A Better Breakfast with Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+

During the week I don’t always manage to eat breakfast. I know, it’s terrible. But I’m determined now more than ever to get the most out of my mornings. Which means adding in a healthy breakfast into my routine. The only problem is that I’m probably the exact opposite of a morning person, I can sleep through pretty much anything, and after I wake up I won’t be coherent for another hour or two. So popping up to make a delicious but healthy breakfast is as realistic as me suddenly sprouting wings and flying (like those Red Bull commercials).

Quaker Real Medleys Apple Walnut Oatmeal

Thankfully, Quaker – a brand I grew up with, came out with their Real Medleys “instant” oatmeal. My mom was actually really excited about the Real Medleys line when it first hit stores, but for some reason or other we never actually got around to trying them, until I was sent one of the Real Medley’s in Apple Walnut in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox. So over the holiday week, I was super busy and therefore even less of a morning person than ever, I just popped it in the microwave and I was actually pretty darn surprised with how tasty it was!

real medleys

I know the directions say to just add water and microwave, but I’m a lactose lover so I did a half milk half water mixture. To me milk makes everything creamier and better. SO if you’re like me and regularly add milk to your oatmeal, I’d suggest you edit the directions and add some milk.

real medleys instagram pic

Real Medleys comes in Cherry Pistachio, Peach Almond, Summer Berry, and Apple Walnut – which is the flavor that I tried. It’s really really yummy – and I promise I’m not just saying that. It literally tastes like a hug from the inside – it’s warm, not too sweet, the apple and cranberries add the perfect pop of flavor, and the walnuts give a great layer of texture to the oatmeal. So if you’re in the store, and you’re looking for a delicious, fast, and easy breakfast option totally pick up some of these because they’re so good and only about $1-2 each. To find out more about Quaker Real Medleys click here, to read more reviews on Real Medleys by other influensters click here!

*I received the product(s) mentioned in the post in from the Influenster Vox Box in order to facilitate a review. I am not obligated in any way to review the product. All opinions presented here belong to The NYC Talon, and are not influenced in any way.

Take a Peek Inside! My PeekPak Box Review!

If you’re as big as a fan of subscription boxes as I am, then you’ll be thrilled with this new box that I’ve just received. PeekPak is a new service in which you get a box full of cool new snacks delivered to your door- absolutely free! As of now, the Pak is completely free, but to keep receiving Pak’s you must complete short online surveys for the products featured inside. I actually received their first ever box- and if the rest of their boxes end up looking like this, then I’m betting that PeekPak is going to get extremely popular super fast! So here’s what came in my lovely box:

This was one of the bigger boxes that I’ve received- and with good reason, this box features full-sized products- which is great! The Pak was a white box, and neatly packed with 6 products surrounded in colorful tissue paper.

I really loved these Yogavive organic popped fuji apple chips. These came in caramel apple, which was insanely yummy! Every package is the equivalent to one apple, and only has 35 calories. Organic, gluten free, and delicious, this is my new favorite snack! I can’t wait to try this out as a topping on a salad!




These Olde Cape Cod Popped Crisps in original were your basic, healthy, crunchy, crispy snack- I had mine for lunch with a turkey sandwich, loved ‘em- they were salty and simple.





This was the only disappointing product out of the whole box. I had heard SO much about these Almondina cookies, that when I saw that they were featured in the box I was really excited to try them. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything really great about these cookies, they just tasted normal, fine, unexciting- not really my cup of tea. But it was nice to have finally gotten a chance to try them for myself.


Drinking Alo in Escape was a super unique experience for me. It’s not that I haven’t seen Alo drinks before, I just never thought they were appealing enough for me to try. Also, the thought of drinking aloe vera- the product I put on my sun burns and hair during the summer- just sounded gross to me. I was really (and I mean really) surprised at how refreshing and enjoyable this drink was. Escape has aloe vera, pineapple, guava, and seabuckthorn berry.



I was so excited to get these- I’ve already have had a few yummy encounters with Snikiddy snacks, but I’d never tried (or heard of) their eat your vegetables line of snacks. Simply put: yummy!





I love these noodles SO friggin’ much! Until I received this box I had no idea what I was missing! But seriously Long Kow’s Crystal Noodles are like the more gourmet brother to ramen noodles, or like the prince to ramen noodles pauper. Super yummy, and super fast to make- this is definitely my new favorite product!



Okay, so now for that information you’ve all been waiting for…“how do I get a PeekPak?!” Well, you can sign up on their website here, and while you’re at it you can also like them on facebook, and follow them on twitter - I do! Feel free to let them know I sent you!

What boxes do you subscribe to? Will you sign up for Peek Pak? What box would you like to see me review next? Let me know in the comments section below!

Sample Boxes: Why I Can’t Wait for the Mail

For as long as I remember “mail-time” has been one of my most favorite time of day. Even when I was too young to actually receive anything I used to get excited.Now that I’m older and I actually receive things in the mail, my most anticipated time of day has gotten even better.

However, I don’t always get things in the mail. And a month without anything but bills and maybe a couple of home decoration magazines doesn’t seem like much of a month at all. That’s why I’ve decided to subscribe to Subscription Sample Boxes. Yup, you read that right. I am going to pay for somebody to send me a box of samples. But these samples aren’t a bunch of scratch and sniff perfume cards (not that I don’t love those either). These companies go through the trouble of arranging a select number of premier samples, and sending them out to their customers in adorable packages. Among these (nineteen) Subscription Sample Box’s are box’s for foodies, make-up fans, and those looking for environmentally friendly, healthy products to test out. If they tell you that they’re all sold out, subscribe to an email update so you’ll know when they’re available again- act quick because they go fast!

 Birchbox: The infamous subscription retail company has been featured on a just about every news platform out there from People to The Times- and for good reason. They deliver high end samples at $10 a box/month. Check out some happy customers YouTube vid’s here. Also, Birchbox is a NYC-based company- so yay Birchbox!

VoxBox: Now I’ve done my research and Voxbox has a lot of really good reviews. I just joined myself, but you should know that the box is part of a program called influenster. It’s a really great program that allows users to qualify for boxes and then review them- which creates a really good environment for active consumerism where users promote brands they love.

My Glam: The monthly glam bag sent to customers is fiLled with 4-5 samples of full-sized products and is paired with video’s created by stylists using the products included in the bag. At $10 a month- MyGlam is well worth a try and is a great opportunity for brand discovery.

Conscious Box: “Conscious Box is a monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet- just like you.” Conscious box is a little more expensive at $12 a month, plus $7 shipping- but has received some pretty positive reviews.




Julep Maven: Being a Julep Maven means that you get access to the beauty editor Sneak Peak Box created by Julep every month. The box is filled with the hottest trends in nail color and the latest mani/pedi care products. A subscription is $19.99 a month. Reviews here. For a limited time use the code COLOR2012 to get the box for $0.01!!!

Foodzie: Foodzie tasting boxes are run by the artisinal food site Foodzie. A tasting box for one month costs $29.95. These boxes make for great gifts, each box is carefully selected by the Foodzie team- which pretty much ensures a wide range of quality products.

GoGo Girlfriend: Right now gogo girlfriend is only allowing people to sign up on their waiting list. And for good reason. They’re notorious online for sending out great make-up sample boxes (especially to their premium members). If you happen to be able to score the chance to obtain membership- don’t hesitate. Basic membership is $6.99 a month (1 box every 2 months), premium is $12.99 a month (for a monthly box).

BlissmoBox: For $19 a month, you’ll get a box filled with organic eco-friendly products. What’s great about BlissmoBox is that you get to choose which box you want from a set of curated limited quantity box options. They also offer a “BreakBox” for non-junky office snacks.

Eco-Emi: Another “green” box, Eco-Emi offers a wide variety of eco-friendly products for $15 a month. Their packaging is supposed to be super adorable as well.

New beauty Test Tube: New Beauty’s test tube includes their magazine, various beauty samples, and a $50 gift card to Spalook.com all for $29.95- of all the sample subscription boxes. I’d have to say this one offers the best deal- the gift card alone pays for the cost of one month.

Beauty Army: Beauty Army gives you the option of choosing exactly what samples you want from their selection of products. With premium packaging, the Beauty Army box can arrive in your mailbox for $12 a month.

The Sample Lounge: The Sample Lounge gives you the option of being a yearly or monthy subscriber ($14.99 a month/$153.00 a year). Inside each of TSL’s sample boxes are 7 healthy beauty and skincare products.

Beauty Fix: Beauty Fix isn’t technically a “sample box”- they send out full size high end products chosen by a panel of experts specifically just for you. It’s still steal because $50 is a lot less then the combined total retail of the products they send you.

Glymm: Glymm, like a quite a few of these subscription programs, offers a points program that can be used to purchase products, or another box. Glymm conveniently allows users to pay for any number of months they want in one sitting as oppose to having your card charged monthly. 4 -5 Luxury samples are yours for only $10 a month.

Luxe Box: The Luxe Box is a sampling program created by Loosebutton.com, they also offer about 4-5 samples for $12 a month. As of now, Luxe Box is only available in Canada- but they’re working on going international.

GlossyBox: Another company also working on making it to the states- glossybox is currently allowing users to join the VIP Line for when they go live in the US. Sign up here!

Beauty Bar Sample Society: Beauty Bar has partnered with allure for this beauty sample offering. They include a monthly mini-mag, an allure subscription, and 4-5 deluxe sixed samples. At $15 a month, membership is limited.

Spirit Beauty Lounge Sample Boxes: Spirit Beauty Lounge’s sample boxes aren’t a part of a subscription service. However, you can choose from their available boxes based on your skin type. They also offer a deluxe sample kit that lets you choose the 10 samples tha you want.

Pink Moment: Pink Moment is very much like eco-emi. For $12 a month you get a box of natural or organic samples for you to try out.

White Apricot Green Grab Bag: “Get minis of the best natural, organic and vegan skin and hair care, make up, fragrance and more delivered right to your door for just $15 a month, and shipping is free!”

Quarterly Co.: I really love the subscription service that Quarterly provides! They allow you to choose what contributor that you want to subscribe to. They explain this better here. For $25 Quarterly allows a more personal, tailored experience for the customer. It’s so cool!

I just scored a subscription to Julep Maven- so stay tuned!

Pulling a Grandma: The Art of the Sample

When I was little, like about five years old, I discovered sampling. I was shopping at Stew Leonard’s with my mom and grandma when we happened to be carting by the massive vat of buy-by-the-pound pistachios. Now my grandma- never being one to deny herself, and an avid nut lover- reached into the pistachio pool and pulled out a good solid handful. Which she proceeded to nosh on for the rest of the shopping trip.

Why I love Stew's: Read the Rule's

Fast forward to 6th grade, years of sampling encouragement from my elders, and shamelessness afforded by young age: me and my best friend from middle school (Cassie) were buying pastries for my mom at a East Village bakery. I spotted it, the little tray bearing offerings for potential customers “Sample” it read, “please take one”. And boy did I ever. Cassie quickly learned the ropes in a move we forever dubbed “the grandma”. After making our purchases, in that life changing moment between the cashier handing us our bag of goodies and when she looks down for correct change and a reciept we would grab handfuls of cakes, cookies, whatever and stuff them into our bags for later consuption.

I love me some samples!

Since then I’ve refined my special set of skills, honing them until they’re second nature. Peter Parker may have had spidey senses but I have sample senses. And I bet his sixth sense never scored him free cake. Not only do I sample from the web, checking sites like MySavings daily, but I also keep an eye out for promotional events- like a chocolate tasting I went to a year ago at La Maison du Chocolat. Thanks to my sampling I’ve discovered some of the best products in every market from vitamins to puff pastry- a small sample size is very telling. And though I may have moved up in the sampling world I will never forget my humble beginnings. If you ever happen to be at Stew Leonard’s don’t be afraid to say hi, I’ll be hands deep in the pistachio’s.