Leaving the River -Part 4 (a fiction story)

To read part 1  https://mrsugarbears.com/2013/10/29/leaving-the-river-post-1-of-a-fiction-story/

To read part 2  https://mrsugarbears.com/2013/10/30/leaving-the-river-part-2-a-story-of-fiction/

To read part 3  https://mrsugarbears.com/2013/10/30/leaving-the-river-part-3-a-fiction-story/

“The sun streaming in tickled my cheeks good morning and I couldn’t help but smile as I looked out my window.  This place was so unlike my dear river home, but still it captivated me with its luscious green hills.  I couldn’t help but be excited knowing that I would be seeing more sites today-even if it meant traveling with Mr. Rude.  I refused to allow myself another moment of unhappiness.  I couldn’t believe I had allowed Alex to bring me to tears.  I quickly jumped out of bed and showered.  I put on my Tretorn sneakers and dressed in a comfortable outfit for the day.  I was ready to explore.  I hoped that Alex would be in a more amenable mood today.  I bounced into the kitchen with a bright smile on my face.  Mama had always taught me to kill-’em with kindness and it had served me well so far.  As I turned the corner into the kitchen, I was greeted by James.  I had yet to spend any time with James, Abby’s husband.  He had been working on a big case and had been leaving at the crack of dawn every morning and returning extremely late at night.  Although his eyes seemed tired and stressed, he still managed a sincere  smile and welcomed me with a big hug.  Abby was cooking breakfast for the family and she squealed when she saw me.  A part of me knew that she was just thrilled to have another girl in the house.  She welcomed the added estrogen to her testosterone filled home.  Alex was seated at the table and begrudgingly said good morning to me.  I forced my best smile and addressed him with a bright good morning.  I went over to Abby and asked her if I could help her with anything.  She hugged me and told me to join the boys.  I plopped down at the breakfast table and tried my best to get Alex excited about the day.  Questions started flying out of my mouth about where we should go that day.  One after the other, the questions spewed out of my mouth.  James started laughing a few minutes later and told Alex that it looked like he was going to need a little caffeine if he was going to keep up with me.  Alex did not look amused.  He calmly said he would take me to Tower Bridge in London and we could walk around there.  He wasn’t enthused, but I was so happy to have another tour, that I didn’t really care whether my tour guide was excited or not.  After breakfast we set off for the train in his MGB.  Mama and Aunt Abby had made me love British cars.  We had a picture on our mantel at home of the two of them standing beside the car we were now riding in.  I loved it.  Once we boarded the train he seemed to have loosened up a bit.  I asked him why he had chosen Tower Bridge and he immediately said, for the architecture.  He told me that it had been built in 1854  and that there had been a design competition consisting of fifty architects and designers to come up with the new design for the bridge.  This was the first time that I had seen Alex perk up.  He went on and on about it.  He told me that he planned on studying architecture at Oxford in the fall.  We spent the day walking all over London and I had a much better time with Alex than I had anticipated.  Mama was right, going in with a good attitude almost always worked.  By late afternoon, we were both famished.  We stopped in a local pub and he ordered a beer for himself, a tea for me and Bangers and Mash for both of us.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about him ordering for me, but at the time I figured it was best to be as agreeable and as non-argumentative as I could be.  He was at least talking to me and he had spent the day showing me around against his will.  After eating we both decided we had probably head back home.  On the train ride home we continued talking.  We talked about my life on the river and he actually seemed interested.  He even went so far as to say he would like to visit one day.  I couldn’t help but smile when he said it and he smiled back at me for the first time.  I had not noticed his eyes before that moment.  They were dark, mysterious and for the first time I saw a light in them that reminded me of his mothers.  Something stirred inside of me that was unfamiliar and exhilarating.  Why did I feel shy all of a sudden?” When we arrived home, Abby immediately started in with a million questions about our day. I couldn’t help but respond with the same enthusiasm and speed. When I finally paused, I looked over at Alex who was quietly watching me from the table with a slight grin on his face. My cheeks immediately flushed crimson. Aunt Abby gave me a surprised, but knowing look. She turned back to the stove and told us to wash up for dinner. Once in the privacy of my room, I tried to contain my feelings. I couldn’t stop smiling. I rinsed off and decided to put on something a little nicer for dinner and even went so far as to apply some makeup. Abby called out that dinner was ready and I pranced my way back to the kitchen. Again, I offered to help and this time Abby said she would love a hand with setting the table. We continued to talk about my day and all of the sites I had seen with Alex. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat and I couldn’t make myself stop. Alex entered the room and I looked over at him with my permagrin and it stopped him in his tracks. He immediately looked away from me. I tried to get him to interact with me as I told more about our day, but the more I talked, the more he seemed to withdraw. What had happened in the hour since we had parted? Had I done something or said something wrong? My grin slowly dissipated and I sat down at the table to eat. Alex didn’t speak much during dinner. After we ate, he excused himself from the table without even a glance in my direction. A lump formed in my throat that was choking me and the room became unbearably warm. Abby asked me to join her later for a game of cards, but I told her that I was tired from the day and was going to retire early and just read. She seemed slightly disappointed, but gave me a sweet hug and told me to let her know if I needed anything. For the rest of the evening I questioned what had happened. Instead of reliving the wonderful sites I had seen that day, I was stuck thinking about Alex. The lump in my throat would not go away and I finally succumbed to the tears. I welcomed sleep.”

 

Leaving the River -Part 3 (a fiction story)

To read part 1 of this story- https://mrsugarbears.com/2013/10/29/leaving-the-river-post-1-of-a-fiction-story/
To read part 2 of this story- https://mrsugarbears.com/2013/10/30/leaving-the-river-part-2-a-story-of-fiction/

“Aunt Abby handed me a warm plate of cookies  with a steaming cup of tea.  I sat down at the kitchen island with her and devoured the cookies.  After finishing our cookies, Abby grabbed my hand and pulled me close.  She walked me all through the house telling me of its history.  The home had been built by her husbands grandfather.  James, her husband, had inherited the home when his father had decided to move closer to the city.  It was beautiful.  They still kept a thatched roof on the house in keeping with its original exterior aesthetics.  Although the exterior reflected the homes original design, the interior had been completely modernized.  Abby said that was the one stipulation she had made with James about the house. If she was going to raise her family in the house, she needed a great kitchen and bath.  Once she had walked me through the house, she began the tour of the grounds.  They were simply outstanding.  She told me all about her boys, Charles and Alex.  It was obvious that she was proud of both of them.  Charles had just finished his junior year at Oxford and Alex would be starting there in the fall.  They had both done very well in school and were both accomplished riders.  Just the mention of Charles’s name had made me blush.  Abby didn’t seem to notice and just kept rambling on about them.  I would not meet Alex for a few more days and Abby warned me that he was much more shy than Charles, but not to worry that he would warm up to me.  I spent the next few days slowly acclimating myself.  The home was right outside of Chipping Camden, a village that seemed trapped in time.  The village was said to have been built by wealthy wool merchants.  I spent my first week walking around the grounds and venturing a little into Chipping Camden.  I found St. James church on my second venture into town and found it comforting to visit.  The staff welcomed me with open arms and cookies. Charles wasn’t around that much.  He was technically just home for the summer from college and like most rising seniors at Oxford, he was working the bar circuits in town and sleeping most of his days.  Mama had purchased a Eurail pass for me, but gave me strict instructions not to use it without Abby or one of the boys accompanying me. By the second week I was itching to see more.  Abby had taken time off to take me to see Stone Henge and Buckingham Palace and a few other sites, but she was saving most of her vacation time in case mama could join us later. She assured me that Alex would be happy to take me to the other must-see sites.  I was so excited.  Touring with Abby was the best.  She seemed to know everyone no matter where we went.  She reminded me so much of mama that I was a little homesick.  I called mama every other day and talked so fast that she would just laugh and tell me to breathe.  Just as I was beginning to feel comfortable, I ran into Alex in the kitchen.  And I do mean that I ran into him.  I was walking full speed on my way in for a snack.  I was famished from a morning walk into Chipping Camden.  Although Abby had warned me he was shy, I didn’t expect him to be rude. He looked me over and made a snide comment about me watching where I was going. I apologized and tried to act excited to meet him. He was nothing like his older brother. Charles was tall, blond, exceedingly kind and had the most amazing eyes. Alex wasn’t much taller than I was, with brown hair, and he certainly wasn’t exuding kindness. Luckily Abby walked in with her bright self and immediately lit up. She was so happy that Alex was back and was bubbling over to introduce me to him. While Abby was doting on him, he seemed embarrassed and annoyed. Aunt Abby started up about Alex taking me out the next morning and she had quite a few suggestions for where she thought Alex should take me. He clearly wasn’t happy that he had been tasked with showing the sixteen year old from North Carolina around. Alex barely acknowledged my presence for the rest of the evening and when I excused myself after dinner to my room I fell on my bed and just wept. I wasn’t used to being ignored. This trip might not prove to be as amazing as I had thought if I was going to be stuck with Alex.” 

Leaving the River-part 2 (a story of fiction)

To read part 1 of this story- https://mrsugarbears.com/2013/10/29/leaving-the-river-post-1-of-a-fiction-story/

Hannah tossed the rest of her bourbon down and tilted her glass towards me.  Again, I hastily rushed to the bar to make her a fresh drink.  I was fascinated by her life and elated that she was sharing the evening with me.  When I returned with her cocktail she gave me another nod and a tilt of the glass in appreciation.  I eagerly sat down facing her, beckoning her attention to go back to the story. 

“I couldn’t believe I was going to England.  I was sixteen and eager for the experience. Mama was going to drop me off at the airport and then I would be meeting up with her college roommate Abigail at London’s Heathrow Airport. For the long journey there I would be on my own. I spent weeks planning my outfits and making lists of things I would do while I was there. Abigail had two sons that were both slightly older so it made staying with Abigail exciting and frightening. Living in a small community had provided me with a good sense of self, but it had not provided me with a boyfriend. None deemed worthy of a relationship outside of friendship. My mother had always preached waiting for the right one to me and thus far I had no crushes to tempt me. Finally, the day of my flight had arrived. My mother was beside herself with glee. She had visited England once when she was in college. Her parents had agreed to let her go home with Abigail for Spring break one year and she said it forever changed her for the better. Mama believed it was important for a woman to not only be educated, but well-traveled. She helped me load her Volvo with my bags and a small cooler for our trip to the airport. It was a two hour trip to get there and in true mama fashion we would need to leave five hours in advance to get there. On the bright side, I could listen to my new Cure tape on the way there. She had bought me a new walkman for the trip, too. She was a great mom. We arrived at RDU airport with bags in tow on a Wednesday in June of 1985. She waited the three hours until boarding with me despite my attempts to tell her to go home. When the flight was called, mama squeezed my hand and handed me a small box. She told me to open it on the plane. We hugged and kissed each other good bye and I thanked her again for giving me the trip. To my awesome surprise the flight wasn’t full and I ended up with a row to myself. Once we were in the air, I opened the box which contained a note and a jewelry box. The note simply said Always Follow Your Dreams and the jewelry box contained a small silver airplane charm to add to my bracelet. I smiled at the thoughtfulness of the gift and put the charm on my bracelet. The flight was a bear, but my new walkman and Cure tape helped me get through it. I was so excited when the airplane landed. I knew that Abigail or Aunt Abby as I had always called her would be waiting for me with a big sign and a huge grin. She and mama had ruled at college. They were both beautiful, smart blonds. Abigail’s English accent had always mixed well with mama’s North Carolina one. They had been joined at the hip all through college and had maintained their friendship over the years. I knew mama wanted to make the visit herself and she hoped she would be able to join us midsummer, but at the time there was too much going on for her to get away. As I predicted Abigail was waiting for me with a huge sign. She hugged me for what seemed like forever before she even said hello to me. I didn’t care. I was just so excited to be there. I was going to spend the summer with her family and I planned on enjoying every minute of it. Between the money I had saved all year and the money mama had given me, I would be able to enjoy most everything there. Finally Aunt Abby let go of me and proceeded to tell me of all the plans she had for us. Although I knew Aunt Abby really well from all of her visits to the states, I didn’t know her family and I didn’t know her country. After claiming our baggage we hailed a taxi for a ride to the nearby train station. The train ride was glorious. I was in awe of the views of the countryside. As we neared our stop Abby squeezed my hand and asked me if I was ready? Ready for what I asked? She simply replied, Everything and smiled a huge grin at me. When we got off of the train her oldest son was there waiting for us. Charles was twenty one and very handsome. He came over to us and greeted me kindly and grabbed my bags. I thanked him, but could not quite make eye contact with him. I was unsure of the feelings that I was experiencing. Aunt Abby just gave me a knowing nod and told Charles to step on it. Their home was even better than I had imagined. I had my own room with adjoining bathroom taking most of my fear away about sharing a house for the summer with boys…especially cute ones. Aunt Abby told me to meet her in the kitchen after I had settled myself in so she could show me around the house and grounds. While I was unpacking I couldn’t help but notice the nearby stables out of my window. I had never ridden a horse before. Growing up on a river had provided me with lots of fishing experience, but no horseback riding ones. I guess that was just one more thing I would add to my list for the summer. I met Abby in the kitchen shortly after and was greeted with the aroma of freshly baked cookies. The recipe was my moms and it made me love Abby even more for making them for me. This was going to be a great summer.”

To be continued…

 

Leaving the River (post 1 of a fiction story)

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Hannah plopped down into the chair with a hearty sigh and grinned.   The exuberance she had for life was contagious and I was drawn to her light.  She was luminous.  

Whether Hannah was talking smack with the guys or running her business,  she did them both with an unparalleled passion.  She was a leader…a fun leader.  Her motto was ,”Work Hard. Play Hard” and she certainly did both well.  Her company was well sought after and no one could deny her ability as a brilliant business woman.  I admired her.  

In the time it had taken for her to cross the room and plop down, something had changed.  It was as if the air had been drawn out of her.  She seemed distant.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was on her mind.  I offered to bring her a refill and she politely smiled and said she was fine.  Sometimes in the quiet you can really sense a persons true state.  There was a desire emanating from her for something.  “Is there anything you need?” I quietly whispered to her.  Hannah’s eyes glossed over and for a brief moment I thought she was going to cry.  Hannah looked my way and said, “I would like to tell you a story.  Have you got a little while?”  I have to admit I was shocked and excited.  Of course I replied, “yes.” 

Hannah looked at me with the kindest of eyes and then said, “Well I guess I am going to need that refill after all.”  I grabbed Hannah’s glass and quickly scurried across the room to the bar and refilled her glass with Maker’s Mark on the rocks and a  twist of lime.  I hoped I had prepared it the way she liked it. When I handed her the glass, she promptly took a sip and with a nod of approval thanked me for it.  I quickly sat down next to her and the fire and she began to tell me her story.  

“I was born the year that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and planted the American flag on its surface. It should have been a year full of pride for our nation, but in 1969 our country was full of unrest over the Vietnam war.  Although we lived in a quiet river community the seeds of unrest in the world seemed to have planted themselves into my soul.  I spent countless hours staring at the river and dreaming of a life far away.  I sensed the same unrest in my mother.  My mother had become a widow at a young age, but had been left with enough to live a comfortable life on the river. I often wondered what kept her there.  Daddy had died before they had a a chance to have another child so it was just the two of us.  Mama had been raised with the best of Southern manners and a work ethic that allowed her to prosper in a time when most did not.  She was desired by many for these reasons.  She was always dressed beautifully and her make-up and hair were always flawless.  We had a very close relationship from the beginning.  I loved to watch her get ready in the morning.  She would pin her soft, blond curls up into a bun and then gently and precisely apply her lipstick and powder.  Occasionally, she would powder my nose, too.  There was always a kind smile on her face and her eyes emanated love.  I didn’t know of anyone that didn’t love and respect my mother.  People had loved my daddy, too.  Many of my dad’s friends kept a regular check on us.  It wasn’t that she didn’t have money to take care of us, it was clearly out of respect for my dad.  When I turned sixteen, she sent me to Europe for the summer.  Leaving the river would change my life.”

The party had died down since Hannah had started telling me her story and I found myself so drawn in that I hoped and prayed we would be left alone.  I stoked the fire beside us and added another log.  I was planting myself in for the duration.  Hannah’s eyes were still glazed over and she never looked in my direction.  It was as if she was in a trance. I gently spoke her name and she sat up and took another sip of her bourbon and said, “Sorry dear, I was lost in thought.”  

To be continued

 

A Perfect Weekend

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After welcoming Ramsey, my sister’s new rescue dog Friday night, we still had lots more to look forward to.  Saturday night we were invited to an engagement party for my friends Dee and Tim.  The home was stunning, as was their backyard.  We were amazed as one of the hosts took us down to his pond to feed the catfish.  As hard as I tried to get a picture of the feeding catfish I just failed.  These catfish were huge!  Imagine standing next to a pond while 10-15 pound Catfish splashed you in a feeding frenzy.  It was really cool.  The wife is a master gardener and her yard was truly a masterpiece.  Later in the evening as we all meandered through their home we all somehow made it to the garage.  The husband restores old cars and wow are they beautiful.  Since my sister and I both had MGB convertibles at sixteen, we were both enamored with this one.

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Looks at the leather detail on this car.

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This garage kept us entertained for a while.  Of course the cabernet we were downing likely attributed to our fascination and my sister’s photo bomb here. 🙂

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Sunday, my sister invited us all over for a Southern style potluck.  I am pretty sure that I need to fast today.  I like to think of the gluttonous behavior that I displayed yesterday as  holiday prepping for my tummy. 

First up-Butter beans cooked with Salt pork by yours truly.  Healthy.

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I also tried out Tyler Florence’s “tried-and-true” Sweet potato casserole.  Wow. It makes sense to add butter, brown sugar and pecans on top.  Yep.

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Coco made these amazing deviled eggs with bacon drippings mixed in and bacon on top.  Also, very healthy. 🙂

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She also made this amazing corn pudding with goats cheese.  Recipe courtesy of this months Southern Living.  Yes, I said goats cheese.  SOOO yummy.

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Dee made her “almost famous baked beans”  Yes-she adds meat to the dish.  Beans need the added carbs.  Yep, another light dish.

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Sadly I did not get a picture of the collards cooked with bacon, the crock-pot mac and cheese or the Smashed red potatoes with heavy cream. Nor did I take a picture of the Banana Pudding cake or the Mississippi mud cake.  Maybe because my brain and body stopped working after eating this entire plate.

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Any weekend that has rescue dogs, a southern potluck, an engagement party with friends and restored MGB’s is what I think of as a perfect weekend.  

 

Ramsey

Last night was fantastic. My sweet friend LuLu was home from Hawaii and my sister adopted a rescue dog named Ramsey. I spent my Friday night cuddling with Ramsey and bear-hugging Lulu. My niece and nephew were adorable. They had their aunt LuLu and aunt Shanny with them and their new rescue dog. My brother-in-law had a nice fire going and we had a few glasses of cabernet by it. It was a perfect night.
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Looking for Treasure

Looking for Treasure

Sleep is my friend. Every morning when my alarm goes off I immediately slam the snooze button, followed by two more slams. It takes me three threatening alarms to force me to get out of bed. Luckily my husband has already left before this harassment happens, so he is none the wiser. Thankfully as soon as I jump in the shower I am alert and awake and happy. People are under the impression that I am a morning person because of this.
Since B leaves earlier than I do, he wakes me just enough that I am able to go back to sleep and experience the “crazy” dreams. You know the kind of dreams I am referring to-the kind that can be so bizarre that when you wake up you are left questioning why something so weird would even enter your mind. Sometimes these dreams are full of terror that I can’t escape and many times they are so joyful that I just can’t bear to leave them. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t want to get up. Dreams can make life even better. It’s important to set goals and dream of better things in life.
A few weekends ago while B was working on the new fence, Mr. Sugarbears was exploring the yard. He likes to bury things in the yard. In fact it’s become normal to hear a squeak under foot when walking through our yard. He buries his squeaky toys in shallow graves all over the back yard. On this particular occasion he found life in an old tree stump. His entire head was below the ground. He found a nest of chipmunks. Fortunately he could not reach them. I had terrible images in my mind of him running around the yard with a chipmunk in his mouth. Thankfully, this did not happen. Every morning when I let him out he immediately runs to the old stump. He’s convinced he is going to have a chipmunk. It’s just not going to happen though. I hate to crush the dogs dreams, but in this case…Mr. Sugarbears is looking for treasure in the form of a chipmunk for him to play with or a squirrel. I think we are all searching for something. Are you looking for treasure?

A Case of the Should Haves

Regret.  At some point in life we all experience it.  We may even dwell on those thoughts and allow them to consume us.   In my twenties I was making the “mistakes” and just living my life.  In my thirties I was busy dealing with the “I should have done this or that” and honestly allowing myself to feel lesser than.  Now in my forties I am just trying to accept myself and actually do something about the “should haves” and enjoy my life.  I am trying to tackle these things head on.  If I wanted to be a writer all my life, then why not work on it now?  Why not pull out the book I started at nineteen and see if I can finish it?  What about all of those paintings I kept from art school that my professor told me not to discard because one day I would know how to finish them…Why not take a look at them?  Life’s too short not to tackle our dreams and right our wrongs.  I love to read about people running their first marathon at sixty or going back to school at forty.  Some mornings I wake up and I just can’t believe how fast life has been and at the same time how much life I have lived.  The speed seems to slow down during the work hours and of course it flies by as soon as I am off the time clock.  Why does the real living part of life go so fast?  Maybe I should make a bucket list.  In fact, I will make one, because life is too short for a case of the should haves.

Next up-The Bucket List.

The Humble Man

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My dad is a very humble man.  I have such a great respect for how he has lived his life.   When he met my mother he was serving in the Navy.  He fell head over heels for her and every month he came home to see her.  After twelve dates…one year later, he asked mom to marry him.  My mother jokes that as soon as he married her he started saving for his future children to go to college.  The joke is a reality.  He wanted a family and he wanted to be a good dad.  He is and he always has been a good dad.  In fact he has been a great dad.  There was never a need that he did not meet for us.  (wants are different, of course)  At seventy, he is still working almost as hard as he was at forty.  He’s a working machine.  He likes to take care of people.  He works so he can tithe to the church, give to his alma mater, give to those in need and treat his “girls” sometimes.  Of course I mean myself, sister and mom when I say his girls.  He still mows his own yard and takes care of most of the repairs needed on his home and cars.  He’s also the man that still wears some of the same ties from the seventies.  He’s not big on spoiling himself.  So last Christmas when he announced that he had bought himself a 1959 Plymouth Fury, we were all flabbergasted.  He has wanted this car for years.  None of us ever thought he would buy one for himself.  In fact my sister and I often talked about how wonderful it would be if we could find an affordable one and buy it for him.  He had one in high school and  when he and mom met they both had one.  So needless to say, he’s very happy to have this car.

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 It’s really cool.  I drove it for the first time about a month ago and it was harder than I had imagined.  He drove me out to the country and then traded seats with me.  It reminded me of the first time I drove a big van in college for a catering company.  It’s a lot of vehicle to keep on the road.  

Last week he mentioned that he was going to take it to the Car Show in our county, but as usual didn’t give any detail to me.  Saturday afternoon my dad showed up with a trophy in his hand grinning like a Cheshire cat.  He had waxed his car to the point that you couldn’t sit a can on it without it sliding off.  It was beautiful.  He drove his car to the 16th Annual Car and Tractor show Saturday morning and paid his 20.00 entry fee and then showed off his baby to anyone and everyone that would stop by.  The proceeds benefit the Hospice Home in Alamance county.  I hate that we missed seeing him there.  My sister’s husband and my nephew made it there and perhaps that was enough.  For me, seeing the look on his face with the trophy in his hand was almost enough to make me cry.  The man who always does for everyone else had his first trophy at seventy.  Finally, something for the humble man.  

Ten Dollars per Month Well-Spent

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I have a monthly subscription with Birchbox.  It’s a brilliant company.  For ten dollars per month, they send me a box full of beauty samples that are customized for me.  For me, it’s like a special present each month.  I originally saw a picture of a Birchbox on Instagram from one of the food bloggers I follow.  I was intrigued and I am so glad that the post peaked my interest.   I immediately went to birchbox.com and tried to sign up then.  Once you “request an invite” from Birchbox, it will take about one month before they will “invite” you to purchase a subscription.  Trust me, it is worth the wait.  I simply filled out a profile of the types of beauty items that interested me, my hair color, eye color, fair skin, and such.  Each box is customized for me.  I have yet to open one that didn’t thrill me.  Last month my favorite item in the box was a great mascara which I am still using.  This months box came in last night and I haven’t had a chance to try the products, but tonight I will dive right in to my new products.  This is what was included this month…

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Of course they want to entice me into buying these products on their website.  I have no problem with the brilliance of their business.  If I like a product that they have put in the box for me, I can buy it from them at a discount or anywhere else for that matter.  I have no obligation to buy anything from them.  My only obligation is my monthly ten-dollar subscription agreement.  I can opt out at any time.  If I do choose to purchase on their website, I build up points with them.  For every one dollar I spend with Birchbox, I collect one point.  One hundred points gives me an additional ten dollars off anything in the Birchbox shop. So again, it’s my choice to purchase from the shop, but if I like something I am going to purchase at a discounted rate and build up points while doing so.

So this months box had a new cologne sample from France-Atelier cologne. I did not open it last night to smell it since it was late.  I like to savor these samples.  I also had Stainiac lip stain that will be perfect for the holiday season!  Also in the box was a large sample of pore minimizing serum.  It looks like there are about 6 of them in the bottle.  Nice!  Also in the box there was some kind of new hair contraption that I may or may not use, but I know my mom will love it if I don’t.  Sometimes they have a “birchbox find” added to the sample box as I did this month.  This month they added a new ChapStick Hydration lock.  It is clinically proven to moisturize lips from 9-5 and doubles as a lip primer.  It is full of antioxidants, too.  For anyone that really knows me, they know I am always putting on some type of lip gloss.  My lips are perpetually dry due to my involuntary habit of licking my lips.  It’s insane, really.  I can’t stop.  Maybe it’s because in my head I am always creating recipes or thinking about something I would like to eat. Haha.  Once again, I have digressed.  I hope you have enjoyed my review of the Birchbox.  It makes me happy.  It’s ten dollars per month well-spent.