the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Calmbox (UNSPONSORED) Review!

Bee ButlerComment

I don't know if you guys have seen or heard about it, but joining the ranks of the 'curated subscription box' party is CALMBOX, which, according to their site, is a box "packed full of mindfully curated items like music, books, candles, personal care items, yummy snacks, motivational reminders, and so much more, to help you unwind and relax".

Check out more pictures of their products and projects over on their Instagram!

Check out more pictures of their products and projects over on their Instagram!

I saw the box in an ad and decided to subscribe for the month of January as a Christmas gift to myself. With the promo code they offered when I clicked 'subscribe', the month subscription only cost me $20 (I believe it normally retails for $35, but they offer a $5 off voucher and you can find discount codes online. They didn't pay me to review it or offer me a special deal, I just clicked YES on the voucher and used my Honey code plug-in on the Chrome browser to get a better deal!). It arrived earlier than I expected, and I was surprised to see nothing but full-sized products in the box!

1. First up was my new favorite room spray, the Calming Yoga Elixir Spray with Lavender & Cardamom by Cuccio Somatology

This stuff smells incredible and retails for $8.95, which is almost half of what I paid for the full box! I've been using it at night to help me get ready to wind down and go to bed, and it also sets the tone for yoga if you spritz a little on your mat. Cuccio also offers a mat cleaning spray, if you're in the market for that, but I was happy to just get a nice scent going before I started my practice.

2. Next up in the box was another Cuccio product, the Balancing Calming Chamomile Lotion! Like I said, I got the full size version of the product in the box, which retails for $8.95 as well. At this point I've almost recouped my full cost for the box, which is nuts, because I have four products left to talk about!

I loved this stuff. It not only smells amazing, it's incredibly moisturizing, and a little bit goes a long way! I'm using it at night to help me get into a calm and restful mood before I jump into bed. The smell of chamomile along with the lavender and cardamom from the room spray is perfect for cultivating a good bedtime routine. 

3. The next thing I saw was, of course, TEA! They were loosely scattered in the box, which was a cute idea! It gave off a confetti vibe, but infinitely better, because TEA OH MY GOD I LOVE TEA.

Yogi Calming Tea, to be precise! 

A box of this tea retails at $4.89, which officially put me over the line of what I paid vs. what I got! I was stoked about that, but even more stoked about putting the 'calming' tea to the test! This box seemed to be focused on relaxation, which I definitely need more of in my high-strung life. I brewed a cup, and I have to say, it definitely helps! I don't particularly like licorice, but when combined with lavender and lemongrass in this tea, I actually enjoyed it. I'm having a cup every night before bed, and it's going well with the new routine I'm creating.

4. The next edible item was a full-size bag of YumEarth Anti-Oxifruits Vitamin C Drops! I'm all for getting more vitamin C in my diet, because I have a pretty bleh immune system, and I opened these up expecting a semi-citrus-y lozenge... I was totally wrong.

Y'all... these are delicious. So delicious that I ate three upon opening the bag. They're pretty similar to those awesome Altoid Tangerine Sours, which I happen to be addicted to (and depressed about the cancellation of). These aren't your mama's gross healthy 'candy'. These things pack a punch, and at $3.50 per bag, they're a reasonable alternative to those overpriced gummies you end up shelling $20 for at CVS! Definitely plan on repurchasing these!

5. The thing that I ended up getting emotional over was the adorable String Of Wishes Buddha Card and Bracelet from A String of Wishes! 

This thing will run you about $10.00 with shipping if you live in the U.S., which stinks, but since I got it in the box and I'd already gotten more than what I paid for, it was essentially free for me! It struck a chord with me, because a dear friend of mine gave me one of these back in 2011, and I wore it till it literally fell off my arm. The wish came true, too, which I'm not banking on, but I'm hoping for anyway! The tiny charm is a Buddha head, which is cute, and I kept the card as well.

6. The last thing I got in my box was an awesome box of Yes, You cards from Compendium! 

Apart from awakening my inner designer with the precious packaging and font selection, this card collection, retailing at $9.95, was a real standout. The cards each have different messages, and the point of the tiny string-shut box is to carry them with you at all times and hand them out to friends or read one when you feel compelled to. I've already given a friend one, and I might just read one this morning since I'm feeling a little off my game. These were fun and interesting, and they provided a little pick-me-up that I wasn't expecting.

 

This first collection from Calmbox knocked it out of the park. As I said before, I WAS NOT PAID OR COMPENSATED IN ANY WAY FOR REVIEWING OR PURCHASING THIS PRODUCT. Like the only other thing I've reviewed here, this is just a really fantastic product that I was impressed by, and I think you should go check it out, and maybe subscribe for a month or two to see what you get!

 

Until I find something else awesome,

On healthcare, the ACA, and putting a face to the fight.

Bee ButlerComment

A lot of people have been talking about the repealing of Obamacare or the ACA (and yes, they ARE the same thing, so if you're gung-ho about chopping Obamacare but receive your insurance through the ACA, you are in for a WORLD of hurt), and the meaning of measures like the preexisting condition clause, so I have a story to tell you, because I am one of the people that clause protects.

 

Hi. My name is Bee, and I'm a 26-year-old woman living in the San Diego area. I have a job, a car payment, a family, a best friend, and I pay my taxes. I voted in the last election. I donate what little money I am able to towards charities and people who need it more than I do. I am not a selfish person, by most standards, and I would not ask for something I would not be willing to give myself, were I able.

 

In 2001, at age 11, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. In 2008, I was diagnosed with PTSD related to trauma and abuse. In 2016, I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and vasovagal syncope stemming from stress. I was not born with any deformities or health problems. Every single thing that is wrong with me came from things that happened TO me. The diagnoses above are considered "preexisting conditions", and Republicans in the Senate have voted to make it so that I can never be insured again.

 

There are two options, outside of private insurance, for people like me, should this pass. The first is Medicaid, which is available only to those who fall below the poverty line (currently, EVEN WITH MY JOB, I fall below that line). That would be great, except 1) this is taking care away from people who are more poor than I am and need it more, 2) Those same Republicans voted to gut Medicaid, so there is not going to be much money allocated for it, and 3) Medicaid does not cover one of my heart medications. That medication is the one I need the most, because it lowers my heart rate from it's abnormal, POTS-related resting rate of 160 to something less deadly. So, I have a second option. It is called COBRA, and it is the health insurance offered to those who have applied and been rejected from all other health insurance options available to them due to things like preexisting conditions. COBRA, for me, would cost more than $3,500 a month, which is more than I MAKE in a month, and that would not cover the cost of medications (which are incredibly expensive) copays for doctor visits (which are also incredibly expensive) and does not go towards my deductible (which costs as much as a year at a private college).

 

In this situation, with the preexisting condition clause removed from my healthcare choices, I have less than a year to live. It could be less than a week, or a month, or even a day, because I am at risk for a heart attack AT ALL TIMES when I am not on my medication. On top of that, I am unable to meet the out-of-pocket costs for ER visits, so if I needed to be taken to the ER by an ambulance for a heart attack and was, in fact, revived and allowed to live, it would bankrupt me. And I would die homeless and alone, because zero dollars means zero food, shelter, AND zero medication, which was my problem in the first place.

 

It is very unfortunate that I am in the position I am in. I did not vote for the people who made this disgusting, life-destroying decision, and I have never voted for them or anyone like them in my life. I would gladly give half my paycheck to make sure my neighbors, family, friends, or even enemies were able to get healthcare. I would gladly pay a higher premium if I was able to do so, and I will be eventually, since a raise is in my future. I cannot understand why anyone would want to take away the opportunity for anyone else to get medical care that they need to live.

 

It breaks my heart (both figuratively and literally) to be in this place right now. Going into this year, I knew that my healthcare options were going to change, and I have been afraid. Now, it seems like it's just going to be a waiting game. If you disagree with what is happening and can see, just a little, from my story, that this measure will kill normal everyday people like me, please call your state legislators. Do not write or tweet or email them. Those things are easy to ignore. Blow up their phone lines and leave messages. They cannot get away from that. Make sure they know that you do not want them to remove this measure from the healthcare bill, even if the ACA is repealed.

 

I want to live. I don't understand why these people would so quickly kill me to save a few bucks.