October 2014 Citrus Lane Box

Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription box for new borns through five year olds.  It was recently purchased by Care.com, and I feel like the quality of the boxes have changed.  They have been including few items and one higher value item.  The box is $29.00 for a monthly subscription, but if you purchase longer subscriptions the price goes down.  If you are interested in trying out Citrus Lane, you can use my referral link to get 50% off your first box.

My daughter’s October Citrus Lane Box arrived yesterday.  She received a box for a 38 month old girl.  The box contained four products.  Two of them were from companies that have been in Citrus Lane boxes before, and two of them are new to Citrus Lane.  My favorite item in the box is the Janod Dominoes ($12.99).  I really like these for two reasons: first, they are completely developmentally appropriate, and second, they are from a brand that has not appeared in one of my little one’s boxes before.  They are made out of thick cardboard and have exotic animals on them.  My daughter’s favorite item in the box is the Little Adventurers Super Hero Cape ($16.99).  When she saw it she decided that it would have to be added to her princess, fairly Halloween costume, so now she is going to be a princess, fairy, super hero for Halloween.

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The two repeat brands in the month’s box are Hohner Kids and Annie’s.  We have a lot of Hohner Kids instruments because they make durable instruments that are perfect for free play.  We have several sets of the maracas ($7.99) already, but they are one of the instruments that helped us with opposites (up/down, loud/quiet, out/in).  The Annie’s was a little bag of mix and a coupon.  Annie’s is always a hit in our house.

I think this was the best box we have received recently.  I am happy that Citrus Lane included four items this month and two that are new to us.

Ecocentric Mom September/October 2014

I am so excited about this month’s Ecocentric Mom box because it was a great sampling of organic, healthy products.  Ecocentric Mom started off as a mom owned company that sent wonderful eco-friendly packages out on a monthly basis.  Ecocentric Mom has undergone several changes over the past year and a half, including that it is now under new ownership and it is a bi-monthly box.  However, the companies still offers three types of boxes: Mom-to-be, Mom, and Mom and Baby box.  All of these boxes contain a wide array of products that are good for you and the environment.  I subscribed when the boxes were $18.00, so I still pay $18.00 every other month.  Boxes are now $24.00 every other month.  I have always really liked Ecocentric Mom because they send a nice selection of products out and it is always a really good value.IMG_2806

I was a little disappointed in the July/August box.  While it was a high value box, most of the products I will never use.  This month once again had a few repeat brands and products that I will not use, but it also had a bunch of new companies and products that I am in love with.  The highest value item is Bioray After the Flow ($58.00).  It is an herbal supplement for after your period.  While it is a high quality supplement, there are a few ingredients in it that I will not use while nursing.  Ecocentric Mom included a Bioray Before the Flow in the last box, and I was bummed about it, so I was not thrilled to see this.  However, the WooBamboo Toothbrush ($4.95) and the eco-ditty Reusable Sandwich Bag ($13.99), made me super happy.  I have never had a bamboo toothbrush before, and I really like it.  Bamboo is naturally anti-microbial, which is a huge plus for me.  I always try to pack my little one’s lunch in reusable bags, and I really like the quality and the print on the eco-ditty bag.  My daughter was also very happy to see a bag of Annie’s Organic Cheddar Snack Mix, which she put right in her lunch box for the next day.  There was a coupon for Annie’s.

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In addition to the items I loved or disliked, there are a bunch of other products that make the box a winner for me.  There are samples of PureProC Silk Smoothing Gel and Silk Hydrating Serum.  They are both made with only a few natural ingredients, which is something I am always a fan of.  Another repeat brand in the box is 7th Heaven Natural Skin Masks ($2.99).  I am excited to use this when I have enough time because 7th Heaven makes great masks.  The last skin care product is a sample of Jillian Wright Breakout Blocker Serum.  The sample is a little too small to tell how it will really work.  The product is rather expensive, $75.00 for a 29ml container, so I probably will not be purchasing it because I am not sure if it will really work with my skin.  The last two goodies in the box are a Bindi Masala ($3.99) seasoning packet made by Arora Creations.  I made string beans using this and they were delicious.  Finally there is a BioTerra Sleep Herbs ($4.99) dietary supplement.  I keep seeing these on Abe’s Market, but I never buy them because I have no problem sleeping.  However, I will be giving these away to a good home.

After getting this box, I can’t wait to receive my next Ecocentric Mom box.  If you want to subscribe, I recommend following Ecocentric Mom on Facebook or signing up for their emails because they often send out very good coupon codes.  If you received an Ecocentric Mom box this month, what was your favorite item?

Conscious Box Sweater Weather

I used to subscribe to Conscious Box but after getting several disappointing boxes I cancelled my subscription.  Over the last few months Conscious Box made a lot of changes, so when they offered to send me this free box to review I was interested in seeing what their boxes look like now.  They now offer two different box options.  The first is the taster box, which has 5-8 items per month.  Subscriptions to the taster box start at $6.95 a month.  The second option is the plus box.  The plus box has 8-12 items per month, and these boxes start at $16.95 per month.  Both boxes come in gluten-free, vegan, and regular.

The box I received is a gluten-free plus box, and it was packed.  I noticed a couple of really big changes in the packaging.  The first thing is that there is now a “theme” and the second thing is that they now have cute packaging.

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This box had a large array of gluten-free foods.  Everything from soda to lentil crackers to coffee.  All of the foods were single servings, but I think that a single serving is enough to be able to tell if you like a food or not.  There several different types of Eco Teas, and I have already purchased more of them.

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In addition to all of the foods there were beauty and nutrition samples.  There were two samples of vitamins, a Hero Nutritionals kids multivitamin and a Nordic Naturals vitamin C.  Both of these vitamins are made with high quality ingredients.  Conscious Box also included a Dr. Jacobs castile soap trio.  They can be used for lots of purposes including as shampoo or as laundry detergent.  They are perfect size for traveling, so I am saving them for our next trip.  There are also two brands of samples of anti-aging products.  One is Love for Humanity Organics: Anti-Aging Eye Serum and the other is Own Beauty Anti-Aging Trio.  All of these samples are so small that I am not sure if I could really tell if they made any difference.  The last sample is of Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic, which got used on a skinned knee.  It smells nice and it not too gooey.

IMG_2804The last thing that was included was a large selection of coupons for products that included a $100 wine voucher for nakedwines.com and a $15 credit for Urban Remedy.com.

All in all, I think that Conscious Box has made some improvements to their boxes, but I am not impressed enough to start subscribing again.  What do other people think about the new and improved Conscious Boxes?

 

Elementary Box

Elementary Box is a relatively new subscription box service designed for elementary school teachers.  Each box contains treats for you (the teacher), goodies for your students, fun things for your classroom, and a few teaching tips.   Elementary Box customizes the shipments, so they have things that are perfect for your grade level.  I was sent a complementary box to review.  I teach middle school so most of my students are a little older than the target audience, but the school I work at is 1st-12th.

When this package arrived the first thing I noticed was how nicely it was packaged.  It was in a box with the company’s logo on it, and it was shipped priority mail.  Inside the box there is a teacher tips sheet glued to the top and a personalized note on top of the products.  Most of the tips are geared towards younger children.  The second grade teacher that I showed them to loved them.

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I love the teacher treat this month.  It is three fun pens and a pen holder.  I am constantly having my pens permanently borrowed by students, so I am always on the lookout for funky pens.  I am sure that these pens will not be confused with anyone else’s.  I also like that I now have another idea for how to recycle tin cans with a little bit of washi.

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For the students there are pumpkin stickers.  I already used these on tests that I passed back yesterday.  Kids are never too old to get stickers on their papers.  For the classroom is a copy of Fairest by Gail Carson Levine.  I teach at an all boys school, so I am not sure too many of them will read it, but I started reading it the other day during study hall.  Many of the boys told me that their sisters or friends were reading it.   photo 2-6The last item in the box is Math Sleuth, a fun interactive math game for kids.  I gave this to the second grade math teacher to try out with her class.  She gives it two thumbs up.

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I think this is a really cute idea for a box.  I could not find the exact value for the pens, but I am pretty sure the items are pretty equal in value to the price of the box.  These boxes are $29.00 a month, and you can do a month to month subscription or a six or twelve month subscription.  I think these would make a perfect holiday or end of year gift for K-5 teachers.  They might also be a perfect subscription to get yourself if you are a home schooling parent.

#MSA01 Quarterly Box

I have had a great day.  First, it is a Saturday and I had a great day with my family.  Second, a Trader Joe’s opened a couple of miles for our house.  Third, my My Subscription Addiction Quarterly Box arrived today.  Quarterly is a subscription service that provides boxes from an array of curators.  The boxes are sent out every three months, and Quarterly does not charge your credit card until they are mailing out your box.  The prices of the boxes vary depending upon who the curator is.  My Subscription Addiction is curated by Liz Cadman, the founder of My Subscription Addiction.  This box is $50.00, however if you have never ordered from Quarterly before, you can use the code FIRSTBOX10 to save $10.00 on your first order.  This box did sell out, so you might want to order soon if you want #MSA02.

When I first saw that Liz Cadman was curating a box, I knew that it would be fabulous because she is so thoughtful about her reviews and she really does not like many of the same products I dislike.  This box did not disappoint.  In fact, it was amazing!  Each Quarterly box includes a note from the curator, and Liz started her note out with, “Since our first box is right at the beginning of my favorite season, I thought a “Fall Favorites”- themed box would be a great way to start off!”  Liz did a very nice job explaining why she included each items, and I love all five of the products she included.

Liz’s first pick is Fig + Yarrow Cardamom + Coffee Body Scrub ($22.00).  This body scrub smells amazing, and it will be perfect for dry cold weather skin.  I have never used Fig + Yarrow before, but I am going to have to look into the rest of their line because I like that the products are made with organic and natural ingredients.

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The second goodie in the box is my favorite.  It is a decadent Raw Naturals Candle in Chai Latte ($24.00).  Is smells like fall, and it is almost too pretty to burn.  However, I will be burning this because I want my house to smell as good as this candle does.  Like the body scrub, this candle is made with high quality ingredients.

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The most expensive thing in the box is a full size Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($65.00).  This should also help take care of dry cold weather skin.  I can’t wait to try this out and see how my skin does with it.

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There is also a fabulously soft Simonetta Infinity Knit Scarf ($25.00).  It comes in four different colors, and I think it is really pretty.  I want a blanket that is as cozy as this scarf.  Although, I think it might drive me crazy because it sheds everywhere.

IMG_2753The last treat in the box is a Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss ($15.00).  This is one of Liz’s favorite subscription box discoveries.  The gloss also came in four colors.  There was a pink one in my box, which I do not love, but my three-year old was thrilled about.  I already have one in fig from another box, and I really like it because it is free of all the bad stuff that is found in so many make-up products.

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Liz also included discount codes for a few of the companies in the box and a 75% off coupon for JUSTFAB.  I hate when boxes include coupons for other sub services.  However, since this box was already such a great value, I really did not mind it that much.  If anyone want the code, let me know.  Overall, I think this was a fabulous first box, and I can’t wait to see what comes in the next box.

September 3.5 Year Old Box

Citrus Lane is a subscription box service for children ages 0-5 years.  They say they send out 4-5 items a month.  Although, they only included three items in August’s box.  The boxes range in price, and you can usually find a pretty good deal on them.  I snag a year subscription last November for about $144.00 or $12.00/box.  If you are interested in trying it out, you can use this link, which will get you 50% off your first box.  However, they have been offers for $7.00 boxes, so you might want to sign up for Citrus Lane emails and see what offers they send you.

A few days ago I posted about the 4.5 year old Citrus Lane box I ordered.  I was really pleased with that box, and I thought they did an awesome job.  It is a good thing I ordered that box because the box that came as part of my daughter’s normal subscription was a bust.  Two of the items in it are the same as the other box, the Little Red Hen Book & CD Set ($9.99) from Barefoot Books and the Cinnamon Crunch ($0.80) from Somersault Snacks.  I was a little surprised that they put the same book in the two boxes, but I understand why Citrus Lane included the snacks in both.

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Citrus Lane also included a Melissa & Doug Red Shape Sorting Clock ($14.99) and Pieces Foam Bath Puzzle ($11.99) from Boon.  I dislike both of these items, and my little one asked if the bath puzzle was for a baby.  I don’t understand why it was included in the 3.5 year box when it is for 18+ months.  The clock is okay, but we have a much nicer Hape clock.

Overall, the value of the box is here, but I just don’t love the items that were selected.  I wonder if I would have liked this box more if I had not received the other one first.

$7.00 Citrus Lane Box

I have had a subscription to Citrus Lane for my daughter since she was just a couple of months old.  I have always used her correct age for the boxes, but I have been wondering if I should age her up a little.  When Citrus Lane continuously sent me emails offering $7.00 boxes, I decided to order one for her that is aged up by a year.  I am really happy that I decided to because I am pretty sure she will love everything in this month’s box for 4.5 year olds.  The first item is a Vehicle Puzzle ($10.99) by Crocodile Creek.  This is a brand new item for Crocodile Creek, and it is not yet available on their website.  There are three styles of this puzzle: a dump truck, a fire truck, and an ice-cream truck.  My little one is obsessed with ice-cream trucks, so it will be a winner.  They are really cute because the puzzle box is shaped like the vehicle and it has working wheels.  Next, there is a Creativity Can Stories ($9.99) from Creativity for Kids.  The can is filled with all kinds of craft and story telling materials, including a blank book and objects to make puppets.  There is also a Barefoot Book.  This month Citrus Lane included the Little Red Hen Book and CD set ($9.99).  This is one Barefoot Book that we do not have, and I love the ones with CDs to listen to during our commute each day.  The final item is a snack pouch of Cinnamon Crunch Somersault Snacks ($0.80).  Citrus Lane also threw in a coupon for me to give a friend a free box.

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Overall, I think this is a great box for $7.00.  I am disappointed that it is repeat brands (again).  However, I can’t complain because I only paid $7.00, and I think every item will be used.  If you want to try out a Citrus Lane box for $7.00, use the code FLASH7 and order your box before the September 17, 2014 at 11:59pm.

Pick Your Plum September Grab Box

I was on the fence about ordering another Pick Your Plum Grab Box because I still had most of the last one I ordered packed away, but the items that I do use from the box are worth more than the $34.99 I paid for it.  So, I ended up ordering one,  and I am happy that I did.  This time the grab boxes were $35.99 with free shipping (USPS 2-day priority flat rate box), which made them a dollar more than they usually are.  Pick Your Plum promises at least $80.00 worth of stuff in them, and each box is different.  I love the mystery aspect of this box, which is why I ordered it.  Last time I got a great skirt, lots of cupcake items, and amazing personalized ribbon that I use.  This time I was hoping for more crafting items (washi tape, twine, stamps) when I ordered.

I did not receive many crafting items, but I did get a bunch of items that I had been eyeing when they were originally on Pick Your Plum, and I will use almost of the contents.  Whoever packed my grab box put in lots of collapsable vases.  I used to have one of these that I picked up at the MoMA when I was in college, and I loved it.  At some point in all them moves that followed I lost it, so I was really surprised and excited to see four of them in the box.

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The other flat items that were slid in the edge of the box with the vases were three packages of wrapping paper.  I use a ton of wrapping paper, so I am always happy to have more.  Especially because this wrapping paper is so pretty.

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To go along with the wrapping paper there are lots of items that could be used to set up a table for a little party.  There are cute paper plates and cups, as wells as cupcake liners and little goody boxes.  The personalized item in this box is the red silicon spatula.  It has my last name on it.  I love the little personalized touch that Pick Your Plum adds.  There is also a flower shaped bamboo spoon.  I will be using all of these items.

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At one point or another I considered buying all of the items in the next photo.  I go through tons of sticky tabs, so I am excited to use the nifty little books of them.  I also adore the little alphabet stamps, and I think that I will be able to use them to make amazing gift labels.

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The box also had a small assortment of clothing items.  I will get tons of use out of the footie socks because I wear them all the time.  The are more fun then the ones I already owned, and they fit my big feet.  The grey t-shirt is long sleeve and 95% cotton.  It will be a perfect layering t.  The leggings are something I never would have purchased, but I can wear them to sleep in or on lazy days at home.

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Pick Your Plum popped in a fun little drawing board that is great for my little to use in the car.  I almost ordered one of these along with the grab box, but I decided to skip it.  To round the box out there are a couple of repeat items, the wooden cut outs and the gold necklace.  Both items were still in the first grab box I ordered and I just transferred these ones right into that box.

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Overall I am super happy with this box.  I am going to use 95% of the things, and I never would have bought them individually.  I am not sure I would say that it is $80.00 worth of products, but I got my $35.99 worth out of this grab box.

What I am excited about

Happy Friday! I am very excited to be finishing up my second week of school. All of my students this year are exceptional. Also, my daughter is loving her new pre-school. I think her favorite thing is that she has yoga twice a week, and she gets to bring her yoga mat with her (the mat was from a Lalaalu Box).  The last few weeks have been very busy so I am looking forward to an entirely unplanned weekend.  I am hoping my little sleeps in at least one morning, so I can catch up on sleep.  I am also thinking about working on our garden and making a trip to the farmers market.   

Box wise I am excited about a few things. First, the Pick Your Plum shipping notice I received today for my grab box.  Look for a review in the next few days.  Second, Indie Gift Box is releasing the September box on September 8.  It is office party themed, and it is going to include products by the following: 

It looks like it should be a great box.  Lastly, it is now September, which means My Subscription Addiction Quarterly should ship any day.  I will keep you all posted on what is in it.  

Stitch Fix #2

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service.  They send you five pieces of clothes and accessories per “fix”, and they charge a $20.00 styling fee.  If you purchase any of the items from your fix the $20.00 is applied to the cost of the items.  If you purchase all of the items in your fix, then you receive an additional 25% off of everything.  When you sign up for Stitch Fix you fill out a detailed Style Profile and you can make a Pinterest board for your stylist to look at.  Also, after each fix they ask you for detailed feedback.

I signed up for Stitch Fix back in March, and I ordered my first fix to arrive in time for my birthday.  I ended up not keeping anything from that fix because I was not in love with any of the items.  When I sent that fix back I signed up for a second one to arrive right before school starts.  That fix arrived yesterday.  After my last fix I requested all clothing items, and in my personal notes to the stylist I asked for items that would be good for going back to work.  I am not sure that my idea of appropriate work clothing for a teacher at an all boys school and Stitch Fix’s ideas are the same.

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My fix included no pants because I just bought several pairs for work and fun, so I requested that I not be sent any.  The first two items are maxi dresses, which while they are great for hanging out in, I do not consider work appropriate attire.  I also think that they are both pretty summery.  I understand that I live in TX, but I am pretty sure I could find dresses like this on clearance at most stores.  The first one is the Elizabet Striped Maxi Dress ($54.00).  It looked cute on paper, but when I tried it on it was somewhat see through.  That made me send it back.

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I really like the second dress ($58.00).  I like the style and the fit, but I decided to send it back because I am not sure I would wear it enough to justify keeping it.

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I also sent back the Lavern Tie-Dye Maxi Skirt ($58.00).  This is a really cute skirt that I love, but I have one that is almost identical.  The skirt was really well made, and I think  it would have worn well.

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I ended up keeping the most casual item in the box, the Zooey Raglan French Terry Knit Shirt ($44.00).  It was so comfortable and it looks cute with skinny jeans.  I will wear this all the time.  At first I thought that $44.00 was too much for this shirt, but then I looked at the LA Made website, and it is $92.00 on there.

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The last item in the fix is the Ventura Chevron Print Keyhole Detail Tank ($48.00).  This shirt was made with defective material.  I sent Stitch Fix a picture of it and they offered to send me out a new one if I wanted to keep it.  However, since the first one was defective I did not want to take a chance on the second one.  It was a nice shirt, but I don’t think it was worth the $48.00.

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While I was not in love with this fix, I liked it more than my first fix.  Stitch Fix’s customer service is superb, and I already signed up to get my next fix at the end of November.  I highly recommend Stitch Fix, and if you want to give it a try here is my referral link.  If you use my link, I will get credit towards my next fix, so thank you!