Dispatch: Series One -“On the Run” Mystery Box

Okay so let’ start kick off this first post since forever with a huge apology to my readers and the wonderful folks who send me boxes to review.  It’s been oh so quiet here, because I’ve been oh so overwhelmed.  I started my great new job, but my days are super long and I haven’t quite yet figured out how to juggle them with this blog. (If you’ve got tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments!) Meanwhile, I’m working on it  and I hope to be able to find a good balance.

Now let’s get to the reason why you show up – the box reviews.  And today I’ve got one of the most unique I’ve ever featured: a monthly mystery box.  I know, you’re thinking “you have mystery boxes all the time”, but this isn’t the kind with surprise gifts.  Instead, you get to channel your inner Sherlock and solve a mystery.  Intrigued? I was too.

The folks at Breakout, who came up with those funky escape room games, started a monthly subscription box called Dispatch.  The boxes chronicle a mystery and send you a box of clues that lead you to online resources that can help you solve the crime.  Each mystery lasts less than a year and each box costs $24.99.

Series One is called “On the Run” and is described as follows:
“Murder, romance, scandal—this story has it all. Once you open your delivery, you’ll find yourself entangled in the strange disappearance of your closest childhood friend, who also happens to be suspected of killing his wife, a well-known heiress.”

 I’ve gotten two boxes in this mystery series.

BOX #1
Box #1 introduces us to the mystery.  Our childhood best friend is accused of murdering his wealthy wife on their honeymoon.
We’ve got a notebook, lots of cool little details like magazine clippings, a napkin with a handwritten note and a set of invitations.  You can follow the clues to Instagram accounts, websites and you can even RSVP for the wedding reception using the info on the invite.
  We’ve also been given a resource, “The Bailey Detective Agency” that we can contact for help.  Pretty cool, right?

BOX #2
 
For our second box brings us more clues that focuses on the deceased’s wealthy family’s interest in a mine and it’s subsequent mysterious collapse We’ve got letters, autopsy reports, a mysterious token and lots of paper shreds.

The materials even have details like coffee and blood stains.

Verdict: Hit!
I love the care that went into putting this subscription together.  A real handwritten napkin, Instagram accounts and websites, letters, email responses and a helpline.  There’s so much detail that makes this fun.  I think this might be a great gift for that retiree who loves mystery books or even a teen who enjoys puzzles.  The one thing I do wish, is that the mystery was more group friendly.  You have to read a long notebook and lots of lengthy materials, so it just doesn’t lend itself well to working with a group. Maybe in addition to the notebook, we could get a link to a online vlog that discusses the contents.  I think that would open this up to being a fun family or group activity. It could be a different spin on a murder mystery dinner party.  Unfortunately, as currently constructed, I feel like it works best as a solo activity.

How would you feel about solving a mystery via a sub box?
Fun? Or not worth the hassle?

BACKSTORY
Dispatch is a monthly subscription-based mystery that tests your detective skills each month with a new delivery of clues.

After subscribing to Dispatch, you will receive your first package in the mail. These physical items serve as an introduction to the story and draw you into this online/offline mystery. After that, you will receive an additional box each month with more items that further explain the story.

Your first box will be shipped immediately. Your 2nd box will be shipped one month later and future boxes around that same date each month.

Each story lasts for less than a year before a new story begins. You can cancel at any time.

COST: $24.99 per month

Daily Goodie Box – June 2017

Today I’ve got something great to get us through hump day.
A FREE box.  That’s right, I said free.
Daily Goodie Box will send you a box of free product samples.  All you need to do is sign up and then leave your reviews of the product on their site.  It’s that simple.  It’s subject to availability of course, but free is free.

Here’s our box…

Tiger Balm –  Pain Relieving Ointment
Verdict:  Useful, but small
Tiger balm is great when you’ve done something you’re probably not supposed to do and your muscles are making you pay for it.  I just wish the sample was a little bigger.

Prince of Peace – Original Ginger Honey Crystals
Verdict: Great for a cold
I’m not much into ginger beverages, but this sounds like something that would be perfect for when you catch some horrible subway flu.  The size is great for a sample.

Black Forest Organic –  Gummy Bears
Verdict:  You had me at gummy
I’ll be honest, if it’s fruit flavored and in gummy form, I’ll probably love it.  These were delicious, not quite as amazing as the Albanese gummies, but still quite good.

BiPro – Protein Water Berry Burst
Verdict:  Not my jam
I’m not really into the flavored “waters” and I try to stay away from drinks that have calories.  This had the type of flavor you’d expect from berry flavored water – a slightly synthetic, but mostly refreshing drink.

Crown Maple – Organic Maple Syrup
Verdict:  Love!
Organic maple syrup in an adorable glass bottle. Yes, please!
Coupon: Use code GOODIE25 for 25% off any product order.  Expires 8/31/2017.

VitaBath – Travel Size Body Wash
Verdict:  Hit!
Bodywash is a product that my household goes through pretty quickly so I’m always happy to try a new brand.  This one is sulfate and paraben free and comes in a variety of scents.  Mine is coconut which sounds perfect for summer.

BetterThanCoffee – Energy Bars
Verdict:  Not too bad
I’m not big on “energy” bars or drinks.  This one did have a more natural, hippy type flavor and texture.  It seemed like something that was good for you. (If that makes sense).

Pure Growth Organic – Snack Mix
Verdict:
  Decent
There’s nothing extraordinary about this mix.  It tastes just fine and I think kids will like it.

Goddess Garden – Mineral Removing Cleanser
Verdict:  Too small
I’m always up for trying out new organic beauty products, but I think this sample is just too small to get a real idea of whether you truly like this product or not.

OVERALL

Because this is a free box, I’m not going to give it an overall rating, but I found it to be a wonderful free box.  Most of the sizes are more than adequate to judge the products, and it has a nice mix of different types of things, including some brands you might not know about otherwise.  I also appreciate that it included a lot of organic and healthy options.  Definitely worth the five minutes it takes to sign up and the few minutes it takes to write a couple sentences about each item.

Have you ever tried any free sample product boxes? What did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Daily Goodie Box
It’s more than just Free Samples!

They’ll send you a box of free goodies and all you need to do is review the items.
Subject to Availability.
Shipping is Free. No credit card required EVER!

Freedom Japanese Market: April 2017 + Special Offer

Today I’ve got a really fun post I’ve been saving.  The wonderful folks from Freedom Japanese Market sent me their April snack box to review.  It’s got all sorts of fun and unique treats straight from Japan.  Plus if you mention Subscription Therapy, in your order notes, you can receive a free bonus candy in your first box!

Freedom Japanese Market sends you a monthly box of treats shipped fresh from Japan.  Most of the items are sold exclusively in Japan and boxes contain some limited edition snacks and candies that are only in Japanese stores for a month or two.  About a pound of candy and snacks are packed into each box and an itemized list with pictures is included in each box.

This adorable box was left out by my mailbox which my neighbors thankfully picked up before any of the local wildlife could get to it.

Inside we have a colorful snack guide plus an adorable origami sword.  Because these snacks aren’t available in the US, I’m not going to be pricing them out.

Now to the snacks!

Ume Paper
Description:
“Pickled plum in paper thin form – sweet and sour!”
Verdict:  Where’s the sweet?
Death people, this tasted like death.  Like if a Stephen King book turned into a fruit roll-up.

Mix Fruit Mochi
Description:
“Mini apple and pineapple flavored piece of sweet mocha (rice cakes).”
Verdict: Adorable!
I haven’t had a chance to try these yet, but they look adorable and apple and pineapple sound great.

Premium Umaibo
Description:
“Mozzarella and camembert cheese flavored puffed corn.”
Verdict:
  A cheese doodle on steroids
Imagine a cheese doodle made with stronger cheese.  Like almost but not quite stinky cheese.  Not bad, but nothing I’d go searching for.

Shimi Choco Corn
Description:
“Cute star-shaped crispy corn puffs coated in strawberry chocolate.”
Verdict:
  The strawberry is a lie.
I was so excited for these because no one loves artificial strawberry flavor like I do, but there was this strange sort of texture after eating these.  I can’t really explain it but it was so unpleasant and the strawberry taste was just odd. These were disappointing.

UFO Ramune
Description:
“Ramune flavored hard candy in four flavors: yogurt, peach, apple, and cider.”
Verdict:
  Sounds interesting
I didn’t get to try these but “yogurt” flavored hard candy sounds intriguing.  It can be either horrific or amazing, there really isn’t an in-between.

Nagewa
Description: “Beef consommé flavored ring shaped potato crisps are fun to play with and eat!”
Verdict:  Hamburger Magic
I had no idea what Beef consommé tastes like, but apparently it tastes like a hamburger.  Like a hamburger with ketchup and pickles on it and everything.  These little potato straws were like you took a hamburger happy meal and magically shoved it into an itty bitty crisp.  This was my favorite item in the box.

Teriyaki Umaibo
Description: “Teriyaki burger flavored tube of puffed corn.”
Verdict:  Beefy cheese doodle
Another ginormous cheese doodle.  I’m not sure I would have guessed this was “burger” if I wasn’t told.  The taste was savory but without being immediately identifiable (if that makes sense).

Caplico Mini
Description: “Strawberry flavored aerated chocolate shaped like a mini ice cream cone!”
Verdict:  Wafer-y goodness
This strawberry treat made up for the other one.  It was like a wafer cookie with lots of extra filling.

Pizza Umaibo
Description: “Pizza flavored tube of puffed corn”
Verdict:  MOAR GIANT CHEESEDOODLES!
This cheese doodle had that sort of sharp pizza flavor.  Not bad, but not something I’d look to eat again.

Umaka!
Description: “Ramen chips flavored like champon, a Nagasaki noodle dish made of seafood and veggies.”
Verdict:  Mostly non-distinct
I try all these treats without reading the card first, because I figure that will give me the most honest impression.  I was worried this one would have fish in it based solely on the angry face and the little prawn.  I’d eat one chip and it would be a pretty bland then I’d try another and it would have a faint taste of fish.  They were interesting but didn’t live up to the exclamation point in the name.

Kabuki Cracker
Description: “These delicious rice crackers are stamped with famous kabuki emblems.”
Verdict:  Crunchy and bland
I passed these over to my boyfriend and his verdict was that they were crunchy and pretty bland which is kind of a theme with a lot of the rice based Japanese snacks.

Un-Choco
Description: “Mini grape flavored chocolate balls in cute animal packaging!”
Verdict:  Look at that face!!
I didn’t even try these but I love them. Look at that cute little face.  I don’t know if it’s a koala bear or some kind of alien hybrid animal, but I love it.  Packaging wins me over every time.

Caramel Corn
Description: “A seasonal exclusive!  Sweet rare cheesecake flavored curls of puffed corn.”
Verdict:  Lightly sweet
These corn puffs were very delicately sweetened and I thought they were a nice treat.  They almost reminded me of a lighter version of the honey flavored Chex Mix.

BONUS!
Chewing Straw Candy
Description: “Straw-shaped grape flavored gummy candy.”
Verdict:  Not quite for me
Normally gummies win me over, but I’m not a huge fan of sweet and sour gummies and these had that cloying sweet and bitingly sour thing going on.  But someone who enjoys those types of gummies would probably love this.


OVERALL

Verdict:
Hit!
Now, this box normally costs $24.99, which seems fair to me for a box shipped from Japan with this many treats. I think this would make a fun gift for a teen or even someone away at college.  Even if the treats aren’t quite suited to our Western palates, they are a lot of fun to try out.  I always enjoy learning about different foods and cultures, even if at the end of the day they aren’t something I fall in love with.  The packaging on this sub is adorable and I thought there was a good variety of sweet/salty/sour.  The one improvement I could see with this box is that we received three Umaibos, but maybe instead we could have gotten  one or two and a different type of snack.

I think this is a really fun sub and if you love Japanese snacks or fun unique food items, you may want to give it a try.

Have you ever tried snacks from other countries?
If so, what did you think of them?

THE BACKSTORY
Freedom Japanese Market sends you a box of treats shipped fresh from Japan.  Most of the items are sold exclusively in Japan and contain some limited edition snacks and candies that are only in Japanese stores for a month or two.  About a pound of candy and snacks are packed into each box and an itemized list with pictures is included in each box, so you don’t have to read Japanese.

Club members can buy additional boxes and send them (to other addresses) as gifts or gift subscriptions.

Plans:
Puchi Pack – $14.99 per month:
(For a small taste of Japan)
★ 5 to 8 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
Original Pack – $24.99 per month:
(The perfect box of treats from the land of the rising sun)
★ 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
★ Includes DIY Candy Kit
Family Pack – $45.99 per month: (Snacks for the whole family)
★ 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
★ Includes DIY Candy Kit
★ Double the snacks without double the price

Discounts: You can create a 1, 3, 6 and 12 month renewable plan (longer plans have larger discounts) that will fit your needs.
Special Offers: If you mention Subscription Therapy, in your order notes, you can receive a free bonus candy in your first box!

Shipping:
Free Shipping Worldwide
You can cancel at any time without fees or penalties.

2017 Precious Moments Collectors’ Club

Okay so I’m going to be honest, I am not the target demographic for today’s subscription. The Precious Moments Collectors’ Club  is for folks that collect and love those little wide eyed Precious Moments statues that have graced the shelves of many beloved grandmothers.  I do, however, understand the love of collecting.  If I’d had a house before now, I’d probably have ginormous collections of all kinds of random stuff.  For me, there is an undeniable appeal in finding all the cool versions of something you love and building a pretty display for them. I’ve got a collection of antique brooches, nail polish, and cookbooks so who am I to cast stones if you adore little porcelain figures?  That’s why when the wonderful Precious Moments folks asked me to review their product, I decided to give it a shot.

So this subscription is a little different than most.  You pay $59.99 for the year and get a lovely package with free collectibles as a welcome gift.  Your membership includes perks such as a free quarterly subscription to MOMENTS magazine, free shipping on all your purchases for a year along, access to Members Only figurines along with other perks on the Precious Moments site.  For all the details, jump down to the Backstory.

So my lovely logoed box arrived and I was interested to see how it was packaged.

Sandwiched inside was another smaller box.

I opened it to uncover a little pouch with a cute collectible bracelet.


Beyond that is another little box with a plaque.

(This is like a nesting doll of collectibles!)

Finally the last layer reveals a cute “Live’s Always Greener With You by My Side” figurine that is the “2017 Symbol of Membership”.

Figurines aren’t my collectible of choice, but I must admit found that tiny little porcelain bunny, too adorable.


Verdict: If you’re a collector, this would be great for you.
If you collect these figures, this subscription would probably be a lot of fun for you and give you some nice discounts.  The $59.99 seems to be the cost of the welcome figurine, so if you love that little statue, everything else that comes with membership would just be a nice bonus.

Do you collect anything?
If so, what is it and would you join a subscription for it?


BACKSTORY
The Precious Moments Collectors’ Club offers special discounts and services to members that collect and purchase Precious Moments figurines.  A year long subscription purchase will entitle you to:
FREE Symbol of Membership Figurine – Life Is Always Greener With You By My Side
FREE Shipping On All Items Purchased at Preciousmoments.com for one full year!
FREE 4 Quarterly MOMENTS magazines
FREE Figurine & Doll Personalization for one full year!
FREE Members Bangle Bracelet and Precious Moments Plaque
TRIPLE Reward Points On ALL Purchases
EXCLUSIVE ability to purchase Members Only Figurines for one full year!

COST: $59.99 per year

Drift Away Coffee: November 2016

I think I’m not alone when I say 2016 has been a really tough year and I won’t be sad to see it end.  Today, I thought I’d finish on a high note, with an awesome box that is long overdue for its review from Drift Away Coffee.

Drift Away Coffee is a personalized coffee subscription.  You start with the tasting kit that features four coffees from around the world.  You download the free Drift Away Iphone app (or visit driftaway.coffee/fave)  and as you try each coffee, you can type in your notes and rate the coffees you tasted.  This helps Drift Away match coffee to your taste preferences.

For all plans, the first delivery is a tasting kit, which features 4 two ounce bags of and is the box I’ll be reviewing today.  For new subscribers, a tasting box will only set you back $8.00.

First, you would select how much coffee you want (7 oz, 11 oz, or 32 oz) and the frequency (Every Week, Every Other Week, or Every Four Weeks).
package
My sub came in a really cute bag.  I love the name “Drift Away Coffee” although it makes me think of that show the OA, which I recently binge-watched.  That show was like trying to do a word problem in high school.  Like you have a vague idea what is going on you until you realize this crap is actually requires formulas you didn’t bother memorizing.

My box includes four coffee samples and some cute little cards that offer tips on how to brew coffee.  Sadly, my coffee drinking is not that intense.  I’m lucky I even have a coffee grinder at all, never mind suggestions to use a “Burr Grinder” because it “gives a consistent grind.”  (Is it just me or does Burr Grinder sound like a bad dance move, or a really good sandwich?)
coffee-all
What I really liked about the cards was that each bag corresponded to a flavor profile – Fruity, Classic, Balanced, and Bold.

Fruity: Light roasted African coffees, typically with delicate, fruity or floral notes.
BUP
Kayanza Mpanga
Origin: Burundi Shimu
Flavors: Grapefruit, Nutmeg, Chocolate

Classic: Medium roasted coffees, usually from South America, with chocolatey and nutty notes.
COR
La Angostura Tarrazu
Origin: Costa Rica
Flavors: Peanut, Toffee, Nutty

Balanced: Light-medium roasted coffees, usually form Central America, that balance chocolate & fruity notes.
ELV
Finca Cjamarca
Origin: El Salvador
Flavors: Toffee, Lemon, Citrus

Bold: Dark roasted coffees from around the world, with bold, rich, flavors.
PEK
Centrocafe
Origin: Peru Apu
Flavors: Dark chocolate, Brown Sugar, Cherry

I opted to try out the “Bold” flavor because go big or go home right?

Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker.  It’s not part of my regular routine – I prefer to have a really good cup once in a while rather than drink it every morning.  I pulled out my coffee grinder from obscurity and got started.
grinder-before grinder-after
After I ground up my coffee, I brewed it in…I know this will be sacrilege, but I’ve got a refillable pod for my Keurig.  (Gasp! I know, a Keurig, not a French press or a beaker with a reusable unicorn filter, or whatever the hipsters go for these days).

I tried the coffee black and then with a bit of milk and sugar.  Both ways, it was lovely.  I definitely got the “bold” flavors, but it didn’t have that acidic or burnt aftertaste I find with stronger coffees.

I was able to download the Drift Away app easily on my Iphone.  I didn’t continue through it, only because you need to sign in – presumably with your info from the site.  Since I received this box free for reviewing purposes I couldn’t do that.

OVERALL
teacup
Verdict:
  Hit!
As I mentioned I’m not huge into coffee, but I thought this was a really great box.  The packaging was nice, the price is reasonable for upscale coffee and I thought it had a nice variety.  I’ve tried other coffee subs and I like how Drift Away kept things simple.  The four coffee profiles were easy to understand.  The only downside I can see is that Drift Away only offers whole beans – but since that’s what most coffee aficionados want, it’s not a big issue.

If you’ve got someone on your list who adores coffee and is otherwise hard to shop for, consider giving them a gift subscription to Drift Away in lieu of a Starbucks gift card.

Are you a coffee addict?
Would you enjoy a coffee subscription?

THE BACKSTORY

HOW IT WORKS:
Drift Away Coffee is a personalized coffee subscription.  For all plans, the first delivery is a tasting kit which features 4 two ounce bags. You use the free Drift Away app to rate each coffee and customize it to your taste.

COSTS:
Tasting Kit:
$8.00 for new subscribers (16.50 otherwise)
7 oz/14 Cups/1 Drinker:
$12
11 oz/22 cups/1-2 Drinkers: $16
32 oz/64 Cups/2-3 Drinkers: $34
Free Shipping

You can select the frequency from “Every week”, “Every other week”, or “Every Four Weeks”.

They also offer gift subscriptions, the ability to purchase individual bags and options for offices.

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Whisk & Flour October 2016: Matcha White Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

So apparently being a big giant ball of stress can result in you catching the plague yet again.  I find myself once again best friends with a bottle of NyQuil, so today I decided to add some sugar to make my medicine go down.  The awesome folks at Whisk & Flour sent me a baking box to review.  For reference, I love baking.  I have a giant cabinet full of different cookie cutters and baking pans.  I even have a 90th anniversary cherry red Kitchen Aid.  So you can imagine I was super excited to try a monthly baking box.

A little about Whisk & Flour:
“Whisk & Flour was founded by Donna Doktorcik with the belief that artisanal baking should be within reach for everyone.  The Whisk & Flour team has focused on bringing unique recipes and ingredients to everyone. We love hunting down creative ingredients and creating yummy treats for everyone to share!”

How It Works:
Whisk & Flour curates recipes with artisanal ingredients like matcha, candied ginger, dulce de leche.  No fancy equipment or techniques required.

You sign up for monthly deliveries.  (First box ships the 15th of the following mont h and you can cancel at any time).

They send all the dry ingredients pre-measured along with a recipe card and easy to follow instructions.  You provide the butter and eggs.  Every few months they will include a Baking accessory.

The cost is $28 per month. Delivery is free and they use eco-friendly packaging.

A cute little box arrives with an adorable label:
box-label open-box-1
I can’t wait to see what recipe I’ve got…and then…
open-box-2
Matcha?  Cookies?
I’ll admit I was immediately disappointed.  Green tea tastes like medicine to me and this wasn’t what I was expecting.  I had anticipated a recipe to match the season – some Fall flavors like cinnamon or ginger.  But I had to give it a chance.
ingredient-bag ingredients gift
The box was packaged adorably and the ingredients came in a cute little sack that I’m going to reuse to hold some cookie cutters.  All the ingredients had lovely labels and were pre-measured.  Included was a half-sheet pan silpat.  Silpats are great for baking and I already own the full size, however,  I was confused by this inclusion.  You couldn’t use this for the included recipe as it makes too many cookies. (You need a regular size sheet pan).  I also feel like a half sheet pan size is not something everyone would own.  Silpats are great, baking accessories are awesome, but this one didn’t quite make sense to me in this box.

So now it’s time to start the actually baking.
creaming dry-ingredients
For this recipe I needed to provide 5 Tbsp of butter and 1 egg yolk.  We cream together butter and the included powder sugar and sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
mixing adding-chips
We add in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then fold in the white chocolate chips.
matcha-log sliced
We shape the dough into a square log and refrigerate for 1 hour.  The chilled log gets sliced and the cookies get put on a baking sheet with a mat and baked in a 300 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
baked-cookies cooling
They get removed from the oven and chill on a baking rack.
And when I’m done this is the finished product:
matcha-shortbread-cookies
So what did these taste like?  Delicious buttery cookies with the faintest hint of basement.  Seriously, I can’t get past the Matcha taste.  For me it took away from what should have been a delicious cookie.  Don’t’ get me wrong they still got eaten, because there’s still butter and sugar goodness.  Unfortunately, I thought the Matcha detracted from the cookie rather than enhanced it.

OVERALL
whisk-flour-matcha-white-chocolate-chip-shortbread-cookies
Verdict:
Lots of Potential.
I’m going to start with the positive.  I love the idea of this sub and how everything is so nicely packed and pre-measured.  I also appreciate the approach with the artisanal ingredients, but I wish they had matched the season more.  I think at this time of year we should see maple, cinnamon, ginger and more Autumnal flavors.  I also think that $28 a box is steep, if you’re not getting an accessory every month. I think the box should include a small accessory to use in the provided recipe.  For example, maybe maple butter cookies with a maple leaf cookie cutter, or maybe a cake slicer to make a lemon layer cake in the Spring, or specialty sprinkles for cupcakes and so on.  Even though the Matcha wasn’t a fit for my palate, Whisk & Flour has a ton of great looking recipes on their site that I think I would have loved.

What types of treats would you want a baking subscription to include?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Whisk & Flour sends a beautiful recipe card with step-by-step instructions, all the shelf-stable ingredients pre-measured, and some fun facts about the recipe you are making. Plus, they add baking accessory every few months as a bonus! You bake, {maybe share}, and definitely enjoy!

Monthly Cost: $28 per month
And shipping is always free!

MeUndies: September 2016

Today I’ve got an awesome subscription for you guys, an underwear subscription that claims to be the “world’s most comfortable underwear”.  Seriously. The folks at MeUndies graciously sent me a box to review.  Strangely enough, I’ve been hunting for the perfect underwear for awhile.  My go to has been a seamless boyshort style from Target, but my terrible washing machine pretty much makes them disintegrate so it was time to try something new.  Cue my MeUndies box.

About the Brand:
MeUndies wants you to build the “freshest, funnest, underwear drawer” with “new limited edition designs every month.”  You can skip a month or cancel at any time.  You can also just buy their products individually from their site, but you do get a discount by signing up for the subscription.

How the sub works:
This sub offers four styles for men or women.  First you choose your cut:
Options for Women: Women’s Cheeky Brief, Women’s Bikini, Women’s Boyshort, Women’s Modal Thong
Options for Men: Men’s Boxer Brief, Men’s Trunk, Men’s Boxer, Men’s Brief

Next you choose your fabric and size:
Sizes for Women: XS – 2XL
Sizes for Men: S – 3XL
Fabric options are in three categories: Classic, Bold, and Adventurous.

Cost: Men’s pairs are $16 a month and Women’s pairs are $14.00

So my undies arrived in this cute little bag.  I opted for the boyshort style in XL because I have a bit of extra junk in my trunk.
bag
These styles appear to be the “adventurous” kind, which suits me just fine.  These felt super soft and really well made.  The real test was when I wore them.  They were in fact very very comfortable and I felt the sizing was a little generous.  I think I could have worn a large as well, so if you’re between sizes you may want to go down to the lower one.
striped-undies abstract
The finishing on the edges of this underwear are much better quality than my usual kind and I think they’ll hold up better in the wash.
label-close
meundies-9-2016
Verdict:
Love!
I think MeUndies has me hooked.  I’m definitely going to turn to them when I need to replenish my underwear drawer.  While $14 a pair might seem a bit pricey, these are great quality and I think they’ll last longer than the ones that cost just a few dollars less.  They also are amazingly soft and come in so many fun prints.  This is also a wonderful gift idea – perfectly suited to the guy in your life who never seems to remember to buy underwear or just hates doing it.  The MeUndies site also offers some lounge wear options although the current sizing seems more limited than their underwear offerings.  I hope they do expand their sizing cause I’d gladly buy some tshirts in their super soft fabric.

BACKSTORY
MeUndies wants you to build the “freshest, funnest, underwear drawer” with “new limited edition designs every month.”  Each month they’ll send you a new pair of underwear in your selected cut and size.   You can also just buy their products individually from their site, but you do get a discount by signing up for the subscription.

COST: Women: $14.00
Men: $16.00

Shipping:
Free Shipping
You can skip a month or cancel at any time

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July Irish Taste Club & 10% Off Code!

Today I’ve got some more fun with food with my review of the July Irish Taste Club box plus an extra special coupon for 10% off when you sign up (use code therapy10).

If you remember from my last review, Irish Taste Box, features sweet and savory treats all the way from Ireland.  For details on the pricing jump down to The Backstory.

The lovely box included a handwritten note to subscribers, which was a thoughtful touch.  Apparently this is the first box for subscribers, so I’m assuming my previous one was a trial run.
Box Open Box Personal Note
Now let’s get to the goodies!
Granola
Maria Lucia Bakes Granola Cranberry Coconut and Chia Seed Granola

Description: “We knew when we tasted Maria Lucia Bakes Granola that it was a perfect example of its kind.  We were determined to have it in our boxes.  She has just won best cereal in Ireland at the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards with her cranberry Coconut and Chia Seed Granola, which is our favorite flavor, but we will offer the whole range over the coming months.”
Verdict:  Like!
This was a really nice granola chock full of healthy things, I didn’t find it all that different from what we have available in the US, but still good. I’m taking it to work to sprinkle in my morning yogurt or oatmeal.  This is quite a large box so this should last me awhile.

Sauce
Ballymaloe Original Sauce

Description: “????.”
Verdict: “Couldna been so beautiful…couldna been so right…”
According to my insert, this was supposed to be “Ed Hicks Bacon Jam”, (Bacon Jam!!!!!) so I don’t have any info on the Original Sauce.    Instead it’s tomato sauce?  Which I think might be what we think of in the US as ketchup.  I am sort of a ketchup addict (although my heart belongs to Heinz) so theoretically this would be a good addition for me, but I can’t keep thinking that I missed out on bacon jam. Mmm, bacon jam.  It looks like this is available at Wegman’s so if you’re lucky enough to be close to one, you can try this out for yourself.

Sour Cream Chips
Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream Crisps

Description: “Everyone loves crisps and the Shamrock and Sour Cream variety from Keogh’s. The guys make them on their farm in North Dublin.  We applaud that he producer grows the potatoes that make the crisps and we really like the flavor combinations.  Our first box just had to have a little shamrock.”
Verdict:  Hit!
There is never anything wrong with sour cream and onion chips.  I gave these to my boyfriend (because I’m the awesomiest girlfriend ever) and he enjoyed them quite a bit.  Unsurprisingly, Irish folks know how to make a tasty potato.

OatsTea
Foods of Athenry Just Oats Flapjacks
& SD Bells Belfast Tea
Description: “The flapjacks from the Foods of Athenry are part of a massive range of oat-based goodies form the multi-award winning Galway producer.  We think they’re great for kids/ lunchboxes and to have the cup of the iconic SD Bells Belfast Brew tea.  They’re also good crumbled up over fruit and baked as a Crisp.  SD Bells supplied the Titanic with dry goods including tea!  The company is Ireland’s oldest Tea Importer and Coffee Roaster.  The Belfast Brew cuppa is a perfect blend example of Indian Orthodox Leaf.  It’s strong and that’s how we Irish like our tea.  It’s best taken with a little milk.”.
Verdict:  Miss for the Oats, Hit for the Tea!
I found the Flapjack treats to be a bit dry and not as flavorful as I would like, but the insert included a recipe for a granola fruit crisp, so I may try it out in that capacity instead.  I didn’t get a chance to try the tea yet, but I love that it’s the oldest tea importer and actually supplied the Titanic.  I think this will be a lovely treat as the weather cools and we head toward Fall.

Oil
Newgrange Gold Rapeseed Oil

Description: “Rapeseed oil is Ireland’s answer to olive oil and some say it’s even better for you.  This one from Newgrange Gold is just that-liquid gold in a bottle.  It’s so versatile.  You can cook with it and use it in salad dressings. It also takes on flavor really well, so add some chili and garlic or basil or rosemary….We could go on.”
Verdict:  Like
I enjoy cooking so I always love getting seasonings and oils from other countries to try out in my dishes.  I think I might try this out in a Mediterranean style orzo salad.

Truffles
Skellig Chocolate Company Citrus Truffles

Description: “Finally, we had to have some chocolate.  The Skelligs Chocolate Company in Kerry is one of the best in the country.  We just can’t stop eating these White Chocolate Truffles with sharp hits of lemon zest, but don’t’ worry, there’s plenty of stock.  We just know there will be repeat requests.”
Verdict:  Like/Gift
I like that there was a dessert component and I brought this with me to a summer BBQ to share.  Some folks loved it, others thought it had a sort of lemon pledge vibe.  I thought the citrus flavor was a lovely addition for summer and a unique truffle to offer.

OVERALL
Irish Taste Club 7.2016
Verdict:
  Like!
I received this box for free, but it would have cost me $44.  I think that considering that most of these products are very difficult to find in the States, it’s a solid value.  I am super disappointed though that I didn’t receive the bacon jam that was listed.  I’d also love to see more recipes and uses for the ingredients (there were only two and one was to be paired with the missing bacon jam).  It will be interesting to see the unique items this sub offers in the coming months.

Do you enjoy food boxes and food subscriptions?
Have you tried any yourself?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month, Irish Taste Box will send  7-9 sweet and savory products including handmade chocolate, artisan jams and chutneys, baking mixes, and specialty condiments sourced directly from Ireland’s finest independent producers. Each box will feature an explainer card giving exclusive recipes for our products and the inspirational stories behind their producers.
It’s like an Irish farmers’ market direct to your door!

Cost: $44 per month, $120 for 3 months, or $420 for 12 months.

Coupon Codes: Use therapy10 for 10% off

July 2016 Chococurb Nano & 10% off Coupon Code!

I’ve got something special to combat the Mondays – a chocolate subscription!  Yes, that’s right, it’s like a Willy Wonka-o-gram!  Someone will send fancy pants chocolate right to your house every month.  (I swear sometimes subscription boxes do God’s work.)

The wonderful folks at Chococurb sent me their July Nano box to review for you all plus an awesome coupon code for 10% off your order, just use the code THERAPY (valid through 9/16/16.)

“Chococurb partners with the best chocolate makers in the world…and will help you discover, enjoy and learn more about one of life’s greatest pleasures.”

I had no idea I needed help enjoying chocolate, but who knows maybe I just haven’t been trying hard enough.

Chococurb offers several subscription options with a discount for prepaying (for more detail, jump down to “The Backstory”).    Today’s Chococurb Nano box, costs $10 for a monthly sub and offers five small-to-medium sized items.  Chococurb also offers the option to buy your favorite products from their online chocolate shop.

A large Styrofoam box arrives and I’m wondering just how much chocolate is in this bad boy.
Styrofoam
I open it and inside is a cute little package nestled in some cooling packs.
Chococurb Nano Wrapped
Inside the cute blue box, we’ve got more wrapping!  Getting to this chocolate is a lot of work.
Once I open it up, we’ve got some adorable little bars inside.
Unwrapped

Birthday Cake Batter
Seattle Chocolates – Birthday Cake Batter

(2.5 oz Bar: $3.50)
Description: “Seattle Chocolates created this wonderful treat, which tastes like vanilla frosted yellow cake. With colorful confetti pieces mixed into the milk chocolate, it’s even more exciting!”.
Verdict:  Hit!
I love birthday cake batter treats, so it must have been a moment of insanity (or true love) when I gave this one to my boyfriend.

Ethereal
Ethereal Confections

Verdict: Hit!
I couldn’t find this exact bar, but Chococurb does offer one for sale with Macadamia nuts, raspberry and lime kaffir.

Menakao
Menakao Chocolate – 44% Milk Chocolate with Madagascan Vanilla

(Bar: $7.99)
Description: “Similar to coffee beans, the ones for cacao obtain many unique characteristics based on where they are cultivated. This might explain how every bar by Menakao has a unique taste of its own. With notes of vanilla and butter, this caramel-esque bar exemplifies the acidic and fruity flavors that distinguish Madagascan cocoa.”
Verdict:  Miss
This one had such lovely packaging that I was super excited for it, but sadly it tasted a bit bitter to me. I’m sure someone else would enjoy it, but it just wasn’t to my taste.

Mokkacino
TCHO – Mokaccino + Blue Bottle Coffee Bar

(2 Oz Bar: $5.95)
Description: “Warm, roasted nuttiness and complex, dried fruit notes from freshly roasted Blue Bottle coffee blend seamlessly with the dense caramel and cocoa notes in our SeriousMilk chocolate. Named Best Flavored Milk Chocolate in America by the International Chocolate Awards.”
Verdict:  Hit!
I loved the flavor on this one – just the right mix of coffee and chocolate.

Noire Gingembre
Chocolat Dolfin – Noire Gingembre

(Estimated Retail Bar size 2.47 oz. Bar $5.99)
Verdict:  Like
This may be the fanciest sounding thing I’ve ever eaten.  Chococurb’s store didn’t include this flavor, but they have some other options including a Pear & Almond one that sounds ah-may-zing.  I’m not a huge fan of ginger mixed with chocolate, so this bar wasn’t my favorite but it was still quite lovely.

OVERALL
Chococurb July 2016
Verdict:
  Like
There’s something about getting a box of chocolate that brings a smile to your face.  This is a tiny box of chocolates, but I think the unique, high quality offerings match the $10 pricetag.  The nano box option offers you a way to indulge in a monthly treat without going overboard, and it makes a great little gift for someone you love that’s got a sweet tooth.

I also appreciate that Chococurb offers the option to purchase most of the items from their online store.  So many times you fall in love with a unique confection from a sub box and then just can’t find it anywhere.  The one thing I’d love to see added to this sub is an info card that lists all the chocolates included with a description of the flavors.  The included card gave me info about Chococurb, but I had to do some searching on their site to find out about the chocolates themselves.

Would you ever sign up for a chocolate subscription?
Why or why not?

THE BACKSTORY
Chococurb partners with the best chocolate makers in the world to deliver you a monthly box of high quality chocolates.

There are several subscription options:
Chococurb: Five to seven personally selected, extraordinary chocolate treats.
Cost: 1 Month $35; 6 Month $99; 1 Year $180

Chococurb Mini: Three gourmet chocolate products.
Cost: 1 Month $20; 6 Month $57; 1 Year $108

Chococurb Nano: Five small-to-medium sized items.
Cost:
1 Month $10; 6 Month $54; 1 Year $96

Coupon Codes: Use code THERAPY for 10% off you orders through 09/16/16

You can buy more of your favorites from the Chococurb online shop.

Subscriptions ship on the 14th of each month and auto-renew at the end of their respective period, unless canceled.  Chococurb nano does not include personalization.

MorningClub Co: May 2016

I’m back from a busy July 4th holiday which included my anniversary and a lot of house hunting (keep your fingers crossed I don’t give myself a heart attack as I attempt to actually purchase a home).  I’ve got another new box for you and this time it’s one for the fellas.  The wonderful folks at Morning Club Co., a men’s grooming subscription, sent me a box to review so let’s get down to it.

A little about this sub:

“MorningClub Co. is a no-nonsense, no gimmicks subscription-box company with a mission to ensuring that men never run out of the personal care products they know, use and trust….Monthly subscription prices range from $17.99 to $45.59 per month (all prices in USD), with extra shipping and sales tax in Canada.  Depending on your monthly subscription package, you can opt to customize your preferred brand or product selection to better suit your needs.” Boxes include 5 – 7 products, plus socks and a free gift.  This box allows you to choose from boxed sets of grooming products and also offers the option of adding on razors.  Currently, you can get 25% off your first box.

Since this is a practical grooming subscription for men I’ll be considering this one from more of an overall gifting perspective.

Now let’s get to grooming:
Box Open Box

Body Wash
Dove Men+Care Body and Face Wash, Clean Comfort 18 oz
(Estimated Retail: $5.32)

Deodorant
Dove Men + Care Deodorant Stick, Extra Fresh, 3 Ounce

(Estimated Retail: $3.86)

Q-tips
Q-tips Cotton Swabs, Blue Purse Pack, 30 ct
(Estimated Retail: $3.62)
I have to say I find it a little amusing that this is called a “purse pack” and is in a men’s box.  I feel like Qtips are something you want to buy a big box of and just have on hand.  That being said, this size is perfect for travel or keeping in your gym bag.

Shave Gel
Dove Men Plus Care Shave Gel Hydrate
(Estimated Retail: $5.59)

Toothbrush
Colgate Wave Soft Manual Toothbrush
(Estimated Retail: $4.70)
I feel like so many folks use battery operated or sonic toothbrushes that this would be a good product for customers to be able to exclude.

Toothpaste
Colgate Max Fresh Liquid Toothpaste with Mini Breath Strips, Cool Mint, 4.6 oz
(Estimated Retail: $2.50)

Socks
Conceited Cowboy Socks
(Estimated Retail: $????)
I couldn’t find this one online, but they look like cute socks and I love the name.

Our Free Surprise Gift…
Free Gift Wrapped Free Gift Free Gift Open
MILWAUKEE 24-Piece SHOCKWAVE I
(Estimated Retail: $22.45)
This is a drill bit set…but you need to have a drill first.  I’m not sure what type of quality this is, but it’s a cute little set.

OVERALL
Morning Club
I’m not sure how much this box would cost as it seems most similar to the “Feel Energized with Dove” set which is currently priced at $25.19, but it doesn’t have quite as many items.  Since the lowest cost listed is $17.99 we’ll assume this box costs between that and $25.19.  Excluding the socks which I couldn’t price, our total comes out to an estimated $48.04 (although a lot of that comes from the cost of the extra gift).

I think this sub would be a great gift for a teen guy going off to college.  Their budget is limited and this would be a great way to give them the necessities each month plus a couple fun extras. The value is definitely there, but you could also buy these items in bulk via Amazon for a bigger discount overall and a bit more customization.  However, you don’tget the fun of the free gift and socks, which is probably a nice bonus to your monthly pharmacy purchases.  I could see a busy guy who’s really brand loyal enjoying this sub.  I do think MorningClub Co should consider some additional add-on options like shampoo/conditioner, electric brush head replacements and so on.  If a guy could get all their grooming needs from this one box, then I think it would have an even bigger appeal especially factoring in that you would now know exactly how much you need to budget for your grooming items each month.

Have you ever purchased a box subscription for a man in your life or tried one yourself?

BACKSTORY
MorningClub Co. is a no-nonsense, no gimmicks subscription-box company with a mission to ensuring that men never run out of the personal care products they know, use and trust.  Depending on your monthly subscription package, you can opt to customize your preferred brand or product selection to better suit your needs.  Boxes include 5 – 7 products, plus socks and a free gift.

COST: $ prices range from $17.99 to $45.59 per month (all prices in USD),
(Extra shipping and sales tax in Canada)