Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Loot Crate - March 2025

 It's that special geeky time of the month again where looters everywhere stalk their mailbox in anticipation. For any newcomers, or generally forgetful people, Loot Crate is quite possibly the most awesome subscription box out there. For only $13.37 (Get it? Haha!) a month, you can get one of these epic boxes for yourself. This month's theme is Covert. It is jam packed with spy gear and spy related items that are just too awesome! I am sure that all of us, at one point or another, have wanted to be a spy so let's hop in!


Up first is a Loot Crate Exclusive Replica Agents of SHIELD Lanyard from EFX Collectibles. I know nothing about Agents of SHIELD but this is a pretty cool little lanyard and I am sure if you are a fan, you would love it. As for mine, my children definitely get a kick out of it! There was also a Paracord Survival Bracelet from Loot Crate Labs. This is not only cool, but can be pretty handy because paracord has hundreds of uses! If you don't find yourself needing to use it, you can just wear it and show your love for Loot Crate and all things awesome!


Also included was the first issue of Orphan Black from IDW Comics. This is a Canadian sci-fi series about a girl and her clone doppelgangers. It was a pretty good read! A really cool addition, which my boyfriend stole, was the Field Agent Blink Time Wrist Watch from 50 Fifty Gifts. This little watch is pretty awesome. Nothing shows up until you press the little button and the time flashes up in red. All this watch needs is a little phone/walkie and you would be giving James Bond a run for his money!


I have wonderfully memories playing Mad Libs with my mother, so I was so excited to see Spy Mad Libs from Penguin Books. These are always so much fun and give everyone involved a great laugh. There was also a 2-pack of Special Agent Dossier Notebooks from Field Notes. These little note books are so cute and the perfect size to carry around with you. One of the notebooks is lined and the other one is graphed. What better notebook to write your classified information (or grocery list) in?


I saved the absolute best part of this Loot Crate for last. This Loot Crate Exclusive Bond: This Is Stirred T-Shirt from Loot Crate Labs is just too cute! I saw it and it immediately made me smile. Even if you aren't a James Bond Fan, I am sure that you know he likes his martinis shaken, not stirred. Even though this little Bond is sad, he makes me quite happy and I will be getting a lot of wear out of this shirt for sure!

Loot Crate, as usual, was awesome this month! I know you are dying to have your own Loot Crates coming to your door so remember: All you have to do is sign up and for $13.37 you can have your very own. Sign up today though because boxes are limited and with stuff this epic, demand is high.

You can also stay up to date with fun extras and specials by following Loot Crate on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mary's Doilies from Leisure Arts

Hello crafty cats! I have been so busy with projects but occasionally I see something so beautiful that I have to put everything down and start it right away. That was exactly how I felt when I saw the cover of Mary's Doilies at Leisure Arts


My first thought was, "Wow! Look at that detail and in thread!" My eyes might not like that, but then I thought, what a lovely throw that would make and I sure am ready for a new throw on my recliner. So, I knew I had to have it! I happened to have some lovely vintage looking ecru yarn that was also soft and squishy, so I grabbed my K hook and set out to see how this pattern would translate into worsted weight yarns. 

The end result was a lovely 39 inch throw that just looks stunning and has received rave complements from everyone who has seen it. While this is marked an experienced pattern, it was really easy to follow and very well written. If you have experience with front and back post stitches, you should have no issues at all making this. 

What's is even better than one to die for pattern is a whole book of them! It is pretty rare to get a book where you want to make several of the patterns much less all of them, but this book will surprise you. There are seven patterns and all seven are stunning. There are round, oval, and even a square one! I will be making more, probably eventually all of them. The patterns are all for more experienced crocheters but as I said, they are written very well and easy to follow. 

Have you ever made doilies? How was working with thread? Have you ever made a thread pattern with yarns? I'd love to hear about your experiments. 

Take some time to browse Leisure Arts' great selection and make sure you also connect with Leisure Arts on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a special or new pattern! Also, if you sign up for their knitting or crochet newsletters, you get a free pattern on Fridays!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Couture Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit

Every two to three weeks I find myself walking into my local nail salon for my usual acrylic set and gel nail polish. This can get quite costly, so when Couture offered me the chance to try their Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit, you know I couldn't say no! Each starter kit comes with a gel polish of your choice, a base coat, a top coat, a LED Espree Salon lamp with timer, an instructional DVD and brochure, a bottle of both Cleanse and Remove, a manicure toolkit, and a zippered cosmetic case. Please note that their Cleanse product is currently back ordered. Luckily, it can be easily replaced with 70%, or higher, Isopropyl Alcohol. This step is VERY important and cannot be skipped!

All of this is a great deal for only $99! That is only 2 trips to the salon! Everything included is of great quality and I can tell it will last a very long time. Since my manicure is usually black, I chose the color Little Black Dress which is a deep, rich black. Another really awesome bonus about Couture is that they are a mother and daughter run company that is ran by them and their family members. You know I will always support family owned businesses when possible. Their polishes also have no history of animal testing, are free of harmful chemicals, and made right here in the USA (California, to be exact).


Black may not be your cup of tea, but don't worry! They offer over 100 different colors to choose from so there is definitely a color, or two, for everyone! I was a little nervous about doing a gel manicure for the first time, but it was actually very easy with the help of the brochure and DVD. They make sure that you know exactly what you are doing and are confident that you are doing it right. Luckily, my boyfriend offered me his nails since I have a fresh manicure. As you  can see, the color is deep, rich, opaque, and wonderfully shiny! I only used one coat of color too!

I am so happy with my Couture Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit! Now all I need to learn is how to do my own acrylics and I would be set! Check out the Couture website and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to never miss any news!

Hurry on back though, because one very lucky reader will win their very own Couture Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit with their choice of polish color! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Open to US residents, 18 years and older. Winner has 48 to respond before another is drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. My Empty Nest is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Friday, March 27, 2015

BoxyCharm - March 2015

It is that wonderful time of the month again where my BoxyCharm box arrives and I get to try out all sorts of awesome, new products! Just in case you forgot, BoxyCharm is a monthly subscription box that sends out full-size and luxury-size samples of high end and on-trend brands. Best part? A BoxyCharm box has a low cost of only $21, plus free shipping! This month the theme is Lucky Charm, which is perfect for Saint Patrick's Day! 

This first product I pulled out was a travel size Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Thickening & Strengthening Mousse ($11). This thickens your hair by up to 47%, strengthens, and removes excess oils. Not only does this make your hair look awesome, it smells great too! I really love this and have been using it almost everyday! Up next is the Previse Nutrify Skin Type 1-6 Universal Tonic ($48). This tonic is free of parabens, silicones, and petroleum. It hydrates your skin, speeds up healing, and even fights free radicals and surface irritants. I really like this as well.


A LVX Nail Lacquer in Deco ($16) was the next item I pulled out. This is an awesome coral-y peach color that is absolutely perfect for Spring! In has an orange undertone that totally reminds me of the beach and spring/summer in general! It is also 5-free and vegan friendly! This polish wears like a champ and is super chip resistant which is great since I work with my hands all day and customers see them a lot. This is my second polish from LVX and I can't wait to try more!


An OFRA Eyeliner in Black ($13) was also included. This pencil is water resistant and is made with a synthetic beeswax base. Because of that, it is suitable for even the most sensitive of eyes and glides on super smooth and easy. Since it is water resistant, it is great for use in your waterline. It doesn't smudge and doesn't need to be reapplied often. It is also a really deep, rich black which I really like.


The last item was a Tarte LipSurgence in Charmed ($24). I have always really loved Tarte and their LipSurgence pencils are one of my all time favorite makeup products. They are super easy to apply and give great color pay-off while also moisturizing your lips. This light pink is perfect for neutral days where you want a little color but not too much. Plus, the tube is easy to carry with you and even easier to apply on the go! I love it!

As always, I loved my BoxyCharm box! With a retail value of $112, $21 is an amazing cost to pay!! It is a great value and awesome way to try out new beauty products. Be sure to head over to their site to sign up and see past boxes. Also, follow BoxyCharm on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to never miss any news or promotions! 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

BakeitFun Silicone Baking Mat

I love to bake. There is just nothing more comforting than the smell of fresh baked goods filling your home or biting into a warm, gooey cookie fresh from the oven. Since I do bake quite often, I have had my fair share of kitchen disasters, some of which include my creations clinging on to my baking sheets and never letting go. I have always wanted to try a silicone baking mat so when BakeitFun offered me the chance to try their Green, Half Sheet, Silicone Baking Mat, I jumped at the opportunity.


A really big benefit of silicone baking mats is that you save money on cooking sprays/oils, parchment paper, and new ovenware. This also benefits the environment too since you won't be throwing all of that stuff away! This mat can  resist temperatures of -40°F to 450°F. The mat is made of fiberglass mesh that is covered by food grade silicone. There are also really helpful graphics on the mat too! The rulers on each side of the mat and circles on it to help you evenly distribute your dough!



This mat is also non-toxic, food-grade, BPA-free, and FDA certified safe! But if for some reason you don't love it, you can return it for a full refund, no questions asked. You won't want to though! This has made my baking so easy. Nothing sticks to it and clean up is a total breeze! Head on over to Amazon so you can pick up your own BakeitFun Silicone Baking Mat. Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook to never miss any news!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil


In my hunt for a more natural and updated skincare routine, tea tree oil keeps coming up in my research. Because of this, when Apothecary Extracts offered me the chance to try their 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil, I couldn't resist! With each purchase, you receive a free e-book with over 50 ways you can use your new tea tree oil. Once I started reading the book, I realized that tea tree oil can be used for so much including: skin care, first aid, household cleaning, hair care, aromatherapy, feminine care, chronic illness, and even dental care!


This tea tree oil is 100% pure with absolutely no additives or impurities. Since I did mainly want this for skincare, I was really surprised to find out just how much this miracle oil could treat. Acne, toenail fungus, lice, yeast infections, skin tags, cold sores, dandruff, ringworm, fleas, warts, and psoriasis are just a few uses. Since it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral it is great for cleaning around your house as well!

You should really do some research on just how useful this natural oil is! I know after see all of it's uses, you will definitely want to pick yourself some up and you can purchase your own Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil on Amazon. Come on back though because one lucky reader will win their own 4 ounce bottle of Tea Tree oil from Apothecary Extracts. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Open to US residents, 18 years and older. Winner has 48 hours to respond before another is drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. My Empty Nest is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Unforgettable Crochet by Lisa Gentry at Leisure Arts

I really love finding unique crochet patterns. I am always looking for ways to up my skill set and improve my art. On my latest browse of my favorite craft book shop, Leisure Arts, I was totally taken by the beautiful cover piece on Unforgettable Crochet.

First I just want you to admire the awesome cover piece, I mean seriously, is that not stunning? It is called the 3-Way Wrap, and I imagine that is because in addition to the way it is shown on the cover, it can be worn two other ways. I really love the way it looks with the full sides hanging down. It has an almost duster-like appearance without the weight of a full duster. I also really love that the motifs are joined as you work. I have a few things to finish up but I have already set aside the yarns to start this! 

I am also quite taken by the Chic Motif Cape which is also worked in the join as you go style and has that classy casual look. I have some awesome, peachy yarns that I think I will set aside for that project. I even have a lovely new shawl clip that I can see looking beautiful with this. 

In addition to the wraps that I was raving about, there are also four other patterns: two vests and two cardigans, all distinctive and ranging from easy to intermediate. I like that they can all be worn with casual jean type wear but that they are also classy looking and would suit slacks and business wear as well. I will probably be making a few, if not all, of these patterns. I also want to mention that the sizes go up to 2X, which is fantastic! 

As is always the case, the patterns are well written and easy to follow. Have you tried making any join as you go motifs yet? If you have, or not, these are really some unforgettable designs that will get noticed.

Take some time to browse Leisure Arts' great selection and make sure you also connect with Leisure Arts on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a special or new pattern! Also, if you sign up for their knitting or crochet newsletters, you get a free pattern on Fridays!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.