Tag Archives: subscription box

Happy Halloween BarkBox

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My photos for this month’s BarkBox, turned out all dark and scaaaarrrrryyyy!

There’s are good reasons for this.

  1. Halloween is approaching and such was the theme of the box.
  2. It was dark when we opened it. {But it’s dark when I leave for work and pretty much dark when I get home this time of year, though.}
  3. I’m not a professional photographer and, quite frankly, didn’t put in the effort in improving these photos. No apologies.

Here were the October BarkBox content for our “small dog” box:

Pet Qwerks Chevron Bear – I’m sorry. I have to call this toy Bucky the Badger! It looks so much like the Wisconsin Mascot! I got approval for this name change from my Michigan Alumnus husband. Of course, in true Shamrock-style, it was the first thing stolen out of the box. I had to retrieve it to get the photo below. It was a nice little birthday gift for him since he turned one on Wednesday. Happy Birthday, Shamrock!

photo 5Superior Farms Lamb Ear (not pictured) – Unlike Shamrock, who loves the toys, Sophie always sniffs out a chew from the box. Since Sham was already so busy with Bucky, I immediately unwrapped the lamb ear, to find TWO inside. SCORE! One for each of the pooches! Sham’s interest in his lamb ear helped me to retrieve Bucky for that photo above.

Your Dog’s Diner Mutt Meatball Treat Mix – What does that even mean? According to the instructions, you mix this with 1 lb of grand beef and an egg just like you would to form regular meatballs, and bake. Sounds like a bit of work to me for some dog treats! But maybe I should make them this weekend. I didn’t make a puppy cake, like I’d thought about doing for Sham’s birthday. Maybe we can celebrate with some meatballs. After all, I did make some for ourselves this week and we did not share with the pooches!

photo 2Baker’s Best Autumn’s Harvest Treats – There is rarely a complaint about treats in the box. In fact, there was only one time when Sophie was reluctant to take one, but ended up eating it anyway. This was not that time. 😉

photo 3Fruitables Dog Treats Share Pack – I almost shrieked with delight when I saw these! They are Halloween treat bags for dogs!!!! Perfect if you have any doggie trick-or-treaters (or should we say tricks-for-treaters?!) who stop by on Halloween. And we love the Fruitables-brand treats. Okay, so I’ve never eaten them, but they are some of the best-smelling dog treats ever. Nothing’s worse than handing your dog over a smelly treat or two and then having to wash your hands more than thoroughly so that you don’t smell like said treat. These treats are actually steering me in the direction to maybe even like Halloween.photo 1I have mixed emotions about dogs getting dressed up for Halloween. Part of me thinks that it is so cruel. But when I see the cutest costumes, the other half makes me think it’s so adorable! We dressed Sophie as a butterfly last year for the Spooky Tails 5k. She absolutely hated it. It was the first time I had ever dressed a dog in costume.

Look at my antennae!

Look at my antennae!

But Halloween might actually be fun if we dressed the pooches and walked through the neighborhood. Sham would bark at every kid and get pretty scared though, I’d imagine…

How about you? How do you feel about doggie costumes?

**Get $5 off your first month of BarkBox when you subscribe here. It is so much fun for our pooches and makes the perfect gift!**

Cheers~
Carrie

Birchbox – October 2013 {and HelloFresh Winner!}

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First off, let’s get to our winner of the HelloFresh Gift Card Giveaway!

Ashley from My Cats and I (Cooking) in Chi!

Congrats, Ashley!

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And just a quick look at October’s Birchbox Contents {All of which I have yet to try!}:

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October Birchbox: Beauty Buzz

So what is in that Tiffany-colored box?

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Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (with Cloth)

And the rest of the contents:

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October 2013 Birchbox contents:

  • Miss Jessie’s Original Pillow Soft Curls
  • Birchbox Find – Chapstick Hydration Lock (this was a bonus item!)
  • Folle de Joie fragrance sample
  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (with cloth)
  • POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer

Which item would you most like to try out of this box?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Last Chance for the HelloFresh Giveaway!

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Reminder! Giveaway ends tonight at 11:59pm CST!

I received a $25 HelloFresh Gift Card in one of my subscription boxes a few months back. I didn’t think I’d sign up. But just when I read some great reviews on the company and decided to join, I found out that they do not deliver to my area. 😦

Therefore, I’d like to give away this gift card to someone who can use it. It expires 12/31/13, so please only sign up for the giveaway if you can usethe gift card.

Check out the HelloFresh website for more information and to determine if they ship where you live. They do list each state they ship-to, but I’ve also learned that they only ship to certain areas in certain states, so be sure to enter your zip code.

To enter the drawing, go to last week’s post and note one thing you found interesting on the HelloFresh website!

Giveaway will close today, Saturday, October 12th at 11:59pm CST.

Cheers~
Carrie

NatureBox – A New One {Review}

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Subscription Box Saturday

Somehow, somewhere, I got a deal on NatureBox. I completely forgot about it (despite the email that it shipped) until it showed up on my doorstep! So it was a nice little surprise.

What:

Each month, you receive “15 to 20 servings” (five full-sized packages) of healthy snacks. I like the fact the the quality standards of their snacks:

  • No High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • No Partially Hydrogenated Oils
  • No Trans Fats
  • No Artificial Sweeteners
  • No Artificial Flavors
  • No Artificial Colors

How much:

$19.95/month. After you receive your first box, you have the option to pick your own snacks. You can also upgrade and add snacks for an additional charge.

If you want more snacks (say for a family or party), you can get 10 full-sized snacks with the $29.95 Happy Snacker Box or 20 full-sized snacks with the $49.95 Smart Snacker Box.

Here is what I received in my first box:

NBContents

I gave some thought to the $20 per box for five snacks. That would make each of these bags $4, not including shipping. I could see each of these easily priced at $3.99 at the store, especially at an all-natural foods type store. So it isn’t a bad deal. Let’s go through each item:

I love almonds, so I opened these first. I love the blueberry flavor! I promptly started rationing them into snack bags for the coming weeks so that I didn’t overeat them. I’d get these again any day.

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Think Fritos, but better! I didn’t get many because Rob finished off the bag. Another winner! I loved how flavorful the spices were.

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I was looking forward to these, because you know how I love chocolate! I was highly disappointed. There was some cocoa flavor, but the texture was a little styrofoam-like, almost stale. I had Rob try them, just to see his reaction and find out his opinion. This is what he said:

“Where’s the frosting?”

Aha. That could be what’s missing. Not exactly a healthy snack anymore, though.

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I love rice crackers, so I really loved the flavor and crunch of these… at first. Rob said that they tasted like seaweed. Each time I had a serving, I liked them less and less.

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I love this combination of dried fruit. If you received these in a box where you received nuts or something, you could mix ’em up to make some trail mix. Some of the best dried fruit I’ve had.

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For the record, I served the remaining Teriyaki Twists and Cocoa Waffle Wafers at a party. They were still left at the end of the night.

I liked NatureBox, but in the end decided to cancel. I thought about giving the option to pick my own snacks a chance. It just seems like a lot of snacks for me to receive! I’d feel the need to be snacking all of the time and not necessarily on fruit and veggies. In order to cancel, I had to call customer service. They do not accept emailed requests to cancel. While they suggested I give the you-pick-’em snacks a chance, they were very kind about my decision to cancel. They did offer me a discount on my next month to stay, because you really do need to give something more than one shot before you fall in love. Such was the case with me and Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey and House of Cards. When I did Wine Tastings, I teach everyone that the first taste is never the true taste.

But alas, NatureBox and I have parted ways. However, if you are looking for some healthy, minimally processed snacks for your family, I would recommend NatureBox for the high quality. You may not love every snack, but you’ll get a chance to try new ones or just pick the ones you like if you want. They do offer specialty boxes and boxes for those who have dietary restrictions as well.

You can join now for 25% off your first box by using the code REFER25.

What is your favorite flavor of almond or favorite type of trail mix?

Cheers~
Carrie

Another New Doggie Box Battle

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Subscription Box Saturday – Doggie Box Edition

Recently, I was offered a 2-month subscription to PetBox for $29 through Coupaw, a deal site for pet products. Let’s see how it stands up to our favorite BarkBox.

Here’s our September comparison.

PetBox

What: “Each box contains five to six items such as healthy treats, toys, grooming products, etc. Each month your PetBox will have five to six new items with a minimum retail value of over $60. These high quality items are each hand picked for your pet’s enjoyment. For each PetBox that we ship each month, we give $3 to help animal rescue efforts.”

Cost: $29 per month or as low as $19 per month for a 12-month subscription.

Our first box:

And the Contents:

PB3

September PetBox Contents: Gourmet Select Carrot Crunch Treats, Petrodex Doggie Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Safemade Newt Chew, Doggie Sunscreen, PoopBags with dispenser, Nootie Daily Pet Spritz, No Grainers Soft Chews

Of course, Shamrock wanted Newt to jump out of the box as soon as possible, so he could play with him!

PB4
Do you think it could be for this reason?

PB5I think it’s funny that “newt flavor* tastes like chicken.” Rob won’t be testing this out any time soon. Unfortunately, Newt lost a couple of legs in a matter of minutes. I think Shamrock wanted to get to the bottom of that Newt flavor!

I had never heard of Doggie Sunscreen before, so I am glad that included some information:

PB6

It’s good, too, that we received the toothbrush kit. Once upon a time, I used to brush Sophie’s teeth. I don’t know how I got out of the habit. I’m sure that chicken flavored toothpaste from when she was a pup is no good now. At least they will have their own toothbrushes and I can start this habit again.

Overall, we liked the box. Not too shabby for the $14.50 I paid. However, the homepage states that the retail value is well over $60. I searched for these products online and came up with $36.96. Not a bad deal for those paying $29 for the box, but it doesn’t exactly meet the $60 claim. Here’s my breakdown. It was a quick online look-up. And when I saw a sale price, I ignored it and went with the regular price.

  • Gourmet Select Treats – $2.59 (7 oz bag)
  • Petrodex Toothbrush & Toothpaste Kit – $10.59
  • Newt – $4.29
  • Nootie Daily Spritz – $11.99
  • Doggie Sunscreen – $2.50 ($4.99 for two)
  • No Grainers Treats – $5
  • TOTAL = $36.96

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BarkBox:

What: “Each monthly box contains a combination of 4-6 treats, toys, and hygiene products that have been hand selected and approved by Scout, head product tester for BarkBox. BarkBox is dedicated to supporting the health and happiness of all dogs! That’s why we donate at least 10% of our profits to shelters, rescues and animal welfare organizations.”

Cost: $29 per month or as low as $19 per month for a 12-month subscription.

September BarkBox Contents:

BB3

September BarkBox Contents: It’s Purely Natural Treats, Wagatha’s Tuscan Pizza Organic Dog Biscuits, VetraCare Liquid Bandage for Pets and….

Wait, that box is missing an item that Sham stole out of the box right away!

BB4

That’s a cool koala rope toy, squeaker, animal toy all stuffed in one!

I have not seen promises as to how much the BarkBox claims to be worth each month, but I thought I’d check on these items just for comparison.

  • Aussie Naturals Koala Toy – $7.99
  • It’s Purely Natural Treats – $7.88
  • Wagatha’s Organic Treats – $10.95
  • VetraCare Liquid Banadage for Pets – $7.99
  • TOTAL = $34.81

You can always get $5 off your first month’s subscription of BarkBox by clicking on my referral link.

In case you are curious, here are the other doggie subscription boxes we’ve tried!

Since thinking about and spoiling my pooches makes me happy, tell me something you are/were happy about this weekend!

*Note: I have not been compensated to review either of these subscription boxes. I have purchased each subscription myself, using deals whenever they are offered through various deal sites.

Cheers~
Carrie

Subscription Box Saturday

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What do you do when you get three subscription boxes in one day?

3 boxesYou write about the easiest one!

This is the first time I’ve received all three of these on the same day. This is not to to mention the other two NEW boxes I received earlier in the week.

But I can’t talk about them all.

So let’s start with Birchbox:

September Birchbox Contents

September Birchbox Contents

I love the contents of this month’s box! I am really excited to give everything a try. I am especially excited for:

Ojon Restoriative Lash Treatment and Mascara Duo

Ojon Restorative Lash Treatment and Mascara Duo

I knew that this was “lash treatment,” but didn’t know it included mascara until I was writing this post. I love this kind of stuff! You know I’ll be testing it out tomorrow!

Another item that is hard to see in the contents picture:

Birchbox Pedicure

VOESH New York Lemon Pedicure Scrub

This is another item I can’t wait to try. Just receiving this made me feel like I’m being pampered this month. I’m going to save it for a reward after a run or a race.

The other items:

  • BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Genre perfume sample – I love receiving perfume samples. I am waiting for the day that I love one so much that it makes me run out and buy it. I have a few of my staple favorites and I don’t often deviate. But when the day comes that I adore a scent, you better believe that I’ll be getting a full-sized bottle.
  • COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 Mineral Suncreen – I would more likely expect to see this in the summer, but whatever. By now, we all know that we should be wearing sunscreen year round. Being fair-skinned myself, I apply it often. However, with my Vitamin D deficiency discovery as of late, I’ve been foregoing the sunscreen on short runs after work.
  • RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer (Fox Hunt color) – This is an all-purpose color for fall or spring. Maybe I’ll treat those tootsies after the pedicure treatment.

As you can see, I’m quite excited about this month’s box. If you subscribe to Birchbox, what did you receive? Everyone receives something different depending on how you answer the profile questions! Just $10 per month.

What products are your favorite for pampering yourself?

Cheers~
Carrie

Can Subscription Boxes Thrive?

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Subscription Box Saturday

Last week’s $1 Box post got me thinking… How do subscription boxes really work? With Cravebox {which was my favorite one that I tried} going out of business and the Pawalla company deciding to discontinue their subscription box service, I’m really wondering.

Do subscription boxes get samples from companies as a way to advertise their businesses?

Beauty Army samples are truly samples. They are usually tiny packages meant for one-use only. I can’t believe I pay $12 for that box. The good news is that I can skip any month I’d like. I’ve skipped the last few months because I couldn’t find six worthwhile samples to choose.

Or do they buy the items {especially if they are full-sized} in bulk and get a deal on them?

How do they determine how many of each sample or product they need each month when people are joining and canceling at different rates each month?

This would be especially difficult for those trying to put together a fun theme.

Then there’s the shipping.

A lot of times shipping is included in the box price or is rather inexpensive. But I do know that most boxes that I receive would cost me $10 to $15 to ship myself. Sure, businesses can get a deal and ship at a bulk rate, but the rates aren’t that good to absorb all of those costs.

A case of wine costs anywhere from $35 to $50 to ship due to its weight and adult signature restrictions. But I’d still get flack from guests at tasting events when they are charged a $9.95 flat fee on their order, regardless of size, to ship to the host. It’s a good deal, people, especially when you are already getting a good deal on high quality wine. The shipping is not built into the price of the bottle. By comparison, consider the fact that a winery in California wanted me to charge me $60 to ship a case of their wine I loved.

But back to the boxes…

Sometimes when I think about what a deal a box is, I wonder if the subscription box companies make any money.  There are a lot of subscription boxes out there. And I’ve found that most of them are a lot more expensive than the ones I receive. There are some I’d love to try, but shelling out $30 or $50 per month just isn’t an option when I don’t know what it’s going to be like.

My August Food Boxes…

I have noticed that the very inexpensive Goodies Box I receive {just $7} has scaled back, too. Or at least they had in August.

  • The size of their boxes has been getting smaller, but I feel that they are packed much more nicely.
  • They no longer include a card describing the products. Instead, the recipient is instructed to go online. I think this would save time and money if a product doesn’t work out or when they put different products in different boxes.
  • But this month, the items I received were smaller sample sizes and they looked skimpier in the box.
August Goodies Box

August Goodies Box {clockwise from top left}: Natural Intentions Veggie Chips, Alo Light Orange & Passion Fruit Drink, Pronto! Caol Cafe Blues Liquid Brewstick, Hidden Valley Ranch Sunflower Seeds, Tangy Zangy Twisties Sour Wild Berry Snacks, Poplets

I can’t complain. This is the least expensive box I get! But the fact that they are scaling back might have something to do with the economics of subscription boxes. What do you think?

Fave item in the box? The Brewstick! It was a great one-serving cup of coffee for me when my husband was out of town one weekend. And it is liquid, so it doesn’t leave behind any gross leftover granuals that some instant coffee packets do.

The Poplets reminded me of the Pop’d Kerns that we have in Minnesota, but the flavor and texture of Pop’d Kerns flavor are sooooo much better!

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On the other hand, Love with Food always seems to come through for me! Maybe it just seems like a lot that they pack into that small box of theirs, but I like it. I also love their themes each month. Most of their products are all-natural or organic or GMO-free. The bonus is that I usually haven’t had most of them before, so I’m discovering something new all of the time. And how they are donating a meal to a hungry child for every box shipped, I don’t know. The box is only $10 per month + $2 shipping.

August Love with Food Box

August Love with Food Box {clockwise from top left}: Sahale  Fruit & Almond Crunchers, Dizzy Pig BBQ Spice Rub, Harvest Crisps Baked Snapea Crisps, Aunty Sally’s Creamy Original Pralines, Good Boy Organics BOPS Sea Salt Potato Crisps, Project 7 Sugar-Free Fresh Mint Tubes, Rip van Wafels Caramel Amsterdam Waffle Cookie, El Pinto Salsa

Fave item in this box? The Rip van Wafel Caramel Waffle Cookie! I received this in a Goodies Box earlier this year. So I got a second chance not to let it melt and fall into my mug o’ coffee like I did last time. 😉

In my subscription boxes, I often get great coupons, too! I’m talking $1 and $2 off coupons, none of these “save 35 cents when you buy 4” ones you get with the Sunday newspaper. Sometimes I’ve received coupons for BOGOs as well as FREE items. I like it when they do that because it means they want you to try the product, but it really isn’t shippable.

And look below, I dropped the ball and missed getting you this discount code for Love with Food by Aug 31st. But they are still offering the additional points, so it’s possible they may still be accepting the code. It’s worth a try, right?! Click here to enroll.

LWF2

If you are wondering which other subscriptions boxes I’d like to try, here are a few on my wish list. Anybody want to go shopping for me? 😉

  • HelloFresh – They send you all of the ingredients to make three meals, down to the spices. I received a $25 gift card toward the service in another subscription box, but it still seemed a little pricey and too good to be true. Then I read some incredible reviews about this service. I was all set to join when I discovered that they do not ship to Minnesota. I will have to do a giveaway for that gift card! I don’t want it to go to waste.
  • Taste Trunk (either the Gourmet or Healthy Box) – Specializing in higher end gourmet food products.
  • Hungry Globetrotter – Food inspired by a different region of the world.
  • Stitch Fix – Personal Clothing Shopper. Would love to try this when I’m down to size. 😉
  • Escape Monthly – A vacation in a box!
  • Ellie – Fitness Clothing Box (Again, one to try when I reach my goal. Could be a great reward!)

I’ve also always wanted to belong to a fruit-of-the-month or cheese-of-the-month club. The above more expensive boxes are probably worth it, but you don’t know until you try them. I would like to try them for a deal, but then is it fair to them if we cancel after that?

How do you think most subscription box services work?

If there is one box you could try, what would it be?

Cheers~
Carrie