Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Japanese Candy Box Unboxing & Review

Whenever my friends travel and ask what I would like as a souvenir, I always ask for snacks. I think food is one of the best ways to experience a different culture, and I’m totally guilty of being a hopeless snacker (my numerous failed diets can attest to this…), so it’s always the perfect gift for me. I love getting to try new flavor profiles! And let me tell you: nobody does snacks like Japan. They’re always so unique in taste, packaged beautifully, and super fun to eat. So when Tokyo Treat reached out and asked if I wanted to review a box, I was completely over the moon! I had some difficulty containing my excitement.

Tokyo Treat is a monthly food subscription service that sends you snacks and candies directly from Japan. They have three different subscription options: Small ($14.99/month), Regular ($24.99/month), and Premium ($34.99/month). The Small comes with 5-7 candies/snacks, Regular gets everything in the Small plus 3-5 more items including a DIY kit, and the Premium gets everything in the Small and Regular, plus 4-6 more items, a DIY kit, a beverage, and a special item. These prices include shipping, and I’m pretty sure they offer free worldwide shipping–good news for all my non-US friends!! I’ll be reviewing the Premium box today.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

How fun is it to receive international mail? It was so exciting for me to come home and see this bright orange box with a foreign customs form sitting on at my front door. I almost never get packages from abroad so this was a neat experience! Good to know: there were no customs fees.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

The team at Tokyo Treat recently redesigned the packaging, complete with amazing illustrations. I absolutely love it! It’s gorgeous and fun and really on-brand for them. It totally screams “Japan” to me!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Each box comes with a little booklet detailing all the snacks and some fun facts about the theme. Staying true to Japan, the booklet reads “backwards” from the perspective of a Westerner. The pages open up on the left side and you flip left to right.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Since all the packaging on the snacks are in Japanese, it’s really helpful to get a description of each item. It’s also a good booklet to keep around for reference, since you can then try to find some of the snacks you liked at a local Asian grocery store or online. I was able to locate three of these snacks locally–albeit for a pretty ridiculous price point. More on that later.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

The booklet also includes some illustrated directions for the DIY kits, which proved to be pretty useful. I love that there are some pages dedicated to learning more about Japanese culture. This month there was a page about Yo-Kai Watch, a popular monster franchise that has its own video games, movies, toys, etc. There were also pages about Oshogatsu (New Year) and some famous places to visit in Japan.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

 

First look! Almost died of excitement at this box of adorable goodies. Everything was packed very well. My box arrived damaged but all the contents looked perfect.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Fuku Fuku Tai Chocolate 
Sea bream is a traditional fish to cook for the New Year celebrations in Japan, so this bream-shaped chocolate snack is a play on that. Love the festive red and gold packaging! It definitely reminded me of Lunar New Year celebrations with my family.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Look how cute it is! The wafer shell is pretty fragile, so I’m really impressed it arrived without any damage whatsoever.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

The inside is aerated chocolate, which I love. It’s light and melts in your mouth and isn’t too sweet. The crispy wafer and chocolate combination is dangerously delicious. I’m dying to find more of these! If anyone knows where I can get them online, please let me know!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Pokemon Wafers
These wafers are similar to the Fuku Fuku Tai Chocolate: they’re both crispy wafers filled with chocolate. This one is Pokemon themed and comes with a collectible sticker.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

I definitely preferred the aerated chocolate over this dense chocolate filling, but you really can’t go wrong with any form of chocolate. As expected, this was also quite tasty and went great with coffee!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Pokemon Ramune 5 Pack 
I’m pleased that they were able to send 5 different flavors of this candy: pineapple, cola, ramune, melon, and grape. I had a lot of fun trying all of them. The texture is similar to Smarties, but less crumbly and more smooth. The flavors were all fantastic. I couldn’t even pick a favorite! I was able to find these at a local Asian grocery store in a non-Pokemon themed packaging. Definitely a candy that I’ll be purchasing in the near future.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Yokai-Watch Character Soft Serve Caramel Corn 
Okay, how precious is this design? Almost too cute to open. The flavor is described as being vanilla soft serve ice cream, but I didn’t get much vanilla taste. It is more of a creamy sweet milk flavor. Imagine the taste of sweetened condensed milk, but not as rich.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Even though it’s called “caramel corn”, the texture is nothing like popcorn. The texture is more similar to those puffy cheetos. It’s very light and crispy and kind of melts in your mouth. I found these to be oddly tasty (as in I kept saying “I don’t know if I like this” but couldn’t stop eating them), but overall a little too sweet for me.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Tyrant Habanero Who Came Back!
I was pretty nervous eyeing this bag. Anything with a huge evil grinning pepper on it tends to make me wonder if I should even attempt to eat it, but eventually my curiosity (and snacking urges) got the better of me and I went for it.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

I’m happy to report that I got through the entire bag! Maybe all those years of eating hot cheetos have desensitized me a little. It was definitely spicy, but nothing too extreme. The texture was phenomenal. Super crunchy with the perfect amount of flavor. I was really sad when I got to the bottom of the bag because these are so addictive. I’ve been searching for them in stores around me with no luck.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Neru Neru Nerune Soda Flavor DIY Kit 
I love Japanese candy kits! They’re so much fun to make and usually the results are pretty tasty as well. This one has apparently been a favorite in Japan for a long time.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

I somehow forgot to get a picture of the final product (possibly too busy eating it?), but it turned out successfully. The blue powder mixed with water becomes a puffy kind of texture and tastes like ramune. I then covered it with the little bits of hard candy.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Pocky “Melt In Your Mouth” Winter Limited Edition
Pocky was one of my favorite childhood treats, so I definitely have a soft spot for it. I know they release a lot of limited edition items throughout the year that are difficult to find in the US, so I’m very happy to get this. The Pocky is dipped in a creamy chocolate mix with cocoa powder and truly does melt in your mouth! The chocolate flavor is so rich and indulgent, I can see why this is a winter limited edition.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Pokemon Pineapple Chewing Candy
At first I thought this was a pack of gum, since the packaging looks just like chewing gum. It’s actually a very chewy (and I mean VERY chewy–my jaw kind of hurt afterwards!) pineapple candy that comes in strips. Each strip is wrapped in a Pokemon quiz and temporary tattoo. The pineapple flavor is excellent, the texture is just too hard for me though!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Pokemon Sticker Matching Chewing Gum
I would say that this is definitely more of a paper product than a candy product, since the gum is a very tiny piece and plays a fairly insignificant role. The main attraction is a Pokemon puzzle and card, which I assume can be collected. The cola gum was a nice little bonus. Great flavor, very soft and easy to chew texture. It’s too bad there was only one piece!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Yokai-Watch Fortune Seal Namaste Curry
Another crispy savory snack that is completely addictive! If you’ve ever had Asian ramen packets before, you probably know what this tastes like. I personally can’t get enough of ramen (secret addiction!) so this was perfect. I also adore the hexagon packaging. How come we never see snacks packaged like this in the US? It’s a very common shape in Asia!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Amazake: High Quality Sweet Sake
Definitely an acquired taste. It’s a fermented rice beverage that has a goopy texture, and a 1% alcohol content. Personally I kind of liked it, but that’s most likely because I had a lot of fermented rice growing up in an Asian household and knew what to expect. My boyfriend wasn’t thrilled with this. He really couldn’t get past the odd texture. He said it didn’t even feel like a beverage, but more like a mushy porridge. This beverage is supposed to be served warm, which I think would be even more off putting for your average American.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Oekaki Kyanland Candy
Yay, another DIY kit!

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

The main candy base is a soft white ramune flavored putty. It feels almost like playdough and is very easy to work with. You can take a small piece and push it into the mold to create the shape you want to color.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

The “paint” came in three main colors and the palette gives you a lot of space to mix different combinations.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Ta da! Finished product. I had a lot of fun painting the candy and think this would have been a fun kit to try with kids. I had enough materials to make approximately 5 pieces of candy. The candy itself was delicious. It was a soft and chewy ramune flavor, and the paint didn’t have much taste so it wasn’t overly sweet.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Chocolate Ball “Chocoball” Peanut Candy
These are whole peanuts covered in chocolate, and my boyfriend loved them. He is already insisting that we buy more! Good new for him: I managed to find these locally. Bad news: they’re really expensive. I wish imported goodies weren’t so pricey from the Asian grocery stores.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Pokemon Moncolle 12 Species Assortment
This is the “special item” for all Premium boxes. I think their theme this month of Pokemon was a cute choice and probably quite popular with their customer base. I mean, who doesn’t like Pokemon? It brings back a lot of childhood memories for me. I was definitely obsessed with them in elementary school. I’m giving this to one of my friends who collects little Pokemon figurines, and I’m sure she’ll love it.

Tokyo Treat January 2016 Premium Box Review

Whew, that was a lot of stuff! Overall I must say this is the most fun I’ve had with a subscription box in a very long time. All the items were unique and interesting and definitely authentically Japanese. It’s hard to place a retail value on these, since most of them can’t even be found in the US.

But I will say that for the few snacks I did find in local stores, they were pricey. I’m actually kind of amazed Tokyo Treat can send out all these items in a box with shipping for only $35! Just for reference, the three snacks that I did find: the Pikachu 5 Pack Candies were $3.99, the Chocoballs were $2.99, and the pineapple chews were $2.99. Just those three added together comes to almost $10.00, and they were some of the smaller snacks in this box. In my opinion, Tokyo Treat is a really great deal.

I know there are various other Japanese snack subscriptions out there, but I think this is the only one that has their headquarters in Japan. Their office is located in Tokyo and Ayumi (the founder) personally sources the snacks. I am thoroughly impressed with the range of products that I received, and think the curation was spot on. I loved the theme of Pokemon and New Year! The mix of sweet candies with savory snacks and DIY kits plus a beverage really made for a well rounded box.

 

The only thing I wish they would implement: a way to purchase more snacks directly from them! I would love for the chance to buy more of my favorites that I can’t find anywhere else. Otherwise, I think they have a near perfect product. I think I’ll be gifting a subscription to my boyfriend for his birthday coming up! And shhh I don’t think he reads this blog, so let’s keep it a surprise :) 

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Squeezing in one last January box review before it’s officially February! Pet Treater is another new subscription that I started in 2015, and I signed up because I was curious about all the new pet subscriptions popping up. Up until I got this subscription, the only pet box I had ever tried was BarkBox (which I love, by the way), so I wanted to get another one for comparison. Needless to say, my dog is now even more spoiled than she was before. And she was pretty darn spoiled to begin with.

Pet Treater is a dog subscription box that sends out treats, toys, and various gadgets and gizmos. They don’t give a specific value for each box and the website states that “each box typically contains a yummy treat for your pup, and usually an interactive toy as well”. It costs $24.99/month, and it’s less if you sign up for a longer subscription. A whole year brings the cost of each box down to only $19.99!

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Each time I get a shipment I am so impressed with the size and quality of the box itself. If you’re thinking about gifting a dog box, this is a great one to choose! The packaging is cheerful and so much fun for Maddie to “help” me go through the contents. Every month also comes with an envelope addressed to my dog with a cute letter inside. The letters have been funny and thoughtful, and adds just a little something special to the box.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Nerf Dog Tuff Tug Infinity Tug Football | $9.43
Since Maddie is a heavy chewer and tears through plush toys like tissue paper, any time I get a sturdy rubber toy it’s a win. She also loves to play tug so I would consider it a double win. I had no idea Nerf made dog toys, but now that I’ve looked it up I’m tempted to buy more. They all seem really durable and have good reviews. This football one is a great multi-purpose toy. I can throw it, play tug, and when my arm gets tired she even likes just gnawing on the rubber football by herself.

Pet TrePet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Reviewater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

She wasn’t the best at tugging on the football (left photo), I think she gets a better mouth grip on the nylon part. She’s a 46 lb dog but on the smaller side of that weight, so I think the football is actually a tad too big for her mouth to get a firm grip. But she loves chewing on it and chasing after it.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Exclusively Dog Jerkeez Pizza Flavor | $9.99
A new-to-me brand, these dog treats were a hit with Maddie. Though to be perfectly fair, she’s not picky about her treats. The jerky has ridges so you can tear them easily into smaller pieces, which I thought was kind of clever. These are wheat, corn, and soy free, and made in the USA. The ingredients list is longer than I would like, with lots of preservatives and glycerin, so I doubt I will be repurchasing.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Mr. Bill Multipet Plush Dog Toy | $6.99
This thing is hilarious. There’s a soundbox inside and the toy goes “Oh nooo” when pressed. I didn’t actually think my dog would like this, but I was very very mistaken. She went nuts for it. Despite her initial surprise that this toy made such a weird sound, she managed to rip through it in about 45 minutes. She then carried around the stuffing-less plush casing to play with. I’m not exactly sure what about this toy makes it so popular with pets (it has over 1200 reviews on Amazon!) but I know I would repurchase.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Picture on the left is her face when it first went “oh nooo” and picture on the right is about 2 seconds afterwards. No mercy.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Your Pet Chef No Guilt Treats (2 bags) | $15.00
This company has a really interesting concept. They sell made-to-order and customized meals for your pets, and also offer custom treats. You can choose the ingredients and they tailor it to fit your pet’s weight. I’m guessing Pet Treater ordered these custom bags for their customers. I love that the ingredients list is so simple: ground chicken, cucumber, radish, and kale. I also love that it’s all human-grade ingredients and made in the USA.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Nylabone Fun ‘N’ Fit Treat Holder Wobbler Chew Toy | $9.99
Yay, another durable toy! Maddie loves treat holder toys and can spend all day chewing on them. This one has interesting textures for her, which I love because it’s fantastic for her teeth. The toy fits chews, kibble, and treats down the middle, and you can put peanut butter in the grooved side pockets.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Unique Petz Treat Launcher | $14.99
I don’t really understand this gadget. It does propel the treats a few feet, but I could also throw it just as far, if not further. It makes a really loud noise when you fire, which could definitely scare your pet. Maddie was pretty alarmed and was unable to keep track of her treats because this thing fires it really fast and high. It can only hold small training sized treats, which makes it even harder for her to follow. It took me a good amount of time to load the launder and continue unjamming the launcher when the treats would get stuck, and would have been way easier if I just threw the treats by hand.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Salad Container | $3.00 (?)
Every month comes with an item for you as well, and they seem to be pretty random. So far I have received an oven mitt and a pack of dog-themed Christmas cards. This month it seems to be a salad container, complete with plastic fork and salad dressing container that snaps onto the top. Not really sure why it was included, but I’ve been using it to store Maddie’s opened bags of treats.

Pet Treater Subscription January 2016 Box Review

Overall I think it was a great month. The estimated value comes out to $69.39, almost triple the cost of the box. We got 3 toys that she loves, as well as two bags of treats that I would repurchase. Even with the items that we won’t use, it was absolutely worth the cost and then some. I have been very satisfied with my subscription thus far.

Compared to BarkBox, I would say this box is less curated and more focused on saving money on treats and toys. Most of the items can be found in your typical Petsmart/Petco, and you’re just getting it at a reduced rate. I have really been enjoying my dual subscription to both Pet Treater and BarkBox. I love getting the exclusive (and adorable!) toys from BarkBox, as well as the very high quality treats. I also love getting tried and true toys from brands like Nylabone from Pet Treater.

One thing about Pet Treater that I would change: I wish they would just cut out the item for the human. It seems unnecessary and doesn’t add anything to the box. If anything it just leaves me kind of confused each month because it’s so random. I would love to see them put that value towards a chew or cookie or something for my dog. After all, I already get enough goodies from my subscription boxes. This one is supposed to pamper my dog, not me!

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

I have been subscribed to Beauty DNA since August 2015 and it very quickly became one of my favorite subscriptions. I gifted a few subscriptions to friends for Christmas, and they have also received their first matches this week. I’ve been getting tons of positive feedback and everyone is so excited about the products that they were matched to!

Beauty DNA is a monthly subscription service that sends you one full sized beauty item based on your profile. When you first sign up, you fill out a detailed profile on your preferences, and the experts at Beauty DNA will match you with a product that they think works best for you. For $25/month, you’ll receive an item from one of three categories: skincare, hair products, and body. Usually they alternate what category you receive between months, so you won’t end up getting several products of the same type consecutively.

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

Even though their packaging is plain, I had no doubt in my mind this subscription would make a great gift. My friends were all impressed with their matches and the level of personalization this subscription offers.

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

Each box comes with a personalized card that has information about the product match and why it’s perfect for you. I really like that it gives me directions, ingredients, benefits, retail value, and where I can re-purchase all on one easy to read page. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received something and had no idea what it even was, much less how to use it! (My favorite was the time I got a liquid highlighter and I thought it was nail polish…) You definitely will not have that problem with this subscription. The information card is useful and I have kept all of mine.

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

The other side of the card has a detailed explanation for why the product was chosen for you this month. The bold words are direct matches to keywords from your profile. I really like that the card tells me exactly how I ended up with what I got, and helps me keep track of what is and isn’t accurate in my profile. If I really love a product, I know which key ingredients or benefits to ask for more of in the future. If I didn’t like a product, I know what words I might want to change. For instance, if this was not effective for me, I might want to reconsider asking for products with vitamin C and antioxidants. Or if it didn’t provide enough moisture, I might ask for less lightweight serums and more heavy creams.

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector | $58.00
I didn’t know anything about this brand (and the name sounded really gimmicky), so I did a quick Google search to learn a bit more. Turns out it’s actually sold at some of my favorite stores: Nordstrom, Birchbox, Ulta, and more. And it has great reviews! It’s supposed to reduce fine lines, reduce pore size, brighten skin tone, and smooth out skin texture – all of which I requested in my profile! If one product can really do all of that, I would be very impressed.

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

The texture feels really good on my skin, it goes on very smooth and silky. It leaves a semi matte finish and works well as primer. When I put my foundation on, my pores do look smaller and less noticeable. I haven’t noticed any long term effects yet, but I love the concept of a skin treatment combined with a primer. It just makes sense!

Beauty DNA January 2016 Box Review

I’m happy with what I received, even though the value isn’t as high as some of my previous boxes. I got a $58.00 full sized product that fit my profile well, and discovered a new brand that I knew nothing about. When it comes to skincare, I think it’s so important to get a substantially sized product to try out. Small samples just don’t cut it, because you need to use a product for an extended period of time to really get results and know how your skin will react. With BeautyDNA, you get to try full sized skincare for a fraction of the retail cost.

I think another big value here is discovering new products and brands that work with your skin type. I’ve found products that I LOVE and repurchase regularly, all thanks to BeautyDNA. Products that I’m sure I would not have tried on my own. The profile takes into account a big list of ingredients and scent preferences, so it can really give you an accurate guess on what will work best for you. I am always so excited to see what my match is for each month, and have never gotten a product that I dislike yet. Knock on wood, let’s hope this trend continues for me!

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus Free Box

I feel like I don’t have enough pictures of my dog on this blog yet, so I’m reviewing my January Barkbox subscription!

BarkBox is $29/month if you do the month-to-month plan, but it goes down to only $18/month if you sign up for the whole year! We’ve been subscribed for a year and recently renewed for a whole year since it was such a great deal. Before getting BarkBox we were probably dropping between $30 to $50 a month at pet stores, and now the box usually lasts us through the month. You can use my link to get a free Barkbox added to any subscription, or use my referral code HOARDING. And if you use my link/referral code, they’ll donate a free box to the Bark-N-Rest Retirement Center! It’s a great cause and I’m pleased that BarkBox gives back to the doggie community!

You can choose different sizes when you order, and we get the Large box (for dogs over 50 lbs). Even though Maddie is about 46 lbs, she has the energy and strength of a much larger dog so we always size up for toys. BarkBox has a theme for each month that I look forward to seeing every month. This month it was “Peach, Ruv, Happiness”.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

Aussie Naturals Krinkle Pants Large | $12.00
I laughed really hard when I pulled this out of the box. It’s so cute and hilarious! The pant legs are stuffed with water bottles and crinkle material, and the pants are made with 100% cotton. All the materials are eco-friendly and the bottles are recycled. As it turns out, my dog isn’t really interested in water bottle toys. She’s usually not picky about her toys at all, but there was no interest from her for this one.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

She seemed more inclined in using the toy as a pillow than actually playing with it. Oh well, I was bound to get a dud sooner or later. According to BarkBox’s “Scout’s Honor” policy, I could get a different toy sent to me free of charge if I emailed them. I’ve used this policy before and I know their customer service is fantastic about responding. But I think I will donate this toy to a local shelter since it wasn’t used at all.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

Ziggy’s Disco Fries | $9.00
Maddie loved these treats and even though she’s not a picky eater, I can always tell when she REALLY likes a treat. In this case, she did all her tricks perfectly and followed me around (with a very hopeful expression) for about an hour after I fed her one. I hope the BarkShop keeps these in stock, I would love to buy more in the future! They’re allergy friendly and have a short ingredients list: ground peas, chickpea flour, ground flaxseed, tapioca starch, canola oil, sweet potato, and cheese.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

Etta Says! Crunchy Elk Chews | $3.00
Each box comes with one chew, and Etta Says! seems to be the most popular brand. We have a nice little stash of Etta Says! chews and Maddie really likes them. I try to keep extras on hand to distract Maddie with when I’m clipping her nails or cleaning her ears. All their chews are made in the US with no artificial fillers or preservatives.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

Loving Pets Ducky Tenders | $8.00 (?)
I like that BarkBox is always able to obtain custom-made toys and treats for their subscribers. In this case, these treats are made by Loving Pets but are packaged for BarkBox in this really cute packaging. These duck tenders are 100% farmed and made in the US, and have only 6 ingredients: duck, turkey, vegetable glycerin preserved with tocopherols, rosemary extract, and natural smoke flavoring.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

Rockstar Guitar | $12.00
And speaking of custom toys, check out this awesome guitar! It’s got multiple squeakers in it (Maddie’s favorite!) and is made with a durable material and stitched in small sections. It’s really nice that the squeakers are kept separate, so when she (inevitably) shreds one part, not all the squeakers are compromised. It’s designed well for chewers and at 20 inches long, is a good size for my dog.

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

I managed to get her to stop playing for a few seconds with one of the Ziggy Waffle treats to grab this picture!

Barkbox January 2016 Review plus 10% Off Code

I received about $44.00 worth of products in my box, which I am very satisfied with. It’s fun to discover new toys and treats that she loves and the themes are super cute and fun.

Even though one of the toys from this month doesn’t interest my dog, it won’t go to waste. But if you’re worried about your dog not liking any of the toys, you can always make good use of the “Scout’s Honor” policy! Just email BarkBox’s customer service and they will provide you with a different toy from their “Tried and True Collection”, free of charge. When I used this policy in the past, their customer service team was quick to respond, very kind and helpful, and even made a note on my account that my dog was a heavy chewer. I was genuinely impressed and think it’s a wonderful policy to have in place. Every month I’m excited to see what the theme will be and can’t wait for February’s!

 

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

I reviewed my first Peaches and Petals box last month and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was very happy when they offered me a January box to review as well! They are the most affordable box that sends out a combination of lifestyle, fashion, and beauty goods, and I think they do a good job of curating about the themes for each month.

Peaches and Petals is a monthly subscription service that sends out vintage-modern items and beauty goods. They recently changed their pricing. It used to be $14.99, but now it’s $19.99 a month (includes shipping). Current subscribers will keep the old pricing until March. I’m guessing the price increase will also bring higher value boxes and new brands. Each month, you’ll receive a mix of jewelry, fashion accessories, lifestyle goods, and beauty samples. They feature a different theme every month, and January is “No Time Like The Present” and seems to be very travel/adventure oriented. Seems very fitting for January!

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

Hamilton Beach Fruit Infuser Bottle | $12.99 (?)
I couldn’t find this exact product online, but similar models can be found for around $10 – $15 on Amazon. I like that this one is BPA free, and has a soft silicon grip on it. I have a few infuser bottles already, but could always use more! I’m totally addicted to infused water and love trying new combinations. Cucumber and lavender is my latest obsession.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

There’s a removable cylindrical basket that you fill with fruit and it fits in the bottle with a strainer lid.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

You can take out the basket completely and still use it as a regular water bottle.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

Kikkerland Selfie Stick | $10.00
I was pleasantly surprised to see this in the box. A selfie stick is one of those things that I keep reminding myself to buy, but never actually get around to purchasing. I’m going on vacation in June so this will be a really nice accessory to have. I hate having to bother other people to take photos for me!

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

It fits my iPhone 6 and it took pictures without having to install an app or anything. It was very easy and simple to use. The stick extends to a pretty long length (about 36 inches) and collapses to just 8 inches and fits easily into a purse. I need to work on my selfie game though, my pictures were all blurry since my hands are too shaky! I imagine over time they’ll get better as I get more accustomed to the stick.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

Adventure Jewelry | $3.00 (?)
This bangle bracelet is really cute and I like the concept. Dainty gold jewelry is always my absolute favorite. I’m estimating a low value based on how flimsy the bracelet feels and the slight discoloration on the plane and cloud, which is a shame because I really like the style.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

Unfortunately, it’s way too big for me. And since the metal is so thin and flexible, there’s no way for it to stay on my wrist even if I mold it into a smaller size.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

I can get the plane and cloud to sort of latch onto each other, which keeps the bracelet closed. But as a result it’s not as cute and still isn’t very sturdy. I feel like if I wore it around for more than a few minutes I would be really worried about it falling off.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

 

FamilyCircle Healthy Home-Style Cooking | $5.95
The original listing price is $34.96, but can be found on Amazon for $5.95. At first glance, it definitely has the look of a dated cookbook and doesn’t really inspire me to flip it open and try the recipes…

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

But when I opened it, I thought the recipes looked and sounded delicious and found several that I definitely plan to try. The ingredients and instructions are very clear, each recipe comes with a photo, and most of them appear to be very doable for a beginner level cook. It’s a shame that the cover doesn’t reflect the contents of the cookbook!

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

Inspirational Decal | $0.50
I like this Peter Pan quote quite a bit and think it’s appropriate for this month’s travel-inspired box. The decal measures about 4 inches tall and wide. I’m thinking about using it for scrapbooking, maybe on a page with vacation photos or something.

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

The overall value is probably around $32.44, which is pretty good for the price. It’s more than double what the box cost! This was the last box priced at $14.99, so I think it’s fair to assume the next box will have a higher value. I really enjoyed this month and like it even more than December’s box. The infuser bottle and selfie stick were both hits for me and the cookbook was a nice little extra that I will probably get a good amount of use out of.

If you want an affordable little gift for yourself every month, I think this is worth trying out. Get 50% off your first month with the code PEACHWENDY. (That’s only $10 for your first box!)

Spoiler alert for February ahead!

Peaches and Petals January 2016 Box Review plus 50% Off Promo Code

Each box will contain a “Love themed” throw pillow cover. I’m guessing the February box will have a pretty heavy Valentine’s Day theme to it! I can’t get enough hearts in my life, so that sounds perfect to me.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

First POPSUGAR Must Have box of the year! I’ve been a subscriber for over two years now and still love to see the bright pink box on my doorstep.

POPSUGAR Must Have is a subscription service that sends a variety of items for women that are curated by the POPSUGAR editors. Items typically include food, beauty, home, among other miscellaneous things. Each month is $39.99/month, but you can use the code REFER5 to get $5 off your first month. (For a free gift with your February box, use this link! You can apply the $5 off code as well.) It’s hands down my favorite subscription thus far, and consistently has a great cost to value ratio. Almost every month the value of the box is more than $100.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

The themes and inspiration for this January box are: renewal, organization, detox, new year, and healthy habits.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Pehr Designs Pebble Speck Bin | $40.00
Love this storage bin! It’s made of heavy duty canvas and the print is cute yet versatile. It feels very well made and is quite sturdy. I am really impressed with getting a bin of this size in a subscription box. It definitely is a unique item I haven’t received before and very practical but still kind of fun. I could definitely use more of these bins in my life!

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

It’s a surprisingly large storage bin. I put the POPSUGAR box in there for scale, and it would be perfect for books or toys as well. I’m currently using mine for all my miscellaneous crafting supplies, but I’m hoping to get another one for my dog’s toys. She’s a spoiled one!

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo | $18.99 ($11.49 on Amazon)
I’ve heard a lot about Marie Kondo and her “KonMari” system of organization. Some people seem to love it and some people are really skeptical, but I think she’s influential and popular enough for this to be a really good choice to put in the box. The idea behind this book is to only keep items that “spark joy” and make you happy. If it doesn’t give you happiness, you don’t need it in your life. I like the thought behind it and appreciate her tips even if I don’t agree with all of her advice. I think the overall idea of simplifying your possessions and not holding on to items for the sake of holding on to them is a good one.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

There are maybe a dozen or so pages of illustrations, mostly showing how to fold various articles of clothing. For me, these were the most helpful since I have always been beyond hopeless at folding.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Patchology FlashMasque Trio | $20.00
I just got a sheet mask from Birchbox, but I never say no to more sheet masks! I love that I get to try 3 different kinds and each one only takes 5 minutes. Plus, you don’t rinse these off afterwards! I’m telling you, sheet masks are such a godsend for lazy girls like me! This trio pack comes with:

  • Exfoliate: gently removes dead skin cells for more even tone and texture
  • Hydrate: delivers a mega-dose of moisture for soft, silky skin
  • Illuminate: reveals fresh-faced radiance to lackluster skin

I only tried the Hydrate one so far and it feels great! I put it on right after my shower, kept it on for 5 minutes, then followed up with my regular moisturizer. I woke up the next morning with super soft skin that felt really smooth and looked beautiful.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Blue Sky Day Designer Weekly Planner | $15.99
I’m probably in the minority, but I actually needed this planner. I like to wait until January to buy my calendars and planners since they go on sale, and I am perfectly happy to wait two or three extra weeks to score a sweet 50% off deal. I think the color is beautiful and the size (5″ x 8″) is exactly what I would have purchased for myself. It probably would have appealed to more people if it had come in the December box, but for all the other procrastinators and deal hunters out there who didn’t have a planner yet, it’s perfect!

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Plenty of space to write on and very simple and clear layout. If you already have a planner, maybe you could use this as a “sentence a day” type of journal. One of my coworkers writes down one sentence each day as a sort of shortened diary entry, and I always thought it was a neat idea! She said it forces her to really focus on what was most important that day and choose her words more carefully.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Not Soap, Radio Bath and Shower Gel Gift Set | $8.00
For some reason this item is listed as a $22 value, when I think it should be closer to $8. A 2 ounce travel size shower gel sells for $3 on the site, and these are only 1 ounce each. That comes to a total of $7.50 for the shower gel and I’ll throw in another $0.50 for the bag. With that being said, I do like this brand and have enjoyed the scents I’ve tried before. This pack of 5 came with:

  • Liquid Freud (coconut milk mango + vanilla)
  • When life gives you one too many lemons (lemon + sugar)
  • To sleep full of sweet dreams (lavender + clementine)
  • Bathing with sharks (beach + sky blue water)
  • Awash in a field of four-leaf clover (green & white tea + clover)

I plan to keep these for traveling and for going to the gym. The bottles are refillable and seem sufficiently leak-proof, so I think I will keep them to reuse for travel.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

Project 7, INC Summer Snow Sugar Free Gum | $1.99
I’m a total gum addict and always have it on hand, so this was a great choice for me. Even though I always hope we’ll get a sweet treat from POPSUGAR, this is something different and interesting. Project 7 partners with various nonprofits ranging from anti-bullying to childhood hunger to planting trees, which is a nice little bonus. I do love finding out about companies with a giving back mission. Some of their flavors sound intriguing. Wedding cake, kettle pop, and chocolate cinnamon? I can’t even imagine them in gum form, but now I want to try!

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

ChapStick Total Hydration 100% Natural Soothing Vanilla | $2.99
This is listed as a “special extra”, so I’m guessing it’s a new product from ChapStick that they’re trying to promote. The only time my lips ever get chapped is in the winter, so this was a smart January choice for me. I don’t mind having extra lip balm lying around, since I seem to always lose them when I need it most.

POPSUGAR Must Have January 2016 Review plus Free Gift!

I personally thought it was a fantastic box. I think the curation went well with the themes that they chose and it felt appropriate for a “new year” shipment. I do feel more motivated to get organized! The overall value comes out to around $107.96, pretty standard for POPSUGAR. I will definitely use each and every item. Compared to the previous two years, I would say this is my favorite January box so far!

Don’t forget, you can still get this box! Subscribe through this link when you sign up between now and January 22nd to receive a free Olivia + Ciate London: The Cheekbone Cheat Blusher Bronzer Duo ($32.00 value) in your February box! And since it’s not a promo code, you can still use coupon code MUSTHAVE5 or REFER5 to save $5 off your first box.

POPSUGAR Must Have Free Gift with Subscription Promo Code

Is anyone else really excited about February? They’re shipping it out ahead of schedule, which makes me think there’s something Valentine’s Day related inside. I absolutely loved last year’s February box so I have high hopes!

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

I can’t believe my last Birchbox review was in October! I really need to work on getting more organized and focused so I can review all my boxes in a timely fashion. Up for review today is my January Birchbox!

Birchbox is $10/month (less if you sign up for a longer subscription), and it’s the original beauty subscription box. I think my favorite part about Birchbox is that they have an amazing point system. Every 100 points is worth $10 in the shop, and you get 10 points for each sample you review from your box. So you’re basically guaranteed to get at least $5 worth of store credit from each box, making the subscription an amazing deal.

Each month you get 5 samples based on your profile, and you can choose one of the samples from a short list that they released the previous month. It’s usually an option between 3 or 4 samples, and you can log into your account to add one to your box. You can also opt to be surprised for all 5 samples, or go for a curated box. Curated boxes will list all the contents so you won’t be surprised, and are usually curated by a guest or with a partnership around a theme. For January, I chose the box curated by Charlotte Cho because the theme is Korean beauty. I adore Asian skincare and beauty products, so it was a no brainer for me!

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

Manefit Beauty Planner Cucumber Soothing + Moisturizing Mask | $2.00
I love using Asian sheet masks because you don’t rinse your face off afterwards (plus points for the lazy girl, like me!) and the serum absorbs so well. If you’re suffering from dry skin this winter. a sheet mask like this might be the answer. I washed my face, then put the mask on for 20 minutes and massaged the extra serum into my skin. I followed up with my usual moisturizer and woke up the next morning with perfect skin. Definitely repurchasing these masks. For the price, they’re a total steal!

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

Goodal Waterest First Essence | $1.20
This is a really light gel moisturizer. It’s very watery, so you apply it by tapping it onto your skin. The formula should get absorbed quickly and leave you with a sort of dewy look. While it doesn’t provide enough moisture for my skin right now, I can see this being amazing for the humid summers in Houston! It’s refreshing and doesn’t feel greasy at all. I’ll have to try it again when May rolls around. It’s a shame the sample isn’t bigger, because then I would just save the rest for when it gets warmer. But since this tiny thing is only 6 mL, I’ve already used a good portion of it.

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

Goodal Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling & Cleansing Foam | $3.96
Usually Birchbox doesn’t send out foil packets, but since this is a “bonus item” I don’t mind at all. The cleansing foam works beautifully. It takes off makeup without being too harsh. The bubble peeling cleanser sort of expands and forms bubbles as it works, and you can feel a light tingling as it works. You’re supposed to massage gently to get the exfoliating benefits, and it leaves skin feeling smooth and fresh.

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

IPKN Flash Cream Radiant Primer | $4.90
I can never have enough SPF products in my life, and this is a brand I’ve never tried before so I was happy to receive it in my box. As a primer it feels kind of greasy. It’s moisturizing and gives you a luminous look, but I felt like my face was oily and shiny after using it. I ended up trying a quick layer of loose powder over it and thought that looked fantastic, but I imagine this would be much too heavy for my skin when it’s hot and humid outside (which is like, 90% of the time here). I think for a primer I prefer a matte finish, like with Benefit’s POREfessional.

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

TonyMoly Delight Tony Tint in Red | $2.00 (?)
It’s funny how sometimes the product you weren’t excited about turns out to be your favorite in the entire box. Such is the case with this lip stain! I wasn’t thrilled about another lip product and I was worried the color would be too bold for me, but I was completely wrong. I don’t know if it’s because I’m Asian and TonyMoly is a Korean brand that probably caters to Asian skintones, but this red is absolutely perfect for me. I love how it looks and I can get a really bold and bright red without looking like a clown. This could be my new holy grail red lip! Also, the full sized product is only $6! What an amazing price!!

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

It goes on like a gel and packs a ton of pigment. It has a pretty strong cherry syrup taste and smell, which is fine for me but could be a deal breaker. My friend said it reminded her too much of cough syrup and she wasn’t able to tolerate it.

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

I washed my hand with soap right after application and the stain really did stay put. I was very impressed with the lasting power!

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

RE:P Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb | $6.30
It seems very fitting for a Korean beauty box to have two masks in it–one sheet mask and one clay mask. While I liked this mask, it didn’t surpass GlamGlow for me, so I won’t be getting a full sized. I felt like it dried out my skin a little, so I’m going to try it again when the weather is less dry. Luckily this is a generously sized sample and I have plenty left over.

Birchbox January 2016 Review plus February 2016 Sample Options

I think it was a great box for me! The value comes out to $20.36, which is more than double the cost of the box but on the lower end compared to my other Birchboxes in the past. It’s interesting that some of my favorite boxes have been lower retail value ones. Overall I’m really pleased with the curation and the products. I found two products that I LOVE and am definitely going to purchase (lip stain and sheet mask), and had a lot of fun trying the others. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for February!

Speaking of February, here are the sample choices for next month:

  • ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm
  • Whish Cleansing Oil
  • Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask
  • REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

Or you can choose the curated box, with a theme of “Date Night”:

  • Amika Blowout Spray
  • Whish Renewing Mud Mask
  • Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence Perfume
  • Cynthia Rowley Beauty Brightening Illuminator 
  • OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet

What do you think? For once, the curated box doesn’t entice me at all. I’m not interested in getting perfume in my box and I’ve already tried the Amika spray and Cynthia Rowley illuminator. I kind of want to try the ARROW product since it’s the new line that Birchbox just launched, and I’ve heard good things so far about the lip balm. But on the other hand, I have a lot of lip balm already and those two masks look very very tempting. I’ll probably end up getting either the Hey Honey mask or the REN mask!