Yuzen October 2012 edition

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alright, it’s time to continue this game of catch-up and go through the treats that came in the Yuzen box for October.  🙂

Yuzen is $26 per month and comes with around 5 or 6 eco-friendly beauty, skincare, food/snacks, and home products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. Sometimes there’s a waitlist to get the subscription. They do not offer a referral program.

*Disclosure: As a super fan, I was invited to be the Yuzen Ambassador to help them spread the word about their brand. Starting with this box, I began to receive them for free. I was not compensated otherwise and all opinions are my own, irregardless of my relation to Yuzen. I just happen to think they’re awesome (as does everyone else I’ve heard from). 🙂

collage of products included in the october 2012 yuzen box

collage of products included in the october 2012 yuzen box

They actually sent me two boxes since they were trying out a new packaging method and wanted my feedback.

Click on the pictures for the full sizes so you can enjoy all the details of each product!  You can even zoom in to read all the messaging.

collage of eco-armour shave with benefits bergamot & grapefruit luxurious botanical shave foam included in the october 2012 yuzen boxEco-Armour Shave with BenefitsBergamot & Pink Grapefruit Luxurious Botanical Shave Foam: There are a lot of things I love about this product! It smells great and feels so smooth on your skin. It works really well and makes shaving such a breeze! Plus, it’s got an awesome foaming dispenser (and I love a foaming product), which also means that you can bring it with you on the plane! And did you know that you can actually put it on your razor blades to extend their life?! HOW AWESOME!

collage of nova monda cacao & chocolate purple label cacao indio jar chocolate included in the october 2012 yuzen boxNova Monda Cacao & Chocolate – Cacao Indio Jar Chocolate: Chocolate in a jar? Wow, the possibilities! You can eat it straight up, melt it to use as ganache or fondue or even pour over ice cream for a fantastically yummy shell. This is such a fun way to present chocolate for consumption. Definitely gets your creativity going and encourages new ways of enjoying a classic treat. Plus, it’s all ethically sourced so you can really enjoy this treat guilt-free.

collage of red flower plum blossom silk cream & yuzu mimosa sea algae wash included in the october 2012 yuzen boxred flowerplum blossom silk cream & yuzu mimosa sea algae wash: These products feel really luxurious. The lotion truly is silky and rubs on so well. It’s got a sweet, flowery scent that is lovely. The body wash is pretty silky too and it has a nice mildly citrusy smell. I really love the use of various botanical elements to create these products!

collage of matt's munchies mango fruit snacks included in the october 2012 yuzen boxMatt’s MunchiesMango Premium Fruit Snack: Ok, I actually don’t eat mangoes, so I did not try this snack, but my mom gobbled it right up so that’s got to be a good sign! And hey, even my cat gave it a sniff of approval… 😉 I was expecting more of a dried mango snack, so it was interesting opening the package to find cute little fruit leather squares. Definitely a nice treat to bring along anywhere and you don’t have to worry about getting your hands messy trying to rip off a piece.

collage of jamu organic spa rituals island fruits massage, body, & hair oil included in the october 2012 yuzen boxJAMU Spa Organics – Island Fruits Massage, Body & Hair Oil: I’ve discovered a love for massage oils. I don’t think I ever used a massage oil before this, but the hydrating feeling in the dry winter weather was just amazing. I loved the subtle sweet scent of the oil, which wafted up here and there when applying. The one thing is that the bottle starts to get a little oily on the outside after awhile, you should be careful where you put it (and wipe it down after use).

collage of hollybeth organics rose geranium face moisturizer included in the october 2012 yuzen boxHollyBeth Organics Luxury Skincare – Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer: This is the thickest face moisturizer I’ve ever used. Kind of waxy, almost. It felt weird at first putting something so dense on my face, but it hydrated well and kept my skin from drying out. Excellent for colder months, but I’d switch to a lighter cream for the summer months.

Blissmobox: Fair Trade Favorites II

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another belated review, but Blissmo sometimes offers old boxes up so hopefully this will come in useful! The options were Pantry Picks, Fair Trade Favorites II, or Skin ‘n’ Hair Care (which I had gotten in a previous month).

blissmobox is just under $25 per month with shipping (or as discounted as just under $120 for 6 months) and comes with eco-friendly products in themes like beauty, snacks, home, pets, and more. Each month you choose from two or three themes, or skip if none of them appeal to you. They do not offer a referral program.

the choices for september's blissmobox: pantry picks, fair trade favorites ii, or skin 'n' hair care

The three choices for the September blissmobox.

This was my September 2012 box and I chose the Fair Trade Favorites option since their original Fair Trade box seemed to have been well-received, plus I totally wanted to discover more Fair Trade products!

collage of september fair trade favorites ii blissmobox contents including green mountain coffee, eli's earth bar, hand in hand soap, two larabars, ecolips lip balm, and akoma shea butter

collage of hand in hand soap orange blossom soap barHand in Hand shea butter soap, Orange Blossom – I thought this was totally adorable and amazing! The packaging is really nice and I’d never heard of shea butter soap before, so that was intriguing. These are made in Vermont from vegetable-based ingredients – they’re biodegradable and cruelty-free! This is one of those brands that gives a product each time one is sold (like Tom’s shoes or other similar buy a soap give a soap brands). The orange blossom scent sounded amazing, but I found that it was too light for my liking. It almost felt like a scentless soap, so this is being used in the kitchen since I like fresher smells when washing my hands there.

collage of eli's earth bars dream big barEli’s Earth bars, Dream Big – This lovely bar was just fasntastic. Yummy, yummy! I gobbled it right up and wanted more, which is funny because I’m not really a fan of peanuts or peanut butter. Yet, the way they made this was very tasty without being overly “peanuty” so it’s an excellent treat to have in lieu of Snickers/Milky Way/Mars Bars sort of junk food. Plus, they support children in need and who doesn’t want to help children?

collage of akoma skincare shea million soft shea butterAkoma Skincare raw shea butter, Shea Million – I was pretty excited when I saw this. I hear shea butter and I think all kinds of wonderful things. However, since this is a raw shea butter with no scent, I got to really smell shea and I found I don’t really like it. I love how it melts with your body heat, which is pretty fun. I’m saving this to either gift to someone or use for when my hands need some extra loving.

collage of green mountain coffee signature vermont country blendGreen Mountain Coffee grinds, Signature Vermont Country Blend – I personally do not drink coffee, but I was still glad to see this because my future brother-in-law is pretty obsessed and I knew he could appreciate a nice blend. I gave it to him for his birthday and heard back not long after that it was very tasty! If his discerning taste buds give the stamp of approval, I’m sure most coffee-lovers out there would enjoy it too.

collage of ecolips hemp lip balm vanillaEcoLips Organic Hemp lip balm, Vanilla – I’ve gotta say, I’m not sure how I feel about hemp. In middle school it was like a buzz word for drugs or something, but then by college I saw getting those hemp bracelets without qualms. Why is there a bit of a negative connotation around that word? I mean hemp itself isn’t anything bad, right? I was a little hesitant to try this since I didn’t want to numb my lips or something (no idea why I would think that). It’s really just like any other lip balm though, with a nice sweet vanilla scent and it glides on quite well.

collage of larabar chocolate chip brownie & chocolate chip cookie dough barsLÄRABAR fruit & nut bar, Chocolate Chip Brownie & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Oh my, these are dense! I thought the small size would not be enough, but just one piece and I was feeling full. They sure to pack it in there! Both flavors were quite good and if I worked out, I’d totally be stocking up on these to eat after a workout. For now my life is too sedentary to need a “power bar” sort of thing like this.

If you’d like more info on these brands, you can click below to enlarge the photo and read more.
blissmobox fair trade favorites info sheet

Yuzen September 2012 edition

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alright, I know I’m totally late to the game with this one, but I still want to put it out there for posterity. It’s still useful to go through the treats that came in previous Yuzen boxes and who knows, maybe you’re looking for a review of a specific product that was included.

Yuzen is $26 per month and comes with around 5 or 6 eco-friendly beauty, skincare, food/snacks, and home products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. Sometimes there’s a waitlist to get the subscription. They do not offer a referral program.

[Update: the collage below was featured on Yuzen’s Facebook page! How exciting. :)]

collage of unwrapping of september 2012 yuzen box

Even my cat was eager to check out the box this time!

I got so excited to try out this box that I completely forgot to take a shot of all the products together! Oh well…

Click on the pictures for the full sizes so you can enjoy all the details of each product!  You can even zoom in to read all the messaging.

collage of cowgirl ranch hand cream included in the september 2012 yuzen boxCowgirl Skincare – Ranch Hand Cream: My very first reaction to this was of stunned surprise, because the packaging is the exact kind I was looking to use for a product I was working on launching (different dimensions though). What a coincidence! I was happy to get another Cowgirl product, after enjoying the cleanser that had come in the previous Yuzen box. When I first opened this, the flower pattern was just too pretty to ruin! I let it sit around for a couple of weeks as I used up my current solid lotion and then I couldn’t resist anymore. Now this is my go-to lotion whenever my hands feel dry from too much washing. It’s wonderfully hydrating and really fun to apply.

collage of st. clarie's organics spearmints included in the september 2012 yuzen boxSt. Claire’s Organics – Spearmints: I wasn’t expecting brown mints when I opened the tin, so that was kind of cool. It makes these mints feel more natural, as if they’re straight from the earth. I also love the quote inside the tin, which is totally random. The mints themselves are great and not only taste good, but have a good texture. If I ever need more mints, I’d definitely look at St. Claire’s. It’ll probably take me ages to get through just this tin though! I love that Yuzen started adding discount codes so you can save when you do decide to buy more.

collage of la fresh instant body soother, oil-free face cleanser, acetone-free nail polish remover, and waterproof makeup remover wipes included in the september 2012 yuzen boxLa FreshInstant Body Soother, Oil-Free Face Cleanser, Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover, & Waterproof Makeup Remover: Wow, wow, WOW! I mean, I am just in love with La Fresh. I had heard of them, was intrigued, but couldn’t make the plunge. Thank you Yuzen for completely converting me into a fan. I was amazed at how effective the nail polish remover was (and how wonderful it smells) – all without acetone! The face cleanser was lightly scented and very soothing. My skin felt so good afterwards I didn’t even apply lotion. The body soother is a great refresher to your skin after a workout or time out in the sun. Its peppermint scent is totally relaxing too. Finally, the makeup remover was gentle and effective for the one time I’ve used makeup since I got it! Thank goodness I had that wipe, so I didn’t have to wash my face multiple times or rub my eyes like crazy. I’ve since bought a ton of things from La Fresh, taking advantage of their free shipping for orders over $50 and 10% discount code for first-timers (8LFFSW5)!

collage of pangea organics japanese matcha tea with acai and goji berry facial mask and nigerian ginger with lavender and thyme facial cream included in the september 2012 yuzen boxPangea Organics – Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask & Nigerian Ginger with Lavender & Thyme Facial Cream: Ok, I admit, the hype around this brand has intimidated me. So much so that I have actually yet to open these bottles to try! I just want to really enjoy them and right now I’ve got all this facial stuff that I want to use first. I promise I will try them and update, if you ever come back again… I have tried another product that I got in a later Yuzen box, which I like so far.

collage of honey stinger pomegranate passion organic energy chews included in the september 2012 yuzen boxHoney StingerPomegranate Passion organic energy chews: These gummies are fun! I’ve got to be careful not to treat them like normal candy, or else I might just down the entire bag. I think this is a great way to get energy, especially since I don’t drink coffee or energy drinks. I haven’t gotten to test how effective the energy boost is though, so that has yet to be seen. At least the taste and texture is good! The energy boost wouldn’t be worth it if they weren’t.

Blissmobox: Anniversary special

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ah, the anniversary box.  This is what got me into this whole subscription box thing – a fateful email that I received telling me that if I subscribed for a year, I’d get free shipping on the boxes AND a bonus 13th special edition box.

blissmobox is just under $25 per month with shipping (or as discounted as just under $120 for 6 months – as you can see, they used to offer an annual subscription but that is gone) and comes with eco-friendly products in themes like beauty, snacks, home, pets, and more. Each month you choose from two or three themes, or skip if none of them appeal to you. They do not offer a referral program.

email from blissmo announcing blissmobox anniversary offer

I just couldn’t resist so I decided to sign up for a subscription.  Here’s what ultimately came in that anniversary box:

contents of blissmobox anniversary edition including eco logical sunscreen, peeled snacks apple-2-the-core, bates water filtration bottle with blissmo logo, all terrain insect repellent, and neutrogena naturals night cream

Not pictured: ecover dishwasher tablets

collage of peeled snacks apple-2-the-core dried fruit snackPeeled Snacks gently dried fruit, Apple-2-the-core – I’m not usually a huge fan of apples, but I ate these up pretty fast!  I love that they’re just apples, plain and simple.  They’re slightly sweet and so light that they’re really the perfect snack when you want a little something but don’t want too much sugar.

collage of all terrain herbal armor insect repellentAll Terrain insect repellent, Herbal Armor spray – As you can see, it comes out a rich milky white, but rubs on clear.  There’s a strong herbal, almost medicinal scent that’s sure to keep bugs away.  Maybe I just haven’t used it enough to loosen up the nozzle, but it always comes out more liquidy than misty for me.

collage of bates water filtration bottle with blissmo brandingBayes water filtration bottle, blissmo branded – This is a fun water bottle with filter built into the cap.  The nice thing is when you’re on the go, you just put tap water in and by the time it reaches your lips, the water has been filtered for you.  That way you can bring an empty bottle wherever you go and just get water from any restroom sink.  Or if you’re particularly impatient, you don’t have to wait and watch as the water trickles through your normal filter – just start gulping!

eco logical skin care sunscreen, for body – I didn’t realize it at first, but this product was actually on my “to try someday” list after I learned about it through Daily Grommet.  I’m looking forward to using it on my day out or vacation since I don’t really get much sun otherwise.  I haven’t opened it yet since I want to preserve it until I’m ready to use it, but I’d imagine its consistency to be something like toothpaste.

collage of neutrogena naturals multi-vitamin night creamNeutrogena Naturals skincare, multi-vitamin nourishing night cream – I’ve been using this every night after I shower.  It’s definitely a thick, creamy face cream that hydrates my skin.  I also love the light, slightly sweet smell it has, which is soothing and relaxing.  I had no idea that Neutrogena had a new line of natural products, so it was cool to be introduced to that and hopefully they’ll expand the line to take over the original products eventually.

collage of ecover dishwasher tablets sampleecover natural cleaning products, automatic dishwasher tablets – I don’t actually use the dishwasher to wash dishes, so I’m still trying to figure out what to do with these samples.  I guess I could use the dishwasher just to try them out, but I’m not sure I even know how to operate the thing.  Maybe I’ll just try dissolving them into the water I use to wash the dishes.


Overall this was a random box with no real theme, but it provided a nice introduction to more eco-friendly products in many categories.


Blissmobox: Skin ‘n’ Hair Care

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ready for the belated August blissmobox low-down?  Here goes!  The options for that month were Skin ‘n’ Hair Care, Lunchbox Snacks, or Pristine & Clean.

blissmobox is just under $25 per month with shipping (or as discounted as just under $120 for 6 months) and comes with eco-friendly products in themes like beauty, snacks, home, pets, and more. Each month you choose from two or three themes, or skip if none of them appeal to you. They do not offer a referral program.

the choices for august's blissmobox: skin'n'hair care, lunchbox snacks, or pristine & clean

The three choices for the August blissmobox.

Since I had just gotten a box of snacks and I wasn’t particularly interested in excuses for cleaning, the beauty box was perfect!  When I opened the box, I was greeted by a sampling of items for just about any skincare need, ranging from practical to pampering.

collage of august skin 'n' hair care blissmobox contents


collage of wellinhand action remedies therapy oilWellinhand Action Remedies, Therapy Oil – The most practical of them all, this little oil is great for all kinds of skin conditions ranging from cuts and burns to soreness and pain.  I haven’t really had any skin conditions that I can test it out on, but the soothing herbal scent with a slight hint of sweetness already indicates to me it has some of the healing properties of herbs.  I almost didn’t see the sample when I was looking at the info sheet, so it would have been nice if there had been a more decent size included.

collage of mychelle pumpkin renewal face and neck cream unscentedMyChelle Dermaceuticals Pumpkin Renew Cream, Unscented – This is a rich and creamy face and neck cream that is gentle and soothing.  It has a thicker consistency than a lot of other moisturizers and even feels a a bit elastic.  It’s really nice!  I also love that the pumpkins they use come from their very own garden (or so it says).

collage of hugo naturals all over lotion in comforting vanilla & sweet orange scentHugo Naturals All Over Lotion, Comforting Vanilla & Sweet Orange – Can you say YUMMY?!  The combination of the sweet and citrus elements in this lotion remind me of a delicious orange cupcake!  It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I put it on and it’s almost like getting a dose of comfort food.

collage of giovanni brazilian keratin & argan oil ultra-sleek shampooGiovanni Eco Chic Hair Care, Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Shampoo – This shampoo has a really nice smell that I think is something like macadamia nut?  I can’t quite pinpoint it, but it’s familiar and nutty.  The shampoo is pretty runny as you can see, but it’s also creamy and rich.  I love the subtle sweet scent that lingers and makes using this shampoo feel like a luxurious experience!

collage of la fresh eco-beauty instant body soother towelettes in natural peppermint scentLa Fresh eco-beauty, Instant Body Soother – I wasn’t too sure what to do with a “body soother” at first, but then I discovered that it is PERFECT for after a workout.  The minty smell gets deep in your lungs to really refresh while it cools and soothes your skin!  It’s downright pampering.  😉  These moist towelettes are just moist enough to gently clean away some of the grime on your skin, yet aren’t so wet that you have to wait for the residue to evaporate.  La Fresh is really water-conscious in how they produce their products, which I totally love!


If you’d like more info on these brands, you can click below to enlarge the photo and read more.

collage of blissmobox skin 'n' hair care info sheet


Yuzen August 2012 edition

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wondering about the second Yuzen box?  Never fear!  I’m here to show you what came in it and give you the low-down on each item.  This time around, the color scheme was yellow and there were six fantastic brands included.

Yuzen is $26 per month and comes with around 5 or 6 eco-friendly beauty, skincare, food/snacks, and home products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. Sometimes there’s a waitlist to get the subscription. They do not offer a referral program.

collage of products included in the august 2012 yuzen box

collage of unwrapping of august 2012 yuzen box

Click on the pictures for the full sizes so you can enjoy all the details of each product!  You can even zoom in to read all the messaging.

collage of mrs. meyer's lemon verbena all purpose soap bar included in the august 2012 yuzen boxMrs. Meyer’s Clean Day – Lemon Verbena All Purpose Soap Bar:  As I was opening the box, I got a hint of this soap bar’s clean scent wafting up.  It’s a huge full-size bar that will last me a LONG time!  The wrapping was a nice smooth texture and it wasn’t glued too strongly together, so opening the packaging was actually a pleasant experience.  I’d heard great things about Mrs. Meyer’s products, so I was pretty happy to get a chance to try it out.  The soap suds nicely and gently cleans your entire body.

collage of cowgirl desert recovery cleanser included in the august 2012 yuzen boxCowgirl Skincare – Desert Recovery Cleanser:  This is a fun new brand I hadn’t encountered before!  The smell of the face wash is soothing and slightly sweet – maybe rose?  It’s perfect for washing away whatever managed to accumulate on your face and doesn’t strip your skin of moisture.  It’s meant for dry, aging, or sensitive skin but it’s useful for any type of skin.  The container reminds me of elixirs from a Western (or maybe it’s just because their name is Cowgirl :-P).  Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, anyone?

collage of organic india teas included in the august 2012 yuzen box - tulsi original, tulsi lemon ginger, tulsi sweet rose, and tulsi sleep flavorsOrganic India – Tulsi Original, Lemon Ginger, Sweet Rose, & Sleep teas:  I enjoyed each one of these Tulsi teas!  I’ve never heard of Tulsi before, so I was definitely intrigued by this “holy basil of India” that is incorporated in Ayurvedic practices.  It’s apparently popular as an herbal remedy and has both general health and medicinal values.

collage of organic india tulsi teas included in the august 2012 yuzen box brewing
It didn’t taste much different to me than normal teas, so it’d be easy to substitute them in while still enjoying the taste of tea, yet getting the added (healing) benefits of tulsi.  With a name meaning “the incomparable one” how could you not give it a whirl too?

collage of coola cucumber mineral sunscreen for face included in the august 2012 yuzen boxCoola Suncare – Cucumber Mineral Sunscreen for Face:  Haha!  Funny that just like the first Yuzen box, I happen to already use one of the products included.  This is that particular product from this box and I’m more than happy for another!  In fact, I happen to have one at Panda’s and one at my parents’ now so I can protect my face wherever “home” is.  The cucumber scent is so relaxing and the sunscreen absorbs into the skin well, with no greasy layer to worry about.  It’s perfect for your face and hands.  Don’t forget to apply it to your neck too, if it’ll be exposed!

collage of olomomo nut co chai bliss almonds included in the august 2012 yuzen boxOlomomo Nut Co – Chai Bliss Almonds:  Oh yum!  Talk about wonderfully fragrant and oh so delicious.  These almonds are covered in a sweet layer of vanilla and cardamom flavoring that is just delightful.  I don’t normally like to eat nuts, but if they all came like this, I could definitely incorporate them into my routine!  Plus, who doesn’t want a product made with love?  (See ingredient list, hehe.)

collage of tilvee healing balm included in the august 2012 yuzen boxTilveeCalendula & Comfrey Healing Balm:  WOW.  Not only do I love the usefulness of this product, it smells wonderful too!  I can hardly get enough of it.  It’s basically what you’d put on for anything adverse that happens to your skin, whether it be cuts and scrapes, rashes or sunburn, even plain old dry patches!  Not long after getting it, I actually got a scratch and I applied it until my skin healed.  Worked great, though it’s not meant for eliminating scars.  Still, my skin would have scarred horribly had it not been for this healing balm.  I’m obsessed and I use it on just about all skin conditions that ail me.  Oh, and I absolutely love that it comes in stick form for easy application and ultimate portability!

Yuzen July 2012 edition

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow, another month is upon us and I think it’s high time I shared what exactly came in that first Yuzen box that I was so thrilled about.  I must say, it set the bar high and really got me pumped for what’s to come, month after month.  Luckily, they definitely didn’t disappoint with their second one in August and I’m confident that the upcoming September box will impress me yet again.  Not only did I get quality products that look good, smell good, and make me feel good, I can feel safe using them knowing that they’ve been vetted for environmental & health factors.

Yuzen is $26 per month and comes with around 5 or 6 eco-friendly beauty, skincare, food/snacks, and home products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. Sometimes there’s a waitlist to get the subscription. They do not offer a referral program.

Click on the pictures for the full sizes so you can enjoy all the details of each product!  You can even zoom in to read all the messaging.

collage of lotus wei energy mists included in the july 2012 yuzen box - three scents: infinite love, joy juice, and quiet mindLotus Wei Energy Mists – Joy Juice, Infinite Love & Quiet Mind:  These lovely scents were first to entice my senses.  There were three of the six variations, with each meant for encouraging a different kind of energy.  Joy Juice is tangy and bright (how do they manage to make a scent smell “bright” right? Yet somehow that’s exactly what it is).  I’m guessing that the citrus elements are what make it that way.  Infinite Love is sweet and warming with various rose elements.  Meanwhile, Quiet mind is fresh and gentle with a certain kind of herb-y fragrance.  Each is definitely fittingly named for its purpose.  Interestingly enough, I actually prefer to mix the scents rather than use them individually to enhance a certain element.

collage of kopali organics mulberries included in the july 2012 yuzen boxKopali Organics – Mulberry:  I tried these as soon as I was done taking pictures of all the products in the box (boy, it’s tiring work!).  They’re soft and chewy, with a little bit of crispness from the seeds.  They kind of reminded me of something I can’t quite place… they’re sweet and tangy with a little bit of an aftertaste/feel.  You know that slight itchiness you get in your throat sometimes?  Yeah, that’s what happened to me.  Overall I liked them, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them.  Definitely a nice little sweet snack to pop in your mouth in lieu of something more sugary like candy.

collage of primavera revitalizing face scrub included in the july 2012 yuzen box with couponPrimaveraRevitalizing Face Scrub:  To start with, this bottle looks and feels great!  I love it when it’s pleasing just to pick up an item.  Plus, I was really drawn to the interesting cap it has – very unique design that I appreciate.  The scrub makes use of jojoba wax beads, whatever that means (they feel wonderful).  The beads are a nice tiny size and very smooth; I don’t feel like my skin is being sanded away.

collage of teatulia teas included in the july 2012 yuzen box - lemongrass and white tea flavorsTeatuliaLemongrass & White Tea:  I am a huge tea fan, so I definitely appreciated getting to try a new brand that’s so ec0-friendly to boot!  I LOVE the fact that the bag and pyramid pouch that the tea come in are compostable, which means I can bury everything the tea came in.  The lemongrass flavor was just fragrant enough without being too grassy and the white tea flavor was a nice tea that you could brew a little darker or lighter to preference.  Both went down smooth and were well-put together.  Plus, the silky pyramid bags are totally fun.  Also good that they don’t use those bleached strings, which I hear leave a LOT of waste in landfills (more than you’d ever imagine a little bit of string could cause).

collage of people towels handtowel in bee sweet design included in the july 2012 yuzen boxPeopleTowelsBee Sweet:  Ah this is SO adorable!!  I love it, and as you can see in the top right of the collage, I actually have two of these already from my days with Opportunity Green.  There are so many places you can keep a little hand/face towel handy though, so I could always use an extra.  Plus with this cute messaging, it brings a smile to my face every time.

collage of himalasalt himalayan pink salt included in the july 2012 yuzen boxHimalaSalt – Fine Grain Shaker:  I’m a sucker for things that come in mini and I this falls under that category!  I really enjoy the smaller size salt shaker and for the longest time I didn’t want to open it and ruin it.  When it came time, I used a chopstick to poke it in and tasted it raw… I’d call it “earthy” (in addition to salty of course).  Compared to idoized salt, this is more pure and you can taste the grounded element in it.

And finally, if you’re interested in reading the message from Ted & Jen and the info they included about each product, click on this image and zoom in.

collage of introduction message and information sheet included in the july 2012 yuzen box


Blissmobox: Blissful Bites

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After much anticipation, I’ve finally gotten to enjoy my very first blissmobox!  This is the July box and I chose the Blissful Bites option to get my snack on.

blissmobox is just under $25 per month with shipping (or as discounted as just under $120 for 6 months) and comes with eco-friendly products in themes like beauty, snacks, home, pets, and more. Each month you choose from two or three themes, or skip if none of them appeal to you. They do not offer a referral program.

the choices for july's blissmobox: naturally hers, naturally his, or blissful bites

The three choices for the July blissmobox.

Inside, I found seven great items: 479° Popcorn, Beanitos chips, Crunchmaster crackers, Betty Lou’s cereal bar, Braga Farms pistachios, Giddy Up granola, and Panda licorice.  It’s a nice mix of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy, all with plenty of flavor and goodness to boot.

collage of july blissful bites blissmobox with contents slowly unveiled

collage of 479 popcorn in black truffle and white cheddar flavor479° Popcorn, Black Truffle & White Cheddar – I’m actually not a huge fan of popcorn, so it’s a feat that I actually liked this one. The flavor hits you after you eat some and inhale… it’s very rich and a bit overwhelming, but strangely addicting. I’ve never really cared for truffles but this gives me just enough of the flavor without making me queasy.

collage of beanitos black bean chips in chipotle bbq flavorBeanitos black bean chips, Chipotle BBQ – These are so much like corn chips I’d never miss the old stuff. Great taste and crunch factor, though the chipotle BBQ flavor was a bit spicy for my sensitive taste. Still, I enjoyed them and would eat them despite the stomachache.

collage of crunchmaster multi-seed crackers in original flavorCrunchmaster multi-seed crackers, Original – Talk about extremely crunchy! These rice crackers offer a satisfying crackle as you eat them. They are tasty on their own, and probably awesome with dip.

collage of betty lou's justgreatstuff cereal bar in superberry acai flavorBetty Lou’s JustGreatStuff cereal bar, Superberry Açaí – Moist and luscious, with bits of fruit to chew on and a gentle sweetness. These are so much better than other cereal or energy bars! If I needed an on-the-go snack I’d totally have to get these.

collage of braga farms pistachios in salted flavorBraga Farms organic pistachios, roast & salted – I’ve never been particular to pistachios so I don’t lean either way with these. They taste much like other pistachios I’ve had and they’re organic, so that gives them bonus points!

collage of giddy up and go granola in notoriously nutty flavorGiddy Up & GO granola, Notoriously Nutty – Wow! I have never actually been excited to eat granola, but one bite of this and I was shocked into a smile. I think it’s the cinnamon that gives it a delicious sweetness, coupled with the slightly soft chewiness that makes this so good. This isn’t the dried-out, washed-up granola you may be used to.

collage of panda licorice in blueberry flavorPanda licorice, Blueberry – I took a bite and was surprised that this was a rather dry treat. I despise normal black licorice so I was reluctant to try this, but then I love blueberry-flavored things, so I gave it a shot. It has a nice mild flavor and kind of reminds me of a blueberry fruit strip or soft granola bar. There is a slight lingering taste of licorice but nothing too strong.

If you’d like more info on these brands, you can click below to enlarge the photo and read more.

information on brands included in blissmobox's july edition blissful bites

Yuzen: my first subscription box!

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , ,

I’m beyond thrilled that I finally got a package today!  Exactly one month ago, I first got into this whole subscription craze and ordered the anniversary special from blissmobox.  Unfortunately, that meant that I’d have to wait until early to mid-August to get my first shipment (and I have been waiting rather impatiently).  Luckily, a few days ago I came across Yuzen when I was checking up on one of the blogs I follow.  Everything about this brand appealed to me – the name, the aesthetics, the eco-friendliness of their choices, even their messaging!  I tried really hard to resist, but honestly I couldn’t.  When I caved, I decided that I wanted this to be a special gift from my boyfriend (haha :-P).  So, I brought it up to him and spent some time convincing him.  I’m an extremely persuasive person, so of course I got my way and he put in the order to get this box indefinitely – yippee!

I feel really fortunate that they still had July boxes available and the very next day, my package was sent out!  Now it’s a mere three days later and I got a wonderful surprise at my front door.  🙂  It’s a good thing that a thunderstorm came rolling by, since I only discovered the package when I went to bring in the chairs from outside.  Either the post lady didn’t ring the doorbell, or all three of us in the house missed it.  Anyway, I’ll stop babbling so much and share some pictures, which I was very obsessive about taking.  I meticulously documented just about every single move I made.  Another day I’ll go into why I instantly loved Yuzen so much.  Today it’s all about joy and happiness and fulfillment and excitement and… ok ok, on with it:

collage of yuzen july box from arrival on doorstep to opening of box

They make it so beautiful! The experience of opening the box is worth savoring.

Upon opening the box, a fantastic scent wafted up – I nearly rushed through the opening process to get to it, but I took a deep breath instead.  After all, this is all about bringing a little zen (and happiness) to my day, so why not take it slowly and truly appreciate every little thing?  The inside card includes a lovely message from founders Jen & Ted about the wonders of summer, which inspired July’s theme of “bringing joy, discovery and a celebration for the senses.”  They sure did accomplish that!  I also got a wonderful surprise when I saw the note from Panda (the boyfriend): “This is for my Panda Bear: a monthly commitment to a happy relationship.”  Yay!  <3

collage of yuzen july box including ribbon, yuzen paper, and info card

I can’t wait to re-purpose the decorations, especially the Yuzen paper (which I will turn into origami jewelry to be sold at Panda Loves)!  When you open up the card, there’s information on each of the brands included in the box, as well as why they chose it.  I definitely appreciate this information and soaked it all in.

collage of yuzen july box taken apart layer by layer until all products visible

I carefully took the products out item by item until I found them all.  There are Lotus Wei flower essence mists to help you connect with your inner beauty, a Primavera facial scrub to renew your skin, some Himala Salt for a pure addition to your meals, Teatulia teas to enjoy an organic & healthy beverage, a People Towels hand towel to save the world from paper towels, and Kopali Organics mulberries as a superfood snack.  I absolutely love these products; what a great selection from Yuzen!  I’ll reserve my opinions on the products for some other posts before this one gets too long.  Excuse me while I go try them all!  🙂

Curated craze

laelene Posted in general blog, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , ,

I subscribe to a random smattering of newsletters and daily deal sites, one of which is blissmo.  Earlier in the week, I got an email with a special offer that piqued my interest – sign up for a blissmobox membership and get a special edition box free!  I’ve been aware of these subscription-based programs that offer a box of curated goods each month, but I had never gotten into them.  However, after looking into blissmoboxes, I felt that for $19/box (or just $17.54 if you count the bonus one too) it was worth a shot.  After all, I’m a sucker for trying new products and what better way than to let the people of blissmo pick out some eco-friendly ones for me?

This experience got me thinking about this whole “curated” trend that’s been going around.  From daily deals that are curated by experts to monthly themed boxes curated by the team at a company, options are popping up everywhere.  You can go for environmentally-friendly products like I did, or choose from food only, beauty products, fashion, and countless other angles.  I won’t talk about daily deals today, since this whole monthly box thing is my newest interest.  I love the idea because you get introduced to a bunch of cool new products without having to scour the aisles yourself.  Plus, who doesn’t enjoy receiving a package?

While looking into what the latest blissmobox contained, I discovered a blogger who reviewed a bunch of these services.  I’m pretty baffled by how many she subscribes to, but if you cut out shopping in stores and buying snacks yourself, I can see how it wouldn’t cost too much more to exclusively use these subscriptions.  There’s definitely a strong appeal to getting on this trend, whether it’s purely because you like to receive packages or you’re actually looking to sample a variety of products to help you choose what to use in your daily life.  In fact, I almost convinced myself that it wouldn’t be so bad if I subscribed to just one more…

I remember when I got a mystery gift bag from Burt’s Bees; it was really exciting to open it up and discover what they had put in there for me.  Similarly, one of the perks of being involved with Opportunity Green is the chance to score some pretty awesome swag.  It’s just so satisfying to get a bag of stuff!  Emotionally, it can be very satisfying to sign up for one these curated boxes.  On the other hand, to a certain extent it can make sense practically as well, since you often see products that you aren’t sure about and wish you could try.  This way, you get a bunch that have been test driven by people at the company providing the boxes, so generally you can expect a pretty good product. You can then test them out yourself to figure out if it’s something you’d continue to use.  There’s also the fun factor of not knowing what you’ll get.  Most people enjoy a little bit of mystery and surprise to spice things up!

I personally can’t wait to get my first blissmobox and start experiencing this craze.  I’ll be sure to post up what I get in each box as they come!

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