Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freebies: My First Klout Perk!

I joined Klout a couple years ago, after hearing about it on Twitter. Occasionally I'd get a notification that somebody had given me a +k and I'd log on to return the favor. For quite a while, that was all I had to do with the whole Klout thing.

A while after I joined, I started to hear about Perks and was intrigued! Free stuff. Who doesn't love free stuff? Perks are basically rewards that Klout issues for being influential in certain topics. When I became eligible for my first Perk I was pretty excited, but it was just a code for 20% off some cell phone case website... meh. No thanks! 

Every time I receive a Perk that I'm interested in, it's always full! Once you get the e-mail saying you're eligible for a Perk, you have to hurry up and claim it. Otherwise, you're out of luck! 

Earlier this month I was finally able to get my hands on a Perk that I was really happy about.. ICE CREAM!!! I scream, you scream, and all that. Mmm.

All I had to do was confirm my mailing address. Exactly one week later I received my package via UPS.

Two coupons for free Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom ice cream, (max value $7.29 each) and an ice cream scoop! The ice cream scoop was a surprise, as was the second coupon. I was only expecting one coupon. 

I can't wait to go grocery shopping and pick out my free ice cream. Free stuff makes me happy!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Adding water to the soap container does not make more soap.
Could somebody make a public announcement regarding this? I'm about to call a town hall meeting to discuss it.

As I was just washing my hands I thought of the office where I used to work. Well, I still work there occasionally, but I wasn't able to go back full-time after having Olive (childcare for 3? bye bye pacheck!). The ladies who I work with and myself make up a pretty crazy bunch. We're all very different and very loud and very opinionated- it usually makes for interesting stories at least. I also have to mention that out of the 12 employees who are there every day, only 3 are male. It's a small office, those poor guys.

Most of the women are older than I am. Actually, at 26, I am the youngest employee there. I don't know, maybe that doesn't have much to do with it, but somebody there always takes the soap in the bathroom when it's almost empty and fills it to the top with water. When I go in there to wash my hands and see that, I almost want to scream. I think it's just so gross.

First of all, that doesn't make more soap. Now you're just washing your hands with water and a tiny bit of soap. That doesn't make for the cleanest of hands. Second, I feel like after that, the soap is contaminated. I don't know what those people have been touching when they take out the pump to fill it up with water. Where do they set the pump while they're filling the bottle up? The ideas just gross me out, but I'm weird. Maybe this whole thing is about me being a germaphobe, lol.

When the soap in the bathroom is like that, I go buy a new bottle myself. I know that some people might add water in trying to use the last bit of soap, but don't. Just set the bottle upside down and let it gather in the top so you can dump it in your hands. Why try and fool yourself by adding water? It doesn't help!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Citrus Lane experience, review & product first impressions

Citrus Lane May boxes are here!!

Two or three months ago, I got wind of this nifty company called Citrus Lane. It had been promoted in my Facebook news feed, and there were a few friends who I had seen talking about it. Citrus Lane is a subscription service specializing in children's items. They tailor each box to your child, hand picking age appropriate items and delivering four or more to your door on a monthly basis.

A box full of goodies once a month sounded so fun! I really wanted to try it out, but once I saw the price, it wasn't in the cards. We have three kids. At $25 a box.. just, no. Anyway, I started following the company on Facebook. A few days later I was excited when they put up a code for half off your first box. At $12.50 a box it was doable, and I really wanted to get my kiddos each a box!

You have to buy a subscription, and they come in monthly, 3, 6, and 12 month options. You can save a few dollars a month if you go for the 6 or 12 month subs. All of them renew automatically, which means that if you don't want to be charged for the next month (or cycle if you go with one of the lengthy subscriptions) then you must cancel before the next billing date. I chose a monthly subscription to try for each kid, and used the half-off code for each box.

Signing up with more than one child is a little inconvenient. You need a different e-mail address for each kid that you sign up. It was kind of a pain having to create three separate accounts to get each kid their own box, definitely a little more than I wanted to have to keep track of.. but whatever.

If you place your order before the cut-off date, which is the 5th of each month, then you'll be receiving that month's box (unless it's sold out.. which I have seen happen before, in that case you'll get the next month's box.) If you order after the cut-off date, then you get the next month's box. I ordered ours on April 15th, so we got the May 2013 Citrus Lane boxes.

Waiting is the hardest part! Boxes are sent out half way through the month and according to their website,  usually arrive between the 15th and the 22nd of each month. We live in Missouri and received ours on the 21st. I had let the big kids know that they would be getting packages in the mail- special packages just for them that they could open on their own. So when they saw the mailman walking to our door with three boxes stacked in his hands, they started jumping up and down and screeching with excitement. I scooped up the boxes from the porch and brought them inside.

Something bothered me about the packages. They were all addressed to me. I had hoped, and kind of assumed, that they'd be addressed to the kids. Citrus Lane asks for your child's name when you sign up.. so I was just a little surprised that they weren't addressed to the kids. This meant that I had to open the packages up, which I didn't want to do. I wanted it to be all their fun. Either way, I figured for sure that each box would be marked on the inside with something that would indicate which child it was for- name or age. Wrong again. The packages didn't say which kid they were for on the inside either. I had to look at the items and guess which kid they were for. This took a little fun out of the whole experience. I peeked through the side, trying not to tear open the tissue paper that was wrapped around the items. It was easy to figure out which box was for the 5 month old, but the 3 and 4 year old boxes were a little trickier to differentiate between. I thought I was right, and handed the boys each their boxes. I felt bad that I had to dig through them, because I had told them that they'd get to open them on their own, but it didn't bother them too much.

All were packaged very sweetly :) 
There is a pamphlet inside each box which lists and describes all of the items. 

This first one was for our 5 month old daughter, Olive: 

  • Bear Takes a Trip.. a book from Barefoot Books
  • Rattle Keys from Green Toys
  • Gripe Water from Mommy's Bliss
  • Dish Liquid from Dapple
  • The Mommy Hook
I was ok with this box. I am eager to try the Dapple dish soap because I am running out of the Medela Quick Clean soap that I have been using, and I have been actively looking for others to try. As soon as I use it, I'll post a review, and compare it to the other baby dish soaps that I've tried. I'm pretty excited to try it (is that sad? lol.) I'm a little disappointed that it's a sample size since because I thought I read that they send full size items. The Mommy Hook... I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it. Really, the thought of having my purse and other bags dangling around from the handle of the shopping cart or stroller doesn't sound all that neat. There's a gigantic basket under our stroller that I throw everything in, and that works just fine for me. Maybe I'll find a different use for it. The teething Rattle Keys are a welcome item for sure! She likes to chew on them, and I'm pleased that they are eco-friendly. They're made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs and free from BPA, PVC, phthalates and external coatings. I highly doubt that I will use the Gripe Water, because thankfully our daughter has a happy tummy! However, if she was a fussy girl, I'd definitely give it a try. I'm going to see if I can pass that along to somebody who might be in need of it. I like that it's a full size bottle and not a sample. The book is very colorful and a cute story, I also love that it's a board book. I don't think that we have any other board books in the house, none survived the journey through both of our boys. lol

This next box was for our 3 year old son, Sylas:

  • We All Go Traveling By.. a book & CD set from Barefoot Books
  • Pizza Play Set from Green Toys
  • Happy Munchies Veggie & Fruit Crisps from Happy Family
  • Meyer Lemon Moravian Cookies from Salem Baking
Sylas was happy with his box! The We All Go Traveling By book and CD set is alright, but excuse me if I'm not enthusiastic about it since we have sooo many books in our house. I feel like this one will get lost in the mix with the others because it's nothing special. Also, I now have a CD that I don't know what to do with. It's just stuck in a little pocket in the back of the book, and I can't leave it there because it would be mauled within 5 seconds flat. So, the CD will probably get lost, but hopefully we'll be able to see what it's like before that happens. The Meyer lemon cookies are nothing special.. just thin, crunchy, lemon flavored cookies. My kids weren't a fan and I wasn't either, and I LOVE me some lemon cookies. I happen to have a recipe for some fabulous lemon sugar cookies which these just pale in comparison to. What can I say.. perhaps I'm a lemon cookie snob. We tried them and threw them out. The Happy Munchies crisps were interesting. They were "banana, beet and blueberry" flavored, but to me they had more of a cinnamon apple taste to them. No matter, Sylas loved them and ate the whole bag.

The best part of this box, and our favorite item from all three boxes, is the Pizza Play Set! The boys just love to play with it, and Demitri practically threw his box to the ground and went running after it when he saw it. He was pretty upset that he didn't get one as well! It reminds me of a Melissa & Doug pizza play set that they've played with before. I am a big fan of this toy! It is, like the Rattle Keys, made by Green Toys and therefore made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs and free from all of the yucky stuff that you don't want in your kids' toys.

It comes with these cute order forms... love!

The insert from the box says that this play set was created exclusively for Citrus Lane, but I actually found it for sale on Amazon. The only difference is that the one on Amazon comes with a box that looks like a real pizza box, and a pizza cutter.

This last box was for our 4 year old son, Demitri:
  • The Gigantic Turnip.. a book & CD set from Barefoot Books
  • Planting Kit from Green Toys
  • Be Good to Bugs Kids Gardening Gloves from Melissa & Doug
  • Snackimals Cereal from Barbara's Bakery
  • To-Go Disinfectant Surface Spray from CleanWell
  • Moisture Stick from Deep Steep
I wouldn't say that Demitri hated his box, but he was not over the moon about it either. It just so happened that he got a pair of gardening gloves from his grandma last week, so the Melissa & Doug kids gardening gloves were annoying to him. He loves the gardening gloves that my mom got him, and has become attached to them. If he didn't have the pair from grandma, I know that he'd love these Melissa & Doug ones because are pretty cool. He will definitely enjoy the Planting Kit, which came with organic sunflower seeds. He's very interested in gardening and it will be fun to get that going with him. He keeps calling The Gigantic Turnip "the peach book" because it does look like a peach on the cover.. that cracks me up. Along with The Gigantic Turnip came another CD to lose, lol. We haven't tried the Snackimals cereal, but we sure will. I am interested in the CleanWell Disinfectant spray because it is 100% botanical. I am extremely paranoid about using Lyscol or any chemical-filled product in our house. I'm very sensitive to the fumes and creepy smells and I just don't like to use anything but good old soap and water to clean around our house. Lastly, the Moisture Stick is nice. I have tried it and it reminds me of a hand salve that I buy from Burt's Bees. The smell, which I love, is very similar. It's very herbal and something that I love. It's in my purse now and I'll definitely use it up!

UPDATE: August 6, 2013
I have used the Moisture Stick quite a bit over the past several months and have decided that it is terrible. It is sooo greasy and NEVER soaks in. Hours after applying it, the product still sits on top of the skin and never sinks in. I can't put it on anymore because it rubs off on everything. I am definitely disappointed in it.

So those are the items that we got, and my first impressions. I'm sure I'll be posting reviews for several of the items, and I'm excited about that! However, I probably won't be getting any more boxes from Citrus Lane. I looked at all of these things as they were out on the floor and thought to myself, "this is not worth $75." Sure, part of the whole thing is the thrill of the unknown and the excitement of getting a surprise package, but for me it's just not worth that much money. Of course if I had an extra 75 bucks lying around every month, I'd probably stick with it, but that's not the case!

I decided to nix the subscriptions, and the cancellation process is a little annoying. First of all, it took me a while to even figure out how to cancel, and I had to look in the FAQs for the answer. You can't do it through your account page, from what I can tell. You have to either send them an e-mail or fill out a cancellation form. I chose the cancellation form, which ended up being a survey through a little strange. I filled out the form/survey and submitted it, and then opened it up again in a new tab because I needed fill it out for the other two e-mail addresses that I had accounts under (if that's not annoying then I don't know what is). I kept getting the "Thanks for taking this survey!" landing page. I'm sure I could have cleared my cookies or whatever, but I just ended up opening the form/survey in a new browser for each account that I had to cancel. So I ended up using Firefox, Safari and Chrome all in one sitting. Then, I was a little turned off by the fact that I didn't get any sort of confirmation number after submitting the surveys, nor did I receive any e-mail confirming that I had cancelled my accounts. I ended up e-mailing customer service. If you choose to cancel your Citrus Lane account just e-mail customer service and relax. I received an auto-reply e-mail and a prompt human reply to confirm my cancellation. The process could definitely be simplified or at least more clearly outlined in the account page.

Here are a few coupon codes that I wanted to share with y'all.
These were on the pamphlets inside the boxes (is this ok? I hope so! lol)...

  • Use code citruslane20 for 20% off your order at | good thru 6/30/13
  • Use code CWCL2 for 20% off any purchase at | good thru 7/30/2013
  • Use code CLSPRING13GT for 10% off your order at | good thru 6/30/13
  • Use code DISCOVER for 20% off your order at | no expiration given
  • Use code CITRUSLANE50 for free shipping on your order of $50 or more at | no expiration given

Also, if you'd like to try Citrus Lane, you can use my referral link to get $10 off! But look around for a half-off code first; There always seems to be one floating around. In fact, I know that they posted one on Facebook within the last few days, but I can't find it anywhere! Hold up - wait, I just found it! Use code TAKEHALF to get half off your first box at Citrus Lane! There ya go! Enjoy!!!