About Me

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My name is Christen, I'm 30 years old and a stay-at-home mom to my three beautiful girls, Lauren, Hailey, and Farrah. My husband David and I live on scenic Long Island and we love it. Our party of 5 keeps pretty busy, but I try to set aside as much time as I can to blog (which isn't as often as I'd like these days).

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

UNBOXED: Citrus Lane - January 2013

For the first time in several months, my Citrus Lane box was really late! I was anxious to see what was packed into January's box after a blog announcement stated that there wouldn't be monthly themes anymore. Recently, Citrus Lane seemed to be struggling with curating items around the chosen theme. Eh, Animal Parade anyone? Yeah. In addition to eliminating monthly themes, boxes are now available for children up to the age of five, instead of three.

Despite the new changes, I'm on the fence about continuing my subscription with Citrus Lane. My biggest gripe with the company is that I've been sent boyish toys every month when I specified that I wanted items for a girl. I just don't want blue, green, and red for my daughter. Pink, purple, and yellow all the way!




A fresh look for the new year - and more neatly packed! A tri-fold product pamphlet with a detachable collectible game piece (use at www.citruslane.com/fun) replaced the usual cardboard paper sheet. I think the game pieces are a great addition to the box. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to interact with them.



Skip*Hop Night & Day Discovery Toy
This owl toy is absolutely adorable and appears to be great quality. I know my daughter would play with it regardless of the gender neutral colors...BUT I don't like that Citrus Lane only sends gender neutral and boy toys. I just have too many like it at this point, so I'll be passing it on to my pregnant sister-in-law who is expecting her first son this year. If I receive another item like this toy in February's box, I'll probably cancel my subscription and find another service that is tailored to be gender specific.

Farmyard Rhymes By Clare Beaton (Barefoot Books)
I love children's board books. You can never have too many, and I'm still building up my daughter's collection. This book has classic nursery rhymes as well as some I haven't seen before. 



Episencial Soothing Creme & Playful Wash Packet
Up until a few days ago, I had been using Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Lotion to massage my daughter with before bed each night. It has helped her relax and sleep more soundly. But I noticed she started getting hives on her arms and thighs so I had to discontinue using it. The Episencial Soothing Creme is meant for babies with sensitive skin like hers so she probably won't have the same allergic reaction. I've already received a packet of the Episencial Playful Wash from Conscious Box back in December. I haven't used it yet, but I'm definitely pleased to receive another one before I decide whether or not I like it and would buy the full-sized bottle. 

Ella's Kitchen First Taste Pouch in Pears Pears Pears
My daughter recently started eating solids in addition to her formula, so this baby food packet couldn't have come at a better time. I always see Ella's Kitchen products at Babies R' Us and was anxious to test them out when she was ready. I squeezed out the contents of the packet and fed this to her several days after introducing rice cereal. She really liked it! I own a Baby Bullet and plan to make my own baby food, but every now and then I'd like to see what else is out there and packets like this are good for backup in my diaper bag since they don't have to be refrigerated before you open them.

Dropps Baby Laundry Detergent
I wish I received Dapple laundry detergent instead of Dropps because I've had my eye on the brand for a while now and I don't want to buy a full-sized bottle until I've tried it. This sample contained two packets of detergent to simply throw in my washing machine with a load of baby laundry. Easy enough. Everything that had been washed appeared to be completely clean, but unscented. I don't know...I like to smell a difference.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Product Haul: ecomom

Thanks to Citrus Lane, I discovered a wonderful resource for eco-centered moms!


In December's Citrus Lane box, "A Few of Our Favorite Things", I received a $15.00 gift voucher to spend at www.ecomom.com. As a rookie mom, I'm still not too familiar with a lot of eco-friendly and organic products for babies and toddlers, but I'm always looking for new ones to try.

I was able to buy three items with my $15.00 gift voucher. All I had to pay for was Shipping.

Clockwise From Left: Yes To Baby Carrots Face & Nose Wipes (30 Wipes) $5.99, Dapple Toy and Surface Cleaner Canister (35 Wipes) $4.49, Yes To Carrots Lip Tint (Sunset Pink) $4.49






























Yes To Baby Carrots Face & Nose Wipes
I was anxious to get this product because I wanted to eliminate the pile of damp washcloths accumulating in my household laundry bin. After a long blissful nap of drooling and dreams of sugar plum fairies, my daughter's mouth tends to get a little...crusty. This pack of wipes makes cleanup easy. However, after only one use, my daughter's face and neck started to get red and eventually broke out into a rash (luckily it cleared up within a few hours). I can't recommend this product without knowing why she had such a bad reaction though. Totally disappointed! 

Update: I didn't want to give up on these wipes, so I tested them on a less sensitive area - her hands. She didn't have the same reaction. I used the wipe on a small section of her cheek, and again, no reaction. Since then I've used these wipes several times. I have no idea why she had an allergic reaction from the first use. 

Dapple Toy and Surface Cleaner Canister
I have no complaints about this product. I'm familiar with the brand Dapple and I've been wanting to try their products so that I can compare them to Dreft, which is what I currently use. These wipes are great for any toys that your baby will undoubtedly drool all over, but can't be washed with the laundry. My daughter recently started teething - anything she can reach, grab, and lift is going into her mouth to gnaw on. I've already used a wipe or two on her exersaucer.

Yes To Carrots Lip Tint in Sunset Pink
I really like this little lip tint! It applies easily and leaves a cool minty sensation on my lips. The tint is darker than I anticipated, a rust color. This will probably become one of my daily makeup staples for the time being. Unfortunately, this lip tint has been discontinued on ecomom.


Every order placed on ecomom contributes to their own cause of feeding children in need! For more information, click HERE.

Julep Maven: February 2013 "Get On The A-List"

It's selection time Mavens!!! February's Julep Maven box is inspired by Hollywood Glamour - and just in time for the Oscars! So what if you'll never walk the red carpet? You can still look like a Hollywood Siren.

My Maven style profile is set to American Beauty. However, I can choose the selection for any other style profile if I don't like my own selections. 

My American Beauty selections:

Sally: Antique Ivory Crème 
Joan: Raspberry Plum with Rose Gold Shimmer
Oxygen Nail Treatment: Complete nail care and make-up all in one bottle. Made with a patented Hexanal formulation, nails are restructured to a stronger, thicker, and smoother condition in just one stroke.
BONUS GIFT - Freedom Polymer Top Coat: Extend the life of your manicure in minutes with Julep’s Freedom Polymer Top Coat. Activated by natural light, this innovative formula creates a unique polymer force field that prevents chipping for days longer than regular top coat, leaving your nails with a gel-like shine (but without gel-removal hassle).

I LOVE Sally, the Antique Ivory Crème! So luxurious. 









Unfortunately, I'll be skipping February's Julep Maven "Get On The A-List" box. I decided to buy the limited edition "More Love" Conscious Box to share with my husband on Valentine's Day instead (ooh la la)! But I can't wait to see what Julep Maven has in store for March. Perhaps some lush greens for St. Patrick's Day?





I highly recommend Julep Maven, as my experience with the company thus far has been great. Each box is only $19.99 per month, and you can skip any month should you opt to do so. With your membership, you can accumulate JULES with every box purchase and friend referral, and also gain access to their Secret Store! Be sure to use the code JULEPVIP at checkout to get your first box for only 99 cents!!! Subscribe Now

Saturday, January 19, 2013

POPSUGAR Must Have: January 2013

The wait is over! My January POPSUGAR Must Have box is here... 


The box is a little heavy this month!


That's the plan.


Merrithew Stott Pilates 65 CM Stability Ball in Green ($38.99): 
So THIS is why the box weighed almost 5lbs! I'm absolutely thrilled that a Pilates stability ball was included in this month's box. Granted, I knew the box would be centered around New Years resolutions and fitness, but I figured there would be another DVD like August. As a stay-at-home mom who doesn't really have the opportunity to go to the gym, I will definitely be using this fitness ball. This ball is an item I wanted, but never thought to go out of my way to buy it for myself. So now I'm more or less forced to start exercising again because I have no excuse not to work out in the comfort of my own home! I have never done Pilates, but I have always wanted to try it after it became such a hit with celebrities (what can I say...I get sucked in). I found a Pilates For Beginners & Beyond Boxed Set on Amazon Prime for only $17.05 that I'll buy and use with my new ball. In the meantime, I'm going to use it as chair while I'm at the computer to help my posture. 

POPSUGAR also included a pamphlet with six different exercises you can do with the stability ball.

Remix TimeBomb Watch in White ($44.95) 
The two things I  break most often are sunglasses and watches. That's why I haven't owned a watch in years. Another reason I haven't bought a watch is because I haven't found one that speaks to my personal style. I really like the Remix TimeBomb. It's very sporty and is made of silicone so it won't break easily. Out of all the colors I could have received, I'm really happy I got white! That's the color I would have picked if given the option. It's the most versatile.

Popbar's Hot Chocolate on a Stick in Dark Chocolate & Milk Chocolate ($2.99 Each)
I have always loved hot chocolate. Any kind really - even that watery imposter Swiss Miss tries to pass off as drinkable. Popbar's Hot Chocolate on a Stick is a fun twist to one of my favorite winter beverages. I'm going to wait until a chilly evening to cozy up with my husband and try this fun treat with him. 

Jet Puffed Mallow Bits in Vanilla (About $7.00)
The inclusion of Jet Puffed marshmallows is obviously meant to be paired with Popbar's Hot Chocolate on a Stick. I'll use it with the Hot Chocolate on a Stick and also with two remaining packets of Dylan's Candy Bar hot chocolate mix that my husband gave me as a stocking stuffer on Christmas. However, I don't consider this to be a Must Have item and it doesn't add any value to the box in my opinion.

ThinkThin Bars (Prices Vary)
I received three different flavor and types of ThinkThin Bars - Divine Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar, Creamy Peanut Butter Protein Bar, and Crunch Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts. I've never heard of the brand, but I think these bars go well with the overall theme of this month's box. I like that I was sent three different kinds so that I can see which I prefer more. These bars are relatively inexpensive and are a decent serving size.

POPSUGAR also included a coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of any two ThinkThin Bars (not pictured above). 

Epicuren Lip Balm SPF 15 (About $10.00)
Epicuren is a repeated brand from POPSUGAR, but I don't mind. I will liberally use this lip balm because I don't really like ChapSticks or just plain Vaseline. The small pot is lightweight, and the balm has a fresh minty feel and glides on smoothly.

As an extra, POPSUGAR included a $15.00 gift certificate to Casetagram (not pictured above), which is the "first social design platform to make cases for your phone or tablet." Since my husband and I plan on getting iPhones once our contract with T-Mobile expires, I might just use it. I don't think the gift certificate adds value to the box either though since most cases start at $34.95!














           

I think a lot of people will be left feeling underwhelmed this month. January's box is good, but it isn't great. I'm happy with it though! 

What do you think of POPSUGAR's Must Have for January? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Awaiting POPSUGAR Must Have

UPDATE: Click HERE to check out my review!

Stay tuned for spoilers and my review of January's POPSUGAR Must Have. I hope to have it posted by Saturday evening.

I have to say, I'm really excited about this month's box because it weighs 4.7lbs!


What are you hoping to get in this month's POPSUGAR box? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Conscious Box: January 2013 "This Year Belongs To You"

I was a little disappointed that I received my Conscious Box late this month due to a shipping error. Luckily, Customer Service is quick to address concerns via e-mail and a new box was shipped my way only a day later. A big thank you to Jesse Richardson for taking care of that.

This month's box was curated with the help of Celebrity personal trainer and fitness guru Joel Harper. I honestly have no idea who that is, but I'll be sure to check out his website to learn more about him. One of my New Years resolutions is to incorporate more fitness - scratch that, ANY fitness into my life since giving birth to my daughter. From what I understand, Joel has written bestselling fitness books and made a few workout DVDs. 

This Year Belongs To You
As the past year fades into memory, a New Year of possibilities spreads before us. This new start is your chance to set your course for the next year. While most strive to improve themselves when setting their goals, by recognizing that you already possess everything you need, you'll stop endlessly seeking what you don't. By becoming content with yourself and all the unique views and talents you hold, the world becomes yours. 

"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." - Lao Tzu 


My Conscious Box is PACKED.

In no particular order...

Hail Merry Macaroons - Choco (3.5 OZ)
Sweet baby Jesus, are these delicious! And just in time too. Woman needed some chocolate. I will definitely be purchasing this product again after I finish my little bag. Hail Merry sells these macaroons by the case. I smell trouble, no, CHOCOLATE!!!

Maakoa Koopuwa (1 OZ) 
I was lost at Koopuwhatchamacallit, so I had to research more information through the company's website. This product is an individual serving of Superfruit Juice. I drank it and it tastes a lot like prune juice. Very interesting. Does this mean I'm Superhuman now? *womp womp womp*

Pamela's Products Chocolate Brownie Mix (100 G)
Supposedly you can microwave these brownies into existence in about a minute. Even the package advertises "Instant Gratification". Magic words. I'll save this mix for a quick dessert after dinner. My husband loves brownies and will eat any kind. Literally. He'll eat one that's completely flavorless if it's brown and looks legit. Ha.

LARABAR Uber Roasted Nut Roll (1.42 OZ)
I don't know if I'll enjoy this product because I'm not a fan of nut bars. It takes a special nut bar for me to be a repeat buyer. I'll probably try this when my cabinets are bare and it's my only option. You know, when the National Enquirer alleges there will be another apocalypse and I raid my kitchen in despair...

Nutiva Organic Shelled Hempseed (1.1 OZ)
I haven't tried hempseeds before, but I've wanted to. There is a recipe for a Hemp Banana Smoothie on the back of the packet that I want to make for breakfast tomorrow morning. I'm glad I got hempseeds because I recently purchased a NutriBullet and would like to add more protein to my NutriBlasts.

Chia Shots (8G)
The only Chia product I know of is Chia Pet! I wonder if these are the same seeds used to sprout those funky potted plants? Speaking of, I would totally buy this one if it existed: Shia Pet The Chia Shot is stapled to a recipe for Pumpkin, Cashew And Chia Soup. I'll make it on a brisk or rainy day. 

Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters - Cinnamon Crunch (0.63 OZ)
This product looks like a good snack. The bag is a bit small though. But then again, I'm more accustomed to gargantuan snack bag sizes. That's another New Years Resolution! Smaller EVERYTHING. Anyway, I'm going to put this treat into my daughter's diaper bag for me to snack on when we're out and about.

Q.bel Whole Grain Crispy Wafers - Minty Mint (1.1 OZ)
These wafers taste just like York Peppermint Patties! And surprisingly, I was satisfied with the two small bars in the package. It's hard to believe something so delicious could be only 180 calories! 

Waxelene (7.5 ML) 
The name of this product gives me flashbacks of Mr. Miyagi prompting a young Ralph Macchio to buff his car. Wax on, wax off. "Looking good, Daniel-son!" "It's not me Mr. Miyagi, it's all that Waxelene!" Eh, in all seriousness, I'm not sure what I'm going to use this for - but it does have a lot of purposes.

Nordic Naturals DHA Xtra (1,000 MG)
I don't take supplements. I barely take my vitamins (it's taking me more than a year to finish one bottle of Women's One A Day - sad, but true). Looks like I'll be on Santa's Naughty List this year. Upon further research on the company's website though, I'm truly impressed by all of the health benefits for your brain, mood, and nervous system. Perhaps I shouldn't swear off supplements after all. 

Amazing Grass Kidz SuperFood Drink Powder - Wild Berry (0.6 G)
My daughter isn't old enough to try this product. I'll probably try it myself or pass it along to someone with an older child since it'll expire before she's able to drink it. 

TeeChia - Blueberry Date (50 G)
This product is probably the perfect match for the remaining greek yogurt in my fridge. A Blueberry Date breakfast parfait? So it's settled then!

Tea Forte Minteas Resist - Lime Mojito (0.81 OZ)
The mints in this tin have a refreshing taste that lingers on your tongue. Each mint is shaped like a tea leaf and contains antioxidant defense against sickness. I'm surprised how many mints fit into the little tin. I'll be toting it in my purse for sure. I need all the help I can get with battling sickness...

Also included, but not pictured: 

* Joel Harper Introduction Card
* Postcard of the Month
* Nordic Naturals Information Pamphlet
* Nutiva 15% OFF Online Coupon
* Q.bel Buy 3, Save $1.00 Coupon
* The Oxford Trunk $10.00 Gift Card
















Click HERE for more information about Conscious Box.

I'm really looking forward to the special Valentine's "More Love" Conscious Box!!! Be sure to check back for my review. 

Adding More Content

In the next few days I should be adding more content to my blog besides my subscription box reviews (though I do have a lot of them). I would add more now, but typing an post with an infant in one arm is definitely as difficult as I'm making it look. ;-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ipsy (MyGlam) - January 2013 "Super Stars"

After spending my 26th Birthday weekend at home with a nasty virus, I was excited to see my Ipsy Glam Bag in the mailbox on Monday (a day early - yay!). I already knew what was in the bag because I looked at all of the sneak peeks on Ipsy's Facebook page. I can't resist spoilers.

January's bag has great value. The products included total almost $50.00. I'm really pleased with the variety and quality of the products and already I can't wait to see what's in store for February.

The theme this month is Super Stars.


My Ipsy package is full!


Clockwise from Left: Ipsy Glam Bag, A TRUE STAR WILL ALWAYS SHINE Product PamphletSOHO Concealer Brush ($7.99)


I was a bit underwhelmed by the design of January's bag. Since New Years was only a few weeks ago, I expected a sparkly silver bag or something similar. But I do like the star pattern on the inside of the bag! I also like that this is the second time Ipsy has used a different shape instead of the typical rectangle bag. December's bag was a plain silvery gray and underwhelmed me as well. I hope that all of the new bags will be more than one color, because I thought their previous designs were fun!


Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Mini Body Butter Tube 2.5 OZ ($7.00) 
This product smells AMAZING - it reminds me of an orange Starbust. It's also the perfect consistency. I already know that I'll be using this throughout the winter after I purchase the full-sized tube. I can skip perfume for the time being.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil To Go 0.5 OZ ($14.00)
I have never used argan oil. Apparently, this product is used for split ends, cuticles, or even as a moisturizer for your face! But I won't be using it for my hair because it's too fine and naturally oily as it is. I would just look like I dipped my hair in a bucket of KFC's Extra Crispy Chicken. I'd probably have a similar effect on my face, so, this will be used only on my cuticles.

Travel Size Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray 1.5 OZ ($6.00)

I have seen this product in CVS for years and always wanted to buy it. I need a volumizing hairspray that WORKS. I'm in desperate need of a new hairstyle!!! This couldn't have come at a better time.

Nailtini Straight Up Color Nail Lacquer in Frappe 0.5 OZ ($13.00)

As I've said in a previous post, I don't wear nail polish much but I'm expanding my collection and I've been wearing it more often. I also received a nude shade in January's Julep Maven box. However, this shade of nude is a better match for my skin tone and is a lot more sheer. Now I have options. There were four other shades other than this one that I could have received, including a bright red. I would have been happy with any of them.

SOHO Concealer Brush ($7.99)

Of all the makeup brushes that I use, a concealer brush isn't one of them. I have to watch a YouTube tutorial to find out how to use the brush correctly. This brush was one of three that I could have received. I was hoping I would get the crease or eyeliner brush. Perhaps in a future bag...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Julep Maven: January 2013 "Escape & Unwind"

January's Escape & Unwind theme for Julep Maven is all about nudes and neons.

December was my first month to receive a Julep Maven box. Me, the self-proclaimed subscription box addict searching beauty blogs for another fix, came across a blog post that stated I could get my first box for only 99 cents if I subscribed. Well...I'm a sucker for a good deal. I just HAD to!!! I do have a confession to make though - I'm not a nail polish person. I hardly wear it, if ever. But I'd like to wear it more often and expand my almost non-existent nail polish collection. So I was excited when I found out January's theme would include a nude and a neon. Two shades I didn't have and really wanted!

My style profile is American Beauty according to Julep Maven's style quiz. I opted to keep my shade selections, even though I had the option of choosing a different combination on any style profile if I preferred it over mine. I like that flexibility.

Escape & Unwind
"Laughter is an instant vacation."  - Milton Berle

Nobody needs a vacation more than me! For now, I'll have to settle with a little unwinding..

I love all of the neon used to pack January's box. How vibrant!


Though an added bonus from Julep, I wasn't surprised to see these new hair ties in my box this month. They are absolutely EVERYWHERE these days. 

Side note: I honestly don't understand what all the fuss is about. After using one for less than an hour - I was over it. My fine hair easily slipped out of any style using this tie to secure it. I'm not a fan of them at all. What's wrong with a plain black Scunci? Bah. I'm not going to go gaga over these like everyone else...


Like I said before, I only just subscribed to Julep Maven last month - so I don't know how their old system of swatching was. But from what I understand, these swatch stickers for the nail polish caps are a new thing.  I think it's just great. These stickers will help me to better organize my new expanding collection. I swatched January's new shades and the two introductory shades I received last month. It was surprisingly entertaining. Ha!

Hand and Cuticle Stick: Moisturize and protect in one easy no-mess step. Restore the 
youthful appearance of your hands with a peptide punch to strengthen and repair your skin. Vitamins C and E nourish and soothe.

Okay, so, I'm not going to lie. I had absolutely no idea how to use the Hand and Cuticle Stick. I didn't see any specific instructions on the box or the stick itself. I wanted to try it out though, so I slathered a thick layer on the top of my hands and onto my cuticles and massaged it in until it was absorbed, leaving only a shiny filmy residue (kind of like candle wax). The stick now looks a little misshapen because I must have been pressing down too hard. Oh well. At least I tried, right? This product actually works quite quickly though. My cuticles were previously damaged from me picking at them with a tweezer earlier in the week (DON'T ask) and this repaired the damage almost overnight. I'll continue to use it when caring for my nails.

Mindy: Porcelain Pink Sheer

I haven't used this shade yet, but it's the perfect compliment to my fair skin. I don't like sheer polish though so I will be using at least two coats on my nails to achieve a more opaque look.

Bethany: Electric Neon Orange Pink Crème

This neon orange also compliments my fair skin. I really like how it looks on my nails and I think I'll be using this shade a lot more in the summer. Indeed, it makes me feel like I'm about to go on vacation (or at least to the beach).

I really enjoyed January's "Escape & Unwind" theme from Julep Maven. I highly recommend this subscription service as my experience with the company thus far has been great. Each box is $19.99 per month and you can skip any month. Be sure to use the code JULEPVIP at checkout to get your first box for only 99 cents!!! Subscribe Now

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Influenster: December 2012 "Holiday VoxBox '12"

I recently signed up for a fairly new online review community called Influenster. As a member, I have the opportunity to use my influence via social media to promote products based on my expertise and lifestyle. Occasionally, should I qualify, I'll receive a VoxBox filled with products to try and share with others at no cost to me. That's right...FREE!!! It's quite simple to stay active, and it's a really fun way to try new products! I received my first VoxBox from Influenster over a week ago.


Holiday VoxBox '12
Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal ($1.79 Per Cup)
I don't eat oatmeal regularly, but when I do, I like it to have a lot of flavor. This flavor combination looks good and I'll probably enjoy it.
NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine ($2.49)
I've been in need of a nude gloss. This looks like a decent shade.
Kiss Nail Dress ($6.99) 
If not applied correctly, nail decals can look cheap and tacky. But I love the pattern on these decals! I might just use one of these for an accent nail or the whole set for a date night with my husband.
EBOOST (Price Varies)
When I need a boost of energy, I typically drink coffee or a Red Bull. This energy drink mix might be a "healthier" alternative to both. I recently received the same product in a different flavor in my December Conscious Box which I have yet to try.
Goody QuikStyle Paddle Brush ($11.99)
My hair is fine, but the strand ends tend to air-dry slowly. This product looks like a great tool to speed up the process. There is also a Half-Round version.
Sole Society ($25.00 Off)
I actually really need new shoes but I'm iffy about ordering a pair online because I wear a 9W. Most shoes look awkward on my feet in general. Be sure to use this deal for yourself by entering the code INFLUENSTER25 at checkout (offer expires 01/31/13).


For more information about Influenster, click HERE. Ask me for an invite!