Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Happy Dog Box

I just discovered a new box for the fur babies of the K-9 variety. It's called Happy Dog Box and its full of stuff that will make your dog happy. Happy Dog Box ships monthly and each box is filled with 4-6 American made gourmet dog treats, toys and other products. The products sent are things you won't typically find at big box pet stores. Also if your dog doesn't like anything in the box you can send it back for a full refund. The price of this monthly box is $29.99 a month with shipping included.

Right now Happy Dog Box is having a special where you can get your first box free just pay shipping and handling which I believe was $9.99. Just remember to cancel if you don't want to receive future boxes. 

This box is available in the US only. 

The good: 

American made: Yay! 

Need a gift: send a gift to your dog loving friends and family. 

Customized: the box is customized to your dogs age and size. 

Products: each box will contain at least 3 packages of gourmet dog treats. 

The not so good:

Skip: no option to skip a month

Price: $30 is a little high but they say they send gourmet American made products so it might be worth it. 

This is the shipping box. 

Maddie (and Gracie) sniffing out the goods. 

Maddie decided on the easily accessible bully stick as her first treat. She ate the whole thing!

Contents of box with retail price:

Barkworthies bully stick. Value = $3.68 - definitely a hit, kind of grosses me out though. 

Woofables Bakery handmade biscuits. Value = ?? - these are sold in bulk so I couldn't find a price 

Earth Rated Poop Bags (15) Value = $2.99 - you can never have too many poop bags. We have stashes all over the house, our cars, her go bag. Yes our dog has a go bag. It has bowls for food and water, poop bags and doggie wipes. 

Cloud Star Hip and Joint treats. Value = $6.95

Jump Your Bones Pet Treats kangaroo jerky  Value = $6.29 - how exotic. Maddie liked these. 

Jolly Pets Monster Mouth Dog Treat Dispensing Toy. Value = $5.99 - Maddie wasn't too into this. I will give it one more try and if she still doesn't like it we will send it off to the shelter. 

The total value of this box is $25.90 and add a few dollars for the biscuits. If you add the dog biscuits its about the same cost as the box. The items included are things that I havent seen at the Petco I shop at so that makes it a good deal. I had no idea kangaroo jerky even existed. Maddie seemed to like it. I thought the box had a nice variety of items. I wish it would've had a stuffed toy or a small ball because she seems to like those the most but hey if it's just one thing she doesn't like I'm ok with that. 

Verdict: I'm not subscribing right now because of the price.. They told me they will be offering discounts on multi month packages soon so I may reconsider then. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 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.

I had let my subscription expire but I decided I really like this box for the price so I subscribed again.

This subscription ships the the US and Canada from Austin, Texas. 

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.

Doubles: Sometimes they send two of one item which I'm not a fan of (see below)

August Beauty Box 5
Contents of box with approximate retail value.  

FULL SIZE Be a Bombshell eyeshadow in Divine Value = $14.00

Swissco Nail File. Value = $1.50

.27 oz. H2O Plus Aquafirm + Micro-Collagen Moisturizer. Value = $8.00

2 oz. Bask Heavenly Silk Daily Skin Lotion. Value = $1.82

.25 oz. Nubar Nail Laquer Nubar Red. Value = $4.00

The total value of this month's box is $29.32. I really enjoyed this box this month. I actually like the eyeshadow. It's a cross between a purple and a blue. I can always use new nail files. I haven't tried this one yet but I hope it's good. I really like the Julep nail files. I use lotion and moisturizer everyday so I will use both of these products. The nail polish is small but I'm ok with that because I have so much. The only bummer is I love this red color so I'm gonna miss it when it's gone.

Verdict: This months box was terrific!

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August Blush Mystery Beauty Box

Blush is a company that is associated with Dermstore and Blush started selling a monthly mystery beauty box.  You can make a one time purchase for $34.95 or subscribe monthly for $24.95.  Both prices include shipping. It made absolutely no sense to me to pay $10 more when I could just cancel the subscription if I didn't like it.  Each month Blush says they will send a box full of products handpicked by their panel of beauty experts of mostly full size and some travel-size products worth at least $100.  The subscriptions are limited and sell out quickly.

I believe this subscription is available to the US only, they don't really say on their website. 

The good:

Price: If they continue to send great products with a value of at least $100 that's 4 times the value.

Want more: Since they have a retail website reordering is easy and all these products were easily found.

The not so good:

Price: This is one of the higher priced subscriptions but the products seem to be premium.

Skip: Their website is not user friendly.  I couldn't find an option to skip or cancel.

August Blush Box

Contents of Blush box w/approximate retail price listed

.5 oz. Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant. Value = $5.71

.23 oz. Coola SPF30 Classic Sunscreen. Value $1.48

FULL SIZE Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Lip Gloss in Value = $20.00

.5 oz. Carita Paris Progessif Anti-Age Masque Biologigue. Value = $26.47

FULL SIZE Pixi Beauty Endless Silky Eye Pen in deep plum. Value = $15.00

.11 oz. Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat. Value = $12.15

FULL SIZE Philip B. Maui Wowie Beach Mist. Value = $22.00

FULL SIZE Mor Emporium Hand Cream in Snow Gardenia. Value = $20.00

The total value of of this blush beauty box is $122.81.  I'm excited about all of the items except the waterproof topcoat. I've never been into waterproof mascara because it's so hard to get off.  I love purple colored eyeliners. My eyes are haze so it makes them standout a little more. Gardenia is one of my favorite flower scents but it can be overpowering. I was happy that this hand cream wasn't too strong. The dermafoliant looks interesting but I'm afraid I'm going to make a gooey mess trying to mix water with it. I wonder of there are directions on the bottle? I love face masks and this one by Carita sounds luxurious. Who doesn't need brighter skin? 

Verdict: I was really happy with this months box. It had LOTS of stuff I'm eager to try. 

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August Yumvelope

Yumvelope is a subscription service centered around food and snacks.  Each month you will receive a large USPS envelope filled with yummy goodies. The cost for this service is $21 plus $3.00 shipping or you can sign up for a month to month subscription for a flat rate of $21.00.  If you like what you get then you can sign up for 6 months for $126.00 w/shipping included and a bonus shipment (I confirmed this is an extra month - so you get 7 months for the price of 6. This breaks down to $18 a month). Yumvelope promises to send all natural hand picked delicious items in each envelope.  Yumvelope has also started a meal donation program for each envelope purchased, and you know I'm a big fan of that.

This subscription is available is the US only and ships from Illinois. 

The good:

Variety: There is a good variety of items.  

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 or close to full size products which is always nice.  

Meal donation: For every Yumvelope shipped they donate a meal.  

The not so good:

Skip: No option to skip a month

Smooch fruit pouch. Value = $1.99

Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookie. Value = $2.08 - This was pretty good but it was kind of dry. I could taste the coffee though and I thought it had the right amount. 

(3) Wild Friends Nut Butter. Value = $1.00/ea. 

Miraculous Mixes Brown Sugar Blondie Mix. Value = $8.99

Plated gift card. Value $52.00-$58.00 - you have to spend $6.99 shipping but it's still a good deal. 

The total approximate value of this Yumvelope is $16.06 or $68.06 with the gift card. I was super excited to see the gift card in the box because I've been wanting to try plated. I've been looking for a replacement for pop-up pantry and fresh dish. The wild friends nut butters look yummy. I really want to try the cinnamon raisin one on some raisin bread. Overkill? maybe, but I don't care. 

Verdict: Great box of fun snacks.
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Handpicked Words 3 month subscription giveaway!

The good folks over at Handpicked Words are offering my readers a chance to win a 3 month subscription to their e-book subscriptions. If you want more info on Handpicked Words you can read my review by clicking here or check out there website here. Below are three of the five examples of the types of e-books they send.

      Monthly Digital Book Box SubscriptionGet A Month's Worth of Weekly Mini-Cookbooks!Pre-Order Foodie Book Box!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August Bark Box

Since we have a new fur baby in our household I have decided it's time to resume my reviews with BarkBox.  Humans love treasures and I know dogs love treasures so why not a box for them?  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 $19.00 to $29 a month.  All plans include shipping.  Monthly is $29.00, 3 months is $72.00 ($24 a month) and 6 months is $114.00 ($19.00 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!  

*****Through September 8th BarkBox is doing a promo. Sign up using this Coupon Code: E813839839 and you will get $5 off your box PLUS they will send you AND me a free greatest-hits BarkBox filled with more treats, toys and goodies than you can wag a tail at. So if you were on the fence about this box now is the time to sign up!******

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 per month but $114 for 6 months is much more reasonable. 

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.  

Referral program: They have an awesome referral program. For everyone you refer you get a free box and they get $5 off!

Need a gift: Know someone whose adopted a new pup. This makes an awesome gift!

The not so good:

Skip a month. This is not an option

Dog doesn't like it? This may happen. Our older dog didn't care much for the toys so we donated them to the shelter. Our new girl is a little picky so we have donated a couple of items back to her friends at the shelter. 

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...

Gracie watches on while Maddie sniffs out her goodies.
Contents of the Bark Box with retail price:

Quaker Pet Group Hear Doggy Toy. Value = $10.00 - When you squeeze the middle it sounds like air. Maddie turned around to look but I don't know what exactly she was hearing. I tried going into another room and squeezing it and she didn't react at all. 

Barkworthies Natural Hickory Beef Treats. Value = $8.00

Primal Freeze Dried Liver Munchies. Value = $10.00 - These are a hit with the Madster. 

Barkworthies Bully Flakes. Value = $6.00 - I've been sprinkling this on Maddie's food and doesn't go crazy for it but she seems to like it. The ingredients say all natural, free range, grass-fed beef pizzle. I'
I'm trying not to judge but....ewww. 

The Honest Kitchen Ice Pups. Value = $1.00

The total value of this box is $35.00. I think we and by we I mean Maddie got some fun treats out of this box. We have only tried the bully flakes and liver munchies so far but I'm sure she will like the beef treats. She may not like the ice pup because she doesn't seem to like cold things too much. Right now she is focused on her toy rabbit and lamb so we may have to put the whale on standby until she grows tired of or rips a hole in one of those. 

Verdict:  Great box for the fur babies in your house.

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So how's about another treat mom?

Monday, August 26, 2013

August Bulu Box - Weight Loss Box

In addition to their regular box Bulu Box also has a box focused on weight loss.  This box contains a variety of 4-5 weight loss targeting items including but not limited to supplements, fitness tools and healthy eating tools for both men and women. The cost of the box is $10 a month or $110 a year ($10 savings) which brings it down to $9.16 a month. The boxes ship around the 15th of the month so this box will arrive towards the end of every month.  This is a great way to try supplements and weight loss items without spending a ton of money.

This subscription box ships to the US only and ships from Lincoln, Nebraska. 

The good:

New products: Weight loss 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.

Points: You can earn points by reviewing products on their websites. Points can be used for discounts on full size items. I've used my points to by a protein powder I liked.

Skip a month: No but you can put your account on pause.  It will stay in that status until you reactivate it.

The not so good:

You may get products you won't use or don't want to use.  A lot of people don't like taking supplements which I totally respect but I would say this probably isn't the box for you.

                   August Bulu Weight Loss Box

Contents of box with approximate retail price listed:

Instant Pain Relief:

1 powder pack Urgent Rx Headache Relief to-go in lemon lime. Value = $1.25

Superfood Sprinkles:

.5 oz. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. Value = $0.75

Burn More Calories:

2 packets Celsius Orange drink mix. Value = $1.29/ea.

Crave Control:

2 pkts with 2 servings each AEN Liv. Value = $1.00/ea.

Delicious Meal Replacement:

Garden of Life RAW Organic Meal in Vanilla Spiced Chai. Value = $2.83


Charlotte Dodson Yoga TV 1 month subscriptions. Value = $19.95

The total value of my Bulu box is $31.36. I'm really curious about the headache powder. At first I thought you mixed it with water but you just ingest it from the packet. If you've ever tasted an aspirin pill you know they are super bitter. I hope this lemon lime headache reliever powder isn't bitter. More hemp hearts, I'm kinda over the whole trying hemp thing. The orange drink mixes are pretty good. They add a nice flavor to water. I've tried appetite control pills before and they don't work for me so I don't know about this Liv product. The spiced chai meal replacement sounds delicious! I love anything chai. I went onto the Charlotte Dodson site and they offer a 7 day free trial. So really you could get five weeks of yoga with this gift card. Not a bad deal. I have fitness television and have been recording yoga programs from that. I have tried doing exercises by streaming them from my iPad or laptop and I find it very difficult to view and do the exercise.
Verdict: This was an ok box for me because I'm not sure I will use the yoga tv or hemp hearts. 

If anyone wants to try a Bulu Box send me an email at and I'll send you a link for a free box.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

August SeasonsBox

SeasonsBox is a monthly subscription service focuses on lifestyle items of the current season.  SeasonsBox  contains 3-5 luxurious full size seasonal must-have products for your home, body and spirit.  For this service you can sign up monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually.  The monthly price is $29.95 plus $4.95 shipping.  If you sign up for the 3, 6 or 12 month subscription you get a discount of anywhere from $5-$69.80.

This subscription ships to US and Canada. 

The good:

Products: You get full size products and they send an email before shipment to let you know what's going to be in the box.  This is helpful if you want to skip.

Variety: It's not limited to beauty, health, food, etc.  There is a variety of items in each box.

Themes: I like the theme boxes. This one will focus on seasons, holidays or occasions.

Referral program: If you refer a friend you get $5 and they get an extra product in their first box.

The not so good:

Skip: They used to let you skip but that feature seems to be gone. 

The theme of this months box is Get In Touch With Nature.

Contents of SeasonsBox with approximate retail value:

2 pack fun size Vapur Anti Bottles. Value = $11.99

Eat Green Tea Edible Green Tea Leaves. Value = $25.00

Tiki Lotion Bar made with green tea butter Value = $8.00

Puur Mist Body Splash in lavender martini.  Value = $6.50

The total value of this months box is $51.49. I like everything in this box except the green tea. It's not that I don't like the green tea but I have tons of it right now. The water bottles are super cool. It even says you can freeze them to use as ice packs. I might just have to do that. The lotion bar is great. My feet get so dry in the summer from going barefoot and wearing sandals. I like to moisturize them at night and were those little moisture sock things.  Body splashes are always good to have and lavender is relaxing.

Verdict: I thought this box was terrific in product and value.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

August Taste Trunk - Gourmet Trunk

Taste Trunk is the newest food based product to enter the subscription box world. I love food, especially gourmet food so I didn't hesitate to sign up for this box. Taste Trunk actually has four different themed trunks you can purchase. They are Gourmet, Health, Sweet and BBQ trunk. I love that they have something for everyone. I get lots of health type foods and I don't need any sweets so I decided against these ones. I was torn between the BBQ one and the Gourmet one but ended up choosing the Gourmet one. The nice thing about Taste Trunk is you can switch your boxes at anytime so I may try the BBQ one at some point.

The price of Taste Trunk is $29.00 plus $5.99 shipping making it $34.99 a month. They actually just changed the price and added a shipping cost of $5.99. For those that subscribed prior to July 15th they only pay the $29.99.

This subscription is available to the US only and ships from Discovery Bay, Ca.

The Good:

Products: The items in my box are gourmet and full size.

Info: They send info cards with products information and recipes.

Variety: I love that they have four different themed boxes.

Want more: They have an online store where you can purchase more of the things you love.

The Not So Good:

Skip: Doesn't look like there is a way to skip, only cancel.

Referral program: They have one but you have to enter the persons full name when you check out and they get 10% off their next box. I like referral that use links and have discounts for both people.

August Taste Trunk

Contents of the inaugural Taste Trunk with approximate retail price:

Cucina & Amore Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from Richmond, CA. Value = $2.99 

The Jam Stand Drunken Monkey Jam from Brooklyn, NY. Value = $10.00

The Girl & The Fig Lavender Sea Salt from Sonoma, CA. Value = $3.75

Bone Doctors' BBQ from Charlottsville, VA. Value = $4.99

Two Snooty Chefs Kansas City Steak Rub. Value = 6.65 

Iveta Gourmet Apricot Scone Mix. Santa Cruz, Ca. Value = $7.50

The total value of this second Gourmet box from Taste Trunk is $35.88.  I have to say I am loving this box. I love the packaging, the note cards and that they include recipes using the products. Scones are one of my favorite things ever, although I'm partial to lemon scones.  Any kind of rub and sauce is great because we tend to BBQ a lot in the summer. I've had the Drunken Monkey jam before and it's delicious. I was happy to see this in the box. The tomato pesto came with a recipe for Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto that sounds absolutely delicious!

Verdict: This one of my new favorite boxes.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

August Momme Box

What is Momme Box?  They started in December of 2012 and shipped out 3 months of boxes and decided to make their subscription quarterly. As most of you know I'm not a mom but I've noticed a lot of these mom theme boxes contain items that anyone would enjoy. The price of the subscription is $20 a month or you can sign up for a seasonal subscription (4 seasons or more) at $15 a season.  With the seasonal subscription you are initially billed $15 for the first season and $15 for each season thereafter.  Each season will have a theme to the box and you can actually look on their website to see what all the themes are for 2013.

This subscription is only available in the US but if you're international and interested they advise to email them at

The good:

Variety: They include lots of products for different aspects of your life.

Recurring: Unless you opt for the seasonal subscription this is not a recurring subscription box so you don't have to worry about skipping or canceling.

The not so good:

Price: $20 a month is a little high for a surprise box. $15 is much more reasonable but you are committed to 4 shipments if you go that route.


Content of box with approximate retail value listed:

(4) packets of OCuSoft Baby Eyelid & Eyelash Cleanser. Value = $0.75/ea.

Coolibar coupon for 15% off. Value = $0.00

NYR Organic coupon for 10% off. Value = $0.00

HowAboutWe for Couples gift certificate for 3 months,membership. Value = $54.00 - only avail in New York and San Francisco

Naked Wines gift card for $60 towards purchase. Value = $40.00 - I can't use this because I'm already a member. 

Yoga Download. Value = $7.00-$11.00

The total value of the Momme box is $14.00 - $108.00. For me the value is $14.00. This was probably the most horrible box I've ever received!!! So much so that I canceled it within 10 minutes of opening it. The included card talks about NYR's wild rose beauty balm and muslin cloth but they only sent a coupon. Really??  How About We sounds promising but it's only available in 2 cities out 3000+ cities in the United States. I'm pretty sure this will be useless to most people. I can't use the Naked Wine gift card because I've already used one and they only let you use it once. I have no use for the baby eye cleaner but I'm hoping it will work to remove some makeup.

Verdict: This box is a dud! I canceled.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

August Escape Monthly box - Napa

Escape Monthly is the newest and most eagerly anticipated subscription box this summer for me. It combines two things I love which are traveling and luxury products. Escape Monthly ships every month and includes full size luxury products, travel guides, secret tips and special offers. Each box has a destination theme and every month one lucky member will win a vacation to the destination.  The price of this box is $49.95 a month with shipping included. Right now they have a promotion if you use code ESCAPENOW it takes 20% off for life which brings the price down to a much more affordable $39.95 a month.

This box is available in the US only and ships from Lake Oswego, Oregon. 

The good:

Products: You get full size products from the region of that month. 

Referrals: The have an ambassador program that pays you via paypal for members you refer. 

Travel: They give away a trip every month!

Info cards: These are so important and theirs is fantastic. It includes product info and price as well as info about the destination. 

The not so good:

Skip: So far I can't find anything on skipping.  

                  When you open the box there is a welcome letter with info. 

                                                               Nice tri-fold brochure.

A little info about Napa. 

                                                                           Product info. 

                             All the Napa treasures. Even Gracie was curious.

Contents of the A Luxury Spa Tour of Napa box:

Moon Handbooks Napa & Sonoma. Value = $16.95

Mineral Essence Dead Sea Bath Salt in tangerine sage. Value = $4.49

Tiesta Loose Leaf Tea in Sparkling White Grape. Value = $7.99

Napa Valley Wine Soap in Cabernet Soapignon. Value = $8.95

All Natural Loofa Bath Sponge. Value = $2.49

(2) Deluxe Floating Bath Candles. Value = $5.95

100% Pure Juicy Body Scrub in Green Apple Body Scrub. Value = $15.00

Cookie Zen Cookies and Corks Zesty Lemon Cookies. Value = $7.95

7th Heaven Natural Face Masks in Argyle Miracle. Value = $2.99

Mixture Luscious Lip Balm Spearmint. Value = $4.99

2 oz. Clearly Natural Vitamin E glycerin bar. Value = $1.00

.13 oz. Suki Body butter cream salve. Value = $1.83

.25 oz. L'Ecuyer's Gourmet Goats Milk Chocolate Mint Soap. Value = $0.20

Naked Wines gift card. Value = $30.00***

The total value of this box is $80.78 or $110.78 with the gift card. I thought this box was super duper! We go to Napa a few times a year since it's only a couple of hours away. The handbook is going to come in super handy for our little road trips to Napa and Sonoma. I thought the floating candles were super cute and I can't wait to use them. My cats like to hang out on the edge of the bath and play with the bubbles. I wonder what they will think of floating fire?? I can't wait to use all the soaps and bath goodies. I love, love love lemon lemon cookies. I'm gonna break out a bottle of some fermented grapes and try those cookies out this weekend. I'm also super curious about the sparkling white grape tea. It sounds light and refreshing to me. 

Verdict: The Escape Monthly box is fantastic! Next month the box escapes to Oregon - I can't wait, I love Oregon!

***I am floating in these Naked Wine gift cards if anyone wants one email me and I will email you the codes. It's not completely free with the gift card but if you like wine it's a good deal and you don't have to sign up for a monthly thing. 

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August ipsy bag

Ipsy bag sends out 4-5 samples and a makeup bag for $10 a month with shipping included. If you sign up yearly it's $110 which brings the price down the $9.16 a month with shipping included.  I've been with them for over a year now and have really enjoyed it overall.  They constantly have a high product value with products that I use.

This subscription is available to the US and Canada. 

The good:

The samples.  They seem to include at least one full size sample each month, which is nice.    

The packaging. Each month the products come in a cute makeup bag for all your goodies.

Discounts: The almost always offer a discount on any additional purchases you want to make. 

The not so good:

Skip a month? There is no option to skip a month.  You have to cancel.

August Glamour Academy ipsy bag

Contents of bag with value and approximate retail price:

.03 oz. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in 69. Value = $7.33

FULL SIZE MICA Beauty Cosmetics Shimmer eyeshadow in Bronze. Value = $14.95

1 oz. Michael Todd Pumpkin Facial Mask. Value = $10.00

.105 oz. Pixi Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Black. Value = $7.17

FULL SIZE Nailtini in Mai Tai. Value = $13.00

purple and gold makeup bag.

Bonus item for referrals:

FULL SIZE Lime Crime Crema De Limon. Value = $8.00

The approximate value of this months bag is $52.45 or $60.45 with my bonus nail polish. I love everything in this bag. I've been a fan of Urban Decay since I was a teenager and I've been looking for a red lipstick. The bronze eyeshadow looks like a nice shimmery color for fall. I've had pumpkin facials before and what I remember about it was I couldn't go out in the sun for a couple of days. It had something to do with the pumpkin making you more susceptible to sunburns. I read the back of the bottle and sure enough it mentions staying out of the sun and being sure to wear sunscreen. Mascara is always welcome and even thought I have tons of nail polishes right now I'm liking both colors in this box.

Verdict: Great bag this month with a fantastic value!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog DNA test.

As you guys know we recently added a new fur baby to our home. We adopted her from our local shelter and the question we always get asked it "What kind of dog is she?". We have had lots of input from the shelter employees, our animal control friends, our vet and strangers on the street. I decided to put the big question to rest once and for all and ordered a doggie DNA test. 

I did some research and found this test to be the most popular for accuracy and ease of use. You can purchase it from their website Wisdom Panel for $79.99 or through Amazon for $69.99. Of course I went through Amazon. 

I ordered the test on July 19th and send it back it later that following weekend. The package comes with a USPS priority mail return label. They send me an email on July 30th saying they received the package. I think I mailed it on the 26th or 29th. I received another email on August 9th saying my results were complete. From the time I mailed the package pack to getting the results it was just shy of two weeks. 

This is what the package looks like when you receive it. 

These are the swabs. You gently swab the inside of your dogs mouth with both of these.

Once you have done the swab you place them back in the box to dry for a minute or two. Once they are dry you place the back into the plastic package (don't seal it) and mail the whole thing back to the company. 

They send the results back via email in a PDF file. This is what the first page of the PDF looks like. 

This is page two of the PDF file. 

I thought the DNA test was easy and fun to do. We honestly had no idea what type of dog Maddie was and people always asked us. Having this information is a tremendous help in many ways. Now we can read up on her breed combos which will help with health and training issues that arise. It takes about 2 weeks from the time you mail the package to the company to get your results back. I think that is very reasonable. 

In the end our friend the animal control officer guessed it right first. She said Maddie had the personality of a Shiba Inu and thought for sure she had Shiba in her. Maddie was at the shelter for 3 months before coming to live with us. Can you believe no one adopted this sweet girl? Our friend is at the shelter often so she really got to know Maddie and the employees actually started using her as the behavior assessment dog. Since Maddie gets along with everyone and every animal they would use her to see how the incoming animals acted around dogs. They even let her run around on her own sometimes because she was so well behaved. 

No matter what breed she turned out to be we love her madly. 

 We went on a California coast road trip soon after adopting Maddie. These were taken on the 17-mile drive at Pebble Beach. She loved exploring and climbing on all the rocks. 

The boyfriend and Maddie walking on a pier in Santa Cruz. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

August Love with Food Box

Love with Food is a monthly subscription box filled with food.  Each month is a different theme and you will receive 5+ gourmet food items. 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.

Love with Food has provided a code for $2.00 off for my readers.  Use code TREASUREVIP

This subscription is only available in the US and ships from Santa Clara, California. 

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. 

This months box theme is Backyard BBQ.

Contents of box with estimated value/retail price listed:

Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust barbecue seasoning. Value = $2.00

.8 oz. Good Boy organics Bops Sea Salt potato chips. Value = $1.50 - These are baked, not friend and you can tell when you eat them plain. If you dip them then they are great. 

1.5 oz. Aunt Sally's Creamy Pralines. Value = $2.33 - I went to this store in the French Market in New Orleans. They are very sweet. This is creamy version and I prefer the ones with a little more nuts in it. 

Project 7 tube of fresh mints. Value = $1.00

single serve container El Pinto Medium Salsa. Value = $1.00

.75 oz. Sahale Cranberry, Sesame Seeds + Honey Snacks. Value = $1.00

Rip van Wafels Caramel Filled Amsterdam Wafel. Value = $1.25 - I love these things. Put it over a hot cup of coffee to soften it and it's delicious!

.75 oz. Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps Lightly Salted Green Pea Crisps Value = $0.79

The total approximate value of this box is $10.87. The theme of this box is backyard bbq but I'm not sure all the products match the theme. The pralines, Sahale snacks, Wafels and mints aren't something I would see at a barbecue. With that being said I still thought this was a great box. I know we will enjoy all the products in here. The mints are from Project 7 and what I think is cool about their company is they plant a fruit tree for each tube purchased. I wonder where my tree is?

Verdict:  The Love with Food boxes are about even in value but they send some fun products so I think it's a great box. 

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

August Conscious Box - Classic Box

Conscious box now offers 3 types of boxes. The classic, vegan and gluten free.  Each box contains a wide variety of items from food to beauty products to household goodies.  The price is $19.95 a month with shipping included. They also have a 3, 6 and 12 months plans. The 12 month plan is the only one that offers a discount.

This box is only available to ship to the US including Alaska and Hawaii and ships from Portland, OR

The good:

Variety: You get a wide variety of items and the box was packed!

Vegan: If your vegan the vegan box is great for you.

Gluten free: If you live a gluten free life the gluten free box would be great for you.

Information: They now include an information card with product details on it.

Points: You can earn points for rating products. The points earn you discounts should you want to purchase something you like.

The not so good:

The price: It's on the high side for subscription boxes but I would consider this a specialty box for sure.

                                                     Conscious Box - Classic Box

Contents of box w/approximate retail price: 

(2) Nordic Naturals Tutti Fruitti Omega 3 jelly chews. Value = $0.99/ea. - These are really odd. They are opaque in color and really soft. It was strange but I really liked it. 

(2) Allimex garlic capsules. Value = $1.00/ea.

(2) Happy Tots Super Toddler Bars in chocolate sunbutter. Value = $1.10/ea. - I know this says it's for tots but I ate it anyway. I thought it was really good. The bar itself was really soft and while it didn't have tons of flavor it had enough to keep me satisfied.

1 pkt. Country Choice Oatmeal. Value = $0.46

Sneakz Chocolate Milkshake. Value = $2.00 - I've had this before. It's pretty good but I could taste a hint of veggies. Not enough that a kid would notice and I would drink it again. 

(2) MRM Digest-All Vegetarian Capsules. Value = $0.25/ea.

.14 oz. Herbal Zap Immune Support drink mix. Value = $0.92

1 pkt. Ultima Replenisher Lemonade. Value = $0.80

1 Stash organic Lavender Tulsi tea bag. Value = $0.23

1.05 oz. Barbara's Snackimals cinnamon crunch cereal. Value = $0.62 - I ate this right out of the bag like a snack. Very tasty. 

12.5g MRM Veggie Protein drink mix in chocolate Value = $0.66

8g Amazing Greens Raw Reserve berry flavor. Value = $1.33

ACTZ Glycerin soap banana scented. Value = $??

The approximate value of my classic box is about $14.00. I thought this box had all sorts of variety in it. I've been mixing the powders I get in my boxes with almond or coconut milk for breakfast. I used to eat oatmeal all the time but I got tired of it. I think with this oatmeal I will mix some of the eat green tea product in it. Supposedly just one tablespoon gives you an amazing amount of antioxidants, sounds like a great way to start the day. The banana soap smells delicious! I don't know how long it will last because it's pretty small. I might put it in one of my bathrooms cause it's so cute. I like the snackimals cereal and I liked it just plain as a snack. I could see buying that and portioning it out in snack bags.

Verdict: If I paid full price I would've been disappointed in the value. I bought a yearly subscription on sale that worked out to just over $9 a month for me which makes this box a good deal. 

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Donors Choose - Donations for teachers and students

As you guys know I enjoy donating to worthy causes. Awhile back I read about a site called Donors Choose. This site enables teachers to ask for the things they need for their classrooms. With budget cuts a lot of schools are having to really cut the excess out of their budgets which leaves the burden on the teachers. I am amazed a how much teachers spend out of pocket on basic classroom supplies. This site allows the teachers to create a list of things they need or want for their classroom and ask for money to buy it. You can search by location, lowest cost, urgency, high poverty areas, age, subjects, how much time a project has left for funding and more. You can choose to give any amount.

I though this was a fantastic cause and was more than happy to contribute. One of the projects I donated to was a Kindergarten class for a project called calendar time. I received updates from the teacher through the website which I thought was nice. Several months went by and one day I received a large envelope in the mail from Donors Choose. I opened the envelope and was surprised to see thanks you notes from the students in Mrs. Frederickson's class. How cool is that!  This was totally unexpected but I thought it was amazing that the teacher took time out of her class day to have the students write thank you letters. What a great lesson for the students. I love it!

                                 This was the best package I received that week!

I wanted to share this website because I think it's a great cause. If you or anyone you know is a teacher pass this along to them. If you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to check out Donors Choose!

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Friday, August 16, 2013

August Fancy - Food Box

The Fancy Food Box includes 5 or more gourmet artisan food products along with a selection of tasty recipes and pairing suggestions. The Fancy Food box is priced at $39.00 plus $7.95 shipping. This is a little high but if you are into food products they send out some really cool stuff and so far the value has been over the $48 price of the box.

This subscription is available worldwide, shipping prices vary on location.

The good:

Sizes: You get full size food items!

Information: They include a nice card with the product information and picture.     

The not so good:

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

Price: The price is a little high - unless of course it has great products and a high value

Product cards.

Food box from Fancy. 

Contents of The Fancy Food Box with approximate retail price listed: 

Bodum Brazil French Press. Value = $20.00

J & M Lemon Cookie Straws. Value = $3.90 - A little dry but I love the lemon flavor.

J & M Original Cheese Straws. Value = $6.40 - The cheese flavor is good but they are a little dry. 

Umami Dust Taste #5. Value = $10.05

Dang Toasted Coconut Chips.  Value = $6.00 - These are super addicting. I eat them plain out of the box. 

Ubons BBQ Bloody Mary Mix.  Value = $10.00

Papabubble X Fancy Candy. Value = $7.50 - These are cute little tasty bite sized candies. 

The total value of this months box is $63.85.  This is a pretty awesome box in my opinion. I have never used a french press but I hear the make an awesome cup of coffee. I love the coconut chips. I had received them before and practically ate the whole bag on my own. The lemon and cheese straws are a little dry but the flavor is good. I'm super excited to try the umami dust I love experimenting with umami flavors. For some reason when I think of umami I think of bonito flakes. I'm not a Bloody Mary fan and now I have 2 bottles in the pantry. I'm looking for recipes that I can use them in that doesn't involve drinking it. 

Verdict. This box was great!

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