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.


There were a few I considered listing but it was either the only time I had tried them or they didn't feel as bad as the rest on this list, so I left them off. To be clear, some of these misses are not really bad at all and I address where they resolved the issues. Sadly, three of these have been on my favorites list (and two still are, but I need to acknowledge it, too).

Miss #5: Wantable (Leather Watch Band)

I hate that Wantable is on this list, because they were on my top five last month and really, they belong there. The problem this month with my box was certainly a very big problem for me, which is why I feel it's only right to note it here, but honestly, they were so fast to fix it and so nice that I don't want to list them at all. Still, in the interest of fairness, I will list them here because of the leather watch band. Since I specifically made a note not to send me leather, I do believe it was an oversight but nonetheless, I put a lot of extra effort into making sure my husband's shoes and belts are man made so it does need to be listed here.

Miss #4: Escape Monthly (Emu Oil)

I was really upset to see emu oil included. The justification is that it was ethically sourced and that Australia has very strict animal rights laws, but as far as I am concerned, there is no ethical means of killing. I am a vegetarian, so for me, it's a big deal (see the Wantable post above). Escape Monthly doesn't promise that they won't send products like this, but for the cost, I had to cancel as this was the second month that I received a dead animal item (last month was beef jerky). While many people may not care, it's too expensive for me with that kind of track record. Not to mention the box, as a whole, was pretty disappointing.

Miss #3: Nerd Block (Meh)

Nothing in Nerd Block's box was awful, but nothing in it was good, either. Combine last month's meh box with the fact that the silly gag gifts from the dollar store are repeated in two boxes this month, and then toss in the fact that this box seems far more geared towards children and you basically have a recipe for real disappointment. I can't say I advise you not to subscribe and I can't even say I wouldn't subscribe if I saw a really great spoiler at some point, but right now, I can't see myself spending another dollar on Nerd Block or any of their variants.

Miss #2: Horror Block (Bitten) 

I like to read. I will basically read anything, but I am not a big fan of romance. I am even less of a fan of over-the-top sex scenes and romance novels that are more about sex than romance. I despise Twilight and every version of it, but I truly thought Horror Block had it together. I figured there was no way they would send some trashy romance/smut novel in a block clearly geared towards horror fans. I was wrong. This is a romance about werewolves, but I made it only so far as the girl being tied to a tree and sexually assaulted before I gave up. This is apparently what passes for a strong heroine? She likes it, which is just ridiculous. It's sad a woman wrote this and it's sad there's a whole series of books based off this one and it's even sadder that Horror Block thought this would appeal to their demographic. Maybe a few people like it, but with all the actual horror out there, why this? Oh, and Arcade Block never sent me the last month that I paid for, so I think Nerd Block has definitely run its course in our household.

Miss #1: POPSUGAR Must Have Box (Supports Animal Testing)

Part of me considered digging up statistics about all the mice, rabbits, cats, dogs, etc. that are tortured each year for eyeliner and body lotion, but honestly, it just grosses me out and depresses me. And clearly people don't care. When I saw the spoilers from the POPSUGAR Must Have Box this month, I was incredibly angry. This is a "must have?" The death and injury of an animal for this mascara?! This was just terrible.


Well.... with that ugly taste in my mouth, let's get positive. There is a lot to be positive about this month. Admittedly, many of these things are technically February since the weather and calendar really threw things off for last month, but here are my top five for March.

Hit #5: Wil Wheaton Quarterly Box (Chewbacca Reunion) 

To be completely honest, the majority of this box really didn't work for us personally because the entire value was in an item we won't use. However, my husband was so happy to see Chewbacca when he got home that day from work and told me all about his missing toy from childhood so I have to say that the real value comes from how happy he was. Yes, it's a tiny action figure, but it's really the way he got that excited about it and I have to thank Wil Wheaton for that personally because he made a grown man as happy as a child again.

Hit #4: Eco Emi (Box Itself) 

I don't think Eco Emi has been on this list yet, which is kind of odd since they're consistently a favorite. I think they don't tend to stand out because rarely are the items so exciting to be memorable on their own, but Eco Emi really does everything right as a subscription box. They treat everyone fairly, they source ethical products, they ship and bill consistently, and they wrap the boxes very well for delivery each month. Each box has so much great variety in it and overall, I feel like this is one of the ones that I actually look forward to when I get the email that it's shipped so it needs recognition just for being awesome.

Hit #3: Awesome Pack (The Road to Canterbury) 

Technically, I am reviewing February's pack since it came late in the month last month. However, the inclusion of The Road to Canterbury was incredibly personalized. I cannot imagine there is much of a niche for this game beyond my husband and me, so I truly felt like the people at Awesome Pack selected this game for us. Now that we have played it, too, I can seriously say this is one of the best tabletop games I've seen. It's high quality, the gameplay is fun and fairly strategic, and generally everything about it is awesome (fitting it was in Awesome Pack!). Awesome Pack does such a great job every month with communications anyway and this game made me so happy. I recommend them all the time to anyone who will listen!

Hit #2: Companion Tees (for Existing)

It was not a hard choice to give up Nerd Block and its other versions to sign up for the monthly grab bag at Companion Tees, because everything there is great. I was basically sticking it out with Nerd Block because even when everything else failed each month, I liked the shirts. Eventually, though, it was leading to a lot of trash in the house, while Companion Tees sends me three shirts and no trash. So it's a win. Plus they're all going to be shirts I like, rather than random things that may end up being sleepwear because they're not something I actually enjoy. Companion Tees was also on this list last month and now when boxes arrive from them, I get actually giddy. My entire Christmas list is going to be shirts and other items like posters and coasters through them and their partner sites, I swear!

Hit #1: Naomi Kyle Quarterly Box (Perfect Understanding of Demographic)

Subscription boxes are super popular now and blind boxes can't please everyone. What I like about Quarterly is that you really know going in what kind of curator you are getting, because if you only kind of like cooking, getting a box curated by a celebrity chef will disappoint you. So going in, I knew Naomi Kyle was curating a box for gamers. However, I had a ton of anxiety about this and the Wil Wheaton box (more about his simply because his was not as specific as hers and also because it cost a lot more). I had subscribed to Arcade Block for a few months, as well as 1Up Box, but neither really screamed "gamer" to me. I actually haven't seen a whole lot of gamer items in 1Up Box, making it more of a geek box than really about gaming, and Arcade Block is very heavily Nintendo/Sega biased (and also very E-rated and nostalgic rather than for gamers now). When Naomi Kyle revealed that she was including Ready Player One, I was disappointed only because I now have way too many copies of that book. I understood it and felt, in her case, it was really because she loved the book as opposed to Loot Crate working out a deal with a publisher. But I still worried because I was afraid that would be the big item and I would be disappointed - again - by a gamer box. So when my box arrived, I was happy to see my Star Wars USB and I knew about the signed photo and annotated book. The Destiny poster is really amazing, even if you don't play the game, because it's a nice work of art and I think it will look great framed in our nerd room, really conveying our interests quickly. But the inclusion of a game code, especially one for a next gen system, is just genius. For me, it's a clear recognition that Naomi Kyle gets it. We are gamers. We spend way too much money on gaming, but it's a passion for us, and so far, in subscription boxes, that's been reflected in knick knacks. The only game codes I have received so far outside of this box were from Geek Fuel (love that about them, which is why I chose to sign up for a year). In addition, it almost felt like the box should feel - like admission to a secret club of sorts. "Hey, you're a gamer and you probably have Xbox One, even though they're only just starting to really release games for it, so how about a code for one you likely missed when they literally had maybe five games." I actually didn't really even like the Dead Rising games all that much, but I found that this box felt like the first one I received that truly spoke to me as a gamer, not as a collector of toys or as someone who likes opening fun boxes, but as someone who unwinds at the end of the day with a controller in her hand. I sincerely hope her next box is as awesome as this, because I feel like I finally found what I have been searching for in subscription boxes.


  1. I read through the Jan, Feb & March "Hits & Misses" - love these! Can't wait for April's summary. :)

  2. Thank you, we are glad that you enjoy these posts. Boxy puts a lot of time into them.