Monday, 22 December 2014

Little Life Box Review - December 2014 - Canadian Health Subscription Box + PROMO CODE

This box was received complimentary for review.
This post contains referral links.
What is it? Little Life Box How Much? $19.99 CDN per month plus $3.95 shipping. Tax extra. Save on 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions. What’s in it?  Over a dozen organic, natural health conscious samples. Vegan box available as well. 

 Little Life Box is a Canadian subscription service that sends a box full of healthy and sustainable products for you to sample and discover. Products may include snacks, cosmetics, supplements, vitamins, and more. Items included in the box varies each month, and Little Life Box guarantees that you will never receive the exact same product sample twice. Little Life Box offers a regular box or a vegan box.

This is the December box so it was festive and fun, packaged with bright red tissue, a lovely silver bow, and a rustic wooden moose ornament. 

 First look - packed full!

Little Life Box doesn't include a product card, since there are so many variations of the monthly box. Instead, subscribers can check out a list of products on-line.  I've mentioned before that this has been a frustrating experience because the products aren't organised by month, or even alphabetically. Little Life Box must have been listening because they added a "search" box to the page! It's made things much easier.

Camino Chili & Spice Hot Chocolate (275g full size, $8.49) - Ontario
A blend of pure cocoa with invigorating chili, ginger and cinnamon to arouse your senses. Spice up your day. (No added milk. Prepare with your choice of milk or milk substitute.)
I am going to use this to make chili spice brownies! Chocolate and chili is a delicious combo!

Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites (2 x 28g packs, $3.32)
All natural, no preservatives, nothing artificial. I liked the orange flavour but the apple ones were strange.

Riega Foods Turkey Style Gravy Mix (2 x 20g, $3.13)
This is a gluten-free and vegan gravy mix. Perfect for the upcoming holidays!

Gogo Quinoa Altura Pink Salt (250g, $2.83) - Quebec
The Altura non-treated pink salt is harvested at 3000 meters above sea level in the heart of the Andes Mountains. The unique and elegant pink color comes from the minerals and trace elements found in the pure ancient sea salt deposits.

Camino Coconut Dark Chocolate Bar (100g full size, $4.29) - Ontario
The Caribbean beach. Taste the delicious flakes of coconut swimming in our rich dark chocolate. The taste of summer in every bite.
Chocolate is always good and Camino chocolate is fair trade and certified organic.

Four O'Clock Teas in Carrot Cake & Black Forest Cupcake (4 tea bags,  $0.88) - Quebec
These are both black teas from the limited edition Winter Collection. I can't wait to try them! And this is a Canadian company! A full size box is $3.49 for 16 tea bags at London Drugs.

Gogo Quinoa Pancake Mix (150g, $1.95) - Quebec
A unique mix with a similar taste and texture compared to traditional pancakes. This same mix can be used to make waffles.
This is a gluten free, vegan pancake mix made from quinoa flour. Excellent!

Bio-Vert HE Laundry Detergent (2 load sample, $0.67) - Quebec
Bio-Vert eco-friendly HE (high efficiency) laundry detergent is formulated to be tough on stains in warm and cold water.  
This is another Canadian company and it can be purchased online from!

Wood's Body Goods Coconut Lip Balm ($4.50)  - Saskatchewan
Lip balm is great for keeping your lips silky smooth! Our unscented ‘White Chocolate’ smells of heavenly, rich chocolate thanks to high amounts of unrefined, organic cocoa butter. Paraben and gluten-free. Yummy goodness. 
Idoine Anti Wrinkle Facial Cream (7g sample, $12) - Quebec
With its exceptional regenerating effects, this cream smoothes away wrinkles while acting against skin devitalisation. It penetrates and quickly tones your skin without the oily sensation.

Natera Hemp Seeds in Blackberry & Pomegranate (25g single serving x 2, $3.34) - BC

For a naturally refreshingly nutrition boost, try Blackberry-Pomegranate Natera Hemp Protein Powder. It’s a raw, whole food ultra-rich in protein, fiber, essential fatty and amino acids and omegas, vitamins, chlorophyll and calcium - blended with juicy anti-oxidant rich blackberries and pomegranate seeds. 

Natera Hemp Seeds in Vanilla (25g single serving, $1.67) - BC 
Our velvety Vanilla Hemp Protein Powder hits the spot for even the most discerning vanilla lover. It’s a raw, whole food ultra-rich in protein, fiber, essential fatty and amino acids and omegas, vitamins, chlorophyll and calcium - blended with pure natural vanilla. 

I've received these packets for the last three months and I think now I've received every flavour available, so that means I won't get getting any more. Time for new stuff!
Now Foods Better Stevia - 2 sample packets
I use liquid stevia in my daily tea. These packets will be handy for on-the-go.

The December Little Life Box  contained  13 products (20 samples) with an approximate retail value over $47. The best part of this box, and something I've never noticed before with Little Life Box, is that ten of the thirteen products are from Canadian companies! There's a great mix of products with everything from snacks to skincare represented. I also like that Little Life Box  includes multiples of some of the smaller samples. It's hard to tell if you like a product with just one packet, and Little Life Box always includes multiples so you have a chance to really test and get a feel for each product. I really enjoyed this box and I look forward to the next one!

If you are interested in ordering a one month trial box to see what Little Life Box has to offer (rather than committing to a month-to-month recurring subscription), you can use promo code jill20 to get 20% off the cost of a trial box. This brings the cost down to $21.55 plus tax, including shipping.
Click here if you are interested in trying Little Life Box. Order by December 31st and you will get the January box!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Luxe Box Review - Regular Edition Winter 2014 - Canadian Beauty Subscription Box + DISCOUNT!

This post contains referral links.
What is it? Luxe Box - Save $2 per box using my link!
How Much? $26 per quarter, $50 semi-annually, $96 yearly. Shipping included.
What’s in it? 7-8 Trial-size products every season (4x per year)  

Luxe Box is a Canadian subscription service that sends new and upcoming beauty products from premium brands. Boxes ship four times per year and include free shipping.

At Luxe Box, our mission is to help consumers better discover, try and purchase quality beauty and lifestyle products through a unique experience.
Each season Luxe Box offers some add-ons and upgrades. These are the ones they offered for Winter season. I have two Luxe Box accounts so I opted for a regular box for one, and the Chalet Chic upgrade box for the other.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Luxe Box has the best packaging of any subscription box! The inner gift box is great. Sturdy and luxurious, if you could describe a cardboard box as luxurious! I use mine to store other samples and my Julep collection.

The samples are tucked into a satiny drawstring bag. I use mine to store undergarments when I travel. 

Luxe Box doesn't include a traditional product card. Instead they load all the items you receive onto your "Personal Product Dashboard", which is available through your Luxe Box account.

At first when I opened my box, I wasn't sure if this was the Chalet Chic upgrade or the regular box. I had to log into my account to be sure. This is definitely the regular box, but five of the eight items are dupes for the Chalet Chic upgrade box. I will get back to that thought at the end of this post.

Sample - butterLONDON Moisture Matte Lipstick
This sample was guaranteed to be in every regular Winter Edition Luxe Box. It truly is a sample only. There's enough under the foil for one application, and barely that.

Paula's Choice Clinical KP Treatment Cloths (10 cloths, $14)
Wipe your KP woes away. And banish "bacne", too. These easy-to-use keratosis pilaris wipes get rid of those little red bumps (aka chicken skin) and reveal smooth, even skin anywhere on the body.  

This product is one of the reasons I upgraded one account to the Chalet Chic box, so I will end up with two of these and I'm thrilled. I've heard great things about Paula's Choice.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo (30ml, $4.10)
Freshen dirty hair, create extra volume, and extend your beautiful blowout with a touch of amika’s Perk Up Dry Shampoo. The only dry shampoo on the market with no aluminum and no talc, once you try it you’ll never go back to your old stuff.

I received this in my September Topbox and I love it. Best dry shampoo I've tried and smells great. I will post the same comment on the size/price that I did with my September post thought: I'm a little unclear on the size/pricing for this product. On the can, the volume is listed as net weight in ounces and grams, however the Topbox pricing is based on a liquid measure of milliliters. A 1oz travel size is 43.87ml, which means the 0.75oz sample size received is the equivalent of 30ml. Luxe Box claims a 30ml can is worth $10, but it's probably the 1oz can that retails for that much. A full size can is 5.3oz, and worth $29 (although you can find it much cheaper through Amazon). Based on that, this sample size is only worth $4.10.

ModelCo Power Lash Mascara (Full size, $20)
Power Lash is an intensely black, lengthening mascara. The formula glides on smoothly and draws each lash out to show-stopping size while the unique brush reaches and beautifully lengthens even the tiniest of lashes to glamour-eyes in an instant.

This product is another dupe from the Chalet Chic upgrade. Mascara is always good though. I'm trying to be good about replacing mine every 3 months, so the more mascara the better!

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Napa Vineyard (Full size, $9.99)
Introducing six creamy, full-coverage shades of matte lip color in a modern crayon. Lightweight moisture for a comfortable, everyday wear formula infused with Shea Butter, Kendi Oil, and Jojoba Oil. It's color that truly cares for your lips!

This is a great dark colour but I already have something similar to this, so this one may end up on my swap board.

Nicole by OPI in Profoundly Purple (3.75ml sample, $3.99)
This deep eggplant has soulful beauty. Nicole by OPI puts salon quality at your fingertips…from the colorful world of OPI.

This sample is TINY! Nicole by OPI polish isn't super expensive so I don't understand why they wouldn't just include a full size. Regardless, it's a great colour for winter and I plan to use it tonight! This is another product that I will be receiving in the Chalet Chic upgrade box.

Biotherm Aquasource Cocoon (15ml sample, $15)
48h deep hydration for normal to dry skin. In winter, your skin can lose up to 50% of its hydration and become dry. Discover Biotherm’s innovation: New Aquasource Cocoon. Nourishing as a balm, yet light as a gel.
This is a great sample size. It's about 1/3rd of a full size. The lotion is inside a heavy glass jar, modeled after the full size. It's pretty luxurious for a sample. And once again... this is another dupe item from the Chalet Chic upgrade box.

Loose Button Eyelash Curler ($20)
Give your lashes their biggest curl and best volume ever with our Loose Button eyelash curler.

Luxe Box typically always includes one tool item in every box, so this season it's an eyelash curler. No complaints. I'm actually in the market for a new one. I just question the value on the Loose Button branded items. It seems inflated to me.

My regular edition Winter 2014 Luxe Box included eight products, with an estimated retail value over $87. This box cost me $24 CDN with a yearly subscription, and that includes tax and shipping! Three of the products are full size and the rest are deluxe samples or travel sized. I think this box is a good representation of a typical regular edition Luxe Box: eight samples, high value, mix of brands and categories, and mix of full and sample size. It's actually quite similar to Topbox, except you get 8 products every two months instead of 4 products every month. I'm pleased with everything included in this box and will use most, if not all of it. My only complaint is not with the box itself, but with the way Luxe Box curates the boxes. I've made the same comments in the past - there is too much duplication between the regular edition boxes and the upgrade boxes. I paid $6 to upgrade to the Chalet Chic Winter Edition box. I'm not sure why we are having to pay for upgrades when they include the same items in the regular boxes. Where is the exclusivity? Five of my eight products from this box will be in the Chalet Chic box as well. What is the point of paying more? I will comment more on this when I do my Chalet Chic box review.

The next Luxe Box will be shipping in Spring of 2015. If you are interested in Luxe Box, use my link to save $2 per box!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Topbox Review - December 2014 - Canadian Beauty Subscription Box

What is it? Topbox
How Much? $12 per month plus tax, shipping included
What’s in it?  4 deluxe beauty samples  
Topbox is a Canadian subscription service that sends four deluxe samples from top beauty brands each month. Topbox is the premiere monthly beauty subscription box in Canada and at only $12 per month, it's a great intro box for those interested in what the beauty box craze is all about.

My December Topbox shipped on the 15th and arrived on the 17th. As usual, I selected a regular box, with "eco-packaging". The eco-packaging means my products are packaged in a reusable organza bag instead of the signature tube.

I didn't see any spoilers this month, so I had no idea what to expect. I also make a point to never read the product card until I've completely unboxed everything. Product cards spoil the initial fun!

Faith Aromatherapy & Apothecary Gingerbread Shower Gel (251ml full size, $15.99)
This is a great full sized product with a lovely holiday scent. My bottle wasn't fully sealed though. It looks like someone peeled the foil seal back to take a sniff. 

Marsk Natural Mineral Eye Shadow in Rich List (1.2g full size, $22.50)
This is a glitzy gold mineral eye shadow. Not totally sure how I feel about it... might end up on my swap board.

Kinetics Nail Polish in Ice Smoothie (15ml full size, $12)
This is the third Kinetics polish I've received from Topbox. Time for something new, me thinks.

Eslor Introductory Collection
I received this set in a previous Beauty Box 5 box and I wasn't impressed then either. Some people have said these four 5ml foil packets are worth $15. I feel foil packets are worth nothing, no matter the retail value of the full size product.

My December Topbox included four items, with an approximate retail value of $65.49 with the Eslor packets, or $50.49 without. It's a decent value, considering this box only costs $13.44 with tax (in BC), but I'm not super thrilled. Three of my four items are full size, which is great, but did I really need another Kinetics nail polish? I love the body wash, but the eye shadow is so-so for me. I'm really torn this month because I enjoy Topbox, but with new top level subscription services shipping to Canada now, there's a lot more competition. I'm not sure if Topbox will make the cut in the new year.

Click here if you are interested in checking out Topbox.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bespoke Post Black Box Review - Bespoke Post Black Friday Deal

Over Black Friday weekend, Bespoke Post offered a great promo that I couldn't pass up.  With every $45 purchase, customers received The Bespoke Post Black Box absolutely free. The Black Box was said to be a super secret package full of fantastic stocking stuffers for the man in your life.
Practical. Aromatic. Fresh. Boozy. And above all: secret.
This classified assembly of goods is worth over $45, and it’s all plenty enviable. Use them as the season’s best stocking stuffers, or keep them all for yourself. We won’t judge.
Curious yet?
I put in an order and received one Black Box. I decided to share the unboxing here so those of you that didn't place an order can see what you missed. Maybe this will help you decide whether or not you'll get in on the Bespoke Post promo next year.

First look

Dr. Squatch Hand Made Soap in Gold Moss Scrub (5oz, $6)
I also received this in my Bespoke Post Refresh box.

Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste (10ml,  $1.40)
This is another item from the Bespoke Post Refresh box.

Stolen Riches Dress Laces ($17.50)
Expensive laces! My brother-in-law might get some use from these.

Line of Trade Leather Cord Carry (~$15)
Any idea what this does?

It's a cord wrap! It's a custom piece so I have no idea what the retail value is, but given Line of Trade wallets and sunglass cases run from $60-75, I'm confident that this is worth at least $15.

Alfred Lane Solid Cologne in Bravado ($17.95)
This smells yummy. I'm going to save it for someone special.

Bittercube Blackstrap Bitters (1oz, $10)
I'm going to have to look up some recipes to see what to do with this one.

The Bespoke Post Black Box contained six items, with an estimated retail value of $67.85 US. I received this box free with a $45 purchase from Bespoke Post (I bought a cookbook I've been coveting and a couple small items for my Dad). Along with the tangible items, this box also included a $10 discount card (on $75 minimum purchase). I've seen one other variation on The Black Box. Instead of  the Dr. Squatch soap, I saw a box that contained a pair of sock, but everything else was the same. Overall, I'm happy I went for this Black Friday deal and I will definitely jump on it next year!

Click here to check out Bespoke Post.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Roasters Pack Review - December 2014 - Canadian Coffee Subscription Service + PROMO CODE

This box was provided complimentary for review.
What is it? The Roasters Pack
How Much? $29.99/month. Save on 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions. Includes tax and shipping!
What's in it? Three 4oz bags of fresh coffee beans, roasted by independent Canadian roasters

The Roasters Pack is a Canadian coffee subscription service. Each month, The Roasters Pack sends three roasts from three different artisan roasters. The independently roasted beans can make more than a month’s worth of coffee.

We dig to find coffee roasters that aren't available on your average grocery shelf but are producing exceptional coffee. For the one beverage most folks drink daily, we want to make it as enjoyable and interesting as possible. Our goal is to put the light on some of the smaller roasters who are creating a great product but don't have the means to get through the regular channels of distribution.

Along with three packages of coffee each month, The Roasters Pack also offers tasting notes and special extras. On their website, you can find in depth information about the roast and the roaster behind it.

All our roasters have a unique story to tell. Through videos, photographs and interviews of the roasters, we present a unique and intimate perspective on their craft. We share their coffee, their story and then share a portion of the profits with the charity.

First Look!

It's also worth noting that when you subscribe, you can chose your grind. Select from whole bean, coarse (for French Press), medium (for flat bottom drip filters), fine (for cone bottom drip filters), or extra fine (for espresso machines). 

The Roasters Pack included a December product information card, and a Tasting Guide. They also included a special "coffee cupping spoon" for slurping. I didn't know this, but a coffee cupping spoon is an "important part of any coffee evaluators' repertoire". They say that an aggressive slurp will spread the coffee to all areas of the tongue. Sounds a little like wine tasting, and I'm great at wine tasting!

Detour Coffee Roasters Holiday Blend - Roasted in Burlington, ON
This Holiday blend is a combination of two coffees – an Ethiopian Konga & a Kenyan Kiamwangi. Each with a separate roast profile, they’re combined with a deliberate ratio which creates the target taste profile. The tasting notes are butterum, dried cherries and molasses. The butterrum body is incredibly smooth and molasses sweetness combined with the dried fruit give a taste profile a bit like fruitcake – but without the dried texture that sometimes can be associated with the holiday cake.

De Mello Palheta Ethiopia Shay Ayra Light Roast - Roasted in Toronto, ON
These delicious beans by de Mello are processed in one of the more interesting methods - called natural processing. As opposed to the washed method, this leaves the cherry on the bean during drying process, which imparts significantly more flavour into the seed. And holy heck, this is a flavourful fruit-jam of a coffee. This taste profile of strawberries and red fruit combined with floral notes is absolutely flawless.

Anchored La Virgen Coffee Medium-Light Roast - Roasted in Dartmouth, NS
A little bit classic and a little bit adventurous. La Vergin from Anchored Coffee is that to a tee. Here's a quote from Dean Petty (who describes himself as the 'Owner/Fun Coordinator' at Anchored) on the adventure your taste buds will go on with this coffee. It’s not overly acidic or overly fruity, it’s still balanced, it still has really interesting and complex notes but it’s not smacking you in the face.

The December box from The Roasters Pack included three great coffee blends from Canadian roasters, along with a Cupping Spoon for coffee tasting. It's a really great subscription service and I enjoyed reading over the notes and interviews on each roast. I didn't realize there was such an art to coffee roasting and tasting. It's quite incredible! This would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. Gift subscriptions are available in 1, 3, 6, or 12 month increments. 

If you are interested in trying The Roasters Pack, use promo code CDNBOX5 to save $5 off your first month. The next issue of The Roasters Pack ships January 1st (or thereabouts).

Click here to check out The Roasters Pack.

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