Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Dog Box Review, March 2014 + 50% off Your First Box!

4/30/14 Update:  I heard from Happy Dog today that they are not accepting new subscribers at the moment.  Keep an eye on their Facebook page!  

In my humble opinion, one of the best subscription boxes around is Happy Dog Box. They provide a monthly surprise box full of healthy gourmet treats, toys and other products for your dog.  Each box contains four to six products, mostly things you won't find at your typical big box pet store.  Another thing I really like about Happy Dog Box is that they donate part of their profits to shelters and rescue foundations.  

Happy Dog Boxes are available with customized products for different sized dogs:

Small (10 to 20 lbs.)

Medium (20 to 50 lbs.)
Large (50+ lbs.)

For this review, I enlisted the assistance of an expert product tester who also serves as Chief of Security around here.  Tucker weighs about 24 lbs., so I chose the Medium size box.  All of the products we received are 100% suitable for him size-wise.

Nothing coming in the front door escapes Tucker's scrutiny, especially not a big box of dog treats!  To say he was ecstatic would be putting it mildly.  I don't think I've ever seen him show as much interest in any sealed box!  

Inside the box was one toy and seven food or treat items.  The enclosed card tells about each brand and mentions that two bonus treats for trying them out are included in the box.  

There were two rawhide type treats, one a spiral and the other a bigger hollow bone.  I believe these were the two bonus items in the box. Tucker, a devoted chewer, decided he'd like to sample the spiral first.  It vanished quickly.  Hopefully, the bigger rawhide chew will last longer since he's a smaller dog.    

Next is a 4 oz. package of "It's Purely Natural" dog treats by Loving Pets.  These are all natural dog chews that are both crunchy and chewy.  Tucker gave these two thumbs up!

The "Dogsbar" by Dog for Dog is a peanut butter flavored all natural gluten free snack bar. One thing I love about this company is that they donate a product to a dog in need for every product you buy.  Tucker has not sampled this one yet but if he likes them, I'll definitely buy more....knowing the purchase will help a homeless dog.  

There are two small packages of "Licks" by Zen, liquid vitamins that are also a holistic calming agent. According to the directions, this product can be administered with the dog's food, water or directly to your pup.  The back of the package says they are recommended as a calming agent for dogs to help reduce stress and anxiety.  

As you can see, Tucker is not a stressed dog, but in the interest of market research, he has agreed to test these out!  

The last food item is a package of "Yumzies" natural soft moist dog treats by Nootie in natural peanut butter flavor.  These are healthy grain-free treats with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote your dog's healthy skin and coat.  This is a generously sized 6 oz. package and the treats are small enough to use for training purposes.  Tucker really likes these.  I think I'll keep them by my computer since he's usually in here assisting me.  

The biggest item in this box is a "Dental Links" chew toy by Orka.  There are two hard rubber rings linked with a rope ring in the center.  The rope ring helps to remove tartar as the dog chews.  The three rings have different textures and feel quite durable and rugged.  There are very few toys Tucker can't destroy, so I'll reserve judgment on this one.  

As I was opening the chew toy, Tucker sat up and insisted on having a closer look!  Since he is an expert chewer, I'm skeptical about the rubber rings lasting for long. You can bet he'll give them a professional stress test.

You can purchase the Happy Dog Box on a month to month basis ($25/mo.), as a three month subscription ($25/mo) or as a six month subscription ($21/mo.)  Free shipping with all plans.  You can also gift boxes at the same prices.  

If you would like to try Happy Dog Box, click here to get 50% off your first box.  Your pup will think he or she is in heaven!

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Beauty Test Tube March 2014 Review + $5.00 Off!

One of my favorite beauty subscription services or "sampling programs" is New Beauty Test Tube.  Six times a year, they send a tube full of deluxe and full-sized beauty products from the hottest brands.

When signing up, you fill out a profile that indicates what kinds of products you'd like to sample. As you can see by the products I received, I had asked for mostly skin care products. I've found that the boxes do closely reflect the choices I made on the profile. You could choose to receive products more geared to hair, nails, make-up, bath and body, travel sizes or "whatever".  You can change your profile choices at any time.

The Test Tube is $29.95 plus shipping and handling.  When you sign up, you also get a subscription to "New Beauty" magazine which is mailed separately.  

The Spring Test Tube arrived in this box.  Usually, the box contains a separate plastic bag containing bonus products in addition to the Test Tube.  In this case, they were labeled as "beauty to-go".

This Test Tube came with 13 products, including 2 full-sized products.  Most of the rest are luxury sample sizes.  As shown in the photos below, you get a LOT with this subscription, making it not only a great value, but my most highly anticipated beauty box each season.

Every Test Tube comes with a color brochure with a page describing each item, where to get it and how to use it. This leaflet goes into more helpful detail about the products than I've seen provided with any other beauty subscription service.

The MOST exciting product in this Test Tube is a full size Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush. This blush retails for $26.00 so it is almost worth the price of the box by itself.  If you've been plugged into the beauty community for any length of time, you've probably heard about this product.  It features a unique skin-softening formula and gives your cheeks a pretty color that lasts all day.  The color I received is called "Frisky", which ironically, I could not find on the sites of any of their recommended retailers. This is a hot pink blush which I thought would be too intense for my fair skin, but it actually looks more subtle on my face than it does in the pan.

A white organza bag contained a sample of "Intense Peptide Skin Recovery Complex". According to the information card included, this is a pharmaceutical grade formula that reduces fine lines and wrinkles and promotes collagen production. This was one of the bonus products. 

This Test Tube included a generous 2 oz. sample of "It's a 10" Miracle Leave-In Lite.  This is a leave-in conditioner intended to control frizziness and revive fine hair.  I definitely don't have fine hair but I do like this brand and will try this sample anyway.  

Next is a full size bottle of "Triple Action Vitamin C Antioxidant" serum by Professional Solutions.  This is an anti-aging product that brightens skin and boosts collagen. 

Another of the samples in this box was "Stem Cell Super-Food Facial Oil by Rodial.  I'm assuming this is another anti-aging serum.  There's barely enough here to really test out this product.

The next item is a mud mask called "Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment" by GlamGlow.  This is a professional quality product for women or men.  The full size product retails for $69 so I'm glad to have an opportunity to try this generous sample.  The mascara sample is called "Grande Mascara" by Grandelash-MD.  I've never seen a mascara in a see-through tube; maybe there is a reason for that?

One item I've seen in many of the beauty boxes over the past few months is the cleansing facial wipes by Simple.  This is one of those products you can always use no matter how many you get.  There are 7 wipes in this package.

Another product that I've received in a couple of other beauty boxes is the facial mask by Bioxidea, called "Miracle 48 Excellence Diamond & Gold".  It comes in two formulations, "Diamond" and "Gold".  The "Diamond" mask gives a slight fluorescent effect to the skin and the "Gold" mask is especially good for sensitive skin.  I received the "Gold" mask in my Test Tube.

Next is "Instant Wrinkle Filler" by Hydroxatone.  This must have been another of the bonus products as it is not shown in the brochure.  This is a luxury size sample as well.  "Hope in a Jar" by Philosophy is a high performance daily moisturizer made to improve dull dry skin. This is another expensive product in the full size so it's nice to be able to try a sample first.

Face primer is a fairly new concept in make-up application that I'm learning to appreciate. The black tube contains "Perfect Prep Face Primer" by YBF.  (Just realized that I photographed it backwards...sorry!) Anyway, this product super smooths the skin to allow for perfect foundation application.

The last product is a luxury sample of "Perfect Smoothing Shampoo" by Phytolisse.  Looks like there is enough here for at least 3 or 4 shampoos.

The current issue of "New Beauty" magazine arrived just before this Test Tube.  This is a huge magazine loaded with information and articles for beauty junkies.  Quite honestly, there is way more than I can absorb or that interests me in this magazine but I always flip through it to see what's new.  

As you can see, you get way more than your money's worth with New Beauty Test Tube.  It contains the most products of any beauty sample service that I've tried. Unlike many of the products in other recent beauty subscription boxes, there were several this time that I would actually buy in the full size, especially the Tarte blush and some of the products by "It's a 10".

If you'd like to try New Beauty Test Tube, they have a "Refer-A-Friend" program where you can get $5.00 off your first Test Tube. I don't have a code but if you'll send me your name and e-mail address, I will submit your information and they will send you an e-mail containing the discount.

Please send discount requests to me at:  cr8vgirl@aol.com.

I apologize for the lengthy review but there was a lot to talk about in this box. Thanks for sticking it out to the end!


Friday, March 7, 2014

MunchPak March 2014 Review + 15% Discount Code, Ends Soon!!

If you need a break from dietary political correctness or suffer from frequent snack attacks, MunchPak just might be the solution! MunchPak is a monthly snack service that offers tasty and unique snacks from all over the U.S. and around the world. There are some old and many new favorites.

Munchpak offers different snacks every month and you can choose your own delivery schedule, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.  MunchPaks come in three sizes:

MunchPak Mini - $7.95 + S/H (shipping weight approx. one pound)
Original MunchPak - $13.95 + S/H (shipping weight approx. two pounds)
FamilyPak - $24.95 + S/H (shipping weight approx. three and a half pounds)

Munchpak currently ships to the U.S. and Canada.  Orders are shipped within 48 hours once you sign up...something I really appreciated after having to wait around for up to a month for some other subscription boxes.

March was my second month for this subscription.  I received eight items, a lot less than last month, but the items are larger and there are more full size snacks than in my last box.  As you can see from the photos, this is a FUN box to open!

The first item was a pair of Double Barrel Cooked Salami Sticks.  I know that a lot of people like these but they are not to my taste.  There is a full size box of "Fruit Pastilles" by Rowntrees.  I believe this is a U.K. company that is part of Nestle's.  These are fruit flavored chews coated in a very fine sugar, like a very chewy jelly bean.  I liked them a lot!

Next is a big package of cinnamon hard candies by Kasugai. The writing is almost all in Japanese (I think) so I can't tell you much about them.  They taste very much like red hots but are slightly milder in flavor.  They are rectangular in shape and yellowish in color so the taste is a little unexpected.  I like these and am happy to say the package is big enough to last me a long time.    

Another snack from Rowntree's is a package of "Randoms", which are chewy fruit flavored candies in weird shapes; I see a foot, a paint brush, a puzzle piece and a jack on the front.  Well named!

The heaviest item in my box is a big package of licorice candies by Bassett's.  Bassett's is a Cadbury U.K. brand.  This package is full of colorful licorice candies in many different forms that I haven't seen before. Unfortunately for me, I don't like licorice.  But I know someone who loves it so this package will be a nice gift for them.  

Next is a package of cookies with a strawberry jam filling from Malaysia.  The writing is all foreign but as with the cinnamon candies, there is a nutrition label in English on the back. Inside the package are eight individually wrapped cookies. These are soft cookies with a mild strawberry flavor...quite tasty!

There is a roll of "Refreshers" by Barratt, which I believe is another U.K. company.  These are described on the package as "fruity flavored fizzy sweets".  They remind me of Sweet Tarts, but are a little larger, softer and slightly less tart.  The package of "Chewits" I received are the fruit salad flavor.  These are the same size and shape as Starburst but considerably chewier.  They have a nice mild fruit flavor.    

So there you have it!  There are a LOT of fruit flavors in my box this month which is o.k. with me. I'm just remembering that last month's box had quite a bit of chocolate in it.  I did not review the February box, but for quick reference, here's a photo:

As you can see, the variety and quantity were quite different with a lot of smaller items. You really just don't know what you'll get in a Munchpak and that's what I love about it!

If you would like to try Munchpak, below is a promo code for 15% off on your first order. You can enter this code when ordering or just click on the link and it will automatically be applied to your order. 

Please be aware that this code expires on Saturday, March 22nd, 2014, so take advantage of it SOON!

Snack happy,


P.S.  The Chewits are gone....I'm losing control.......

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cloud 9 Sample Box February Chocolate Box Review + 10% Discount Code!!

This is a review that I have to write pretty much from memory as most of the contents of the February chocolate box from Cloud 9 are now history.  Fortunately I did take pictures so there is proof the box actually existed!

Cloud 9 is a family run company that provides monthly boxes containing hand selected "unique, delicious or fun" samples.  They want you to feel that you're "on Cloud 9" when enjoying their boxes!

My first Cloud 9 Sample Box arrived at warp speed.....just FOUR days after I placed my order! I got a small white box tied with a lavish pink fabric ribbon.

Here's my first look...lots of colorful confetti with a number of tasty looking treasures nestled inside:

The information card gives a good description of each item:

First was a small package of Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows in the flavor "Chocolate Chipetta". These are cocoa flavored marshmallows with micro mini chocolate chips.  You could put these in hot chocolate but there is no way they would survive that long in my house!  They were the first thing that disappeared. They were so good that I will probably check out the vendor's website, something I rarely do. (www.plushpuffs.com, in case you're wondering)

The second item was a small package containing two Jiva Cubes.  These are hot chocolate cubes that you just drop in milk or water and stir.  I'm sure these would be wonderful with Plush Puffs, if mine had lasted long enough to try.

Next was a Big Nanny's Soft Biscotti in "Chocolate Walnut".  I'm not a huge biscotti fan but I ate this like a cookie and it was o.k.  Probably would have been better dunked in some hot drink.

When you see an individual chocolate packaged in its own box, you KNOW it must be something special....and this certainly was!  Inside this brown box was one giant milk chocolate Raspberry Truffle by DeBrand. The information card says these were listed as one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2010.  Very good and also extremely quick to disappear.The little DeBrand's leaflet shows an array of gourmet chocolates that makes my head spin.  Definitely another website to check out. (www.debrand.com)  

Also included were four foil-wrapped chocolate hearts, two milk chocolate caramel and two dark chocolate raspberry.  I am hoarding these. For now. Maybe.

Last but certainly not least was a box of chocolate vanilla swirl cookies by Mia Dolci. These are very small thin wafers that taste similar to a graham cracker with a little chocolate mixed in. Very delicate and lower in sugar and fat than regular size cookies. This was a generously sized 2 oz. sample box.

All in all, this was a really decadent box that was most appropriate for Valentine's month.  I can't wait to see what they include in a normal month when the theme isn't just chocolate. (Not that I'm complaining...I love chocolate!)

The Cloud 9 Sample Box costs $15.00 per month plus $5.95 S&H.  One really nice thing about this company is that you can place a one time order and try out a box before deciding if you'd like to subscribe.

Get a 10% discount on your purchase with this code:  LONESTAR10.

I really enjoyed this box and am looking forward to the next one!

Thank you for reading,


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lone Star Shopper Awards for February & Enter to Win a NYX Blush! (Contest Ended)

3/11/14 Update:  The NYX giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Samantha in MN for winning the NYX blush!  Stay tuned for future contests!  Thank you to all my wonderful readers!   

Now that February is behind us, I thought I'd have a little fun and hand out MY own awards for the subscription boxes that I reviewed last month. Some of these companies are really outdoing their competition in terms of price, quantity and quality of content and I thought they deserved some recognition!

These are my opinions only and are just based on the content of the February boxes and my general impressions of the company. Each award is followed by a brief rationale and you can click on the name of the company to see the original review. 

Also, I'm giving away a NYX blush this week!  Details are at the bottom.


Best $10 beauty box - Ipsy
     (Rationale: Ipsy provided full size products; Birchbox included only samples)

Best "over $15" beauty box - e.l.f. Beauty Bundle
     (Rationale: e.l.f. sent nine full size products....they win on sheer quantity!)

Best "soap" boxThe Fortune Cookie Soap Company
     (Rationale: Gorgeous presentation, variety of samples and quality of product)

Best portion controlled healthy snack boxGraze Box 
     (Rationale: Graze and Nibblr provide essentially the same service. Graze won
     this time just because you can get two boxes for free when you sign up.)

Best full size healthy snack boxNature Box
     (Rationale: Nature Box won hands down over Boxtera because they allow you
     to customize your box and they show full nutritional information on each
     package. Also, Boxtera does not allow uncensored public comment on their
     Facebook page or website.)

Best gourmet treat boxTaste Trunk
     (Rationale: They just put more quality and quantity in their box than their
     competition this month.)

Most fun to openPopSugar Must Have Box
     (Rationale: There isn't a lot of competition in the "Lifestyle" category yet, but I
     have a feeling we will be seeing more of that.)


So, there you have it! I'd love to know which February subscription box (or boxes) you liked the best and why. Subscribe and comment below for your chance to win this full-size NYX blush in the beautiful color "Espresso" (a deep rose with brown undertones that would also make a great highlighter)!

Pesky rules: To enter, please leave a comment below and be subscribed to this blog. (See sign up box in upper right hand corner.) You must be over the age of 18 and live in the continental U.S. to win. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and announced on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.)

Good luck!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nibblr 2nd February 2014 Box Review + Free Box!

Since I've already reviewed the first Nibblr box that I received in February (see my post of February 18th), this will just be a quick review of the snacks in the second February box.

Here's what I received this time....love, love, LOVE that they take your tastes into consideration and customize your box!

First is my FAVORITE snack so far...."Cocoa-Nuts".  This mix is composed of dark chocolate almonds and coconut flakes...can it get much better?  I want MORE!!!

Next, from left to right is "7th Inning Stretch", a corn nut and flax sea salt pretzel pearls mix. The unexpected twist here is the sweet and salty contrast.  For this one, I would have preferred just salty, but this is good.  I will have no trouble making it disappear.

"Sesa-Me & You" is almonds dipped in honey and coated in sesame seeds...earning a "Love It" rating on my list.  

Last is "Fruit Fusion".  I really like the dried fruit mixes but they sure don't last long. This one consists of apricots, orange fruit pieces and peaches.  Best of all, there are zero fat grams in this mix...a huge plus in my book.  

Once again for February, Nibblr nailed it!  My only complaint is that there just isn't enough in these boxes....maybe it's time to increase my subscription frequency!


If you decide to sign up for Nibblr, you'll have an opportunity to enter a referral code during the simple registration process.  Please use my code, 2745, and you will receive a free box. The price you pay starts with the second box and depends on the number of boxes and delivery frequency you choose.  

Thanks for reading,


Monday, March 3, 2014

Eco Emi Box Review, February 2014

Eco Emi is a subscription box company that features green eco-friendly products.  You can find all sorts of interesting items in their boxes from cosmetics to bath products, edibles, cleaning products and even occasional home goods.  They usually send sample sizes with occasional full size products like lip glosses and a few coupons. Eco Emi boxes are fun to open because they pack their items in colorful tissue paper, then often sprinkle fun seasonal confetti shapes across the top.

Eco Emi is usually the last box I receive every month. I'm not sure if that's because of the date I originally signed up or if they ship all boxes at the same time. I think of my Eco Emi box as a little birthday present that comes late every month!

February's box contained the usual card that gives information about each product on the back, a 20% off coupon from GoodLight, a 15% off coupon from Lauren Brooke and a $1.00 off coupon for Wild Garden hummus products.

First is a very small sample of Lavish Face Mask by Blissoma which is supposed to be good for dry and stressed skin.  It looks to me like there's only enough product here to try this one time. Also included is a small pump spray bottle of NuStyle Organic Hairspray by Aubrey Organics.

Next are two edible products, Roasted Garlic Hummus Dip from Wild Garden and Ek Chok Chocolate Paste with Vanilla from Premier Organics. I have no idea what to do with the chocolate paste (it says to spread it on flat bread or toast...huh?) but hey...chocolate is chocolate and I'll find a use for this!  I'm thinking it might be really good on a graham cracker.      

There were a couple of cosmetic products in a polka dotted yellow organza gift bag.  One is a lip conditioner by Jersey Shore Sun in "Winter Mint" and the other is a lash conditioner by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques. This product is used at night and promotes longer, healthier lashes.

Last is a box from GoodLight Natural Candles which contains six unscented tea lights. These are paraffin-free clean-burning candles made of 100% palm wax.

Normally I really enjoy Eco Emi boxes but this month's seemed a little lackluster to me. I'm hoping March's box will be a bit more exciting!

Eco Emi's boxes are $15 per month.  For this, they ship a minimum of five samples, although I think there are usually more.  You can always count on Eco Emi for great quality "green" product samples, beautiful packaging and a nice variety of items in each box.

Go green and thanks for reading!


P.S.  Be sure to subscribe so you can get new posts delivered directly to your e-mail box.  Also, there will be contests coming up that are only open to subscribers!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fortune Cookie Soap Company Spring Soap Box Review + $5 off!

The Fortune Cookie Soap Company's website is loaded with beautiful hand crafted soaps, face and hair products, bath and body products, accessories and gift sets. Their signature fortune cookie shaped soaps come in a delectable variety of colors and scents.  The FCSC puts out a box called "The Soap Box" once per quarter to advertise the launch of new products and fragrances for that season.

The Spring box was truly a feast for the eyes and nose!  This charming little box contained eight products nested in hot pink paper shreds with a sprinkling of silk flower petals.  This is a box I almost didn't want to open out of reluctance to disturb such a beautiful presentation!

For Spring, the theme of the box was "Garden of Good & Evil" with three products classified as "The Goods" and four classified as "The Evils".  The explanatory card shows the products on one side and gives a brief description of each on the back. One of the "Evils" is a small vial of Venus Fly Trap Perfume Oil, a strong floral scent, which I don't particularly like.

The "Bloom Bloom Room" is a small pink flower shaped bath fizzy with a wonderful sweet scent combination that includes jasmine, lilac and lily of the valley, as well as fresh peach and citrus....topped off with spun sugar. This is one I might actually want to purchase from their web store.  I see that many of the products in this scent are sold out on the site, but as they have about 16 items in the scent, I'm sure there will be something to keep my nose happy. The fortune cookie soap included in this box is the "Forbidden Fruit" scent, another "evil" that combines verbena, blueberry and lemon.  The fortune strip in mine read "A one-of-a-kind hot bath will keep you warm for years".  So true!  The gold wrapped square is called "Me So Thorny Steam Me Up Scotty!"  I think this is to be used in the shower.  Its complex scent is composed of citrus, lavender, french vanilla, patchouli and sandalwood....lovely!

From the "Garden of Good" is a hand sanitizer called "Afternoon Delight OCD" which combines the scents of watermelon, apricots and white florals and a luscious coconut-scented body wash called "Native Nectar". These are both sample sizes containing enough product for a few uses each.

Another "Garden of Evil" product sample is "Make It Rain", which I believe is a body butter.  It is a pale icy blue color and smells like citrus and jasmine with a hint of cedar.  The last "Garden of Good" item is "Marshmallow Dreams", a cuticle butter that smells like marshmallow with hints of lavender, sage and basil.  Sounds strange, but it works!  

As you can see, this was a really beautiful box.  In reviewing the site, I notice that many of the products from the Spring box are sold out, which does not surprise me.

The Summer Soap Box will begin shipping on May 12th, so if you sign up any time soon, it will be a while before your box is shipped.  The site notes that you will be charged at the time you sign up.  Price is $19.99 with free shipping.  In addition to the eight mini products, each box also contains a one time use code that can be used towards the purchase of items in their store (but not towards a future quarterly Soap Box).

My verdict:  While not a necessity, the sheer olfactory decadence of these products is absolutely worth the price of the box.  But be careful; you just may find yourself wanting more!  

If you would like to get $5 off a $30 purchase, please use my referral link: http://splashurl.com/l33gvms. 

As always, thanks for reading,