Monday, August 31, 2015

Little Lace Box (+ Serendipity) Review, August 2015 + $10 Discount Codes!

The word "curation" gets over-used a lot in the subscription box review universe.  I'm as guilty as the next blogger.  However, there just isn't any other term to describe what sets Little Lace Box apart from other lifestyle boxes.  Their boxes are exquisitely curated and the creativity behind their choices compares to none.  They've had some rocky months as they've transitioned to a bi-monthly schedule but the issues were never about quality.

When Little Lace Box switched to every other month shipping in April, they surprised subscribers with an unexpected gift in the off months....a package called "Serendipity" which contained several small unrelated but nice-to-have items.  No promises were made but the first Serendipity shipment arrived in early June. Because of a vendor issue, the second Serendipity shipment was included with the scheduled August Little Lace Box. 

For August, the theme of the Little Lace Box is literature, in particular, Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice", which inspired the "Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy" theme. In case you haven't read the book, Elizabeth is the heroine and Mr. Darcy is the leading man in this classic romance.  

For this review, I've separated out the Little Lace Box items from the Serendipity items.  The four LLB products all relate in some charming way to the Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy theme.

Information about the items comes in the form of a chatty letter-like sheet from the Little Lace Box ladies.  They go beyond the usual spare descriptions, telling us why they chose each item, how it relates to the theme and other details of interest.

The "star" of this group is the Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy flower vase which was made in the studio of ceramic artist Mary Rose Young in the Forest of Dean in western England. This vase was made specifically for Little Lace Box.  It has two roses etched in cobalt blue, one each representing Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.  A white rose trims the rim. This is the kind of thing you get only in a Little Lace Box...just lovely!

In general, I don't like getting coupons in subscription boxes. They usually require you to do something (go to somebody else's site, set up an account, spend additional money, etc.) meaning that they never get used.  But this box includes a $40 credit on The Bouqs website, which carries all sorts of gorgeous floral arrangements.  I was skeptical, thinking the credit wouldn't go far and there would be a big shipping charge.  I was wrong.  $40 gets quite a nice arrangement and the shipping is free. All I have to do is browse among the blooms, pick one out, apply the unique code and it's on its way.  Who couldn't use a little floral luxury?   

The next item is a cute little square bottle with a roll-on applicator of "Clara" perfume oil from DefineMe.  The scent has notes of lilac, violet, hibiscus, lily and musk, a really nice light floral. This is my idea of what an English garden smells like!

The fourth and final item in the Little Lace Box is a big 8 oz. container of My Shea-rona Body Butter in the scent "You Leave Me Peachless".  This is an ultra rich formula with a very light peachy scent.  Subscribers may also have received "Lollabambooza", "Coconut Mango Mimosa" or "Oatmeal Milk & Honey".  

The Serendipity items are not tied to a theme.  They are smaller and of lower individual value... just very nice extras, as the word implies!

A separate information sheet tells about each product, again with lots of extra details.

When I saw this Get Dirty Mud Bar sample from Mindful Minerals, I didn't expect to like the smell.  It's very earthy and clean and somehow really appeals to me.  This soap includes dead sea minerals combined with natural ingredients to help fade sunspots and hyperpigmentation over time.  A separate information card is included, which explains the benefits of Mindful Minerals' products.

This Steep & Go by the Tea Spot is an ingenious little gadget that is designed to work with disposable water bottles.  The cap screws off and there is enough room in the stem for just enough loose leaf tea to flavor an average size water bottle.  In 10 minutes, you can have cold brewed tea.  As a long time tea lover who thought I had every tea accessory imaginable, this is a very unique and intriguing product!

Just in case you don't have loose leaf tea available, they included a little packet of Chill Out cold brew infusion, also from the Tea Spot.  This is a blend of caffeine-free herbal teas and looks like the perfect amount to fill the Steep & Go.

There is a foil pack of Malibu C Miracle Repair Hair Constructor, a masque that restores strength, shine and volume to your hair.  This feeds hair with plant proteins and enriches it with Vitamin B5 for mega-moisture.  My thirsty hair loves rich treatments like this.

Last but certainly not least is this adorable packet of four thank you cards with matching envelopes from  I was not familiar with this site but after checking it out, I see that they have a terrific array of customizable stationery products. Personally, I write more thank you notes than anything else so these are a really useful addition to my collection. 

Wow, that was a LOT for one lifestyle box!  Little Lace Box mentioned that they had an issue with one of the vendors for the Serendipity products which is the reason these items were packaged with the regular box.  They are still in beta testing mode for Serendipity, so I'm not sure where that effort is headed. Fun extras are always appreciated!

Pricing for Little Lace Box is as follows:

Single Month - $59.99
Six Months (3 boxes delivered bi-monthly) - $149.97
Twelve Months (6 boxes delivered bi-monthly) - $269.95
Serendipity (delivered on LLB's "off" months) - $9.99

The products in my Little Lace Boxes have been consistently interesting and of high quality, making it one of my most happily anticipated boxes!  If you're interested in subscribing, click here and use code LONESTAR10 or code LONESTARSHOPPER10 for $10 off a six or twelve month subscription.

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dapper Box Men's Accessories Review, August 2015

With its debut earlier this year, Dapper Box is one of the newer men's accessories boxes. Each month, they send a box containing four or five hand selected items with a retail value up to $96.  The Dapper Box designers scour the world to find unique quality accessories that well dressed men will actually wear.  If you need a little mood music for this post, well, here ya go"!  (Never gets old, does it?)  

There are four available subscription options for Dapper Box:

Monthly - $29 per month
Three Months - $27 per month
Six Months - $25 per month
Annual - $23 per month

Shipping is free within the U.S. and international shipping is $8.  Boxes for new members will ship the same week ordered.  After that, boxes are generally shipped on the fifth of the month.  (If you sign up after the 20th, your first box will ship on the fifth.)  They give a 100% money back guarantee and you can cancel at any time. 

My Dapper Box arrived in a medium sized white cardboard box without branding.

The packaging is very basic; the items were wrapped in white tissue.  (Boxes geared towards women usually feature packaging that ranges from very nice to exquisite; I'm guessing the plainer wrap is more common in men's boxes.)

There was no information card in the box but the handsome blue and aqua theme was immediately apparent.  When I checked the Previous Boxes link on the website, I discovered that the theme for August is "Frozen Tundra".  It is in the high 90's as I write this, so I'll take all the cool inspiration I can get!

First out are these fun polka dotted socks in shades of blue, pale yellow and aqua. These might be a little loud for the gentleman I have in mind; if so, I will be swiping them!

This 100% silk blue tie has a small print in pale yellow and light blue.  It's extremely versatile and will pair well with a lot of different dress shirt colors.

There is a pair of silver metal collar stays.  These help stiffen the collar points and give the shirt that pristine professional appearance.  These are about 2-1/2" long, a length that will probably fit most collars.

There is a white pocket square, actually a pocket "round" trimmed in a blue that matches the tie...a very dapper touch!

The last item is a small bottle of aftershave splash in a scent called "Frozen Tundra". It has a very clean minty fresh scent.

What I liked most about this box was the color coordination of the accessories and the obvious quality of the tie.  I really like the socks and the collar stays and aftershave are a nice way of rounding out the contents.  At any of the subscription levels, this box provides very good value, particularly at the discounted six and twelve month rates.  An information card would have helped pull the theme together; hopefully, that's in the works for future boxes.

With all the cool blues and the "Frozen Tundra" theme, this box reminds me of a certain extremely popular Disney movie starring a young lady named Elsa! Dapper Box is definitely a great way to sharpen up a gentleman's wardrobe with some handsome accessory options.  A subscription to this box would make a terrific gift for any guy who wants to (or needs to) up his wardrobe game!

Thanks for reading,     


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was received complimentary for review purposes. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Flicker & Flame Candle Subscription Review, August 2015

Did you know that the candle industry in the U.S. is a $2 billion business? According to the National Candle Association (yes, there is such a thing), 90% of all candles are purchased by women and candles are used in 70% of U.S. households.  I am a woman.  I live in a house.  I love candles.  The numbers don't lie!

One of the newer entrants to the candle subscription business is Flicker & Flame which sends a limited edition scented candle to your door each month.  Their 10 oz. candles are a soy-blend with a burn time of more than 40 hours.  When signing up, there is a short scent profile that helps them customize your candle.  The general scent categories are floral, oriental, woody and fresh.  For eight sub categories, you can indicate a preference of "Dislike", "Indifferent" or "Like", which helps them create a detailed scent profile for each customer. To add a mood element, you're also asked whether you primarily use candles to relax, for romance, excitement or cleanliness.

The candle I received for August arrived in a small branded cardboard box.  Inside the lid, the scent notes were marked in gold ink. Subscribers will get printed information cards.  This candle has a floral blend which includes notes of lilac, rose, bergamot and ylang ylang.

The candle was beautifully packaged in an elegant black presentation box...the kind you definitely keep and use for re-gifting!

It is in a frosted glass container with a coppery gold flame logo on one side.  I really like the complex scent blend; the scents are intense and work well together. When burning, the aroma (or "scent throw") is subtle, not over-powering at all.  To my undisciplined nose, it smells like a lovely combination of jasmine and honeysuckle, although neither of those words appear in the description!  The expensive looking container is nice enough to keep and re-purpose once the candle is gone.

An added bonus is a box of matches with the Flicker & Flame logo on top....nice to have around, since I can never find matches when I need them.

The monthly subscription cost for Flicker & Flame is $25.00 and shipping is free. Candles are shipped around the 26th of each month.  If you order before the 16th of the month, you'll get your candle the following month. Order after the 16th and get your candle the following month.  

Flicker & Flame candle scents also reflect the seasons.  I'm guessing that means that the more spicy, woodsy and holiday-oriented scents will soon be arriving....a very good reason to sign up now!

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was received complimentary for review purposes. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nature Box Review, August 2015, Get Your First Box FREE!

Sometimes my job here is SO hard.  I have selflessly snacked my way through the August Nature Box for the sole purpose of bringing you this review.  If you're one of the five or six people in North America who have never heard of Nature Box...boy, am I gonna sound smart.  For everybody else, just bear with me through this snack fest, then go get your own box! 

Nature Box was one of the first subscription snack services.  They have evolved in several ways over the last couple of years, from better snack mixes to more customization and sleeker packaging. The result is the most tastebud-friendly assortment of reasonably healthy snacks available. They can accommodate all sorts of dietary needs from gluten, soy, milk or nut free to vegan and non-GMO. You will not find artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors or high fructose corn syrup in these snacks.  They contain no trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.  In spite of all that, there are some really good snacks on the Nature Box menu!

Nature Boxes come in two sizes, a three snack box or a five snack box.  The smaller box is $13.95 and the larger box is $19.95.  You can pick your delivery frequency; once a week, once every two weeks or once a month.  The snacks are arranged in about a dozen categories and you can pick and choose which ones to put in your "Pantry".  The three or five snacks at the top of your list will be the next ones shipped out; it works very much like Netflix!

So, let's see what's left of my August Nature Box.  Trust me, this pristine array of untouched snack bags did not last long.

I chose several new (to me) snacks this time.  One of them was White Cheddar Caramel Popcorn which is exactly what it sounds like.  I consumed about 2/3 of this bag in one sitting.  This one will be staying high in my Pantry queue.

Another one was this bag of Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies Bites.  Let's face it; chocolate chip cookies under any healthy guise are usually not to be trusted.  To say they are generally awful is not an overstatement.  These, on the other hand, are actually quite good. The whole wheat flour gives them more substance than "healthy" cookies usually have. There is a tiny bit of bitterness to the taste which is probably a result of the low amount of sugar in these cookies. Of course, they do not compare to the real thing (and it would be foolish to expect them to), but these are not bad at all. Because of their considerable density, they are also quite filling.

The Harvest Nut Mix contains all things good; peanuts, wild rice sticks, almonds, edamame, toasted corn and sesame sticks.  This has to be one of my top two or three favorite Nature Box snacks.  Definitely not low fat or low calorie but also not to be missed!

I usually request at least one dried fruit in my Nature Box.  This time, I had asked for Dried California Peaches and those are listed on the packing slip.  But someone crossed them out by hand and wrote in Granny Smith Apples, a snack that was a little further down in my queue.  This bag is packed full and these will probably last the longest of all the snacks this month.  They don't have a big taste but they also have no fat.  These are satisfyingly chewy and crunchy and you can pretty much eat them until your jaws are tired.

Last, we have Sticks 'n Stones, something I've ordered several times before.  With almonds, cashews and sesame sticks, this is similar to the Harvest Nut Mix but a little less virtuous (i.e., no edamame).  I'll be ordering this one as long as Nature Box stocks it.

Seriously, there's not a whole lot left in my August Nature Box. That may be the downside to getting exactly what you want in every box. If you're interested in trying Nature Box, click here and they'll send your first box for FREE!  I'm not sure how long Nature Box will be running the free box promotion so if it is not available when you see this, try code share10off for $10 off your first box.

I don't know of any other snack service that sends the same quality and variety of delicious snacks that you'll get from Nature Box.  They are also the only snack company that offers the level of customization that lets you choose exactly what you want to receive in each box.  Snackisfaction guaranteed!

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Square Hue Nail Polish Subscription Review, August 2015 + FREE Surprise Box Code!

The Decades Collection from Square Hue continues in August with a tribute to the 1970's.  In case you've missed the last few reviews, Square Hue sends three of the trendiest seasonal polishes in limited edition shades each month.  This year, they are interpreting each decade by color.  So far, we've received a stunning array of shades and finishes, starting with the 1900's.  

If you were alive in the 70's, I bet you know where this is going.  Yep, lots of disco inspired sparkle arrived in July's box!  I saw my fair share of a few discos in their heyday and let me just tell you...."Saturday Night Fever" was NO exaggeration. Neither are the shades in this box.

For some reason, Square Hue's bottles are branded with a big white square on the front which makes it difficult to see the colors at a glance.  So, here's a shot of the same three bottles from the back.

Square Hue has thoughtfully provided a swatch card for the truly obsessed; you can swatch each new color received and file the cards for future reference.  (This wouldn't seem so silly if you could see my nail polish collection!)

The first shade in the 70's trio is "Watergate 1973"; it's an almost electric teal blue color loaded with micro glitter. (How this color relates to Watergate escapes me.) This is an ultra cool shade that reminds me of the ocean.

Next is "iPolish 1976", which is a white high gloss creme.  This is pure white nail polish...I mean PURE white!  Some women love white nails but aside from French manicures, this one doesn't seem terribly practical to me.  Plus, I just don't get the name.

Third, we have "Night Fever 1977" which is a holographic silver micro glitter.  This is pure disco ball and probably the finest silver glitter nail polish I've ever seen. With several coats, you can wear this alone or it can just be swiped over any other shade for a more festive look.

Here are swatches of the three 70's shades.  I darkened the photo just enough that the white polish in the center can be seen.

So, here's my take.  The blue and silver polishes are absolutely stunning. The formulas are spectacular. Are they wearable? That depends.  If you're looking to draw attention to your nails, yes.  If subdued is more your style, no.  I'm not enough of a nail polish maven to know exactly what to do with the white polish but I suppose it could always be used on an accent nail or to alter other shades.

Overall, this isn't my favorite "Decades" collection.  It does reflect the era beautifully but it just isn't that wearable.  I suppose these polishes will round out my collection but they aren't ones that I will use on a regular basis.  These are night time or special occasion lacquers and that's what I'll save them for.

Square Hue has recently introduced a subscription option that will be welcomed by many customers.  You can opt to receive just two bottles per month, rather than three. The 2-polish boxes are $10.99 per month and the 3-polish boxes are $14.99 per month. Shipping is $5 per box to the U.S. or $10 to Canada.

For a free surprise box with your first order, sign up for Nail Mail and they'll send you a coupon code.  The code surprise14 should also get you the free box. The 70's collection is fun to look at and play with but I'm really hoping for more wearable (i.e., less sparkly!) shades in the 80's collection which we'll get in September.


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own. Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.

Monday, August 10, 2015

bareMinerals (bareEscentuals) Beauty Surprise Collection Review, July 2015

Single brand beauty boxes are usually a very good subscription box buy. That is certainly the case with the bareMinerals Beauty Surprise box. We were told that the Beauty Surprise Collection for July would contain 11 pieces with a total retail value of $188. Two items were revealed (the Bronzing Mineral Veil and the Lip Gloss) but the other nine items were a surprise.  As I mentioned in my last review, bareMinerals cosmetics are not cheap. Getting so many of them for just $45 is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

The collection arrived in a plain cardboard box with only a packing slip inside; no information card. There were actually twelve items but since one is a small sample, it's more like eleven items.

There is a triangular shaped black patent leather cosmetic bag.  The design makes this quite roomy inside but it's only 6-3/4" in length, so would be great for travel.

Some of the bareMinerals products are hard to distinguish from one another. Such is the case with this Mineral Veil finishing powder which, except for the packaging, closely resembles the mineral veil powder included in the May box.  This one is in the original shade which is very light.  It is a finely milled weightless powder that provides a flawless translucent finish. The Mineral Veil cosmetics are signature bareMinerals products so it's not surprising to see them frequently included. 

Next we have a small Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara sample in the shade...wait for it....Black!  If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know how I feel about that. However, this one does have an interesting twisted wand shape that I haven't seen before.

The last Beauty Surprise collection included a "Big & Bright" eyeliner and this one includes two of them.  Fortunately, they are quite versatile and usable shades and are not duplicates.  One is "Plum" and the other is "Charcoal", basic shades that will work for almost anyone.

This foundation primer is called Prime Time.  It prepares your skin for seamless coverage and smooths away all sorts of complexion problems, effectively creating an evenly textured canvas on which to apply foundation.  If you've ever wondered how the makeup pros achieve a flawless finish, starts with a good foundation primer.

While we're on the subject of primers, there is also a little tube of Prime Time Brightening Eyelid Primer which achieves the same results for eyes. There's not a lot here (just .05 oz.) but then the "canvas" is much smaller too!

I have received this 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow before but it wasn't in a bareMinerals Beauty Surprise box so I can't accuse them of duplication.  This one is in a good neutral shade called "Blushing Apricot" and it has the added benefit of SPF 15.

This is a small foil sample of Active Cell Renewal Night Serum which is said to dramatically accelerate cell turnover and boost moisture levels while you sleep. (for firm, radiant, younger-looking skin...yada, yada, yada) This is the product I would most like to have received in a full size....oh well, maybe next time!

This little pot contains Multi-Tasking Concealer with broad spectrum SPF 20 in "Summer Bisque", the second to lightest shade. Not sure I've ever seen a powder concealer before. I'm a little skeptical but like many bareMinerals products, this is a very finely milled powder so it couldn't hurt to try.

There is usually a really nice brush in Beauty Surprise boxes.  This one is their "Soft Focus Face Brush" with ultra soft two-tone bristles.  It retails for $30 and can be used for buffing and blending foundations, blushes, bronzers and finishing powders.  

The lip gloss that was revealed in the original ad for this box was in the shade "Apricot Nectar"; however, the one I received is actually "Dare Devil", a sparkly deep wine shade.  It's a little intense for me (darker than the photo), but pretty and fall appropriate.

The label on this last little pot doesn't tell you what it contains, just the shade, which is "Nightfall".  I had a sneaking suspicion it was an eyeshadow and a bit of sleuthing confirmed that it is, or an "eyecolor" as they call it.  Not really my thing but it is a shimmery dark brown....a good smoky eye basic.

That's everything in the July bareMinerals Beauty Surprise box.  I didn't take time to add up the retail total but there is clearly WAY more than $45 worth here. I will take their word that the value of this box is about $188....a very good value!  

There doesn't seem to be a consistent schedule for these boxes but it looks like they are being made available roughly every other month. Since one came out in May and the current one was delivered in July, it's reasonable to assume there may be another in September.  The Beauty Surprise boxes sell out within hours so sign up for their mailing list (or "like" my Facebook page) if you want the earliest possible notice of availability.

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.