Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Kawaii Supplies Review - April 2014 - International Treat Subscription

This package was received complimentary for review.

What is it? Kawaii Supplies
How Much? $10-15 per month, depending on subscription type
What’s in it? A variety of Japanese candy and snacks

Kawaii Supplies is a new Canadian subscription service, based in Alberta. Kawaii Supplies gets Japanese candy and snacks, directly from Japan, and sends them out to subscribers across Canada. Kawaii Supplies generously sent this bag of treats for me to review.

Kawaii Supplies has 4 subscription options to choose from:
  • Mystery Snack Pack A and B contain 5-6 treats, weighing between 50-100 grams, and will ship in an envelope. Both are $10 per month and include tax and shipping.
  • The Regular Monthly Subscription is $15 per month and includes both Mystery Snack Pack A and B. It also includes tax and shipping.
All three of the above subscription options are sent via letter mail. The treats will all be small, flat type products that will fit through the 2cm height slot that the post office uses to distinguish letter mail (flat rate across Canada) from parcel post (more expensive). Kawaii affectionately calls the 2cm slot the "slot of doom" because if the package doesn't fit through, it gets charged postage at a much higher rate.

  • The Premium Monthly Subscription is $15 per month, plus shipping. This package includes larger snacks and treats that won't fit into the 2cm letter mail slot. Shipping is charged based on destination so the closer you are to Edmonton, Alberta, the cheaper shipping will be. The package they sent me was charged over $11 shipping.
 First look.

There was no product card included, which really confused me at first. Then I realized Kawaii had sent me a document via e-mail that explained what everything is and listed the ingredients. 

As a subscriber, you can expect to receive the same e-mail each month. Click on the image above to view it full size. Despite the list, I still had a hard time figuring out what was what. I had to compare the Japanese characters on the list with the lettering on the packages. It took a while, but I think I figured it out!

All the products dumped out of the bag! 

I received the Premium package, which includes an assortment of small and large treats, candies, and snacks. Because the treats were shipped loose in a bubble mailer, I found many of them crushed or broken.

From left to right, top to bottom:
  • Umai-bo Teriyaki Flavour (broken in half)
  • Shimi Choco Corn 
  • Melon Pandaro (broken to pieces) 
  • Mochi Taro (broken to pieces) 
  • Ramune Iro Iro (x2) 
  • Puccho (x2)

Left to right, top to bottom:
  • Makken Gumi (cider flavour) 
  • Pierre Ojisan No Roll Cake 
  • Puchi Du Choco Strawberry Flavour 
  • Calcium Sen (2 of 3 broken to pieces) 
  • Potato Fry (broken to pieces)

There is no way to put an actual value on these items, but I would say $15 is definitely worth it if you are in the market for Japanese candies and treats. It should be noted that Kawaii changed their subscription model and pricing after sending me this package. Previously a monthly package would have cost over $25 per month, including shipping. I was very happy to see they had re-worked the model and added different levels of subscriptions, making them more affordable. I would like to see a different style of packaging to ensure the treats don't arrive damaged, but other than that, it's a fun subscription. I've tried a few of the snacks and some were very strange, while some were very tasty.

What do you think of Kawaii Supplies?

Topbox - Limited Edition LOULOU Summer Topbox - On Sale Now!

Topbox has released a great new Limited Edition box, just in time for warmer weather and brighter days. It includes everything shown in the above picture, plus a bonus LOULOU subscription!

LOULOU magazine's experts have brought together the newest, best beauty finds of the season in this Limited Edition LOULOU Summer Topbox. In it, you'll find all the latest and amazing trends that you won't want to miss! A $130+ value!

This Limited Edition LOULOU Summer Topbox box is $40 and includes free shipping. The boxes start shipping May 15th.

Click here to get your own LOULOU Summer Topbox, available while supplies last.

(The Limited Edition FLARE Mani-Pedi Kit is still available as well, for only $25!)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Whimsey Box Review - March 2014 - DIY Subscription Box

What is it? Whimsey Box  (Use this link for $5 off!)
How much? $15/month for 1, 3, 6 month subscriptions. 12 month subscription is $165, or $11/month. Plus $5 per month shipping to Canada.
What's in it? Receive a new DIY craft project each month with the materials and instructions necessary.
I'm happy I re-subscribed to Whimsey Box at the end of January. February's box was a hit and it the March box was right up my alley as well. 

I noticed some grease staining on the outside of my Whimsey Box... it wasn't bad on the top, but the underside was almost completely saturated.

Inside doesn't look so bad, but the instruction card was also saturated.

The theme for March is Soft Hands and includes everything necessary to make all natural Lemon Honey Hand Scrub and Lemon Honey Hand Cream. The jar on the right, sweet almond oil, was protected by a ziplock baggie. The jar on the left, coconut oil, was not protected in plastic, so some of the coconut oil melted in transit and leaked out all over the box. Thankfully the mess was contained to the box and didn't do much damage to anything other than the instruction card and the box. Lesson for Whimsey Box folks: coconut oil can be a liquid too!

Instruction card, jar labels, product card.

Ingredients: Sugar, beeswax, Shea butter, honey, lemon oil, almond oil, coconut oil.

Making the hand cream.

The instructions were very clear and included step by step photos and written direction. I made the scrub first and it was so easy. Just 4 ingredients. Mix together and done. I will probably make my own sugar scrub again since it is so easy, all natural, and much more cost effective than store bought.

The hand cream was a little messier to make because it involved melting beeswax (which took forever), with Shea butter and coconut oil. My wax didn't melt entirely and the honey didn't mix well into the rest of the ingredients, so the finished product has an odd texture. I also noticed the volume of my coconut oil was a little less than what I was supposed to have, likely because some was lost in transit as it leaked out all over the box. I wouldn't make my own  hand cream again. I didn't love the results and found it greasy rather than creamy.

The included labels are really cool  and came from Kidecals. I do a lot of home canning so I will definitely check out Kidecals later this summer when canning season begins! They will be perfect for the canning I do for gifting. Spicy Dill Beans and Cranberry Wine Jelly are very popular amongst my friends & family!

The March Whimsey Box included all the ingredients I needed to make 4 ounce pots of Lemon Honey Hand Scrub and Lemon Honey Hand Cream. I really enjoyed the projects and I'm happy I learned how to make my own homemade sugar scrub. Whimsey includes little pins in all the boxes now, like Girl Scout badges. I earned the Soft Hands Set achievement badge. I like to use the pins on my office bulletin board in place of tacks. They're pretty and fun, and I can show off my DIY "cred".

What do you think of the March  Whimsey Box?

If you are interested in the Soft Hands Set from Whimsey Box, you can buy your own here. They also have a Honey Lavender version!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

ChefButler Review - March 2014 - Meal Preparation Subscription Box

What is it? ChefButler 
How Much? $35/month for a box every month or $17.50/month for boxes every other month
What’s in it? Unique recipes, and high-quality dry ingredients and sauces needed to create a full meal. 

My March ChefButler box arrived nearly a month ago so I'm a little behind on posting. The theme for March was Pakistani food, a cuisine I have never experienced. I love Indian food so I am excited to try a new cuisine from the South Asia region.

Pakistani cuisine is best known for its balance of spices, and richness of flavour. The cuisine also varies greatly by region, with some of the Eastern regions having food similar to that found in India. One of the main differences of of Pakistani cuisine is the dominant role meat plays in the cooking, especially in comparison to other South Asian countries.

The box was smaller this month, and everything arrived in perfect condition. No leaks! As soon as I opened the lid, I could smell the fragrant spices.

First look

As always, ChefButler includes a welcome letter with a "Game Plan", recipes, and a shopping list. The box is filled with all the recipes and pantry ingredients necessary to make an appetizer, entree, and dessert for four adults.

For March, instead of an appetizer, ChefButler included a side dish of Vegetable Biryani. Biryani is a rice dish, made with chopped vegetables and lots of spices like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and garam masala.

The main is Beef Qeema (pronounced key-ma). It's a traditional dish made from minced meat. This recipe calls for ground beef.

There are lots of different spices in the Qeema, giving it a rich and unique flavour - we can’t get enough of it! While both the Biryani and Qeema incorporate lots of flavour from their spices, we find them to be a nice compliment to each other, and love them together.

For dessert, it's Coconut Ladoo. Ladoo is a Sanskirt word meaning "a small ball". It's a ball-shaped sweet served at festivals and religious celebrations. This version of Ladoo is made of coconut, dried apricots, cardamom, and sweetened condensed milk.

I haven't had an opportunity to make this meal because I'm saving for a friend who has a great interest in food from the region. Once I've made  the meal I will post "after" pictures. It's something completely new to me so I'm really looking forward to this one.

If you are interested in ordering your own Paskistani themed ChefButler box, ChefButler is now offering "one-off" boxes for sale at the end of each month. For $35 (same as subscription price), you can order the box of the month (or get an extra if you already received it). Just e-mail info@chefbutler.com to purchase.

Or... try signing up for a subscription. You can opt for a box every month or alternating months. Click here to learn more about ChefButler.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Julep - 2-for-1 Mighty Promo!

This post contains affiliate links.

Julep has another great promo. To celebrate Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum being named as a finalist in the Cosmetic Executive Women Insiders' Choice Beauty Awards (wow that's a mouthful), Julep is offering a two-for-one deal. Buy one Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum, and get the second one free. I have the worst dry, cracked cuticles so I love this product. It's easier to use and less messy than the Julep Cuticle Oil roll-on. My mom like this one too so it's the perfect time to stock up. One for me, and one for her!

Add two Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serums to your cart, then use promo code MIGHTY at checkout. Deal ends April 13, 2014.

Click here to claim your Mighty deal.

FYI: The PERK10 and PERK30 codes are still active, but they don't jive with this promotion. Julep only allows one promo code per transaction, so you'll save the most using MIGHTY to get one product free ($28 discount.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Bowzer Box Review - April 2014 - Pet Subscription Box

I received this box complimentary for review.

What is it? Bowzer Box
How Much? $29/month, $78/quarter, $138/half-year  (Save $6/month on half-year) plus $4.50 shipping per box.
What's in it?
5-6 items such as dog treats, toys, and accessories. May include full size toys and treats (wheat free), samples, and coupons from various brands.

Bowzer Box is a new Canadian subscription box catering to dogs! There are quite a few US dog boxes out there, but this is the first Canadian version, available only to Canadian pooches. I was thrilled when Bowzer Box contacted me and offered to send out a box for review. My dog Bryn has made an appearance on the blog before, but she is currently on Vancouver Island with her other mother (aka my mom) and the cat. I will do the unboxing on her behalf.

First look

Second look

When you sign up for Bowzer Box, you can select a box for a small dog, medium dog, or large dog. The treats and toys are then picked based on your dog's size. This box is aimed at small dogs.

Detailed product card

The Barkery Chicken Liver Snaps (100g, $5.99)

Wet Noses Dog Treats - Peas & Carrots Big Bone (1 bone, $1.79)

JW Pets Megalast Bone ($9.99)

Fruitables Pet Foods Crispy Bacon Apple Flavour  (7oz, $7.99)

1st Choice Nutrition Denta Snack ($2.50)

This & That Canine Co. Biodegradable Waste Bags (1 roll, $1.00)

Rescue Pet Products Paw & Nose Balm (0.15oz, $3.40)

April's Bowzer Box contained seven products valued around $33. It's a great mix of treats, toys, and accessories. Bryn loves anything food or treat related so all the treat items are great. Chew toys aren't her favourite so I will probably gift it to a friend's dog. Bowzer Box is priced the same as the top US pet boxes (listed in my Box List), at $29 per month. If you factor in exchange, today those US boxes would cost about $32 CDN. As with most subscription boxes, you can save when you purchase a longer term subscription. A 6-month subscription works out to only $23 per box, plus shipping. The appeal of Bowzer Box is that it is a homegrown company. Some of  the products included inside Bowzer Box are also from Canadian companies. The best part, is that Bowzer Box ships via Canada Post, with tracking, so shipping is fairly quick. With some of the US boxes, shipping can take 2-3 weeks. The first Bowzer Box was great and I'm sure Bryn will love her new treats.

What do you think of Bowzer Box?

Monday, 7 April 2014

Julep - Speckled for Spring Mystery Box + PROMO CODE

This post contains affiliate link

Just in time for Easter, Julep has three mystery boxes available for sale again. 

If you’re pining for pastels, check out the Speckled for Spring Mystery Box with Emerson (Classic with a Twist), a powder blue crème with black speckles or the Speckled for Spring Mystery Box with Kimberly (Boho Glam), a wisteria crème with black speckles.
The Speckled for Spring Mystery Box will be packed with $100+ worth of fabulous nail polish and beauty products we know you’ll love. 

Earlier Julep was offering two promo codes, PERK30 for 30% off and PERK10 for $10 off, but those codes no longer work on a Mystery Box purchase.

However… at checkout you have the option to add up to five "beauty treats" to your cart, including the Speckled Mystery Add-on and the Major Speckled Mystery Add-on.

Life is full of surprises. Add one more with the Mystery Add-on, which includes $42 worth of products to surprise and delight.
You can also opt for the Major Speckled Mystery Add-on, which includes $51 of beauty surprises for just $18.99.
If you add one of the Mystery Add-ons to your cart, the PERK10 code will work, giving you $10 off your order. I picked up the Speckled Mystery Box with Kimberly, plus the Mystery Add-on for $29.98.    If your add-on total is less than $15, use the PERK30 code to get 30% off your add-on total (I tried it with a polish add-on and it worked). If you aren't interested in the Mystery Boxes, the PERK10 and PERK30 promo codes will work for anything else you'd like to purchase from the Julep store.

Are you getting a Speckled for Spring Mystery Box? They are only available while supplies last.

Fancy Mystery Box Review

What is it? Fancy Mystery Box
How Much? $10-40 plus shipping
What's in it? $30+ retail value worth of goods in Men's or Women's category
Fancy recently released a $10 mystery box that was so popular, it sold out within a few hours. They ended up releasing more, so I was able to pick up a Women's Mystery Box. Shipping to Canada was an additional $19.95 (!!), otherwise I would have picked up a Men's box too.

Everyone loves a surprise, so treat yourself (or someone else) to a Fancy Mystery Box!You'll receive $30+ retail value worth of goods. We would tell you more, but then we'd ruin the surprise! Just pick an option, Men's or Women's, and we'll pick out some items that tickle your Fancy. 

The box didn't include product cards, but it did include the usual Fancy stickers. I love these stickers!

Kikkerland Head Massager ($7.50)
I already have one of these and I actually really love it. This will make a good gift for my Dad so I will save it for Father's Day. (Fancy sells these in a 2-pack for $15)

The Motley Gin & Tonic Bath Salts ($16)
I'm not sure why a men's grooming brand is included in a women's themed mystery box. I guess they figure bath salts equals feminine?

The Fancy Wayfarer Sunglasses in Tortoise ($30)
These are pretty cool sunglasses. The colour and style actually suit me well. 

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (0.5oz, $6)
This is one of my favourite hand creams so happy to have it.

Fun Faze Black Light Lipstick in Violet ($10)
This is not something I will ever use so it will go into the donation pile.

This Fancy Mystery Box included five items, valued at $69.50. Not bad for a box that cost $29.95 with shipping. I'm not super thrilled with three out of five products received, but that's the chance you take with a mystery box.

While browsing Fancy today, I noticed the Mystery Box is not one of the regular options in the Fancy Box section. Not only that, but there are different sizes available. The following box options are available:
  • Small women's & men's - $10
  • Medium women's & men's - $20
  • Large women's & men's - $40
There's no indication what is inside the medium and large size boxes or what the value will be, but it makes me very, very curious.

Click here to get your own Fancy Mystery Box.