Citrus Lane Review- January 2014

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I managed to not get a main box photo of Citrus Lane for January, so this is their cute little logo. Citrus Lane is a box geared towards moms and kids, and is curated based on your child’s age and gender. For us, that means we get a box for a 21-22 month old boy this month. Citrus Lane is $25 per month and usually contains three or four items for your child, as well as a mommy item on occasion. Here are the goods:

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I was excited to peek inside, and everything looked really cool, including a new Skip Hop item. Here are the details:

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Skip Hop Lunchie in Zebra: ($14) We are already the proud owners of a penguin Lunchie from Skip Hop, and D uses it everyday. This will either make a nice spare or a great gift. We love Skip Hop around here. There was alos a 20% off coupon code for Skip Hop items. I think we might just use that for a backpack here pretty soon.

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Peter Rabbit Organics pouch in pear and apple: ($1.50) The only pouches I buy anymore are the veggie ones because it is the only way to get something green into my child. So, when we get the fruitier ones in boxes, he gets excited. This one is gone already.

Mommy’s Bliss Kid’s upset Tummy and Nausea Relief: ($9) Ok, where was this at the holidays when our kid was such a disaster?  This will be nice to have on hand, though I hope it is a long time before we need it. Mommy’s Bliss  all-herbal products contain all-natural ingredients and are gluten free, and vegan.

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Plan Toys Shape Sorter: ($15) So this thing is a pretty cool toy in that it is interactive, but still all one piece. It’s a perfect car seat toy because there are no little pieces to fall down. D played with this for a few minutes in his seat, then got frustrated until I showed him how to do it. Then he was happy to play with it for quite a while. I’m not sure how long he will be into it, but it is a cool item for now.

All told, the January Citrus Lane box had a value of around $39 for the $25 price tag. Not a crazy huge value, but I did like the items, and they will either get used or make nice gifts. You can always use the code BLOGSAVE to save 50% off of your first box. Citrus Lane is one of the first kids boxes I have tried, and it is fairly consistent in that I always like it, but it rarely knocks my socks off. This month’s box met that criteria.

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.

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Sparaj Box Review- January 2014

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My second Sparaj box arrived today! This is a super interesting monthly box filled with products from all over Asia. This box is really different than other boxes in that I have almost never heard of any brands that they send and many of the actual products are kind of a mystery to me, as well. Sparaj is a new subscription company, and this is only about their fourth mailing. I had mixed feelings about the first box, but I liked this one a lot more. Since they do not auto-renew their subscriptions, I signed up for three months for $110. Or you can pay $40 per month.  The jury is still out for me whether I will renew after next month or not. Here are the goods:

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A couple of cool things about Sparaj: the box always smells amazing and they always put all the gear in a cool branded bag. This month was a faux patent leather makeup bag that is a great size. Here are the details:

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innisfree “It’s Real” Bija Mask: ($1.50) This is a sheet facial mask that promised to revive tired skin and give it a fresh glow. You wear this sheet mask for up to 20 minutes then remove and wash away. I am already planning on doing this next week while laying in bed with my Kindle while my husband is traveling.

Thaniya Organic Soy Wax Ceramic Candle: ($10?) I am estimating the price on this one because it is not on the site. It says this is an eight-hour candle, and the scent I got is either Jasmine or Frangipani. I can’t quite tell. It smells really nice, but I am not a floral person, so I will probably gift it. The ceramic is pretty, and is meant to be calming colors, and since the wax is organic soy, it burns at a low temperature and can be used as a massage oil when melted. The translation on the site is pretty amusing, but you get the gist.

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KarmaKamet Herbal Inhaler: ($8?) I am guessing  at this price, too, as I cannot find this priced online. The KarmaKamet shop site is under construction as of now. The link I am providing is to another blog where she talks about the KarmaKamet store and the items she purchased there. That is really the only info I can find.  There are vague mentions of it here and there, but no prices and no real instructions. From what I understand, you just open the jar and inhale the scent through your nose to help relieve cold and flu symptoms.  I currently have cold symptoms, and I inhaled through my nose from the jar. I can’t say that I noticed anything life-changing, but it does smell healing, like eucalyptus and menthol. It is possible that I inhaled too tentatively. Am I doing this right? Does anyone know?

Thann Oriental Essence Aromatherapy Scrub: ($13.00)  This scrub is supposed to exfoliate and cleanse the skin, the way all good salt scrubs do. Sold. I typically use these scrubs more in the Spring and Summer, as my winter skin is so terrible that I hide it unless I am in the pool (which is another reason for my crappy skin) I may give this one a try early, though. It smells nice, and is a nice size. This brand is all over Amazon, and it looks like they have some really good stuff. I am excited to try it.

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Sparaj bag. and…

KarmaKamet Aromatic Notebook: ($5?) So, at first I thought this was kind of strange, but it really grew on me. This is a little notebook with blank pages, but in the back is a little pocket that holds a scent sachet so that all the pages smell nice. I like the idea of giving someone a little note or writing down a memory only to find it years later and be able to remember the smell. I get kind of romantic notions like that every so often. This might have been my favorite item. Again, their site is still under construction, but the shop looks like a cool place to check out if you’re ever in Thailand. Wish I would have known about it when I was there a couple years ago.

The value of this box, although estimated, seems to be right around or slightly below the $40 per month price tag this month, although part of the draw of Sparaj is getting to try new products from Asia, so I don’t totally expect it to always be way over $40. This box is kind of a funny one for me. I like it, but I think the problem might just be that it is not quite “me”. In fact, I could see a couple of my more granola-esque yoga and massage therapist friends really liking it. They might be the recipients of some of the items, and I could see gifting this subscription to someone in that genre.  Still, I’m looking forward to seeing what my third month of Sparaj brings next month.

ipsy Review- January 2014

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Ipsy is here! The ipsy Glam Bag continues to be one of my favorite subscriptions, and at $10 a month, you can’t beat it. Ipsy is a monthly mailing that always includes a cute little makeup bag containing three to five full and sample-sized makeup and beauty items. This bag is always lots of fun! Here are the goods:

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So many fun things in here this month. Plus, there is a postcard where you can fill out why you think that 2014 is your year, and then Instagram or Facebook it to enter a big giveaway. Here are the details:

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Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Natural: Any time I get a nice, natural lip balm, I am a happy girl. Mica Beauty has a nice feel and takes a nice shine without looking goopy. I layer it over Chap-stick (like I do with almost anything I put on my lips) and it still lasts awhile.  Cute color, too! The full-size for this gloss is a whopping $30, but this sample is more than half the full size, so great deal!

Nicka K Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissues: 10 pack ($2.49) This is another one of those things that is always a keeper. I can put this in my gym bag and never have to worry about scaring people in the pool with my raccoon eyes. These are pre-moistened with a water-based cucumber solution, so they feel really nice on your skin and give it that fresh feeling that only cucumbers can give. The product information said these are made of “delicate spun lace” which kind of made me laugh. I feel like maybe I should be laying them out as doilies instead of washing off my makeup with them. Pretty fancy.

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Sexy Hair Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner: travel size ($6.00) This stuff smells really nice, which is a must for a leave-in. It is formulated to help repair color-treated hair and add softness and manageability without over-proteinizing your hair. I am not sure what over-proteinizing is, but it sounds dangerous. The reviews for this spray are top-knotch, and I am ready to get in on it. Guess I should shower first.

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Pencil in Penny: Ipsy is the reason I totally fell in love with Elizabeth Mott mascara, and now she is making shadow-slash-eyeliners, so naturally, I am on it. This is a waterproof gel pencil, so the color lasts a long time. I got a copper color that I think will look great as a liner, but I probably wouldn’t use it all over the lid. This is very blendable, and I love the texture. Another awesome product from my the company that makes my hands-down favorite makeup item. I am excited.

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Le Anni Eco 3-in-1 Revolution: This is a combination of toner, serum and moisturizer. I use the latter two everyday, but I don’t use a toner that often, Am I missing out?  I swiped a bit of this across my cheek and it had a little tingle to it. It is formulated to help tighten skin, fight breakouts and wrinkles, and reduce dark circles. This is handmade and all natural, plus it is gluten free. I like getting products from small, natural companies like this and am excited to use this for a few full applications.

While I do not provide values for samples, this month’s glam bag definitely exceeded its ten-dollar cost. I love all the items and am so excited to have a new Elizabeth Mott product to try. The little bag is cute this month, too, although I am working on quite the collection and need to start passing them on to friends. As always, subscribers get great coupons for the the full-sized items in their bags, as well. Another great ipsy!

Birchbox Review- January 2014

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Birchbox arrived today, along with ipsy. Sooooo, let’s go in alphabetical order and do Birchbox first. Birchbox is a monthly box that includes three to five sample- and full-sized beauty items. It is $10 per month (get a free box when you sign up for a 12-month subscription) and the items are based on a questionnaire that you fill out, so not everybody gets the same items. They also do a men’s version for $20 per month. Here are the goods for January:

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The first thing I loved was the cards. I love cute little stationary or hangable postcards like that. If I had an office right now, I would hang it in there, but since I am without, I will tuck it in my laptop bag. Super cheerful.  Lots of pink going on in up in there this month. Here are the details:

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Camille Beckman Body Butter sample: Ok, so this stuff feels great and smells great, however, when it comes to body butter, this sample would not even cover one arm. It is a tiny sample. It is adorable, don’t get me wrong, and I like the product, but here in Colorado, we buy our moisturizers by the gallon, which lasts us about a week. I am putting this in the bag-o-beauty so that someone who has more normal skin can really get some use out of it.

Besame Cosmetics Lipstick sampler: I love the presentation of this sample. It is several lipstick colors on match-like sticks in a match-like box. So cute! I do not wear lipstick, and instead always go for gloss or balm, but this is creative and cute. They get an A for presentation.

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Klorane Dry Shampoo with oat milk: I got this in the GlossyBox Net-a-Porter box in November, and it is good stuff. Dry shampoo is one of my favorite items to get in a boxes, and this one is quality. It smells nice and doesn’t leave your hair with a stiff feel.

Paula’s Choice RESIST BH9 for stubborn imperfections: This sample is so tiny, but apparently you only need a tiny bit. This is for use in diminishing scars, rosacea, and blemishes, among other things. It is to be used as an on-spot treatment, or you use a small amount over your entire face. I have a few imperfections that I would love to disappear, so I am going to give this a try.

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Under Armour braided headband: This headband is super cute, and it looks like it might actually stay in my hair. Thus far, I have yet to have a no-slip headband for working out actually not slip. I might have a cone head or something, but as soon as I start running, those headbands find their way to the top of my head, where they sit like halos. I put this one on and bounced around a little and it didn’t budge. I will have to give it another test over three or four miles, but it looks like it might just be my new go-to headband. The full-size of this headband is actually a three-pack, which means I will lose them all within three weeks instead of one.

And just another shout-out for the cute Birchbox postcards. I really loved these and am looking for places to hang my favorites.

While I do not add values for samples, the links provided show the price of the full-sized items that are sampled. Even with all sample sizes this time and no full-sized items, I still felt like this box far exceeded the ten-dollar pricetag. Birchbox is always one of my favorite boxes and the new brands to try, as well as the fun lifestyle items are always on track.

As a side note, I ordered the Beauty Protector trio from Birchbox last week after sampling it and loving it in my December box. Well, today, I got the box that it was supposed to come in, but it was totally empty. The post office had plastered stickers on it saying it was unsealed and empty, but then they sent me the empty box anyway. So I called Birchbox, talked to a super nice rep, and they are resending me my stuff right away. They were so easy to deal with, and customer service like that is so important to me.  Just a side note!

 

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