Friday, February 28, 2014

February Eco Emi Box

Eco Emi is a monthly subscription service that sends a minimum of 5 eco-friendly/conscious products to your door for $15 a month w/shipping included.  The products range from beauty, household, food, etc.  They send a really nice variety of items including food, beauty etc. You get a little bit of everything. It's something everyone is your house could enjoy.  My Eco Emi boxes are always nicely packaged and stuffed full of treasures.

This subscription is available in the US only and ships from St. Peters, Missouri

The good:

Price: Eco-friendly product samples can be difficult to find.  I appreciate being able to try these products for a fraction of the price of purchasing full size. 

Eco-friendly: Every little bit helps

Variety: Not just beauty products.  You get food, home, drinks, etc.

Want more: Sometimes they have left over boxes that they sell after the subscriptions have been sent out.  The cost of these is $15 w/shipping included.  Kinda cool if you really like or know someone that would really like that months box. 

Skip a month:  You can put your account on pause if you want to skip that month.    

Information: They put a card in every box with information on the products as well as the price. 

The not so good:

Payment: You have to set up a recurring payment through PayPal.  I don't like this because PayPal makes you use your PayPal balance before they take money from your checking/credit card.  I like to save my PayPal balance for misc eBay purchases.

February Eco Emi Box

Contents of box with approximate retail price listed:

Good Natural Candles, 6 pack Tea Light Candles. Value = $2.49

Wild Garden All Natural Hummus. Value = $0.86

Aubrey Organics Organic Hairspray. Value = $1.99

Jersey Shore Sun Vegan Lip Balm. Value = $5.00

Blissoma Lavish Face Mask. Value = $2.12

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Eyelash Conditioner. Value = $1.50

Premier Organics Chocolate Vanilla Paste. Value = $1.35

The total value of  this box is approximately $15.31. I'm actually eager to try everything in this box except the hummus dip. I like hummus but I think because this isn't refrigerated it has something that taste odd in it to me. Maybe I will mix it with regular hummus and see how that turns out. I use tea lights in my candle melt holder thing all the time and I think I'm almost out. Chocolate paste? Is that like a spread? Turns out yes it is. The little hairspray is cute and probably going right into my travel bag. I have some lash conditioner I used awhile ago, I don't know if it made a difference or not but I used it anyway.

Verdict: This was a great box even though it was even with the price paid.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Escape Monthly Box - New York

Escape Monthly combines two things I love which are traveling and getting treasures in the mail. Escape Monthly ships every month and includes full size 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 are running a deal on their website where you can get 20% off the price of the box for life. This means the monthly box will cost $39.95 a month instead of $49.95.

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

Travel: They give away a trip every month to the destination. There is a card in one box each month telling you if you've won. 

Info cards: These are so important and theirs is fantastic. It includes product info and price as well as info about the destination. I have noticed that the prices they list is not always accurate. 

The not so good:

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

Price: The price is quite high for a monthly box.

Contents of box with retail value: 

New York City Travel book by Moon Books. Value = $14.99

Brooklyn Studio Travel Tin Candle in Green Tea and Lemongrass, Brooklyn, NY. Value = $6.00

Flint Creek Good Skin Blend Soap, Rochester, NY. Value = $3.00

Kanpekies Peckigram Orange Cranberry Almond Shortbread Cookies, Manhattan, NY. Value = $8.00

The Peanut Principle Gourmet Maple Peanut Butter, Albany, NY. Value = $4.37

Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce, Saratoga Springs, NY. Value = $6.50

Better Brittle West African Style Peanut Brittle, Syracuse, NY. Value = $5.00

New York Taxi Treats Cookies. Value = $2.99

I Love New York Sticker. Value = $1.49

The total value of this box is $52.34 or $37.35 if you don't include the book. I've been to New York once about 15 years ago or so. Funny story, my friend and I were going someplace and volunteered to be bumped from our flight. We had to wait for 7 hours in a Utah airport for our next flight but in exchange we each got round trip tickets to anywhere the airline flew. We thought that was a great deal and wanted to maximize our free ticket so we thought New York (from California) would be the best value. It probably was in terms of flight cost but we, as fresh out of college young adults were totally unprepared for the cost of everything. We made the best of it and saw a couple of shows on an off Broadway, went to the Statue Liberty, rode the subway, went to Tiffany's (where I made my first ever Tiffany's purchase), etc. I would love to go back now that I'm a little older, a little wiser and have a little more spending money. My point is I may or may not use the book anytime soon. The travel candle smells nice and I for one am a big fan of travel candles. The shortbread cookies are good, not the best ever but a solid good. I haven't tried the other treats yet I figured I had better limit myself.

Verdict: I'm glad I didn't cancel last month because I liked this box AND next month is Ireland! Crossing my fingers that I win THAT trip!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Taste Guru Box

Do you live a gluten free lifestyle? Or maybe you know someone who is gluten free? Taste Guru is a whole box of food that is gluten free. Taste Guru came about when the co-founder was diagnosed with celiac disease. Many of the gluten free foods they found tasted like cardboard and generally didn't taste very good. Through trial and error they found foods they love and mealtimes became enjoyable again. Each month Taste Guru sends out a box of 7-10 full size gluten free foods that have been tested and reviewed by those who live a gluten free life. The box is shipped monthly and the prices ranges from $25 to $34 a month depending on which plan you sign up for. All plans include shipping.

This box ships to the USA only from Denver, Colorado. 

The good:

Gluten free made easy: This is a great way to try a whole bunch of gluten free foods.

Need a gift: I think this would make a great gift for the gluten free person in your life.

The not so good:

Want more: The products they send can be hard to find but an online store through their website is coming soon.

February Taste Guru Box

Contents of Taste Guru Box with approximate retail value:

Viviana Plain Gluten free and Vegan Linguini. Value = $6.99

Dr. McDougall's Vegan Tortilla Soup with Baked Chips. Value = $1.99 - This was just awful! I took a couple of bites and had to toss it. Also this is 2 servings. Really? Like someone is really only going to eat half of this container. 

Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup. Value = $1.99 - This was ok but nothing like real pad thai. 

Straw Propeller Apple Crisp Oatmeal. Value = $2.99 - Absolutely delicious! I would definitely buy this again. 

Snapz Crunchy Apple Crisp Chips. Value = $1.49

Poplets Toasted Corn in Chile Picante. Value = $1.00 - These are ok but I prefer half pops. 

Snikiddy Eat Your Vegetable Sea Salt Chips. Value = $0.40

The total value of this box is $16.85. This box did not have a great value at all. If you are a 3 month subscriber ($34) it's roughly half the value! I am fortunate to have a Sprout and Whole Foods near me so I've actually seen most of these items in the store. I can't even argue that the items are gourmet or hard to find.

I've tried a nice sampling of Viviana products through Taste Guru and so far I like it. Even the boyfriend made himself some pasta dish using it and didn't complain. I love pad thai but find soups like this have lots of sodium. Not this one! Only 310 grams which is great for this type of product. The oatmeal sounds very gourmet, not like the Quaker's the boyfriend eats. He won't touch this one though because it has walnuts in it and he's not a fan of nuts. Oh well, guess I'll be keeping it for myself, darn! Now he did devour the Snapz apple chips right away, I barely had time to take the picture. I love poplets and half pops. This wasn't my favorite flavor but it didn't keep me from eating them.

Verdict: I'm not thrilled with the value of this box. I have a 6 month subscription and paid $29.00 for this box. 

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Taste Trunk - Gourmet Trunk

Taste Trunk is a food based subscription box. 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. They also just introduced two mini boxes called mini sweet and mini healthy sweet. 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. Each trunk contains between 5-10 gourmet items with a guaranteed value of at least $40. The price of Taste Trunk is $35.00 plus $3.99 shipping making it $38.99 a month. The price for the mini trunks are $13.99 plus shipping.

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.

Change it up: Want a different trunk next month. You can change your trunks by emailing them

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 programs that use links and have discounts or bonus items for both people.

They changed the way their boxes look. This is a cardboard box made to look like a trunk. This was inside of a priority flat rate box. 

February Gourmet Taste Trunk.

Contents of Taste Guru Box with approximate retail value:

New Canaan Farms Blanco River Applekraut, from Dripping Springs, TX. Value = $7.99

The Girl & the Fig, Fig & Port Vinaigrette, from Sonoma. CA. Value = $10.00

Le Caramel Chocolate Caramels from San Diego, CA. Value = $9.38

Purely American, French Market "18 Bean" Soup Mix from Athens, OH. Value = $6.50

WVM Aioli Garlic Mustard from Pendleton, OR. Value = $2.75

The total value of this box is $36.62. What happened to the guaranteed $40 value? I looked up all the prices on the product websites to ensure they were retail price. The box is still is decent value but don't promise me $40 or more in value and not deliver.
I actually have a box of the chocolate caramels in my pantry right now. They aren't as delicious as I hoped but they definitely aren't bad. They also make caramel sauces that are delish! The Girl & the Fig restaurant has been on my list of places to eat for awhile now. I bet this vinaigrette is delicious. Mustard? love it. Garlic? can't get enough. Garlic and mustard aioli? Yes please! I love a good bean soup. I'm going to get the ingredients to make this soup this week! Now for the "what is this?" item in the box. Applekraut? What is applekraut? This supposedly can be used just like sauerkraut. Now I'm not a huge fan of sauerkraut, although I once had it freshly made in a restaurant owed by people of German descent and it was delicious! I feel as though I'm going to have to get some pork chops or maybe some bratwurst and give this a try.

Verdict: I wish this box hit the value of $40 but I like everything in it.  

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Monday, February 24, 2014

February Cricut Mystery Box

You guys know I love a mystery box and not just beauty boxes. I recently discovered cricut also sells mystery boxes and this month it contained cartridges. Cricut is a personal electronic cutting machine used in card making, scrapbooking, and crafting of all types. I have a cricut and I don't use it enough but when I do use it I also think to myself "This thing is amazing, I need to use it more often." The cartridges that are needed to use the machine run anywhere from $30-$60 a piece. As you can see, adding to your collection of cartridges can add up quick. So when I saw cricut had a mystery box deal that has three cartridges for $30 plus shipping I jumped on it. I actually ordered 2 boxes because I wasn't sure if they would be different or not. I  have a couple of dozen cartridges but there are hundreds of them out there so I hoped I wouldn't get any duplicates. After tax and shipping the cost per cartridge ended up being $12.25 each which is a bargain for any cartridge.

These are the three cartridges I received. Space Party, Sugar and Spice and Chic & Scary. I don't have any of these cartridges so I lucked out. I can't think of any project I would use these for right away but I did see some designs on the Sugar and Spice and the Chic & Scary cartridges that I'm sure I'll use. I don't think I have any need for Space Party but I think I'll hold onto it for now since it was such a good deal. I had ordered two boxes and they had the same things in each box. I'm not too worried about it because I'm sure I can sell the dupes for what I paid since they are so inexpensive.

Verdict: If you are into Cricut and don't have a lot of cartridges this is a great deal. Can't wait to see what next months mystery box has in it. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February Klutch Club - Women's Box

KLUTCHClub is a monthly subscription service that focuses on health & fitness.  KLUTCHClub ships their boxes out on the 15th of every month. They advertise that the boxes contain over $50 worth of products or services such as snacks, new workouts or body care regimens to try.  I've a had a few months where the value was lower than the $50 promised but still higher than the price of the box. I don't count gift certificates or coupons that require out of pocket money in order to use them. KLUTCHClub offers three types subscriptions, one for women and one for men and now one for moms.  KLUTCHClub allows you to sign up monthly, quarterly or yearly. The monthly price is $18 a month, quarterly is $51.00 or $17 a month and the yearly is $192 or $16 a month.  Shipping is included in all of these prices. I had found a deal back in July where I was able to purchase a year for $144 bringing it down to $12 a box.

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

The good:

Healthy: This box is totally dedicated to health and fitness. If you're just starting to get active this is a fun way to try new products or fitness regimens. 

Need a gift: Have a health nut friend or want to encourage someone? Send them a month, 3 month or yearly subscription.

Information: They send a little info card on the products included in the box. 

The not so good:

Skip a month: No skipping a month option.

Value: They promise a value of $50 in each box but they don't send that in product. Sometimes they send gift cards and I think they count those towards the value.

February KlutchClub Box

Contents of box with approximate retail price/value listed. 

Neuro Sweet Dreams drink in Mellow Mango. Value = 2.50

(2) Runa ginger citrus tea bags. Value = $0.51/ea.

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

.5 oz. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro70. Value = $0.94

Oogave Loco Ginger Ale soda. Value = $1.67

(1) Bottle Bright Cleaning Tablet. Value = $1.40

10 pack Zarbee's Naturals Seasonal Relief Tablets. Value = $8.99

Raw Revolution Spirulina Dream mini bar. Value = $0.83

Smooch Lip Smacking Good Pouch. Value = $1.99

1.7 oz. Pomsmooth Conditioner. Value = $1.70

Bag of Popchips. Value = $0.92 - This had opened while in transit and completely emptied all over my box. 

1 free month Charlotte Dodson Yoga TV. Value = $18.00

The total value of this months box is $40.71 if you include the yoga tv subscription. Once again they missed the $50 mark promised. Since I only paid $12 for the box I don't get too upset about it but if I paid full price I might say something. I'm a big fan of the little bottles of dream water so at first I was excited to try this new sleep drink. After looking at the size of the bottle, I thought that's a lot of fluid to drink just before going to sleep. The directions say to drink it 30 before bed but I would say 45-60 would be better to insure you're not getting up to use the bathroom. I have pretty bad seasonal allergies and over the counter stuff just barely works so I'm reluctant to try something new. I'm thinking I'll give it a try on my not so bad allergy days and see what happens. I will definitely use the conditioner, eat the fruit pouch and drink the soda. I don't have any bottles that aren't dishwasher safe so I was trying to think of what I could use the bottle cleaning on. Then I remembered we have Starbucks travel coffee cups that can't go in the dishwasher so I think I will try that.

Verdict: This box was ok. The value was lacking but I still received my money's worth.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

February Kona Kase

Kona Kase is a monthly box designed to fuel your active lifestyle by sending nutritional products, inspirational quotes and training tips. The box is priced at $15 a month with shipping included. They also offer a 3 month plan for $41 ($13.66 a month), 6 months for $77 (12.83 a month) or 12 months for $145 ($12.08 a month). The 3,6 and 12 month plans need to be paid for in full.  Kona Kase ships between the 10th and 18th of every month.

This subscription ships to the US and Canada (additional $8 shipping). Ships from Oakland, Ca. 

The good:

Don't know what to buy: This is a great way to try protein bars, food, snacks and healthy stuff without having to go out a buy it.

Variety: They send a nice variety of products.

The not so good:

Skip: There is no option to skip. You can cancel and restart.

February Kona Kase

Contents of the Kona Kase box with approximate retail value:

The Cookie Department Snap Back Ginger Detox Cookie. Value = $2.50

Omnibar Cranberry Rosemary Bar. Value = $3.00

Nature's Bakery Strawberry Fig Bar. Value = $1.25

Mazama Bar in Chocolate Banana. Value = $3.50

22 Days Nutrition Daily Mocha Mantra. Value = $2.69 - very strong coffee flavor with a chocolate coating. The bar itself is thick and slightly chewy. 

Honey Stinger lemon waffle. Value = $1.39

The total value of this months Kona Kase is $14.33. Let's talk about this Omnibar for a minute. The description says beef, almond butter, sweet potatoes, oats + flax seed bar. Beef? Well that can't be right. First ingredient? Ground beef. This weirds me out a little bit. I mean I eat beef jerky but that's dehydrated and this is mixed with other stuff. I'm not sure about this but I will definitely try it and I'm going to make the boyfriend try it also. I'm not a fan of the Mazama bars either. Mostly because that one bar has over 400 calories and 50g of carbs, this would be fantastic if I was some sort of athlete but sadly I am not. I know I like the fig bars and the lemon waffles. Surprisingly the 22 days bar wasn't too bad. I ate half of it before going to the gym and the other half when I was done.

Verdict: This box was ok, not a super value but I got to try a few new things.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Influenster J'Adore VoxBox

Question?  Who doesn't love free stuff?

Influenster is not a monthly subscription service and you don't/can't pay to get boxes from them.  The way it works is you sign up for free on their website and unlock "badges". There are many badges you can unlock depending on your hobbies, lifestyle, where you live, social networking etc.  When the company has a box of items they want tested and reviewed they pick from the Influensters registered and send them goodies.  Once you get the items you are expected to try them out, review them, tell your friends etc.  Doing all of that will ensure that you will remain on the list of influensters that get boxes.  The whole point of Influenster is to get the word out about the products and what better way than word of mouth.  And yes all of this is free, you don't pay to sign up, you don't pay to get a box and you don't pay for anything period.  They send out several boxes a year with different themes and not everyone gets all the boxes.  The last box I received was in June of 2013.

After you receive your box of goodies you will receive emails from Influenster telling you about brand challenges and ways to earn more badges.  The more badges you earn the more likely you are to receive a future box.  Basically you get badges for talking about the product and giving your opinion.

J'Adore VoxBox with approximate retail price.

Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask. Value = $9.39

Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolate. Value = $3.28

Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight Flat Iron Spray. Value = $9.99

Kiss Looks so Natural Lashes. Value = $3.99

(4) Red Rose Simply Indulgent tea bags in créme caramel and lemon chiffon. Value = $0.22/ea.

The total value of my J'Adore VoxBox is $27.53 and I received all of it for free!  So if you have a blog or don't mind using social networking to give your opinions on products then sign up with Influenster and you may be a lucky one picked for the next VoxBox. I was actually happy to get the Hershey's kisses even though I'm not a milk chocolate fan. I have a little Hershey kiss dispenser I want to fill up. I'm on tea overload right now but I have to be honest these flavors sound delicious. You guys know I love a good face mask and the clay ones are always fun. I feel like they wick all the impurities and bad stuff out of my face. I've been experimenting with false eyelashes. Next time we go out I'll have to stick these babies on. The one item that isn't really useful for me is the frizz ease. I don't use a flat iron but the teenager does so I think I'll hand this off to her and get her opinion. 

**I received these items for free from Influenster for evaluation purposes.  My opinions are my own and not influenced by the companies, products or Influenster.      

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag

Have you heard of Rainbow Honey nail polish? They make super cool nail polish colors like Heisenberg of Breaking Bad fame. Rainbow Honey is sold mostly online. I believe they only have one retailer in the US down in San Diego. This month I heard they were offering a mystery bag so I went to their website to check it out. Each Rainbow Honey mystery bag will have sneak peaks and preview of new lacquers, unreleased samples of future collections and exciting new products made by the Rainbow Honey Lab! The price of them mystery bag is $10 or if you spend $65 or more you will get it for free. I wasn't sure if they would be different or not but I figured for $10 I would risk it so I ordered 2.

Turns out the bags were the same with the only difference being the nail art glitter.

These are the colors in each set and each one came with a Sakura Matsuri Rollerball perfume. The bottom picture is the other nail art glitter I received called Early Spring.

Contents of each mystery bag. 

5ml Sparkling Agave nail polish. Value = $4.00 - this will debut March 2014 in the midnight garden collection

5ml Poffin Party. Value = $4.00 - This is a prototype polish not scheduled to be released yet.

5ml Fast Dry Top Coat. Value = $4.00

Sakura Matsuri Mini Rollerball perfume. Value = $?? - this is making a return later this spring

Nail Art Glitter in Have a Heart. Value = $10.00 - This was different in the second bag.

The value of each mystery bag is $22.00 not including the perfume.  I was really happy with this mystery bag. I love that they send stuff out that is not available. When I opened the package I could smell something sweet so at first I thought maybe they included one of their scented polishes. Turns out the scent is from the rollerball perfume and it smells fantastic. It's like a combination of pears and cherries and the little container is soooo cute! I like the green polish and I can always use top coats. The Poffin Party polish reminds me of sprinkles on a cupcake, it reminds me of a fun summer party. I haven't delved too much into the world of glitters but I'm willing to give it a try. Should I mix it with the top coat or how does it work exactly?

As of today this is still available on the Rainbow Honey website.

Verdict: I would buy one of these again, but just one since they are mostly all the same.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February Sample Society Box

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 with shipping included.

The good:

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

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)

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.

Referrals: It's a win/win. You get a $5 credit on your account or you can donate that to charity and the person you refer gets a 20% discount on their first purchase at Beauty Bar. 

The not so good:

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

Subscription discounts: They don't offer discounts for multiple months unless you gift a 12 month subscription. Then you get 12 months for the price of 11.

February Sample Society Box.

Contents of box with approximate retail value.

.17 oz. Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum. Value = $15.11

.85 oz. Alterna Bamboo 48-Hour Sustainable Volume Spray. Value = $5.00

1.3 oz. Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Body Lotion. Value = $3.75

.17 oz. Ahava Deadsea Osmotor Concentrate Serum. Value = $10.19

1.7 oz. Phytokératin Mask for hair. Value = $9.82

The total value of this box is $43.87. I've used the Alterna Bamboo products before and I find that I really like them. I also like that this is travel size just in time for our trip to Monterey. I've never heard of deadsea water lotion, but it smells really good! I've heard the phyto products work really well and I feel like my hair could use a good deep conditioning. The serums are nice but I'm still working my way through some other ones I have. 

Verdict: I'm excited about the hair spray, lotion and hair mask this month.  

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February Love with Food - A Kiss to Build a Dream On Deluxe Box

Love with Food is a monthly subscription box filled with food. They now offer a deluxe size version of the box which contains 16-20 new snack foods. The price of this deluxe version is $19.95 a month with shipping included. You can also sign up for a 6 or 12 month plan each which will save you a couple of dollars a month. Also for each deluxe box purchased 2 meals are donated to hungry children in America. I decided to cancel my regular snack size box and subscribe to just this larger size box.

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

The good:

Bigger is better? I know some people don't like that the regular box is so small but it also comes with a small price tag. This deluxe box would be better suited for those with more than 2 people in their house. No more fighting over the tasty snacks!

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:

Value: The first box they sent had a really low value but the boxes that followed have been great. 

A Kiss to Build a Dream On!

Contents of box with approximate retail value:

.7 oz. bag Mario Camacho Snack olives in Savory Pepper. Value = $1.33

.7 oz. bag Mario Camacho Snack olives in Hint of Garlic. Value = $1.26

(3) Gavottes Dark Chocolate Crepe Dentelles. Value $0.30/ea. - So flakey and delicious! 

(2) 1.5 oz. bags of Beanitos Restaurant Style White Bean Chips. Value = $0.98/ea.

(2) 1 oz. Emily's Chocolates Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries. Value = $1.10/ea. - I was surprised that these were more tart than sweet. Still tasty though. 

(2) 1 oz. Back to Nature Honey Graham Sticks. Value = $0.75/ea.

snack size TCHO Pure Note Dark Chocolatey. Value = $0.73 - finally! dark chocolate!

(2) snack size TCHO Mokaccino milk chocolate. Value = $0.73/ea.

(2) .6 oz. Biscotti Di Suzy Chocolate Chip Biscotti. Value = ??

.5 oz. Black Truffle + White Cheddar Popcorn by 479 Degree Popcorn. Value = $1.59 - Love, love, love this popcorn and it's only 100 calories for the bag. 

2 pk. Guylian Chocolate Truffles. Value = $1.09

Coupon for a Free Build Your Own Meal Kit from Revolution Foods. Value = $4.99

Love with Food Chip Clip. Value = $2.00

The total approximate value of this box is $21.0 plus maybe a dollar for the biscotti. I didn't think they were going to make the $20 mark until I saw the coupon. I hope it's something I can find in the stores I shop at. I'm also excited that I actually like all the stuff in this months box (except the olives but the boyfriend likes those). I was super excited about the popcorn because it's one of my favorite flavors from 479. I love having biscotti with my coffee and these are just the right size. I've had the TCHO chocolate before and I've even driven by their store in San Francisco but have never gone inside. I hear they give free samples there, I might have to check it out. I actually sort of hid this box for a couple of days so the before wouldn't devour it while I was at work. I had to make him promise that if he opened the popcorn to save me some and now that I'm typing this I think I should have just taken it with me.

Verdict:  This Love with Food box had some great snacks in it. I'm still happy with the larger size box. 

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Monday, February 17, 2014

February 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 almost two years and this is one subscription I am for sure keeping. They constantly have a high product value with products that I use.

This subscription is available to the US and Canada and ships from Harrisburg, NC.

The good:

The samples: Usually you get at least one full size product in each bag.

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.

Semi-customized: You take a little quiz and your bag is semi-customized with products you will enjoy.

Points: You can earn points for reviews and referrals. You can redeem points for extra goodies in your bag. 

The not so good:

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

February The Look of Love ispy bag. 

Contents of bag with value and approximate retail price:

FULL SIZE City Color, Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon. Value = $2.99

PopBeauty mini plum pout in peony petal. Value = $7.51

FULL SIZE Zoya Odette. Value = $9.00

FULL SIZE J.Cat beauty false eyelashes in style EL15. Value = $3.99

FULL SIZE Mally beauty waterproof eyeliner in Starlight (silver). Value = $18.00

Pink makeup bag

The approximate value of this months bag is $41.49. I have got to figure out a way to get them to stop sending me blush. I've changed my profile a little but I'm still getting blush. I think I need to do be more diligent on my reviews. I really like Zoya polish and they even sent a nice discount code for a future purchase (buy 2 get 1 free and free remover). The eyeliner color is silver and I've used silver before and it looked kind of odd. I think it would look better on just the inner corners and not the whole eye. I don't use false lashes very often but I like experimenting with them. I'm glad this pair came with glue!

Verdict: I love the ispy bag, they are a great value with great products.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Julep Cupid's Mystery Box

Julep recently offered 3 new mystery boxes called Cupid's mystery box. Each one had a theme and came with a new color. The first box is the Venus box for mani lovers. The second box is Lindy for makeup lovers. The third box is Aphrodite for pedi lovers. The names Venus, Lindy and Aphrodite are the names of the special color polishes that come with it. Each box was priced at $24.99 with a guaranteed value $75.00. Also one person would get a pair of 1 ct. tw diamond earrings. The guaranteed no duplicates if you ordered all 3 boxes. 

This is Venus, mani lover box. 

Venus, Mani Lovers Box Contents

Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum. Value = $28.00/$22.40

Freedom Polymer Top Coat. Value = $18.00/$14.40

1 oz. Rock Star Hand Créme. Value = $6.67/$5.33

Nail File. Value = $5.00/$4.00

Bette, electric neon purple créme. Value = $14.00/$11.20

Madison, electric neon hot pink créme. Value = $14.00/$11.20

America, Sterling silver stars with shiny red and royal blue glitter. Value = $14.00/$2.99

Venus, pink quartz holographic chunky glitter top coat. Value = $14.00/$11.20

I went ahead and put both regular price and maven price just to see if the value matched $75 either way. The regular price of the Venus box is $113.67 and the maven price is $82.72. I just did a eDivv trade for the nail serum because I've been waiting to try it. It works pretty well and I carry it in my purse because dry cuticle dry me crazy and I end up picking at them. The freedom top coat looks great on but it seems my nail polish peels off when I use it. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? The hand creme is great as well at the nail file (although I'm not sure it's worth $5 or even $4). Out of all the nail colors I received sadly I had them all except Venus. I will see if I can trade them or use them for gifts. 

This is Lindy, makeup lover box. 

Lindy, Makeup Lovers Box Contents

Sweep Eyeshadow Palette. Value = $24.00/$19.20

Blank Canvas Eye Primer. Value = $22.00/$17.60

Lengthening Mascara in Brown. Value = $24.00/$12.99

Rock Star hand créme. Value = $6.67/$5.33

Lindy, a carnation pink iridescent glitter glaze. Value = $14.00/$11.20

America, Sterling silver stars with shiny red and royal blue glitter. Value = $14.00/$2.99

Nan, Nantucket red créme. Value = $14.00/$2.99

The total value of this box is $118.00 regular and maven price is $72.30. The first thing I noticed was that America and rock star were in this box. Ummm I thought there wasn't going to be any duplicates between boxes? I was happy about the eyeshadow, honestly I didn't even know they had eyeshadow but the neutral shades are great. I also didn't know they had eye primer. I thought they only had face primer. I was excited about the mascara at first but then I noticed it was brown. There shouldn't be a huge difference between brown and black right? As for the nail polish colors the only one I already had is America so that worked out. 

This is Aphrodite pedi lovers box. 

Aphrodite, Pedi Lovers Box Contents

Mint Condition Pedi Créme. Value = $20.00/$16.00

Doublestep Foot Treatment. Value = $22.00/$17.60

Foot File. Value = $6.00/$4.80

Aphrodite, a rose with silver metallic micro glitter. Value = $14.00/$11.20

Claudette, smoky brick red crème. Value = $14.00/$4.99

Karen, peach bellini frost. Value = $14.00/$2.99

The total value of this box is $90.00 regular price and maven price is $57.58. The pedi créme will be good for the upcoming summer months. I already have several double steps but we are going on vacation soon so I might bring it just in case. The foot file I already have but I use it all the time in the shower so this will be a back up. Out of the nail colors only dupe is Karen.

Verdict: Overall I think they mystery boxes are still a great value if you don't own lots of Juleps already. I was kind of bummed they send two of the same items in two of the boxes after saying they wouldn't. I was also disappointed to see that polishes that are on sale were included in the boxes. I think whenever mystery boxes include sale items they should say that. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February Beauty Army Box

Here's how Beauty Army works.  You get to choose up to 6 items to try out from a selection of 9 items. The selection window is open for 5 days based on the day you signed up.  I happened to sign up on the 1st of the month so my window starts then.  They update their stock daily so what's available one day may not be available the next.  I also noticed that if I refresh my browser different items come up. I actually did that a couple of times to get what I want. The price 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. This month I was determined to not miss the selection window and let them pick for me again. I managed to not forget and I think I received some pretty cool stuff. 

The Good:

The brands: You will get options from well known brands. They also say they use brands from emerging companies which is also fun.

The box/kit: 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 price: $12 Shipping included seems reasonable to me to be able to try a useful amount of product. Also you are picking the items out so theoretically you will always get something you will use.  

Customer Service: I've had to email customer service for an issue and they were very prompt in responding and fixing the issue.  They seem to really care about their customers happiness with their products.

Skip a month: Not feeling it this month? unexpected bills? now you can skip the month. If you are a yearly member and skip the month then another month will be added to the end.  Yay! 

The not so Good:

Skipping: Since they change their items everyday I usually wait until the last day to decide if I've going to skip or not. I wish they would send a reminder on the last day of the selection window.  

Beauty Army Picks.

Contents of box with approximate retail value listed: 

2 Remington Braided Head Wraps. Value = $7.25

.5 oz. Nelson Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7. Moisture Healing Mask. Value = $2.50

Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Créme Color Gloss. Value = $5.49

Montagne Jeunesse Dead Sea Mud Mask . Value = $2.49

.88 oz. Dermis8 Exfoliating Soap Bar. Value = $1.00

Michael Todd True Organics Skincare Collection. Value = $??

The total value of my kit is $18.73 plus a buck or two for the Michael Todd products. Since I picked out those products I'm pretty happy with all of them. I use head wraps when I'm puttering around the house or yard and don't want my bangs to touch my face. I love a good face treatment so I picked up the mud mask. I color my hair so any product that helps protect the color and keep it from being dry is perfect for me, hence the argan oil and vidal sassoon product. I don't know much about the soap but it said exfoliating and I'm out of exfoliating face stuff so I figured why not. I thought the Michael Todd products would be a good choice because I've used his pumpkin mask and liked it so I wanted to try the rest of the product line. 

Verdict:  I canceled this box but I think I have one more box left on my subscription. 

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Friday, February 14, 2014

February 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.

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.

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.

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

(2) .28 oz. John Frieda Luxurious Volume Touchably Full Shampoo. Value = $0.23/ea.

(2) .28 oz. John Frieda Luxurious Volume Touchably Full Conditioner. Value =$0.23/ea.

FULL SIZE Rockstar Nails nail polish. Value = $4.00

FULL SIZE Rockstar Nails nail sprinkles. Value = $4.00

1 oz. H2O Plus SPA Hand & Nail Cream. Value = $2.50

.14 oz. Elizabeth Mott It's So Big Volumizing Mascara. Value = $8.65

Bonus Product:

$10 Gift Card for My Name Necklace.

The total value of this month's box is $20.07. I was super excited to see the caviar, or nail sprinkles as they call it in this box. I've been wanting to try it for awhile but didn't want to buy any just in case I hated it. Everything else in the box isn't exciting but it's definitely useful. I use hand lotion everyday, shampoo and conditioner several times a week and can always use a stash of mascara.

Verdict: Beauty Box 5 rarely disappoints.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

February Fancy Food Box

The Fancy Food Box includes 5 or more gourmet artisan food products. 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. I also think this would make a great holiday gift for the food lover in your life.

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.     

Products: They really do sent gourmet and artisan foods and products. 

The not so good:

Skip: There is no option to skip a month, only cancel but the cancel process is online and super simple. 

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

February Fancy Food Box.

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

Chocolat The Lover White Chocolate. Value = $8.00

Unzipped Glass Snack Bag. Value = $20.00

New York Naturals Kale Chips in Sea Salt & Vinegar. Value = $7.49

Roni-Sue Beer Caramel Pretzel Nuggets. Value = $10.00 - These have a great flavor but are super hard. 

La La's Bodacious Bourbon Walnuts . Value = $9.99 - It's like candy in nut form, yummy!

NuNu Chocolates South African Amarula Ganaches. Value = $8.00 - ahhhh yeah, now that's some good stuff!

The total value of this months box is $63.48. I was so excited to see the glass snack bag in this box. I've been wanting one of those for awhile but couldn't really justify spending $20 on a cute candy dish. Again, I was hoping for dark chocolate in this box but the white chocolate concoction looks interesting. I'm sure the ganache chocolates will more than make up for the white chocolate. I really enjoy kale chips and salt & vinegar regular chips, this combo sounds great. The other two snacks sound delicious and I'm sure we will be snacking on them this weekend. 

Verdict: The fancy food boxes rarely disappoint in value and products. I always look forward to this box. 

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February Blush Beauty Mystery Box

Blush is a company that is associated with Dermstore and Blush offers 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.

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.

February Blush Mystery Beauty Box.

Contents of Blush box w/approximate retail price listed:

FULL SIZE NYX Are you DeprEYEved of Long and Full Lashes Mascara. Value = $13.00

FULL SIZE DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. Value = $5.50

NCLA Nail Wraps in Pizzo. Value = $16.00

FULL SIZE Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle. Value = $19.50

.5 oz. VBeauté Gentle Facial Exfoliator. Value = $3.53

Bioxidea Miracle48 Excellence Gold Face & Body Treatment. Value = $24.67

.17 oz. Elizabeth Arden Untold Eau Dé Parfum. Value = $5.90

FULL SIZE Jonathan High Shine Flexible Hairspray. Value = $27.00

The total value of of this blush beauty box is a $115.10. I couldn't believe how expensive those face masks are. A pack of 3 is $74.00! For that price I had better see a difference after one use. I'm been wanting a new hairspray because the Philip b use I've been using isn't very good. Let me take that back. It's a good hairspray as fair as hold but it's crusty and not flexible. I'm not a big user of dry shampoo and I've used the deep oil cleanser before and found it to be just ok. I think I will trade those items on eDivv. I actually like nail wraps although this brand is not my favorite because it didn't seem to last. This time I read the back of the package and it has directions that I didn't follow when I used them before. The perfume has a nice light scent and a really pretty bottle.

Verdict: This is probably one of the better monthly boxes out there is you want high end products for low end cost.  

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February Try The World Box - Rio

Try the World is a new subscription box company with a focus on products from other parts of the world. This subscription box ships every 2 months. The box focuses mostly on food but will also contain some cultural gems. The cost of the box is $45 (shipping included) which is billed every 60 days. The website says no matter when you join you will receive the Paris box then Tokyo then Rio. This was a little confusing to me. I'm not sure I like this. What if you don't care about Tokyo but want to start with a Rio box. I think you should have the option of starting with the current box and buying past boxes if available.

This subscription is available to the US and Canada with an extra $25 shipping for Canada. 

The good:

Products: These are definitely items that can't be found at your local store.

Need a Gift: They offer gift subscriptions. You can buy a 3 month tour which consists of Paris, Tokyo and Rio shipped one box per month.

Travel without the cost: Ok so it's not exactly the same but you get to try some cool stuff.

Information: The enclosed info cards are really helpful.

The not so good:

Price: The price is on the high side but at least it's not monthly.

This is the box all the treasures come in. It's a two piece sturdy box than can be reused. 

Here are the contents of the Try the World Rio box.

Contents of the Try the World Paris Box:

Brazilian Gourmet Food

Predilecta, Goiabada. Value = $3.99 - This is a guava dessert. It is frequently eaten with cheese for used as a filling in empañada. 

Matte Leão, Mate Natural Tea. Value = $??

(2) Bananinha Paraibuna, Banana Candy. Value = $2.21 - This was interesting. It had a sugar like outside coating and it was a jelly like candy in consistency and brown in color. At first I didn't care for it but it grew on me and it was pretty good. 

Yoki, Japanese Style Peanuts. Value = $3.65 - I thought it was odd that Japanese food items were in a Brazilian themed box but then I read the info card. Apparently in 1907 the Brazilian and Japanese governments signed a treaty permitting Japanese migration to Brazil. Today, with 1.5 million people of Japanese decent, Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Who knew??

(2) Yoki, Pacoquinha. Value = $1.39 - This is a sweet treat made with ground peanuts. 

Reserva De Minas, Jabuticaba Jams. Value = $6.82 - Jabuticaba is a fruit-bearing tree with a grape like fruit. I haven't tried this yet but I'm excited about it. 

Sococo, Shredded Coconut and Beijinho recipe. Value = $0.72 - Brazil is the 4th largest producer of coconut. The Beijinho is a little treat very popular at birthday parties.

Piraqué, Roladinho Goiaba. Value = $?? - These are guava filled biscuits

Brazilian Culture

(2) Senhor Do Bonfim, wish ribbons. - These are good lucky charms, each color having a different meaning. You wrap the wish ribbon around your wrist making 3 knots, making a wish for each knot tied. Once the wish ribbon falls off on it's own, it is believed that the 3 wishes will come tree. 

Rio Classic and Contemporary Playlist, the sounds of Rio streets.

Poem in Portuguese and English, The Girl from Ipanema

List of Brazilian Films, classic and contemporary favorites, 

Stamped Postcard with drawing of Christ the Redeemer on it.

Explore Rio Food and Drinks Tips.

Explore Rio Culture Tips on places to see. 

List of Classic and Recent Brazilian movies.

The total approximate value of this Try the World Rio box is $18.78 but I couldn't find prices of 2 of the items so I would add $5-$10 for those. I'm not sure about these boxes. I love the idea of them but boy the values sure are low. They send really nice color printed cards with tons of info about the contents of the box which I'm sure aren't cheap. Personally, I would rather have the info on plain paper and more product, or heck do like House+Marché (now called South Box) does and email it. I don't want them to discontinue the cards, they have some really interesting info on them. I thought the snacks were really interesting and not things I've ever seen before in any store so they truly are specialty items. The play lists the send are also interesting and fun to browse. Also one of these days I would like to go through and watch some of the movies on the movie lists they send. I think I will peruse netflix and see if any of them are in their database.

Try the World is holding a around the world giveaway. Enter to win a three city tours which includes boxes from Paris, Tokyo and Rio, a $140 value. Enter by clicking here.

Verdict: They have not said where the next destination is. I figure it won't ship until April so I have some time to think about continuing or not.