Search Results for: subscription boxes

Holiday Subscription Boxes

I thought it would be fun to let you all know about some December subscription boxes that are offering limited edition boxes for the holidays.  Give some Christmas gifts to yourself and check some of these out.

Escape Monthly Christmas Box-

Escape Monthly has been one of my favorite subscriptions since it started in August.  The idea is they take a place and give you guidebook and items all associated with traveling to that place.

So far they’ve done Napa, Portland and Hawaii.  Now they are offering a special holiday box described as having holiday-inspired sweet delights, luxurious essentials for self-indulgence and very special seasonal secrets.

This sounds really fun as a gift to a friend or a little holiday gift for yourself.  They are $39


Snow Day Birchbox

Another holiday box is from my friends at Birchbox with the Snow Day Box. This is a box full of items good for cuddling by the fire (even has some cool looking matches!).  This is $39 and you get 55 birchbox points with the order.  Birchbox claims it has a $105 value.

snowday_ltebox_exclusive_900x900_1Wantable Holiday Box-

Over at they are having a special holiday box $36 with a subscription, $40 one time purchase.   You can pick 3 different themes starlight soiree, majestic masquerade, romantic rendezvous and it is mainly a makeup kit with a sleep mask, and wantable exclusive pair of earrings.

11-9_holiday-box-heroPopsugar Must Have Limited Edition for Men-

I clearly won’t be ordering this box but if I had a man in my life I totally would because I love popsugar must have.  This box is more because it is $100 so it must have a $200 value but they don’t say or show you what is in it but usually popsugar is double.

Popsugar must have box is whatever is trendy sometimes books, lotions, accesories, food etc.  If I had a man I would buy them one.  If anyone wants to be my man I will buy you one 😉

holiday for himCheryl’s Cookies

Cheryl’s cookies makes the best cookies I have ever tried, especially the buttercream on sugar cookie.  They are full of seasonal colors and have a cookie of the month club or individual tins for very reasonable prices. Both of these tins are $38 which is pretty good for this type of service.  Would make a great gift for family or friends. They also ship quickly.

They also have cookie grams and cookie tins on clearance.

cco_ha13_119171c cheryls

Kiwi Crate Holiday Craft Boxes-

If you have kids the Kiwi Crates are fantastic with tons of activities and they 7 craft boxes for the holidays that would be great when entertaining the kids during the busy moments.  They are $19.95 and include all the directions and are divided into certain age ranges.  Would be a fun thing to get and leave with a babysitter or to do as a project during the holidays so the kids feel involved.

Christmas Gingerbread kit
Christmas Gingerbread kit
Hanukkah kit. So cute
Hanukkah kit. So cute
Thanksgiving crafts. You could make centerpiece together
Thanksgiving crafts. You could make centerpiece together

A friend on one of the blogging sites said she is going to hold all of her December boxes to open on Christmas morning.  That would leave my youtube channel kind of dry but its a fun concept.  What do you guys think?

There are many boxes that will let you try one box as a gift for a friend including loot crate (for the geeky, nerdy friend in your life), fancy box, quarterly box (both are curated with themes by famous people and both have been great), also stride box for the athlete in your life, hammock pack and box of happies are single purchases and both would make lovely Christmas presents for under $30. For make up the clutch beauty bag is a great choice because you can just purchase one for the same price as a subscription and it is jam packed.

I’d also recommend the Just the Right Book for any book lover in your family and gwynnie bee for any plus size fashionistas.  Both are amazing services.

So you could potentially by a book service for the mom, a wantable jewelry box for the sister, loot crate for nerdy brother, kiwi crate for the little kids, popsugar must have for the husband and you’re done.  (As I have no husband that is clearly a hypothetical but it would be easy and fun to create Christmas with subscription boxes and I bet you’d get good quality for less money.

wantable holiday box

Enjoy and happy giftiing!

I Love Boxes

So lately I have gotten into the new trend of subscription boxes.  A friend told me about birchbox and I decided to sign up.  Its a monthly box of samples of health and beauty products.  For $110 a year or $10 a month you sign up and have no idea what you are going to get.  Since signing up for birchbox I’ve also signed up for ipsy and naturebox.

There are so many I could go box crazy.  I’ve always liked ‘a month’ clubs but they are usually so expensive that I couldn’t afford them.   For example, Harry and David fruit of the month is $405 a year and really the spoonable pears are the only thing they have that is very special.

You can also go on to any of the sites and order that month’s box items at full sizes for discount with free shipping.  If you like everything than you can order a full size version of the box. I’ve already ordered a few things that I’ve liked.  Its a lot of fun.

The coolest things about birchbox is you get points for putting reviews on their website of the products you receive.  You get 10 points per review and 100 points you get $10 off.  So I’ve only been a member for 3 months and already I’ve accumulated 168 points.  Not bad.  I can then get discounts.  Also if you buy full size products you get points that add up like I ordered nail polish for $8 including shipping and got 22 points.  Pretty cool!

Naturebox is cool because you get full size bags of all healthy products and you can go on the website and pick what you’d like or be surprised.  I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks so I love that. Another box I just signed up for is called Goodies that is only $7 and gives 4-5 full size healthy snacks that are a surprise but like birchbox they also have a points system that can save you money.  I mean what else can you get for $7 outside of a fast food meal?  So fun!

So here are some fun things I’ve gotten the last few months:

June Birchbox. I loved the apple peel and bark tea
May Birchbox. I loved the apple peel and bark tea
I loved the nail polish last month.  I ordered the whole set
I loved the nail polish last month. I ordered the whole set
July birchbox loved the detangler
July birchbox loved the detangler
July ipsy box.  Not as upscale as birchbox but a lot for the money.  Love the eye shadow
July ipsy box. Not as upscale as birchbox but a lot for the money. Love the eye shadow
Naturebox full of healthy snacks. 7 bags of $27. Dried fruits and yummy trail mix like bombay curried cashews, lone star snack mix and unami roasted nuts
Naturebox full of healthy snacks. 7 bags of $27. Dried fruits and yummy trail mix like bombay curried cashews, lone star snack mix and unami roasted nuts

Christmas 2016 Report

Hi guys! Merry Christmas!

It’s late and I can’t sleep so I thought I would give you all a little update on how my Christmas 2016 turned out. Well, I am glad to tell you it turned out very nicely! And just as my last post suggested it was an interesting mixture of newness and consistency I’ve come to expect in my adult life.

Christmas Eve started out simply. As I do every Saturday I made filmed and edited my weekly videos. This has become second nature to me now even on Christmas Eve. The first of my new videos posted on Christmas Day and it was a review of The Nativity Story for my family movie night series. I think it turned out pretty well. I would love if you took a look.

After filming and editing all day I got a call from my Aunt Kate that she was interested in spending the evening with me. Happy to have a companion we went to my traditional big screen watch of It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s such a beautiful story and reminds me of the importance of friendship and that even the smallest person makes a difference. I really enjoyed seeing it again on the big screen. If you would like to read my review of the film from a few years back check it out here.

wonderful life2

Then Kate and I went to Village Inn and had a dinner and piece of pie together. It was great conversation and good company. Not a bad way to celebrate Christmas Eve!

Christmas morning I woke up early,which gave me a chance to refilm my Wreck-it Ralph review. It will post on Wednesday and I’m excited for it, as it might be a little bit controversial. I’m more lukewarm on that movie than most Disney fans I know. With that done I made some cinnamon rolls and opened the presents I received.

My sister got me an amazing piece of artwork with my names spelled out in Inside Out characters. It was a little hard to take a picture of because it kept rolling up but I will definitely be getting it framed and will post a photo then.

I also got 2 art books from my sisters Megan and Madeline, which was awesome!

christmas-2016My cousin Danielle made me a Finding Dory blanket that I love. I haven’t had anyone make me anything in a long time and it was very thoughtful of her.


I also had a few subscription boxes to open that had fun items including this redneck hat I joked around with.

christmas-2016-3After presents I went back to sleep for a little nap and then went up to my parents for dinner. We had a lovely time together and even saw my Grandfather for a few minutes. Plus, my Mother made this pork chop with apple cider glaze that was delicious!

Anyway, it ended up being a really nice evening and I feel blessed to have enjoyed a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I hope you all had wonderful days and were watched over by the Lord on His special day.


Youtube All Stars

As I’ve mentioned several times on this blog I have been working hard on my videography skills lately and having a blast while doing it.  I have also had the chance to get to know youtube very well as I’ve been working on my channel making it better each day.  Naturally this means I have seen a lot of other contributors and created a running tally of what I call the ‘Youtube All Stars’.

So, you don’t have to do the same kind of work let me share what channels I think are worth your time.


There are a lot of movie review channels and to be honest most of them are pretty good.  Film criticism has basically gone away from television and moved to youtube/rotten tomatoes.  In some ways this is a good thing as someone ordinary like me can make a review and some ways it’s a bad thing because someone ordinary like me can make a review…

Some of the best are Chris Stuckmann, Jeremy Jahns, and Schmoes Knows.  Sometimes the bad movie reviews are the most entertaining.  Here’s a funny review of Batman and Robin with both the Schmoes and Stuckmann

I also really like the Nostalgia Critic but the language is bad .  However,  if you can handle  the language  I think you will laugh.  Check it out.


My favorite TV youtubers are

Rob Cesternino for reality TV analysis.  He’s a good interviewer and it’s fun to hear the backstory on Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother and more.  The last few seasons of Survivor have been very entertaining and Rob’s site have made it even more so.

Another one I like is the After Buzz channels.  They have roundtable discussions on all kinds of shows and they are a lot of fun.

Subscription Boxes/Beauty-

There are a lot of great youtubers on boxes but 2 of my favorite, aside from myself, are Mort3mr and Jen Luvs Reviews.

Mormon Messages-

If you are a member of my faith or just like nice messages The Mormon Messages channel is great

Given my history of bullying this video is very moving. There are lots like these on the page on a variety of topics.


So there are a lot of other great sites to subscribe too.  Go and explore.  There is comedy, make up tutorials, crafts, cooking videos, etc.  Youtube has managed to remain corporate and still have the user friendly amateur level.

My Aunt has a channel for her business some of you might be interested in and Poler has a site showing some of their gear.

What are some of your favorite channels?  Do you like youtube?



A 3 AM Introduction

(Started this last night.  Now some of you are seeing the guest post I thought you might like to learn a little more about me)


Ok.  So its 2:33 but it will probably be 3 by the time I am done writing this.  It helped me to get to sleep yesterday to write so I thought maybe it would do the same today.  What do you have to lose?

So today sometime my guest post will be added to and I’m pretty excited.  It will be fun to open myself to a new audience, and I’m super proud with how it turned out! I thought on the off chance that people check out my blog from reading the post on her blog I would take some time and introduce myself.

First of all, I have been blogging for going on 6 years and I’ve done over 748 posts on everything from recipes I like to religion, to movies. When I was a little girl my sister and I would make newspapers that covered politics, movies, and current events.  We even drew comics for them.

I am currently working on the nanowrimo challenge and almost done!  I am also a homeowner and social media purveyor as they like to say.  You can follow me on  instagram and twitter at @smilingldsgirl.  Please introduce yourself to me.  Let’s be friends.

I have bolded any links below so if you want to learn more about a particular topic click on it and read a post.  Share your feedback.  Thanks for reading!

So here is the 411 on Rachel

  1. What’s your name?  Rachel Wagner
  2. How do you spend your days? I work as an accounting clerk for Poler at
  3. Have you always lived in Utah? Nope.  I grew up in Maryland, but have also lived in Indiana and California.  I’ve lived in Utah for most of my adult life.
  4. What are some of your hobbies? I love open water swimming (7 races done!), blogging, writing, reading, party planning , movies and subscription boxes!
  5. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? That’s a tough one.  There was a time on my mission when we had worked so hard in the bitter cold and the RS Pres made us breakfast for dinner with hot cocoa.  It was like gold.
    Another meal that comes to mind is when I made spaghetti and meatballs for my friends in 2013 and decided I needed to make some major changes in my life because the food was so good.  No joke
  6. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hawaii.  Always Hawaii. North Shore. Oahu.
  7. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? I’m a pretty good gift giver but this was one of my best. Also last year I got my Dad Lord of the Rings in German and he really loved it.  When my sister got engaged I made her a cookbook of all the recipes I’d made for her when we were roommies.  She still has it uses it so that was a good one
  8. And what’s the best gift you’ve ever received?   I’d have to say on my mission I had a companion from the Philippians and she didn’t have a ton of money.  My parents sent us a tiny Christmas tree in the mail and gifts for both of us.
  9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? I’m an ok singer.  I wish I was a great singer
  10. What is/was your favorite subject in school?  In high school it might have been drama.  In college definitely political philosophy.
  11. What’s the biggest problem facing the world right now?  So many…the secularization of schools and the distancing of overall life from religion.  More detailed thoughts on politics and such can be seen at- interview 1, interview 2, interview 3
  12. If you alone could solve it, how would you do it? Be a missionary forever!
  13. What’s your dream job?  Teaching at BYU
  14. If you had to choose only one: cat or dog?  Neither but if I had to chose I’d pick a small dog like a goldendoodle.  I have a bit of an animal phobia so that is never going to happen.
  15. What’s your favorite movie of all time?  So hard to pick just one but if I did I’d have to pick Up. My five favorite films
  16. Aside from food, water, and shelter, what one thing could you not go a day without?  Prayer (cheesy answer but its true!)
  17. In everyday life, what is your number one pet peeve? Talking to machines and giving them all this information than a human finally comes on the phone and you explain it all over to them.
  18. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hey I have a 30 year mortgage so I’ll be in Draper.  I’d like to think I’d be married but probably not.  Probably just living here with tenants and a roommate and making the most out of my life.
  19. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?  30 years is more interesting because then I’ll be close to retiring and can be a missionary for my church for the rest of my life. That would be my dream if I don’t get married. .  20 years I will probably be doing the same thing I am doing now but hopefully still swimming and singing and blogging.  I can think of worst lives and you never know Mr.  Sunshine could finally make an appearance.

What do you want to know about me? Ask me some questions!

So that is a little intro.  I think I’m a pretty interesting person so check out the blog and get to know me a bit better.  Thanks!

rachel (10)

Thanksgiving for One vs 2.0

So the guest post is here!  Check it out at .  It is based on a post I did last year when I was home for thanksgiving and missing the food I was used to. Take a look at last years post and you will see how much better this one is (especially the photography.  Thanks Dad!

I’m really proud of how everything turned out so please take a look and make some comments on Sam’s or my site.  Pass it on (especially to the singles that you know)

Last year I found myself facing a new predicament in life.  For the first time in my 32 years I was alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now I had friends who had me over for meals and the like but for the season and for Christmas day I was alone.

This is a situation that more Americans are finding themselves in every day.   In his wonderful book, Living Alone, Eric Klinenberg says that “In 1950, 22 percent of American adults were single. Now that number is almost 50 percent. One in seven adults lives alone”.    One in 7 and yet our society is still built on the assumption of companionship. When I venture out to say a movie or a nice restaurant by myself it is a near social pariah.  I do it anyway but it is still definitely outside the norm.

So, where does that leave the single who is alone for even more family-centric moments such as birthdays or holidays?  If they cannot find an urban tribe, quasi-family to associate with then they are left to celebrate alone, a depressing prospect for most of us.

Well, last year I decided to change that.  I was going to be spending the holidays alone and I would make the best of it.  I did pretty well through Halloween and even Christmas but Thanksgiving proved particularly difficult.  I had a friend invite me to her place for the actual day which was lovely but it wasn’t the meal I was used to and I found myself feeling nostalgic for the flavors of my family.

The logical solution was to make Thanksgiving for myself but how can one make a feast for one?  It seems impossible?  Fortunately I am not the type who is left undaunted by challenges and I decided to give it a try and you know what I learned- you can do Thanksgiving for One!  It is not only possible but very enjoyable. 

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via

Here’s what I learned:

        1. Plan ahead so you don’t have all the cooking in one day.  Both  years I have done thanksgiving for one I have made the desserts the day before.  You could also do the rolls the day before if that is important to you.   Since it saves well I make the cranberry relish or sauce in advance also.
        2.  Pick 2 sides and make them really well.  It is impossible to duplicate a huge thanksgiving meal for one person and if you did how would you eat it all (and let’s be honest you will be a little sad so tons of food and lonely person probably not good combo).  I chose to make mashed potatoes and stuffing.   Sweet potatoes are an everyday item and not that special for me, so I will leave them out.
        3. There’s no reason to make everything yourself.  I used canned rolls because rolls aren’t that important to my Thanksgiving but you could certainly buy them from a good bakery or your local market.  You could even buy the turkey already cooked (or a rotisserie chicken) and focus on sides.
        4. Pick a veggie that you can buy in small amounts.  For example a head of lettuce is often too much for me and goes bad.  Green beans are great because I can buy just a handful and not waste.  One ear of corn, a couple carrots, things like that save on time and money.
        5. Don’t forget little details like real whipped cream and cranberry relish.  If your family always has a pickle platter have pickles.  Or if you secretly hate the family jello salad don’t make it!  That’s the great thing about cooking for yourself you can do whatever you want.  If you want to make turkey curry go for it.  Want to try sugar free recipe, go for it.   Want to make collard greens or eat ham instead of turkey do it!
        6. Because you are cooking for 1 live a little.  Buy lobster or mussels, get the good french butter or be like me and get a massage while on break!  There will be plenty of your life when you are scrimping and saving every cent to pay for kids and retirement.  An occasional treat for a single’s dinner is highly worth it!  Plus, you can afford to go organic, get grass-fed meat, artisan bread.  Whatever excites you!
        7. Plan on ways to save meals and use components for 2nd and 3rd meals.  Like having turkey sandwiches or potato soup after thanksgiving dinner.  I make up these little TV dinners so they are ready to go when I’m in the mood for a little home cooking.To quote the amazing Judith Jones “Some say Why would I want to go to all that trouble just for me? My answer is: If you like good food, why not HONOR YOURSELF enough to make a pleasing meal and relish every mouthful.”  Cheers to me!


Turkey breast roasted with fresh herbs and gravy

Cornbread stuffing with maple sausage and apricots

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

Cranberry relish

Green beans with bacon vinaigrette


No bake pumpkin cheesecake

Turkey Breast  

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via

  • Thaw bird completely before cooking.  Make a paste with fresh herbs and butter then rub the bird with it and put underneath the skin.  Check the label but it usually ends up being about 30 minutes for every pound at 350.
  • It should get to a temperature of 160 to be done.

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

  • Cook 4 yukon gold potatoes in the crock-pot under high for 6 hours (which saves time) and then mash with skins on.
  • Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk and 1/2 stick of butter and mix until most of the clumps are gone.
  • You can make it with as many potatoes as you like or just one if you want.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste

or you could just cook them regular on the stove.

  • Cornbread Stuffing with Maple Sausage and Apricots
  • Cook onion, celery, maple sausage until onions soft, sausage cooked.
  • Add cornbread stuffing cubes and 2-4 cups of chicken broth.
  • Add diced dried apricots and then put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes.Gravy
  • Take pan drippings and skim off excessive oil.  Then mix together a little water and flour until smooth.  My Mom even uses the blender for hers but I prefer minimal dishes.  Then you add the flour-water to the drippings and stir until the mixture thickens up.  Then add salt to taste.Cranberry Relish

    Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via

  • In food processor pulsing blade finely ground 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 2 tbsp agave nectar or sugar, a whole orange cut into segments and a cup of nuts (I’ve made it with almonds, walnuts and pecans all good). Add more sweetener to taste.

 Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via

  • Green beans with bacon vinaigrette. Cook bacon into bite sized pieces.  Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving a couple of tablespoons inside.
  • Cook beans in boiling water (I’ve actually found the microwave does this quite well) add red onion, 1 tbsp of sugar to the bacon fat and then ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar you like.  I used an apricot balsamic from Sutter Buttes Olive Oil that I got in one of my subscription boxes.  It was great!  Combine beans with sauce and stir.  Top with crunchy bacon.  Yum!No bake pumpkin cheesecakes (recipe adapted by I Wash You Dry)

    Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via

  • 1 box gingersnap cookies ground to fine crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter melted
  • 4 tbsp sugar or other sweetener

For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I accidentally bought light cream cheese but it worked fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ c marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I added more because I like things on the sweeter side especially for dessert)
  • 1 ½ ts pumpkin pie spice1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped.

For the Crust:

  • Mix together all ingredients press into bottom of molds or spring-form pan.  You can then bake it for 5 minutes to create a more solid crust but I don’t think that is even necessary.
  • For filling mix together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin, and sugar.   Heat up marshmallows and butter until cooked and bubbling.  Add to rest of wet filling mix.  Beat vigorously.  Add to molds.  Set overnight.  Top with whipped cream.

So those are the recipes I used.  Have fun cooking for one.  It will be a great journey for you!  Good luck and let me know how things go and what strategies work for you. 

Thanksgiving for 1


Turkey Breast
    • 1 Turkey breast with skin
    • Fresh herbs (variety)
Cornbread Stuffing
    • 2, 6oz bags Dried cornbread stuffing cubes
    • 1 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 celery, chopped
    • 1-2 links of maple sausage
    • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
    • 2-3 cups Chicken broth
    • 2 Tb flour
    • Water
    • Salt, to taste
Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette
    • 1 cup Green beans
    • 1 slice of bacon (more if you want extra for salads)
    • 1 Red onion, chopped
    • 1Tb sugar
    • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
Cranberry Relish
    • 1 bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 Tb agave nectar or sugar
    • 1 orange, cut into segments
    • 1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans)
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
    • 4 Yukon potatoes
    • 1/4 cup milk or cream
    • 1/2 stick of butter
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake via I Wash You Dry
    • 1 box gingersnap cookies ground to fine crumbs
    • 3 tbsp butter melted
    • 4 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I accidently bought light cream cheese but it worked fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ c marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I added more because I like things on the sweeter side especially for dessert)
  • 1 ½ ts pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped.


Turkey Breast
    1. Thaw bird completely before cooking.
    2. Make a paste with fresh herbs and butter then rub the bird with it and put underneath the skin. Check the label but it usually ends up being about 30 minutes for every pound at 350
    3. It should get to a temperature of 160 to be done.
Cornbread stuffing
    1. Cook onion, celery and maple sausage until onions soft, sausage cooked.
    2. Add cornbread stuffing cubes and 2-4 cups of chicken broth.
    3. Add diced dried apricots and then put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes.
    1. Take pan drippings and skim off excessive oil.
    2. Then mix together a little water and flour until smooth in a separate bowl. My Mom even uses the blender for hers but I prefer minimal dishes. Then you add the flour-water to the drippings and stir until the mixture thickens up. Then add salt to taste.
Green beans with bacon vinaigrette
    1. Cook bacon into bite sized pieces.
    2. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving a couple of tablespoons inside.
    3. Cook beans in boiling water (I’ve actually found the microwave does this quite well).
    4. Add red onion, 1 tbsp of sugar to the bacon fat and then ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar you like.
    5. Combine beans with sauce and stir.
    6. Top with crunchy bacon.
Cranberry Relish
    1. In a food processor, add the cranberries, agave, sugar, nuts and orange.
    2. Pulse until finely ground.
    3. Add more sweetener to taste.
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
    1. Cook potatoes in the crock-pot under high for 6 hours (which saves time) and then mash with skins on.
    2. Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk and 1/2 stick of butter and mix until most of the clumps are gone.
    3. You can make it with as many potatoes as you like or just one if you want.
    4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake via I Wash You Dry
  1. For crust- mix together all ingredients press into bottom of molds or spring-form pan. You can then bake it for 5 minutes to create a more solid crust but I don’t think that is even necessary.
  2. For filling mix together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin, and sugar.
  3. Heat up marshmallows and butter until cooked and bubbling.
  4. Add to rest of wet filling mix. Beat vigorously. Add to molds. Set overnight.
  5. Top with whipped cream.

All of the food made can be up-sized or downsized. If you would like less turkey buy a smaller breast or only 2 potatoes instead of 4. Use half the cranberries and make less relish.

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via

2 AM

So its 2 am and I’m wide awake (isn’t that a song…) and I figured I might as well write a blog entry and maybe that will help me get to sleep. Let me share with you some things that have been on  my mind:

1. I’m a very fast writer and typist and I’m very glad that I learned how to touch type at an early age.  When transferring over dictation or notes I can easily write 90wpm. If you have teens teach them to touch type.  It will be better than any other ‘career class’ they might take.

2. I’m doing the Postcard Projects Cookie swap and got my matches today.  I think I am going to make my Mom’s egg nog logs, lemon butter cookies and outrageous brownies. (Good mix, right?).  Every cookie you make gets a $1 sent to you want to learn more about the swap for next year go to Veronica’s Cornucopia.There is also a separate swap for just food bloggers at

3. My young women’s volleyball team has made it to regionals and gotten through the first 2 days of playoffs.  They are such nice girls and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them.  It’s very impressive how they have managed to become friends even though they come from 3 different wards.

DSCF10234. Wednesday my guest food blog will post at Keep an eye on it because I think you all will be really impressed!

5. Lately I’ve felt a little off my game, not my normal self.  I can’t explain it but its true.

6. I am almost finished with my book for nanowrimo.  Current word count is 43370.  Originally I was thinking of switching my writing group to reading my new book but I’m not going to do that.  My book last year was leaps and bounds better than this one.  Still, it’s been a good experience to write pure fiction and I think it will be fun to take the same concept write it as many mediums as I can- play, poem, short story and novel.  Maybe even a song since its a Christmas story!

7.  I heard Bing Crosby this afternoon on the radio and it about made me tear up.  I love Christmas.  Last year I had so much pressure on myself with the house and all that I struggled to enjoy the holidays.  This year I’m determined to finish nanowrimo and go Christmas crazy.

8. Today I’ve felt very nostalgic.  Nostalgic for my grad school days churning out papers and learning new things.  Nostalgic for past roommates and friends that have waned in recent years. I found a video from 2007 made me very nostalgic for 2007.

9. I would go back to school if I could think of something that would be worth the time and money to invest in.  I know it is hard but very rewarding too.

10. This will see random, but its a random post. If you want to teach young women about morality, chastity and modesty teach them about their innate value and how special they are to their Heavenly Father.  If they feel loved by God than His commandments will seem less like a punishment and more like a blessing.  This is how it should be done.

11. I love getting stuff in the mail.  I think that is why I love trying out subscription boxes.  Recently I had one that arrived with damage to the box and the company, Box of Happies, sent me a new one with all the products again which was amazing customer service.

12.  I am reading North and South for the fourth year in a row.  If you haven’t read it yet, do.  It’s so good.

13. The Book Thief is at 59% on rotten tomatoes.  Some people love it, some hate it.  I’m not sure which side it will be.  Have any of you seen Enders Game? What did you think?

14. Lately I’ve really been enjoying the podcasts over at Rob has a website.  It is reality talk that is funny and entertaining from former two-time Survivor player Rob Cesternino. If you like reality tv check it out.

15. Anyone want to celebrate with me when I finish my book.  Partay!!!

16.  Lately I’ve been super lazy cooking-wise, no desire to cook and especially clean.

17.  I hate doing laundry.  If I was rich, I would defintely hire someone to do my laundry.  I’d do any chore before laundry

18. I’d like to say thank you to my grandpa on this Veterans Day for being my hero.  Him and my Dad are the men who have loved me most in my life and I am grateful for that.

19. That last sentence made me tear up.  Word to the wise, I always tear up when I think of my Grandpa.

20. Today I wrote a tragic romance in my book and it made me feel oddly hopeful.  Yes, I’m strange.

21.  Finished watching Downton Abbey season 4 last night.  Holy cliffhangers and sadness.  Come on Downton.  Try to smile every now and then!  Still very entertaining.  Excited to see what you all think of it when you watch in January.

Ok.  I’m finally tired.  Good work!

So, that’s my 2 am list.


Photography Lesson

Today was a really fun day.  For years I have been less than satisfied with the photography on my blog and that is quite shameful for a Wagner as everyone in my family is a good photographer.  My Brother, Dad and Grandpa have all spent time as professional photographers and they each have different styles but are very talented. My brother is perhaps the most successful and has done a lot of skateboard and other sports photography.  Recently he did a shoot in Iceland for Nike as part of the Nike Poler shoes.

So, like I said photography is pretty intense in my family and I never felt I was very good at it.  Usually I hoped that the content would be good enough to outweigh the crappy photos.  Clearly if I’ve grown in readership for nearly 6 years there is some truth to that but recently I got the opportunity to do a guest blog for my friend over at The Little Ferraro Kitchen which will be posted on Nov 13th!!

I knew if I was going to guest post on her site that my photos needed to match up with the quality on her blog, so I bought a nice camera and my Dad instructed me as he did the amazing food photography for the post (seriously you guys will be blown away).

I’m super excited and working with my Dad made me want to keep learning and trying to get better.  Yes, my photos may never be as good as his but I can improve and learn more.  So, I asked my friend Kristi Linton if she would give me a lesson today and she agreed.  Fortunately I had received 2 subscription boxes that were good test subjects for me to practice on.  We went over backdrops, lighting, using mirrors and flashlights, tripods and even took some photos on the floor next to the kitchen glass door and I think they turned out pretty well.

These items are from:

Cheryl’s cookies-  Great prices and delicious cookies.  They have a quarterly subscription cookie service and individual orders.  This tin I got on discount as an end of Halloween sale

Bklyn organics- $15 box you can order through their etsy shop . Included personal note and only one month required.

Flicker box- This is a fun candle box.  I liked all the scents. Not too overpowering. $25 a month.

I am excited to keep learning and getting better.

Cheryl's cookies.  The best sugar cookie you've ever had.
Cheryl’s cookies. The best sugar cookie you’ve ever had.
Flicker box
Flicker box.  I think this photo turned out particularly nice.
Bklyn Organics box
Bklyn Organics box.  Included a personally written list of items. 


Kristi and I had a lot of fun during our lesson.  Also me sporting Poler hoodie
Kristi and I had a lot of fun during our lesson. Also me sporting Poler hoodie

Box Month Review

The award goes to…

(Excuse the length of this video.  A lot to cover 🙂  ).

After a month and half of trying subscription boxes I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope you have all enjoyed the reviews.  I now plan on moving on and covering only an occasional box on the blog (I want to keep the blog varied and interesting).  My goal with the blog has always been to be like a magazine for me.  Stuff I think is interesting, fun, exciting, meaningful.

Basically the blog is an exercise in self-indulgence that somehow has interested all of you.  I write about movies, books, politics, religion, writing, vacations, subscription boxes, swimming, current events, TV, weight loss and much more.  Thanks to all of you for reading my ‘silly thoughts’ as I say in the byline. More to come.

What would you guys like to see more of?  What posts have you liked more than others?  My movie posts are always quite popular but I’ve been on a bit of a movie drought lately.   I would love feedback.


Thanks and get subscribing! 🙂

If you want to read/watch my more detailed reviews of individual boxes check out

Lip Factory Review and Unboxing

My last beauty box for box month is here.  Its called lip factory and I had quite the story getting it here.  I had entered my information and then received an email from them saying they needed my address.  I gave them my address but for some reason it was sent to 1357 instead of my number.

With it being returned in the mail I tried to contact them to no avail and their website was down so I got nervous.  I cancelled my account and then posted a comment on their facebook account.  Within a few hours they responded, apologized, explained the situation and sent me a new box that got here quickly.  All in all I think they handled the situation very well and I left feeling impressed.

This box is $22 so it is more expensive than Birchbox or Ipsy but it has much larger samples, some full size.  It also has a larger beauty profiling service than either of those sites so you get the colors that work for your skin type and coloring.  I found it to have a $53.99 value which is a great return.

It is only for girls that wear makeup.  It doesn’t have a lot of health products such as lotions and hair products like ipsy and birchbox have.  I’m a medium makeup wearer but I like it and like trying new things.  I wish I knew how to do my makeup better but I try.

Anyway, here’ s the review.  2 more boxes left for box month!  Fun!  I hope you guys are enjoying learning about these subscription boxes and let me know if you decide to subscribe to any and what you think.


Lipfactory Price Breakdown

7.99 sweat pea and fay lip joule
6.5 nyc wonder pencil
15.6 me me cosmetics shimmer stack
7.9 red cherry natural lashes
15 coulour u lipstick
1 White Towel Make Up Remover