Tag Archives: resolutions

SBS: Cravebox – Why It’s Different


This Subscription Box Saturday, I wanted to spill the beans about another subscription-style box that I’ve tried. You know that I love Love with Food, Birchbox, Goodies and Barkbox.

But Cravebox is different.

Benny, as usual, popping up in a photo!

Benny, as usual, popping up in a photo!

You see, you don’t sign up to have a box shipped to you each month, like the other boxes to which I subscribe. Instead, you choose which boxes you receive. Here are the basics on how it works:

  1. Sign up and create a new account. (Free)
  2. If I remember correctly, you also need to include on file your shipping address and credit card info. {I’m not sure if you do this initially or after you purchase your first box.} This is the card that will be charged if you decide to purchase a box.
  3. Check out the Cravebox website or elect to receive emails about upcoming boxes and what their themes are.
  4. A Cravebox is available when you see, “Drawing Open! Enter Now!”
  5. Take a survey on the Cravebox you are interested in and enter the drawing.
  6. Wait for an email that states that you have been “selected” and to confirm that your credit card, billing address and shipping address info on file is correct. Your card will be charged and box shipped out within a few days.
  7. You’ll receive a follow up email with a survey about the products you received.

It’s that easy!

Here are some other important details to note:

  • You will always know the theme of the box, but never the contents.
  • Boxes range $12 to $18 (including shipping). I *think* you know the cost before you enter the “drawing”.
  • I’m not sure if it is a true “drawing” because I have received every box for every drawing I entered!
  • Tip: If you think that you want to enter a drawing and take the survey, you may find that some of the questions sound like products that don’t apply to you. I’m thinking this may be an indication of what could be in the box. At this point, you can just decide not to enter the drawing.
  • I’ve found that the value of items in the box far exceed the contents!

Now for the boxes I’ve chosen!

Coffee Lovers – $12

Coffee Lovers Box Contents

Contents: Torani Sugar Free French Vanilla Syrup, Barbara’s High Fiber Cranberry Medley Cereal, Biscotti Brothers Biscotti (2), Tully’s French Roast Coffee

For a first box, this was quite impressive! If you can’t tell in the photo above, the coffee and syrup were full-sized. The coffee alone is worth about $8. What’s more is that my husband loves Tully’s coffee. He preferred it over Starbucks when he lived in Seattle. This went to good use! However, I personally rarely add flavored syrups to my coffee and even then only in a coffee shop. In addition, I don’t like the sugar free flavors. So it made a great gift for a friend!

Dog Lovers II – $13

Dog Lovers Box

Yes, I know, I know. My dogs are already spoiled with a Barkbox every month. But I wanted to see how it compared. I’ve already tried Pawbox and didn’t like it. And because this one was a Cravebox, it’s not like I’d be getting one every month. And this ended up being my favorite box!

Dog Lovers Box Contents

Contents: In a Dog’s Heart book by Jennifer Arnold, True Chews Turkey Dog Treats, Sentry Calming Collar, Honest Kitchen Dog Food Pouches, Bissel Stomp ‘N Go Stain Lifting Pads

What made this box the favorite for me? The BOOK!

Forget that this box was only $13 and In a Dog’s Heart retails for $15 by itself because Jennifer Arnold’s wonderful book made me fall in love with my pooches all over again. They helped me understand them a little better, too. She illustrates in such a loving way how dogs are so dependent on us and are in no way trying to run our households. How can they when they rely on us for food, water, shelter and love? I seriously want to re-read this book. I’ve dog-eared {<– please note pun!} so many pages. And I’m recommending it to everyone I know. It’s even prompted me to purchase her previous book, Through a Dog’s Eyes. It’s next on my reading list.

However, Benny had a different favorite in the box.

I gave the dogs each one of the True Chews jerky treats. But that wasn’t enough for Benny. When I got up and left the room, I must have forgotten to close the Cravebox. Because I came back into the room and found this:

Sneaky little Bear! Even though he knew he got caught, he kept going with those little Dr. Seuss/mitten paws of his. I gave in and let him.  😉


I was a little reluctant to order the next Cravebox I’d been considering. From the title, I had no idea what would really be in the box. I thought maybe there’d be some diet or health foods because it was a box appearing right after the New Year, so I threw a shot in the dark.

Resolutions Box – $15

Resolutions Box Contents

Resolutions Box Contents

Contents: Mary Kay 7-Up Ten, A&W Ten, Timewise Repair Eye Cream, Metrobalance Tea Sample, Coupon for free package of Wholly Guacomole, Cocovia Cocoa Supplement, Coupon for free Smart Ones product, an assortment of five SunRype fruit bars, Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar, Pantene Moisture Whip Hair Product

We were impressed to receive full cans of soda as well as two coupons for free refrigerated and frozen products since they couldn’t be shipped through the mail. I loved trying all of these!


And something happened with the last box I ordered. After I received the email that the drawing had closed and I would be shipped a box, they announced that they were doubling the contents!

Zatarain’s Big Game Box – $15

Zatarain's Box

Contents: Zatarain’s brand jambalaya mix, creole mustard, creole seasoning, red beans and rice. Also included was True Lemon Iced Tea Mix made with Stevia as well as some Mardi Gras Beads!

I wanted this box because I love cajun and creole food {and New Orleans in general}. I’ve had Zatarain’s products before and knew that I’d use whatever they had to offer for the “big game”.

So far, I’ve been very pleased with the Craveboxes I’ve received. They are now introducing Instant Boxes as well. Furthermore, I’ve received invites to Twitter parties which are open to discuss products and win prizes, too. I haven’t participated, so I can’t give you any feedback on that.

I have recently entered a drawing for Cooking Light Box and am anxiously waiting for the Book Lovers Box! Other upcoming boxes include.

AXE Hair Styling Kit

Beautiful by You

Little Ones

New Moms

I encourage you to give Cravebox a try. You don’t have to purchase anything if you don’t want to! Just check out what it’s all about. If you want to add me as your referral, feel free! My username is UncommonWine.

Have you ever given a book to read that you’d probably never pick on your own only to find yourself pleasantly surprised? If so, I want to know what it is! Please share.


Run a 5k with me!


It’s that time of year that many people set New Year’s Resolutions because it’s only natural to want to start fresh at the beginning of a New Year.

Back in September, I created a birthday list of things I wanted to accomplish or incorporate into my life over the next year. One of those things on this list was to run in a Color Run event. I’m excited to announce that yesterday I signed up for the Twin Cities Color Run scheduled for July 14th. (Thank you, Ann!) This is a fun 5k event set up for people of all ages and abilities. You can learn more on their website.

color run

However, one of my top wishlist items is to inspire others to run this year.

Last year, I used the Couch to 5k program in my own effort to start running. By the anniversary of my first 5k, I will have run 12 races in 12 months. If you asked me a year ago if I would do that, I would have laughed and said, “Just let me get through my first 5k!”

The truth is, I’m not fast. I’m still pretty slow. But we all have to start somewhere. The only thing I can do is try to improve my own time each and every time I run.

So why don’t you join me?

I announced in November that I’d love for you to join my on April 21, 2013, in running the Challenge Obesity 5k in St. Paul, Minnesota, around the beautiful Lake Como. It is the event I felt most comfortable doing as a first time runner. Runners, run-walkers and walkers are encouraged. If you aren’t local, please consider signing up for a local event around that time or doing a virtual 5k on your own. It would mean so much to me!

I have just created a team for the Challenge Obesity 5k:

Team Season It Already!

To join us, you can register online here.

When you are registering, be sure to choose: Team Member Registration.

Under the “Select a Team” drop box, choose team: Season It Already!

Team password: seasonitalready (all one word, lowercase)


I have also recently signed up for a new challenge – to do 13 races in 2013. Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness has set this up and has even secured sponsors and prizes! Am I crazy? Maybe. Especially since my sciatica has been giving me grief and I need to ease back a little bit. {Any and all advice regarding running with sciatica is appreciated!}


I will be starting the year off with a couple of virtual races. The first one is honor of the birthday of Katie at Runs for Cookies. A week later, I’m running another virtual race: the Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Virtual Half Marathon and 5K. Funds raised from this event will benefit the United Way of Western Connecticut. That will be an emotional one.

So who’s joining me this year?


New Year’s Resolutions


Ahhh… New Year’s Resolutions. I hate ’em. I haven’t made one in years. The ones I did make, I left in the dust before the first quarter was even over. I have yet to hear someone on New Year’s Eve say, “Let’s toast to my completion of last year’s New Year’s Resolution!”

I know, I know. After the holidays are over, it’s the time of year when there is less going on and it’s only natural at the start off the New Year to start thinking about how we can better ourselves and our lives in the upcoming year. But are New Year’s Resolutions really worth it? Do they, more often than not, get lost in the shuffle and eventually just make us feel bad for not accomplishing them?

It’s not New Year’s Eve, so why I am discussing New Year’s Resolutions?

Well, because today is my birthday and I want to put a new, positive spin on the old New Year’s Resolution!

Throughout the blogosphere, I’ve seen many posts on bloggers’ birthdays indicating what they want to accomplish in their next year ahead. Posts titled “25 things to do while I’m 25” or “30 things to do before turning 30” pop up just about everywhere.

I love these!

While, at first glance, most of these birthday posts look just like wishlists of things the bloggers want to do over the next year; they are really much more than that. The idea is to think about what you really want out of life. What do you want your daily life to look like? What do you want to accomplish or enjoy in the year that lies ahead?

So instead of resolutions {which are often vague to begin with and can make us feel bad if not completed}, I’ve created a list of things I want to do within the next year. The thought of these things makes me happy, not anxious. I’m going to post these elsewhere on the site and cross them off all year long. Feel free to join me!

This list includes fun things I want to do as well as personal and fitness goals. I quickly threw this together, so I’m sure more will end up on my bucket list later.

Here we go! In no particular order…

  • Do a Beer Run
    • There is one at the end of every summer right here in Minneapolis!
    • But there are also City Running Tours that include beer stops as well. I’ve been too chicken to try these out yet. I have a fear of being too slow to keep up with everyone.
    • These races and tours are supposed to be FUN, so I don’t want to do one alone. Won’t you join me!?
  • Do a Color Run
    • I just learned about these this year! I wasn’t available the date one came to Minneapolis, but I want to do one within the next year.
    • This is a fun run where participants wear white and are doused with color at different intervals on the route.
    • There are two companies that run them: The Color Run and Color Me Rad.
    • This is an un-timed fun run, so it’s another one I do not want to do alone!
    • I will go to another city if there isn’t one in Minnesota or the date doesn’t work for me next year. Let me know if you want to do it together. Let’s get a team going!
  • Complete a 5-mile race
    • I have this booked for October 20th.
    • I have no time I expect to beat, I just want to finish!
  • Incorporate weight-lifting into my fitness routine
    • This is in the works! I’ll post more about it in the coming weeks.
  • Run a 10k race
    • While my focus this winter is on HIIT and weight training, I still plan to run a 10k in spring.
    • Have a 10k race to recommend? My only requirement: I have got to know that I won’t come in last.
  • Take a trip abroad to a country I’ve never been
    • This rules out Provence and Sicily from this poll.
    • Sorry, we can only choose one international destination per year. Unless, of course, there’s any part of the world that wants to sponsor us and let us blog our way through our travels for tourism promotion! 😉
  • Use my Bahamas Cruise Gift Certificate
    • I earned a certificate for a cruise in the Bahamas doing Wine Tastings.
    • This is how Rob and I plan to get away this winter!
  • Reach my goal weight
    • This means losing approximately 35 to 40 more pounds within the next year.
    • I’ll have to ramp it up a bit since it took me a little over a year to lose 35.
  • Read more books.
    • Reading is one of my favorite things to do and over the past few years, I’ve forgotten that love.
    • I grew up reading a lot, so when I saw a 10-to-12-year-old boy sitting at a beauty salon waiting for his mon the other day reading an actual hardcover book instead of playing around on a Smartphone, I was reminded of it.
    • The reading of blogs, magazines, Facebook and surfing the web has replaced my reading of actual books.
    • “Read more books” is such a vague goal, so I need to quantify it somehow. Maybe:
      • Have a book with me at all times to read if I end up having to wait somewhere.
      • Read before bed five nights each week. {It really does help relax me before bed anyway!}
      • Commit to reading 12 books per year. That doesn’t sound like much. But really, I have let reading fall to the wayside. One book per month is realistic.
      • Join a Book Club, perhaps? But then, I couldn’t necessarily choose the books.
      • Suggestions?
  • Run around Lake Calhoun
    • It’s approximately a 5k.
    • I live in the Twin Cities metro area. There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t have taken advantage of this already.
    • Once I complete that, it’ll be easy to run the other nearby chain of lakes, too.
  • Run in Eau Claire, WI
    • UW-Eau Claire is my alma mater. I have fond memories of the place and I rarely get back there.
    • Inspired by Liz, I’d love to run past all of my favorite haunts and residences there.
    • Eau Claire is absolutely beautiful this time of year, especially when the leaves are falling.
  • Run the Challenge Obesity 5k in April
    • This is where it all began – my first 5k!
    • It’s the perfect race for beginners – not intimidating at all.
    • I want to encourage as many people as possible to join me!
    • Think you can’t run? Neither did I. Start the Couch to 5k program NOW!
  • Write more concise posts
    • Yeah, you know this is not a strong point of mine.
    • Starting next month, I’ll challenge myself to do one day a week under X number of words or choose one week per month where EVERY post is under X number of words.
    • “X” has yet to be determined. Ha!
  • Create a written bucket list
  • Organize Rob’s favorite recipes in one place
    • I want go-to meals on hand so I don’t have to think!
  • Do something {even a little something} for someone else – every single day
  • Organize Music
    • Would you believe that I have never owned an iPod?
    • I do have an iPhone now, but for music, I really only use Pandora.
    • I just bought my first few iTunes this year!
    • I want to get all of my old CDs uploaded and recycle them.
  • Put together a wedding and honeymoon album
    • Our Wedding and Honeymoon took place in 2010.
    • Just because we didn’t have a traditional wedding, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a photobook of these memories!

Have you created a Bucket List?

If so, name one thing you plan to cross off within in the next year.

If you’d like to help me or join me in accomplishing/doing any of these fun things on my list, just let me know. It’s going to be another fantastic year!