Fab Fit Fun VIP Box Summer 2014 Review

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Back to box reviews following a long hiatus! And we get to start with the Fab Fit Fun VIP summer box, which has, in the past, been one of my favorites. Fab Fit Fun is a box curated by Guiliana Rancic and is sent out quarterly. It is $49.99 per quarter and contains health, beauty and fitness lifestyle items. Let’s see what the summer box brought:

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Upon first look, there were a lot of items in there!

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Sonya Dakar Flash Facial $95: So, while I was initially a little bummed that the crown jewel of the summer FFF box was a skincare product, that was before I gave it a try.  It made an immediate change in my skin, and it works like nothing else I have ever used.  You apply a thin coat to your clean, dry face and then let it sit for a minute, and then you rub it off in a circular motion and then rinse.  Let me tell you, the first time I used it, some nasty stuff came off of my skin.  It basically just melts the dead skin away, and I felt like I noticed a difference immediately.  It says to use everyday, but at a $95 price tag, I think I will maybe do it once a week or so.  Don’t want to get too spoiled.

Pur-lissle pur-protect SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer: $55 I wear an SPF moisturizer on my face everyday, so this is a score. I like their products, and as soon as I run out of my current moisturizer, I will switch to this one. I did try a little squirt, and the texture is nice, especially for it being a 30 SPF, and it has a clean, low-key smell.

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Fab Fit Fun Water Infuser bottle: $15  So, I am really loving my Citrus Zinger bottle from last month’s PopSugar box, and I really don’t need two.  I will probably gift this one.  I like the way the chamber for fruit and stuff is down the middle, but I thought the opening was a little weird. The saying on the side says: “Grab life by the exercise balls.” Ummm, ok.

Zoya Nail Polish in “Cole”: $9 This is a great color, kind of like a Creamsicle, and I love Zoya polish for their Vegan (and pregnancy friendly….not that I am, but that is handy) ingredients.  I would totally wear this, except for that the applicator brush is completely jacked up.  even in the picture, you can see the brush against the side of the bottle inside.  It is un-useable.  I am bummed!  I will email FFF and see if they will replace, although that seems like a lot of work when I have about a million bottles of nail polish.  I have heard their service is great though.

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Thursday Friday Mini Clutch/Makeup Bag: $35  Ok, so it seems like every single box over the past few months has had a canvas makeup bag.  I am on overload and will gift this one.  It is cute, although the pattern I got is totally not me. $35 seems like a lot to me to spend on a canvas bag that would not even come close to holding all my makeup for a trip. And I am not even that much of a makeup queen, but still, this thing is tiny.  I think my BFF might like it though.  The box also included a $30 coupon card for the Thursday Friday site, which ended up getting pictured below.

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KISSTIXX Lip Balm in Sweet and Sour: $6 Apparently you are supposed to give one of these to your makeout partner and then keep one for yourself, creating come sort of taste sensation when you kiss.  Well, while that sounds lovely in theory, as the working parents of a two-year old, if we ever get time to make out, the forethought it takes to simultaneously apply lip balm prior to would probably send us over the edge.  However, lip balm is always a score for me, and these feel nice. I’m keeping them both for myself.

Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil: $25 This one is a dud for me.  I just refuse to put any kind of oil treatment in my hair because it is already so fine and oily that anything like this makes it look like I poured mayonnaise on my head.  I will pass this on to a friend who like hair oils.  It gets great reviews from other, non-greaseball, reviewers, though!

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These were some of the extra, sponsored items in this month’s box:

PopChips in BBQ: These were eaten almost immediately.  Everyone in the house loves these.

Skintimate Shave Gel sample: Nice for my swim bag or travel.

Always Xtra Protection Long Daily Liners: Not really my thing, but might make a nice addition to a post-pregancy/new baby gift basket

Slimfast Have Your Cake bar: Also not really my thing, just because of how many chemicals and junk SlimFast puts in their stuff.  Someone will eat it at some point, I’m sure.

All told, the Summer 2014 Fab Fit Fun VIP box had a value of around $250. It was not my favorite box from them, to be sure, but the facial is a great discovery. The value is there, but for some reason, this box just felt really thrown together to me and not “curated” like the Winter and Spring boxes I got the last couple times.  I will look forward to an improvement for their Fall box this year. That is my favorite time of year anyway.

Bulu Box Review- January 2014

 bulu5So, I tried Bulu Box on a whim as a new one for January, mostly because of a deal they are still running. They are offering 50% off any subscription length with the code BULUGAN669, so I got a one-year subscription for $55, plus, they have a point system for doing reviews which allows you to get additional discounts if you order products, so, to me, it seemed like a great deal.  Less than $5 per box, plus lots of great discounts that can equal the price, practically a free box! Bulu Box offers a choice between the regular Bulu Box with health, wellness and nutrition samples, or their weight-loss box, which includes some of the same, but then adds some weight-loss specific items. I chose the weight-loss box. Here are the goods:

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The box had a lot of fun items in it, including healthy snacks, drinks and supplements. Here are the details:

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Tapaz 2 Go Snack: ($3)This is a to-go box with lentil crackers and hummus. It looks delicious, but I will probably throw it in my husband’s lunch one day instead of eating it myself. He is a hummus nut. These run about $18 for a 6-pack, so that is not cheap, but with Bulu points from reviewing products, I could see ordering these at a discount.

Body Glove Surge Energy gel pouch: ($2) This is something that I would throw in my pocket for a long run, and I am always up for trying natural energy supplements. I find the ones with all the chemicals to be frightening. When I saw the name Body Glove, I immediately thought of the surf clothes that I HAD to have when I was about 10 (here in Colorado, where, alas, there is no surfing) Everyone wore Body glove t-shirts back in the 80’s. And this is actually the same company. In addition to surf and outdoor gear, they have now branched out into all natural energy. That is some staying power, for sure.

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Body360 Nutritionals Burn 360: This is a fat-burning, metabolism helping supplement. I have to admit that this is not really my thing, and I probably won’t use it. I just don’t believe in anything that can help you burn fat unless that thing is getting your butt to the gym. I am kind of anti-pill when it comes to weight loss. I am more in the eat less, do more, no gimmick camp. This is an interesting supplement, though, for those so inclined, containing Acai. If you purchase the full-size version, it comes with a free download of a detox program.

HELPS Organic R and R tea: I like getting tea in my boxes, and right now I have a terrible cold, so I may just have this one before bed tonight. It says it contains lemon balm and passionflower to “ease you into a peaceful sleep” Just what I need.

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The Body Glove Surge snuck into another photo by mistake.

Smarty Pants All-in-One Adult Weight Management Gummy Vitamins: I am definitely a gummy vitamin person. I can never seem to force myself to take vitamins regularly unless they come in “candy” form. And so that is what I use. These look pretty legit, and I am going to try them for the next three days in place of my regular gummy vitamin. These contain fiber and Omega 3, something you don’t always get in a lot of the drugstore vitamins.

All told, Bulu Box had a great value for the $4.60 per box that I paid with my one-year subscription. In addition, there are a lot of cool supplements I want to try, and the points system they offer (similar to Birchbox) lets you accrue points quickly enough that it will take a big chunk out of the price of buying things through their shop. I am excited about what the next year of Bulu Box has to bring me.

This post contains referral links.

Birchbox Man Review- January 2014

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The Birchbox Man January box shipped before December was even over, and we got it on the 31st. Woop! I am a big fan of this box, and it always ships early in the month. Birchbox Man is a monthly box that costs $20 per month and includes full- and sample-sized lifestyle and hygiene items for men. Cool men. There were great things in store for January. Here are the goods:

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This box is all about the New Year, and contained some awesome gear. I don’t include prices for samples, but you can click on any of the hyperlinks for the price of the full-size items. Here are the details:

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Reviver Dry Deodorant Swipes for clothes: These little wipes are supposed to be used to swipe across your clothes or hair to remove odors, such as those from a smoky bar. Not to throw my husband under the bus, but his gym clothes reek. I will try these on that, although, I have a feeling this is more for surface smells, not the ground in rankness that only men’s gym clothes can acquire. We shall see. I wonder if these work on the dog! (Kidding, these are not approved or meant for animal fur..although, maybe the rug where the dogs take their naps might be a candidate) This sample contains one reusable swipe.

Men Science Post-Shave Repair: I have never seen an aftershave in spray form, but this stuff is pretty legit. It is alcohol-free and it says it prevents redness and ingrown hairs, helps with razor burn and softens skin. It has tea-tree oil as an ingredient, and that is what it smells like; it is a fresh smell that I really like. My husband does not use aftershave much, so I will see if he gives this a go. If not, I will pass it on to a friend whose dude is more into it.

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ERNEST Supplies Soap-Free Gel Face Wash: My husband just got a promotion that means he will be traveling quite a bit more, so samples like this face wash are great to just toss in his dopp bag so he doesn’t have to worry about repacking each time. This is an all-natural wash that helps to unclog pores and eliminate environmental damage.  It smells amazing, like lavender and sandalwood, maybe. The fact that it smells so good makes me want to make him use it at home instead of on the road so I can enjoy it, too. I guess the lovely ladies of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will have a nice-smelling guy to sniff soon. Not too close, ladies.

Sasquatch Soap in Gold Moss scent: My husband is usually fairly stoic about the contents of his boxes, but he had a genuinely excited reaction to this one. He got a giant bar of Sasquatch soap in his Bespoke Post Refresh box a couple months ago, and had just finished it. (I think it must go fairly quickly, but is only $6 for the full-size) This soap smells so manly and good and is such a great complement to his regular cologne. This is a product that we will be buying for sure unless we luck out and keep getting it in boxes; Mike loves this soap. It is currently out of stock on the Birchbox site, but I’m sure it will be back in stock soon.

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Men In Cities Jump Rope: ($40) The lifestyle item this month is such a cool item for the new year. I have never seen my husband jump rope, so I am planning on stealing this. Jumping rope is awesome for burning calories and working up a sweat, and I can even do it in the privacy of my backyard where no one can see my, uh, backyard bouncing up and down.  Mohammad Ali has nothing on me. Solid wood handles and a PVC rope make for a great-quality jump rope that will last, and the link includes a video that will give you a quick tutorial if you’ve forgotten how to jump rope since the days when all the cool kids were doing it.

The jump rope alone was worth twice the $20 price tag of the box, and all of the items inside are legit. Birchbox Man continues to be one of my favorites because of all the useful, trendy, original things inside. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Conscious Box Review- December 2013

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So, after ten days of being inundated with a sick toddler (like violently sick), I am finally getting it together enough to catch up on some reviews. Sick babies come first, but I still have some stuff to tell you all about!  Conscious Box was running a free box offer, so I took advantage, just paying shipping for one box. This is a very cool box, especially for those who are looking for great natural and responsible products. Here are the goods:

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The packaging was gorgeous, and there were SO MANY items inside this fun little box. I just kept pulling them out. Here are the details:

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The Source Coffee: This is ethically-sourced coffee. The coffee included in the box was ground, and our machine grinds whole bean, but I am going to use this in our French press this weekend. I love coffee and have just recently been learning more about the ethics of where beans are sourced, so I thought this was a great inclusion. The coffee from this site is more expensive than what you would buy at the store or at Starbucks, but it is nice to know that your coffee is ethical.

Jiva Coffee Cubes: Ok, so I wanted to hoard these and keep them for myself, but my dad is a Folgers guy, and so whenever I find any decent instant coffee alternatives (such as Starubucks Via) I always give them to him.  Because seriously, Folgers…*shudder*.  Jiva Cubes are basically like bullion cubes, except they are coffee (they do hot chocolate, too!) with a little sugar in them.  I am going to order these for our next backpacking trip. You just drop them in boiling water, and you’re good to go! Love the idea. Love that they are fair trade. And LOVE that you can do them hot or cold. While I need my hot coffee during the freezing winter months, as soon as May or June hits, I am all about the iced coffee.  Love.

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Country Life Vitamins: The box included samples of the Stress Shield Nighttime Supplement and the Coenzyme B-Complex. I will admit that I am terrible about taking my vitamins. I know I should, and it is not that hard, but for some reason, I always stick to it for a few days, and then bail.  So, if anything, these served as a great reminder to take vitamins in 2014.  If you are a big vitamin person, Country Life is definitely a company to check out. They promise consistent product with clean, fresh ingredients. Some vitamin companies are a little questionable to me, but this one seems legit.

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Jellies– This is a kids Omega-3 supplement, which is very important for little ones to get, especially if they are like my little one and subsist mostly on NutirGrain Waffles. My little guy is a few months shy of being old enough for gummy vitamins, so I might pass these on to a friend whose daughter is already two. These contain no artificial colors or preservatives and provide kids a great dose of Omega 3s for great brains and eyes.

Fruitsmax Supplement: This is a probiotic supplement that contains 21 fruit elements, as well as acidophilus to maintain good gut health. I am a big believer in probiotics, and love that these contain a lot of extra nutrients, too. These are in my purse for the days that I forget to take my regular probiotic. This is a really interesting new company that prides itself on merging nature, science and art. That sounds like something worth putting in your body.

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Last Round All-Natural Hangover Support: This is an all-natural supplement that you’re supposed to drink after a night of drinking before you go to bed that will supposedly prevent hangover symptoms. I suppose that my problem with this might be that if I have had enough to drink that I will probably have a big hangover, then I am probably not going to remember to take this supplement before bed. Maybe if I left a note on it on my nightstand. Well, the next time I drink that much I will try to remember, but still, a cool sample to try.

Biobag compostable sandwich bag: Love this idea. I hate using so many bags for all the lunches we pack, and knowing they’re compostable would ease some guilt. Sold.

Treesmart Pencil: These pencils are awesomely made out of recycled newspaper instead of trees. While I am strictly a pen girl, my handy husband is always up to some house or woodworking project that he uses a pencil for. He has already claimed this as his own.

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Assorted natural sweeteners from Wholesome Sweeteners: This was one of may favorite items in the box, a little box inside the box that contained a big variety of all-natural sweeteners. It included some sugar substitutes and lots of Agave sweeteners, and I going to put them in my cute little sugar packet container that I put out whenever I put out coffee and pastries. I love the variety and want to try a lot of these samples.

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Herbal Zap Immune Support: Make a tea with this packet to enjoy an immune supporting beverage with 14 Ayurvedic herbs. I will do this right now, as toddlers are the antidote to immunity.

Epic Xylitol Gum: This gum is said to kill bad mouth germs, prevent dry mouth, and taste great. I am not a big gum chewer, but every so often, I get the urge. I will try this this week when I have a couple papers to write.  Chewing gum while stuck at the computer helps me focus, and who doesn’t need a little extra dental health?

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Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum snack: So, I really like this stuff. It is like tiny popcorn, and popcorn is my favorite food. The awesome thing is that is has even more protein than popcorn. The only drawback is that I like my popcorn like snacks warm, so now I have to figure out how to pop my own sorghum.  This is gluten free and full of fiber. Nice. I will totally be buying some of this.

Gnu Foods Fiber Love Bar: This is totally up my alley. I can never seem to get enough fiber in my diet, even with all the popcorn I eat, and so I usually have to tun to bars or supplements. I got the Chocolate Brownie flavor, and it was delicious, as well as being…ah…effective. Nice.  Gnu Foods offers a 30% discount at their site when you sign up for a monthly mailing of bars.

While I don’t break down the values for boxes of samples, this one was definitely worth the $4.95 I paid for just shipping when using the code FREEBOX. The regular price for Conscious box is $19.95 per month. I loved that there were lots of items in the box and I am excited to try some of the brands in full size, but I feel like $19.95 is a little bit too much for a box that is all sample sizes. I will look at the next few months of reviews to decide if I want to sign up for a subscription.

Bike Loot Review December 2013

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We got our Bike Loot box this week, and it was purty darn cool again.  It looks like Bike Loot is changing things up with their box subscription. The monthly price is going up to $11 plus shipping, but they are supposedly increasing the box value and doing an overall upgrade. Along with this upgrade, their website got overhauled and you actually have to recreate your whole account and re-subscribe. While this is kind of a pain, they acknowledged the inconvenience in a note in the December box and included a personal coupon code for $10 off your new subscription to make up for it. If you have to cause your customers a little pain, I think that is the best way to handle it. I am excited to see what they have in store for 2014. In the meantime, here are the goods for the December Bike Loot box:

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As always, Bike Loot boxes always come with a great info card that includes coupon codes for a lot of the products, and on the other side is always a great quote about cycling. This one is now hanging on our fridge. My husband is a total cycling nerd, and he thinks the little quote is one of the best parts of the box. Here are the details:

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Energems: Energems are kind of like big M and M’s for athletes. Along with the mint chocolate and candy shell, these also contain caffeine and B vitamins for energy during a workout. These are one of the things that I want to steal from this box. I mean, swimmers need fancy workout candy, too. They also included an Energems branded drawstring bag. It’s pink, so I may get to steal that, too, although Mike would probably use it to take his lunch to work if I let him keep it.  A 20% off coupon code is also included for Energems.

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ITrain $10 gift card: ITrain is an online workout site where you can download all different kinds of workouts right to your computer. They have a big section of indoor cycling workouts, great for the offseason. Since my husband’s bike is on the trainer in our family room right now, he was really excited about this item. It looks like the workouts on itrain.com range from about $5.99 to $10.99, so this is good for one free download with a little left over.

SPORTea: My husband is a coffee fiend and really the only time he drinks tea is when he is sick, so I may end up inheriting this tea. It contains Ginseng for energy. It smells pretty good, so I will give it a go. I switch back and forth between tea and coffee a couple times a year, but I really like the idea of a warm sports drink. I will try this before my next cold-weather run. SPORTea was created here in Colorado, so that makes me happy to learn about a new local business, and Bike Loot included a coupon code for 10% off at sportea.com

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Carbon Pro Sports Dri Shine/Dri Wash: This is a way to clean your bike on the go and is meant to be used without water and can be used daily. My husband is all about keeping his baby clean. His baby the bicycle, that is. His baby the actual boy is usually at least a little bit dirty.

Kool n’ Fit pain relief spray: I like that this is an external pain reliever in spray form. Most are in tubes and can be messy, but this seems way easier to contain. I often want to steal my husband’s loot from Bike Loot, even though I am not a cyclist, and this is one of those things. I am always nursing a running injury of some kind. Or sometimes I am nursing a lift-a-toddler-eleventy-times-a-day injury. My husband is seemingly immune to injury. He barely even gets sore. Hopefully said toddler gets that part of the gene pool. This stuff actually smells nice unlike many pain relief creams. I’m excited to steal it.

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NibNaks Dried fruit snack: This is one I will not be stealing. A lot of subscription boxes send dried fruit, and I find dried fruit kinda gross. Luckily, my husband and son like to gobble up these wrinkly pieces of sad fruit with wild abandon, so it does not go to waste around here. This is an all natural product and the flavor I got was Apples, Raisins and Cherries. My husband will enjoy this snack, although it will probably be at his desk instead of on his bike.

As usual, I don’t really try to calculate values on boxes that are more focused on samples, but I do think this box value exceeds its price tag. I will be curious to see what they will be offering up with their new and improved box in 2014.  I think they always do a great job with their packaging and branding, and, as a marketing geek, I really like that they have a distinct voice and brand.  Bike Loot is legit. Carry on, Loot Dudes.