Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Month in Review: Hits and Misses of March 2015

March was a much longer month and there were a lot of stragglers from February that ended up being delivered in March due to weather and so on. Some of those end up in the mix for March because they deserve a fair shot, too. I also decided to cut back on a lot, although that will really impact April and moving forward from there since there will be far fewer boxes coming.

Fortunately, there were no horrible issues as there had been these past few months with French Box, Try the World, and Loot Crate. Instead, this month's misses are really just based on my personal preferences and interests. There were some that were a lot worse than others for me, but honestly, none of these are boxes I would strongly advise other people not to order if they thought it felt like a match for them. I am happy to say that, this month, they're just things I didn't like. Some I STRONGLY disliked, but again, to each his own.

Treatsie Review: March 2015

Treatsie makes me very happy and I get so excited when the boxes are on their way! This month's box was no exception. 

The first item was a bag of chocolate-covered macaroons from Stay Sweet Macs. I love chocolate and I love macaroons, so these were awesome!

My Geeky Goodies Review: March 2015

My Geeky Goodies is definitely one of my favorite geeky subscription boxes. For the same price as the bigger boxes, they offer a much better value, I feel. Sure, some of the items are small and may still be a hit or miss based on personal preference, but it's a lot less marketing swag and more actual items in this box. 

The theme of this box was Monster Apocalypse and it was a pretty great collection! It started with vintage Dinosaurs Attack cards from nearly 30 years ago (complete with a warning from MGG not to eat the gum!). Although maybe if you ate the gum, you could become a comic book villain with super powers, right? 

Goal Check In: March 2015

So March has been an interesting month. How'd we do for our goals? Better than last month for sure, although there have been some big changes, especially for Boxy, that are throwing everything off. We will be talking more about this tomorrow in our goals for April, since this is more of a recap and check-in.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Urthbox Review: March 2015

I had signed up for Urthbox when they were offering a deal, so I got the most for the lowest price, but I can't even believe how packed this month's box was! I really don't even know where to start. 

The good news is that there was only one item we couldn't eat, which is pretty awesome! These were some energy gummies, and even if they didn't have gelatin, I likely wouldn't have eaten them anyway so no worries there. 

I'm just going to try to list it all, because there was SO MUCH STUFF!! We got two bags of Banana Brittle, as well as two bags of No Oatmeal Cookie mix, from Urban Remedy. I have had a gift card here for a while but I haven't tried any of their foods yet, so I am very excited about this.

Little Lace Box Review: March 2015

Little Lace Box is kind of like a special club these days, since they have closed subscriptions. I'm pretty happy about that personally (although I admit I also got in when they still had them and may not be happy if I didn't), just because it means that they are focusing on quality. I know a lot of people have been complaining about the items in the boxes these last few months, but I feel like this is a subscription box that always has value even if you don't use the items. You will get at least what you paid for in the box and the items are nice enough for gifting!

There actually wasn't much in the box this month, since the big item has to be ordered separately. It's a canvas mounted print of an image you upload. I'm excited about that! I am still sorting through photos for the right image to select. 

There were a couple of variations in the March box, which was themed "Here Comes the Sun." The first was in the color you got for the Kate Spade glass water bottle. I like this item, but sadly got the color I least like. It's a glittery gold but because it's only somewhat glittery, it just looks kind of blah. People were throwing fits about pink and although I'm not girly, I would have preferred pink, but I'll still use this bottle regardless of the color I got. 

Escape Monthly Review: March 2015 (Australia)

I was actually really enjoying Escape Monthly until this box. They were a bit on the expensive side, but I felt like I was getting a lot in the boxes and the value was there. In addition, I had found the items to be useful and very similar to the kinds of things I would buy when traveling. So when they announced Australia as their destination for March, I was thrilled! This is one of the places I have not been that I really would like to visit. I don't, however, feel like I experienced it at all through this box.

For starters, I was pretty disappointed that they normally send travel guides but for the one place I may actually use it, they sent a book about living abroad. I have no plans to live abroad and if I did, it wouldn't be somewhere I have not even visited. Why would I get a travel guide to Portland and not to Australia? This doesn't make a lot of sense. 

Instacandi Review and Video Tutorial with Giveaway!

As everyone who follows this blog likely knows, I love candy. I don't, however, like things made from animals. So I was interested when I was offered a chance to review Instacandi, but I did need to reach out to them to ask if I would be able to get a gelatin-free pack. They responded almost immediately and didn't even have to ask which candies to remove, because they had already gone ahead and looked up the candy list from PETA of vegan friendly candies. That alone endeared me to them - and then they sent me candy, too! :D

Here we have a review, a video tutorial of how to use their website, and a giveaway to win your own candy. I will say this package arrived really fast after we talked and it was gelatin-free (there was a stray Starburst, but I think that was a miscommunication because I noted that I used to love Starburst until I stopped eating gelatin so I think they assumed I still ate it. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Review by Crafty (with Giveaway)

In the past, I have used tea tree oil for cleaning, as well as added it to our laundry, but it has been a while since I've had a chance to use it. I was more than happy to review Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil because I am working to take steps to improve the overall health of my family.

Bean Box Review: March 2015

After Crafty tried Bean Box last month for review, I decided to sign up for my own subscription. She had sent me some reusable K-cups and now I can have more variety in my coffee. All of the coffees from Bean Box are from Seattle-based roasters.

I was excited to see that the packs were freshly roasted and contained all the info I would need to decide what to try each time. I also love that it's whole bean coffee, since I was able to make a single cup of each for this review but have more to enjoy later!

The Candy Buffet Rock Candy Review

I like candy. I think we all know that by now. Sometimes I think I'm still 12 years-old based on my eating habits. So when I was offered a chance to review the new rock candy from The Candy Buffet, I obviously said yes! Candy = good and nostalgic candy = even better!

Nerd Block, Jr. Girls Review: March 2015

I knew signing up for Nerd Block, Jr. was kind of a dumb move, since I don't have kids, but I was suckered in by the promise of Harry Potter stuff (it turned out to be kind of junk, though). Last month's Nerd Block, Jr. was great (I only get the girls' box), but this is clearly not a subscription box for me and that was more of a fluke, I think. 

This month's box was pretty terrible, although maybe not for kids. Two of the six items were repeats from the Classic Nerd Block (recent ones, too, including something from THIS MONTH). The other items just didn't really do much for me and don't seem to really fit the girl theme, but again, I knew going in that this was a mistake. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nerd Block Review: March 2015

I wanted to be happy about Nerd Block, but every time I felt like they took a step forward, I ended up biting my tongue and being disappointed again. So with that in mind, this is the last Nerd Block Classic I will be reviewing or receiving. I still have this month's Nerd Block, Jr. and Arcade Block coming and then I will be moving on to the boxes I actually feel happy to see on the porch. For every item I end up liking, there is something I feel either disinterested in or downright annoyed by - and every month, I end up throwing things away so it is becoming wasteful. Again, this is my experience and Nerd Block is likely great for other people. I just haven't found it really hits on the things I enjoy. It seems great for people with children or who are casual fans of lots of mainstream and popular things, but after trying a lot of boxes, it just doesn't hold up against the others.

This month's theme was Simon Says - and it was supposed to be curated by Simon Pegg. However, there were two items related to Simon Pegg and a bunch of filler junk. I don't really mind getting some filler items, but Nerd Block recently set up a giveaway for a Deadpool Funko POP and I have to wonder why they aren't including these things in their boxes, instead saving one POP for a giveaway and sending people gag gifts for $30+ a month.

The first item was a mini Munny, like the one in Loot Crate from February. This is also in the Jr. box, I believe, and I do find it dumb that Nerd Block sends the same things in different crates. They have sent repeat items in Arcade Block and Classic, and they do it all the time with the Jr. box. If they are going to repeat items, they shouldn't constantly try to get people to sign up for all their blocks. I am giving this to Crafty and her kids, because I don't need one of these figures, never mind three.

Rainbow Light ProbioActive Probiotics Review

I often see opportunities to review probiotics, which is something I'm always interested in trying, but I don't sign up because they may not be vegetarian. So instead I decided to head to Amazon and select my own vegan probiotics. I was very happy to come across Rainbow Light.

Now I know all about probiotics but I haven't really tried them, mostly because of the animal products concern. I don't use a ton of antibiotics, but I still think it's beneficial to be aware of the balances and imbalances in our bodies. 

Nature Box Review: March 2015 (#2)

I had thought I misordered since there were no Jalapeno Cashews in my March Nature Box, so I accidentally ordered a second box this month only to discover they're just out right now. Now I have a lot of extra snacks, so I am skipping April.

Bulu Box Review: March 2015

I originally signed up for Bulu Box because they had a great deal going - three months for the price of one - and I thought they would be great. However, they've been consistently just okay at best and downright bad at worst. So I am happy this is my last month, because this just isn't a subscription box I look forward to getting.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Collectible Geek Review: March 2015

Sadly, my Collectible Geek package was late arriving this month, and I was not patient about it! :) The theme was "Totally 80's" so I obviously needed to get this. They recently announced that they are not continuing subscriptions (they'd recently started them, but they don't appear to be working) so after this runs out, I will be continuing monthly. I've been very happy with their collections so far.

Let's start with the poster, because my husband refuses to help me when I try to get the pictures, so it won't stay open! This is a Breakfast Club/80's slasher films mashup, featuring Freddy, Jason, Chucky, Michael Myers, and Predator instead of the Brat Pack. This hits two of my favorite things - John Hughes movies and horror, so I'm loving this.

Game Box Monthly Review: March 2015

I have so much fun getting my Game Box Monthly boxes each month. This month's game sounds amazing and I can't wait to play it! With the move, things have been a bit hectic, but I'm hoping we will have a chance to play before everything is in boxes!

Our game this month is Titans Tactics. The description reads: "Titans Tactics is a fast-paced 2 player skirmish board game designed to deliver deep strategy in 30 minutes or less. Lead Factions of Dragons, Angels, Pirates, Monsters, or Undead Soldiers into battle against your opponent in a race to become the most powerful Titan.

Factions contain six Champions, each with unique skills and abilities. Every game Players choose three of the six to fight in the arena. Champions can take and deal damage but cannot be killed, and zero sum scoring determines the winner. Clever and tactical use of their Champions will allow a player to claim victory.

Players manage their Champions' abilities via their hand of Skill Cards, spending them to sling fireballs, backstab their enemies, charge their foes, and teleport with ease. With no random elements, tactical play shines though. Thinking and planning ahead is highly rewarded."

GlobeIn Artisan Box Review: March 2015 (with April Spoilers and Coupon!)

This month's GlobeIn Artisan Box was themed "Sustain" and included useful, fair trade, and artisan products. I really loved all the items in this box, but honestly felt little enthusiasm for it when it arrived since they had sent out the boxes to select bloggers nearly a month ago and it's been posted in full everywhere. I contacted them about this, because I admit I am not a big fan of that business model. I understand trying to garner interest, but I don't really know if I want to subscribe to something that is ruined for me a month in advance. I can just shop in their store if I want to know what I am getting, and that way I can choose the items that work best for me personally. I also think it's ethical to remember that paying customers are your priority, because lovely blog posts and reviews are useless when you alienate the customers.

I do love this box, though, and the items in it. In addition, the people at GlobeIn were super friendly and receptive when I contacted them. Although I admit that, by the time this arrived, I felt really meh about it because it had all been spoiled way too long ago, I still do look forward to getting this box in general.

The items come in the same handwoven basket; I adore these baskets. My favorite item was also this tote bag. I can't believe it was only valued at $5 since I've paid more than that for the ones at grocery stores and this is sturdy, large, and actually cute as a bag in general.

Nibblr Box Review: March 27

Nibblr Box is always a fun and welcome surprise in the mail. This box included three snacks we had seen before, including two favorites, and one new one that we really liked. 

The first two snacks were Harvest Blend and Copa Cabana Rama. Harvest Blend is a mix of pumpkin cookies, pumpkin seeds, and pecans and it's such a tasty snack, especially for fall. I know it's spring now, but this is a great farewell snack as we move into the treats of summer - which Copa Cabana Rama really gets down! This one is a mix of banana chips, dried mango and pineapple, and macadamia nuts. The only problem with this one is that it could use more nuts, but it's a really yummy and sweet snack.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Companion Tees Monthly Grab Bag Review: March 2015

I'm pretty sure that if Companion Tees were a person, he/she would be my best friend. I have mentioned before that I love them, as well as their sister site We Heart Geeks. They also are partnered with Once upon a Tee.

There are three subscriptions available through Once upon a Tee/Companion Tees. Both Once upon a Tee and Companion Tees have a one shirt a month subscription in their theme - that's Legend of Zelda for Once upon a Tee and Doctor Who for Companion Tees. The shirts selected for this subscription are part of their limited edition runs/exclusive runs for that month. In addition, Companion Tees offers a monthly Whovian grab bag of one to three shirts. These are from previous months.

One of the only reasons I was sticking it out with Nerd Block/Arcade Block/Horror Block was because I liked the shirts. I had figured that even if everything else wasn't for me, at least the shirts could be worn. However, when I realized that for the same price (actually slightly less than only one block), I could get three shirts that were all related to Doctor Who each month, it was obvious that I would be happier with this.

I really loved all three shirts in this month's grab bag, so I am off to a great start!

Wantable Accessories Review: March 2015 (#1)

As we have made clear, we are big fans of Wantable here at Outside the Box. We have found they do an exceptional job of matching items and even when the items don't work, they are responsive and make the process of returning easy.

For me, another sign of a company's ethics and value is how they handle mistakes. Although I am sad to report that I had a pretty major issue with my collection this month, I can also say that I rarely see customer service this prompt and helpful - and that makes me even more enthusiastic about Wantable.

I was SO excited when I opened this box, because at the top was a sealed card containing a personalized note, and I was very impressed by that. In addition, I could see the list of items on my card before I opened them and I saw that a watch was included! I have been hoping for a watch, so I even said to my husband that I finally got a watch.

Before we get to the watch, let's go through the rest of the box. I did keep this box with the one exception I will address momentarily, but my least favorite item that I kept was this bracelet. It's a bit too big for me. I'm really picky, though, because my other Wantable bracelet was too small/delicate, so finding a balance is a challenge. I like everything else about this bracelet, though, especially the way it clasps, but I just wish it was about half the size.

Wholly Hemp Review: March 2015

I love Wholly Hemp. They make me very happy. I enjoy getting a box from them every month, even if I don't really need these products right now, because I know that I will have them on hand when I do. They offer three subscription sizes - two, four, or eight products a month - and I have now tried all three. I admit I am really in this for the soap, but I won't ever complain about extra products!

This month, I received deodorant, lip balm, and two bars of soap. The deodorant is in tea tree; I am currently using the deodorant from Honest, but I like having this as well because as it gets warmer, I know I will want options.

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: March 2015

So I am not like a lot of women, I guess. I discover this consistently when I talk to women for extended periods of time, as I don't seem to have similar interests to most of the women in my life. When I signed up for the POPSUGAR Must Have Box with a long-term subscription, I knew I would end up only keeping a few of the items each month because they're very much targeted towards women who are not like me. I don't mean to disparage anyone in any way, but I always thought that this was a box where there was good value and although I may not love everything, I could gift the items I didn't like. That's how I feel about FabFitFun and Little Lace Box, too, because generally they source really high quality and often somewhat unique items that someone will love, even if it isn't me. So I have had a long-term subscription with POPSUGAR and then as it was running out, I was debating next steps. Should I go month-to-month or maybe subscribe for an even longer period? Fortunately, they released the March box, making my decision very easy.

There are a lot of women who loved this box, proving again I am not like a lot of women. I canceled before this box even shipped once I saw what was in it. There is not one item in this box I want and I ended up throwing most of it away. Even worse, the items were not even giftable, because they looked cheap and the makeup is all tested on animals.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Green Kid Crafts Review: Slime Monsters Kit

Last month, Green Kid Crafts was offering a deal on the Slime Monsters kit. I decided to check this out for my three-year-old, and I am very glad I did! The really nice thing about Green Kid Crafts is that you can choose monthly subscription boxes, discovery boxes, creativity boxes, and even STEM science kits, and they are all eco-friendly.

Exciting News from Starlooks Starbox!

I really loved my Starlooks Starbox when I received it, but then with the heating bill and moving coming up, I decided I need to put my subscription on hold until I got things settled. I don't really need makeup right now, but I loved their box itself, the quality of the products, and that the items are all cruelty-free. In addition, the customer service when canceling was exceptional and I knew I wanted to go back ASAP.

So I recently received an email from Starbox with some news about their subscription. This will be a change effective May 11 for the June subscription box. If you sign up now, you will get your regular monthly boxes until the June subscription. If you wait until May 11, you will be able to set up your account according to the new system.

Something Snacks Review: March 2015

I love the entire concept of Something Snacks, because I get a lot of snack subscription boxes, but this one is unique. They offer a mix of things you know, things you might be willing to try, and things that are new and different.

This box was really great to share with my husband, because it was well mixed between sweet and savory snacks. He's also a lot less adventurous about snacks than I am, so while I will try anything, he tends to stick to things he already knows he likes.

This month's theme was St. Patrick's Day, so the snacks were mainly Irish or green. Some may have been a stretch, but it's really hard to theme every snack!

My husband tried the potato chips first (crisps if they are British, but clearly they are not made in Britain since they say chips). These were salt and vinegar, a flavor I really don't like, so he got them all to himself. He said they were heavier on the vinegar than he's used to, but he still ate the bag quite fast so it couldn't have bothered him too much!

The Duff Movie Review

I don't really like to write bad reviews. I won't hesitate to do it, because I don't think it's beneficial to anyone to be dishonest, especially when you are talking about something that costs money, but I also don't like to do it. I especially hate writing bad reviews of movies, books, etc. because they're so much more subjective than a product. Although something like a lamp still does depend on the reviewer, it basically lights things or it doesn't. A movie, however, involves lots of work and effort and the final result will be different based on each viewer.

When I saw reviews for The Duff and saw that they were overall very positive, especially that they were saying it was a feminist teen movie that does away with all the stereotypes present in these kinds of movies, I was excited. I admit that I LOVE teen movies. Some are better than others, but I actually find that many of them are already pretty good at sending positive messages. It's tough to be realistic while also being positive, but I think a lot do that. The Duff is absolutely not one of them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Estilo Cards Review: March 2015

Estilo Cards, if you have missed my previous reviews, is a simple subscription service. Each month, they send you 3-4 cards along with envelopes, seals, and stamps, for you to use for a variety of reasons. Each month also has a theme so you will see cards for multiple occasions throughout the year and with different styles.

Hip Humanitarian Review: March 2015

The Hip Humanitarian provides a monthly subscription box of ethically sourced items based on a different theme. This month's theme was the Foodie Box, so everything was based around food.

I liked this box better than the first two months, although I always like food. I'm still not sure I can honestly say the value exists in this box, but I have a subscription for a few more months.

I don't know why all these photos have a blue-green tint...

Bestowed Review: March 2015

Since Boxy reviewed Bestowed back in January and had enjoyed the box, we decided to shake it up so I could try them out. I received Bestowed's March box and was looking forward to trying some healthy snacks.

Eco Emi Variety Box Review: March 2015

I bet you're surprised that Eco Emi's March box was awesome! ;) Seriously, I love this box. I know some people were concerned when they did away with the Beauty Box. I hope it's not a sign of anything but them focusing their efforts on their Variety Box, because I look forward to this so much each month.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service Movie Review

Surprisingly, although we seem to live in a world that is inundated with comic book movies, Kingsman: The Secret Service has had minimal press. I suppose that it wasn't made by Marvel, so the marketing isn't as intense, but for a movie with a current Rotten Tomatoes score around 75% (with a viewer score of almost 90%), it does seem odd that it has been out more than a month and although I'd heard of it, I didn't even know what it was about.

From the trailers, I had thought it was a kids' movie - a young kid in spy training. I was actually surprised to see it was rated R going in, because I really didn't think it would be. Of course, had I realized it was created by Mark Millar, who wrote Kick-Assand Dave Gibbons, who was the artist on Watchmen, I would not have been surprised. I love Watchmen, both the book and movie (yes, the book is better, but I did really enjoy the movie version), and I hated Kick-Ass, so I wasn't sure what to expect with Kingsman. Mark Millar also wrote Wanted, though, which is another favorite, so it's not surprising that Kingsman had the right blend of humor, satire, and comic violence.

Kloverbox Review: March 2015

I fell in love with kloverbox last month, and I have used the products in the last box daily since it arrived. So I was very excited to get this month's box from them. All the items in the kloverbox subscription box are organic, cruelty-free, and natural.

Crafty Reviews Quick Stitch Sewing Kit

I love products that make my life easier, so I was excited to be able to review the Quick Stitch Sewing Kit. The compact design of this handy kit is perfect. It is just a little bit larger than a wallet and has a zipper closure to make sure you don't lose any of the items out of the case. 

Inside, you will find a combination of items that are perfect for mending and even measuring. One of the items I was happy to see was the seam ripper. I have one but I can never seem to find it when I need it. Knowing that it is stored safely in this kit means that I won't waste countless hours searching for my other one.

Sunsella Little Gems Silicone Baking Cups Review

I actually really enjoy baking and I'm always happy to try new products that make baking easier or less messy. When I was given a chance to review the silicone baking cups from Sunsella, I was excited because I have heard great things about these. Currently, I use my muffin pan and paper baking cups, but those can be wasteful. Plus the muffin pan needs to be cleaned after and it's often not easy unless I use the baking cups. 

The silicone baking cups eliminate the need for a muffin pan, since they can be set up on a cookie sheet, and they are very easy to clean. In addition, you can serve the muffins or cupcakes in them if you like, so it's less wasteful. They come in pretty colors, too!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Naomi Kyle Quarterly Box Review: NKQ01

As soon as Quarterly announced the Naomi Kyle box, I signed up, because I love gaming. I love that there's a gaming subscription box that is being curated by a gamer and is going to focus on gaming - especially current gaming.

Quarterly operates, as you likely guessed, on a quarterly basis. This is the first box from Naomi Kyle; her next ships in June. If you don't know who Naomi Kyle is, she is the host of The Daily Fix on IGN. Although, as I mentioned with the Wil Wheaton box, I am not really one for celebrity culture, I have been so disappointed in a lot of the geeky subscription boxes, especially the ones targeted towards gamers. I find they're very family-oriented and often nostalgic more than current, so I thought this would be a good variation. I really don't care at all about what Naomi Kyle looks like, to be honest, but I will say that I'm kind of disgusted by what I see online on her social media. Let me stress I don't mean from Naomi Kyle, but from others. On one end, there are SO many guys hitting on her on Twitter and Facebook and I just have to shake my head. Why? Even when she shared her spoilers for this box, half or more of the comments were just telling her how hot she is. It's a pretty sad commentary on guys and for female gamers that this is a thing. She's a gamer - talk to her about games, not how hot she is. So creepy.

By the same token, I've seen lots of women bashing her as not a "real gamer" because she is also a model. There are pictures of her online in minimal clothing, but I don't really understand what that has to do with gaming or not gaming. Gamers can be hot or not hot. Guys need to lay off the nonstop flirting, because it makes them look pathetic, and girls need to lay off the catty jealousy, because it makes them look pathetic. Naomi Kyle is a good looking woman, but that is neither here nor there in her gaming career.

ANYWAY, this box was pretty awesome. It's only $50, as opposed to the $100 boxes from some of the other curators, and it definitely had that in value.

Love with Food Review: March 2015

I am generally always happy with my Love with Food subscription box, although last month, they included Pork Clouds. This month was better in that every item was vegan. On the other hand, I didn't really love any of the things in this box. It's still a worthwhile subscription, since it's not too expensive, they give back to people in need, and you will always get something you'll enjoy even if you don't love it. 

I was very happy to get more Hemp Hearts in this box, because I have been trying to use them a lot more and I get them a lot in subscription boxes. We also received roasted chickpeas, which my husband will eat but they're fairly bland. I would like to get one of the flavors for something like this, because just salted means they don't have much extra taste. 

EverKitchen 2 in 1 Lemon Squeezer Review by Crafty

Do you like a little lemon or lime in your beverage? If so, you should give the EverKitchen 2 in 1 Lemon Squeezer a try. I was sent this product for review and, after Boxy received her own to review, I was excited to try one.

KiwiBop March 2015 Postcards Review with Coupon Code

This month, our postcard pals took us on an exciting journey! My kids love getting their postcards from KiwiBop!

In this month's KiwiBop delivery, we received some awesome images of swimming sea unicorns. Narwhals have one long horn, which actually is a tooth, and these creatures are so cool looking. My daughter was excited to see that, somewhere in this world, there is an animal that looks like a unicorn.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Crafty's Play Prep: The Beginning

It's Spring! Today the weather was perfect for a nice walk outside with the three-year-old. We do still have some snow yet to melt but nothing compared to what Boxy has experienced this winter!

As the weather starts to warm, there are a few things that occur in our house every year. The warmer weather signals the beginning of sports for the older kids (they aren't much for winter sports). There are also things like spring break, Easter, and the end of the school year for the kids (I know I am pushing it with that one). However, the thing I look forward to the most at this time of year is the school play.

Fandom of the Month Review: February 2015 (Divergent/Star Wars)

I can't believe I didn't know about Fandom of the Month Club earlier! This is a geeky subscription service that includes jewelry each month from different fandoms. Past examples have included Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter

So I signed up as soon as I heard about this, because for under $15 a month, who doesn't want three geeky jewelry pieces in a collectible bag?! Almost immediately upon signing up, the theme for February was announced - it was going to be Divergent

Pet Gift Box Review: March 2015

This month, Crafty surprised my kitties with a birthday present from Pet Gift Box. This is actually a subscription box, but you can also do one-off gifts, such as this. They also offer subscriptions and gifts for both dogs and cats, which is nice. 

Francois et Mimi Egyptian Cotton Sheets Review

I admit I have been slow about posting this review, but I wanted to get the sheets from Francois et Mimi on the bed and have them on for a bit before reviewing. I mean, there's only so much you can say about sheets, right? I was excited to get these sheets for review, but then I wasn't sure what to say about them.

I received my sheets in steel gray and I love the color. It's dark enough without being too dark, and it's a relatively neutral color so it works in any of the rooms. Of course, these are king sheets and we don't have a king bed, but in some ways, that was even better. 

One problem I always seem to have with sheets is that the fitted sheet doesn't stay on through the night. I suppose I move around a lot, but it's always pulled loose in the morning. Because these are too big, we worried that they would fall off even easier, but instead, they stay on. They're already deeper so that makes them more secure and the extra space (our bed is queen) gives the sheets room to move without pulling the fitted off the bed. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Orange Glad Review: March 2015

Orange Glad sends these lovely cards with each subscription box delivery that explain each item, as well as offer suggested "enjoy by" dates. This would be useful... if I didn't polish off the box in one sitting! ;)

We subscribe to the double treats box because otherwise my husband would never see the box. This way we can enjoy the treats together and we don't have to fight to share.

To be totally honest, I had all kinds of issues with the Orange Glad system this month, and I eventually ended up canceling for something that was really a complication on my end and not theirs. Through the whole process, Andy was so nice and helpful and after the entire mess, I resubscribed and now the system and everything seems in place. I want to make this clear because they could have basically ignored me or just been quick to resolve the issue, but they really did go above and beyond to help me with something that I seem to have made far more complicated than it needed to be! I appreciate that a lot, because running a business is hard enough and to have the kind of service that really does take time for customers personally is a major perk for me.

Nature Box Review: March 2015 (#1)

A terrible thing has happened: Jalapeno Cashews have run out over at Nature Box. :( For this reason, this is one of two March box reviews, because I thought I made a mistake in my pantry, but alas, no. The cashews are simply not available and my account is being held over until May so I can wait for more now. 

Fortunately, the other snacks from Nature Box are yummy, even if they are not Jalapeno Cashews. Our first snack was actually Pear Praline Crunch, which includes cashews and praline pecans flavored with pear. These are good, but of course, my husband noted that pear is simply not jalapeno. That didn't stop him from finishing the bag fairly quickly, though!

"Under 15 Minutes" Vegetarian Cookbook Review

I received this book (Under 15 Minutes: Vegetarian Quick & Easy Recipes by Jonathan Vine) for review, since as a vegetarian, I am always looking for something to try. I especially like quick and easy recipes. After I received it, though, Crafty mentioned she wanted to try tofu in a recipe so I passed it along to her to borrow to see what she thought. She found it so useful she bought her own copy!

We discussed picking a recipe and both trying it to see how it went, but it's always hard to plan meals for yourself, never mind for someone else. Crafty's schedule means that she isn't home as much in the evenings as she would like and I have been ordering from Plated so often that we haven't really had the opportunity to do that. However, it's great that there are so many recipe choices in this cookbook that we easily could - and none of them are very complicated.

Candy Adriatico Review: February 2015

I was very excited to try the subscription box from Candy Adriatico, which is a new one that sends candy and treats from Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, and environs. I was offered this box for review. The reason this is so late is that I just received it last week although it was shipped in the first week of February. The people at Candy Adriatico are so responsive and kind, though, and maintained communications throughout. These delays happen, especially when going through customs. When I received several boxes a couple weeks ago from the UK and Spain, we were concerned and a second box was going to be shipped out of fear this was lost. Fortunately it was not. 

Admittedly, I had no idea what to expect from this. I did mention that I don't eat gelatin, but aside from that, I had no idea what kinds of foods people in Slovenia eat. I've been to Italy and I love Italian food and snacks, but this was going to be a surprise. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Artistry Gift Wrap Review: March 2015

Artistry Gift Wrap is exactly what it sounds like - a subscription of gift wrap and gift wrap-related items. They have recently expanded as well to include a themed box with household items and you can even go for both subscriptions in one.

I'm signed up for the bimonthly subscription, but it looks like they may be doing away with that so I am not sure what that will mean for my subscription. It appears, when I log in, to still be set up that way so maybe I am grandfathered in.

Global Delights Review: March 2015

Global Delights is a subscription box that sends you snacks from around the world each month. Admittedly there are a lot of subscriptions that do this and Global Delights is one of the more expensive, but they make up for it many ways. First, they send huge packages of several of the items. Nothing in the box is sample size - the smallest you would get would be a candy bar or bag of chips that would be the same size you would pick up in a store. Secondly, they include diversity, so you are not getting all French snacks or all Chinese snacks. Finally, they are prompt at shipping. Our box came about a week after it was billed and there was tracking sent once it was out in the mail, making it feel even faster.

This box represented Ireland, the UK, Italy, Thailand, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. What I learned from this box is that I am a ridiculously Western eater when it comes to snacks. It's funny as I love Thai food, but when it comes time to eat a snack, I just want something I'm familiar with, I guess.