Monday, March 4, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Days 18, 19, & 20

Can you say SLACKER?! Busy weekend = no posts. The irony is that I said, in my last post, that my next post would be more exciting. Guess I didn't foresee that my next post would be three days away. I'm see you all survived. Don't worry... this is my longest post in a while. So I feel I've redeemed myself.

If you don't know yet, shame on you.

I've decided to take a risk and become a consumer of two separate companies who have the same unique concept. The first company is called Birchbox and the second company is called Stitch Fix.

Birchbox allows you to sign up, for $10 a month, to receive trial/sample sizes of products that they recommend. Once each month they will ship you a box with approximately four items of their choosing. You get to keep what they send you, and they get the benefit of potentially gathering your feedback on the items (that part is optional). I'm the girl who only buys new makeup if an existing makeup item runs out, or is so old that it certainly must be thrown out.  I also never purchase more than the basics because, frankly, I am terrible with makeup and never know what to do with anything more than eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara. This gives me a cheap alternative to try some new things without paying for the full item just to never use it again.

Stitch Fix is a similar monthly payment notion, but works only slightly differently.  Stitch Fix is all about clothing and accessories, and the monthly fee is $20 per month. Upon first joining, you fill out your "Style Profile," which includes questions from your personal metrics to preferences in styles (romantic, indie, glam, etc.) to how much you would spend on different articles of clothing/accessories. Once you get off the waiting list (just a little over a month for me), they will send you five articles of clothing/accessories each month. From other blogs I've seen, it appears to be a standard ratio of 4 articles of clothing:1 accessory. You keep what you like, and send the rest back. You only pay for what you keep, and the $20 fee you spent goes towards your total purchase. If you only kept a $60 shirt out of your five items, you would only owe an additional $40. An so it continues for each month.  Apparently, you have personal shopper who review your style profile and your feedback on items you did/didn't like, with the goal of becoming more accurate in sending you items you like. I've made it a minor goal to become a little more fashion conscious. I'm not to spend beaucoup bucks on clothes, and I don't get a chance to shop very often. On top of it all, I tend to pick fairly plain items to be "safe." So, I thought I'd try this out to see if it can get me beyond plain Jane without taking up too much of my time (or money).

I'll share my experiences as I try these two companies out. I will receive my first Stitch Fix this week, and I received my first Birch Box last week. This is going to be fun :)

In my Birchbox, I received:
  • Juicy Couture: Couture La La - Roll out the red carpet for this new scent, a stunning mix of mandarin, red currant, lily and orange blossom. Full size, $19-90
  • theBalm cosmetics: Mary-Lou Manizer - Play up your best features with this three-in-one highlighter, shadow, and all-over shimmer. Full size, $24
  • TIGI: Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hair Spray - For a natural-looking finish (that still keeps elaborate styles intact), we turn to this non-sticky hairspray. Full size, $20.50
  • Jouer: Luminizing Moisture Tint  - Beloved by Birchbox staffers and customers alike, this mineral-based formula gives skin an even, glowy finish - plus SPF 20 keeps you protected all day. Full size, $38
I guess I must not be that picky, but I really like all four products. But I am picky when it comes to price.  Here are my thoughts...
  • Juicy Couture: Couture La La - Loved how light and springy this scent is but the lightness of the scent was also the downside. I don't prefer "heavy" perfumes by any means, but I felt like the scent was almost too light. Not sure I'd spent the $$ on this one.
  • theBalm cosmetics: Mary-Lou Manizer - Great color, almost a nude-gold blend. I suspect it looks good on all skin tones. I'm happy to have the trial size because it will probably take me some time to get through it (as is typical for me with eye shadows).
  • TIGI: Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hair Spray - LOVED LOVED LOVED this hair spray. I used it the night of the Pink concert, and my hair not only survived the night but I still had good curls in the morning. And my hair didn't feel sticky (as advertised), and it washed out easily. To top it all off, the scent was fantastic. I'd spend the money on this produce.
  • Jouer: Luminizing Moisture Tint  - I've never used moisture tint before, but this one sure rocks. I may live in Florida, but it's been really cold the last month or two. So I'm almost translucent. Can't wait for beach weather. Oh, back to the product -- it brings some nice color back to your face, without looking noticeably different from the rest of your skin (which is a problem I have with bronzer).  I will probably stretch this bad boy through winter, and *may* consider buying a full size next winter. Price is a little steep... so maybe it will go on my Christmas list.

That's of my thoughts (thus far) on these products. Considering I got some really nice samples for only $10... I'm more than satisfied. Nicely done, Birchbox. 

And now, back to our regularly schedule program.  My food diary for the last 3 days...

Day 18
The usual, minus onion bread.

We attended a 1 year old's b-day party.  At which created our own Harlem Shake video. Also at which I ate a hamburger patty, carrots, celery, cucumber, apples, and grapes.

Cashews, medjool dates.

Paleo clam chowder. This is my own recipe. Boo-yah!

Day 19
The usual, minus onion bread.

Made the pistachio/walnut crusted flounder for the in-laws, and a side of sauteed cabbage (olive oil, garlic, salt).

Medjool dates.

Repeat from lunch.

Day 19
The usual, minus onion bread. Unique ingredient in this morning's eggs + veggies = pork belly. Pork belly is the meat used to make bacon. So don't say "ewww," you've probably had pork belly before ;)

A stew of steak, veggies (broccoli, onion,, squash, etc.), and spices (garlic, cayenne, ghost pepper, salt).

Chocolate hazelnut brownies!! Also my own recipe!! See below.

Repeat from lunch.

Chocolate hazelnut brownies

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies
I made this up out of nowhere, and it turned out pretty darn good. I recommend adding nuts or chocolate chips into the batter to give it a little extra yum.
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 8 oz. Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (think... Paleo Nutella!)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 very ripe banana (the browner the better)
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Add ingredients to food processor.
  3. Mix until blended well.
  4. Use coconut oil to line baking dish.
  5. Spatula mix into baking dish.
  6. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes before eating. If you're feeling fancy, top with coconut flakes or almonds.. or... more chocolate hazelnut butter. Eat slowly... will be gone before you know it.

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