Top 13 of 2013 – A Few of My Favorites from Subscription Boxes

So now that 2013 is behind us, it’s time to take a look back through all the awesome stuff my wonderful addiction to subscription boxes brought to my doorstep.  I’ve chosen my favorite 13 items from all of my boxes.  It was so hard to choose, but these turned out to be the ones I either loved the most or got the most use from.

AUGUST

Jelly FishJelly Fish Tripod for Smartphones from the August 2013 Original Fancy Box
(Retail: $10.95 on Amazon)
Original Fancy Box
I had just delved into the world of smartphones when I got this little gadget from Fancy.  It’s great for taking video or watching Netflix.

 

SEPTEMBER

Bombshell BoxAdd-ons
Julep Cleansing Oil & Konjac Cleansing Sponge from the September 2013 Maven Box
(Retail: $28.00/Maven Price: $22.40 & Retail: $12.00/Maven Price: $9.50)
Julep Maven Box
This cleansing oil smells amazing (like oranges) and removes your makeup without drying out your skin.  It’s one of my favorite Julep products ever.  The konjac sponge exfoliates  without being overly harsh and works great with so many other products.

Charger 
Fancy Power Grid by Tego: from the September 2013 Original Fancy Box
(
Retail $60.00 on Fancy)
Original Fancy Box
One of the things Fancy does best is bring practical little gadgets that I know I need but never get around to picking up for myself.  This is a great backup charger that can help your dying Iphone battery last a bit longer.

Ring
Rachel Zoe Gold Knot Ring: from the Popsugar Fall Must Have Special Edition Box
(Retail: $75.00 on Piperlime.com)
Popsugar Must Have
I tend to gravitate toward white metals and super sparkly things so this understated gold ring was a great addition to my jewelry collection.  I would never have picked it out myself but it adds a touch of elegance to my outfits and I’ve worn it a lot more than I would have guessed when I first pulled it out of the box.

OCTOBER

 

Anisa, Valerie & Ciara
Ciara Polish
from the October 2013 Maven Box
(Retail $14.00/Sale: $4.99)
Julep Maven Box
October brought my favorite Julep collection.  It was the only time all year that I did a full upgrade.  And within that awesome “Rebel set” was my favorite polish ever: Ciara.  It is somehow edgy, vampy and ethereal all at the same time.  It’s a magenta polish with a teal microglitter and pictures do not do it justice.  Pick it up, you’ll love it (I promise).

USB Strip
Contort Flexible USB Hub
from the October 2013 Original Fancy Box
(Fancy Retail: $25.00/Amazon Retail: $7.39)
Original Fancy Box
As usual, Fancy delivers another gadget I know I needed but just didn’t bother to buy.  I used to have to take turns plugging in my thumb drive and then my camera. Now with a USB hub I can do it all at once.  (Fancy needs to hope I never get gadget-savvy because then I might not need a subscription).

Purse  Midnight Clutch by Emilie M.from the October 2013 Original Fancy Box
(Fancy Retail: $50.00)
Original Fancy Box
I thought this bag was really cute when I first got it and since I actually didn’t own anything in this style it was a nice plus.  It ended up being my go to bag for my nights out.  You can easily fit your phone, wallet and other essentials plus it matches everything.

 

NOVEMBER

Ear CuffJack Vartanian Ear Cuff from the November 2013 Nina Garcia Quarterly Box.  
(Retail: ???)
Nina Garcia Quarterly Box
I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to be the uber edgy cool girl that can wear stuff like ear cuffs.  And then Nina Garcia sent me a fabulous one by a fancy pants jewelry designer.  I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to try this on my own, but once Nina  sent it my way I realized I could rock it.

 

Eyeshadow
Le Métier De Beauté –  Pretty in Punk Eye Shadow Palette from the Special Edition Neiman Marcus Popsugar Must Have Box
(Retail: $95.00)
Popsugar Must Have
This beauty palette opened up a whole new world of eyeshadow application.  Did you know we were all doing smoky eyes wrong?  And who better to tell us how to do it than the French!  This is the most luxurious eyeshadow palette I’ve ever owned and I love that it’s opened up a whole new world of makeup for me.

Candle
Nest Candle in Birchwood Pine
from the Special Edition Neiman Marcus Popsugar Must Have Box
(Retail: $34.00)
Popsugar Must Have
Sometimes I fall in love with candles.  Okay,  I frequently fall in love with candles.  But I really, really mean it when I say I love this candle. It is so pretty and while it looked awesome with my Christmas decorations it’s going to look amazing all year long.


DECEMBER

BraceletErickson Beamon Rocks Blondie Stone Bangle from the Limited Edition Popsugar Holiday Box
(Estimated Retail $98.00)
Popsugar Must Have
Okay maybe I’m just a sucker for sparkly things, but I loved the rhinestones on this bracelet.  They were just ethereal and twinkly and the captured my imagination the moment I took this out of the box.  They look so much better in person than in my photograph.

TokyomilkTokyomilk’s Dark Body Soufflé in “Chance” from the Limited Edition Popsugar Holiday Box
(Retail: $40.00)
Popsugar Must Have
You know when it comes to beauty products I’m pretty easy.  You can win me over with gorgeous packaging so this body cream had me at hello.  It proved itself with a soft fragrance and rich, but not greasy formula.  This is a great gift for the girl who thinks she has everything.

DatebookGraphic Image 2014 Datebook: from the Limited Edition Popsugar Holiday Box
(Retail: $97.00)
Popsugar Must Have
Okay so I’m going to be honest.  A planner that costs $100 is for some other girl.  I would never even think of buying something like this and maybe that’s why I love it so very much.  Along with calendars, maps and room for notes it has lists of common words and phrases with translations in English, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish (including the dates of all their different holidays!)  Just ask me how to say chicken in Dutch (Huhn) or for two nights in French (pour deux nuits).  ASK ME!  Okay, I got a little carried away, but this little book makes me feel like I’m a jetsetting socialite who spends spring time in Paris and summers in the Hamptons, which is exactly what I need when I’m trapped in my windowless, basement office in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Now a few winners in the larger subscription categories:

Overall Favorite Subscription:
Popsugar Must Have & Nina Garcia Quarterly Box
Since Nina’s box was brand new and only had one come out this year it was hard to judge it against the others, but it was cohesive and chic and exactly what you expect from Nina Garcia.  Popsugar is the most consistant when it comes to awesome items I can use in my life so I chose it for the top spot.

Favorite One Time Box:
Popsugar Limited Edition Holiday Box
As super fancy as the Neiman Marcus box was, the Holiday box just fit my needs and lifestyle so perfectly (as you notice it had three of my top thirteen picks).

Did you subscribe to any boxes in 2013?  I’d love to hear your favorite things.

Nina Garcia Quarterly Box – November 2013

When I opened my mailbox and found a jury duty summons there was only one thing that could make me feel better.  The fact that it was sitting on top of my Nina Garcia Quarterly box.  Quarterly is a service that offers quarterly subscriptions curated by all kinds of interesting folks who send select items in their special area of expertise.  Nina Garcia is listed a “Style Expert” so this is a fashion and beauty focused subscription and November 2013 is the launch of its first box.
Box
I was a little perturbed by the size of the package.  It just didn’t seem big enough for a $100 subscription, but I’m not going to panic because I trust Nina.

First ImpressionThe first thing I find when I open it up is the nicest descriptive info I’ve gotten from any of my boxes.  It’s a long letter from Nina detailing all the items and why they were chosen.

CardsNina writes, “For my first box, I’ve handpicked products from this season that reflect what’s happening in fashion today: hot brands, wardrobe staples, beauty essentials and up-and-coming designers.”  She goes on to explain that she’s connected the items with an underlying theme: Glam Grunge.

Okay people, this is going to be good.

The first item is:
Leather Cuff
Leather Dual Cone Cuff by Baublebar:
(Estimated Retail: $32.00)
Verdict: Love!
This item is exclusive for Nina’s first Quarterly mailing. She writes that it “strikes that perfect balance between polish and edge”.  Okay one, how cool is to have something that only the other folks smart enough to subscribe to Nina’s box will get and 2. This thing is just badass.  What I also love about it is that it has 3 rows of snaps, so whether you have a larger wrist or a freakishly small one like I do, it will fit you.  This item also came with a Baublebar coupon for $15 off of any order of $30+.  Because this is an exclusive, I’m basing the retail on a somewhat similar studded bracelet on the Baublebar Site.

Ear Cuff
Jack Vartanian Ear Cuff:
  (Retail: ????)
Verdict: Love!
The ear cuff trend is everywhere and I think it looks pretty damn cool, but I’ve been on the fence as to whether I could pull it off.  But now that Nina Garcia has given me permission I am totally ready to rock this.  It’s so dainty but edgy, and its subtle enough to make that touch of punk seem effortless.  Now I googled trying to find a retail price only to discover that Jack Vartanian is super fancy – as in jewelry at Barneys with price tags in the thousands of dollars.  This might not be gold and diamonds, but I’m betting the retail on costume jewelry from this caliber of designer is quite high.

Stole
Faux Fur Stole by Adrienne Landau
(Estimated Retail: $39.90)
Verdict:
Love!
How did Nina know that I’ve been pinning fur scarves to my Pinterest board for the last two months?  This little stole is quite soft and has an easy Velcro closure.  It’s small so it can add just a touch of fur without overwhelming your outfit.  Plus it’s warm, which is helpful for facing NYC winters.  This is yet another item made exclusively for Nina (clearly everyone loves Nina or she’s got a safety deposit box chock full of incriminating photos).  So this is another one where it’s difficult to pinpoint a retail value.  Adrienne has products in stores from Saks Fifth Avenue to HSN.  Since this stole is faux we’ll estimate the price to be on par with this piece she has on HSN.

Liptstick
Too Faced La Créme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Teddy Berry:
  (Retail: $21.00)
Verdict: Love!
Nina chose four different shades of plum lipstick and included a different one in each box.  Mine seems to be a little on the lighter side, but I think it will complement my skin tone really well.  I’ve never tried any Too Faced cosmetics so I can’t wait to give this one a whirl.

Essie
Essie Polish in Shearling Darling:
(Retail: $8.50)
Verdict: Hit!
I am a sucker for dark red polishes and this is a lovely shade of burgundy.  I only own one Essie polish, so this will help build my collection.

Soap
Pearl+ Luxury Soap: (Retail: $6.00)
Verdict:
Miss/Gift
This is a detox soap comprised of crushed pearl and charcoal.  It sounds fascinating but I am really sensitive to smells and this one is just too strong.  It’s definitely a manly type soap (think musk and cologne).  I think I will be adding this one to the gift pile.

Open Kit
VBeauté It Kit Anti Age Skin Care System:
(Retail: $99.00)
Verdict: Love!
Okay so the cost of this little kit pretty much covered the entire box.  It is an anti-aging skin care system and this little clutch is designed to be TSA friendly.  I have to say this is the most luxe travel skincare set I have ever seen.  Included with this was a coupon code for $25 off of a $75+ at vbeaute.com. I am unfamiliar with this brand, but if their product is half as good as their packaging I will love it.

Magazine
December 2013 Marie Claire Magazine:
(Retail: $3.99)
Verdict: Hit!
We all knew this would be in here.  I don’t subscribe to this magazine, so it’s nice to get a free copy.

Full Box
Overall:

Amazing.  Badass.  Awesome.
I had high hopes for this subscription and it more than exceeded them.  I paid $100 for this box.  Without including the Jack Vartanian ear cuff or the coupons,  my estimated retail is already at $200.00.  I love nearly everything, and with the exception of the soap I will use it all myself.  It’s clear that Nina had a lot of input and took a lot of care with this box.  I also adore that she gave all the items a theme.  I have to say I think this is my favorite subscription box to date.  Brava Nina!

There is just one downside to this box.  I have to wait a few months until the next one.