Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Sprezza Box Review - February 2015 - Men's Subscription Box

This box was provided complimentary for review.
What is it? SprezzaBox
How Much? $28 per month plus $6 shipping to Canada (US$)
What’s in it? 4-5 menswear accessories/grooming products to help you get dapper

SprezzaBox is a subscription box for men that sends 4-5 products each month to help men add more style to their wardrobes. Each box will contain 3-4 menswear items, plus a grooming product. SprezzaBox is geared towards the "modern corporate man, everyday dapper gent ", or just those looking to spruce themselves up once in a while!
A typical box will have an awesome tie, socks, a key accessory and some fancy grooming product. But don't worry, we will surprise you with the occasional pocket square, bow tie, cuff links, or other stylish products.
SprezzaBox offers month-to-month, 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month terms. The multi-month terms are non-recurring, which means your subscription ends at the end of your term. The month-to-month term continues until you cancel.

There was three variations for the February box. All had the same items, but different colour combinations. Unfortunately there is no customization. I received Box 3. You can check out all the past boxes here. The February boxes are also available for one-time purchase, while supplies last.

First look - lots of blue!

Marcella Socks ($8 retail)
Marcella Custom is a custom apparel retailer delivering quality suits and shirts at reasonable prices. The recent launch of their sock line has got us excited. They have designed a lower cut dress sock which avoids your modern fit pants from riding up and getting stuck.
 
The Tie Maker Necktie ($25 retail)
The Tie Maker has curated the perfect collection of all the essential ties you need but don't want to pay a fortune for. They make simple, high quality products accessible to everybody by cutting out all the middlemen. This classic tie is perfect for the corporate man, or for any occasion where you need to dress dapperly. Their latest collection is currently on Kickstarter at a steep discount. (linked above)

Salt + Dapper Crepe Lapel Flower ($9 retail)
You would be surprised by how much character the smallest accessories can add to your outfit. Traditionally, lapel flowers are worn on the left, near the heart and adds a nice touch.

Salt + Dapper Waxed Cotton Dress Shoelaces in Navy ($6 retail)
Salt + Dapper is a lifestyle brand based out of Long Island, NY and creates items for the modern gentleman. Don't forgot to change out your laces every 6-12 months to stay looking fresh.

ZIRH Soothe Aftershave (3ml Sample)
The high end post shave solution is one of a kind. Use immediately after shaving and simply rub it on for a soothing feel. This will help calm redness and razor bumps. ZIRH is the go to grooming brand for celebrities, athletes, and the everyday man that appreciates a premium product.

The February SprezzaBox included five items with a retail value of $48 US. This box costs $34 US with shipping. I like how all the items are coordinated so they can be used together. I also like that they have items to keep you looking stylish from tip to toe. Something for the face, things for the body, and things for the feet. It's a complete accessory kit to make a basic, boring suit look more interesting, stylish and dapper! I only wish there was a way to customize the box a bit, even just to select colour preferences. These items are a little too corporate and GQ for the men in my life, so I will be passing this collection on to a family friend. This is right up his alley. He's a master of the J-Crew sleeve roll and rocks a pocket square like you wouldn't believe. To see how some other great looking men have been styling the items from this month's box, check out the SprezzaBox Instagram.

Click here to check out SprezzaBox.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Bowzer Box Review - February 2015 - Canadian Pet Subscription Box + PROMO CODE

This post contains affiliate links. This box was provided complimentary for review.
What is it? Bowzer Box
How Much? $29/month CDN, plus $4.50 shipping per box. Save on 3 & 6 month subscriptions.
What's in it? 5-6 items such as dog treats, toys, and accessories

Bowzer Box is a Canadian based subscription box for dogs. Bowzer Box caters to all dogs - small, medium, or large. Subscriptions start at $29 per month. You can save by pre-paying for a 3 or 6 month subscription. Shipping is an additional $4.50 per box. Bowzer Box includes a variety of handpicked items including toys, treats, samples, and coupons from various brands. Every box is unique and each one will highlight a Canadian product. Bowzer Box also donates a portion of proceeds to animal related charities.

It's Bowzer's birthday! What a year it's been... and to top it off, the card has a cryptic message that there is "some exciting stuff happening this year" and we should all stay tuned!

Hare of the Dog Rabbit Jerky Stick ($3.99)
100% All-Natural Ameican-Made Treats. There is no better treat for your best friend than what Mother Nature intended - RABBIT!
This is a new one... I've never received a rabbit treat. I'm sure the pooches will love it.

JW Pet Crackle Head Skippy Squirrel (Medium, $8.95) 
Patent pending cracklin' bottle ball inside each plush head. Stuffing free plush toy. Crackle and crunch sound. Squeaking toy.
Maisey the Aussie Shepherd cross loved this toy. The head has a recycled water bottle inside that crackles and the tail has a squeeker. Perfect! Check out my Instagram for a video of her playing with it (here). Someone posted a comment that their squeeker was chewed out of the tail pretty quickly though.

Brainy Cakes Sweet Potato Chips ($5)
Loaded with Vitamin A, it has been said that sweet potatoes also have some anti-inflammatory benefits! Super snack all around.
I've received sweet potato dog treats before and my mom's dogs didn't care for them. These ones went to Maisey, who seems to eat everything.

Amelia Biscuit Company Ice Cream Cone Cookies (2 cookies, ~$4)
Amelia Biscuits are made from hand selected, all natural, human grade ingredients, and fresh from the farm Canadian fruit and vegetables. Our tough biscuits contain a unique blend of nutritious ancient grains such as organic spelt flour and stone ground millet- these grains not only taste great but they also help keep your dog’s teeth naturally clean and healthy.
Happy Birthday cookies from Amelia Biscuit! Their cookies are always the cutest.

Hero Dog Treats Dehydrated Lamb Liver (125g, $10.99)
100-Percent canadian, made in Canada by Canadians for Canadians. Uses only federally or provincially inspected human grade animals products. We support veterans and/or their families through employment and sponsor the Canadian Service Dog Foundation.
Dehydrated treats from HDT is always a hit. These ones were just as popular, but the pieces are HUGE and had to be broken up a bit for easy munching. 

The February birthday Bowzer Box contained five products, plus a party hat! February is mostly treats with one toy this month, so not a great variety of items. All the food items are all-natural and high quality, which you can count on with Bowzer Box. The approximate value is $34. Since a month-to-month subscription costs $33.50 with shipping, your best is to go for a longer term subscription to get more value. A six month term works out to $27.50 per box, with shipping.

If you are interested in trying Bowzer Box, you can save 10% off your first month's box. Just enter promo code CDNBOX at checkout and 10% will be deducted from your total.  

 Click here to check out Bowzer Box.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - February 2015 - Beauty Subscription Box

This post contains referral links.
What is it? Ipsy Glam Bag
How Much? $10 per month, plus $4.95 shipping to Canada (US$)
What’s in it?  4-5 beauty products every month 

Ipsy is a San Francisco based beauty subscription that sends a beautiful Glam Bag filled with with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Once you've received your Glam Bag, you can head over to the Ipsy Community to watch tutorial videos and play along with the Ipsy stylists, using the same products they are using.

The theme for February is Ipsy Love.
Love is just a word... Until you find someone or something to give it meaning.  This February we're celebrating warm hugs, butterflies in your stomach, a new favorite blush, your best friend's tweets - LOVE is all its wondrous forms and ways to express it. 
Rob Scheppy for 'Tini Beauty Eye Shadow in Pearl Fizz (1.7g, $6.46)
The must-have shimmering beige powder shadow from the palette designed for 'Tini Beauty by Hollywood makeup artist Rob Scheppy. Creative force behind Kim Kardashian's most memorable looks, Rob crafted Pearl Fizz as the perfect shade to highlight brow bones, add dimension to lids and illuminate the eyes.
I've never heard of Rob Scheppy, but apparently he's Kim Kardashian's makeup artist. Is this how people get famous these days? I like this colour and I will probably use it. The shadow is only available in a pallet, so price estimate is based on a full size pallet weighing 10.4g for $39.50.

Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing Spray (1oz, $3)
Get the ultimate blowout with this multi-tasking spray! The light-weight formula adds volume and texture to hair, while protecting against heat for healthier styling. 
I like other Eva NYC products I've tried, but this spray does not smell great. It's a great sample size for travel though.

Cargo Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Anguilla (4.5ml, $6.40)
 A new generation of Cargo’s lip gloss. Its super high shine gloss delivers intense color payoff and locks in moisture to keep lips feeling hydrated. This longwearing lip gloss has a slick texture that feels creamy gliding over lips without being sticky. Ingredients such as Vitamin E and Jojoba Seed oil help increase lip moisture and decrease the appearance of furrows around the mouth while increasing lip volume to its maximum fullness.
This is not my shade of pink so I will be passing on this one. This was a hard sample to price because the tube says 4.5ml/4.5g but the website for the full size product says 2.5ml. How does a full size contain 2ml less than a sample? I estimate the sample to be 2.5 times smaller than a full size (which is $16), so I based my price estimate on that.

JOYA Composition No. 1 Parfum Oil (1.5ml, $4.50)
JOYA Composition No. 1 is a luscious perfume oil in a beautiful and convenient roll-on travel-sized bottle: fruity, floral, creamy, citrus, a little musk, a lot refreshing. Perfume oil, unlike traditional alcohol-based fragrances, whispers instead of screaming. JOYA parfum realizes the true essences of its top, heart and drydown notes and gently absorbs on the skin of each wearer, making for an intimate and personal experience. Composition No. 1 interacts with your own chemistry and smells different on everyone and is sure to make an impression.
I normally don't like fragrance samples but I like this one for two reasons. One it's a roller ball. A teeny, tiny roller ball and two, it smells nice. Fresh and citrus-y.

 
ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder in Peach Bellini (3.6g full size, $22)
ModelCo’s BLUSH Cheek Powder creates a beaming, rosy glow to brighten every complexion. The micronized color pigments and luxurious, pressed powder delivers a sheer, natural radiance that lasts all day. BLUSH Cheek Powder's chic compact is easy-to-use and perfect for beauty touch ups on-the-go
This might be my new blush of choice when my Nars Orgasm runs out. It's a peachy pink so it's a good shade for my skin tone.

My February #ipsyLOVE Glam Bag included five items, with a retail value over $42 US. It is worth noting that I paid $19.61 CDN for this bag. With the current exchange rate, the $14.95 US charge isn't quite as appealing anymore. I can't say I love any of the items in here, but there are a few I'm anxious to try. The eye shadow and blush have potential, as does the perfume oil. I think I will pass the lip gloss onto someone who will appreciate it more and I'm undecided on the hair spray. This month I received one full size product, and four deluxe samples. The February bag consisted of three cosmetics, one hair product, and one fragrance. I'm going to hold on to Ipsy a while longer to see what else they have in store, but if the Canadian dollar continues to drop, it may not be worth it to continue with Ipsy.

Click here to check out Ipsy and get your own Ipsy Glam Bag.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bath Time Box - March PROMO CODES!

What is it? Bath Time Box
How Much? $29 per month, including shipping (US$)
What’s in it?  At least 5 full size and deluxe samples of handpicked bath products delivered every month

Bath Time Box is a Canadian subscription box, based in Alberta, that sends an assortment of natural and handmade bath and body products each month. Designed and curated with the bath lover in mind, each Bath Time Box contains 5 full and deluxe sample sized bath products carefully chosen to take your bath time to the next level. 
Check out my review of the February Bath Time Box here.

If you are interested in trying it out, there are a couple promo codes offered for the month of March:
  • MARCH20 will get you 20% off your first month on a month-to-month term
  • THREEFORFREE will get you a special gift when you purchase a 3-month subscription. The gift is the "All Natural Lip Lovers Gift Set" and contains a Strawberry Lip Lovers Lip Scrub (2oz) and a lip balm (0.25oz, assorted flavours).
Click here to check out Bath Time Box.

GLOSSYBOX - March Sneak Peeks + PROMO CODES

This post contains affiliate links.
What is it? GLOSSYBOX
How much? $21/month plus $5 shipping (US). Save on 3, 6, & 12 month subscriptions.
What's in it? 5
surprise luxury beauty products packaged in a glossy pink gift box

The March Glossybox sneak peek, gift with purchase, and promo codes have been released. First up, the gift with purchase. New subscribers will receive a Loose Colour Concentrate in "Smote" from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics when they use promo code OCCSMOTE at checkout. Use this to apply shimmer on the eyes, lips, cheeks and anywhere else on the face or body for a sleek, eye-catching look. This product has a retail value of $14. See more about it here.


Next we have the sneak peek for this month - and there will be some variety. Glossybox says "most subscribers will receive both the Ouidad Shampoo and the Ouidad Conditioner, however, some versions of this month's box will have the other shampoos from the photo". It looks like this month is all about hair.

The main products are:

OUIDAD - COLOR SENSE COLOR PRESERVING SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER 
If winter has left your hair feeling dry, give it some tender lovin’ care. This nutritive blend of apricot oil and honey infuses antioxidants and protects color from fading. Use the shampoo to remove daily mineral deposits, and the conditioner to protect against dehydration for healthy-looking, radiant hair. FULL SIZE $10.00 / 2.5 OZ (each)
Alternative products are:
  • Quidad Shine Glaze Serum (2.5oz, 
  • Quidad 12 Minute Deep Treatment (2.5oz)
  • Nexxus Color Assure Rebalancing Shampoo (Full size is 8.5oz - Glossybox size unconfirmed)
  • RICH Hair Care Pure Luxury Intense Moisture Shampoo (2.7oz)
None of these products offer an incredibly high value, so I'm very curious to see what else the March box has in store.

Now for the promo codes:

If the gift with purchase promo doesn't interst you, new subscribers can receive 15% off their first box using promo code MARCHGB15. This code is good until March 15th. And don't forget, you can still get 20% off ANY subscription term until March 3 by using promo code OPRAH. Keep in mind you can only use one promo code, so you can either go for the discount, or the free gift. If you sign up in March, you will receive the March box, while supplies last.

Click here to check out Glossybox.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

And the winners are...

 
 
Congratulations to Terrilynn E. and Janice P. for winning my 2 Year Blog-iversary Giveaway! Terrilynn and Janice will both receive 3-month gift subscriptions to Birchbox Canada!  

Thank you to all who entered. I read each and every comment and I'm in the process of replying to each one as well. Many of you left very kind and thoughtful comments, and I truly appreciate it. I am also taking your suggestions and review requests under advisement. There will be lots of new boxes showcased in 2015!

Once again, thank you for reading and helping to make my first two years a success. 
Jill


Raw Spice Bar - January Results + PROMO CODE

What is it? Raw Spice Bar
How Much? $6 per month (plus tax) with free shipping (US$)
What’s in it? 3-4 hand-picked, small batch, freshly ground spice blends and kitchen-tested, detailed recipes and ideas.
Raw Spice Bar is new subscription service offering a monthly box of spices. I introduced Raw Spice Bar in November 2014, and then posted a review of the January box here. For only $6 per month, Raw Spice Bar 3-4 premium spice blends from around the world direct to your door. Each spice box averages 2-3 ounces of spice blends and yields a complete 3 dish meal for 8-10 people. 

The January box was themed around Native American spices, originating from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The kit included spice blends and recipes to make New Mexican Posole, Navajo Flatbreads, and Poached Apples With Juniper Berries. I had the opportunity to cook two of the three dishes last weekend, and here are my results!
This is Posole, "a lightly brothed, deeply flavorful & moderately spicy stew". The spices used were ground chilies and a "Posole Spice" blend, consisting of cumin, coriander, and Mexican oregano. Traditionally it's made with hominy and pork, but I used the alternative suggestion of chickpeas, corn kernels. Hominy is impossible to find in Canada! Instead of pork, I opted for a  beef roast instead. This one was pretty easy. Sautee onions with garlic, add tomatoes and beef. Braise on low heat for two hours, then shred or chop up roast, add in corn and chickpeas, and simmer for another hour. The end result is very delicious. It was refreshing yet flavourful like Tortilla soup, but also rich and comforting like chili. The left overs were even more flavourful and it was delicious eaten with tortilla chips. My only complaint is that the recipe didn't say how much spice to use in the dish. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to toss the entire packet in, or just a bit. In one packet, there was 0.8oz of ground chilies, which is just under 5 teaspoons. That's A LOT of chili powder and I was worried about spice level, so I erred on the side of caution and only added two teaspoons.

This was the meal the night we ate it. I don't have a good picture of the flat bread because they didn't turn out well and ended up being tossed. The flat bread was simply flour, baking powder, salt, olive oil, water, and a Sumac & Herb spice blend. We found that the 1/3 cup water in the recipe wasn't enough and had to add over 1 cup to make a useable dough. The breads tasted very bland, like raw flour, even with the spices. I add a generous sprinkle of course salt on top of each piece to make it more palatable, but still we ended up forgoing the bread in favour of tortilla chips.

I haven't made the Poached Apples yet, but I plan to soon. As for cost of this meal, I had a lot of the pantry ingredients on hand (flour, salt, baking soda, wine for the apples), so I only purchased fresh ingredients and some canned goods. Here is what I spent on groceries:
  • Top Round Beef Roast $14.59
  • 1 Can Chickpeas             2.19
  • 1 Can Corn Kernels         1.49
  • 1 Carton Chicken Broth   2.69
  • 1 Bulb Garlic                  0.49
  • 2 White Onions               1.52
  • Radishes for garnish        0.79
  • Lime for garnish             0.59
  • Cilantro for garnish         1.49
  • 4 Apples for dessert        3.16
      • Total         $29.00
Add in the $6 (say $7 CDN) for the spices and recipes, and you have a grand total of $36 CDN. My boyfriend and I each had generous portions for dinner the first night, then each had smaller portions for lunch the next day. I ate it again for lunch and dinner on the third day. I added rice to the lunches to make the left overs stretch further. For $36, I had six meals covered, and it easily would have yielded dinner for 4-6 people.

I'm pretty pleased with my first Raw Spice Bar cooking experience. The recipes were straight forward and easy to follow. The flat bread didn't turn out well, but the posole was delicious and it's something I would make again.
If this subscription interests you, RawSpiceBar created an exclusive promo code for Canadian Box Addict readers. Just enter promo code cdnspiceaddict at checkout and earn an extra month for free on a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription. The promo won't show on your e-mail confirmation, but it does log on RawSpiceBar's end, so they will be sure to include the extra month at the end of your subscription term.
Click here to check out RawSpiceBar.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Birchbox Review - February 2015 - Canadian Beauty Subscription Box

This post contains referral links.
What is it? Birchbox Canada
How Much? $10/month plus $4.95 shipping, or $159.40/year including shipping (CDN $)
What’s in it? Five personalized beauty samples, tailored to your profile.

Birchbox is one of the first beauty subscription services. It's the premiere beauty sampling service in the US and it's the service that launched the entire beauty box craze. Established in New York in 2010 by two friends, Birchbox now has operations in the UK, France, Spain, Belgium, and now... Canada! Birchbox announced in mid-November they would begin operating in Canada. This is the third Canadian box!

The Canadian site is completely separate from the US site, so the Canadian samples are different. To get an idea of what sort of samples you might receive, scroll through the Birchbox CA shop and check out the brands. They've been adding more and more every month.

The monthly boxes are always so fun and festive! 

The theme for February is "You're my Favourite" and it's all about friendship. Finally something that isn't Valentine themed!
Calling all buddies, pals, partners-in-crime, and BFFs. February may be about a certain romance-focused holiday, but we're just as thrilled to celebrate those people who cheer us on, calm us down, and—most importantly—make us laugh so hard we cry. Here's to friendship, in all its incredible forms.
Product card - Prices are in Canadian dollars.

We also received a $30 off code for Rent the Runway. I'm not sure if they ship to Canada, but either way it's not something I would use.

Birchbox always packs their smaller samples in the little pop up box. The first look only revealed three samples, but two were hiding in the pink box. 

derma-e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub (1oz, $3.38) 
Glycolic acid, a form of alpha hydroxy acid naturally found in sugar cane, sloughs off dead skin cells which helps prevent clogged pores and lessens the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Apricot seed powder and papaya work together to deep clean pores, revealing a more radiant complexion.
I love facial scrubs so this is a great sample for me. It's a decent size too, at 1/4 of a full size.
Harvey Prince Hello Shampoo (15ml, $1.08)
An organic blend of natural oils moisturizes the scalp to promote hair growth and add shine. Restorative proteins repair dry, damaged hair and botanical extracts remove impurities to leave hair clean and revitalized.
These Harvey Prince samples are SO tiny! Half an ounce of shampoo and conditioner is good for one use with my long, thick hair. Considering a full size is $26 CDN for 12 ounces, I would need a heck of a lot more than this to try out before I drop that kind of money on shampoo.
Harvey Prince Hello Conditioner (15ml, $1.08)
Natural argan, almond, and coconut oils moisturize the scalp to strengthen hair cuticles and add shine. Keratin and silk proteins create body and luster, while citrus and botanical extracts remove impurities to leave hair light and velvety soft. The formula is cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and safe for color treated hair.
See above. Same comment applies.

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain in Heartthrob (0.079oz, $10.70)
This creamy lip stain is vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free.
This is another teenie-tiny sample. It's not even two inches long! A full size contains about 2.15x more than this one, so in that regard, it's not quite so small.

theBalm Cosmetics Cindy-Lou Manizer (0.57g, $1.74) 
Consider this multitasking highlighter, eye shadow, and blush. This shimmering shade is a peachy pink.
As a highlighter or eyeshadow, this is a fine size sample. As a blush, it sucks. It is half a gram of product. It's a better colour than the Swiss Dot blush sample I received from theBalm in the past, so I might actually give this one a try!

My February Birchbox contained five samples, with an approximate value of $17.98 CDN. This box cost me about $13.28 CDN with a 1 year subscription. It's a pretty low value this month, mostly because all five of the samples are so incredibly small! The largest sample is 1 ounce. This is what we get with Birchbox though, so if you are looking for full size products, this isn't the subscription for you. Despite the small sizes this month, I still enjoy Birchbox because they send new and interesting samples from top brands. There is nothing expired or discontinued and you won't find boring old drug store brands here. I find it really refreshing, compared to subscriptions I have been with for a couple years.

Click here to check out Birchbox Canada.


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