Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 2015: Month in Review (Hits and Misses)

I feel like it's important with subscription boxes to consider them not only on an individual basis, but also as a whole. Some months work and some don't, but that's rarely reflective of the actual subscription overall. However, I do like to think about what worked and what didn't after a month so I can reevaluate what I'm subscribing to in order to make room to new boxes and cull some of the waste. With that in mind, here are my top five hits and misses for January.


It's always better to end positive, so let's look at what fell flat for me. Many of the items weren't necessarily awful, but they just weren't for me. There were some exceptions, but most of the products I didn't like were just better suited for someone else. 

Subscription boxes can be tough, because on one hand, customization is awesome. You don't want a box of things that aren't relevant to you and with customization, you can get the items that are tailored to your style and personality. On the other hand, when you subscribe, you're going in already liking the box to some degree and customization can also mean you see other unboxings and wonder why you got a crappy draw that month. Personally, I like a mix. I like when the majority of the items are the same with possibly some adjustments for taste/preferences, yet there's also maybe one or two items that are based on your interests. That way, if they get it wrong, you're still getting similar products to other people. I hate seeing other people's boxes and wondering why mine was so sad in comparison.

Geek Fuel Review: January 2015

It's official. I have an addiction, and I need to pick up more work just to feed it. All these geek boxes are going to be the end of me, I tell you. I can't decide between them, because they are all amazing. When Geek Fuel offered to send me a box for review, I was on that so fast! And now I have another new subscription after trying this box. Sigh.

Anyway, it's an amazing box - and if you want to use our link to sign up, Geek Fuel will send you a Nihon Town Poster as a special gift! Here's the poster:

Eco Emi Chocolate Box Review

Those of you following along at home know I love Eco Emi. So when they released a chocolate box, I obviously had to sign up! I was actually pleasantly surprised that there were a few non-food items included as well as plenty of snacks!

Danklo Mystery Box Review: January 2015

Danklo is a different kind of subscription box, because the focus is on sending you useful items each month based on a survey you complete. This is a real grab bag mystery box, though, because it could really be anything from batteries to items for your car or anything in between. Another interesting element of Danklo is that they include cash, from $1 to $1000, in each box.

There are three options when signing up for Danklo - a basic subscription includes 1-2 items and cash, with no returns; a middle ground subscription with 1-3 items and cash and one year to return your items; and a lifetime return box with 1-5 items and cash.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Vampire Empire Board Game Review

Vampire Empire was one of the games we received in this month's Awesome Pack. Since my box reviews are specific to the box, I didn't review the game then. It fit my interests and made the box a success, so if I hated the game, it would not be relevant to how much I loved my Awesome Pack!

Good news, though - I didn't hate the game! In fact, it was a lot of fun and my husband and I had a great time during game time playing it.

Graze Box Review: January 30

This week's Graze box was amazing! And you can order big boxes of certain items now from them, so I may consider swapping over to that eventually instead of continuing the weekly box. I'm not sure, though, yet, so for now, I will keep the snack box. Besides, I like some of the items most that don't have bigger versions (see below for my absolute favorite Graze item ever!). They also added a low calorie, low sugar, sweet only, and savory only option.

FitSnack Review: January 2015

FitSnack is a new subscription box for people trying to integrate fitness into their snacking or snacking into their fitness plan! These snacks are not just healthy, but are balanced for wellness. FitSnack uses only items that fit their standards, which they call "The Perfect 10." This means items meet ten criteria - high in protein, full of complex carbohydrates, low in sugar, GMO- and gluten-free, organic, sustainable, clean, and suitable for Paleo and raw food diets. Not every snack will be able to hit all ten, of course, but the idea is that the box is balanced to cover them all. 

We were sent a box to review from FitSnack (and you can enter to win your own here!). You can also use our specific link and, as a thanks to you, you will get an awesome jute bag free with your order (photo of bag featured at end of post)!

Pipsticks Sticker Sampler Review

Here's a little story. I recently asked my husband what his favorite toys were as a kid, and he responded with, "A stick." He wasn't even being facetious. For both of us, childhood was a time of exploration and we could entertain ourselves with a stick for hours. I was thinking about that recently, because everything is expensive and requires batteries and assembly now. I thought about one of my favorite hobbies when I was a kid, and that was collecting stickers. There were so many little shops that had sticker sections and nothing was better than being given a few dollars to go select my choices. Stickers weren't sold with cards for $5 in packs; instead, you chose squares and could mix and match. I'm sure there are retro stores that still do that now, but it wasn't retro back then. :)

So when I came across Pipsticks, the kid in me had to try it out. It's been a very long time since I collected stickers, but I was instantly transported back to those memories. I ended up buying a sticker album and deciding to try this out for a few months. (Don't judge me.) I absolutely loved the variety of this pack and it will be so much fun to receive!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Honest Company Essentials Bundle Review: January 2015

I was hooked on Honest Company after trying the sample box. I love that they carry basically everything you could need for cleaning, as well as personal care, all in one place. Their items are environmentally friendly, safe, and cruelty-free. The Essentials Bundle allows you to add items each month and the total cost is about the same as buying products at the grocery store (at least in this area). This is my first box of full-size products; I have different items coming next month, which is another thing I love - you can mix and match as you need things.

Petit Vour Review: January 2015

Petit Vour is a cruelty-free and vegan beauty subscription box. Although I'm normally not one to buy a lot of beauty products, especially monthly, I like this subscription because it ensures that the products are animal friendly. Sometimes it can be hard to determine what is and isn't cruelty-free, not to mention how hard items can be to find depending on where you are, so I love that Petit Vour makes it easy and helps me stock up on products I don't have to feel guilty about using.

Game Box Monthly Review: January 2015

Game Box Monthly is a very straightforward subscription box. Each month, you receive a game for those who love strategic deck building and tabletop games. The system in place is that you complete a checklist of all the games you already own, which you update monthly before the orders go out. That way, you won't get something you already have. Otherwise, it's a little up to what is available what you actually get.

We received a message earlier this month with a survey. There were two games under debate for the month. One was a strategic card game that could only be played by three players, and the other was a resource strategy game for 1-6 players. We were asked which we would prefer. Since my husband and I don't have people around us we can game with, I went for the 1-6 so we could both play and we didn't need to worry about forcing someone else to come over to play cards.

Goal Check-in: January

Since we just started the blog up at the end of December, we didn't really establish our goals in a post yet. So this is both a review of January's goals and how we did. Starting February, we will open and close the month with posts like this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Freedom Japanese Market Review: January 2015

Freedom Japanese Market is a subscription box that comes from Japan full of snacks. (The site also helps shoppers find all kinds of items direct from Japan and you can order things ranging from food to cosmetics and technology). Asian snacks are a really popular item in the US and some are easier to find than others. If you don't live in a major metropolitan area, it can be even harder to find them. That's where this box comes in. You will always receive items from Japan, unlike other snack boxes that provide items from various countries.

Ken was kind enough to send us this box for review. He and his family manage this business themselves and are extremely interested in customer feedback. I really like companies that want to ensure that customers are receiving the items they want and are open to making adjustments to help that happen.

When you open the box, you get a printout of the items, including an introduction to Ken, his wife, and his children. There was also a handmade origami stocking (keeping in line with holiday themes, although international shipping ended up getting these boxes to most subscribers in January). I thought this was such a nice personal touch.

Body Merry Personal Care Products Review by Little Miss Crafty

I am not old (well, at least I tell myself that). I am, however, in my mid-thirties and I have three kids. With that said, I have a TON of stretch marks and numerous scars from various surgeries over the last several years. I have been looking and looking and looking for a stretch mark and scar cream that actually works. When I stumbled on Body Merry's Stretch Marks & Scar Defense cream, it seemed worth a try and I was very excited to be given a chance to review this product.

I have only been using this for just under a month, but I plan to continue to use it to help with the areas that are a problem on my body. I wanted to share some highlights about this product, as well as another product I received from Body Merry.

Dragons Take Over Crafty's House!

If you live in a house with kids, you know how many toys they have. They have tons and every year, they inevitably get even more for their birthdays and Christmas. I am always on the lookout for toys that are different from the millions of commercials they see on TV, and I really like toys that teach them a thing or two without them realizing it.

This year for Christmas, I stumbled upon Bloco Toys Foam Dragons.My seven-year-old son is in LOVE with dragons. He also loves Legos and other building/construction toys. So when I came across this product on Amazon, I decided I would add it to his family Christmas list and see if anyone got it for him. I actually added two different sets for him, since he can NEVER have enough dragons.

Prep Dish Service Review

Prep Dish is a subscription meal planning service. Unlike Blue Apron or Plated, they don't send you anything, but you receive printable shopping lists, prep directions, and recipes for a week of meal planning each month. Given that they're not shipping you anything or shopping, it's obviously much cheaper than meal delivery. While those services run around $60 per delivery, Prep Dish is $14 a month. You will get four meals for the week, a salad, a breakfast, a snack, and dessert. Each email comes with a menu for gluten-free dining or paleo dining, all set to serve a family of four.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nerd Block, Jr. Girls Review: January 2015

So, time for an embarrassing confession/story. I love Harry Potter. I mean, I love Harry Potter way too much for any reasonable adult. So although I don't have kids, when I saw that Nerd Block, Jr. was featuring Harry Potter this month, I considered signing up for both the boys' and girls' boxes. Fortunately, sense won out and I only signed up for three months of the girls' box, given that there's little in the boys' box that appeals to me that isn't done better in the regular versions. But I like Hello Kitty and as she makes many appearances in the girls' box, I signed up. Without children. For me.

With that ridiculous scenario in place, I was ready for this box. I couldn't wait for my Harry Potter item. Sadly, the item really didn't live up to the hype. There were a few good items in the box, though. I can already tell I won't be continuing after three months, but that's because I don't have kids. And I am the fool who signed up anyway. If I had kids, it would probably be awesome.

Nibblr Box Review: January 27

We had a bit of a hiccup with the mail last week, so everything ran behind. I already knew what was coming in this upcoming week's Nibblr Box before I even received this box! Anyway, with that aside, we had another mix of sweet and savory. Nibblr does a great job with that, since my husband is more of a salty snacks person and I love fruits and sweet items.

Hatchery Tasting Box Review: January 2015

The Hatchery Tasting Box is a monthly selection of artisan cooking ingredients and recipes. Each box comes with a handful of small size ingredients, as well as a booklet outlining not only the product and a suggested recipe (which you can get through the website), but also info on the company making it.

One thing that stood out to me about the ingredients in this box is that they can all be used easily. Although it's fun to get an exciting ingredient, if it's something that can really only work with one or two recipes, it ends up not being used. Each of these items is something you could use in multiple ways, either following the suggested recipes or just being creative. I like that I can be creative with minimal effort, too, since I'm not much of a cook.

Exciting News from Collectible Geek!

If you are not familiar with Collectible Geek, they provide two monthly boxes of collectible geeky items based on various themes. Just recently, they began offering subscriptions for one of their two boxes, but now you can subscribe to their ultimate collection!

The two box types are Collector's Cache and Build Your Own (BYO). You can also get the I Want It All collection (IWIA) and now both the Collector's Cache and IWIA have subscription options for three or six months. Collectible Geek differs from other subscription boxes in that it mainly is not subscription-based, but open by theme for the following month.

Here's a general breakdown of the system using January, February, and March for the example.

Mid-January: March's theme is announced (March will be Totally '80s).

February 1: All three March box options go on sale for anyone not already subscribing. When they sell out, they sell out (and they do within a week or so).

March 15: Boxes ship. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nerd Block Classic Review: January 2015

This was Nerd Block's first themed Classic Block, and it was AMAZING! The theme this month was "A Galaxy Far, Far Away." I was getting very anxious about this one because it got held up between Canada and here, but it was worth the wait - and I avoided spoilers!

High Shine Club Review by Little Miss Crafty

High Shine Club is a monthly subscription club of nail polish. The curators research seasonal trends and send you a full size polish, along with up to three samples, tools, or accessories. There are two tiers for you to choose from; the first is $15 a month and you receive your favorite brands of polish, while the second is $25 a month and sends you high end brands and gel polish in the latest trends.

I have mentioned before that I am not a very girly girl, but I do paint my nails every once in a while. It is usually when I want to stop trying to bite them and let them grow longer. Boxy had me do this review since she bites her nails more than I do.

I was excited when the shiny gold package arrived in the mailbox. I mean, look at it! Who wouldn't be excited by this? In fact, the kids were so excited to see it. Disappointment set in when the boys realized it was for "girls."

Inside this envelope were so many goodies! I couldn't wait to try everything out. There was a little card with information on the company, as well as contact information on the back.

Little Miss Crafty Takes a Bath with Adovia's Dead Sea Bath Salts

Seriously, I bathe every day but I have this thing for baths. When we built our new house about five years ago, one of the deal breakers was that I had to have the tub I wanted. When I don't feel good or when I am really cold, or when I just want time away from everyone running around the house, I take a bath. So it seemed to only make sense that, when we were picking out our bathroom, the master bath would have a huge, as the kids call it, "bubble tub." Thankfully, Mr. Crafty was happy to oblige and give me the way too expensive tub. :) He's a good man.

Today, it is freezing here in our lovely state. I take more baths in the winter but, as any of you who live in the colder regions know, hot water + soaking + dry air = itchy, dry, and red skin. Combine all of that with extremely hard water and I usually end up putting a whole bottle of lotion on after the bath. When I was asked to do a review for Adovia's Dead Sea Bath Salt soak, it was obviously a no-brainer for me. I received my package earlier this week and was excited to try it out.

The bag of sea salts I received was HUGE and packed full. You can't tell in this picture but it was overflowing. This picture was taken after I had poured a bunch into the tub.

SnackNation Service Review

SnackNation is different from other subscription boxes, mainly in that it's not really designed for individuals but companies (they do have an "at home" service, though). What they do is put together a giant box of snacks for your office and staff and ship it monthly.

I don't work in an office environment anymore, but I would have loved to work for a company that had something like this. In the past, the offices where I worked either had nothing for food options, meaning you went out to get fast food or packed a lunch, or there were vending machines, but they were loaded with chips and candy. SnackNation is designed to give employees cheap and healthy options (and some companies even give the snacks out for free).

Because the boxes are designed mainly for offices or families, they do cost more than other subscription boxes (much more in the case of office delivery, but you are also feeding an office!). However, there is a great deal of variety and this would be a really nice benefit to help office staff eat better and also come together as a team. SnackNation gives you the option to try a free box to get a sense of what they do, so you can see it in person and get feedback before moving forward.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Awesome Pack Review: January 2015

Well, this won't come as much of a surprise, but this month's Awesome Pack was AWESOME! I liked it so much I immediately contacted Little Miss Crafty and tried to convert her. I know she's debating. At first glance, it's somewhat pricey so it is the kind of subscription you may want to see reviews of before committing. I saw a bunch of reviews and they were all for people different from me and my husband, but I am such a game fanatic that I had to take the risk. I love board games, tabletop RPGs, card games, video games, and game shows. Awesome Pack felt made for me - and it really was!

Escape Monthly Review: January 2015 (Portland, OR)

Escape Monthly was one of the boxes I most wanted to try, but I was wary because I'd seen a few less than positive reviews. It sounds like some people didn't like the quality of the box or the items. I decided to put it off and go with Try the World instead (what a mistake!). Then I saw that Escape Monthly had a deal on Living Social and decided I would try it out. With the deal, I was paying a lot less and it wouldn't auto-renew supposedly (I'm still trying to work this out, since I decided to go ahead and subscribe after seeing this box, but now I have two accounts and subscriptions. Hopefully they will be good about replying to emails!).

This is a monthly subscription box with a different location (US and international) chosen for each box. I love this concept and I love the idea of receiving items from each location. After seeing this box, I'm quite satisfied because these are exactly the kind of souvenirs I would pick up from my own travels.

For January, Escape Monthly selected Portland, Oregon. I wasn't all that enthusiastic about the location and somewhat wished I had saved my voucher for a better destination, but since I'd ordered, I was getting this box one way or another. I am happy that I actually liked it as much as I did, because the items were really well-chosen and the whole box was extremely well-curated.

New England Sack: January 2015 (Celebration) Review

New England Sack is a subscription box that includes items from artisans in New England (often food-oriented) with a theme for each month. This month's theme was Celebration and the ingredients were definitely fitting.

Funny note: The box shipped almost 10 days before I received it from a town maybe an hour away from me. First, though, USPS had to send it two states away to come back to me. Go figure.

FabFitFun VIP Review: Winter 2014/2015

FabFitFun VIP is another subscription like PopSugar Must Have that just makes too much sense to have, even if you end up not loving the items included. The value far exceeds what you pay and I kind of have no idea how they do it. In addition, the customer service at FabFitFun VIP is really amazing, while PSMH has some issues.

This is a quarterly subscription box, which makes the value even higher as there's more time to put together a really great collection. As the name suggests, the items are lifestyle items for women that are fab, fit, and fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hip Humanitarian Review: January 2015

Hip Humanitarian is a subscription box that helps subscribers discover ethical brands and live a more sustainable lifestyle. They're fairly new, but are very responsive to customers. The products you receive could range from beauty or personal care products to household items to food, based on the theme of the month.

January's theme was Wellness and the box was about helping you to create a new you for the new year. There are three types of boxes - free spirit, Hollywood, and minimalist. This is a review of the minimalist box.

Honest Company Essentials Bundle Review

I hadn't realized prior to ordering that Jessica Alba (yes, that Jessica Alba) is one of the founders of Honest Co. It wouldn't have affected my ordering or anything, but I do like seeing people who have pull in the world doing something to give back and improve it.

Honest Co. is mostly a family company - with a focus on leaving the world better for your children. However, in addition to baby products and diapers, they also have a cleaning products line, a line of beauty products, and vitamins and wellness products.

Honest has three essential packages, which are basically starter packs to let you decide if you want to subscribe long-term. I ordered the Essentials Bundle, which included beauty and cleaning supplies. I've also now decided to subscribe monthly, because you get five full sized items (from their beauty and cleaning lines) for $35.95. You also can change which items you get each month and they make almost everything!

Eco Emi Random Box Review

I have an Eco Emi problem, I think! I went and ordered a couple of extra boxes, because I just like this stuff so much. I think I'm good now, though, because starting soon, I will have the variety and beauty boxes coming monthly.

This review combines two of the extra sampler boxes that I purchased. One was entirely cosmetics and one appears to be the November box. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Walmart Winter Beauty Box Review

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Walmart, but I did want to try the quarterly beauty box. These are free boxes of samples from major companies typically sold at Walmart - you simply pay $5 per box for shipping (so $20 a year).

There was nothing exciting about this box, since most of these things are products you can buy at, well, Walmart. However, if you're debating about picking up some of these brands of items, the box gives you a chance to try them first.

Loot Crate Review: January 2015 ("Rewind")

My Loot Crate was late this month, making me one of the last people I know to receive it. That made me really sad, because I saw spoilers posted all over and I had to do everything I could not to have it ruined for me. Luckily, the crate was awesome and worth the wait!

This month's theme was "Rewind," a flashback to the things most of us geeks love about the 80's (this seems be the theme right now with geek boxes, as it's coming up a lot). I love geek stuff and I love the 80's, so that's a definite plus for me!

Game of Thrones Card Game Review

This is a review of the Game of Thrones card game for two people from Fantasy Flight Games, which is a branched off version of the full game (and apparently simpler). I bought this game for my husband for Christmas, since we are both such huge fans.

You choose between House Lannister and House Stark. I knew I wanted Lannister, because I love them and feel they (except Joffrey) get a lot of bad press simply because the show made viewers believe they were supposed to side with the Starks. Although things have grown more complicated, it's almost like we were set up to see the Lannisters as the "bad guys," when they're no worse than the Tyrells or Baratheons. Besides, there are worse people, like the Boltons and Freys.

Anyway, my husband loves Arya, so that was fine with him.

Graze Box Review: January 23

This week's Graze box was, of course, delightful. It was probably my least exciting one so far, but mostly because the snacks were straightforward. There were no oddly flavored fruit mixes this time around. Most of the items remained as "try it" items that I don't mind receiving, but don't feel enthusiastic about seeing much more often than once in a while.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mixcups Review: January 2015

I'm the only person in my house who drinks coffee, which makes it somewhat tough to buy and drink a variety of new coffees. So I use the Keurig because it gives me a chance to sample lots of brands and flavors without committing to a bag that no one else will touch.

Mixcups is a provider of small brand coffee K-cups. They have two basic subscription plans - 10 cups a month (mini) or the regular box of 30. Both include ten flavors, but the regular box includes three cups of each, so you essentially get a cup of coffee a day. For some people, that is nowhere near enough, but it's perfect for me. There are also create your own options and more filtered choices like sweet or decaf or bold, etc. The monthly mix has three options - coffee mix, coffee (nonflavored only), and tea. I'm not a big flavored coffee drinker, but I like trying it once in a while. In fact, last month's Vanilla Skyline by Brooklyn Bean was amazing!

Splash Math Grade 2 Review

I was asked to review Splash Math by StudyPad, which is an app for your phone/tablet. This app helps kids in first through fifth grade practice their math skills. I tested out the second and fourth grade levels, as those are the grade levels of my kids.

My second grader loved the app! He asked to play it several times in the matter of just a few days. Of course, he's the one in the family who absolutely loves math. He wanted to try everything and explore the app as much as he could. The really neat thing about it was that I was able to go in as a parent as well to review the math problems and test my own knowledge. What I noticed was that everything listed in his grade level was linked to what he's been doing at school. This is a big plus in my book. It works to enrich what they are learning at school in a fun way. 

Kiwi Crate Glow Worm Review by Little Miss Crafty and Son

This month I took advantage of the free KiwiCrate Glow Worm crate. I debated about it for a while, just because my son is in between the two age ranges and I wasn't sure which one to go with. However, Boxy provided a little encouragement and said we should give it a shot so I did.

The package arrived and we set a date to make our glow worm this morning. I loved the box it arrived it. So cute! One of the older kids said it looks like a lunch box. Inside this cute box was more fun than one mom and three-year-old could have in a morning.

Nature Box Review: January 2015

I had originally tried Nature Box when it was free, but when I reviewed their site, I just didn't think I would like it enough to justify a subscription. Then the sampler box came and I was proven wrong. Nature Box sends you five resealable snacks a month, and you can either let them surprise you entirely or pull from a pantry you put together of things that interest you or you've liked in the past. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Birchbox Men Review: January 2015

As I mentioned in my previous Birchbox review, I thought it would be good to see what the men's box offered. I've seen other box reveals and although some of the products other people received were better (gloves, for example), there were a couple of items in this box that were interesting. I don't think the value is there, though, given that these are mainly cheaper items and the box costs twice as much as the women's.

I'm still on the fence about Birchbox, but I'm giving them a little time to adjust to my profile and hopefully to see my feedback integrated. I will do the same for the men's, but my patience will likely wane quicker with this if the value doesn't improve.

Darby Smart Review: January 2015

Little Miss Crafty has been eyeing Darby Smart for some time, so when they sent over a discount coupon code, she was on it! She was given the choice of any one of their products, with the exception of the monthly subscription kit. It ended up taking two visits at an hour each to finally decide. Here's her review/experience with DarbySmart. 

Darby Smart's individual craft items, as well as the craft kits, are separated into nice categories. You could also be like me and just show all, continuing to search through and hoping you won’t end up adding everything to your cart. I decided eventually to filter by kits and kids, since I liked the idea of it all being in one pack - and I wanted to include the kids in the crafting.

I looked through the choices, and there were so many options! There was DIY bubble gum (this is awesome, but one of my kids just swallows gum without chewing it), a kids' knit book (I thought about getting this for the oldest and only girl in the house, but I wanted something we could all share in), and even Glitter mugs (which I might be buying sometime in the near future).

I finally settled on Magnetic Terrariums. This seemed like a good choice for many reasons: a) the price was right, b) there were three in a set, which is perfect and allowed each kid to make one, and c) my husband had asked for a funky terrarium for Christmas and never got it. Since his birthday is coming up, I figured this could be a cute handmade gift for him. Also, they will stick to his desk, which is even better.

Sports Crate Review: January 2015

Sports Crate is a relatively new subscription box all about sports, which I knew was perfect for my husband. You are asked when you sign up to select your favorite NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA teams, as well as NCAA franchises (from a select group). My husband is really the sports fan (although I like hockey), so I used his preferences when we signed up. He kind of laughed at me because I put down both the Patriots and Dolphins, as he used to like the Dolphins, but he liked them when Marino played. So I'm a little out of the loop. He's basically a stereotypical hardcore Boston fan so I guess I should update his favorites (although he didn't have a problem with anything he received).

Sports Crate ships in a pretty basic black box and it was full of sports paraphernalia and collectibles.

Universal Yums Review: January 2015 (Brazil)

These snack boxes really surprise me. I signed up for Universal Yums, then saw that they were headed to Brazil this month, and decided I would cancel. I suppose that's not adventurous, but I just couldn't imagine I would like enough in a box like this to justify the subscription.

I will say, though, that Universal Yums wins in this case, because the box was fabulous in so many ways. From the packaging, which included tissue paper in Brazil's colors, to the info card, this was an exceptionally well put together box.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Try the World Venice and Paris Box Reviews (Buyer Beware)

I was so excited to sign up for Try the World. They seemed amazing - a box of snacks and treats from cool locations around the globe? Awesome! So right after Christmas, they had a deal where you could sign up and get the Paris Box and a gift card. I signed up - and never heard a thing. A few days later, I followed up and they confirmed that they'd received my order and the Paris Box would go out soon, and that I was scheduled to receive their upcoming Venice Box.

This post has no pictures, because Try the World SENT ME NOTHING. They charged me and sent me an electronic gift card code with little use since I can't even get a response via email in less than a week. Eventually I got an email saying there was a shipping delay and that the box would go out at the end of January.

So suffice it to say I was surprised when blogs starting posting reviews of the Venice Box - ones they received free for review. I mean, I had PAID $40 for this box and hadn't received anything except confusing emails and excuses for delay. So I contacted Try the World again. No response. I tried a few days later. Still nothing.

Finally I received a vague response saying my Paris Box must not have gone out and that they didn't know that I wanted the Venice Box (I mean, you would think a subscriber would want the current subscription, right? Apparently not). They talked in a circle yet never once apologized, and they still didn't answer my question. I logged in, saw nothing had been shipped and my account couldn't be canceled by me, and so I contacted them again. I decided it just wasn't worth it anymore.

They canceled my account after another week of not replying, so I guess I won't be trying the world or this subscription. They also disabled the gift card, which was all I received from them after paying. I'd be impressed if they lasted until fall with this kind of organization and customer service. Good luck if you try them (although apparently they'll be happy to send you a free box if you have enough Twitter followers - with the money that the rest of us paid for an empty mailbox).

I would encourage you to avoid this subscription. Ideally I will see a refund, but regardless, they clearly don't want customers if this is how they treat people who are excited to pay them.

Dottiebox Mini Review: January 2015

Dottiebox comes in two sizes - Dottiebox (see my review from earlier in the month) and Dottiebox Mini. Both include unique, handcrafted items each month from various vendors. You can either purchase a subscription or select a one-time purchase for an upcoming month.

Dollar Shave Club Review

I've been wanting to try Dollar Shave Club for my husband, because he's always complaining about his razors, and I was thrilled when they offered to send us a box for review. This past weekend, I made hubby my test subject and he tried the razor, as well as a few additional products.

Dollar Shave Club is a fairly simple subscription service for men. The monthly subscription includes razors and blades (you pick your razor from three options ranging from $1-$9, hence the name of the club). You can also add Shave Butter, a post-shave moisturizer, and cleansing wipes. We were sent an anti-irritation serum as well, but I couldn't find it on the site.

North Fork Taffy Review: January 2015

North Fork Taffy is a subscription box service that provides you with a monthly box of real, artisanal salt water taffy in a variety of flavors. Each month, you will receive six flavors.

North Fork started as a family affair and this is one company that actually uses salt in salt water taffy, which is sea salt harvested from their local water. It's real taffy - super soft and you will end up eating it from the wrapper like you would on a warm summer day on the boardwalk.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Geeky Goodies Review: January 2015

My Geeky Goodies is a geeky subscription box with a monthly theme. This month's theme was Pixel Power - and this box was AWESOME! It was Nerdvana in there, I swear. ;) They advertise themselves as a box for geeks prepared by geeks, and it's clear they know their fans. They also promise either a shirt or Funko POP! figure in each box.