My first Spa Castle experience and review

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To celebrate our Labor Day holiday, YJ and I ventured to Spa Castle in Carrollton, TX today to get our relaxation on! We were excited and super nervous and really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I’m happy to report, though, that we had the BEST time and can’t wait to go back soon. I figured I’d put a little blog together to share our experience and hopefully de-mystify it a bit for you if you ever decide to go (which you totally should…)

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HOW IT WORKS:

You walk into this grand “castle” and check-in at the front desk. Admission is $35/person and that price grants you access for a full 24 hours to all the sauna rooms, hydrotherapy pools, fitness centers and lounges. Any massages, reflexology or exfoliation treatments are additional.

Once you are checked-in and pay your fee, you are given a “watch” (more on that later) and directed to the locker rooms… guys to the left and ladies to the right.

You immediately place your shoes in the tiny locker assigned to you and now you can expect to be barefoot for the rest of your spa experience. Once your shoes are locked away, you are greeted by the locker room attendant who will give you a “uniform” that consists of a thick cotton v-neck Tshirt and cotton gym shorts. Girls get pink and boys get blue. NOTE: These uniforms run small, so order a size or two up from what you wear in real life (sizes S – 3X).

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You are required to wear this uniform in all of the sauna rooms and the fitness center (or Floors 2 &3 once you know the layout). You watch is a pretty smart device – it locks/unlocks your assigned locker that corresponds to the number on your watch. It also serves as a virtual debit card, where you can ring up food/spa/etc. purchases throughout your day – and then you tab out when you are ready to leave Spa Castle.

Ok. Now you are all uniformed up and ready to sweat.

YJ and I planned to meet on the 2nd floor outside of Sauna Valley.

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From Spa Castle’s website: Each room, equally ornate in structure and design, offers specific healing affects through the combination of the infrared rays converted to heat with the natural essence of the room itself. The lining of each room is made from natural and authentic components, each organically beneficial to the body.

Here are the rooms (and we checked ALL of the out):

  • Gold Pyramid (plates of 98% real gold) // From the Ancient Romans to the Egyptians, gold was used for its numerous medicinal healing and beauty powers. Some believe that it reduces dependency on alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and carbohydrates. A more proven benefit of gold is its ability to improve mental acuity and concentration through increasing the conductivity between nerve endings. Concurrently, it is beneficial for rejuvenating sluggish organs, especially in the brain and digestive system. Gold is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

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No surprise here, the Gold room was my absolute favorite! It was around 160 degrees and sparkly… The raised beds were unique and brought me even closer to the heat. I wanted to move in!

  • Charcoal Tower (activated charcoal, fine black carbon powder superheated with steam) // With its ability to absorb thousands of times its own weight, charcoal has been used since the ancient Egyptian times to extract impurities from the body. Activated charcoal is used to treat certain kinds of poisoning, as well as to filter water. This room allows for ingested toxins to be extracted from the body, to kill bacteria and viruses, and lower cholesterol levels.

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The charcoal room was fantastic… I think I sweated the most here, which was the goal, right? YJ and I sat side by side here and really quieted ourselves.

  • LoessTower (yellow soil of Korea) // This room provides the ultimate meditative environment through the hand painted walls and soothing aroma of the yellow clay. The infrared rays emitted from the Loess clay help blood circulation and metabolism, as well as relieve headaches, arthritis, liver ailment and even obesity. Blood is detoxified as the infrared heat pushes out wastes from the pores. Heated loess is recommended to prevent topical dermatitis as well as for relief from asthma.

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This room was also incredible… YJ says it was his favorite. It was hot without being overwhelming.

  • Roman Bath (a modern replicate of the traditional Roman public baths) // In the ancient times, stones heated in a fireplace were gathered in an enclosed room. Water was then thrown over them to produce steam, dispersing the heat. This room superheats stones in the center of the room and stimulates sweat glands, increases blood circulation, cleanses respiratory tracts and improves elasticity of conjunctive tissues and muscles. More oxygen is distributed throughout the body, improving organ functions.

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  • Color Therapy (Chromo-therapy) // Used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, this alternative method focuses on the use of colors to balance “energy” within the mind, body, and soul. Specific colors are linked to different organs in the body, affecting emotions, moods, and physiological conditions. When the energy of a particular organ is thrown off by disease, sickness, or distress, exposing the body to its related color wavelengths will restore homeostasis.

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  • Himalayan Salt Room (Pure blocks of Himalayan Salt) // Salt is a natural ionizer and creates a fresh, clean, bacteria-free environment. This room will help regulate water and blood pressure throughout the body. Calcium, sodium, magnesium, carbon, and manganese found in the blocks of salt help relieve allergies and asthma, soften and clear the skin, and reduce signs of aging. The salt moisturizes the air allowing for easier breathing for those with respiratory issues.

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This was the first room we experienced and it was great… easy to breathe and relax deeply.

 

  • Infrared Zone (Lounge chairs placed under overhead infrared heaters) // Microscopic infrared wavelengths are emitted from the heaters and directly absorbed into the body, reducing pain, stiffness, and fatigue. This lounge mimics the comforting warming sensation achieved from sunbathing without the damaging effects of UV rays. Use the blue touch panels to activate the heaters.

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  • Bul Gama (Extra hot clay oven) // Modeled after the traditional Korean ultra heated sauna, where special yellow archer fomentation stones and Oak wood are superheated in a fire kiln, this room releases natural elements that penetrate deep into your pores and results in immediate detoxification and strengthening of the immune system. Calories are burned quickly from the stimulation of white blood cells and antibody production.

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This room was CRAZY hot… like over 190 degrees. We lasted less than thirty seconds… But I think I can better prepare myself and try to tough it out next time I go.

  • Far Infrared // Heaters convert infrared light into heat, which is directly absorbed into the skin (as opposed to heating the air), soothing joint stiffness, increasing oxygen flow to the brain, and clearing up nasal congestion and clogged pores,. The rays are vibrating at a frequency that allows for the body’s cells to activate and strengthen, which results in better circulation. As the rays are directly absorbed into the skin, pores are cleansed and detoxification is achieved.

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  • Ice Land // Short term cold stimulation improves the body’s anti-oxidant capabilities, helping strengthen the immune system, firms the skin, reduces cellulite, chronic pain and fatigue, as well as providing a refreshing escape.

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If you are exhausted just thinking about all the saunas and sweating and more saunas and more sweating… just you wait! There’s a whole indoor/outdoor spa pool area to explore!

IMPORTANT – Pack a bathing suit. You can’t wear your uniform in the pools, so be prepared to head back down to the locker room to change into your suit.

You’re probably thinking… are other people going to see me naked? The answer, is yes… maybe… kind of… but only for a hot minute. Think of changing at the gym … you’re exposed briefly but nobody cares and nobody is paying attention to you. Seriously not a big deal. There’s an opportunity for more nudity, which I’ll get to later…

From Spa Castle: Consistent with the ideas of Reflexology, Spa Castle’s beloved indoor and outdoor Bade Pools are sprinkled with strategically placed aqua-therapy jets, aimed to massage different areas of the body. While relaxing in a full-body hot water immersion, what you do not realize is that this is acupressure, hydrotherapy not only feels wonderful, but helps enhance circulation, skin tone, joints and muscle tension, and even digestion. A truly magnificent winter experience can be shared in one of these year-round outdoor and indoor spa pools.

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The Aqua Bar (above) // A quick escape to paradise. Soak in the warm waters, while enjoying a stimulating aqua-body massage accompanied by a refreshing cocktail. The swim-up bar is the perfect place to laugh with the girlfriends, watch the Cowboys and Rangers game, or just relax.

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Mystic Pool (above) // Experience the same refreshing rush of water and pressure treatment on your head, shoulders, and back under our “deep mountain” waterfall. The evening sets an enchanting setting, enhanced by panoramic views to add to the peaceful ambiance of the pool area.

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Hydrotherapy Pools // Sit down, lay back, and let the acupressure from the water jets massage your back and feet, all while taking in the beautiful sky views. The indoor hydrotherapy pools are equipped with personal body lounges, submerged under heated waters. Place your hand over the sensor, and let the jets melt away any aches and pains.

Ok. You could stop now and be done. Or you could keep going. YJ and I decided to dry off, throw our uniforms back on and hit the saunas again for another hour or so…

Now here’s the fun part… for some. When you head back to the locker room, you’re going to want to shower. You smell like salt and chlorine. The shower stalls are open air and pretty exposed… in short, you’re about to be real naked in front of people. But again, who cares?

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If you’re me, you decided to go all in with this first experience… in this case, “all in” means that I tried out the hot baths and pools connected to the ladies locker room. These baths require that you are fully nude… and while that’s intimidating, it’s also so incredibly freeing. There’s only other women there, who are all focused on relaxation and cleansing… it was quiet and calming, a perfect way to wrap up an amazing spa experience.

After the baths, I showered and got dressed and met YJ in the lobby to check out.

We absolutely can’t wait to go back… Wanna join us?!?!

Disclaimer: I've pulled all these images off of Google and the Spa Castle website. If you'd like to claim any as your own, let me know and I'll be happy to link it.

August 2014 Stitch Fix Review – Stitch Fix #7

 

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Last week, I got my seventh Stitch Fix in the mail! I kept two items from my last Fix (the silver fringe necklace and the embroidered racerback tank), and I’ve been dying to get this latest Stitch Fix in my hands! I also spent a lot of time updating my Pinterest Style Board called “For My Stitch Fix Stylist” in the hopes it would make my future fixes even more successful.

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A few days ago I peeked in my account to try and figure out what was coming, but it only lists the names of the items and doesn’t include pictures. So…I had an idea of what was headed my way, but didn’t have any clue as to the colors or patterns of things.

My note from my stylist:

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Stitch Fix comes with an information card which includes a listing of everything in the box, prices, and then a total of how much everything would be if you kept everything in the box (it deducts your $20 styling fee and the 25% discount for keeping all of your items):

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Here is what I received:

Street Level: Jamie Animal Print Folded Clutch ($48): This was the first item I saw in my box. I love this little cluth. The soft fabric and animal print makes it a standout in my current collection. It’ll be super fun for a night out! VERDICT: Kept!

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Collective Concepts: Jennah Flutter Sleeve Leopard Print Blouse ($64): I LOVED this top. The animal print was a win, and the sheer element and navy panels totally classed it up. Unfortunately, it was a little snug on my chest and for the price I couldn’t justify keeping it. It was a sad item to let go of, though, and maybe I’ll ask for it again in a future fix. VERDICT: Returned!

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19 Cooper: Lanea Graphic Print Racerback Tank ($58): This top was a miss on a lot of levels. The graphic print is good in theory, but the print is way too dark and heavy. On top of that, the mustard was supper unflattering – I mean, who looks good in mustard yellow? VERDICT: Returned!

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Market and Spruce: Locklyn Ruffle Detail Graphic Print Knit Tank ($48): This top was worse than the previous tank. It was too short in the front. The ruffle detail in the back was really weird and a total disconnect from the overall vibe of the shirt. This was 100% not for me! VERDICT: Returned!

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Loveappella: Maia Colorblock Maxi Dress ($78): Thank goodness for this dress. So cute and flattering and totally me! For a moment I was worried that I wouldn’t keep a single item of clothing from this Fix, but I slipped on this dress and fell in love! VERDICT: Kept!

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I really like the styling cards included in my Stitch Fix box. They help provide inspiration on how you might pair this new find with something already in your closet.

For my seventh box – I had mixed feelings. Even though I didn’t keep everything, the styles represented me well for the most part. I gave pretty decisive feedback in my checkout and requested a previous stylist that I really liked for my next Fix. I still love the concept, though, and as long as I love even one piece so I don’t lose my styling fee, I’m a happy Stitch Fix girl! Excited to see what’s in my next box, set to arrive mid-month.

PREVIOUS STITCH FIX REVIEWS:

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If you don’t know the greatness that is Stitch Fix, let me break it down for you… Basically, Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/styling service for women. You sign up (HERE) and fill out an in-depth style profile about all your fashion likes and dislikes, sizes and even budget preferences. Are you more preppy or more rock n’ roll? Do you wear T-shirts and jeans – or are you never caught without a dress? You can even link to a Pinterest board to really show your stylist what your personal style is all about…

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Once you’re all signed up, you’ll receive a box once a month with outfits and accessories HAND-PICKED for you by your personal Stitch Fix stylist. There is a $20 styling fee each month. IF you choose to keep even one item, that $20 is applied to your purchase price. Even better, if you decide to keep all 5 items – you get an additional 25% off your total order. Essentially – you keep what you love and you send back anything that doesn’t work. You only pay for the items to decide to hang on to, and you are charged when you ‘check out’ each month on your Stitch Fix page. You have a few days to try everything on and the box comes with a bag and a prepaid return label so you can easily ship back the pieces you aren’t interested in.

Wantable “Makeup” Subscription Box – August 2014

Wantable is a hyper-personalized monthly subscription box. They have three options: Makeup, Accessories and Intimates. Each box is $36/mo. and you take a in-depth profile quiz to let Wantable know your loves, likes and dislikes. Essentially, this helps from getting samples/products/etc. that you’d never be interested in.

A couple days ago, I received my August Makeup Box. I also have reviews for the August Intimates Box and the August Accessories Box in recent blog posts – check ‘em all out. I wasn’t in LOVE with the items I got in my Wantable Makeup Box this time around, but they are good staples to grow my collection.

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There were 4 items in my Wantable August Makeup Box. From WantableAlthough we’re still basking in the glow of summertime autumn is right around the corner, so we’ve rounded up the perfect makeup products to transition you beautifully to next season. For a flawless complexion we’re obsessed with a weightless, hydrating foundation from makeup artist and aesthetician Geri Giagnorio’s line, Geri G. Another newcomer is Elizabeth Mott with an incredible volumizing mascara and the creamiest gel pencils. Also bringing their eye-lining A-game is Mica Beauty along with a gorgeous Kabuki brush that works beautifully with MARSK’s silky mineral blush and bronzer. Speaking of blush, Wantable favorite Tarina Tarantino has stunning blush palettes this month in the gorgeous packaging Wantable fans love. Finally, for a touch of sparkle we have the most charming glass nail files featuring Swarovski accents to add a little fabulous functionality to your handbag.

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  1. Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Pencil (Raven)
  2. Vincent Longo Eyebrow Micro Pencil (Brunette) + Sharpener
  3. Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperlight
  4. Ofra 3D Cream Eyeshadow (In the Flesh)

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From Wantable: The Smooth Shadow Creamy Eye Pencil is not your ordinary eyeliner! Elizabeth Mott has created the ultimate gel pencil that’s smooth like butter and lasts ALL DAY without smudging. The velvety gel formula glides on with ease and contains just enough shimmer. (RV: $15)

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From Wantable: The first step in creating picture perfect eyebrows is having the right tool. Vincent Longo’s Micro Pencil is the new generation of wood eyebrow tools, with an extra thin lead pencil for super precise application. The pencil gives your microprecision access to brow hairs at the root so you can fill in those hard to reach spaces and reshape brows for a natural finish. The Micro Pencil lead is a longwearing, creamy, smudge resistant formula that will hold throughout the day. BEAUTY TIP: To create a completely natural look, follow with a spoolie brush to blend the precise strokes to avoid having brows appear as if they have been drawn or penciled in. For best results, follow with a brow pomade to keep your brows groomed and polished throughout the day. (RV: $20)

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From Wantable: This universal shade brightener instantly reduces the appearance of dark circles and diminishes discolorations around the eye area to create a radiant, youthful glow in one swift swipe. This blendable, crease-free formulation was designed to be applied under or over your concealer and foundation making it the quick fix for weary mornings or long days to keep you looking bright eyes and refreshed at all times. BEAUTY TIP: Apply under the eyes and under your brows, then blend well with your ring finger or a brush to look bright eyed on the sleepiest mornings. (RV: $22)

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From Wantable: This new technology of gorgeous cream eyeshadows with a built-in primer provides a luminous, lustrous and glowing effect. It is long-lasting and requires just a little big for effective coverage. Suitable for all skin types, 3D Cream Eyeshadow enables you to provide unique and innovative techniques of color blending. Rich in pigment, 3D Cream Eyeshadow also contains natural sun filters like Titanium Dioxide and Vitamin C, which is an excellent firming and anti-againg ingredient that protects skin with each application. (RV: $20)

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THE WHOLE LOOK:

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THE VERDICT:

I was a little let down with this Wantable box, but I’ll definitely use all the products included. They are simple and foundational – never a bad thing. The retail value of this box was $77… Definitely a steal getting all this for only $36! Can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Previous Wantable Makeup Box Reviews:

 

Wantable “Accessories” Subscription Box – August 2014

Wantable is a hyper-personalized monthly subscription box. They have three options: Makeup, Accessories and Intimates. Each box is $36/mo. and you take a in-depth profile quiz to let Wantable know your loves, likes and dislikes. Essentially, this helps from getting samples/products/etc. that you’d never be interested in.

A couple days ago, I received my August Accessories Box. I also have reviews for the August Intimates Box and the August Makeup Box in recent blog posts – check ‘em all out. I am really happy with the items I got in my Wantable Accessories Box! They were all super unique and fun additions to my growing collection!

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There were 4 items in my Wantable August Accessories Box. From Wantable: This month we enjoy the last rays of the summer sun and get our wardrobes ready for breezy autumn days. Our Accessories feature the perfect pieces to transition you to the cooler months ahead while still adding fashion forward style to your warm weather apparel. August’s accessories trends range from hard metallics, to soft sparkling beads. One of our favorite trends we’re highlighting this month is vintage-inspired pieces including lacy filigree and dainty beads that shimmer in the sunlight. We’re bringing California fashioner, Ettika to the party this month too! They’ve injected the laid-back-luxe lifestyle of LA, from the sun and sand of Malibu to the sparkling lights of Tinseltown, into each of their unique pieces. Our August Accessories were made to be layered, so create stacks of bangles and unique looks by piling on long and short necklaces and mixing in new favorites with items from your closet. There’s nothing better than a look that’s all your own!

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  1. Jenna Earrings
  2. Rhonda Bracelet
  3. Ettika Triple Faceted Ring Bead Chain Necklace
  4. Reny Earrings

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From Wantable: The Jenna Earrings are your new everyday classic pair of earrings. The multitone combo is perfect for any outfit! (RV: $16)

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From Wantable: The Rhonda stretch bracelet is a simple multitone bracelet! (RV: $15)

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From Wantable: This different yet understated necklace features a short gold tone chain accented with a trio of faceted beads. (RV: $45)

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From Wantable: The Reny earrings are the perfect geometric metal rock earrings! (RV: $15)

THE VERDICT: I am in love with this Wantable box! I’ve already worn all the pieces – and the bracelet has become a permanent fixture on my wrist. The retail value of this box was $91… And yet I got these four pieces for only $36! Can’t wait to see what next month brings!!!

Previous ‘Accessories’ Reviews:

Three words to shape my weight loss journey

Inspiration for this post found on Fit to the Finish

I was looking back through old emails, and stumbled upon a blog post that related our behaviors to a stop light as a tool to really self-examine what we are doing to HELP and HURT our weight loss efforts…

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STOP represents those behaviors I need to stop doing because they are detrimental to my health and weight loss.

CONTINUE represents those behaviors I have that are good for my weight loss efforts.

START represents the behaviors I need to start doing to make myself healthier and lose weight.

I’ve struggled with unhealthy behaviors my whole life that were harmful to my health and were negatively impacting my weight loss efforts. I’ve self-sabotaged and made enough excuses to build a house with. I thought it might be an enlightening exercise to share some of my behaviors and see if you have any of the same behaviors that are hindering your efforts.

I need to STOP:

  • Talking the talk – but not walking the walk
  • Going through the drive thru of fast food restaurants way too often – breakfast sandwiches and  quick burgers add up fast
  • Drinking Diet Coke like it’s water
  • Feeling the need to have something sweet after each meal (no matter how tiny)
  • Sitting on the couch when I could be more active at night
  • Eating from STRESSSSS and boredom
  • Making dumb excuses

I need to CONTINUE:

  • Taking care of my fiance, household, and dog
  • Keeping up with appointments and obligations
  • Sustain healthy relationships with family and friends
  • Working out with my personal trainer and solo at least 4x a week
  • Trying to lose weight
  • Trying to get stronger

And I need to START:

  • Shopping for healthy groceries on a weekly basis
  • Cooking more meals at home
  • Paying close attention to portion sizes
  • Keeping my calories and fat consumption at a weight loss level
  • Moving my body by getting off the couch and walking
  • Making REAL plans for my future health and wellness

I’m going to print this list out and hang it in my home. I’m always seeking out ways to introduce new methods of accountability into my life. I think this stoplight is a GENIUS way to examine behaviors and improve – whether it relates to health and fitness or anything else you might be pursuing.

Wantable “Intimates” Subscription Box – August 2014

Wantable is a hyper-personalized monthly subscription box. They have three options: Makeup, Accessories and Intimates. Each box is $36/mo. and you take a in-depth profile quiz to let Wantable know your loves, likes and dislikes. Essentially, this helps from getting samples/products/etc. that you’d never be interested in. And, of course, I’m subscribed to all three boxes…

A couple days ago, I received my August Intimates Box. I’ll share my reviews of the other boxes as they come in later this month…

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There were 4 items in my Wantable August Intimates Box. From WantableOur August Intimates Collection has everything you need to enjoy the final days of summer and transition into autumn. We have gorgeous panties from Wantable newcomer, Third Love. Their European-inspired lingerie is both luxurious and affordable and has been featured in Vogue and Refinery 29. Next up is QT Intimates with PJ sets and sleep bras for women of all sizes. They’ve been designing beautiful lingerie for over 68 years! Speaking of lingerie, we have seriously stunning bralette sets and babydolls that you’ll love to show off, and bralettes and tanks from Honeydew with the perfect little details. For comfort and style, we’re exciting to bring MeUndies, the “Worlds Most Comfortable Underwear.” Those are pretty lofty claims, but we have to agree. Their fabrics are so heavenly soft you’ll never want to settle for plain old cotton again! Finally, we’re bringing back socks and leggings in fun colors and patterns to banish boring from your life.

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  1. NikiBiki Capri Legging (Ivory)
  2. Rene Rofe “Trimmed with Love” PJ Short Set (White)
  3. Q-T Intimates Sleep Bra (Pink)
  4. TipiToe Black & White Ankle Socks

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From Wantable: These capri leggings feature the perfect amount of stretch for lounging or as a great wardrobe staple. (RV: $22)

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From Wantable: This adorable sleep set features a tee with lace trim and flattering center ruching. The shorts have a ribbon drawstring, tiny rhinestone accents and lace trim. (RV: $28)

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From Wantable: This comfortable sleep bra features a crossover design and easy pull-on style. (RV: $28)

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From Wantable: TipiToe Socks in an ankle cut perfect for warmer weather. They’re a playful spin on the everyday sock. Perfect for lounging or braking a sweat at the gym. (RV: $12)

 

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THE VERDICT: I was a little disappointed with this Wantable box! The pieces were pretty basic and not terribly exciting – however I’ll still definitely put everything to good use. The retail value of this box was $90. Definitely a steal getting all this for only $36! Can’t wait to see what next month brings!!!

Previous Intimates Box reviews: