Popsugar: April Must Have Mini & LE CFDA Box Spoiler!

Popsugar recently launched a downsized version of their subscription box called The Must Have Mini. The box costs $18.95 and features two full sized items with no overlap for their regular sub, so you can opt to receive both if you want some extra Popsugar in your life.
Mini

Despite my ongoing issues with Popsugar customer service, I usually love the items I actually get so I decided to give this one a chance for a month or two (and of course it’s super exciting to review the inaugural box of any sub).

So let’s see what our very first Must Have Mini box has inside:
Box Open Box

CandleCoupon
Greenmarket Purveying Co. White Melon Pantry Candle

(Retail 7 oz: $16.00)
Description: “Hand-poured in small batches by a US artisan chandler, this soy-blend candle has notes of fresh melon, sweet peach, zest citrus, and comforting vanilla.”
Verdict: Like
To start this candle smells amazing, like the best watermelon candy except not cloying at all. The only thing is, it’s well, a candle. I love candles don’t get me wrong but if you’re a sub box subscriber, you get tons of them. It just seems like a bit of a boring choice for one of two slots in the very first box of the subscription. It also came with a coupon for a discount on Greenmarket Purveying Co.’s site, which was a nice bonus.

Lip BalmLip Balm Packaging Lip Balm Open
FARMACY Lip Bloom in Lavender Mint
(Retail: $16.50)
Description: ”Farmacy’s unique variant of Echinacea works with natural seed oils to form a protective barrier that leads to softer, fuller lips – combine these natural benefits with the refreshing scent of your favorite herbs, and you’ve got the perfect lip balm.”
Verdict:
Lovely but boring
Think of the very next thing that overflows from sub boxes right after candles? If you guessed lip balms, ding, ding, you are a winner! This has lovely packaging, and the scent seems nice, but it’s just a fancy lip balm. Not really much to write home about.

OVERALL:
Popsugar Must Have Mini April 2016
Verdict:
Phoned In
We’ll start with the positives. With tax I ended up paying $20.28 for this box and the retail value came out to $32.50, so it definitely delivered in that regard. This box had a spring feel and was seasonably appropriate. Each item was high quality and well suited for gift giving (particularly Mother’s Day). Unfortunately, the items were painfully dull. The only thing missing from making this the “crap you always get in sub boxes” was the inclusion of a mascara. And it’s probably only absent because Popsugar was limited to two full size pieces. With a box of only two items, at least one needs to be a rockstar and both of these were painfully ordinary sub-box fodder. They would be fine in a box filled with other things, but as a set they just don’t scream out “must have”. Also consider that this is the very first box of this subscription and it seems even less inspired. Popsugar really phoned this one in. I’m going to hold on to the sub for another month or two, just to see if it improves, but if I end up with a stack of mascara and lip gloss I’m bailing.

What do you think of Popsugar’s new lower cost offering? Would you have enjoyed this box for the price or found it as lackluster as I did?

POPSUGAR NEWS!
CFDA Box Launch & Spoiler!
CFDA
Description: “For the second year in a row, we’re proud to launch our limited-edition Must Have box with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This fashion collaboration has little luxuries perfect for a relaxing day by the pool or a weekend filled with sun and music. Fifty percent of POPSUGAR’s profits from each box will be donated to the CFDA, in support of the CFDA mission to strengthen American fashion in the global economy.”
Cost: $225.00
Spoiler: every box includes a classic split cover up from lemlem by supermodel Liya Kebede
Last year’s CFDA box was probably Popsugar’s most controversial box ever. There was all kinds of drama from changing prices to misrepresented items, so Popsugar actually broke down and offered returns. Head over to my 2015 review for all the dirty details. This year they’ve opted to release a spoiler and it certainly looks intriguing. Last year’s box was painfully devoid of actual fashion items, so it seems Popsugar learned their lesson. After last year, I’m not willing to risk so much money on a Popsugar LE box, but if you love the spoiler it may be worth the gamble to you.

THE BACKSTORY
Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.

In addition to Popsugar’s monthly must have boxes, they have some seasonal special edition boxes that contain uber luxe items.  The price tag on these boxes is higher, but the products you receive are high end.

Popsugar Mini Pricing:
(Features 2 Full Size Items)
Monthly – $18.95

Popsugar Must Have Pricing:
Monthly – $39.95
3 Months – $109.85
6 Months – $214.70
12 Months – $404.40

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off site wide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

Popsugar: February 2016 & an April Spoiler!

I’ve still got a few February boxes just waiting for a review. Since I just got my March Popsugar, I realized I’m overdue to talk about the February one.
Box
Let’s dive in:
Open Box

Scarf
Tilo Heart Print Scarf
(Suggested Retail: $125.00)
Description: “Beautifully organize your things with this Must Have exclusive storage bin – great for your hats, scarves, toys, books, or anything that needs a home. We love the gray spotted print, which can easily tie into any room décor.”
Verdict: Gift
This is a lovely scarf and super soft, but I have so many scarves and this one just didn’t call to me, and I’m actively trying to trim down my clothes hoarding, closet. I did think it would make a great Valentine’s day gift for my Mom, so I passed it along to her. It’s definitely pretty and perfectly suited for a February box, although I couldn’t imagine paying $125 for it.

Beauty Counter
Beautycounter Nourishing Cleansing Balm
(Suggested Retail: $50.00)
Description: ”Unlike cleansers that leave you dry, this formula uses carefully sourced ingredients to remove makeup and impurities while also moisturizing skin. Prepare to feel pampered as you rinse it off with the soft muslin cloth included.”
Verdict:
Love!
I’m obsessed with trying out unique cleansers so this is right up my alley. I also have never tried this brand before so I’m excited for something new. I really love it when we get fancy/unusual versions of everyday items. I think it’s a great way for us to add a little luxury or surprise to our everyday beauty routines.

RingRing CloseRing Finger
Jewelry Coupon
JewelryStorm Endless Arrow Ring
(Suggested Retail: $28.00)
Description: ”This dainty ring has just the right amount of bling to wear alone or stacked with other pieces. Because of its versatility, you can even try using it as a midi ring to mix things’ up!”
Verdict: Great Idea, Mediocre Execution
I love getting adjustable rings in boxes. They are versatile and fun. I actually own a similar ring to this one that is just a simple arrow with no rhinestones and I do wear it regularly. My problem with this piece is that to me, it just looks a little cheap. It’s like something you’d find in Claire’s. It’s really the rhinestones that make it look a bit young and inexpensive. I think if this had just been a simple gold plated arrow ring it would have been infinitely better. It’s still a nice way to incorporate Valentine’s day and I do think a lot of subscribers would probably like it. It also came with a coupon code.

Tray
Fringe Studio Hello Beautiful Square Tray
(Suggested Retail: $14.00)
Description: “This kiln-fired glass tray is an elegant accessory for your desk or vanity – and the perfect daily reminder that you’re truly beautiful.”
Verdict: Hit!
This little tray is lovely and adorable for corralling rings on your dresser or paperclips on your desk. Mine is now sitting on top of my media console in the living room.

Victoria’s Secret Coconut Milk Hydrating Body Lotion (Suggested Retail: $22.00)
Description: “The exclusive hydrating formula of this soothing lotion will help moisturize your body, even during the chilliest months of the year. You’ll feel gorgeous from head to toe!”
Verdict: Like
I’m always happy to get lotion that smells like food. Coconut makes me think of summer so this will be a nice reminder that the end of winter is in sight.

FoodStirsFoodStirs Close
Foodstirs Heart cookie Mix
(Suggested Retail: $12.95)
Description: “Cofounded by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Foodstirs wants you to add a personal touch to your favorite bites. Because this festive cookie kit is free of artificial ingredients, GMOs and preservatives you can feel good about baking sweet treats with all the loves in your life!”
Verdict: Love!
First, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite show ever, so I am a huge fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar. Second, I’ve been wanting to try out a Foodstirs subscription since I first heard it was coming out, but thanks to my giant baking hoard and Weight Watcher’s hard stance against sugar I haven’t tried it yet. I’m so excited to try this kit and I had a great plan to make these for Valentine’s Day and blog about it all for you guys and then..I got the flu. Which is why I’m still working my way through 80,000 (approximately) February boxes. I do promise that eventually I will make these and take pictures and we’ll get to dish.

Special Extras
Socks
Victoria’s Secret Sport Socks

Description: “Complete with an extra cushioned sole and arch support, these sockes make it easy to take care of yourself in comfort…they’re made with fabric that keeps your feet cool and dry even while working out!”
Verdict:
Hit!
These are surprisingly good quality socks. I never thought to go to Victoria Secret for my sport socks, but I these are great and I will definitely consider it.
This also came with:
Victoria’s Secret Reward Card
Description: “Victoria’s Secret is sharing a $20 gift just for you – it works just like a gift card when used within the valid dates, so treat yourself to something special!”
This cared is pictured with the lotion earlier up on this post. I don’t usually buy much from Victoria’s Secret but maybe I’ll use these for some new socks!

OVERALL:
February 2016 Popsugar
Verdict:
Hit!
With my prepaid discount this box only cost me $24.91 and the estimated box value (excluding the special extras) was $251.95. I do think the price of the scarf is inflated, but this is still a great value. Some of the items weren’t exactly to my taste, but I thought they fit the season really well and that the curation was thoughtful. I think a lot of subscribers would adore this box and it was a perfect fit for the Valentine’s Day holiday.

APRIL SPOILER!
So this was the spoiler released for April:
April Spoiler
This cookbook has tons of buzz and positive reviews so it’s a great choice in a Popsugar box.
I’m going to use this on my Popsugar Reading Challenge for the “book written by a celebrity” slot and hopefully I’ll even try my hand at a few recipes for all.

THE BACKSTORY
Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.

In addition to Popsugar’s monthly must have boxes, they have some seasonal special edition boxes that contain uber luxe items.  The price tag on these boxes is higher, but the products you receive are high end.

Popsugar Pricing:
Monthly – $39.95
3 Months – $109.85
6 Months – $214.70
12 Months – $404.40

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off site wide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

Popsugar: January 2016, Continuing Customer Service Fails & March Spoilers!

So I’m a little late with my Popsugar reviews. I’ve been very annoyed with their customer service so I’ve been waiting until I’m calmer to review my boxes. And yes, the level of cursing you see below is me being calm.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
If you remember those of us who had month to month memberships and opted to take advantage of Popsugar’s prepay discounts were inadvertently signed up for *two* subscriptions. This was never clearly told to us or indicated on our accounts, so Popsugar said they’d “just this one time” refund me if I sent back my duplicate January box. Great. When no refund appears on my account, I email them. I am now told that they won’t be refunding my account, but instead will just be giving me an extra month of credit. Nope. You said REFUND. And I want a damn REFUND. I have months and months left on this sub and I refuse to tie myself down anymore than I already have with your tomfoolery.

On top of this, my 2015 Holiday Special Edition $100 box came with broken candles. I emailed them immediately and was told they’d ship me out new ones. They didn’t come. Another email. They apologized and said they were backlogged and there were no more of that specific candle, but they would send me similar ones and “something extra for my trouble.” Sounds good. Again, nothing comes. We are well into February of 2016 and I still haven’t gotten my fucking candles from a 2015 Holiday box. Emailed about this again and was told that they had no more candles and would credit my account for the amount. THIS WAS AFTER I EMAILED FOR THE THIRD TIME! So each time I’d heard a different story, and each time it was a lie. And if I hadn’t kept contacting them, would they ever have made it right? Remember this is one of their expensive boxes – for $100 I expect better.

So now I’m pissed. I emailed back that a credit for another month was not acceptable and that I’d been told I would receive a refund, then I once again brought up the fact that I had been lied to about the candles, was told I was getting something extra and was only refunded after the third (maybe fourth, I lost fucking count of how many times I emailed them) email and that I wanted it escalated to a supervisor or manager if necessary. I pointed out that I am a long time customer and a FUCKING SUBSCRIPTION BOX BLOGGER.

I got refunded my money for the box I returned and the candles. No more apologies, no extras (as promised). Nothing to attempt to minimize their asshattery.

Now I’m sorry for the long story, but I feel that it’s important to make it clear that Popsugar’s customer service is absolute crap. Sometimes you’ll get a nice person, but they will lie to you, sometimes you’ll get someone snippy who may eventually, (after threats), assist you, but it will always require you to be up their fucking asses.

It doesn’t seem like being a subscription box blogger helped my cause, but who knows maybe it did. Maybe people who don’t review their boxes never ever get a damn response. This sub is fabulous when you don’t have a problem, but when you do,  prepare yourself for an uphill battle.

THE BOX
Now enough of my boring ranting, let’s get into this box and see if it’s worth even half the hassle.
Box Open Box 1

Bin Bin #2
Pehr Designs Pebble Speck Bin
(Suggested Retail: $40.00)
Description: “Beautifully organize your things with this Must Have exclusive storage bin – great for your hats, scarves, toys, books, or anything that needs a home. We love the gray spotted print, which can easily tie into any room décor.”
Verdict: Love!
I guess this was a Popsugar exclusive only for a brief time because it looks like you can buy this on their website now. I love organizational items and the print on this really appeals to me. It’s interesting but simple enough to match everything. I’m using this in my little office corner to corral all the books and magazines in my “to read” pile.

Kon Mari
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
(Suggested Retail: $11.49)
Description: ”New York Times Bestselling author and expert cleaning consultant Marie Kondo teaches us how to spark joy in our lives through tidying up. This illustrated manual uses her signature KonMari method to help you stay organized in the New Year.”
Verdict:
Hit!
I’ve been meaning to pick up Marie Kondo’s original book, so this was a perfect addition to my box. I think this will be filling the “self help book” slot on my Popsugar 2016 Reading List.

Mask Trio
Patchology FlashMasque Trio
(Suggested Retail: $20.00)
Description: ”After the holiday rush, we’re all in need of a beauty rejuvenation – and fast! These fact-actin facial sheets will revitalize, hydrate and illuminate your skin in just five minutes, and better yet, there’s no rinsing required.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love me some sheet masks and always up for trying new ones. I like that this one includes three different kinds. Perfect for my next home spa day.

Planner
Blue Sky Day Designer Weekly Planner
(Suggested Retail: $15.99 (now reduced))
Description: “Day Designer and Blue Sky collaborated to inspire you to make 2016 your best year yet! This chic and portable weekly planner will keep you on track all year long.”
Verdict: LOVE!
I have spreadsheets for everything in my life – from meal planning, to budgets to giving gifts so this automatically appealed to the Organization demon that lives inside me. Unfortunately, most of the time when I’ve tried using a real planner, I just end up not keeping up with it. This one is so well organized with goals for the month and slots to write in your week. It’s perfect and I’ve been using it religiously since I got it. I love the color and I want to get one exactly like it next year.

Shower Gel 1
Not Soap, Radio Bath & Shower Gel Gift Set
(Suggested Retail: $22.00)
Description: “Perfect as a gift, for travel, or at the gym, this exclusive shower gel gift set is ideal for anyone on the go! The set includes various scents, each infused with different herbal extracts that’ll inspire you as you being the New Year.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve tried this brand via Birchbox and enjoyed it. I love getting shower gels in my boxes since I regularly go through bottles of them. I’m excited to get to try a sampler of scents from this brand.

Gum
Project 7, INC Summer Snow Sugar Free Gum
(Suggested Retail: $4.00)
Verdict: Miss
The flavor on this gum isn’t great – sort of grape-ish? And it dissipates quickly. I wish the food item was some seasoning or maybe an interesting condiment.

Special Extra
Chapstick
Chapstick Total Hydration 100% Natural Soothing Vanilla

Description: “Give life to your lips with this naturally soothing vanilla ChapStick! This age-defying formula uses argaon oil and other natural butters and oils to replenish your lips to combat any Winter dryness.”
Verdict:
Gift
I have so many fancy lip balms that I just don’t need this chapstick so I’ll pass it along to someone who can use it.

OVERALL:
January 2016 Popsugar
Verdict:
Damn it Popsugar, I Can’t Quit You
With my prepaid discount this box only cost me $24.91. The value on this box (excluding the Chapstick) totaled approximately $111.47. I really really wanted to hate this box since Popsugar has been so difficult to deal with, but it was awesome. I loved nearly everything in it and I thought the curation worked well for a new year box. If Popsugar just had decent customer service I’d be all over it and would probably be buying every LE box they put out in addition to my monthly sub, but they are just so unreliable. I recommend the box for it’s contents, but go into it with your eyes wide open that they won’t be the best company to deal with.

MARCH SPOILERS!
So this was the spoiler released for the March theme:
March Theme Spoiler
And this will be in the box:
March Spoiler
I have to say I’m in love with the watch and I can’t wait to see what’s in the rest of the box.

How much do customer service issues impact your subscription purchases? Do you overlook them if a box is wonderful? Do you stick with a so-so box, because they have fabulous customer service? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

THE BACKSTORY
Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.

In addition to Popsugar’s monthly must have boxes, they have some seasonal special edition boxes that contain uber luxe items.  The price tag on these boxes is higher, but the products you receive are high end.

Popsugar Pricing:
Monthly – $39.95
3 Months – $109.85
6 Months – $214.70
12 Months – $404.40

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off site wide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription

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