Subscription Box Insanity: BarkBox (Sep. ’14)

Meet Wednesday...& Bark Box!

Meet Wednesday…& BarkBox!

In case you were wondering if I was the only one partaking in the subscription box fun, the answer is a resounding no! Meet a beloved member of our little family, my fur-baby Wednesday!

There are a lot of great stories to tell you about Wednesday, and since I have you here as a captive audience, you will likely hear more than your fair share. Suffice it to say that she is a persnickety thing who is also possibly very spoiled. Here is the latest example, courtesy of dog-focused subscription service BarkBox!

(See my other BarkBox reviews here.) Continue reading

An Ounce of Prevention: Emergency Preparedness

It’s still September for a few more days, however sad I will be to see it go. Besides being birthday month, September is also National Emergency Preparedness month. Now don’t go bugging out (at least not until you follow the instructions I’m about to give you) just because this has the ring of a PSA. I’ll tell you right now why I’m doing this.

A few years back I took a multi-week CERT training (Community Emergency Response Team) where I learned a lot of cool things like how to splint a broken anything with…well anything. I also learned that irrespective of whether I signed on for active CERT duty at the conclusion of the classes, the county felt investing the time in regular citizens like me was worth it if I had also taken to heart the importance of having basic emergency supplies and purchased them. In their eyes, an informed/prepared citizen decreased the odds of my becoming a victim during an emergency situation. And one less victim, hopefully, meant one less person that first responders had to risk their own lives to save. Getting my family and I prepared then was both a rational move and a selfless one at the same time. Continue reading

Subscription Box Insanity: Popbasic (Alice)

Popbasic Box

Popbasic Box

Popbasic is a subscription box service, but it’s not. Their model is centered on what they call “micro collections” of items made especially for them. You can see (barely, I’m sorry) from the photo that this is featured in their motto: “Create your style one micro collection at a time“. The other part of their concept is that they will send you a “basic”- like a t-shirt or little black dress- and then something(s) that “pop” or are more statement pieces. Basics and statement pieces are the foundation of any good wardrobe. And boy did I just throw that out there like some sage, fashion guru!

What makes Popbasic different is that every month they launch a new micro collection with a snazzy name, it’s limited in number, and you choose to order or you don’t. No money upfront, no subscription to cancel. The only downside is the limited part and also the non-refundable part. More on that later.

I believe this latest collection called Alice sold out within two days of launch! Luckily it was birthday month and when I got the email notifying me to take a look at their newest collection I went, I saw, I purchased. So get ready for a relative exclusive, dear readers! Continue reading

Stories to Sell, Stories to Tell

Author Monica Barnett's book cover.

Author Monica Barnett’s book cover.

Being a book nerd does not always equate to being an introvert. (Though who are we kidding? It does in my case.) However, sometimes even an introvert can be peeled away from their cozy nest long enough to get a fresh gulp of air and some recent gossip with a few of their closest friends. Because it’s birthday month, I’ve been a lot more willing to “go big or go home” when it comes to socializing. Which meant that yesterday found me at an evening book event with 60 of my not-so-closest friends. Strangers..oh, the horror! (Kidding!)

There were four, female authors in the line-up for the evening, each reflecting different genres…rather refreshing, actually. Each spoke not only to their recent book but rather prefaced their discussions with stories about their own lives, how they got their start, how the writing/publishing process impacted them, etc. I actually stayed longer than I had meant to, and there were quite a few gems to take away for reflection back at the cozy nest. Once again demonstrating why it is that sometimes leaving the house can be a good thing. Sigh.

For instance, it was really interesting to hear one author state her belief that she felt like there was, “at least one book” in each of us and that it was a matter of writing it and then finding the audience who was receptive to it. That gave me pause because honestly I began this blog less with the thought that anyone would care and more because I’ve always had a yearning to write just for fun. Committing to writing a blog about nothing in particular, even if it was absolute rubbish, has become something to look forward to in a hectic week. Continue reading

Subscription Box Insanity: French Box (Sep. ’14)

French Box: First Box!

French Box: First Box!

This month – birthday month- I experienced a flurry of subscription box deliveries. (Possibly I over-indulged in the birthday fun…possibly.) Today’s review is for a brand-new subscription service from French Box . France was my first European adventure, way back when I was a wee teen facing down my first international flight.

I count myself lucky to have gotten the opportunity to go at all, but feel even more blessed that I was able to meet up with my French pen pal at the time and stay with her at her posh French boarding school. -smile- So completely outside this girl’s pond! But what a great experience to see the world from the eyes of my peers as they went about about their daily lives a whole ocean away from where I went about mine. Travel…it’s the best remedy I know for narrow world views and a lack of empathy for one’s fellows.

However, I digress! My own nostalgia aside, I was so excited to try this box out because it promised to include some very well-known French fashion and make-up brands. Being a tad bit obsessed with all things fashion- and particularly open to that of an international flavor- this seemed like it could be a great subscription. Shall we find out? Yes! Yes we shall!
Continue reading

Subscription Box Insanity: The Rockettes Fancy Box (Sep. ’14)

Rockettes Fancy Box - First one.
Rockettes Fancy Box – First one.

So a former co-worker of mine introduced me to the joyful insanity of subscription boxes, for which I am still deciding whether to hate her for. Being a sucker for a series of any type (just wait until I start reviewing books!), I was instantly hooked! My first experience was with Bezel Box; truth-be-told I wasn’t too big a fan of what I received. But from that purchase I learned the importance of either being all in or choosing boxes that are returnable/refundable.

My next foray into subscription-land was the wonder that is Stitch Fix! I should be getting my next Fix in November, so stay tuned until then for a review.

I also purchased a few boxes from Social Bliss, Golden Tote, and Treatsie but decided I wanted to try a few other box types. Not having unlimited resources, I opted to cancel/hold on those (for now).

My current line-up of subscription box services now consists of the aforementioned Stitch Fix, Bark Box for my pampered Doberman Wednesday, the French Box, and Quarterly boxes from curators Nina Garcia, Eva Scrivo, My Subscription Addiction, and Arianna Huffington. Also, the box I’m reviewing today: The Rockettes Fancy Box!

Anyway, on to the show! This is the first box from the Rockettes line and I’m a dance fanatic. So even though this box is non-refundable/returnable, I decided to give it a try. Life is about risk, after all!

Continue reading

The Mighty Girl Flame

One of the few movie adaptations I actually like!Anne played by Megan Follows.

One of the few movie adaptations I actually like!Anne played by Megan Follows.

Yesterday I celebrated another turn around the sun. Not a milestone birthday by any means. But birthdays are one of the few times I gleefully embrace my “youngest child…it’s all about me!” birth order stereotype, celebrating in big ways and small the whole month. Which means that I can also usually be found indulging in a little more self-reflection/absorption as the days transition from summer to fall. This year proved no different. Here is one of the things I’ve been thinking about:

Not too long ago I stumbled upon a Facebook group/profile called “A Mighty Girl“. (Find them on the web here as well.) Per their Facebook page: “A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls.Continue reading

Subscription Box Insanity: Glossybox (Sep. ’14)

Glossybox is here.

Glossybox is here.

First look

Harper’s Bazaar guest curator box

Groupon recently ran a promotion where you could get a discount off of one of their longer subscriptions. I didn’t have a true beauty box in my subscription line-up and this seemed like a good deal to give one a try, so I jumped on it.

I opted for the three-month plan and received a discount of $15, for a total purchase of $45. I am hoping that I can find some new brands to try out, or get some duplicates of items I am already using.

I was able to place my order in time to get the September Glossybox which happened to be co-curated by Harper’s Bazaar, a popular fashion magazine. I actually hadn’t realized that when I ordered, so I’m pretty excited by what I may find in this box! Continue reading

Subscription Box Insanity: My Subscription Addiction Quarterly (Sep. ’14)

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Quarterly box packaging

A Quarterly Co. box is here! As the name implies, these subscriptions only come in every three months, prolonging the anticipation with the promise of the “cream of the crop” for sub boxes. (And starting at $50 a box and up, the expectation is that they will be!) One of the other foundations of Quarterly Co.’s model is that the items in the box are hand-selected by a celebrity curator. There are football players and chefs, bloggers, actresses, and fashionistas.

I currently have Quarterly subscriptions for Arianna Huffington, Eva Scrivo, Nina Garcia, and today’s curator, My Subscription Addiction (Liz Cadman). According to Quarterly’s bio for her:

“Liz Cadman started My Subscription Addiction as a way to keep track of all the emerging subscription boxes, and help others find out what they could expect to receive from any box. Two years and hundreds of boxes and reviews later, Liz has become the subscription box expert.”

Liz’s site is a wonderful plethora of boxes I could neither afford, or perhaps would never pay for, but for which I still get to peek inside and share in the surprise. She also offers her site users a swap site which functions in a very orderly and well-mannered fashion considering it’s mostly based on “scout’s honor”. I had to join the waitlist to get access, but once I made it off, I’ve found that I’ve loved being a member. I’ve swapped some items I didn’t like for items I loved and there is a sense of camaraderie amongst the swappers which, even if we never do swap again, results in cute post cards and other freebies often being included in a swap. Too, with Liz having the point of reference of hundreds of boxes, you can be pretty sure her own curated box will be a hit – it sold out almost immediately and I was glad that even without a discount, I was one of the lucky few who was able to get her first box. Continue reading

Subscription Box Insanity: Arianna Huffington Quarterly (Sep. ’14)

Quarterly boxes are here!

Quarterly boxes are here!

I love when the Quarterly boxes come in! Maybe it’s because, as the name implies, these subscriptions only come in every three months, prolonging the anticipation with the promise of the “cream of the crop” for sub boxes. (And starting at $50 a box and up, the expectation is that they will be!) One of the other foundation’s of Quarterly Co.’s model is that the items in the box are hand-selected by a celebrity curator. There are football players and chefs, bloggers, actresses, and fashionistas. The one thing I have noticed is that their curator list has shrunk of late, which may well be for the best in terms of allowing them to really work with the guest curators to get the best items for their boxes.

I currently have Quarterly subscriptions for Nina Garcia, Eva Scrivo, My Subscription Addiction, and today’s curator, Arianna Huffington. According to Quarterly’s bio for her:

“Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of fourteen books. Her [Quarterly Co.] boxes benefit the nonprofit Ignite Good. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that became one of the most widely-read media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.”

In the politically-obsessed world I live in, “HuffPo” is a well-known forum for all kinds of ideas, platforms, etc. Therefore, I was pretty intrigued when I heard Arianna was going to have a curated box on Quarterly Co., particularly since she was looking to provide items to help unplug, recharge, and live in the moment. I’ve been feeling a bit of a need to do all of those things of late, so I was really eager to see what she had in store for her subscribers. Continue reading