The Homegrown Collective: August 2014

In the spirit of trying out new things, I decided to purchase a couple months of The Homegrown Collective.

“The Homegrown Collective is an invitation to be a part of the growing overall collective of people who are looking to shift their lifestyle to a more local, self-sustaining, and eco-conscious way of living.”

And what’s included in their monthly boxes?

“A blend of seasonally appropriate, professionally curated and exclusive consumer items. We like items that are unique, useful, practical and exciting. In our efforts to promote self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship and sustainability…Each product will reflect the season you receive it. It will be meaningful and useful. One month you may receive the ingredients for a home-brewed hard cider to add you your Holiday season. Another month’s box may include the missing items to make a secret Native American cold remedy just in time for flu season. Every item will have a purpose and tie back to our goals of helping our Members become a little bit greener and self-sufficient. Aesthetically, some have coined it, ” Pinterest in a box”.

Box

Now I love me some Pinterest. Like I have pinterest boards for everything (seriously everything), so it was the whole “Pinterest in a Box” that piqued my interest. The thing is I’m crafty and I like a challenge, but I’m not uber granola hipster.  I also tend to get crazy busy with writing, my full time job and my hobbies so a DIY eco-friendly sub was a bit of a risk for me, but I opted to give it a chance.

I started off my subscription in August and yes, I know it’s November now. But here’s the thing. I wanted to actually make the stuff in the DIY box so I could give you a real review. It took me awhile, cause you know, stuff.
Open Box 2Open Box 1  Open Box 3

So my first box theme is: “DIY Summer Essential Home Detox Kit
Sheets

It includes natural items to make your own:

Air Freshener
Air Freshener

Oil Diffuser
Diffuser

Soy Candles
Candle Kit

So it looked like all the projects circled around using essential oils for home freshening. I actually really liked all the projects included and was excited to try them. The one small part that turned me off was that the literature repeatedly talked about how awful chemicals were and all that buzz word nonsense. Not a specific chemical mind you, just “chemicals”. Chemicals are in everything, including us. They are not inherently bad just for being chemicals. I really wished they’d keep the inaccurate propaganda out of my fun DIY box. It put a bit of a downer on what was otherwise a fun box.

Now to do the projects.

I bribed asked my boyfriend to help me since some of these involved stuff like microwaving wax and if you leave me alone for things like that, there is no telling what might end up on fire.

We start with the air freshener. It’s just dropping some essential oil into water that you put in a spray bottle. We followed the directions and you couldn’t smell a thing when you sprayed it. I even tripled the amount of oil. Nada. I ended up just dumping the air freshener later and repurposed the bottle for watering my little succulent garden. The sprayer was good quality and a nice shape and size. I may try it out again with even more oil and see if that makes a difference.
Oils

We moved onto the diffuser. This one was a little bit of a cheat since it required you to supply your own Safflower oil. Shockingly, I actually had some on hand from a Chocolate Beet Cake I’d made (no seriously, I’m really not that hipster). The glass vessel they supplied was good quality and I’m assuming you could use a different one of your choosing. I put this one in my living room.  It’s been awhile and I still don’t smell much. It is cute though and who knows maybe it is absorbing more odors than I realize.
Diffuser #2

I saved the most complicated for last. The soy candles. This is the project where I needed adult supervision since melting things in the microwave is required. It took a lot of babysitting and watching but the candles actually turned out great. The trickiest part was making sure the wick stood up straight while the candle hardened. And from giving them a sniff it actually smelled like the essential oils I added. Success! I’m not sure I’d make my own again since it seems like a ton of work for something I can get inexpensively already made, but the kit certainly delivered a nice product.
Melted Wax Candle #2

OVERALL
Full Box

Verdict: Like

While the projects weren’t all super successful for me, I really liked the idea behind the kit and I can certainly use the essential oils included for different projects. The materials in the kit were high quality and nicely packaged.  I do think that they should have included the safflower oil required for the diffuser.

I had a coupon code for my first box so I paid $36 total (including shipping)and with the discount I really thought it was a great value. I nabbed one more box to review for you all so we’ll see how my next pinterest-in-a-box turns out.

Do you like DIY projects? If so which ones?

THE BACKSTORY
The Homegrown Collective
Month to Month: $39 + $9 Shipping
3 Months: $105 + $9/month Shipping
6 months: $234 + Free Shipping
1 Year: $429 (1 free month) + Free Shipping

Fair Ivy Mystery Box: June 2014

So I’ve been procrastinating on this review because I am in denial that my Fair Ivy subscription is coming to end. This is the last box for Fair Ivy while they go on hiatus until next year when they’ll be back with awesome new artists and finds. In the meantime, I’ll have to comfort myself with trying new boxes and with this last, very special surprise.

Box

I think this is one of my favorite wrapping jobs I’ve received. TingLisa really did a wonderful job of packaging this so it feels like a special gift just for me. Now what’s inside the lovely bag?
Open

A gorgeous printed scarf!
Scarf 1
Perfect spring/summer floral print scarf
(Retail: $20.00)
Verdict: Love!

Cards
The little card inside describes the item in a completely cheerful, (if not always grammatically correct) way…
This month I am very excited to present my newest product —the Cutest Floral Print Scarf. This light weight scarf is super soft! It hugs your neck with the gentlest touch and incredible amount of happiness. I chose this floral print because it is perfect for warmer sunny days, and I designed the scarf wide enough to be wore as a shawl and long enough to tie around your neck twice as an infinity scarf, to create that versatility look.”

Scarf #2
I would have said that labeling something “the Cutest” with a capital C would be a gamble, but TingLisa is not lying. And who doesn’t want something to hug your neck with an “incredible amount of happiness”. This scarf is adorable and super soft. The size makes it very versatile and it’s perfect for traveling when you might get stuck in a crazy cold plane or bus. This is becoming a staple in my work bag as my go to item for the parts of my commute that have really chilly air conditioning. I also adore the print TingLisa chose as it has a vintage fabric vibe.

Replacing my Fair Ivy box in my line up (but not my heart) starting August, will be The Homegrown Collective. This sub describes itself as “Receive seasonally appropriate, professionally curated products that deliver the satisfaction of living a more self-sufficient & sustainable lifestyle to your doorstep each month.”

So I may be getting myself a bit too far into hipster territory with all this DIY and sustainability, but it will be fun to step a little outside  my comfort zone . Plus, if it’s weird enough, there’s hilarity in it  for you. It’s a win-win, really.


THE BACKSTORY

 

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

There are now three exciting subscription options:

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month. (This option will ship in the US & Canada).
Or

The Mystery at $20.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 handmade mystery gift every month

Or

The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry). (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose a duet subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

Fair Ivy Mystery Box: May 2014

So this is another of the May boxes.   I recently switched over to the Fair Ivy Mystery subscription (one handmade item). I’m always excited to see what fun things they send me so let’s dive right in.

Box Open Box

Looks like some adorably wrapped items from Butter Toki.

Wrapped
According to the cute little card, “Butter Toki was opened on January 2014 after a long 5 year journey of experiment and working with the best ingredients suited for the skin. We truly focus on the the art of handmaking products, putting attention to detail on every product made.”

I love how all the items were individually wrapped and the packaging just gave a fun cheerful impression.

Cube
Jojoba Cube in Enchanting Garden
(Retail: $4.25)
Verdict: Hit!
Description: “…the Jojoba Cube based with Golden Jojoba Oil as the main active ingredient. Jojoba oil works great as an anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, and extra moisturizing agent… also included jojoba beads for gentle skin exfoliation. This Jojoba Cube is scented in the Enchanting Garden aroma of soft Apricot Blossom, Blue Iris, and Lily of the Valley!”

I love the cube shape on this soap and I am a sucker for exfoliating soaps. This one is going to the top of my ever growing soap stash.

Body Butter
Black Raspberry Vanilla Whipped Body Butter
(Retail: $8.00)
Verdict: On the Fence
Description: “These body goodies…include Coconut oil, Grapeseed Oil, Almond Oil, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter! Handmade from scratch!”

I like the scent on this, but I’m not sure the consistency is what the product is supposed to be. It has a really hard balm like texture (almost the kind of balm you’d apply to your cuticles.) I’m not sure if something happened to my product en route to me or if it’s supposed to be this way. As is I think it’s nice for rubbing into super dry spots like your elbows and hands, but I’m not sure I could use it all over my body.

Balm
Cherry Lip Balm
(Retail: ???)
Verdict: Hit!
I couldn’t find this exact one in their shop but they have a cute cherry version in a tin. I’m addicted to all forms of lip balms and cherry is my favorite flavor. I keep lip balms all over the place so this one can find a home somewhere in my apartment.

Scrub
Coconut Vegan Sugar Lip Scrub Scrubbie for Baby Soft Lips
(Retail: $3.75)
Verdict: Like
Description: “Our lip scrubbies are made up of moisturizing oil based jelly, almond oil and sweet brown sugar to exfoliate while moisturizing and buffing away dead skin cells on your lips. Everything is lip approved which means you can rub this mixture on your lips and lick it off, yup edible approved!”

I actually only have one other lip scrub (from Julep) so it will be nice to try another brand. I kind of wish the flavor wasn’t coconut, but it will still be a fun product to try out.

ALL!
OVERALL
Verdict:
Like
It was so much fun to unwrap all these goodies and it was interesting to discover this new brand. I enjoyed getting a mini skincare collection as my “mystery” surprise and the only real downside was that I couldn’t figure out if the texture of the body butter was intentional or not.

Excluding the lip balm that I can’t figure out the price of, the remaining items totaled $16 alone, while I paid $22.00 (including shipping) so I feel like I got my value for the money.

In any case, Butter Toki seems like a fun brand to explore and their prices are very accessible. I also think their cute packaging and fruity scents would make them appeal to teens and preteens, so they’d make a nice gift for the young fashionista in your life.

FAIR IVY NEWS

As I mentioned in my last Fair Ivy post, Fair Ivy is going on hiatus after June, so my next review will be my last one until they resume next year. I’m sad to see them go, but excited to see what awesome new stuff they come up with as they expand their network of artists.

In the meantime, I need to do some detective work to find a handmade/artisan type box to replace this one.   I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Fair Ivy Mystery Box: April 2014

I’m finally finishing up my outstanding April posts with my Fair Ivy Box. This month I opted for the new subscription Fair Ivy offered for one mystery handmade item. So let’s jump right into it.

 Package

WrappedCard Box

Cards
Watercolor Card Set by Rachelle Levingston
(Retail: $14.00)
Verdict: Love!

They mystery item turned out to be some beautiful blank cards designed by watercolor painter Rachelle Levingston. The set that I was sent has drawings from different themes so it appears that it was put together specifically for Fair Ivy. I love stationary and I keep a supply of cards for all kinds of occasions. The designs are universal enough to be used for many different holidays and special events as well as every day greetings. I know I’ll find a use for all of them.

Since I thought I was only getting one mystery package this month, I was surprised to get two more in the mail. It turns out Fair Ivy sent some of its “most loyal customers” some extra samples to try. So two more fun surprises to open!

Surprise Sample #1:
Sample Package #1

Soap
Lavender Soap from Would You Lather
(Retail: $4.00 for a 5 oz bar)
Verdict: Hit!
Would You Lather creates handmade skincare products like soap, body butter, body scrub, moisturizing wash and more. Their scents are derived from pure essential oils and their entire product line is made in small batches. This bar had a lovely natural scent. I’m happy to add it to my ever growing subscription box soap collection. They also included a coupon for 20% off your next order, just use FAIR42014 (it expires ion 8/31/2014).

On to Surprise Sample #2:
Sample Package #2
Wrapped SampleCandle
Lilac Candle from the Columbia Fragrance Co.

(Retail: $18.00 for a 12 oz Candle)
Verdict: Gift
The Columbia Fragrance Co. specializes in artisan hand poured candles and boutique home fragrances. This candle was elegantly packaged, unfortunately the scent was a bit strong for me.  However, I think those who enjoy floral scents will really like it. The packaging makes it an adorable gift so I’m going to add it to my gift stash.


OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
I’m not sure how to do an estimated retail on this since I got those great free gifts. I paid $22 including shipping and the cards were valued at about $14.00 retail (not including shipping). I’m happy with what I received for my $22. I got some lovely cards and got to try out a couple interesting new brands.


FAIR IVY NEWS

I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that Fair Ivy is going on a hiatus beginning at the end of June, so June will be the last month for subscriptions until they start up again next year. The good news is they are taking a break to focus on finding new brands and new artists, so when they come back they should be better than ever.

Do you enjoy handmade items? Are you a frequent Etsy shopper?

THE BACKSTORY
Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

There are now three exciting subscription options:

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month. (This option will ship in the US & Canada).
Or

The Mystery at $20.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 handmade mystery gift every month

Or

The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry). (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose a duet subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

DISCOUNT CODE: FAIRIVYFRIEND for $5 off the first month of any subscription.

Fair Ivy Duet: March 2014

This is the post where we get to focus on those fabulous handmade finds and explore some of the artistry of American crafters. This month features Fair Ivy’s Duet subscription, which features a jewelry plus a handmade item.

So let’s jump right into the box.
Jewelry Box UnOpened

As usual, Fair Ivy has gorgeous packaging.

Jewlery BoxEarrings

Package #1 (Jewelry) –23k Gold leaf Inlay Sterling Silver Round concave dome post earrings
from Virginia Wynne Jewelry
(Retail: $27.00)
Description: “The studs are hand cut out of sheet metal, shaped and then a thin layer of 23K gold used inside the dome with a technique called Keum-Boo”
Verdict:
Love!
I like to wear studs to work and these are lovely and unique. I think the concave shape gives them a bit of an edge. These are quite versatile and I think they’ll be a nice counterpoint against feminine spring florals. This also came with a coupon code. Just use the code SURPRISE10 for 10% off Virgina Wynne’s Etsy shop.

An unassuming envelope arrives…

Envelope
And now we have Package #2:
Other Wrapped Towel

Package #2 –Screen Printed Tea Towel from Wit & Whistle
(Retail: $20.00)
Description: “Wit &Whistle offers witty greeting cards and whistle worthy paper and home goods” all designed by Amanda Wright.
Verdict: Love!
I’m planning a giant spring cleaning overhaul of my home including my kitchen so I’m thrilled to get new home items to spruce it up. The Wit & Whistle shop is full of cute offerings and I am particularly enthralled with this Escargot Stamp.


OVERALL
Verdict:
Love!

Estimated Retail: $47.00. I paid $43 including the shipping so I got more than my value and I loved the items in this box. I will definitely use both items andthe Wit & Whistle shop is a great discovery for my online shopping fix.

Last month I expressed that I felt I kept receiving jewelry from Fair Ivy that was a bit too similar and was wishing for a box that only included just the handmade item. The genies at Fair Ivy must have heard my wish so they created the Mystery subscription featuring just one handmade item per month. I’ve signed up for that subscription going forward and I’m uber excited to see what shows up on my doorstep.

Do you enjoy handmade items? Are you a frequent Etsy shopper?  

THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.  
There are now three exciting subscription options:
A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month. (This option will ship in the US & Canada).
Or
The Mystery at $20.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 handmade mystery gift every month
Or
The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry). (This option only ships in the US).
Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose a duet subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.
DISCOUNT CODE: FAIRIVYFRIEND for $5 off the first month of any subscription.

Fair Ivy Duet: February 2014

Now it’s that time of the month where we get to check out those fabulous Etsy finds and explore the creativity of some American artisans.  With Fair Ivy’s new Duet subscription, I get two cool packages a month – one with jewelry and the other with a mysterious surprise.   You know how I love mysterious surprises, so enough chatter and let’s see what’s inside!
Package #1

Jewelry PackageJewelry Box Close
As usual, one of Fair Ivy’s specialties is wonderful packaging.

Full ChainNecklace Closeup
Package #1 (Jewelry) –Sterling Silver Hammered Disc Necklace from Grey Goose Gifts
(Retail: $28.00)
Grey Goose Gifts from Ohio make beautiful handmade jewelry.  They are chock full of charming layering pieces with classic delicate designs.  This piece is just a simple short silver chain with a hammered silver circle.  I think it would work best layered beneath other longer chains.

Verdict:
On the Fence
Oh, how I really hate giving that verdict because this is a lovely little piece and I do like the style of it.  My issue is not with the piece itself, but this piece in the context of my Fair Ivy subscription.   As a Fair Ivy subscriber I have already received many necklaces that I feel are too similar to this one.  The only jewelry pieces I’ve received since joining have been  earrings and necklaces (3 sets of earrings; 5 necklaces).  Every necklace has been on a short silver chain and two others (besides this one) featured small circle pendants.  It is the same silhouette each month and while I really like the look I don’t feel as though I need so many similar jewelry pieces in my collection.  I’d really love to get some other types of jewelry (bring on the bracelets, rings, brooches, and watches) or at least some necklaces with a different style and shape.  Last month’s chain featured pearls and I found that to be a nice variation.

Package #2…a box mysteriously labeled “Fragile”…

Fragile BoxPackage #2

This little box is too damn cute for words.
White Peach Packaging

Pottery
Package #2 –Tillandsia planter from White Peach Pottery
(Retail: $18.00)
Artist Marianne Tolosa of White Peach Pottery creates hand-crafted pottery at her studio in Virgina. Housed inside that enigmatic Fragile box was an adorable Tillandsia planter. I’m guessing my version was made specifically for Fair Ivy since I can’t find it in the White Peach store (although there are lots of other styles).

Verdict: Love!
I love this cute little pot and its cute little magic plant that doesn’t need dirt.  It has been a cold barren winter folks, and seeing this cheerful guy show up was perfectly timed.  White Peach has some gorgeous (and reasonably priced) things in her store and I could envision a bunch of these little planters in those pastel colors being an amazing Easter table centerpiece.  This is the kind of item that makes me love this subscription.  It’s unique, supports independent artists and isn’t something I’d find anywhere else (or think to pick up for myself.)


OVERALL
Verdict:
Mixed

Estimated Retail: $46.00
With shipping, I paid $43 including the shipping so I got more value that what I paid. Judging this box solely on its own merit it is a wonderful box.  The problem comes from the fact that I feel like as though I keep receiving the same necklace every other month.  I do adore the planter and it’s exactly the kind of thing I want from this type of subscription.

I’m going to see what pops up in next month’s box, and if the jewelry is still too similar I may take a brief hiatus from this box to build up some room for more silver necklaces.

Fair Ivy offers a jewelry only subscription in addition to the Duet.   I’d love it if they offered one for just the other handmade items.  I’d be happy to pay $20 a month just a handmade surprise each month.

What is your jewelry collection like?
Are you eclectic or do you stick to the same type of design?

THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

There are two subscription options:

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month.  (This option will ship in the US & Canada).

Or

The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry).  (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose an original subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

DISCOUNT CODE:  FAIRIVYFRIEND for $5 off the first month of any subscription.

Fair Ivy Duet: January 2014

Fair Ivy’s been kicking off the new year with a lot of fun changes.  As I mentioned in my last Fair Ivy post, they’ve changed their subscription options and this will be my first one featuring their new “Duet” subscription.  They’ve also revamped their website to feature more info on their featured artists.   For more info on subscription options, pricing and a coupon code, jump down below.  Now let’s jump into the packages!

Caramel Box

Caramels
Package #1 – Cajeta Goat’s Milk Caramels from Bliss Farms Dry Goods
(Retail: $2.00 each = Package of 8 for $16.00)

Verdict: Miss/Hit for a different month
Last year Fair Ivy included a wonderful goat’s milk caramel sauce by these same folks at Bliss Farms Dry Goods  and I loved it.  I’m sure these are delicious, but January is sandwiched between December’s Christmas excess and February’s Valentine’s decadence, so getting candy felt very ill-timed.  I think food items like jarred preserves, interesting seasonings/spices or specialty trail mix/dried fruit would have been more appropriate.  I’m sure these are still wonderful but I’ll just wait a little while before I enjoy them.

 

Jewelry Package Jewelry Box

Package #2 (Jewelry) – Sterling Silver & Freshwater Pearl Necklace from
Just A Charm
(Retail: $25.00)

My second Fair Ivy package has a funny story attached.  As usual I received a gorgeously packaged box.  It was from Just A Charm who’d sent me lovely things before.  I excitedly opened the box and inside was….nothing?  Cue confused Lisa searching the packaging and the floor making sure I didn’t miss something.  But it seems somewhere along the way someone had painstakingly wrapped an empty box which got sent to me.  I emailed Fair Ivy and they responded immediately with an apology and a brand new package.   All subscriptions get the occasional bump in the road, but they don’t all have such wonderful customer service.  Just A Charm also more than made up with it by sending me an additional gift. I really couldn’t have asked for it to be handled in a nicer way.
Pearl NecklaceCloseup Pearl

Verdict: Love!
Just A Charm describes themselves as making “contemporary jewelry with clean and simple geometrics…The style is modern, versatile, minimalist and understated.”   I adore the unique way the pearls have been included on this chain.  I don’t have a single piece like it and I think it’s going to be so lovely for spring.  It is feminine and dainty and exactly the type of jewelry I’ve come to expect from Fair Ivy.  I can’t wait to wear it.

Bonus BoxFreebie Necklace
FREEBIE
This is the just charming necklace that Just A Charm added because of the mishap with my package.  It’s really lovely and I think it will make a wonderful layering piece.  It was such a nice surprise in the box and I appreciate that they went that extra mile because of the earlier mistake.


OVERALL

Estimated Retail: $43.00.  I paid $43 including the shipping so I got exactly the retail value but without paying the shipping costs I might have if I just purchased through their Etsy stores.  The necklaces were beautiful and I even though I wasn’t crazy about getting candy this month, they still won’t go to waste. I’m excited to see what new things will come in February (Valentine’s Day theme perhaps?) and I’m hoping we’ll see some exciting new artists!

What did you think of this box?
Would you be all about the caramels or is the pearl necklace more your speed?


THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

There are two subscription options:

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month.  (This option will ship in the US & Canada).

Or

The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry).  (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose an original subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

DISCOUNT CODE:  FAIRIVYFRIEND for $5 off the first month of any subscription.

Fair Ivy: Jewelry & More! – December 2013

As you know we recently had a Fair Ivy giveaway.  Congratulations to our winner Patty from Texas!  She won a lovely vintage style bag made by Dulcinas for Fair Ivy.  A big thank you to Dulcinas, Fair Ivy and all of you wonderful readers who participated.

Fair Ivy is a subscription service that features hand-crafted gifts.  They recently changed their subscription options so this will be my last post that features three packages.  They still offer two subscriptions but now you will chose from the Duet (two items; one is jewelry) and the jewelry only subscription.  For more info on pricing and a coupon code, jump down below.  Now enough backstory, let’s get into the box!

The first package I received was the jewelry Item.
Wrapped Jewelry
Package #1 – Jewelry

As usual, amazing packaging.  Inside the lovely little box was a pair of earrings from Lustrous Elements by Erin Miller.  Erin writes, that she “these sparkly little gold filled and sterling silver earrings” have been “cut from gold filled and silver sheet, sanded smooth and given a satin finish” and “hang on handmade goldfilled earwires.”  She also enclosed an adorable quote in the gift box.  Those little extra details are what make these packages feel super special.
EarringsQuote
Verdict:
Love!
These are cute and versatile.  The mix of metals ensures that they’ll match just about anything you have while the size makes them perfect for everyday use.  The dangle gives them a playful, whimsical vibe.  All the previous earrings I’ve received from Fair Ivy have been studs so I’m thrilled to have a different style to add to my collection.

 

Chocolate
Package #2 – Chocolates

My second Fair Ivy package brought on the yum.  Enclosed were two square chocolate bars from the Animas Chocolate Co. I received a Milk Chocolate with Almonds and 71% with Peppermint Dark Chocolate.

Verdict: Hit!
The logo on the Animas Chocolate Co. card is “lose your soul to chocolate.”   I guess my soul is in jeopardy since I pretty much ate that entire Milk Chocolate with Almonds immediately after taking photos for you guys.  It was delicious.  I’m not a huge fan of peppermint and chocolate, but the first bar was so good I will most certainly give the other one a try. I love getting food items in these subscriptions since it gives me the opportunity to try things I may never otherwise hear about.

SoapBalm
Package #3 – Soap

My last Fair Ivy package was from Piccolo Paradiso who make artisan soap and body products.  Tucked inside was handmade soap and Grapefruit Lip Balm.

Verdict:
Gift/Hit
As is par for the course with we subscription box junkies, I receive lots and lots of soap bars. This one smells fabulous and is beautifully packaged so I’m reserving it as a gift for someone special.  The lip balm on the other hand, is something I can always use tons of.  I have different ones all over the house and in my bag and I love trying out new ones.  Included with this gift was a coupon code.  If you like Piccolo Paradiso, you can enjoy 20% off your next order of $25.00 or more.  Just use FairIvyDec.  It expires 4./30/2014.


OVERALL
Package #1
Earrings from Lustrous Elements by Erin Miller: $28.00
Package #2Milk Chocolate with Almonds and 71% with Peppermint Dark Chocolate from Animas Chocolate Co.: 2 @ 3.25 each (Total: $6.50)
Package #3Artisan soap & Grapefruit Lip Balm from Piccolo Paradiso.
Estimated Retail: $44.50.
I paid $48, and since the retail prices don’t include shipping costs,  I feel like I definitely got my value with this box.  I loved the earrings, and will use or gift everything in the box.  Be sure to take a look at new pricing and subscription options Fair Ivy is offering below. I think their new setup is going to allow for a wider variety of surprises in their boxes.

What did you think of this box?  Did you love the earrings as much as I did?

THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

There are two subscription options:

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month.  (This option will ship in the US & Canada).

Or

The Duet subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry).  (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose an original subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

DISCOUNT CODE:  Sign up for the Fair Ivy Newsletter here to receive a $5.00 off coupon.

Giveaway! Fair Ivy: December 2013

UPDATE!!!
This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you so much to everyone who entered.  The winner will be chosen at random from those who entered and announced soon.
Thanks again!

My postman’s brief psychotic break has turned out to be a lucky break for my readers.  This month I ended up receiving a duplicate surprise from Fair Ivy.  When I called them about returning the extra package, they generously offered to let me use it for a giveaway.

For info on Fair Ivy’s fabulous subscriptions and a great coupon code, jump down below.  But now let me tell you what one lucky reader will win…

Dulcinas  Purse Open Purse

This gorgeous vintage French chic purse was custom created for Fair Ivy by Dulcinas.  You can visit her Etsy Shop at Mi Bazaar Latino.

I have this bag and it’s versatile and perfect for special occasions.  If you want to make it super fancy, the fabrication makes it easy to add a brooch.

Since this is my first official giveaway, I’m keeping the rules for entering pretty simple.

1.  You need to have a mailing address in the US or Canada.
2.  You need to “like” Fair Ivy’s Facebook page.
3.  You need to leave a comment on this blog post and be sure to include an email address or link where I can let you know if you’ve won.

You’ve got one week (Until Thursday, December 19th) to enter.  Winners will be randomly selected.  I’ll announce the winner once they’ve been contacted and a mailing address confirmed.

Good Luck to you all and thanks for reading!

THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.

Fair Ivy has recently changed their subscription options.  They are as follows:

Jewelry Subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month.

Or

Duet Subscription at $35.00 a month (plus shipping) of 2 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose an original subscription you will receive your packages separately.

COUPON CODES!:  To get $10 off your first month of a subscription, enter code HAPPYHOLIDAYS during checkout.

Fair Ivy: November 2013 – Jewelry & More!

For details on Fair Ivy subscriptions and a discount code, jump down below.

Fair Ivy sends me each of their three items separately, but this was a busy month for subscription boxes and all these packages came together so this review is going to include all the items I received for November.

      The first is the jewelry item.

Package #1 – Jewelry

Jewelry Opening
As is typical for Fair Ivy, this item came beautifully packaged. 

NecklaceNecklace LongNecklace from Silver Vine Boutique.  (Retail: ??? I couldn’t find a comparable piece on the Silver Vine website so I can’t estimate a retail on this one.)
They “specialize in providing unique, handcrafted and vintage items for you and your home.”

Verdict:
Hit for the Designer/Miss for Fair Ivy
Now I think the design on this piece is great.  It’s simple and elegant, great for everyday use and the combination sterling silver and gold plate is lovely.  So I give points to Silver Vine for their design.  Unfortunately, I think it is way too similar to a necklace Fair Ivy sent out earlier this year.  I own this lovely piece: http://www.fairivy.com/portfolio/hammered-silver-circle-necklace/ that they sent out several months ago and wear it regularly.  I’m not sure how much use I have for a second necklace that’s only real discernable difference is having another gold circle.  

Package #2
Soap
Orange Clove Soap from the Emerson Soap Company  (Retail: $8.00)
These handcrafted soaps are made in small batches and are packaged using recyclable materials and plantable seed paper.

Soap Closeup
Verdict:
Hit!/Gift
If you subscribe to numerous subscription boxes, you will quickly accumulate lots and lots of soap.  Package #2 for November has brought me another bar, but this one is by far the most gorgeously packaged that I have seen and is so pretty that it must become a Christmas gift.  I’m sensitive to smells and despite having cloves, this scent is not at all overpowering.  It feels very warm and Autumnal.  If you’re looking for stocking stuffers these would be perfect.

Package #3
Package
Cards
Water Ways
Note Card Set from Sloe Gin Fizz by Nicole Ray (Retail: $20.00)
Nicole Ray, an artist and illustrator based in southeast Michigan, “creates a line of whimsical art prints and paper goods infused with a playful sense of humor under the name Sloe Gin Fizz.  This set of Water ways cards was inspired by all things water and contains two designs created specifically for Fair Ivy.”
Verdict: Love!

One, I adore stationary.  Two, whenever something is made especially for a subscription box it makes me feel super special, so this item is already doing well before I even get to the artwork.  The designs on these sweet little cards are lovely and can work for so many occasions.  You can even frame and hang a couple for an inexpensive  art series.  I am a firm believer in thank you notes and thinking of you notes, and I don’t think ecards can ever replace the real thing, so I would love Fair Ivy to keep adding notecards and stationary to their packages.


OVERALL

Package #1Silver Vine Boutique’s Necklace: $???
Package #2Emerson Soap Company’s Orange Clove Soap: $8.00
Package #3Sloe Gin Fizz by Nicole Ray’s Water Ways Note Cards= $20.00
Total $28.00+????: I paid $48, and that puts the necklace at a $20 value which I think is a fair price, so I think I got my value in the items.  However, I’ve got mixed feelings on this month.  As much as I loved the cards and the soap, I’m really disappointed with the choice of jewelry.  I think if Fair Ivy wants to keep subscribers beyond just recipients of gift subscriptions they really need to watch the repetition of items.  

What do you think?  Are the necklaces different enough to warrant receiving them both in the same year?

 

 THE BACKSTORY

Fair Ivy is a subscription box of beautifully wrapped, handmade items made by individual artisans.  

There are two subscription options: 

A jewelry only subscription at $25.00 a month (plus shipping) for 1 jewelry item per month.  (This option will ship in the US, Canada & the UK).

Or

An original subscription at $40.00 a month (plus shipping) of 3 handmade items (1 item will be jewelry).  (This option only ships in the US).

Because the items ship directly from the artisans, if you choose an original subscription you will receive the packages individually throughout the month.

DISCOUNT CODE:  NEWSLETTER2 will get you $2.00 off either subscription.

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