last weekend We went for a day trip up the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, to soak up the beautiful Autumn scenery before all the leaves fall.

The Kancamagus is a 34-mile scenic highway drive along route 112 in Northern New Hampshire and is one of the very best places to find Fall foliage in the country. It is a huge draw for tourism as we experienced, the roads wear busy and it was hard to find a place to park at all of the scenic overlooks.

Today I just wanted to share some of my favorite photos of the rivers, mountains, and trees.

Enjoy!

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It’s time for another Degustabox review!

Degustabox is a monthly subscription plan which contains 9-14 surprise food products with each box. The items are selected from name brands, will contain fun flavors, and give you a new option to think about the next time you’re looking for a break in your eating routine.

This month was a really good month, there are a few things I’m already missing. Let’s jump right in!

DSC_0017DSC_0023BROWN & HALEY Caramel Roca $2.99

“We caramelize fresh local butter and sugar, add our signature blend of cocoa beans, premium California almonds, and a dash of sea salt for an irresistible taste sensation.”

These are so delicious! Sweet and salty with the crunchy melt in your mouth buttercrunch toffee makes them a joy to eat. I’m already missing these so I need to find more soon.

DSC_0012PIRATE’S BOOTY Aged White Cheddar $5.46

“Discover Pirate’s Booty, the tasty rice and corn puffs made with real aged white cheddar. pirate’s Booty is baked never fried and made without any scary ingredients like artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. You’ll treasure the cheesy crunch.”

Cheese puff snacks always remind me of childhood and these are seriously addictive, they are crunchy and cheesy and just delicious.

DSC_0027BAHLSEN Waffeletten $3.49

“For our Bahlsen Waffeltten Milk, we use a wafer as crunchy and golden as a Belgian waffle, roll it into fine crisp layers, and then dip it into the richest European milk chocolate that can be found.”

I love treats like these for dipping in coffee or tea it makes me feel fancy.  I really like that these aren’t that sweet, they are crisp and light with a hint of sweet from the chocolate.

DSC_0038DSC_0062SIXLETS Original Chocolate & Chewy Fruit $1.00

“The Perfect worry-free treat for the whole family! Gluten Free and nut-free”

I was surprised by how much I actually these.  The chewy ones have a pretty pearlescence about them which makes them look like something you shouldn’t eat, but they taste nice too. The orange ones are my favorite.

The Original Chocolate ones remind me a lot of M&M’s except they have an ever so slight fruity taste to them.

DSC_0044SUNSPIRE Peanut Butter Chips $7.99

“Melt in your mouth chips made with real peanut butter. Perfect for baking or snacking straight out of the bag.”

Oh my goodness these are delicious! They taste just like the filling in a Reese Peanut Butter Cup. I’m going to try not to eat them all out of the bag so I can use them in a recipe.

DSC_0046BUSH’S BEST Jalapeno Lime Crisp Roasted Chickpeas $3.99

“We crisp-roasted our versatile, high in fiber beans and redesigned them for the road, for handy, on the go snack to tide you over, or for a tasty crunch to pair with soups, salads, and casseroles.”

Is it just me or do you find spicy things to be kinda refreshing? Especially after tasting the rest of the stuff in this box. I loved this the crispy crunch of the chickpeas and the spice made them perfect. I will definitely be getting more of these.

DSC_0051GAROTO Caribe $0.80

“The amazing combination of Garoto milk chocolate with banana filling. typical tropical!”

Not crazy about this, I’m not a fan of banana so not my cup of tea, but if you like banana I think you would enjoy this a lot.

DSC_0049TASTYKAKE $1.79

“Baked fresh and finished with chocolate icing, Chocolate Juniors have been a staple TastyKake product since 1917, allowing consumers to indulge in the joys of birthday cake anytime.”

I didn’t eat the Junior cake, the packaging had popped open at some point so I didn’t feel comfortable eating it.

“Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes combine a snack-sized vanilla sponge cake with a thin stripe of peanut butter, coated in delicious milk chocolate.”

These are really yummy! Little bite-sized cakes what could be better? Chocolate a peanut butter is always a winning cake combo.

DSC_0053WELCH’S Fruit Snacks Super Fruit Mix $2.99

“Introducing NEW Welch’s Fruit Snacks Superfruit ix featuring a delicious combination of flavors, including pomegranate-passion fruit, star fruit-kiwi, dragonfruit-blackberry, acai blueberry, and goji-Apricot. Made with real fruit, this new variety is gluten-free, fat-free and contains no preservatives or colors from artificial sources.”

Eating fruit snacks always makes me feel like a little kid, but these are definitely better than the ones I remember from growing up. These are great for carrying in your bag if you need a little pick-me-up.

DSC_0056IDAHOAN FOODS Creamy Potato Soup $2.99

“Filled with real red potatoes and red potato skins, this hearty soup delivers exceptional taste and texture with every spoonful.”

I have never used a soup mix before, but I love potato soup so I very curious to see how this works out.

I am really pleased with the October box! As always there were a few things I loved and a couple I was not so crazy about, but that’s were living with people who all have very different tastes comes in handy.

That would your favorite item be?

You can get 50% off your first Degustabox here.

 

September Degustabox    Pumpkin Spice Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting

This box was sent to me for review, all thoughts are as always, my own.

 

Who remembers the pumpkin spice cupcakes from last year?

They were one of my very favorite bakes to date, and I have been itching to make a cake version ever since. It’s finally October so it is acceptable for me to use pumpkin in everything.

This cake is so delicious and delicate, the oil and the pumpkin make it extremely soft and moist. Cream Cheese isn’t my favorite frosting, but when it comes to cakes that have fruits of veggies it is a must, it just balances it out so nicely.

Another thing I love about this cake it that it’s super simple, I didn’t even use a mixer for the batter just a whisk, but you will need a hand mixer for the frosting unless you are looking for a good arm workout.

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Cake 

  • 2 Cups Pumpkin Puree 
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil 
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla 
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger  
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cloves 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg 

  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Grease, flour, and line two 9 inch cake pans.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, vegetable oil, and sugar.
  • Now in a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and all the spices.
  • Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until all the flour is incorporated, there will still be a few lumps which is fine, you don’t want to over mix the batter.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool for a few minutes then remove from pans and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16oz Cream Cheese 
  • 1 Cup Butter 
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar 
  • 1/2 Cup Milk 
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla 
  • Pumpkin Spice for garnishing

 

  • Make sure your butter and cream cheese are room temperature before making the frosting.
  • Beat together the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add milk and vanilla.
  • Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, starting with the four cups. You may need more depending on the consistency you like your frosting.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled frost and decorates as you wish.
  • You can find my post on how I made the cute little fondant pumpkin you can find it (here)

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Something you may want to consider is that all frosting but cream cheese, in particular, is best the second day.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! What is your favorite thing to bake in the Autumn?

 

Instagram   What I’m Loving Lately   Wandering Maine: Castle Tucker

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s October!

My favorite time of year is now in full swing, so I thought it would be a great time to share some of the things I have been loving lately. There is so much Id love about Autumn, the crisp cool air, the clear golden sunshine, and of course pumpkins.

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DWHome Candles White Pumpkin & Caramel Pumpkin

DW’s candle are my favorites! I always find them in TJ Maxx in all shapes, sizes, and scents. This time of year they have all the autumnal scents you could possibly wish for.

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L’OREAL Infallible 24 Hr Eyeshadows 

Time to break out the copper and gold shimmer shadows!

I don’t know why exactly but gold and bronze shimmers are strictly a cold weather thing, so as soon as the leaves start turning I start wearing them.

These Infallible shadows are some of the most gorgeous I have used, the apply beautifully and although I haven’t worn them for twenty for hours they do last for a normal days wear very well.

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Amber Rush 

In the container, it looks like a rusty copper shimmer, but when applied it is a beautiful bronze color that has slight pink undertones.

Eternal Sunshine

A lovely yellow gold.

Iced Latte 

A stunning pearly champagne shimmer.

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These three lipsticks are pretty much the only ones I have been wearing lately

KAT VON D Studded Kiss Creme Matte Lipstick 

It wouldn’t be a true autumn themed favorites post without some dark berry colored lipsticks.

Lolita: 

This is a warm dark rosy shade.

Cathedral:

This one is a cool-toned dark rosy brown shade.

Both of these are gorgeous to wear are they smell like hot chocolate so that makes them even better for this time of year.

BAREMINERALS  Gen Nude liquid Lipstick

If you have been with A Sparkle Of Grace for awhile you probably know that I don’t like do liquid lipstick ( My Thoughts On Liquid Lipstick) but I really don’t think this can be called a liquid lipstick.

This has a soft matte look, but it has a very soft creamy feel, definitely a liquid lipstick I can happily wear.

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ESSENCE How To Make Brows Wow.

I have been very loyal to my Milani Brow gel for ages, but I have been using this brow powder when I want a softer more natural looking brow.

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This kit has three brow colors and one highlight color, I tend to use all three the darkest on the tail of my brow and blend into the lighter shades as I go along. When I’m just going for a quick natural look I just use the Love Blondes shade.

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THE ORDINARY 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

I use this like serum, after toner but before moisturizer.  This formula contains 100% unrefined cold-pressed virgin African Marula oil that

I actually just ran out and need to order some more of this. I was a little worried that using an oil would make me breakout but actually, my skin has been doing really well. It’s been feeling well hydrated and soft.

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ESFOLIO Aloe Jelly Pack 

This is a unique little moisture. It has the texture of jello it feels like a gel but when you apply it to the skin it melts to a water like feeling.

I tried to find a link to this somewhere, but I couldn’t find one. I found this at TJ Maxx.

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PHILOSOPHY Lemon Custard Glazed Body Souffle 

I had to link to a Lemon Custard hand cream because I couldn’t find this online. I have this last year but left it at a rental house in Bar Harbor which was very sad.

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing this smells! I smell exactly like the lemon bars I used to make, sweet, lemony and completely delicious.

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OPI Nail Lacquer in Chocolate Moose 

This color is so nice for autumn, it is a slightly red-toned chocolate brown.

 

There has been a lot of things I have been enjoying over the past couple of months but these are just the ones I have been using on a regular basis.

What have you been loving lately?

In this installment of Wandering Maine, we will be taking a walk through Castle Tucker.

I absolutely love touring this historical houses and learning about their rich history and the history of the people that lived there and I have a lot of it to share with you. If you don’t really care about the history of the house,  just enjoy the pictures.

DSC_0329DSC_0254Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Lincoln County and a U. S. Congressman, Silas Lee was one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens in town. In 1807 Silas Lee built a large brick Regency-style mansion at the end of High Street, Wiscasset on a hill overlooking the Sheepscot River. This was to be the Lees’ townhouse, designed for hospitality and gracious living. He and his wife Tempe named the house Elm Lawn, inspired by the two large elms near the house.

Unfortunately that same year, the Jeffersonian Embargo crippled New England’s seaport economy. Silas Lee was heavily invested in shipping and real estate and was hit hard. He died in 1814 in a spotted fever epidemic, leaving his wife Tempe to settle his debts. She sold Elm Lawn and built a smaller house on her remaining portion of the land. Wiscasset went from a sparkling boom town to an impoverished coastal village in a very short period of time

 

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1814 through 1857, Elm Lawn had a series of owners, changes and repairs made to the house during those years and were not documented. In the 1840s and 50s Wiscasset was in a period of prosperity as the cotton trade brought the shipping industry back. In 1856 Franklin Clark, a local politician, bought the house and began what appeared to be significant renovations. These included moving two of the house’s chimneys to the end of each semi-circular bay, replacing central windows that had previously lit those rooms. Unfortunately, Clark did not have the money to pay for these changes or any other of his failed investments. He was apprehended by the local sheriff at the train station trying to leave town, defaulting on all his debts.DSC_0260DSC_0261DSC_0267

Richard H. Tucker Sr. (pictured) was a successful ship captain and owner who had built a fortune shipping goods from New England and Charleston, South Carolina, to Europe via Liverpool and Le Havre. He and his wife Mary Mellus Tucker lived in a small house on Main Street in Wiscasset, where they raised three children, Richard, Joseph, and Mary. They later built a large brick home in the best neighborhood in town on High Street. Franklin Clark was their neighbor and an occasional business contact of Captain Tucker Sr. After it became clear that Clark was broke and had been less than honest in his business dealings, Tucker urged his eldest son to purchase Elm Lawn from the creditors when it came on the market.

In November of 1858 Franklin Clark’s creditors, John B. Swanton and John Jameson of Bath sold Castle Tucker to Captain Richard H. Tucker Jr., for the sum of $10,500. Tucker Jr. had decided to purchase the property after being urged by his father to return to Wiscasset, by that time, the mansion was listed as a country house in the county records. Richard, his young wife Mollie and their newborn daughter Mary moved into the house in December of that same year. DSC_0265DSC_0266DSC_0276

Throughout the 1870s and 80s, money as in short supply and Mollie Tucker was increasingly hard-pressed to find enough to pay the bills at Castle Tucker. She was also burdened with the enormous workload. The Tuckers usually had at least one female servant to assist her, and her daughters helped out during their occasional visits.  By 1890 she began accepting summer boarders. This was a very common and accepted practice among upper-middle-class and even wealthy owners of large homes on the coast of Maine at that time. DSC_0278DSC_0286DSC_0279DSC_0302

The Tucker’s youngest daughter Jennie Tucker continued to live at Castle Tucker until her death in 1964. She realized that the family’s thriftiness and relative poverty over the years had resulted in Castle Tucker presenting a unique and almost unchanged look into the nineteenth-century life that was important to preserve. She passed on this belief to her brother’s wife, Ruth Standen Tucker, and their two daughters. Mary and Jane,  Jennie left the house to them. Jane Standen Tucker moved east in 1965 after a successful career as an accountant in Alaska, the Middle East, and Europe.

She moved into Castle Tucker and began to preserve and record her family’s history and the house. Working with Historic New England, then known as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, and other experts for guidance, she undertook repairs and restorations as she could over the years. Jane opened the house to visitors occasionally, she also entertained in the home, providing many Wiscasset residents with fond memories of time spent here.DSC_0291DSC_0312DSC_0315DSC_0320DSC_0321

Jane also established the Wiscasset History Committee, worked with the Wiscasset Library organizing and donating material for their Genealogy and History Room, and served on the board of the Lincoln County Cultural and Historical Association. In 1997 she gave the house and all its contents, along with a large archive of family letters, documents, and ephemera, to Historic New England.

Jane Tucker lived in the house until 2003 while working with Historic New England to catalog the thousands of objects, furnishings, books, prints, costumes, and textiles contained in the house. In 2003 Historic New England opened Castle Tucker as a historic house museum.DSC_0331DSC_0339DSC_0326DSC_0328DSC_0330

Wiscasset isn’t a town I’ve spent any time in before, we have passed through on our way to Boothbay and Bar Harbor but never spent more than a few minutes there. I definitely want to get back there and explore the town itself soon.

Check out more of my Wandering Maine series.

Wandering Boothbay Harbor     Wandering The Hamilton House     Wandering Downtown Portland

There are so many darling little towns dotted along the coast of Maine, each special in their own unique way but  Boothbay is by far my favorite. It has everything you could ask for, a picturesque harbor, quintessentially New England architecture, sweet little shops and boutiques, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and some simply amazing food.

We only get to Boothbay once or twice a year, last June we came for a Gaelic Storm show at the Boothbay Opera house, and for the night to see the Gardens Aglow in December, so we were long overdoing for a visit.  My parents and I were there for Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, mom and I attended a DIY Bodycare class at the botanical gardens on Friday(I will have a post up about the class and photos of the gardens up very soon.)

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After checking in to our hotel and freshening up a bit, we set off in search of some dinner, the goal was to find a restaurant that looked good but we hadn’t eaten at before. While we were waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant we had decided on, we wandered into a few shops and bought some fudge at the Taffy Factory.

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We had dinner on the third-floor deck of the Boat House Bistro Tapas Bar, the day had been quite humid but it was becoming a beautifully comfortable temperature, with a cool breeze coming off the water.

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For starters, we had baked goat cheese balls with a warm cherry compote and the Glidden Point Oysters. Now I’m not a fan of goat cheese but something about the sweetness of the cherry compote balanced out the strong flavor of the cheese making it very enjoyable, and the crunch of the baked breadcrumbs made them perfect.

I had never had raw oysters before, I wasn’t planning on ever having raw oysters anytime soon, but my dad ordered them so I thought I might as well try them. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat them again but they weren’t half bad. (Three cheers for trying new things!)

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The three of us all ended up ordering risotto, they had so many wonderful sounding ones but I had to get the Lobster Risotto. The lobster risotto is made with truffle butter, lobster tail, asparagus risotto, fried shallots, topped with lemon and truffle pearls.

Oh my goodness this was delicious!

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Dad’s Seafood Risotto made with sautéed shrimp, scallops, lobster meat, garlic, shallots, and white wine.

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Mom’s Scallop Risotto made with pan-seared scallop, creamy citrus risotto, and Myers lemon glaze.

So happy with the experience we had and Boat House, everything we had was delicious, the service was thought full and professional, and the view was perfect.

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For dessert, we stopped at Wannawaf for ice cream and waffles. I got The Good Apple which is a waffle with apple pie filling, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, and fresh whipped cream. Needless to say, it was amazing.

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Saturday morning we had a late breakfast at the Bridge Street Cafe which is a just off the Footbridge where Bridge Street and By-Way meet. The Cafe is completely charming, tiny and bright with big windows overlooking the harbor, and everything inside is white and blue.

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They have the best Blueberry Buckle I think I’ve ever tasted, topped with delicious fresh whipped cream, Yum!

We spent the rest of the day wandering the shops, stopping at all the favorites like Abacus, which is full of art, furniture, jewelry and it all has a fun whimsical twist.

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Red Cup is another of my favorites, I discovered it last summer when we were staying at the Fishermans wharf directly across the street, we stopped there several times that trip for the cold brew. This time I tried there Matcha Latte.

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It wouldn’t be a proper trip to Boothbay without a stop at Coastal Maine Popcorn Co, they are a shop that only sells popcorn, how amazing is that? They have sweet and savory, and some weird ones too, we got the Glazed Pumpkin Donut, Toasted Coconut, and Rosemary & Sea Salt. I am a huge fan of popcorn so this place is a little dream come true for me.

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A Litte Bit Of History.

In 1729 the region now knows as Boothbay was named Townsend and permanently settled by a group of around 60 Scotch-Irish, settling within the next ten years. Settlers of English extraction came from Dover, New Hampshire in the mid-1750s. All these families endured near starvation, and the French and Indian wars; some were kidnapped and taken to Canada. Nearly the whole town left the area for a period of years during one war.

Townsend was a very poor community on the edge of the frontier, although many of the settlers were from a  farming background, Boothbay, like a lot of the Maine coast, was a rocky place and agriculture was a struggle. However, over the years a fine fishing tradition emerged, it was inevitable since the fishing banks in the Gulf of Maine were what initially brought people there regularly. Everything from clam digging to whaling has been carried on in Boothbay.

In 1764 Boothbay officially became a town, dropping the name of Townsend. Although there has been some speculation, there is no clear known reason for choosing the name “Boothbay”.

We slowly started meandering our way home in the late afternoon, driving along the coastline and stopping here and there along the way.

It’s Degustabox time again!

This months box was full of fun surprises and think that I didn’t expect to like but ended up loving.

Degustabox is a monthly subscription plan which contains 9-14 surprise food products with each box. The items are selected from name brands, will contain new flavors, and give you a new option to think about the next time you’re looking for a break in your eating routine.

DSC_0065HIPPEAS Organic Chickpea Puffs $1.49.

“These are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, no nuts, no soy, and totally delicious. Our vegan white cheddar flavor is righteously cheesy…just without the cheese. Happenin’ Hickory gives you that groovy tomato, onion and garlic flavor with a smoky barbecue bite.”

I really enjoy the texture of these puffs, they are light but have a nice crisp crunch. Out of the two, the white cheddar is my favorite flavor, I’m not as fond of smokey flavors. I will definitely be looking out of these next time I’m at the grocery store.

DSC_0067HANDFULLS Crrrunch Bites BBQ Almonds $4.99.

“Part nut, part chip, all delicious. That’s a CrrrunchBite! Whole roasted California almonds wrapped in crispy rice cracker shells, packed with sweet mesquite barbecue flavor. Gluten-free, vegan, and CRC kosher, plus 3g protein and 2g fiber per serving.”

The whole idea of almonds wrapped in a bbq flavored crackers sounded really weird to me, but somehow it actually works. I still don’t think I would buy them again but I will happily eat them.

DSC_0069GOCO Crunchy Coconut Bites $2.99.

“GoCo Crunchy Coconut Bites are made of the best coconuts, gently toasted, and pressed into bite-sized pieces. This convenient coconut snack used simple, high-quality ingredients that are ethically and sustainably sourced.”

I love how perfectly simple these coconut bites are, they are great to eat on there own, and covered with peanut butter is delicious as well.

DSC_0074THE CHIA COMPANY Chia Shots $0.99.

“we bring chia to you in its simplest form, pure, clean, and sun-ripened. e recommend one tablespoon of chia every day. Sprinkle onto your cereal, into your salads or smoothies, or add to your baking.”

It’s been ages since I have eaten chia seeds! We went through a little faze were we eat them regularly a couple of years ago. I love the thought of having a serving measured out into an individual pack, that would work really well for eating on the go.

I ended up eating this both straight but would be perfect on oatmeal.

DSC_0081SUNRYPE Strawberry Fruit Strip Snack $0.50.

“SunRype Apple Strawberry Fruit to go 100% fruit strip snacks-nut-free. They’re made with only fruit, well, except for the occasional veggie. Not that’s a snack you can feel good about!”

I have never been a fan of the fruit snacks we used to have when I was a kid so I was really surprised that I actually liked these. I liked them quite a bit actually, and my family all agree that we need to buy them again.

DSC_0087THE BETTER CHIP Jalapeno & Cilantro $3.99.

“Better flavor starts with better ingredients that’s why we blend fresh vegetables and herbs right into our masa. For a perfect parable, a shareable snack made to compliment fresh meats, cheeses, and dips.”

These chips a SO GOOD! Be warned that they are quite spicy, at first bite you get the crispy chip and the cilantro followed by a strong lingering jalapeno heat. They are a bit much to just sit and eat a bunch but with some guacamole, they would be amazing.

DSC_0091MARION’S KITCHEN General Tso Meal Kit $6.99.

“Our General Tso meal kit is an easy way to make a restaurant quality meal using all natural ingredients that the whole family can enjoy. All essential ingredients are inside the box; just add chicken, red pepper, and onion and you have a healthy gourmet meal ready in 15 minutes.”

I made this for dinner and it went over really well, I substituted the corn that came with it with fresh corn, and used red onion and snow peas with it as well. It tasted fresh and homemade, if I didn’t know better I wouldn’t have known it came in a box.

DSC_0093MIGHTY SPARK CO. Chicken Snack Sticks $1.50.

“Mighty Spark Food Co. has perfected small-batch chicken snack stick with chunks of cranberries, jalapenos and more. At no more than 60 calories, Mighty Spark’s snack sticks are a guilt-free protein snack and for every 3 sticks purchased, we’ll donate a meal to kids in need.”

I’m still on the fence about meat sticks but I did really like the flavor combinations of the Cranberry and Ginger, and the Jalapeno and Honey. Out of the two, the Cranberry and Ginger was my favorite which I didn’t expect, but the slight warmth of the ginger and the sweetness of the cranberries worked really well together, nothing like the smokey meat sticks of the past.

DSC_0097BAUDUCCO Chocolate Wafers $2.50

“Bauducco Chocolate Wafers are crispy and delicate, with three delicious creamy layers. They taste great with coffee, milk, ice cream, you name it.”

There is no such thing as a bad wafer cookie, between my brother and I this pack, didn’t last long. They are lovely dipped in coffee.

DSC_0100TIGERTAIL Mustard $1.00

“Tigertail’s Medium Style Mustard is our authentic Geran recipe brought to you in the most unique packaging on the market. Made from stone ground mustard seeds, the craft flavors with a bite of heat will have you wanting more.”

This is such a lovely classic mustard I was really happy to get it in this months box. I received a bottle of the same one in the February box, but after having our refrigerator broken for over a month we had the throwout everything so we didn’t get to use much of it.

DSC_0104PB CRAVE Flavored Peanut Butter $1.10

“peanut butter sweetened with real honey and real ingredients. Enjoy the twisted taste sensations that give you more of the delicious flavors you crave.”

Yet another surprising product! I was thinking this would just be an okay flavored peanut butter, but they are both delicious! The flavors taste natural and subtle, my favorite is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough because it tastes just like the dough of the peanut butter cookies I like to make. There is a slight bitterness to the Sweet & Dark Chocolate one that makes it not as nice for me, but that is probably down to me not liking dark chocolate.

DSC_0110IDAHOAN FOODS Mashed Potatoes $1.39

“What makes Indian Classic Mashed potatoes so good? We start with the highest quality potatoes grown in the rich soil of Idaho. These are Idahoan’s best tasting classic mashed potatoes yet!”

“For those who can’t get enough of a good thing, our Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes blends cheddar, bleu, romano and parmesan cheese with 100% real Idaho potatoes.”

Fun fact about me, mashed potatoes have been one of my very favorite foods for as long as I can remember, it is for that reason I have been hesitant to try these out. That being said, I will be trying them out soon so as always keep an eye out on my Instagram for updates. @sparkleofgrace

DSC_0115MARQUIS Citrus Yuzu $2.89

“Marquis is a USDA organic energy drink with zero sugar and zero calories! We are also certified Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Kosher. Energized with organic Yerba Mate, green tea, and green coffee beans, Marquis comes in 3 delicious flavors: Citrus Yuzu, Super Berry, and Mango Ginger.”

I’m a big fan of drinks like this but this one was quite unlike any I’ve had before. The flavor is a little hard to describe, it’s has a bright sort of sweetness, I’m not crazy about the use of stevia a sweetener because it leaves a bit of an aftertaste but other than that this is a great little drink.

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GARDEN OF LIFE GoL Bar Chocolate Sea Salt  $2.49.

“Whatever your gol(goal), we help you get there without deliciously simple protein bars made exclusively form real certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified whole food ingredients. No Compromise.”

I have had a hard time with protein bars in the past, but this one as really nice. I had it for lunch the other day and I was surprised by how good it was, the sea salt made it taste more unique, and there were none of the weird after tastes that you often get from protein bars. I shall definitely be adding this to the list of things to look out for.

This was a good month, lots of fun new discoveries, that I’m looking forward to finding again, especially the white cheddar chickpea puffs.

Have you tried any of these products?

You can get 50% off your first Degustabox here.

This box was sent to me for review, all thoughts are as always, my own.

A good evening routine is important and it doesn’t have to complicated, it can be whatever works best for you. I, being a creature of habit, need my evening routine to help me relax and sleep properly. Of course, there are times when I don’t have time to do every single step, and there are times when I add steps like a facemask or tinting my brows.

 

Today I’m sharing my go-to products and a little insight into the evening.

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I usually start my evening routine shortly after dinner, starting with removing my makeup. I have recently started using the Pixi Cleansing Balm and once my makeup has been removed, I start with my teeth.

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I start by flossing and then pop in my Smile Brilliant trays with whitening gel. I leave the trays with the whitening gel in for as long as I can usually between 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on when I’m planning on going to bed. I have been using the Smile Brilliant system for about a month now and I have definitely noticed my teeth look brighter and whiter.

When I first started using the system I had a bit of sensitivity and a  little irritation on my gums, so I gave it a day off and started again using much less whitening gel and I haven’t had a problem since. I am so happy that I haven’t had more sensitivity as I have very sensitive teeth and have had problems with whitening products in the past.

While my teeth are whitening I move on to whatever the evening has in store! We usually end up watching a movie or an episode of something as a family, lately, we have been watching the 1960s Man From Uncle. I mostly watch them because I love seeing young David McCallum playing Illya Kuryakin.

 

About a half hour before I go to bed I brush my teeth and replace the whitening gel with the desensitizing gel. Then I wash my face with the Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub, I always use a stronger cleanser at night because there is more to clean than in the morning. I usually only wash my face right after removing my makeup if I’m going straight to bed and if I’m still up for a few hours I like to wait so my face is nice and clean when I do go to bed.

 

After washing my face I use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, and then mist Mario Badescu Facial Spray, I am currently using the Aloe, Chamomile and Lavender one. For moisturizer I mix together the YesTo Cotton moisturizer and the Fresh Pickins Beach Rose Face Oil, I find that mixing the oil with the moisturizer helps it to soak into the skin faster.

Lastly, I remove the trays with the desensitizing gel, spritz some lavender spray on my pillow, and then drift off to sleep.

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Smile Brilliant is giving away a whitening kit to one of you lovely people, I’m so excited to see who wins and how this system works for you.
The giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit and is open to residents of the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia, the winner will be notified through email.
Giveaway link: www.smilebrilliant.com/g/asparkleofgrace
You can also use the code asparkleofgrace15 get 15% anything from Smile Brilliant.
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“We want to bring Pure Bliss to the little moments in everyday life. Skincare products don’t have to be boring. We strive to share fun, yet healthy products with our customers. When you’re having a bad day and jump in the shower to wash it all away with your Unicorn Soap, we hope that you smile a little.”

Meet Pure Bliss Confections!

Pure Bliss Confections is a small bath and body company for Western Maine that specializes in sweet smelling slightly whimsical products to help make your everyday a little brighter.

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They were kind enough to send over some products for me to test out and I’m super excited to share my thoughts with you today.

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Unicorn Soap 

As soon as I opened the package my nose was met with the sweet fruity fragrance of this pretty little soap, to me it smells like a mix of strawberries, oranges, and lemon drops.

It foams up so well and the foam feels luxurious and it smells fresh, sweet and bright.

Ingredients:

“Coconut oil, olive oil, sustainable palm oil, water, sodium hydroxide, rice bran oil, colorant (mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, green chrome oxide, tin oxide, manganese violet, fluorphlogopite), sodium lactate, fragrance, biodegradable glitter”.

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Pink Plaid Soap Pouch 

I absolutely love the idea of this, it’s so cute and convenient meant to keep the soap off the shower self and to reduce the waste of soap. I know for a fact that we waste a good bit of soap, you know, once the bar has gotten to a certain size and starts to turn to mush.

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Unicorn Lip Shimmer

This summer I have really been enjoying lipglosses and tinted lip balms, but the one thing none of them have is shimmer and by now you probably know how much I love shimmer, glitter, and anything that sparkles.

I am really impressed with this Unicorn Lip Shimmer it is smooth and creamy and the shimmer is subtle but lovely. The color is a light pink with a touch of gold shimmer, I appreciate how fine the shimmer is, making it more of a shimmery glow instead of having flecks of glitter.

Ingredients:

“Organic Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Colorant (mica, titanium dioxide, tin oxide, iron oxide), Zinc Oxide, Stevia, Flavoring”.

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Matcha Smoothie Mud Mask

This mask comes in powder form in a single-use packet to be mixed with water and applied, it smells very much like oatmeal I would willing eat but I wouldn’t recommend actually eating this.

This mask is designed to even and brighten skin tone while making the skin softer. Since it is a single use mask I can’t tell you how it works over time but after removing I was surprised by the immediate results. My skin felt amazing! Soft, smooth, and no redness in sight.

Ingredients:

“Colloidal Oatmeal, Bentonite Clay, Rhassoul Clay, Kaolin Clay, Coconut Milk Powder, Organic Matcha Powder, Avocado Extract, Vitamin E.”

These products are all equally great but out of them all the Matcha Smoothie Mud Mask is my favorite, I’m definitely going to get more of them soon. What would your favorite be?

These products were sent to me for review, all thoughts are my own.

It’s time for another Degustabox review!

I love getting these boxes every month the mix of weird and wonderful food is always fun.

Degustabox is a monthly subscription plan which contains 9-14 surprise food products with each box. The items are selected from name brands, will contain new flavors, and give you a new option to think about the next time you’re looking for a break in your eating routine.

DSC_0095THE GOOD CRISP COMPANY Sour Cream and Onion Potatoe Chips: $3.49

“This product is Gluten Free and uses no artificial flavors or colors and only Non-GMO ingredients. Finally and canister chip you can feel good about eating.”

While if I had chosen myself I would have gone for the Original flavor over the sour cream and onion, I did still really enjoy these. They remind me of a certain canister chip from my childhood, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these are the store.

DSC_0074BRAVOS Stadium Nacho Tortilla Chips: $0.50

“Think creamy cheese taste with a hint of pickled jalapenos piled on crispy, whole grain corn tortillas. It’s a flavor that delivers authentic Stadium Nacho taste in every bite.”

Admittedly I didn’t have very high expectations for these but they turned out to be really good, I do wish the bags were a little bigger though. They actually do taste like nachos, not just nacho flavored, not sure how they managed that but these get two thumbs up form me.

DSC_0075PRINCE OF PEACE Ginger Ginger Chews with Lemon: $1.99

“Prince Of Peace Ginger Chews with Lemon is an easy, convenient and tasty way to enjoy ginger. A delightful balance of sweet and spicy ginger taste with a pleasant chewy texture.”

I blame my dad for my love of ginger, we would always by crystallized ginger for a treat and ginger chews were a staple as well. These chews have received the whole families seal of approval. I love the addition of the lemon, it adds another level of freshness.

DSC_0093POPCORN, INDIANA Movie Theater Popcorn: $3.39 (full-sized bag)

“Popcorn, Indiana Movie Theater Popcorn is made with the finest popcorn, real butter, and sea salt. More than delicious, its classic flavor transports you to the magic of the movies.”

I have gotten the Popcorn, Indiana Kettle Corn, and a previous box and absolutely loved it, I don’t think I’ve ever met a popcorn I didn’t like. Both this time and last time I tried this brand I have been impressed with the freshness and homemade flavor.

DSC_0087COUNTRY ARCHER JERKY CO. Sweet BBQ Pork Bar: $3.00

I am still not quite sure how I feel about this product, it has a nice flavor but I can’t quite get over the texture. The only way I can imagine myself eating this is sliced thinly and served with crackers.

DSC_0096PR BAR Chocolate Peanut Butter: $1.99

“All- natural PR Bars are glutenfree and packed with the perfect blend of carbs and vitamins to boost energy and endurance when you need it most.”

I don’t know exactly what the ingredients are in this bar, but something in it made me feel quite ill. Protein bars, in general, don’t usually sit well with me so I wouldn’t hold it against it.

DSC_0080SAHALE SNACKS Maple Pecans Glazed Mix: $1.49 

“With its blend of warm, sweet flavors, Sahale Snacks Maple Pecans Glazed Mis perfectly captures the comforting essence of pecan pie. This delicious mix evokes the nostalgic flavors found in American baking traditions with its dry-roasted pecans and walnuts, apples, and cherries.”

This was such a nice little snack! I love glazed nuts and I really enjoyed the addition of the cherries.

 DSC_0081POST Chocolate Strawberry Frosted Shredded Wheat: $3.49

“The wholesomeness of shredded wheat biscuits combined with delicious strawberry flavored frosting and a burst of chocolate goodness in the middle.”

While this cereal tastes perfectly fine, but I do have an issue. Chocolate and breakfast don’t go together.

DSC_0090HIGH BREW COFFEE Double Espresso Cold Brew: $2.50

“High Brew Coffee is made from Arabica beans that are cold brewed over time, not heat. Our prosses creates 2x the natural caffeine and lower the acidity than traditionally brewed coffee, with way less sugar. Double Espresso is our original formula with a touch of sugar and a splash of milk.”

I have bought Hight Brew Coffee before and It’s one of my favorite ready to drink coffee brands, I usually get the Black & Bold brew.  The Double Espresso definitely gave me a much-needed caffeine boost.

DSC_0086AMAZON PEPPER Sweet Chili Sauce: $3.69

Amazon Pepper Sweet Chili is a sweet and piquant blend or cayenne pepper and tropical spices. These peppers are extracted directly from had picked peppers. This particular flavor is gluten-free, all natural, kosher and with no GMO or high fructose corn syrup.”

I am super excited to try this out, it sounds like something my family will love. I will let you know over on my Instagram what I think of it when I get a chance to try it out.

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COLOMBINA Mix Breakfast Biscuits

Things like this are great for me to have around as I know I should always eat something in the morning but I can be bothered to make something. I eat one pack the day after I received my box but they seem to have disappeared, that’s what I get for sharing.

While this month wasn’t my favorite box it definitely has some redeeming products like the Stadium Nacho Tortilla chips and the Hight Brew coffee. I’m very much looking forward to what next month has in store.

What would your favorite item be? Have you tried any of these before?

You can get 50% off your first box here.

July Box     June Box     May Box

 

 

 

This box was sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.