Amanda is the creator and writer of Simply Nerdy Mom. She is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a boy and a girl, and enjoys cooking, crafts, reading, DIY projects, and home decorating. She and her family are huge comic book, game, and movie nerds. Simply Nerdy Mom features posts about parenting, conventions and other events, photoshoots, cosplay, and everyday life as well as product reviews.
I am very big into quality family time. My husband and I spend as much time as possible with our children on various things both individually as well together. I believe that quality family time, without electronic distractions, is important to growth and development mentally, emotionally, and physically. So I can definitely get behind a company that makes it fun and easy to be one big happy family.
I just found out about The Happy Family Box quite recently. They sent me a box to check out and right from the start I could tell that this is a quality subscription box.
Let me start by telling you that The Happy Family Box is like a date night box, but for families. There are 3 projects (one for each week of the month after you receive your box), a book, and a special gift for mom (or dad- I fully believe dad's matter, too). Each box has a theme which focuses on one of the 9 habits of happy families. February's box was the habit Love Together.
There are two options to fit your budget and family. The Happy Family Box (Regular) is $29.99 per month and The Happy Family Box (Lite) is $14.99 per month. The only difference is that the Lite box contains 1 book and 1 activity, but will still focus on the same concepts.
This is the regular box, which you can see is packed full of goodies. This particular one was pretty heavy, but you'll see why here in a moment.
They packaged it really nicely. Much nicer than my photo shows, but I had forget to snap a photo before sifting through the box.
They include a little booklet with the 9 Habits outlined as well as a reference guide for each month's theme. One great idea for this is you can take that month't theme and use it to plan some sort of outing around it. It doesn't even have to cost money. For October's theme of learning together, you could visit your local library. For work together, you could visit a local farm and volunteer to help feed the animals. These are just some examples, but you can really make it work for you and your family.
Of course, there's a handy guide to everything that is included in your box.
Each activity is divided into weeks and stored in these zip top bags. This is extremely handy as pretty much everything you need is right there in the bag, which is labeled with the week number. you get the instructions along with other things. It will tell you in the instructions if you will need items that are not included, but for the most part, everything you need is there or something you most definitely will already have laying around your house, like scissors or glue/tape.
The first activity in the Love Together box is this adorable mailbox project. The instructions are incredibly easy to follow along with and they even included a pretty good amount of paper cards and envelopes as well as novelty stamps. The idea is to write a loving, uplifing message to a specific member of the family, or to the family as a whole, and stick it in the mailbox. You could then set a specific time each week to sit down and read the messages out loud as a family. Kids love receiving mail and they love to know that they are appreciated and doing well. Praise for good behavior or habits makes them feel good, which in turn makes them want to continue that behavior or habit. So a simple, yet fun message not only lets them know you are proud of them, but uplifts their spirits.
Another project was the Service Dinosaurs. These little wooden dinos serve as a token of good deeds. Your child can have fun decorating them, then once they are decorated, you use them to mark any time that kindness is shown. When a family member secretly does something kind for another member of the family, like folding the laundry or making a bed, they leave behind a dino. The family member that the secret kindness was shown to will then do something kind for another member and then leave behind the dino, and so on and so forth.
The third activity is one of the reasons this box was so heavy. It's a sharing plate and package of cookies. The idea behind this project is that, as a family you bake the cookies and then use the stamper to stamp positive messages into the cookies. You then decorate the cookie plate with a message to pass along the kindness. Your family then delivers the plate and the cookies to a neighbor, family member, or friend. It's then up to the person who receives the sharing plate to pass it along with bakes goodies to the next person of their choosing. The hope is that kindness and love be spread far and wide. It's also a really nice tradition to start with your family.
This month's book is called Full of Empty. It's essentially about a princess that is very lonely, but the message is an important one and that's how much a child needs love and positive attention from a parent. It's purpose is to remind parents that that playing with their children is a very important form of love. One that helps them grow and nurture.
The parent gift in this box is also a book, and it's called Drops of Awesome which is a journal inspired by the popular blog post. This journal helps you to see the good in your life every day. There are uplifting quotes and illustrations along with space for your own positive thoughts to remind you that you are so much more than one bad day.
I love this box so much. I believe in this whole heartedly and think that more families need adopt the 9 habits of happy families. I absolutely recommend The Happy Family Box.
Hard Candy has been releasing first looks into their new Spring line and among those items are the Glitteratzi Lip Sparklers and the colors are marvelous.
Not only are the lip glosses in really cute, glittery packaging, but the handles on the gloss are very "punky".
These lip sparklers aren't thick like a regular lip gloss and are in fact more like a colored water. When wearing them on your lips alone, they do make your lips feel pretty dry. If you do choose to wear them alone, I would suggest applying coconut oil or some type of lip balm to moisturize before applying these.
Initially when I did swatches on my hand of the three I received, They came out really nice by themselves. Of course, they are going to show up differently on your lips. It's more of a subtle shine when worn alone. When worn with your favorite lip color, it gives a really nice shimmer pop.
Glitteratzi Lip Sparklers come in 7 colors and I am obsessed with Spark and Galactic, but to be perfectly honest, I'm digging all of them.
I don't normally photograph my press kit when I receive PR packages, however, I just had to show you all this really great photo they included in my press kit. It reminds me of a dragon or a mermaid, but it's just one of the looks you can do with these lip sparklers. These also pair rather nicely with the Hard Candy Galactic Eyes pallet that is in the new Spring line as well!
Hard Candy Glitteratzi Lip Sparklers are available at Walmart and Walmart.com for Spring 2018. Samples provided in exchange for honest, unbiased review.
I've been coloring my hair since I was 13 or 14 years old. It started out with just a few highlights and morphed into years of trying out multiple colors; everything from black to bright pink and everything in between. So yes, my hair has taken a chemical beating. My skin has also taken a chemical beating. The first time I ever bleached my hair in order to dye it a crimson red, I ended up with horrendous chemical burns on my ear. Let me tell you, this is something you do not ever want happening, but it does happen even when you are careful. So since then, for the most part, I have started looking for more dyes that don't use powerful chemicals to color your hair.
I switched from box dyes to more professional colors that have little to no chemicals and are much better for your hair and overall health.
ONC Natural Colors is technically a box dye, but the PH is very low. Which means you won't burn your eyes from the fumes and definitely won't burn you skin. You will also find that it's actually good for your hair!
Instead of chemicals which open the hair cuticle and allow the hair to take in the color, Natural Colors Permanent Hair Color uses a cap and heat from your dryer.
This is also the first hair dye I've ever used that came with so many things in the box. I mean, this is actually really impressive. Most come with the dye mix, gloves, and one tube of conditioner. This one actually comes with two packs of shampoo and conditioner, as well as the plastic cap, and a brush and container to mix the dye in. So you can use it straight from the bottle or mix and brush on.
The dye is supposed to have more of a floral scent, but I'm going to be honest, it smelled like mildewed flowers instead. Not the most pleasant scent in my opinion, but it was definitely better than your average eye and nose burning scent of most box dyes.
The color was really easy to use, although it took a little more time than I'm use to. Since I've dyed my hair before, the instructions said that my first step was to put color on the roots and new growth, cover with a cap, and heat with a blow dryer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, I removed the cap and finished the rest of my hair. The rest of the dye sat on my hair for about 25 minutes before it was time to wash it out.
When it came time to wash, they suggested to get my hands a little wet and massage the color into my hair a little more before rinsing. After the rinse, comes the shampoo, another rinse, and the conditioner which you leave in for 5 minutes and then rinse out.
I could tell right off the bat that my hair was significantly healthier than previously had been when I used other box dyes. It's been a few days and the color is still looking great after quite a few washing. It has not faded, and it feels so much smoother and looks a million times healthier. I also noticed that it didn't make my scalp itch like other dyes I've used.
I cannot really speak on how well it covers grays, since I've been lucky enough to not find any yet. Of course, that could be from constantly dying it. But it's claim is that it covers grays really well. I tend to believe this claim since I've seen how good and thorough it goes on and covers previous color, while also blending in new growth.
DegustaBox is a monthly subscription box for foodies, and it happens to be one of our favorites! We have been receiving boxes since the very beginning and have never been disappointed. February's box included some great items for game day!
First up out of the box, we have Boboli Premade Pizza crust and Boboli Pizza Sauce. My family already loves this brand and I always add a bit of extra by brushing on some melted garlic and herd butter across the crust before adding toppings to the edge. The sauce is so delicious as well, and you get three packets in each box, so we had plenty extra for our homemade bread sticks.
We've received a few Sir Kensington products before, my favorite being the chipotle mayo. This month we got to try out the spicy ketchup and it's a winner! We also really enjoyed the Tiger Tail classic mustard as well. Both perfect for burgers and hot dogs!
What's a party without chips and salsa, am I right? I've done promos for the Grounded rice and quinoa tortilla chips so we already know and love them. The Rendro's Craft Beer Salsa is new to us, though. Let me tell you, it's delicious! It has a nice spicy kick to it, but also that slight craft beer taste as well. Not something too overpowering, it's just right.
I have not tried out the Coriander Lime spices yet. I think we are going to use it a lot come grilling season this year. We get a lot of Goya products in our boxes. This month they sent along two cans of refried beans, which I used to make homemade burritos that I popped into the freezer to be pulled out individually and heated up for lunches.
I think aside from the pizza items, the Luna lemon zest bars were the biggest hit with my house. My son even liked them and he usually hates lemon flavored things. I'm the lemon lover in the family.
All in all, it was another great box!
Intrigued by Degusta Box and want to subscribe (highly recommended!)?
*Disclosure: This product was received as a sample in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising.
Escape rooms have been extremely popular within the last few years. They started out as computer games played on the internet and have morphed into physical attractions you can visit and play with friends and family. But what do you do if you still can't get enough escape room? You pick up The Escape Room Book!
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The Escape Room Book by Ivan Tapia is the very first book based on the popular puzzle games.
The premise is that you are a journalist trapped in a labyrinth for exposing a corrupt businessman. To escape, you must solve puzzles, optical illusions, conundrums, and anagrams. It's definitely a book for any and all puzzle lovers.
The puzzles in the book are all jumbled and in order to proceed, you must solve each puzzle first. At the end of each chapter, you will find a golden padlock symbol. This indicates that it's time to return back to the chapter and solve the puzzles that lie within in. Once you solve the puzzle, you will have a code number. This code number is the page in which you need to proceed to next. There is a space at the end of the chapter, under the padlock, to write in the page number so that if you need to stop and put the book down, you can remember which page to go to next. Of course, this book can be played multiple times if you choose. All you would have to do is keep a sheet of paper in the book in which to write page numbers on and just keep it in the book as a bookmark in the chapter you are currently on. This way, you can keep track, but don't necessarily have to write in the book. Doing it that way, will allow you to play over and over again, or pass the book along to a friend to play.
If you are having difficulty solving the puzzle, there will be a page number at the end of the chapter with clues to help you solve it. There are 5 clues for each puzzle and the full solution with next page number is on the back of the clue page.
The Escape Room Book is not only a thrilling story, but a fun interactive puzzle as well.
Click image to purchase!
This product was received as a sample in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review.
When it comes to beauty, I like simple things. For the most part, on weekdays I go sans makeup and on weekends, I like simple looks. I do have makeup fit for my photoshoots and cosplay which is when I typically do more elaborate looks. However, when it comes to beauty boxes, I try to find ones that provide you with enough for an entire look that can be easily taken from everyday to special occasion. Glasses Babe box is right on the money.
In addition to a full look that can change from everyday to special occasion, I also look for boxes that provide items I can purchase in my local CVS, Walmart, or Walgreens. For the most part, the items in Glasses Babe is that kind of box.
I got all of this in my recent box and I love every single thing in it! The lip gloss has actually become my favorite and the brown liner pencil is actually the perfect shade to use on my brows! Quite honestly, even on my days "off" from a full makeup look, I've been wearing the glass and the using the brow pencil and they are fabulous. I also am rather impressed with the makeup remover lotion. I have masks and exfoliating scrubs that remove makeup, but I love that this moisturizes as well, especially since I tend to have dry skin around my nose area. The shadows are nicely pigmented and go on smooth. The purple and pink are also a duo so they blend and work really well together and the white is great for corner highlights. Of course you can never have too many brushes so it's nice they threw one of those in there as well. Lastly, the lashes always come in handy for my photoshoots and cosplay. They are flirty and fabulous additions to any look whether it's for everyday or for a costume.
You should check out my unboxing video below for more!
Ghost Bully by Brian Corley is a comic-paranormal story of a roomate from hell. Literally.
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Jonah Preston just bought a new house with his friend Max, but he never anticipated the bombshell that his new neighbor has just dropped on him - the previous owner had died by suicide in that house. And of course, he finds this out the day he moved in. Maybe he should have done more research before signing the papers. At any rate, he thinks nothing of it, maybe it won't be so bad.
Just as quickly as he finds out about his new home's history, the ghost makes itself known and he's not happy with his new house guests at all. When Jonah wakes up dead, he knows exactly who's to blame - the former owner, Willard Hensch.
Now that he's dead, Jonah begins a new chapter in his (after)life which includes befriending angels, fighting demons, and taking on an army of ghosts.
I just started this book, but already I am having a hard time putting it down. I have giggled quite a bit while reading it and it kind of puts me in the mind of the Hulu series Deadbeat with it's comedic presence and paranormal storyline. I even picture actor Tyler Labine while reading. I haven't decided yet if Tyler would play Max or Jonah in a movie version of this book, but I just see him as the perfect person for this story.
You can read along with me! Purchase Ghost Bully today!
Fitness is a huge part of my life. Not only am I diligent about staying active, but for the most part during the week, you'll typically find me in my fitness clothing even when I'm working on the blog or cleaning my house. They are just really comfortable to wear around the house.
This is my first time trying out a fitness geared subscription box, but I love the concept of the Her Fit Club box. They have 4 different boxes to choose from.
As you can see, these boxes are super awesome! When you first sign up, they will ask you a series of questions in order to curate your box to your personal preferences. For instance, they ask if you like sexy or covered, brights, solids, pastels, or prints, Capri or full length pants, and of course, your bra and pants size.
There's also the options to order month-to-month, 3 months, or a one-time box.
I received the Fit Fashion Box which is a top, bottom, and a little lifestyle gift.
Surprisingly, for my top, I received a really nice hoodie! I wasn't even aware that was an option. I was thinking sports bra or tank, but this is fabulous! It's really soft and made to look sort of vintage style. The only downside I had to this hoodie, was machine drying it. There was purple lint everywhere. It was all over the rest of my fitness clothes (which I always wash together), all over the inside of the dryer, and when I pulled the lint trap out, it was like a lint bomb exploded. I think this may have been a one time thing and probably won't happen again, but it was frustrating.
I chose capri for the pants because as I've stated in the past, I am really short and just prefer capri pants. These ones are kind of a dark olive color and have a really cute peek-a-boo area on the bottom of the leg.
Also in the box was a bath bomb, which I let my daughter use and she loved it, and a Her Fit Club sticker.
You should check out my unboxing video below for more info on the box as well as the items in it.
We are huge crafters and my kiddos especially love it. It keeps them busy and they have a sense of accomplishment when they are being creative and show off their finished projects. They also really love giving their projects to family members. We had a chance to try out Doodle Art by Crafty Kizzy and here's what we received.
Doodle Art Cards by Crafty Kizzy are cute little packages with two cards and everything you need to decorate and send them out. This is mostly geared towards children, however, as an adult I too enjoy these, so I would consider them an "all ages" project.
The first thing we noticed about this was how nicely it was packaged. Even the packaging can be used for future projects, which I really enjoy. It's always a plus when things are reusable. Also, I may have got a little too excited when I saw the Lisa Frank bag that everything came in. My 90
s girl heart went wild over that.
They include a list of everything included in your kit, which for this particular kit was 2 black and white coloring cards, 2 envelopes, 2 stamps, 2 gel pens, 2 mini wash tape rolls, plus extras. There's also info on ordering.
The cards are adorable with full color backs that have space to write a message to your card recipient.
There was a note in my kit that said for holidays they like to include other extra items in addition to what is usually included. In ours there was a balloon Lisa Frank valentine (there goes my 90's heart again), and a cute little monster button. There were also lots of stickers which is another thing we love in our house. Both my children as well as myself have sticker books that we collect various stickers in.
Both kiddos had a fun time sitting down on a Friday night and decorating cards for their grandma and grandpa. They used the washi tape and stickers to decorate the envelopes and the little rhinestone stickers on the cards themselves.
This box reminds me of My Craft Club, which is no longer available, but was my all time favorite monthly crafting box. Suffice to say, this is a really good replacement and we will definitely be ordering multiple months for the kiddos!
You have the option of placing a one time order, or you can place an order for 3 months delivered 1 month at a time. Have multiple children? No problem! You can order kits for two or three children both monthly as well as one time purchases.
Want to see more about this kit, my thoughts, and a silly video bomb by my 5 year old?
Watch my unboxing video!
Unboxing Doodle Art by Crafty Kizzy - YouTube
In addition to the Doodle Art packages, Crafty Kizzy also really amazing premade (customizable) cards, invitations, art prints, party decor, and more on their site!
I know I've mentioned before that we have been updating our home since we purchased it almost 5 years ago. One thing I have been doing is adding more wall decor. Aside from my husband's collections, our walls are pretty bare. So we definitely needed a little pop of color and design on our walls.
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We usually take on one room per year and this year, it's our dining room's turn. Our plans are to remove the drop ceiling, install chandelier lighting in place of the ridiculous fluorescent bulbs that are there now (who's idea was that?!), install new, darker hardwood flooring, and of course, get rid of the hideous paneling and update with fresh new walls in a neutral paint color. Naturally, we will be busy this summer, but I didn't want to put all that hard work into it, and still have bare walls. I believe carefully chosen decor really makes the room. So when I was contacted by Photowall for a collaboration, I thought I would check them out.
Photowall offers a huge variety of canvas prints as well as wall murals. Initially I considered a mural because our home's new theme is Tuscany and I knew a mural would really kick up the value of our home as well as just look a lot nicer overall. However, I realized a mural would have to wait until the room had been completed and I wanted to enjoy the beautiful artwork now. So I chose a lovely canvas print called A Taste of Napa Valley.
You can choose from many prints, searching by category, artist, color, or even upload your own photo! Consider the fact that you can make an entire wall mural or large canvas print of a family photo, or a beautiful scenic photo taken on your last vacation. The possibilities are endless.
I just searched for wine and grapes in the search bar and a lot of really great prints popped up. That's where I found A Taste of Napa Valley.
When ordering a canvas print, you have the option of adding a wooden frame, or you can purchase the print by itself, no frame included. I opted for the frame.
Printing time was lightening fast and so was shipping. I'm not kidding, I had the package in my hands a mere 3 or 4 days after ordering. It didn't take long at all.
When it arrived, of course the print was rolled up, but packed very well along with the frame pieces in a box. I have never ordered something like this with a frame before, so I had expected the frame to be one where I would put the frame together and the wrap the print around it and staple it. I have other canvas prints that I have purchased in stores already framed and that's how they came. Instead, these frames are much better!
You lay the canvas flat, peel off the backing of the frame piece, and stick it to the edge of the canvas.
I wish I had got video of this process so you could see how quick and easy it was, but I ran to take the garbage out and my husband already had half of it done for me.
Once all the frame pieces are stuck on, you roll the frame inward and secure with the braces that are provided. It stretched the canvas for you and gives a very nice edge. No ugly staples like my store bought canvas prints. It also came with a sturdy hanger. My husband was rather impressed and was obsessed with how simply it was. The entire thing took maybe 10 minutes, and it probably would have taken less time than that, but he stopped once to help my son with something.
The print itself is magnificent.
I forgot to mention that when choosing whether or not to add a frame, you can choose your own measurements. This particular one I chose to have printed in 23" x 15" and it was the perfect size.
It goes great with the decor I already have, and will look even better once the dining room is finished, walls painted, and I add some wall sconces on each side of the photo. We absolutely LOVE it! So much so, that we are definitely ordering again to spruce up walls in other rooms as well. We have a huge area of wall space going up our stairs, with very high ceilings, that would look incredible with a mural. I'm even considering the possibility of a ceiling mural. Maybe a space themed ceiling mural in my son's room? Who knows, but the possibilities are endless and I cannot wait to more Photowall prints to my home!
Get 20% off with code SNMCampaign2018 (valid through March 16, 2018)