Review + GIVEAWAY: Hurraw! lip balm

Hurraw lip balm

Today I have a review and a giveaway for you! I’m going to tell you about my favorite lip balms and then give you a chance to win a few of your own. You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post!

The product: Hurraw! vegan lip balms, $3.79-$4.29; available in 22 flavors at or in select natural foods stores.

The claim: Smooth, not too sweet or sticky, free of animal ingredients or harsh chemical additives, and won’t melt in your pocket. It’s (take a deep breath) raw, organic, vegan, and fair trade, and it’s free of gluten, soy, shea, petroleum, parabens, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, and GMOs. Whew!

Core ingredients: Almond oil, coconut oil, cacao butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, castor oil, sesame oil, and candelilla wax; flavors and colors are naturally extracted or distilled.

I tried it: I’ve gone through several tubes of this lip balm and somehow never got around to writing up a review. As you can see from the above picture, my current faves are chocolate, grapefruit, mint and chai, all of which taste exactly as you’d expect. The formula is super-smooth and not too slippery or tacky. I slather it on all day long and even use it under lipstick to keep my lips comfortable. I feel like the formula is far superior to some other lip balms I’ve tried that turn gritty or slick halfway through the tube.

The balms have a faint scent and taste pertaining to their flavor, but it’s nothing artificial or overpowering. I love knowing that I’m not putting nasty chemicals on my lips when I use this lip balm. The lip balm comes in a flattened oval tube with bright, cute, simple packaging. I like that these tubes fit well in pockets and also that the product doesn’t melt in the heat or turn hard when it’s cold out.

There is an SPF lip balm (made with zinc) for the summer months if you want sun protection for your lips, but I love the flavored non-SPF tubes the rest of the time, especially in the winter. They really make my lips feel great and I love that I can layer them under other lip products without my mouth turning into a slippery mess. (Chronic chapped lip sufferers know: if you can’t layer it with a lip balm, you’re not wearing it during the winter months! Great lip balm is a must for wearing bold lipsticks and lip glosses when the weather turns dry and cold.)

Speaking of the winter months–I like that this balm is really gentle. When my lips are dry and sore (or heaven forbid, cracked), the last thing I want is a balm that’s going to irritate them further. This stuff moisturizes without stinging, no matter how thickly or how often you apply it.

My final rating: 10/10. I could not be happier with this balm. It feels great on my lips and comes in so many yummy flavors that I can keep a different one in my purse, my car, my desk, my nightstand, etc. and sample several at any given time! I also love the company’s commitment to natural and green business practices (read more on that here). I love the price. I love the cute packaging. In short, I love everything!


And now on to the giveaway!

Visit the Hurraw! website and choose your own trio of flavors, then use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. It’s open worldwide through the 20th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$25 Sephora gift card GIVEAWAY

Sephora gift card


Happy Monday everyone! To celebrate the rebranding/relaunch of my blog, I’m giving away a $25 e-gift card to Sephora. All  you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter widget below! Here are a few quick things you need to know about the giveaway:

  • It’s open until midnight on July 20th.
  • You can use as many or as few options on the widget as you like.
  • Please make sure that if you follow via Bloglovin’, you’re following my new Bloglovin’ feed (for IRBR). There is a new one that connects to this blog; the old one (from my Blogspot QCP site) is no longer updating.
  • This giveaway is open internationally. However, Sephora limits shipping and e-gift card use outside of the U.S., so for an international winner a PayPal cash sum of $25 will be substituted for the gift card. (If you live in the U.S. and would rather just take the cash instead of the gift card, that’s fine too.) Please make sure you have a valid PayPal email address if you’ll be entering for this option.
  • Once the gift card is sent, it cannot be canceled or re-sent, so please make sure you enter using a valid e-mail address!

Good luck, and as always thanks for reading!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review + giveaway: MatchaDNA Black Matcha Tea

(Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.)

I have another review and giveaway for you guys! MatchaDNA was kind enough to send me a package of their Black Matcha Tea for review. A blend of organic black and green teas, this powdered matcha is perfect for smoothies, lattes and more! Less bitter than traditional brewed green tea and with ten times more antioxidants per cup, it’s also a great metabolism booster and offers increased energy without the crash you get from drinking coffee.

I find that I only use about a half teaspoon to make a latte, so the package will last me a long time. You can add a bit of sweetener if you like, though I find that this tea has a slightly more floral note than straight green tea, so you might be able to skip this step. (And honestly, I’m trying to get away from sweetening all of my drinks anyway!)

If you’re trying to kick your coffee habit or just cut back a little, this is a really nice replacement. I feel like this gives me a much more sustained energy burn, as opposed to a quick pick-me-up and then needing more caffeine shortly thereafter. It also doesn’t leave you with the jitters you expect from drinking too much coffee or energy drinks, so if your caffeine habit is leaving you tossing and turning instead of sleeping soundly at night, give this a try instead.

If you’d like to pick up your own package of Black Matcha Tea, head over to; this product typically retails for $39.99/10-oz., but it’s currently on sale for $12.71. Or enter my giveaway below using the Rafflecopter widget! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents through June 30th; a winner will be drawn and notified on July 1st. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)

Review + giveaway: Lavishy luggage tags (vegan)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. 

Happy Friday everyone! Today I have a brief review and a giveaway for you! Lavishy was kind enough to send me one of their Lovebirds luggage tags for review–isn’t it the cutest? Their products are vegan and eco-friendly, and they don’t limit themselves to luggage accessories–they also have a huge selection of jewelry, wallets, stationary and more on their website!

I love the look of this vegan luggage tag. It’s cute, eye-catching and a great addition to my luggage now that summer is here and it’s time to hit the road for some vacation time! The clear vinyl pocket shows your contact info on the back of the tag.

Lavishy is also generously offering one lucky winner their own Lovebirds luggage tag; all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter widget below! Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (void where prohibited); the giveaway ends June 14th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Book review + giveaway: ‘Haven: Books 1 & 2’

(Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.)


Some time ago I reviewed a new YA novella for you guys called Haven: A Stranger Magic, by D.C. Akers. Now the sequel is out, and I’ve got another review for you–plus a giveaway!

Revenge of the Viper picks up where A Stranger Magic leaves off. The terribly average Sam Dalcome is discovering that he’s anything but: together with his best friend Travis, Sam has stumbled onto the existence of magic, something he used to think existed only in books and video games. Now Sam is trying to piece together the events of the past few days and understand why he of all people is suddenly involved.

Things take an even darker turn when Sam discovers that his mother may have a few magical secrets of her own. But there’s more at stake here than family secrets: Alisa Dalcome is running for her life, sworn to guard the secrets of her home planet, Haven. Now a being called the Viper is hunting her down, determined to destroy Alisa and her family. Will Sam and his family be able to escape the Viper, or is it too late?

Revenge of the Viper wastes no time getting right into the action. The fight scenes are well constructed and the action moves fluidly between Haven and Earth. There are a lot of new characters and information to introduce all at once in this sequel, but the pace is steady so it doesn’t feel like an info dump. I liked that we get to see more of Sam’s sister, Sarah, as she continues to discover her ability–hopefully we’ll learn more about her powers in the third book, due out next year. There’s also a surprising twist in the book that I wasn’t expecting, and it makes Sam’s quest to uncover his family history even more high-stakes.

This book is aimed at a YA audience, but it would be enjoyable for all ages. The Viper is pretty sinister, but not too scary for a junior-high reader, if you’re thinking about passing on these books to kids. (Since it’s a YA book, there’s also no language or graphic violence to worry about.)

And now, the giveaway! One lucky reader will win an e-copy of this two-book set. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter; the giveaway ends on March 31. Can’t wait for the giveaway to end? Start reading book one now–it’s currently available as a free Kindle download at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)