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!

THE DETAILS: This box retails for $24 a month, including shipping, and ships only to the U.S. Because it was the premiere of the service, I got $10 off the first box, so this first one only cost me $14. Not a bad gamble for a box that is of the non-refundable variety.

A pretty box within a box.

A pretty box within a box.

This is the first look, upon opening the box. I have to say that the packaging of this subscription is by far the prettiest I’ve ever received! This is true from the appealing, branded outer box, to the weighty inner box, which happens to be nice and substantial enough to use for storing things in future. (Plus I’ve never actually met a box or a bag I didn’t love.)

The lid is off!

The lid is off!

This shot shows the inner box with the lid off. It just keeps getting better and better! A pretty ribbon and a really chic post card reminding we dear subscribers that with each passing year the best is yet to come. Let’s hope that’s also true of what’s next in this box’s line-up.

Additional box materials.

Additional box materials.

Here’s another shot of all the printed materials in the box. The cute card, the box’s “inventory slip” with detailed notes on each item, and a great recipe for “Red-Wine Poached Pears”. The latter I would LOVE to try…even as I tremble that it may be far beyond my amateur cooking skills. If I do give it a whirl, I’ll be sure to share the results with all of you here! Let’s just hope it doesn’t get tagged in “cooking fails”.

Wine sack.

Wine sack.

Ok, so here is the first true item in the box. It is a canvas wine sack from the French brand, Whispering Angels. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I’m actually something of an oenophile. My husband is a beer fanatic but I go gaga for the grape juice. Thankfully we are both totally teetotalers so the end result is that we have a pretty good “end of the world” stash at our house.

In any case, I’ve never tried anything from this vineyard so it is now on the wine wish list, and look folks: You too may be able to purchase it here via the store Total Wine & More (state regulations allowing). Per the site, a 2011 vintage is selling for $23.99 and the detail notes that it is already sold out at the vineyard. The hunt is on!

As for the canvas bag, it’s hard to know what the retail value is for what is somewhat of a promotional item. I found more structured totes selling for around $14.50 on the net so I’ll peg it at that for now.

Sothys of Paris make-up.

Sothys of Paris make-up.

No French-themed box would be complete without a bit of make-up, mais non? Each box got two of a variety of items from the Sothys Paris line. In mine came a nail polish and an eye liner pencil – both full size! The eye pencil was a dark gray/black color and seems to retail in the states for about $20. The nail polish was a very pale/beige pink and I found sites selling it for about $17, not including shipping. Though considered a luxury brand, I actually ended up putting both of these items up for swap because I have multiple black eye liner pencils and pale pink nail polishes. Yep.

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Healthy snack alert!

Buddy Fruits is a French company and these snacks are supposed to be super healthy and made of all fruit. I expected something along the lines of dried bananas but out of the package these were like any other fruit snack…small and chewy. They were reddish-brown so I was a bit skeptical of them at first but when I bit in to one I was blown away by how subtle the banana flavor was, with hints of apple as well. In looking at the ingredients, I saw apple high up on the list so that explains a lot. Still, with their intense flavor I was satiated after two of these little buggers…maybe I should buy more to help me with my ever-present sweet-tooth cravings. I couldn’t find these online but found a pureed version by this same company retailing for $1.99 plus tax.

Caudalie goodness!

Caudalie goodness!

Caudalie is another well-respected French brand and with this box, different subscribers received different items. My box included the Broad Spectrum SPF20 Anti-Wrinkle Protect Fluid. Someone is selling this exact sample size for $19.95 on Ebay as we speak; a full-size version (1.3 fl oz) at Sephora retails for $49!

Missiu bracelet; made in Italy.

Missiu bracelet; made in Italy.

The final item in the box was this very cute, neon orange bracelet by Missiu. I actually remember these being all the rage in Italy when I was there in 2011. These are, in fact, made in Italy but sold throughout Europe. I’m not sure if they are still on trend but I lusted after one while window-shopping the Florence shops (they were going for something like 15-20 Euro which just seemed too pricey) so I was soo excited to get one in this box!. I also thought it was cute that they were mini Eiffel Towers. Similar bracelets can be found here for $12 each.

All said and done, the value of this box was almost $86! Not too bad for a subscription that originally only cost me $14. I wasn’t sure if I would keep this subscription but now I’m looking forward to getting my second box in October. Let’s see if this fledgling company can keep the value up. A bientot!

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