Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Birchbox

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service for beauty items like makeup, skincare, fragrance, etc.  Each month you will receive 4-5 generously sized samples and sometimes full size beauty products.  The cost of this service is $10 w/shipping included.  They also have a yearly subscription which is $110 for the year bringing the cost down to $9.16 a month..

Each months Birchbox has a theme.  This month the theme is "The September Issue"

The good:

The brands.  You will receive items from Benefit, Stila, Pur, Essie, Kerastase, Tarte, etc. 

The price.  For $10 you can give yourself a little beauty treat.    

Like surprises?  You don't know what's in your box until you receive it.  When you sign up you take a little quiz and the items in the box are supposed to be customized to you.  I have seen pictures of other peoples boxes and they do receive different items.   

Discounts: They have a system where you earn points for referrals and things you buy.  The points allow you to receive discounts on future full size purchases from their shop.  They offer free shipping on items from the monthly box and a $5 flat shipping rate for items that don't qualify for free shipping.  This is a nice feature because if you want to order several different brands you get free or $5 shipping for everything. 

Need a gift? You can gift a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription or you can purchase a gift card in any amount.  There also have a nice option with the gift subscriptions where you can choose to have the 1st box shipped you for giving and subsequent boxes will be shipped directly to the recipient.  Great birthday/holiday gift!

The not so good:

Skip a month?  Currently there is no option to skip a month.  If you don't want a box that month then you have to cancel your subscription.  If you paid for the year you cannot cancel, you will continue to receive boxes until the paid year is up.

My Birchbox Treasures!

1.5 ml. BVLGARI Mon Jasmin Noir eau de parfum. Value = $2.50 (50 ml $83.00)

.3 oz. Fekkai Essential Shea Shampoo. Value = $0.96 (8 oz. $25.00)

.3 oz. Fekkai Essential Shea Conditioner. Value = $0.96 (8 oz. $25.00)

.25 oz. Color Club Birchbox custom polish in Put a Pin in It. Value = $4.00 (.5 oz. $8.00)

1 Twistband Birchbox custom lace hair tie. Value = $1.88 (set of 12 for $22.00)

.1 oz. Dr. Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+. Value = $1.88 (1.7 oz. $32.00)

coupon for $25 off purchase of $75 or more from Madewell

Lifestyle Extras:

Set of 3 Brush Guards for makeup brushes. Value = $4.13 (set of 4 $5.50)

Birchbox Digital Download for 2 songs from Tristan Prettyman. Value = $1.29/ea ($2.58)

Total value of this box is $17.60. That's a little on the low side for this particular box but it's still a great value.  I'm undecided if I like this box or not.  On one hand it does include some great brands like BVLGARI and Fekkai but I'm not too excited about the brush guards and the music downloads. I find it odd that they sent a set of 3 brush guards when a full set is 4.  Would it have been so terrible to include the extra one?  I do like the hair tie and the nail polish because it's a cool looking metallic color.

The verdict: overall the boxes are a good value but I'm becoming less excited about he contents.

**I pay for these boxes myself and am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Birchbox

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September Sample Society

Sample Society by Beauty Bar is a monthly service for beauty products that promises 5 fresh deluxe sized samples from luxury brands designed for multiple uses.  You also receive a coupon each month for $15 off a $50 purchase from Beauty Bar and a 12 month subscription to Allure magazine.  The cost for this subscription is $15.00 a month.  They recently changed they way the website works for members.  It's much more user friendly now and they include a link to the full size item should you want to buy it.   

The good:

The samples: You get deluxe sized samples from luxury brands.   

Information: They include a booklet with beauty tips  

Magazine: You get a free 12 month subscription to Allure magazine.  If you already subscribe they will extend your subscription and if you don't want it you can mail in a form for a refund on the value ($12)

Need a gift: You can send this as a gift but you can't do it online, they want you to call. 

Coupon: They send you a coupon with each box for $15 off a $50 purchase.  The catch is your order has to include at least one item from a brand you received that month.  It doesn't have to be the item you received just the same brand.

Price: The break down ends up being $3.00 per item. 

Referrals: If you refer someone to their site and they make a purchase the company donates up to $30 to charity.  I thought this was a nice gesture.  My referral code is pixiepower. 

The not so good:

Customization: There is no type of customization in the box. 

Skip a month: There is no option to skip a month, only cancel. 

Contents of box.  Full size price and amount listed in parenthesis.

2 oz. CellCeuticals extremely gentle skin cleanser. Value = $10.45 (6.7 oz. $35.00)    

.16 oz. Borghese B Lip Gloss. Value = $14.50 - (.21 oz. $19.00)

Stila Smudge Crayon, eye primer, shadow and liner in umber. Value = $7.33? seems like it's about 1/3 the size of a full size (full size $22.00)

.06 oz. Diptyque eau de toilette. Value = $3.11 (3.4 oz. $120.00)

.9 oz. Ahava purifying mud mask. Value = 6.15 (4.4 oz. $30.00)

coupon for $15 off a $50.00 purchase from any product of any of these brands

The total value of my Sample Society box is $41.54.  Great value!  I've received some cellceuticals products from other boxes and have really been enjoying it so I'm looking forward to trying this.  I very much enjoy mud masks and have found that I like ahava products so I was happy to see this.  I swiped the smudge crayon on my hand to see the color and it was a nice color but that stuff wouldn't rub off for nothin!  This can be great in the long lasting department but I hope it's nice a pain to remove at night.  This is what's nice about subscription boxes, you can try a variety of items for a fraction of the cost!      

Verdict: I'm happy with this box so I'll see what next month brings.  

**I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Sample Society.  I pay for these subscriptions myself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September Bulu Box

Have you heard of Bulu Box yet?  Bulu Box is a monthly sample box that contains 4-5 premium vitamin and supplement nutrition samples.  These samples are for both men and women.  The cost of the service is $10 a month or $110 a year ($10 savings) which brings it down to $9.16 a month. This is a great way to try supplements and health type foods without spending a ton of money.  

The good: 

New products: Nutritional products can be overwhelming and expensive to try.  This allows you to try new products for a low price.  

Samples sizes: The sizes are really decent.  I received multiples of a few items which will allow me to try it a couple of times. 

Information: They include a card with the product information on it. 

Access to products: There are links to purchase the products on the Bulu website

The not so good:

Skip a month: No can do, you will have to cancel. 

Contents of box.  Retail price listed in parenthesis.

1.5 oz. OSTrim Beef & Elk snack stick. Value = $1.67 - This had an odd aftertaste.  It wasn't bad but honestly it had a faint soap taste.  weird huh?

1 packet Neuro Edge mental focus powder red energy flavor. Value = $1.00 (30 pk $29.99)

1 packet Neuro Edge mental focus powder lemonade flavor. Value = $1.00 (30 pk $29.99)

3 packets Hawaiian Coconut Energy powder. Value = $1.32/ea (60 pk box $79.99) - The directions say mix with 8-16 oz. of water. I mixed this with a 16.9 oz. bottle of water and I'm sure glad I did because it's pretty sweet.  It's not sticky sugary sweet but it's coconutty sweet.  It was a nice additive to the water but my energy level didn't feel any different. 

60 ct (30 day supply) Swanson Razberri-Ketones. Value = $3.79

2.5 oz. bottle (2.5 servings) Octane Liquid endurance shot. Value = $5.00 (12 pack $60.00) - This was really ick!  I know this sounds weird but it tasted like tuna.  I tried to like it but ended up tossing it. 

The total value of my Bulu box is $13.78.  I decided to make the yearly commitment so my price was $9.16.  Even if you do monthly at $10 it's still a good deal.  Raspberry Ketones are all the rage now since Dr. Oz did a little spiel about them on his show.  I've tried them but was really bad about taking them consistantly.  I will try and be good about taking them twice a day and see if they make a difference.  I'm really excited about the snack stick.  I'll be honest, I totally hid this from the boyfriend because I wanted to try it and I knew if he saw it he would eat it all.  The octane drink is odd because a serving is 1 ounce and this is a 2.5 oz. bottle.  How am I suppose to know what 1 ounce is and a 1/2 serving that's kind of dumb.      

Verdict: I'm really enjoying my Bulu boxes.  They send a nice variety of products to try.     

**I am not any type sponsor paid or unpaid for Bulu Box.  I purchase these subscriptions myself. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September Beauty Box 5

Beauty Box 5 is a monthly subscription service for beauty products including makeup, skin care, fragrances, nail care, body care, beauty tool and just about anything else beauty related.  Each month you receive 4-5 samples of beauty related items.  They have three ways to subscribe.  You can pay monthly for $12 a month, or quarterly $30 which brings the price down to $10 a month or yearly for $100 which brings the price down to $8.33 a month.  Shipping is included in all these prices.

The good:

The brands.  Well known brands including some eco-friendly ones.

The pricing structure.  I like the options they have, monthly, quarterly and yearly.  Even the quarterly gives you a little bit of a discount.

Like surprises? Boxes ship out on the 15th of every month and you never know what's going to be in it.  I like surprises so this is a positive for me.  Also since this ships out in the middle of the month you get a little treasure towards the end of the month.  Most monthlies ship at the beginning.

Information: They have started including an information cards on the products in the boxes which I love

The not so good:

Skip a month. Currently there is no option for this.  If you want to skip you have to cancel.

Contents of with value of product and retail price of full size product in parenthesis. 

1 square Goat Haus Dairy bath melt in angel kisses (light vanilla w/a hint of lavender). Value = 2.50 - I couldn't smell the lavender at all.  It was a nice fizzy bath melt. 

Full Size h.wood.lips lip shine in ruby. Value = $16.00

.67 oz. NuMe Hydro Punch hydrating shampoo. Value = $1.90 (8.45oz. $24.00)

.25oz. Nastassja Skin Enzyme Facial Peel. Value = $5.00 (2oz. $40.00)

Full Size 18oz. Silk Naturals Eye Shadow in plush (purple & copper shimmer). Value $4.00

Coupon for $100 off any hair styling tool or hair extensions good through Dec 31st.

The total value of the box is $29.40.  I didn't include the coupon because it requires spending money.  The cheapest hair styling tool (mini straightner) NuMe has is $115 and it's been out of stock for months.  I had a $100 coupon from MyGlam that I wanted to use on the mini straightener but was never able to use it.  I do hope it comes back in stock because I would love to order it. I love the color of the lipstick and eye shadow.  I can't wait to give them a try.  I have a large tub that I don't use nearly enough so I'm going to make it a point to use it this weekend and soak in my new bath melt.  Maybe I'll give myself an enzyme facial peel while I'm in there.   

Verdict: This box is hit and miss for me.  I'm really excited about the products in this months box and it's a great value since I paid $8.33

**I pay for these services myself and am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Beauty Box 5.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cravebox limited edition Back to School Box

This is not the normal Cravebox subscription box.  In addition to their subscription service they also offer limited edition boxes every few months.  In order to be eligible to purchase one of these limited edition boxes you have to put your name in a drawing.  You don't have to be a member to be put in the drawing for a limited edition box. It's a one time charge for that particular box if you are chosen to receive one.  What makes these limited is that there are only 1500 available.  You have to sign up on their website to be notified when these boxes are available.  From that point they choose 1500 people to receive a box.  The limited edition boxes cost vary in cost.  This particular was supposed to cost $13.00 w/shipping included.  They had some shipping issues with this one and I received it several weeks after I was supposed to.  Now this shocked me.  I knew there were problems with shipping and they kept sending emails explaining the situation so I wasn't really worried about it.  Then next thing I know I get an email saying because they had shipping issues (not weather related) they were going to refund the cost of this box and still send it out. This was totally unexpected!  
I'm not going to break down the good and not so good for this since this is a limited edition box.  

Back to School treasures!

Contents of box with retail price listed: 

1 oz. bottle w/35 doses of Children's Oral Antiseptic Spray from Halo. Value = $12.99

6oz. bottle of Aloe Vera Gel from Fruit of the Earth. Value = $5.99 - Fantastic product!  I was making pear butter and had just burned myself on some of the sauce.  I decided to take a break and check the mail.  I found my Cravebox and inside I found this gel.  I put some on my burn and the pain went away immediately.  I'm going to make sure I always have this stuff around.  

Slim pack of 10 Kleenex. Value = $0.75 - Who couldn't use pocket Kleenex, this is great!

90 count bottle of Yummi Bears children's vitamins with DHA/Omega 3. Value = $29.99 - Seems little high priced to me but they taste good.  

Little Pim Disc 3 Spanish for playtime.  Value = $17.95

4 pack of The Bic Atlantis Ball colored pens. Value = $5.98

4 pack of The Bic Atlantis Mechanical Pencil. Value = $5.79

Coupon for a free lunchables with a real fruit smoothie. Value up to $3.99

The total value of the back to school box is $83.43. Wow, that's a great haul and there is some really cool stuff in here. The Spanish DVD is interesting. It says it's for babies, toddlers and preschoolers of which I don't have but it's sounds like a really cool learning video.  My nephew will totally love the lunchables and who doesn't love pens and pencils.  I'm still amazed at how well the aloe vera gel worked, I would definitely recommend this!  

Verdict: The limited edition boxes are pretty awesome.  If you see one you like by all means enter the drawing.  

I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Cravebox.  I purchase these boxes myself.     

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Gobites Box

Like snacks? Then GoBites might just be a box for you. I recently found a deal through Plum District to try this box for $12.  - side note, Plum District is a site that offers discounts just like Groupon or Living Social.  There is no cost to sign up and they send you emails for deals in your area and nationwide deals. Back to GoBites - The price of this monthly subscription is $27.86 per box w/shipping included and you will receive 14 packages picked by you.  You can choose to receive this weekly, every 2 weeks or every 4 weeks.  This works out to be $1.99 per box and each box is 1 serving.  

The good:

Variety: They have 25 different mixes to choose from.  They give a detailed description of each one.  

Convenient: Very convenient to carry in your purse, lunch bag, after school snack, camping, etc

Information: The provide nutritional information on each pack they send. It's not printed on the package but it's on a separate piece of paper, but you could cut it out and tape it to the back of the package if needed.  Great for people watching carbs, calories, protein, sodium etc. 

The not so good:

Price: You pay for the convenience at $1.99 per package.  

Contents of GoBites Box:

1.60 oz. Incan Treasure, 100 % organize lightly dry roasted almonds, mango, dark chocolate covered cacao nibs and golden raisins.

1.65 oz. Mayan Treasure, 100% organic lightly dry roasted almonds, monukka raisins, pomegranates and Balinese cacao nibs.

1.55 oz. The Silk Road, 100% organic goji berries, mulberries, golden raisins, cacao nibs, cashews and pistachios

1.35 oz. Umami Crunch, tamari cashews, all natural miso rice crackers and lightly dry roasted edamame.

1.68 oz. Eastern Promises, wasabi tamari almonds, lightly dry roasted edamame and wasabi peas.

1.51 oz. Antioxidant Mix, 100 % organic pineapple, raw cashews, pomegranate and goji berries.

1.56 oz. Jack of All Fruits, 100 % organic Sri Lankan jack fruit, lightly dry roasted almonds and monukka raisins.

1.50 oz. Hanging Gardens, 100% organic monukka raisins, mulberries, golden raisins, white figs, almonds, apricot kernels and goji berries.

1.55 oz. Essential Energy, 100% organic raisins, sunflower seeds, pineapple, dates, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, apricot, cashews and bananas.

(2) 1.45 oz. Sweet Siam, 100 % organic rambutan, walnuts and green raisins.

1.60 oz. Chocolate Monkey, 100 % organic raw cashews, cavendish bananas and rich dark chocolate chips.

1.55 oz. Das Gutt, 100 % organic pumpkin seeds, rich dark chocolate chips, mango, raisins, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds and apples.

1.60 oz. Tropical Chocolate Mix, 100% organic raw cashews, mango, rich dark chocolate chips and coconut.

I can't really do a value write up on each package but it works out to be $1.99 each.  Basically you have to ask yourself if the price is worth the convenience to you.  It's nice to have pre-package/weighed snacks ready to go for you especially if you're trying to watch what you eat, constantly on the go, have kids, etc.  If you have the time you can buy packages of dried fruit, nuts etc and weigh them out yourself in little snack bags.

Verdict: I canceled my subscription for now because I'm going to try and make my own packages.  We will see if I actually do it.      

**I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for GoBites.  I purchase these subscriptions myself.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September BarkBox

Love your fur babies?  Me too!  This is why I decided to sign our Riley up for BarkBox.  Yep you read it right.  BarkBox is a monthly subscription plan for your four legged fur baby.  BarkBox is based out of New York and every month they will send your pooch a box of goodies for their very own.  The cost of this service is $17.50 to $29 a month.  All plans include shipping.  Monthly is $29.00, 3 months is $66.00 ($22 a month) and 6 months is $105 ($17.50 a month).  You tell them what size dog you have (small & cute under 20lbs, just right 20-50lbs or  big & bold over 50lbs.) and they send items for that type of dog.  The company also donates 10% of their profits to a shelter every month.  How awesome is that!  

The Good: 

Pets - Lots of people have dogs and it can be hard to figure out what products work.  This is a great way to try stuff out without spending a ton of money.  

Donation - 10% doesn't sound like much but it all adds up. The shelters can use all the help they can get.  

Semi-customized - your 10lb. Chihuahua won't be receiving a toy larger than it's whole body.  (Although I know lots of Chihuahua's that like to think they are bigger than they are and would love the challenge)

Need a gift - It's like a shower gift for someone with a new fur baby.  How cool is that.  Congrats on your new bundle of fur, here's 3 months of goodies to get you started.  

Pricing options: I like that they have different pricing structures.  $29 is kind of a lot but $105 for 6 months is much more reasonable or even the option of $66 for 3 months. 

Dog like surprises? - Dogs usually love surprises. Everything is a surprise to them.  They can join in the surprise fun with you when you open their box cause you won't know what you get until it gets to you.  

The not so good:

Skip a month. This is not an option

Dog doesn't like it? This may happen.  My dog is an older gal and doesn't too much play anymore so she isn't interested in the toys.  They customize the boxes for dog size but I wish there were a way to customize it for age.  I would rather have more treats than a toy.  Anyway I'm thinking of donating them to the SPCA near my house.  I'm sure they could use it.  Give me an good reason to clean out my linen closet - they also take old towels to use in the cat dens.    

Funny Side note: 
I found this under the FAQ section of the BarkBox website:

Question: If I cancel in the middle of my subscription, will I still get all of my boxes?
Answer: You will definitely receive all of the boxes from your subscription, but don't be surprised by an rebellious brown smelly "presents" left on the living room floor when your dog learns of a BarkBox cancellation. ; )

Well played Barkbox, well played...

BarkBox treasures.

Riley with her BarkBox. 

Contents of the Bark Box with retail price: 

Barkworthies Pretzel shaped bully stick. Value = $5.29- This was Riley's first pick out of the box.  She enjoyed it very much and ate the whole thing in a little over an hour. 

Zigoo Pets Crinket Toy (insert a water bottle and it crunches when dogs bite it). Value = $19.99

1 8x7 LA Fresh pet wipe. Value = $0.20 (50 count $9.95) 

2 sample pieces of Whole Life Pet dehydrated chicken treat. Value = $0.53 (4 oz. bag $16.99)

1.5 oz. bag Whole Life Pets Organic Sweet Potato Treat. Value = $3.99 - Riley enjoyed this and kept sniffing the ground for me.  What I like is the ingredient list which was USDA certified organic sweet potato. Yep that's it, just sweet potato.  

1 large Zuke's Clean Apple Crisp Edible Dental Chew. Value = $3.99

coupon for $10 off your first order at 

The total value of this box is $33.99.  The treats are always fun for Riley and I like the variety that is sent.  I wish she still played with toys because this looks like a fun, albeit loud, one.    

Verdict:  This is great and I can't wait to see what they offer next month.  

Riley sniffs around her choices.  hmm what to pick?

 I think we may have found a winner!   How exciting!

Riley's first choice was the pretzel bully stick. I'm pretty sure I heard her humming the chorus "Tonight's gonna be a good night" by the Black Eyed Peas

****I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for BarkBox.  I purchases these subscriptions myself.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September Nature Box

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know I'm a big fan of snacks.  I like keeping healthy snacks around for those times when you just want a little something to munch on and really don't want to eat something "naughty" like a cookie or candy. 

Nature Box sends 15-20 servings of delicious snacks from 4-6 different items.  Their products contain no high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no trans fat, no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.  The cost for this subscription is $19.95 shipping included.  In addition for every Nature Box sent out they donate a meal through Feeding America.  This month the theme of the box is Snacks from Around the World.   

The good:

Good for you: You get snacks for you and your family that are good for you. 

Variety: There is something for everyone, fruit, nuts, rice crackers.

Skip a month: Yes you can skip a month or have your box sent to a friend.  The not so good is you have to call in order to do this.  There is no online option for this feature. 

Need a gift: You can send a 3, 6 or 12 month gift subscription.  Perfect for college students, frequent travelers, moms, singles, really anyone!

The not so good:

Want more: Love you snack and want to order more?  Currently they don't have an option to purchase more but they are working on making that a possibility. 

Contents of my Nature Box:

(3) 1/4c servings Pistachio Power Clusters

(4) 1/4c servings Umami Roasted Nuts

(3) servings Big Island Pineapple

(4.5) 1 oz. servings Apple Orchards Granola

(4) 1/4c servings Toasted Sesame Stix

I couldn't really determine a value of the products because there is so much variation in food.  I looked at a couple of organic dried fruit items online and they were about $4.50 a bag.  I know when I've purchased nuts before in a package or bulk it's about $3-$5 depending on the brand, etc.  What I received this month works out to be $4.00 a bag.  I think that's pretty average for these type of snacks. I am up to my eyeballs in granola right now so I'll probably eat this last.  I love dried pineapple so I was very excited to see this.   

Verdict: I am really happy with what I received this month.  I can't wait to see next month's box.  

I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Nature Box.  I purchase these subscriptions myself.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September Love with Food

Love with Food is a monthly food subscription box.  The price is $10 plus $2 for shipping a month or you can sign up for a 6 month plan and shipping is only $1 or a yearly plan and shipping is free which makes the boxes an even $10.  In addition to yummy treats for every box sold they donate a meal to a hungry child. I've enjoyed all my boxes so I signed up for a yearly membership.   

Each month is a different theme and you will receive 5+ gourmet food items.   You don't get to pick you items so it's a complete surprise.  If you like what you get then you can log onto the Love with Food website and order the products at a special discount.  This months theme is Back in Skinny Jeans Noshables.  They were also giving away the Back in Skinny Jeans book by Stephanie Quilao randomly in boxes.  Sadly I didn't win a book, but I got lots of yummy treasures.      

The good:

The price: $10-$12 is a reasonable price to pay for yummy treats AND you're donating a meal. 

Need a gift: You can send a 3 or 6 month subscription to a friend.  Who wouldn't love getting tasty treats in the mail?

Variety: You get a lot of variety in each box. 

Discounts: You can earn points for discounts off future full size product purchases by submitting reviews on their website or referring new members. 

The not so good:

Skip a month: Skipping is not an option.  If you don't want a box you will have to cancel. 

Contents of box with full size retail price listed in parenthesis:

1 oz. jar Bonne Maman Muscat Grape Jelly. Value = $0.42 (13 oz. $5.49) - This was just ok, nothing fantastic about it.  I put it on a crumpet.  

single serve packet Almond Butter by Barney Butter. Value = $0.42 - I love these. I like to take the packet and spread it on a crumpet or english muffin. 

1.55 oz. box of San Franola Granola with raisins. Value = $2.00 - I've received this in other boxes.  It's ok but I've had better granola. 

1.05 packet (makes 6 cups) Teeccino French Roast Coffee. Value $2.50

3 packets of Teeccino in Hazelnut, Chocolate and Vanilla Nut. Value = $0.80/ea (10 pk $7.99)

3 (.45 oz) packets of flavored Balsamic Vinegar by Gourme Mist. Value = $0.71/ea (14 pk. $9.99)

.35 oz. bag of Roasted Edamame by Sensible Foods. Value = $1.08 (12pk $19.95)

.35 oz. bag of Tropical Blend Fruit by Sensible Foods. Value = $1.08 (12pk $19.95)

The total value of this months box is $12.03.  I think this is a great deal whether you're a month, bi-annually or yearly subscriber.  I love balsamic vinegar, literally I can drink the stuff so I'm super excited to try these.  In a couple boxes back Sensible Foods dried corn was in the box and I loved it so much I ordered more.  I'm hoping the edamame and fruit is just as good.  Teeccino? Sounds interesting. 

Verdict: overall I love my love with food boxes so it's a keeper    

**I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Love with Food.  I purchase these subscriptions myself.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September Yumvelope

Yumvelope is a food/snack monthly subscription service.  Each month you receive a large USPS envelope filled with goodies.  The cost for this service is $21 a month with shipping included or you can sign up for their yearly plan at $228 for the year which brings the price down to $19 a month.  With that fee they promise to send a minimum of 6 full size items in each envelope.    

The good:

Variety: There is a good variety of items.  A couple of the products I received I've tried before and like so I was glad I received them.  

Discounts: The try and send a promo code for each product so you can order your favorite products at a discounted price.  

Size: They send full size products which is always nice.  

The not so good:

Value vs. Price: I received two other shipments that missed the mark for me on the value side.  Their values were $11.46 and $14.26. The August Box was much better with a value of $20.30.  I hope they keep a value in the high teens and 20's.  

Food Treasures! The bag was stuffed to the gills!  Also they put the chips in a little box which was super nice so they didn't get crushed, very appreciative of that!

Contents of box with retail price listed.  

1 box with 2 microwaveable bag of Vermont Maple & Sea Salt popcorn by Quinn popcorn - Value = $5.00 - I've had their Parmesan popcorn which was amazing.  This tasted like a not a sweet as usual kettle corn.  Does that make any sense.  

1.43 oz. bag of dang toasted coconut chips - Value = 2.99

1 oz. bag of Late July Sea Salt by the Seashore multi-grain snack chips. - Value = $1.00 - I've had these before from my Blissmo box and I liked them.  

1.41 oz. square Urban Raccoons Gluten free Banana Chocolate Chip granola bar. Value = $2.33

1.6 oz. Simple Squares Cinnamon Clove Whole Food Snack Bar. Value = $2.50 - Delicious!  I loved the combination of honey and cashews. 

.35 oz. strip Veggie-Go's Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegan Carrot Ginger chew. Value = $1.39 - I didn't care much for the texture of this and it had a really strong ginger flavor. 

.9 oz. package Surf Sweets Sour Berry Bears. Value = $0.89

**Bonus item** .9 oz. package Surf Sweets Gummy Bears. Value = $0.89 - This is a bonus item for completing a survey about last months box.  

The total value of this Yumvelope is $16.10 (not including the bonus item).  Not a great as last months but not too bad.  A lot of these items are not readily available in regular stores so for me that adds a little to the value.  I was super excited to see Quinn popcorn, the Parmesan one I tried was delicious!  All the other goodies will be great for my snack bowl and good on the go items.  Yumvelope is going to be launching a food/meal donation program soon which I'm always a fan of.  For meal when a donation is involved that adds a little bit to the value.  I find it's a easy way to contribute to a good cause.          

Verdict:  I like the items in this box since they are mostly specialty items.     

**I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Yumvelope.  I purchase these monthly subscriptions myself.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Samplr Box

Samplrs is a monthly subscription service that revolves around food.  Each month you will receive 4-6 full size products from up and coming food artisans.  The cost is $29.99 a month w/shipping included.  That's a little higher than other food subscriptions but if you like trying new artisan type foods it's well worth it.
The good:

Sizes: The company gives you full sizes of the products.  Now you don't have to hide your treasures from other people, unless you don't want to share. 

Price: If you are into gourmet food items then the price is awesome.  These are not products you are likely going to find on sale in your local grocery store.   

Discounts: You can buy the products you receive on the Samplrs website and in addition earn points which can be used for discounts in the marketplace 

Information: They include a card with the product information and this months card had a recipe using the Pineapple Hot Sauce.  (Tamarind Sour and Penn's Revenge cocktail)  

Vegetarian: You can opt to receive an vegetarian-only box which will contain vegetarian alternatives to featured meat products. 

The not so good:

Skip a month: There is no option to skip only to cancel. 

Contents of box w/retail price listed:

2.5 oz. Ovenly Maple Thyme Pecans. Value = $5.50 - These are just sweet, crunchy and delicious.  

8 oz bottle of Royal Rose Tamarind Simple Syrup. Value = $12.00 - I followed the directions on the side of the bottle for a Tamarind Martini and I have to say it was very yummy. I'll be making myself another one of those!

16 oz. New York Superfoods Manhanttan Mud Chia But Butter. Value = $11.00

12 oz. Heartbreaking Dawn's White Peach Ginger Ale. Value = 1.99 - This wasn't too bad.  I could taste the peach and it had only a slight ginger taste (which is perfect for me)

4 squares of The Snow Owl Rice Krispies treat from Lucky Bird Bakery. Value = 10.00 - I don't know how these people do it.  These were soft, flavorful, delicious and too good for words.  

The total value of my Samplrs is $40.49.  That's $10 more than I paid.  I am so excited about some of the stuff in this box.  I received some brownies from Lucky Bird before and they were delicious!  Pecans are so good and the combination of flavors sound interesting.   I can't wait to try the drink recipes on the back using the Tamarind syrup.  The only thing I'm kind of iffy on is the Chia peanut butter.  I'm am finding I don't care much for chia so I'm hoping this is different. 

Verdict. This box never disappoints.  It consistently offers great stuff and a great value.    

I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Samplrs.  I purchase these subscriptions myself. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Mantry Box

Mantry is a new subscription box geared towards men.  I think the plan is to be monthly but I couldn't find a whole lot of information on that.  I did some research on it and it looked like they were going to send food products as opposed to "man" products.  So I said to myself "self, I'm not a man but I like food why can't I sign up?"  So I did.  When I went to their website I had to put my name on a wait list.  There was no information on the price, previous boxes what's included and I thought to myself "a man must have done this website, I'm a woman I NEED info!"  Of course this didn't stop me from signing up because after all I'm a woman and I felt the need to get to the bottom of this box and get more info.  Well played Mantry, well played. 

After being on the wait list for a few weeks I received an email mid August saying something to the effect of I could now purchase a box. It gave a price of $48.00 payable through paypal and no information as to what would be included or when it would ship. What to do?  $48.00 is kind of high but what if there are some fantastic treasures inside? Curiosity won and I  paid the $48.00.  

The good: 

Packaging: Comes in an awesome little crate.  This can be used to store all kind of stuff in it.  

Products: Full size specialty items. Now I don't know if this is always the case because there was no info on what the expect.  There are like the ultimate mysterious man only in the form of a business.  

The not so good: 

Price: The price is a little high BUT depending on what you get for your $48.00 it could be worth it.  

Information: I need more info! 

The box arrived mid-September via Priority mail.  It was very heavy and said fragile on it.  When I opened it up I could see a crate inside.  

This is the side of the box.  Cute huh?

I opened the top of the crate and there was a booklet with all the product information inside.  The outside said "Born in the USA".  I'm guessing this is the theme of the box and all the products are from the USA (bonus!) 

My Mantry Treasures!  

Contents of box with retail price: Note all products are full size

2.75 oz. bar Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Bar. Value = $5.99

7 oz. bag Half Pops butter and rare ocean sea salt flavor. Value = $3.79 - It's funny I always each the little half popped kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bucket. I thought I was just odd but I guess I'm not the only one.  These are very tasty, crunchy and taste a lot like corn nuts but better!  

3 oz. bag of Blue Ox Jerky. Value = $6.50 - The product write up on this said "to be shared with the boys" The boyfriend says "well, since there are no boys around here you can have a piece".  This is the first thing he opened in the box and it was gone shortly thereafter.  He graciously shared 1 piece with me (I stole another) and 1 piece with the teenager.  All 3 of us thought it was fantastic.  The teenager even spontaneously said "This is really good jerky!"

11 oz. jar of Sir Kensington's Ketchup. Value = $9.00 - I thought it was pretty good, although I'm not sure it's worth $9.00.  I thought it had a sweet flavor and tasted very fresh.  The teenager thought it tasted like spaghetti sauce.

8 oz. jar of Stu's Bloody Mary mix (makes 4 pints). Value = $8.32

3.75 oz. jar of Clancy's Fancy hot sauce. Value = $10.00

The total value of this Mantry box is $43.60.  I paid $48.00 which is a $4.40 difference.  I don't think that's too bad considering the products are definitely specialty and it came with a cute little crate...ahem I mean and manly wooden crate.  I'm not a fan of bloody mary's but I've never really had a good one either.  The boyfriend also isn't a fan but we are both willing to give this a try.  Neither one of us are into super hot sauces either but we both like salsa.  I may add a little bit of this to some salsa, guac or some recipe to give it a slight zing but I'm not going to be pouring it on my eggs anytime soon. I love the ingredient list on the ketchup (tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, raw sugar, onion, honey, olive oil, lime juice concentrate, green bell pepper, salt, agave nectar, spices).  No artificial colors, flavors or other shenanigans.  Perhaps I will make some baked fries and try this out.  

Verdict: High priced but this box had some cool food stuff in it.  I will definitely order another box if they have one.  

**I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Mantry.  I purchase these subscriptions myself.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Pawalla Box for Cats

Recently I found out there is a monthly subscription box for kitties.  I figured my dog gets one so why not my gatos?  I contacted Pawalla and asked if they would send me a box to review on my blog.  They happily sent me one.  The cost of the Pawalla Box is $26 a month or an annual subscription for $252. The annual brings the price down to $21 a month and is billed yearly.  Shipping is included in both plans.  Each box contains 6 or more new products including premium all-natural wet food, treats, supplements and toys.  The treats and toys are selected based on the age and size of your cat or dog. 

The good:

Have a cat in your life?  Now there is a box for your kitties

Variety: There is a lot of variety is this box.  Everything from food to toys to supplements, just as promised.

Info: The provide a giant card with information on all the products included in the box. 

Amount: The amount of stuff in this box was enough for both my kitties to share. 

The not so good:

Price: It's what I would consider a luxury box at over $20 a month.  

Subscriptions: I wish they had a 3 or 6 month subscription that offered a little discount.  

This is the box.  It's fairly large and all the items have their own compartments.  You can also see the information card that is included. 

My girls checking out their goodies.  Gracie aka Mak is on the left and Izzibella aka Izzi is on the right.  Both kitties are just over 3 1/2 years old. 

As you can see both girls were interested in the toy.  The top part is crinkly which Izzi will love.  She loves to chew on anything crinkly, like tissue and bubble wrap.  This will be much safer for her.  The bottom part has catnip in it which I'm sure what is causing the the attraction.   

I gave Gracie some of the treats and as you can see she enjoyed it and wanted more.  Such a hindrance not having opposable thumbs!

How can you resist that cute little face.  Ok just one more treat...

Contents of box with retail price:

2.8 oz. can of Tiki Puka Puka Luau wet food - succulent chicken. Value = $1.29

2.8 oz. can of Tiki Hawaiian Grill wet food - Ahi Tuna. Value = $1.29

2.8 oz. can of Napili Luau wet food - wild salmon and chicken. Value = $1.29 - The girls weren't too excited about this which surprised me because it looked like something I would eat.  It was shredded and looked like tuna out of a can, matter-of-fact the teenager thought it was tuna.  

2.8 oz. can of Tiki Lanai Luau wet food - Tuna in crab surimi consomme. Value = $1.29

3 oz. bag Zuke's Natural Purrz Chicken Treats. Value = $3.80

6 oz. Greenies Salmon Flavor Dental Treats for Cats. Value = 5.99 - Gracie enjoyed this and wanted more.

50 ct. NaturVet Soft Chew Hairball PLUS. Value = $5.99 - Gracie didn't care much for these. 

4 oz. PetzLife Original Oral Care Gel, Peppermint flavor. Value = $29.95 - Gracie did NOT like this one little bit.  I have the scratches to prove it.  I'm not even going to try it on Izzi cause she has more of an attitude than Gracie.  The good news is that it looks like you can use it on dogs. My yellow lab Riley doesn't get upset about anything so I'll use it on her.  

Patchwork Pet Spring and Rings Dog & cat Toys. Value = $7.03 - both my girls were very interested in this little catnip filled treasure.  Little junkies. 

The total value of my box is $57.92. Wow!, I wonder if this is typical for their boxes.  I received this box complementary from Pawalla but the monthly price is $26.00.  I really enjoyed this box and I think my kitties did too.  I'm a little frightened to try the oral care gel because I'm not sure they will be receptive to it and I don't want to be the victim of their dislike.  Gracie is pretty mellow so I might try it on her first. I like the idea of it though since dental health is so important for our fur babies.

Verdict: It's a splurge but what a fun little box for the kitties.  I may just have to join this one for my fur babies.

**I am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Pawalla.  This box was complementary sent to me by Pawalla. My opinions are my own and not influenced by the company.