floral fragrance!
Deliciousely addictive it has a burst of sweet Almond, a heart of Mallow and Roses as well as a lingering base of White Musk and Tonka Bean.Add a festive touch to your bath, with this pretty pump-bottle that dispenses just the right amount of gentle cleansing and lathering soap!
10.1 fl.oz. Pump-bottle / 300 ml

Candied Mallow Liquid Hand Soap
Click here for product



A mini ritual care for an intense pleasure.
Discover and enjoy an intense pleasure with this kit of bath and body care treats with organic Moroccan Argan Oil.
Every day, under the shower, use this divinely scented shower oil. Its silky formula transforms into a delicate lotion on your skin, enveloping you in a soft, satiny and fragrant veil.
Then apply the whipped texture of Nourishing Argan Balm all over your body. It combines the lushness of organic argan oil with organic orange blossom essential oil, known for its relaxing properties. Your skin is restored to velvety softness with a lasting delicate scent.
The Plus: Their practical size to carry them everywhere!.

Discovery Ritual Kit includes:
Oriental Shower Oil - Travel-size - 1.7 fl.oz. Bottle / 50 ml,
Nourishing Argan Balm - Travel-size - 1.0 fl.oz. Tube / 30 ml.

I love this scent and currently use the roll on deodorant version of Lotus Flower.
A fragrant delight!
Stroll through a Laotian water garden!

The Lotus Flower of Laos reveals its soothing scent with delicate notes! The botanical cleansing base of this shower gel offers you the treat of a relaxing shower, as it gently cleanses your skin.
Every day, rediscover the fine, light and softly scented lather of our Laotian Lotus Flower Shower Gel to start your day off right!

The Plus: Its pure and relaxing scent!

Neutral pH
Easily biodegradable formula
 Recyclable bottle

8.4 fl.oz. Bottle / 250 ml

Laotian Lotus Shower Gel
click here for product

Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifier - BOGO - $48.00 for two

This is the serum I use every morning and night. I personally have had great results with it and would recommend it to anyone who is in the market for an anti-aging serum.

Boost the effectiveness of your anti-aging skin care
Imagine a treatment capable of boosting the anti-aging effectiveness of your usual skin care*.
Elixir 7.9, with 7 plants and 9 anti-aging patents, delivers all its concentrated power to your skin with one single drop. To be used every day, morning and evening, under your usual day cream to greatly increase its rejuvenating effectiveness or, as a 1-month intensive treatment 2 to 3 times per year, when your skin needs it.

Paraben-free formula, tested under dermatological supervision.
Suitable for all women and all skin types.

Elixir 7.9 has been tested and approved by nearly 200 women during 1-month  period.

They noted visible rejuvenating effects on their skin:

- Smoothed wrinkles,
- Boosted radiance,
- Protected skin,
- Refined skin texture,
- Redensified skin,
- Relaxed skin,
- New skin effect,
- Revitalized skin,
- Firmer skin.

1 fl. oz. Bottle with dropper / 30 ml
* Yves Rocher

45% off (orig. $50.00)

I have tried this as a sample and absolutely love it! It is a very nice fragrance, woodsy mix with a note of floral, but not overpowering at all. Very feminine too.

The most intense interpretation of Ming Shu
If you love classic Ming Shu, try our Flower of the Dawn with its softer scent...

A breath of air, fresh with aquatic and floral notes... the essence of a water flower (Nymphea Stellata) that releases its most intense notes at dawn.                                              
Olfactive Family : Aquatic Floral.
Head Notes : Marine Note, Pepper.
Mid Notes : Nymphea Stellata, Ylang-Ylang.
Base Notes : Sandalwood, Vanilla.
1.7 fl.oz. Spray / 50 ml
Fleur de l'Aube Eau de Parfum
Click here for product


I am a tea drinker. I drink tea everyday, several times a day. As a result, I would say that I have become a bit of a connoisseur on the subject of tea. If your mother is also a tea drinker, and preferably loose tea like me, I can guarantee you that she will be absolutely amazed by the quality and selection offered by Teavana.
I have a few favorites myself (Tranquil Dream and Samurai Chai Mate) but there are so many more varieties to sample (at the store) or purchase online.

Teavana is on the pricey side but I personally think that the quality matches the price and from my experience with their teas, a little goes a long way. I do recommend that you purchase the tin cans in addition to the teas (or a gift set which would include the cans) since they will deliver their teas in sealed pouches. All Teavana teas are loose (not sold in tea bag form) and have amazing fragrance as well as visible ingredients: think full flower buds, huge chunks of dried fruit etc..
Current Offers (as currently seen on the site):
At Teavana.com, all orders over $50 receive free ground shipping to locations in the U.S. and Canada [ ].
For a limited time, receive a free sample of our Youthberry/Wild Orange Tea Blend with every online order. Each sample is designed to create 16oz of our delicious Youthberry Wild Orange tea. [  ].

From Teavana site: Hanami is the Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of cherry (sakura) or plum (ume) blossoms. From the end of March to early May, Sakura bloom all over Japan. Elegantly cut bamboo is the base of this enchanting green tea blend, enhancing the clean refreshing taste of cherry, pineapple, mango, rose, and hibiscus [  ] .
Each gift set includes a stoneware Sakura tea tumbler with stainless steel infuser basket, an air-tight tea tin and 6oz (170g) of Sakura Allure Green Tea.



These two are my favorite Teavana Teas:
Samourai Chai Mate - $6.20 / 2oz.
The fruits in this tea gives it natural sweetness, no need to add sugar or honey. It is absolutely delightful to drink anytime of day!
From Teavana site: The way of the warrior is strength, skill, fairness, mercy, power, energy, and balance. Our chai embodies this spirit and is mysteriously more delicious with a caffeine-rich green mate & green rooibos blend. Cinnamon, anise, cardamom, and almond are fortified with papaya and pineapple, orange, and lemongrass- all combined to face every new day full of strength and energy. SUPERFRUIT ENHANCED. CONTAINS NUTS.
Sweet and spicy infusion of cinnamon and citrus undertones.

Tranquil Dream - Herbal Tea - $6.20/2oz

This is the perfect herbal tea for bed time routine.

Tranquil Dream

From the Teavana site: Relax as comfort inducing Egyptian chamomile mixes with lemongrass and hibiscus. Curl up in your favorite comfy blanket sipping orange blossoms and pleasant mint that will have you relaxed and ready for a night of the sweetest dreams.
Soothing citrus infusion with light floral undertones.


From the Teavana site:

Our new and improved tea maker brews the perfect cup every time! It is the most efficient, simple and clean way to steep tea. Simply add tea and water at the correct temperature, then put the tea maker on your favorite mug. The patented drain mechanism will strain the tea into your cup and keep the leaves in the tea maker. Four piece construction allows you to remove the filter for cleaning and easily reassemble. Brews 16oz (2 cups) of tea and fits cups with a 3.5 inch diameter [ ] sturdy polycarbonate that is PBA free.                                                                                                                  

You cannot do Mother's Day without thinking Vera Bradley! Their purses and accessories offer such great quality and practicality, they are the perfect add-on for any occasion. I personally own three Vera Bradley purses (Squared away, Mandy and Chain Bag) and love each one. The stitching quality makes them very durable and best of all, most bags are machine washable since the hardware is removable. They make great gifts that will last a long, long time, not to mention the added plus: great allure and femininity!
Current offers (click on links):
Mother's Day GWP! Spend $100 and receive a free Cosmetic Trio ($40 value) Valid through May 12, 2013.

Cosmetic trio example (in Portobello Road)

Weekend Sale! 50% off Mocha Rouge, Ellie Blue and Camellia! Valid April 27-28, 2013

Camelia - 50% off until 4/28 - click link above
Weekend Sale! 50% off Mocha Rouge, Ellie Blue and Camellia! Valid April 27-28, 2013

Mocha rouge - 50 % off until 4/28 - click link above

Weekend Sale! 50% off Mocha Rouge, Ellie Blue and Camellia! Valid April 27-28, 2013

Ellie Blue - 50 % off until 4/28 click link above
Free Shipping on U.S. orders of $100 or more! Valid April 23 - May 3, 2013.



Current offers:

Save up to 80% on the Lillianvernon.com Spring Sale plus 20% off orders of $40+ with promo code 58ECO304 until 04/30/13. Shop personalized gifts, kids outdoor fun, & more. Personalization is always FREE!

Mother's Day Water Bottle - Personalized - $14.99

A special and practical gift she will appreciate all year long – our Mother's Day Water Bottle from LillianVernon.com for only $14.99.

Rose Gold Heart Bracelet - $21.99

Whatever her style, our Rose Gold Heart Bracelet with Locket is the perfect Mother's Day gift. Only $21.99 at LillianVernon.com

Bath and Body Works currently offers 20% off an entire purchase - Use Coupon Code TWENTY at check out.
Other offers:
Mix and Match Body Care: Buy 3 get 3 FREE!
buy 3 get 3
Wall Flowers: 4 for $20, 6 for $24!
Wall Flowers 4/$20 or 6/$24
Mother's Day Gift sets - $32.50 (orig. $61.50)
Cherry Blossom  Gift Set $32.50 (org. $61.50)

Beautiful Day Gift Set $32.50 (orig. $61.50)

Happy Mother's Day to all! Hopefully I did help cutting some of the shopping stress a bit!
Sophia, NJ.
*This post contains affiliate advertising. Though I receive a commission from some of the items listed above, I am not affiliated with Teavana or Bed Bath and Body Works. I am not solicited to provide reviews and all opinions are my own.

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