*Nothing to disclose: bought with my own money*
I love Yuzen. If you've never seen it before, it's a quarterly subscription box that focuses on natural, organic and Eco-friendly products that bring you zen. Get it? You Zen. Yuzen. The price recently increased to $33 but that is for 7-10 deluxe samples and full size products plus shipping. Items range from skincare and makeup to household and snacks, and after 5 boxes, I've yet to be disappointed. Here's what they sent for the Winter 2013 edition.
Chocolate. Mmmmmm!! And this chocolate is good for you! Ok, fine, it's not as good as an apple, but it is non-GMO, natural, organic goodness. The Sun Cups dark chocolate mint cups are SUPER delicious and do not contain gluten, soy or nuts. These means they're safe for anyone with nut or gluten allergies. And until April, it looks like the Sun Cups website has an offer to send out a sampler pack for only $3.99. That's one of each of their flavors: dark chocolate sunflower butter, milk chocolate sunflower butter, milk chocolate caramel and dark chocolate mint. Again, all are nut and gluten free as well as non-GMO. I might splurge and order the variety 16-pack for $12. For gifts. What? I won't eat them all....in one sitting.
Even though there's no snow on the ground yet, it's winter here so I've got hand lotion strewn about my world. There are tubes all over the house, in my purse, and on my desk at work so I was pleased to see the Jurlique rose hand cream. It's a thick, rich almost balm like consistency that absorbs quickly without being greasy. What don't I like? The smell. While not as stink-tastic as lavender, rose is not my favorite. The cream is effective enough that I can live with it but I won't be buying more unless I can find another scent. Also impressive is the full webpage Jurlique devotes to discussing their stance on animal testing. Whilst against it, and quite strongly they maintain, Jurlique does sell in China.
If there's one body part I neglect, it's my feet. Even in the summer I'm lackadaisical with my pedicures so you can imagine how bad it's gets over winter when I'm wearing socks or slippers 100% of the time. I try to remember to use foot lotion but rarely do so I wasn't super excited about the fub balm from Kerstin Florian. However, I left it on the desk in my home office since I'm working from home a lot this month and have managed to apply it a few times. Made with menthol, this lotion is cooling on tired feet. It's actually a nice consistency but the scent is really, really strong. The combination of menthol, pine and lavender is a bit much for me so even though I like the balm and it feels great on my feet, I do not like the smell. Yuzen says that this doesn't contain parabens or petroleum and that Kertin Florian is a cruelty free brand.
Yuzen sent us the Sanitas Vita-Rich Serum in the fall box and I didn't love it. Here is the moisture mist which is actually quite nice. It's not meant to replace your moisturizer but to improve "spreadability and penetration". ((is spreadability a real word? and why does that phrase sound adult, Tom Hiddleston?)) I've used the spray a few times and I like it. It is something that I don't think I would necessarily purchase on my own but I'll use it up because I've got it. It should be a nice addition to my skin care routine over these frigid months that wreck my face. Sanitas is made without parabens or preservatives and is Kosher.
Level is another repeat brand from Yuzen which is fine by me. Their products are vegan as well as gluten and cruelty free; they're certified by both PETA and Leaping Bunny. I've wanted to try other items and have eyed their monthly Good Box but haven't signed up yet, so I was happy to see a travel candle included this time. This 100% natural, vegan, soy candle from Level Naturals is Yuzu scented and toxin-free. What's Yuzu? Apparently it's a delicate Japanese citrus. And while it smells good as an unlit candle, it falls flat when burning. I couldn't really smell it at all and of course, it didn't last as long as other candles because it's all natural. Oh well. Now I know that this should not go on my Level wishlist.
In case you don't know how I earn my spending money, I work in Employee Relations for a ginormous healthcare company. With over 100,000 employees and an understaffed department, my days are packed full of headaches and stress so as soon as I saw the Stress Relief roll-on from Tara Spa Therapy, I knew it had to live on my desk. It's a lotion so I don't think it works great in a roll-on, but it smells nice and is something else for me to play with when I need a break from listening. This product is organic, free of parabens, petroleum and preservatives and is cruelty free.
I thought I would get around to trying this SpaRitual Golden Rule lacquer and the 24-karat gold dust from Jane Iredale but I have not. Both are cruelty free brands and SpaRitual polish is vegan.
I've saved the creepiest for last and I'm kind of sorry for what you're about to see. Only "kind of" because I do have an obligation to share with you what was going down in my bathroom late one night. What we've got here is a coconut aloe facial mask from Pino Spa. Pino is a German brand that creates natural, plant based beauty products. This mask contains vitamins to moisturize, nourish and revitalize your skin and it smells just like a pina colada. When I opened the packet, I was surprised to find that it's a cloth-like mask that has holes for your eyes, nose and mouth. It is very wet, but not dripping and pretty easy to position on the face. But it looks freaky. It looks so freaky I thought for sure I'd scare my dogs and they'd attack me. Fortunately that did not happen and after 10 minutes of creeping around the house, I removed the mask. The instructions didn't specify if I was to rinse or wipe off my face, so I just let it air dry. My skin felt soft and smooth once it was dry. It was nice; creepy but nice. Pino does not test on animals.
Sorry if I scared you.