October 2018| Wrap Up!

October Wrap Up!

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A Potion to Die For
Magic Potion Mystery #1
By: Heathe Blake
*****
This was the Cozy Mystery Bookclub book for the month of October. I really did love it. I loved getting to know Carly Bell Hartwell and her Little Shop of Potions.  She is known as the potion maker who creates potions to help all sorts of ailments. Though the one ailment she can’t fix is death. When she walks into her shop one morning she finds a local lawyer killed on her floor. Of course he has a bottle in his hand that is the specially made potion bottles Carly has made for her shop. She has to figure out who did this. She has the ability to be empathic and feel what others are feeling. She uses this, the towns knack for gossip, and good old intuition to figure out how this man ended up in her cafe. I loved this book, though there were other characters like her cousin that I wish had more of a role, maybe even their own book series!

61L5gcYezDLCupcakes & Casualties
Peridale Cafe Mystery #11
By: Agatha Frost
****
This is one of my most favorite Kindle Unlimited Cozies. If you haven’t signed up for Kindle Unlimited but you love ebooks and finding indie authors you should look into it. I only pay $9.99 a month to read TONS of books! You can cancel anytime and sign up again when you want!

This is the 11th book in the Peridale Cafe Mystery series. The people of Peridale do not like change. But when a famous washed out actress decides to build a very modern house where Barker’s cottage used to be a lot of people are upset about it changing the feel of the town.

Of course this is a Cozy Mystery and it wouldn’t be right if Julia didn’t have a murder to solve before the local police. A body is found at the construction site and Julia may have been one of the last people to see him alive. Not only does she have that on her plate but she also finds one of the construction crew eerily familiar!

517G6OLNUzLBlueberry Muffins & Misfortune
Peridale Cafe Mystery #12
By: Agatha Frost
****
I really was on a Peridale Cafe Mystery kick this month! It really helps that these are short and sweet cozies. I don’t think many of them are over 35,000-50,000 words. Which is really nice for me. Sometimes I want to be able to sit down in one sitting and get through a whole entire story!

This is the 12th book in the Peridale series and we start getting more into Dot,Julia’s Grandmother’s past. Barker has a huge premier for his new book coming out at the Peridale local library. Everyone from near and far have come to see the good-looking retired cop/new author.
Julia is running late because he oven broke and she was supposed to make Blueberry Muffins, Jess however is there for the rescue with store-bought muffins. Julia doesn’t feel quite right about this but there isn’t much they can do.

They arrive at the book event only to walk in and a body fall from the ceiling. It ends up being Dot’s best friend who ran away to Mexico 10 years before. Julia has to figure out who has done this for her Grandmother, she also has to keep Barker’s publicist off of him, and try to make Jess realize that it’s not okay to pass store-bought off as homemade, but that’s hard when everyone loved them so much!

 

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Peridale Cafe Mystery Series #13
By: Agatha Frost
*****
This is probably one of my absolute favorite of the Peridale Cafe Mystery series. Julia, Barker, Jess, and her brother all have tickets to spend the weekend in Blackpool! They are excited to spend time together as a family when they realize that the inn they are staying in for the weekend is actually a drag in! This was probably one of my most favorite parts of the story.

There is a drag show one night and Barker is dragged up to the stage and dressed up. I couldn’t stop laughing. However, the laughter turned into mystery when a very flamboyant drag star is up on stage doing her famous number and a huge lighting element falls from the ceiling almost killing her. Julia tries to ignore the urge of finding out the ‘whodunit’, but is pulled by her budding friendship with the owner. Who tried to kill the dramatic drag queen? Why? And is it worth trying to figure out?

 

51XxYd1OIZLChampagne & Catastrophes
Peridale Cafe Mystery #14
By: Agatha Frost
*****

This is the newest of the Peridale Cafe Mystery series and I loved it! Julia and Barker have finally set a date for their wedding. They are a little overwhelmed by the whole process of planning it out, paying for everything, and trying to figure out what is right for them.

Thankfully a new neighbor moves in across the way. She happens to be not only a wedding planner but an old high school of Julia’s! This is super exciting for Julia because now all of her friends have moved back to Peridale. She called Roxy and Johnny up excited about Leah’s return but is faced with anger and bitterness from both people.

Not understanding what is going on but too polite to ask Julia decides that they will come around to what ever happened 20 years ago and still hires Leah to do her wedding. They walk into a local dress shop and Leah is attacked by the owner.

Not knowing what to do Julia decides that night to confront Leah about what happened but her a Barker find the door open , the living room a mess, and Leah missing. Julia makes it her mission to figure out what happened to Julia. Her mission digs up some open wounds, a shady past of a trusted citizen, and maybe brings some friendships back together.

This was my favorite book of the whole series so far. I really loved getting to know all of the characters more. I also loved that Julia didn’t know everything and that we had to learn along with her.

 

81VcRVeUX0LBook Love
By: Debbie Tung 
Releases: January 1, 2019
ARC from NetGalley
*****

If you are a book lover this is the comic for you. I don’t know how many times I laughed, groaned, and nodded my head as Debbie Tung went through all of the different scenarios, events, and thoughts us book lovers have. The drawings are quirky and fun and I love the fact that they are all in black, white, and grey. Some of the aspects really hit home as what it means to have books change your life and the way you view the world after joining the world of readers! I highly recommend this book!

61g+JwqLpfLLoading Penguin Hugs: Heart Warming Comics from Chibird
By: Jacqueline Chen 
Releases: November 13, 2018
*****

This was the cutest book in the whole entire world of cute. This would be a perfect book to put in the restroom, the doctors office, or in your classroom. Sometimes we need to know that we aren’t perfect, but that its okay. I couldn’t have smiled more or been more happy after reading this book. Oh my goodness. Cuteness alert!

 

Dispatch By Break Out Review

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Dispatch By Breakout
I, SPY: Chapter 5

A couple of weeks ago I did a huge review for the first FOUR CHAPTERS HERE, this is the final box in the I, Spy series by Dispatch. It has been so much fun up until this point and I am on the edge of my seat to figure out how everything connects!

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One of the MANY things that I love about this mystery box is the fact that they have built out websites, instagrams, twitter accounts, and more to really give this a full immersion feeling for you! I love that with the last box of this series they make you go on an adventure to escape the lair! You can only get into the envelope once you’ve gotten the code!!! Their attention to detail is amazing.

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When you finally escape the lair you find all of these goodies inside. The newspaper always feels like real newspaper, the protractor for the map was a great touch, and I just love how real everything feels. It legit feels like you are a real spy! Here are some more close up pictures of the items.

I really loved this whole series of I,Spy. It was so much fun! I felt like James Bond with a little bit of Miss. Marple all mixed together!!!! I highly recommend this box for people who love Escape Rooms, figuring out the whodunit, or if you just LOVE having game night at your house! You can break up parts for everyone in the group to do their research and find out the missing pieces!

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You get to CHOOSE what your first story is! How cool is that! Just go to Dispatches website and choose your adventure! It is $24.99 a month, but if you pay for more months you receive a discount. Each month you will receive a chapter of the story. I truly do love this subscription box!

Until next time…

XOXO
Courtny

 

Date Night In| Fall in Love

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Date Night In Box
“Fall in Love”

I’m not going to sugar coat it, when I saw that this box was available to review with A Year of Boxes I jumped at the chance! I had been seeing this company advertise on Facebook, Instagram, and even on Twitter. I LOVED the idea of having a cozy date night in with my honey.

We were finally able to have a night in last night and this was his and my experience.

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The box was beautifully created! I love the fact that their box design is something new each month and it fits with the theme that they have chosen. This was the Fall in Love box and I couldn’t have loved it more. It was so thoughtfully curated. The little newspaper that came with it was just as aesthetically pleasing as the box. It had tips, tricks, and ideas for things to talk about with my boyfriend, Aaron.

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There were two different crafts that we could do as a couple. The first one was creating a candle. This is something that Aaron and I have tried before just by ourselves. So I knew that we would have fun doing this.

I had went to the store before Aaron got home and bought stuff to make dinner. I was craving steak, vegetables, and I bought cheese cake and wine for dessert. Now, there was a suggestion for what to make for dinner which I thought was a wonderful touch!

While making the candle and waiting for it to set they had questions for us to ask each other, “When did you know you fell in love with me?” and “What is a physical feature of mine that is your favorite?” This was so much fun to do. Aaron and I don’t normally talk about things like this, we like to joke, tease, and laugh all of the time. It’s rare for us to have too serious of conversations.

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I loved all of the couples that were apart of the newspaper as well. It was fun reading an talking about what others thought about the different topics and questions. I do wish I had remembered the amazing recipe for the Caramel & Chocolate Apple Slices! They looked sooooooo good! But that will just have to wait until next month! I’ll plan better next time.

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The next DIY that we created was the Tree of Life. I loved the symbolism in this activity. It compared out relationship to the rings of the tree. We talked about all of the moments in our relationship (2 1/2 years) that were defining. We put our thumb prints in the middle where our relationship started and marked around it different moments that made us fall even more in love with each other.

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My MOST FAVORITE activity was actually the Fall in Love Bunco! I loved how much detail they put into creating the game cards and how to play. Every time someone one a BUNCO they had to say something that they loved about the other person. Now, normally Aaron and I have to play games that we are on the same team. We are very competitive people and we just know that we can’t play against each other. Haha! But I wasn’t competitive AT ALL. Look at our scoreboards below.

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I DIDN’T WIN ONCE! But I felt like I was winning the WHOLE ENTIRE NIGHT! I loved it so very much. Aaron shows me his love in different ways, cuddling and doing acts of kindness. He is a man of very few words. But every round last night he won and had to tell me things about me that he loved. I almost cried because there were things he noticed and loved about me that I didn’t know I did. I might not have won any of the rounds, but I felt like I won the night!

The Date Night In Box

This box is something that I would purchase every single month. With how much dinner and a movie costs  well into $50-70 for a date night out, this box is fantastic in cost savings and brings you closer to your significant others.

Month to Month

$41.99 for each date
with free shipping*

I can’t wait to receive next month’s box. Aaron actually had fun last night and he said that he would most definitely do it again with me. It’s makes me giddy just thinking about what the Date Night In crew is putting together for November.

 

Until next time…

XOXO
Courtny

California Found| October 2018

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California Found October 2018

This is such a beautiful box to get every month! Sometimes you just need a little bit of Summer and little bit of sunshine. This box delivers on all of that and more! They bring homemade, small business, and beautifully thought out boxes to your door step every month! I always get excited when I see it on my door step!

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The people at California Found are so thoughtful to detail as well! They have individual cards with all of their items that explains the history of the company, their mission, and how well the products were made. The wrapping around the cards is special itself! It is embedded with wildflower seeds! How wonderful is that!

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Moonlight Herbal Blend by Luna Tea Co. 
Retail $15.00

I’m not going to lie this is one of my most favorite items in my box. You all know how much I love tea. Seriously, I am addicted to tea more than anyone I know. This is a beautiful made and aromatic teas. I could smell it when I opened the box and it was intoxicating! It makes a beautiful cuppa tea!

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Owl Feather Watercolor by Mika Harmony Art
Retail: $22.00

If this doesn’t scream Autumn then I don’t know what else would! This is a STUNNING art piece by Mika Harmony Art. It makes me feel so calm and excited for colder nights cuddling, an amazing cup of tea, and a wonderful book. I love how detailed the print it and how it looks with all of my Autumn artwork!

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Spring Bliss Nail Polish by 7 True
Retail: $15.00

I think this is such a beautiful color even for the Fall time! It is a beautiful pinkish brown that will go with any outfit. The consistency of the product is very creamy and pigmented. I love the fact that these women decided to make a difference in the world and create a brand of nail polish that does not have the 7 most commonly used toxins in nail polish. I feel better having this color on my nails!

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Naked Zen Scrub by Naked Scrubs
Retail: $10.00

This is something that I have been looking for as well! Angela Johnson-Rogers seems to have the same skin problems a lot of us have during the year. I am super dry during the Fall and Winter but then my skin turns into an oily mess in the Spring and Summer. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium! Angela made it her mission to use natural (naked) ingredients, oils, and herbs to create her vast collection of beauty items!

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“I wish I was Apple Picking” by Rush Candle Company
Retail: $8.00

This box just keeps on giving when it comes to the scents of calming herbal tea and this beautiful travel tin of “I wish I was Apple Picking”. I love that they put this in here. I don’t know about you but I go a little candle crazy when it hits September! I am all about making my house smell EXTRA fall-y! This is going to help a lot with that!

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Repurposed Leather w/ Gemstone Earrings by MB Bead and Stitch
Retail: $35.00

When I saw the sneak peak on California Found’s Instagram I was super duper excited for this box. I just loved the rustic way these earrings looked with a pop of the gemstone’s color! They just screamed FALL to me! Michelle is the artist and owner of this shop and she works with organic textures and natural gemstones. They are extremely comfortable to wear!

Monthly Subscription –$49.00

  • Free shipping
  • Ships between the 28th and 30th of each month
  • Prepaid
  • Renews monthly, cancel anytime

 

XOXO

Courtny

Naturally Curated| Fall 2018

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This is the Fall Crate for Naturally Curated. As with their Summer Crate this one has taken my breath away with its simple designs, warm heart, and natural elements. This box is aptly names “Thanks + Giving”. This box is full of everything you need to feel blessed and bless others. Without further ado, let’s get into this amazing box.

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Heart Dish
Retail: $21.00

This is a stunning handmade natural gift out of mango wood. I love the fact that they left most of the wood bare so you can truly admire the natural wood for all that it is. The beautiful detail of the gold leaf is something that just catches your eye as you walk past it but isn’t something that is too gaudy. This is perfect to place jewelry in or even to have by your door to place your keys in.

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“Thank You” Card Set
Retail: $24.99

Nothing says Thank You much more than a well-thought out Thank You card. These are hand-made in Oregon from 100% recycled paper. This card set is letter-pressed in small batches. Sometimes you just need to tell someone thank you. Whether it is your child’s teacher for all of their hard work, a co-worker that you see struggling but doing their best, or your significant other. You can never go wrong telling someone thank you.

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Ranunculus Wood Cover Journal by Cardtorial
Retail: $29.00

This is my absolute most favorite item in the crate this month. I have been searching for months for a spiral bound, blank page journal. I want to use it as a bullet journal/daily journal. It is like Naturally curated read my mind and sent this. The wood is absolute stunning and I love the mint green peaking through as well.

Something else that I love about the company that makes these journals is that they read out and serve over 500 young girls annually. They put on workshops, panel discussions, and special evens to help girls get creative and get through high school into college. As an educator that is something I can support!

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Organic Almost Pumpkin Paleo Bites by Pure Bliss Organics
Retail: $5.99

This is the perfect seasonal treat! I am very basic and I love anything with pumpkin in it. So when I saw this healthy treat I swooned! Pure Bliss Organics is a Atlanta, Georgia company. Their passion and goal is to share bliss through their delicious food made with pure, life sustaining ingredients! They also provide granola for breakfast at local shelter and charities!

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The Giving Keys Necklace
Retail $50.00

This is a gorgeously simple yet elegant piece of jewelry. These keys are hand-crafted in Los Angeles by men and women who are transitioning out of homelessness. There is a word on every key. My word is “love”. As soon as I saw this necklace I smiled and felt a sense of calm come over me. I love wearing it with a high necked dress because it is a very long necklace.

This is one of the most well thought out and caring boxes that I have the pleasure of being sent and to review for. If you care about the environment, people, and you love naturally made items, you should check out this box.

Until next time,

Courtny

 

Murder Chronicles Review

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The Murder Chronicles
A Monthly Sleuthing Escape!

When Catherine at Murder & Mayhem reached out to me and basically asked if I wanted to be an amateur sleuth like those amazing protagonists in my Cozy Mysteries I had no other answer then YES!

“The Murder Chronicles arrives monthly and follows Heather Grange as she tries to make her ancestral home into a viable bed and breakfast in small town Kansas. Each installment will feature a brand new mystery for sleuths to solve, with all the information you need in each box.

This is perfect for any mystery lover. The Murder Chronicles will include mysteries that take place both in the present and at the turn of the century with Heather’s great-great-grandmother. ”

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This was one of the most fun nights I have had in a while! I loved all the newsletter, the journal entry, and trying to figure out what the paintings were for in all of the mystery. We follow Heather while she is trying to figure out what happened to a prominent professor causing his death. I loved trying to decode everything! It was so much fun!

I don’t want to be TOO spoilery! BUUUUUUUUUUT I can’t wait to get the next installment. To see how much more Heather can uncover!

“Heather is busy renovating the Boone House when she discovers a mysterious letter and photograph tucked inside an antique desk. They point to a decades-old mystery involving the death of a local art collector and the one painting he held so dear. Can you help Heather crack the case and see the truth?”

Go get the first episode! With the price of $19.99 a month it is perfect for date night!  Use COURT10 for your first purchase of The Murder Chronicles will receive 10% off.

Until next time,

Courtny

 

 

 

Oceanista| Fall 2018

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The Oceanista Subscription Box

“Get ready to experience the excitement of receiving our signature box delivered to your door every season, and uncovering the hidden treasures that await you inside. You’ll be awash in whimsical beach inspired essentials from brands we love that are sure to compliment your beach lifestyle and wardrobe. Featured artisan pieces, luxury skin care products, mid-season surprises, and the chance to win a free gift every season guarantees our box will be one you look forward to again and again!”

This box is $79.99 a season, BUT if you use my code “Courtagonist” you’ll get 10% off your first box! How awesome is that?!?! Plus, the value of the box is always worth $150 or more! The summer box had a retail value of over $200 dollars! Now, lets get into the goodies, shall we?

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This month’s theme was “Fall For Flamingos”! How flipping cute is that?!?! I even love the gorgeous little flamingo paper clip at the top. Also, sidenote, this box smelled INCREDIBLE when I opened it. This month’s box had a retail value of $209.18. Not bad considering the box costs $79 a season. We received 8 top of the line items. So, without further ado, let’s get into this box!

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Doucce Freematic EyeShadow Quad
“Sweet Dreams” Retail: $35.00
&
Crown 3-Piece Pro Brush Trio
Retail: $29.95

This was my most favorite product in the box. I love the fact that they sent a quad of eyeshadows! Two matte. Two shimmery. They are also very fall colors which made me really squeal in delight. The brushes are extremely soft and have indentions where you can place your fingers comfortably. I love that they sent a tree piece so that you can really try out all of their brushes on every part of your face.

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Genuine Feather Crescent Necklace by Oceanista
Retail: $29.95

This is a stunning statement necklace. I love the pop of color in the feathers and the nod to the moon which is getting it’s time to shine during the Autumn and Winter months. This is a perfect necklace to go with a sassy dress for going out or for a comfy long sleeve high neckline dress. Either way you will be having people compliment and ask where you got such a stunning piece of jewelry!

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Melissa Harmonic Bow III Flip Flop
Retail: $55.00

These are stunning and chicly made flip flops by Melissa. They have a statement bow that will polish any look. Wear these as the hot days become cooler nights with a gauzy shirt and flowy pants or with a flowy top and some boy friend jeans. These are what made the box smell so AMAZING. They were molded from a fruit-scented PVC. How awesome is that?!?!

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Flamingo Wet Bikini Bag with Hemp Rose Handle
Retail $15.95

Not going to lie, the temperature has dropped quite a few degrees here in Oklahoma. I don’t see myself swimming anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I am not going to be able to use this totes adorbs bag! It is perfect for an over night bag in my suitcase. It would fit all of my travel shampoo, conditioner, and my moisturizer perfectly! Since it is supposed to be used for a wet bikini I don’t have to worry about putting my wet bottle into it! It is multipurpose!

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Fall 2018 Featured Artisan- Simon Andrew
Retail: $13.83

I love how simple these drawings are by Simon Andrew. They are somewhat childlike but also have enough detail to make me want to frame them in my entry way. I love the bright colors and the simplicity of the artwork. These are beautifully made and put on Fedrigoni Acroprint 300gsm premium paper. I can’t wait to mail these to friend and family! They are stunning.

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I love how much detail Oceanista puts into the packaging inside their boxes. If feels like presents inside of presents. Look how beautifully they wrapped this one with the ribbon, the tissue paper, and the artwork piece!

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2-in-1 Flamingo Sarong/Scarf
Retail: $17.00

This is one of the softest materials I have ever had the pleasure of feeling. I love that along with sending the sarong they also showed you MANY different ways to wear it. This is something that I struggle with when a box sends me something but I am not quite sure how to style it. It takes the pressure off of trying to figure it out on your own. I know that I will be wearing this as a scarf during the Fall and Winter. Just to have that little reminder of Spring and Summer.

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Evian Facial Mist
Retail: $12.50

During the Fall/Winter months my face becomes extremely dry in some areas. I go from having oily skin in the summer to the Sahara Desert on my face. I love that Oceanista thought of this and supplied the Evian facial spray! This is something that you can throw in your purse, overnight bag, or just keep on your counter. You can use it before you put on make up or throughout the day. Either way this is like having a spa in your arsenal against dry skin.

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This is one of my absolute favorite seasonal boxes. I love how much detail, care, and love goes into curating every inch of the box. I love that they stick to the theme and keep striving for better and more luxurious products. $79 is an amazing price for everything that you receive every season. It is like a small gift to yourself or someone you love. I can’t wait to see what Winter 2018 holds for us.

Until next time.

XOXO

Courtny