Goddess Provisions November Box Sneak Peek

If you checked out the recent fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you may have noticed the addition of Goddess Provisions. They are new subscription service created by the owners of Vegan Cuts. Goddess Provisions offers a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Goddess Provisions November subscription sneak peek

Goddess Provisions has just released a sneak peek for their November box, which will focus on the sacral chakra and aim to ignite your passion and creativity. Every box will include a deck of Oracle Cards from Healing Crystals, and 21 drops aromatherapy roller balls (size, type, and quantity not specified). I can’t wait to receive my box, which is scheduled to ship in about a week. Are you in for one?

If you want to see my unboxing & review of the very first Goddess Provisions box, you can find that here.

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Kings Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Unboxing & Review-October, 2015

Kings Road Apothecary Indie Herbal Subscription Unboxing & Review October 2015 Crunchy Parent

King’s Road Apothecary is a company owned by herbalist Rebecca Altman. In addition to selling handcrafted seasonal herbal products through her site, Rebecca offers a monthly indie subscription service. Each monthly box features four herbally-based, small-batch, handcrafted items that center around a theme. Box pricing is $54.00 plus shipping each month when ordered individually, but multi-month subscriptions include shipping. The October theme was “Into the Dreaming.” As of this writing, the October box is still available for purchase. To see my other Kings Road Apothecary unboxing and reviews from prior months, look here.

I was kindly sent this box for review purposes. I received no additional compensation for my review. All opinions are my own.

Please enjoy the complete unboxing video. If you want to better acquaint yourself with some of the herbalism terms that I use throughout the video you can do that through the Crunchy Parent Herbal 101: Glossary of Common and Unusual Herbalism Terms and 50+ Great Ideas for Using Herbs. If you just want to see closeup photos of what was in the box, scroll on down.

The idea behind the KRA Surprise Boxes is that each month Rebecca picks the theme for the box, gathers plant material local to her that fits with the theme, and takes the month to reflect on the plants and experiment with new recipes for products. Her four favorites end up in the box. This month’s theme was less focused on local, wildcrafted herbs and was inspired by kava kava, cacao, and palo santo, and their capacities to evoke relaxed, dreamy states.

The box came with the entire contents wrapped in a piece of muslin, hand dyed in beautiful shades of mossy green. All items were carefully protected with bubble wrap, individually wrapped in coordinated tissue paper, and tied with kitchen twine. In addition to the four herbal items, the box also came with a copy of a watercolor painting of beautiful green leaves created by Rebecca exclusively for this box. On the back of the drawing were recipes for palo santo ice cream with honey and dates and for a palo santo and cacao tincture. In addition to the above, the box included a letter from Rebecca describing the box contents.

Kings Road Apothecary Kava kava hot chocolate and Kava & Palo Santo massage oil crunchy parent

The first item that I pulled from the box was a bag of Kava Kava hot chocolate. (Approximate weight 2 oz., ARV: $4.50) The blend mixes kava kava along with cacao, Dutch cocoa, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. I was a bit surprised at first with the earthinesss of the flavor profile influenced by the kava and cacao, but then I realized that this was not a packet of instant cocoa; it was a blend of herbs and spices. I added some coconut milk and honey to my cup and enjoyed the sophisticated, rich, flavor and the slightly numbing quality on my tongue. With the relaxing properties of the kava, this would make a nice beverage to wind down with at the end of a day.

Next in the box was a glass bottle of Kava Kava and Palo Santo Massage Oil (1 oz., value: $12.00). The massage oil is a blend of several different moisturizing oils that have been infused with palo santo and kava kava and then scented with essential oils of coconut, cacao, vanilla, palo santo, and sandalwood. The oil was easy to work with for massage; providing moisture and glide without being absorbed too quickly. The addition of the kava kava should help support muscle relaxation, another great quality for a massage product. The fragrance was absolutely delicious. I found that the palo santo and cacao were the most pronounced notes to me. I absolutely love the scent, as evidenced by my initial reaction to it in the video.

Kings Road Apothecary October unboxing review kava bath decoction spiced kava elixir

The next product discovery was a jar of Kava and Coconut Bath Decoction. (4 oz., value: $8.00). The instructions were to boil the contents in a big stock pot for 20 minutes and then strain into the tub. I was a bit dubious about my ability to strain a big boiling pot of water into the tub without making a grand mess of it all, so I placed the bath decoction into some t-sacs, stapled them shut, and tossed them in the pot to boil. After 20 minutes, I poured the whole pot directly into a warm bath. The fragrant soak was heady with the scent of the coconut and cacao. After a long bath I felt the salts and kava kava had worked together to ease my muscles. My legs definitely felt wobblier than is typical for me when I exited the tub, and I was not at all upset that my bed was close by so I could cozy up and enjoy feeling warm and relaxed.

The final item in the box was a bottle of Spiced Kava Kava & Cacao Elixir (1 oz, ARV: $15.00). This elixir was exclusive to the box, but the KRA site has this similar kava kava elixir available for purchase. The description indicated that it would numb the mouth slightly, which I did experience when tasting it in the video. When I tried it again another day, I did not feel mouth numbing and neither did Rich when he tried it, so this may vary with use or user. The elixir is suggested to induce feelings of dreaminess. I am not sure that this was the case for me, but I did take it prior to going to bed so the dreaminess may have manifested in slumber for me. I will continue to experiment with the elixir, and would love to hear your reactions if you have tried it, or if you have used kava kava in the past to promote relaxation or dreaminess.

kings road apothecary indie herbal subscription October-into the dreaming

I really enjoyed this box. The focus and intention to promote relaxation and dreaminess seems so appropriate for the time of year when we tend to begin to focus on holidays and over-scheduling ourselves. I appreciated the reminder to slow down, relax, and tune into my creative spirit. I think that Kings Road Apothecary is such a unique subscription box offering. As I’ve said before, it feels a bit to me like being an artist’s benefactor. I love the idea that the cost of the subscription supports hands-on wildcrafting and creating unique, small-batch products that are so closely tied to nature.

As mentioned above, the October box is still available for purchase as are a few of the September boxes (you can see the September review here). The November box is also available for preorder. Its theme is Reishi and Hawthorn with the intention of grounding, centering, and calming amidst the mounting holiday excitement. Among the four herbal products included in the box may be any of the following, or other inspired creations: reishi, hawthorn and cacao bitters; reishi and wild mushroom salts; reishi and hawthorn spirit elixir; reishi and chaga body butter; wild reishi double strength elixir; deep forest tea: reishi, hawthorn, douglas fir, aralia californica; black reishi cocoa; reishi and hawthorn drizzling syrup; reishi, hawthorn, and cacao tea; reishi, Douglas fir, and hawthorn flower atmospheric mist; reishi and douglas fir foot bath/ bath soak.

As a reminder the KRA boxes are made using wild crafted ingredients. In an effort to support plant sustainability in harvesting, only a limited number of boxes are available each month, so if a particular theme speaks to you, you may not wish to wait. Are you starting to feel the pull of the holiday energy as fall rolls along? What herbs do you turn to during times of stress?

If you would like to see my most recent comprehensive listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Barganic Alert: Kings Road Apothecary 3-day Fall Sale

Crunchy Parent Barganic Alert: Kings Road Apothecary 3-day fall sale

As seen in the Crunchy Parent Ultimate Guide to Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, King’s Road Apothecary is a indie herbal company owned by herbalist Rebecca Altman. KRA offers a subscription service of wildcrafted and handmade products through their monthly surprise boxes. The Kings Road Apothecary site also sells other handcrafted seasonal herbal products to support a healthier, happier body inside and out with items such as teas, elixirs, and salves; candles, oils, and serums.

In celebration of her upcoming birthday, Rebecca is offering 15% off all orders now through Monday night. Just enter the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at checkout. Subscription boxes qualify for this promotion, and I noticed the September, October, and November boxes were all still available as of this writing, as are a handful of six-month subscription shares. In addition to the subscription boxes, services such as a private consultation with a custom made elixir; best-selling products like the Busted Joint Ointment; and subscription box favorites such as Coconut & Vanilla Sugar Scrub and Kava Kava & Palo Santo Massage Oil are all available to purchase.

To get a sense of what to expect from the Kings Road Apothecary Surprise Boxes, you can see my unboxing and reviews from prior months here. I will be reviewing the October box in the days ahead, but spoiler: it smelled wonderful and was a box filled with relaxation.

Are you going to take advantage of this sale? what are some of your favorite KRA products or healing and nourishing herbs?

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Barganic Alert: Free Herbal Learning Course with Rosalee de la Foret


HealthHomeHappy.com / Foter / CC BY

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw that I was already taking advantage of this Barganic Alert today. Clinical herbalist Rosalee de la Foret is working with Learning Herbs to offer a free video learning opportunity as well as the tools to help connect you more meaningfully to your herbal studies. By using hands-on, experiential learning, Rosalee is helping all herbalists and even novice herbal “dabblers” to connect to herbs and to people. This deeper knowledge will help to better inform choices when selecting the right herb or herbs for the person and the ailment or concern, rather than just using a “vending machine” approach to dispensing herbs.

This 30-minute video will walk you through an exercise to help you develop a good practice for assessing herbs and their fit for a person and health need. It will also give you the guidance and tools to identify the constitution and energetics of the individual and the plants in question.

It looks like there will be more videos to come, but so far I am loving the opportunity to connect with herbs more deeply and to enhance my learning from a skilled teacher, all for FREE.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Barganic Alert: Frontier Co-Op Wholesale Buying Club & Haul Video

As I’ve mentioned before, I love doing Barganic Alerts because they make living a more natural, “crunchy” lifestyle more affordable. I think that if you have want to make healthier choices relative to how you eat, clean your home, care for your body, etc., than finances should not stand in your way. In that spirit, I wanted to share what has been a wonderful money saving find for our family for many years; the Frontier Co-op wholesale buying club. (Please note that I am not affiliated with Frontier and this post is not sponsored in any way).

Frontier Co-op is the company behind the aromatherapy and personal care brand Aura Cacia, as well as the natural and organic herb, spice, and mix lines Frontier, and Simply Organic. Through the Frontier Co-op, you can purchase items from these lines as well as from over 250 other brands making natural and organic food, personal care, home care, green beauty, clothing, supplement, and more items than you can imagine. I tell people that it is like going to your local health food store and looking on the left side of the store only. Frontier doesn’t carry the fresh produce and perishable food that the local HFS store has off to the right, but just about anything else that you’d find at the local HFS, you’ll find at Frontier.

What sets Frontier apart is that the wholesale pricing is generally far less than you’ll find elsewhere paying full retail. In addition to the regular wholesale pricing, they also have monthly sales where a selection of items are an added percentage off; sometimes as much as 30% off the wholesale price. Accordingly, I try to stock up on our staples (toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, dish soap, laundry soap, organic spices, etc.) when they go on sale. You do not need to buy items in large quantities, but you do need a minimum order to qualify for free shipping. There is an annual membership fee of $10, or you can purchase as a non-member for a 5% up-charge.

I have been a member buying with Frontier for about ten years. At different times, I ran co-op groups through mothering.com, with friends from our Waldorf school, and with family members. The minimum order is low enough that it usually doesn’t take too many people to put together an order.

There are occasions when I can find a given item for less from other online retailers, or locally with sales and coupons. Generally though, Frontier has the best deals for us, and it makes using healthier products easier on our budget. I love, and frequent, our area health food stores for my fresh and perishable goods, to shop sales, and for items that we need on the spur of the moment. Shopping Frontier for the non-perishable household staples makes the budget stretch for other things like organic eggs, meats, and produce, quality supplements, or healthcare choices not covered by insurance.

What I purchase from Frontier varies with each order. Their catalog is positively enormous, and I can’t even venture to guess how many thousands of items they must offer. To give you a sample of some of the products that they carry and that we order, I recorded a haul video of my unboxing the other day. I do not typically order so much candy. The Halloween Fairy heard that I was placing an order and asked if she could add some items to it. In the spirit of a co-op it seemed wrong to say no.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. Do you participate in any co-ops in your community?

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Goddess Provisions NEW Spirit Enhancing Subscription Unboxing and Review: October 2015

Crunchy Parent Goddess Provisions Unboxing & Review October 2015

Goddess Provisions is a new subscription service, just added to the recent fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. Created by the owners of Vegan Cuts, Goddess Provisions is a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Boxes cost $33 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. This box is sold out, but the November box is available for pre-order.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the very first Goddess Provisions box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact. The box was beautifully fragrant, even before being opened. I loved the spicy anise smell and was excited to dig into the box.

Goddess Provisions October first box unboxing Crunchy Parent

Since this is the very first Goddess Provisions Box, I was especially curious to see the box enclosures and get a feeling for how the box was being presented. Goddess Provisions has a bright and visually-appealing enclosure card. The enclosed items were presented in photos and each product was described with valuing information and Twitter and Instagram information for each company. I liked how Goddess Provisions was positioning themselves not just as a box service, but also as a way to build brand awareness and community around companies who make products likely to appeal to their customer base. Looking at the card, the box seemed to be focused around a “Third Eye Chakra” theme with an emphasis on tuning into your intuition. I am interested to see if all Goddess Provisions boxes will have their own unique theme.

The first item was the source of the box’s wonderful fragrance. A full size box of Buddha Teas Third Eye Chakra Tea (value: $10.99; currently on sale for $8.99 through the Buddha Teas website). The third eye chakra is associated with insight, knowledge, and wisdom. This organic herbal tea blends fresh eyebright, jasmine, spearmint, star anise, and passion flower. All of the herbs with infused with sapphire essence before drying and packaging in their bleach-free tea bags and 100% recycled boxes.

I offered Alina and Asher a cup of the new tea and they were both a bit wary at first, worried that if they did not like it they would be stuck. I suggested that I make myself a cup that they could taste before deciding to commit. In both cases, the kids opted for the “new tea” and I had to keep brewing myself a new cup. The next day both children approached me individually asking for tea; each specifying that they would like the “new tea.” Alina even went on to ask if I was planning to buy more of the “new tea” once we finish up the 18 bags. This was high praise. We are a big tea drinking family with an impressive selection of teas, yet we tend to stick with our tried and true favorites. To all embrace a new tea so immediately and wholeheartedly is rare, but this blend just seemed to be a good fit for the four of the five of us who have tried it so far.

After admiring the new box of tea, I spied a “Just Because” candle tin from Pura Botanica in their Tea Garden scent (value $13.00). Candles create such a warm comforting ambiance in the fall, and I love that this candle is made from 100% soy wax, a cotton wick, and is scented with essential oils. I appreciated the soft fragrance, which blends orange, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, & bergamot, yet was decidedly floral. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the travel-sized candle burns for approximately 21 hours. Their other fragrances (chai, citrus, and mint) sounded wonderful as well.

Goddess Provisions unboxing October 2015 Balanced Guru mist Chocolita raw chocolate

After discovering some new-to-me brands, I was happy to see a familiar “face” in the crowd. The Balanced Guru Intuition Energy Mist (value $10.00) is a product that I have used before. The mist is intended to be sprayed above or around you and inhaled to boost your intuition, imagination, and insight. The spray draws upon essential oils of palmarosa, pine, rosemary, lavender, lemon, and Roman chamomile to create its unique and uplifting scent. I like using the mist when I need a little jolt to pull me out of feeling stagnant or tired.

The next item in the box had been released as a teaser by Goddess Provisions through social media. The Chocolita raw white chocolate Blueberry Bliss bar had caught my eye (value $4.95). I was intrigued by the white chocolate aspect, as it was my understanding that white chocolate was a confection and not really a “chocolate” at all and I could not understand how it could be raw. I will sheepishly admit that having tasted the bar, I still don’t really understand the white chocolate descriptor. The chocolate is brown, not white, and certainly tastes rich and chocolaty, which is not the flavor that I associate with super-sweet white chocolate. I gather the white chocolate distinction is because the bar is made with cocoa butter and not actual cacao, but I’m just hypothesizing here. Perhaps someone can enlighten me a bit.

White chocolate aside, the bar was unexpected and delicious. The blueberries and other botanicals were very finely ground. The bar was smooth with only a barely perceptible grainy texture to hint at the inclusion of the plant ingredients. Asher remembered the guided chocolate meditation that I had done using a small artisanal chocolate bar received in another subscription, and thus referred to this bar as “chocolate meditation.” For days he kept asking me if he could have some of the chocolate meditation. I had to stifle a laugh when he said that he had some chocolate meditation on his face, but had licked it off because it was delicious. It makes me happy to see my children learning mindful practices and savoring what they consume. We have grown accustomed to slowly nibbling the rich small-batch chocolate bars that we have received through subscription boxes. Despite the bar’s modest size, it lasted through three days of me sharing bits of it with the children.

Goddess Provisions review Meow Meow Tweet Repair Balm & Amethyst crystal point Crunchy Parent

If you watch the video you can see how excited I was to find a Meow Meow Tweet product in the box. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Tara, the creative spirit behind Meow Meow Tweet at A Night for Green Beauty this past summer. I love the brand’s graphics and packaging. More importantly, I value the knowledge and appreciation for plant ingredients that are reflected in their products. The vegan Repair Balm (value $18.00) included in this month’s Goddess Provisions box blends organic sesame oil and shea butter along with wildcrafted candelilla wax and organic essential oils to create a nourishing multi-purpose balm. The balm can be used on dry skin, cuticles, or lips as needed, and I know that it will be needed often in the cold and windy months ahead of us. I loved the grounded woody scent of the balm, owed largely to the myrrh essential oil, I suspect. The balm glides on smoothly and was moisturizing, but not greasy. It absorbed quickly, leaving a light, protective barrier from the candlelila wax. I can see myself using this a lot on dry hands and feet in particular.

The final item in the box was a tiny drawstring bag that held a small amethyst point inside (value $5.00). Goddess Provisions detailed the history of these precious crystals on their blog. The rare Vera Cruz amethyst points included in the box are purported to be a very special high vibrational crystal; allowing a spiritual connection while also enhancing the protective energy field, and aiding in meditation.

Goddess Provisions first October box review Crunchy Parent

The overall value of the box was $61.94, which I think is a great value relative to the purchase price. Goddess Provisions has curated and presented a beautiful first offering. The products included represented a nice mix of edible treats, body care, home, and spiritual items. The brands all appear to have a strong emphasis on quality of ingredients and mindfulness for the planet and its inhabitants. I was pleased to see that the brands who were familiar to me were ones that I like a great deal, and that there was also a host of new-to-me brands whose products I was happy to discover. One of my favorite aspects of subscription boxes is learning about new companies and products that have already been screened and vetted by the careful curators to be consistent with my values and priorities. I liked everything about this box, and eagerly look forward to watching the subscription as it moves forward.

I am amazed at the transformation and growth in the “green lifestyle” subscription box genre in the two years since I started to explore subscription boxes that are in keeping with the way that I live. I am thrilled that consumers continue to demand healthier, safer products; creating a market for conscious companies and subscription services. Goddess Provisions is a great addition to this mix.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Barganic Alert: Vegan Cuts Limited Edition Goddess Box

Vegan Cuts Goddess Box

Vegan Cuts is one of the many crunchy-friendly subscription box services featured in the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. They source and send quality, 100% cruelty-free cosmetic, skin care, and beauty products to their monthly subscribers. On occasion, Vegan Cuts curates limited edition themed boxes available for purchase individually.

You may have read in my fall subscription box update that Vegan Cuts has recently spun off a sister subscription box company, Goddess Provisions. The first GP box shipped out just this week (I’ll be posting my review in the days ahead). For those who want a sense of the vegan goddess vision, Vegan Cuts and Goddess Provisions have co-curated a limited edition Goddess Box. The box is filled with jewelry, aromatherapy products, and even enlightened chocolates to inspire and delight your inner goddess. Box price is $39.00 and ships free to the U.S. The box features 13 items worth almost $150, including:

Buffalo Gal Organics Goddess Perfume – 5 ml
Curandera Remedies Kali Aromatherapy Oil – 3 ml
Dark Days Chocolate Moon Patty – .25 oz
ZenBunni Chocolate Lost Salt of Atlantis bar- 1.7 oz
Dirt Goddess Super Seeds Wildflower Seed Bombs (3 balls)
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics Aromatherapy Diffuser Locket – 27 mm, locket only
Dynomighty Floral Fractal Mighty Wristlet
Hi Wildflower Botanica Hanalei perfume – 2 ml
MantraBand Silver Love and Light Bracelet
NOVICA Shamballa Bracelet – Adjustable, fits approx 6″-9″
Vegan Cuts Crystal Nail File
Wise Oak Herbs Sleepy Luna Mister – 1 oz
Your Joyologist Own Your AwesomeTM Affirmation Cards – 3 surprise cards

Note: Crystals and candles pictured are not included

See link above for more item photos and details, as well as to purchase. This is a one-time box purchase and will not start a re-billing subscription with Vegan Cuts. Boxes are ready to ship immediately.

Although I haven’t posted my first Goddess Provisions unboxing video or review yet, I will say that I discovered some great brands, and found some new favorites. I can only imagine that a Vegan Cuts/Goddess Provisions super-sized collaboration box will be a great way to pamper the goddess in you life (or your own inner goddess). Are you going to take advantage of one of the Vegan Cuts limited edition Goddess boxes? Have you signed up to try the new Goddess Provisions box or are you waiting to see a review first?

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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BuddhiBox Yoga Lifestyle Subscription Unboxing & Review: October 2015

CrunchyParent BuddhiBox October Unboxing & Review

BuddhiBox is a subscription service bringing mindful living products to use in your yoga practice and to enhance your life. Products are ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and created with intention. BuddhiBox is guided by the principles of discovery, union, and compassion; hoping to help you discover new products and share them with your community. BuddhiBox donates a portion of each box’s cost to a new charity each month. Each box includes 4-6 full-size items for $32.95/month (shipping included). There are discounts on multi-month subscriptions.

I purchased this box and all opinions are my own. To see BuddhiBox unboxings from prior months, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you would like to skip along to the photos and valuing information, scroll right on down.

The box was well packaged in an outer shipping box. Everything arrived to me safely and intact.

Buddhibox October unboxing & review enclosure cards

I really enjoy BuddhiBox’s presentation. I love the Yogicard that they include each month, illustrating and describing the technique and benefits behind a yoga pose. This month’s pose was “Heart Chakra Pose.” I though tit was especially cute that the yogi in the pose was wearing pink ribbons on her skirt as a nod to October as Breast Cancer Awareness month, which was highlighted later in the box as well. The box also included a recipe card for Fried Rice with Tofu, and the card describing the box contents. Every month BuddhiBox donates a portion of their proceeds to a charity, and the box enclosure card highlighted the Circuelle Foundation as the charity selected this month. The Circuelle Foundation aims to educate young women about breast health and teach healthy rituals.

Buddhibox October unboxing Om intention candle & thieves oil spray

The first thing that caught my eye in the unboxing was an absolutely gorgeous candle, The In Light & Love Intention Candle (6 oz., value $12.00) is their Om candle, associated with the crown chakra. The candle is housed in a beautifully decorated tin that encourages you to write your intention in a space provided on the tin. When you light the candle, you direct your energy toward the declared intention.

Closeup of Om candle lid

Closeup of Om candle lid

I loved this idea and thought it such a great way to tie intention and mindfulness to ritual. The candle even came with a tiny piece of chalk for writing the intention. I imagine that you could either dedicate a single intention to the candle, or erase and write a new intention as needed. The soy wax candle’s scent is a blend of vanilla, coconut, magnolia blossom, and lavender. I found the scent to be stronger than I prefer, although I can be quite sensitive to scents. I know that others prefer candles with a strong scent throw in a room, so this might be the perfect choice for someone who likes candles to have a pronounced presence.

I loved the scent of the next item, Optimal Health Oil’s Thieves Blend Spray (size estimated as 2 oz., value $10.00). I am a huge fan of Thieves oil and have been blending my own Thieves for many years. This legendary mix of rosemary, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and lemon essential oils has been used for centuries to kill bacteria and viruses. We spray it all throughout our house regularly, and especially during times of illness.

BuddhiBox October unboxing & review Jiva headband & Circuelle cream

As a nice tie-in to yoga practice on the mat, the box included a cute sweat-wicking headband from Jiva Clothing, a new-to-me brand (value $10.00), s well as a coupon code for $10.00 off of a Jiva Clothing order. The headband is stretchy and designed to be worn either as a narrow band or it can be unfolded and word wide for a different look. I liked the cute print and thought that the black and white was a very versatile option for most workout gear.

Buddhibox also included a bonus gift from the Circuelle Foundation. Circuelle’s Breast Ritual cream is an organically-based blend, designed to assist in breast self-examination and earlier detection of breast cancer. Circuelle also included a helpful pamphlet to guide the user through a breast self-exam. I think that this bonus is a true gift to remind us to monitor our breasts and bodies for changes that may be suspicious. Breast health and breast cancer awareness is critical and so important for early detection. I will add here that 50% of all cancer diagnoses are “rare” cancers, so while you are checking out your breasts for any signs of lumps or suspicious changes, remember to give the rest of yourself a look too.

BuddhiBox unboxing review October Energy Muse Chakra Heaing Stones Set

Arguably the most colorful item in the box was a happy little bag of Energy Muse’s Chakra Healing bag of stones. BuddhiBox listed a value of $25.00, but Energy Muse prices this item at $19.99 on their site, so I am going to defer to that (value $19.99). The tag on the bag of stones outlines the property most associated with each stone and the color associated with each of the seven chakras. Energy Muse also provided a suggestion for using the stones in a chakra-balancing, quick meditation. I love the idea of having a little bag of stones dedicated to the seven chakras. I think that there are many people, myself included, who often feel imbalance in their lives. Having an array of practices to try that might help a person feel restored in their balancing is a good idea, and I imagine that many people would feel refreshed after taking 8-10 minutes to clear their mind and relax.

BuddhiBox October review People Towels paper alternative

The final item in this month’s box took me a minute to fully understand. The On the Go Alternative to Paper Towels set by People Towels (value $11.00) is a set of two washcloth-size organic cotton towels in a small bag. The towels feature cute prints, dyed with eco-friendly dyes. It took me a moment to realize that the set is meant to be tossed in a purse or gym bag and used instead of paper towels when washing hands in public restrooms, or I suppose whenever you might need a paper towel or small cloth. I really love this idea and think that it would also make a great alternative to hand wipes to keep around in a diaper bag for messy babies and toddlers (just add a splash of water).

BuddhiBox yoga subscription unboxing review October Crunchy Parent

In total this month’s BuddhiBox had a retail value of $62.99+ the bonus cream. I think hat this is an excellent value, at almost double the purchase price of a single box. I like that Buddhibox embraces the idea of a yoga lifestyle subscription. They included items to support physical health, emotional and energetic balance, environmental health, and items for direct use in yoga practice. I continue to appreciate the yoga cards and recipes. I also really like that BuddhiBox includes a charitable aspect to their box, with monthly nations to different charities.

What do you think of BuddhiBox? Have you had a chance to sample some of the other yoga-focused or crunchy, zen, mindful subscription boxes to compare?

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find that here. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or unboxings, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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TBT: The Cancer Series-Part 5 (The one where I wean my baby)

If you want to read earlier posts from the Cancer Series or learn more about why I am posting these personal blog posts years later, you can do that here. This particular excerpt comes from the private blog that I maintained through MyLifeLine.org at the time surrounding my cancer diagnosis and treatment. It highlights the emotional and logistical struggles that I was moving through. I was trying to reconcile the attachment parenting choices that I wanted to make (i.e., exclusive breastfeeding and child-led weaning) with the gravity of the illness that I was facing, coupled with my intense desire to do everything in my power to increase the likelihood of the success of my cancer fight. It recounts my attempts to meet my infant son’s nutritional needs in a way that was healthy for both him and for me.

Although I did not know it at the time, in addition to Asher dealing with a mommy who had cancer, I was dealing with a child who had multiple food allergies and feeding delays (we still attend feeding therapy regularly four+ years later). This is our journey through weaning. I am posting it here to relay my experience and my story. It is not to be construed as medical advice, or any kind of advice for that matter.

This entry was originally published on February 9, 2011, approximately three weeks after I began my radiation treatments.

Let’s cut to the chase. I’m tired. Actually today is better than the past two days have been, which is why I have the energy to at least get to item #26 on my “to do” list for the day and post a little update. Undoubtedly, the fact that three weeks ago Eva was home sick the whole week, and two weeks ago Alina was home sick the whole week, and last week the Blizzard of the Century kept everyone home most of the week all contributed to my general exhaustion. I think there’s more to it than that. I’m not sure if the current fatigue is due to the radiation itself or to the need to get to radiation every day or both. I’m hoping that at least a big part of it is due to the need to get to radiation every day, and will thus be temporary.

I go to radiation every morning right after I put Asher down for his nap. This means that the time that used to be my least parentally-demanding portion of the day is now unavailable to get laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking etc. done. Nevertheless, all of those things are just sitting around still waiting for my attention later in the day without regard to how tired I am feeling. This brings me back to the radiation itself. I do think that the actual radiation is making me tired too. The last two days I woke up wondering how soon it would be before I could get back into bed, and my limbs felt a bit too cumbersome to both lift and move. Bleh. But enough about the tired, let’s move on to the next thing.

Weaning. It’s been almost 48 hours since Asher last nursed. It makes me sad. He’s doing pretty well with it overall, but it makes me sad. And did I mention the sad? In a quiet moment, I took this video of me and Asher on my third day of radiation, when I knew that our days of nursing were numbered. Rich offered to take it for me, but I really wanted to just remember what it looked like to gaze down at Asher while he nursed to sleep. He always rubbed his hand back and forth across my stomach while nursing. I think that it was his comfort object. I guess that’s the best reason to have a soft mommy belly.

To clarify, according to several of the most respected breastfeeding authorities, it is believed to be safe to continue nursing through radiation. In fact, the only instance in which nursing is thought to be contraindicated with radiation is in the case of breast cancer. Even then it is believed to be okay to nurse on the side that is not receiving the radiation. Tuck that away as an interesting fact, because both the nurse at the radiation oncologist’s office and the La Leche League leader with whom I spoke told me otherwise. If I hadn’t challenged them based upon other research that I had done, both they and I would have continued to believe this incorrect information.

So, you ask, if it’s safe to breastfeed then why am I weaning? (Side note: Did you all know that Rich, Alina, and I were the “faces” of La Leche League’s national capital campaign in 2007? We were. Did you know that I have spent every day of the past 8+ years either pregnant or nursing or both? I have. Do you still wonder why I’m tired? I don’t.).

Jokes aside, breastfeeding is very important to me for many many reasons and has been a big part of my mothering relationship with each of my babies. I was not eager to wean Asher so soon. In fact, I have never weaned my children. I followed the girls’ lead on that, but by the same token it is very important to me that I do everything that I reasonably can to restore and maintain my good health so that I can mother my children until they are parents themselves.

I had the very strong feeling that I needed to stop nursing to allow my hormones to regulate. My body does not seem to respond well to the hormone fluctuations associated with pregnancy/nursing (menopause is going to be FUN!) I didn’t want to make this fight any harder on my body than necessary. I also wanted to conserve my body’s energy for healing rather than producing food. In addition, I was hoping that not nursing at night would allow for better sleep, because radiation is exhausting and my body needs the sleep time to repair from the damage done by the treatment. Most importantly though, was my desire to be able to really pursue cleansing and detoxifying my body following radiation, cancer killing, surgery, etc. I can’t detox while still nursing, or my body will dump the toxins into my milk, and then into my sweet boy, and that’s not a good option. So, here we are at weaning.

Now, this is an appropriate time to remind all that both of the girls are on gluten and dairy free diets as they seem sensitive to gluten and dairy. Asher too showed sensitivities to gluten, dairy, soy, and nuts through my milk, so I rarely ate any of those. This presented me with the challenge of what to feed him if my milk, and soy or dairy-based milk substitutes weren’t going to be an option, and he was heretofore exclusively breast fed. I tried him on some food (mushed avocado and applesauce). That was a disaster. He hated both, and clearly kept trying to figure out how to get the liquidy evil off of his tongue (he tried gagging, drooling, crying, etc.) He also got all rashy, and the whole thing was generally bad news.

My next step was to look into breast milk banks to see about acquiring alternative human milk for him (before you judge: just how well do you know the cows making milk for the local grocery store? I figure that at least we’re talking the same species here). Well, guess how much milk from a milk bank costs. Just guess…..Okay, so milk from a milk bank costs four dollars AN OUNCE. So after writing Alina a bill for three trillion dollars and talking with my insurance company who said that they would not cover the expense because Asher did not have a medical need (no, just the lady who MAKES the stuff), I looked into other resources. I found two, well, actually three.

1: Friends who know people who lactate 2: milkshare.com 3: Eats on Feets. The latter two are organizations designed to connect moms in need of donor milk with women willing to donate milk. Through these three channels I have been able to find four generous and kind women who have agreed to provide milk for Asher. They have also provided me with copies of their pertinent medical tests and patiently answered all of my many questions (there are questionnaires to guide moms through what to ask potential donors).

Now my freezers are stuffed with milk for Buddy, and we’ve been able to take on the weaning process. *FYI for those still concerned, we follow the recommended procedures for flash pasteurizing Asher’s donor milk to kill potentially harmful viruses or bacteria. This surely degrades some of the amazing health benefits of breast milk, but it seemed to be a reasonable and responsible compromise versus formula feeding. Check out this video if you too want to learn how to flash pasteurize for some such reason.

**Second FYI, no I can’t find donors who are gluten, dairy, and nut free AND other mothers do things like take medication or drink caffeine GAK! The loss of control has me reeling, but I’m trying to be very zen about it all. That said, Asher has developed a white coating with a big white spot on his perfect formerly-pink tongue since starting donor milk, any suggestions? (I don’t think it’s thrush by the way, but what do I know?).

Weaning has been a series of fits and starts (Ha! I so did not mean for that to be a pun, but I guess it is. Yuck. I don’t even like puns. Anyway, moving on). At first we started with night weaning and after a bunch of sad and screamy nights it seemed to be going pretty well. Then Asher got the cold that Eva and Alina had. That put the kibosh on the weaning and he was back to nursing at night.

He never really took a bottle, but we were able to get him to consider using a sippy cup. He was taking in about 6 oz. of donor milk each day, and nursing the rest of the time. Over the past few weeks we have worked his donor milk intake up to 25-30 oz. per day, although he was still nursing once or twice a night.

Last night, Rich and I finally got our acts together enough to flash pasteurize milk and set it on ice in our room in anticipation of Asher waking up. I warmed the milk in our sink and fed Asher that when he woke up at 2:30am rather than nursing him, and voila! Just like that it’s been almost two whole days since I’ve nursed.

I’m not ready for it. I knew that in a way I would probably never be totally ready to wean my last baby because it means closing a chapter on a very special and unique aspect of mothering. I really was not prepared for it to happen so soon or for this reason. That said, I feel confident in my decision. I know in my heart that if the adult Asher was talking to me right now he’d say, “Mom, I’ll be okay. Take care of yourself.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have tears streaming down my cheeks as I write this.

I will note though that it hasn’t been all bad. For 10.5 months Asher has almost always fallen asleep nursing. Whenever he is tired or hungry he makes a rather violent horizontal dive bomb for my chest to make his desires known. Since the weaning process has progressed, Asher has stopped diving to nurse when tired. He now cuddles his head against my shoulder, a move that he had previously reserved for Rich. Now, after I give him his sippy of milk before bed or naps, I stand up and hold him. He snuggles into me and I get to kiss his head and tell him how much I love him, before putting him down to sleep. It’s not the same as nursing him to sleep, but it is still loving and special, and I know that he feels cared for by his mom. I’ll take that.

That all got way longer than I’d planned. Sorry. According the MyLifeline.org, I’m supposed to try to end on an entertaining and uplifting note. Here, I like this. Enjoy.

-C

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As a final note, I cannot possibly post this without extending a very heartfelt thank you to the many mothers who fed my son when I could not. It was the greatest possible gift that we could have received at that time; making it easier to do something very difficult. I will never forget it.

I wanted to share this story that I came across today. It is from a mother who donated milk as a way to connect with, and honor the baby whom she lost (I do not know this woman, only her story). Donation is a beautiful and special gift from child-to-child and from mother-to-mother.

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Barganic Alert: Free Webinar with clinical herbalist Rosalee de la Foret-holistic & herbal support for the immune system


mararie / Foter / CC BY-SA

As I write this I have one child home from school nursing a cold. Every week seems to bring a new cough, sniffle, or sore throat to some member of the family. We’ve hit that time of year when our immune system is challenged in all directions.

Just in time for the (seemingly endless) cold and flu season, clinical herbalist and educator Rosalee de la Foret is partnering with Hawthorn University to offer a free online webinar, Stay Healthy This Season: Top Herbs for Your Immune System . The webinar will be held on Tuesday, October 20th at 4:00pm PST/ 7:00pm EST.

During the live webinar, Rosalee will discuss herbs that support the immune system to help you and your family stay healthy throughout the fall and winter seasons. She will also share tips on how to shorten the duration of an upper respiratory infection, and will debunk some common myths associated with popular herbs like echinacea and goldenseal. The webinar will include practical tips and recipes to help keep you healthy and strong all year long.

Be sure to register for the webinar so that you don’t miss out. Registration is encouraged even if you cannot view the webinar live (because perhaps you’ll be up to your ears in witching hour/dinner/bedtime activities). The webinar will be recorded and available for preoccupied registrants to view at a later time. If you want to start learning right away, Rosalee offers this article describing the different types of coughs and how to respond to them with herbal plant medicines.

Will you be signing up for the webinar? What are some of your favorite herbal remedies for coughs and colds?

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services. They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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