Battle of the Boxes

We’re still searching for my male counterpart and at this point, figured it best to start hunting for my female replacement for next year too. Are you someone, male or female (we need one of both), who likes trying out new stuff, isn’t afraid to voice their opinions, and can string a couple sentences together? If so, apply at editor@ubpost.org. Our male voice will start writing as soon as possible; our female voice will start writing their first review for September’s issue.

I’m giving you two boxes again this month—one for college students and the other is for the ladies (you know, if we had a male reviewer, it would be a lot easier to review male boxes, just sayin’)

Pijon (pronounced Pigeon, yes, like the bird)

First box from Pijon

First box from Pijon

Pijon is a “monthly curated care package” box. It’s perfect for students that want to subscribe on their own (c’mon we can send ourselves care packages, right?) or parents that want to send their college students something special every month. Subscribers can choose between a male, female, or neutral box. They then curate the box with healthy snacks or energy generators, health and beauty supplies, household goods perfect for a dorm or one’s first apartment, and other fun surprises for a value ranging from $30 to $60.

Full disclosure: Pijon sent us this box for review. They’re so awesome that they’re actually going to be giving us some boxes to give away at our new issue table events (for those of you that don’t know, these happen usually the last Tuesday of each month, which is the same day new issues of the UB Post are on stands). This month I have some goodies to give away and we’ll be doing a drawing to do so make sure you stop by our table in the Student Center, ground floor, Tuesday, Jan. 27, to score some awesome UB Post swag and to enter to win. Pijon has also been so kind as to give our students (and their parents) an exclusive 20% discount on all orders (this can be used in conjunction with their volume discounts for subscribing to a full semester or for multiple semesters).

Because of the nature of the box, they ship by semester, which means that this spring they’ll ship in February, March, April, and May; fall’s semester ships in September, October, November, and December. Each box ships on the 10th of each month, with the exception of the last box of each semester, which ships the last week of November or May, respectively. Also, I love that currently in the works is the ability for the gifter to send personalize video, photo, and email messages to the receiver. In the meantime, according to their FAQs page, they do send the subscriber an email the day the package ships and follows up with the received three days later to let them know who sent it to them and when they can expect it. I did find this time lag a little off considering some packages may actually have arrived already, since they offer the options of USPS Priority or UPS Ground. For those gifters that want to surprise the receiver, they have the ability to turn off messaging and the receiver won’t be notified at all.

Onto the good stuff: The box comes with a fantastic info card depicting what’s inside the box. I found it incredibly information, but the one thing I felt was missing was the value or estimated value of the products. First, it makes it incredibly easy for review purposes; second, with subscription boxes, we all want to feel like we are getting a good deal for our dollar.

They sent me a women’s December box and I found it well curated for a care package with energy boosting snacks and shots to power through finals. The first thing I noticed was the Dollar Shots Club energy shots (www.dollarshotsclub.com). There were three 1.9 fl. oz. shots in their mixed-berry flavor. These taste great and have absolute zeroes all over the nutrition facts where it counts (calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc.) and also pack high levels of vitamins B6, B12, and Niacin. So aptly named dollar shots because each shot is only $1.00; $3.00 total value.)

Next, I noticed the two full-sized exclusive mix bags of Naturebox Snacks (www.naturebox.com) in Lone Star Snack Mix (a blend of mixed barbeque flavored nuts and multiseed chips) and Cinnamon Swirl Kettle Kernels (cinnamon roasted corn kernels). These were hard to put down after just one handful and definitely would come in handy while studying as I love to have snacks nearby, especially healthy ones when I don’t always have time to get to the gym because of a heavy work and school schedule. Naturebox itself is a snack delivery subscription company so I was both surprised and delighted to see this partnership with Pijon. Each snack bag is $4.00 each; total value $8.00.

Also in my box was an organizer from Zen Cosmetics by Quirky (www.quirky.com). If you know anything about Quirky, you know it’s an amazing concept. Have an idea, but not sure how to make it come to fruition or you know how but don’t want to deal with the laborious patent and marketing process?

First box from Quirky.com

First box from Quirky.com

Pitch it to Quirky; if enough people are interested, they’ll make it, patent it, market it, and you get a portion of every product sold, which is why this product is that much awesome to me. I know that a guy named Edwin from the Netherlands who designs interfaces for a living has made over $16,000 just for sharing his idea; I love capitalism when it works properly! Anyway, this makeup organizer is just the coolest—silicone grips that f lex to accommodate different sized beauty items to help you keep yourself organized and your bathroom vanity free of clutter. For those of you that live in The Varsity, I know the limited space you have in your bathrooms and this is the perfect size to fit behind your sinks or inside a medicine cabinet. I’ll be raffling off this little guy. Although I love it and the color is absolutely perfect for my apartment, it’s unfortunately just not big enough for me since I subscribe to so many beauty subscriptions and have a lot of makeup to contend with. The retail value is $13.00.

The last items in the box were from Della Handmade Accessories (www.dellala.com). I cannot tell you how much I love that these products support communities in Ghana using local resources and locally sourced talent. The sale of their products provide for “a week of fair income, job training, education, and more” which makes us, the consumer, responsible global citizens. I received two items from Della. The first, a beautiful blue, white, and black headband that I absolutely love and wore a lot on my recent vacation, is beautifully handcrafted with refined stitching making it high quality and durable. The second, a beautiful red, black, and a yellowish gold color change purse, which was also excellently crafted. I visited Della’s website to get a value and although I couldn’t find the exact version of my items, I found comparable ones that retailed for $12.00 each; total retail value $24.00.

I thought this box was excellently curated. I love that they are helping me be a responsible global citizen with the products from Ghana and that I’m also contributing to the free market with the product from Quirky. Also, the much needed energy shots and snacks help sustain me through my long days, not to mention the fact that this box has a retail value of $48.00!

Allure Sample Society

January's Allure box

January’s Allure box

I’ve been reading Allure Magazine for years now and over the summer discovered the Allure Sample Society subscription box. It’s a monthly subscription box curated by Allure and BeautyBar.com and typically includes high end brands and deluxe sample sized beauty products with the occasional full sized product as well. The cost is $15.00/per month and a new Maryland law has made them charge sales tax, so the total prize is $15.90 with free shipping. In your box is usually 4-5 items plus you receive $10.00 off any BeautyBar.com $50.00 purchase each month.

Each box comes with an information card detailing each item, how to use it, why it was selected, and how much the full retail value is.

This month the theme was “New Year, New You.” Seems a bit cliché, does it not? But, I have to admit, as always, it’s a well-curated box which fits the chosen theme perfectly.

Inside my box, the first item was a  full size bottle of Zoya Lacquers nail polish in the color Rayne a beautiful metallic baby blue color. These polishes are five free, the newest in the nail polish rage is being free of the five worst chemicals that nail polish has historically consisted of. All of the five colors that subscribers could have received were pastels, which ordinarily one would think was odd for a January box, but they defended their choice well. Unfortunately, they describe the color I received as “striking against dark skin” and I’m extremely fair complected, so this is a perfect example of where a beauty profile would come in handy. Since it’s a full size product, it’s worth its full retail value of $9.00 each.

The next item inside my box was Philip B’s Light-weight Deep Conditioning Crème Rinse. This conditioner that’s best for fine and/ or color-treated hair (both of which I have) promises to make hair shiny and easy to detangle and is made of Shea butter and botanical oils that make it smell out-of-this-world (like cinnamon)! If you’re not big into scented products, don’t worry— the product promises that the scent disappears by the time your hair dries. The sample size was .5 oz.; full size is 6 oz. making the sample worth $2.16, as the full size product retails for $26.00.

Next, is an absolute favorite product of mine from the Philosophy brand: Renewed Hope in a Jar. This incredible anti-aging facial moisturizer is perfect for all skin types—it’s lightweight, cooling, smells fresh and clean, and leaves your skin glowing. Also, the glycolic acid helps make fine lines and sun spots less noticeable after about two months. Unfortunately, the sample size will not last you long enough to see those results. This sample size was .25 oz.; full size is 2 oz. making the sample worth $5.87, as the full size product retails for $47.00.

Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar was the next item I pulled out of my box. This brand was new to me, but I’ve used sea mud bars before and absolutely love them. This adorable little sample size bar is a little smaller than a Fig Newton, but works well all the same. This soap is a mix of charcoal and mud, good for all skin types, but really shines for those with oily or breakout prone skin! Unlike some soaps, this one leaves you clean, but not dried out, which is especially important in these winter months. The info card boasts that “this soap came out 75 years ago and has been a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Greta Garbo, Madonna, and Uma Thurman.” It also states that the charcoal and mud powder pulls dirt out of pores like a magnet. This sample is .5 oz.; full size is 5.3 oz. making the sample worth $4.25, as the full size product retails for $45.00.

Revlon’s PhotoReady Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash in Cobalt Crystal followed as the next item in my box. They come in a spill-proof want and are two eye shadows in a similar color; one is cream, the other glitter. I don’t typically wear blue eye shadow, so this is a miss for me, even though they promise an easy chic look. This is a full size product that retails for $8.99.

The last item in the box was not listed on the info card, but a welcome surprise all the same. The StriVectin brand is not one that is new to me, in fact, it’s another brand that I love, but this specific product is new. StriVectin’s Intensive Illuminating Serum is a new product on the market and we got it as a pre-release. Now available on StriVectin’s website, it promises to be a lightweight skin brightening treatment over time will work to reduce dark spots, age spots, and discoloration, as well as provide a youthful glow. This sample is .25 oz.; full size is 1 oz. making the sample worth a staggering $22.25, as the full size product retails for $89.00.

I could not be more pleased with this box! Although I will not use the nail polish or eye shadow (I’ll swap or gift them), I will use everything else. Plus, I only paid $15.00 + tax for the box and the total value of the box is $52.52 (probably one of the highest value boxes from Sample Society that I’ve ever received)!

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