Top 15 Sub Box Items of 2015

So it’s time for me to pick my favorite 15 items from all of my 2015 Sub boxes. This was epically hard and I swear I started with twice as many awesome items that I had to painfully work through. There were so many great things that just couldn’t make the cut. I’ve broken down the list for you by month.

JANUARY
BorealisBorealis Swatch
Orbital Eyeshadow – Borealis:
(Retail $18.00/Maven Price: $14.40)
from Julep Maven: January 2015 – The Chrysalis Collection – Modern Beauty
Possibly my most favorite eyeshadow ever. It’s a smoky eye for dummies and the peacock shimmer on it is amazing.

Cream
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
(Suggested Retail: $30.00)
from the Popsugar: January 2015
This product does exactly what it says it will and is unscented. It’s great for both men and women as well as folks with sensitive skin. Since I tried this I’ve recommended it to tons of my friends.

FEBRUARY
Cutting Board
ACME Party Box Company
Bamboo Heart Cutting Board & Cheese Knife
(Suggested Retail: $32.00)
from Popsugar: February 2015
This set was so adorable and I regularly pull out this cutting board to slice fruit.

MARCH
Rings Necklace
Three Gold Rings Necklace
from Amanda Deer Jewelry
(Retail: $32.00)
from Fair Ivy: March 2015
I found myself reaching for this necklace all the time. It’s so simple, lovely and great for layering. I got lots of compliments on it.

APRIL
Brush
Multipurpose Pro Tools Oval Brush by Harry Josh
:
(Estimated Retail: $40.00)
from the Nina Garcia Quarterly (#NGQ05): April 2015
The saving grace of my last Nina Garcia box. This is a great brush and I love the mint shade. It sits out on my bedroom dresser.

CupSpoon Close
Handmade Mug & Spoon from White Peach Pottery (Retail: $32.00+)
from Fair Ivy: April 2015
I adore handmade ceramics and this mug and spoon set is so lovely. It sits out on display on my kitchen shelves.

Bracelet Bracelet on Wrist
Miansai Modern Screw Cuff:
(Estimated Retail: $200.00)
from the Rachel Zoe Box of Style: April 2015
This is my favorite item of all for 2015. It’s classic and somehow edgy and conservative at the same time. It’s great quality and I really want the exact same one in a rose gold finish.

MAY
Bracelet On Wrist
Silver Chalcedony Bracelet from Simply Lovely Handmade
(Retail: $???)
from Fair Ivy: May 2015
I love the delicateness of this bracelet and how well it layers with other pieces I have. The pink stone is also right on trend for 2016.

JULY
Oribe
Oribe Aprés Beach Wave and Shine Spray (Full Size: $39.00)
from Birchbox: July 2015
Oribe products are always amazing and since I wear my hair wavy, this was a great product for me.

Mineral Peel
O.R.G. Skincare Mineral Face Peel
(Retail: $44.00)
From Rachel Zoe Box of Style: Summer 2015
I was concerned about spraying a peel directly into my face, but this didn’t irritate my skin at all and (I know this sounds gross) it really peeled off all the dead skin. I tried this with my best friend and she was amazed. Seriously, my favorite peel ever.

SEPTEMBER
Watch Case Watch Watch Close
Cluse La Bohéme Rose Gold Watch with dual straps:
(Estimated Retail: $132.00)
from the Rachel Zoe Box of Style: Fall 2015
I don’t own many watches and this one is so lovely and classic. The rose gold on this is epic and the changeable straps make it so versatile. I know I’ll have and use this piece forever.

Gummy Bears
Albanese 12 Flavor Gummy Bears 7.5 oz
(Estimated Retail: $2.19)
from the Treat Chest Candy Club: August 2015 Box
Yes, gummy bears are on this list. Because they are the best damn gummy bears in the world. They were so good I ordered my boyfriend and I a giant 1 lb bag of them.

OCTOBER
Pillowcase
Savvy Sleepers Luxury Satin Pillowcase
(Suggested Retail: $36.00)
from Popsugar: October 2015 & a New Limited Edition Holiday Box!
This pillowcase was so soft and comfy, that I used the coupon code in the box to buy some more for my bed.

DECEMBER

Jewelry Box 2 Jewelry Box Open
Swing Design Nova Blue Mist Jewelry Box (Suggested Retail: $36.00)
from the Popsugar: December 2015 & A Promotion Fail
I am a sucker for Mint and this box was perfectly sized to hold all kinds of goodies. I have two of them and they live on each end table on the sides of my bed.

Hairpin 1Hairpin Close
Lelet NY Swarovski Crystal Hair Pin
(Retail: $98.00)
from the Rachel Zoe Box of Style: Winter 2015
This is gorgeous and has an heirloom feel to it. So beautiful.

It was fun to look back and see which items I ended up falling in love with and which ones I adored from the start. Overall, my favorite subscription box for the year was the Rachel Zoe Box of Style. I received so many amazing things from that subscription and if I could only choose one to keep, it would be Rachel’s, hands down.

So that’s what we got in 2015, but what do I want to see in 2016?

FOR BEAUTY
Watercolor Eyeshadows: Enough with the neutral palettes, we have a ton of them. How about some pastels? I’d love to see some fun watercolor shades in blues, greens and pinks. Give us something that we might not already have in our makeup bag.

Practical Luxury: Full sizes of Fancy Shampoo, Conditioner, Bodywash—even deodorant. We get tons of masks and styling items, but I’d love to try out the pricier every day products. If I fall in love with one, I’d probably splurge on it regularly.

Unique Polish Finishes: We get a lot of cremé, glitter and shimmer polishes but there are a lot of other finishes out there. How about more holographics, jellies and duochromes this year?

Tools: I want to see more styling tools. I’d fall over to get a Mason Pearson brush or comb, a fabulous curling wand, or a great Blush brush.

FOR ACCESSORIES
Rose Gold:
We saw rose gold jewelry pop up in a lot of 2015 boxes, but it’s still on trend and most women don’t have a ton of it in their jewelry collection. Send us more please.

Moonstone: I love moonstone and it shines with both Pantone colors of the year (baby pink and blue). It’s gorgeous and mystical and I’d love to see it pop up in some jewelry.

FOR FOOD
Seasonings:
I’d love to see more seasoning and spice blends (particularly salt free ones). Oils are great too—basically less snacks and more cooking items.

FOR LIFESTYLE
Bagged Lunches: Those of us who bring our lunch to work or school are always on the lookout for new boxes, bags or other gadgets that make it easier and more fun to pack a lunch. Cool Bento boxes, insulated containers and thermos are all welcome.

High End Cleaners: Cleaning isn’t glamourous but it’s a fact of life and I’d love to see high end cleaners in boxes. Eco-friendly countertop cleaners, fancy scrub brushes or specialty laundry detergents would all be some great practical additions.

So what’s your wish list for sub box items in 2016?

Fair Ivy: September 2015

It’s been a bit quiet here since I was away at a work conference out in San Diego. And when I say “work” I mean my boring day job that pays for things like gas and electric (and makeup, let’s be honest), not far more stuff like reviewing products and writing books. So now it’s time once again to pay catch up on all the past boxes, so I’m kicking off my “crap look how behind I am” spree with my last Fair Ivy box. I really loved this sub but in the interest of saving money, I decided to unsubscribe.  Fair Ivy alternates their boxes with handmade finds and jewelry every other month. For September and my last month (sniff, sniff) I’ll get jewelry.

My package
Package

Inside a lovely wrapped box and a Card:
Box Card

EarringsEarrings Close
Fair Ivy 9.2015
Handmade 14K gold fill & Swarovski pearl earrings
from NimbooDesigns
(Retail: $42.00)
Description: “These elegant earrings are made of 14K gold fill circular tags and vegan Swarovski pearls. The earwires are handcrafted by me with 14K gold fill wire so they are suitable for sensitive ears.”
Verdict: Love!
Right off the bat, did anyone else know “vegan Swarovski pearls” existed? I make jewelry (or at least I hoard jewelry making supplies) and I had no idea that was a thing. I learn so very much from sub boxes. In any case, I love these earrings. By some type of design mojo they manage to be so many things all at once: classic but fashion forward, dainty but edgy, refined but unfussy.  I’ve already used them a ton and I know I’ll be grabbing them frequently.

And let’s talk about the back of these.
Earrings Back
The stiletto style is Ah-may-zing. This pick was a bit edgier than a lot of the jewelry I’ve received from Fair Ivy and I think it was an inspired choice. I paid $36.95 for this box and the cost of the earrings is $42 (without shipping). That’s a great deal especially since this box typically breaks even when it comes to retail value.

This is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry from Fair Ivy and I’m so happy I ended my subscription on a high note.
Earrings & Card 1
What did you think of the earrings? Did you love them as much as I do?

THE BACKSTORY
Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: August 2015

I’m a bit behind with my Fair Ivy posts, so for Throwback Thursday I’m featuring my review of the Fair Ivy August box. Fair Ivy alternates their boxes with handmade items and jewelry.  August is a non-jewelry month.

My mysterious package.
Package

Inside:
Wrapped

Towels
Flour Sack Kitchen Towel Set
from June & December
(Retail: Set of 4 for $46.00)
Description: “Whether they are out on a picnic or are brightening up a kitchen, these lovelies always put a smile on our face.”
Verdict: Gift
I know it sounds ridiculous but I have sort of an obsession with kitchen towels. I love quirky and quaint designs so I have a drawer full of different types and styles of towels. These are beautiful and quite versatile since they’d function well as over-sized napkins. I’d love to keep these for myself, but I have way too many and I think these will make a lovely gift so they are going into the Christmas stash.

Do you have any odd kitchen items you hoard? If so, dish!

THE BACKSTORY
Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: July 2015

Every month Fair Ivy sends a handmade find with a guarantee of jewelry every other month.  July is a jewelry month.

I got my package which was only slightly worse for the wear.
Final
Inside we have a cute little box with an unfortunately dead bit of evergreen, but still I appreciate the effort that went into the wrapping.
Wrapped Wrapped Close

Open Box Close
Silver & Gold Bar Necklace from Grey Goose Gifts
(Retail: $???)
Verdict: Gift
Grey Goose Gifts has been featured in previous Fair Ivy boxes and I do love their designs. I think this is  pretty and classic, very much in line with the Fair Ivy aesthetic, but maybe it’s a bit *too* much in line. It’s way too similar to the pieces we already received. I feel like most Fair Ivy necklaces I get resemble each other so closely that I don’t really need multiples. It’s also extra disappointing because Grey Goose Gifts has some interesting designs that include crescent moons, druzy stones and anchors – all things subscribers haven’t gotten before, and would still work within the aesthetic.

I’m going to set this aside as a Christmas gift, (but there’s always the chance I’ll decide I want it after all and then treat myself.) I paid $36.95 (including shipping) and I can’t find the cost of this necklace on the site so I’m guessing it was custom made for subscribers. The pricing seems in line with what many of the other pieces cost and it does seem worth the price. Unfortunately, I am feeling like it’s probably time for me to cancel this subscription. I love the designs and buying from indie makers but I’m getting too much jewelry that all looks the same.

What does your jewelry collection look like? Do you have eclectic tastes or do you stick to one aesthetic?


THE BACKSTORY

 Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: June 2015

Every month Fair Ivy sends a handmade find with a guarantee of jewelry every other month. June is a non-jewelry month and when I opened my package I got this adorable bag.
Package
Shell
Can you see that tiny seashell? It’s already going into my craft hoard and will be turned into some type of jewelry concoction soon.

Inside we reveal a lovely scarf from Ting Lisa, with a coupon!
Use the code “FAIR15OFF” to save 15% (valid through August 31, 2015).
Fair Ivy 6.2015

 Scarf
Day at the Beach Scarf from Ting Lisa
(Retail: $30.00)
Descripton: “Day at the Beach polka dot scarf. It is super sheer and soft, and instantly creates the beach vacation feeling when you wear it.”
Verdict: Gift
This scarf is classic, lovely and well made so it pains me to say that I’m disappointed with it. My last picture on this product is a bit off, as it reads a dark navy in real life rather than a bright blue. Sadly, I don’t get a beach vibe from it at all.  To me, it’s more autumnal. In 2014, Fair Ivy sent another scarf from Ting Lisa that I absolutely adored and is in regular rotation in my wardrobe. It had a gorgeous vintage floral print and this one in comparison feels (gasp) generic. Again, the fabric is lovely, the craftsmanship is great, but I just feel like it’s a bit too pedestrian and isn’t the best fit for the season. The Ting Lisa Etsy shop has some other shades and I think perhaps the bright red variation would have been a little bit more apropos for summer.

I paid $36.95 (including shipping) and the cost of the scarf is $30.  As usual, the Fair Ivy value is pretty much equal to what I paid.  Unfortunately, I’m not feeling this piece but it’s quite nice and I know a few folks on my gift giving list that will love it. July promises a jewelry item, and I’m hoping for some colorful earrings.

What do you think of this scarf? What season do you think you’d wear it?

THE BACKSTORY
Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: May 2015

Every month Fair Ivy sends a handmade find, with a guarantee of jewelry being included every other month. May is one of the months featuring jewelry, so let’s see what shiny little pretty we’ve got.
Wrapped

Box
A lovely wrapped box from Simply Lovely Handmade with a coupon!
Use the code “FAIRIVY” to save 20% (valid through June 30, 2015).

Simply Lovely Handmade is designed and handcrafted in St. Charles, Missouri and describes their collection themselves as, “…a collection of stylish, understated, perfect for everyday jewelry. From delicate layering necklaces to the perfect statement earrings, each piece of jewelry is designed to be an essential for daily wear while transitioning effortlessly from day to night.”

Bracelet On Wrist
Silver Chalcedony Bracelet from Simply Lovely Handmade
(Retail: $???)
Descripton: “This delicate bracelet, custom designed in collaboration with Fair Ivy, features a pink chalcedony gemstone on a sterling silver satellite chain.”
Verdict: Hit!
Layering delicate jewelry has been on trend this season, so this lovely gemstone bracelet is perfect for the season. I have a lot of gold toned bracelets, but very few silver so this will work wonderfully in my collection. The pink shade will also coordinate well with lots of other colors. This piece was custom designed for Fair Ivy so I couldn’t find it on the website in order to come up with a comparable retail price.

I paid $36.95 (including shipping). I think that’s an excellent price for a sterling silver bracelet with a lovely gemstone, so I’m quite happy with my purchase. Next month will bring us a different handmade surprise. I’m hoping for something in the home décor category.

Do you enjoy handmade jewelry? If so, where is your go to shopping site?


THE BACKSTORY

 Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: April 2015

Every month Fair Ivy sends a handmade find with every other month including a jewelry surprise. April was a non-jewelry month so I was super excited to see what type of item I’d get.
Box
As soon as I saw what was written on the side of the box I got excited. Fair Ivy sent items from White Peach Pottery before and it was one of my favorite sub box items from 2014.

Now we dive in.
Box 2 Wrapped
Okay, I’ll admit that this isn’t the prettiest wrapping job I’ve received from a Fair Ivy product, but it’s cheerful and I’m sure I couldn’t have done much better.

We unwrap to reveal…
Card
Cup Spoon Close
Handmade Mug & Spoon from White Peach Pottery
(Retail: $32.00+)
White Peach Pottery writes, “Your new mug & spoon are 100% handmade by artist Marianne Tolosa, of White Peach Pottery, in the state of Virginia. Each mug is thrown on the potter’s wheel before being hand-altered and decorated with 14k gold luster.”

April 2015 Fair Ivy
Verdict:
Love!
Do I have mugs? Sure I do. But this one is so pretty. It’s really classic, lovely and makes my coffee treats feel extra luxurious. The best part is that adorable spoon. How can you not love it? If White Peach Pottery sold sets of just the spoons I’d buy a bunch. I don’t see this particular version available on the website, so it seems like it was made just for subscribers. I linked to a similar one with different coloring. Sadly, I cannot find a spoon available for purchase.

I paid $36.95 (including shipping) and with a retail price of $32 just for the mug (excluding the spoon & shipping), I feel like I got my money’s worth. I know this is pricey for a mug, but it’s handmade and very special so I’m fine with paying a bit extra for it.

EXTRAS
Fair Ivy has also been randomly sending subscribers small handmade samples to subscribers so they can share them on social media. It’s a fun way to try out some of these amazing indie artisans.

Tea SurpriseTea
Plum Deluxe Oregon Breakfast Black Tea

(Retail: $7.00 per oz)
Plum Deluxe offers teas for sale along with a tea-of-the-month subscription.

Soap Surprise
Wrapped Soap Soap
Natural Soap from Marvi Beauty
(Retail: $3.00 for a small bar)
Marvi Beauty is a skin and hair care company with 100% natural products crafted by hand in small batches.

It was really nice to get some fun extras in the mail box and find some cool new shops to stalk.

Do you enjoy handmade items? If so, where’s your go to outlet to find new artists?


THE BACKSTORY
Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: March 2015

Every month Fair Ivy sends a handmade find with every other month including a jewelry surprise.
Box

This was a jewelry month so let’s open up our mysterious packet and see what’s inside.

Open BoxCloseup Box

Necklace Rings
Three Gold Rings Necklace from Amanda Deer Jewelry
(Retail: $32.00)
Amanda Deer writes, “I set out to create pieces that are simple, chic and wearable every day- tiny little statements that add just a touch of glam to any outfit. My line features dainty necklaces and bracelets, some inspired by nature and others inspired by faith and family. I hope you enjoy this dainty 14kt gold filled three ring necklace, handmade by me in my studio.”
Verdict: Like

Now this necklace on its own is lovely and there is just one reason I didn’t give it a “love” verdict. It is super similar to necklaces Fair Ivy sent to subscribers previously. In the past we’ve received not one, but two necklaces with circle charms. One had one circle and another had two. While this one has three, it still seems redundant.   I’m particularly disappointed because Amanda Deer has so much amazing stuff on her website that is at the same price point and offers much more interest. (Like this amazing crescent necklace). I know Fair Ivy may not be considering the jewelry designs they sent out before their hiatus, but they should keep in mind that long term customers will have the similar pieces and be disappointed to have three necklaces that all look alike.

I paid $36.95 (including shipping) and with a retail price of $32 (excluding shipping) I pretty much break even. I love dainty jewelry and the necklace is lovely, I just wish we’d gotten a different Amanda Deer design—one that subscribers hadn’t seen before.

What is your jewelry style? Are you a statement kind of girl or a daintier lady?


COUPON CODE!
AMANDE DEER JEWELRY: Save 10% using code; valid through 5/1/15

THE BACKSTORY
Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: February 2015

Last month I received my first Fair Ivy box since they have been back from their hiatus. This sub features unique handmade finds with every other month including jewelry.

Since last month included earrings, this month was going to feature a non-jewelry surprise.
Package

As usual adorable packaging. I mean do you see that itty bitty little closepin?
Closepin
Sadly, in my excitement to see my surprise I managed to destroy it. Rest in peace, itsy bitsy closepin.
Cards

Now what’s inside?
Purse
Open Bag Inside Bag

Clutch from from Lacy Lou Designs
(Retail: $28.00)
Lacy Lou Designs writes, “This clutch was handcrafted with the idea of making you feel hip and confident. It is the perfect design for a night on the town, yet functional enough to be used every day. Its roomy interior keeps all your essentials together while its mixed media design gives you an urban-chic look. This particular clutch was designed specifically for Fair Ivy and—you!”
Verdict: Love!

The “urban-chic” description was dead on. This clutch has a really put together but easy feeling to it that will work well for a ton of different outings. It’s lightweight but still a good enough size that you can fit in all your essentials. I think this would be a perfect bag to take on a trip or vacation since it  works equally well for day or night. I also feel like the color palette and print will translate well across different seasons. I love that this is an exclusive for Fair Ivy subscribers so while there are similar bags on Lacy Lou’s site, this exact one is just for us.

I paid $36.95 (including shipping) and with a retail price of $28 before shipping I pretty much break even. The bag is cute, versatile and no one else I know will have it so I feel like I got my money’s worth. Plus I love supporting independent artists.

What do you think of the clutch? Is it your style?


THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.

Fair Ivy: January 2015

One of my favorite subs has returned from hiatus!
Fair Ivy is back with unique handmade finds. Fair Ivy has done a slight revamp of their program and they now only offer one subscription option that features a handmade surprise each month. Jewelry will be featured every other month.

Mail

A little about Fair Ivy: ” All of our unique surprise gifts are created by individual US artists, so your love of surprises and gifts helps support handmade (a US version of buy local!) by supporting their wonderful craft and livelihood. Each gift you receive is handmade and vegan-friendly, and contains an information card with details of the artist’s process, background, or inspiration, so you can understand the time and care put into each hand-wrapped item.”
Paper Inserts

So I got my little January packaged and tucked inside with my cute little cards was a beautifully wrapped box. Fair Ivy is the absolute best at packaging and that extra effort really makes you feel like you are getting a gift every month.
Wrapped

EarringsEarrings Close
Earrings from Song Yee Designs

(Retail: ???)
Song Yee Designs describes these earrings as “a pair of sterling silver earrings featuring life like rose leaves dangling from dainty French hook ear wires.”
Verdict: Like

I couldn’t find these exact earrings on Song Yee’s site so I don’t have a retail value for them. They are dainty and cute, but they didn’t wow me. I felt like they either should have been bigger or had multiple leaves (maybe mixed metal with copper or gold). Because there is only one surprise item I feel like that item should really wow me. After looking at Song Yee’s site I see a ton more interesting and compelling designs (the druzy pieces in particular were striking). Fair Ivy’s aesthetic is feminine and delicate, but I’d like to see a bit more daring in their choices. Still these are lovely earrings in sterling silver and I’m sure I’ll use them.

I paid $36.95 (including shipping) and I do feel that these earrings were perhaps a touch overvalued.  I’d put the price at $20 – $25 rather than $30. Next month should feature a non-jewelry item and I can’t wait to see what it is. I love that this subscription supports independent artists and that it introduces me to brands and artisans I would otherwise miss out on.

What type of jewelry do you prefer? Classic and dainty or bold and edgy?


THE BACKSTORY

 Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, vegan friendly handmade items made by individual artisans from the US.

Subscriptions currently cost $30/month + Shipping.