Hi. My name is Maria. You already knew that. And you probably guessed that I like The Sound of Music. A lot. In fact, I used the wedding march and recessional in my very own wedding. I have fond memories of watching that movie once a year when the network gods granted us poor minions the privilege of viewing it. In my memory, it was quite the event. Almost as good as watching Princess Di’s wedding. In other words…I’m getting old.
So yes. I have a fondness for the precocious Maria. And for music. And I’ve decided (because I can!) that I’m going to start a new series called “Brown Paper Packages” here at A Problem Like Maria because all of the best things in life come wrapped in kraft paper and twine, right? Only I’m going to review stuff. Books, makeup, spices, “diet” plans and even air filters and give you my take. There will be affiliate links in these posts…not because I think I’ll make big bucks, but because a little bit here and there can add up and a girl needs new shoes once in a while. Ya know it?
Without further ado…
I got a box of goodies from the Influenster Network in the aftermath of Christmas. It kind of sat on my desk and then on my kitchen table. Then went back to my desk. I would grab an item to try every so often, but it took me a while to get through them all. There was a lot of goodness in that box. It’s a good thing it was bright red and kept making its presence known. I’ve slowly been trying out all of the things in it so I could give a quick review of each item.
1. McCormick Thyme: I love McCormick spices but often opt for the $.99 spices at Aldi. I threw this into my paleo spaghetti sauce on zoodles (zucchini noodles) which was way delish. We just started the Daniel Plan 10 day detox and this was a perfect way to kick it off. I’ve been eating off of it all week long. Marinara sauce always seems even tastier after it’s had a day or two for all of the flavors to mingle.
Once upon a time, if a recipe had more than five ingredients I wouldn’t give it a second glance. True story. But I’ve since learned that most of the ingredients are spices. As I’ve slowly built up my spice cabinet, I have banished the fear that those recipes once caused me. Now I can pull up a recipe with 20 ingredients and know that I’ll only have to buy just a very few things to make it. How awesome is that?
Favorite thing: Yes. Because SPICE.
2. Fruit Vines: These were just like someone had taken a pack of the long red vines and chopped them up into bite sized pieces. If you like red licorice, then you’ll like these.
Favorite thing: I’ll give these a MEH. Simply because now the rest of that bag sits there taunting me with its sugary goodness. I gave them to my kids to finish them off.
3. Candy Cane Lane Tea: I love tea.The Candy Cane Lane tea is Celestial Seasonings nod to all things peppermint at Christmas time. Earl & Lady Grey make my day! I go for a hot steamy cup Lemon Zinger and honey when I’m feeling under the weather. Peppermint tea for the occasional headache. Peach tea on a hot summer day.
Favorite thing: Absolutely. I look forward to it appearing in grocery stores every year when the Christmas coffees and teas make their way to the shelves.
4. Rimmel Waterproof Eyeliner: I’m going to be really honest for just a minute. I have a two minute “fixer-upper” routine. It involves Cover Girl BB cream, a touch of eye shadow, a swipe of blush, lip gloss and mascara. I used to spend at least 10 minutes on my face every day. Now I’m prone to wander out the door without the first little bit of makeup.
But I got this waterproof eyeliner for free, so I gave it a whirl. It went on super smooth and was easy to apply.
Favorite thing: Yes. I’ll use it if I’m going to a wedding or a funeral. Or if I’m watching Parenthood. Because ALL THE FEELS. It makes me cry every.single.time.
5. Rimmel Eye Makeup Remover: Girl…if you’re going to wear waterproof eyeliner, you’ll need some of this stuff. It takes all of the stuff you’ve slathered on your eyes and lashes right off your face. Just remember to moisturize. Mmmkay? That area right around your eye doesn’t have any oil glands and that’s why its the first place on your body to reveal how old you are.
Favorite thing: Yes. Because when Parenthood is over this girl is emotionally exhausted and needs some sleep to recover from all the grieving. Take that makeup off before you go to bed or it will be all over your pillowcase causing extra laundry. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
6. NYC Expert Last Lipstick in Sugar Plum: I’m very picky about lipsticks. I don’t like them if they have a dry texture or a funny odor. Because who needs lips that are drier in the winter or wants to have funky smelling lipstick right under their nose? This was a really creamy lipstick, that went on with a light shine so I didn’t even put gloss over it. It smelled amazing. The color was great, too. It was just enough darker than my natural lip color.
Favorite thing: Yes. Smelled good. Went on smooth. Lasted a long time. Nice everyday kind of color.
7. Ecotools Sleek and Shine Finisher Hairbrush: My daughter and I both tried this one for a couple of weeks before I would give it a review. The quality of the brush itself is great, but I’m a curly hair girl and brushes really aren’t my thing. But this winter weather made my hair decide that it would rather be straighter so I went with it. This brush is great for blow drying with it’s open design and also works well as a tool to give you a quick finishing shine.
My daughter’s hair is really, really thick and wavy. At first she totally dismissed it, saying it just wasn’t for people with thick hair. She told me a couple of days ago that she had changed her mind. She tried it one more time after her hair had air-dried and was so pleased with how shiny it made her hair.
Favorite thing: Yes. Lives up to it’s claim. But I don’t wear my hair straight very often. So I’m going to let this be my daughter’s favorite thing.
8. Boot’s No7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED Serum: This stuff is supposed to make your face look younger. A small sample was included in the box, which I tried. My skin is pretty sensitive and I mostly just use coconut and rosehip oils on my face and hands now. Also, I have always tended toward greasy skin so I’m just beginning to see signs of crows feet around my eyes. I’ll be 40 in two months so I’d consider that quite an accomplishment. Thanks mom for the good genetics!
The sample went on nice and smooth and I had no adverse reactions. The smell was please. As with any moisturizer of this type, I would say it would take several weeks to see any real difference. A coupon to purchase this at Target was included in my box, but I’m happy with my much more natural products.
Favorite thing: I don’t know. It might have been. But I’m kind of crunchy now when it comes to what I’ll put on my skin. So I don’t know if it will do what it promises or not. But I do know that there are some great oils that work beautifully on my skin and I’m not going to mess with a good thing.
Tune in soon for a book edition. And maybe some apps. And air filters. Heh.