My mom and I are very close. We share nearly everything with each other and have in depth conversations regularly. She told me that at a recent family gathering, she looked around and was awestruck by the conglomeration of people we had in our home. To rattle a few descriptors off, we had a doctor, an infant, an ex-con, a college student, a person with MS, people who had overcome serious addictions, someone who works at a church, an executive, a stay-at-home mom, an athlete, and a person in law school, among others. Sounds like a bad joke, doesn’t it? But it was beautiful! These are some of the people I consider to be my family, and out of all of them, I’m only biologically related to 7.
I’ve mentioned my grandmother before on this blog. The truth of the matter is that when she passed away, we lost our family. Being raised to believe family is of utmost importance, this was a huge blow. But over the past few years, I’ve come to understand that family isn’t just who you’re related to. It’s so much more than that.
This whole concept first sunk in for me when my little brother became part of our family. He was a friend of my youngest sister who lived with us for several months, spending his birthday and Christmas with our family, before he made the trek out to California to live with people he was related to biologically. I don’t think I fully realized until he left that he was family, but the tears we all shed and the aching we all felt in our hearts when he left made it obvious that he was one of us.
Since his move, we’ve met even more people who have grown to become part of our clan. I have people who I would tell you are like aunts and uncles – they even gave me birthday presents! I’m well on my way to having an older brother, which is something I’ve wanted my entire life. He’s even given my youngest sister a wet willy, for which he earns some mad props. From the grandparents I adopted when I wasn’t even 10 years old to the relatives we’ve adopted most recently, I’m so blessed to have such wonderful people to call family.
Yay for another box of fun subscription boxes! There’s a new subscription box in the mix this month – Graze. I decided to get the Goodies Co box and the Graze box simultaneously for a month or two to see which one I preferred. I’m planning on cancelling one of those subscriptions, but I’m still not sure which one. Without further ado, here are my March boxes!
Goodies Co: $7 // March Taster’s Box 4
Alo Drink – Watermelon + Peach: $11.94 for a 6 pack // Haven’t tried yet.
Newtons – Triple Berry: $4.49 each // I’m not a fan of these, so I immediately gave them to Pablo. I think they must have been good? He hasn’t told me otherwise.
Erin Baker’s Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookie: $7.80 for a 6 pack // I thought this tasted great, but it wasn’t very filling. Probably won’t buy these again.
Belvita Cinnamon Brown Sugar: $3.99 each // These were delicious AND filled me up! I could hardly finish them, actually.
Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves: Taster’s box exclusive // Haven’t tried these yet.
Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Covered Granola Bar – Toasted Coconut: $6.49 each // Another yummy item in the Goodies Co box! The coconut and pineapple gave it a tropical taste that I loved. Great flavor, but once again, too expensive!
Jovan’s All Natural Instant Breakfast – Vanilla: $7.99 each // Here’s something you didn’t know about me: I drink a protein shake for breakfast every morning. I was most excited to try this item and it did not disappoint. It’s probably one of the best vanilla protein shakes I’ve ever tried. BUT I still think these are too expensive. If you can afford it, this is worth it!
Ola! Vanilla Almond Granola: $5.99 each // Haven’t tried yet.
Graze: $5 // Box 1
[It's important to note with these Graze boxes that you can't order the contents outside of receiving them in the box. If you have a Graze subscription, you can rate these products "like" or "love" and you'll probably receive them in one of your upcoming boxes. You have the option to receive 1, 2, or 4 Graze boxes each month. This month, I opted to receive 2. And I cannot find my photos of the first box! Thank God they keep track of the box contents for me on their website.]
Honeycomb Crunch: Milk chocolate coated honeycomb, raisins and almonds // This was my favorite thing in the box – I’m a sucker for the sweet stuff! The honeycomb was candy. Seriously. And it was amazing.
Herby Bread Basket: Mini garlic croutons, mini basil breadsticks and oregano rice crackers // Let me just tell you, this was amazing, too. You’ll definitely want a toothbrush handy after you eat this because it’ll make your breath smell all garlic-y. Not super filling, but a nice little treat.
Jaffa Cake: Roasted hazels, orange infused raisins and dark chocolate buttons // This one could have been good if it weren’t for the orange infused raisins. I liked it, but I didn’t love it.
Fruit and Seek Flapjack: Rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dry fruits // I was surprised that I liked this one because it didn’t look like my cup of tea. The variety of seeds really up the nutritional value, which I’m a-okay with.
Graze: $5 // Box 2
Fruity Mango Chutney: Fruity mango chutney with black pepper dippers // I was so excited to try this one, which is why I was SO disappointed with it. I can’t handle spicy stuff and this made my mouth feel like it was on fire. If you like spicy, you’ll love this!
Toffee Apple: Sticky toffee sauce with granny smith apple slices // These were my favorite item in this box! I already told you I’m a sucker for sweet stuff and this totally satiated my sweet tooth – for only 68 CALORIES! Holla! If I got this in every box, I would be happy.
Omega Booster Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and golden flaxseeds // I felt like a bird when I ate this. That’s all I really have to say about that.
Mississippi BBQ Pistachios: Roasted pistachios with barbecue seasoning // Some flavors shouldn’t be combined. These are two of those flavors. I ate three and then I threw this in the trash.
ipsy: $10 // March theme: The Great Escape
[I want to preface this one by saying this was my LEAST favorite ipsy bag I've received so far. If I were judging them on this bag alone, I wouldn't subscribe. That being said, I've been a subscriber for a few months now and can definitely tell you they're typically a lot better than this one. Forgive my brutal (but honest) reviews and give them a chance if you were considering a subscription!]
yaby Eyeshadow Refill: $3.29 // I received this in a teal and a goldenrod shade. These looked really bad when I wore them. The yellow shade actually made me look sick. They were also very small for a full sized eyeshadow, even if the price is only $3.29. My suggestion is to spend $1 more at the grocery or drug store for an eyeshadow that’s at least 4 times bigger and in a shade that looks a lot better.
Hydrating Mist by Juice Beauty: $22.00 // This smells like old lady perfume (you know what I’m talkinga bout). I also have uber oily skin, so hydration is not something I strive to achieve. I did try this one time and that was enough for me to realize this wasn’t for me.
Glam RX Mini Freestyle Palette: $16.50 // This is a mirror with a hollow magnetic base. Basically, this is really stupid. It’s a good concept (I think), but it’s not something I would use. I saw people store barrettes in it, others store eyeshadows and safety pins. If you need something portable to sore that stuff in, then here ya go. For $16.50, I’m pretty sure you could figure out how to store them another way, but that’s just me.
LA Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover, 8 count: $1.49 // These were cheap, but they work like a charm! I keep them in my gym bag now. Since they’re wipes, they don’t spill. I was able to remove all of my makeup, including my waterproof eyeliner and mascara, without a hitch. I recommend these highly!
Today is my good friend, Megan’s, birthday. (Head over to her blog and give her a birthday comment!) I knew I was going to make Megan some cupcakes to celebrate, but I wasn’t sure which recipe to make. After being seriously disappointed by the S’more Cupcakes at Sweet by Holly, I decided to challenge myself to make an amazing batch of S’more Cupcakes for Megan’s cumpleanos. (Note: I made this recipe up and this was my first and only time to make it so far. I’m going to give you a few suggestions about how to make it even better!)
Cook Time: About an hour // Servings: 24
- Chocolate cake mix and needed ingredients (You could definitely make chocolate cake from scratch, I just opted for this since it’s easier)
- Graham cracker crust mix and needed ingredients (If you’d rather, you could just use graham crackers)
- Marshmallow fluff OR Bag of big marshmallows
- 2 Hershey’s chocolate bars
- Optional: Bag of mini marshmallows
- Mix graham cracker crust as package instructs. Add 1 TBSP of the mix to each cupcake liner. Press in firmly and cook according to instructions on package. (If you’re short on time, just put a graham cracker in the bottom of the liner. It will have the same effect and will probably be a lot cleaner.)
- OPTIONAL: Add 4-5 mini marshmallows on top of graham cracker crust. This will give it more of a s’more taste! (Note: I didn’t do this, but I will the next time I cook these.)
- Mix chocolate cake as package instructs. Once graham cracker crust is ready, add 3 TBSP of chocolate cake batter on top. (I use the Pampered Chef large scoop. It makes it a lot easier to keep the proportions the same.) Bake according to cake mix package instructions.
- Here’s where you get to learn from my mistakes! I added 1 TSP marshmallow fluff to each cupcake once it had cooled. The marshmallow fluff went crazy and slid off of the cupcakes. WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE is place one of the regular size marshmallows on top of each cupcake as soon as I removed the cupcakes from the oven.
- Garnish each cupcake with one square from the Hershey’s chocolate bar.
These are going to be great for summer gatherings! I think these tasted delicious and will be making them again with the modifications I mentioned above.