Citrus Lane Subscription Box #1

343I LOVE getting mail.  Magazines, letters, junk mail, it doesn’t matter what kind of mail, you name it, I love it.  So, when I first heard about subscription boxes, I though this was a wonderful concept and knew I would have to get some.  I conducted a lot of research/read a lot of reviews before deciding which boxes I wanted.  In the end, I ended up deciding on one box for me (Stitch Fix) and one box for Connor (Citrus Lane).  The Stitch Fix box should be arriving sometime this month and will post another post when that arrives.

Now to my very first Citrus Lane Subscription box review!

Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription box for children’s’ toys and items.  Some of the most appealing aspects about the box are that you always receive age appropriate items because you tell them how old your child is and the box is supposed to “grow up” with your child.   The regular price for a box is $29 a month, but they do have discounts if you buy a subscription for more than one month.  If you want to try a box out for yourself, you can click here for 50% off your first box and because I referred you, I’ll get some referral credit to buy more stuff from Citrus Lane!

Anyway, back to my review.  I’ve been wanting to subscribe to Citrus Lane for a while and have been following the reviews for months.  I first asked Ev if we could get a subscription back in April but he thought that we already had most of the newborn items from gifts and the shower.  I revisited my request last month and was so happy when Ev finally gave in and agreed to the box.  Ev wanted to buy a 3 or 6 month subscription, but I ended up buying a year’s worth of boxes!  😀

According to Citrus Lane, the boxes should arrive between the 17th and the 22nd of every month.  Being in Hawaii, I’m used to getting mail late so I was really surprised and quite pleased when my first box arrived on the 17th!  They are already off to a great start.  Now to the box!348Each box comes with a small note from Citrus Lane describing each of the items in the box.347From other people’s reviews, the box will generally have one larger, higher priced item, 2-3 smaller items and a sample or coupon.  Sometimes one of the smaller items will be a gift for mom instead of baby.  I think that’s kind of nice.  Now on to what I got.

The “big” item I received was the Lullaby to Go from Cloud B ($15.99)349My Lullaby to Go was a bright blue stuffed turtle that plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when you squeeze the turtle’s hand.  The turtle has a Velcro loop on the back so that you can hang it on things.  My Lullaby to Go turtle went onto Connor’s car seat right away and Connor likes to look at it.   My only complaint is that it doesn’t turn off by itself and you have to turn it off manually.  It also doesn’t look like you can change the battery without cutting open the turtle.  But I guess for $16, you can’t expect it to use it forever.  If the battery dies, you just buy a new one.

The second item on the list was the Opposites Board Book  From Barefoot Books ($4.97).354The book I received was entitled Big and SmallI absolutely love children’s books, and this one was very cute.   The board book was of good quality and pictures were nice and colorful.   You can’t have too many board books, so this one will definitely be used.  I can’ t wait to read this book to Connor.

The third item I received was a Starter Bib from Bumkins ($4.95).352The starter bib had a really cute Winnie the Pooh print and is made of a lightweight odor and stain resistant fabric that is supposed to be easy to clean.  Unfortunately, a friend recently gave me a whole bag of bibs, so I really didn’t need any more bibs.  It’s a bummer too because I think this bib would have been nice to use.

The fourth item in the box was Green Apply Age Defy Hand Cream by Juice Beauty ($12.00).  This item was a “mystery” item because Citrus Lane sent me an email a few weeks ago for me to select one of three different items.  Unfortunately, the email was accidentally filtered out into my junk mail box and I didn’t see it in time.

Even though I didn’t get to choose my 4th item, I’m still pretty happy with the hand cream.  It’s nice to have mommy gift and it’s a full-size, not a sample size bottle.

Overall, I’m very pleased with my first Citrus Lane box, and I estimate that the total value of the items in the box came out to about $37.91.

Pasta With Roasted Portobello Mushrooms, Garlic and Pinenuts

On Saturday, we came across a vendor selling local, fresh Portobello mushrooms, and we couldn’t resist buying one.  Thereafter, we were on a mission to find just the right recipe for our mushroom. We wanted to make something more substantial than an appetizer (grilled Portobello, stuffed Portobello, etc.) and that didn’t have any strong sauce that would smother or overpower the Portobello mushroom taste.

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We ended up settling on a Pasta with Mushrooms, Garlic and Pinenuts recipe from Cooks Illustrated.  I wish the dish had a better name because the meal was seriously delicious.  A light sauce that was surprisingly not too garlicky that complemented the slightly sweet, roasted mushrooms.  We only had one mushroom so I halved all the ingredients.  Ev was sad that he couldn’t have seconds.

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Pasta with Roasted Mushrooms, Garlic and Pinenuts

by Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients

  • 2 heads garlic, papery skins removed, top quarter of heads cut off and discarded
  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 portobello mushrooms (each 3 to 4 inches in diameter)
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.

    2. Cut one 12-inch sheet of foil and spread flat on counter. Place garlic heads, cut-side up, in center of foil. Drizzle ½ teaspoon oil over each head and seal packet. Place packet on oven rack and roast until garlic is very tender, about 40 minutes. Open packet and set aside to cool.

    3. While garlic is roasting, prepare mushrooms. Remove and discard stems. Wipe caps clean and cut into ¾-inch slices. Place mushrooms in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and sugar.

    4. Remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer mushrooms to baking sheet and spread into even layer. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until mushrooms are well browned and tender, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping mushrooms halfway through cooking.

    5. While mushrooms roast, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; cook until al dente. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves from their skins into small bowl. Using fork, mash garlic to smooth paste, then stir in red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Slowly whisk in remaining 1/4 cup oil.

    6. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and return pasta to pot. Add chopped mushrooms to pasta; stir in garlic sauce, ¼ cup cooking water, rosemary, and ½ cup cheese. Adjust consistency with additional cooking water and season with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately, sprinkling with remaining ½ cup cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Kakaako Farmer’s Market

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This weekend Ev, baby, and I went to check out the Kakaako Farmers’ Market, which is located in the Ward Warehouse parking lot. I have to admit that I was really impressed with the selection of vendors. They had a good mix of produce, value added products and ready to eat food. In addition, there weren’t swarms of tourist invading the market like kcc’s farmers’ market.

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In the end, we went a little crazy and probably spent a little bit more than we should have. Ev and I split an omelet, coffee and fruit smoothie for breakfast and we took home a loaf of whole grain bread, 2 salamis, a local portobello mushroom, 4 lilikois, and 3 bunches of ho’io.  Overall, not a bad trip to the farmers’ market.  I’m sure we’ll be back.

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My Early Birthday and Christmas Present

Check out my cool new toy!  After hinting about needing a better camera than my camera phone for months, Everett finally gave in and bought me a new camera.  It’s supposed to be my joint birthday and Christmas present from him. But, when Everett said I needed to wait until my birthday to open it, I said “Not a chance!”  I’m pretty sure he knew that was going to happen.

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With a little help from my photographer friend Addison, Everett and I decided to go with a Sony Alpha 5000 mirrorless camera because it was light and slim but was more versatile and functional than a run of the mill “point and shoot” camera.  I also love the fact that you can swap out the lenses like a DSLR.  Also, as Addison pointed out, if I decide to upgrade my camera later on, I will be able to use the lenses on the new camera.  I’m already looking at more lenses to buy!

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My first selfie with my new camera.  🙂

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Playing around on the settings on my camera.  It just so happened that Ev and I were both wearing green yesterday so I was playing with the black, white and green setting.  More pictures to come soon.

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

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Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop is one of my favorite breakfast places right now. I first tried Scratch while I was on maternity leave, and I’ve been addicted ever since. The food is great, and the tourists haven’t found this place yet so you can actually get in without waiting hours.  Also, since it’s in downtown/Chinatown weekends appear to be less crowded than the weekdays.  The only downside is that finding parking can be tough.

I’ve gone to Scratch about a half a dozen times and by far my favorite dish so far has been the BLT Benny (shown above). The eggs are poached to perfection and using bacon instead of Canadian bacon is a nice variation.  Other notable dishes are the Smothered Biscuit Sandwich and the Creole Shrimp and Grits.  I haven’t tried the Stuffed French Toast yet, but plan to on my next visit.

I prefer to eat at Scratch for brunch, but if you’re here for dinner, most of the small plates that we tried were good (pulled pork posole, Moroccan kale Caesar, and the Chicken Fried Deviled Eggs).  The NOLA Etouffe was the best of the entrees and the burger was disappointing.

You can find a copy of their full menu on their website: http://www.scratch-hawaii.com/

Festival of Giving

Festival of Giving

This weekend, to Everett’s dismay, was filled with a lot of shopping.  Every year, Everett and I stress out about buying Christmas gifts – partly because we procrastinate and partly because Everett wants to support local businesses and refuses to buy anything online.  While the latter reason is admirable, it also takes so much more time and effort to gather and buy the gifts.  In moments of weakness, I’ve been tempted to load up my Amazon cart and buy everything in one fell swoop.  Fortunately, by that time it’s too close to Christmas for the packages to arrive on time and thus am forced to continue shopping locally.  Soooooo, I’ve made a point to start and finish earlier this year.

To start off the Christmas buying season, we spent the weekend taking advantage of Ward’s Festival of Giving event.  For a $10 donation, you received a passport to the event entitling you to discounts at 85 Ward Village shops and restaurants.  Ward has been having this event for years, but it was the first time I’ve ever participated personally.  Overall, we definitely got our money’s worth out of that passport.  I bought 3 and a half gifts and Everett pretty much bought all his coworker’s gifts from one store.  While I didn’t find gifts for everyone, it was a great start.

On a side note, when did Washi tape become so popular?  I found at least 5 different stores selling Washi tape in various colors.  We saw it so often that even Everett made a comment.  What do you even use Washi tape for?    Although, I’m sure if I look at Pinterest, I’ll find a million different uses for them.

5 more weekends to Christmas!