Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Beauty Box Five

This week I received my first Beauty Box Five shipment.  Beauty Box Five 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.  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 these prices. 

The good:

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

The pricing structure.  I like the options they have, monthly, quarterly and yearly.

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.

The not so good:

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

Don't like surprises?  You may end up with something in your box you might not use.  For me it was the self-tanning wipes.  This is not something I'm really interested in but since I received it I'll give it a whirl cause why not right?

This is the contents.  (I listed the retail value of full size in parenthesis)


(1) Comodynes self-tanning towelette ($2.13) - I used this on my legs, it went on easy but I didn't notice a big color change 

(1) PRITI NYC Soy nail polish remover biodegradable wipe ($1.00) - smells great almost lemony, feels like it hydrates the skin instead of drying it out like acetone and non-acetone.  I had a light color on but it took it off easily.  I would consider buying these for my travel bag.  

1.7 oz Pur-lisse, pur-delicate gentle soy milk cleanser and make up remover (5.6 oz $36) - nice cleanser, no strong odors, doesn't feel heavy and washes off easily.

.17 fl oz Weleda hydrating day cream (1 fl oz $20)

.17 fl oz Weleda hydrating night cream (1 fl oz $21)

Full size Lavera brown eyeliner with organic beeswax and organic palm oil ($10.80) - this goes on smooth and had a nice rich dark brown color

In full size items I received $13.93 worth of product.  If you break down the cost of the other 3 samples by amount received the Pur-lisse was worth $11, and the Weleda products were each worth $3.50.  Now you may be able to find these samples free in a store but that would require some work.  The total value of all the samples received is $31.93.  I bought the yearly subscription so the eyeliner alone is worth the cost and I love that it's made with organic products, I can't wait to try it.  I'm also very excited about the biodegradable nail polish remover wipes.   

Verdict: I'm going to continue with this subscription 1. because paid for the year and 2. I like the variety, especially the eco-friendly and organic eyeliner.

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

February Blissmo Box

This week I received my February Blissmo box.  What's a Blissmo box?  Blissmo is a monthly membership service that is geared toward organic & eco products that are safer and better for you.  Each month they offer different boxes which vary based on themes or seasons.  For February I picked the fitness foods box.  The price is $19 plus $3 shipping.  The company advertises that you will receive between $19-$40 worth of items for your $22.  This is the February box but I received it in March. 

The good:

Like trying new snacks but not sure what to try.  This is a good start to trying new things without being overwhelmed. 

The price: $22 isn't a bad price for delivery of healthy foods to try.  The bad part would be if everything was horribly inedible.  So far I've tried things I wouldn't purchase but nothing that I tossed out. 

The not so good.

Skip a month? Yes you can skip a month but they still charge you.  So if you skip March you will still be charged but will be able to pick two boxed in April.  If you skipping the month in order to save money this doesn't work.  If your paying for the box you might as well receive it.  Of course if none of the boxes appeal to you then you aren't forced to buy it.  I think it would be easier to have the option to skip and not get charged. 

Here are the pics from my March Box:


Here is what I received: (Retail value listed in parenthesis)


PlantFusion drink mix in Chocolate Raspberry $2.49 - I didn't have high expectations for this. I find if the word "plant" is in the name the taste is not very good. This was the exception. There was no bitterness, no chalkyness just a yummy chocolate flavor. I pour the packet into my water bottle shook it up and drank it down. It was the perfect thing to drink before my spin class. Only 120 calories and 21g of protein!

PlantFusion drink mix in Vanilla $2.49 - This wasn't a good as the chocolate one.  It had your typical chalky protein drink flavor. 

Kutoa Health Bar $3.00 - This was fantastic.  It had big chunks of raisins, was chewy, soft and very satisfying. 

Foods Alive Flax Seed Crackers (this was not full size but retail of the sample is $1.99) - these were interesting, good flavor and nice crisp.  Good in small doses just to get the flax. 

Orgain Chocolate Shake $3.50 - Not bad for a protein shake but I prefer the Atkins dark chocolate

Orgain Vanilla Shake $3.50 - Not much flavor in this, the texture was not appealing - watery and the contents didn't mix well even with lots of shaking

Kopali Organics Organic Dried Mango $3.99 - These were good at first but left a weird aftertaste

Larabar Apple Pie - $1.25

The retail value of my box was $22.21.  So no loss/no gain on this box.  It was nice to try products I may not have ordinarily tried which is part of the goal of these boxes.  I would like to see the company give a little extra every now and then though.  It's always nice to receive an extra treasure. 


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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Little Black Bag

This week I received my March Little Black Bag.  To recap for those of you new here Little Black Bag is a new subscription service with a twist.  You purchase your bag but then you have 7 days to trade your items with other members.  Huh?  It goes like this:


You can choose to do this monthly for $49.95 plus $4.95 shipping and tax (CA & NY) which brings it to roughly $59 or you can do a one time bag purchase for $59.95 plus $4.95 shipping and tax (CA & NY).  It works like this.  You take a style quiz and they pick a "bag" for you based on your answers.  Once you take the quiz you get to see a gallery of items ranging in value as of today from $8-$100 and you get to pick one thing you want.  Once you pick your one thing the company will choose 2 more items for you.  They will tell you the brand and value but you don't get to see the items until you commit to buy the bag.  Once you click purchase the contents are revealed.  This is where the fun begins!  You can keep all the items in your bag OR go back into the gallery and pick items you want to trade.  The trade is them sent to the person(s) with that item and they can choose to reject or accept your request.  You can trade one item for one item or if there is something you really want you can trade multiple items.  On the flip side you will also receive trade offers from people who want your items.  The trading period is open for 7 days and new items are added daily so you really should check the site at least once a day.  If you are happy with your items anytime within those 7 days you can choose to ship your bag right away.  Or you can do like I do and wait til trading has closed cause you never know what you're going to find!  At the end of the trading period they company ships your items and you get your treasures!

The good:

Like to shop? This definitely fills the shopping need.  It feels like you are shopping each day you check the website and look for items to trade or trade items with other members.


The value.  Your bag is guaranteed to be worth at least $100.  My February bag retail value was $192 and my March bag retail value is $164  

Brands.  The brands are very well known brands.  Kenneth Cole, Disney, RJ Graziano, Perline, R&Em and many more.  The also put the retail price next to the item so you know approx. value.  

Multiple Item.  You can score multiple items and use them as gifts at a fraction of the cost!

Variety. They have handbags, sunglasses, cell phone cases, earrings, necklaces, vases, wallets, nail polish, makeup, home items. Basically you will find something you like.  

Skip a month?  Don't want a bag this month, then skip it. You have 5 days to skip the month.  If for some reason you forget to skip you will be charged for the bag but will get double the items the following month.  

Not satisfied with the item you received?  LBB will let you return the item for a exchange or refund.  The refund will be prorated based on the numbers of items in your bag and priced paid.    

The not so good:

The price.  Yes $50 a month is a little pricey but if you break it down by item it's not so bad.  Also you can use it to find gifts or just skip a month.  

Pictures. The show pictures of the items and list the sizes but I would like to see them on a model (real or fake) to see the scale.  I have received a couple of pairs of earrings that were bigger than I thought they were going to be.    

Joining.  They company allows you to take the style quiz but to actually open your "bag" right away you have to invite 5 friends or post the link on facebook.  The other option is to wait for an email from them which takes about a day.  I personally don't like the idea of spamming my friends with email or posting stuff on facebook without knowing more about the product so I chose to wait for the email.  Once I did sign up I sent an invite to a friend and they still required her to send emails to friends to see her bag.  I think if someone sends you an invite you should be allowed immediate access.    


It's addicting.  Nuff said

Here are the pics from from my March bag.  

 This is what it looks like when you open the box.  The package is wrapped like a "Little Black Bags"



I ended up with 4 items in my March bag.  Oddly enough I didn't start with any of these items.  That's the fun of this, you can always change your mind on something and trade it.       

1. Kenneth Cole Earrings (super sparkly)  - retail value $30
2. Ben Amun Chandelier Earrings - retail value $48.  
3. Carol Dauplaise Gypsy Earrings - retail value $18
4. Ben Amun Silver Pearl Bracelet - retail value $68

So as you can see I received $164 worth of goodies for $58.52 after shipping and tax.  I know most people don't pay retail and I'm sure some of this can be found on sale but even the best bargain hunter would be hard pressed to find all 4 items for 58 bucks. 

Verdict: I'm going to continue with Little Black Bag because it's crazy fun!

**I pay for these services myself and am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Little Black Bag**

Friday, March 16, 2012

March My Glam

I received my March glam bag from My Glam this week.  For those of you new to my blog My Glam is a monthly subscription program for beauty products.  Each month you will receive 4-5 samples of different beauty products to try out.  The cost is $10 a month with free shipping but they they have a yearly subscription rate for $110 which drops the price down to $9.16 a month.  In order to get the yearly rate you have to pay the $110 up front.

The good:
The brands.  They send out brands like Freeman, Urban Decay, NYX, Pur-lisse, Murad, etc. 

The samples.  In February I received samples from brands that I was familiar with and have used.  This month all the brands I received I have not tried but am excited to try.      

The choice.  You don't get to pick your samples which is great if you like surprises.

The packaging.  It comes with a cute makeup bag for all your goodies. 

The extras: Coupons were included in the bag for the sample products. 

You can cancel anytime with no penalties.  Yearly subscriptions don't offer a refund but if you cancel they won't renew when the years up. 

The not so good:

Skip a month?  There is no option to skip a month.  If you don't want to receive a bag that month you have to cancel your subscription and re-sign up if you want to start it up again.  This could be a problem if there is a wait list to sign-up.  

The price: It works out to $2 an item which is reasonable for a couple of the items but a little overpriced for others. 

The choice: You don't get to pick you items so you may end up with things that you might not use. 
Without further ado....the kit (click on the pic for a larger version)


The bag arrived in their famous hot pink metallic mailer (see my February review for a picture). 
Contents: retail price for full size product in parenthesis.

Cute makeup bag in spring colors
FULL SIZE 3Lab Perfect Cleansing Foam ($32.00)
.015 fl. oz Murad Eye Lift Protector - value $7.46 (.06 fl. oz $28.00)
.14oz Pur-lisse pur-protect daily moisturizer SPF 30 - value $4.51 (1.7oz $44.00)
.17 fl. oz Keracolor Color enhancing leave-in treatment, enough for 2-4 applications (unknown size $29.95)
My Glam crease brush and pink case (maybe more brushes for the case in future bags?)
coupon for $25 off $50 purchase at Dermstore which sells these products (except Keracolor) and more.

As you can see the full size cleansing foam valued at $32 was well over the $10 cost of the bag.  The other samples were pretty small but combined with the full size item it's still a good deal. 

That's my March Glam Bag.  I liked the items in my February Glam Bag much better.  Also the March bag has a very strong chemical odor on the makeup bag, brush bag and brush which was very off putting.  I'm sure it will eventually go away but it's not a good odor.  I know the company is aware of the issue and I'm hoping it won't happen again.  I have a yearly subscription to My Glam so I will finish out my year and keep you posted!   

**I pay for these kits myself and am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for My Glam.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Birchbox

I received my first Birchbox this week.  What is Birchbox? It's a monthly subscription service for beauty products 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. 

The good:

The brands.  You will receive items from benefit, borghese, dermalogica, Essie, kerastase, tarte, etc. 

The price.  This month I received 5 items and 2 of the were FULL SIZED.  This worked out to be $2.00 and item which I think was very reasonable.  The other items were not $2 each individually but paired with the full size items the whole package is a great deal. 

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. 

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 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. 

Choice.  You don't get to choose what's in your box so if you don't like surprises or experimenting with different products this may be an issue for you. 


 This is my March box.  They had an option of the regular box or a special Teen Vogue box.  I threw caution to the wind and picked the Teen Vogue box.  Why not right?


This is the inside of my box.  The nail polish and perfume came wrapped in tissue paper with a little ribbon bow.  The card is a description of each item with the full size purchase price listed.  This is a nice extra so you know right away what the cost is instead of having to look it up.

The contents: I also listed the retail price of the full size item for value comparison purposes. 

FULL SIZE Essie luxeffects nail polish top coat "as gold as it gets" ($8.00) - loved this polish.  I used it over a red color and it looked like little gold flakes. 

.05 fl. oz Kate Spade Twirl perfume sample - it's the size you would get in the store - value $1.96 (1.7 fl. oz $65)

.25 ml Kerastase Elixir Ultime nourishing oil for hair (125ml $54) - This felt like a thick oil but didn't leave my hair greasy.  I used a small amount on damp hair and my hair felt soft and tangle free.

FULL SIZE Tarte LipSurgence matte lip tint in lucky - pink color ($24) - not a color I would normally wear but I actually liked it.  It was a nice matte, didn't look too cakey and not too bright. 

Twistband hair tie ($1.50)

Coupon to subscribe to Teen Vogue 2 yrs for $10

Coupon for $10 off $75 modcloth order

So as you can see the value of the full size items are $32 which is well over the $10 paid for the box.  I will definitely use the nail color. I probably wouldn't have chose the pink color for the lip tint but it's seems pretty light so it's worth a try. 

The verdict:  I am curious to see what next months box offers since this was a special Teen Vogue box.  If they continue to send a couple of full size items then I think it's definitely a great value. 

***I am any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Birchbox 

Monday, March 12, 2012

March Foodzie Box

Foodzie is a monthly subscription that features artisan products.  The price is $29.95 a month shipping included.  Now before you say "ohhh hmmm 30 bucks..." hear me out.  Each month you will get to pick from an assortment of boxes available.  March boxes included Brooklyn Tasting Box, Italian Cooking Box and Ski Lodge Cafe Tasting Box.  I chose the Italian Cooking Box.  In your box you will receive FULL size yes I said FULL size items in your box.  How awesome is that!?!  I was ecstatic when I opened my box and can't wait to try these items out. 


The good:

The products.  The products are gourmet items.  These are items you would find in a specialty store not an everyday supermarket. 

The sizes.  Full size products.  This is great!

Choice.  There isn't just one box.  It seems there is something for every ones taste. 

Need a gift?  Have a foodie friend that is impossible to buy for.  You can gift a 2, 5 or 10 month subscription. 

Commitment issues?  You don't have to be a montly subscriber to buy a box.  Boxes are offered to subscribers first but after the 6th of every month anyone can buy a box.  Subscribers received benefits like free shipping in the marketplace and first pick at boxes.   

The not so good:

Skip a month?  There is no option to skip the month but they can pause your account for up to 3 months. 

 This is how to box comes.  It had the mailing label on the front but I removed it. 

This is the inside of the box.  As you can see there are some gourmet items in here and if you like food or like to cook this will be right up your alley. 

The contents: I have also listed the retail price of each item. 

2 recipe cards using items from box - great idea!

8.5 fl. oz bottle of Lucero Arbequina Olive oil - I've used this brand in the past and it's fantastic ($7.00)

6 oz Olli Calabrese Spicy Salame with Sangiovese Wine ($14.25)

2 oz Whole Spice Italian Seasoning Whole ($11.00)

8 oz Gilda's Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti ($6.50) - yum!

12oz Wineforest Wild Foods Porcini Polenta ($13.00) - this was really good, I don't normally like mushrooms but this added a nice texture to the polenta. 

The retail value of my box is $51.75!  That's a $21 savings or it's like getting the olive oil and salame for free!

The verdict?  I am super excited about this montly service and this one is going to be a keeper in my house!


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

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March Beauty Army Kit

This is my second kit from Beauty Army.  You can read and see the contents of my February Kit here.  Just to recap for those who are new here (welcome!) Beauty Army is a monthly subscription service where you get to choose up to 6 items to try out. The cost is $12 a month and that includes shipping. They also offer a yearly deal for $132 which means your 12th month is free dropping the price down to $11 a month.

The Good:
The brands. You will get options from Joico, LaRocca, Freeman, StriVectin, etc. These are well known brands. They also say they use brands from emerging companies which is also fun.

The box. I am very impressed with the little box it comes in. It's a well made sturdy reusable box hat can be used for gifting treasure boxes of your own making, keeping your treasures organized, etc.

The samples. I was very happy with the selection of samples presented to me and I think I picked some good ones!

The price. $12 Shipping included seems reasonable to me to be able to try a useful amount of product. I know you can get samples at a store for free but this is an actual useful amount. It's enough to use several times to see if you actually like the product not a tiny little smear of something. It works out to $2 an item. Would I buy these items if I saw them in the store for $2 each? If I really wanted to try them which I must since I picked them out then yep I would pay $2 for enough for me to use more than once.  

The not so Good:

Paying for the year. If you decide to take the plunge and pay for a year be advised there are no refunds for yearly subscriptions. So basically you have to finish out the year whether you like it or not.

Skip a month? If you choose the monthly option and for some reason there is absolutely nothing you would like to sample that month there is no option to skip a month. This means if you don't pick they will pick for you based on your preferences. If you like surprises this could be perfect for you.

The Box. The box has the company name on the front along with a bunch of beauty type phrases. This makes your re-gifting options limited and it's too good a box to just toss.

Here is the March box.
 This is the outside of the box.  It measure 8 1/2"L x 7"W x 4"D. 

 All the products come individually wrapped up. 

Here are my items for March.  In parenthesis I put the full size amount and cost for value comparison.

2.2oz (65ml) SunFX Body Shimmer lotion with macadamia oil. - value $8.04 (200ml 24.95)
.5oz Babor Skinovage Anti-stress Anti-Jetlag cream. - value $21.18 (1.7oz $72.00)
.34oz Weleda Almond Soothing Cleaning Lotion - value $2.62 (2.5oz $19.00)
.5oz Be fine Night Creme with cocoa, millet & rice bran - $8.82 (1.7oz $30.00)
.16oz FX Eye Prep to help with fine lines and prepping eyes for eye shadow. $10.75 (.67oz $43.00)
.25oz Indie Lee Squalane facial oil to promote elasticity. $6.00 (1oz $24.00)

So as you can see these aren't inexpensive products and the samples are a decent size. 

Verdict: I'm definitely going to keep this subscription going.


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

Friday, March 9, 2012

February Sampler Village

Sampler Village is a new monthly box that is focused on handmade goods.  This is not a monthly subscription where you join and receive a box every month but rather if you want a box then you log on to Sampler Village on the 21st of each month when they go on sale and buy one.  Sampler Village was founded by Traci Porczynski and is built on the premise of helping crafters get their products noticed.  Every month the boxes focus around a theme.  I ordered the February lavishly samplicious box which said it contains 35-45 samples.  The theme for February was rainbow wishes and the cost was $40.  I like the idea of supporting artisans and most of the shops, if not all can be found on etsy.  I ended up receiving 41 individually wrapped items.  Each seller wraps their items individually and a couple of packages came with more than one item.

The good:

Small business support: Supporting small business is always a good thing.

Variety: The variety of items received, earrings, bath stuff, eyeshadow, etc.

Price: The offer different size boxes for different prices.  The charmingly samplicious box 15-20 items, lavishly samplicious box 35-45 items (I paid $40 shipping included) or the yummylicious box (edible box avail Oct-April only).  The prices of the boxes aren't listed on the website yet. 

The not so good:

Smell: If you have a problem with smells, this may be an issue for you.  Because of all the soaps that were in the box it had a strong smell.  It didn't smell bad by any means but it was very strong. 


Here is the breakdown:

Handmade Soap: 12 samples
Candle samples/tarts: 5 samples
Cupcake topper
Crocheted Shamrock (could be used as a coaster)
Aroma Sachet
Magnet
Earrings (value is 11.99 on their website)
Bath Fizz: 3 samples
Button
Lotion: 3 samples
Incense stick (7)
Sugar Scrub
Face Mask creme
Foot Scrub
Shamrock Ornament/Decoration
Eyeshadow sample x2
Round pocket mirror
Handmade Birthday Card
Handmade Notepad
Hand drawn picture of a cat in rainbow colors - can be framed for a kids room
Heart Shaped Handmade Pin/Button


This is how the box came.  Pretty rainbow bow.  I might reuse this for something. 

 My box was full of goodies!  You can see the crocheted shamrock on the right and the shamrock ornament in the middle. 

Here are the earrings that came in the box.  This was a pleasant suprise and they are super cute!  I looked at this sellers store and they have lots of stuff at very reasonable prices. 

Verdict:  I probably won't order a box every month unless curiosity gets the best of me.  The website says the edible samples may be included in the lavish boxes for the months of May-Sept so I will definitely order during that time.    
**I pay for these boxes myself and am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Sampler Village.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March Love With Food

Love with Food is a cool monthly food delivery subscription.  The best thing about this program is for each box purchased they donate a meal to Share our Strength no Kid Hungry.  For $14 (includes shipping) a month you will receive a box of at 5+ unique gourmet hard to find items.  If your taste buds like what you get them you will get members only access to buy the item on the Love with Food at a special discount.  Each month is a different theme for instance January was healthy treats, February was sweet treats and March hikers essentials.  I received a my first box in March which I actually received for free using a code from facebook I found.  The company sent me a code LOVEVIP to share with a friend so they can receive their first box free.  

The good:

The price: $14 a month, you gets lots of treats AND you are donating a meal.  Can't beat that!

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

Variety. There is lots of variety in the products and if you are food adventurous you'll like this. 

Discounts.  You earn points that you can use towards the purchase of full size products.

The not so good:

Skip a month.  There is no option to skip a month.  If you don't want a box then you have to cancel your membership. 

Surprise.  You don't get to pick your items.  I actually don't see this as a problem but picky eaters may. 

Here is my March Love with Food box


 I received a priority mail envelope and inside was this pretty red box with my tasty treats. 

This is the inside of my box.  Lots of yummy treats to try. 

.35 oz Yogavive Chips, organic popped Fuji apple chips
2 oz Whole wheat peach apricot fig bar
Sample of BBQ Pork Bak Kwa a southeast-Asian Charcuterie
Sample of BBQ Turkey Bak Bwa a southeast-Asians Charcuterie
.5oz Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds
4 samples of Kate's organic energy bars
2 (.32 oz) of New Tree Vigor energizing 73% dark chocolate

Verdict.  I'm going to keep this subscription.  The samples will be great to keep at work for a little snack or in my purse for when I'm running errands all day.  $14 a month is a great deal AND you donate to a fantastic cause. 

**I pay for these boxes myself and am not any type of sponsor paid or unpaid for Love with Food. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

February Little Black Bag

This is my newest shopping addiction!  Little Black Bag is crazy fun if you like trying to score a deal with a little bit of the surprise element.  You can choose to do this monthly for $49.95 plus $4.95 shipping and tax (CA & NY) which brings it to roughly $59 or you can do a one time bag purchase for $59.95 plus $4.95 shipping and tax (CA & NY).  It works like this.  You take a style quiz and they pick a "bag" for you based on your answers.  I was a hounds tooth bag but the quilted bag described me better so I switched.  Once you take the quiz you get to see a gallery of items ranging in value from $7-$175 and you get to pick one thing you want.  Once you pick your one thing the company will choose 2 more items for you.  They will tell you the brand and value but you don't get to see the items until you commit to buy the bag.  Once you click purchase the contents are revealed.  This is where the fun begins!  You can keep all the items in your bag OR go back into the gallery and pick items you want to trade.  The trade is them sent to the person(s) with that item and they can choose to reject or accept your request.  You can trade one item for one item or if there is something you really want you can trade multiple items.  On the flip side you will also receive trade offers from people who want your items.  The trading period is open for 7 days and new items are added daily so you really should check the site at least once a day.  If you are happy with your items anytime within those 7 days you can choose to ship your bag right away.  Or you can do like I do and wait til trading has closed cause you never know what you're going to find!  At the end of the trading period they company ships your items and you get your treasures!

The good:

Like to shop? This definitely fills the shopping need.  It feels like you are shopping each day you check the website and look for items to trade or trade items with other members. 

Brands.  The brands are very well known brands.  Kenneth Cole, Disney, RJ Graziano, Perline, R&Em and many more.  The also put the retail price next to the item so you know approx. value. 

Multiple Item.  You can score multiple items and use them as gifts at a fraction of the cost!

Variety. They have handbags, sunglasses, cell phone cases, earrings, necklaces, vases, wallets, nail polish. Basically you will find something you like. 

Skip a month?  Don't want a bag this month, then skip it. You have 5 days to skip the month.  If for some reason you forget to skip you will be charged for the bag but will get double the items the following month. 

Not satisfied with the item you received? LBB will let you return the item for a credit.  The will credit you based on the numbers of items in your bag and priced paid.   

The not so good:

The price.  Yes $50 a month is a little pricey but if you break it down by item it's not so bad.  Also you can use it to find gifts or just skip a month. 

Pictures. The show pictures of the items and list the sizes but I would like to see them on a model (real or fake) to see the scale. 

Joining.  They company allows you to take the style quiz but to actually open your "bag" right away you have to invite 5 friends or post the link on facebook.  The other option is to wait for an email from them which takes about a day.  I personally don't like the idea of spamming my friends with email or posting stuff on facebook without knowing more about the product so I chose to wait for the email.  Once I did sign up I sent an invite to a friend and they still required her to send emails to friends to see her bag.  I think if someone sends you an invite you should be allowed immediate access.   
It's addicting.  Nuff said

Here are the pics from from my February bag. 

 This is what it looks like when you open the box.  The packages are wrapped like "Little Black Bags"

I ended up with 4 items in my February bag.  The items that were picked for me I was able to trade.    

1. Echo Velvet & Metallic Infinity Loop Scarf - retail value $48
2. Vince Camuto Sequin Chain Maille Bracelet - retail value $68.  This was my first pick and I LOVE THIS!
3. Set of 12 Robert Rose Textured Bangles - retail value $36
4. RJ Graziano Multi Layered Bead Necklace - retail value $40

So as you can see I received $192 worth of goodies for $49.95!  I know most people don't pay retail and I'm sure some of this can be found on sale but even the best bargain hunter would be hard pressed to find all 4 items for 50 bucks.

Verdict: I'm going to continue with Little Black Bag because it's crazy fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

February Julep Maven Box

This week I received my first Julep Maven Box.  Julep is a monthly subscription company that sends out nail polishes. When you log on to the Julep website you take a little quiz and it will tell you what kind of polish girl you are.  You are not obligated to those polishes though.  I was told I was Boho Glam but liked the It Girl colors better so I picked that one.  The monthly fee is $19.99 w/free shipping.  The company advertises that you will receive $40 worth of product for $19.99.  Also you will 20% all purchases from their website.

The good:
The colors: If you like nail polish then it's a nice way to experiment with multiple colors

Skip a month? Yes! you can skip a month.  They will send an email when your selections are ready and you have 4 days to let them know to skip the month.

Need a gift? If you want to send your box to a friend there is an option to do so.  Just log on to your account and click send to friend.

Referral program. If two of your friends sign up you get a free month!

The not so good:
Price: Seems kind of high to me for nail polish but I'm not a big nail polish girl.

The choice: They pick the polishes for you.  In my box I received a color called Meryl.  Its a gray color that I'm not sure I will really use.

Without further ago....The Julep Maven Box (click on pic for a larger version)

 The box is a simple cardboard box.  The card describes the color and gives a tip of the month.

The polishes were securely wrapped in bubble wrap and packed in red paper.  I received 3 colors and a small packet of hand cream.  The bottles are .27 fl oz or 8ml.
I received Oscar - Ultra chic, multi-dimensional gold glitter, Rachel - Warm rich copper shimmer and Meryl - The perfect neutral, sophisticated gray creme.
I know I will use Rachel (the copper color) and probably use Oscar (gold glitter) but I'm not too sure about Meryl.

Overall receiving nail polishes in the mail is fun but I'm not sure about the cost.  I'll keep my subscription active and see what happens month to month.

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