Monday, June 23, 2014

PopSugar Must Have June 2014 Unboxing and Are Subscription Boxes Really Worth it?

Growing up, there was nothing quite so exhilarating as opening the mailbox to discover stacks of shiny catalogs, magazines, and letters from friends and family.  You know, the kind on stationary... written with an actual pen.

But these days, with catalogs and magazines now easily found online.  And e-mails and e-cards saving mailing time... and stamps.  What used to be my excited skip to get the mail, has now turned to more of a reluctant walk, primarily finding bills, junk mail, and more bills.

And then came the subscription box.  And there was finally a little bit more joy in my mailbox.  And man, this last year especially, they've become popular.  Satisfying just about any hobby or passion from food, travel, beeauty, eco-friendly, knitting and crafts, to even treats and toys for your pet. 

But are they worth the hype... and the cost?

Read on to see what was in this month's very popular PopSugar box.  Plus my thoughts on the products and subscription boxes in general.

Emily Griffin's The One & Only- $28- This was a nice surprise, and something you don't often see in a subscription box.  I am a slow reader, so it will be a while until I can give you a review of the book.  But, with Summer here, there will be plenty of opportunities to read, especially when we head to the beach.  Plus, the story sounds good, as I'm always one who loves a good book surrounding sports, even though I'm not an actual sports person.

Lollies Basic Hair Ties- $8- Hair ties always come in handy, and what a cute design!  I especially love these since I often wear hair ponytail holders on my wrist before yoga class (so I don't forget).  And these are so fancy they could actually pass as bracelets.  I've worn these, and they are great, even for my fine hair.  Plus, the thickness and material is substantial enough to not pull or break my hair.

Sachjuan Shiny Citrus Body Lotion- $24- This is a very nice size lotion, and I love that it's from Sweden.  The formula is supposed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and calm irritation, thanks to the use of oats.  And although it has a mild smell, I don't think I'll be able to use it due to my allergies (yes, I'm ultra-sensitive!)  This will be a fantastic product to hold onto for a gift, or a giveaway.

You Smell Lemon Wet Wipes- $5- I was so excited to get these, and even more so when I went on their website and remembered I had seen them on Shark Tank!  This is my favorite item in the box, and something I'll get a lot of use out of.  The cloths were large and moist, and the smell was nice and fresh, and didn't bother my allergies a bit.  These will be great to take on picnics, the beach, the dog park, for after yoga, or anytime you need a quick freshening up.  Highly recommend.

Oh... and make sure and read the "possible outcomes from use" on the box... so cute!

Turkish-T Beach Towel- $32- Super cute in color and style, but not so superb when it comes to material or size.  I've never had a Turkish towel before, but I can see this would be cute for a summer wrap, or even to drape over a beach chair.  The size was a bit small for a beach towel, and the material is pretty thin.  Not sure this will get much use, so I give it a 4 out of 10.

One  Potato Two Potato Hawaiian BBQ- $2- One of the cutest packages I've seen for snacks, maybe ever, but I'm not a huge fan.  For healthier chips that are all-natural, I found these chips to be very salty, and a bit too spicy for my liking.  Perhaps I'd like a different flavor.  Again, cute design, but I won't be repurchasing... nor did we even finish this pack.

Native Union $15 Gift Card- I never really count a voucher as part of the overall total value of the box, unless there are items that you are able to get for free on their site.  So, I checked out Native Union, and it's mostly a tech gadget site.  I did find a cute retro phone handset that plugs into your smart phone for $19.99, but it looks like my phone needs an additional adapter for $4.99.  I'll probably hang onto this to give to a friend or family-member that might be into this stuff.  As for me, I can typically find promo codes online for this value or more for just about any product I'm in the market to buy.  A nice box extra, but more for company PR, instead of a useful item.

My Final Thoughts:

First, I really enjoyed getting this box in the mail, and overall I was impressed with the range of fun products.  I opted for this box because I had a promo code, and got it for $25.  But honestly, even at $25 (compared to the regular $39.95), I didn't really see the value, and cancelled future deliveries.

As far as subscription boxes in general, I've found that they can be great for allowing us to try new products, for less.  For instance, I just subscribed to 3 months of The Conscious Box because they include natural and organic products... and we all know those can be pretty pricey, especially if you don't know if you'll like them.

I'm also a continual subscriber to Nina Garcia's Quarterly Box because it offers really unique and high end products that I just can't find here in NC, and even online, since many of the products are made specifically for her box.  I have used and loved every product from the last box, which is no surprise, since Nina has impeccable taste.

In conclusion, when it comes to more standard and easy-to-find products like those reviewed above, I'd almost rather get excited to watch unboxing videos on YouTube, and then if there is something I really like, I'll buy it.  With the few boxes I've gotten (with the exception on Nina Garcia's Box), I've found that I end of having stacks of stuff that just sits around, once the thrill of receiving and opening the box is over.

But, to each his own... your monthly $40 subscription box might be my $40 specialty cheeses, Chanel lipstick and grass-fed beef.  We all have our own priorities when it comes to spending our money.

What are your thoughts on monthly subscription boxes?  And are there any you think I should try out?

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